Pretoria: The Jacaranda City

My hometown, Pretoria, is known as South Africa’s Jacaranda City. Every October, as the mild spring weather with its daytime thunderstorms starts giving way to the heat of summer, the jacaranda trees are in full bloom. The whole city is covered in a blanket of purple flowers and the sweet scent of its blooms lingers in the air. It is by far my favourite time of the year.

Legend has it that if a jacaranda flower falls on your head, you will pass your next test. October is exam-time for students at the University of Pretoria, and I fondly remember spending many hours sitting under a tree on campus, waiting for that lucky bloom to grace me with its gift of academic superpowers. I don’t know if all the studying under the trees paid off or if the legend is true, but I always passed my exams without too much trouble.

Nowadays, no longer studying, I can just drive through Pretoria’s streets enjoying the beauty of the jacaranda trees without worrying about tests. But, the violet fiesta is short-lived – by November all the flowers will have fallen from the trees, and only the sweet memory of the purple sidewalks will remind us of the jacaranda’s beauty. Until next year, that is.

Is your home town known for something special? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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