Vanderbijlpark is an attractive town whose leafy streets, parks and gardens are lined with some 500 000 trees, and although many of the lookalike houses were built by the giant South African steel company Iscor during the period 1947 to 1964, Vanderbijlpark is also where you’ll find sought-after, expensive homes.
Close to the city are the historic black townships of Boipatong, Bophelong, Sebokeng and Evaton, as well as the internationally known township of Sharpeville, site of the infamous massacre of black protestors by white police in 1960. The poignant Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct that celebrates those who gave their lives in the fight for freedom is well worth a visit.
Vanderbijlpark lies on the shores of the mighty malaria-free Vaal Dam, with some of the best inland boating in the country. Its 800km shoreline is lined with picnic and camping sites, marinas, pleasure resorts, holiday homes and beaches. If you’re a water-sport fan you’ll be in your element because you can take your pick of boating, river cruising, fishing, waterskiing and swimming; or maybe you just want to chill with a picnic or braai on the banks.
Shop at the Vaal Mall or River Square Shopping Centre, or if you’ve time to spare, browse the Vaal Meander and its fantastic variety of arts and craft shops, country stalls, attractive tea and coffee spots, outdoor adventure centres, antiques and collectibles, brewery tours and much more.
In the evening try your luck at the glitzy Emerald Resort & Casino, or catch a show or enjoy some live music. If you need more outdoor activities visit the resort’s 203ha Animal World, established in 2001 by the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa; or make a splash at the resort’s indoor climate-controlled Aquadrome.
The adjacent Emfuleni Nature Park has great hiking trails, plenty of birdlife as well as plains game such as red hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest, blesbok and reedbuck. Or play a round at the Emfuleni Golf Estate.