Coleoptera Collection


The Coleoptera section at the museum houses the most comprehensive collection of beetles from southern Africa in the World, consisting of more than 1.5 million specimens stored in excess of 4,000 drawers, reflecting the results of more than a century of collecting and research. From early on, the original focus on the then Transvaal extended first across South Africa and then the subregion, and today there exist comprehensive holdings especially from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, with Botswana, southern Mozambique and Lesotho still being somewhat under-represented.


As mentioned above, the original mandate of the collection was to document the Coleoptera fauna of the then Transvaal Republic. This quickly expanded as a result of the annexation of the Transvaal by the British, and the result of meeting these new challenges is reflected in the steadily growing number of species recorded from southern Africa.

Although generally representative, a particular feature of the collection is the strong representation of Tenebrionidae, and thorough coverage of most other beetle families occurring in especially South Africa.

Among some of the earliest individuals to collect beetles for the museum were Dr J.W.B. Gunning, Mr C.J. Swierstra, Mr G. van Dam, Dr Georges van Son, Dr Austin Roberts, Mr P. A. Krantz, Dr H.G. Breijer and Dr A.J.T. Janse. Specific focus came with Dr Charles Koch, founder of the Desert Ecological Research Unit in Gobabeb, Namibia and specialist on especially arid adapted Tenebrionidae.

Dr Sebastian Endrödy-Younga (1934-1999) joined the museum in 1970 and spent over 24 years collecting, curating and describing beetles at the museum. While head of the Department, fellow colleagues included Dr Lilo Schulze, Dr Mary-Louise Penrith, Dr Jan Klimazewski, and Dr Charles Bellamy, and most recently Dr Sibylle Gussmann. With the appointment of the current incumbent, Mr James du G. Harrison, in 2002, the focus of taxonomic and systematic research is on selected groups of Scarabaeidae.

Acquisition of collections and material which have augmented the collection include beetles from Dr Brauns of Willowmore and Mr Neville Duke of Swaziland.

To visit the collection or for further information please contact Ms Ruth Müller ( Current staff include Collections Manager Ms Ruth Müller and preparators Mr Jan Legwai and Mrs Susan Mametse.

Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural HistoryThe Ditsong National Museum of Natural History formerly known as the Transvaal Museum was founded as the Staatsmuseum of the ZAR on the 1st of December 1892.

And it has, since then acted as custodian and documentation centre of South Africa’s natural heritage.The Museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples [the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind]; fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. On these collections are based the Museum’s educational programmes, research is done and information is communicated to all people of South Africa as well as to the international community.

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History is the only natural history museum in Gauteng and one of the largest in South Africa. It is unique in that it is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national and international community the opportunity to view its collections including original fossil material usually denied the public.


Educational Programmes

A comprehensive series of programmes and conducted tours is offered to schools, students and tourists in various South African languages. All education programmes are aligned to CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement). Booking is essential to participate in these activities. Please use e-mail to contact us while our phone system is being upgraded –

Discovery Centre

A hands-on activity centre, where the five human senses are used to discover the wonders of nature, offering an invaluable educational adventure. It affords easy access for wheelchairs and display texts are also transcribed in Braille. This centre is ideal for younger learners that are eager to explore with their hands.

Public Programmes

Throughout the year talks are held at the Museum by various established researchers and scientists. Please check back regularly with the “Upcoming events” page or contact the Public Programmes Department.

Museum View


The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History researchers, as well as scientists from other institutions doing research can submit scientific papers to the annals. The major publications are the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Monograph series.

The Museum has exchange agreements with a large number of scientific institutions, both abroad and in South Africa and 342 copies of the Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and 280 copies of the Monographs of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History are distributed annually. Up to 2010 the annals were known as the Annals of the Transvaal Museum. For quality control of documents, articles, news releases and reports, please contact: Dr Martin Krüger at

 Admission Fees

Prices for Adults, Learners, Senior Citizens and Discovery Centre


R40.00 p/p
Children (Accompanied by parents)
R20.00 p/p
SA Senior Citizens
R20.00 p/p
Students (guided tour)
Students (own tour)
R25.00 p/p
R20.00 p/p
Free Entry for Educator: per group of 30 learners
R20.00 p/p
Free Entry for Educator: per group of 30 learners
R20.00 p/p
Discovery Centre
R25.00 p/p
Behind the scenes tour
R50.00 p/p
Night tour
R150.00 p/p
Discovery + Museum
R40.00 p/p
Guided tour
Additional R5 to approporiate tariff

Contact Information

Physical Address:
432 Paul Kruger Street Pretoria 0001

GPS Coordinates:
S 25° 45’ 11.2” E 28° 11’ 21.6”

Contact numbers:
012 492 1358
012 492 5708 – from March 2018
Admission: Daily:
08:00 – 16:00
(Except Christmas Day and Good Friday)

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