Gauteng is South Africa's richest province, and the demand for gold, diamonds and all things luxury has played a key role in the region's successes since the first mining prospectors arrived on the Johannesburg gold reef in the 1880s. These days it’s big business that shapes Gauteng's fortunes, and Johannesburg's business district, Sandton – filled with the gleaming towers of global corporations – is now considered to be Africa's "richest square mile".
If you're looking for luxury, it isn't difficult to find it in Gauteng. From fine dining to five-star accommodation, elegant countryside retreats and, of course, designer shopping, Gauteng has everything a luxury traveller needs.
Begin your stay in Gauteng by booking into Johannesburg's ultra-luxurious Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff. The hotel is located high on the Westcliff ridge, with breathtaking views over the treetops of Johannesburg's older suburbs, and is close enough to the Joburg Zoo that you can hear the lions roar at night. Formerly The Westcliff, this destination has long been known as one of the city's most exclusive spots and, following an extensive refit in 2014 by new owners the Four Seasons, the hotel has never looked better.
Following a late breakfast at the Westcliff Deli, head to the Westcliff Spa for a relaxing two-hour African Escape massage and facial treatment with locally sourced spa products.
For lunch visit the celebrated DW eleven-13 restaurant in the Dunkeld Centre, a short drive north of the Westcliff hotel. The cooking is bistronomy-style with classic dishes given a global twist and the ambience stylish yet relaxed.
After a rejuvenating spa experience and a satisfying lunch it's time to hit the shops. The Diamond Walk in Sandton City is the place to go for designer labels such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Armani. While you are there make a pit stop at the Arque Champagne Crescent, which boasts one of the finest selections of champagne in the city.
Diamonds are indeed forever and what better souvenir of a stay in the province that gold and diamonds built than some glamorous jewels. For the height of luxury book an appointment at the exclusive and plush jewel boutique, Bryllianta, which offers personalised service and drop-dead gorgeous views over Sandton. Bryllianta is also known for its tanzanite.
Enjoy sundowners with the city's most stylish by the pool at the Island Bar roof deck in the Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel, 10 minutes' drive from Sandton. The expansive views are the ideal place to watch the sunset.
One of the city's most acclaimed fine-dining experiences is to be found at the multi-award-winning Five Hundred restaurant in the elegant Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, known for innovative cuisine inspired by South African flavours and local ingredients.
Top off a glamorous six-course dinner at Five Hundred with a glass of the finest malt whisky at the Saxon's exclusive Eighteen05 whisky bar.
A city's most unique treasures are usually best discovered with the help of a guide. Book a bespoke shopping tour with local tour company Past Experiences and you'll easily find your way to the city's best contemporary South African art, upmarket crafts, collectables, antiques and local designer ware.
Escape the city and travel an hour north to the Cradle of Humankind, a beautiful 47 000ha UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop at the Forum Homini Hotel for lunch on the terrace at the contemporary Roots restaurant.
Nearby are the Sterkfontein Caves, where some of the world's oldest hominid remains have been found. Take an hour-long guided tour of the caves before heading over to the Maropeng museum and visitor centre where you can learn more about our dynamic Earth and its geology, the science of evolution, and the long history of humankind.
6pmSpend your second night in Gauteng at the De Hoek Country Hotel, a most beautiful retreat set in the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains. For a most relaxing luxurious stay book the penthouse suite.
After a romantic fine-dining dinner on your own private penthouse terrace, take an early night and prepare for a sunrise adventure in the morning.
Rise with the birds and embark on an hour-long sunrise hot-air balloon ride over the Magalies River valley with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris. From 21 000 feet up in the sky the views over the rolling fields and towards the Magaliesberg mountains are nothing short of captivating. Upon landing you can enjoy a glass of bubbly and sumptuous breakfast from a private table overlooking the mountains.
Back at your penthouse retreat, take some time out for a mid-morning nap or to relax by the hotel pool and soak up the peace and tranquillity.
Book a picnic from the hotel and take a walk along the trails that lead from the hotel along the banks of the Magalies River.
Hop in the car and venture out along the Magalies Meander, a picturesque route that skirts the Hartbeespoort Dam and the majestic Magaliesberg mountains. For delicious farmhouse jellies and preserves drop in at the quaint restaurant and guest house, Die Ou Pastorie. Try the rooibos jelly for a quintessentially South African flavour.
Return to the De Hoek Country Hotel to kick back and relax with an opulent high tea while gazing out over De Hoek's picturesque lawns.
Travel back to the airport in style by making use of the hotel's helipad. Helicopter routes can be arranged to include a quick flip over the city of Johannesburg and its distinctive skyscrapers, a particularly awe-inspiring sight as the sun starts to set over the city.