This was predominantly pre...
This was predominantly pre 1994, an Afrikaans speaking city,
===however after the change of government from
White to Black,
===the removal of international sanctions, boycotts and RECOGNITION as a legitimate state
=== PRETORIA within the Metroploitian City of TSHWANE
has now over 100 Embassies, High Commissions, diplomatic agenies and International Agncies.
===Being the administrative Capital, buraucratic mentality is rife,
===fortunately, it also is a city of gentler cosmopolitan civility and intllect, compared to Johannesburg /Sandton
===with its many academic and reseach institutions etc.
Luxurious Rovos Trains
Rovos Rail started in the '90s used old trains of SAR, with it's steam locomotives to bring back bygone ears, luxurious and pricey fro the well heeled and well wallet padded.
It used to have it's passengers spend a nigh at the Victoria Hotel in Paul Kruger Street south opposite the Pretoria Station,
but due to socio-economic shcnages, it renovated the old Capital Locomotive yards buidning ibto a pelasant secene for it's camera keen passengers.
Easy to get there, i.e Capital Park
either a Bus from Church Sqaure of the 'racy' 14/16 seater taxis.
Rovos Rail Head Office, P.O. Box 2837, Pretoria 0001, Gauteng South Africa
Tel: (+27-12) 3158242 / 3236052 Fax: (+27-12) 3230843
Church Square : History
Church square can be considered as the centre where Pretoria had its beginning. At the centre of the square is Paul Kruger, a former president of the old ZAR.
The first church on the square was built in 1856. The church was struck by lightning, the thatched roof caught fire and burnt down.
Several beautiful buildings are built around the square.
The square was an important place for matters of the state, eg inorgurations etc.
See tip on the buildings around the square.
Get into the swing of the Magaliesberg Canopy Tour
The Magaliesberg Canopy Tour comprises a series of 'foefie slides' (called 'flying foxes' in Australia, but goodness knows what they are called elsewhere - see photos and let me know!) across the Ysterhourkloof gorge in the Magaliesberg range, which are a range of east-west trending hills between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The tour starts at the Sparkling Waters Hotel where you get kitted up with your safety gear and sign your life away on indemnity forms. From there you are transported a short distance (which is included in the price) to the start of the trail. It is a short hike to the first slide, and from there, you have another 9 slides to enjoy! Contrary to my expectations, it isn't particularly strenuous, but it does require moderate levels of fitness, confidence and coordination. The operators maintain that the tour is suitable for people from 7 to 70 (except pregnant women) - we did it with a 10 year old in tow, who had a ball, but I don't know whether I'd consider taking kids much younger than that unless they were very intrepid. The set up is such that if kids (or wusses) 'freeze' mid slide, one of the guides could 'retrieve' them by pushing them across to the next platform, but I wouldn't care to be party to such high drama!
It is a really great way to spend a couple of hours - the landscape is stunningly beautiful and swooping over the gorge supported only by a wire is a liberating and almost spiritual experience. It's obviously not for those with vertigo or a timid disposition, but then they shouldn't be considering such activities in the first place. It's one of those experiences that you really shouldn't rush, as the setting is so gorgeous, and once you're in the gorge, it is eerily quiet. You probably won't see many large mammals, but there are dassies and loads of lizards, and the flora is glorious (if you like aloes, then you're in for a treat!)
The price includes a 'light lunch' at Sparkling Waters at the end of the tour. Without meaning to be overly unkind, everything that our group selected turned out to be lacklustre and lukewarm, and on reflection, I think that I would rather have been spared the meal! The price does also entitle you to use the hotel swimming pool, which would be a welcome bonus on a hot day (just be sure to bring your towel and cossie).
We did the tour on a public holiday, and as a result, they had booked groups 'back to back' to meet demand. As a result, the guides were under pressure to move groups through as quickly as possible, and we felt a bit rushed. Also the website and advertising state that 'refreshments' should be provided during the tour, but all we got was a bottle of water, which doesn't seem to meet the description. If I were to do this again, I would definitely book for a quieter time so that we had more time to appreciate the fabulous scenery and vegetation of the kloof.
This is one of five canopy tours operated by this company in South Africa - the others being in Tsitsikamma, Magoebaskloof, Karkloof and Drakensberg. By South African standards, this is not a cheap activity - R450 per person at the time of writing (May 2010) for a 2 hour tour. It is worthwhile, but be warned that you need to have fairly deep pockets if you're going to take the whole family!
National Zoological Gardens
Pretoria has a fantastic zoo. Although I prefer to go to one of our many game reserves, the zoo offers a different experience.
You can book night-visits, which is a very nice experience, as you get to see many nocturnal animals, which is not active during the day.
There is a craft market in the street, outside the entrance to the zoo.
The zoo has a very good website, which gives a lot of up to date information.
Night visits should be booked in advance (see details below)