Provinces in South Africa

When South Africa abolished apartheid and Nelson Mandela became President, many changes were made to the country in order to help the people to forget about the oppressive years and move forward into the new South Africa. Part of this process was the reformation of the provinces that made up the country. Certain names were also changed making sure that members of the apartheid regime were no longer feared and that heroes of the struggle were now recognized.

The provinces were eventually formed and are as follows:

Western Cape, South Africa | South Africa Eastern Cape | Northern Cape, South Africa | KwaZulu-Natal | Free State, South Africa | Gauteng | North West | Limpopo | Mpumalanga

In each of these provinces you will find amazing places to visit and local attractions to see. Each one of the provinces has unique aspects to offer tourists and will ensure that your stay is interesting and fun.

With geography that is totally unique to each place, you will find that to discover South Africa you will need to travel to all the provinces and enjoy the scenery, lifestyle and culture in each one.

Starting in the Western Cape Province with the fabulous scenery and attractions you have the opportunity to experience all types of people and cultures in one place, as well as all types of weather. The locals joke that you can get all seasons in one day in the Fair Cape. The Western Cape region is mostly known for the so called colored people. They have a strong and distinct accent and many of them speak Afrikaans. Certain of the people that are classified as colored, are from the Muslim or Christian religion and you also find that many are Cape Malays with their own set of cultures and traditions. The Western Cape also has strong roots in the British heritage especially in the Southern Suburb areas with the Afrikaans people tending to live in and around the Northern Suburbs. The geography of the Western Cape is very diverse and you will find the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, mountains, lush valleys, semi arid plateaus, plenty of wildlife and much more.

Moving to the Eastern Cape, you will be faced with a more subdued area that is less densely populated than the Western Cape and people with a more laid back attitude. This area is known for surfing in the Indian Ocean and is made of a close blend of rural African tribes, small city life and peaceful farmlands. The people here are mainly Xhosa and you also find lots of Afrikaans and English speaking citizens in the main areas like Port Elizabeth (PE) and East London. The geography of the land is hilly in parts with plenty of arable farmlands.

The Northern Cape features famous towns like Kimberley where massive Cullinan Diamond was found in what is now the Big Hole. This area is mainly semi desert being part of the Kalahari Desert, although some winter rainfall does allow you to experience the gorgeous bed of wild flowers every year between April and June. The land is otherwise dry and rocky boasting the most extreme temperatures in the country in the town of Upington and Sutherland. People here mostly speak Afrikaans, but English, Xhosa and Setswana people are also part of the communities.

In KwaZulu-Natal you will have the opportunity to be in the heartland of the Zulu nation. This mountainous, green area is also located along the Indian Ocean and has one of the more humid climates in the country. You will find that due to this, many Indian people have settled here as well and make up a large percentage of the population.

The Free State offers a more flat topography and drier climate, and here you will find the farming capital of the country, especially in wheat. Most of the population here are Afrikaans speaking.

Gauteng contains the capital of South Africa, Pretoria (Tswane) and the large “city of gold” Johannesburg. Being a flat area, much of the Gauteng province has been built up to such a huge extent that there are not many natural areas left. Gold mining was the most crucial industry here and today you can see the dumps and shafts in certain areas. This area is the hub of the economy and headquarters for many large businesses. The people living here are multi ethnic and most speak English.

The North West Province boasts the famous Sun City and Lost City as well as game reserves like Pilansberg, which was established inside the old crater of an extinct volcano. This area was once one of the Bantustans, or black homelands, and is largely uninhabited. The geography consists of vast grasslands with trees scattered all over. You will find the large Vaal River running through the province as well as the Magaliesburg Mountain Range along the border. Here the majority of people are from the rural communities belonging to the Setswana group. Xhosa and Afrikaans are also spoken with English being mostly a second language.

Limpopo Province is made up of various grasslands, rocky outcrops, forests and rivers with the famous Kruger National Park being the prime destination. The largest group here is the North Sotho people followed closely by the Tsonga people. English and Afrikaans people only make up a small percent of the residents but English is well spoken by everyone as a second language.

The climate here is usually sunny all year round with very hot temperatures reaching the mid 30’s and 40 degrees Celsius in summer. Parts of the province are also considered high risk malaria zones.

Mpumalanga will see you exploring the exciting terrain and interesting areas like the Blyde River Canyon. Here you will find most people speak Afrikaans and English as well as Ndebele. Parts of this area can also be considered malaria zones. The geography is lush and hilly with lost of fauna and flora to see and the temperatures can reach the high 30’s and mid 40’s during summer. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is also located here.

As you have seen in the brief outline, the 9 province that make up South Africa are all unique and interesting, and just waiting to be explored. Let’s look at some of the most important and famous tourist attractions that you can see on your trip to South Africa.

South Africa’s Western Cape >>>