Phokeng, Bojanala Region

Lying just south of Sun City and the Pilanesberg, Phokeng lies close enough to Johannesburg to provide an easy day trip, or an easy overnight stay en route to Sun City.

An added attraction to this part of the world is that much of the area has maintained a country feel, and the harassed can easily melt into a more sedate lifestyle with little fuss and hardly any travel time.

Phokeng has served as the capital of Royal Bafokeng kings since the 1600s. The name is derived from the Sesotho ‘Phoka’ or ‘dew’ and means “place of dew”, which apparently had something to do with their spending the winter months in North West, where there was evidence of dew in the mornings, and summer in Lesotho. Although a contradictory explanation of the name derivation refers to a grass known as ‘phoka’, the seeds of which the Bafokeng people were forced to eat during a severe drought.

Just five kilometres outside of Phokeng lies Paul Kruger’s historic farm, now a museum. State President of the South African Republic (Transvaal), the Kruger National Park is also named after the man known fondly as ‘Oom Paul’.

A little further afield, if you’re a fan of gambling, are the Sun City Casino and the Valley of Waves, a very popular attraction for children. The Pilanesberg National Park lies on the edge of a massive volcanic crater, one of only three such craters in the world, and well worth a visit.

Over 6000 head of game were introduced to the park during Operation Genesis - a translocation programme that has reversed the trend in Africa of rapidly declining wildlife resources. The park and the province are a world-wide phenomenon for this far-sighted take on conservation.

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