The North West
- Tourist Information & Activities
North West Province, South Africa
to Map of North
West Province Images © South
THE NORTH WEST
PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA
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 Magaliesburg Mountains 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).
GETTING TO KNOW THE NORTH
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 Taung Skull
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 tranquility.
• Lesedi Cultural
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.
• Magnificent Magaliesburg
The Magaliesburg mountain range is the perfect weekend spot for jaded
Johannesburg city-dwellers. Just half an hour away from the big city
lights, the Magaliesburg offers a country experience and is a favoured
destination of bird-watchers, hikers and those who simply want to get
away from it all.
• Sun City
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.
• Valley of the Waves
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
water slide is not for the faint hearted!
• Pilanesberg Game Reserve
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 see.
• Mampoer Country
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.
• Safari-time in Madikwe
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.
• Story of the Siege
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.
• Small-town treasures
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.
• Cheetah Country
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
• Land of Ancient Meteorites
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 ago….
• Wonderful Water sports
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.
Information courtesy of South African
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