Tshwane has an amazing array of historical, cultural and natural locations and its popularity as a film location flows from this rich heritage.

Tswaing Crater
It was in the dining room of Melrose House, Pretoria, where the Treaty of Vereeniging, ending the Anglo-Boer War, was signed on 31 May 1902. And it is in Tshwane that the Rivonia treason trial was held in 1964. The Old Synagogue, an architectural gem built in 1898, which served as a special court for the trial is still preserved. It was here that Nelson Mandela and his colleagues were sentenced to life imprisonment.

It was at the Union Buildings that Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president, was inaugurated. More recently, the Union Buildings was the location for the international film about a very South Africa story, Invictus. The Union Buildings, a magnificent example of the work of Sir Herbert Baker, is the seat of power of the South African government, housing the Presidency and part of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Completed in 1913, it is one of Pretoria's major landmarks.

Pretoria, or the 'Jacaranda City', is the administrative capital of South Africa, about 60 kilometres north of Johannesburg. Pretoria owes its nickname to the 70 000 jacaranda trees that flower in a purple haze during October and November. Well over 100 embassies and foreign missions are located here. World-class hotels and guesthouses have been built in the leafy suburbs, and the entertainment and nightlife is superb. Hatfield, in particular, is known for its strip of restaurants and bars.

Pretoria City Hall
Many museums celebrate Tshwane's heritage. The National Cultural History Museum contains a collection of some four million objects that cover the cultural history of South Africa over the last two million years. Guarded at the entrance by the gigantic skeleton of a whale, the Transvaal Museum of Natural History tells the story of Southern Africa's evolution. Regarded as one of the ten best in the region, the museum has a fascinating display of the development of pre-historic humans, using fossils and reconstructions.

Smuts House Museum is the restored family home of General Jan Christiaan Smuts, Boer general and prime minister of the Union of South Africa. The house displays Smuts' furniture and other memorabilia. It is situated on Doornnkloof Farm on Jan Smuts Avenue in Irene. Designed by the London Architect WT Wale in 1886, Melrose House is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. During the Second Anglo-Boer War, Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener used the house as their headquarters. Today, the Melrose House Museum is a national monument. The Sammy Marks Museum was the home of the wealthy entrepreneur and good friend of President Paul Kruger, Sammy Marks. His last will stated that nothing could be changed in his house for three generations after his death. His wish was fulfilled and today his home holds the distinction of being the only Victorian museum with an authentic interior. The Paul Kruger House Museum, as its name suggests, was the home of Paul Kruger, the last president of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (1884-1901). Many of Kruger's personal possessions, depicting his family's lifestyle, have been preserved.

Church Street, 43 kilometres in length, is one of the longest city thoroughfares in the world offering many historical and architectural attractions. It is also one of Tshwane's most popular film locations. Church Square is the centre of Pretoria and has been the focus of city life since the founding of the city in 1855. It was traditionally the main venue for trade, recreation and religious gatherings. A statue of President Paul Kruger stands at the centre of the square. Historic buildings such as the Old Raadsaal, Ons Eerste Volksbank ('Our First People's Bank'), Capital Theatre, Cafe Riche and the Palace of Justice surround the square.

Smuts House
Dating back to June 1896, the Palace of Justice is the court building in which Nelson Mandela declared his willingness to die for his country during the 1964 Treason Trial. In one of the holding cells, you will find the names of several freedom fighters as well as the anti-apartheid slogans of the time. This holding cell is now a museum.

Other buildings of architectural significance include Pretoria City Hall. It is the largest public hall in the country and boasts 32 tower bells and statues of the city's founders. Pretoria Railway Station Building was designed by the eminent architect Sir Herbert Baker in 1910. The railway station lies at the end of Paul Kruger Street. The Victoria Hotel, opposite the station, is the oldest in Pretoria and has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. And on the corner of Skinner and Bosman streets is a superb example of Gothic architecture - the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral.

One of the more interesting locations on the outskirts of the city centre is the Voortrekker Monument and Museum, an outstanding example of art deco, commemorating the Great Trek of 1836-38. The monument was completed in 1949 and took 11 years to build. A bronze statue of a Voortrekker mother and children, sculpted by Anton van Wouw, guards the entrance. The monument displays friezes depicting the Great Trek, as well as some Voortrekker maps and artefacts. There is also a medium-size Zulu hut at the Monument. It is a replica of the huts built during the reconstruction of a section of the Royal Capital of Umgungundlovu during the 1980s. Characteristic of the traditional hut is its beehive-style construction. The hut is typical of the dwellings found in the then Zululand.

Pioneer Museum, in Silverton, Pretoria, is an open-air museum and pays homage to the Voortrekker lifestyle. David Botha, a Cape farmer who migrated first to Natal and then to Ohrigstad in the Northern Transvaal, built the original pioneer dwelling and outbuildings on the premises of what is today known as the Pioneer Museum in 1848. Demonstrations of traditional farming activities include milking cows, making butter, baking bread and grinding coffee beans. The house is a T-shaped dwelling with a thatched roof, dung smeared floor and pioneer furniture dating from 1848 with outside oven and outbuildings. A tanning pit, wagon shed, water furrow, threshing floor, water mill, animals, and duck pond can be seen.

Freedom Park was built to commemorate the struggle for freedom in South Africa. This 35-hectare site consists of a museum and a garden of remembrance to honour those who contributed to democracy.

Melrose House
Tshwane is steeped in South African war history. The region is dotted with forts, cemeteries and monuments. Fort Klapperkop was one of four forts built after the failed Jameson Raid of 1895. Fort Schanskop is Tshwane's best-preserved fortress dating from the Anglo-Boer War.

The many towns that make up Tshwane's diverse mix vary from vibrant townships like Atteridgeville, Marabastad, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi to the country-feel of places like Irene and Centurion.

Near Hammanskraal is The Tswaing Crater (Tswaing meaning 'Place of Salt') is South Africa's first environmental museum and one of only four in the world. The site features a 220 000 year-old crater, 1.4 kilometres in diameter and 500 metres deep, caused by a meteorite crashing into the earth. The crater is one of around 170 impact craters in the world and one of four known impact craters in South Africa. What is extra special about the crater is that it is one of the best-preserved meteorite craters, and it is very accessible - visitors may walk down into it. The broader Tswaing Crater site covers some 2 000 hectares in the northwest corner of Gauteng, with over 220 000 people living in informal settlements nearby. Just east of the crater is the Soutpanspruit, feeding a rare and extensive wetland system, with a mini delta with many streams and islands. The Mapoch Ndebele Village, part of the Tswaing Crater Museum, is a permanent village, as opposed to a demonstration village, and offers a glimpse into Ndebele history and cultural life.

The suburb of Irene is located next to Centurion. The town was named after the daughter of the Hungarian Alois Nellmapius - one of the more eccentric characters of the old Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek. Irene has a very definite country village-feel, and many inhabitants love the fact that they can enjoy a semi-rural lifestyle here, but have easy access to the nearby cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg. The Irene Dairy Farm goes back to 1890 and provides a wonderful pastoral setting replete with lush green fields, dotted with jersey cows, old oaks, barns and milking sheds. The Irene Concentration Camp Cemetery is a reminder of the many innocent people who died during the Anglo-Boer War. The Battle of Pretoria started in June 1900 near Irene and many Boer farms and homes were destroyed. The concentration camps were established by the British to house the Boer women and children.

Entering Mamelodi over the Masekane Bridge, you are overwhelmed by the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains forming the northern and eastern borders. In the distance, to the west, you can just make out the rooftops of Eersterust, Mamelodi's nearest neighbour. A tributary of the Apies River (the Moretele) divides Mamelodi West and Mamelodi East, adding to Mamelodi's pictorial attributes.

Until the mid forties Marabastad was a culturally diverse community. During apartheid the residents were relocated to single-face townships but unlike other areas were removals took place, Marabastad was not bulldozed and the town has retained many of its original buildings. The Miriammen Temple, Marabastad's most popular landmark, was built in 1905 and it is the oldest Hindu temple in Pretoria. It is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Miriammen. Visitors are expected to adhere to Hindu custom and remove shoes before entering the temple.

There is no shortage of nature-based locations. Tshwane has one of the oldest reserves in the country and one of the world's largest urban nature reserves. The Groenkloof Nature Reserve, which was proclaimed by President Paul Kruger in February 1895, features low, broken ridges varying in steepness. The wildlife on the reserve includes zebra, jackal, duiker, kudu, impala, blue wildebeest, blesbuck, red hartebeest, ostrich, giraffe and sable.

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is 3 800 hectares of mainly open grassland in extent, situated south of the city but still within the city limits. Animals found include the world's largest antelope, the Eland, Burchell's Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest, Blesbok, Springbok, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Ostrich, two of Africa's 'big five' Buffalo and White Rhino, Bushpig, as well as a number of Black-backed Jackal, Mountain Reedbuck, Oribi, Grey Duiker, Steenbuck, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Springhare, Aardwolf and Banded Mongoose. Recently a family group of five hippos as well as cheetah were introduced.

South Africa's national bird, the Blue Crane, is seen here from time to time, the Secretary Bird is a regular visitor and Rietvlei is home to a breeding pair of Fish Eagles. In addition many other species of bird can be seen including the Orange-throated Longclaw, the Little Egret, the Darter, the Reed Cormorant, the White-breasted Cormorant, the Goliath Heron, the African Finfoot and the Green-backed Heron. The reserve offers superb sightings of the wildlife of the South African highveld. There is a bird hide and an area set aside for picnics at Marais Dam upstream from Rietvlei Dam.

The National Botanical Gardens has over 1 000 species of indigenous trees and about 800 indigenous flowering plants. It was declared a national monument in 1979. A 50 metre high quartzite outcrop divides the Garden in two sections. Its frosty south-facing section and the north-facing, warmer section present two different worlds. Paved nature trails give access to the fascinating natural vegetation on the ridge. Fifty hectares of the total area are devoted to developed garden, using almost exclusively South African plants. The Gardens offer a variety of biomes including savanna, forest and fynbos. It is home to more than 198 bird species and a number of reptiles and small mammals such as the common duiker. Special features are the avenue and collections of medicinal plants, cycads, aloes, tree species, succulents and natural ridge vegetation. The green lawns and spreading shade trees in summer and the massed aloe collections that blaze into flower during winter, are just some of the seasonal features.