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Pretoria

Country
South Africa
State
Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging
City
Pretoria North
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

South Africa's capital city was named to honour the Voortrekker leader, Andries Pretorius, and is situated just an hours drive from the much larger and bustling city of Johannesburg.

Pretoria is calm in comparison to its larger neighbour, and is attractive and unhurried, with lush trees lining its streets and examples of fine 19th century architecture throughout the city. The British influence is still felt here, both in the buildings and the culture. Although Pretoria largely exists for the administration of the government, it is also a city of culture, boasting theatres, museums and a variety of monuments dedicated to its history.

In the area immediately surrounding Pretoria, lovers of the outdoors will enjoy the nature parks and wildlife sanctuaries that the country is noted for. Greater Pretoria is also known as a city of knowledge and science, having the most highly developed research and technology sector on the African continent. Four universities are based here, as are a number of scientific institutes including the internationally renowned Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the acclaimed Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute.
 



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How to Reach

By Air

Flying into the Johannesburg International Airport is the easiest and most convenient way of getting to Pretoria from other cities in Africa and from other international departure points. It is then a relatively short drive (40 minutes) from the airport to the centre of Pretoria.

By Train

Train service to Pretoria is available from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit (near Kruger Park), Namibia and Zimbabwe, with all trains arriving at the city’s main Pretoria Station. If you’re seeking luxury rail options, Spoornet’s Premier Classe provides service from Cape Town, and the world-famous, luxurious Blue Train provides express service on the same route

By Bus

Major bus companies such as BazBus, Greyhound, Intercape Mainliner and Translux offer services to and from all the main cities of South Africa. Greyhound and Translux in particular provide a high level of comfort in travel, and at reasonable prices. If you’re looking for a really cheap travel option, BazBus offers the lowest prices, with many stops along the way on all of its routes. All intercity buses arrive at Pretoria Station, in the centre of Pretoria.

By Car

There are five main highways which come together in the Gauteng, where Pretoria is situated, making the city accessible from all major population centres in the country. If you’re driving from Johannesburg Airport, Pretoria is located just 30 miles north. You can take the M1 north, which becomes the N1; expect a 40-minute drive.

Key places to visit
City centre, National Zoological Gardens, Voortrekker Monument, Waterkloof and Centurion, Transvaal Museum


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Places to Visit

City centre

Church Square is one of the most visited tourist attractions in South Africa. Located in the centre of the city and on the world's longest street, the square prominently features a statue of Paul Kruger, one of South Africa's well-known former presidents. To the south of the centre, about 20 minutes on foot along Paul Kruger Street, is the Station Building, which was designed by Sir Herbert Baker. He was also the designer of the Union Buildings, which overlook the suburb of Arcadia. These are considered highlights of British Imperial architecture and they still house the national government. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa here in 1994.

National Zoological Gardens

The 60ha/150ac National Zoological Gardens with 4,300 animals, is one of the largest zoos in the world. There are 97 species of mammals and 160 species of birds housed in a walk-through aviary. The aquarium displays 275 species of fish while and the reptile house has a collection of 105 reptiles from all over the world.

Voortrekker Monument

Prominently situated south of the city center is the Voortrekker Monument, built in 1949 to commemorate the voortrekkers, the Boers who in the mid 19th C pushed northward into unknown territory. A ponderous square granite structure 40m/130ft high stands on a base 40m sq/430ft sq.

Steps lead up to the Hall of Heroes, with 27 marble reliefs depicting the Great Trek of 1838. Through an opening in the floor can be seen a slab of granite in the vault below with the inscription "Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika" ("We are for you, South Africa").

The monument is surrounded by a wall depicting ox-wagons - representing the trek wagons which the Boers drew up in a circle to form a defensive laager.

There is a museum illustrating this period of South African history.

Waterkloof and Centurion

To the south of the centre are the hilly and genteel suburbs of Waterkloof Ridge and Waterkloof Glen, where Pretoria’s wealthy reside. The area is well worth a visit to experience the lovely setting, the parks and the views; particularly the views of the city. Also to the south of the city, in the direction of Johannesburg, is Centurion, which is of interest to visitors for its Voortrekker Monument and a number of attractive parks.

Transvaal Museum

This celebrated museum, has an extraordinary collection of mammals, amphibians, fossils, geological specimens and archaeological material. In the Austin Roberts Bird Hall visitors can see all the 875 species of birds indigenous to South Africa.

Right Time to Visit

June - October

Temperature

June - July -> 3(°C) - Spring
December - January -> 28(°C) - Summer


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