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© SA Tourism© SA TourismKnown as the Jacaranda City for all the purple-blossom-bedecked trees, which line its thoroughfares, Pretoria is a lovely, quiet city. It has a long, involved and fascinating history. Its many attractions include a plethora of significant old buildings and some fascinating museums. The Transvaal Museum has wonderful natural history displays, and is the home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humankind. Also worth visiting are the Cultural History Museum and the Smuts Museum, in Irene, just outside Pretoria.

The Union Buildings changed overnight from a symbol of white, neo-colonial unity to the seat of the new government, and the iconic Voortrekker Monument still stands. Ironically, though, the bust of one of apartheid's most ardent supporters, JG Strydom, which stood in Strydom Square near the State Theatre, toppled without any help other than gravity and the erosive quality of time on steel supports - on the fortieth anniversary of the day South Africa became a white-governed republic.

More adventurous travellers could do a short horse trail at the Voortrekker Monument or further out of town, near Cullinan, taking a careful look at some white rhino and a number of eland - which are pretty much the size as a big horse. Or perhaps a tandem skydive or a first jump at the Pretoria Skydiving Club, which is the largest in the country.

Pretoria is a drive of less than one hour from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

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