Pretoria in A Day: Voortrekker Monument and Union Buildings

June 30

We endeavored to get an early start today, but sadly our journey back from Graskop and Mpumalanga in the evening had been quite strenuous (for me at least) and our late arrival meant that starting early the next day was always going to be hard. Driving in South Africa is generally a breeze, and quite fun outside the major cities with a proper car. This is not so much at night, where a small percentage of the motorway is lit, and even though the roads are in proper condition, driving at the speeds on the motorway with the blinding light of the cars on the other side of the road as the main illumination means that your concentration is needed the entire time. Additionally, there is a general disregard for traffic signs and postings, more so than I noticed when we drove in 2007. This is our first significant experience in the Gauteng area, and I now understand the impatience that the rest of South Africa associates with the area. The general feel the Pretoria-Johannesburg Metro area is not as fast paced as Washington DC, but on the roads they drive with an irrational need to move along faster. Going 10 km over the speed limit on residential thoroughfares is not fast enough, and you will often be overtaken by the BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars, etc. On the motorways if drifting along at 40 kms because of congestion on a two lane motorway and a space of more than two car lengths opens between you and the vehicle in front of you,
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Sunday in Newtown

Enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning and then made our way to Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

The square is one of several fan parks around Joburg with large jumbo trons for public viewing, but when we arrived there were very few people walking around. We thought that it would pick up once the games started for the day but it remind quiet with only a few more people trickling in for the match. A unique art feature of the park was a giant red man made of Coca Cola boxes that toward overhead.

Next to Mary Fitzgerald square was the Museum of Africa that I had read about in Lonely Plant and was interested in check out, especially because it was FREE. The entire square was fenced off for the fan park making entrance to the museum a little more challenging. We didn’t feel comfortable walking around along the street because the area around the square is not the safest neighborhood in Joburg, so we decided to go through security for the park and cut across. The security guards could have cared less if I was caring anything illegal; one squeeze of my closed bag and I was cleared to go through. At the other side we realized that there was no exit. I was ready to just hop the fence given that it was only a little taller than waste high, but some security guards who were also looking to get out took the fence apart for us. Continue reading