SA Road Trips Mapped: Pretoria's wonders, both near and far

2018-10-01 16:27
Post a comment 0

Faircity Roodevallei in Pretoria

  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Located just north of the city, and incorporates parts of Magaliesberg range, this nature reserve is most famous for a 1 000 year-old ficus salicifolia tree, a wild fig called the "wonderboom". Legend has it that  chief of an indigenous tribe was buried beneath it. It was also a voortrekker rest stop during their journey. 

The Nature Reserve is also home to archeological excavation sites dating from the Iron and Stone Ages. The Stone Age excavation is the largest single discovery of stone artefacts in Africa. Avid hikers will enjoy scenic spots in the reserve, including the Wonderboom Fort. It is now a ruin site offering gorgeous views of the city but built for protection against the British.  

Contact info: +27 (0)12 543 0918  

  • Voortrekker Monument 

This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. Designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk, was declared a National Heritage Site by the South African Heritage Resource Agency.

Don't forget to take a selfie at koeksister bench. From there head to the Kruger House Museum to find out more about the Old Transvaal, its President Paul Kruger and the wild days of the 1880s gold rush. 

Take a Moonlit Horse Rides at the Voortrekker Monument – hosted by breeders of Cape Riding Horse for daytime and evening rides across the park surrounding the famous monument.

Contact info: 082 828 6323 email: caperiding@polka.co.za 

  • Hartbeespoort Dam

Check out the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre – this world-famous cheetah centre is in the Hartbeespoort Dam area, just 45 minutes to the north-west of the city, and well worth the drive. It is a breeding centre for a host of other animals, including the rare brown hyena.

Don’t miss the Harties Cableway. It was first opened in the 1970s, but has recently re-opened and it is quite literally the best view you could hope for of the Magaliesburg Mountains, the dam and the surrounding areas. There’s also a pizza restaurant and play-area for children right at the top.

Contact info: +27 (0)12 253 9910 

  • Walks at Union Buildings 

Marvel at the  Union Buildings' perfectly maintained gardens and check out the impressive 9m Nelson Mandela statue ‘embracing the nation’ from the amphitheatre – you know the one that used to have a rabbit in its ear. All the while you would either be travelling among Jacarandas or be able to see their purple glow from afar. Wrap up your day of exploring by taking a drive/stroll down Herbert Baker Street to see the rare collection of white Jacarandas.

  • Dinokeng Conservancy

Just over an hour’s drive away from Pretoria, the heart of the Dinokeng region is the Cullinan village, home to the world-famous diamonds mine. The Dinokeng Game Reserve is also Gauteng’s only free-roaming “Big-5” game reserve. Allow the African bushveld to come alive in this malaria-free area, and its close proximity also goes a long way to reducing your carbon footprint.

Contact info: +27 (0)12 711 4391 

  • Cradle of Humankind 

Just 45-minutes outside Pretoria and central Joburg, you’ll find the historical Cradle of Humankind - the only World Heritage Site in Gauteng. The 47 000 hectare site has the Sterkfontein Caves which is the site where the famous pre-human skull known as “Mrs Ples” was discovered. With over 175 places to stay and 113 restaurants in and around the area to choose from, the road trip to the Cradle of Humankind is informative and entertaining.

Contact info: Maropeng Visitor Centre: +27 (0) 14 577 9000 email: info@maropeng.co.za