Africa 2014 Tuesday 16 September Brisbane to Johannesburg

Janet picked us up at 2.30pm and drove us out to the airport for our 5.00pm flight from Brisbane to Perth. Our bags were checked all the way though from Brisbane to Johannesburg. Our flight took approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes and we arrived at 8.40pm Perth time. We caught the free Shuttle Bus from the Domestic Airport to the International Airport, checked in, went through Immigration and Security, had a snack and a cuppa, before boarding our South African Airways flight just before midnight.

We are looking forward to our African Adventure!

Wednesday 17 September Pretoria

After a good 11 hour flight, where we both managed to get 3 or 4 hours sleep, we arrived in Johannesburg at approximately 5:15am. After clearing Customs and collecting our suitcases, we and three other people who are on our tour, were met by Wyatt from TravelSA, which is a company that works with Giltedge Tours, who are our African APT representatives. We were taken for a lovely drive north to Pretoria to our hotel, the Sheraton Hotel Pretoria and checked into our room to shower and freshen up.

Pretoria is just 50km from Joburg and is less urbane than its giant neighbour, but is much grander with its stately buildings and jacaranda-lined streets. Pretoria remains Afrikaans culturally. Once the former headquarters of the apartheid state, and site of the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela, the “laid-back” city of Pretoria – the administrative capital – carries a lot of history.

We met Wyatt at 9.00am for our Half Day Tour of Pretoria that we had prearranged – we invited Sue (from Brisbane) and Kevin and Rosemary (from Melbourne) to join us, which they were delighted to do. Wyatt drove us along the Executive Capital area where there are many country’s embassies and then out to East Pretoria through the more affluent area and onto a hilly lookout of the city.

Our next stop was at the Voortrekker Monument: This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was built to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. We saw the historical friezes, the cenotaph commemorating the battle of Blood River in 1838 and in the lower level, we saw some large tapestries that covered two of the walls. We also went up to the top of the building for a great view of the city of Pretoria. From the top we also saw some zebras, wildebeest and antelopes.

We then went to the Kruger House Museum: The Kruger House Museum is the last house in which President Paul Kruger lived between 1883 and 1901 before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe. It lies a short distance from Church Square, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice.

After a short drive through the centre of the city, we were taken to Melrose House: Melrose House, which belonged to a British Businessman, George Heys, who made his fortune transporting water to Pretoria, is now a museum that stands as an example of the transition of Victorian to Edwardian architectural styles. The interior has colourful stained glass windows, carpets in rich colours, ornate ceilings and fireplaces, valuable porcelain ornaments, as well as paintings by English artists.

Our next stop was the Union Buildings, which we can see from our hotel room: The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African government. They contain the offices of the President of South Africa and also where the first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, was inaugurated in May 1994. It has become a landmark of Pretoria and South Africa in general and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

We learnt that South Africa’s national bird is the blue crane, the national animal is the springbok, the national flower is the giant or king protea; and the national tree is the yellowwood.

South Africa is famous for Doctor Christian Barnard, who performed the first successful human heart transplant in 1967; political icons like former president Nelson Mandela and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu; as well as golfing greats such as Gary Player and Ernie Els.

After our tour was complete, we were dropped back at the Sheraton Hotel and had a lovely leisurely lunch with Sue, Kevin and Rosemary.

We settled into our lovely room with views over the Union Buildings to write up our blog before having an early night.



4 Responses to “Africa 2014 Tuesday 16 September Brisbane to Johannesburg”

  1. Cheryl &keith says:

    Very happy to hear that you have arrived. Enjoy your selfs

  2. Maria says:

    Day One of “our” adventure was very interesting and the photos as always are amazing….keep having a wonderful time love Maria and Dennis xx

  3. Liana says:

    I found the pics! 😉 They’re lovely, thank you for sharing. The Voortrekker Monument has a special place in my heart, as I am Afrikaans & its part of my history (or my ancestor’s…) Looking forward to the next installment! Enjoy my lovely country x

  4. sandy says:

    Thank you Liana. Wait until you see what we did today!!!

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