Swartruggens, Bojanala Region

The little village of Swartruggens lies surrounded by a series of black hills, hence the name which means “black ridges” when translated from Afrikaans. This scenic backdrop is further enhanced by the Elands River on which the original town was built during the late 1800s.

Today its immediate neighbours on the N4 highway are the towns of Rustenburg and Groot Marico, and it remains quite happily in obscurity, content to maintain its anonymity, although it does serve as an ideal stopover en-route to Botswana, not least because it is a malaria-free zone in which one can visit numerous game farms, including the likes of Madikwe and Tulane.

Predominantly cattle farming territory, Swartruggens was also the site of the discovery of diamonds in 1932. Some of the mines remain in operation today, but Swartruggens still manages to boast over 400 species of bird and several wonderful hiking trails that belie any excavation or tampering with the environment.

Essentially though, Swartruggens is popular because of its access to game lodges and game viewing, close to the city of Johannesburg without the burden of having to travel miles before experiencing game country.

Two dams in the area – Swartruggens Dam and Lindleyspoort Dam - provide for family outings and water-side contemplation, or one can head into the Pilanesberg Game Reserve to experience first hand the 1200 million year-old volcano crater in which the circular national park lies.

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