* Included in tariffs above unless otherwise stated at main entrance or in the Events Programme
Business Hours ( Monday to Sunday)
* 1 May - 31 Aug: 08:00-17:00
* 1 Sep - 30 April: 08:00-18:00
GUIDED TOURS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Senior Citizens receive special privileges at the Voortrekker Monument as respected members of our society. The entrance fee for Senior Citizen Guided Tours is R 10 per person and these tours take place by appointment only. Senior Citizens who do not make use of a Guided Tour pay R 15 per person.
For those that find it difficult to walk or use a wheelchair there is a special wheelchair path from the parking area to the back door of the Monument. The visitor can then use the wheelchair lift to the Cenotaph Hall and from there take the a second lift to Hall of Heroes or to the top lookout posts of the Monument. Not a single step has to be climbed to get inside the Monument.
The duration of the guided tour is about two hours. Chairs are provided for Senior Citizens in the Hall of Heroes while the guide addresses them. Interesting information is provided about the construction and symbolism of the Monument, as well as lesser known tales and anecdotes from the history of the Great Trek. No effort is spared to make such an outing worthwhile.
Reservation for guided tours may be made with Arend Posthuma on (012) 326 6770, 323 0682, 325 7885 or 082 747 1578. Otherwise click the "Enquiries and Reservations" portion of the feedback button below to forward us a feedback form for more information.
The great grey colossus can be seen from all directions as you near Pretoria… the massive Voortrekker Monument, built in honour of the Voortrekkers (Pioneers), who left the Cape Colony in their thousands between 1835 and 1854. The architect was Gerard Moerdijk and it was his ideal to design a "monument that would stand a thousand years to describe the history and the meaning of the Great Trek to its descendants."
The idea to build a monument in honour of the Voortrekkers already began op 16 December 1888, when Pres. Paul Kruger attended the Day of the Covenant Celebrations at Blood River in Natal. It only gained momentum in 1931 when the "Sentrale Volksmonumentekomitee (SVK)" that is the Central National Monuments Committee was formed to create this ideal.
The Voortrekker Monument is smaller than the Hotel de Invalides in Paris, the grave of Napoleon, much smaller than the Taj Mahal in India and just an eleventh of the size of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig. In comparison with those buildings, the Voortrekker Monument is definitely not the biggest monument in the world, however the architect purposefully tried to build a massive, impressive monument.
On 13 July 1937 the sod turning ceremony took place on Monument Hill. Advocate E.G.Jansen, chairman of the SVK turned the first sod. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. J.C. Muller (granddaughter of Andries Pretorius), Mrs. K.F. Ackerman (great granddaugther of Hendrik Potgieter), and Mrs. J.C. Preller (great granddaughter of Piet Retief) on 16 December 1938 . Eleven years later the Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949. The total cost for the construction of the Monument came to £359,600, of which the state contributed the most. Additional funds were obtained through donations, special stamp sales, commemorative envelopes, mementoes and publications. In 1949 a large amphitheatre was also erected to the North East of the Monument, which seats approximately 20,000 people.
Notwithstanding the massive size of the Monument, two other elements make it a site worth visiting: the Historical Frieze and the Cenotaph Hall. The unique marble Frieze is an intrinsic part of the design - in bas-relief 27 panels depict the story of the Great Trek from 1835 to 1852. The Frieze does not only show the history of the Great Trek, but also depicts every day life, work methods, religious beliefs and the way of life of the Voortrekkers.
The central focus point of the Monument is the Cenotaph. On top of the Hall of Heroes' is an arch from where one can view the interior of the Monument. It is through an opening in the arch that the sun shines at twelve o'clock on 16 December each year onto the middle of the Cenotaph and the words, 'We for thee, South Africa'. The ray of sunshine symbolises God's blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers.
The Cenotaph is the central focus point of the Monument. The word cenotaph means "empty tomb". It is therefore the symbolic resting place of Piet Retief and all the other Voortrekkers who died during the Great Trek. The Cenotaph is made from red granite from the Parys region in the Free State.
Once a year, on 16 December, the sun shines through an opening in the dome roof of the Monument onto the middle of the Cenotaph. It shines on the words "Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika", literally translated: "We for thee South Africa." The architect, Gerard Moerdijk, planned this specifically because the ray of sunlight symbolizes God's blessing on the life and work of the Voortrekkers.
The Cenotaph Hall consists of a 34,5 x 34,5 metre area and is decorated with the flags of the different Voortrekker Republics. The hall is visited more often these days as the famous wall tapestries depicting the Voortrekkers can be seen there, as well as several display cases with artefacts from the Great Trek.
Against the Northern wall is a nave with a lantern where a flame has been kept burning since 1938. The Symbolic Ox Wagon Trek took place in 1938. It started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill where the foundation stone was laid for the erection of the Monument.
The Cenotaph Hall is generally accepted as the most sensitive area of the Monument. For this reason cultural related activities normaly takes place in this area.
The "Afrikaanse Taal-en Kultuurvereniging" ATKV's Woman and Mother Movement donated the Historical Tapestry to the Voortrekker Monument. Nine women worked for eight years to complete the fifteen scenes from the Great Trek. The Tapestry contains 3,3 million stitches. The artist W.H. Coetzer painted the scenes on the tapestry gauze for the women to embroider. Five of these scenes are depicted on this page. It is difficult to render the beauty of the Tapestry photographically, and it is therefore recommended that you view it in person.