Pretoria is South Africa’s administrative centre with a number of gracious old houses in the city centre; large, leafy suburbs; and wide streets that are lined with a purple haze of jacarandas in October and November. The city has so much to offer, and it’s versatility knows no bounds.
PLACES TO VISIT
All fallen South Africans in all major conflicts are honoured in the park. The Isivivane Garden of Remembrance; Sikhimbuto, the wall of inscribed names of fallen heroes; a museum and interpretative centre covering Southern African history; and Mveledzo, a spiral path that cuts into the natural landscape are some of the other highlights in the garden.
To honour the journey of the Voortrekkers, who trekked north over the coastal mountains of the Cape into the heart of the African veld, this monument was constructed between 1938 and 1949.
The building houses the presidential offices and are the headquarters of the government. Public celebrations are regularly hold in the gardens. President Nelson Mandela was inaugurated here in 1994. Former head of states statues inhabit the grounds and a WWI and South African Police memorial can see seen in the garden. Only the gardens can be seen, there is no access into the buildings.
4.THE STATE THEATRE
The theatre complex hosts stage productions such as opera, jazz, comedy, ballet and theatre in its five theatres: the Arena, Studio, Opera, Drama and Momentum.
5.PRETORIA ART MUSEUM
The museum features regularly changing exhibitions but specializes in South African art throughout the country’s history.
With historical significance this stately mansion was built in 1886. The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in the dining room on 31 May 1902marking the end of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902). Also on display is the grand billiard room with a vibrant stained-glass smoking nook and a conservatory containing a collection of political cartoons from the Anglo-Boer War.
The former residence of Paul Kruger, president of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1900 was built in 1884 and is a short walk west from Church Square. Guarded by two stone lions, it contains period furniture and a random collection of personal knick-knacks belonging to Kruger and his wife.
8.NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
A vast collection of exotic trees, picnic spots, a reptile park and aquarium can be found in the gardens. A cable car runs up to the top of a hill that overlooks the city.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
Pretoria has a pleasant climate with warm to hot summers and mild sunny winters. The best time to visit is during the spring when the city is transformed by 60,000 flowering jacaranda trees, covering the parks and gardens in a mauve blanket.