The sprawling city of Boksburg stretches out to the east of Johannesburg, in the South African province of Gauteng. It was where the discovery of gold spurred a rush for wealth back in the late 19th century. Memoirs to the city’s formation still hang on the city streets, although Boksburg has very much moved into the 21st century. It’s now a thriving multicultural city, where multiple languages are spoken, and there’s a broad mix of businesses.
Six historic hotels date back to a time when travellers were following the gold rush. Not all of them are still hotels, but the era’s style is wonderfully evoked by their crumbling facades. The Angelo Hotel, King’s Hotel, and Boksburg North Hotel are the best examples. This huge city has mostly been swallowed and incorporated into Johannesburg, and it’s not always easy to see where Boksburg ends and its bigger neighbour begins. O.R. Tambo International Airport marks the northern boundary, with Alberton and Brakpan to the south. Areas close to the airport are dominated by industry and are heavily built up. Those to the south are quieter and more rural, where it’s only a few kilometres further to the wilderness of Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.
O. R. Tambo International is the busiest airport in Africa and the main arrival point for international visitors. Metered taxis can be found immediately outside arrivals. Public transport consists of a network of minibus taxis, each seating 16 – 20 passengers. These run on set routes across the city and are an inexpensive way to travel.
Along with gold, Boksburg was the first place where coal was mined in the Transvaal, the north-central area of South Africa.