Gauteng is the smallest and most densely populated province in South Africa. The name “Gauteng” means “place of gold” in Sotho, referring to the gold rush which sparked the development of the Witwatersrand area in the late nineteenth century. It is the economic centre of the country and the location of two capital cities: Johannesburg, the capital of Gauteng; and Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa.
Gauteng is a mix of vibrant city life, cultures, suburban lifestyles, heritage sites and natural landscapes. It is a business centre where Africa meets the rest of the world, which can be witnessed by the many influences on the city’s architecture and retail environment.
The province is responsible for a third of South Africa’s GDP, is the home of seven of South Africa’s universities as well as several other tertiary education institutions.
Gauteng’s transport infrastructure is the most diverse of all the cities in South Africa, owing to a growing need from residents and tourists. The Gautrain railway system connects Pretoria to Sandton, Johannesburg and other suburbs, and the continent’s busiest airport, OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park.
Land size: 18,178 square kilometers
Population size: 12,914,800 people
Population race breakdown: 77.4% black African, 15.6% white, 3.5% coloured, 2.9% Indian/Asian
Languages spoken: 19.8% Zulu, 13.3% English, 12.4% Afrikaans, 11.6% Sotho, 10.6% Northern Sotho
The Top 3 Nature Reserves in Gauteng
The Melville Koppies is an archaeological site situated in the suburb of Melville, North of Johannesburg. The Koppies comprise hills of unspoiled natural landscapes and enclosed findings in direct contrast to the surrounding suburban areas and bohemian atmosphere. The Melville Koppies are like an almost hidden natural getaway within the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg.
The Suikersbosrand Nature Reserve
The Suikerbosrand Range is situated in Heidelberg, which is 50 kilometers from Johannesburg. The town of Heidelberg also forms part of the nature reserve and was established in 1862. “Suikerbos” means “sugar bush” in Afrikaans and is a reference to the abundance of the plant in the area. The range is one of South Africa’s leading eco-tourism sites dedicated to conserving the local wildlife and hosts various activities including hiking, cycling, game viewing and motorcycling. Visitors to the area can stay in one of the holiday resorts.
The Krugersdorp Game Reserve
The Krugersdorp Game Reserve is one of the few safari experiences available in close proximity to the city of Johannesburg. The 1500 hectare game farm, although small, is situated only about 40 minutes drive from Johannesburg and offers bird watching, 4×4 trails, hiking and viewing of 15 mammal species.
Top 3 Places to go to in Gauteng
The name Soweto was first coined as an abbreviation for South Western Townships. The area is situated south of Johannesburg. Soweto played a pivotal role in the anti-Apartheid struggle, making it historically significant to the country’s history. The area also has a unique culture which was established and developed by residents who were forced to live there during the Apartheid years. Today, Soweto is more than just a township: it is a hub with shopping malls, museums, cycle trails and tours. One of the most famous streets in Soweto is Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, where two of the older homes belonging to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Mandela family are situated. Orlando West is also famous for being one of the main venues of the Soweto Uprising which took place in 1976.
The Vaal Riviera
The area around the Vaal River is one of the most valued developments in South Africa. The Riviera starts on the banks of the river in the Southern Gauteng areas of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark and extends into the Free State Province. Small resorts and entertainment spots in the Vaal area include the Emfuleni Golf Course and the Emerald Casino Resort. Visitors in the area can engage in various activities including river rafting, river cruises and jet skiing.
The Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind is located in Krugersdorp, a Western area of the province. The oldest human fossils were found in the Sterkfontein Caves which form a part of the heritage site. Daily tours showcase the history of the area and the findings of paleontologists as well as ongoing research. The venue also has a museum called Maropeng, where visitors can view exhibitions of fossils found in the area, its history as well as information detailing evolution theories and other points of interest.
Gauteng has many places to go and things to do; ranging from natural hiking trails, short safaris and educational excursions, to the laid back lifestyle of some of its suburbs, and the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s something for everyone in this province, all while being backbone of the African economy.