The North West Province is far away from everyday South African life and has a picturesque landscape with rolling fields of corn and sunflowers and vast plains with African bush.
It is a fairly quiet area in the west of the Magaliesberg Range. There are some malaria-free game reserves, such as the Madikwe Wilderness Reserve, where you can see the second largest elephant population and the Pilanesberg national park.
The ‘Sun-kissed’ North West Province has ancient cultures and villages, such as historic Mafikeng. But this province is mainly visited because of the beautiful nature, such as in the Pilanes National Park and the Madikwe game reserve. Here you have the chance to spot the Big Five.
There is one big exception in the idyllic landscape: Sun City. This sparkling ‘city that never sleeps’ is full of hotels, casinos, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars and other entertainment. For many vacationers, however, also a must!
Climate in North West Province
The summers of North West Province are hot with temperatures between 22ºC and 34ºC. There are then short, heavy showers. In the winter the temperature varies greatly from 20ºC during the day to cold nights of 2ºC.
Sun City is internationally regarded as one of the largest attractions in South Africa. ‘Everyone’ can enjoy themselves in this glamorous city. Top of all the kitsch in the city is The Palace of the Lost City, a giant entertainment complex. The Superbowl often hosts major events such as boxing matches, miss elections and rock concerts.
The landscape is fully adapted to the needs of the fortune seekers who come here: there are swimming pools, ‘beaches’, golf courses and a 25-hectare jungle has been recreated. In the Valley of the Waves, 22 types of vegetation grow and a kind of ‘fake earthquake’ takes place every hour, causing the soil to shake back and forth.
Mafikeng is a lively pleasant city, the provincial and commercial capital of the North-West Province. The Mafikeng Museum is one of the best museums in the country. The town has a turbulent history. It was founded as the administrative capital of the British Protectorate or Bechunaland – nowadays Botswana. During the Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902 it was world famous for a short time when the British held out against the Boers who were located around the city with just 217 men. The British were known for a long time as heroes who had been able to keep the Boers away for a long time, while the British Army officers had a great time with luxurious dinners that were served to them by the Baralong and Mfengu tribes. In the Mafikeng Museum you can see an interesting exhibition about this period.
There is a lot of wildlife in Mafikeng, for example in the Mafikeng Game Reserve. The city can be visited on the way to or from Botswana. Mafikeng is located in the north of North-West Province on the R 49.
Pilanesberg National Park
The crater of a dead volcano provides the unusual setting of the Pilanesberg National Park. In prehistoric times this was a swirling hangover but now it is a large reservoir surrounded by three groups of solidified lava hills. This is one of the largest volcanic complexes in the world!
One of the most ambitious wildlife movements in South Africa has taken place in the Pilanesberg National Park. During the Operation Genesis project in 1979, 6,000 mammals were released into the park. Among other things, zebras, moose, white and black rhinos, elephants and buffalo were brought there.
There are hidden viewing places for visitors where you can approach the animals from very close by. Tinted glass has even been applied so that you do not suffer from sun in your eyes. There are various lodges, resorts, bungalows and campsites in the park where you can spend the night. You can also take a tour there at night. Extra special is making a balloon flight. The landscape here is so unique that it certainly pays off the not-too-small price of balloon flights. The Pilanesberg National Park is located in the north of North-West Province near the R510.
Madikwe Game Reserve
The Madikwe Game Reserve is number four in the ranking of largest game reserves in South Africa and one of the secrets of the country. The reserve was established in 1991. Not only to protect wildlife, but also for the employment of the local population and to create a beautiful environment for them.
With the gigantic Operation Phoenix project, more than 10,000 animals were brought to the area. These animals once belonged to the native fauna of this area, but were virtually eradicated by hunting and the construction of farms. The project lasted no less than seven years and the animals were collected from different regions of southern Africa.
Nowadays even the Big Five lives in the Madike Game Reserve. In addition, you will find all the other important species of wildlife and more than 350 species of birds. The landscape is characterized by extensive lawns, forests, rocky hills and mountains. It is a beautiful, barely discovered park in a unique, almost mythical environment and a good alternative to the fairly busy Kruger National Park.