Hidden gems of Gauteng

14 Jul 2016

A blast from the past

The Cradle of Mankind

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Begin your journey back in time at the Maropeng Visitor Centre where you’ll find The Cradle of Mankind, a World Heritage Site. Here you will discover all the answers surrounding the birth of humanity and learn how mankind evolved over millions of years. The area covers 47 000 hectares and is home to the Sterkfontein Caves, which houses hominid fossels (an early ape-form species) that date back a staggering 2.3 million years. 

The Tswaing Crater

Tswaing

If that’s not impressive enough, head to Tswaing (north-west of Pretoria) and gaze in amazement at the Tswaing Crater that was formed by a meteorite when it hit Earth 220 000 years ago. To understand the devastation of such a collision, imagine the force of 100 nuclear bombs. The result? A hole 1.4km across and 200m deep.

The grand tour

Newtown

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Past Experiences City Tours offers visitors a guide through the cultural precinct of the Johannesburg Inner City – Newtown. Once considered a no-good, dodgy location, today this area thrives as one of five tourism developments aimed at regenerating the city centre. 

Liliesleaf Farm

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Take a truly inspiring trip down memory lane and visit Liliesleaf Farm with Spear of the Nation Tours, a well-known centre where Nelson Mandela and the Treason Trialists conspired against the apartheid regime. Here they discussed issues around the liberation movement and debates on political strategies. Like The Cradle of Mankind, this centre is a heritage site too.

Things to do

Steam Train Rides

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Today, people enjoy the speed and convenience that the Gautrain offers. It’s fast, reliable and gets you to your destination within minutes. But commuters have forgotten the joys that steam trains bring too. Kick back, relax and take a journey with steam-locomotive operator Reefsteamers. This golden oldie operates from an old steam loco shed in Germiston to Magaliesburg via Park Station. For only R125, take a scenic trip through Gauteng and if you feel peckish, order a picnic basket from Reefsteamers or feel free to pack your own lunch. If you’re in Pretoria, take advantage of the services that Friends of the Rail offer. One of their 60-year-old railway coaches will take you on a journey to the diamond mining town of Cullinan.

Gold Reef City

Image by George M.Groutas.

Image by George M.Groutas.

For an adrenaline-fueled adventure, there’s no better place to seek thrills and chills than at Gold Reef City.  From the nerve-racking Anaconda and the exhilarating Raging River Rapids to the Tower of Terror, there are enough stomach-turning rides at the theme park to entertain thrill seekers, young and old.

Sammy Marks Museum

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Lithuanian-born Sammy Marks arrived in South Africa in 1869 and built a grand house in 1886. Referred to as the Palace in the Wilderness, this amazing home boasts a hand-painted ceiling and a grand billiards room among many things. In 1986 the impressive home opened its doors to the public as the Sammy Marks Museum.

The National Museum of Military History

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Get a glimpse of some of the finest collections of military memorabilia in the world at the National Museum of Military History. With emphasis on wars that played out on South African soil including the Anglo-Zulu War and Anglo-Boer War, this museum truly is an educational and insightful experience for everyone.

Best accommodation

Gold Reef City Hotel and Casino

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There’s no better place to experience warmth, charm and hospitality than at the Gold Reef City Hotel and Casino. It’s the ideal place to rest after a jam-packed day of activities at the Gold Reef City theme park.

Glenburn Lodge

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If it’s tranquillity you want, head over to Glenburn Lodge, which situated in the Zwartkops Mountains. The lodge and spa is not far from Johannesburg and Pretoria so there’s no excuse not to indulge in a weekend getaway. If you’re feeling adventurous, enjoy hot air balloon safaris and other outdoor activities that Glenburn Lodge offers.

Court Classique Hotel

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The Court Classique Hotel exudes pure opulence in Pretoria’s city centre close to the Pretoria National Botanical Garden. This beautiful three-storey building boats 58 stunning suites, with the rooms opening up onto pathways that resemble a tropical setting.

Intundla Game Lodge & Bush Spa

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Travel just an hour outside of Johannesburg and you’ll find a true gem. The Intundla Game Lodge & Bush Spa consists of 37 thatched chalets that are surrounded by lush plants, incredible birdlife and a beautiful dam. This is the ideal spot to break away from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Grab some grub

Back O’ The Moon

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For gourmet dining at its finest, head to Back O’ The Moon at Gold Reef City. From seafood, poultry, flame grills and aged steaks to a range of signature dishes, this establishment offers culinary delights that will tickle any food critic’s taste buds.

There are so many more places to visit and must-see attractions in Gauteng. Why not take a Sho’t Left and enjoy these awesome Gauteng deals.