The fertile valleys of Northern Gauteng have been inhabited from the earliest times. The African groups who came here from the north were referred to as maTebele (refugees) by the Sotho tribes who were already living there. These groups soon adopted the name and settled down in the area, calling themselves the “Matabele”. Many other newcomers also first settled on the banks of the Apies River that flows through Pretoria. The beauty of the area, a combination of highveld plains and rocky valleys and the pleasant weather, probably played a major role in their choice of a place to settle.
To this day, a sense of history and tranquillity pervades the city of Pretoria and, while it provides the comforts of city life, it has also sustained a unique and truly rustic atmosphere. Although the pace is slower than that of Central Gauteng (especially Johannesburg) and industry is flourishing, it is in harmonious co-existence with nature rather than in overpowering exuberance.
Most of the cities in Northern Gauteng are part of the larger Tshwane Metropolitan Area that resort under one Metropolitan Authority. Pretoria is the main city in this area.