Gauteng Tourist AttractionsThe Sammy Marks Museum
A visit to the Victorian style home of South Africa’s first industrialist and entrepreneur, Sammy Marks, is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. The beautiful home, known as Zwartkoppies hall, is set in park-like gardens on an estate about 23 kilometres outside of Pretoria.
Where? Old Bronkhorstspruit Road, Silverton, Pretoria, Gauteng
When? Tours on Tuesday to Friday start at 10h00, 11h30, 13h00, 14h30 and 16h00
Tours on Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 17h00 (last tour at 16h00)
Tours on public holidays from 10h00 to 17h00 (last tour starts at 16h00)
Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and Mondays
How? Call +27 (0)12 755-9541
The gracious home has no fewer than 48 rooms filled with the personal effects of Bertha and Sammy Marks that today includes superb furniture, paintings, silver and porcelain.
Samuel Marks married Bertha, nineteen years his junior, in his early forties, and together they had nine children, all of whom were educated at home until they were old enough to be privately schooled in England. The house had a staff of 14 and the family was said to entertain lavishly, the tennis courts, gardens and surrounds catering for up to 30 guests at a time.
After Sammy Marks’ death, his family lived on in the house until 1991, after which it stood vacant for a time, and in 1995 roughly 73 hectares, including the home, were sold to the National Cultural History Museum.
Sammy Marks is one of the only Victorian museums in South Africa that has managed to retain the interior of the home almost exactly as it was - a completely authentic representation of life in the late 19th century. And the home manages to retain much of its former splendour and graciousness.
And Sammy Marks is not just about the museum. Many an idle afternoon can be passed in this space where time appears to have stood still, in the gardens, playing a game of croquet, enjoying a pot of tea beneath shady trees in the tea garden, or a picnic on the extensive lawns.