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The National Zoological Gardens in Boom Street, Pretoria or better known as Pretoria Zoo rates as one of the ten best Zoos’ in the world. The Pretoria Zoo boasts the largest inland marine aquarium in South Africa together with its reptile park.

This impressive all in one experience is situated on 85 hectares and is the biggest Zoo in South Africa and the only one with national status. The Zoo plays a very important role in the conservation and protection of various threatened species and they are proud to facilitate the National Research Foundation.

The National Zoological Gardens was the first Zoo where a white rhino was born. It is also the only zoo in Africa with an insectarium and a white tiger, and there is an ‘adopt an animal scheme’ that helps provide support for the animal’s food and care for a full year, which gets your free entrance so that you can visit your ‘wild child’ as often as you wish. There are aquarium tours, camping tours (you get to sleep over!) and night tours, which for many of the well over 600 000 visitors who enter the 85 hectare zoo in Pretoria every year, are perfect for spotting owls, elephants, lions and red pandas.

Pretoria offers a visit to various Museums. A visit to the Botanical Gardens can not be missed during your visit in Pretoria. Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park displays the heritage of the typical South African.

Voortrekker Monument This colossal granite structure is visible from practically every part of the city of Pretoria. It was built to commemorate the memory of thousands of Voortrekkers who departed from the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. Gerard Moerdijk designed the impressive monument. Construction was formally inaugurated on the 13th of July 1937 with a ceremonial turning of the sod by descendents of Voortrekker leaders. The inauguration of the structure itself took place on the 16th of December 1949. The Monument stands 40 meters high, and has a base of 40 meters by 40 meters. The state contributed the lion's share of the cost of construction, which was approximately £360.000. An amphitheatre with a capacity to accommodate around 20,000 persons was constructed on the north-eastern side of the monument in 1949.The two significant focal points of the building are the Historical Frieze and the Cenotaph Hall. The distinctive marble Historical Frieze is an inherent part of the design of the monument and is positioned in the Hall of Heroes. It has 27 bas-relief panels that portray the memorable “Great Trek”. Besides presenting a pictorial history of the Great Trek, they also show the various details of normal life, routine work, religious convictions and customs, and generally try to show what exactly the average Voortrekker was.

The central focus of the monument is the cenotaph. Visitors can enjoy a dramatic view of the interior of the monument from the dome above the Hall of Heroes. An opening has been provided at the top of the dome for sunlight to enter cenotaph. Every year, at exactly twelve in the afternoon on the 16th of December, the rays of the sun fall in the middle of the cenotaph where the words 'Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika' or Afrikaans for 'We for Thee, South Africa' have been inscribed. It was on December 16th in 1938 that the battle of Blood River took place. The Voortrekker monument complex also includes the adjacent Fort Schanskop, which was constructed by the government. Kruger House

This historical structure was the official residence of the renowned Boer leader, Paul Kruger, who was the President of the South African Republic. Tom Claridge was the architect and Charles Clark the builder. It was built in 1884. An unusual feature concerning the construction is that milk was used in the place of water for mixing the cement, as the quality of the cement available at that time was extremely poor. Another distinction was that it was one of the first houses in Pretoria to use electricity. The furnishings and other objects in the house are either original or belong to the same historical period. Gifts presented to Kruger by various dignitaries and friends are displayed along with other artefacts. Barney Barnato, the mining tycoon, gifted the two stone lions on the veranda to Kruger. They were his birthday present to the President on October 10th 1896.

The Kruger House has been converted into a museum and is well maintained. Every effort is made to maintain the atmosphere and the ambience that existed during the time Kruger lived there.

The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the President of South Africa. The grand Union buildings sit on Meintjies Kop and overlook the city of Pretoria. The Union Buildings were built from light sandstone and were designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker in the English monumental style. The Buildings are over 275 m long and boast a semi-circular shape, with the two wings at the sides. This serves to represent the union of a formerly divided people. The east and west wings represent two languages, namely English and Afrikaans.

The Union Buildings are considered by many to be the architect's greatest achievement and a South African architectural masterpiece. The cornerstone was laid in November 1910. Requiring over 1,265 workers over 3 years to build, the structure was completed in 1913.

Especially notable are the terraced gardens surrounding the Union buildings which were planted exclusively with indigenous plants as well as the 9 000 seat amphitheatre. Within the grounds are various monuments and statues. The Union Buildings and its spectacular gardens are a "must see" when visiting Pretoria.


When Nelson Mandela said in 1999 - “the day should not be far off, when we shall have a people’s shrine, a freedom park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom.” - he was describing the Freedom Park, which today stands on 52 hectares on Salvokop in Pretoria; a monument to democracy.

The Freedom Park opened its doors in December 2007.

It is a space where South Africans and visitors to the country can reflect on the past, and is an inspiration for the future. It is regarded as one of the most ambitious heritage projects the government has invested in; an attempt to encapsulate the heart and soul of South Africa in a physical space.

The park is established on the cornerstones of human dignity, rights and freedom and reflects the sacrificial achievements of the nation. It serves, according to Dr Wally Serote, “as a permanent reminder for us, now and for future generations, that South Africans did take a step forward to put closure to the past while not forgetting it.”


The huge monolith that is the Voortrekker monument stands as a major landmark on a low hill, just outside Tshwane (as Pretoria is now called). Depending on who you are, the monument that has some of the finest sculpture work in the country is either a reminder of apartheid or an important memorial for Afrikanerdom, but either way, it is worth a visit.

The Voortrekker monument was built in honour of the great Voortrekkers or pioneers, who left the Cape during the period 1835 to 1854 to cut through the interior of the country in what became known as the Great Trek.

The main body of the building, known as the Hall of Heroes, is decorated with an Italian frieze showing the history of this epic journey, and despite the misperception of the monument as an apartheid monument, it gets some 200 000 visitors a year.


The last house in which President Paul Kruger was to live, between 1883 and 1901, before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe, the Kruger House Museum lies just a few blocks from Church square, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice.

The beautiful Victorian style home was interestingly built using milk instead of water for mixing the cement as the cement of the time was deemed to be of a poor quality.

Paul Kruger’s home was one of the first in the city to use electricity, and he had one of the first telephones installed in Pretoria in 1891. The unpretentious home has been refurbished to reflect the time when Kruger and his second wife, Gezina Kruger, lived here and, amongst a number of bits and pieces is a knife that Oom Paul (Uncle Paul), as he was fondly known, used to amputate his thumb after a shooting incident. The lions on the verandah were given to Kruger by Barney Barnato, the mining magnate, as a birthday present in 1896.

Melrose House is situated at 275 Jacob Maré Street, Pretoria across from Burger's Park. Free parking for visitors to Melrose House is available at 280 Scheiding Street, to the south of Melrose House.

Melrose House offers visitors guided tours by appointment, a clay tennis court, a reference library and a Tea Garden. Temporary exhibitions, antique fairs, talks, workshops for children and adults, and shows are presented on a regular basis. Enjoy Tea in the Tea Garden. The Stables at Melrose House is housed in the stable complex at Melrose House. Light meals, cakes, a variety of teas, coffee and cold drinks are served.


The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is a proud facility of the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The 85-hectare Zoo in Pretoria houses 3117 specimens of 209 mammal species, 1358 specimens of 202 bird species, 3871 specimens of 190 fish species, 388 specimens of 4 invertebrate species, 309 specimens of 93 reptile species, and 44 specimens of 7 amphibian species.

These figures comprise the animals housed at the Zoo in Pretoria as well as at the two biodiversity conservation centres in Lichtenburg, in the North West Province and Mokopane, in the Limpopo Province and the satellite zoo and animal park at the Emerald Animal World complex in Vanderbijlpark. The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is the largest zoo in the country and the only one with national status. More than 600 000 people visit the Zoo annually. The total length of the walkways in the Zoo in Pretoria is approximately 6km. An Aquarium and Reptile Park also form part of the Zoo facility in Pretoria. The Aquarium is the largest inland marine aquarium in the country. The third largest collection of exotic trees can be found at the Zoo.
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