Travel in Gauteng, South Africa

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About Gauteng Province

Gauteng is the smallest South African province, situated on a plateau in the North East of the country. It's arguably the country's most important as it's home to the two major business cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as the largest township, Soweto. Just over 100 years ago there was nothing in Gauteng. Then somebody discovered gold and half of the continent rushed to the region looking to make a fortune. Some locals still rummage through the slag piles hoping for a golden nugget.

It's now a densely populated area, full of hidden treasures and teeming with different cultures. But outside the cities there remains a very rural African landscape. Wild animals roam free, leopards live in the trees (yes, this is true), and you can find a large collection of 3 million year old early human fossils.

Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata at Marievale Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa

Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata at Marievale Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa credit: Derek Keats CC BY 2.0

Tours in Gauteng Province

On our website we list different tour and travel services in Gauteng, covering all your ground transportation needs for places like Johannesburg , Pretoria , Soweto, Sandton, and all other destinations in Gauteng.

Traffic and roads in Gauteng:

Gauteng's roads are notorious for their traffic. At peak times they get so congested that most drivers ignore all traffic laws to try and reach their destination. Roads are generally in good condition, although you will need private transport to reach any areas outside the cities. From the outskirts of Gauteng the road signs point across the continent; to Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

Riviera, Pretoria, Gauteng

Riviera, Pretoria, Gauteng credit: Tyler Yeo CC BY 2.0

Gaunteng is safe with some precautions:

With Africa's largest airport (JBG), Gauteng is the main entry point for foreign visitors arriving in South Africa. Unfortunately it's a province that has a terrible reputation for crime. If you believe the stories then your bag will be stolen by immigration, your wallet by a stranger at the airport, and then your sanity by a local taxi driver. It's mostly just an incessant rumour mill, and there is little truth in the reputation. With some basic precautions Gauteng is very safe for visitors.

SA Coach Charters & bus Rentals luxury coach si

Luxury coach from SA Coach Charters & bus Rentals in Gauteng

Travel by Plane / flight:

Basically there are 2 airports in this province one good for international flights and one which is handier for domestic flights.

Arriving at O.R Tambo Airport:

O.R Tambo Airport (JBG) or Johannesburg airport as it used to be known is the largest airport in Africa. It's named after Oliver Tambo, one of the forefathers of the fight against apartheid and a man who had a huge influence on the political career of Nelson Mandela. Most visitors to South Africa land here and for a taste of how diverse this country is visit the food court on the first floor. Eat curry stuffed in a hollowed out loaf of bread (Durban “Bunny Chow”), pap and mass (staple Xhosa meal), steak, or fried chicken (the obsession for all South Africans).

From O.R Tambo Airport it's impossible to predict the transfer time to Johannesburg or Pretoria. These sprawling cities don't have a defined centre so much depends on the suburb you're staying in, as well as how bad the daily traffic is. Always allow 1 – 2 hours. Pre booked airport transfers are the safest mode of transport and a whole range of companies offer this service. You can compare prices to your destination on our website.

Boeing 737-76N(w) '5Y-KQE' Kenya Airways

Boeing 737-76N(w) '5Y-KQE' Kenya Airways credit: Alan Wilson CC BY-SA 2.0
Seen taxiing in after landing at O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Arriving at Lanseria International Airport:

Gauteng's second airport, Lanseria International (HLA) is tiny and only used by two budget airlines. For a domestic flight it's preferable to land at Lanseria, because it's closer to Pretoria and the main Johannesburg suburbs of Sandton and Randburg. Furthermore, while O.R Tambo is surrounded by pollution and over-crowded roads, Lanseria is surrounded by green fields and there is a genuine chance of seeing herds of antelopes like Springbok or Hartebeests from the plane window. Pre booking a private airport transfer is essential as there is no public transport and usually no waiting taxis.

Travel by Train:

Gauteng has a rail network, although it's mostly of the kind that ignites all stereotypes about third world train journeys. Passengers cling on to the outside of the carriage, people take live chickens on board, and it gets incessantly crowded. They're best avoided unless you're making a documentary about amusing and painful public transport. However, a new metro system was developed for the 2010 soccer world cup. These modern trains connect the main airport, Sandton, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. For some reason this Gautrain is completely unused by locals and even in rush hour you're often the only passenger on board.

Fun Train at Gold Reef City, Gauteng

Fun Train at Gold Reef City, Gauteng credit: Dan Brown CC BY 2.0

Travel by Road:

You know the road traffic rules you get taught when learning to drive. Well, get ready to throw them out of the window in Gauteng as they have a different highway code. If it's a red light then drive on. One way signs should be ignored at all times. Reversing at 40kph down a busy road is an essential skill to be learnt. In fact, you don't even need to learn how to drive. All that's needed is a bit of money to pay for the license papers. Roads are chaotic and often deadly, and attempting them you borders on suicidal. Locals have grown up with the nuances of these roads and a local driver or chauffeur is a good idea.

After saying all that, Gauteng's road are kept in a good condition, apart from the occasional crater sized pot hole. In the cities they pass row after row of buildings. But on the outskirts of Gauteng you could be driving past elephants, antelopes, and other wild animals.

Deeprift Luxury minibus, gaunteng (1)

Luxury minibus from Deeprift Ventours in Gaunteng 

What to see and what to do in Gauteng Province

Gauteng doesn't have the same immediate appeal as the beachside provinces of the Western Cape or Kwazulu Natal. However, their fascinating mixes of cultures have produced a province full of diversity and intrigue. Furthermore, once out of the urban areas a wild rural landscape awaits.

Tour with a private driver:

The kindest way to describe getting around Gauteng is that it's complicated. A private vehicle is essential as the big attractions are either hidden away or out in the sticks. With a local and private driver it's possible to tour Gauteng and visit all the top attractions in just a few days.

Visit Johannesburg:

The people in South Africa's largest city work hard and play harder, but they've always got time to say hello and show you around. Like any large city its attractions can be hidden away, but ask any local in Johannesburg and you'll have a huge list of diverse experiences. Try going to local flea markets and Indian markets; experiencing the apartheid museum and a football match at the 90,000 seater World Cup Stadium; listening to jazz, techno, and live bands; partying in warehouses and on rooftops; and touring the South African brewery. There is no standard tick list of attractions, so take an open mind and get ready to explore.

Red and white - Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

Red and white - Johannesburg Botanical Gardens credit: Meraj Chhaya CC BY 2.0

Visit Pretoria:

South Africa's de facto capital city is a business hub. But rather than being dominated by a skyline of high rise buildings, the city is known for its thousands of Jacaranda trees. They're everywhere and turn this busy city into a forest of greenery. Explore how different cultures have converged, through colonial buildings, modern skyscrapers, and concoctions from all dates over the last hundred years. If you're coming for a business trip to South Africa you'll find that Pretoria is a more relaxed and gentle base than neighbouring Johannesburg.

Soweto:

If South Africa is the rainbow nation, then Soweto streets’ are its paintings, its visuals that turn this metaphor into reality. Graffiti is common and elaborate, clothes are bright and imaginative, houses compete for attention with lively colours and even the urinals come in all feasible colours. Soweto is the world's second biggest 'slum' and a place that rose to prominence during the fight against apartheid. It's a place where poor working class people live, but they're always full of smiles for visitors.

Soweto Coal fired electric plant

Soweto Coal fired electric plant credit: Tracy Hunter CC BY 2.0

In the Orlando West suburb, Velekazi Street has a special claim to fame. 1984 winner Archibishop Desmond Tutu still lives here, his modest blue house marked by a single respectful sign. Barely 30 metres away, at number 8115, is Nelson Mandela’s old residence, making the street the only one in the world that is home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Wildlife and safari:

Yes, it's true that leopards live in the trees on the outskirts of Gauteng. The whole province was built on the gold rush, so surrounding the cities is nothing but raw nature. You won't see the leopards; they're very secretive animals, unless you go on a safari and stay at one the region's nature reserves. Lions, rhinos, elephants, and just about every other animal from a David Attenborough documentary wait. Perhaps you've seen some lions or predators on a wildlife documentary or show set in Africa. At the Hartbeestport nature reserve they train lions and elephants to appear in television shows, a remarkable achievement when you witness firsthand how a lion can be tamed.

Jaguar, Panther-Onça

Jaguar, Panther-Onça credit: Crystian Cruz CC BY-ND 2.0
Private game safari close to Johannesburg, South Africa. Includes an animal creche, a reptile center and a cave.

Cradle of Humankind:

This World Heritage Site is home to around 40% of the world's hominin fossils, some dating back to 3.5 million years ago. Hominin? They're the ancestors of our modern human race and prove that Gauteng is a lot older than the gold rush. Serene and wild, the landscape easily pleases the eye and for more excitement than fossils there is a large lion and rhino nature reserve. Finish a day here with a meal at the Carnivore, where waiters bring out huge cuts of wild meat on Masaai swords. Zebra, impala, crocodile, and ostrich are all on the menu.

With our easy to use online quote request system it's easy to plan all your group travel in Gauteng. You can book private transport that visits all our suggested places, or simply pre book your airport transfer. Those on a long South Africa trip will find that Gauteng offers the most choice for booking a coach or minibus for your tour. Booking all your ground transportation needs in Gauteng has never been easier.

Black Pearl Tours 22 seats

22 seats minibus from Black Pearl Tours 

Cities in Gauteng

Travel services in Gauteng

You can plan group travel in Gauteng  with our online quote request system and plot your entire route. For example, you can plot the entire route of the tour we describe above. Travel in Gauteng province has never been easier: start today!

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