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Exploring our City Centre (museum tour): P1 Pretoria (CBD Outer)
Monday, 14 May 2012 16:46
Did you know that Pretoria has close to 40 different museums? And on the 18th of May we are celebrating International Museum Day! We decided to tell you about an easy way to manoeuvre around midtown to squeeze in a few visits to our local heritage sites – the Gautrain bus system. Conveniently stopping walking distance from many of our lovely museums, it’s an easy way to explore our cultural history. Consider bunking work on Friday and explore a side of our city you don’t notice that often.
From the train station, follow the Outer Bus route (P1 Pretoria - CBD Outer).
* Please note: it is advised to be vigilant with regard to safety while travelling in the city centre. Do not carry valuable possessions in a visible manner.
Stop 1. Museum of Natural History (Transvaal Museum), c/o Paul Kruger & Visagie st
This museum houses an elaborate collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects – as well as a remarkable exhibition of fossils, pre-historic man and archaeological material; it is home to Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein (Cradle of Humankind).
Address: 432 Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria Central
Telephone: 012 322 7632
Entrance: Adults – R20 kids – R10
Open daily from 08h00 to 16h00 (except Christmas Day and Good Friday)
Take a little stroll one block from the corner of Paul Kruger street, in a Northerly direction, turn right at the first corner and visit the Museum of Science & Technology. A true "hands-on" experience, the museum is the only one of its kind in South Africa.
Address: Didacta Building, 211 Skinner Street, Pretoria Central
Telephone: 012 322 6406
Return back to Visagie street and follow the route in a Westerly direction.
On your way you will pass Pretoria City Hall, the largest public hall in South Africa. It was built to celebrate the city-status, which was obtained in 1931. Pretorius Square, in front of the hall, is one of the many beautiful parks scattered across the city. It has an expansive garden, with beautiful fountains and three statues of significant people in Pretoria's history: Martinus Pretorius, Andries Pretorius and Chief Tshwane.
Continue walking to the next destination.
Stop 2. African Window / National Cultural History Museum, Visagie st
An appreciation of culture and traditions through community involvement, educational activities and public programmes – including song, dance and much more. The museum boasts with a coffee shop, a traditional craft shop, conference facilities, guided tours and archaeology programmes. Reservations for traditional meals are recommended.
Address: Visagie Street (between Bosman and Central Streets) Pretoria Central
Telephone: 012 324 6082/012 324 6082
Entrance: Adults – R15 kids – R10
Open Mon-Fri 08:00 – 16:00
Hop back on the bus and continue to the next destination.
Stop 4. Potgieter st & Schoeman st
Continue in a Westerly direction one block down from Schoeman street to arrive at the Paul Kruger Museum. It exhibits the belongings of President Paul Kruger and his wife during their years of residence in the house from 1884 to 1901. Also displayed are tributes presented to the president and the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War. Close by you can also view the Paul Kruger church.
Address: 60 Church Street west, Pretoria Central
Telephone: 012 326 9172
Continue down Church street, in an Easterly direction, to Church square – a three block walk (650m) If you feel the need for a quick break from all the exploring, stop at Café Riche. Situated to the right of the Church street entrance to the Square, this café is one of the oldest in town – built in 1905. Alternatively, leave the coffee for a bit later after exploring Church Square and stop at TriBeca Café, Vermeulen street, exit Square at Mutual street.
Church Square has the famous statue of Paul Kruger and the four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers as its main feature. The Square is outlined with historically and architecturally significant buildings, including the Palace of Justice, Old Capitol Theatre, the Tudor Chambers, the Old Council Chamber and the General Post Office.
Your next stop can be the Post Office Museum on the corner of Paul Kruger street, devoted to the history and development of postal services (stamps, telephone, telegraph) in South Africa.
If you haven’t had a break yet, consider walking in an Easterly direction to TribeCa Café, Vermeulen street, exist Square at Mutual street in a Northerly direction.
Back on the route, continue down Vermeulen street, in a Westerly direction, turn right at Bosman street. At the corner of Struben street, turn right (walking distance four blocks). The next museum will be on your right.
Stop 6. National Department of Transportation, Struben st
The A. B. Eksteen Transport Museum houses various displays on Meteorology, Antarctic Expeditions and demonstrates the history and development of civil aviation, as well as other forms of transport.
Tel: 012 290 2016
Open Mon-Fri from 08:00-16:00
Jump back on the bus, sit back and relax while you travel a bit further down the route.
Stop 12. Burgers Park, Andries st
Burger's Park is the oldest park in Pretoria, completed in 1892. This 4ha park in the centre of town has many interesting structures, including: a large fish pond with fountains, dating back to the 1890's; a florarium, which displays many plants from different climatic regions; a kiosk, which was a typical feature of parks about a century ago; a cast-iron Bandstand ordered from Scotland; a statue of President Burgers and a monument in honour of the South African Scottish Regiment, who fought in World War 1.
Melrose House, across from the park in Jacob Mare street, is an elegant house-museum. Named after the famous Melrose Abbey in Scotland, Melrose House was built in 1886. It was requisitioned as headquarters of the British forces, after the invasion of Pretoria in June 1900.
Address: 275 Jacob Maré Street, Pretoria
Telephone: 012 322 2805 / 012 322 0420
Entrance: R9 adults R6 kids
Open Tues-Sun from 10:00 – 14:00
We hope that you will enjoy the rich cultural experience that our city centre has to offer. You might have to consider doing the exploration twice with this jam-packed schedule!
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