7. Pretoria Historical Tour - 8 Hours
Our tour commences with a visit to the Voortrekker Monument, the most popular heritage site in Gauteng. It was constructed to honour the history of the Afrikaner pioneers, (the Great Trek)
The corner stone of this majestic building was laid after which it was inaugurated.
The Monument is situated within a beautiful two hundred and fifty ha nature reserve to the south of the city.
Within the Hall of Heroes, the worlds longest historical frieze can be seen which depicts the historical events of the early pioneers.
Our second stop is at Fort Schanskop. After the Jameson Raid the government of President Kruger deemed it necessary to create a defense plan for Pretoria to protect the town from possible foreign invasion.
The plan of two German engineers , Otto Albert von Dewitz and Heinrich C Werner was excepted.
Fort Schanskop was the first of the four forts surrounding Pretoria to be constructed and was completed and handed over to the government. With the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War, both the garrison and the armament were reduced.
Pretoria was invaded by the British Army under the command of Lord Roberts and the forts were taken over by the British.
Our tour takes us to Pretoria city where we visit Melrose house, the beautiful Victorian mansion which belonged to George Hays.
The house was designed by W T Vale, and construction and took one year to complete.
After the annexation of Pretoria, the house became the Headquarters of the British
Army. Both Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener would use the house as their residence.
The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in the Dining Room of the house bringing an end to the Anglo Boer War.
The Kruger House was the official residence of President Paul Kruger. The house was built by Charles Clark in the eighteen hundreds. Due to the poor quality of cement at the time, milk was used to mix the mortar during the construction.
Before the British occupation of Pretoria, President Paul Kruger left the capital by train for Lourenco Marques to sail for Europe to raise support for the Boer cause.
President Kruger eventually went into exile in Switzerland
From the Kruger House, we drive to Church Square. Here I will explain the history of Church Square and the history surrounding each of the buildings.
The Paul Kruger statue situated n the centre of the square, depicts President Paul Kruger, the President of the South African Republic.
The statue is surrounded by four unnamed Boer soldiers. This statue was sculpted by Anton van Wouw and was placed in its current position.
The Union Buildings is the official seat of the South African government and the office of the State President of South Africa.
Built from light sandstone, it was originally designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
Altogether, a one thousand two hundred and sixty five artisans, workmen and labourers were assigned to the work which took almost three years to complete.