Johannesburg (Jo’burg) is the country’s largest and most happening city, where gold was discovered in the late 19th century and where fortunes are still made and lost. Gauteng’s provincial capital is still riding on the back of the World Cup, and the creative and inventive spirit is alive in the cafes, galleries and clubs popping up across the rejuvenated city streets. The wealth divide is stark, though, and it can be difficult to reconcile the glistening wealth with the sprawling townships.
The political centre of Pretoria, a short drive north, is decidedly less urbane but is somewhat grander with its stately buildings and jacaranda-lined streets.
In the World Heritage-listed Cradle of Humankind, in a vast valley is full of caves and fossils, you can ponder three million years of your own existence.