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As the de facto national capital of the Republic of South Africa (though technically, only the executive capital), Pretoria is far from the first place most visitors think of when it comes to holiday time in the venerable country. Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Durban, uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park and untold other national parks and conservation reserves tend to dominate tourism to South Africa. The phenomenal success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, however, was a public relations boon for the nation as a whole, with considerable spillover for Pretoria.

Pretoria is part of a massive urban area in the province of Gauteng that includes Johannesburg, a mere 65 km to the south. More than 10.5 million people live in the province, which equals roughly 10% of the population of South Africa. Incredibly, however, Gauteng represents less than 1.5% of the country’s land mass. As a result, visitors to Pretoria can expect a dense and vibrant city, though certainly not on the level of Jo’burg. The extraordinary Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is 50 km west of Pretoria and massive Kruger National Park is 400 km to the east. Within the city, worthwhile points of interest include the National Zoological Gardens, National Cultural History Museum, Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum and South African Police Museum.

Pretoria History

  • Union Buildings – This historic icon houses the Pretoria offices of the president.
  • Voortrekker Monument – This massive granite structure has become the shrine of Africanerdom.
  • Melrose House – The historic house in which the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in1902, which ended the Boer War.
  • The Pretoria Forts – Forts built before the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War.
  • Café Riche – The oldest bistro in the city was built in 1905.

Pretoria Art & Culture

  • Pretoria Art Museum – The only fine arts museum in the city, conserving examples of SA art.
  • Ditsong National Museum of Natural History – Large collections of fossils, mammals, birds and reptiles on display.
  • National Cultural History Museum – Permanent displays and continuous new exhibits attract many visitors.
  • South African State Theatre – The theatre is the heart of the performing arts in Pretoria.
  • Oppikoppi August Festival – This festival is a hilarious showcase of African talent with a difference.

Pretoria Shopping

  • Menlyn Park Shopping Centre – This Pretoria shopping centre houses hundreds of shops, restaurants and many entertainment venues.
  • Brooklyn Mall – Stylish shopping venues on main street offer all the right labels.
  • Woodlands Boulevard – An elegant centre with fashion, shoes, curios, food markets and entertainment venues is popular with the middle class.
  • Irene Village Market – The market sells handmade merchandise and is only open on Saturdays.
  • The Kolonnade – The shopping mall on the north side of town has shops galore and an ice rink.

Gay and Lesbian Pretoria

  • Detour Gay Lounge Bar – Located in Rubenstein Street, it is the gayest spot in town.
  • Sauna Boyz Steam and Leisure – This venue is still as steamy as ever, open seven days a week in Lynnwood Road.
  • The Q-Bar & Lounge – Find the place to be seen in Olympus Street.
  • Legends – In the heart of Pretoria, find this great meeting place for the gay community.
  • Lounge Maximus – Gay-run music bars and pubs in the suburbs.

Pretoria Outdoor

  • Groenkloof Nature Reserve – You can enjoy walks or drive in your 4x4 vehicle and look out for various species of antelope on the way.
  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve – The reserve is centred round a wild, willow-leaf fig tree over a thousand years old.
  • National Botanical Garden – View all the indigenous plants in the heart of Pretoria.
  • Fountains Valley Resort – A popular recreational resort for young people.
  • National Zoological Gardens – Explore one of the best zoos in the world.

Pretoria Sport

  • Watch a rugby or football match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
  • Cycle along the Pilditch Cycling Track.
  • Participate or watch the Springbok Vasbyt, the popular road race for runners and walkers, which starts from the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site.
  • See the Pretoria Marathon, which is organised regular marathons in and around the city.
  • Play a game of paintball, which has almost become a national sport.

Attractions

  • Voortrekker Monument
  • National Cultural History Museum
  • Fort Scanskop
  • Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum
  • South African Police Museum

Activities

  • Pretoria National Zoological Gardens
  • Groenkloof Nature Reserve
  • Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
  • Wonderboom Nature Reserve
  • Freedom Park

Restaurants

  • La Pentola
  • Cynthia’s Indigo Moon
  • Meat Company
  • Geet Indian Restaurant
  • Taste Restaurant

Nightlife

  • Eastwoods Tavern
  • Tings an’ Times
  • Pachas
  • Rhapsody’s
  • Drop Zone

Climate

Pretoria has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinct seasons.

  • Winter (June to August) 5-22°C
  • Spring (September to November) 12-27°C
  • Summer (December to March) 16-29°C
  • Fall (April to May) 8-24°C

Hotels in Pretoria

16 hotels in Pretoria, ZA

1 Holiday Inn Express PRETORIA - SUNNYPARK

3 stars
4.3 / 5 3 reviews

Crn Jeppe Str & Trevenna Str,Sunnyside Map

Enjoy a magnificent vacation at the Holiday Inn Express Pretoria Sunnypark, which offers superior service and comfortable accommodation to present you a perfect getaway, while you are in Pretoria. ... More

2 Southern Sun Pretoria

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

Cnr. Beatrix and Church Streets Map

Located in the capital city, Southern Sun Hotel Pretoria is the ideal choice for diplomats, embassy officials, executives and international travellers who demand high standards of product and... More

3 Hotel 224

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

Corner of Schoeman and Leyds Street Map

Hotel 224 Arcadia is situated near to central business district, shopping malls as well as the Loftus Versveld rugby stadium. It also has Transvaal Museum, Pretoria Zoo, Melrose House, Rietvlei... More

4 Sheraton Pretoria Hotel

5 stars
5.0 / 5 2 reviews

643 Corner Stanza Bopape (Church) & Wessels Street Map

Boasting a tranquil ambience and comfortable accommodation, the Sheraton Hotel Pretoria is an ideal pace for business as well as leisure travellers. GeneralThe property also offers well-equipped... More

5 Protea Hotel Midrand

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

14th Street, Noordwyk Ext. 20 Map

Being close to business and shopping venues of Gauteng region, Protea Hotel Midrand is the right accommodation choice at Johannesburg. Guests can visit Pilansberg National Park, Lesedi Cultural... More

6 Protea Hotel Hatfield

3 stars
2.0 / 5 1 reviews

1141 Burnett Street, Hatfield Map

Sitting at the foot of the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds, Protea Hotel Hatfield Pretoria offers to its guest's comfortable accommodation and personalised service in a well connected location. Loftus... More

7 Mercure Johannesburg Midrand Hotel

3 stars
4.3 / 5 3 reviews

Old Pretoria Main Road Map

Offering cosy accommodation and attention to details, Mercure Johannesburg Midrand Hotel is an ideal place for business or leisure travellers and for those who want to explore the city. ... More

8 Protea Hotel Centurion

3 stars
4.0 / 5

Gordan Hood & Hendrik Verwoed Avenue, Centurion, Map

With its landscaped gardens and scenic views overlooking Centurion Lake, Protea Hotel Waterfront Centurion offers a quiet and comfortable base for both business and leisure travellers. This... More

9 Protea Hotel Samrand

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

Samrand, Sterling Street Map

Offering a unique atmosphere of tranquility and warm hospitality, Protea Hotel Samrand Johannesburg is the perfect place to reside for both business and leisure travellers. Travellers can explore... More

10 Villa Via Midrand

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

25 Neerlandia St Map

Situated in the business district of Midrand, Villa Via Midrand Hotel makes for a suitable accommodation for corporate travellers and holidaymakers visiting Johannesburg. The hotel is just opposite... More