Sandton shed its rural roots to become one of the continent's foremost commercial and industrial hubs. It is now one of the most affluent municipalities in the country boasting some of the most expensive real estate on the continent. In fact, it is claimed that it has Africa's richest square mile.
In Sandton money talks like nowhere else in South Africa. It became Johannesburg's de facto financial hub following the mass exodus of businesses from the Johannesburg CBD due to urban decay and the poster boy for the 'white flight' to Johannesburg's northern suburbs.
It soon established itself as the place where big deals are brokered and where dreams are made and shattered. It is also home to the Sandton Convention Centre, the largest of its kind on the continent. Sandton hosts many of the continent's leading summits and conferences and is the engine that drives not just the province, but the whole country. The extent of Sandton's economic muscle is evident in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's decision to relocate there in 2003.
The Sandton CBD is awash with high-rise buildings offering office and living space to those who prefer to work and live in close proximity. The Michelangelo Towers juts 140 metres into the sky. Those who reside in the suburbs surrounding Sandton's CBD often live on large properties or sprawling estates. Sandton offers the nocturnally active any number of entertainment options. In particular, it offers many fine pubs and dining venues, movie theatres and upmarket shopping opportunities.
To the east side of CBD lies the industrial areas of Wynberg and Kramerville, as well as Alexandra township. There is a tinge of irony in the fact that the township is a stone's throw away from the opulent, image conscious CBD.
- wonderful shopping experiences
- a great range of pubs and fine dining establishments
- easy access to the OP Tambo International airport via the Gautrain
Various indigenous groups lived in the area before the arrival of Europeans. Tswana and Sotho speakers made up the most abundant numbers. An iron age smelter was found in Lonehill, northern Sandton. One of the first Voortrekker families to settle in the area were the Esterhuizens. The farms Zandfontein, Rietfontein and Driefontein were to make up Sandton.
For long the area was made up of small holdings with many residents doubling up as horse owners in a country lifestyle. It attracted Johannesburg's upper middle class and elite. It was dubbed the mink and manure belt.
The construction of Sandton City was to change the face of the area forever. Sandton became a commercial hub and many companies who previously had a base in the Johannesburg CBD relocated to the area.
From 1996 Sandton became part of the City of Johannesburg's Metropolitan Municipality. Sandton however still operates with some autonomy as a macro suburb. Getting to and from Sandton was made easier in 2010 when the Gautrain rail link became operational. It links Sandton with the Johannesburg CBD, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport. The name was derived from suburbs Sandown and Bryanston.