PERFECT LOCATIONS GALLERY
Who would believe that the smallest and most industrialised of all South Africa's provinces contains such a collection of traditional and cultural homesteads?! From turn of the century Voortrekker white and coloured farmsteads to colourful Ndebele, Zulu huts to Credo Mutwa's garden of mythical African figures- there is certainly a homestead for just about every filming requirement.

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Of interest in Johannesburg are various historic farmsteads including the Driefontein Farmhouse built in 1906, which can be found on Olympia Road in Parkmore, and the original Emmarentia farmhouse on Greenhill Road in Emmarentia. Filming often takes place on the well known Nash's Farm in the Cradle of Humankind, where there are various rural locations including an old Transvaal farmhouse setting, and Lesedi is often used for African cultural locations.

The location highlight this month has to be the Onverwacht settlement. Onverwacht's fascinating history is reflected in its many old, welcoming and well kept plots. Situated North East of Cullinan, it was occupied by descendants from freed Malay slaves who arrived with the Malan "na-trek" in 1857. They inter-married mainly Pedi people, who now call themselves Black Afrikaners and consider their land "bloedgrond" given to them by President Paul Kruger for their assistance during the Anglo Boer War.

There is a big old church, the Verenigde Gereformeerde Kerk of Onverwacht, replete with an old church bell mounted on four poles at the entrance to the church yard. The settlement includes a cemetery, a plethora of donkey carts, old stone houses and plots surrounded by stone walls containing vegetable gardens, vines and fruit trees. (Tel: Patricia +27 (0)76 756 9518)

Gauteng is the hub of South Africa's film industry and it's not surprising taking into account  the number of hidden historic gems to be found -  all in close proximity to main centres.

19th century farmsteads:

The Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum features an 1880 farmstead furnished with late Victorian furniture, a working outside oven, blacksmith's shop, dairy, water mill and peach brandy still. Various domestic animals roam around while live demonstrations of traditional farming activities, such as baking bread, making butter, shearing sheep and distilling peach brandy continue. The museum is situated at Rayton, ten kilometres from Cullinan. (Tel:  +27 (0)12 736 2035)

The Diepkloof Farm Museum, situated in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, is an old farmhouse built in 1850 that has been restored to its former beauty. The Diepkloof farm was built by JG Marais, one of the first trekkers to farm in the Highveld in the 1800s. Vintage furniture and personal belongings give insight into another time. The sheep, cows and geese add to the farmyard atmosphere. (Tel: +27 (0)11 904 3964)

Pioneer Museum, in Silverton, Pretoria, is an open-air museum and pays homage to the Voortrekker lifestyle. David Botha, a Cape farmer who migrated first to Natal and then to Ohrigstad in the Northern Transvaal, built the original pioneer dwelling and outbuildings on the premises of what is today known as the Pioneer Museum in Silverton in 1848.

Demonstrations of traditional farming activities include milking cows, making butter, baking bread and grinding coffee beans. The house is a t-shaped dwelling with a thatched roof, dung smeared floor and pioneer furniture dating from 1848 with outside oven and outbuildings. A tanning pit, wagon shed, water furrow, threshing floor, water mill, animals, and duck pond can be seen.  (Tel: +27 (0)12 803 6086/7)

The remains of the Jameson Homestead are on the farm Vlakfontein, a few kilometres south of Roodepoort. This is the site where Dr Jameson and his raiders took refuge after the abortive Jameson Raid in 1895. President Paul Kruger's Boers apprehended Jameson and his men here after their plan to bring down the republican government had failed. A memorial to the men of Roodepoort who died in the Jameson Raid has been erected and the house and homestead on Vlakfontein have been declared a national monument.


Victorian homesteads:

The Sammy Marks Museum - Just outside Pretoria is the home of wealthy entrepreneur and good friend of President Paul Kruger, Sammy Marks. Sammy Marks last will stated that nothing could be changed in his house for three generations after his death. His wish was fulfilled and today his home holds the distinction of being the only Victorian museum with an authentic interior. (Tel:  +27 (0)12 802 1150)

Designed by the London Architect WT Wale in 1886, Melrose House in Pretoria is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. During the Second Anglo-Boer War, Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener used the house as their headquarters. Today, the Melrose House Museum is a national monument. (Tel: +27 (0)12 322 0420)

Indigenous African cultural homesteads:

The Mapoch Ndebele Traditional Village is home to a group of Ndebele people who still adhere to the old way of life and belong to the Msiza family. The Ndebele are well known for their artistic abilities and the intricate designs and blends of gay colours that adorn their walls and clothing. This 'living' cultural village is situated opposite the Loopspruit Wine Estate near KwaMhlanga, north of Bronkhorstpruit. (Tel: 013 930 7046)

Two locations offer glimpses into traditional Zulu lifestyles. The Sibaya Zulu Boma Cultural Village situated on Main Road, Kyalami provides visitors with an authentic  Zulu experience. At the Voortrekker Monument outside Pretoria  there is a medium size Zulu hut. It is a replica of the huts built during the reconstruction of a section of the Royal Capital of Umgungundlovu during the 1980s. Characteristic of the traditional hut is its beehive-style construction. The hut is typical of the dwellings found in the then Zululand. (Tel: +27 (0)12 326 6770)

The Credo Mutwa Cultural Village at the Oppenheimer Tower in Central Western Jabavu, Soweto is a remarkable collection of extraordinary human and animal sculptures and a traditional dwellings from a variety of African building styles, including fascinating Muslim African inspired dwellings. The village was created by Credo Mutwa, renowned play write, author, sculptor, painter and traditional healer, over a decade ending in 1984. It is an extraordinary location with gigantic mythical figures and murals with a distinctive outsider artist stamp to it. (Tel: +27 (0)11 930 1813)

The Ke-Ditselane Cultural Village depicts the lives of Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Venda, Tsonga, Tshwane, Sotho, Ndebele and Swati people. It can be found on Moleketi Street, Katlehong, Ekurhuleni. (Tel: +27 (0)11 903 2710) and the person to speak to Holomeni Radebe.

The Lesedi Cultural Village, established in 1993, is probably the most well-known and accessible of all Gautengļæ½s cultural villages. Its vision was to provide an authentic showcase of the traditional cultures of some of the well known African tribes, who have their home in South Africa. Representatives of these tribes facilitated the design of the cultural villages to ensure an historically representative portrayal of the cultures, highlighting aspects of the traditional way of life. Members of these historic communities live at Lesedi and continue to breathe life into their fascinating cultures. The village includes five traditional homesteads representing Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele cultures. (Tel: +27 (0)11 561 3196)