See Also: KwaZulu
Natal | Western Cape | Gauteng | Mpumalanga | Eastern Cape | Northern Province
Known as the “Heritage Province”, the North West is
a rewarding holiday destination that offers exciting wildlife and
adventure encounters as well as the opportunity to participate
in a rich cultural and historical heritage.
Home to the fantastic Pilanesberg and Madikwe game reserves, North
West has the big five, fantastic bird-life and wide-open African
skies. The area boasts archaeological discoveries that go back
to the beginnings of humankind, as well as the world-famous Sun
City hotel complex, creatively dedicated to ancient lost civilizations
and modern-day pleasures.
This is also the land of the author Herman Charles Bosman and
his tales of Oom Schalk and the Groot Marico where mampoer (a very
potent home-distilled peach brandy) and local legend were born
and where time stands still. This is where the Bakgatla tribe believe
in totem animals and that their wellbeing is dictated by the stars...
The province extends all the way from Gauteng to the Botswana border.
The area is flanked by the Magaliesberg and the Kalahari Desert.
North West has a population of just over three million people.
Summer brings hot, sunny days (temperatures in the region of around
22 to 34 degrees centigrade); winters are relatively warm during
daylight hours, however the evenings can get somewhat chilly
(temperatures range from 15 to 22 degrees centigrade).
Close to Gauteng, the North West province is a quick and easy
escape from the big city, boasting superb accommodation options
and a wide variety of sightseeing activities.
The world-famous Taung Skull (Australopithecus Africanus) was found
in the Buxton limestone quarry in 1924 by Dr Raymond Dart and
indicated to the world that indeed the man initiated on the African
continent. Visit the Taung Heritage Site where the skull was
discovered – the area is no longer being mined but remains
an important scientific research site and is also a place of
great peace and tranquillity.
A short, scenic drive outside of Johannesburg, this cultural village
is a window on a number of our indigenous cultures for South
Africans and international visitors alike. The village offers
an exploration of traditional folklore and ancestry … not
to mention the spectacular cuisine and fantastic curios.
The Magaliesberg mountain range is the perfect weekend spot for
jaded Johannesburg city-dwellers. Just half an hour away from
the big city lights, the Magaliesberg offers a country experience
and is a favoured destination of bird-watchers, hikers and those
who simply want to get away from it all.
The extravagant Sun City hotel/entertainment complex `in the middle
of nowhere’, is known the world over as a tourism hotspot.
It was built over 20 years ago in the homeland of Bophuthatswana
when gambling was not permitted in South Africa under the apartheid
government. Sun City remains an icon of family fun and entertainment.
The Lost City is the obvious highlight of the Sun City complex
and the Palace of the Lost City - with its extravagant lost-world
theme and spectacular African feel - is one of the most famous
hotels in the world.
Kids absolutely love this in-land seaside entertainment centre.
The Valley of the Waves at the Lost City (Sun City) offers a
gigantic man-made pool, a man-made beach, palm trees and a machine
that produces bona fide waves! Death-defying water chute rides
and the Temple of Courage waterslide is not for the faint hearted!
Next door to the famous Sun City resort is the Pilanesberg Game
Reserve, where visitors can experience the big five, just two
hours from Johannesburg. The reserve is home to a large number
of wild animals and is one of the province’s biggest attractions.
The Pilanesberg mountain range exists as a result of an enormous
volcano that erupted millions of years ago - leaving behind the
beautiful hilly undulations that stretch as far as the eye can
Groot Marico is a small town made famous by author Herman Charles
Bosman. The spirit of one of his main characters, the feisty
Oom Schalk Lourens, still lingers along the quiet streets of
this enticing little town. Groot Marico is home to a vibrant
artistic community – where the art of storytelling is alive
and well. This area is also home to mampoer – a largely
alcoholic drink that was traditionally made from peaches (although
these days just about any fruit type will do). Mampoer is often
compared to the American drink, moonshine, but according to the
locals is a much stronger poison.
Not too far from the Gaborone border lies the Northwest’s
best-kept secret – Madikwe Game Reserve. This reserve, consisting
of reclaimed farm land, is famous for the ambitious re-stocking
programme “Operation Phoenix” that took place in the
early nineties. The area is now home to the big five and is famous
for its wild dog, spotted hyena, cheetah and elephant population.
Madikwe also boasts fantastic accommodation across the board – from
five-star opulence to roughing it in style.
Once famous for the Mafikeng Siege during 1900 and where Baden
Powell started what is now the international Scouts movement
for young boys, today Mafikeng is an interesting combination
of colonial modern African. Victorian buildings stand next to
a modern-day museum that boasts ancient San works of art and
Tswana traditional exhibits in a powerful juxtaposition of cultures.
It was in Mafikeng that Sol Plaaitjie, one of South Africa’s
most famous early writers, wrote of the spectacular Mafikeng
Siege – this city is something of a mecca for Anglo-Boer
War buffs … and other interested parties.
North West is jam-packed with small towns and artistic communities.
This is where real “boerekos” (traditional Afrikaner
farm-style cuisine) is served up with a smile and where local
communities invite you to their homes … to stay the night.
Christiana, Wolmaranstad and Bloemhof are certainly worthy of
a self-drive voyage of discovery.
The De Wildt Cheetah Farm is a must for visitors to the province.
This well-known centre is renowned for the breeding of cheetah
(including the rare king cheetah), as well as the brown hyena
and African wild dog.
Why not visit the Vredefort Dome (on the way to or from Potchefstroom)
where an ancient meteorite is said to have hit the earth aeons
Hartebeespoort Dam is just a half hour drive from Johannesburg,
and is something of a weekend mecca for water sports lovers.
The perfect spot for a weekend getaway, and close enough for
a quick day trip. The area boasts wonderful picnic spots and
an opportunity to windsurf, sail, canoe, body-board and catch
some welcome sun.