North West South Africa

Overview North West South Africa

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North West


North West Backpackers South Africa

Home to the fantastic Pilanesberg and Madikwe game reserves, North West province offers up the big five, fantastic bird-life and wide-open African skies.


The area boasts archaeological discoveries that go back to the beginnings of humankind, as well as the world-famous Sun City hotel complex, creatively dedicated to ancient lost civilizations and modern-day pleasures.


The province extends all the way from Gauteng to the Botswana border. The area is flanked by the Magaliesberg and the Kalahari Desert. North West has a population of just over three million people.


Summer brings hot, sunny days (temperatures in the region of around 22 to 34 degrees centigrade); winters are relatively warm during daylight hours, however the evenings can get somewhat chilly (temperatures range from 15 to 22 degrees centigrade).

Getting to Know the North West

Close to Gauteng, the North West province is a quick and easy escape from the big city, boasting superb accommodation options and a wide variety of sightseeing activities.

Major Attractions:

The Taung Skull: The world-famous Taung Skull (Australopithecus Africanus) was found in the Buxton limestone quarry in 1924 by Dr Raymond Dart and indicated to the world that indeed the man initiated on the African continent. Visit the Taung Heritage Site where the skull was discovered.

Lesedi Cultural Village: A short, scenic drive outside of Johannesburg, this cultural village offers a window onto the traditions of a number of our indigenous cultures. The village offers an exploration of African folklore and ancestry … not to mention the spectacular cuisine and fantastic curios.

Magnificent Magaliesberg: The Magaliesberg mountain range is the perfect weekend spot for jaded city-dwellers. Just half an hour away from Johannesburg, the Magaliesberg offers a country experience and is a favoured destination of bird-watchers, hikers and those who simply want to get away from it all.

Sun City: The extravagant Sun City hotel/entertainment complex is known the world over as a tourism hotspot. It was built over 20 years ago in the homeland of Bophuthatswana when gambling was not permitted in South Africa under the apartheid government. Sun City remains an icon of family fun and entertainment. The Lost City is the obvious highlight of the Sun City complex and the Palace of the Lost City - with its extravagant lost-world theme - is one of the most famous hotels in the world.

Valley of the Waves: Kids absolutely love this in-land seaside entertainment centre. The Valley of the Waves at the Lost City (Sun City) offers a gigantic man-made pool, a man-made beach, palm trees and a machine that produces bona fide waves! Death-defying water chute rides and the Temple of Courage waterslide is not for the faint hearted!

Pilanesberg Game Reserve: Next door to the famous Sun City resort is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, where visitors can experience the ‘big five’, just two hours from Johannesburg. The reserve is home to a large number of wild animals and is one of the province’s biggest attractions. The Pilanesberg mountain range exists as a result of an enormous volcano that erupted millions of years ago - leaving behind the beautiful hilly undulations that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Mampoer Country: Groot Marico is a small town made famous by author Herman Charles Bosman. The spirit of one of his main characters, the feisty Oom Schalk Lourens, still lingers along the quiet streets of this enticing little town. Groot Marico is home to a vibrant artistic community – where the art of storytelling is alive and well.

Safari-time in Madikwe: Not too far from the Botswana border lies the Northwest’s best-kept secret – Madikwe Game Reserve. This reserve, consisting of reclaimed farmland, is famous for the ambitious re-stocking programme “Operation Phoenix” that took place in the early nineties. The area is now home to the big five and is famous for its wild dog, spotted hyena, cheetah and elephant population. Madikwe also boasts fantastic accommodation across the board – from five-star opulence to roughing it in style.

Mafikeng: Mafikeng is an interesting combination of colonial modern African – once- famous for the Mafikeng Seige of 1900. Victorian buildings stand next to a modern-day museum that boasts ancient San works of art and Tswana traditional exhibits in a powerful juxtaposition of cultures. This city is something of a mecca for Anglo-Boer War buffs … and other interested parties.

Small-town treasures: North West is jam-packed with small towns and artistic communities. This is where real “boerekos” (traditional Afrikaner farm-style cuisine) is served up with a smile and where local communities invite you to their homes … to stay the night. Christiana, Wolmaranstad and Bloemhof are certainly worthy of a self-drive voyage of discovery.

Cheetah Country: The De Wildt Cheetah Farm is a must for visitors to the province. This well-known centre is renowned for the breeding of cheetah (including the rare king cheetah), as well as the brown hyena and African wild dog.

Land of Ancient Meteorites: Why not visit the Vredefort Dome (on the way to or from Potchefstroom) where an ancient meteorite is said to have hit the earth aeons ago…. The area was recently declared a World Heritage Site.

Water Sports: Hartebeespoort Dam is just a half-hour drive from Johannesburg, and is something of a weekend mecca for water sports lovers. The area boasts wonderful picnic spots and an opportunity to windsurf, sail, canoe, body-board and catch some sun.

Information supplied by SA Tourism

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North West South Africa