In October more than 70,000 Jacaranda trees are in full bloom in Pretoria. The entire city becomes
a magnificent display of colour.

The Jacaranda tree is not native to Africa, they were imported from South America around 1888
when the Gold Rush was happening in Gauteng. Pretoria, is the administrative capital of South
Africa and lies about 50km North of Johannesburg. Pretoria ( Tshwane ) is on average about 3
degrees warmer than Johannesburg so they bloom a few weeks earlier here.
They don’t last very long, the best time is usually the second or third week in October, just after the
first good rain.

My first memory of a Jacaranda was of my mom, she planted one on the pavement of our house
and took great joy in nurturing it and admiring the flowers each spring time. As I got older I grew to
love the start of spring, the dark storming sky always made the perfect backdrop for the vibrant
purple trees. After a storm, the freshly strewn purple carpet on the pavements and roads made the
streets of Johannesburg and Pretoria look like a wonderland.

I then discovered the fun accidentally of the “ popping flowers “ one day. I was driving down the
back roads of Kensington after a particularly bad storm with my window open breathing in the
fresh, crispy air when I heard the flowers pop after I drove over them. A feeling of guilt swept over
me at the thought of squashing these magical fairies, but at the same time the naughty thrill took
over as they went “pop, pop pop”.

These popular trees were planted along every new street built in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Suburbs are known for the beautiful purple colour but there are also white Jacarandas to be found
in Pretoria.

Each year the diplomatic community enjoys this purple splendour of the city, photos are shared
across various social media platforms outlining the beauty with citizens abroad, allowing them to
indulge in the moments of their fellow countrymen. This year we were able to share some of those
photos from various heads of missions.

There are many viewing spots of the blossom – bedecked trees. Some of the better known
locations are:

  • The Union Buildings, the surrounding streets are often fill of tourists buses.
  • Brooklyn area especially along Pienaar and Murray street
  •  Herbet Baker Street – White Jacarandas can be seen here up up to Klapperkop Nature Reserve
  •  Suburbs of Sunnyside and Muckleneuk and Groenkloof
  •  Streets of particular beauty include Johnston, Reitz, Bourke, Troye and Loveday steets.


  • Kensington has the magnificent purple tunnel on Highland road which weaves past Kensington
  • Parkwood as well as Saxonwold have beautiful canopied trees. One of the better roads is Bath
  • Melville is combination of purple Jacarandas and pink bougainvilleas.
  • Dunkled, Greenside, Melrose, Rosebank and Killarney also have beautiful tree lined streets.
  • For the best viewing points head up to Linksfield Ridge entering through Club Street. Munro
  • Drive in Houghton and the historic 210 Westcliff Steps will all give you breathtaking views of the
    city and the purple canopies form different angles.
  • If a walking tour interest you the Joburg Heritage Foundation is the best to contact.

Jacaranda Fun Facts

  • 146 Celliers Street in Pretoria has a plaque commemorating the first two Jacaranda trees planted
    in the city in 1888. The saplings came from Rio De Janeiro, and were imported by a
    Cape Botanist, Mr Templeman. They were planted in the garden of Myrtle Lodge owned by Mr
    Celliers of which the location today is on the Sunnyside School Campus.
  • Jacranda FM, a popular local radio station is name after the trees.
  • According to The Star Newspaper of 1945, Johannesburg’s first Jacaranda tree was planted in
    Doornfontein. It is said that William Nelson, the owner of Nelson Nurseries, grew some 30 million
    trees, , shrubs and plants by 1896, many were Jacarandas. The article claims that he planted
    over 100km of trees along the streets of the suburb of Kensington.
  • Jacaranda means “ fragrant “ in native South American dialect
  • In 2001 the trees where declared a “ category 3 invader tree” as they take over from our
    indigenous trees. So now when they die new trees may not be planted, instead they are replaced
    with local specimens.
  • Around 1870 the city of Pretoria was known as City of Roses. Over the years as the purple layer
    grew the name changed to Jacaranda City.
  • There are about 100 white Jacarandas on Herbet Baker Street. It is said they were imported by
    H. Bruinslich from Peru in 1962.
  • The trees live for about 200 years

The Jacaranda tree is synonymous to Johannesburg and Pretoria. The purple petals are expected
to line our streets for at least another 90 years. So while their beauty lingers on in our old suburban
streets, enjoy the magic and splendour of these trees.

“As the leaves fell slowly from the jacaranda, I ran to catch a
piece of the sky“ – Avijeet Das

H.E Arshad Omar Esmaeel – Ambassador of Iraq to South Africa

H.E Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia to South Africa

H.E Zainal Arif Mantaha, High Commissioner of Singapore in South Africa