Gauteng Information Directory
This directory provides information on the province of Gauteng and its associated cities and towns. Gauteng is one of South Africa’s major provinces and contains the country’s largest city, Johannesburg. It is also one of the smallest provinces in SA but is highly urbanised and is the most densely inhabited province in South Africa. Gauteng is the only landlocked province in the country without a foreign border.
The name Gauteng is derived from the Sotho word “gauta” meaning “gold” in reference to the thriving gold industry in the province, following the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg. After the discovery of gold in 1886, the region became the single largest gold producer in the world and was when the city of Johannesburg was founded. Gauteng is divided in the south by the Vaal River which separates it from the Free State. It also borders with the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Mostly dominated by gleaming skyscrapers in the cities which is in sharp contrast to the African herbal shops, stalls and Indian bazaars with streets lined with fruit sellers and vendors. Gauteng is an eclectic mix of unique styles and tastes, in a sensual blend of ethnic and western. This blend is even more significant in the theatres and open-air arenas dotted throughout the cities.
The country’s administrative capital Pretoria, known as Jacaranda City, is situated within Gauteng as well as other large industrial areas such as Midrand and Vanderbijlpark. Gauteng is one of the most important educational and health centres in the county with Pretoria boasting the largest residential university in South Africa, the University of Pretoria. Most of the country’s research and development takes place in Gauteng, such as the Agricultural Research Council and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute.
Most of the Gauteng province is on the Highveld, a high-altitude dry grassland area where thunderstorms are common and seasonal changes fairly stable. The Magaliesburg Mountains provide the perfect getaway for the stressed “gautengers” – a fantastic mix of open spaces, game reserves and forests.
Businesses in Gauteng
As the economic hub of South Africa Gauteng has many large companies basing their headquarters here. Overseas companies are known to use Gauteng as their commercial base and as a gateway into Africa.
Gauteng is home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange which is the largest stock exchange in Africa, as well as the Porsche centre, the largest in the world.
Nature in Gauteng
Although mostly a concrete jungle, Gauteng is home to many nature reserves and open gardens with Johannesburg having the largest man-made urban forest in the world.
Some of the Gardens and Reserves in Gauteng are :
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
- Johannesburg Botanical Garden
- Pretoria National Botanical Garden
- Rietvlei Nature Reserve
- Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
- Abe Bailey Nature Reserve
- Alice Glockner Nature Reserve
- Marievale Bird Sanctuary
- Roodeplaat Nature Reserve
- Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
- Kromdraai Conservancy
- Krugersdorp Nature Reserve
- Rietvlei Nature Reserve
- Wonderboom Nature Reserve
What to see and do in Gauteng
Gauteng has a plethora of activities and attractions meshed into a space of complete diversity. The most famous attraction for the province must be the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the Sterkfontein Caves and the Wonder Cave at Kromdraai. The Maropeng Visitor’s Centre gives visitors an insight into the origins of mankind while the Sterkfontein Caves provide an enlightening experience. The history of Gauteng is deeply immersed in its prehistoric past with archaeological evidence discovered at the caves dating back 3 million years.
The Cradle of Humankind is a unique and awe-inspiring place to experience nature, culture and history. Explore the caves with a tour guide, take a game drive, or enjoy the magnificent scenery on a hiking or mountain bike trail – something for everyone and plenty to see.
Some activities to keep visitors entertained across the province are as follows :
- Gautrain – travel with ease and style around Johannesburg
- Apartheid Museum – Johannesburg
- Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre – Pretoria
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens – Roodepoort
- Montecasino – Sandton
- Voortrekker Monument – Pretoria
- Constitution Hill – Johannesburg
- Lion Park – Chartwell
- South Western Townships – Johannesburg
- Nelson Mandela Square – Sandton
- Monte casino bird park – Johannesburg
- Maropeng Visitor Centre – Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
- Hector Pieterson Museum – Soweto
- Emperors Palace – Kempton Park
- Maboneng Precinct – Johannesburg
- Gold Reef City – Johannesburg
- South African National Museum of Military History – Johannesburg
- Lion and Rhino Nature Reserve – Muldersdrift
- Mandela House – Greater Johannesburg
- Johannesburg Zoo – Johannesburg
- Liliesleaf Farm & Museum – Rivonia
- Lesedi Cultural Village – Johannesburg
- Tswaing Crater – just north of Pretoria
- Melville Koppies – Melville suburb, great for hiking
- The Elephant Sanctuary – Hartebeespoort Dam
- Orlando Towers – Soweto, for adrenaline junkies
- Magaliesburg Express – Magaliesburg, explore via steam train
The Vaal River provides endless water sporting opportunities in the form of jet skiing, water skiing, boating etc. The activities directory provides a range of advertisers that provide excellent activities in the province.
Shopping in Gauteng
Gauteng is a shopping mecca – magnificent malls, complexes and markets, truly a shopper's paradise. The many shopping facilities offer the usual chain stores and cinemas, as well as designer labels, curios, local produce and restaurants.
Accommodation in Gauteng
The choice for accommodation options in this province is extensive. The range caters for all tastes and budgets from top-end Hotels to simplistic backpackers. The accommodation directory provides a list of advertisers.