Read about the city

Pretoria is known as the capital of South Africa; a status it shares with both Cape Town and Bloemfontein. The city is beautifully situated on the river Apies and at the foot of the Magaliesberg ridges, and it attracts many tourists every year.

Pretoria is named after pioneer Andries Pretorius, and it is a city with a lot of fine sights. One of the highlights is the political center, the governmental body with the impressive Union Buildings. You should also se the great Voortrekker Monument and the many preserved buildings from Pretoria's earlier history.

Nearly everywhere in the city you can enjoy the sight of some of the many thousands of Jacaranda trees that adorn the streets, gardens and parks. South Africa's national zoo is also located in Pretoria, and the gardens at Union Buildings are definitely worth a stroll too.

The surrounding area of ​​Pretoria is also interesting with good opportunities for excursions. You can go to the big city of Johannesburg, which offers several museums and attractions, while nature and some of South Africa's national parks are also close to Pretoria.

Other attractions
  • Kruger House: The elegant Kruger House was built in 1884 as a very modern house; it was, for example, one of the first in Pretoria with electricity. The house was the Pretoria residence of boer leader and president Paul Kruger.
  • National Zoological Gardens: The National Zoological Gardens is a zoo located close to downtown Pretoria. The garden opened in 1899, and it is today one of the world's large and fine zoological gardens.
  • Pretoria Art Museum: The Pretoria Art Museum has an excellent collection of works by South African artists. There are changing exhibitions where the more than 3,000 works are exhibited in alternation.
  • Melrose House: In 1886, wealthy George Heys commissioned this mansion in a distinguished mix of Victorian and Edwardian style. Lord Roberts set up the British military headquarters in the mansion in 1900.
  • Pretoria City Hall: Pretoria's City Hall was inaugurated in 1935. It was built in the era's typical Italian classicism of large public buildings, and you can also see a clock tower at the city hall.
History overview

    Read about city history

    The so-called Ndebele people were the first to establish themselves in the area that is today Pretoria. They named their town after one of their chiefs, Tshwane, which means "little monkey". During the Zulu wars, however, the settlement was attacked, and the Ndebele people had to leave it in 1832.

    In 1836, Dutch families started the large front-row caravan from Cape Town towards new land inland. They came to the Pretoria area, which they began to cultivate. Later, in 1855, the Pioneer leader Marthinus Pretorius founded the city of Pretoria, which he named after his father Andries Pretorius, who had become the national hero of the Dutch in connection with the victory over the powerful Zulus in a battle at Blood River. Pretoria soon after its founding became the capital of the Boer-dominated South African Republic, the South African Republic.

    The capital developed in the republic until the war against Britain in 1899-1902. In the year 1900, the British conquered Pretoria and it was here that the peace treaty that ended the war was signed. It was the end of the South African Republic, which in 1910 was replaced by the new South African Union, for which Pretoria became the administrative capital, while Cape Town in the Cape Province became the legislative capital of the country. Pretoria was also the capital of the province of Transvaal.

    A number of large public buildings were erected in connection with the city's new status, not least the impressive government buildings, Union Buildings, which was inaugurated in 1913.

    Nearby Johannesburg was developing tremendously economically, while Pretoria maintained the administration of the country's laws. As a result, Pretoria was often in the international news, not least in the time following the introduction of the racially divided society.

    The rich gold and diamond deposits financially benefited Pretoria as well, and in the latter half of the 20th century a number of modern buildings were erected and new districts emerged. 

    Pretoria has preserved many of its historic buildings, and today visitors can experience the city's history through mansions with historic contents, places of historical significance and a varied cultural offering.
    Skjul indhold her

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Union Buildings, Government Ave, Pretoria, Sydafrika

Top attractions
  • Church Square: Church Square is Pretoria's central square. You can see a number of heritage buildings here, and there is a statue of the Boer leader and Transvaal's former president Paul Kruger in the middle of the square.
  • Union Buildings: Union Buildings are the South African government buildings. The impressive and stately complex was designed by well-known British colonial architect Sir Herbert Baker, and it is considered his main work. On the lawns in front of Union Buildings you can see various statues of i.a. South Africa's first Prime Minister, Louis Botha.
  • Voortrekker Monument and Museum: The Voortrekkers were white Boer farmers who in the 1830-1840s established long caravans and settlement inland from the Cape Province. This grand monument commemorate their history and journeys, and you can visit a museum here as well.
  • National Cultural History Museum & The African Window: This museum has a large and interesting collection from archaeological finds to South African crafts. You can see the exhibition The African Window about South Africa's various population groups.
Trips in the area
  • Johannesburg: Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and as such there are many sights here. You can see the old town center with the city's large, old institutional buildings, and you can see the modern neighborhood, Sandton, where hotels, shopping and offices dominate.
  • Lion Park Zoo: In the Lion Park Zoo you can get close to much of Africa's exciting wildlife, not least lions, but also leopards, hyenas, caracals and more. There is also a large area where some of the more peaceful animals such as giraffes, zebras and antelopes are located.
  • Sun City: Sun City is a great entertainment area in the midst of the South African nature. Here you will find luxury hotels, golf courses, casinos and a lovely artificial beach at the Palace of the Lost City hotel. Sun City was opened in 1979.
  • Sterkfontein & Cradle of Humankind: Cradle of Humankind denotes the area where hundreds of remains of early human activity have been found. Thus, fossils and stone tools have been found here. The large cave area Sterkfontein is central to a visit to the Cradle of Humankind. Here, the oldest found monkey was discovered in 1936, and then massive archaeological excavations were initiated.
  • Pilanesberg National Park: InPilanesberg National Park you can enjoy and explore the South African nature and wildlife. You can of course see the so-called Big Five of Africa's animals in the park; elephant, leopard, lion, rhino and water buffalo.
  • Cullinan Diamond Mine: This De Beers diamond mine is located in the town of Cullinan, . The mine was established in 1902 and it remains active. In 1905, the mine became particularly well known, when the world's largest diamond was found by Frederick Wells and named The Cullinan Diamond.
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Shopping
With kids
  • Zoo: National Zoological Gardens, Boom Street, Pretoria, nzg.ac.za
  • Lion and Safari Park : Lion and Safari Park, R512 Pelindaba Rd, Hartbeespoort, Broederstroom, lionandsafaripark.com
  • Theme Park: Gold Reef City, Xavier Road, Ormonde, goldreefcity.co.za
Practical info