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KKnown as the “Jacaranda City”, for all the purple blossom-bedecked trees, Pretoria is a lovely, quiet city. It has a long, involved and fascinating history. Here you will find significant old buildings and fascinating museums. Pretoria functions as one of three capitals of South Africa with a population that exceeds a million people. The city centre is laid out in typical city fashion on a grid with wide roads, making getting around fairly simple.
Located about 50km north of Johannesburg and surrounded by the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains, the city of Pretoria is South Africa’s administrative capital and home to government departments, ministries, foreign embassies and diplomatic missions.
Pretoria's architectural highlights include the Union Buildings; National Heritage Site, the Voortrekker Monument; Mahlamba Ndlopfu – the President's residence in Pretoria; the South African Reserve Bank; Loftus Versfeld sports stadium; and the South African State Theatre. If you are a history buff, Pretoria welcomes you with open arms.
BBuildings in Pretoria feature a marked colonial influence, along with touches of art deco and South African-style architecture. City landmarks worth visiting include the Union Buildings (South Africa's seat of government), the Voortrekker Monument (a granite edifice commemorating the Voortrekkers’ journey from the Cape to the hinterland and which is a National Heritage Site), Mahlamba Ndlopfu (the President's house in Pretoria), the South African Reserve Bank, Loftus Versfeld sports stadium and the South African State Theatre.
PPretoria is also home to the National Zoological Gardens and the Pretoria National Botanical Garden, along with nature reserves such Groenkloof, Rietvlei, Moreleta Spruit, Faerie Glen, Wonderboom Nature Reserve and the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary.
Pretoria is also proud of its educational institutions: the University of South Africa (the largest distance-learning university in Africa), the Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria (Tukkies) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Those with an interest in history should stop at Freedom Park on Salvokop – a monument to democracy – and Kruger House, the historical residence of former President of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger.
TThe Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History provides fascinating insight into Stone Age and Iron Age artefacts, while the Mapungubwe Museum showcases excavated gold ornaments, ivory, ceramics, clay figurines, beads, iron and copper from a 13th-century Iron Age settlement in Limpopo.
South Africa's national sport is rugby, and Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld is home to the Blue Bulls rugby team, one of the country’s top sides. If there’s a match on, don’t miss it.
Pretoria and its suburbs are not short of shopping destinations, with malls such as Atterbury, Brooklyn, Centurion, Hatfield, Kolonnade, Menlyn Park, Sammy Marks, Sunny Park, Woodlands, Wonderboom Junction and Wonderpark offering shoppers a host of choices. Most of the larger shopping malls feature cinema and restaurant complexes.