Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is in Gauteng.
Pretoria 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.
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.
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)  are now Toll Roads or will be in the not to distant future.
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, . Johannesburg based company. Will get you from point A to point B. edit
- Ants Events and Tours, ☎ +27 (0)82 557-9604, . Very reliable and friendly. Contact +27 (0)12 346 2400 or e-mail: [email protected] edit
Major bus companies like Greyhound, Translux, Intercape Mainliner and the BazBus offer connections to all big cities in South Africa.
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).
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  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.
- Johannesburg Taxi Cab Services, ☎ +27 (0)78 396-4115 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)86 625-8096), . Reliable, Safe & Trusted Taxi Services Company across Gauteng. Private Cars & Minibuses. edit
- Tempest Car Hire, ☎ +27 (0)12 663-1368 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)12 663-1387), . Affordable car rental service available at all major locations in South Africa. edit
- Rixi Taxi, ☎ 0027861007494. Safe and professional taxi service. Not the cheapest means of getting around. edit
- Tshwane Bus Routes, . Graphical map of bus routes and timetables and some information on using Minibus Taxis. R12 a journey. edit
- Municipal bus routes and timetables, . 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
- Botanical Gardens, ☎ +27 (0)12 843-5194 ([email protected]), . Open 8AM to 6PM daily. R15 entrance fee (). edit
- National Zoological Gardens (The Zoo), 232 Boom Street (Near the city center), ☎ +27 (0)12 328-3265 ([email protected]). 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, . 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 afternoons and Sundays. R20. edit
Museums and Galleries
- Correctional Services Museum, ☎ +27 (0)12 314-1766, . Open 9AM to 3PM Monday to Friday. edit
- Melrose House Museum, 275 Jacob Maré Street, ☎ +27 (0)12 322-2805 ([email protected]). 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, . 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 ([email protected]), . Open 9AM to 4PM daily. An old pioneer house R7 entrance fee. edit
- Sammy Marks Museum, Zwartkoppies, ☎ +27 (0)12 802-1150, . edit
- Ditsong National Musuem of Natural History, formerly known as the Transvaal Museum, Paul Kruger Street, ☎ +27 (0)12 322-7632, . Where you can meet Mrs. Pless  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, . R40 per person (). edit
- Freedom Park, Salvokop of Potgieter Street (Located on a hill across from the Voortrekker Monument), ☎ +27 (0)12 470-7400 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)12 361-0021), . edit
- Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, ☎ +27 (0)12 736-2035 ([email protected]), . edit
- Kruger House Museum, 60 Church Str, ☎ +27 (0)12 326-9172 (fax: +27 (0)12 328-5173), . edit
JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail
- Friends of the Rail, ☎ +27 (0)12 548-4090, . 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, . Drumming circle out in the bush. Held every second Friday night. (-25° 53' 24.09,+28° 23' 10.08) edit
- State Theatre, cnr Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets, . Book via Computicket  edit
- Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Fountains Valley Resort, ☎ +27 (0)12 440-8316 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . Open 7AM to 5PM (6PM in summer). Free entrance. edit
- Wonderboom Nature Reserve, ☎ +27 (0)12 341-0591, . Open 7AM to 6PM, entrance until 4PM. Not much wildlife, some Dassies at most. A very old fig tree. edit
University of South Africa.
- University of Pretoria, ☎ +27 (0)12 420-3111 ([email protected]), . Also known as Tukkies, or Tuks locally. edit
- University of South Africa (UNISA), Preller Street, Muckleneuk, ☎ +27 (0)11 670-9000 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 471-2987), . This university offers distance learning courses. edit
- Tshwane University of Technology, Staatsartillerie Road, ☎ +27 (0)12 382-5911 ([email protected]), . edit
- Menlyn Park, . Located in the East. A large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theater. edit
- Brooklyn Mall, . Just East of the city center with its art galleries and movie theaters for both mainstream and independent films. edit
- Kolonnade, . In the North with its ice rink and other entertainment. edit
- Centurion Mall, . South of Pretoria, in Centurion. edit
- Wonderpark, . In the North just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway, Skatepark and 100's of stores. edit
- Silver Oaks Crossing, . Pretoria east, on the corner of Von Backstrom Boulevard & Hans Strydom Drive in Willow Acres. 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.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
|| Under R60
|| R60 to R120
|| 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 ([email protected]), Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion, ☎ 27 (0)12 643-1144, . Sandwich Baron produces freshly made platters and sandwiches and holds no ready-made products in stock. Also has a catering service. edit
- Seoul Garden Korean Restaurant, 254 Thatchers Fields Road Lynnwood, Menlo Park, ☎ 012 348 1017, . 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
- Kream Restaurant, 283 Dey Street, Nieuwmuckleneuk, Brooklyn,, ☎ +27 (0)123 464642, . 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), . 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
- 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.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| Under R500
|| R500 to R1000
|| 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.
- Pumbas Backpackers, 1232 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 362 5343 ([email protected]), . from R80, free wifi and breakfast.. edit
- Khayalethu Backpackers, 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 362-5403 ([email protected]), . From R125 for a dorm. edit
- Pretoria Backpackers, 425 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, ☎ +27 (0)12 343-9754 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . (Skype:travelinafrica) From R100. edit
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
- Dark Chocolate Guest House Pretoria, 25 Catherine Street, Shere, ☎ +27 012 809 0626, . 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, . 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, . 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 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . From R500 single. edit
- The Waterhouse Guesthouse, 439 Stonewall Street, Faerie Glen (easily accessible from all major highways), ☎ +27 12 991 2823 ([email protected]), . From R670 single up to R1400 double. edit
- Morning Star Express Hotel, 327 Visagie Street, ☎ +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. edit
- Cricklewood Manor Boutique Hotel Guest House, 193 Albert Street, Waterkloof, ☎ +27 (0)12 460 8225, . 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 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)86 572-6549), . From R860pps (b&b). edit
- Southern Sun, ☎ +27 (0)11 461-9744 ([email protected]), . Wide range of accommodation from budget to splurge From R750pps. edit
- Richtershuyz Guest House, 375 Mackenzie Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria, ☎ +27 12 346 2025 ([email protected]), . Offers a traditional South African guest house experience. All rooms are fully equipped with ensuites and have private garden views. Facilities and services include free high speed Wifi, swimming pool, boutique conference and business facilities, daily breakfast, free onsite secure parking and airport transfer service. From ZAR 950.00. 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 Rand. Then let your self get phoned from home ( call by call). Have your own handy with simcard with you in case of emergancies
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. 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
- Unitas Hospital, Clifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion, ☎ +27 (0)12 421-6700. Caters for 24 hour accident and emergency treatment. 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). Keep your windows closed and make sure the door is locked. As this area is busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police, 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
- 107 - Emergency
- 10111 - Police 
- 10177 - Ambulance
- 082911 - Netcare911 
From a mobile phone
- 112 - Emergency
- 911 - Netcare911 
Embassies and High Commissions
- 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 ([email protected],[email protected], fax: +27 12 430 4313). edit
- Venezuela, 474 Hatfield Gables South, 1st Floor, Suite 4, Hilda Street, PO Box 11821, Hatfield, ☎ +27 12 346 5747 ([email protected], fax: +27 12 346 5755). edit
A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam