The area south of Johannesburg is a region known as Southern Gauteng and stretches as far as the Vaal River which the province's border with the Free State. Due to the river, it is popular for weekend breakaways from the city and there many places where one can stay, eat, drink and play.
The Vaal Dam, River and the Loch Vaal Reservoir form part of the major source of water for Johannesburg as well as providing wonderful opportunities for a large range of water sport activities including sailing, water-skiing, boating, windsurfing, fishing, etc.
The Suikerbos Nature Reserve is an hour from Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport. It is near the historical town of Heidelberg and is one of the region's top ecotourism destinations.
It covers an area of 134 square kilometres and contains wonderful examples of indigenous flora and fauna, including a large range of game, over 200 species of South African birds and many different types of trees, plants and grasses. There is a network of 66 kilometres of hiking trails to suit any hiker as well as a sixty kilometre motor vehicle tourist route which is also suitable for cyclists.
There is a lot of heavy industry in this area - particularly steel and petrol from coal (SASOL) extraction. Some of the towns here are also largely dormitory towns for people working in Johannesburg.
- spend some time at the Suikerbos Nature Reserve
- visit the historic town of Heidelberg
- have a picnic on the banks of the Vaal River
- take a booze cruise on the Vaal River
- go rafting on the Vaal River (www.tapimanzi.co.za)
- visit the Treehaven Waterfowl Trust outside Vereeniging