A trip to Pretoria

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Another day of sightseeing and this time in neighbouring city, Pretoria. I had high expectations for this city, as guidebooks painted it as a beautiful place with lots on offer, however in reality there wasn’t that much to do.

We arrived on the Gautrain to the station and made our way down the main Paul-Kruger street into the centre of things until we reached Church Square. Without a map we couldn’t pinpoint the places we wanted to see, including the mall, but found a shopping area which we browsed around for a while. At lunchtime, we found one of many fast food chains, Chicken Licken, and tucked into some fat-filled meal.

I find it hard to believe how many fast food restaurants there are all over the place. Finding a restaurant is very difficult in the cities. The nearby town of Hatfield has more selection with a Chinese restaurant, a café restaurant and an ‘English pub’ named Oxford.

The striking thing about Pretoria is that it is predominately black people, we were the minority and most of the time the only white people on the street, which was intimidating as well as being a truly African experience. Being in the minority is a very interesting experience, especially coming from an area where the majority is White British.

In the afternoon, I looked around the Natural History Museum – currently undergoing a lot of refurbishments – where I looked at displays about geology and Africa’s animals. There were only about 8 rooms, so it didn’t take long to get around but it was good to take in some of the local culture.

We then got directions to Burgers Park – a place we really wanted to see – and we weren’t disappointed. With the sun shining high in the sky, people were sunbathing all over the park and there were many different trees and plants on display.  In the centre was a medium-sized pond with a small fountain in the middle. It all looked very beautiful in the sunlight.

After that, it was time to head back. We spent some time in Hatfield, stopping at the News Café for a drink. I got a white chocolate milkshake which was divine! As it turned out a Saturday afternoon meant all other shops were closed. In a way, it is a very traditional place – shops closed on Sundays and only open on Saturday mornings. It meant that our afternoon plans of shopping in the mall had to be abandoned so we got some supplies from the supermarket and drove back to the farm.

In the evening, we made plans to go to Pilanesberg National Park in the morning with the new volunteers who had arrived that day. It meant a 4am start…

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