Groenkloof, Pretoria

Just over the hill from Pretoria's Unisa campus, Groenkloof lies bordered by the suburbs of Nieuw Muckleneuk, Waterkloof and the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.

Calling it Groenkloof ('green gorge' when translated from the Afrikaans) is rather apt. It is one of the greenest suburbs in Pretoria - and that is saying something, as most of Pretoria's suburbs are leafy - because of its proximity to the nature reserve.

Next door to Groenkloof is the recently rehabilitated Klapperkop Hill - an area just west of Nelson Mandela Drive that is now fenced in order to re-establish plants and wildlife and create a safer environment for hikers and cyclists. Fort Klapperkop was one of four forts built to defend Pretoria, even though it never fulfilled its function and is now a military museum of military history from 1852 to the end of the Anglo-Boer War. It's worth a visit just for the views from the summit.

Despite the greenery, Groenkloof is only five minutes from Pretoria's CBD, three kilometres from the main campus of the University of Pretoria, it is close to shopping malls, restaurants, and the towering 270 metre Telkom Tower that serves as a landmark in Pretoria. The greenery though, is a huge bonus for all who live in Groenkloof. Within the suburb is Herbert Baker street, named after the architect who designed the Union Buildings, which one can visit, not far from Groenkloof.

After designing the Pretoria railway station - having made his mark designing a series of beautiful homes, schools, cathedrals and churches throughout South Africa - Herbert Baker selected Meintjies Kop as the site for the impressive parliamentary building, despite its facing south and in spite of criticism as to its ambitious and expensive nature.

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