18,178 km2 (7,019 sq mi)
Gauteng is typically an oasis. Perched on a dry inland plateau known as the Highveld, at an altitude above 1500 m, is this minute but extraordinarily fertile patch area. The name Gauteng comes from the phrase meaning “place of gold” in the Sotho language. The world’s largest gold deposits first erupted in 1886 in what is now the city of Johannesburg. Six percent Gauteng’s income and 31% of her export earnings come from the mining sector. Accounting for only 1.4% of the land area, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa. However, more people (approximately 15 million) live here than in any other region in the country. Because of its natural resources, Gauteng is far more affluent than the rest, thus presenting a choice target for immigrants from other provinces and from across the national borders. The metropolis of Johannesburg and Pretoria are the two most significant economic centres and important hubs for regional and international connections and communications. The meandering Vaal River takes its winding course around Gauteng, separating it from four of its neighboring provinces (the Free State, the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.