Best Places to Visit in Gauteng
Located in the heart of the north of the country, Gauteng is the economic engine of South Africa. Home to the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg and the country’s regular administrative capital, Pretoria, Gauteng is the country’s smallest yet most populous province.
Gauteng means “land of gold” in the Sotho language, but today the state is no longer gold, but attracts tourists with poignant historical monuments and urban attractions, including impressive museums and botanical gardens. Away from the city, you can explore the fossil-rich caves of the Cradle of Humanity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just west of Gauteng and separated by the millennial Magaliesburg Mountains, the North West Province is the perfect counterpoint. Here, world-class wildlife parks such as Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve offer authentic African safaris.
But even the North West has been affected by unnatural developments. In stark contrast to the state’s sprawling savanna, the lush Vegas-style Sun City resort resembles a desert mirage, from a water park with a wave pool to a luxury-themed hotel to a fun-filled destination indoor entertainment space.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Gauteng and make your trip enjoyable.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Gauteng
Here are top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Gauteng:
1. Pilanesberg National Park, North West Province
About a 3-hour drive from Johannesburg near Sun City, Pilanesberg National Park offers a great game viewing experience. Here you have the chance to see the Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino.
Due to its location in the transition zone between the arid Kalahari and the humid plains of the Transvaal, the park’s wildlife is diverse and abundant. Among the many animals found here are sable antelope, red deer, African wild dogs, zebras, giraffes and more than 360 species of birds.
You can explore the 550-square-kilometer park with self-tours and guided walking tours, and play in the open-top vehicle. To get a bird’s-eye view of the race, visitors can float over the park in a hot air balloon.
Accommodation options abound – from safari tents to luxury hostels, and unlike Kruger, the area is malaria-free.
Official website: http://www.pilanesbergnationalpark.org/
2. Lion & Safari Park, Gauteng
For a wild walk less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, you can spend the day at the popular Lions and Wildlife Park. This is one of the best animal centered attractions in Gauteng.
Cheetah and lion walks, interacting with giraffes and ostriches are some of the exciting activities on offer, and you can also choose from a variety of guided tours such as predator tours, night feeding tours, bush walks and the flagship three-hour safari.
Prefer to explore on your own? Navigate local wildlife on your own, including hyenas, wild dogs, zebras, lions, cheetahs, and many antelope species. If you have children, they will be happy to stop by the playground.
This is a popular day trip for the whole family from Johannesburg. Best of all, all guided and self-driving tours are free for children under 12.
Address: R512 Pelindaba Road, Hartbeespoort, Broederstroom, 0240
Official website: https://lionandsafaripark.com/
3. The Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng
The Cradle of Humanity, about 44 kilometers from Johannesburg, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to one of the richest concentrations of early human fossils in the world.
The site is also home to the impressive Sterkfontein Cave, six connected underground caverns with numerous fossils.
Among the finds here are the skull of a humanoid creature known as Australopithecus, estimated to be 2 million years old, and a skeleton thought to be 3.5 million years old.
Head to the Maropeng Visitor Center to learn more about the site and its remarkable fossil story. This fascinating time travel tour is another popular day trip from Johannesburg.
4. The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg
One of the best things to do in Johannesburg’s bustling metropolis is to spend time at the evocative Apartheid Museum. Heart-wrenching exhibits such as photographs, artifacts, personal stories, newspaper clippings and films follow the story of apartheid and its impact on everyday life at that time.
Here you will travel back in time by following the exhibitions about South Africa’s journey from oppression to democracy. It’s an exciting experience, but visiting this excellent museum gives new insights into the long way the country has come. Plan to spend at least two hours here to really absorb all the exhibits.
Address: Cnr Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road, Ormond, Johannesburg
Official website: http://www.apartheidmuseum.org
5. Pretoria National Botanic Garden, Gauteng
Located near the city center, the National Botanical Gardens of Pretoria is a haven of tranquility that focuses on South Africa’s fascinating flora. Cycads, aloe vera and colorful flowering plants light up these 76-hectare gardens, which are home to more than half of the country’s trees.
Cold and warm climate plants thrive in different areas of the park, offering contrasting views through quartzite ridges dividing the garden.
The National Herbarium here has the largest herbarium in the country, with themed plants such as coastal forests, Karoo savanna, and Namibian savanna plains.
After strolling through the gardens and natural bushes on the scenic nature track, you can relax in the popular restaurant with lake view.
Address: 2 Cussonia Avenue, Brummeria, Pretoria
Official website: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/pretoria
6. Pretoria’s Historical Monuments, Gauteng
Besides Jacaranda parks and gardens, Pretoria is also known for its thought-provoking historical monuments. Visiting these monuments is one of the top things to do in Pretoria – especially in spring when the jacarandas are in bloom.
One of the most famous monuments is the Voortrekker Monument, a South African heritage site commemorating the pioneering history of the Boers. A steep staircase leads to this magnificent 40-metre high granite monument surrounded by a carved ox cart representing the trekking cart used by the Boers in the mid-19th century. Highlights include the Heroes’ Hall with marble reliefs representing the Great March of 1838, informative museum exhibits, and panoramic city views from the rooftops.
Overlooking the Pioneers Monument from the summit of Salwarkop Mountain, Freedom Park offers a journey to democracy in South Africa with a series of commemorative monuments and museum exhibits. Here you can see a wall of names honoring the victims of the conflict in South Africa, as well as a gallery of leaders honoring some of the country’s most inspiring figures. Guided tours enrich a visit to this touching site.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Union Buildings are located at the highest point of the city, near the historic Church Square, which was home to the city’s first settlement. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913, these sandstone buildings are the Office of the President and the National Archives as well as the government.
7. The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, North West Province
If you care about seeing and protecting African wildlife up close, you’ll love visiting the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. Only 45 minutes drive from Pretoria.
Founded in 1971 as a cheetah breeding program, the center has since expanded its programs to include animals such as African wild dogs, brown hyenas and vultures. He was also the first breeder of the rare king cheetah.
Here you can choose from a variety of educational tours. These include walks around the animal sanctuary, private tours, and the chance to watch the fastest animal on the planet run at full speed. Photographers will love capturing close-ups of these amazing animals. Best of all, your travel expenses help fund conservation projects.
If you’re looking for another place to embark on a big cat adventure, the Ukutula Conservation Center offers a popular lion walking experience. About 30 minutes drive to Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre.
Address: R513, Brits, Madibeng
Official website: https://dewildt.co.za/
8. Sun City, North West Province
About 160 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, Sun City, South Africa is the generous vision of entrepreneur Sol Kerzner, a kind of Disneyland meets Las Vegas. This is one of the most famous attractions in the North West State.
The once-arid savanna, today lush green lawns, parks, and even tropical forests surround this gorgeous, family-friendly playground.
Exciting entertainment venues include cinemas, shops and a large stadium for popular concerts and sporting events. Other things to do here include playing rounds at world-class golf courses and cooling off at the water park with its man-made beaches and wave pools.
The four hotel complexes are home to numerous leisure seekers, many of whom travel from Johannesburg for weekend getaways. The Palace of the Lost City, Sun City’s premier hotel, is a luxury fairytale hotel and the heart of the resort.
When it comes to entertainment in the North West, Sun City has activities for all families, including the little ones. Kids can escape to Kamp Kwena, ride a safari train, learn water skiing and jet skiing in the artificial lagoon, cruise on bumper boats, and mingle with the animals at the zoo.
For a more authentic African taste, the nearby Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve offer great wildlife viewing opportunities in the native bush.
Official website: http://www.sun-city-south-africa.com/
9. Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary, North West Province
Animal lovers can get up close with these adorable animals at the Bush Baby Monkey Sanctuary near Hartbeespoort Dam. Set in the canyons of the Magaliesberg Mountains, the sanctuary saves orphans and abused bushbabies, as well as lemurs and many species of monkeys, and shelters them in great natural environments.
Jungle babies are nocturnal and sleep during the day, but with an experienced guide, you can enter the monkey sanctuary and watch these mischievous animals from the elevated walkway. Watch out for the furry long-tailed pickpockets.
The Elephant Sanctuary next door offers elephant experiences and educational interactions with these gentle giants.
10. Madikwe Nature Reserve, North West Province
About three and a half hours’ drive from Johannesburg and just 90 minutes from Sun City, Madikwe Nature Reserve offers a great wildlife viewing experience. Here, you’ll have the chance to see the Big Five – lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and rhinos – in more than 750 square kilometers of native malaria-free forest.
The park also protects endangered African wild dogs, hippos, cheetahs, hyenas, antelopes, and more than 300 bird species.
Accommodation options range from affordable jungle camps, detached villas and guesthouses to full board luxury hostels. Here you can fly from Johannesburg or Tambo airports.
Official website: http://www.madikwegamereserve.co.za
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Gauteng . If you think there are some more best and beautiful places to visit in Gauteng , we should cover. Write us below in the comment box.