Highveld

 

Pretoria Zoological Gardens

Pretoria’s National zoological Gardens run breeding programmes on nature reserve near Lichtenburg. It supplies both local and foreign zoological gardens. Birds such as flamingos, herons, swans and secretary birds are prolific and get shipped all over the world.

Founded in 1899, it has become Africa’s largest zoological garden and among the world most renown. It has 750 specimens of 135 mammal species, 2000specimen of 236 bird species. 600 specimens of 95 reptile species. And holds Africa’s largest inland aquarium.

Among the exotic animals found here are the ruffed Lemur, pigmy crocodile, orang-outing, gorilla, chimpanzee, gibbon and endangered king cheetah.

 

Johannesburg Zoological Gardens

The Johannesburg zoological gardens are not as grand as the Pretoria zoological gardens but they are split in two with Jan Smuts Avenue as the divide. On the one side zoo lake which provides boating on water, playgrounds for children, restaurants and picnic areas.

 

Gold reef City

Gold Reef city is arguably the most visited attraction for both foreigners and locals alike. Situated just south of the centre of Johannesburg, Gold Reef city was created out of an existing mine where todays visitors can get a safe yet real feel of a gold mine going down into the depths of the tunnels watch gold being poured. Experience a gumboot dance, visit places as they were lived in back in the days. Attractions include Victoria fair many resurrections of early shops an early theatre a tea parlour to sit and rest feet, miners cottage newspaper office and stock exchange.

 

Tswaing Environmental Museum

This “museum’  began to take shape with the enthusiastic contributions by local interested parties of township people living on the outskirts of this 220 000 year old meteorite crater. Today apart from the meteorite crater itself it holds a herd of indigenous cattle breed which is being preserved as a gene pool.

Tswaing (Tswana for salt) is now a nature reserve with its geological centre piece and also houses indigenous plant and bird species that one can observe first hand when walking the trails especially designed to show off the best that Tswaing can offer.

 

Museums

Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museums

Open all week there are special craft activities performed on Saturdays. It is an open air museum depicting farm life in the Transvaal when farm people still made their own candles distilled their own spirits, baked their own bread and only the more wealthy and enterprising ploughed their fields with steam tractors. The exhibits include all manner of implements both inside the home stead and for farming use including a collection of horse drawn carriages.

City Hall

Although not strictly speak a museum city hall is a must for music lovers who can appreciate the country’s largest organ. That has 16000 pipes 146 tops and a million of 32 cylindrical bells.  City hall has a beautiful domed clock tower, inaugurated in 1935. The Garden is home for sculptor Gert steynberg two statues of Andres Pretorius after whom Pretoria was named.

Voortrekker Museum

The Voortrekker museum is a rather imposing monument perched on a hill, south west of the city. The monument boasts the second longest frieze in the world depicting afro Boer history. The cenotaph in the basement is illuminated by the sun at 12 o clock non on the 16th December.  The words on the centographs are the last words of “Die Stem’ (ons vir jou suid afrika), now incorporated into South African national anthem.

 

Nature Lovers

Fountains Valley

Fountains valley situated south of Pretoria central is Africa’s first nature reserve, proclaimed by President Paul Kruger in 1895. Fountains valley is the source of the Apies River that runs through the Pretoria zoological gardens and for many years after the establishment of the fountains valley reserve, the water was used exclusively for the Zoo. Today it is a place of recreation for local people who can find a piece of nature in their door step.

 

Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Like Fountains valley nature reserve, the Wonderboom nature reserve is found in the middle of city life……………The Wonderboom (ficus Pretorine) is a 700 year old tree that like the banyam tree grows new roots wherever the long slack branches touch the ground forming rings of ever more youthful off shoots. Being of the fig family the Wonderboom is home to several hundred bird species.

 

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary

In a quieter part of Pretoria is found the Austin Roberts bird Sanctuary opened in 1955. It is large park home to more than 100 bird species including the blue crane south Africa’s national bird and several common antelope. In this bird sanctuary is a quaint restaurant overlooking the bird sanctuary and small dam, where blue cranes roam freely.

National Botanical Gardens

The gardens have a large variety of flowering plants that lend colour to the gardens throughout the year. The garden also houses the national herbarium that contains more than 270 000 plant varieties, most of them indigenous. It is also here that many rare and endangered species are propagated. These gardens have a typical bushveld feel to it.

 

The Pretoria Art Museum

Situated in Arcadia Park the museum’s collection is mainly of South African works of well-known artists who lived and worked in Pretoria including the works of Coert Steynberg, Pierneef, Walter batiss and Anton van wouw.