The Union Buildings are located in Pretoria, South Africa’s Capital. They are home to the official seat of the South African Government as well as the other main department offices of the government, including the Department of Foreign Affairs. The official offices of the South African President are also located here. Construction of the building began in 1910. The architect was Sir Herbert Baker and the style of its design is typically English, even the chimes of the clock are a direct copy of those of Big Ben. The twin towers of the building represent the Afrikaans and English languages and the inner courtyard symbolises the Union of the country. The building is surrounded by landscaped buildings which feature several monuments including a statue of South Africa’s first president, General Louis Botha. The Union Buildings are officially recognised as a National Monument and stand on the highest point of the city. It is constructed of sandstone and measures 285 metres long.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Located on the so-called "Panorama Route" of the Mpumalanga escarpment, the Blyde River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges worldwide and offers panoramic views as well as a variety of fauna and flora, the latter including some rare and endangered species. Access is via the R532 north of Graskop and information centres are available at Swadini and Bourke's Luck Potholes. A number of hiking trails are available to explore the sandstone ravines and rock formations, whilst local activities include fishing, horseback-riding, 4x4 game drives, abseiling, boat trips on the Blyde Dam and white water rafting. The reserve covers an area of approximately 29,000-hectares which is the natural habitat for various species of buck, birds, zebras, hippo and crocodile.
Described as the "most luxurious train in the World" the Rovos Rail Pride of Africa does regular overnight journeys between Pretoria and Cape Town. Journeys to Durban, Swakopmund, Dar Es Salaam and the Victoria Falls are also undertaken. Air-conditioned suites with en-suite bathrooms are the norm and the train has a 42-seater dining car as well as "a non-smoking Observation Car at the rear of the train, while the coach next to it contains a small smoking lounge". For more details, itineraries and a photo album visit the website.