Pretoria Travel Guide

Pretoria Travel Guide


Pretoria is affectionately referred to as the Jacaranda City due to its profusion of mauve-coloured trees that blossom in spring. It is located 56 miles from Johannesburg, even though this drive can take as much as two hours. Pretoria is South Africa's administrative capital and one of the country's much more attractive cities, its relatively green and picturesque urban centre forming a stark contrast to its much more chaotic neighbour of Johannesburg.

Pretoria was founded in 1955 and named after Andries Pretorius, the boer leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus beneath King Dingaan.But because 1994, the city's Jacaranda tree-lined streets are better known as the administrative capital of South Africa and as house to the iconic Union Buildings exactly where Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the country's initial democratically elected president.

Pretoria might not be 1 of South Africa's most well-liked tourist destinations, however it makes a great base for a multitude of sightseeing possibilities. Boasting some distinctive attractions like the historic Voortrekker Monument, the South African National Zoological Gardens, one of the world's first-class zoos, and the nearby town of Cullinan where the discovery of the world's biggest diamond took location, Pretoria provides visitors a unique glimpse into a city brimming with background and simultaneously embracing its cultural modifications.

Pretoria is known for its powerful apartheid days, although today it's clear to see how the various races and communities have turn out to be more integrated. The green suburbs of each Acadia and Hatfield are particularly attractive, and never more so than in october, when their thousands of Jacaranda trees burst into purple bloom and fill the air with a sweet fragrance. In fact, Pretoria is now home to almost 100,000 Jacarandas, earning the city its well-liked nickname of the 'Jacaranda City'.


National Zoological Gardens of South Africa - This really is one of the most famous zoos in the world and the biggest in South Africa. Divided into a number of sections exactly where animal lovers can gaze in awe at their favorites, the most fascinating feature of the zoo is the newly renovated aquarium and reptile park. Guests can also take a ride in the well-known cable cars, which offer marvelous views of the entire zoo and city. 

Voortrekker Monument - This "place of pilgrimage" of the Afrikaans population lies on a hill outside of Pretoria. The monument was constructed in 1949 in remembrance of the Great Trek and the Bloedriver Battle. If you're coming from Johannesburg on the N1, you can't miss it. open every day.

Pretoria National Botanical Garden - Featuring indigenous plants and flowers from all over South Africa, the Pretoria National Botanical Garden bridges the gap between scientific research and recreational environment. The garden is home to over 198 bird species, a couple of reptiles and even little mammals, like the duiker, a small kind of buck. A great location for a relaxing walk or picnic, the gardens also function Mokha Restaurant which overlooks a small wetland. 

Melrose House - Constructed in 1886 by a wealthy businessman, George Jesse Heys, Melrose House is today an fascinating attraction dedicated to Victorian living. There is plenty to admire, including stained glass windows, stunning carpets, fine porcelain and ornate ceilings. The house is also home to a show of photographs depicting the Anglo-Boer War. In recent years, Melrose House is now a well-known centre for talks and workshops, also as antique fairs and exhibitions.

Union Buildings - Designed by renowned South African architect, Sir Herbert Baker, the Union Buildings are located on Meintjieskop hill, a sentinel overlooking the city of Pretoria. The official seat of the government and housing the offices of the South African President and other government officials, the Union Buildings are a South African Monument and have noticed such icons at former South African president, Nelson Mandela, inaugurated here. 

Pretoria Art Museum - The Pretoria Art Museum has with many works by South African artists like Pierneef, Frans oerder and Anton van Wouw plus the Michaelis Collection of Dutch and Flemish masters and temporary exhibitions. As well as displaying its permanent collection of South African art, Pretoria's main art gallery hosts temporary exhibitions and is also home to an info centre. The exhibits range from 20th-century pieces by prominent modern artists, to Dutch old masters from the 17th century.

Church Square - Church Square is situated correct at the heart of Pretoria - both in terms of the city's geography and its past. Centre stage is a statue of the former South African President, Paul Kruger. The square is also house to a small garden, which comes complete with a few of Pretoria's well-known Jacaranda trees. Look out too for the Place of Justice, old Capitol Theatre and the General Post workplace, all of which surround Church Square. 

Klapperkop Fort - Built at the finish of the 19th century, the Klapperkop Fort provides today's guests and tourists a chance to admire the fantastic views over the city. Klapperkop was one of just four forts that were built to be able to defend Pretoria. Its defensive powers were never tested. The site has been turned into a military attraction, which houses some interesting exhibits.

Derdepoort Recreation Resort - This resort features a host of activities and fun for all the family. As well as a swimming pool, there is also a children's farm, shop and picnic area. All in all, there should be enough attractions spread about the Derdepoort Recreation Resort to keep the little ones pleased for quite some time.

Burgers Park - Burgers Park was established back in the 1870s and remains Pretoria's finest surviving examples of a Victorian park. Indeed, in the 1970s, it was added to the National Monument list.

Kruger Home - President Paul Kruger lived in this splendid house near Church Square from 1884 to 1901. It was the first Pretorian residence with electricity and telephone. It's furnished in the original style and shows numerous exhibits from the life of this very well-liked Boer president, for example his State coach and his private railway carrier.


Shopaholics are nicely catered for in Pretoria. Whether you're shopping for some thing to wear or are looking for a conventional African handcrafted item to take back house, there's some thing for everyone, what ever the budget. Like most big South African cities, Pretoria boasts a mix of little independent stores, shops and street markets, all of which sell specialist items. There are also lots of chic buying centres dotted about Pretoria, where you can buy everything under 1 roof. Pretoria offers guests a wide variety of common and speciality outlets, buying mails, arcades and markets.

There are extremely couple of nearby handicrafts or appealing souvenirs to speak of, and the retail landscape is dominated by largely generic buying malls. Nevertheless, if you're in town for a sporting or business engagement, and the urge to spend some rands takes hold, there are a few choices to consider.

The main buying malls are Menlyn Park, in the east; Brooklyn Mall, close to the city centre, which has some good art galleries; Kolonnade, in the north, chiefly visited for its ice rink; and Irene village mall south of the city.

Some of Pretoria's best shopping is at its flea markets. The Pretoria Zoo marketplace runs on weekdays from 6am to 5pm and has a great range of traditional jewellery, African crafts and ornaments on sale. At the Union Buildings you'll discover vendors selling decent local handicrafts like woven rugs and beadwork; open daily. Wonderpark Flea Market is open from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays selling crafts, toys and souvenirs from a range of regional artists

The principal city-centre complexes are De Bruyn Park, Sanlam Centre, and the Standard Bank Centre. The main suburban buying complexes are the Arcadia Centre, Jacaranda Centre, Menlyn Park, Sunny Park, Centurion City and Wonderpark.

Almost all of these centres have a great selection of speciality stores of interest to the foreign visitors: African handicrafts (traditional beadwork, handspun carpets and rugs, pottery and woodwork); hides and skins; ceramics and so forth. There are crafts on sale outdoors the entrance to the National Zoological Gardens. A flea marketplace is held every Saturday on the square in front of the State Theatre.

Well-liked buying centres in the centre of Pretoria include De Bruyn Park, the Regular Bank Centre and the Sanlam Centre. Brooklyn Square is really a fairly compact shopping centre that is house to some leading brands in the fashion globe.

There are also some fantastic shops and shopping centres in Pretoria's suburbs. These are particularly useful if you're staying out of town. The Menlyn Shopping Mall in Menlo Park is reputed to become 1 of the greatest in South Africa, having a large number of shops, also as restaurants, cinemas and cafes. Centurion City is also popular. The Kolonnade in the north of Pretoria has some 150 shops, as well as an olympic-size ice rink. Buying centres like these are not just home to the better-known chain stores. Most of them also have shops that sell specialist items, like locally handcrafted items. They make fantastic souvenirs of one's remain in Pretoria.

It is worth also exploring Pretoria's various markets, not just to search for that elusive special 'something', but also to expertise at initial hand what the city is all about. The Hatfield Flea Market, for example, is a superb location to go to buying for clothes, decorative African craftwork or food. With over 200 stalls, it rates as the trendiest marketplace in Pretoria. There is also a flea marketplace held on the square in front of Pretoria's State Theatre every Saturday. The Sunny Park market is held on Sundays all through the day, and sells paintings and sculptures, amongst other things.

Eating Out:

In Pretoria, restaurants offer a wide selection of cuisine. If it's Belgian chic you are following Chef Daniel Leusch's La Madeleine is the way to go. Recently joined in the kitchen by his daughter Anne, Chef Leusch senior has begun to incorporate youthful components of molecular gastronomy into his otherwise classic repertoire. If hushed tones and liquorice foams don't do it for you, attempt the deliciously ebullient Ritrovo Ristorante for marvellous Mediterranean cuisine. From the initial bite of antipasto to the final mouthful of zabaglione you cannot go wrong with father and son team Giovanni and Fortunato Mazzone. Congolese culinary cool is on provide at Zemara, exactly where Chef Jackie Picard conjures up scrumptious palm pulp-infused antelope casseroles, roasted tilapia fish and deep fried plantains with aplomb.

With a lot of restaurants to try out in Pretoria, you will find yourself wondering exactly where to start. Whether you're sticking around Hatfield, heading out to Menlyn or spending some time in Brooklyn, you will discover a huge selection of cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and fast food joints offering scrumptious food at really affordable costs.

At these eateries you will discover both South African and international dishes, so there really is some thing to suit all tastes and budgets. Close to the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, you can check out locations like Trademarx and Eastwoods Tavern providing pizzas, burgers and much more.

Just a little further afield out in the suburb of Menlyn, the Menlyn Park Mall is home to a great selection of restaurants. 1 of the restaurants is Baobab where you'll have the ability to sample fantastic value South Africa fusion food such as delicious traditional-style sandwiches and a lot more.

If you like your post-match party more casual and cost-effective why not head for Janicky's in the township of Atteridgeville where African beers such as mageu mqombothi complement lamb stew with amadombolo dumplings, moatwana (chicken foot stew) and mala mogodu tripe. In the event you fancy a taste of relaxed Afrikaans consuming, the Sunday buffet at Monument Restaurant within the Voortrekker Monument offers unbeatable flavours and worth for money. Some soccer fans can't envisage the post-match experience with out a plate of curry - if this really is you, head for the oriental Palace in Arcadia. The bhindi gosht okra curry with aloo naan paratha bread is a one-way trip to paradise. 

If your late-night celebrations become breakfast binges the multi-award winning Carlton Cafe in Menlo Park makes super stylish breakfasts and strong cups of coffee. Like numerous of South Africa's major cities, Pretoria's restaurants represent a wide variety of cuisines. From small Greek tavernas to Indian restaurants and conventional steakhouses, it's feasible to satisfy most tastes when dining out in 1 of the city's numerous eateries.

If you have a sweet tooth, then Pretoria is definitely a great place to visit. Local specialties include the likes of 'sachertorte' (chocolate gateau) and a veritable delight of rich cakes, pastries and tarts. of specific interest, and worth trying at least once, are 'koeksuster' - doughnuts that are plaited and then covered in sticky syrup. 'Vetkoek' are fat-laden confectionaries and certainly not perfect food for those on a diet!

As far as savoury snacks are concerned, Pretoria is home to the 'boerewors' and the 'sputnik', a potato and sausage concoction. Pretoria's indigenous cuisine is really a actual mixture of flavours, including influences in specific from Malaysian, Indian and African cuisines.

Steaks feature on numerous restaurant menus in Pretoria. The city also has numerous well-known steakhouses, numerous of which fit the family restaurant bill very nicely. A couple of have lately turn out to be much more fashionable and upmarket, with a reputation for serving good food and wine. The Well-known Butcher's Grill and Cynthia's Indigo Moon in Brooklyn rank among the most well-liked dining venues of their type.

If your budget does not permit you to consume out at restaurants as much as you'd like, or if you prefer to eat informally outdoors, Pretoria has lots of dining alternatives. Head to one of the city's shopping centres and you will find plenty of decent cafes or family members eateries where you are able to appreciate breakfast, lunch or delicious cake. Food to take out is available from the city's numerous delicatessens and bakeries.


Being the capital, there are many posh hotels (including the Sheraton) and guest houses and all the usual hotel chains have 1 or much more hotels. With so many hotels owned by the exact same chains, in particularly Southern Sun, and occasional change of ownership (e.g. a Holiday Inn is now a Southern Sun) issues can get a little confusing. Make sure you note the address when booking so you visit the right hotel. When Parliament is in session and when there are other state events it can be almost impossible to seek out a mid-range or splurge space. Think about nearby Centurion as an option when you have to be in Pretoria at those occasions.

Pretoria has numerous spending budget and mid-range accommodation and lodging options, that are suitable for many visitors' needs. They could be discovered inside the centre of the city and in the surrounding suburbs. These include family hotels, guesthouses and youth hostels, as well as all the typical chain hotels. However, for a trip of a lifetime, it's well really worth considering Pretoria's upmarket hotels and game lodges.

At the heart of the city, the five-star Sheraton Pretoria Hotel is luxury personified, from its elegant marble floors and sweeping staircases to its stylish swimming pool and restaurant. Also situated in the central company district, the Southern Sun Pretoria provides four-star accommodation amidst modern and sophisticated surroundings.

Plenty of spending budget and mid-range hotel rooms are obtainable. Numerous are located in the centre of Pretoria, inside easy reach of the city's primary attractions. Arcadia is a central district that provides a range of hotel accommodation, as well as self-catering alternatives. However, it is also worth checking out the lodging options in the leafier - and a lot quieter - suburbs of the city.

Guests can also choose to stay in 1 of Pretoria's numerous guesthouses. These provide accommodation on a bed and breakfast (B&B) basis. Dinner may also be obtainable in some guesthouses. Rooms are generally comfortable and provide good value for money compared to Pretoria's hotels. Mainly located in the city suburbs, they give visitors a chance to really feel at home during their remain.

There are several backpackers' youth hostels both in the centre of Pretoria and in the outlying areas of the city. Facilities are usually on the basic side and the standard of lodging on offer can vary greatly. As a rule, though, they offer good value dormitory accommodation. Some have kitchen facilities. Larger hostels provide a shuttle bus to Johannesburg Airport, as well tours of Pretoria, Johannesburg and the surrounding area.


Take a taxi, catch a bus, go for the cable car in the Pretoria Zoo, get a lift on the local minibus taxis. or take a walk about town. There are numerous different methods to get about in Pretoria.

Tourists arriving at oR Tambo International Airport have the option of catching a shuttle bus, renting a automobile or taking a metered taxi to their hotel. A public transport information desk can be discovered on the public concourse in domestic arrivals.

To the right of the parking garage is really a terminal for minibus shuttles and metered taxis. For those who get lost, there are plenty of information booths.

If you arrive by shuttle bus you will probably be dropped off at the Tourist Rendevous Centre on the corner of Vermeulen and Prinsloo streets or at your hotel. Pretoria's city attractions are easily accessible on foot if you're based near the city centre. Public transport is useful if you're venturing farther afield.

To get to the suburbs you will have to use the local municipal buses. Their information desk could be reached on +27123130839. Bus timetables are available at Church Square and from any location selling bus tickets ' generally pharmacies. A single bus trip will price in between R4 and R6. 

You can hail and make use of the nearby minibus taxis that travel the usual commuter routes from the outlying suburbs into the city but this really is a more complicated procedure and you would have to ask locals for the right hand signals to flag them down. Taxis are run by local operators who might have knowledge of special tours operated by local entrepreneurs. The tourist information workplace in the old Nederlandsche Bank Building in Church Square will be able to help with this, also as advise you on how greatest to utilise public transport to get to your destination.

Tourists are accepted and welcomed by all, but every city has its poor seeds. Keep in mind always to be crime conscious when travelling on local transport, particularly minibus taxis, as you might be seen as a soft target. It could be a great concept to obtain a map of Pretoria. These can be purchased from any newsagent or bookseller.

If your stay in this lovely city is for a couple of days, then it might be really worth it to rent a car from 1 of the car rental agencies. These can usually be contacted via your hotel. Your time won't be wasted waiting for buses and shuttles and you are able to access the numerous scenic attractions beyond the city boundaries.

Trains in Pretoria run regularly but don't visit the tourist attractions. They are primarily used as long-distance transport.

Travel by Bus and Coach - The bus service in Pretoria is rather restricted, but could be useful if you are staying out in the suburbs. Buses run from Church Square in the centre of Pretoria. Timetables are obtainable at the bus terminal in Church Square and in shops that sell bus tickets. Long-distance bus and coach transport links Pretoria with South Africa's major cities, such as both Johannesburg and Durban.

Travel by Train - A train service operates in Pretoria, but is not of great use for visitors to the city because it does not stop near main landmarks. The train station is in the south of the city. Trains transport is, nevertheless, a great way to travel lengthy distances, between major cities, with intercity trains going to Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina and nearby Mozambique.

Travel by Taxi - Travel by taxi is really a helpful choice when you don't have a car and when no bus service is obtainable. Nevertheless, it could be costly. A more cost effective, if not so comfy, way of obtaining about Pretoria would be to use a minibus taxi.

Car Rental - Vehicles are broadly obtainable for employ in Pretoria and are a helpful way of travelling about the city in the event you strategy to remain for any length of time. A car is also essential in the event you would like to visit locations outdoors the city not served by public transport. A national road network connects Pretoria to Johannesburg, also as to most other main cities in South Africa.


Pretoria is situated inside a summer time rainfall region with hot days regularly followed by short and intense afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are often accompanied by lightning and sometimes result in hail. Summer temperatures range in between 16°C at evening to 30°C during the day. Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging in between a minimum of 5°C along with a maximum of 20°C.

The city has a moderately dry subtropical climate, particularly a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification: Cwa), with lengthy hot and rainy summers and short cool and dry winters. The typical annual temperature is 18.7 °C (65.7 °F).[4] This really is rather high considering its fairly high altitude of about 1350 metres and is due primarily to its sheltered valley position, which acts as a heat trap and cuts it off from cool southerly and south-easterly air masses for a lot of the year. Rain falls primarily in the summer months, with drought conditions prevailing over the winter months, when frosts may be sharp. Snowfall is an extremely rare event, occurring as soon as or twice in a century.

Pretoria has a fairly moderate climate compared to many other parts in the nation. Temperatures typical about 27 degrees Celsius from october to March and about 20 degrees Celsius from June to August. Nights are roughly about 13 to 17 degrees throughout winter, but only around 3 degrees on typical in June and July. Extremes of 35 degrees and -4 degrees have been recorded. May to october is fairly dry, November to March is the rainy season with between 100 and 150 mm of rain every month.

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