Gauteng

Gauteng

Things to do - general

Situated in the Highveld, Gauteng (Place of Gold) is the smallest province in South Africa, accounting for only 1.5% of the land area. Nevertheless, it is highly urbanised, containing the country’s largest city, Johannesburg, its administrative capital, Pretoria, and other large areas such as Midrand and Vanderbijlpark. As of 2018, Gauteng is the most populous province in South Africa with a population of approximately 14,700,000 people according to estimates.

Although Gauteng province is dominated by the urban areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it has several nature reserves. Gauteng is home to the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the Sterkfontein caves and the Wonder Cave Kromdraai. Johannesburg is home to the largest man-made urban forest in the world.

The most famous and liveliest townships, some of South Africa’s best restaurants, the diverse cultural- and vibrant night life make Johannesburg South Africa’s most Africanized and cosmopolitan city. It has a reputation among both tourists and South Africans as a place to be avoided, but many are seduced by its energy and vibrancy.

The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of Southern Africa. More recently Lanseria International Airport has started international flights, and is situated conveniently on the opposite side of the metropolis.

Accommodation in Johannesburg is quite easy to find as the city is well-equipped to host large numbers of tourists and business travellers.

Despite it’s corporate orïentated atmosphere, very comfortable guesthouses and B&B establishments are spread all over town, especially in the northern and central suburbs.
Johannesburg is peppered with large chain hotels, well located and offering several accommodation options, including Self Catering.

An acronym for South Western Townships, Soweto was dubbed as such in 1963. The area began in the late 19th century as a temporary neighborhood for gold mine workers, then later became a black Johannesburg ghetto with forced apartheid settlement. In 1976, Soweto garnered international headlines with its deadly uprising against Afrikaans-only language education. The Mandela Family Museum and the recently restored Credo Mutwa Village (with its Zulu and Sotho homesteads) are two can’t-miss sights.

70 Km up north, Pretoria has a completely different atmosphere. Being South Africa’s administrative capital it is filled with civil servants and students from around the World.
With its historic buildings and interesting musea, Pretoria is a place worth visiting in its own right. It is popularly known as The Jacaranda City due to the thousands of Jacaranda trees planted in its streets, parks and gardens..

To escape the hustle and bustle of these cities one can flee to the Magalies Mountains in the north and the Witwatersrand in the south and west. In 1923 the Hartbeespoort Dam, situated in one of the valleys of the range, was completed.
It became a popular holiday and weekend destination for the inhabitants of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and the villages of Hartbeespoort and Kosmos developed as a result. Less than an hour from Johannesburg, the Magalies Mountains offer ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, horse riding and nature trailing.

As a tourist, a visit to the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site is almost obligatory. Some of the world’s most important pre-human primate fossils are discovered in the Sterkfontein Caves.

Country South Africa

Culture and history info

Gauteng was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first multiracial elections on 27 April 1994. It was initially named Pretoria–Witwatersrand–Vereeniging (PWV) and was renamed "Gauteng" in December 1994. The term "PWV", describing the region existed long before the establishment of the province.

The history of the area that is now Gauteng can be traced back to the early 1800s when settlers originating from the Cape Colony defeated chief Mzilikazi and started establishing villages in the area. After the discovery of gold in 1886, the region proceeded to become the single largest gold producer in the world and the city of Johannesburg was founded.
The older city Pretoria was not subject to the same attention and development. Pretoria grew at a slower rate and was highly regarded due to its role in the Second Boer War. The Cullinan Diamond which is the largest diamond ever mined was mined near Pretoria in a nearby town called Cullinan in the year 1905.

Gauteng has only been properly documented since the 1800s and as a result, not much information regarding its history predating the 1800s is available. At the Sterkfontein caves, some of the oldest fossils of hominids have been discovered, such as Mrs. Ples and Little Foot.

Many crucial events happened in present-day Gauteng with regards to the anti-apartheid struggle, such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the Rivonia Trial in 1963 and 1964 and the Soweto Uprising of 1976.] Today, the Apartheid Museum stands testament to these struggles in Johannesburg.

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.