Nelson Mandela Square is on the outskirts of Johannesburg, which is the Sandton City which where most of the international chain hotels, offices and banks are. It's a major commercial center that spans several blocks. Inside this several block radius is Nelson Mandela Square, where there are different kinds of restaurants with a variety of options, such as pizza, seafood, African food ect. And presiding over the main entrance, we found the giant statue of Nelson Mandela, this time wearing the shirt of the national football team of South Africa.
The union government buildings is one of the most lovely buildings in all of South Africa, 50 km from Johannesburg, reminding visitors of the movie Invictus when Mandela goes up to give his speech, and of which all South Africa is very proud because it marks the end of one situation.
The Church Square is located in the city center of Pretoria which the administrative capital of the country. The first church in the city was built in this square, hence its name. The statue of Paul Kruger, made by Anton Van Wow,sits in the center of the square as a symbol for the city. Around this square are the main buildings of the city.
The house where Nelson Mandela lived before his arrest in the mid-'60s is now a museum. They say they now prefer to live in another neighborhood so that he doesn't bump into his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who lives in a mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens in the vicinity.
We went as a group of three. When we arrived, they gave us each a card - mine said "Blankes/Whites", and my friends got "Nie Blankes/Non Whites". We didn't understand, but they just told us to continue. The actual entrance to the museum is just around the building, and when we got there we understood: there are two separate entrances, one for whites and the other for non-whites. The randomly selected cards choose where you will go, and it seems at first that you're not going to see the same museum as your friends ... but the truth is that it's only the first part, full of stories of history (thankfully it's only history now), is seen separately. The rest of the museum is open to all. Absolutely recommended to learn about the horrors of the country's recent past. It takes between 2 and 5 hours, depending on whether or not you watch the audiovisuals (there are a few).
The exterior gardens of the Union Buildings are open to the public. Go for a stroll and you will find a statue of James B. Hertzog, an equestrian statue of General Louis Botha (the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa) and a memorial to the fallen in the First World War.
The airport is not one of those that is difficult to find. When you reach the exit, cross the pedestrian crossing where it ends there is a pedestrian entrance to all car rental companies. When you leave the parking go directly to the highway with two options: Pretoria and Johannesburg. I attached some pictures of the airport at the international departures, a photo with the great Mandela made of small colored dots. airport More information at http: / / www.Toandfromtheairport.Com Johannesburg 21 km distance. Johannesburg airport is a hub to visit other countries. For me it was the beginning of a 13-day Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria, Botswana and cataracts. I'll leave in http://www.mibauldeblogs.com/2010/03/sudafrica-botswana-y-zimbabwe.html
Soweto is an urban area located 24 km southwest of Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa. The name Soweto is a contraction of the English "South Western Township". The approximate population is estimated between 3 and 4 million people, and it is presumed that about 65% of residents living in Johannesburg live in Soweto. During apartheid this area was built by law to accommodate black Africans who until then lived in areas designated by the government for whites (much like the multiracial area Sophiatown) and was the ultimate expression of opposition to apartheid. Soweto's population still remains predominantly black today. It's recommended to hire a tour guide if you wish to visit Johannesburg and particularly Soweto, as it can be dangerous. I went with a driver and it didn't seem too dangerous. If I went back it would be on my own, but travelling makes you less worried. Oh by the way, if you see many shacks in the photos, I will say that do not be scared, it's a small part (always more shocking in photograph). Most are low houses, spartan but well maintained, similar to Nelson Mandelas house (not well restored).
Open daily 10.00-17.00 (Sundays until 16.00) The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto takes it's name from the first victim of the uprising in 1976, which was against the use of Afrikaans as the only language in schools. Pieterson was one of the first children shot dead by police during the 1976 Soweto uprising. The famous picture of his dead body, carried by his friend is an iconic image symbolic of this kind of resistance worldwide. In the museum, the video footage and photographs document this emotional protest, which saw 566 schoolchildren killed. To be honest, initially, I knew nothing of Hector Pieterson, but the museum successfully demonstrates what can be achieved by human beings of all colours and creeds.
Church Street, beginning at Church Square and up until about five blocks west, there are streets all around this area. It is one of the best options for walking and shopping in Pretoria. You will find many types of stores such as clothing stores, also there are small galleries and shopping centers nearby. The area is nice to mingle with people of the city, walk around and feel comfortable. It is very safe.
The huge chimneys of a power plant, with an African style, welcome the visitor to the area. Here you are able to stop and take pictures of this landmark which is famous for its graffiti. The mural on one of them reflects the culture and heritage of the people of Soweto, while the second focuses on the bank that financed the murals.
Paul Kruger statue, symbol of the city, conducted by Anton Van Wow. It is in the middle of the front of the church, Church Square. To get to this place and visit the statue and areas surrounding it, you park a couple of blocks from the area because it is full of gorillas or Hawks (a translation that means these birds abound everywhere) . As public parking is for half an hour, what I did was go into a private one outside. I spent 2 euros for 4 hours.
The Pretoria communications tower stands on the mountain opposite the Union Building and from that height it is at a dominant stature and the whole city can be seen. Attached to the tower is a huge soccer ball to celebrate the World Cup of June 2010. It is sure to become a global symbol of the city.
Raadsaal Oude Palace Court is where Nelson Mandela was tried in 1963. Cameras are not allowed on the inside but if you enter, you can attend a trial in the open court. The interior has a huge room that overlooks two floors downstairs that are arranged into courtrooms. Some passages in opposite corners of the square take you to other rooms in the building.
The Queen, as everyone knows, is still a reference not only from a religious and social point of view. It is the symbol of resistance against apartheid. It can be a good starting point to investigate bars, shops and gambling dens where new cultural trends start. It still retains in the walls bullets from the war of independence, when whites burst in the middle of meetings and arrested dozens of people. They also have a black madonna, which is highly revered.
The settlement of Elias Mutsoaledi is one of the poorest settlements in Soweto. The settlement began in 1993 and was named in memory of one of the heroes of the struggle against apartheid, Elias Motsoaldi. Motsoaldi was imprisoned on Robben Island for 26 long years, along with Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders. All were shacks without electricity and the old generators that were used are still there to this day. It is the most prosperous of the great Soweto settlements and contrasts greatly with Orlando West and Dube. It's an important part of the visit to show how bad the living conditions of Soweto are, a place where many of the inhabitants of this great city were born during apartheid.