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North West Attractions

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   Aerial Cableway Hartbeespoort

Attraction in Hartbeespoort Dam
Offering amazing views of Magaliesberg, Hartbeespoort Dam and the surrounding area, the 'Harties Cableway' is worth a whirl. The recently revamped cableway provides an ideal family day trip with lots to do at the base station and at the top. Kids can
 

 Bosman Living Museum

Attraction in Groot Marico
 
The writer Herman Charles Bosman wrote more than 100 short stories about the Groot Marico and the people of the Marico. He was a schoolteacher in the district of Groot Marico in 1926 and the place left such a vivid impression on him that he later says
 

Hot Air Ballooning Cradle Game Reserve

Attraction in Magaliesburg
 
Hot air ballooning over the Cradle of Humankind is an experience not to be missed. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is only a 20 minutes' drive from Johannesburg's northern suburbs. The site includes the Cradle Game Reserve, Josh Nash Game
 

Sterkfontein Caves

Attraction in Hekpoort

 
The spectacular discoveries in 1947 at Sterkfontein, now part of the Cradle of Humankind are no secret and have gained South Africa the reputation as the birthplace of the human race.‘Mrs ‘Ples’, the 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and 'Little
 

Lesedi Cultural Village

Attraction in Broederstroom

 
Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural Village offers the opportunity of experiencing the fascinating cultures and traditions of the people of Africa. Located in the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the village is only a 45-minute drive from
 

Magaliesberg Canopy Tours

Attraction in Magaliesburg

 
Be daring - zip over the cliffs of the Ysterhout Kloof on a wire! The Magaliesberg Canopy Tour is a unique eco-adventure that takes clients on a 2,5 hour tour down the spectacular Ysterhout Kloof, set in the ancient Magaliesberg Mountains. Eleven platforms
 

De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust, North West Province

De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust

 
A captive breeding facility for cheetahs and other endangered animals, the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre lies in the foothills of the Magaliesberg, close to Brits and Hartbeespoort Dam. The privately owned and funded non-profit organisation was established in 1971 by Ann van Dyk on her 65 hectare farm in an effort to breed what was once a threatened species, the cheetah - the population of which was estimated at a mere 700 at around this time. Since its inception, some 500 cheetahs have been raised and re-settled in game reserves throughout South Africa and other countries, proof that a cheetah bred in captivity doesn’t lose its hunting instinct and can adapt quickly to its natural environment. The centre’s efforts have resulted in the birth of close to 600 cheetah cubs, and since then other rare and endangered animal species have been included in their efforts, such as the wild dog, brown hyaena, serval, suni antelope, blue and red duiker, riverine rabbit and vultures. 

 
 
De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust
 
De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre has received international recognition for bringing the cheetah back from the edge of extinction and it was largely due to their efforts that the cheetah was removed from the endangered species list in 1986. The centre is also the first to breed the rare king cheetah - originally thought to be a separate species although in reality it is genetically identical to the true cheetah. It has also bred and released captive-born wild dogs back into the wild. Ann van Dyk received a gold medal award form the South African Nature Foundation for her contribution in 1988.
 

Rustenburg, Bojanala Region

Rustenburg

 
Two of the world’s largest platinum mines lie just outside Rustenburg, earning it the nickname ‘Platinum City’, which is hardly a fair description of the city that started out as little more than a church and farming community centre, named as a ‘place of rest’ that still manages to retain its small town atmosphere. Rustenburg is one of the oldest towns in this part of the world. It lies surrounded by the Magaliesberg mountain range, its streets lined with the ubiquitous jacaranda tree. It’s a pretty little town, despite being a city, and there is an element of sluggishness to Rustenburg that makes it so attractive, lying as it does only 112 kilometres from Johannesburg and not far from the Sun City complex.

The temperature here is normally about 4 degrees warmer than Gauteng; it’s malaria free, with access to a number of game parks, including the Rustenburg Nature Reserve and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and relatively free of crime, making it an attractive option for visitors. Other than game viewing, one can enjoy the Rustenburg Ramble – a meander that takes in craft galleries, farm stalls and places to eat; the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve just outside Rustenburg; the Royal Bafokeng Sports Place, one of the 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums; and the Waterfall Mall, if shopping is necessary.If you are an avid historian there are many places within the city to visit. The Rustenburg Museum, in the Town Hall; the Anglican Church, built in 1871; and the Dutch Reformed Church, to name but a few

 

Sun City Resort, North West Province

Sun City Resort

 
Deep in the rugged bushveld, in the heart of an ancient volcano, lies the world's most unique resort, the internationally acclaimed Sun City. The Resort has a unique heartbeat and an African rhythm of its own and is unlike any other Resort destination in the world. This is pure fantasy and your every desire is met. There are four world-class hotels including the magnificent Palace of the Lost City that glitters like a jewel beneath the African sun, brilliant in its rain forest surroundings and luxurious in its detail and design. Adjoining the Resort, is the beautiful Pilanesberg National Park, which will delight game viewers as it is a malaria free zone and home to the "Big 5" (Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino). The Sun City resort has amazed the international community with its glamorous casinos, gourmet restaurants, extensive sports facilities and star studded spectaculars. The full variety of entertainment on offer ranges from slots to safaris; the theatre extravaganza to a games arcade for children; horse riding to golf; the Valley of Waves to The Lost City ... whatever it is you're looking for, you'll find it at Sun City.

Sun City Resort

Valley Of The Waves

The Legend

 
The Palace of the Lost City is a fantasy world of Africa 's jungles, cliff-tumbling gardens, streams, waterfalls, swimming pools, and al fresco entertainment areas. Legend tells us that the Palace of the Lost City was built as the royal residence of an ancient civilisation of South Africa, but was destroyed by an earthquake. It has now been restored to its former glory and offers splendid accommodation in the most sumptuous surroundings in South Africa.

 

Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng 

 

 

View from top of Amphitheater at Maropeng

 
As the reefs died off they were transformed into limestone which some time later was converted into dolomite. Millions of years later after the sea had receded, slightly acidic groundwater began to dissolve out calcium carbonate from the dolomite to form underground caverns. Over time the water table dropped and the underground caverns were exposed to the air. The percolation of acidic water through the dolomite also dissolved calcium carbonates out of the rock into the caverns, which formed stalactites, stalagmites and other crystalline structures. Continued erosion on the earth's surface and dissolution of the dolomite eventually resulted in shafts or avens forming between the surface of the earth and the caverns below. Bones, stones and plants washed down these shafts into the caves; and animals and hominids fell into the caves, became trapped and died.

Tumulus at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind

The Visitor Centre at Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng

 
The Cradle of Humankind Site comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossillised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. The dolomite in which the caves formed, started out as coral reefs growing in a worm shallow sea about 2.3 billion years ago. The Cradle of Humankind site lies mainly in the Gauteng province with a small extension into the neighboring North West Province, and covers 47 000 hectares of land mostly privately owned. The Cradle of Humankind Site comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossillised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. The dolomite in which the caves formed, started out as coral reefs growing in a worm shallow sea about 2.3 billion years ago. 

 

Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve, North West Province

Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve

 
Just 90 minutes from Johannesburg and 30 minutes from Sun City, Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve is relatively easy for both visitors to Johannesburg and Pretoria to reach, situated as it is 54 kilometres from Brits north-east of Rustenburg. At last check the reserve was still closed for reconstruction of the dam wall, so you will need to check before visiting Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve is dominated by broken bushveld, a renowned area for both lovers of fishing and birds, and; a lovely space in which to spend a day picnicking, canoeing or just gently idling away the time on the shore of the dam, spotting the bird life that includes exciting visitors like the acacia pied barbet, white-throated robin-chat, Marico flycatcher, and black-faced waxbill.

The night veld is also alive with sound, if you stay at the camping site on the northern edge of the dam. The North West Parks Bird Sanctuary, an 800 hectare section of the reserve, also lies along this leg of the dam, although it isn’t accessible to the public but it does mean that there are exciting birds that pass along this part of the shore. The
spotted eagle-owl, barn owls and the African crake are all vocal here at night. If you’re not into birding then climbing Bulkop, the koppie that dominates the skyline west of the dam wall, is a great climb, although you need permission from the farm on which it rests. There are a myriad walks and bicycle rides throughout Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve, and boat rides simply to drink in the beauty of the surrounds are a must. And there is always a chance that you’ll encounter a herd of buffalo, a couple of wading hippos or a White rhino come down to drink at sunset.

 

Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province

 
Madikwe Game Reserve is about 70 000 hectares of bushland just north of the little town of Groot Marico that stretches all the way up to the Botswana border, about 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. Young it might be - having opened its gates only in August 1991 - but not only is it is one of South Africa’s largest and most popular game reserves, it’s also one of the only ones in the world proclaimed a reserve purely on the grounds of its being the most appropriate and sustainable land use for this formerly depressed area.

What used to be farm land is now restored to its former natural environment and over 8 000 animals and 27 wildlife species were moved to Madikwe Game Reserve as part of a huge translocation of game known as Operation Phoenix. Predominantly grasslands and bushveld, intermingled with lone mountains and rocky outcrops, with water a scarcity as it is throughout Africa, the Madikwe Game Reserve serves as home for cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, lion, elephant their resettlement a success story on its own) black and white rhino, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and any number of antelope. (see photographs at Madikwe Game Reserve photographs.


Madikwe Game Reserve is run as a joint venture between the state, private sector and local communities who live on the borders of the reserve and who benefit too, earning an annual share of the park’s profits, so that they in turn can upgrade their own infrastructure. There are day and night game drives within Madikwe Game Reserve, bush walks and over 350 species of birdlife, including a number of interesting raptors.


 

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