Home to historic universities, grand government buildings and elegant leafy suburbs, Pretoria is one of South Africa’s most captivating cities. It’s a fantastic place to discover South Africa’s rich history, from the legacy of Nelson Mandela to the epic adventures of the Voortrekker pioneers. Nicknamed Jacaranda City, Pretoria is dotted with thousands of blossoming trees. Visit from October and November and the streets come alive in a sea of purple.
Things to do
At Pretoria’s heart is Church Square, a public space surrounded by government buildings. Don’t miss the Palace of Justice, where Nelson Mandela was famously sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial.
Inspired by culture, heritage and spirituality, Freedom Park was built to honour South Africa’s war history. Take a moment to reflect in the Isivivane Garden of Remembrance by visiting the interpretive museum.
Nearby is the imposing Voortrekker Monument, raised to honour the pioneers who left the Cape Colony in the 1800s. For a closer look at Praetorian politics, head to the Union Buildings which serve as South Africa’s seat of government. The grounds are open to the public and hosted Mandela’s inauguration in 1994.
If you’re craving a juicy South African steak or Boerewors sausage, Pretoria is an ideal place to be. The city is home to some great restaurants and bistros, serving up prime South African cuts. For a glimpse at the local talent, the State Theatre and Pretoria Art Museum are top cultural attractions.
Pretoria is powered by an extensive network of local buses running throughout the city. Minibus taxis are an excellent way to get from A to B, but there are also plenty of regular metred taxis cruising the streets. If you’re flying into Pretoria Wonderboom Airport is a 25-minute drive to the north.