North West

The destination most people associate with the North West Province is the Sun City complex with its casinos, theatres, restaurants, artificial beaches and mythical kingdoms. But there's so much more to this underrated destination. The Magaliesberg, so close to Johannesburg, is a welcome oasis of mountain greenery, and the Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves offer big game viewing in spectacular surroundings. 

The economy of the North West is firmly based on agriculture and mining, both of which influence the landscape immensely. Seemingly endless fields of maize or sunflowers stretch to the horizon in places, while in other areas large herds of cattle wonder around chewing the cud. 

The North West bills itself as the Platinum Province, a claim that is not without justification. And the basis for this justification is a fascinating geological accident dating back 2050 million years. For it was then that the Bushveld Igneous Complex formed. This is where you'll find the largest igneous intrusion, better known as volcanic rocks, exposed at the surface of the earth, and it is the most extensive structure of its kind known in the world. Extrusive igneous rocks exit the ground in liquid form as volcanoes or huge magma flows, while intrusive igneous rocks stay underground slowly solidifying. As it cooled, different minerals solidified at different temperatures creating a neatly layered structure of a range of minerals – including a few rare and economically important elements like chromite, vanadium and platinum. It is due to this fortuitous geological incident that South Africa mines more than half of the world’s chrome and platinum. 

Download the provincial map of North West by clicking on the area you're interested in, or download the full map below.

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