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Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa and part of City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, is in Gauteng.



Pretoria Skyline

The area known today as Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, with Pretoria (City) at its centre, was allegedly occupied by the Sotho people for many centuries. During the 15th century the Ndebele people also migrated into the area and settled along the banks of the Apies River. Tshwane [tsʰwane] is the Setswana name of the Apies River. Around 1820 the Matabele under the leadership of Mzilikaza also entered the region, leading to local conflicts between the Matabele newcomers and the already established Sotho and Ndebele tribes as well as the European "Voortrekkers" who were steadily moving northward through the country. These conflicts came to an end when the Matabele were defeated by the "Voortrekkers" in 1837 at Mosega.

By 1855 there was no known tribe in what is known as the Pretoria area today. Only nomadic groups passed through this area, with one of the Setswana people (so it is alleged) led them. Pretoria was founded in 1855. Initially the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic) was Ohrigstad, but Pretoria became the capital of the ZAR. Later on Pretoria became the capital of the Transvaal province (old ZAR) after the Second Boer War. The city was named after Andries Pretorius, the Boer leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus under King Dingaan. In 1856 the area today known as Arcadia was acquired in exchange for a pony and added to the town.

In 1899, during the Second Boer War, Winston Churchill was captured and held as a POW in Pretoria until his eventual escape to Mozambique. British forces captured Pretoria in 1900 and held control over the city until the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in 1902.

When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, Pretoria was elected the capital and is still the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa today.


Pretoria is located in a summer rainfall area with hot days regularly followed by short and intense afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are often accompanied by lightning and occasionally result in hail. Summer temperatures range between 16°C at night to 30°C during the day, with occasionally higher temperatures (up to about 36°C). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between a minimum of 5°C and a maximum of 20°C. Winter nights and (occasionally winter days) can be surprisingly cold and buildings are generally not well insulated. Bring warm clothes if you're visiting during the winter months.

Get in[edit]

Map-South Africa-Pretoria01.png

By car[edit]

Five highways join in the Gauteng region, making it accessible from all cities in the country. This would include the N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national highways.

Most National Routes (N) [dead link] are now Toll Roads. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, launched in 2007 has resulted in the introduction of an open road tolling (e-toll) system on the freeways around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

By air[edit]

The closest international airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The Albertina Sisulu Highway or R21 leads from there to Pretoria. Airport shuttles are available on the airport or can be pre-booked:

By bus[edit]

  • Major bus companies like Apm, Citiliner, Greyhound, Translux, City to City, Intercape Mainliner offer connections to all big cities in South Africa.
  • there are also lots of bus lines that have buses to Zimbabwe.
  • Citiliner fare to Bulawayo is R410. and the trip takes (15 hours).
  • Apm bus lines have a bus from Pretoria to Capetown every day at 4 pm with a fare of only R450.
  • Intercape has a sleepliner bus from Peretoria to Knysna every day at 2pm with a fare of R569.
  • Citiliner has a bus going to Nelspruit every day at 9am with a fare of R200 the trip takes (6 hours).
  • Citiliner has a bus going to Kimberley every day at 9.45am with a fare of R275. the trip takes (8 hours).
  • Apm has a bus going to Durban every day at 10.30pm with a fare of R220. the trip takes (9 hours).
  • the Bazbus also stops in Pretoria.

By train[edit]

A convenient high-speed rail link is available between OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria. Travellers can access this direct link from the arrivals hall in the airport building. Safe, comfortable Gautrain busses serve local routes from the different stops in Pretoria. the fare from International airport to pretoria is R164. There are frequent commuter trains from Johannesburg which cost R16.50 one way. Metrorail also services other outlying towns and many suburbs of Pretoria.

1 Pretoria railway station is on the corner of Thabo Sehume and Railway streets, just south of the city centre.

Get around[edit]

As of January 2011 the Tourist Hop on/Hop Off bus has been suspended. The tourist office had no information on when or if it would return. Although crime in South Africa is generally higher than in other parts of the world, common sense precautions should prevent incidents. Be especially aware of your surroundings after dark and don't travel alone. Main shopping centers are reasonably safe.

Either use a metered taxi, rent a car or use the municipal bus service. There is also a very extensive network of informal, cheap minibus taxis, mostly used by local commuters. These taxis have a reputation for being unsafe, but this has greatly improved in recent years and most taxis are now relatively luxurious and not overcrowded, except during peak times. Accidents are rare. Ask locals waiting at taxi stops about routes and rates.

Walking is a good option during the day, but may be unsafe after dusk in certain areas, such as central Pretoria.

  • Train service. Pretoria Main railway station.
  • Rixi Taxi +27 12 362-6262. Safe and professional taxi service. Not the cheapest means of getting around.
  • Tshwane Bus Routes. Graphical map of bus routes and timetables and some information on using Minibus Taxis. R10 a journey.
  • [dead link]Municipal bus routes and timetables. Not extensive coverage or very regular, but is fairly reliable. Main office at church square. Time table available there. Bus stops have poor indication of bus direction. So ask or wait. Bus frequency is best during rush hours. Very old fashioned but good for nostalgists. Price range between R5 to R10 from City to suburbs and R4 for scholars.


Union Buildings
Statue of Paul Kruger on Church Square
  • 1 Botanical Gardens2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria, Pretoria +27 12 843-5071, e-mail: . Open 08:00 to 18:00 daily. An urban oasis to explore. This 76 ha urban oasis is a pristine getaway situated in the eastern suburbs of South Africa's administrative capital, Pretoria. R30 entrance fee.
  • 2 National Zoological Gardens (The Zoo)232 Boom St, Pretoria (Near the city center),  +27 12 339 2700, e-mail: . 08:30 - 17:30 daily, open 365 days. Aquarium, reptile park and all the larger mammals including koalas. One can also camp within the zoo on Friday and Saturday nights. Golf carts are available for rental at R80/hour. Children's pushcarts at R60/day. A cableway operates from 10:00 - 16:15 daily between the top and bottom of the zoo, price R20 one way, R30 return. R95 Adults, R60 children, R20 per vehicle.
  • 3 [dead link]The Union Buildings2 Church St +27 12 300 5200, e-mail: . Gardens open 24/7. The location of the South African presidency. The building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908. Entrance to the building itself is prohibited for security reasons, since it is the site of the Presidential Offices. However, the beautiful terraced gardens, which boast a wide variety of indigenous plants, are open to the public and provide a truly amazing view over the city. Free.
  • 4 The Wonderboom (Tree of Wonder or Miracle Tree), Wonderboom Nature Reserve (Drive northwards on Paul Kruger Street (R101) and Mansefield Avenue for about 6 to 7km from the city centre. Immediately after the road goes through the gap in the Magaliesberg range turn right onto the M1 and cross the Apies River. The entrance is on the right about 300 metres from the R101.),  +27 12 440 8316, +27 12 341 5204. 07:00 - 18:00. A fig tree over 1000 years old. The tree, now a national monument, is unusually large, standing some 25 metres high and having a 5,5 metre diameter main trunk. It’s growth pattern is also unusual: as its branches grew longer, they drooped towards the ground and eventually took root and formed a circle of new trunks or daughter trees around the original tree. There are now a total of 13 trunks and the colossal tree covers an area with a diameter of 55 metres. R25 adults, R15 children.
  • Streets with jacaranda treesSouth of Union Buildings. In September, the jacarandas have purple flowers. Many streets are lined with these trees. A good place to view lines of them is the Union Buildings.
  • 5 Church SquareChurch Square, Pretoria +27 11 085 2500, e-mail: . 24/7. Church Square is one of the few places in the Pretoria CBD where you can get a sense of how Pretoria must have looked a century ago, and, as a result, is often used as a set for local period movies and TV series.

    The Square is surrounded by important civic buildings, including the Palace of Justice, the General Post Office, the Old Council Chamber and the Old Capitol Theatre and its importance was underlined by the erection of a statue commemorating the iconic President Paul Kruger. Free entrance.

Museums and Galleries[edit]

Voortrekker Monument
Freedom Park
Kruger House. A view from Church St, Pretoria, in 1998



JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail
  • 1 Friends of the RailAlongside Miechaelson Street, Hermanstad, +27 12 767 7913. 09:00 - 12:00. Take a step back in time and circle Pretoria on a steam train or visit Cullinan, birth place of the world's largest diamond. The train runs two or three times per month, check timetable on website for exact dates. R250.
  • 2 Klitsgras Drumming CircleTierpoort, Garsfontein Rd (Take the Garsfontein Road (M30) in the eastern direction. 14km after crossing Hans-Strijdom Drive, turn left onto Plot 62. It's right next to the Excel service station.),  +27 83 311 0025, e-mail: . Open 19:00 till late. Drumming circle out in the bush.Once you have a drum, food and drink you can sit down in our amphitheater around a cozy fire where the professionals and novices are drumming together and everyone joins in. Everyone takes lead from these people even if you do not know what you are doing, you just follow their drumming. So you are not only here to watch, but to be part of the entertainment! And then as a visual bonus the fire dancers move to the groves of the drumming. We also have didgeridoo players and percussionist that frequent our venue. Held every second Friday night. R40 for drum rental.

Performing arts[edit]

  • 3 State Theatrecnr Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets +27 12 392 4000, e-mail: . Opening times dependent on performances. The State Theatre in Pretoria, South Africa is the largest theatre complex in Africa.

    Tickets for performances can be booked via Computicket


  • [dead link]Groenkloof Nature ReserveFountains Valley Resort (Take exit 335 (M7 (M18) Eeufees Rd) off the N14 and follow the Fountains Resort sign),  +27 12 440-8316, e-mail: . 5:30AM to 7PM in summer and 7AM to 8PM in winter. Walk, mountainbike, go on a 4x4 drive or stay over in the second oldest nature reserve in the world. See giraffe, antelope and many other animals. R15 entrance fee, R35 (with R300 refundable deposit) for an overnight hut (sleeps 12), R50 per day for mountainbike hire, R100 for guided walks, R40 for access to the 4x4 trail (R250 if you get stuck and call for a recovery vehicle).

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  • Fountains. Barbque resort


University of South Africa.
University of Pretoria


Shopping Malls[edit]

  • Menlyn Park. Located in the East. A very large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theater.
  • Brooklyn Mall. Just East of the city center with its art galleries and movie theaters for both mainstream and independent films.
  • Kolonnade. In the North with its ice rink and other entertainment.
  • Centurion Mall. South of Pretoria, in Centurion.
  • Wonderpark. In the North just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway, Skatepark and 100's of stores.
  • The groveLynwood Cnr Simon Vermooten (Head Lynwood rd. east). Larger new mall. No free parking. Also good for middle budget eating out.
  • Hatfield Plaza MallBurnett Steet. 8am-7pm. has a Pick N Pay supermaket and many places to eat

Other Shopping[edit]

  • German bakery and Alma German butchery. East of Pretoria, Offramp Rossouw, then turn north, after 200 m. Closed Mondays. Also serves Coffee. you can also buy some imported products. parking.

To reduce parking space stress and CO2 consumption , the city of twsane offers many shopping centers of similar nature to shop for for your needs. There are also many smaller, local shopping centres usually with one of the larger chain stores as an anchor. avoid centeres wher you have to pay entrance fees. rather support the local people who watch your car.


Banks & ATMs[edit]

  • First National BankHatfield Plaza. ATM 24 hours. has a master card / visa cards ATM. no fee at atm for overseas cards.


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under R60
Mid-range R60 to R120
Splurge Over R120

The renowned restaurants include Cynthia's, The Hillside Tavern and Pachas. There are also many franchised diners throughout the city.


  • Centurion Mall Express Sandwich Baron (, Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion +27 12 643-1144. Sandwich Baron produces freshly made platters and sandwiches and holds no ready-made products in stock. Also has a catering service.
  • Tings 'n Times065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield +27 12 430-3176/7. Tings an' Times is an establishment inspired by bohemian ideals and permeated by soothing Reggae rhythms, catering to both young and old. Blending African and Mediterranean flavours, our eclectic menu features a variety of culinary delights.
  • Mimmos. Italian restaurant chain, incl. SA-Food. Good prices, take aways, wifi.


  • Toni's Pizza Toni's is a great place to get the best pizza in town.
  • Panarotti's Panarotti's is a national chain with several Pretoria branches.
  • Spur. Spur a national chain of Native American themed steak-houses. Several branches in Pretoria.


  • Cynthia's Indigo Moon Restaurant283 Dey Street, Nieuwmuckleneuk, Brooklyn +27 12 346-8926. Around R170 per person.
  • Kream Restaurant570 Fehrsen Street, Building 3 Ground Floor, Brooklyn Bridge +27 12 346-4642. This new restaurant has a fresh upmarket urban feel and offers splendid food at very reasonable prices. Around R150 per person.
  • La Pentola5 Riviera Galleries, Well Street, Riviera +27 12 329-4028fax: +27 12 329-5464. Open Mon to Fri from 12PM to 3PM and 6PM to 10PM, Sat from 6PM to 10PM, closed on Sundays. Multi award winning restaurant with excellent food. From around R150 per person.


Both Tings and Zeplin's have moved, please add correct addresses.

  • Pretoria's nightlife is concentrated in Hatfield (near the university), which boasts a number of bars and night clubs. Menlyn Square (just off the Menlyn shopping centre) is also a popular location which contains several venues but caters for the more upmarket crowd.
  • Drop ZoneHatfield Square. Popular night club that stays open until late at night/early morning. Entrance is free.
  • Tings 'n Times065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield +27 12 430 3176/7. In addition to being a great budget restaurant with a Rastafarian feel, Tings offers some great life acts.
  • Zeplin's NightclubWonderwater Centre, Cnr Braam Pretorius & Lavender Annlin, South Africa. Caters for the Pretoria goth/alternative community.
  • Babylon. One of South Africa's biggest nightclubs marketed at gay patrons. Babylon is clean and trendy, although slightly overpriced, and is open every Saturday night.
  • Exclusive Books. EB is in many shopping centers and offers coffe while reading their books.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R300
Mid-range R300 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000

Being the capital, there are many posh hotels (including the Sheraton) and guest houses and all the usual hotel chains have one or more hotels. With so many hotels owned by the same chains, in particularly Tsogo Sun. Make sure you note the address when booking so you go to the right hotel. When Parliament is in session and when there are other state events it can be almost impossible to find a mid-range or splurge room. Consider nearby Centurion as an alternative if you have to be in Pretoria at those times.


  • 1322 Backpackers1322 Arcadia Street, Hatfield +27 12 362-3905, e-mail: . very clean backpackers hostel with single/double rooms and dorm beds. has a nice garden with a swimming pool. bar. tv room. free wifi, breakfast and tea and coffee. Dorm R180 per person. double room R380..
  • Pumbas Backpackers1232 Arcadia Street +27 12 362-5343. Great new backpackers, managed by the friendly owners Frank and Corné. Free wifi and breakfast! Offers doubles, dorms and camping. Has two friendly dogs walking around and a nice central location in Hatfield. dorm R170 per person. camping R90 per person.


  • [dead link]Don Arcadia I599 Pretorius Street, Arcadia +27 12 341-0098. Don Arcadia I has 46 hotel suites in total, 4 of which are Studio Suites, 34 are one bedroom Suites and 8 two-bedroom suites.
  • The Village in Hatfield _1252 Arcadia Street, Cnr. Glyn & Arcadia Streets, Hatfield (N4 into PTA-Hatfield, near Duncan Street),  +27 12 362-3737, e-mail: . Several family homes were converted into sleeping rooms. lots of space, quiet. next to sports university.functions possible. free wifi. From R500 single.
  • Morning Star Express Hotel327 Visagie St +27 12 442-0600. A/C spacious rooms equipped with TV with cable channels, double bed and bathroom. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, Wi-Fi internet, massage service, and 24-hour front desk. From ZAR 482.46.



Complete GSM coverage with GPRS, 3G, 4G, HSDPA and LTE is available almost everywhere.

Buy a local simcard (at airport, railway station, most major chain stores or mobile phone stores) for your overseas mobile phone. You will need your foreign ID or passport for registering your new sim card at the shop. Airtime and data bundles can be bought at most shops and fuel stations.


Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100 MB.

Coverage areas include:

  • Cafe Dulce. Centurion Mall.
  • City Lodge. Courtyard in Arcadia.
  • Holiday Inn. Arcadia
  • Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.
  • Villa Sterne Boutique Hotel and Health Spa. Waterkloof Ridge
  • Wimpy. many wimpy branches now offer wi-fi
  • Mimmos. Italian low-middle-budget restaurant with Wifi.

Stay healthy[edit]


  • Unitas HospitalClifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion +27 12 421-6700. Caters for 24 hour accident and emergency treatment.

Stay safe[edit]

Pretoria is considered to be a relatively safe city by South African standards and violent crime against tourists is somewhat rare. That said, basic common sense should still be used. Ask locals before you do things. Life after sunset stops a bit and moves to the big shopping centers outside the city. Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group or at Union Buildings. The city centre becomes deserted after nightfall, so it would not be wise to hang around at these times. The shop owners will close their security blinds to protect their property so there is little to see. Hatfield Plaza and all other major shopping centers are busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders until approximately 22:00 there is very little chance of any real trouble happening, but it can be annoying and daunting for tourists as the beggars are quite insistent but occurs less in guarded shopping centers. That said, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. Consider that you still have to move from the safe area to your hotel through an unsafe area. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers. Be especially vigilant at night by traffic lights and stop signs. Car-jacking and smash and grab thefts do occur.

From a fixed line[edit]

From a mobile phone[edit]


Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

  • Denmark DenmarkBlock B2,iParioli Office Park, 1166 Park Street, Hatfield 0083 +27 12 430 9340fax: +27 12 342 7620.
  • India India852 Francis Baard Street, Arcadia 0083 +27 12 342 5392fax: +27 12 342 5310. Mon-Fri 9AM-5:30PM.
  • Ireland Ireland2nd Floor, Parkdev Building, Brooklyn Bridge Office Park, 570 Fehrsen Street, Brooklyn 0181 +27 12 452 1000fax: +27 12 342 4752. Mon-Thu 8:30AM-1PM and 2PM-4:30PM, Fri 8:30AM-1PM.
  • Kenya KenyaTaifa House, 302 Brooks Street, Menlo Park 0081 +27 12 362 2249fax: +27 12 362 2252. Mon-Thu 9AM-12PM and 2PM-3PM, Fri 9AM-12PM.
  • Namibia Namibia197 Blackwood Street, Arcadia 0083 +27 12 481 9100fax: +27 12 344 5990. Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5PM.
  • Peru Peru200 St. Patricks Road, Muckleneuk Hill +27 12 440 1030fax: +27 12 440 1054.
  • Tanzania TanzaniaTanzania House, 822 George Avenue, Arcadia 0001 +27 12 342 4371fax: +27 12 430 4383. 8:30AM-4:30PM.

Go next[edit]

A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam
  • Irene is a small town to the south of Pretoria with a day spa and a dairy farm.
  • Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
  • Kruger National Park in a (very long!) weekend
  • Soutpansberg, north, for lonely weekends in nature
  • cradle of mankind, with caves to view ancient caves, digging sites and skulls
  • Magaliesberg, a very old mountain range.
  • Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a small and quiet nature reserve with a number of wildlife species and lots of bird watching opportunities.
  • Visit Hartebeespoort Dam. There are hot air balloon rides over the Savanna, a cable car, a golf course and watersport. Souvenier shops, shopping, and a snake farm are near buy.
This city travel guide to Pretoria is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.