Situated at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountains in the North West Province, Rustenburg (‘place of rest’) is a city with a long history and a fast-growing future. Planning a trip to Rustenburg soon? Here are 10 things you might be interested to know…
The third oldest city (then town) in the former Transvaal, Rustenburg was established in 1851. Its main purpose at that stage was to serve as an administrative centre for a nearby farming area.
Rustenburg boasts numerous sites of historical and cultural significance. It’s the home of the indigenous Bafokeng, Bakgatla, and Botswana tribes with their fascinating tribal history. It’s also the home of the German Kroondal community which traces its origins back to 1857, and Paul Kruger settled his family there in 1863.
The Anglo-Boer War took place in the surrounding areas and one of the city’s battlefield tours will show you prominent battlefield, memorials, and forts.
2. Cradle of Humankind
This is where it all began! Just a day trip from Rustenburg lies the Cradle of Humankind. A World Heritage Site, this vast complex of caves contains the fossilised remains of ancient animals, plants, and hominids. You can visit the Sterkfontein Caves, open daily, where the 2.8 million year old female skull nicknamed ‘Mrs. Ples’ was found in 1947. Another attraction is the 2.2-million year-old Wonder Cave, where hourly tours are conducted.
Live on the wild side – Rustenburg is close to some of South Africa’s major nature reserves. Kgaswane Game Reserve offers great game viewing experiences through hiking or vehicle tours, while the Pilansberg Game Reserve is the fourth largest and one of the most accessible reserves in South Africa.
Traversing the floor of an extinct volcano, Pilansberg conserves lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo, making it a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true.
4. Sun City
Entertainment all the way! Just beyond the Pilansberg Game Reserve, Rustenburg visitors can enjoy the famous Sun City and Lost City. Both holiday resorts offer luxurious, modern entertainment for the whole family in the form of casinos, world-famous golf courses, vast entertainment complexes, and the ever-popular Valley of the Waves, to name just a few.
The fastest growing city in South Africa, Rustenburg has a population of approximately 400,000. In terms of industry, it’s home to the two largest platinum mines in the world, and the world’s largest platinum refinery, processing around 70% of the world’s platinum. The mining industry is one of the city’s largest employers and contributes to social development through various outreach programmes.
6. Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace
One of the host venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace seats 42,000 people. Along with the soccer stadium, the city also boasts the world-class Olympia Park which hosted some of the 1995 Rugby World Cup games. From rugby to judo, sport is of central importance to Rustenburg’s culture. The local high school, Hoërskool Rustenburg, is the school with the most provincial athletes of any school in South Africa while the city is home to professional football club Platinum Stars.
7. Rustenberg Ramble
If you want to learn more about the city, follow the Rustenburg Ramble – a meander that guides you through the city’s craft markets, galleries, and farm stalls. It also gives you a chance to sample the city’s historically diverse culture and food. Don’t miss Brauhaus am Damm – a micro-brewery offering a true experience in German culture. Sample the beer and get to know the locals a little better!
See the natural beauty surrounding Rustenburg from a very different vantage point. The Magaliesberg Canopy Tour is a daring eco-adventure involving a 2.5 hour tour down Ysterhout Kloof in the Magaliesberg Mountains. Zip lines and platforms provide a unique form of transportation while you explore the varied bird life and vegetation.
9. Water Sports
If you’re a fan of dams, there are a few close to Rustenburg. The Buffelspoort Dam is an arch type dam in the Sterkstroom River. Its main purpose is for irrigation and it’s a popular fishing spot. The Vaalkop Dam is open for boating and angling. In addition, 800ha of the reserve is set aside as a bird sanctuary. The massive Hartbeespoort Dam is located between Rustenburg and Pretoria and is a popular water sports destination.
The Grietjie Vulture Restaurant in the Magaliesberg Mountains has a different menu on offer … and a different clientele. Fresh meat and carcasses are put down for the vultures that live in the area and you can watch them feed. If you’re a keen birder, this is quite an experience at only R30 for the entrance fee.