This week, the last week of October, is peak jacaranda week in Joburg. The trees are laden with flowers and each breeze brings a shower of purple blossoms raining down onto the street. But the Pretoria jacarandas peaked about two weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to catch them during an epic photowalk hosted by Johannesburg In Your Pocket and the Joburg Photowalkers.
Pretoria is about an hour north of Joburg and, due to its lower elevation, Pretoria is always a couple of degrees warmer than Joburg. So the Pretoria jacarandas bloom a couple of weeks earlier — and possibly just a little more vividly — than the Joburg jacarandas. (I recently met someone who theorized that Pretoria’s warmer weather prompts the jacarandas to flower before their leaves come out, while the Joburg jacarandas sprout green leaves and purple blossoms concurrently. Hence the Pretoria jacarandas look more intensely purple. I have no idea if this is scientifically accurate but it makes sense to me.)
At any rate, Pretoria is nicknamed “the Jacaranda City” for a reason. Jacarandas are everywhere, including the Pretoria central business district, and they are dazzling. I’m a committed Joburg enthusiast but I have to give Pretoria some props — those northern jacarandas served a little something extra this year. (Pretoria also has a crazy street of white jacarandas, which I’ve written about previously.)
Before I overwhelm you with all my Pretoria jacaranda photos, I should mention I’m hosting a Johannesburg In Your Pocket jacaranda walk this coming Saturday afternoon in Kensington, JHB. There are only a couple of spots left. It’s going to be super fun and it will be over in plenty of time before the rugby — book here.
Pretoria Jacarandas in Pictures
Our group met up in Rosebank and caught the Gautrain to central Pretoria, where we walked for about four hours — thanks to Joburg Photowalkers founder Mark Straw for planning an incredible route. The trees were perfect, the light was great, and we were all very happy photographers.
The highlight of the afternoon was getting into a 12th-floor unit in a private apartment building in the center of town. We were treated to a delicious view of the jacarandas, the Magaliesburg Mountains, and the Union Buildings (home of the South African Presidency) in golden, early-evening light.
Thanks again to the Joburg Photowalkers and Johannesburg In Your Pocket for this near-perfect afternoon.
Also, Johannesburg In Your Pocket is currently hosting its annual #JacarandaInYourPocket photo competition and there are great prizes to be won, as usual. Find all the details here. Soak up all the purple while you can!