Ditsong Museums of South Africa

The Ditsong Museums of South Africa comprise of seven world-class museums, including the Pioneer Museum in Silverton. These museums capture not only our rich cultural heritage, but keep it intact for future generations to enjoy. Spanning from natural history, to military regalia and even a Victorian mansion, the Ditsong Museums are a must-visit for both Joburg and Pretoria residents. This Heritage Month, why not treat the kids to a visit to the Pioneer Musuem? It's a great place to start teaching them about the 'olden days' and how people used to live. Plus, you can enjoy a number of fun activities, including candle making, kneading homemade bread and feeding the farm's live animals.

Pioneer Museum

The Pioneer Museum

The Pioneer Museum is situated in Pretoria East. It is open to the public only through booking, so make sure to call them before visiting! You can arrange a guided tour, as well as interactive activities for you and the kids. Or, book out their lapa for a family braai or get together.

History

This museum has a vast and interesting history. Dating back to the mid 1800s, the land has seen many owners come and go. It has also seen the gold rush in Johannesburg, silver mining and the expanse of a Victorian-style home. In 1874, David Botha, a Cape farmer, sold the Farm to Hans Mundt, a German immigrant. Botha built the original farmstead, adopting traditional Tswana techniques to build the floor from mud, cow dung and anthills.

However, it was Mundt's innovative farming techniques which helped develop the farm further. He capitalised on the ideal position of the farm in proximity to the discovery of gold at Lydenburg and Pilgrim’s Rest, building a halfway house for travelers to and from Pretoria. He also built a poultry coop to house his chickens!

At the turn of the century, miners discovered silver on the farm. The Silver Mining Company quickly snapped up a portion of the land, developing a Victorian house to replace the original sheds as accommodation. Sixty years later, the buildings on the farm were declared historical monuments. And, finally in 1975, the farm was officially declared a museum and opened to the public. The Pioneer Museum has now been under the custodianship of the Ditsong organisation since 2009.

Pioneer Museum

Attractions

The Pioneer open air museum features a traditional T-shaped house complete with thatched roof and traditional dung floor, as well as the restored Victorian homestead, farming implements and more. Visiting the museum gives you a real sense of what the early settler days were like in South Africa. To add to the experience, tour guides dress up in traditional garb. Watch as they demonstrate how to bake bread in a clay oven, make candles from animal fat and churn butter. You can participate in these activities, too, so make sure to come dressed accordingly!

Typical settler furniture and curios are also on display at the museum, including a coffee grinder, weaponry, beds and chairs. While you may not be able to take a seat or a nap on these old homely comforts, they give a heightened sense of just how far society has progressed since the 1800s. The kids will definitely leave with a renewed sense of gratitude for their iPads, smart phones and televisions. 

The Pioneer Museum hosts an annual New Year's Day celebration, as well as a weekend farmers market. But, if you want the place just to yourself and the family, book out their hall or lapa over a weekend. Either way, you are sure to have an awesome time exploring the quirky features of this one-of-a-kind museum.

**Entrance costs R25 for children aged 7 - 18 years, and R40 per adult.

For more information

Visit their website for more information, or follow Ditsong Museums of SA on social media:

Facebook - facebook.com/DITSONGMuseumsSA

Twitter - twitter.com/hashtag/ditsong

Instagram - instagram.com/ditsongmuseumsa

Details: +27 12 492 5744 | [email protected] | Keuning Dr, Silverton, Pretoria, 0127.

The Art Farm - A Sense of History

The Art Farm is precisely what its name implies - a dedicated art venue out in peaceful Alewynspoort. Established in 2014 by Eugene and Ilse Becker, The Art Farm is built on farmland which dates back to the early development period of Johannesburg after the South African War (1899 - 1902). With this sense of history in mind, you should definitely pay this unique art centre a visit.

Art Farm

Food, Wine & Fine Art

The Art Farm is all about art - every kind, from culinary art, to wine making, music and visual art. This is where the written word is celebrated and children's laughter is cherished. Nature welcomes you here too, providing the perfect relaxing environment just a short drive from the city. With an on-site restaurant and bakery, kiddies play area, bar and events venue, The Art Farm is the ideal family-friendly space to enjoy a little fresh air, some great tasting food and, of course, all kinds of art. The farm also boasts 27 art stalls - converted stables which each hold a new delight for visitors. You can stroll through the stables to pick up a selection of original pottery items, vintage furniture, paintings and winery.

Art Farm

Book lovers, there is something special here for you too. A loft bookshop with over 7000 books! Come out on a weekend to enjoy an entire day of gossipy biographies, adventure tales, stories of love and astounding facts about the natural world. Young readers are also welcome to get lost in a world of fairy tales, trolls, heroes and valiants. Afterwards, you can visit The Art Farm's famous pig, Spekkie. The kids will certainly be delighted by her antics as she frolics in the mud pool. The resident farm horse, SM-arty offers rides to the kids, too. You and the kids may also take some time to plant a few seeds in the veggie garden. If you return a few weeks later there is sure to be a fresh bounty to harvest. Either way, this is tranquility at its very best.

The Art Farm Night Market 

The Art Farm Craft Yard hosts monthly night markets. Featuring live music, art displays, foodie delights and a great atmosphere, the night market is a must-visit. There are only three more night market events taking place this year, so don't miss out on all the fun! However, if night markets aren't your thing, pop by for the weekend market. A celebration of authentic art, hand-made crafts, real farm fresh produce and eco-friendly materials. These markets take place every Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 - 15:00.

On Saturday, 05 October 2019 the Art Farm Craft Yard invite you to enjoy a craft whiskey, gin and beer bash! Of course, you can also indulge in the usual weekend market fare, which includes craft stalls selling beaded jewellery, wooden toys and trinkets, soaps and quirky home decor items. The Art Farm deli will also be there, offering you an array of deli meats, cheeses, breads and home-style baked biscuits. So, bring the whole family along for a fun day out at the vintage-inspired Craft Yard.

For more information

Visit their website for more information - the-artfarm.co.za.

Or, follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest events, workshops and exhibitions.

Details: Plot 56, Klipriver Road, R550, Alewynspoort, Eikenhof, Gauteng | [email protected]

Arriving here, some may feel a bit lost, out of place or have horror scenes playing in their mind. With the remote and quiet surroundings, this can be expected. However, once you're on the property, you'll made to feel like a welcomed guest.

After the pleasant drive from Joburg to Pretoria, we arrived at the sanctuary worried we were at the wrong place. Although well-marked, it is eerily quiet. Having arrived for the tour early, we ordered drinks at the vegan eatery, while exploring the on-site store. Drinks included a luscious hot chocolate topped with the most delicious whipped cream and a hazelnut latte crowned with melting vegan marshmallows. They were a treat, even to an omnivore palate.

The tour, which runs from 10:00 - 11:00 and 11:30 - 12:30 on Saturdays and Sundays, is completely free. The hour-long tour starts with the floppy-eared, curly-tailed pigs. There are currently three of them housed at the sanctuary, lovingly named Babe, Willow and Alfie. The tour discusses their stories in-depth, including how they got to the sanctuary, their path to health and their current lives. All while visitors get to watch as the pigs terrorise the poor ground keepers, demanding some love.

The tour then followed onto the rabbits and chickens, then to the majestic horses and the naughty goats - Basil, Libi and Beverley. Basil, has to be the personality of the sanctuary with his naughty and demanding antics. But he was able to charm us into falling in love with him at first sight. Beverley has to be the most adorable little kid we have ever seen.

Next, we got to meet the stars of the show. The ladies and the lads are a group of affectionate-hungry donkeys including India, Juliet, Charlie, Delta, Tango, Bravo and Echo. After being rescued from cruel conditions, many of these equines prefer to stay away from human interaction, which the facility supports. However, some of the donkeys have a lot of love, affection and cuddles to offer. Just be careful, a few of them are quite drawn to handbags and may choose to take a bite or steal them.

donkey

The sanctuary also has a few rescued cows. We had the honour of meeting their photogenic girl Grace, and their huge and beautiful boy, aptly named Mr T. We were also lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to play with the cow's flaps, the loose skin under their necks, and to get some soggy kisses. These animals, who were tortured in the farm and animal testing industry, now live full and happy lives thanks to all the hard work from the dedicated team at Asher's.

When the tour, sloppy kisses and Instagram snaps were done, we decided to end the day with a meal and mini shopping spree. Their store and eatery can easily be described as the Pretorian version of The Fussy Vegan, with the hard-to-find vegan items and scrumptious vegan fare. The menu is small but includes a range of coffees and milkshakes, burgers and hot dogs. We decided to try the Turkish Delight Milkshake, the Crumbed Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger, both served with a side salad and chips.

While waiting for our order, we browsed through the selection at their store. The selection includes vegan biltong, chocolate and caramel sauces, Nature and Moi cheese, vegan ice cream, cool drinks, bags, vegan hot chocolate, vegan sweets, vegan chocolate, Asher's Farm Sanctuary shirts and hoodies, black salt, jack fruit and so much more. And all the proceeds from this and the eatery, go towards caring for the animals on the farm.

After making a few purchases and sponsoring our chosen fluff balls (the noble Mr T and the playful Basil), we sat down for our meal. Wow. The Turkish Delight Milkshake, which was vegan, was mouth-watering and delectable. The salt and pepper chips were golden and crisp on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside. And the burgers? The Crumbed Burger was a "chicken" schnitzel on a fresh bun with creamy and tangy sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion slices, cheese and grilled pickles. The Beyond Meat Burger was glorious in size and taste. And for those who haven't tried it yet, it does look and taste exactly like real beef. Or at least the way we remember it tasting.

This was a wonderfully entertaining and informative day out, fulled with vivacious personalities, tasty food and lots of love. We'll definitely be back soon.

If you would like to offer some much need assistance to this organisation, you can do so by volunteering, supporting their cafe and shop or sponsoring an animal. You can also book a free tour here.

Alternatively, contact them on 065 120 2664, email [email protected] or visit their website.

Don't forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

pigs

Trying to find activities for the whole family that does not involve the TV or wasting away all your savings can be tough. We have the perfect solution to this dilemma: the Bokkie Park. For those of you that are completely hopeless with Afrikaans, bokkie refers to goats. This park is a huge plot of land with plenty of hungry farm animals dreaming of giant, juicy carrots. Not that these animals aren't fed. You'll see truckloads of food arriving for them, but they are just a bunch of gluttonous beasts. And we mean both gluttonous and beasts. You have not lived until a goose fight breaks out in competition over the food you're holding.

Rabbits

This venue has a wide array of animals. These animals include cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ostriches, rabbits, horses and, of course, goats. Although, walking into the park, you'll probably be surprised by how few animals you see around. The property is big enough to allow plenty of room for all the animals to roam. The quiet will not last long, though. Before you know it, you'll have a flock of geese stalking towards you. Hungry geese can be alarming, they look like gang members preparing to attack. Plus, they hiss — vehemently. That said, it's quite fun to see them blundering towards the food thrown on the ground, desperate to get there before their peers do.

Geese

When the geese have been greedy enough and you move on along the winding walkway (with them stalking you, no doubt), you may be lucky enough to spot a collection of ducklings gushing after their parents or catch a rare glimpse of a baby lamb suckling on its mom.

If you do, you have arrived at the goat part of your journey around Bokkie Park. The first time we came here, we did not see any goats or sheep around. Then, quite suddenly, about 50 of these animals came blazing towards us, or rather the bag of carrots. It was amusing to have them climbing onto one another, head-butting each other out the way, and even tearing holes in the bag containing the carrots — all in a bid to devour the nourishing morsels within.

goats

Next, you'll find the pigs and their litter of piglets. These little darlings are not so interested in food. However, it is always worth paying them a visit. We could spend hours watching them. The little ones run up to their food trough, the fence, the pens and even each other to wiggle their bottoms in an attempt to get a good, satisfying scratch, and the bigger critters burrow about in the mud. It is just glorious.

Among the herds of goats and sheep, you'll come across a few ostriches. We do not recommend too much interaction between these brutes and young children. These large birds are the notorious bullies of the park. They will fight, chase and intimidate to get their bit. They had to be mentioned simply because it is so entertaining to watch them eat. Your little ones will be flabbergasted watching an ostrich swallow a carrot whole, with that huge sideways lump travelling down its long, skinny neck.

Pig

Remember to leave some extra snacks for the last of the creatures. The cows like to drift around the park and are, therefore, sadly forgotten. But feeding these animals will certainly be a treat for children. Just keep some serviettes handy as the cows like to wrap their extensive and sloppy tongues around the hands that feed them. This gloppiness is not something one should miss.

cows

Other than the animals, the park also offers braai facilities and lapas. This is perfect for an Easter celebration, where you'll be surrounded by all the real-life animals of the occasion. If braaing is not your thing, there are plenty of picnic spots, where you can relax next to the lake, while your children release their pent-up energy running around and playing on the jungle gyms. Otherwise, you can get some snacks at the tuck shop, which also provides feed for the animals.

*This destination is intended for families of all ages. However, it is important to note that the animals here should not be chased, pushed, hit or taunted. This is for your own safety. Please respect the park and animals and don't litter, as this is a choking hazard to the animals. Animals should NOT be fed bread or any other processed food.*

Find more information about Bokkie Park here.

Have you been to Bokkie Park before? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!

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