Stretching all the way from Pretoria in the north to Vereeniging in the south, Gauteng was created by the ANC in 1994 and united six regions.
Its history lies embedded in the discovery of Gold but today the vibrant mix of diversity and culture make it one of the wealthiest provinces in Africa and also the entertainment capital of South Africa.
The centre of Gauteng is Johannesburg, the City of Gold, which since the early 1800’s has been the financial capital of South Africa. Its modern business district contains the headquarters of many of South Africa’s leading companies. There is some great shopping, five star hotels and residential suburbs such as Sandton and Melrose. Constitution Hill in the heart of the city is a “must see”, its Old Fort and notorious Number Four prison, a stark reminder of the apartheid era.
Just beyond the city limits are Gold Reef City and South Africa’s most famous township, Soweto. Home to over two million people, it is as diverse as the Rainbow Nation itself. Housing ranges from tin shacks to colourful detached houses, but what sets it apart from many other areas is the strong community atmosphere, history and power of the people that have driven the changes in South Africa.
Less than 50km north of Johannesburg is Pretoria, South Africa’s official capital city. Far less frenetic than its southern neighbour, dotted with parks, extensive greenery and public open spaces and contains the embassies of nations from around the world. Pretoria is also the arrival and departure point of Rovos Rail services to Victoria Falls and Cape Town, and the Blue Train services to Cape Town.
Also in this area is the Cullinan Diamond Mine, that produces unusually large diamonds, including the 3106 carat Cullinan Diamond. The “Hole” produced in mining these diamonds is actually bigger than The Big Hole in Kimberley.
Things not to miss in Gauteng:
1. The buzz and drive of a vibrant city including its world class shopping
2. A township tour perhaps to Soweto to understand where the drive for change came from.
3. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which vividly depicts the horrors and injustices of the Apartheid years.
4. Pretoria, with its wide open spaces, Parliament buildings and air of tranquillity.
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