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Gauteng The City of Gold

gauteng1

South Africa’s smallest province is the central hub and vibe of thriving businesses, cultural diversity, and an entertainment capital. From west to east, north to south, Gauteng encompasses a world where everything is available. Embark on a cultural adventure into the cities – Johannesburg is fast paced and Pretoria is more laid-back, so take your pick!

Shop ’til you drop in couture stores and raving malls, sample cuisine from indigenous foods to Aisan specialities, party hard in pumping clubs that cater for every taste, and sip cocktails in chilled out bars and lounges that can be found almost anywhere!

Take a tour into the townships, which are immersed in modern as well as ancestral cultures, and humming with energy. A drink at a local shebeen in Soweto is always a hit and a chance to mingle with the locals. Hire a car and escape to the outlying areas of the cities, such as the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage site, the numerous botanical gardens, the Magaliesberg Mountains and game reserves that offer 5-star accommodation and a wealth of outdoor adventures.

The weather is fantastic at all times of the year: summer days are sweltering, with welcoming Highveld thunderstorms in the evenings, and the winters are cool and dry. Gauteng is a place for those who never sleep, and a mecca of South African fun that never stops!

Johannesburg

club_dj_540x380It is the biggest major city in the country, and Johannesburg, also known as Jozi and Egoli, lives up to its latter name as the Place of Gold, not only because of the gold deposits found in the surrounding areas and the fact that it is where gold was first discovered, but also because it is a sparkling, golden city, with a lifestyle that has a wealth of different cultures, thriving businesses, places to play, shopaholics’s paradises – Sandton is the place to flaunt the cash – and venues for the die-hard party starters. It’s trendy, it’s exciting, and it’s Africa’s powerhouse. With over 9 million people roaming trendy suburbs with restaurant lined streets, flocking to exhibitions, concerts, gigs, theatres, casinos and more, Jozi is the playground for the rich and famous, and those who like to live a little dangerously.

Pretoria

pretoria

This is the more laid back city in comparison to the exploding metropolis of Johannesburg. Predominately Afrikaans, the capital of the Gauteng is steeped in history, with museums and monuments paying tribute to a troubled but revolutionary past. The spring time heralds the blooming of the Jacaranda trees, with purple blossoms that colour the streets and suburbs and give Pretoria a new image and name of Jacaranda City. It’s a city that has taken a back step rather than attempting to keep up with the rat race in Johannesburg, and is subsequently regarded as a beautiful, relaxed city to reside in. But just because it’s quiet need not mean it’s uneventful. Pretoria hosts many great activities in the same vein as Johannesburg, yet it is a tad closer and offers better accessibility to the northern provinces that house magnificent game reserves and more. There’s more to Pretoria than one would think, and it’s worth exploring!

Regions

Taking Pretoria as its starting point, the Northern territories of Gauteng consist of both the buzzing areas of Midrand, Centurion and Pretoria, as well as the small rural towns and communities in the Metsweding region. There is a wonderful combination of things to do, from venturing into the heart of the cities, to exploring the many nature reserves with their abundance of bird and wildlife by hiking trails or mountain biking. Play a round of golf in picturesque scenery, find the town of Cullinan and discover its diamond mines. Dinokeng is an area that is marked by years of diverse cultures inhabiting its rolling landscapes, each having a significant impact. It is flanked by two rivers – Elands and Pienaars, which flow into the larger Limpopo and Olifants rivers – and consists of over 270 property owners’ lands that allow the visitor to view the Big Five and indulge in a unique, artistic heritage.

From Johannesburg and due South is a host of places that enjoy both commercial and natural attractions. Soweto is one of the most famous townships in the country, and its tours are hailed as some of the most informative and interesting tours in the province. The steel mining towns of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark provide a gateway to the Vaal River, Gauteng’s main source of water and a place to participate in many water sports. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve dominates most of the region, with over 80kms of hiking trails through unspoilt Highveld landscape.

mrs-plesCommonly known as the West Rand, this region also has its fair share of shopping spots, but it leads off to the stunning Magaliesburg Mountains that separate Highveld from bushveld. Herein lies the Cradle of Humankind, which includes the magical Sterkfontein Caves and the place where dear old Mrs Ples was discovered. Hiking, rock climbing and abseiling are just some of the activities that South Africans enjoy doing in this area, as well as cruising around on Haartebeespoort Dam. It’s close enough to the major cities to take a day trip and encounter nature close up, along with great restaurants, curio shops and markets along the Crocodile Ramble.