Jan FE Celliers Park, Pretoria

Jan FE Celliers Park, or Proteapark

Jan FE Celliers Park in the blazing glory of winter

Choose your adventure!

This expansive park is one of the oldest in Pretoria. On a rainy summer morning the park is a beguiling green parkland, with pockets of dense shrubbery along a stream running roughly through its centre. To read about the park with a large pond happily inhabitated by dumped koi fish, continue below.

It was designed by Harry Bruins-Lich, Pretoria parks director for 25 years. A man with big ideas and a budget to back him up. To read about the man who made all his own wedding bouquets and introduced white jacarandas to Pretoria, go to page 56.

It commemorates the Afrikaans poet Jan FE Celliers, writing a hundred years ago (therefore, old by our reckoning). If you want to know more about a guy who hid from British soldiers for three months under floor planks and eventually fled dressed as a woman (eliciting much attention from the soldiers), it will be narrated on page 71.

Somewhere in the early 1960s Mr Bruins-Lich and his men (as the Pretoria News of the time calls the team that landscaped much of central Pretoria East) designed a park on what was still an undeveloped slope. Jan FE Celliers Park, also known as Proteapark, was meant to be an indigenous park, and the hill's original flora provides some beauties, like the wild seringa, Burkea africana, unavailable commercially.

What the site needed, it was decided, was a stream, making full use of the slope with a descent of 15 metres. And it was very well done, I - a water feature sceptic - must say. >>