Gauteng, influenced by the increased centralisation of modern cities, is divided into five regions or municipalities: Johannesburg, Tshwane (greater Pretoria), Ekurhuleni (the East Rand), the West Rand and Sedibeng.
The population of Gauteng is estimated at approximately 13-million.
The skyscrapers of Johannesburg (also known as Joburg or Jozi), the provincial capital of Gauteng, proudly declare it one of the most modern and prosperous cities in Africa. Jozi is the hub of South Africa’s commercial, financial, industrial and mining undertakings.
The City of Johannesburg includes Soweto (South-Western Township), originally a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated by African mineworkers, and Lenasia, with a population mostly of Indian extraction.
The urban sprawl continues east from Johannesburg through towns such as Alberton, Benoni, Boksburg, Edenvale, Germiston, Brakpan, Nigel and Springs. These towns make up the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, which includes Kempton Park and OR International Airport – the major entry point into the country.
The East Rand was founded on gold mining, but Springs is the site of rich coal deposits. The area provides access to a network of highways that link to all the major cities of South Africa.
Randfontein, Roodepoort and Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, are part of the West Rand, which is comprised largely of farms and smallholdings. The Krugersdorp Game Reserve and the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve are near Kromdraai, while the area also boasts the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
To the north of Johannesburg is the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, which includes Pretoria. The southern suburbs of Tshwane are slowly merging with the northern reaches of Johannesburg as urban spread continues.
Pretoria, the administrative capital of the country, is dominated by government services and the foreign diplomatic corps. Colourful gardens abound and the 50 000-strong purple-flowering jacaranda trees that line the streets make a splendid show in October.
The area of Sedibeng, about 50km south of Johannesburg, is the gateway to the popular Vaal River and Vaal Dam. It includes the towns of Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging and Heidelberg.