The North West Province
The North West Province of South Africa borders Botswana and is the result of a ‘merger’ between the former tribal homeland Bophutatswana and the western part of the Transvaal. The population is therefore predominantly Tswana, and the Province has a rich Tswana tribal heritage.
The Province is divided into four regions: Bojanala Platinum, Central District, Southern District and Bophirima. Bojanala is the location of the well known city of Rustenburg and enjoys significant wealth from platinum mining and the lion’s share of the tourist attractions – including one of the North West Province’s main attractions – the world-famous Sun City and the Palace of the Lost City - one of the most luxurious and popular casino and entertainment resorts in the world. It is also a top golfing destination and hosts international golf championships.
The south-eastern section of the Province is mountainous and shares the Magaliesberg and the Cradle of Humankind Region with Gauteng. Close by Hartbeespoort is a favourite ‘Weekend Getaway’ for city-dwellers, with many attractions including world-class animal sanctuaries where you can get up close to cheetahs, monkeys and even ride elephants.
The Southern District borders on the Vaal River and Vredefort Dome areas which offer many outdoor activities – take a look in Potchefstroom for activity tour operators.
There are also quite a few smaller reserves that invites game-viewing and birding combined with camping and angling in large well-stocked dams.
To the north the Central District has Mafikeng (Mmabatho), several game reserves and some notable fresh water dive sites – the best known of these being Wondergat.
To the west the Bophirima region has some private game lodges tucked between huge farms and at the very northern corner the big Molopo Game Reserve.
With the exception of the University town of Potchefstroom, most cities and towns are mining and/or agricultural centres, and there are many two-street, one bottle-store, one-Spar, one KFC (maybe) and one garage villages and townships throughout. Nevertheless – look out for arts and crafts and farm goods road stalls as you are driving. Ndebele craft and homesteads are particularly striking.