Pretoria boasts lush gardens, buzzing nightclubs and eateries, and a whole lot of rich South African history. Alongside its natural wildlife sanctuaries, Pretoria's urban life is centered around great eats and entertainment, and it comes alive in the evenings, thanks to its large university student population.
Pretoria has a number of natural reserves such as Wonderboom Nature Reserve, with a fig tree that's over 1,000 years old, and Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary.
Check out the Union Buildings, home to the South African presidential legacy and history, as well as the Voortrekker Monument, right across from the lush Freedom Park.
Take in Pretoria's Dutch and Germanic roots that are evident in bakeries, breweries, and national museum exhibits.
Don't miss out on the best of South African cuisine served at various hidden gems and famous restaurants such as Tings 'n Times, Crawdaddy's, and La Pentola.
Sit back and relax at the Monument Amphitheatre with drinks and outdoor music, while the Klitsgras Drumming Circle plays in Tierpoort on Garsfontein Rd.
With numerous species thriving throughout its 210 acres of land, this national zoo feels more like a national park. It's one of the top 8 animal sanctuaries in the world. The Apies River runs through the zoo, which can be accessed through leisurely walks but a pleasant journey on a golf cart is a tempting alternative. The exhibits include a walk-through aviary as well as chimps and primates along the western boundary. Meanwhile, the sense of exploring the African Savannah is heightened by a watering hole where South African cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes and even kangaroos converge. Coupled with its aquarium and reptile park, this is a must-see experience of the wild.
This grand granite monument stands some 131 feet tall and is surrounded by 64 ox-wagons in memory of the Voortrekkers who journeyed eastwards from the Cape Colony in the mid-19th century to settle new lands. Step inside and see the Wall of Remembrance. Much like other monuments in dedication to lives lost, the wall names the fallen while the interior hall features the world's longest marble frieze showcasing the struggles of the Voortrekkers under its shimmering yellow Belgian glass. Alongside this homage is Cenotaph Hall, where a tapestry of a million stitches relives in fabric these trials and tribulations. Once you've paid your respects, climb to the top of the monument and look upon the city of Pretoria from a different perspective.
Named for a 1000 year old fig tree that still stands today, this 494 acre nature reserve offers the perfect way to relax, unwind and escape to a wilder, more ancient vision of present-day Pretoria. Along with strange little creatures known as dassies and its winged inhabitants such as majestic black eagles, the nature reserve also includes signs of human life, by way of its forts from the Second World War and Stone Age sites.
Natural history buffs will be pleased to know that the Transvaal Museum has a deep connection to our shared history. Why? Because the museum focuses on curating fossils of the earliest forms of mankind, including hominids from Sterkfontein, and our earliest ancestors from the Cradle of Life site. There is also a large collection of mammals, birds and reptiles, in their earliest incarnations. Through its fascinating and interactive exhibits, the museum's intent is to track the progress of evolution.
Former Boer leader and president of the S.A. Republic, Paul Kruger, once roamed these halls and sat in its chairs. For many, this is reason enough to visit the house-turned museum, which commemorates Paul Kruger's life. Many of the original decorations are still intact and its the perfect spot for an afternoon tour.
Summers in Pretoria are wet and muggy, with afternoon thunderstorms and temperatures of 60-86 degrees. Winters are dry and mild with lows of 41 degrees and highs of 68 degrees.
Travelers to Pretoria land at O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. A ticket for the shuttle from the airport to Pretoria costs R90.
Trains from Johannesburg's airport to Pretoria get travelers to the city center for R164 and commuter train tickets cost R16.50.
Pretoria is accessible to all other cities using the National highways N1-4 and N14. Book with Bidvest Car Rental starting at R169 per day.
Liners such as APM, Intercape, and Citiliner service Pretoria with prices ranging from R220 to R570.
When you visit Pretoria, there are multiple options for a pleasurable stay. Check in to the Pumbas Backpackers in Hatfield or the Farm Inn. If you want to splurge, try the Ellensgate Guesthouse, a great B&B.
Hatfield - home to trendy and hip university students, Hatfield is full of buzzing pubs, independent eateries, and small one-off boutiques for your perusal pleasure.
Brooklyn - beautiful luxury residences and upmarket shopping spots like Brooklyn Mall characterize this neighborhood in Pretoria.
Menlyn - similar in style and feel to Brooklyn, Menlyn's claim to fame is Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, supposedly South Africa's second-largest mall with a rooftop drive-in movie theater.
Tshwane operates a network of buses throughout Pretoria. Getting around in Pretoria using public transport is best during rush hour. Tickets cost between R5 to R10 in the city.
It's best to book a taxi in advance rather than hail one. Some options include Heinrich's Taxis or Rixi Taxi. Fares start at R50 for the first two miles and R24.8 for each mile thereafter.
If you want to visit spots like Hartbeespoort Dam for hot air balloon rides, rent a car with Tempest Car Hire starting from R171 per day.
You don't want to miss Menlyn Park Shopping Centre for an unforgettable shopping experience. Check out Wonderpark's skate park and Kolonnade in the north with its ice rink.
A quart of milk costs around R15 while a dozen eggs is approximately R24.
Dine at world-renowned La Pentola for R150 per person or Kream Restaurant, for fresh urban eats starting at R300 for two. If Cajun and Creole steaks or seafood chowders are your thing, check out Crawdaddy's; appetizers start at R69.