The Khuwana Tavern may have started out as a run-down Pretoria shebeen but it has since been transformed in to a lively pub that retains its original laidback atmosphere and draws customers from all over Pretoria and beyond.

Did you know?

Khuwana Tavern is reputed to sell more beer than any other pub in the country.

Khuwana is an African word meaning beer pot and one could not hope for a better name for what is reputed to be South Africa's biggest single outlet of beer, the Khuwana Tavern just north of Pretoria.

Located in Mandela Village, a sprawling jigsaw of informal settlements and tribal communities, this Pretoria tavern is the brainchild of former Mozambican farmer Wilson Vuma, who turned a rundown Pretoria shebeen in to one of the prime pubs in the country.

Vuma fled the turmoil of war-ravaged Mozambique in the late 1970s and came south looking for work. After a series of odd jobs, he had scrounged together enough cash to invest in a dilapidated shebeen and the Khuwana Tavern was born.

But as political change swept through South Africa in the 1990s, the fortunes of the country's informal shebeens waned as black South Africans, freed from restrictions, flocked to upmarket venues in the cities. Vuma, however, was quick to spot the gap in the market.

‘Shebeens,' he explains, ‘were seen as lowbrow venues, appealing to the cheapest clientele. Business declined and I had a choice: close the tavern or reinvent it as a place that combined the best of the informal shebeen vibe with the class and quality of more upmarket pubs."

And he did just that, bucking the trend and creating one of the most popular drinking holes in the country, as famed for its food as it is for its beer: the Mozambican peri-peri chicken, done over an open flame, is easily the best in the country, and very affordable too.

Also unforgettable are the erotic, 3-D murals, created by Vuma's cousin Vasco, that adorn the tavern's walls.

The Khuwana Tavern pumps, especially over weekends when live music performances take place. Go with a tour guide, or a big group, then let your hair down and try gumboot dancing.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Khuwana Tavern
Tel: +27 (0)12 711 1208

Kwalata Game Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)12 711 8200.

How to get here

The Khuwana Tavern is approximately 30km outside central Pretoria, on the N1 highway north, in the Mandela Village settlement.

Best time to visit

Any time of year.

Around the area

Nearby is the Carousel Hotel and Casino for those who feel lucky. There are also a number of nature reserves in the area.

Tours to do

The Kwalata Game Lodge nearby offers tours of Mandela Village that finish off with lunch at Khuwana Tavern.

What will it cost

Khuwana Tavern offers great value for money and sells some of the cheapest - and coldest - beer in the country.

What to pack

Your party mood.

Where to stay

Pretoria has accommodation options to suit all tastes and pockets. There are also a number of guest houses, lodges and B&Bs in the immediate area.

What to eat

Khuwana Tavern serves simple, reasonably priced tavern fare. The spicy Mozambican peri-peri chicken is best washed down with an ice-cold beer.

What's happening

Live music and/or discos over weekends. Otherwise there's always a party vibe at the Khuwana.

Best buys

Look out for handmade arts and crafts on sale in Mandela Village.