Rustenburg does not live up to its name. Meaning “place of rest” this once sleepy little town started out as a small farming community producing citrus and Virginia tobacco, but now it is known as the Platinum City due to its extensive mining. A hub of activity and only a ninety minute drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria it is perfect for day trips or a weekend getaway.
Rustenburg has a fine balance between history, arts, culture and nature making it a place that everyone can enjoy. Its history is closely linked to the Voortrekkers who founded the town in 1851. They started to settle in the area and named it Rustenburg after they defeated Mzilikazi and his tribe.
The battles did not stop there and in 1899 the Anglo-Boer war took place in the surrounding area where the two sides clashed for months. Famous battlefields, memorial graves and wrecked forts are scattered throughout the area and make for great day visits.
If this interests you, be sure to check out the Rustenberg Museum which has exhibits depicting local history and archaeology. Rich in iron and stone age sites Rustenburg is also an archaeologists dream.
Not as bloody, but just as historical are the many churches in Rustenberg. Of special interest is the Anglican Church, a national monument which was originally built in 1871; the Historical Lutheran Church in Kroondal which was built in 1896 is also a national monument and the Dutch Reformed Church which was started in 1898 but only completed in 1903 after the Anglo-Boer War.
One may get the impression that Rustenburg’s only history comes from the white Voortrekkers, but it is also home to the indigenous Bafokeng tribes. Bafokeng means “people of the dew” and they settled in and around Rustenburg over 200 years ago.
Rustenburg is home to the beautiful Magaliesberg Mountain Range as well as many nature parks in and around the area. Right outside Rustenburg is the Pilanesberg National Park. Set in the Pilanesberg Mountain Range in a vast crater of an extinct volcano, it is a unique geological feature and for this reason alone is worth visiting.
On top of that, it is the 4th largest National Park in South Africa and home to the Big 5. On offer are exceptional game viewing opportunities, exciting overnight camps, strenuous walking trails and enthralling hunting trips.
The Kgaswane Mountain Reserve (Rustenburg Nature Reserve) is another option, which offers hiking trails in the Magaliesberg. With its profuse bird life, flora and fauna, it is easy to lose yourself in the beauty of the mountain. There are many different hiking trails, each offering a unique experience.
For those who have a bit more stamina there is the Baviaanskrans Route which is 19.5km and includes the Waterfall View and the Garden of Remembrance and the Summit Route which is 25.3km and includes natural pools where you can swim.
For the less fit there is the Vlei Ramble which is only 2km and leads towards a viewing hut on the vlei where one can birdwatch. Of course there is much more on offer in the Rustenburg Nature Reserve than hiking.
The Reserve is also home to over 800 antelope such as klipspringer, grey duiker, kudu and oribi. Leopards, caracal, aardwolf and black-backed jackal also dwell in the area as well as over 320 bird species, including cape vultures and martial and black eagles.
If this is all a bit rustic for you, Sun City is only a few kilometers outside of Rustenburg. This luxurious African resort has a casino, a spa, a world renowned gold course and water parks to suit every age group. Lavish and pristine the resort lives up to its tagline as being “Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure” and you won’t find anyone who will disagree.