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Land and wildlife


The total land area of the North West Province is 106 512 square kilometres mostly made up of flat grasslands with scattered trees. The Magaliesberg mountain range runs for around 130km from Pretoria in Gauteng to Rustenburg in the North West Province. 

The North West Province is an important South African food basket, with the majority of the countries white maize being grown here. White maize is what is required to make a South African staple food called 'pup'. Not only is it a good region for growing maize, it is also where the country's largest cattle herds can be found as well as being where 90% of the countries platinum is mined.

The Pilanesburg National Park is located next to one of South Africa's most famous attractions, Sun City. The Pilanesburg National Park is a fantastic game reserve but has become more well known since it participated in an elephant relocation program in collaboration with Kruger National Park. It initially was not very successful due to young elephant going rogue but after more research was done, this was corrected with the introduction of dominant males who taught the younger elephants vital life lessons. Other popular reserves in the province are Madikwe Game Reserve and the Rustenburg Nature Reserve. 
The North West Province borders Botswana to the north and is surrounded by the Free State to the south, Gauteng to the east and the Kalahari and Northern Cape to the west. Its Provincial Capital City is Mahikeng which was known as Mafeking previously. The city became famous due to the siege during the second Boer war in 1899 whereby the British won and made the Lieutenant-general Robert Baden Powell and founder of the scouting movement a hero. 

Due to the proximity of the province to Botswana, the main spoken language is Setswana which is the same as Botswana.

Like most of South Africa, the North West Province is also a summer rainfall region. Temperatures can range from about 31°C in Summer, down to 3°C in winter.

Within the borders of the North West Province, portions of 2 of South Africa's 8 UNESCO World heritage sites can be found. These 2 are Vredefort Dome (more information can be found in Free State) and the Taung hominid fossil site which has be linked to the Cradle of Mankind which is located in Gauteng.

General information

North West: quick facts


  • Provincial Capital City: Mahikeng


  • Languages: 63.4% Setswana, 9% Afrikaans


  • Population: 3 509 953 (2011) 


  • Share of SA population: 6.8%


  • Area: 106 512 square Kilometres


  • Share of total SA area: 8.7%

north west province