BOOK YOUR GAUTENG ACCOMMODATION HERE

Simply click on the destination name for information on hotels, lodges, self catering and to make your reservations

HOME

 

The name Gauteng (tourism is a Sotho/Tswana word which means “place of gold". The name therefore indicates that it is the main (although not the only) gold producing area in South Africa.

Gauteng ( travel )is by far the smallest of the nine provinces (1,4% of the surface area of SA), but also the most densely populated (459 persons per km2). Gauteng (accommodation) is the economic engine room of South Africa (producing 33.9% of the GDP), and is one of the largest industrial and manufacturing regions in Africa, generating 10% of the GDP of Africa!

Two of the largest cities in South Africa (Johannesburg (guest house ) and Pretoria ( accommodation )) are located within the Gauteng Province.

Around Johannesburg ( lodge )(and associated with the gold mining industry) is an area know as the “Witwatersrand" (ridge of white waters) which includes various other cities, towns and townships. To the west of Johannesburg ( accommodation ) one finds the biggest and best-known township Soweto ( tours ) .

Another large township (Alexandra) is located just to the north of Johannesburg (accommodation ). Other towns are strung along the crescent formed by the main gold reef, running from the east of Johannesburg, going through the Southern parts of the CBD and then turning north west towards Mogale City (Krugersdorp). In the East Rand (i.e. east of Johannesburg) one finds towns such as Boksburg, Springs, Benoni, Brakpan, Kempton Park, Germiston and Alberton. On the West Rand (west and northwest of Johannesburg ( lodge ) places like Roodepoort, Randburg and Mogale City are located.

Not directly associated with the gold reef, are Sandton (hotel) and Midrand ( accommodation 0(directly north of Johannesburg ( hotel ) , on the way to Pretoria ( accommodation ) ).

Located to the south of Johannesburg is another concentration of industrial towns, known as the Vaal-Triangle (i.e. after the three major towns: Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark and Meyerton.

The old town of Heidelberg falls outside the main industrial or mining areas of Gauteng and is located directly South of Johannesburg, in close proximity to the Suikerbosrand (“ridge of sugar bushes"). Just to the east of Heidelberg is the town Nigel which, like Heidelberg, is mainly an agricultural area, but also has some goldmines.

The last major area is known as Gauteng ( accommodation ) North, which mainly consists of the Tshwane Metro and the Metsweding region. Metsweding includes the two smaller towns of Cullinan (which is famous for its diamond mine) and Bronkhorstspruit (mainly an agricultural area).

The southern and eastern parts of the province are located slightly higher above sea level (1700m -1750m) and are therefore a bit colder than the Pretoria region, which is lower (1450m).

The summers in Gauteng ( tourism ) are relatively long with mild to hot temperatures and with an ill defined Spring and Fall. Temperatures usually range between 15C (60F) and 32C (90F). The winters in Gauteng ( accommodation ) are short (May to July) with frost often occurring during the night (snow is very rare).

The days usually heat up to a maximum winter temperature of 20C (70F). Gauteng ( travel ) falls within the summer rainfall area, and is located in the wetter eastern part of the sub-continent. It therefore receives an average of about 750mm (30 inches) rain per annum.

This is usually sufficient for dryland cultivation (i.e. irrigation is not essential). Mixed farming is the most common form of farming with vegetables, maize [corn], sheep, dairy and beef products being produced.

When narrating the early history of Gauteng it is important not to fall into the ideological trap of supposing that the history of the region only started with the settlement of the first white farmers. Some of the most significant hominoid fossils in the world have been found in the Gauteng region ( accommodation 0.

It is therefore clear that human-like apes inhabited the area from a very early stage. One of the most extensive Early Stone-Age sites is located at Wonderboompoort in Pretoria ( hotel ). It is clear that early humans inhabited this valley (where the Apies river cuts through the Magaliesberg) for extended periods and as far back as 100 000 years ago.

Evidence from Silkaatsnek (and further west) also shows that Middle Stone-Age people (40 000 - 10 000 years ago) inhabitant the Magaliesberg. Although not especially abundant in the Gauteng ( toursim )region the San (bushman) were the original Late Stone-Age inhabitants of this part of Southern Africa as is attested to by two or three rock painting sites in the Magaliesberg and numerous artifacts. These Stone-Age peopled were hunter-gatherers and had a nomadic lifestyle.

The Late Stone-Age San was gradually replaced by Iron-Age Bantu-speaking people who moved in from the north. It is important that one should not propagate the false idea that the first Iron-age Bantu-speaking people moved into Southern Africa at a late stage (i.e. more or less simultaneously with the first Europeans).

It is now well established that the first Iron-Age people immigrated into the area south of the Limpopo river as early as 300 CE.

In the latter part of the 1800s many battles were fought on the highveld: First during the Anglo-Transvaal War (1880-1881) and then with the Jameson Raid (1885) and the Great South African War (1899-1902).

After the Great South African War the ZAR (Transvaal) and the Free State became British colonies, making it possible to unite the four British colonies in Southern Africa (Cape, Natal, Free State and Transvaal) into the Union of South Africa (1910).

The discovery of the world's richest gold reef, suddenly pushed this sparsely populated grassy region from a rural backwater region to become a world-renowned economic hub. Gold was mined and commonly used in Southern Africa long before the first European settlers arrived (see for example, the gold plated rhino discovered at Mapungubwe - 1200 AD).

Especially after the big discovery of diamonds in the Kimberley area in 1869 many prospectors flocked to South Africa in search of more riches.

Before the main reef was discovered in Johannesburg ( accommodation ), gold was found in various other localities (e.g. the escarpment area in Mpumalanga). Closer to Johannesburg, small quantities of alluvial (waterborne) gold was discovered in the Jukskei river (between Pretoria ( accommodation ) and Johannesburg ( hotel ) as early as 1853. Between 1860 and 1880 various prospectors were working in the vicinity where the main reef was later discovered.

The main reef was discovered “accidentally" by an Australian prospector George Harrison.

Hot on the heels of this discovery came prospectors and diggers from around the whole country. Where other towns evolved around a church, a magistrate's once or a market square, Johannesburg ( accommodation )began as an untidy conglomeration of diggers' tents and ox-wagons.

An indication of the eager activity is given by the time scale. Harrison discovered the Langlaagte outcrop in February 1886. By July there were 2 500 people in the area, and by October, Christiaan Johannes Joubert (head of the Mine Office and first clerk to the Surveyor-General, Johann Rissik) was sent to survey a site for the new town. Within 4 years Johannesburg (hotel) was the biggest town in South Africa.