The North West province features premier wildlife destinations (the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and the Madikwe Game Reserve); parts of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Vredefort Dome and the Taung Fossil Site, which is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site); and the Sun City gaming and entertainment resort.
Overview of North West
Covering about 106,000km2, the North West province is South Africa’s fourth-smallest province and is bordered by the country of Botswana to the north, and the South African provinces of the Northern Cape to the west, Gauteng to the east, Limpopo to the north-east, and Free State to the south.
Home to an estimated 3.5-million people, the most dominant ethnic group is the Setswana- speaking Tswana, with minority groups speaking Afrikaans, Sesotho, and isiXhosa. English is also spoken throughout the province, however.
Named South Africa’s ‘platinum province’ for its vast underground resources, North West also produces platinum, gold, diamonds and uranium.
The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton and citrus fruits.
The Magaliesberg mountain range in the north-east extends for 130km from Pretoria (in Gauteng) to Rustenburg, while the Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province.
The North West is a prime game-viewing destination and home of the well-known Madikwe Game
Reserve and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, as well as other smaller wildlife and nature reserves.
Parts of two UNESCO World Heritage sites fall within North West: the Vredefort Dome – the world’s largest meteor-impact crater; and the Taung hominid fossil site, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
The province is best accessed via OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and then by car along its well-maintained road system. You could also opt for a fly-in safari to the Pilanesberg or Madikwe game reserves, both a short flight from Johannesburg.