The North West Province of South Africa is bounded on the north by Botswana, on the south by the provinces of Free State and the Northern Cape, and on the northeast and east by the Limpopo Province and Gauteng. Covering 118,797 sq km (45,869 sq miles), the North West Province was created in 1994 by the merger of Bophuthatswana, one of the former bantustans (or black homelands), and the western part of Transvaal, one of the four former South African provinces.
Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km (about 80 miles) from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province. Temperatures range from 17° to 31° C (62° to 88° F) in the summer and from 3° to 21° C (37° to 70° F) in the winter. Annual rainfall totals about 360 mm (about 14 in), with almost all of it falling during the summer months, between October and April.
In 1994 the population of the North West Province was estimated to be 3 669 349 (out of a total of an estimated 44 819 778 people living in South Africa); 65% of the people in the North West Provice live in the rural areas. The majority of the province’s residents are the Tswana people who speak Setswana. Smaller groups include Afrikaans, Sotho, and Xhosa speaking people. English is spoken primarily as a second language. Most of the population belong to Christian denominations. (Figures according to Census 2001 released in July 2003).
The province has the lowest number of people aged 20 years and older (5,9%) who have received higher education. The literacy rate is in the region of 57%. As part of the Department of Education’s proposed plans for higher education, the existing four higher learning institutions will be merged to form two.
During 2003, as part of the Year of Further Education and Training project, three mega institutions, Taletso, ORBIT and Vuselela, were established to provide technical and vocational training to the youth. These institutions have been incorporated into many of the former education and technical colleges and manpower centres.
Mafikeng, formerly Mafeking, serves as the provincial capital. Other significant towns include Brits, Klerksdorp, Lichtenburg, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg and Sun City. The province has two universities: the University of North West, which was formerly called the University of Bophuthatswana (founded in 1979), in Mmabatho; and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (founded in 1869; became a constituent college of the University of South Africa in 1921 and an independent university in 1951).
Important historical sites in the province include Mafikeng, the traditional capital of the Barolong people, where a British garrison was placed under siege by Afrikaners during the Boer War (1899-1902); Lotlamoreng Cultural Village near Mafikeng, which re-creates a traditional African village; and Boekenhoutfontein, the farm of Paul Kruger, who was the last president of the South African Republic (a state created by Afrikaners in what is now north-eastern South Africa), from 1883 to 1902. The province has several national parks. The largest, Pilanesberg Game Reserve, is located in the crater of an extinct volcano.
The mainstay of the economy of North West Province is mining, which generates more than half of the province’s gross domestic product and provides jobs for a quarter of its workforce. The chief minerals are gold, mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium, mined at Klerksdorp; platinum, mined at Rustenburg and Brits; and diamonds, mined at Lichtenburg, Christiana, and Bloemhof. The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits. The entertainment and casino complex at Sun City and Lost City also contributes to the provincial economy.
The provincial government consists of a premier, an executive council of ten ministers, and a legislature. The provincial assembly and premier are elected for five-year terms, or until the next national election. Political parties are awarded assembly seats based on the percentage of votes each party receives in the province during the national elections. The assembly elects a premier, who then appoints the members of the executive council.
THE REGIONS OF THE NORTH WEST PROVINCE
Dr Ruth S Mompati (Bophirima) – Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema (Central Region) – Bojanala – Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Southern Region)
From untamed bushveld to the sophistication of 5-star resorts, the North West Province provides the complete tourism package.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the provinceoffers an escape route to the real Africa. Nature has blessedthis province with breathtaking scenic beauty, rolling fieldsof maize, golden sunflowers and vast plains of African bushveld. The ideal backdrop for the enjoyment of our outdoor attractions: superb game parks – home to the Big Five – magnificent golf courses, water features, sporting facilities.
The North West Province – a blend of 20th century livingand the mystique of ancient Africa.
ADVENTURE AND ACTIVITIES FOR A LIFETIME You’ve landed in adventure heaven!
Whatever your preference, there is bound to be an adventure to keep you happy. The North West is outdoors country, with a glorious climate & challenging adventure venues.
We offer attractions and facilities equal to the best in South Africa – unique opportunities for white water rafting, canoeing, diving, hot air ballooning, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, abseiling, hunting, apart from conventional sport like golf, or other outdoor activities like bird watching, to name but a few…
Air Adventures – The Sky is the Limit
Enjoy a wrap-around panorama and the magic of lazily drifting with the wind. Relish fascinating and magnificent sights over the beautiful Magalies River Valley, Hartbeespoort Dam, Magaliesberg Mountain Range, Pilanesberg National Park. Ours is a land with sensational sunrises and sunsets, and unforgiving terrain. Kilometres of panoramic vistas and breathtaking nature can pass under you while suspended in an open basket. Experience beauty and tranquility not known to many.
Adrenalin Rush – World’s Longest Zip Slide
Guests to the North West can now look forward to an exciting new adventure activity: A ride on the PRONUTRO ZIP 2000, the longest zip slide in the world.
The zip slide is 280 meters high, two kilometers long, reaches a speed of 140 kilometers per hour and guarantees a four minute unadulterated adrenalin rush.
Best in Birding
For exciting and rare bird viewing opportunities, visit our numerous birding venues, albeit on foot, in a hide or on canoe. We guarantee many rewarding experiences. South Africa ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world – the North West being no exception. For an unbeatable combination and variety of birds. Experience both the variety of typically African birds, migrants and endemics, or those found only in South Africa.
Bird’s Eye View on the Magaliesburg Canopy Tour
The tour consists of about a kilometer long “foefie” slide divided up into separate slides of varying lengths. Slides are joined together by platforms built high on the cliff faces of the 2,500 year old Magaliesberg mountain range. Slides of up to 140m long provide unforgettable rides and spectacular views. Safety is paramount, and the system has been built to the highest civil engineering standards. Guides are fully-trained professionals.
Game Viewing – The Big Five and Much More…
The North West for those drawn to the African wilderness – a world of breathtaking scenery and endless African bush. Hectares of national parks, nature reserves and game farms stretch across our province. Wildlife enthusiasts will delight in the opportunities offered for self-drive game viewing, guided game drives, guided wilderness hiking trails, game viewing on horse back or from a hot air balloon.
The extravagant Sun City Lost City hotel and entertainment complex ‘in the middle of nowhere’ is known the world over. It was built over 20 years ago in the former homeland of Bophuthatswana when gambling was not permitted in South Africa under the apartheid government. Sun City remains an icon of family fun and entertainment.
The Lost City is the obvious highlight of the Sun City complex and the Palace of the Lost City – with its extravagant lost-world theme and spectacular African feel – is one of the most famous hotels in the world.
The Bloemhof Dam is one of the largest dams in South Africa, covering an area of some 25 000 ha and reaching over 100 km upstream from the dam wall. The dam is one of the most popular angling sites in South Africa.
The Barberspan Bird Sanctuary is a huge 2000 ha body of water located between Delareyville and Sannieshof. Certain areas on the pans are designated for anglers to enjoy excellent fishing opportunities for carp, barbel and yellowfish.
The Vaalkop Dam is situated 54 km north of Brits, near Beestekraal and north-east of Rustenburg, in typical broken bushveld country. It is renowned as both an anglers and bird watching destination. Fish species include carp and yellowfish which are plentiful, making Vaalkop a particularly attractive angling destination.
There is no better way to experience wild places than to put your boots on and put your feet on the ground, one in front of the other. We have so many wonderful, fantastically scenic hiking trails – here we provide a taste of only a few among those on offer.
For an ultimate bush experience, the North West offers an unforgettable hunting safari. Hunters have an in-depth knowledge of the bush and can offer you an unique experience not easily to be found anywhere else.
Go on the Sun City Breakfast Run
Enjoy the freedom of the open road on the way to Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure. All bikers and their passengers now get FREE entrance into Sun City every Sunday. Fill up with our special biker breakfast offer at the Palm Terrace between 09h00 and 12h00, and enjoy free, specially-allocated parking.
The cliffs are big, wild, often remote – and still being discovered. And it’s a climate for being ‘out in’. South Africa, and the North West Province, offer some of the best, and most diverse, rock climbing in the world. Gear up, chalk up, and start cranking!
If you’re more of a traditionalist, don’t worry. You can revel in miles of unbolted rock in the fantastic, virtually pristine Magaliesburg or in the Vredefort Dome – in close striking distance of both Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Shelter Rock Adventures
Rock Climbing, Group Activities, Nature Walks, Guided Nature walks, Via Ferrata, Knobkierie Golf
Wonderful Water Sports
The North West offers a multitude of perfect spots for an adventure getaway – offering wonderful picnic spots and ample opportunity for windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, jet skiing, skiing, white water rafting, canoeing or body-boarding.
Southern Palace Crocodile Adventures Crocodile Cage Diving