Rustenburg, North West
Did you know?
Rustenburg means 'town of rest' in Afrikaans.
Officially founded in 1851 by Boers who had trekked into the area a decade earlier, Rustenburg is one of the oldest towns in the North West province and makes for a great base from which to explore areas of interest throughout the region. Rustenburg is also known as the 'Platinum City' because of the platinum mining around the area.
By far the best-known attractions in Rustenburg are the nature reserves that are all within striking distance of the town. But for those more culturally minded, there are some magnificent churches to be seen, including the Anglican Church (1871) and the Dutch Reformed Church (1898 -1903).
There are a multitude of sites with cultural and historical significance in and around Rustenburg. This is no surprise, given the many different communities in the area, such as the indigenous Bafokeng, Bakgatla and Tswana people, whose totemic tribal traditions are of much interest. There is also the German community of Kroondal that traces its origins back to 1857.
Pilanesberg National Park is one of the most accessible South African game reserves. It is the fourth largest in the country and is set high in the Pilanesberg mountain range, traversing the floor of an ancient, long-extinct volcano. Pilanesberg features all the major mammal species including the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. There is also the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, which is famous for its breeding herd of sable antelope. Small numbers of predators, including caracal, aardwolf, black-backed jackal and leopard also occur. More than 320 species of birdlife have been recorded including a breeding colony of cape vultures.
The Hartbeespoort dam is another nearby attraction offering plenty of activities near Rustenburg as well as providing irrigation for the entire region. A favoured site for watersports, the dam has many resorts, boat clubs and picnic sites scattered along its banks.
Easily accessible and filled with entertainment, Rustenburg is located on major highway routes and offers a wide range of activities for the visitor. Far from peaceful as its name would suggest, Rustenburg is the throbbing centre of the North West province.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Rustenburg Tourism Information Centre
Tel: +27 (0)14 597 0904
How to get here
Rustenburg is about 150km from Johannesburg travelling on the N4 highway.
Best time to visit
Any time of year is good but summers can be uncomfortably hot.
Around the area
The Pilanesberg National Park, almost half the size of Belgium, is a must-see. The Madikwe National Park, also nearby, has the 2nd largest concentration of elephants in the country. Also close to the town is the Sun city resort with its vast range of activities.
Your own vehicle would allow you to explore at your own pace but the town does have a good public transport system and is small enough to cycle through.
What to pack
Never forget a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
Where to stay
Accommodation options in the area are plentiful and range from luxury guesthouses and game lodges to budget B&Bs.