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Pretoria Travel Essentials


3.8 /5 (25 ratings) Rate This Destination


Ideal duration: 1 - 2 days

Best Time: September to October (spring) Read More

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"The City of the Purple Blossoms"

Pretoria Tourism

The administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria is one of Gauteng's most important cities. It is the executive seat of the government of South Africa and one of the three capital cities (along with Cape Town and Bloemfontein). Pretoria is popularly known as the Jacaranda City due to more than 70,000 Jacaranda trees which colour the city purple in October-November each year.

Pretoria, named after Andries Pretorius, is steeped in history with its impressive buildings, museums, and the iconic Voortrekker Monument. It's also a haven for nature lovers, boasting game reserves, parks, and South Africa's national zoo. Surrounded by the serene Magaliesberg mountains and the Apies River, Pretoria offers a tranquil and picturesque retreat, attracting visitors seeking a slower pace of life and the beauty of nature.

Must Know Before You Travel to Pretoria

  • Local Transport: Consider using taxis, buses (including the A Re Yeng BRT system), or minibuses with affordable fares.
  • Getting Around: Google Maps is good as your guide and is accurate within the cities and towns.
  • Car Rental: Major car rental agencies in Pretoria are Avis, Budget Car Rental, Europcar, Hertz, and First Car Rental.
  • Paid Parking: Most shopping centres and points of interest in Pretoria offer paid parking. If there is no paid parking, you will likely find parking attendants who may help you find a spot, and tipping them for their assistance is optional.
  • Mobile Network: Vodacom has the best coverage but higher data prices. Telkom Mobile has the best data prices but limited coverage outside the city. Choose Telkom for city use and Vodacom or MTN for remote areas.
  • Drinking Water: The tap water in Pretoria is perfectly safe to drink.
  • What to Expect: Pretoria is like any other metropolitan city, notable for its administrative significance and the presence of Jacaranda trees.
  • Jacaranda Festival: Pretoria hosts the Jacaranda Festival annually in October, to celebrate the full bloom of the Jacaranda trees with a variety of events and activities. Travellers may consider planning their visit during this time.
  • Where to go next: Visitors can explore nearby destinations from Pretoria, such as Irene, Mpumalanga Escarpment, Kruger National Park, Soutpansberg, Cradle of Humankind, Magaliesberg, Rietvlei Nature Reserve, and Hartebeespoort Dam, each offering unique attractions and experiences.

Top Hotels In Pretoria

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Shopping in Pretoria

Pretoria is home to numerous shopping malls, local shopping centres, and small stores. The Menlyn Shopping Centre is a huge shopping mall with over 300 stores, one of the largest in the entire continent, from international and local brands. The same goes for the Kolonnade Centre, with a great collection of brands and restaurants. The Brooklyn Mall is another popular place to shop and eat, home to around 150 stores of various interests. Also, check out the Hazel Food Market. It is a vibrant and lively food market where you will find all sorts of local produce, food trucks, and street foods. 

Nightlife in Pretoria

Pretoria has decent nightlife options. Although it's not the kind of party city you would hope for, it's still got many great bars and clubs. Hatfield Square is a popular nightlife neighbourhood, and since it's close to the university of Pretoria, the crowd is a wonderful mix of the young and the old. It is the first place you should head for. Burnett and Duncan streets are dotted with many popular nightclubs and bars, and the parties usually go on till 02:00 in the night.

History of Pretoria

Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a Voortrekker leader. The city was named after his father, the hero of the Battle of Blood River, Andries Pretorius. Pretoria was founded to be the new capital of the South African Republic, and it became so in 1955. After the Second Boer War in 1900, Pretoria surrendered to the British. Afterwards, the Republics of ZAR and Orange River Colony, along with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony, became the Union of South Africa in 1910, of which Pretoria was made the administrative capital. It has continued to hold that position since then, even after South Africa became a republic in 1961.

Best Time to Visit Pretoria

How to Reach Pretoria

How to Reach Overview

The best way to reach Pretoria is through Johannesburg which is around 52 kilometres east of the city. To reach Pretoria from Johannesburg, travellers can fly to O.R. Tambo International Airport and take a taxi or shuttle (40 mins - 1 hour). Driving via major highways like N1 takes about 1 hour from Johannesburg. Buses are also available, taking around 1 hour.
Alternatively, travellers can use Gautrain for a 30-minute journey from Johannesburg to Pretoria or 40 minutes from the airport. The Pretoria Railway Station also has luxury blue trains, and Metrorail connects nearby areas and other cities.

How to reach Pretoria by flight

O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the nearest major international airport to Pretoria, located approximately 52 kilometres (32 miles) east of the city. Travellers can take a taxi, an airport shuttle, or Gautrain, which takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Flights to Johannesburg can be booked through Skyscanner.

How to reach Pretoria by road

Pretoria is well-connected to other parts of South Africa through major national highways like N1, N3, N4, and N14. The distance between Pretoria and Johannesburg is approximately 55 kilometres (34 miles), and the journey by car takes around 1 hour via the N1 highway.  

How to reach Pretoria by train

The Gautrain and the Metrorail connect Pretoria to cities all over Gauteng including Centurion, Midrand, Johannesburg and others.

The journey from Johannesburg to Pretoria takes about 30 minutes, while the airport to Pretoria trip takes around 40 minutes. These cost around $4 for a one-way trip. The Pretoria Railway Station is just 5 kilometres from the city centre. It also offers luxury blue trains to destinations like Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

How to reach Pretoria by bus

Many major bus companies like Intercape, Greyhound, Translux and the backpacker hop on-hop off BazBus connect Pretoria to all major South African cities. The journey takes around one hour and costs approximately $6 - $10 From Johannesburg. 

Local transport in Pretoria

There are many railways that travel through Pretoria that can be used to get around along certain lines. Commuter rail, Gautrain, and the luxury Blue Train all travel through Pretoria and have various stops within the city before heading out to places like Johannesburg and Centurion. There are minibus taxis and Gautrain feeder buses that service the city, as well as normal public buses that run during the day. Taxis run throughout the city as well, and many of them need to be booked beforehand. Renting a car however, is probably the best way to get around Pretoria.

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Pretoria Photos

Pretoria, South-Africa
The Palace of Justice
Old Counsel Chambers or the Raadsaal of the ZAR
The Central Business District

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FAQs on Pretoria

What are the places near Pretoria?

The top places near to Pretoria are Johannesburg which is 53 km from Pretoria, Durban which is located 533 km from Pretoria, Cape town which is located 1310 km from Pretoria, Knysna which is located 1048 km from Pretoria, London which is located 9029 km from Pretoria

What are the things to do in Pretoria?

The top things to do in Pretoria are Voortrekker Monument, Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Union Buildings, Pretoria National Botanical Garden, Kruger House Museum, Loftus Versfeld Stadium. You can see all the places to visit in Pretoria here

What are the top hotels in Pretoria?

There are 519 in Pretoria which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Pretoria are Touch of Class Guest House, Sekelbos Guesthouse, Burkea Park Villa, LeoZet Self catering apartment, Roux's Res, Grace. You can see all the hotels in Pretoria here

What is the local food in Pretoria?

Pretoria being a major city has a great choice of cuisines and restaurants. Fast food joints can be found in several places, and the international joints like KFC, Domino's, Pizza Hut etc have many branches in Pretoria. As far as restaurants go, La Pentola is a top class international restaurants. It has a huge variety of cuisines on offer as well. Kream is another very popular restaurant, with a brilliant menu and sophisticated atmosphere. Also, Mosaic is a fantastic restaurant, with reputed chef Chantel Dartnall handling the kitchen and sending out some delectable dishes. Other great restaurants include Crawdaddy's, Zest Bistro, Hemingway's, and also Burger Bistro.
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What is the best time to visit Pretoria?

Pretoria is a charming city during spring. It's several tens of thousands of Jacaranda trees start blooming, and the several parks and gardens throughout the city become an eclectic combination of colours and odours. Temperatures in the Pretoria during this time are very pleasant, ranging from 15 degree to 28 degrees Celsius.
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