With a total area of 16 548 square kilometers, Gauteng is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. While it’s the country’s smallest province, it has the largest population, and by far the highest population density – around 675 people per square kilometer. (The Northern Cape, by comparison, has an average of around three people per square kilometer.)
A summer-rainfall area, Gauteng has hot summers and cold winters with frost. Hail is common during summer thunderstorms.
The people of Gauteng have the highest per ca-pita income level in the country. The province blends cultures, colours and first and third-world traditions in a spirited mix, flavored by a number of foreign influences. The world’s languages can be heard on the streets and in offices, from English to Mandarin, Swahili, French, German and more.
The province has the most important educational and health centers in the country. Pretoria boasts the largest residential university in South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and what is believed to be the largest correspondence university in the world, the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Most of South Africa’s research and development takes place in Gauteng, which is home to many of the country’s core biotechnology companies. Leading research institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Agricultural Research Council and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute are based there.
Although the province is highly urbanised and industrialised, it contains wetlands of international importance, such as Blesbokspruit near Springs.
And it’s home to the Cradle of Humankind, one of South Africa’s eight Unesco World Heritage sites. The region of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs has one of the world’s richest concentrations of hominid fossils, evidence of human evolution over the past 3.5-million years.