PRETORIA is the country’s vibrant administrative capital. It is one of the oldest cities in South Africa and has a rich heritage and immense cultural diversity, with a wealth of historic architecture, heritage and other landmarks, immortalised by statues and monuments. The impressive Union Buildings, the seat of government, is a citadel that offers a beautiful view over the entire city centre, as well as the University of Pretoria in the east. The Union Buildings’ spectacular gardens are among several open spaces in the city, and in close proximity to the conference venue, in which visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature. The city’s management is focused on inspiring the world, influencing Africa and leading South Africa. Pretoria has many fine heritage sites and museums of interest to those wishing to learn more about the country’s history and cultural background, as well as several excellent art galleries, of which four are located in close proximity to the University of Pretoria’s main campus in Hatfield. This includes the Javett UP Art Centre, one of the finest modern and contemporary art museums in the country. Other sites of interest include the Diamond Hill Battlefield, Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park, Melrose House, Pioneer Museum and Sammy Marks Museum. The city is also the hub of international cooperation, with a myriad of embassies to serve the needs of foreign guests. The headquarters of most of the country’s government departments are located in the city, and it boasts a thriving business community. It is home to more than five institutes of higher learning, of which the University of Pretoria, with its seven campuses, is the largest. Conference delegates will be able to participate in day trips before and after the conference to popular tourist venues in close proximity to Pretoria such as Pilanesberg, Maropeng and Soweto.
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Often described as ‘a world in one country’, South Africa offers visitors a breath-taking variety of scenery, from desert and lush forest, to soaring mountains and vast empty plains. Culturally as diverse as the landscape, many visitors are drawn to experience for themselves the miracle of the peaceful overthrow of apartheid. Others are attracted by the endless golden beaches, big game, diving or snorkelling, or bird watching. Visitors will find South Africa positively inviting, with world-class infrastructure, transport and accommodation.
Whilst boasting cosmopolitan and sophisticated cities such as Pretoria, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, the country also has a striking natural beauty. South Africa has some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery and features an amazing display of bird and wildlife species, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). The country is ranked as the third most biologically diverse in the world. There are numerous game reserves, parks and nature trails that offer a taste of Africa’s natural appeal. Due to the diversity of people and cultures in South Africa, the country offers a variety of cultural experiences. The history of the country also holds strong appeal for tourists, from the discovery of gold in Johannesburg to the Robben Island prison where icons of South Africa’s political struggle against apartheid, such as Nelson Mandela, were detained. Tourism in South Africa is a thriving sector, with millions of tourists from around the world entering the country annually. The country boasts a wide selection of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, shopping centres and other tourist facilities.
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