Best Tourist Places to Visit in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, Africa
Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, belonging to the province of Gauteng. It falls under the City of Tshwane, is situated around 65 km north of the country’s largest city, Johannesburg. Pretoria is popularly called as the ‘Jacaranda City’, referring abundant of Jacaranda trees in the parks, gardens and on the streets of the city.
Pretoria is a lovely and friendly city, adorned by numerous historic colonial structures, administrative buildings, botanical and zoological gardens, promoting Pretoria as one of the prominent tourist destinations in the country. Pretoria is located at 25°44′46″ S 28°11′17″ E, around 1,270 meters above sea level, covering an area of 687.54 sq. km.
Brief note on Pretoria’s history:
Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, was the founder of Pretoria, in 1855. Pretoria was designated as the capital of the South African Republic on 1 May 1860 and it officially gained city rights on 14 October 1931. Pretoria received its name from the Voortrekker leader and a national hero, Andries Pretorius, the father of Marthinus Pretorius.
Being one of the national capitals, Pretoria features an upgraded transportation infrastructure. Pretoria is served by OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, located around 45 km south of the midpoint of the Pretoria city. Taxis are always being ready to serve visitors at the airport and visitors can also choose bus for inexpensive airport travel.
Pretoria is connected to all the important South African cities by both train and bus services, including Johannesburg and Nelspruit.
Culture, Food and Shopping in Pretoria:
Pretoria is a museum city with more than a dozen museums and also many famous South African bands, including Seether, Zebra & Giraffe.
Shopping centres are dotted all around Pretoria and also visitors can visit traditional shops to bag South African specialties. Mid range restaurants in Pretoria generally charge between R60 and R120 for meal.
Things to do in Pretoria:
- Mountain biking
- The Blue Train tour
- African Tracks Safaris
- Visiting spas
What to see in Pretoria?
The Union Buildings:
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, the Union Buildings is a landmark site, situated on 2 Church Street, functioning as the residence of the South African President. Garden surrounding buildings is an added attraction.
National Zoological Gardens:
Located on 232 Boom Street, the National Zoological Gardens is a site with various attractions, including large mammals, aquarium, and reptile park. Camping can also be enjoyed within the park on Friday and Saturday nights. Entrance fee is R36.
National Cultural History Museum:
The National Cultural History Museum is a perfect place to know the complete culture of South African people, from the Iron Age to modern days. It is situated on 149 Visagie Street in Pretoria.
Pretoria Art Gallery:
The Pretoria Art Gallery is open for visitors from 10:00 to 17:00 (Tuesday-Sunday). It is centered on displaying the importance of modern and contemporary arts of South Africa. Admission fee is R20. It is worth a visit.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve:
Being the world’s second oldest nature reserve, the Groenkloof Nature Reserve is one of the highlights of Pretoria. Apart from animals like antelope and giraffes, the reserve also offers 4×4 drive, mountain biking, walking and many other exciting activities.
Other places of interest in Pretoria include:
- Wonderboom Nature Reserve
- Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
- State Theatre
- Friends of the Rail
- Klitsgras Drumming Circle
- Kruger House Museu
- Botanical Gardens
- Voortrekker Monument and Fort Scanskop
- Sammy Marks Museum
- Melrose House Museum
- Freedom Park
When to visit Pretoria?
Pretoria can be visited year round, though the majority of people prefer September and October to travel Pretoria to enjoy the natural phenomena of the blooming of jacaranda trees.
Where to stay in Pretoria?
Pretoria holds dozens of world class hotels with superior amenities that are located in all parts of the city. Pretoria is also a great destination for budget and mid range travelers who can find their accommodation in any suburb of Pretoria. List of the top end hotels Pretoria include:
- Illyria House
- Meintjieskop Guest Lodge
- Kievits Kroon
- Faircity Roodevallei
- Morning Star Express Hotel
- Southern Sun Pretoria
- Cornerstone Guest Lodge
- Court Classique Suite Hotel
- Sheraton Pretoria Hotel
- Courtyard Hotel Arcadia
- Premier Hotel Pretoria
- Garden Court Hatfield
- Lombardy Boutique Hotel & Conference Centre
- Hoogland Health Hydro
- Holiday Inn Express Pretoria