Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Visit to the Jacaranda City

Jacaranda flowers 

Last month my husband and I visited the Jacaranda City (aka Pretoria) to see one of the most beautiful sights in South Africa—streets outlined in purple by thousands of jacaranda trees in bloom. If you are not familiar with these trees, take a look at Google Images at this link to catch a glimpse of their splendor.

As we chatted on the way to our destination, we discovered that although we both wanted to see the trees, we had totally different ideas as to how we were going to achieve our goal. My husband's plan was to climb to a high vantage point and look down over the city. He wanted to see the trees from a distance and view the patterns they wove over the cityscape. My plan was to stand in the shade of the trees and experience them close up.

We had the whole day ahead of us, so we decided to put both plans into action. We drove through kilometers of jacarandas in busy city centre streets until we reached quiet suburban streets where we were able to park. The rows of trees stretched up and down the road as far as we could see. Their branches made a canopy over our heads and the blooms filtered the light to an ethereal purplish blush. Fallen blooms carpeted the ground, and honey bees clambered in and out of them. The trunks and branch formed fascinating twisted sculptures. The atmosphere was one of peace and tranquility as a cool breeze played around us.

Street lined with jacarandas

 We then drove to the Voortrekker Monument, a National Heritage Site honouring the Dutch-speaking pioneers who traveled to the interior of South Africa by ox wagon in the 19th century. This is a 40 metre high granite structure on top of a hill overlooking Pretoria. We climbed many steps in the hot sun to the top where we were able to see great stretches of the city and country side. We had expected to see patterns like a purple jeweled net cast over Pretoria, but unfortunately we were too early to see the trees at their best and the patterns were barely discernable.

Voortrekker Monument

As we returned home, I realised that the day reflected two different points of view in my novel. One character tends to be aloof and experience events from afar, thus having a comprehensive overview, but less involvement with other characters and situations. Another may not see the overall picture of events, but lives very much in the moment and gets caught up in all the little details. Both views are valid and add interesting dimensions to a novel.

Have you had any experiences which parallel or illustrate aspects of writing? If you have, I would love to read about them in the comments.


  1. Thank you for sharing! I love these trees. Adding those different POV's of your characters will add smooch depth to your story!

  2. Pretoria is a beautiful city when the jacarandas are in bloom. They remind me of the town in Rhodesia where I grew up. There was an amazing road, Lobengula Avenue, which was also lined on both sides with jacarandas.

  3. Jacarandas are stunning. All in flower around our area in Australia now. Love it!