Pretoria

Pretoria © girolame
Pretoria is affectionately known as the Jacaranda City due to the profusion of Jacaranda trees, colouring the city a rich purple with their blossoms every spring. It is located 56 miles (90km) from Johannesburg, although this drive can take up to two hours in the infamous traffic between the two cities.

Pretoria is South Africa's administrative capital and one of the country's more attractive cities. Its relatively ordered and picturesque urban centre forms a stark contrast to its much more chaotic neighbour, Johannesburg.

Pretoria was founded in 1955 and named after Andries Pretorius, the Afrikaaner leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus under King Dingaan. But since 1994, the city is best known as the administrative capital of South Africa, and as home to the iconic Union Buildings where Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the country's first democratically elected president.

Although Pretoria is, to the surprise of foreign visitors, the capital of South Africa, it is nowhere near as famous as Cape Town and Johannesburg. In reality, several cities in the country essentially divide the various functions associated with a capital city.

Pretoria may not be one of South Africa's most popular tourist destinations, but it makes a fantastic base for a multitude of sightseeing opportunities. The city offers some unique attractions, such as the historic Voortrekker Monument, the South African National Zoological Gardens, and the nearby town of Cullinan where the discovery of the world's largest diamond took place.

If visitors run out of things to do in Pretoria, the proximity of Johannesburg ensures that boredom is not an option. Pretoria offers visitors a unique glimpse into a city brimming with history while simultaneously embracing cultural change.




Attractions

Coach at Kruger House Museum © retnev

Kruger House Museum

The former residence of Boer leader and President of the Republic of South Africa, Paul Kruger, is now the Kruger House Museum. Built in 1884, the house was the last one in which President Kruger would live, between 1883 and 1901, before leaving South...  see full details



Loftus Versfeld © legio09

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

A shrine for many of Pretoria's rugby fantatics, the Loftus Versfeld Stadium seats over 50,000 people and was one of the stadiums hosting matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The land on which the stadium was built was first used for sporting...  see full details



Lion © Tambako the Jaguar

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Commonly known as the Pretoria Zoo, the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is often described as one of the leading zoos in the world. It is the largest zoo in South Africa and the only one with national status. Tickets include a visit...  see full details



Arum Lilly © Lollie-Pop

Pretoria National Botanical Garden

Featuring indigenous plants and flowers from all over South Africa, the Pretoria National Botanical Garden bridges the gap between scientific research and recreational garden pleasures. The garden is home to over 198 bird species, a few reptiles and even small mammals like the adorable...  see full details



Union Buildings © Hühnerauge

Union Buildings

Designed by renowned South African architect, Sir Herbert Baker, the Union Buildings are located on Meintjieskop hill, a sentinel overlooking the city of Pretoria. They are the official seat of the country's government and houses the offices of the South African President and other...  see full details