Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is in Gauteng. Its wide avenues are lined with purple-flowered jacaranda trees and stately architecture. The city has many museums and art galleries, and a large student population that gives its centre a boisterous atmosphere.



Pretoria is part of City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.


Pretoria Skyline

The area known today as Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, with Pretoria (City) at its centre, is believed to have been occupied by the Sotho people for many centuries. During the 15th century the Ndebele people also migrated into the area and settled along the banks of the Apies River. Tshwane [tsʰwane] is the Setswana name of the Apies River. Around 1820 the Matabele under the leadership of Mzilikaza also entered the region, leading to local conflicts between the Matabele newcomers and the already established Sotho and Ndebele tribes as well as the European "Voortrekkers" who were steadily moving northward through the country. These conflicts came to an end when the Matabele were defeated by the "Voortrekkers" in 1837 at Mosega.

By 1855 there was no known tribe in what is known as the Pretoria area today. Only nomadic groups passed through this area, with one of the Setswana people (so it is alleged) led them. Pretoria was founded in 1855. The first capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic) was Ohrigstad, but the capital was moved to Pretoria. After the Second Boer War, the ZAR become Transvaal province, and Pretoria its capital. The city was named after Andries Pretorius, the Boer leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus under King Dingaan. In 1856 the area today known as Arcadia was acquired in exchange for a pony and added to the town.

In 1899, during the Second Boer War, Winston Churchill was captured and held as a POW in Pretoria until his eventual escape to Mozambique. British forces captured Pretoria in 1900 and held control over the city until the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in 1902.

When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, Pretoria was elected the capital and is still the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa today.



Pretoria is located in a summer rainfall area with hot days regularly followed by short and intense afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are often accompanied by lightning and occasionally result in hail. Summer temperatures range between 16°C at night to 30°C during the day, with occasionally higher temperatures (up to about 36°C). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between a minimum of 5°C and a maximum of 20°C. Winter nights and (occasionally winter days) can be surprisingly cold and buildings are generally not well insulated. Bring warm clothes if you're visiting during the winter months.

Get in


By car


Five highways join in the Gauteng region, making it accessible from all cities in the country. This would include the N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national highways.

Most National Routes (N) are toll roads. Open road tolling (e-toll) is available on the freeways around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

By plane


The closest international airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB IATA) in Johannesburg. The Albertina Sisulu Highway or R21 leads from there to Pretoria. Airport shuttles are available on the airport or can be booked:

By bus

  • Major bus companies like Apm, Citiliner, Greyhound, Translux, City to City, Intercape Mainliner offer connections to all big cities in South Africa.
  • there are also lots of bus lines that have buses to Zimbabwe.
  • Citiliner fare to Bulawayo is R410. The trip takes 15 hours.
  • Apm bus lines have a bus from Pretoria to Capetown every day at 16:00 with a fare of R450.
  • Intercape has a sleepliner bus from Pretoria to Knysna every day at 14:00 with a fare of R569.
  • Citiliner has a bus going to Mbombela every day at 09:00 with a fare of R200. The trip takes 6 hours.
  • Citiliner has a bus going to Kimberley every day at 09:45 with a fare of R275. The trip takes 8 hours.
  • Apm has a bus going to Durban every day at 10:30 with a fare of R220. The trip takes 9 hours.
  • The Baz Bus also stops in Pretoria.

By train


A convenient high-speed rail link, Gautrain, is available between Johannesburg, OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria. Travellers can access this direct link from the arrivals hall in the airport building. Safe, comfortable Gautrain buses serve local routes from the different stops in Pretoria. The fare from International airport to pretoria is R164. There are frequent commuter trains from Johannesburg which cost R16.50 one way. Metrorail also services other outlying towns and many suburbs of Pretoria.

Long-distance trains from other parts of South Africa generally arrive in Johannesburg, however trains from Musina via Polokwane and from Komatipoort via Nelspruit call in Pretoria.

  • 1 Pretoria railway station (corner of Thabo Sehume St and Railway St, just south of city centre). Pretoria railway station (Q7242184) on Wikidata Pretoria railway station on Wikipedia

Get around

Map of Pretoria

Although crime in South Africa is higher than in many other parts of the world, common sense precautions should prevent incidents. Be especially aware of your surroundings after dark and don't travel alone. Main shopping centres are reasonably safe.

Either use a metered taxi, rent a car or use the municipal bus service. There is also a very extensive network of informal, cheap minibus taxis, mostly used by local commuters. These taxis used to have a reputation for being unsafe, but this has greatly improved and most taxis are now relatively luxurious and not overcrowded, except during peak times. Accidents are rare. Ask locals waiting at taxi stops about routes and rates.

Walking is a good option during the day, but may be unsafe after dusk in certain areas, such as central Pretoria.

  • Train service. Pretoria Main railway station.
  • Tempest Car Hire, +27 12 663-1368, fax: +27 12 663-1387, . Affordable car rental service available at all major locations in South Africa.
  • HeinRich's Taxis, . Safe and professional taxi service.
  • Hendrick Metered taxi and Shuttles, 0826742075,
  • Rixi Taxi, +27 12 362-6272. Safe and professional taxi service. Not the cheapest means of getting around.
  • Tshwane Bus Routes. Graphical map of bus routes and timetables and some information on using Minibus Taxis. R8 within the central business district, and R16 for long-distance journeys. Not extensive coverage or very regular, but is fairly reliable. Main office at church square. Timetable available there. Bus stops have poor indication of bus direction. So ask or wait. Bus frequency is best during rush hours. Very old fashioned but good for nostalgists.
  • Uber. Uber is available in Pretoria, but there is a zone surrounding the Gautrain station where pickups and drop-offs are not permitted. The availability of Ubers is not as great as in Johannesburg, so you may encounter difficulties finding one at some of the more distant sights like the Voortrekker Monument.


Union Buildings
Statue of Paul Kruger on Church Square
  • 1 Botanical Gardens, 2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria, +27 12 843-5071, . daily 08:00 - 18:00. An urban oasis to explore. This 76-ha urban oasis is a pristine getaway in the eastern suburbs of South Africa's administrative capital, Pretoria. R30 entrance fee. Pretoria National Botanical Garden (Q7242177) on Wikidata Pretoria National Botanical Garden on Wikipedia
  • 2 National Zoological Gardens (The Zoo), 232 Boom St, Pretoria (Near the city center), +27 12 339 2700, . daily 08:30 - 17:30, open 365 days. Aquarium, reptile park and all the larger mammals including koalas. One can also camp within the zoo on Friday and Saturday nights. Golf carts are available for rental at R80/hour. Children's pushcarts at R60/day. A cableway operates from 10:00 - 16:15 daily between the top and bottom of the zoo, price R20 one way, R30 return. R95 adults, R60 children, R20 per vehicle. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (Q1139958) on Wikidata Pretoria Zoo on Wikipedia
  • 3 The Union Buildings (often referred to as "Arcadia"), 2 Church St, +27 12 300 5200, . Gardens open 24/7. The offices of the South African presidency. The building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908. Entrance to the building is prohibited for security reasons. However, the beautiful terraced gardens, which boast a wide variety of indigenous plants, are open to the public and provide a truly amazing view over the city. Free. Union Buildings (Q2264091) on Wikidata Union Buildings on Wikipedia
  • 4 The Wonderboom (Tree of Wonder or Miracle Tree), Wonderboom Nature Reserve (drive northwards on Paul Kruger Street (R101) and Mansefield Avenue for about 6-7 km from the city centre; immediately after the road goes through the gap in the Magaliesberg range turn right onto the M1 and cross the Apies River; the entrance is on the right about 300 m from the R101), +27 12 440 8316, +27 12 341 5204. 07:00 - 17:00 (last entry 16:00). A fig tree over 1000 years old. The tree, now a national monument, is unusually large, standing some 25 metres high and having a 5.5-metre diameter main trunk. Its growth pattern is also unusual: as its branches grew longer, they drooped towards the ground and eventually took root and formed a circle of new trunks or daughter trees around the original tree. There are now 13 trunks, and the colossal tree covers an area with a diameter of 55 metres. Wonderboom Nature Reserve has a large number of dassies (rock hyrax) living in caves overlooking the Apies River. They provide a food source for a breeding pair of black eagles that nest on a rocky ledge nearby and that can often be seen circling above the reserve. At the top of the Wonderboom Hill are the ruins of the Wonderboom Fort, one of four forts built by the former South African Republic at the end of the 19th century to defend Pretoria against the British forces. It was never used. It was blown up, probably on the instruction of Prime Minister Jan Smuts, in the early days of the Second World War, lest it be used by anti-government dissidents as a springboard for an attack on the state. At the foot of the hill near the Wonderboom is an important Iron Age site and nearby is one of the best Stone Age sites in the area. The reserve has picnic facilities. R41 adults, R25 children, seniors R26. Wonderboom (Q30602264) on Wikidata Wonderboom (tree) on Wikipedia
  • Streets with jacaranda trees, South of Union Buildings. In September, the jacarandas have purple flowers. Many streets are lined with these trees. A good place to view lines of them is the Union Buildings.
  • 5 Church Square, Church Square, +27 11 085 2500, . 24/7. Church Square is one of the few places in the Pretoria CBD where you can get a sense of how Pretoria must have looked a century ago, and, as a result, is often used as a set for local period movies and TV series. The square is surrounded by important civic buildings, including the Palace of Justice, the General Post Office, the Old Council Chamber and the Old Capitol Theatre and its importance was underlined by the erection of a statue commemorating President Paul Kruger. Free entrance. Church Square, Pretoria (Q2749491) on Wikidata Church Square, Pretoria on Wikipedia

Museums and galleries

Voortrekker Monument
Freedom Park
Kruger House. A view from Church St, Pretoria, in 1998
  • 6 Correctional Services Museum (Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre), +27 12 314-1766. Tu-F 09:00-15:00. Historical articles show the development of the penal system in South Africa from the most barbaric methods to the modern penological system of today. The pursuit of hobbies by prisoners is portrayed by matchstick work, art objects, wood and stone carvings. Objects illegally made by prisoners and which are confiscated, are displayed, such as dagga pipes, forged keys and money, tattooing machines, and stabbing and cutting weapons.
  • 7 Melrose House Museum, 275 Jacob Maré St, +27 12 322-2805, . Where the peace treaty that ended the Anglo-Boer War as signed in 1902. Melrose House (Q1919737) on Wikidata Melrose House on Wikipedia
  • 8 National Museum of Cultural History, 149 Visagie St, +27 12 492 5708. Daily 08:00 – 16:00. Learn about the people and the cultures of South Africa, from the Iron Age till today. (Wheelchair accessible). Exhibitions include rock paintings and engravings of the San people; 1000-year-old Iron Age figurines from Schroda in the Limpopo Province (described as “the best known artifacts indicating ritual behaviour in the Early Iron Age”); the Art Gallery presents an overview of South African culture through time, using cultural objects, crafts, sculpture and paintings and an exhibition on Marabastad is a true example of a cosmopolitan and fully integrated rainbow nation before apartheid. Adults R35, children R20, seniors R20.
  • 9 Pioneer Museum (Pionier Museum), Keuning Dr, Silverton, +27 72 323 9758, . daily 09:00-16:00. A pioneer house. The house was built of clay and local materials, with a thatched roof and earthen floors, and is furnished in the traditional 19th century rural style. It is surrounded by a traditional herb and vegetable garden, orchard, furnished wagon house and vineyard. Guides in period clothing. with guided tour R40, lower rates for SA nationals. Pionier Museum (Q24233879) on Wikidata Pionier Museum on Wikipedia
  • 10 [dead link] Sammy Marks Museum, Zwartkoppies, +27 12 802-1150. Sammy Marks Museum (Q22988120) on Wikidata
  • 11 [dead link] Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (Transvaal Museum), GaMohle Building, 70 WF Nkomo (Church) Street, +27 12 000-0010. daily 09:00-20:00. Where you can meet Mrs. Pless when she is not on tour somewhere. Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (Q2583379) on Wikidata Transvaal Museum on Wikipedia
  • 12 Voortrekker Monument and Fort Scanskop, Eeufees Road, Groenkloof (on Proclamation Hill, big cubic building, to the south west of the city, you can't miss it), +27 12 326-6770. 8:00am to 4:00pm, open 7 days. Closed December 25. Monument to the Voortrekkers (Afrikaner pioneers) with a museum of Afrikaner Heritage. R270 per person. Voortrekker Monument (Q963472) on Wikidata Voortrekker Monument on Wikipedia
  • 13 Freedom Park, Salvokop of Potgieter St (on a hill across from the Voortrekker Monument), +27 12 470-7400, fax: +27 12 361-0021, . Freedom Park (Q10956303) on Wikidata Freedom Park (South Africa) on Wikipedia
  • Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, R104 Old Bronkhorstspruit Road, Rayton, +27 12 736 2035, . M-F 08:30 – 16:00, Sa Su and public holidays 09:00 – 16:00. The history of the development of agriculture in South Africa and a collection of old vehicles (donkey and horse carts, ox-wagons, coaches, carriages and spiders) are displayed in the main building. Visitors can explore the 1880 and 1913 house museums and outbuildings, and two Ndebele homesteads from different eras. Indigenous farm animals include the Nguni and Afrikaner cattle, Kolbroek pigs, Speckled Persian sheep and indigenous chickens like the Ovambo, Koekoek, Venda and Naked Necks.
  • 14 Kruger House Museum, 60 Church Str, +27 12 326-9172, fax: +27 12 328-5173. Visit the home of Boer leader and president of the ZAR. Very well-kept and interesting, well worth an hour. Kruger House, Pretoria (Q1541745) on Wikidata Kruger House, Pretoria on Wikipedia




JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail
  • 1 Friends of the Rail, alongside Miechaelson Street, Hermanstad, +27 12 767 7913. Daily 09:00 - 12:00. Take a step back in time and circle Pretoria on a steam train or visit Cullinan, birth place of the world's largest diamond. The train runs two or three times per month, check timetable on website for exact dates. R250.
  • 2 Klitsgras Drumming Circle, Tierpoort, Garsfontein Rd (take the Garsfontein Road (M30) in the eastern direction; 14 km after crossing Hans-Strijdom Drive, turn left onto Plot 62; it's next to the Excel service station), +27 83 311 0025, . Daily 19:00 till late. Drumming circle out in the bush. Once you have a drum, food and drink you can sit down in the amphitheater around a cozy fire where the professionals and novices are drumming together and everyone joins in. Everyone takes lead from these people even if you do not know what you are doing, you just follow their drumming. So you are not only here to watch, but to be part of the entertainment! And then as a visual bonus the fire dancers move to the groves of the drumming. Didgeridoo players and percussionist frequent the venue. Held every second Friday night. R40 for drum rental.
  • Skydive Pretoria, Wonderboom Airport, +27 81 499 5739.

Performing arts

  • 3 State Theatre, corner Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets, +27 12 392 4000, . Opening times dependent on performances. The State Theatre in Pretoria, South Africa is the largest theatre complex in Africa. Tickets for performances can be booked via Computicket


  • Rugby Union: Bulls play in the United Rugby Championship (formerly Pro14), the multi-national European professional league. The playing season is Oct-March, with home games at Loftus Versfeld Stadium (capacity 52,000) in the Arcadia district. Loftus Versfeld is also home to the Blue Bulls, a developmental side for the URC Bulls that plays in the domestic Currie Cup from January–June.
  • Cricket: Pretoria Capitals play in the southern town of Centurion, where they share the stadium with Titans.


  • 4 Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Fountains Valley Resort (take exit 335 (M7 (M18) Eeufees Rd) off the N14 and follow the Fountains Resort sign), +27 12 440-8316, . Daily 05:30 to 19:00 in summer and 08:00-20:00 in winter. Walk, mountainbike, go on a 4x4 drive or stay over in the second oldest nature reserve in the world. See giraffe, antelope and many other animals. 3½-, 4½- and 10½-km hiking trails. R38 entrance fee R22 for seniors 60 and over and children 7-17), R80 per person (with R650 refundable deposit) for an overnight hut (sleeps 12), R200 per day for mountainbike hire, R159 per person for 4-hr guided walks, R117 for access to the 4x4 trail (R480 if you get stuck and call for a recovery vehicle). Groenkloof Nature Reserve (Q5610098) on Wikidata Groenkloof Nature Reserve on Wikipedia
  • 5 Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, cnr Boshoff and Roper, +27 12 440-8316, . Daily Sep-Apr: 06:00 - 18:00; May-Aug: 07:00 - 17:00. The sanctuary is located in the Walkerspruit Open Space System. Two streams, the Walker and the Argo, feed water into wetland basins of which nine are small perennial dams that attract a multitude of water birds. The sanctuary was fenced in June 1970. Species include unique birds such as the crowned crane and the blue crane. The veld type of the sanctuary is mixed bushveld. Nice and expansive restaurant. Guided walks: R55 per person up to 12 people per group. Free. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary (Q15268543) on Wikidata Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary on Wikipedia
  • Fountains. Barbque resort


  • 6 Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo, Air Force Base Waterkloof. A combined airshow and trade exhibition, also open to the public, taking place biannually in September. There are planes on display, aerobatics and parachuting shows and hands-on activities for kids.


University of South Africa.
University of Pretoria



Shopping malls

  • 1 Menlyn Park. Located in the east. A very large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theater. Menlyn Park (Q3306016) on Wikidata Menlyn Park on Wikipedia
  • 2 Brooklyn Mall. Just east of the city centre with art galleries and movie theaters for mainstream and independent films. Brooklyn Mall (Q30632928) on Wikidata Brooklyn Mall on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kolonnade. In the north with an ice rink and other entertainment.
  • 4 Wonderpark. In the north just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway. Skatepark and hundreds of stores.
  • 5 The grove, Lynwood Cnr Simon Vermooten (head to Lynwood Rd East). Larger mall. No free parking. Also good for middle budget eating out.
  • 6 Hatfield Plaza Shopping Centre, Burnett St. 08:00-19:00. Has a Pick N Pay supermaket and many places to eat.

Other shopping

  • German bakery and Alma German butchery. Tu-Su. East of Pretoria, Offramp Rossouw, then turn north, after 200 m. Serves coffee. You can also buy some imported products.



Banks & ATMs

  • First National Bank, Hatfield Plaza. ATM 24 hours. Has a Mastercard/Visa card ATM. no-fee at ATM for overseas cards.


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under R60
Mid-range R60 to R120
Splurge Over R120

The renowned restaurants include Cynthia's, the Hillside Tavern and Pachas. There are also many franchised diners throughout the city.


  • Centurion Mall Express Sandwich Baron ([email protected]), Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion, +27 12 643-1144. Sandwich Baron produces freshly made platters and sandwiches and holds no ready-made products in stock. Also has a catering service.
  • Mimmos. Italian restaurant chain, incl. SA-Food. Good prices, take aways, wifi.


  • Toni's Pizza Toni's is a great place to get the best pizza in town.
  • Panarotti's Panarotti's is a national chain with several Pretoria branches.
  • Spur. A national chain of Native American-themed steak-houses. Several branches in Pretoria.


  • Kream Restaurant, 283 Dey Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, +27 12 346-4642. This new restaurant has a fresh upmarket urban feel and offers splendid food at very reasonable prices. Around R150 per person.
  • La Pentola, 5 Riviera Galleries, Well Street, Riviera, +27 12 329-4028, fax: +27 12 329-5464. M-F 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-22:00, Sa 18:00-22:00. Excellent food. From around R150 per person.


  • Pretoria's nightlife is concentrated in Hatfield (near the university), which boasts a number of bars and night clubs. Menlyn Square (just off the Menlyn shopping centre) is also a popular location which contains several venues but caters for the more upmarket crowd.
  • Exclusive Books. EB is in many shopping centres and offers coffee while reading their books.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R300
Mid-range R300 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000

Being the capital, there are many posh hotels (including the Sheraton) and guest houses and all the usual hotel chains have one or more hotels. With so many hotels owned by the same chains, in particularly Tsogo Sun. Make sure you note the address when booking so you go to the right hotel. When Parliament is in session and when there are other state events it can be almost impossible to find a mid-range or splurge room. Consider nearby Centurion as an alternative if you have to be in Pretoria at those times.









Complete GSM coverage with GPRS, 3G, 4G, HSDPA and LTE is available almost everywhere.

Buy a local simcard (at airport, railway station, most major chain stores or mobile phone stores) for your overseas mobile phone. You will need your foreign ID or passport for registering your new sim card at the shop. Airtime and data bundles can be bought at most shops and fuel stations.



Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100 MB.

Coverage areas include:

  • Cafe Dulce. Centurion Mall.
  • City Lodge. Courtyard in Arcadia.
  • Holiday Inn. Arcadia
  • Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.
  • Villa Sterne Boutique Hotel and Health Spa. Waterkloof Ridge
  • Wimpy. many wimpy branches now offer wi-fi
  • Mimmos. Italian low-middle-budget restaurant with Wifi.

Stay healthy



  • Unitas Hospital, Clifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion, +27 12 421-6700. Caters for 24-hour accident and emergency treatment.

Stay safe


Pretoria is considered to be a relatively safe city by South African standards and violent crime against tourists is somewhat rare. That said, basic common sense should still be used. Ask locals before you do things. Life after sunset stops a bit and moves to the big shopping centers outside the city. Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group or at Union Buildings. The city centre becomes deserted after nightfall, so it would not be wise to hang around at these times. The shop owners will close their security blinds to protect their property so there is little to see. Hatfield Plaza and all other major shopping centers are busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders until approximately 22:00 there is very little chance of any real trouble happening, but it can be annoying and daunting for tourists as the beggars are quite insistent but occurs less in guarded shopping centers. That said, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. Consider that you still have to move from the safe area to your hotel through an unsafe area. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers. Be especially vigilant at night by traffic lights and stop signs. Car-jacking and smash and grab thefts do occur.

From a fixed line


From a mobile phone




Embassies and High Commissions


Go next

A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam
  • Irene is a small town to the south of Pretoria with a day spa and a dairy farm.
  • Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
  • Kruger National Park in a (very long!) weekend
  • Soutpansberg, north, for lonely weekends in nature
  • Cradle of Humankind, with caves to view ancient caves, digging sites and skulls
  • Magaliesberg, a very old mountain range.
  • Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a small and quiet nature reserve with a number of wildlife species and lots of bird watching opportunities.
  • Visit Hartebeespoort Dam. There are hot air balloon rides over the savanna, a cable car, a golf course and watersport. Souvenir shops, shopping, and a snake farm are nearby.
This city travel guide to Pretoria is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.