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
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.