The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality: Big on Nature, Big on Development

The so-called Big 5 of the animal kingdom are amongst the main lures to a region that continues to expand, diversify and evolve as one of South Africa’s most influential hubs

Established in its current guise for nigh-on 16 years, The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality is justifying its formulation as a concerted hub of innovation, development, natural preservation and business attractiveness to become one of South Africa’s most appealing regions.

Comprising 13 former city and town councils since its inception on 5 December, 2000, a latter expansion in 2011 added further structure to the Gauteng province, while strengthening a Tshwane region that continues to put its money where its mouth is in developing all aspects of life within its borders.

“Tshwane has 105 wards, 210 councillors and about 2.5 million residents, and is divided into seven regions,” the Tshwane Tourism Association states on its website. “It covers 6,368 square kilometres of Gauteng's 19,055 and stretches almost 121 kilometres from east to west, and 108 kilometres from north to south; making it the third-largest city in the world in terms of land area, after New York and Tokyo/Yokohama.

“Tshwane's five-Year plan of action is to develop Tshwane into a leading city where residents can enjoy a good quality of life. The five-year programme focuses on the challenges and opportunities faced by the city and have five strategic objectives.”

Enhanced provision of quality basic services and infrastructure, a cleaner and safer sustainable community, and improved governance and financial viability comprise just three of these; epitomising once again the ambitions of the city in terms of its future prominence, and the inevitable positive ramifications that this has in regards to tourism and the business travel sector.

INFOGRAPHIC

Facts and figures

Country: South Africa

Province: Gauteng

Area: 6,298 square kilometres

Population (2011): 2.5 million

Currency: Rand

Time zone: UTC+2

Dialling code: +27

Municipal Code: TSH

The business end

“As the administrative seat of Government and hosting a number of Embassies, City of Tshwane has proven to be a leader on the African continent in providing affordable industrial sites, various industries, office space, education and research facilities,” Tswhane Tourism Association states.

As such, the area has become a melting pot of research, development, industry, education and commerce; indicative of the attractiveness it now boasts from a business perspective.

Once again, there are also concerted plans for future growth in place too, with the most recent aims including accelerated growth; enhanced contributions to the wider provincial economic growth target; a reduction in unemployment by as much as 50 percent; a bridging of the gap between first and second economies; and an improved attitude towards equality across genders, age and disabilities.

Again, the culmination of these considerations not only represent the ethos of a city very much in demand, but point towards a sense of sustainability and longevity for business success in the years to come; making it a lucrative proposition for foreign direct investment, and an increasingly likely port of call of executives seeking new opportunities on the continent.

As such, peripheral sectors including hospitality and transport have had to be addressed substantially, the former in particular enjoying a rapid shunt into becoming a zone for big brands and five-star luxury.

The newly renovated Faircity Roodevallei Hotel situated on the edge of the Roodeplaat Dam is one such example, with R6 million worth of investment compounding its wide variety of accommodation able to host up to 250 delegates in the most calm and tranquil of settings.

Similarly, the revamped Leriba Hotel & Spa embraces all that is naturally good about Tshwane, and its 20 luxury en-suite rooms on the banks of the Hennops River in Centurion offer the perfect retreat away from the boardroom.

Out and about

“Possibly one of the most exciting developments in the city has been the opening of 012Precinct, four trendy new multifunctional inner-city venues,” Tshwane Tourism Association’s Chairperson, Bronwen Cadle de Ponte said in an interview with Daily Travel and Meetings Buyer earlier this year.  “Cleverly named for the city’s dialling code – 012 – the venues have already successfully hosted events from conferences to concerts and corporate functions to hip markets.”

Cadle de Ponte’s analysis of the new venue is an indictment of the goals driving the City of Tshwane’s evolution at present, paving the way for numerous eateries, museums, retail outlets and hotels to thrive.

“Driven by passion for the inner city, the vision of 012Precinct is to build and grow a precinct in which people live, work and play. The venue comprises a number of closely situated buildings that enable diverse, rich experiences for people or companies that need a venue for their event.”

Made up of 012Central, 012 Central Bank Towers, 012 Central Jardown and 012Central Prinschurch, everything from bars, to events, to architecture and culture are covered. And in regards to the former, it also provides a platform for the nationally famous outlets to strut their stuff; in this case the African Beer Emporium takes centre stage to deliver “local and foreign visitors a taste of Africa in an unprecedented way and with exceptional style”, Cadle de Ponte enthused.

She continued: “New on the horizon is Time Square at Menlyn Maine, which will offer a five-star Sun International hotel with 100 luxury rooms and 10 suites to cater for the diplomatic travel market, support the business traveller and encourage overnight stays in Tshwane and accommodate gambling patrons over weekends.

“Another exciting development that is being anticipated is the new Radisson RED hotel, part of the Loftus Park complex in the city, and is expected to open before the one planned for Cape Town.”

Outlook recommends

Nature Reserves

Dinokeng Nature Reserve

As the only Big 5 Game Reserve in Gauteng and arguably the world’s first free roaming Big 5 Reserve, its location and scenery places it among one of the country’s most sought-after and incredible attractions. On the periphery of urbanisation, ease of access and connection to the Tshwane region is compounded by the sense of natural peace enjoyed within the Reserve itself; its lodges serving as more concerted escapes from city life before you even get to the main attraction.

That main attraction being, of course, the Big 5: the African lion, the African elephant, the African leopard, the rhinoceros, and the Cape buffalo (the latter finally introduced to Dinokeng in 2012, 12 years after the Reserve’s inception).

In essence, Dinokeng Nature Reserve has mirrored the City of Tswhane’s development in recent years; being brought to the fore at the same time before becoming a focal point of the wider region it occupies. Dinokeng is as much the pulling factor of Tswhane, as Tswhane is of Gauteng, and even South Africa as whole.

Crocodile River Reserve

National Zoological Gardens

Museums
Kruger House

Melrose House

Pretoria Forts

Art and culture

The State Theatre

Fried Contemporary Art Gallery

Food & Drink

African Beer Emporium

Hotels and Spas

Faircity Roodevallei Hotel

Leriba Hotel & Spa

OuKlip Game Lodge

Transport Links

In-line with all other developmental facets of the Municipality, the transport links that facilitate travel around the region are every bit as comprehensive, largely as a consequence of wider national incentives.

Pretoria rail station is complemented by the Gautrain which runs through large swathes of the Municipality to keep Tswhane on track, while direct links to the OR Tambo International Airport in the neighbouring Ekurhuleni Municipality serve the longer-haul visitor.

Once in the confines of the district, taxis, the municipal bus service and car are considered the best modes of transport outside of the Gautrain, with the latter road option blessed with five highways connecting the Gauteng region to all other cities in the country.

Assisting with this venture both internally and externally is a recently updated and unveiled tourist map which provides “the location of, and detailed information on, accommodation establishments, attractions, tour operators and guides and other tourism-related businesses in the city”, Cadle de Pontenoted in an interview with Daily Southern African Tourism Update in August, 2016.

She added: “It also provides visitors with detailed information on the buildings on Church Square, information on major transport hubs such as the airports, Gautrain stations and bus routes, locations of free WiFi and Visitor Information Centres around the city.

“The map also includes a section on Tshwane trivia, providing facts on the city and an inset detailing the city’s public art.”

Landmark attractions

Antique Route 6

Exactly as it sounds, Antique Route 6 is a must-see journey through time courtesy of a host of small antique shops situated in Pretoria North. “An established route winds through the beautiful and leafy historic area of Pretoria North and leads you to some of the most renowned and interesting antique shops in the city,” its website states. An-Tea-K Kettle, Uriah’s Heap, Little Treasures, Geran Meubels, Golden Oldies, Labyrinth House, Bellbottoms, LFR Antiques, Retro Rabbit, and Sinkhuisie Antiques make up the ornate and tranquil journey.

Cool Capital

“The Cool Capital Biennale is the world’s first uncurated, DIY, guerilla biennale: a place for the citizens of the Capital City to collectively contemplate and express why we love our city, and how we can improve it,” its website details. Without limitations or jurisdictions - both geographically and artistically - this ongoing initiative which also graces Venice in Europe showcases the most artistic minds that the region has to offer; comprising a series of events, showcases and exhibitions to depict the best of Gauteng in a new light.

 Cullinan Diamond Mine

“This mine has produced some of the world's largest high quality gemstones and is the home of the world's largest diamond - the Cullinan (3106 ct). Recently, a number of record-breaking blue diamonds have been found including a 122.52 carat diamond which achieved a value of US$27.6 million in 2014,” notes Cullinan Tours. The operator allows visitors to witness the spectacle six days a week, providing exclusive surface and underground tours of the working Cullinan Diamond Mine.

“After visiting the mine, you will get the opportunity to visit the Cullinan Diamond Mine market for an unforgettable diamond and jewellery shopping experience,” its website adds.

Voortrekker Monument

The majestic Voortrekker Monument is situated in the Tshwane region in a nature reserve and serves as a unique Monument commemorating the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner.

“The Monument was inaugurated in 1949. It was designed by architect Gerard Moerdijk. In the Hall of Heroes is the world’s longest historical marble frieze. A tapestry with more than three million stitches is housed in the Cenotaph Hall,” the site’s official webpage details. “Today it is the most visited heritage site of its kind in Gauteng and one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in the country. It is also the only Grade 1 national Heritage Site in Pretoria. The Monument also manages the Blood River Heritage Site.”