Thanks to its scrawny and desolate dryness, North West Province’s Central Region feels especially remote, and there are not all that many towns worth visiting. Mmabatho, once the capital of Bophuthatswana and now incorporated into neighbouring Mafikeng, the provincial capital, forces reluctant bureaucratic pilgrimages on people from all over the province. The region’s appeal lies elsewhere, in the brooding plains and lush river valleys of Marico and the rarely visited game reserves, including Madikwe on the Botswana border. And then there are the people themselves: local Tswana and Afrikaners are both short on English but long on hospitality, at least to visitors, a trait best experienced at the village of Groot Marico, famed nationwide for its mampoer peach brandy and quintessentially laidback spirit.

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