North West serves largely as a playground for Gauteng, lying as it does just west of it, close to the border of Botswana. It provides easy weekend escapes for good reason: in a nutshell, the province is predominantly grassland savannah – wide, open spaces that stretch as far as the eye can see. It contains two of the country's largest game reserves, Sun City, and a World Heritage Site. [cont.]
Divided into four regions, the first of these, said to be its most beautiful, is Bonjanala that lies to the east of the province. Certainly it appears to hold most of its attractions. Bordering Gauteng it includes Hartbeespoort Dam, the Magaliesberg mountain range, the Pilansberg National Park – set in the crater of an extinct volcano, Sun City and the Cradle of Humankind. Guest houses, dam-side self-catering establishments, mountain hideaways, campsites and upmarket retreats are readily available.
North West's southern region is given over to great swathes of farmland – maize, sunflowers, tobacco, cotton and citrus fruit crops are easily visible, depending on the time of year. The Vaal River, which flows along the southern border of the province, sustains most of this farming activity but it is also the source of a remarkable collection of lodges, guest houses, self-catering establishments and outdoor lifestyle activities.
The central region is open bushveld as far as the eye can see. Flat and dry there are a series of groundwater springs that manage to sustain farming. Popular for the wealth of private wildlife farms, Groot Marico and the stories of Herman Charles Bosman, and the Madikwe Game Farm, this region has many guest farms, self-catering bush escapes, game lodges and little town stays.
Bophirima is dominated by farming and mining, the mainstays of the province's economy, and nicknamed the 'Texas' of South Africa as a result. In similar vein to the other regions, it too is dominated by savannah bushland (71% of the province falls within the Savannah Biome) and much of it is converted into privately run game reserves with luxury lodges, self-indulgent retreats, spas, campsites and self-catering escapes. This is the region most easily associated with safari getaways and 4x4 routes. [close]