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'''Pretoria''', the administrative capital of [[South Africa]], is in [[Gauteng]].
'''Pretoria''', the administrative capital of [[South Africa]], is in [[Gauteng]].
<!-- This page contains some GPS coordinates. This is still an experimental concept. See [[Wikitravel:Feature_requests]] -->
<sleep name="Khayalethu Backpackers" alt="" address="1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield" directions="" phone="+27 (0)12 362-5403" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="From R150 /person in a dorm" lat="" long=""> This page contains some GPS coordinates. This is still an experimental concept. See [[Wikitravel:Feature_requests]] </sleep>

Revision as of 17:54, 15 October 2010

Pretoria Skyline

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

Khayalethu Backpackers, 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 362-5403, [1]. This page contains some GPS coordinates. This is still an experimental concept. See Wikitravel:Feature_requests From R150 /person in a dorm.



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.


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

Map-South Africa-Pretoria01.png

By car

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.

By air

The closest international airport is OR 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:

  • 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.
  • Ants Events and Tours, +27 (0)82 557-9604, [4]. Very reliable and friendly. Contact +27 (0)12 346 2400 or e-mail: [email protected]

By bus

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

By train

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

There are frequent commuter trains to Johannesburg, other outlying towns and many suburbs of Pretoria. Metrorail is unreliable and notoriously unsafe, and is best avoided but the long distance Shosholoza meyl trains are safe and a very comfortable way to travel between cites, don't use if in a hurry.

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

A high-speed rail link [62] is being constructed between Pretoria, Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport, east of Johannesburg. It should be at least partially complete by 2010, in time for the World Cup.

Get around

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.

  • Tempest Car Hire, +27 (0)12 663-1368 (, fax: +27 (0)12 663-1387), [5]. Affordable car rental service available at all major locations in South Africa.
  • Rixi Taxi, +27 (0)12 362-6262. Safe and professional taxi service. Not the cheapest means of getting around.
  • Municipal bus routes and timetables, [7]. Not extensive coverage or very regular, but is fairly reliable. -Main office at church square. Get time table there. Busstops have manytimes 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.


Union Buildings
  • Botanical Gardens, +27 (0)12 843-5194 (), [8]. Open 8AM to 6PM daily. R15 entrance fee (R18 on special event days).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Wonderboom (Wonder tree), Wonderboom Nature Reserve, [9]. A fig tree over 1000 years old

Museums and Galleries

Voortrekker Monument
Freedom Park
  • Correctional Services Museum, +27 (0)12 314-1766, [10]. Open 9AM to 3PM Monday to Friday.
  • 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.
  • National Cultural History Museum, 149 Visagie Street, +27 (0)11 324-6082, [11]. Learn about the people and the cultures of South Africa, from the Iron age till today. (Wheelchair friendly).
  • Pioneer Museum, +27 (0)12 803-6086 (), [12]. Open 9AM to 4PM daily. An old pioneer house R7 entrance fee.
  • Sammy Marks Museum, Zwartkoppies, +27 (0)12 802-1150, [13].
  • Transvaal Museum, Paul Kruger Street, +27 (0)12 322-7632, [14]. Where you can meet Mrs. Pless [15] when she is not on tour somewhere.
  • 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, [16]. R32 per person (plus R15 per car).
  • 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), [17].
  • Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, +27 (0)12 736-2035 (), [18].
  • Kruger House Museum, 60 Church Str, +27 (0)12 326-9172 (fax: +27 (0)12 328-5173).



JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail
  • Friends of the Rail, +27 (0)12 548-4090, [19]. Take a step back in time and circle Pretoria on a steam train or visit Cullinan, birth place of the worlds largest diamond.
  • 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, [20]. Drumming circle out in the bush. Held every second Friday night. (-25° 53' 24.09,+28° 23' 10.08)

Performing arts

  • State Theatre, cnr Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets, [21]. Book via Computicket [22]


  • Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Fountains Valley Resort, +27 (0)12 440-8316 (), [23]. 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).
  • Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, cnr Boshoff and Roper, +27 (0)12 440-8316 (), [24]. Open 7AM to 5PM (6PM in summer). Free entrance.
  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve, +27 (0)12 341-0591, [25]. Open 7AM to 6PM, entrance until 4PM. Not much wildlife, some Dassies at most. A very old fig tree.


University of South Africa.
  • University of Pretoria, +27 (0)12 420-3111 (), [26]. Also known as Tukkies, or Tuks locally.
  • University of South Africa (UNISA), Preller Street, Muckleneuk, +27 (0)11 670-9000 (, fax: +27 (0)11 471-2987), [27]. This university offers distance learning courses.
  • Tshwane University of Technology, Staatsartillerie Road, +27 (0)12 382-5911 (), [28].



Shopping Malls

  • Menlyn Park, [29]. Located in the East. A large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theater.
  • Brooklyn Mall, [30]. Just East of the city center with its art galleries and movie theaters for both mainstream and independent films.
  • Kolonnade, [31]. In the North with its ice rink and other entertainment.
  • Centurion Mall, [32]. South of Pretoria, in Centurion.
  • Wonderpark, [33]. In the North just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway, Skatepark and 100's of stores.
  • Irene village mall, [34]. South of Pretoria. Like a village, with roofed passages. Including a nice childrenfriendly Hitec-Fountain

Other Shopping

  • German bakery and Alma german butchery. East of Pretoria, Offramp Rossouw, then turn north, after 200 m. Closed Mondays. Also serves Coffee

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:
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.

  • Cool Runnings, 1071 Burnett Street, [35]. A cool pub with a earthy rastafarian vibe.


  • Centurion Mall Express Sandwich Baron ([email protected]), Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion, 27 (0)12 643-1144, [36]. Sandwich Baron produces freshly made platters and sandwiches and holds no ready-made products in stock. Also has a catering service.
  • Tings 'n Times, 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 430-3176/7, [37]. 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.


  • Smoke, Groenkloof Plaza,Goerge Storrar Road, Groenkloof, +27 (0)12 346-0916. Around R90 per person'.


  • Cynthia's Indigo Moon Restaurant, 283 Dey Street, Nieuwmuckleneuk, Brooklyn, +27 (0)12 346-8926. Around R170 per person.
  • Kream Restaurant, 570 Fehrsen Street, Building 3 Ground Floor, Brooklyn Bridge, +27 (0)123 464642, [38]. This new restaurant has a fresh upmarket urban feel and offers splendid food at very reasonable prices. Around R150 per person.
  • La Pentola, 5 Riviera Galleries, Well Street, Riviera, +27 (0)12 329-4028 (fax: +27 (0)12 329-5464), [39]. 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.


  • 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.
  • Tings 'n Times, 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 430 3176/7, [40]. In addition to being a great budget restaurant with a Rastafarian feel, Tings offers some great life acts.
  • Zeplin's Nightclub, Wonderwater Centre, Cnr Braam Pretorius & Lavender Annlin, South Africa, [41]. Caters for the Pretoria goth/alternative community.


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 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 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.


  • 1322 Backpackers, 1322 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 362-3905 (), [42]. From R70 for a dorm.
  • Khayalethu Backpackers, 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, +27 (0)12 362-5403 (), [43]. From R125 for a dorm.
  • Kia-Ora Lodge, 257 Jacob Mare Street, Berea, +27 (0)12 322-4803 (), [45]. from R220 per room.
  • Pretoria Backpackers, 425 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, +27 (0)12 343-9754 (), [46]. From R50 for camping, R80 for the dorms and R125 for a room.
  • Villa Zieshaan, 323 Minnaar Street, Central, +27 (0)82 855-4354, [47]. checkin: 12AM; checkout: 11AM. R350 per room. (-25.753807,28.183837)
  • Word of Mouth Backpackers, 430 Reitz Street, Sunnyside, +27 (0)12 343-7499 (), [48]. (Skype:travelinafrica) From R100.


  • Don Arcadia I, 599 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, +27 (12) 341-0098, [49]. 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 Farm Inn, Lynnwood Road, +27 (0)12 809-0266 (), [51]. Provides a unique South African experience. From R510pps.
  • Ithiliens Grace Guest House, 47 Kamperfoelie Street, Amandasig (easily accessible from all major highways), +2779 892 2376 (), [52]. From R280 up to R900.
  • The Village in Hatfield _, 1252 Arcadia Street, Cnr. Glyn & Arcadia Streets, Hatfield (N4 into PTA-Hatfield, near Duncan Street), +27 (0)12 362-3737 (), [53]. From R500 single.
  • The Waterhouse Guesthouse, 439 Stonewall Street, Faerie Glen (easily accessible from all major highways), +27 12 991 2823 (), [54]. From R670 single up to R1400 double.


  • Ellensgate Guest House, 849 Church Street (Entrance at Eastwood Street), +27 (0)12 342-4089 (, fax: +27 (0)86 572-6549), [55]. From R860pps (b&b).
  • Southern Sun, +27 (0)11 461-9744 (), [58]. Wide range of accommodation from budget to splurge From R750pps.
  • Villa Sterne, 212 Johann Rissik Drive Waterkloof Ridge, +27 (0)12 346-2255 (), [59]. From R650pps.


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

Buy a local simcard for your overseashandy 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


Always-On [63] , +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. Doornkloof

Stay healthy


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

Stay safe

Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group.

Important telephone numbers

From a fixed line

  • 107 - Emergency
  • 10111 - Police [64]
  • 10177 - Ambulance
  • 082911 - Netcare911 [65]

From a mobile phone

  • 112 - Emergency
  • 911 - Netcare911 [66]


Embassies and High Commissions

Get out

A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam
  • Fly out of OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg [67].
  • Rent a car from one of the many outlets. Note that the N1 North, towards Limpopo Province, is a toll road, so have some cash on hand (or a credit card).
  • Catch a bus at the station S25 45.473 E28 11.321.
  • Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
  • 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.

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