The Gauteng province may be small, but as South Africa’s commercial heart it packs a mighty tourism punch that delivers top-notch visitor attractions.
Gauteng is a dynamic province. Considered the commercial heart of the country, its energy and vibe are tangible from the moment you arrive. From historical and cultural attractions that speak of the country’s turbulent past to world-class cities that are distinctly African, Gauteng has much to offer visitors.
Gauteng South Africa is the commercial powerhouse of the country. But its offerings are not limited to commerce and industry, Gauteng's tourism contribution is equally impressive, with Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Cullinan and Magaliesburg all ranking as top Gauteng attractions.
Anchored by the historical cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng provides plenty in the way of shopping and entertainment through its network of malls, casinos, flea markets and suburban stores.
Both cities house a number of museums, including the Hector Pieterson Museum, Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Museum of Military History, Pretoria Art Museum and the Museum Africa.
Johannesburg and Pretoria are also home to several theatres and playhouses, offering authentic South African musical performances, drama, ballet and side-splitting local comedies.
Soweto is a very popular Gauteng destination. This is largely due to the pivotal role it played in South Africa's struggle for freedom but also, because of the unique cultural experiences it offers. Adventure tourism is also taking off and visitors can bungee jump and swing in and outside of Soweto's iconic Orlando Towers.
On the outskirts of these bustling metropoles, the cityscapes give way to Highveld grasslands that stretch out to the province's borders.
In Johannesburg, this extends south to the Sedibeng region and the watersports mecca of the Vaal River, and west towards the popular Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein Caves and the charming country village of Magaliesburg.
At Pretoria, it extends north into the Dinokeng tourism region, which is home to the quaint mining town of Cullinan with its diamond history, and rolling savannahs that feature a number of game reserves.
Aside from township tours, visitors to Gauteng can also delight in other cultural experiences, which include visits to the Credo Mutwa Cultural Village in Soweto, Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift and the Zuluka Tribal Village just outside Pretoria.
Shopping is a must, with many excellent curio shops to be found at Sandton City, Rosebank Mall and Nelson Mandela Square - where you'll also find the enormous statue of Nelson Mandela - great for photographs and lunch.
How to get there:
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities into OR Tambo International Airport at Johannesburg.
If you’re driving, from Durban take the N3 motorway to Johannesburg and from Cape Town take the N1 motorway to Johannesburg.
Best time to visit:
Gauteng is an all-year-round destination. Spring to autumn (September to May) is beautiful and warm, with hot summer days that usually bring rain. Winter days are mild, but morning and evenings very cold.
Where to stay:
The region offers a full range of accomodation from backpackers and B&B's to hotels and guest houses.
What to eat:
There is a range of foods to eat in Gauteng, from authentic African cuisine to boerekos (farm-style food). You will also find themed restaurants offering fare from around the world, most notably Indian, Chinese, Greek, Portuguese and Italian which reflect the influences of these cultures in South Africa.
Freedom Struggle tours e.g. including Hector Pieterson Museum and Nelson Mandela House in Soweto; Johannesburg CBD tours incl. Origin’s Centre Museum, Apartheid Museum, Museum Afrika, Newtown and Constitution Hill; Cradle of Humankind tours including e.g. Sterkfontein Caves, Maropeng Visitors Centre, Wonder Cave, African arts and crafts at shopping centres and flea markets around the province.
Who to contact:
Gauteng Tourism Authority: Tel: +27 (0) 11 639 1600
Johannesburg Tourism Authority:Tel: +27 (0) 11 214 0700
Tshwane Tourism Authority:Tel: +27 (0) 12 328 5961