Tshwane – Historical Tours – City of Pretoria tours
Pretoria Daily Tours includes: Kruger House, Voortrekker Monument – Union Buildings and Historic Pretoria City centre – Church Square.
Pretoria – colonialism to democracy tour – Private and Professional Tours
Pretoria is situated within the municipality of Tshwane (formally the Pretoria metropolitan area) in the Gauteng province of South Africa, in a fertile valley, north of Johannesburg. Surrounded by the Magaliesberg hills 1367m above sea level (400m below Johannesburg). Tshwane one of the six biggest metropolitan cities in South Africa.
Items covered by Ekala Eco Tours on our Pretoria day Tours
Pretoria – colonialism to democracy – fully guided tour.
Each Ekala tour uniquely designed for an individual experience. If you have only one day available for a Pretoria tour, we structure the tour around the key sites and your time available and the time allocated to the tour.
We prefer to use our experience in Pretoria to create a suitable day tour, including the most significant items in the area and the best use of time. However if you have specific requirements or places you wish to visit, Ekala will create a tour around this. This should be supplied to us at the time of quoting.
The most important Pretoria sites (Voortrekker Monument, Union Buildings and Church Square) we would always endeavor to include in our Pretoria tours. However depends on time available and other items that have been specifically included, as the Cullinan Diamond mine. If the focus was the mine, perhaps we may only do a drive through Pretoria.
Ekala offers half day historical tours covering some of Pretoria’s significant sites, to a comprehensive Pretoria historical/cultural tour lasting 3 days.
Pretoria as a day tour, we would generally not go into Museums – unless specifically required.
Ekala Eco Tours offer tours that would included both Pretoria and the Johannesburg. However, best to allocate 2 days for this.
To be able to structure a tour around your requirements and time available – we need to be supplied with clear timing and collection and drop off address – hotel name. If one of the points is the airport – I need full flight details. Once I have these it will be possible to quote/advise and structure a day or multi day package around your requirements/timing.
Named after Andries Pretorius, national hero after victory over the Zulu’s during Great Trek inland from Cape Town.
The Pretoria City Tour
Items on Pretoria/Tshwane tour can include as follows:
- Voortrekker Monument: Biggest Monument in Africa. Built to honour those who left the Cape Colony under British control in pursuit of self determination. Left between 1835 and 1854 and became known as the Voortrekkers. Massive 40 metre high granite structure built on hill top and can be seen from most parts of the city.
- Laager wall of 64 wagons circles the Voortrekker monument. This is the same number of wagons used at the battle of Blood River.
- Union Buildings: National monument and is the office of the president of South Africa. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and built between 1910 and 1913 by over 1260 workers in Sandstone. Stunning terraced gardens, planted with indigenous plants with a panoramic view of the city from Meintjieskop hill.
- The South African – Delville Wood War Memorial can also be seen here (Union Buildings). Tribute to South African troops who died during the First World War. Situated on the highest point of old Pretoria, giving an excellent view over Pretoria.
- Union Buildings have been the site of many important events related to the freedom struggle. One being in 1956, when 20 000 women, protesting against apartheid laws, marched to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum.
- March leaders included Lilian Ngoyi of the ANC, Helen Joseph of the Congress of Democrats, Sophie Williams of the African People’s Party and Rahima Moosa of the South African Indian Congress.
- The Union Buildings were not only a site of protest, later serving as the venue for many important events in South Africa, such as the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela.
- Kruger House Museum: Built in 1884 and was the first house in Pretoria to be lit by electricity and has been immaculately recreated to look exactly as it did when Paul Kruger, president of the Zuid Afrikaanse (Transvaal) Republiek, lived there more than a century ago. On view is also Presidential coach – luxury train wagon.
- Smuts House Museum. The home of General Jan Smuts for over 40 years. The scientist, philosopher, and statesmen (twice the prime minister of South Africa) once lived in the museum that now reveals this great statesman’s life and spirit.
- African Window – National Cultural History Museum of South Africa. Containing a vast collection of historical, cultural and even a collection of archaeological items from both the stone age and iron age.
- Pretoria Synagogue. The infamous Treason Trial took place at this Synagogue.
- Church Square – Historic Pretoria city centre with statue of Paul Kruger, surrounded by four Boer soldiers. Dating back to 1850’s. With the buildings surrounding the square of significant historical value and includes the Palace of Justice which served as a venue for the Rivonia trial, in which former President Nelson Mandela was one of the accused.
- Freedom Park and Memorial. A breathing space, where one can reflect on South Africa’s past. Includes a memorial list of South African’s killed in the Boer wars, World War I and II as well as the Apartheid Liberation struggle. A vast wall/gallery dedicated to South Africa’s legends of humanity. Pretoria’s symbolic resting place for South Africa’s fallen countrymen and woman. It also serves as an inspiration to all the people of South Africa for the future.
- GaMothle – name given during the Apartheid years to this building – the Pretoria Pass Office.
- Coin World. The South African Mint and our rich coin heritage and includes “Oom Paul” – the oldest working coin press in the world.
- Correctional Service Museum. Ingenious collection of items, made by prisoners, some as hobbies others were illegally manufactured. It covers the development of the penal system in South Africa.
- Pretoria Railway station building: Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, opened in 1910.
- South African Reserve Bank, Pretoria. Pretoria’s tallest building.
- Pretoria City Hall: 32 tower bells and largest public hall in South Africa, complimented by gardens, fountains and three statues.
- Victoria Hotel: Pretoria’s oldest hotel, opened in 1892 .
- Pretoria Forts: Consisting primarily of 4 forts built by the Boer government before the outbreak of the second Anglo Boer War:
- Fort Schanskop and Fort Klapperkop can be visited, restored, apart from the artillery.
- Fort Klapperkop – Fort Schanskop – Fort Wonderboompoort – Fort Daspoortkop. The ZAR Government, concerned about the security of Pretoria, approved a plan in 1896 to build 8 fortified positions around the city. Built as the most modern structures at that time by hundreds of black labourers with predominantly Italian builders with technical expertise from the Germans and Dutch.
- Troops and armament were gradually withdrawn from the forts to be deployed elsewhere during the war. As such the forts offered no resistance when the British occupied Pretoria on the 5th June 1900. The British subsequently armed the forts and added additional fortifications to strengthen the defenses of Pretoria.
- The forts of Klapperkop, Schanskop and Wonderboompoort have been declared National Monuments.
Only covered in extended tours – not possible or practical in a day tour focusing on Pretoria and its history from colonialism to democracy.
Freedom Park. A memorial including a list of South African killed in the Boer wars, World War I and II as well as the Apartheid Liberation struggle.
Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. A museum reflecting the cultural history of South Africa, with 10 collections of about 27,000 objects of Ndebele and Xhosa pottery, Stone Age and Iron Age objects.
Melrose House. A stately English Victorian and Cape Dutch mansion, built in 1886. Requisitioned by Lord Roberts in 1899 to be used as the British headquarters during the second Boer War. The treaty ending the Anglo Boer War signed here in May 1902. Lavishly furnished in the style of the time.
Museum of Geological Survey. Geology and Mineralogy of the earth with the focus on South Africa. National Botanical Garden. Established in 1946 on 76 hectares and is the headquarter of SANBI – South African National Bio diversity Institute.
National Cultural History Museum. Linking the present with the past to offer a better understanding of the diverse cultures and dedicated to the preservation of these cultures and heritage of all South Africans.
National Zoological Gardens. Established in 1899 after the outbreak of the second Boer War, this is South Africa’s National Zoo, on a land area of 200 acres with annual visitors of over 1 million. The Zoo covers over 97 mammal species, 160 bird species, 270 fish species and 105 reptile species. A total of over 4350 animals. Includes a walk-through aviary and the largest inland aquarium in Africa.
Pioneer Open Air Museum. A gracious Voortrekker farmstead built over 150 years ago on the bank of the Morelata Spruit, with a restored horse mill, threshing floor and farming implements and is a fascinating example of the building methods and materials of the time.
South African Air Force Museum. Dedicated to South African Air Force history. Split into 3 locations – Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and the largest of the three being AFB Swartkop’s outside Pretoria, occupying over five hangers and follows the development of the South African Air Force.
South African Police Services Museum. Showcase the South African Police Services history including some fascinating cases – some with the original murder weapons and even the blood stained clothing.
Sammy Marks Museum. A Victorian mansion built and furnished by Sammy Marks, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Restored to resemble as it was in 1886 including collections from the 1880. Most of the contents being the actual personal items of the Marks family.
Transvaal Museum. Founded in 1892 by the government of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek as the Staatsmuseum (State Museum) and is focused exclusively on South African Natural History. The museum covers the origins of life on earth, from the simplest forms to the most complex The bird life exhibition is the most comprehensive in South Africa and showcases the varied bird life of the area. An enormous skeleton of a whale is there to greet you as you arrive.
Tswaing Crater Museum. This is one of only 3 meteorite impact sites in South Africa. A 1.4Km diameter crater, some 220 000 years old. An on site museum shows how the crater was favoured for hunting during the middle stone ages.
Van Gybland-Oosterhoff Collection. The largest collection of Dutch items of historical and cultural significance outside of the Netherlands.
Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum. Extensive collection of early farming implements and a recreation of farming methods as well as farmstead living in the 1920,s
Different tour options are available – with different durations and prices.
Perfect tour options to include with the Pretoria/Tshawne Tour to create a full day tour: Cullinan Diamond Mine Tour – De Wildt Cheetah Sanctuary.
Pretoria/Tshwane and surrounding attractions
The settlement marked the end of the Great Trek by the Boer’s.
The river valley had been occupied by the Ndebele since around the 1600’s. Boer families started to put roots down in the 1840’s. In 1855 the area was named as the township of Pretoria and in 1860 declared as the capital of the then South African Republic.
Named after Andries Pretorius, the national hero after the victory over the Zulu’s at blood river. The Pretoria area at this time consisted of approximately 80 houses with less than 350 residents.
This Pretoria settlement marked the end of the Great Trek inland from Cape Town by the boer’s. In 1877, the British annexed the Transvaal, which included the town of Pretoria. The British were later to withdraw during the Transvaal War of independence and returned only after the Anglo Boer War. Market Square was the hub of Pretoria, later to be called Church Square.
Open markets flourished and the first church in the Pretoria area was built here. A statue of the then President, Paul Kruger was erected on church square. In 1910 the Union of South Africa was established and Pretoria became the administrative capital. In October 1931 Pretoria officially achieved city status. In 1961 South Africa became a Republic and Pretoria’s status as administrative capital was retained.
Pretoria was also known as the City of Roses. Its’ climate was suitable for growing rambler roses. Later to become know as the Jacaranda City after these trees were imported and thrived in the area with a current estimate of the trees in Pretoria to be over 50 000. The Jacaranda tree has now been declared an alien species and not to be planted in the future.
Pretoria first known as the City of Roses – later to become known as the Jacaranda City.
The Pretoria City of Today
The estimated population of Tshwane is 2.2 million with the city of Pretoria at approximately 1 million (census 2001). Language to percent population is approximately as follows: Pedi 22% – Afrikaans 21% – Tswana 17% – Tsonga 10% – Zulu 8% and English at less than 7%. Pretoria has a negative connotation to many black South Africans, as “the capital of apartheid South Africa”.
Pretoria has remained as one of the country’s three capital cities:
- Pretoria the executive (administrative).
- Cape Town (legislative capital).
- Bloemfontein (judicial capital).
See every day life in South Africa’s Capital City – Pretoria.
Ekala Family & Guides
We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa and intimate knowledge of the tours, historically/culturally and wildlife safaris we offer. With our knowledge and experience, bringing a lifetime of experience in South Africa (and 4 generations before us) to ensure our clients capitalise best on their time and budget.
We personally conduct and organise all our tours and safaris as highly experience and professional guides.
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Full or Half Day Tours
personalised historic, cultural or custom Tours.
Personised Historic Tours
including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Gold, Diamond, Gauteng Aviation and Military History.
Wildlife Safari's & Tours
Eco wildlife including Pilanesberg, Kruger National and Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Park.
Personised Cultural Tours
including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Alexandra Township and local Cultural Villages.
including Sandton to O.R. Tambo Airport, Pretoria and Johannesburg Park Station Transfers.