Bordering Botswana to the north and Gauteng to the east, South Africa’s North West province could perhaps be overlooked by visitors who favour the more popular destinations like the Kruger National Park and big city lights of Gauteng. That would, however, be a shame.
While it may be small in size (it’s the sixth-largest province), the North West packs a punch when it comes to natural attractions and recreational activities crafted by the imagination.
The mountains in the north-east run down to meet Lowveld bushveld, creating a diverse topography, housing two of South Africa’s safari gems. The Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve both offer malaria-free Big Five game viewing (and more), with fewer crowds and a much more diverse landscape than some of the country’s more popular game reserves.
The sweeping open spaces of the North West are as scenic as they are diverse. The province is slap bang in the middle of an ecologically rich transition zone between the dry Kalahari desert and the scattered trees and shrubs that define the Lowveld bushveld. This unique coalition forms a haven for different species of wildlife and flora that wouldn’t usually coexist.
The last thing you’d expect to stumble across in a landlocked province such as the North West would be waves rolling on to the shore of a sandy beach, complete with a water amusement park but you’ll soon discover that this province likes to deliver the unexpected.
The Sun City Resort is one such surprise. Just 4km from the southern entrance of the Pilanesberg National Park, you can easily combine bush with beach in one trip. Featuring a casino and water park, Sun City has been a firm favourite among generations of families, offering fun in the sun at its Valley of the Waves for all ages.
Jump some waves of an altogether different kind at Hartbeespoort Dam, an adventure playground for the landlocked province’s residents and visitors alike. Located south of the Magaliesberg and north of the Witwatersberg, “Harties” as it is affectionately known by the locals, was created for irrigation in the 1920s, fed by the Crocodile and Magalies Rivers.
What to do in the North West
Banish all your preconceived notions about the North West appealing exclusively to bush babies and birdwatchers. There’s a wealth of experiences for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers, ranging from activities at Sun City to the adventure playgrounds that are Hartbeespoort Dam and the Crocodile and Hennops Rivers.
Where to stay in the North West
Where to eat in the North West