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Pretoria

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Pretoria Skyline

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is in Gauteng.


Understand[edit]

History[edit]

The area known today as Tshwane Metro Council, 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 what is today called 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 Pretoria area today. Only nomadic groups passed through this area, with a leader/person Tshwane (so it is alleged) one of the them. Pretoria was founded in 1855. Initially the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek was Ohrigstad, but Pretoria became the capital of the then ZAR. Later on Pretoria became the capital of the Transvaal province (old ZAR) after the Anglo-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 know as Arcadia was acquired in exchange for a pony and added to the town.

In 1899, during the Anglo-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 Peace of Vereeniging treaty 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.

Climate[edit]

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. Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between a minimum of 5°C and a maximum of 20°C.

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) [1] are now Toll Roads or will be in the not to distant future.

By air[edit]

The closest international airport is OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The Albertina Sisulu Highway or R21 leads from there to Pretoria. It is also possible to take a taxi or walk to Isando, 1.5 km from the airport, and take a MetroRail suburban train to Pretoria. The train takes 55 minutes from Isando and costs R7.5. Airport shuttles are also available at the airport or can be pre-booked:

  • JIATA Taxi Assosiation, P O box 1899 Kempton Park South Africa 1620, +27 (0)11 390-1857, [2]. Johannesburg based company. Will get you from point A to point B.  edit
  • Ants Events and Tours, +27 (0)82 557-9604, [4]. Very reliable and friendly. Contact +27 (0)12 346 2400 or e-mail: info@antsevents.com  edit

By bus[edit]

Major bus companies like Greyhound, Translux, Intercape Mainliner and the BazBus offer connections to all big cities in South Africa.

By train[edit]

There are two suburban rail options from Johannesburg. First, there is Gautrain which goes to Pretoria in 35 minutes at a price of R49 (plus R11 for the mandatory Gautrain Gold Card). The other network is MetroRail which takes a detour via Germiston and Kempton Park and stops far more often, resulting in a travel time of 1 hour 40 minutes. It only costs R9 though.

Gautrain buses serve local routes from the different stops in Pretoria.

Pretoria train station is on the corner of Andries and Railway streets, just south of the city centre.

The Shosholoza meyl service runs to Johannesburg (south), Polokwane, Musina (north), Witbank, Nelspruit and the Mozambique border (east).

Get around[edit]

By South African standards Pretoria is reasonably well served by public transport.

  • Minibus taxis (aka combis) are the most common form, and are mostly the new, larger variety, costing R12 a trip and going to most parts of the city, even running at night time on the main thoroughfares. Best tell the driver where you want to go and he should be reasonably honest in whether he is going in that direction.
  • Gautrain feeder buses [5] run limited routes in the city, costing R20 a trip and needing you to buy a prepaid Gautrain card beforehand.
  • Public buses also ply the streets during business hours

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.

Either use a taxi, rent a car, use the municipal bus service or, if you really must, use the minibus taxis. Walking after dark is definitely not recommended in the CBD, but with a little common sense a 1km walk from a suburban mall to your guesthouse is doable unless you are a lone female.

Metered Taxis

  • Johannesburg Taxi Cab Services, +27 (0)78 396-4115 (, fax: +27 (0)86 625-8096), [6]. Professional Chauffeur Services and Day Tours across Gauteng. Smart and elegant cars.  edit


  • Rixi Taxi, 0027861007494. Safe and professional taxi service. Not the cheapest means of getting around.  edit
  • Tshwane Bus Routes, [9]. Graphical map of bus routes and timetables and some information on using Minibus Taxis. R12 a journey.  edit
  • Municipal bus routes and timetables, [10]. Not extensive coverage or very regular, but is fairly reliable. -Main office at church square. Get time table there. Bus stops have lousy indication of bus, direction. So ask or wait. Bus frequency is during rush hours best. Very old fashioned but good for nostalgists. About R15 from City to suburbs.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

Union Buildings
  • Botanical Gardens, +27 (0)12 843-5194 (), [11]. Open 8AM to 6PM daily. R15 entrance fee (R18 on special event days).  edit
  • National Zoological Gardens (The Zoo), 232 Boom Street (Near the city center), +27 (0)12 328-3265 (). Aquarium, reptile park and all the larger mammals. One can also camp within the zoo on Friday and Saturday nights. R10 for secure parking plus R36 entrance fee. For those not inclined to walk, golf carts are available at R80 per hour.  edit
  • The Union Buildings, 2 Church Street, +27 (0)12 323-5649. The location of the South African presidency with beautiful gardens. Building designed by sir Herbert Baker.  edit
  • The Wonderboom (Wonder tree), Wonderboom Nature Reserve, [12]. A fig tree over 1000 years old  edit


  • Pretoria Art Gallery, Cnr Schoeman and Wessels Str, Arcadia Park, 012 344 1807/8. Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00. One of Gauteng's few public art galleries - diverting range of modern and contemporary art, and thankfully open on Saturday afternoon's and Sundays. R20.  edit

Museums and Galleries[edit]

Voortrekker Monument
Freedom Park
  • Correctional Services Museum, +27 (0)12 314-1766, [13]. Open 9AM to 3PM Monday to Friday.  edit
  • Melrose House Museum, 275 Jacob Maré Street, +27 (0)12 322-2805 (). Where the peace treaty that ended the Anglo-Boer War as signed in 1902.  edit
  • National Cultural History Museum, 149 Visagie Street, +27 (0)11 324-6082, [14]. Learn about the people and the cultures of South Africa, from the Iron age till today. (Wheelchair friendly).  edit
  • Pioneer Museum, +27 (0)12 803-6086 (), [15]. Open 9AM to 4PM daily. An old pioneer house R7 entrance fee.  edit
  • Sammy Marks Museum, Zwartkoppies, +27 (0)12 802-1150, [16].  edit
  • Transvaal Museum, Paul Kruger Street, +27 (0)12 322-7632, [17]. Where you can meet Mrs. Pless [18] when she is not on tour somewhere.  edit
  • Voortrekker Monument and Fort Scanskop, Eeufees Road, Groenkloof (On Proclamation Hill, big cubic building, to the south west of the city, you can't miss it), +27 (0)12 326-6770, [19]. R40 per person (plus R22 per car).  edit
  • Freedom Park, Salvokop of Potgieter Street (Located on a hill across from the Voortrekker Monument), +27 (0)12 470-7400 (, fax: +27 (0)12 361-0021), [20].  edit
  • Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, +27 (0)12 736-2035 (), [21].  edit
  • Kruger House Museum, 60 Church Str, +27 (0)12 326-9172 (fax: +27 (0)12 328-5173), [22].  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Experiences[edit]

JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail
  • Friends of the Rail, +27 (0)12 548-4090, [23]. Take a step back in time and circle Pretoria on a steam train or visit Cullinan, birth place of the worlds largest diamond.  edit
  • Klitsgras Drumming Circle, Tierpoort, Garsfontein Road (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 (0)83 311-0025, [24]. Drumming circle out in the bush. Held every second Friday night. (-25° 53' 24.09,+28° 23' 10.08) edit

Performing arts[edit]

  • State Theatre, cnr Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets, [25]. Book via Computicket [26]  edit

Outdoors[edit]

  • Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Fountains Valley Resort, +27 (0)12 440-8316 (), [27]. 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).  edit
  • Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, cnr Boshoff and Roper, +27 (0)12 440-8316 (), [28]. Open 7AM to 5PM (6PM in summer). Free entrance.  edit
  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve, +27 (0)12 341-0591, [29]. Open 7AM to 6PM, entrance until 4PM. Not much wildlife, some Dassies at most. A very old fig tree.  edit

Learn[edit]

University of South Africa.
  • University of Pretoria, +27 (0)12 420-3111 (), [30]. Also known as Tukkies, or Tuks locally.  edit
  • University of South Africa (UNISA), Preller Street, Muckleneuk, +27 (0)11 670-9000 (, fax: +27 (0)11 471-2987), [31]. This university offers distance learning courses.  edit
  • Tshwane University of Technology, Staatsartillerie Road, +27 (0)12 382-5911 (), [32].  edit

Work[edit]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Shopping Malls[edit]

  • Menlyn Park, [33]. Located in the East. A large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theater.  edit
  • Brooklyn Mall, [34]. Just East of the city center with its art galleries and movie theaters for both mainstream and independent films.  edit
  • Kolonnade, [35]. In the North with its ice rink and other entertainment.  edit
  • Centurion Mall, [36]. South of Pretoria, in Centurion.  edit
  • Wonderpark, [37]. In the North just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway, Skatepark and 100's of stores.  edit
  • Silver Oaks Crossing, [38]. Pretoria east, on the corner of Von Backstrom Boulevard & Hans Strydom Drive in Willow Acres.  edit

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  edit

There are also many smaller, local shopping centres usually with one of the larger chain stores as an anchor.

Eat[edit][add listing]

This guide 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.

Budget[edit]

  • Centurion Mall Express Sandwich Baron (annemarie@sandwichbaron.com), Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion, 27 (0)12 643-1144, [39]. Sandwich Baron produces freshly made platters and sandwiches and holds no ready-made products in stock. Also has a catering service.  edit
  • Tings 'n Times, 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 430-3176/7, [40]. 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.  edit
  • Cool Runnings, 1071 Burnett Street, [41]. A cool pub with a earthy rastafarian vibe.  edit

Midrange[edit]

  • Seoul Garden Korean Restaurant, 254 Thatchers Fields Road Lynnwood, Menlo Park, 012 348 1017, [42]. Lunch & dinner. Authentic and reasonably priced Korean cuisine set in a suburban house and run by a Korean family. The restaurant is a real delight, and serves true, proper Korean dishes, with plenty of side dishes, unlike the faux shopping mall restaurants elsewhere in Gauteng. There is also a spa on the premises. Recommended. Mains around R80.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Cynthia's Indigo Moon Restaurant, 283 Dey Street, Nieuwmuckleneuk, Brooklyn, +27 (0)12 346-8926. Around R170 per person.  edit
  • Kream Restaurant, 570 Fehrsen Street, Building 3 Ground Floor, Brooklyn Bridge, +27 (0)123 464642, [43]. This new restaurant has a fresh upmarket urban feel and offers splendid food at very reasonable prices. Around R150 per person.  edit
  • La Pentola, 5 Riviera Galleries, Well Street, Riviera, +27 (0)12 329-4028 (fax: +27 (0)12 329-5464), [44]. 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.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • 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 Zone, Hatfield Square. Popular night club that stays open until late at night/early morning. Entrance is free.  edit
  • Tings 'n Times, 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 430 3176/7, [45]. In addition to being a great budget restaurant with a Rastafarian feel, Tings offers some great life acts.  edit
  • Zeplin's Nightclub, Wonderwater Centre, Cnr Braam Pretorius & Lavender Annlin, South Africa, [46]. Caters for the Pretoria goth/alternative community.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000

Being the capital, there are several posh hotels including the Sheraton, most of which are in the Central Business District. However, the CBD is not a particularly good place to base yourself given the city centre is pretty quiet and menacing at night. In response there are literally 100s of small guesthouses and bed & breakfasts spread all over the suburbs, which, whilst not being particularly African, are comfortable and safe places to stay. The hotel chains often have one or more hotel in town, with so many hotels owned by the same chains, in particularly Southern Sun, and occasional change of ownership (e.g. a Holiday Inn is now a Southern Sun) things can get a bit confusing. 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.

Budget[edit]

Backpackers$

  • Pumbas Backpackers, 1232 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 362 5343 (), [47]. from R80, free wifi and breakfast..  edit
  • Khayalethu Backpackers, 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 362-5403 (), [49]. From R125 for a dorm.  edit
  • Pretoria Backpackers, 425 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, +27 (0)12 343-9754 (), [50]. From R100 for the dorms, double and double en-suites available.  edit
  • Word of Mouth Backpackers, 430 Reitz Street, Sunnyside, +27 (0)12 343-7499 (), [51]. (Skype:travelinafrica) From R100.  edit

Cheap hotels

Guesthouses / bed & breakfasts

  • Newbrook Guesthouse, 260 Muckleneuk Street, Brooklyn, +27-12-4605110. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Small, excellent value guesthouse a 5 minute walk from Brooklyn Mall. Opened in 2009 rooms are a good size, clean and tidy. Free wifi. At R400 B&B for a single this is perhaps the best value to be had in the Brooklyn area. from R400 single B&B.  edit

Midrange[edit]

  • Dark Chocolate Guest House Pretoria, 25 Catherine Street, Shere, +27 012 809 0626, [54]. Standard rooms, all equipped with Plasma TV, Bathroom and Shower. Facilities and services are Swimming pool, Restaurant and bar/lounge. From ZAR 1,040.00.  edit
  • Khayalethu GuestHouse, 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfielda, +27 (12) 362-5403, [55]. Khayalethu GuestHouse has 10 en-suite rooms, off-street parking and free internet access.  edit


  • Don Arcadia I, 599 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, +27 (12) 341-0098, [56]. 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.  edit
  • The Farm Inn, Lynnwood Road, +27 (0)12 809-0266 (), [58]. Provides a unique South African experience. From R510pps.  edit
  • Ithiliens Grace Guest House, 47 Kamperfoelie Street, Amandasig (easily accessible from all major highways), +2779 892 2376 (), [59]. From R280 up to R900.  edit
  • The Village in Hatfield _, 1252 Arcadia Street, Cnr. Glyn & Arcadia Streets, Hatfield (N4 into PTA-Hatfield, near Duncan Street), +27 (0)12 362-3737 (), [60]. From R500 single.  edit
  • The Waterhouse Guesthouse, 439 Stonewall Street, Faerie Glen (easily accessible from all major highways), +27 12 991 2823 (), [61]. From R670 single up to R1400 double.  edit
  • Morning Star Express Hotel, 327 Visagie Street, +27 12 442 0600, [62]. 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.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Cricklewood Manor Boutique Hotel Guest House, 193 Albert Street, Waterkloof, +27 (0)12 460 8225, [63]. All rooms are equipped with hairdryer, high speed internet connection, minibar, refrigerator, satellite TV, coffee/tea making facilities, telephone and aircon. Some of its facilities and services are garden, swimming pool, function room, meeting room, restaurant, room service, in room spa treatments, WIFI and airport shuttle service. ZAR 1,698.00.  edit
  • Ellensgate Guest House, 849 Church Street (Entrance at Eastwood Street), +27 (0)12 342-4089 (, fax: +27 (0)86 572-6549), [64]. From R860pps (b&b).  edit

Contact[edit]

Complete GSM coverage with GPRS, 3G and HSDPA and Edge available almost everywhere.

Buy a local simcard for your overseas mobile phone at most supermarkets for 1-5 R. Then let your self get phoned from home ( call by call). Have your own handy with simcard with you in case of emergancies


WiFi[edit]

Always-On [69] , +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.  edit
  • City Lodge. Courtyard in Arcadia.  edit
  • Holiday Inn. Arcadia  edit
  • Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.  edit
  • Villa Sterne Boutique Hotel and Health Spa. Waterkloof Ridge  edit
  • Wimpy. Doornkloof  edit

Stay healthy[edit]

Hospitals[edit]

  • Unitas Hospital, Clifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion, +27 (0)12 421-6700. Caters for 24 hour accident and emergency treatment.  edit

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. Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group. The city centre becomes deserted after nightfall, so it would not be wise to hang around at these times. If you are cycling around the Hatfield shopping area (Hatfield Plaza), there have been cases of beggars asking for a ride from approaching cyclists (especially if you are walking with the bike). As this area is busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders 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. That said, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers.

From a fixed line[edit]

  • 107 - Emergency
  • 10111 - Police [70]
  • 10177 - Ambulance
  • 082911 - Netcare911 [71]

From a mobile phone[edit]

  • 112 - Emergency
  • 911 - Netcare911 [72]

Cope[edit]

Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 1267 Pretorius Street, Hatfields Office Park, Block G 1st Floor Hatfield, +27 12 342 7136, +27 12 342 7137, Emergency: +27 71 352 7326, +27 72 449 5196 (, fax: +27 12 430 4313).  edit
  • Ve-flag.png Venezuela, 474 Hatfield Gables South, 1st Floor, Suite 4, Hilda Street, PO Box 11821, Hatfield, +27 12 346 5747 (, fax: +27 12 346 5755).  edit
  • Us-flag.png United States of America, [76].  edit

Get out[edit]

A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam


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