Gauteng - South Africa's commercial and industrial hub

Gauteng - South Africa's commercial and industrial hub

South Africa's commercial and industrial hub is a busy center called Gauteng; encompassing the principal cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Only 56 kilometers (35 miles) built-up highveld terrain separates the two cities; Pretoria being the administrative capital of South Africa, and Johannesburg the capital of Gauteng as well as the country's largest metropolis and financial heart of the southern African subcontinent. Between the two is Midrand, until recently an unremarkable scatter of villages but now a prime growth point destined to become a city in it's own right

The is the gold-mining territory of the Witwatersrand - once merely a dusty, desolate plain which became the scene of great activity following the discovery of gold in 1886. Johannesburg mushroomed around the site of this discovery, soon to flourish as the county's business capital. Read more about the founding of Johannesburg here.

Today, Johannesburg is renowned not for it's beauty, but for it's frantic pace, it's business opportunities, smartly-clad executives and bustling streets. It is the home of the performing arts, the destination for international business meetings, the shopper's Utopia.... a city that seldom sleeps.

Sprawling Sandton rivals the city center as the up-and-coming business nucleus; with pristine shopping plazas and restaurants which beckon the rich and famous. Vibrant entertainment throughout the city offers locals an opportunity to enjoy quality leisure time. The Randburg waterfront is a cheerful mix of amusement parks, restaurants, nightclubs and shops overlooking an expanse of a man-made lake. Along with the new, Johannesburg also celebrates the old. At Gold Reef City, the glory of early mining days is recalled in the replica of a quaint mining village, offering visitors a trip back in time to Victorian style hotels, taverns, dance halls, shops and streets.

Soweto, sprawled across 95 square kilometers (37 square miles) is the largest township (and the second largest city) in South Africa, a massive residential area situated on southern boundary of Johannesburg. Today Soweto has a population more than 1 million people.

Pretoria is also known as the Jacaranda City for the haze of lilac flowers which blossom each spring. This city is a harmonious blend of modern blocks and stately, lovingly restored buildings. Shady streets of Jacaranda trees wind through the city. The lovely Union Buildings were established to mark the union of South Africa's provinces in 1910, and have witnessed many milestones in the country's development since those early days. Read more about Pretoria's history here.

Average temperatures: January (minimum - maximum): 15 - 29 Celsius / 60 - 86 Fahrenheit; July: 4 - 17 Celsius / 39 - 68 Fahrenheit.