Gezina, Pretoria

Gezina, sandwiched by Voortrekkers Road and Michael Brink Street just next door to Rietfontein in Tshwane's northern suburbs, is an ideal place to stay in the Jacaranda City if you need to be close to the centre or the more northern suburbs like Annlin, Wonderboom and Pretoria North.

This part of Pretoria, although not as pretty as the eastern suburbs of the city, is nontheless filled with a character all its own. Gezina is one of the older and more established northern suburbs, and inherited its rather unusual name from President Paul Kruger's second wife, who bore him no fewer than seven daughters and nine sons. Gezina does have a few distinct advantages that include being but a few blocks north of the Union Buildings.

These gorgeous Herbert Baker buildings are from where Nelson Mandela made his inaugural presidential speech in May 1994 and are well worth a visit, perched as they are on the highest point of the city and preserved as a national monument. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city, which isn't difficult to understand - the semi-circular shape built from light sandstone is beautiful, the gardens are terraced and filled with indigenous plants and flowers, and the grounds are strewn with lawns and the odd statue, whilst the clock chimes are exactly the same as those of Big Ben in London.

Not far from here, the National Zoological Gardens are as popular a venue and as easy to visit from Gezina. The largest zoo in South Africa, it is now actively involved in the conservation of threatened species, rather than a collection of caged animals, with successful breeding programmes. A lot of its enclosures have been revamped and now inlude a walk-through aviary, a large inland acquarium and a reptile park.

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