A few posts back I wrote a bit about our November visit to Pretoria to see the Jacarandas and promised to write more about the trip later. Pretoria is about an hour north of Joburg and one of the 3 capitals of South Africa (Cape Town and Bloemfontein are the others). There are quite a few sites to see in Pretoria, however as our main goal for the day was to see the Jacarandas, we headed straight to the Union Buildings which I had read is the best place to see them.
Union Buildings from the Garden Below
The Union Buildings contain official government offices (including that of the President) and you are not allowed to enter but you can however visit the lovely gardens below. The Union Buildings are the highest point in Pretoria and there are fantastic views of the city from here.
View of Pretoria from the Union Buildings
Just as we arrived, a wedding party was finishing up a photo session. I loved the bright colors as well as the stylish (and quite practical on this hot day) parasols carried by the beautiful ladies.
The guys practicing their dance moves for the party later
Happily posing for more photos
We were a little late for the Jacarandas, but the gardens are lovely and well-maintained.
My plant knowledge is pathetic, can anyone help identify this for me?
The gardens also contain several different memorials, including the South African Police Memorial, the Barry Hertzog Statue (which has now been relocated and replaced by a Nelson Mandela statue, you can read about it here), and a replica of the Delville Wood South African National Memorial in France.
South African Police Memorial
Barry Hertzog Statue
Delville Wood WW1 Memorial Replica
The Union Buildings are quite diverse in architectural style and I will be keeping my eyes open for a tour sometime to learn more about them. This was also the site of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address, as well as where he laid in state for 3 days after his death last month.
Steps leading up from the gardens to the Union Buildings