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The Transvaal Museum in Pretoria is home to "Mrs Ples". "Who", you may ask is that? Not a "who" but a "what" - it is the oldest intact skull of an ancestor to humankind dating back over 2 million years and discovered in The Cradle of Humankind. With a claim such as this, no wonder Pretoria sitting in the Gauteng Province, is the capital of South Africa. It is also where Winston Churchill was imprisoned during the Anglo-Boer War, from which he escaped to Mozambique.
Decked out in thousands upon thousands of jacaranda trees, Pretoria is also known as "Jacaranda City" when in the months of September and October; the whole city is swathed in a purple haze of jacaranda blooms. A university town, it hosted Nelson Mandela's inauguration and has the longest straight urban street "Church Street" in the world. Sitting 50 km north of Johannesburg in the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains, Pretoria is dressed in colonial architecture with dashes of art deco and a touch of its African heritage.
You can meander through one of its many parks or take a peek at the National Zoological Gardens, the Pretoria National Botanical Garden or the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary. If you want a bit of a history lesson, head to the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History where you will find Stone Age and Iron Age artifacts, whilst the Mapungubwe Museum shows off its gold ornaments, ivory, clay figurines and beads. There are plenty of shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants to keep the average tourist enthralled. You can actually visit a Buddhist temple if you are so inclined, or check out any one of the historical sites around the town such as the Voortrekker Monument, Kruger House or the State Theater.
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