By: The Naked Barista… 18 May 2016
So we arrived in Montana Park, Pretoria, last night after 13 hours on the road from our home in Sedgefield.
Although it was a long drive, I always feel safe with B at the steering-wheel as he is the best driver I know and he loves driving.
I was superblessed with a most beautiful sunset while driving through the Freestate unlike I have ever seen before…
As the Freestate is free of mountains and the horizon can easily be seen as a flat surface, it looked as if a magnificent flaming red ball descended ever so slowly and came to sit carefully on the earth.
I live with gratitude as my mantra and it really felt like the Universe was choreographing this entertainment just for our viewing pleasure…
I was totally mesmerized with this big, magical, red, round ball which slowly moved with us as we were driving… My eyes were transfixed as the magical trees then came in to play and danced in ‘fairytale style’ past it…
I have never experienced a sunset like this one. It was the longest time before the sun actually set and very slowly looked like it was being halved, the further we drove the smaller this red half ball became…until…at the very last second it was eaten up by the flat horizon and spat out in an ever increasing pink hue. It was absolutely stunning…
I firmly believe that gratitude begets more gratitude. This might have something to do with the way in which I experienced this sunset as I am healing from being very sick. The doctors diagnosed it as an unknown blood virus, which only means that we still do not know what actually caused my illness. I am truly grateful to be alive and I really would love to share the story, but as this is the article on Pretoria, here is a link for my “Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are” article for those who would want to read it on the ‘spititual’ side of our Travel website.
So, last night, around nine, only after off-loading and settling in our workmen, could we book into our own accommodation, The Zambesi Lodge, for the night. At reception, we were registered by Fred, who reckoned that we ‘had arrived in civilization’…
Obviously, he has not spent much time in the Garden Route and I let the comment slide as we were very tired.
Next morning though, I just had to ‘give it’ to him as there were no ‘Rooibos’ tea in the room when we needed to have a ‘cuppa’ the night before and they had the cheapest powdered coffee for the morning… Civilization…hmfp?
As we are superblessed though, I could go and find some good coffee and a plunger in our vehicle early next morning and being true to my title, “The Naked Barista”, woke B up with a good cuppa and also a few delicious rusks to boot.
During the day, Fred made up for his terrible comment, by helping me with my Wi-Fi connection and I found out that he is actually from Belgium, but has been in South Africa for 36 years.
Later in the day I felt a bit hungry and saw some bread rolls on display. I asked if I could purchase something to eat, but was told that this was for the conventioners meeting.
About half an hour later, Fred knocked on my door and offered me a delicious bread roll left over from the convention and at that stage the ‘Rooibos’ tea in the room were also replenished.
In my bag, in a tiny glass container, I had the best honey I have ever tasted. This was a gift from a friend, Gerhard Snyman who shared our Africa Burn experience recently. The lovely honey comes from Stellenbosch where he stays.
As usual when off to work, our vehicle were fully loaded, complete with trailer. (I have a story about the trailer, but this is also for the article…”Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are”).
Sometimes I find it an absolute miracle to see what we can load – with our workmen, all of our luggage and theirs for about two months, a fridge for them to have on site and all the necessary tools…
I can understand why some Cellphone towers is necessary…It is unbelievable how bad cell reception is in the centre of the City. I really battled with reception and I had much to do as we are trying to sell one of our properties in Sedgefield. We would like to purchase a bigger piece of land in the beautiful Garden Route…
Well…after that bit of subliminal advertising,
…something about Pretoria…
Pretoria (Tshwane), in the Gauteng Province, is one of the three capital cities of South Africa and home to more than a million people, the bulk of who are government officials.
Pretoria was founded in 1855, by Marthinus Pretorius, who named it after his father, Andries Pretorius. It became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) on 1 May 1860.
Today, it is also known as “Jacaranda City”, for its thousands of jacaranda trees, bedecked with purple blossoms, lining its streets usually in October and November. This purple haze with beautiful blossoms adds splendour to the wide streets of Pretoria and thus is incomparable to any other city.
This city has a humid subtropical climate, with long hot rainy summers and short cool to cold, dry winters. Pretoria experiences typical winters of South Africa, with cold clear nights and mild to moderately warm days. Snowfall is a rare event, but snowflakes were spotted in 1959, 1968 and 2012.
Also known as South Africa’s administrative centre, it has a long, involved and fascinating history.
The CSIR – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is located in Pretoria in its eastern suburbs.
Pretoria also hosts the South African Bureau of Standards, making this city a hub for research.
At the heart of Pretoria, Church square is surrounded by a number of gracious old houses and government buildings. These include the 19th century Palace of Justice, where the Rivonia Trial that sentenced Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment was held. The semicircular early 20th century Union Buildings encompass the president’s offices and hosted Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. A 9 metre tall statue of former president Nelson Mandela was unveiled in front of the Union Buildings on 16 December 2013. Nearby is the massive post-war Voortrekker Monument, honouring 19th century Afrikaans settlers from the Cape Colony.
More significant old buildings and fascinating museums abound. The Transvaal Museum has changed venues a number of times, but has been around since 1892. This is the home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humankind.
Old Lion (Paul Kruger) takes pride of place in the centre of Church Square, surveying his miniature kingdom.
Pretoria is home to the largest residential university on the African continent, the University of South Africa (commonly referred to as Unisa), founded in 1873, as the University of the Cape of Good Hope.
The University of Pretoria (commonly referred to as UP, Tuks or Tukkies) is a multi campus public research university and was established in1908.
The University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science established in 1920 is the oldest veterinary school in Africa and the only veterinary school in South Africa.
The Tshwane University of Technology (commonly referred to as TUT) is a higher education institution, offering vocational orientated diplomas and degrees.
Pretoria also boasts with the Loftus Versfeld Stadium which is home to the Blue Bulls, who compete in the domestic Currie Cup, and also to the Bulls, in the international Super Rugby competition. The Bulls super rugby team, which is operated by the Blue Bulls, won the competition in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Loftus Versfeld also hosts the soccer side Mamelodi Sundowns. There are three teams in this city playing in South Africa’s top flight football League, the Premier Soccer League, – Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United ( 2008 –09 PSL Champions). The University of Pretoria gained promotion to the Premier Soccer League following the 2011/2012 season as the top domestic league. The famous 2010 FIFA world cup was also held here.
Cricket is also a popular game in this city and the most local team to Pretoria is the Titans. Pretoria has even born some famous Cricketers such as the current captain AB de Villiers and T20 captain Faf du Plessis.
The Pretoria Transnet Blind Cricket club is situated in Pretoria and is the biggest blind cricket club in South Africa.
The South African State Theatre and the Oliver Tambo building, which is the headquarters of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (a good example of neomodern architecture in South Africa).
Located on Muckleneuk Hill on the outskirts of the central city stands a prominent landmark in the skyline, The Lukasrand Tower.
Pretoria, in good city flavour, have a few skyscrapers worth mentioning – The tallest would be the Reserve Bank of South Africa (150m tall), the Absa building (132m tall) and the Poyntons Building (110m tall).
Although Pretoria is the neighbour of Johannesburg, it could be a direct opposite. Johannesburg is seen as a “world class city” and one of the most “happening” cities on the African continent and it gleams with the glamour of money. Pretoria is more of a laid back Afrikaner city and even its bars and restaurants are less cosmopolitan.
Pretoria feels more cosy as it lies in a warm, sheltered valley surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range which ensures that the temperature here are a few degrees warmer than Johannesburg.
Pretoria has more on offer as it is home to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa as well as the Pretoria National Botanical Garden and a number of smaller parks and gardens including the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Pretorius Square gardens, the Pretoria Rosarium, Pretoria showgrounds, Springbok Park, Freedom Park and Burgers Park, which is the oldest park in the city and now a national monument.
It is easy to get around in Pretoria as the public transport services includes commuter rail operated by Metrorail. The Gautrain is a high-speed railway line with various routes.
Pretoria Station is also a departure point for the luxury, well known, Blue Train. Rovos Rail, a luxury mainline train safari service operates from the colonial-style railway station at Capital Park.
The oldest bus company is Putco, but there are various others.
There are two military air bases to the south of the city, Swartkop and Waterkloof.
The city is a major commercial centre and an important industrial centre. The main industries are iron and steel works, copper casting, and the manufacture of automobiles, railway carriages and heavy machinery.
We spend two nights in the Zambesi Lodge, as B had to establish his site before we could move to our self-catering accommodation I had booked for us at Castalis Guest House in Montana Park.
Montana Park: is a residential suburb and is situated north east of Pretoria CBD. It is a predominantly Afrikaans speaking suburb for mainly young white residents.
….TO BE CONTINUED IN PRETORIA PART2…