You've probably heard of Africa's Big Five, but what about Gauteng's Big Five? Gauteng travel offers a diverse blend of attractions and experiences, from wildlife to culture and even history. Just like the lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard - also known as the Big Five - have come to represent Africa and its rich wildlife; Gauteng's Big Five represent everything that is amazing about the province of Gauteng.
5 Things You Can't Afford to Miss on Your Gauteng Holiday
You wouldn't come to Africa without seeing the Big Five, would you? You should not miss out on the Big 5 of Gauteng holidays either. These are the places that best showcase the abundance of cultural, historical, scenic and simply marvellous highlights of one of South Africa's most interesting provinces.
Glitzy, glamorous and unashamedly extravagant, Sandton is situated in Johannesburg's northern suburbs. This area is one of South Africa's most prestigious destinations, and is also the primary business hub of Johannesburg. Take a walk through Nelson Mandela Square and gaze up at Madiba himself - or at least a larger than life bronze statue of him - before taking to the shops of Sandton City for the most memorable shopping trip yet. Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail as you watch the suburb come to life as the city's elite come to dine at 5-star establishments.
Soweto is a popular stopover on any Gauteng holiday, and for good reason. This sprawling township is the most developed township in the world, and was the focal point of many struggles during the Apartheid era. Explore the Hector Pieterson Museum for a moving tribute to the struggle, watch traditional dancing as you sample locally brewed beer, visit local entrepreneurs who create a number of fascinating items and take a tour to see many of the former ANC leaders' homes.
Cradle of Humankind
Home to some of the world's oldest humanoid fossils, the Cradle of Humankind is situated in Magaliesberg. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains a dozen or more separate sites that house fossils dating back to man's earliest existence. Start at the Visitor Centre, then be sure to visit the Sterkfontein Caves - this is where an almost complete skull of an adult female Australopithecus africanus was found, nicknamed Mrs.Ples (short for Plesianthropustransvaalensisor "near-man" of the Transvaal).
While not a place per se, a trip on the Gautrain is the best way to explore Gauteng. This high-speed 80 kilometre train runs from Johannesburg to Pretoria, racing across the landscapes. The first public passenger trip on the Gautrain was made on 3 February 2009 by 150 people on a 3 kilometre test run. Today, the train is used by locals computing between Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport, as well as visitors to Gauteng who want a fun way to travel between cities.
Pretoria National Zoological Gardens
Once you arrive in Pretoria, a trip to the Pretoria National Zoological Gardens concludes your tour of Gauteng's Big Five. This zoo and botanical gardens is the highlight of any Pretoria holiday or business trip, boasting an array of animals, picnic areas and beautiful garden scenery. Ideal for the whole family, a romantic day out or even as a much-needed break after a day of conferences, Pretoria Zoo has become an important and treasured icon of the Jacaranda City.
Along with these five hot-spots, Gauteng also offers plenty of other things to see and do. There are many small game reserves, dams, lakes, restaurants, theatres, small towns and other highlights to be found, which makes exploring the province all the more exciting. However, to ensure that your Gauteng travel experience is complete, don't miss your chance to see Gauteng's Big Five.
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