Today we leave early, because we've got a long way to go and we don't want to miss out on anything this country has to offer. We head for Pretoria, a town that houses the largest university for written education in the world. But, more important for us is the Voortrekkermonument that stands just outside the city, where we arrive at 7.45 am. It is a huge structure that is made of thousands of relatively small granite building blocks and that took twelve years to complete. 64 ox carts surround the monument, representing the means of transportation with which te "voortrekkers" (explorers) made their long voyage through the heart of (at that time much more than nowadays) dark Africa. On the four corners of the monument stand tall statues of the voortrekkers.
Piet Retief and Hendrik Potgieter were their leaders, among others. On the inside of the building the entire story of the exploration of South Africa is told, by means of wall reliefs and a map showing the routes the different voortrekkers took. From the top of the building we have a magnificent view over Pretoria, the university and the surrounding area (in spite of the haziness). In the basement stands a coffin that contains no body, but honours all the people who fell during the Great Trek. On the lid it says: "Ons Vir Jou Suid Afrika", meaning: "From us, to you South Africa". The light at the top of the monument, that warns aircraft for its height, blinks this line in Morse code. All in all a place in South Africa that I've allways wanted to see up close and it definitely met my expectations. Unfortunately we were only given 45 minutes for this visit, to long for some, way too short for me and my girlfriend.
The marble inside the monument.