Built to commemorate the Great Trek, the often treacherous journey across the country undertaken by pioneering Boer families who fled British rule in the Cape colony in the mid-19th century. The Voortrekker monument is one of the most visited heritage sites in Tshwane and one of the popular tourist attractions in South Africa.
The 40metre tall granite monument is located on top of a hill overlooking Pretoria in the middle of the 240 hectare Voortrekker Monument Nature Reserve.
At the foot of the monument stands Anton von Wouw’s bronze sculpture of an Afrikaner woman and her two children, a tribute to the female Voortrekkers who made possible the eventual settlement of the Afrikaner community. The monument itself is surrounded by a corral of 64 ox-wagons, the same number as was used at the Battle of Blood River.
Inside the monument is the Hall of Heroes, a vast commemorative hall which retraces the difficult journey that the Voortrekkers embarked upon once their long columns of ox-wagons rolled out of the Cape Colony. The hall houses one of the world’s longest historical marble friezes, where the trials and tribulations of the Great Trek are depicted and is illuminated by four huge windows of yellow Belgian glass.
One floor below is the Cenotaph Hall which houses a tapestry of more than three million stitches, a collection of historical flags and other artefacts belonging to the Voortrekker families and a massive painting by W.H. Coetzer portraying the struggle of the Voortrekkers as they passed through the Drakensberg mountains.
Other notable features to look out for include The Wall of Remembrance which is located in the monument gardens and is dedicated to the fallen members of the South African Defence Force, a small chapel and the so-called School on Wheels.
The monument should definitely be on your things to do in Gauteng list. For spectacular views over the city of Pretoria and its surrounds you can climb up to one of the monument’s lookout points and then after your visit stay on for a light meal and a drink on the terrace at the Monument Restaurant or under the trees in the traditional tea garden.
The Voortrekker monument and reserve is often the venue for major concerts and other events such as antiques markets, and on the last Sunday of every month the popular Park Acoustics music festival is held in the monument grounds.
Open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm
Adults R60, students/pensioners R35, family ticket R120