While it might be the smallest of South Africa's provinces, Gauteng is the country's urban centre, home to the major cities Johannesburg and Pretoria. Famous for its gold rush during the 19th Century, the province has since evolved into South Africa's economic hub, packed with attractions and offering some natural wonders too.
Gauteng's twin cities are set only 50km apart and vary greatly in character. Johannesburg dominates the province with African charisma and the typical bustle of a cosmopolitan city, while Pretoria remains conservative as South Africa's administrative capital. The cities are a window into South African culture and entertainment, with restaurants, shops, museums and luxury city hotels to ease visitors into city life.
Johannesburg or Jo'burg as it's affectionately known, is a sprawling metropolis home to around ten million people and is often used as a stop-over destination before jetting off to other locations across Africa. One of the city's notable sights is the Apartheid Museum, a must visit for history buffs and a powerful reminder of the awful regime opposed by Nelson Mandela. A visit to the township of Soweto is also an important one. The only place on earth where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street, embark on township tours which, while not visually spectacular, offer an absorbing glimpse into the contrasting stratums of Jo'burg's system of wealth. Other attractions include the fascinating Cradle of Humankind, Gold Reef City - a theme park with the chance to explore a disused gold mine - and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens.
Pretoria meanwhile is dotted by elegant government buildings, distinctive purple jacarandas, which line pretty avenues, and is less of an urban sprawl than its sister city. Filled with stunning architecture, history and museums, a good place to start exploring the city is Church Square - Pretoria's central hub. If you head east from the Square you'll find the Union Buildings, South Africa's majestic seat of office. While you can't go in for a look around the weight of the architectural beauty alone is reason enough to visit. Streams of attractions are on offer, from Pretoria Art Museum to the Freedom Park and Pretoria National Botanical Gardens while accommodation is equally as comfortable and luxurious as hotels found in Johannesburg.
While the cities dominate holidays to Gauteng, there are also a number of natural attractions that are worthwhile to visit if you are planning to stay in the province for a while. The Magaliesberg Mountains are stunning and great to explore while Dinokeng Game Reserve offers the only chance in Gauteng to see the Big 5.
South Africa's cosmopolitan capital of commerce, this bustling city offers a number of exciting attractions.
South Africa's administrative capital, take-in jacaranda lined avenues, elegant government buildings and sophisticated bustle.
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