Pretoria(ish) Adventures


In my last blog post I showed you 3 awesome Pretoria activities, however, if you are staying in Pretoria but don't mind adventuring an hour or so outside town, here are 4 more Pretoria(ish) adventures:

1. Walk through the Apartheid Museum

Photo circa Jan/Feb 2015 - my first visit to the Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum documents the tragic history of South Africa during the Apartheid era and showcases the life and work of Nelson Mandela, a key player in the anti-Apartheid movement and the first black president of South Africa.

 

2. Find the origins of humanity at the Cradle of Humankind


The Cradle of Humankind is a paleoanthropological site and one of South Africa's UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Cradle of Humankind is 47,000 hectares large and includes a lot of activities like game drives, canopy tours, and art galleries, but the main attraction is the Maropeng Visitor Center (basically a museum) and the Sterkfontein caves. In the museum, you'll learn all about the significance and importance of the Cradle of Humankind. The COH (as it shall henceforth be known because I am tired of typing out 'Cradle of Humankind') is the site of the 2.3-million-year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus, aka Mrs. Ples, and a nearly complete skeleton of a second species of Australopithecus called Little Foot. You can tour the Sterkfontein caves where Little Foot was found. The COH provides further evidence that all humanity began in Africa, therefore, we are all African.

Blurry photo cause... cave.

A new feature at the Cradle of Humankind is the Long March to Freedom art exhibition which showcases bronze statues of 100 of South Africa's key leaders in the fight for freedom. The exhibition is on loan from the Fountains Valley resort in Tshwane and will be on display until the end of June 2019.

 

3. Interact with Elephants


Want to see elephants up close and personal in a humane, sustainable environment? Adventures with Elephants is the place to go.


I know there are a lot of ethical arguments around animal tourism, and as an animal lover and vegetarian, this issue is very important to me. I do a lot of research before taking part in animal tourism and make sure that the situation is healthy and natural for the animals. For instance, the elephants at Adventure with Elephants are rescues from bad situations, they are not kept in cages, they roam freely on the grounds, and the babies are never separated from the mothers, even during the interaction. The elephants are also given plenty of mental stimulation (as you may know, elephants are incredibly intelligent) through training, activities, and play. Animal tourism is also a great way to introduce the public to important conservation issues, much like zoos. There is a lot more that could be said about this topic, but that's for another post. However, I urge you to do research before partaking in animal tourism to ensure that it is a healthy, natural situation for the animals.

 

4. Visit Hartbeespoort Dam


Hartbeespoort Dam is, you guessed it, a large dam near Pretoria. Surrounding Hartbeespoort Dam is the cute little town of Hartbeespoort. There are a ton of activities you can do in and around the dam, especially water activities, but here are two activities that you can do in one day:

Harties Cableway

The cableway is a great way to get an aerial view of the entire dam. The tram takes you to the top of a mountain where you have panoramic views of the nearby town and dam. There is also a 1km walking trail at the top, as well as multiple restaurants and shops.  


Bushbaby and Monkey Sanctuary

This monkey sanctuary offers visitors the chance to interact with and feed endangered and rescued primates. Again, before taking part in this animal interaction, we made sure the situation is healthy and natural for the animals. The monkeys are never caged, they have hectares of land, and more often then not, the monkeys were rescued from families who abused them as pets. 


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Any other recommendations for activities outside Pretoria? Leave them in the comments below!

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