The Northern Provinces
Johannesburg is the tourism capital of Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo - the four northernmost provinces of South Africa. Here is additional information on these provinces, each of which is quite different from each other in climate, vegetation and character.
Despite being South Africa's smallest province, Gauteng is home to more citizens than any other province in the country, is largely regarded as the epicentre of South Africa, if not the whole of Africa. This buzzing province is situated in the heart of what is known as the Highveld, and owing to its rich history of mineral wealth, is highly developed and urbanised. As gold deposits were being discovered in the area in the late 1800s, so much of the country's population migrated here looking for a share of the spoils. Gauteng is home to a myriad of cultures, each of which has had a significant impact on the cultural richness of South Africa.
The name Gauteng means "Place of Gold", a Sesotho name which refers to the thriving gold industry in the Province following the discovery of gold in Johannesburg in 1886. South Africa's busiest airport, the OR Tambo International Airport is located in Gauteng, and it services most centres in the country. At the same time, there is a wealth of other attractions within a short driving distance, including spectacular mountain scenery in the Magaliesberg Mountains, diverse and fascinating cities and villages in the countryside, as well as more wildlife and other Things to Do than most people imagine!
Gauteng has a very cool and comfortable climate due to its high altitude. Most rain occurs in short afternoon storms with plenty of thunder and lightning, quite different from the type of rain that falls in Cape Town. For first-time visitors to the Highveld, the noise, flashes and heavy rain can be an exhilarating experience. Winters are very dry with frost often occurring in the southern areas.
Back to Top
The North West Province is a "must see" destination, as it offers The Pilanesberg Big Five Game Reserve as well as other fine reserves, cultural sights, archaeological treasures, and adventures, as well as world class entertainment resorts such as Sun City and The Palace of the Lost City. The Province is generally hot and dry and it consists mainly of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. Average temperatures across the region range from 17C to 31 C in the summer, and from 3 to 21 C in the winter. Annual rainfall is low, averaging around 360 mm, with almost all of this falling during the long summer months (between October and April).
There are 4 regions in the North West Province:
- Bojanala Region (in the north west)
- Dr Ruth S. Mompati District (south west)
- Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema District (central region)
- Dr Kenneth Kaunda District (southern region)
The Bojanala Region is situated close to Gauteng, and is the area that we (at present) cover the most thoroughly. It is certainly the most scenic region of the Province and it has much to offer the eco-tourist and the adventure tourist. The Hartbeespoort Dam, which offers water activities, angling, and yachting, and the Magaliesberg Mountains, which are filled adventure tourism opportunities are only from 45 - 60 minutes away from Joburg. Just 1 1/2 hr away are the world renowned Lost City / Sun City complex and the Big Five Pilanesberg Game Reserve - making the whole area a fabulous one in which to spend an exciting holiday.
Back to Top
Mpumalanga - "the place where the sun rises" - offers something for everyone. It is often said that Mpumalanga Province alone offers more diversity and and adventure opportunities than any other country in the world.
Mpumalanga is divided in half by the northern range of the Drakensberg Mountains. The westerly half consists mainly of high-altitude grassland called the Highveld, and the eastern half is situated in low altitude subtropical Lowveld, which is mostly a savanna habitat. The transition area between the Highveld and the Lowveld, is known as the Escarpment.
The Highveld is in the area around Machadodorp, Belfast and Waterval Boven, after which there is a steep descent into the Lowveld.
The Escarpment contains mountain passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests, and is aptly known as the Panorama Route. Sabie, Graskop and the historic gold mining town of Pilgrim's Rest are the key tourist towns of this area. Within this area lies the Blyde RiverCanyon, which is the largest green canyon in the world and also the 3rd largest canyon in the world. To some people it comes as a surprise that this reserve is the 4th-most visited tourism destination in the country!
The Lowveld is Big Game Country, the icon of which is the world famous Kruger National Park - about the same size as Wales - and teeming with with wildlife. There are also many private Game Lodges in the area loosely referred to as the Sabi-Sand Game Reserve, including the well known Londolozi, Mala Mala, and Savanna Private Game Reserves, and Richard Branson's Ulusaba Game Lodge.
Back to Top
Limpopo Province is located in the northernmost part of South Africa, sharing its borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Limpopo is one of the last unspoilt corners of Africa. With the Great Olifants River that meanders through the Kruger Park forming the southern border of the province, it offers vast expanses of land which are unmistakably African.
Limpopo is home to numerous nature reserves and National Parks. Besides the well-known national parks, such as the Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe and Marakele, approximately 50 further nature reserves, including the beautiful Waterberg region, are spread throughout Limpopo. Already many of the conservation areas bordering on the Kruger National Park have removed their fences and now form part of the Greater Kruger National Park.
Limpopo is divided into five Regions strategically located according to the cultural inhabitants. These are known as: the Waterberg, Capricorn, Vhembe, Mopani, and Sekhukhune.
Polokwane International Airport is the main airport , with other local airport such as Eastgate airport in Hoedspruit and Kruger National Park Airport in Phalaborwa, serving the tourist market.
Back to Top