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Discovering Pretoria: 10 Must-Do Activities in South Africa’s Capital City

Photo things to do in pretoria

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is a city rich in history and culture. Known for its beautiful jacaranda trees that line the streets, Pretoria offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm. From its iconic Union Buildings to its vibrant food scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this fascinating city.

Exploring Pretoria’s rich history and culture is essential for any visitor to truly understand and appreciate the city. Pretoria played a significant role in South Africa’s history, particularly during the apartheid era. By delving into the past, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Union Buildings offer a glimpse into Pretoria’s rich history
  • Pretoria National Botanical Garden is a beautiful place for a leisurely stroll
  • Rietvlei Nature Reserve is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts
  • National Museum of Cultural History showcases fascinating culture and art
  • Voortrekker Monument offers adventure sports for thrill-seekers

Explore the Rich History of Pretoria’s Union Buildings

The Union Buildings are one of Pretoria’s most iconic landmarks and hold great historical significance. Built in 1913, these impressive buildings served as the administrative headquarters during the apartheid era and now house the offices of the President of South Africa.

Guided tours are available for visitors to explore the Union Buildings and learn about their history. The tour takes you through the various sections of the buildings, including the gardens, amphitheater, and statue of Nelson Mandela. The buildings themselves are an architectural marvel, with their grand design and stunning views over the city.

Take a Stroll Through the Beautiful Pretoria National Botanical Garden

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is a must-visit for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility amidst the bustling city. Established in 1946, this 76-hectare garden is home to a diverse range of plant species, including indigenous plants from all over South Africa.

Visitors can take leisurely strolls along the garden’s many pathways, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. The garden also hosts various events throughout the year, such as concerts, art exhibitions, and guided walks. It is a perfect place to relax, unwind, and reconnect with nature.

Get Up Close with Wildlife at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Activity Details
Location Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Pretoria, South Africa
Opening Hours 6:00am – 6:00pm (Monday – Sunday)
Entrance Fee R50 per adult, R30 per child (4-17 years old)
Activities Game drives, bird watching, hiking, fishing, picnicking
Wildlife Rhinos, lions, cheetahs, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and various bird species
Facilities Restrooms, picnic areas, braai (barbecue) facilities, and a visitors’ center
Guided Tours Available upon request for an additional fee

For those looking to experience South Africa’s wildlife up close, a visit to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve is a must. This 3,800-hectare reserve is home to a wide variety of animals, including rhinos, zebras, giraffes, and over 200 bird species.

Visitors can explore the reserve on self-drive or guided game drives, where knowledgeable guides provide insights into the reserve’s wildlife and conservation efforts. There are also picnic spots and hiking trails for those who prefer a more active experience. The Rietvlei Nature Reserve offers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of South Africa’s wildlife in their natural habitat.

Discover the Fascinating Culture and Art at the National Museum of Cultural History

The National Museum of Cultural History in Pretoria is dedicated to preserving and showcasing South African culture and history. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including archaeology, anthropology, and art.

Visitors can explore the museum’s collections, which include artifacts from various indigenous cultures, as well as exhibits on the country’s colonial past and struggle against apartheid. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and events that highlight different aspects of South African culture. It is a fascinating place to learn about the diverse heritage of the country.

Experience the Thrill of Adventure Sports at the Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is a significant historical site in Pretoria that commemorates the Voortrekkers, who were early Dutch-speaking settlers in South Africa. The monument itself is an impressive structure that offers panoramic views of Pretoria.

In addition to its historical significance, the Voortrekker Monument also offers various adventure sports and activities for thrill-seekers. Visitors can go abseiling down the monument or try their hand at rock climbing. There are also hiking trails and picnic spots for those who prefer a more relaxed experience. The Voortrekker Monument is a unique destination that combines history with adventure.

Visit the Iconic Church Square and Discover Its Historical Significance

Church Square is the heart of Pretoria and holds great historical significance. It is home to several important landmarks, including the Palace of Justice, where the Rivonia Trial took place, and the statue of Paul Kruger, a prominent figure in South African history.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the square, admiring the beautiful architecture and learning about its historical significance. The square is also a popular gathering place for events and festivals, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to experience the local culture.

Take a Scenic Drive Through the Magnificent Jacaranda City

Pretoria is often referred to as the Jacaranda City due to the abundance of jacaranda trees that line its streets. These trees bloom in vibrant shades of purple during spring, creating a breathtaking sight.

To fully appreciate the beauty of Pretoria’s jacaranda trees, visitors can take a scenic drive through the city. Some of the best routes to view the jacarandas include Jacob Mare Street, Stanza Bopape Street, and Herbert Baker Street. These streets are transformed into purple tunnels during spring, providing a truly magical experience.

Discover the Diversity of South African Cuisine at Pretoria’s Best Restaurants

Pretoria’s food scene is as diverse as its culture, offering a wide range of culinary delights for visitors to enjoy. From traditional South African dishes to international cuisine, there is something to satisfy every palate.

Some of the best restaurants in Pretoria include Karoo Café, which specializes in traditional South African cuisine; Geet Indian Restaurant, known for its authentic Indian dishes; and Black Bamboo, which offers a fusion of African and Asian flavors. These restaurants showcase the diversity of South African cuisine and provide a unique dining experience.

Shop for Unique Souvenirs and Handicrafts at the Pretoria Boeremark

The Pretoria Boeremark is a vibrant market where visitors can shop for unique souvenirs and handicrafts. The market features a wide range of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

Visitors can browse through the stalls, sampling local delicacies and purchasing one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home. The market also hosts live music performances and cultural events, providing a lively and festive atmosphere.

Enjoy a Relaxing Day Out with Family and Friends at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve

The Groenkloof Nature Reserve is a popular destination for families and nature enthusiasts. This 3,000-hectare reserve offers a range of family-friendly activities, including hiking trails, picnic spots, and game drives.

Visitors can explore the reserve on foot or by bike, taking in the beautiful scenery and spotting wildlife along the way. The reserve is home to various animals, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes. It is a perfect place to spend a relaxing day out with family and friends, enjoying the beauty of nature.

Pretoria is a city that offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to explore. From its rich history and culture to its natural beauty and vibrant food scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this fascinating city. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or culinary delights, Pretoria has it all. So why not plan a trip to this captivating city and discover all that it has to offer?


What is Pretoria?

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is located in the northern part of Gauteng province.

What are some popular tourist attractions in Pretoria?

Some popular tourist attractions in Pretoria include the Voortrekker Monument, Union Buildings, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, and the Pretoria National Botanical Garden.

What are some outdoor activities to do in Pretoria?

Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, or take a hot air balloon ride over the city.

What are some cultural activities to do in Pretoria?

Visitors can explore the South African National Museum of Cultural History, the Pretoria Art Museum, or attend a performance at the State Theatre.

What are some family-friendly activities to do in Pretoria?

Families can visit the Pretoria Zoo, the Sammy Marks Museum, or take a ride on the Gautrain.

What is the best time of year to visit Pretoria?

The best time to visit Pretoria is during the spring (September-November) or autumn (March-May) when the weather is mild and the city is in bloom.