Pretoria named after the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, is one of South Africa’s three capital cities and is situated some 60 km north of Johannesburg. It serves as the executive (administrative) capital and is therefore the de facto national capital. Pretoria is also known as the Jacaranda City. More than 80 000 Jacaranda trees line the streets of the capital city and if you are fortunate enough to visit Pretoria during October you might see the city covered in a blanket of purple flowers.
The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of the heart of the city. It is a massive granite structure and is built on a hilltop commanding a panoramic view of town. It was inaugurated in 1949 to commemorate the Voortrekkers, the original European settlers of what is now South Africa. Visiting the monument will leave you feeling in awe at the determination and the hardship the settlers’ endured to make a new life for their families in the interior of South Africa in the 1830’s and 40’s.
Next we go to the modern centre of Pretoria and its historic heart – Church Square, around which are a number of historically and architecturally significant buildings including: the Palace of Justice, the Tudor Chambers, the Old Capital Theatre, the Ou Randsall, (Old Council Chamber) and the general Post Office. The Palace of Justice was the scene of perhaps the most famous political trial in South Africa's history, the Rivonia Trial, during which Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders were tried and subsequently incarcerated.
Kruger House just off the Square is the historical residence of the Boer Leader Paul Kruger, the one-time President of South Africa. It was built in 1884 and now houses a house museum that recreates the ambience of the period. From Church square it is a short drive up to the Union Buildings which house the office of the President of South Africa and are the home to the seat of government. The buildings, the surrounding gardens and the newly installed larger than life statue of Nelson Mandela form one of the most popular attractions in the area.
Not far from Pretoria is the Cullinan Diamond mine. Cullinan – origin of “The Star of Africa”, part of the biggest brilliant gem quality diamond ever found. Arriving in the small town of Cullinan we make our way to the booking office before we start the surface tour conducted of a working diamond mine. The tour lasts approximately one and a half hours and if time allows, we can enjoy the various tourist shops in the area before heading back.
Commissioner street (Drive through)
New Town - (Drive through)
Old Post Office and City Hall photo stop
Top of Africa
Standard Bank Museum
Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital (Drive through)
Hector Pieterson Museum
Top of Africa - Entrance
Hector Pieterson Museum - Entrance