Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Out of Towners

These fellows a very curious as to who is this creature with the camera. A group of Ostriches just outside Oudtshoorn in the Southern Cape. This area is famed for farming Ostrich feathers which are exported to many parts of the world.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day of Reconciliation

Today is a public holiday in South Africa. It is called the 'Day of Reconciliation'. Originally known as the 'Day of the Vow' when the previous government was in power. Now it is used to commemorate our emergence from our painful past and celebrate our democracy.

This picture of the Cenotaph inside of the Voortrekker monument has some special significance. There is a small portal in the roof of the building that permits the sun to shine on the Cenotaph at precisely 12:00 noon on the 16th December every year. Some of the old Boer Republic flags can be seen in the background.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pretoria Central

A giant mural of Chief Tshwane, with a soccer ball, adorns the side of a building. This is to promote the FIFA 2010 soccer world cup, that South Africa will be hosting, with kick off in Johannesburg on the 11th June next year.

Loftus Versfeld has been extensively renovated in preparation for the tournament. Several matches will be played at the stadium. All other stadiums are complete with the last one at Green point in Cape Town being finished this month. So, we are ready.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Leap Frog

These statues were created by a Zimbabwean artist showing four girls playing leap frog. It really stirs the memories to ones childhood days of innocence when we had such fun playing children's games.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Melrose House

Built in 1886, Melrose house is now a museum. It became a famous landmark as it was requisitioned by Lord Roberts (a British field marshall) when the British invaded Pretoria in 1900 during the Boer war (1899 to 1902). He then used this house as his headquarters and conducted the strategy of the British forces during the remainder of the Anglo Boer war.

The Peace treaty of Vereeniging marking the end of the war was signed at this house on the 31st May 1902.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Burgers park not far from the city center. This park provides a pleasant environment with a splendid array of flowers and large lawns to relax during lunch time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soccer Fever

Once again the city is cloaked in purple. Jakaranda City is one of the nick names given to Pretoria. Many of the streets are lined with Jacaranda trees giving a bright purple and pituresque look as far a the eye can see. In South Africa the name is spelt with a 'K' although I believe the correct spelling uses a 'C'. The reason for using 'K' can probably be attributed to the Afrikaans adaptation.

South Africa will be hosting the FIFA soccer world cup next year and preparations appear to be on track. The Telkom communications tower, which is a prominent land mark in the city, is sporting a large soccer ball. Loftus Versefeld, a stadium nearby, will be hosting a number of the matches.

Soccer fever

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bird's eye view

A new way of watching a Cricket match. These spectators were able to watch the match between India and Pakistan while being suspended from a crane. At least this way you get a good seat with and uninhibited view of the match.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

African wildlife art work

The detail and work that has gone into this mural is quite fascinating. It was painted on a wall in one of the industrial parks in Silverton which is in the north eastern side Pretoria. There are several murals depicting different scenes of African wildlife like this one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

OR Tambo Airport

The newly completed inside of the section of the OR Tambo airport near the international arrivals section. The airport has undergone extensive upgrading and renovation in anticipation for the increase in the number of travelers to South Africa. It has also been done in preparation for the 2010 FIFA world cup to be hosted in South Africa next year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

snakes 'n ladders fun

Fun in the park near Zoo lake in Johannesburg. These children were having great fun on a pleasant and warm August Sunday. Although it is still winter in South Africa the days are getting warmer with the nights still being a bit cold.

This snakes 'n ladders set is right in the middle of a children's playground where the can have fun while their parents look on and enjoy the afternoon in the park.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gautrain Bridge

A section of the Gautrain bridge that is presently being constructed. This section crosses the M1 highway in Centurion.

The Gautrain project is a rapid rail transport system that will run between Pretoria and Johannesburg. It also has a link that services the O.R. Tambo airport in Kempton Park. With the influx and expanding business between the two cities this transport system should help to ease the traffic congestion.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A wet Pretoria

It was a cold and wet Saturday in Pretoria. The rain and wind made the city a little miserable. Rather unusual for this time of year. Our winters are normally dry. With spring approaching the days will gradually get warmer. We are fortunate in South Africa with the winters being relatively short. It really begins in the middle of May and ends mid August.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Corporate Identity

An interesting statue just outside the headquarters of one of the major cellular phone service providers in South Africa. Situated in Midrand, south of Pretoria the whole area has developed rapidly over the last decade.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Castle Corner

Springbok supporters like to be entertained. They arrive early for the match and spend some time at places like Castle Corner where they can have a beer with their boerewors roll (type of hot dog with a sausage) and listen to some music performed by a live band. Of course they also wear their Springbok jerseys and many sport fancy headgear. It all add to the spirit of the occasion. And when their team wins the stadium erupts into delirious euphoria.

This shot shows the Bloemfontein Rugby stadium in the background. It has undergone extensive construction and renovation in preparation for the 2010 FIFA world cup tournament. Some of the matches will be hosted at this stadium.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

all together now

The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team performing the Hakka just before their clash with the Springboks on Saturday. The Hakka probably originated from the Maori's as a chant prior to going into battle to give them strength, courage, inspiration and strike fear into the enemy. The Springboks won the match 28 points to 19. The games between these two fine teams is always a competitive and titanic battle.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sports fan headgear

Rugby fans are getting quite creative with the head gear being used at sporting events. This hat appeared at the clash between the Springboks and the All Blacks at Bloemfontein. Apart from the Rugby match it is quite entertaining observing all the various garments, hats and various items used to enhance the sporting experience. One gets a completely different experience between watching the game on television and being at the match.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blue Bull

A rugby fan poses with the Blue Bulls team mascot. This shot was taken during the rugby game between the Pretoria based Blue Bulls and Western Province (from Cape Town). There is intense rivalry during the Currie cup tournament and many supporters wear the colours of their favourite team. It works on a round robin basis and the teams with the most points play off in a final held in October for the coveted Currie Cup trophy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fort Schanskop

The Schanskop fort a short distance form the center of Pretoria was built in 1897 to defend the city. There are 3 other similar forts located in different parts of the city. With the deteriorating political situation leading up to the Anglo Boer war in 1899 and built on top of a hill, one can see anything that moves for a considerable distance.

For many years after the war it was badly neglected and vandalised. The site was restored and converted into a museum in 1978 and has many relics giving an illustration of life from that era.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Voortrekker Laarger

These sculptured ox wagons encircle the Voortrekker monument and gardens to create the effect of a laarger. Essentially the voortrekkers adopted this formation as a form of protection against wild animals and hostile tribes when they camped. This formed a type of mobile fortress that could be protected from all sides.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Voortrekker Oxwagon

A restored oxwagon on display. These were used by the Voortrekkers in the Great Trek that took place between 1835 and 1852. Drawn by a team of oxen at a rate of 6 miles per day it probably took about 6 months to progress from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria. Today it would require 1 and a half hours to fly the same distance.

These pioneers endured many hard ships and lived off the land as they travelled. All their worldly posessions were under the canvass covering the wagon. Similar vehicles were used in Australia and New Zealand during their voyages of exploration to the interior.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Long Archway

A series of archways creating an interesting image that appears to go on endlessly. It remind me of the days, as a youngster, when I used to visit the local barber shop that had large mirrors on opposite walls. The reflections seemed to go on forever.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Voortrekker Cenotaph

Two people read the plague of the cenotaph inside the Voortrekker Monument. This historical building, not far from the city center, was built between 1937 and 1949 to commemorate the Great Trek. On the 16 th December every year the sun shines through a portal, atop the dome of the building, to cast a ray of sunshine at precisely 12:00 noon onto the cenotaph.

The Voortrekker monument was built to celebrate the Great Trek that began in 1835 and continued to 1852. These pioneers left the region around Port Elizabeth to move northward to the interior and later formed the Boer republics known as the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal) and Oranje-Vrijstaat. The flags can be seen in the background with the well known vier kleur (four colours) on the left. These colours depict the Dutch flag with the three horizontal colours and the vertical green bar representing freedom.

It was the Great Trek that led to the founding of cities like the modern day Pretoria and Bloemfontein including many other towns in the South African interior. Younger cities like Johannesburg were founded through the discovery of gold which ultimately lead to the Anglo Boer war between 1899 and 1902 and the demise of the Boer Republics.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Unknown Airman

The grave site of the unknown airman at the Airforce memorial just outside Pretoria. This quiet place of solitude is a fitting place for such a grave.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Delta Shapes

Another picture of the Airforce memorial at Bays Hill just outside Pretoria. I was quite fascinated by the architecture of the building and the consistent use of triangular shapes to resemble delta wings.

The chappel seen at the end of the building has chairs which are also triangular in shape including the lectern.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SAAF Airforce Memorial

This memorial situated atop Bays Hill adjcent the Zwartkop airforce base comemorates the airmen who died in various wars in which the country participated. The tiangular shapes resemble delta wings on aircraft. The inner building has various plagues and a small chappel.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Looking South over Pretoria

This view from Meintjies Kop on which the Union Buildings are situated looks South over Arcadia and Sunnyside. In the distance hill tops one can see the Telkom Communications tower on the left with Unisa in the middle. The Voortrekker monument stands perched on the hill top to the right. Johannesnurg, the largest city in South Africa is about 55 kilometers (35 miles) distant from this spot.

The Union Buildings gardens are in the foreground. The state presidents offices are in these buildings which are behind the position this shot was taken.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Out of Town

During a recent trip to Paris I visited the Louvre, the largest art museum in the world. I was quite fascinated by these giant paintings. And there were many of them. They were quite awe inspiring. Besides their size it was quite amazing at the amount of detail featured in the paintings.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Soccer Fever

Soccer enthusiam has hit town. With the conferation cup in progress in some of the new stadiums around the country, the excitement is building for the staging of the FIFA soccer world cup next year. These giant murals depict Chief Tshwane with a football. With less than a year to go before kick off, the finishing to the stadiums is taking place. And the country is preparing to host the event.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

African Elephants

This small group of Afrcian Elephants mind there own business and graze in the African bushveld. In spite of their size, it's quite amazing how camouflaged they can be. Often one comes across a herd quite suddenly amongst the trees. It is only when there is some movement that you suddenly become aware of their presence. The broken tree in the foreground is a result of their action. Their powerfull trunks and tusks can snap branches and trees like match sticks. They do this to get to the fresh wood and bark which they chew.

During the winter months the grass is dry and the trees are devoid of leaves. The Elephants and Giraffe must reach the upper parts of the trees to get fresh green leaves. This shot was taken at a game park north of Pretoria near an area called Warmbaths. A distinctive feature of the African Elephant is their large ears which helps them keep cool.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Egyptian Goose

This Fellow did'nt mind my presence provided I did not come too close. This shot was taken in the Austen Roberts bird sanctuary. It is a closed park not far from the city center. Provision has been made for the public to view the bird life from a hide that overlooks a small lake. One can enjoy the quiet and solitude away from the city bustle and enjoy the sounds of the birds.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Little Church

This little church is sandwiched between tall office buildings and the Centurion lake close to the mall. It only seats about 10 people and has been a feature since the mall was built. The area surounding the church has transformed many time but this little building has been left intact with only it's immediate environs being improved.

Churches always seem to hold a fascination particularly with the architecture and the way they are constructed. There are many churches in Pretoria that have survived through the history of the city.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Winter in Pretoria

Magnolia Dell is a small quaint park in Muckleneuk which is not far from Loftus Versfeld, the rugby stadium. These willows, now devoid of their leaves, line the stream that passes a neat reataurant. This place of solitude enables one to relax. From time to various markets, like Art in the Park, are staged here. In the summer, the flowers bloom to yield a rich variety of magnificent colour.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

FIFA Conferation Cup

Pretoria is ready for the Confederation Cup which starts on the 14th June 2009. Sixteen flags welcome players and spectators en route to Loftus Versveld stadium. Pretoria is one of the host cities for the tournament in which eight countries will participate. The countries are: United States, Iraq, South Africa (hosts), Brazil, Egypt, New Zealand, Italy and Spain. This tournament will be a precursor and show South Africa's readiness to host the FIFA soccer world cup in 2010.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Centurion Lake

A scene looking across the centurion lake and the amphiteatre. Centurion shopping mall is one of the many complexes that have been constructed in the rapidly growing area.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Onward to Pretoria

The Gautrain project is advancing by the day. This bridge, looking North, straddles the Olifantsfontain road in Midrand. The Gautrain is a rapid rail link that will service the two major cities:- Pretoria and Johannesburg which are only 50 kilometers apart. The region between the cities has grown rapidly over the past decade and the they have practically joined. Industry has flourished in this region resulting in a substatial increase in traffic volumes. Everyday the roads and highways are clogged.

Many South Africans use mini bus taxi's to commute. The rapid rail network will help alleviate the burden and traffic congestion. The Gautrain project will ultimately expand to service many areas within this busy metropolis that has a growing population.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rugby Fever

Loftus Versfeld is a hive of activity after the Blue Bulls won their semi final match on Saturday. The Blue Bulls are the regions' Rugby team and enjoy a passionate and enthusiastic support from their fans. The Super 14 tournament comprises of provincial Rugby teams from Ausralia, New Zealand and South Africa. It takes place between February and May and the teams play a round robin with the top 4 qualifying for the semi final playoffs. This year the Blue Bulls won their semi final and will play the New Zealand team known as the Chiefs on Saturday 30 May. This Saturday afternoon the stadium will be packed to capacity during the final.

This scene from Loftus will be the venue for the Final. The stadium will also be utilised during the FIFA soccer world cup, to be hosted by South Africa in 2010. The stadium, has gone through extensive upgrades in preparation for the games next year. Many stadiums in major centers such as Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and a number of others have undergone extensive construction and upgrades to be ready for this major sporting event.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Market Day

The Irene Flea Market is a big attraction that draws many visitors on a Saturday morning. Stall participants sell anything from flowers to furniture. The busy market takes place in the Smut's museum grounds.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mosaic Intrigue

This interesting and colourful mosaic form graces the Irene village mall. There are many restaurants where one can relax and enjoy the pleasant surroundings. This shopping mall is one of many that have been built with the phenomenal growth in the Centurion area (just South of Pretoria) over the past few years.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In the shadow of the storm

Late afternoon sunset and in the shadow of the storm passing over. There has just been a strong down pour. Storms in Pretoria are rare during Autumn as we enter the dry season. Winters a short here, generally lasting about 3 months.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Russian Orthodox Church

This Russian orthodox church is located in Midrand just south of Pretoria. The architecture is interesting and refreshing to see the different cultures and religions that make their home here. The late afternoon autumn sunlight glints against the gold domes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Inquisitive Rhino's

These inquisitive Rhinoceroses were amazed at our sudden appearance in their world. This shot was taken in a game reserve north of Pretoria. There are many fine game parks in South Africa with the Kruger National park being the most famous.
This group appeared to be calm and did not mind our presence. One has to be cautious as these animals can be dangerous, particularly if they feel threatened or one approaches too closely in they have calves. It's really a case of respecting their territory.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Union Buildings

The seat of the South African government. Designed by the famous architect, Sir Herbert Baker, it was completed in 1910 for the then Union of South Africa. This magnificent building comprises of two symetrical wings. This will be the setting for the inauguration of the next president of the country in a few days time. These emtpty lawns will be filled with thousands of people during the inauguration celebrations.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

City View

A view of the city looking north from a vantage point on Klapperkop hill. The buildings in the foreground is Unisa (University of South Africa). It is primarily a correspondence institution (alternatively referred to as ‘distance learning’).

The tall buildings further on are at the city center with the Magaliesburg range in the distance.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The Gautain bridges make progress across a busy highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg. This bridge is part of the new rapid rail link between the two cities that is under construction. With the steady population growth and the proliferation of businesses and industry between the cities, the traffic volumes have increased substantially over the past few years.
These bridge piers are quite fascinating in that the construction progresses without disrupting the traffic flow below. The green catch nets at the ends of the sections under construction prevent debris from falling. There are numerous similar bridges along the route.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Game

This keenly contested Super 14 rugby game is between the Blue Bulls (Pretoria) and the Stormers (Cape Town). The Bulls (dark blue jerseys) eventually won the match. The Super 14 tournament which is contested annually between 14 teams originating from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is played annually between February and May. South Africans are passionate about their Rugby and are the current world champions.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Challenge

A fascinating set of statues at the Irene Village Mall. This pair of statues as well balanced and poised in perpetual challenge. It certainly captures ones attention and inspires the imagination as you pass them whilst doing your shopping. The whole shopping mall is well designed with a captivating layout and certainly adds to a pleasant shopping experience.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peeping in from another world

An interesting view of the world as this cow pays us a visit at the new Irene Village Mall shopping center.

There has been a proliferation of new shopping malls that have mushroomed around the outer ring of Pretoria. Some have come up with some interesting scupltures like this one.