Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa and part of City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, is in Gauteng.



Pretoria Skyline

The area known today as Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, with Pretoria (City) at its centre, was allegedly occupied by the Sotho people for many centuries. During the 15th century the Ndebele people also migrated into the area and settled along the banks of the Apies River. Tshwane [tsʰwane] is the Setswana name of the Apies River. Around 1820 the Matabele under the leadership of Mzilikaza also entered the region, leading to local conflicts between the Matabele newcomers and the already established Sotho and Ndebele tribes as well as the European Voortrekkers who were steadily moving northward through the country. These conflicts came to an end when the Matabele were defeated by the Voortrekkers in 1837 at Mosega.

By 1855 there was no known tribe in what is known as the Pretoria area today. Only nomadic groups passed through this area, with a leader/person Tshwane (so it is alleged) one of the them. Pretoria was founded in 1855. Initially the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek was Ohrigstad, but Pretoria became the capital of the then ZAR. Later on Pretoria became the capital of the Transvaal province (old ZAR) after the Anglo-Boer War. The city was named after Andries Pretorius, the boer leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus under King Dingaan. In 1856 the area today known as Arcadia was acquired in exchange for a pony and added to the town.

In 1899, during the Anglo-Boer War, Winston Churchill was captured and held as a POW in Pretoria until his eventual escape to Mozambique. British forces captured Pretoria in 1900 and held control over the city until the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging treaty in 1902.

When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, Pretoria was elected the capital and is still the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa today.


Pretoria is located in a summer rainfall area with hot days regularly followed by short and intense afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are often accompanied by lightning and occasionally result in hail. Summer temperatures range between 16°C at night to 30°C during the day, with occasionally higher temperatures (up to about 36°C). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between a minimum of 5°C and a maximum of 20°C. Winter nights and (occasionally winter days) can be surprisingly cold and buildings are generally not well insulated. Bring warm clothes if you're visiting during the winter months.

Get in

By car

Five highways join in the Gauteng region, making it accessible from all cities in the country. This would include the N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national highways.

Most National Routes (N) are now Toll Roads. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, launched in 2007 has resulted in the introduction of an open road tolling (e-toll) system on the freeways around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

By air

The closest international airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The Albertina Sisulu Highway or R21 leads from there to Pretoria. Airport shuttles are available on the airport or can be pre-booked:

By bus

Major bus companies like Greyhound, Translux, Intercape Mainliner and the BazBus offer connections to all big cities in South Africa. there are also lots of bus lines that have buses to Zimbabwe.

By train

A convenient high-speed rail link is available between OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria. Travellers can access this direct link from the arrivals hall in the airport building. Safe, comfortable Gautrain busses serve local routes from the different stops in Pretoria. the fare from International airport to pretoria is R164.

The Pretoria railway station is on the corner of Thabo Sehume and Railway streets, just south of the city centre.

There are frequent commuter trains to Johannesburg which cost R16.50 one way. Metrorail also services other outlying towns and many suburbs of Pretoria.

Get around

As of January 2011 the Tourist Hop on/Hop Off bus has been suspended. The tourist office had no information on when or if it would return. Although crime in South Africa is generally higher than in other parts of the world, common sense precautions should prevent incidents. Be especially aware of your surroundings after dark and don't travel alone. Main shopping centers are reasonably safe.

Either use a metered taxi, rent a car or use the municipal bus service. There is also a very extensive network of informal, cheap minibus taxis, mostly used by local commuters. These taxis have a reputation for being unsafe, but this has greatly improved in recent years and most taxis are now relatively luxurious and not overcrowded, except during peak times. Accidents are rare. Ask locals waiting at taxi stops about routes and rates.

Walking is a good option during the day, but may be unsafe after dusk in certain areas, such as central Pretoria.


Union Buildings

Museums and Galleries

Voortrekker Monument
Freedom Park



JO-ANNA, Restored and operated by Friends of the Rail

Performing arts


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University of South Africa.


Shopping Malls

Other Shopping

To reduce parking space stress and CO2 consumption , the city of twsane offers many shopping centers of similar nature to shop for for your needs. There are also many smaller, local shopping centres usually with one of the larger chain stores as an anchor. avoid centeres wher you have to pay entrance fees. rather support the local people who watch your car.


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under R60
Mid-range R60 to R120
Splurge Over R120

The renowned restaurants include Cynthia's, The Hillside Tavern and Pachas. There are also many franchised diners throughout the city.





Both Tings and Zeplin's have moved, please add correct addresses.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000

Being the capital, there are many posh hotels (including the Sheraton) and guest houses and all the usual hotel chains have one or more hotels. With so many hotels owned by the same chains, in particularly Tsogo Sun. Make sure you note the address when booking so you go to the right hotel. When Parliament is in session and when there are other state events it can be almost impossible to find a mid-range or splurge room. Consider nearby Centurion as an alternative if you have to be in Pretoria at those times.





Complete GSM coverage with GPRS, 3G, 4G, HSDPA and LTE is available almost everywhere.

Buy a local simcard (at airport, railway station, most major chain stores or mobile phone stores) for your overseas mobile phone. You will need your foreign ID or passport for registering your new sim card at the shop. Airtime and data bundles can be bought at most shops and fuel stations.


Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100 MB.

Coverage areas include:

Stay healthy


Stay safe

Pretoria is considered to be a relatively safe city by South African standards and violent crime against tourists is somewhat rare. That said, basic common sense should still be used. Ask locals before you do things. Life after sunset stops a bit and moves to the big shopping centers outside the city. Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group or at Union Buildings. The city centre becomes deserted after nightfall, so it would not be wise to hang around at these times. The shop owners will close their security blinds to protect their property so there is little to see. Hatfield Plaza and all other major shopping centers are busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders until approximately 22:00 there is very little chance of any real trouble happening, but it can be annoying and daunting for tourists as the beggars are quite insistent but occurs less in guarded shopping centers. That said, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. Consider that you still have to move from the safe area to your hotel through an unsafe area. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers. Be especially vigilant at night by traffic lights and stop signs. Car-jacking and smash and grab thefts do occur.

From a fixed line

From a mobile phone


Embassies and High Commissions

Go next

A balloon ride from Hartebeespoort Dam
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