Before arriving in Joburg, we had promised (due to outside influences) to visit a prisoner who was doing a Life sentence for murder (he claimed Innocence). Prison authorities said we could combine two of his 40-minute visit sessions into one, and would also be allowed 'contact', so we set it up for two days later, at the end of my conference.
It was grey and drizzly as we turned up at the appointed time. A short waiting room visit was followed by a firearms check and we were then placed on a prison bus. This took us and a crowd of African visitors to the various cell-blocks before we arrived at Medium "C". Once there, after another wait, we were taken down a hallway, through a couple of doors and into a small room where we met this man for the first time.
We met an interesting man, small in stature, a former conscript SA army soldier who fought and was wounded in the Angola wars as a young man, a boxer and a diamond smuggler as well as a sensitive person, gifted as an artist and writer. We were amazed at the gifts that he had prepared for us - a Celine Dion tape for my wife and a bird book for me. During our visit, he had arranged for tea to be served, so we chose the red SA 'Roibos'. The World Rugby tournament had just wrapped up in SA, so he and I had a good laugh at how his Springboks had drubbed Canada badly - and continued on to win the championship in a great thriller with the NZ All-Blacks!
Our time was up, so we said our good-byes and left, thinking that this really was a strange experience! 9-years later, he is still there and is still fighting through his lawyers to be released. His artwork has been 'discovered' and is now being sold to commercial magazines.
We recently learned that, after two failed appeals of his conviction and escaping prison for the 3rd time, this prisoner (after being at large for about 1-year) was shot and killed by a police sniper on April 9, 2006 after he wounded two other officers and held other people captive at gun-point.
Just North of Pretoria lies the Tswaing meteorite crater & visitor center, site of one of the youngest large meteor impacts on Earth. Dating back about 220 000 years, the site ofers an informative museum, some marvelous hiking, and the option of a very clued-up guide to take you on your hike.
The crater area has been named as a national park, ensuring that it stays well preserved, and the entrance fee is minimal.
40km North of Pretoria is a meteorite crater similar in size to the well known Barringer crater in Arizona. The crater is a kilometer in diameter with walls 100m high and was formed some 200 000 years ago when an asteroid hit the earth.
Google with its maps, TALK, etecetera etcetera have been coming up
with amazing tools
the latest which i have just downloaded, for FREE
allows me to trace my footsteps and footrpints during my many decades
in city of birth and elsewhere
Internet maps reveal Roman villa
took me to 3D-Google Earth – Explore, Search and Discover
here is the terminus area for those unfortunate ones who travel from far to transfer to other trasport to get to work;
days past, shopping galore as the Shopkeepers of Asian origins were able to speak the lingua franca and 'fanagaloo';
remember apartheid or before 1949, unlegislated discrimination brought about pockets of distictly different meeting places;
a bit run down now, but there is an intersting Hindu temple;
Boom and von Weillight street is the area:
produce markets, retail and wholesale are nearby;
for the adventurous,,,
visit the area, talk and enjoy the exotic snacks
BEWARE of thugs, ruffans and petty thieves ! ! !
A 76 ha urban oasis is a pristine getaway a mere stone's throw away from the madding crowd.
Divided into four zones the Display area with SANBI HQ, herbarium, medicinal garden and concert stage area;
Central area with waterfall are the Aquatic, Cycad and Shade theme gardens.
Over the koppie to the succulent area on the northern side of the Garden, which is hotter and drier than the southern side, this is a rock-landscaped area – so typical of Africa.
The largest area of the Garden represents three separate sections – the African savannah garden, the natural koppie and highveld grassland areas.
this last is my favourite area, as it is typically highveld
Education is the main reason fro the Botanical Institue, since 1995 more S AFrican schoolchildren have had the chance to visit the gardesn as primary of high school scholars, thus ensuring the deeper appreciation of plants in the areas where they live and the country. so vitally important for the country's greener future as most have grown up in disadvantaged cramped 'Locations'
Good place for a picnic too, buy your provisions from Woolworths's Deli a mile East of the Gardens.
alternatively go the " Paperbark Thorn - Mohka" restaurant.
Around Pretoria and Johannesburg there are many wildlife reserves so you needn't drive very far to find wild animals.
Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Borakolalo, Ditholo, Buffelsdrift, Dinokeng and Krugersdorp Game Farm are but a few.
From Pretoria northwards lies what is know as the Bushveld. The Bushveld refers to a specific type of habitat characterised by thorn trees, broadleaved trees and savanna.
Here is a picture of a lovely broadleaf variety of some sorts situated in the middle of a wide savanna. It's not really a typical bushveld picture but I kind of like it anyway.
Sun City is like something out of your dreams.
Hidden away in the mountains, Sun City boasts its own man made beach (including a water park ) which matches those of the Caribbean, 4 hotel complexes, a huge lake, various casinos and much much more!
This was such a fun day with plenty of opportunities and a never ending list of things to do.
I spent the day at the Valley of the Waves (man made beach) and in the water park, and made my way down to the lake in the Cabanas complex to sport a bit of jet skiing. Total adrenaline rush in absolute perfect natural beauty.
Many visitors miss the Pretoria zoo when they visit which happens to be the biggest zoo in South Africa. This zoo has everything in it and is well worth a visit. You can find the zoo in Pretoria central, just off of church st, however, there are signs everywhere for it.
Kruger gave me some of the best experiences I've ever had. We went on a game ride around the park first soaking up the herbivore wildlife such as Springboks, before moving into lion territory to see the amazing site of lion prides within 10 or 15 metres.
After the drive we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the lion cubs in a seperate sanctuary.
It was here that I got to meet a giraffe face to face (literally) and experience my ulitimate high :o)
Hartbeespoort Dam lies only 35 kilometres west of Pretoria in the beautiful Magaliesberg mountain range. The dam was completed in 1923 and has become a very popular holiday and weekend resort for Johannesburg and Pretoria. Any type of water sports is possible here. Especially over the weekends and during holidays, it is crowded at the Hartbeespoort Dam. Worthwhile is a trip with the cableway up the Magaliesberg, from where one can enjoy panoramic views. It is also nice to drive the dam on the dam wall. A special experience is a flight with the hot-air balloon over the Magaliesberg landscape.
The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake Park boasts a quite comprehensive reptile collection. In shows is demonstrated how to deal with snakes and other reptiles. A zoo with lions, tigers, leopards and chimpanzees also belongs to the park. Some of the animals are tame and trained and played in movies already.
Cullinan - 40 minutes North East Of Pretoria to visit the Premier Diamond Mine.===This is where the Good Hope Diamond amongst many other famous lrge rocks were mined.===
Previously part of the De Beers Diamond Group=== Daily tours of the extraction process after the crushed Kimberlite rocks are brought to surface=== small charge but worth it.
It produces 25% of the entire world's production of gem quality diamonds,
A 507-carat (101 g) diamond was found in Sept 2009, sold a year ago for $35.3 million
Photos is the headgear with Jacaranda in bloom.
Hrtebeespoort Dam:- this was a concrete wall dam buklt to supply the Brits area's farmers - tobacco adn citrus;but instead we now have Citrus, Flower bulbs, thanks to the green fingered Dutch immigrants == and of course recreation.
=== nowadays to get a cootage on the Kosmos side of the waal is only for the Money wealthy, compared to the past when it was artists and nature lovers, - is it the age of aquarius or the Baby Bommers getting ..... ? ? ?
see >> http://www.hartbeespoortdam.com/
TSWAING METEORITE CRATER
A metreorite impact some 220 000 years ago
formed a huge crater, 1,4 km in diameter and
200 m deep.
This Crater is 40 km northwest of Pretoria,
one of the best-preserved meteorite impact craters
anywhere in the world.
TSWAING means Place of Salt in Setswana,
referring to a saline lake that covers
Besides the crater, ia an extensive
with a large variety of plant species,
typical of the Sourish-Mixed Bushveld;
wildlife, includes the
240-odd species of birds found in this area.
The drive takes you past a series of intersting
landmarks and housing of vatious levels.
Withing the area, the Tswaing project has
invited community participation in its
planning and development.
Local communities have already been
benefiting from the museum project through
job creation, skills training,
environmental education, income-generating
projects and tourism
( I hope SUSTAINABLE TOURISM ....K).
A Tswaing travelogue is coming ;-)))