Pretoria, formally known as Tshwane, is a vibrant city in the northern part of Gauteng. It is lovingly known as “the Jacaranda City” by locals due to the streets characterised by the deep purple hues of Jacaranda trees. As one of South Africa’s three capital cities, Pretoria offers plenty of natural, cultural, and historical attractions that make it well worth a visit. If you’re planning on visiting Pretoria, here are some things to do while you’re here:
This fascinating granite structure is a major landmark, situated on a hilltop in a nature reserve just outside of Pretoria. It was built to honour the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854 to begin the Great Trek. The building, which stands 40m high, has been declared a National Heritage Site, and as it receives approximately 200,000 visitors a year, it is also the most visited heritage site of its kind in Gauteng. Visiting hours are Monday – Sunday, 08h00 – 17h00. Entry costs R50 per adult, R25 per scholar, or R100 per family.
Ditsong National Museum of National History
The Ditsong National Museum of National History, better known as the Transvaal Museum, was founded in 1892. It holds large collections of Plio-Pleistocene fossils (including hominids from Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, and Kromdraai in the Cradle of Humankind), as well as late Permian therapsids (mammal-like reptiles from the Karoo). The museum also holds very large exhibits of mammals, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates. It is open from 08h00 – 16h00 daily. Entry costs R25 per adult and R10 per child under 13.
National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Also known as Pretoria Zoo, this 85 hectare zoo is the largest in South Africa – and the only one with national status. It houses hundreds of mammal, bird, invertebrate, and amphibian species with a reptile park and the largest inland marine aquarium in the country. The zoo is open daily from 08h30 – 17h30. Entry costs R66 per adult and R44 per child (2 – 15 years).
Skydiving at Wonderboom Airport
Test your mettle by skydiving at Pretoria Skydiving Club. First timers can do a tandem skydive, while professionals can enjoy the Accelerated Freefall experience. Excellent facilities on-site include braai and picnic spots, a swimming pool, club house with bar and pool table, a canteen, and more. For bookings or enquiries, contact email@example.com. Pre-booking is essential.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Loftus Versfeld is a rugby and association football stadium in Arcadia. Named after the founder of organised sports in Pretoria, Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, the stadium is known for having hosted the 2009 Currie Cup Final, matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and concerts for the likes of Robbie Williams, UB40, and Celine Dion. View tickets to various matches here.
The Union Buildings, located atop Meintjieskop, form the official seat of South African government and houses the presidential offices. The 285m semi-circular building has two wings at the sides to represent the union of a formerly divided people. The Union Buildings have been declared a National Heritage Site. Entrance to the building itself is prohibited, but the terraced gardens (with indigenous plants, statues, and memorials) are open to the public and provide a breath-taking view over the city.
Parkview Barnyard Theatre
Watch an exciting show at the Parkview Barnyard Theatre. A variety of musical shows from each decade is held here. Shows and times vary per day, so be sure to call +27 (0)12 368 1555 and book in advance.
Pretoria hosts a large variety of attractions for all ages, needs, and budgets! Need a place to stay? View our Pretoria accommodation.
Main Image credited to Frankreyes (Flickr)