1. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

The Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is renowned for its imposing hills, vast grasslands, unique fauna and flora and its variety of stunning walking trails. Situated a mere 10 km from the centre of Johannesburg, 5 km from Soweto and easily accessible from Sandton, the East and the West Rand, the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve provides for an exciting nature experience. It is the largest proclaimed nature reserve in the Johannesburg Metropolitan area (About 680 ha. in extent) and boasts a surprising diversity ranging from larger game such as zebra, red hartebeest, and black wildebeest, to many items of botanical, geological, archaeological, historical and cultural interest. Red data and other protected species are also to be found. Hiking trails Hiking is the main activity in the Reserve.…

2. Johannesburg

Johannesburg skyline as viewed from the M1 (Photo : KC Le Roux)

The City that Gold built Johannesburg is Africa's City of Gold - with world class hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, and a vibrant multicultural mix of people. Also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa by population and as the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is without doubt the economic powerhouse of Africa. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. The Johannesburg inner city, abandoned by an exodus of big business that transferred to Sandton and until recently, avoided by all except die-hard tourists, is undergoing a complete…

3. Meyerton

Meyerton Municipal Offices

Meyerton is a small town lying 15 km north of Vereeniging and approx 40 km south of Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng. Meyerton was established in 1891 and was named after J. P. Meyer, a field cornet and member of the Transvaal Volksraad. It acquired municipal status in 1961. Since 1994, Meyerton has been the administrative centre for the Midvaal Local Municipality. Many projects have been undertaken to develop the area in the past 14 years. Some of these projects, include: * Development of Sicelo, a new neighbourhood for low-cost housing * The R59-Corridor, a new development of factories and logistics facilities. * Heineken N.V., Amsterdam announced on 26 March 2008 that it will build its new South African brewery in the Midvaal Municipal Area, between Vereeniging and…

4. Vereeniging

NG Stone Church on the corner of Leslie and Hofmeyer Ave

Vereeniging is a flourishing industrial centre. The Vaal River provides many sites for anglers in and around Vereeniging and is also used for rowing and aquatic sports. A large number of Stone Age rock engravings can be seen at Redan, on the outskirts of the town. Also nearby on the R59 is an Anglo-Boer War blockhouse and it was in Vereeniging where the Boer and British generals met in May 1902 to end the Anglo-Boer War, with the terms of peace being negotiated there. The town's museum contains photographs and relics of the war and fossil plants found in the surrounding area. The town became known as Vereeniging (Company) in 1882 after the company which first mined the area's rich coal deposits.Giant thermal power stations in the Vaal Triangle convert local coal and the water of the…

5. Viljoensdrif

N. G. Church, Viljoensdrif

The small settlement of Viljoensdrif lies between the R82 and the R716, just South of Vereeniging off the R59 highway, about 23 km from Deneysville on the northern side of the Vaal Dam. There were coal mines in the area around Viljoensdrif, began by the company Lewis & Marks, co-owned by Sammy Marks. In earlier days before bridges were built over the Vaal River, waggoners crossed the Vaal River at this drift.

6. Vanderbijlpark

Fine specimens of the many trees planted in Vanderbijlpark

In 1941 the South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation began building a steel works close to the Vaal River, downstream from the Vaal Dam. A place to house the workers was essential. A 118 hectare site with a river frontage was selected, and here in 1952 a town was laid out and named after Dr H.J van der Bijl, the then chairman of the Iron and Steel Corporation. Though primarily an industrial centre, more than half a million trees have been planted to shade the streets, and Vanderbijlpark is generously provided with parks.

7. Sasolburg

View from the R57 of the Sasol plant

The South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corporation (Sasol) established its complex and unique chemical plant on a vast coal field south of the Vaal River. From the raw materials of coal and water, the plant produces a great variety of chemicals as well as Sasol Petrol. It is the only oil-from-coal plant in the world producing commercial quantities of oil. Several other manufacturers, supplied with raw materials by Sasol have their plants in the vicinity. Fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fibres, detergents and other materials are produced. The town of Sasolburg houses the workers of these industries. The glow of the exhaust flames and the distinctive, sweetish odour from Sasol petrol are familiar features of this part of the world.

8. Koppies

Koppies is a small town, a railway station, near the Renoster River. It was originally named ‘Honing Kopjes’ which is Dutch for ‘honey hills’ due to there being large bee infestations in the nearby rocky hills discoved during the building of the railway line in 1904 by General Christiaan de Wet and Dirk Cornelis Lourens, who lived there. General De Wet donated his Farm "Rooipoort" to be set up for under-privileged whites in the form of a few morgen of 'irrigation land', and then a few morgen of 'dry land' for cultivating maize. At the end of the war the people were very poor, and were supplied with a few eggs and a paraffin lamp hatcher for the eggs. Due to the pressing need the "Koppies Dam" was constructed to supply water for irrigation and work to the local…

9. Kroonstad

The railway junction and marshaling yard of Kroonstad is named after a horse. The horse, named Kroon ('crown'), drowned in a pothole in a stream on the site of the present town. Afterwards the stream was known as Kroonspruit. In 1855, when the town was founded, it too was named after the horse. Kroonstad stands on the banks of the Vals, meaning deceitful, River. Despite the river's name, which came about owing to quagmires and sudden treacherous floods, this is a lovely river, lined with willow trees. On its banks is a recreational area much used by anglers and water-sports enthusiasts. In the district cattle, sheep, wheat and fruit are farmed.

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