NORTH WEST

North West Province
The North West Province of South Africa is bounded on the north by Botswana, on the south by the provinces of Free State and the Northern Cape, and on the northeast and east by the Limpopo Province and Gauteng. Covering 118,797 sq km (45,869 sq miles), the North West Province was created in 1994 by the merger of Bophuthatswana, one of the former bantustans (or black homelands), and the western part of Transvaal, one of the four former South African provinces.

Much of the province consists of flat areas of scattered trees and grassland. The Magaliesberg mountain range in the northeast extends about 130 km (about 80 miles) from Pretoria to Rustenburg. The Vaal River flows along the southern border of the province. Temperatures range from 17° to 31° C (62° to 88° F) in the summer and from 3° to 21° C (37° to 70° F) in the winter. Annual rainfall totals about 360 mm (about 14 in), with almost all of it falling during the summer months, between October and April.

Facts
Land Area - 116 320 kilometres square
Population - 3.043 million 
Provincial Capital - Mafikeng 
Languages - SeTswana, English, Afrikaans
Climate - Hot to very hot in summer. Mild to cold in winter.
Airports - Mafikeng
Roads - Good to fair, suitable for all vehicles 
Rail and Bus Services -  Available through out the North West Province.
Internet - Operates country wide 
Cellphones -  Major routes & main centres 


More Information

North West Province
In 1994 the population of the North West Province was estimated to be 3 669 349 (out of a total of an estimated 44 819 778 people living in South Africa); 65% of the people in the North West Provice live in the rural areas. The majority of the province's residents are the Tswana people who speak Setswana. Smaller groups include Afrikaans, Sotho, and Xhosa speaking people. English is spoken primarily as a second language. Most of the population belong to Christian denominations. (Figures according to Census 2001 released in July 2003).

The province has the lowest number of people aged 20 years and older (5,9%) who have received higher education. The literacy rate is in the region of 57%. As part of the Department of Education’s proposed plans for higher education, the existing four higher learning institutions will be merged to form two.

During 2003, as part of the Year of Further Education and Training project, three mega institutions, Taletso, ORBIT and Vuselela, were established to provide technical and vocational training to the youth. These institutions have been incorporated into many of the former education and technical colleges and manpower centres.

Mafikeng, formerly Mafeking, serves as the provincial capital. Other significant towns include Brits, Klerksdorp, Lichtenburg, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg and Sun City. The province has two universities: the University of North West, which was formerly called the University of Bophuthatswana (founded in 1979), in Mmabatho; and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (founded in 1869; became a constituent college of the University of South Africa in 1921 and an independent university in 1951).

Important historical sites in the province include Mafikeng, the traditional capital of the Barolong people, where a British garrison was placed under siege by Afrikaners during the Boer War (1899-1902); Lotlamoreng Cultural Village near Mafikeng, which re-creates a traditional African village; and Boekenhoutfontein, the farm of Paul Kruger, who was the last president of the South African Republic (a state created by Afrikaners in what is now north-eastern South Africa), from 1883 to 1902. The province has several national parks. The largest, Pilanesberg Game Reserve, is located in the crater of an extinct volcano.

The mainstay of the economy of North West Province is mining, which generates more than half of the province's gross domestic product and provides jobs for a quarter of its workforce. The chief minerals are gold, mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium, mined at Klerksdorp; platinum, mined at Rustenburg and Brits; and diamonds, mined at Lichtenburg, Christiana, and Bloemhof. The northern and western parts of the province have many sheep farms and cattle and game ranches. The eastern and southern parts are crop-growing regions that produce maize (corn), sunflowers, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits. The entertainment and casino complex at Sun City and Lost City also contributes to the provincial economy.

The provincial government consists of a premier, an executive council of ten ministers, and a legislature. The provincial assembly and premier are elected for five-year terms, or until the next national election. Political parties are awarded assembly seats based on the percentage of votes each party receives in the province during the national elections. The assembly elects a premier, who then appoints the members of the executive council.

Climate
The summer months (August to March) bring brief, refreshing afternoon thunderstorms. The sky is often a mardi gras of electrical energy, a bruised sky opened up by flashes of brilliance. Summer temperatures range between 22°C & 34°C (71.6°F & 93.2°F)

Winter brings with it dry, sunny days and chilly nights. The average winter (May to July) temperature is 15.5°C (60°F) but can range from an average of 2°C (35.6°F) to 20°C (68°F) in a single day.

Effectively forming the southern part of the Kalahari Desert, the North West Province offers almost all year-round sunshine. Do not forget your suntan lotion and sun hat. Few days will be spent indoors staring at bleak weather!

The North West is all about the authentic African bush experience and it is the hot, dry African climate which is truly unique. Small wonder, then, that so many indulge in the many water recreation facilities available throughout the province. Even less surprising that so many choose to stay in this place of uncompromisingly tempered, often intemperate climate.

The North West Province is a must see destination - one that is diverse and exciting. We offer some of the finest game reserves, cultural sights, archaeological treasures as well as entertainment resorts.

Visitors seeking to experience the wilderness and cultural treasures of the North West may do so conveniently because of it's proximity to the Johannesburg International Airport and the major centres of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The agricultural and mining production in the North West plays a vital role in boosting the South African economy. The principal products are namely gold, platinum, diamonds, maize, beef and sunflower seeds.

While visiting the North West, the traditional warmth of the province will be shared with you as well as the pride in the history and culture of the province. Visitors to the North West can take home with them lasting memories a special experience and enjoyment.

Tours and Tourism Routes  " A warm welcome to our Province ! "
The North West Province is all about the authentic African bush experience and its hot, dry, African climate which is truly unique. A must see destination, diverse and exciting! We offer some of the finest game reserves, cultural sights, archaeological treasures, adrenalin adventures, as well as world class entertainment resorts.

While visiting the North West, the traditional warmth of the province will be shared with you, as well as our pride in our history and culture. Our visitors can take home with them lasting memories of a special experience and the ultimate of enjoyment. We are looking forward to welcoming you... for an experience of a life time!

Top ten highlights for the North West Province
 
1. Madikwe Game Reserve - Wildlife Conservation Theatre.
Stand at the threshold of wilderness Africa, where every plant, animal and insect forms an essential part of an intricate web of survival, where man is reminded that his very existence through the ages has been rooted in such an intricate design.

2. Pilanesberg National Park - Game Reserve in a Volcano.
A game viewing and balloon safari mecca. Experience the living silence of an eroded volcano that is more than a thousand million years old. Embark on a game drive, in search of the Big Five. Savour the diverse variety of animals, flora and fauna.

3. Sun City and Lost City - Kingdom of Pleasure.
The centre of a volcanic valley offers one of the largest adult entertainment centers. Deep in the rugged bushveld, in the heart of an ancient volcano - the world's most unique resort. The fun never sets.

4. Hartbeespoort Dam - Adrenalin Adventure Jewel.
Hartbeespoort offers you whirlwind experiences be it in air or on water. In a picturesque valley, surrounded by the ancient and majestic Magaliesberg mountains, lies this lake of great scenic beauty and a favourite adventure getaway.

5. Lesedi Cultural Village - Cultural Gem.
Lesedi offers you profound insight and vibrant culture experiences. Let your pulse beat to the original rhythms of Africa. Excite your taste buds to traditional foods. Experience African dancing at its best.
 
6. Mafikeng Capital City - City of Goodwill.
The city with an urban vibe, yet rich with historical sites. Mafikeng attracted the attention of the world during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Today the city is a vibrant provincial and commercial capital and a major tourism attraction.
 
7. Vredefort Dome - Created by a Massive Meteorite
A massive meteorite struck the earth about 3,000 million years ago, the Vredefort structure is currently regarded the biggest and oldest clearly visible impact structure on Earth. A prime adventure tourism site for rock climbers, cyclists, hikers.
 
8. Taung National Heritage Site - 'The Place of the Lion'.
Home to a fossilised skull of a child, a discovery which led many scientists to believe that the origin of early man was initiated on the African continent. This ancient valley is surrounded by picturesque caves, streams & attractive pools.

9. Golf courses and sports facilities.
The Province of the North West offers some of the best of sports facilities including two of the exceptional 18-hole golf courses designed by the renowned Gary Player.

10. The Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management.
The Institute has a competitive edge with the best learning institutions around the globe.