South Africa has always been an unusual place to spend holidays and there must be no visitor who has not come satisfied from this amazing country. Famous for a lot of languages, plant diversity, some unique species of animals, Nalsen Mandela, Table Mountain, Soccer world cup, advanced technology, Apartheid and some fabulous cities like Johannesburg, Capetown, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Kimberley, Polokwane, Pietermaritzburg and more. Lets know about the city of Pretoria more and find out why this is one of the best tourist destinations in South Africa. Pretoria is one of the three capital cities of the country and located in the northern part of Gauteng Province. Pretoria was one of the host cities during 2010 FIFA World Cup. Mainly known for the home field of the Vodacom Blue Bulls rugby stadium, purple blossom bedecked trees, high literacy rate, some historic landmarks and some great pieces of architecture, Pretoria receives more than 4 million visitors every year. The origin of the city is from 1855, when its was founded by Marthinus Pretorius. There were a number of names given to the city at that time but finally settled for Pretoria. Pretoria is also called the Administrative Capital of South Africa. Pretoria has more than 40 embassies which is 2nd largest number in the world and it is the site of discovery of Cullinan Diamond in 1905. Pretoria has the world’s largest 50 ton soccer ball at the top of the Lukarsrand Telkom Tower and longest urban street, Church Street, in South Africa. The country first bullet train was started here which links Johannesburg to Pretoria and it also has the most famous Blue Train. There is no doubt that Pretoria has a very important role in the country’s historic, economic and financial growth.
Pretoria has a dry subtropical climate with fairly warm summers. The temperature varies from 17 degrees to 30 degrees throughout the year. The warm season does not go very hot but the winters are bone chilling at night. July and August are the coldest month and February is the hottest one. You can expect more than 240 days of sunlight per year and the precipitation is at its highest point during November. The best time to visit Pretoria is between December to March.
How to get here?
Pretoria does not have its own international airport but it is served by airports in Johannesburg. The nearest airport is OR Tambo International Airport, located just 50 km from the city downtown and receives flights from all major countries and cities with airlines like Delta, Frontier, US Airways, British Airlines and more. Another famous airport is Lanseria International Airport which is located just 66 km from Pretoria and also one of the busiest airports. You can easily take up taxi, cab, rental car or airport shuttle to reach downtown which usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Accommodation and Food
The administrative capital of South Africa, offers a great range of accommodation for its visitors, from luxury hotels and villas to cheap motels and boutiques. There are more than 100 hotels around the city and one of the best choices is Sun1 Hotel Pretoria where each room is designed uniquely and offers additional facilities like shower, free internet, pool, free parking, sauna and more. Other luxurious choice include Forever Resorts Arcadian Guest House, Tsibana Guest House, Hotel 224, Courtyard Hotel Arcadia, Touch of Glass, Voortekker Monument and Nature Reserve, The Elegant Lodge, Sable house, Ingaadi, Tuishuis, Pretoria Executive cottages and Abafazi Guesthouse. If you wish for a cheap but comfortable stay then there are some good options like Chez Coetzer Guesthouse, Edelweiss Corporate Guest House, StayEasy Pretoria, The Victoria Hotel, Aluvi House, Morning Star Express Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Protea Hotel Capital, Brooklyn Lodge, Protea Hotel hatfield, Marvol Manor House, Protea Hotel Manor, Faircity Roodevallei, Premier Hotel, Meintjieskop Guest Lodge, Sheraton Pretoria Hotel and Town Lodge Menlo Park.
Pretoria offers some fine dining spots to satisfy the taste buds of each and every visitor and this great food chain offers almost all international cuisines. You will just love the fusion, French, Italian and Mediterranean food of La Pentola at Riviera, Pan African cuisine of Baobab Cafe & Grill, continental food at Pachas Resturant & Cherry Room, pub & grill at La Bush Tavern, Belgian taste at La Madeleine, traditional South African food at Leipoldts Restaurant. Other good choice include Toni’s Pizza, Crawdaddy’s, Granita, Villa San Giovanni Ristorante, Orange at the Court Classique, Kream, Restaurant Mosaic, Mo Zam Bik and Harries Pancakes.
National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is a zoo located at Boom Street in Pretoria. The zoo covers an area of 85 hectare and was founded by J. W. B. Gunning in 1899. This is the largest zoo and only national level zoo of South Africa. It is also called Pretoria Zoo and features more than 700 animals including reptiles, fish and birds. The main attractions at the zoo include Aquarium, Duku Duku, Elephant Indaba, Farm Lapa, Flamingo Terrace, Hippo Lapa, Mandrill, Waterhole and others. The zoo remains open daily and admission fee is R 75 for adults and R 50 for children.
The Voortrekker Monument is a giant granite structure located on Eeufees Road in Pretoria. The monument is located on a hilltop and was opened in 1949 for public. The monument is a great cultural and historic landmark for the city and receives more than 200000 visitors annually. There is Voortekker Monument Museum inside the Monument which tells the story of the lifestyle of Voortekkers. It is surely a must visit place of Pretoria.