Jacarandas in Jo’burg.
From late September to November the jacarandas are blooming in Johannesburg. David, the host from our B&B met us at O.R.Tambo International Airport and on the drive back to our accommodation spoke of Johannesburg as the biggest planted urban forest in the world. In 2019 the number of trees in the Greater Johannesburg region is more than 10 million and with a population of about 10.5 million, the biggest city in South Africa, there is a tree for almost every person. Talk about carbon busting! At an altitude of 1,753 metres, Johannesburg, also known as the City of Gold, is the largest city in the world not built on a coastline or near a river or lake. The city is where it is simply because of the gold discovered in 1880s.
We took a 2 day pass on the sight seeing bus. It is pictured below at Constitution Hill. Today this is the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court and is a beacon of hope for the future. But the museum here tells of the turbulent past when this site was a military fort and then a prison in which both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were imprisoned at different times.
Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum are both sites that illustrate the history of 20th Century South Africa and are well worth a visit. The Apartheid Museum is not to be rushed, I could easily return, and it certainly reflects the love South African people have for Nelson Mandela.
Another highlight of our 2018 visit was that our daughter drove us about 3 1/2 hours west of Johannesburg, almost to the Botswana border, to visit the township of Mafikeng. This was a big deal as hubby’s grandfather was part of The Relief of Mafikeng in 1900. In 1902 he was invited to attend King Edward VIIs Coronation in London and received The Coronation Medal as recognition of his Boer War service. Another one of those “walking where the fore-bears walked” experiences.
We also went with our daughter and son-in-law to the Cradle of Humankind, a paleo-anthropological, World Heritage listed site about 50 kms northwest of Johannesburg. The museum here was fascinating, looking at both the past and the future of humankind.
This photograph is taken from the bus as it went through the old business centre of Johannesburg. There is a newer business area at Standton and the Standton Shopping Mall and Nelson Mandela Square, with its huge bronze statue of Mandela situated here, are well worth a google. Notice the sign on the tall building behind the monument “KEEP WALKING SOUTH AFRICA”. Indeed, may South Africa keep walking towards fair and prosperous times.
I would absolutely recommend South Africa as a wonderful place to visit.