TOURISM

The Bokone Bophirima Province provides attractive tourism and eco-tourism packages. There are over sixteen parks and nature and game reserves that boast the presence of the big five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino), diverse and prolific bird species population and heritage sites. The parks, game and nature reserves are characterised by hills and open plains at Pilanesberg with a 1 200 million year old extinct alkaline volcanic crater, one of only three in the world. Woodland and rich riverine forest at Borakalalo, the bird watcher's paradise at Barberspan, and the numerous hiking trails traversing the reserves presents pristine and scenic sites for tourism. Cultural villages, heritage sites, casino gambling, theme parks, water sports, hiking, horse back riding and the unique vegetation of the area present unique attractions for tourism.


The Bokone Bophirima Province, with its favourable geographical location close to the main hub of Gauteng as well as its eco-tourism potential and the mining industry is categorised as one of South Africa's most visited provinces. It is an attractive tourism destination because it is a relatively peaceful Province, a sunny climate, wildlife, magnificent bird life and a diverse cultural and historical heritage. It is also centrally located in relation to the other recognised tourism destinations in southern Africa (e.g Namibia, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe).


The Province is accessible by air through Pilanesberg Airport and Mafikeng International Airport, as well as several smaller airports such as Rustenburg and Klerksdorp. The runway at Pilanesberg airport has recently been extended and upgraded and negotiations are underway to provide the airport with international status. The Trans-Karoo between Cape Town and Pretoria travels via Potchefstroom and the Diamond Express via Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp. Both routes provide a daily service.


There is a weekly service from Johannesburg to Mafikeng. Alternatively there is a train to Kimberley with a connecting service that departs daily to Mafikeng. There is also a tourist train between Johannesburg and Magaliesburg, although the potential is wholly untapped. Much work has been undertaken on tourism planning and development in the Province. The Eastern region dominates with regards to tourism infrastructure and scenic beauty.


Specific tourism nodes and corridors - Anchor tourism nodes include Sun City/Pilanesberg complex, Magaliesburg, and Hartbeespoort. Madikwe is an important along this corridor. Possible linkages include Botswana (e.g. Okavango Delta), Namibia via the Trans-Kalahari route and Victoria Falls. Recommended new nodes have been identified to increase the provincial product base, tourism capacity, and for spreading the benefits of tourism to new parts of the province, particularly to areas of severe poverty. They include:


Borakalalo Game Reserve, which has substantial extension and expansion potential;
Vredefort Dome, a unique landform caused by the largest meteorite impact site in the world, near the Vaal River;
Vaalkop Dam, which is a new small tourism node and forms a link between the Sun City/Pilanesberg and Borakalalo nodes, thereby stimulating the development of the new corridor;
Ganyesa /Kalahari- this is a remote region of the Bokone Bophirima Province and has the potential of becoming a major wilderness destination equaling the world -renowned experiences of the Kalahari Gemsbok Park and Etosha.


The establishment of the Madikwe Game Reserve serves as an excellent example of what can be achieved when government, private sector and the community work together. Madikwe already attracts affluent markets with high yields. Plans to increase local participation are also underway. Only some of the many reservoirs in the Province are used for recreational purposes. Reservoirs with significant untapped potential include Hartbeespoort, Buffelspoort, Klipvoor, Bloemhof and Vaalkop.


Whatever your preference, there is bound to be an adventure to keep you happy. The Bokone Bophirima is outdoors country, with a glorious climate and challenging adventure venues. Enjoy a wrap-around panorama and the magic of lazily drifting with the wind. Relish fascinating and magnificent sights over the beautiful Magalies River Valley, Hartbeespoort Dam, Magaliesberg Mountain Range, Pilanesberg National Park.


The tourism sector is well suited to lead economic development in emerging economies. South Africa is regarded as one of the most promising destinations in Africa. Tourism is increasingly being recognised as a lead sector to improve the quality of life of every South African. In the Bokone Bophirima Province, where there is a recognised need for economic diversification, tourism can provide valuable opportunities for economic growth.

 

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