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Gauteng Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Gauteng

  • Capital of Gauteng: Johannesburg
  • Languages spoken: 21.5% isiZulu, 14.4% Afrikaans, 13.1% Sesotho, 12.5% English
  • Population: 9 525 571 (2006)
  • Share of South Africa’s population: 20.1%
  • Area: 16 548 square kilometres
  • Share of total South Africa’s area: 1.4%
  • Population density: 576 people per square kilometre
  • Gross regional product: R413.6-billion (2003)
  • Share of total South Africa’s GDP: 33.3%
  • Pretoria is the capital of South Africa
  • Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province
  • The historic Union Buildings in Pretoria are the administrative centre of the South African government
  • Home to the Cradle of Humankind which is one of South Africa's seven Unesco World Heritage sites
  • Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs has one of the world's richest concentrations of hominid fossils, evidence of human evolution over the last 3.5-million years
  • The JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) in Johannesburg is the 17th-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation

Introducing Gauteng

Covering only 1.4% of South Africa's land area, the small province of Gauteng contributes approximately 33% to the national economy and an enormous 10% to the GDP of the entire African continent.

Sesotho for "place of gold", Gauteng in South Africa was built on the wealth of gold found deep underground which made up about 40% of the world's gold reserves. The economy has since diversified, with more sophisticated sectors such as finance and manufacturing, gold mining is no longer the main key to the provinces’s economy. The Gauteng province is essentially one big city, with 97% of its population living in urban centres.

Johannesburg is the capital of Gauteng, and by far the biggest city in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Also known as Joburg or Jozi by the local people, Johannesburg is often compared to Los Angeles, with its similar urban sprawl linked by huge highway interchanges.

Johannesburg is a single municipality covering over 1 645 square kilometres. Mine-dumps and headgear remain symbols of Johannesburg's rich past, while modern architecture are fine examples of 19th-century engineering. Modern skyscrapers contrast with Indian bazaars and African medicine shops, and the busy streets are filled with fruit sellers and street vendors. An exciting blend of ethnic western art and cultural activities is reflected in theatres and open-air arenas throughout Johannesburg.

Soweto is located south of Johannesburg.  Much of the struggle against apartheid was fought in and from Soweto, which has a population of over two million people.The urban area extends virtually uninterrupted east and west of Johannesburg through a number of cities such as Roodepoort and Krugersdorp on the west and Germiston, Springs, Boksburg and Benoni on the east.

To the north of Johannesburg one can find the city of Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, whose southern suburbs are slowly merging with the Johannesburg sprawl. Pretoria in Gauteng is dominated by government services and the foreign diplomatic corps. Pretoria, the city of jacarandas, is known for its colourful gardens, shrubs and trees, particularly beautiful in spring when some 50 000 jacaranda trees envelop the avenues in mauve.  The important industrial and coal-mining towns of Vereeniging and Vanderbiljpark are located in the southern region of Gauteng, on the Vaal River.

The people of Gauteng have the highest per capita income level in South Africa. The province is a great mixture of cultures, colours and first and third-world traditions.  The world's languages can be heard on the streets and in offices, from English to Mandarin, Swahili, French, German and others.

Gauteng in South Africa features the most important educational and health centres in the country. Pretoria boasts the largest residential university in South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and what is believed to be the largest correspondence university in the world, the University of South Africa, or Unisa.

More than 60% of South Africa's research and development takes place in Gauteng, which has 41% of the country's core biotechnology companies.  Gautengt is also home to leading research institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Agricultural Research Council and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute.

Although Gauteng is highly urbanised and industrialised, wetlands of international importance, such as Blesbokspruit near Springs can be found here.  It is also home to the Cradle of Humankind which is one of South Africa's seven Unesco World Heritage sites. The region of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs has one of the world's richest concentrations of hominid fossils, evidence of human evolution over the last 3.5-million years.

The size of Gauteng

With a total area of 16 548 square kilometres, Gauteng is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. While Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province, it has the second-largest population after KwaZulu-Natal, and by far the highest population density in South Africa which is about 576 people per square kilometre.  The Northern Cape, by comparison, has an average of only three people per square kilometre.

Climate of the Gauteng province in South Africa

As a summer-rainfall area (November – April), Gauteng has hot summers and cold winters with frost. Hail is common during summer thunderstorms.

Industry of Gauteng, South Africa

The most important economic sectors of Gauteng’s industry are financial and business services, logistics and communications and mining.

Gauteng is the financial capital of Africa.  More than 70 foreign banks have their head offices in Gauteng and many South African banks, stockbrokers and insurance giants are based here as well. The JSE in Johannesburg is the 17th-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation.

Gauteng’s economy is moving away from traditional heavy industry markets and low value-added production towards sophisticated high value-added production, particularly in the information technology, telecoms and other high-tech industries.

The burgeoning high-tech corridor in Midrand, which is situated halfway between Pretoria and Johannesburg, is the fastest-developing area in South Africa.

South Africa’s Gauteng province has the best telecommunications and technology on the African continent, with correspondents for the world's major media stationed here, as well as South Africa's five television stations.  Gauteng also has the highest concentration of radio, internet and print media in Africa.

Manufacturing includes basic iron and steel, fabricated and metal products, food, machinery, electrical machinery, appliances and electrical supplies, vehicle parts and accessories, and chemical products.

Gauteng’s agriculture

A vast region of Gauteng falls within the ‘Maize Triangle’. The districts of Bronkhorstspruit, Cullinan and Heidelberg hold important agricultural land, where ground-nuts, sunflowers, cotton and sorghum are produced.  Food, food processing and beverages make up around R9.9-billion of Gauteng's economy, with half of South Africa's agriprocessing companies operating in Gauteng.

New and competitive niche products under development include organic food, essential oils, packaging, floriculture, medicinal plants, natural remedies and health foods.