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 has deep historical roots, from its early days as a gold rush region to its current, more glamorous status as the country’s commercial powerhouse.
Reasons for Visiting Gauteng:
- Cradle of Humankind – The Cradle of Humankind Site comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossilized remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. The Maropeng Visitor’s centre will give you insight into the origins of mankind.
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens- One of the great escapes from Johannesburg and Tshwane, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort, is almost 300 hectares of landscaped and natural veld that is a haven for birds and a popular picnic spot for Gautengers. Despite development that is threatening encroachment on this beautiful garden
- Apartheid Museum – The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process which turned over 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse.
- Constitution Hill – Nowhere can the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told as it is at Constitution Hill. This national heritage site has witnessed a century of South Africa’s history.
- Hector Pieterson Memorial – The Hector Pieterson Memorial and museum opened in Soweto in 2002, not far from the spot where 12 year-old Hector was shot on the 16 June 1976 during the Soweto uprising that today is a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government.
- Gold Reef City – At Gold Reef City you will find experiences that you would not find anywhere else – it’s a combination of fun, fantasy, historical fact all in a safe environment with great parking facilities.
- Union Buildings – Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913. Considered by many to be the architect’s greatest achievement & South Africa’s architectural masterpiece. This was the setting for President Nelson Mandela’s historic inauguration in 1994.
- Freedom Park – The Freedom Park opened its doors in December 2007. It is a space where South Africans and visitors to the country can reflect on the past, and is an inspiration for the future.
Population in Gauteng:
9, 600, 000
Gauteng is said to offer one of the world’s best climates: summer days are warm and wind free and winter days are crisp and clear. Johannesburg and Pretoria differ in temperature by about 2% (Pretoria being the warmer of the two).
Johannesburg, South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa
Best Time to Visit:
The northern parts of South Africa (Kruger, Gauteng, Limpopo) are best during the winter months (June to September) with wildlife and game viewing at its best. The temperatures are mild (maximum 20-23ºC), with bouts of cold conditions and, very rarely, snow. There is very little winter rainfall in the north.
11.2% Northern Sotho
18.4% No Religion
2.6% Other Beliefs
South African Rand (ZAR)
Tipping indicates appreciation for good service
Tipping is widely practiced in South Africa. Here is some information on South African tipping.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They generally ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.
- In South Africa we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water and tyre pressure, and clean the windscreens, a tip of R2 and up should be offered.
- The going rate for porters at airports is around R7 per piece of luggage.
- Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.
South Africa is a very multicultural society and therefore has many different customs. Some examples:
- Our English customs are the same as Britain because South Africa was once a British colony and was influenced greatly by them.
- The Afrikaans customs, these were influenced by the Dutch immigrants during the late 1820’s.
- The Zulu culture has many unusual customs that are different from today’s western cultures. These are some traditional Zulu customs which are still practiced in parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal.