Friday 19 September – Pretoria

After breakfast, we went for a walk up through the park across the road to the Union Buildings. We saw a statue of Louis Both sitting on a horse – he was the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1910-1919. As we climbed the steps through the beautiful gardens, we came to a huge statue of Nelson Mandela. We continued up the steps through the Horticultural Section to another statue, which is a replica of a statue in Deville Wood France, in memory of those who fell in the Great War 1914-1918 and also the Second World War 1039-1945. “Their ideal is our Legacy. Their Sacrifice is our Inspiration.” We strolled through the gardens at the base of the Union Buildings enjoying the view over Pretoria and the masses of flowers on display.

From there we wandered down one of the main streets – Stanza Bopape Street, to Church Square. Along the way we passed through streets that were closed off to traffic and in which market stalls were actively selling al variety of goods to touristy type things to fruit and vegetables. Although the perimeter of Church Square is under major construction, we were able to get into the park area and take photos of Winston Churchill and some of the other buildings.

Church Square is the historic centre of the city of Pretoria. Several historical buildings surround the square – the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, The Tudor Chambers and the General Post Office. The Palace of Justice was the scene of the famous Rivonia Trial where Nelson Mandela was found guilty of treason and imprisoned.

Because it was a couple of kilometres back to the hotel, we caught a South African “taxi” back, which was very interesting as they are allowed to multi hire and gave us a quick quote for the journey before we got in – R10 each which is approximately $1 each. He stopped several times along the way to pick up people in his mini bus and as they spoke Afrikaans, we had no idea what was happening, but he did drop is off first. Interesting ride!

 At 1.00 this afternoon, we will be picked up by Wyatt, from Travel SA, to be taken to the Capital Park Station for the beginning of our APT “African Journey” Tour which starts with our three day Rovos Rail adventure from Pretoria to Cape Town, spanning 1600 kilometres and “covering a variety of colourful landscapes – from South Africa’s Highveld region, south through rolling grasslands to the winery country surrounding Cape Town, with its Table Mountain backdrop.”

Over the next three days we will NOT have access to the internet, so we will post our blog and photos to the gallery when we arrive in Cape Town.

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