The North Western Province is located in the central-Northern part of South Africa; it was created in 1994, after the end of Apartheid, and it includes part of the former Transvaal Province and the Cape Province, it also includes the former Bophuthatswana Bantustan territory.
The North Western Province borders Botswana to the North and West, while the South African provinces of Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, and the Northern Cape Province delimit the other boundaries.
The province occupies part of the highland of the Northern Karoo, where there are some important reliefs, such as the Magaliesberg chain, and where the Vaal river flows, that determines its border to the South.
The provincial capital is the city of Mafikeng, that houses an interesting museum dedicated to the Anglo-Boer war.
The majority of citizens speak the Tswana language, that is also the language of neighboring Botswana.
This province is the largest producer of platinum in the world, mining industry has a prominent position in the economy; in addition to platinum, gold, uranium and diamonds are also mined here.
What to see in the North Western Province
The town of Sun City is one of the main attractions of the province, it is the Las Vegas of South Africa and the resorts, the amusement park, the casino and the numerous restaurants and shops make it a destination much loved by tourists, but also by South Africans.
Lost City represents the icon of Sun City, a hotel with an unique architecture that is a mix of African legends and Disney influences.
Sun City was inaugurated in 1979, in the middle of the apartheid era, and initially it was a place reserved for whites; fortunately today it is no longer the case and many well-to-do families of all colors come here to spend the weekend.
The North Western province is home to two of the country's largest and most interesting wildlife reserves: the Pilanesberg National Park and the Madikwe Game Reserve.
The Pilanesberg National Park is located inside the crater of an ancient extinct volcano; this fascinating alkaline complex was produced by volcanic eruptions about 1,300 million years ago, the Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world.
The park area is surrounded by three concentric crests, or hills rings, the rock formation rises from the surrounding plains and it is the most perfect example of an alkaline ring complex; the territory where the Pilanesberg National Park is located is one of the main geological phenomena in the world.
The park resides within the transition zone between the dry and arid Kalahari, and the wet vegetation of the Lowveld; as a result of this transition here we see the unique overlap of mammals, birds and vegetation.
This rich transition zone attracts an incredible variety of wild animals, flora and fauna that are not often found side by side, in the park there are practically all the native animal species of Southern Africa, including the Big 5, the African wild dogs, the roan, the tsessebe, the sable, the cheetah, the brown hyena, as well as giraffes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles.
The Pilanesberg is among the largest national parks in South Africa, it is in fact the fourth largest park, and covers an area of 570 sq. Km.
This protected area is an excellent area for birdwatching, here more than 300 species of birds have been recorded, including migratory and residents; to allow an excellent observation of the birds, numerous observation hides have been built.
The Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the fifth largest wildlife reserve in South Africa, it is a hidden gem and it is considered one of the best conservation areas in all of Africa.
With its 750 sq km area, Madikwe offers the chance to spot all the Big 5 and the rare African wild dogs, here there are three flocks of these beautiful animals so difficult to spot.
The land where the Madikwe Game Reserve now stands was previously used as agricultural land, but it was decided to convert it back to a protected area to help local populations creating jobs.
In 1991 the area was declared protected and about 10,000 mammals were transferred from other national parks and reserves; today in the area there are about 66 species of large mammals and about 300 species of birds.
The reserve is characterized by vast grasslands, forests, rocky outcrops and single mountains, bordered to the South by the Dwarsberg mountain range; this protected area is an important conservation area for some animals threatened by extinction and it is an excellent example of collaboration between the state, private individuals and local communities.
Inside the Madikwe Reserve there are luxury lodges, while independent safaris are forbidden.