Forgotten Provinces: North West

Posted on 3 June 2020

The North West province is not big and is often overlooked as the problem-child province of South Africa. Known more for its violent past and difficult present, the home of platinum has a hard time making a name for itself.

Underneath the struggles, this province on Gauteng’s doorstep offers brilliant opportunities for tourists and locals to take a break from the hustle of Johannesburg and experience the beauty of this often overlooked province.

Magaliesberg Mountains 


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A major feature of the natural landscape in North West is the Magaliesberg Mountain range. One hundred years older than Mount Everest, it is among the world’s oldest and stretches for 120km.

These mountains offer endless activities from hikes and horse riding trails to more adventurous pursuits such as abseiling. If you want to take in the range from above, hot air balloons are a popular way to take in all the incredible scenery.

If you want to get up close and personal with the range but find a balloon too aloof, there are also canopy tours you can swing through.

As it stretches on for so long, there are multiple spots to pitch your tent, either literally or, if you’re not the camping type, at the country lodges and guesthouses in the area.

Sun City 


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Possibly one of the best known attractions in the province, Sun City is a good option for families and those who like to try their luck. The closest South Africa has to Disney Land, Sun City has endless entertainment for everyone. Known best of all for the Valley of the Waves, its artificial beach, and its casino, this is a great option for those who want their holiday sorted for them, with everything at their fingertips.

Sun City itself has multiple accommodation options with special packages to make the trip more affordable.



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The capital city of the province, Mahikeng (previously Mafikeng), hasn’t got too much to offer itself but can be a good spot to stop on a road trip and stay the night.

Nearby attractions include the Mafikeng Game Reserve. Divers can also test their skills and take on Wondergat for a unique cave diving experience.

Pilansberg National Park 


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The Pilansberg National Park is a great malaria-free game reserve option not too far from Johannesburg. Found in the transition zone between the Kalahari and Lowveld, visitors can see the Big 5 either through game drives or walking tours. The area is set in the crater of an ancient volcano which has left behind amazing rock formations and rich landscape.

Visitors can take in the views of the area from above with hot air balloon trips, or just relax in the multiple accommodation options, from bush lodges to resorts.



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‘Harties’ best known for its dam is a great day trip out of Pretoria or Johannesburg and sits on the side of the Magaliseberg mountain range. Visitors can take in the view from the aerial cableway, go cruising on the dam, horse trails along the mountain or go white river rafting on the crocodile river.

If you want to stay and enjoy all the incredible activities on offer, the resort town has no shortage of options at all price ranges. Since this is such a popular destination with those in the area, booking in advance and planning is encouraged.

Maropeng and the Sterkfontein caves 


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Make a stop on your trip in to the province at Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind. This museum and cave system offers incredible insight into the beginning of life on Earth and our ancient ancestors.

A great educational venture for kids, the Maropeng centre explores the origins of Earth. Combine this with a trip into the Sterkfontein caves where fossils like Mrs Ples and Little Foot were found.

Image credit: Johanfwandrag/Twitter

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