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TThe North West province features premier wildlife destinations (the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and the Madikwe Game Reserve); parts of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Vredefort Dome and the Taung Fossil Site, which is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site); and the Sun City gaming and entertainment resort.
It is South Africa’s fourth-smallest province and is bordered by the country of Botswana to the north, and the South African provinces of the Northern Cape to the west, Gauteng to the east, Limpopo to the north-east, and Free State to the south.
NNamed South Africa’s ‘platinum province’ for its vast underground resources, North West also produces platinum, gold, diamonds and uranium. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the north-east extends for 130km from Pretoria (in Gauteng) to Rustenburg.
The province is home to the Hartbeespoort Dam, a popular weekend water-
sports and adventure hub, particularly as it is just an hour or so's drive from the large cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The North West is a prime game-viewing destination and home of the well-known Madikwe Game Reserve and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, as well as other smaller wildlife and nature reserves.
From the opulence of the five-star Palace of the Lost City hotel in Sun City to boutique hotels, quaint guest houses, self-catering establishments, holiday cottages and chalets, the North West is well equipped with accommodation options.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Sun City
A four-hour hot air balloon ride over the malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers game viewing at its best. Here, 55 000ha of trees and grassland support a wildlife population that includes the Big Five. Close by is Sun City, a popular hotel and leisure centre with a water park and casino.
Mahikeng (formerly Mafeking and Mafikeng), the North West province’s capital city, and the adjacent town, Mmabatho, comprise a single urban area. Mahikeng was made famous by the Siege of Mafikeng during the South African War when the British resisted a superior Boer force for more than 200 days before being relieved by British troops, largely thanks to the efforts of Lord Robert Baden-Powell – who later founded the Boy Scout movement.