The South African Lipizzaners
The oldest human bred horse in the world, ancestors of the Lipizzaners, have been traced to Carthaginian and Roman horses at the time Julius Caesar was Emperor of Rome. The Lipizzaner breed itself dates back to around 1562 when Archduke Maximilian started to breed Spanish horses in Lipica, a village in the modern day Slovenia. It was the need for military horses unusual strength, loyalty and courage that inspired him to import Spanish, Italian and Arab-Oriental horses for his breeding programme. Out of this grew the famous white horse – the Lipizzaner – as we know it today.
In 1944 a select few Lipizzaners were rescued from war-torn Austria and brought to South Africa by Count Jankovich-Besan. The stallions at Kyalami are direct descendants of those horses and their predecessors. In 1951, Major George Ivanowski left his native Poland to come to South Africa. He met Count Jankovich-Besan at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg, visited his stud and was offered a Lipizzaner to train, and thus ‘Maestoso Erdem’ became the first Lipizzaner to be seen demonstrating High School Dressage movements.
The South African Lipizzaners have earned the honour of being the only performing Lipizzaners outside Vienna recognised by and affiliated to the Spanish Riding School and a close association is maintained between the two establishments. Over the years, the South African Lipizzaners have become an integral part of South Africa's cultural heritage. Today, the South African Lipizzaners appear on film and television and at various public performances as well as their regular Sunday morning shows.
Lesedi Cultural Village
Lesedi and its cultural experience of old and new Africa was co-founded by renowned African explorer, Kingsley Holgate, who remains heavily involved in the day to day operations and ensures that every attraction is not only fascinating, but enriching. One of Lesedi’s many differentiating factors is the village’s natural and tasteful incorporation into the surrounding bush, river and forests, with five traditional homesteads including Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele.Local families live permanently in each of these five homesteads and visitors are invited to observe the African way of life by either enjoying a short tour of the villages or actually living among these families in guest accommodation, offering all the necessary modern day amenities and comforts discerning visitors are accustomed to.
Whether one enjoys the Lesedi cultural experience through a short tour or by staying overnight, for theculturally inquisitive, this is a destination not to be missed.
Pretoria National Botanical Garden
The Pretoria National Botanical Garden sprawls out over 70 hectares in the eastern suburbs of the city. A haven of biodiversity, the garden supports a thriving wildlife population that includes antelope, bushbabies and mongooses. It’s alsoa prime spot from which to view the annual white butterfly migration.
Karoo Desert Botanical Garden
The Karoo Desert Botanical Garden will fascinate you with its wide range of succulent desert plants indigenous to this region. Don't miss the scenic flowering of the vygies in spring and taste a bud from the Quiver tree before you leave. You might even want to grow one in your own backyard!
Sekhukhune district Limpopo
The Sekhukhune district in Limpopo is rich in cultural heritage. Named after King Sekhukhune who ruled the Bapedi in the 1800s, it boasts cultural villages, the colourful Ndebele people and a collection of significant sites that feature in local folklore. It’s also home to the imaginatively-named rock, God’s Footprint.