Often overlooked by visitors, Johannesburg or Joburg to the locals, this city has so much to offer with world class museums, great eating spots and fun places to chill.
Our days have been spent visiting a couple of the museums in and around Johannesburg, the first being the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site. This is the worlds richest hominid site with approximately 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils and the interactive visitors centre is informative and well designed. Our next stop was the Apartheid Museum which covers apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. Architecturally interesting the museum illustrates vividly the struggle that took place in South Africa during the apartheid era and is a must visit venue for all visitors.
Hard hats were the order of the day on our surface tour of the Cullinan diamond mine just outside of Pretoria. This is still a working mine but visitors are able to walk around the site with a guide and get a very good understanding of how diamonds are mined today. Cullinan is the home of the worlds largest uncut diamond which was found nine metres underground in 1905 and weighed in at 3,106.75 carats. The diamond was given to King Edward VII and it was later cut into a number of diamonds with the most well known being the Great Star of Africa and Star of Africa which are set in the Sovreign’s Sceptre and Imperial State Crown, respectively.
A short stop at the Union Buildings in Pretoria enable us to see the official seat of the South African Government and the office of the President. Unfortunately he was not in so we were unable to have tea with him. The grounds around the Union Building are absolutely beautiful and the jacarandas are coming into bloom so it was a sea of purple and green. There is a giant statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the building and it is fitting reminder of the great work down by this giant of a man.
Next stop is Limpopo.
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