Travel Adventures

Travel adventure: Union Buildings, Pretoria

Hi everybody! Thanks for visiting!

The week that past hubby and I made an impromptu visit to the gardens of the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The Union Building, Pretoria

It’s the governing seat in South Africa with two more seats elsewhere. The building itself is impressive and breathtaking with a story and heritage of its own to tell.

But our visit was purely aimed at the gardens that spread down the hill in front of the building. The building was constructed on the highest point overlooking Pretoria and therefore a steep hill was left for gardening.

City of Pretoria down the hill

The landscape in this garden consisted of terraces build with on-site quarried stone. And being a nerdy texture photographer, I took an every amount of pics of the stone paths and terrace walls. Aren’t you glad?

Every terrace consists of beautiful lawns and flower beds filled with combinations of popular plants. I’m not a professional gardener or plant expert so I won’t comment on whether the plants are indigenous or not.

My favorite combination was the tree aloe and bird-of-paradise! We agreed that we should definitely return when these incredible plants are in bloom.

Tree aloe at the back and bird-of-paradise in front

Dotted around the garden are memorials of the wars. Sadly these have fallen into disrepair due to vandalism. It made me sad that it’s not maintained but I guess it just reminds people of our ugly history instead of how far we’ve come as a country.

One statue that stands out above all is the statue of Nelson Mandela. It’s ginormous and captures Madiba in such real detail, you’re bound to be awestruck. Some part of this statue is visible from anywhere in the garden. It’s impressive.


And then there’s the South African Police memorial at the amphitheater in the corner of the garden. This made me sad. According to the plaque every policeman or -woman that lost their lives in the line of duty is recorded here. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the lives lost were because the police force had to enforce the cruelest and unkindest dogma put in place by those in power.

This was a long and pic heavy post but small in comparison with the real experience.

Now some touristy info:

The gardens are open to the public at no cost. It’s a working government building so people and traffic move around with their normal business. Then there’s also a team of gardeners at work.

At present there’s two protest actions in progress. It’s not hostile at all. More of a reminder to unresolved issues and an attempt to educate any passersby.

That said, always be vigilant and attentive. Keep your personal belongings secure.

And that’s it for now! Any questions, let me know!

Happy travels!

Some interesting links about the Union Buildings:

The Presidency