South Africa’s smallest province, Gauteng, is its richest and is home to most large corporations head offices and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The city of Johannesburg was founded because of the gold mining industry and all of the large mining houses have their headquarters in Gauteng.
Gauteng is the country’s busiest province by far – it seems that no one rests in Gauteng, and the culture is one of urban indulgence and a work hard, play hard mentality. In Johannesburg the nightlife is excellent, with many of the countries hottest bars, restaurants and clubs located here. It is also a shopping haven, with malls offering international designer wares alongside locally produced fashions – an ideal destination to pick up some proudly South African haute couture!
Soweto, or South Western Townships, is located alongside Johannesburg, and is fast gaining popularity as offering the best township tours in the country. People from around the globe visit South Africa’s largest township to see the local shebeens and restaurants, and stay in one of the many fine guesthouses in Soweto on offer to get a feel for township life.
To the North of Johannesburg lies the city of Pretoria, famed for its proliferation of Jacarandas, which burst into bright purple flower in the spring. Pretoria is a city with a rich historical heritage, as well as being the judicial capital of the country, and visits to remnants of the apartheid era such as the Union Buildings, and the Voortrekker monument, throw light onto South Africa’s oppressive past. To balance this trip into the dark past of South Africa, also schedule a visit to the newly built Freedom Park, which celebrates South Africa’s emergence from oppression.
Also chronicling South Africa’s rise to political freedom, are the Apartheid Museum and the Constitutional Hill Complex which is home to the constitutional court which upholds South Africa’s new democracy.
This city also has much to offer in the way of culture, with the State Theater, the famous Pretoria Zoo and the botanical gardens.
Dotted around these major cities are many excellent game reserves, where game drives, walks, hiking and other outdoor activities are on offer, along with 5 star accommodation and excellent cuisine, as well as the Cradle of Humankind, a fascinating journey into the origins of man and a World Heritage Site.
Since the area was built on the diamond and gold mining industries, a trip to the restored mining town of Cullinan, which an opportunity to purchase diamonds and to take a tour of one of the mines, is worth considering. If off road adventure or hiking is your passion, then head off to the Magaliesberg, where many excellent trails are on offer.
Gauteng, while South Africa’s smallest province, certainly manages to pack a lot into a very small area, and if fast-paced action and a wide variety of attractions is what you are looking for, then this area is first choice.