Midrand forms part of the City of Johannesburg, situated between Sandton and Centurion. It was originally a small village, quite aptly named Halfway House, as it served as a refreshment station for people making the trip between Johannesburg and Pretoria in the past.
Midrand has experienced a great deal of growth and development in the last decade and today it almost connects the two cities with several of its own suburbs. It is built around the N1 with its own Gautrain Station ensuring quick access to the tourist hotspots of Johannesburg and Pretoria such as Montecasino, Sandton City, Kruger House Museum or the Union Buildings, plus it has its own international airport for light aircraft, Grand Central.
The area has fast become a large business hub, large enough to rival that of Sandton with high rises starting to mark the skyline. However, Midrand remains a popular equestrian region with residential country estates and quiet back roads where tourists and holiday makers can easily find some peace. Some suburbs maintain a country atmosphere with large properties where you will find all types of homes and accommodations, from new and upmarket to old and rustic; many of which feature horse paddocks.
The newest landmark to appear in Midrand is the largest single phase shopping mall to be built in Africa, The Mall of Africa. Other landmarks include Gallagher Estate, one of the largest conference centres in the country, and Nizamiye Masjid, the largest mosque in South Africa.
Midrand has a number of great restaurants, pubs and shopping centres and offers plenty of accommodation options including Hotels, B&B’s and Guesthouses, suitable for both business and leisure.
Things to do and see
- SA Lipizzaners
- Lory Park Animal & Owl Sanctuary
- Mongameli Park
- Beaulieu Bird Sanctuary
- Glen Austin Bird Sanctuary
- Mapatiza Mine Tours & Gecko Jewellers Workshop
- Nizamiye Turkish Masjid (Mosque)
- Russian Orthodox Church of St. Sergius
- Midrand Urban Market
- Riversands Farmers Market
- Mall of Africa
- Kyalami Golf Course
- Kyalami Race Track
Midrand receives approximately 723 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during Summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 23˚C.
There are daily flights into Lanseria Airport, approximately 38 km’s away along the R512 and the N1 and into O R Tambo International Airport, approximately 34 km’s away via the N3. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The history of human occupation of and settlement in the Midrand area, goes back at least 150 000 years, when groups of Early Stone Age people appeared periodically. Midrand was also the scene of the periodic occupation by Middle and probably also by Late Stone age groups as well as Iron Age Settlers.
White farmers began settling in the area around the middle of the 19th Century and their farm names were chosen as descriptions of the area for example, Blue Hills, Olifantsfontein, Waterval, Diepsloot etc. In the late 1880’s a stop-over station where horse teams could be changed and passengers could rest was developed midway between Pretoria and Johannesburg and this facility became known as “Halfway House. The proposed railway station bypassed Halfway House to the east, and thus Midrands’ first railway station was opened on the farm Olifantsfontein in 1892. Halfway House was discovered by many of the wealthy in Johannesburg, who began establishing country resorts where they could relax and pursue rural sports and hobbies such as horseriding.
The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) also touched Midrand, and for a short period it was a key focus of the British war effort, when the British forces under Lord Roberts advanced through Midrand from Johannesburg en route to Pretoria, which was occupied on 5 June 1900.
Halfway House became a town in 1920, and in 1925 Halfway House Estate was established. However, development was slow, and Halfway House remained a one-horse town for decades to come. The establishment of the Midrand Town Council heralded the beginning of a new period of development. Unfortunately the “boom of the new” saw the demolition of Van's café, the old Halfway House Hotel and the post-office in the mid-1980s and the last tangible remains of the old Halfway House disappeared.
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