Although it is the smallest of nine provinces, Gauteng – which translates as “Place of Gold” in Sotho – is South Africa’s, and indeed southern Africa’s commercial and industrial hub. Boasting a multicultural mix of people from all walks of life, the golden province is a truly cosmopolitan powerhouse. As such Gauteng offers much more than just big business. It also has an overwhelming variety of cultural and social attractions that range from museums to monuments, shebeens to world-class shopping malls, restaurants, theatres and even the internationally recognised Pretoria Zoo.
One place that definitely comes to mind when Gauteng is mentioned is Soweto. Soweto is no longer the place of political unrest and underground activity it once was, but it still offers much to see and experience. As both a testament to our past and a beacon of hope for the future, Soweto remains a city of enterprise and cultural interaction. Home to significant political sites such as ,for instance, Kliptown (where the Freedom Charter was drawn up) and the Hector Petersen Memorial site as well as modern shopping malls and traditional restaurants and shebeens, Soweto is a popular tourist destination. It is a great place to visit if you want to experience the warmth and rhythm of South Africa’s heartbeat!
The cradle of Humankind is another absolute must for those interested in history and the origin of humans! It is not only a place of astounding natural beauty, but also one of great historical significance. Comprised of a strip of a dozen dolomite limestone caves, the site contains the fossilised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids, our early ancestors. If you want to know where it all began, then this is the place for you!
The famous Pretoria Zoo with its many species of animals, birds and reptiles holds a similar fascination. It is also interesting to note that the Zoo recently made international headlines with the first Koala born in Africa. It is well worth a visit! The educational value of this province does, however, extend much further than the Pretoria Zoo and the Cradle of Humankind. Museums such as the Africa Museum, the Mandela Museum and the Apartheid Museum are just some of the important places that offer insight into the more confusing topical subjects that define South African society.
Basically Gauteng hosts so many amazing things to see and do that it is almost impossible to list them all! There are, however, a few more that one might mention. These include Gold Reef City and Sun City, the Santon Shopping Centre, Freedom Park, the Union Building, Nelson Mandela Bridge, Constitution Hill, Dinokeng Nature Reserve, Magaliesburg Nature Reserve and various other reserves that offer game drives, hunting, fishing, 4 x 4 and hiking trails and much, much more!
Gauteng might be the smallest province in South Africa, but it certainly has a lot to offer!