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Due to Johannesburg's mining history, mine dumps and headgear are an iconic symbol throughout the region. Added to this is a mix of 19th century engineering architecture and modern skyscrapers as well as a concoction of different cultural stalls ranging from Indian Bazaars, to African medicine shops and fruit sellers strolling the city's streets. The area has had an unfortunate history of racial segregation beginning between the two World Wars resulting in blacks and Indians being heavily taxed and not being allowed to hold skilled jobs. This resulted in squatter camps emerging around the main cities in the wake of industrialisation. This continued throughout apartheid leading to the emergence of Soweto. It was here that much of the struggle against apartheid was fought and is now home to over 2 million people.

Pretoria is vastly different from Johannesburg and is widely known for its colourful gardens, shrubs and tree lined streets. This is particularly noticeable during spring when thousands of beautiful Jacaranda trees bloom turning the streets into purple lined avenues. 

Gauteng has a large number of museums, galleries and vibrant entertainment areas situated within the provinces cities. 


Gauteng is a summer rainfall area with hot summers and cold winters with frost occurring in the mornings. Hail is a common occurrence during the thunder storms and the exciting electric storms which occur in the Highveld region. 

Despite being home to two of the country's main cities, Gauteng also plays host to a number of fabulous private game reserves, wetlands with international importance, the Cradle of Mankind, the Magaliesberg Mountains and a number of wildlife rehabilitation centres. 

Gauteng: Quick facts

  • Provincial Capital City: Johannesburg

  • Languages: 19.8% isiZulu, 13.3% English, 12.4% Afrikaans, 11.6% Sesotho

  • Population: 12 272 263 (2011)

  • Share of SA population: 23.7%

  • Area: 16 548 square kilometres


  • Share of total SA area: 1.4% 
Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa's 9 provinces using up only 1.4% of the countries land area. Gauteng is the Sesotho word for "Place of Gold". This was due to the fact that it province was built on a deep underground gold seam which makes up 40% of the worlds gold reserves. Gauteng was created by the ANC after the country's first all-race elections which occurred in 1994 and resulted in Nelson Mandela being elected as the countries first black president. It united 6 regions including part of the old Transvaal Province. Gauteng now stretches from Pretoria in the North to Vereeniging in the South. Despite the province being so small, it still contributes to 33% of the national economy and in 2012, it contributed 10% to the GDP of the entire African continent. Gauteng is home to Johannesburg as well as the countries administrative capital, Pretoria. Despite Pretoria being the countries capital city, Johannesburg is the Provincial capital.


The area around Johannesburg has an incredibly ancient history which includes the discovery of a 2 million year old Australopithecus africanus in a cave near Sterkfontein. The Cradle of Mankind is 1 of the country's 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is located northwest of Johannesburg  and has produced the greatest abundance of fossil mammalian remains. Johannesburg really started to boom with the discovery of gold in 1886 resulting in a change which started off as being a few small villages to the modern metropolis that it is today and becoming the largest city in South Africa.