1-DAY CAPITAL CITY TOUR
Visit the Union Buildings
Like an ancient temple adorning over the city, the Union Buildings are a modern day acropolis, built at the highest point of South Africa’s capital. It forms the official seat of South Africa’s government and houses The Presidency, as well as the Department of International Cooperation (DIRCO). The site also plays host to the 9 meter bronze statue of the late President Nelson Mandela – this is where one can learn about his last days, and where his remains lay in state and thousands of people flocked to the site to pay their last respects to this great man.
Drive-by tour of Church Square, via City Hall
Church Square is the historic centre of the city – where the establishment of Pretoria started. Its most prominent feature is the statue of the late Boer leader and president of the Republic of South Africa, Paul Kruger, at its centre. Statues of four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers surround that of Kruger’s on a lower level of the plinth.
While here make a stop at the Palace of Justice court building, where Nelson Mandela and 9 other ANC members were sentenced to life-long imprisonment during the Rivonia trial of 1964. Visit the actual courtroom where the trial took place, as well as the prison cell in the basement of the building where Nelson Mandela and the accused were kept prisoner during the trial, which lasted for 3 years.
Built in 1931 the City Hall building is where historic City of Tshwane municipal events such as the State of the City and other community affairs take place – its historic architecture takes one back to olden day city-life.
At the front of the City Hall’s gardens stands three statues of significant figures:
- The 6.2 metre tall bronze statue of Chief Tshwane (unveiled in 2006) who was the leader of early African inhabitants to the area prior to the arrival of the Voortrekkers. It is also after him that the current City of Tshwane Municipal area is named
- The Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius – who led the Voortrekker push to settle north of the country and after who the name Pretoria came about
- Marthinus Wessel Pretorius – who founded Pretoria in 1855 and named it after his father
Ditsong Natural and Cultural Museums
Founded in 1892, the Museum of Natural History acts as the custodian and documentation center of South Africa’s natural heritage. The Museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs. Ples (the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind); fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals.
The Cultural History Museum explores South Africa’s cultural diversity in various permanent and temporary exhibitions. Their Art Gallery presents an overview and cultural diversity of South African culture through time, using cultural objects, crafts, sculpture and paintings and a permanent exhibition.
Explore Voortrekker Monument
The majestic Voortrekker Monument is located south of the city centre in Tshwane. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and is a commemoration of the arrival and settlement of the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. This is the most visited heritage site of its kind in Tshwane, the Gauteng province and one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in South Africa.
Discover Reconciliation Road into Freedom Park
Opened in 2011, Reconciliation road links the Voortrekker Monument and the Freedom Park, and allows free movement between the two complexes. The road signifies one of the greatest triumphs this country has ever seen, of the peaceful end to white minority rule and the transition to a free and democratic South Africa.
Freedom Park is situated on Salvokop in Pretoria. It is a venue where visitors can come to honour fallen heroes who gave up their lives to the fight for freedom in South Africa. Around 75 000 names of people who gave their lives during the course of South Africa’s history in various conflicts are inscribed on the 697m long Wall of Names. There are many symbolic areas in the park such as the Isivivane, Gallery of leaders, Pan African archives and the Museum complex. It is a place of honour and remembrance and offers visitors a choice between strolling the grounds and learning about the struggle for Freedom in South Africa or visiting the Museum.
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