A tour of South Africa's nine provinces and what to expect the next time you are in the land of Madiba

Here is a snippet of what to expect in each of South Africa's 9 province the next time you are in the land of Madiba.

Here is a snippet of what to expect in each of South Africa's 9 province the next time you are in the land of Madiba.

Eastern Cape

This is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and his Museum is also located at the small rural village of Qunu.

Apart from history and culture, fun in the sun along 800 kilometres of glorious and exotic Indian ocean beaches is what the Eastern Cape Province has to offer as one of its major attractions.

Its capital city is Bhisho and some of the major cities it also boosts is Port Elizabeth / Nelson Mandela Bay.

IsiXhosa is the most widely spoken language here with 78.8% of the populations speaking it, 10.6% speak Afrikaans and 5.6% speak English.

Free State

Free State province is known as the granary province of South Africa.

It is situated between the Vaal river at its northern boundary and the Orange river at its southern boundary, in the middle of South Africa.

Home to more than 30,000 farms, producing more than 70 % of grain and corn consumption, it is locally known as South Africa's bread bin.

The capital city of Free State is Bloemfontein and the most widely spoken language is Sesotho (64.2%), Afrikaans (12.7%) and isiXhosa (7.5%).

Gauteng - Place of gold

Some of Africa's largest metropolitan cities; Johannesburg, the capital of the province, Soweto, the heart of the freedom struggle, Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, and the Vaal Triangle, an industrial heartland. Together they form the small and densely populated province of Gauteng, the Sesotho word for "place of gold".

The history of gold in South Africa became the history of Gauteng and gold rush shantytowns developed into some of Africa's largest metropolitan cities located here.

The capital city of Gauteng is Johannesburg.

IsiZulu is the most widely spoken language here with 19.8% of the population speaking it, 13.3% speak English, 12.4% speak Afrikaans and 11.6% speak Sesotho.


This is the home ground of Zulus and as a result isiZulu language is spoken by 77.8% of the population here. In and around Zulu land one will find many  legendary battle sites such as the Anglo-Zulu and Boer-Zulu wars battle grounds.

Kwazulu Natal with its lively and striking contrasts is a melting pot of Indian, European and Zulu cultures.

Because of the subtropical lush and green environment it is often called the garden province.

The province's subtropical paradise coast with its golden sand beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters, offers many leisure activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, angling or just relaxing in the sun.

The Capital city of KwaZulu-Natal province is Pietermaritzburg and Durban is also located here.

Limpopo - the great north

This province is named after the Limpopo river that forms its western and northern boundary.

Limpopo houses a large number of game farms, private and provincial game reserves, adjoining the northern part of the renowned Kruger National park at its eastern border.

The capital city of Limpopo is Polokwane (previously Pietersburg).

Some of the languages spoken at Limpopo are: 52.9% Sepedi, 17% Xitsonga, 16.7% Tshivenda.

Mpumalanga - the place of the rising sun

When one translates Mpumalanga from the local SiSwati language into English, it means the place of the rising sun.

This province with the sheer splendour of its immense natural beauty and some of South Africa's most diverse and vibrant cultures, has it all. From one of the most exhilarating wildlife areas in Africa, to spectacular mountain retreats, ancient ruined cities and villages and wild water sports.

The province is blessed with the spectacular Northern Drakensberg escarpment with its sheer cliff faces plunging straight down to the Lowveld, nearly a 1000 meters below.

Its capital city is Mbombela (previously Nelspruit)

Some of the languages spoken here;  27.7% siSwati, 24.1% isiZulu, 10.4% Xistonga, 10.1% isiNdebele.

Northern Cape

If you love the rough and arid countryside then North West province is the place for you, it is actually known as the jewel of South Africa.

Below the seemingly desolate surface area, great riches lies beneath in the form of large deposits of gem stones such as topaz, opal, garnet, jasper, rose quarts, agate and even diamonds hence the name jewel province.

Above ground on its surface the province is home to awesome wildlife and scenery richness such as: Vast open plains and rust-red dunes tinted in the golden tones of the sun with roaming herds of antelope and the annual springtime explosion of brilliantly coloured flowers in Namaqualand.

Its capital city is Kimberley and the widely spoken language here is Afrikaans (53.8%) and Setswana (33.1% )

Four of South Africa's 20 national parks are located here.

North West

It has been aptly named, the platinum province because the province produces more platinum from its rich resources than any other single area in the world.

For those drawn to the Africa wilderness, North West is all about the authentic African bushveld experience, with its all year-round sunshine and hot dry African climate.

A journey through the wild Pilanesberg mountains brings you into the bowl of the crater of an extinct volcano, where you will find one of South Africa's world-renowned attractions.

The province boasts two of South Africa's major national wildlife parks, the Pilanesberg national park and the Madikwe game reserve, worlds of endless African savannah and breathtaking wildlife scenery.

Sterkfontein cave complex, also known as the Cradle of Mankind is also found here.

The capital city of North West is Mafikeng and Potchefstroom, one of South Africa’s major cities is also found here.

Setswana is the most widely spoken language here with 63.4% of the population speaking it, Afrikaans make up 9%.

Western Cape

The Western Cape Province is known as a place of great splendour and natural beauty.

It boasts a fantastic climate and extraordinary scenic beauty, combined with some of the world's greatest beaches, a remarkably rich history, a fabulous food and wine culture and wonderful people, this province offers almost everything you can wish for as a tourist.

Its capital city is Cape Town and the majority of the people here speak Afrikaans (49.7%), isiXhosa (24.7%) and English (20.2%)

Local South Africans fondly like to call Cape Town, the "Mother City" so don’t freak out when you hear it.

The world-renowned Table Mountain is found here.


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