North West Province
This stretch of bushveld between Pretoria and the Kalahari is famous for Sun City, the southern hemisphere’s answer to Las Vegas. Though its slot machines and kitsch edifices are grotesquely fascinating, it's the nearby parks and reserves that we really love – Madikwe Game Reserve is a real gem, while Pilanesberg has terrific wildlife and is very accessible. And for that once-in-a-lifetime, romantic Out of Africa–style experience, a night in the bush at Madikwe’s exclusive lodges can’t be beaten.
Conveniently, these opportunities to encounter both big cats and one-armed bandits are all within four hours’ drive of Jo’burg. En route, the Magaliesberg area offers detours from the N4, ranging from zip lining to rural accommodation near Rustenburg.