province in South Africa

Gauteng is one of the provinces in the northeast of South Africa. The word "Gauteng" is a Sesotho phrase meaning "Place of gold", referencing to the thriving gold industry following the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg. The province is the centre of South Africa's industrial and commerce sectors.

Regions edit

Gauteng is divided into five regional districts, though the central part of Gauteng (Johannesburg, the southwest quarter of Tshwane, western half of Ekurhuleni and northeast of the West Rand) forms one continuous urban area.

South Africa's economic heart.
The greater Pretoria district.
Also known as the East Rand
The southern part of the province
  West Rand
The west of the province

Cities edit

  • 1 Johannesburg — economic heart of southern Africa and most likely any traveller's entry point to South Africa (and the provincial capital)
  • 2 Pretoria — the national administrative capital has elegant architecture, historical sites and museums, and beautiful gardens
  • 3 Vereeniging — industrial centre, water sports centre on the Vaal river and site of the Sharpeville Massacre
  • 4 Krugersdorp — a good base for visiting the Krugersdorp Game Reserve, and home of the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Other destinations edit

View towards Johannesburg over the N1

Gauteng is considered the gateway to Southern Africa. Many spectacular destinations are a short flight or drive away. It is a small province, flanked by four other provinces in South Africa.

Nature reserves edit

Understand edit

Climate edit

Summer storms are often accompanied by lightning

A summer rainfall area, Gauteng experiences hot summer days that often result in short but intense afternoon thunderstorms, commonly accompanied by thunder and lightning. Summers nights are also hot.

The real-time Irene radar map provided by the South African weather service is a great tool to help you plan any afternoon outdoor activity in summer. It gives ample warning of any approaching thunder storms.

Winter is dry and cold with temperatures dropping to a little above freezing at night, however, winter days are beautiful with comfortable temperatures.

Tshwane is generally 2°C to 3°C warmer than Johannesburg.

Talk edit

Xhosa, Pedi, Venda and Xtshitsonga are common. Don't be surprised to hear noises as people around Gauteng usually speak louder.

English is widely spoken in Gauteng and you will rarely meet someone who can't speak it. Afrikaans, Sotho and Zulu are also common.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Almost all international flights arrive at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport, so it's highly likely that Gauteng will be your first destination on a holiday to Southern Africa.

By car edit

Gauteng is bordered by four provinces:

  • North-West to the west, connected via the N4 (northern North-West), N14 (central North-West) and N12 (southern North-West)
  • Limpopo to the north, connected via the N1
  • Mpumalanga to the east, connected via the N12/N4 (northern Mpumalanga) and N17 (southern Mpumalanga)
  • Free State to the south, connected via the N1 (western Free State) and N3 (eastern Free State)

Get around edit

By car edit

Public transport is non-existent by international standards, so it is best to rent a car. All the national car rental agencies are well represented.

Road are generally in good condition, but peak hour traffic (7AM to 9AM and 4PM to 6PM) can be very busy and slow. Congestion is very common on the N1 between the west of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the N3 between Alberton and the Buccleuch interchange where it joins the N1 and the N12 and R24 between Johannesburg and O.R. Tambo Airport.

Make sure to have an GPS available, as the signage on the roads is not always adequate.

By bus edit

Scheduled bus services are provided in the larger urban areas such as Johannesburg and Pretoria, but the service is limited compared to what you might find in most European cities.

By train edit

Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport

A rapid rail link (Gautrain) is completed and operational between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport. The rapid rail system offers travel between the major centres and has a substantial bus route supporting the stations and covering most of the suburban and business areas surrounding the stations. The service is affordable and safe and the train times convenient to business and tourist hours.

See edit

Being a major metropolitan area there are a large number of museums and galleries that one can visit.

Anyone interested in the recent history and transformation of South Africa will find the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the Mandela Family Museum in Soweto fascinating.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is the largest on the African continent and offers a good collection of both local and international work.

Johannesburg is also home to the only officially recognized Lipizzaners school outside of Vienna

Do edit

There are small nature reserves located throughout Gauteng. These are surprisingly underutilized by the local population and offers a good quite getaway from the busy city life. The exception to the rule would be the Lion Park in the north of Johannesburg as it has become a bit of a tourist trap and will be very busy over weekends.

Much of Gauteng's wealth originally came from the Main Reef of gold that runs east to west through the province. A visit to one of the preserved goldmines in Johannesburg and the West Rand is both interesting and educational.

Eat edit

In Gauteng the locals eat out a lot, so there are plenty of restaurants & take-away places around. Johannesburg, Pretoria & surrounding areas are filled with places offering a variety of cuisine. From traditional African to American, Asian & European foods.

Drink edit

You'll be hard-pressed to find a non-licensed restaurant in Gauteng. There are many coffee shops, most of which are unlicensed since they serve hot beverages.

Stay safe edit

Though Gauteng (particularly Johannesburg) has a reputation for crime, rest assured that it is only in certain areas.

It might be helpful to ask someone, perhaps several people, who would seem to know, what are or are not safe activities in a particular area. If you are staying in a hotel, for instance, you might ask the management where and when it is okay to walk or drive in the area. Even upscale parts of Johannesburg can be dangerous to drive through. As a general rule, to leave yourself an opening when travelling in traffic. If you are threatened or even feel that you will be, run a red light if it is your means of escape.

Certain sections of the major cities (Pretoria and Johannesburg) are best visited in a group with an experienced guide, while others can be safely visited by the individual. Though many tourists are keen to visit a township, the only safe option is to go with a tour operator that offers the service, do not go into a township by yourself or without an experienced guide.

Petty theft is a problem everywhere in South Africa, so keep an eye on your belongings. Never, for example, leave your mobile phone lying unattended on a table at a restaurant. Make sure, if you are carrying a handbag, that it is secure and cannot be easily grabbed off your shoulder or out of your hands. Also make sure that your belongings are not visible when in your car, as smash-and-grab incidents do occur, particularly at traffic lights.

If you are travelling with a laptop or camera, use a bag that does not advertise its contents. Disguise your laptop by using a normal backpack bag instead of a laptop bag and do the same with your camera.

Stay healthy edit

HIV infection rate is high, do not have unprotected sex.

Municipal water is safe to drink.

Hospitals edit

It is best to avoid public hospitals when possible, but private hospitals are of world-class standard.

The following hospitals provide 24-hour accident and emergency treatment:

  • Sunninghill Hospital, Cnr Witkoppen & Nanyuki Rds, Sunninghill, Johannesburg, ph:+27 11 806-1500
  • Millpark Hospital, 9 Guild Road, Parktown West, Johannesburg, ph:+27 11 480-5600
  • Unitas Hospital, Clifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion, ph:+27 12 421-6700

Go next edit

This region travel guide to Gauteng is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!