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21 Things to Do in Pretoria, South Africa

Pretoria is a city in South Africa. It is also known as Tshwane and is the administrative capital of South Africa. There are a lot of fun things to do in Pretoria for tourists. The city is known for its history, vibrant culture, and nature reserves. Let’s start with the historical side of Pretoria sightseeing.

The city has been at the center of several historical events. This includes the Great Trek, Battle of Blood River, the Boer Wars, and South Africa’s Independence struggle. You get to explore Pretoria tourist attractions related to these events. The city has museums, monuments, and forts that tell the tale of the people and their struggles.

Pretoria attractions also include house museums dedicated to two former Presidents of South Africa: Paul Kruger and Jan Smuts. The majority of the historical buildings you come across city sightseeing in Pretoria were built between the 19th and 21st centuries. These are wonderful works of colonial architecture exhibiting Edwardian and Victorian styles. Structures like the Voortrekker Monument and Union Buildings are also nice places to visit in Pretoria for their gardens. They are beautifully designed and decorated with sculptures, fountains, gazebos, and so on.

The other major aspect of Pretoria travel revolves around the nature reserves. The city is surrounded by several wildlife and bird sanctuaries. You can enjoy several outdoor activities to do in Pretoria at these places. This includes wildlife safari, hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, offroading, horse riding, and so on. These reserves also have the best picnic spots in Pretoria. You can enjoy a nice leisurely time surrounded by nature, birds, and animals.

Alongside monuments and nature, you also get to explore South African culture when you visit Pretoria. The city has several art galleries displaying the creations of South African artists from different periods.

You can also explore the museum of cultural history which outlines the evolution of civilization and culture of different tribes in Africa. It is one of the best places to visit in Pretoria to gain perspective on the region and its people. You can also interact with contemporary artists and their creations at the art & craft markets. You will also get to try some of the best local dishes at these markets. There a lot of beautiful things to see in Pretoria, but it is the local culture that breathes life into these places.

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Table of Contents

The Best 21 Places to Visit in Pretoria, South Africa

1. Voortrekker Monument

Built in the 20th century, this monument is dedicated to the Afrikaans who emigrated to the country during the 1800s. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Pretoria. The structure features a unique architecture rooted in the culture.

The wings are shaped like ox-wagons and the roof is curved. A marble frieze depicts the lives of the Voortrekkers. The monument also depicts the Great Trek through 27 panels.

The most intriguing feature of the Voortrekker Monument is the Cenotaph. Every year on the 16th of December a ray of sunlight falls directly in the center. It is one of the wonderful things to see in Pretoria. It commemorates the end of the Battle of the Blood River on 16th December 1838. You will need about an hour to explore this monument when you visit Pretoria, South Africa.

I suggest you should go for a Pretoria City Tour to see the Voortrekker Monument.

2. Union Buildings

These grand buildings on the Meintjieskop Hill are the seat of the government. They are known for their imposing Neo-Baroque style of architecture. The buildings were designed by Sir Habert Baker and is a great piece of colonial structures in South Africa.

You can take guided tours of the buildings to explore the rich history of the country and its people. If you are looking for nice places to visit in Pretoria, head to the terrace gardens. You get amazing views of the city from this point. The entire tour of the buildings can take up to an hour and a half.

I suggest you should go for a Pretoria City Tour to See the Union Buildings.

Union Buildings

3. Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Wild life safaris are among the most fun things to do in Pretoria, South Africa. This savanna is home to more than 1500 animals. You will get to see cheetahs, leopards, zebras, hippos, wildebeest, waterbuck, and several others.

Aside from the safari, you can also enjoy other activities to do in Pretoria. You can come here for fishing, horseriding, and guided hiking trails. The last one is a particularly thrilling experience. You will need 3 to 4 hours to enjoy the reserve.

I suggest you should book a Tour to Reitvlei Nature Reserve in advance.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

4. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (The Pretoria Zoo)

While the safari show you African animals, you can see animals from all around the world in this zoological garden. It is the largest one in South Africa and one of the most popular Pretoria attractions for families. The zoo is spread over 210 acres and houses 9000 animals.

You will get to see the Bengal tiger, American flamingo, Burmese python, emu, giraffe, hippo, komodo dragon, African lion, red kangaroo, rhinoceros, and many more. The zoo also has many fun activities for children. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the zoo.

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

5. Jan Smuts House Museum

This museum was once the House of Jan Smuts, the former President of South Africa. The house tells the story of his life and accomplishments. It also sheds light on the impact of his work on South Africa as well as several international organizations like the League of Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations.

It is one of the best places to visit in Pretoria for those interested in the history of warfare and international politics. The house is preserved as it was during Smuts’ time. You will get to see many of his personal belongings and get a peak into his family life. You will need about an hour or so from Pretoria travel to tour this museum.

Jan Smuts House Museum

6. Freedom Park Heritage Site and Museum

The site is spread over 56 acres and is a symbolic resting place for all those who lost their lives fighting for independence. It is a major highlight of Pretoria sightseeing. You get to enjoy South African history, art, and culture while surrounded by nature.

You will get to see the eternal flame, the place of reconciliation, the Hapo Museum, the Gallery of Leaders, Isivivane, the Ancestors Epoch, the Story of Creation, and more. Each of these gives you a fresh perspective about the land and the people. You will need at least 2 hours to explore this place.

Freedom Park Heritage Site

7. Groenkloof Nature Reserve

This nature reserve is known for its wildlife safari and adventure things to do in Pretoria. The reserve is rich in wildlife and natural resources. It is best known for its hiking, mountain biking, and horseriding trails.

There are several different routes to follow ranging from 2 to 10 km. People also come to this reserve for off-road driving adventures. The reserve also has some of the best picnic spots in Pretoria. You can enjoy a nice time with family surrounded by nature. You should keep at least 3 to 4 hours aside to enjoy this reserve.

I suggest you should try an E-Bike Tour to Groenkloof Nature Reserve.

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

8. Ditsong National Museums

There are two museums to explore here: the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Cultural History. These are the best places to visit in Tshwane for families. The Museum of Natural History explores the evolution of life in Africa. This museum covers everything from geological changes to the journey of various species over the centuries.

The cultural museum explores the history of human culture in Africa. It covers the story of various African cultures from the Stone Age. The museum explores language, religion, painting, engineering, music, and more. It is a highlight of city sightseeing in Pretoria as it changes your perspective on so many things. You will need about 2 hours to explore these museums.

Ditsong National Museums

9. Pretoria Art Museum

This museum houses an incredible collection of South African art. The museum exhibits more than 3000 pieces from different periods. You will see the works of renowned masters like Anton von Wouv, Irma Stern, Sam Sam Nhlengethwa, Frans Oerder, Lucas Sithole and several others. It is one of the best things to do in Tshwane for those who admire art and culture. You will need about an hour to tour this museum.

Pretoria Art Museum

10. Melrose House Museum

This museum is known for its historical as well as architectural significance. It was a Second Boer War military headquarter and the place of the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging signing. The decor is maintained to reflect its time period. You will even see a copy of the treaty on the table where it was signed.

The building is called the Burgers Park Mansion also denotes the shift from Victorian to Edwardian style of architecture. The ornate ceiling, stained glass window, and porcelain ornaments are all exemplary of the 19th century. It is one of the nice places to visit in Pretoria, South Africa. The house is also decorated with several paintings by English artists. You will need an hour or so to tour this house museum.

Melrose House Museum

11. Wonderboom Nature Reserve

This beautiful nature reserve is best known for an ancient tree. A wild fig tree named Wonderboom is more than a thousand years old. Along with its age, the tree is also a part of legends and folklore.

It is said that this tree was once so large that it could share a thousand people. A folklore also says that the tree’s majestic size is because the chief of an indigenous tribe is buried underneath it.

The tree was heavily damaged during a fire. But it is still quite huge. It is one of the most fascinating things to see in Pretoria. You can take a few hours to explore the reserve and see this tree.

Wonderboom Nature Reserve

12. Hennops Offroad Trail

This trail runs along the Hennops River and passes through a varied landscape with several animals. There are three trails running along the river, the longest one being 10 km.

It is popular for some of the best things to do in Pretoria. You can come here for hiking, offroading, and biking. Along the route you will see Gnus, Zebra, Impalas, Blesboks, Zonkie, and so on. You will need about 3 to 5 hours to enjoy these trails.

Hennops Offroad Trail

13. Intiem Love Bridge

This bridge is one of the best places to visit in Pretoria for couples. The bridge is located in Magnolia Dell Park and is a great place for a leisurely stroll with your partner. You will see many couples roaming about in the park and on the bridge.

The bridge also has a large memory wall. Couples put a lock on this wall as a symbolic seal of their promise to one another. It is one of the most romantic Pretoria attractions. You will see numerous locks, scarfs, and ribbons hanging from the wall, creating a colourful collage. Take a few minutes to enjoy this park.

Intiem Love Bridge

14. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary

This sanctuary is built around a reserve and focuses on the conservation of various birds, especially blue cranes and crowned cranes. You will also see different species of warblers, herons, ducks, cranes, and passerine birds.

If you enjoy birdwatching, this is one of the top things to do in Tshwane. The sanctuary is also home to deers, rabbits, tortoises, dogs, and other small animals. You can enjoy an hour or so at this place when you visit Pretoria, South Africa.

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary

15. Hazel Food Market

If you are looking to explore delicious and authentic South African food, just head to this market. It is held every Saturday in Pretoria High School Old Boys Club. You will get to try out a variety of local dishes and street foods.

You will also get to try out Indian, Greek, Polish, Italian, and Dutch dishes at this market. This can be a memorable highlight of city sightseeing in Pretoria for foodies. You can easily spend a couple of hours roaming the market & enjoying the treats.

16. Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

This nature reserve is known for its rich natural diversity and picturesque beauty. It is especially popular among photographers. The park has a lush green landscape with various colourful flower-plants. It is also home to several animals including zebra, springboks, impalas, and several birds.

People come here for hiking, nature exploration, bird watching, and leisure. It also has some of the best picnic spots in Pretoria. You can enjoy a few hours relaxing at this reserve.

Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

17. Market@theSheds

This monthly market is one of the most happening events in the city. If you are looking for cool things to do in Pretoria, you are likely to find it here. The even hosts a variety of shops, performances, activities, workshops, and so on. You will get to experience both the traditional and modern side of South African culture at this market.

You will get to enjoy art, handicrafts, music, food, and fun interactions. Market @ the Shed is also quite popular for shopping during Pretoria travel. You will find clothes, accessories, handicrafts, food products, spices, jewelry, decoratives, and more. If you are there when the market is open, you should take a few hours from Pretoria sightseeing to explore it.

18. Fort Klapperkop

This is one of the top historical places to visit in Tshwane. It was the third fort built during the Anglo Boer War. It protected the capital for several years. The fort has been restored and turned into a museum dedicated to the war.

You will get to know a lot about late 19th and early 20th-century warfare in South Africa. The museum exhibits war paintings, weapons, cannons, uniforms, personal belongings of soldiers, battle plans, photographs and so on. You also get an amazing view of the nature reserve from atop this fort. You will need about 2 hours to explore this fort.

Fort Klapperkop

19. Irene Village Market

This market is held once a month in Irene’s Big Red Barn and is entirely dedicated to local arts and crafts. You will get to see a range of unique things created by local artists and craftsmen. This includes fashion, decor, furniture, glassware, paintings, food products, bakery goods, and so on. It is a delightful way to spend an evening during Pretoria sightseeing.

20. Kruger House Museum

This museum is held in the house of Paul Kruger, the former President of South Africa. He was also one of the most significant leaders during the freedom struggle.

The museum recreates the period and showcases the life of Paul Kruger. It focuses both on his personal life as well as his work for the country. You get to see many of his personal belongings and the gifts he received from other famous people. The house also gives you a glimpse of the furniture and decor during the time. You will need an hour or so to tour this museum.

Kruger House Museum

21. Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

This reserve is popular more for leisure than wildlife safari. The reserve has deers, gazelles, rabbits, genets, and other animals. It is also home to more than 150 species of birds. You can explore the hiking trails and enjoy picnic at scenic spots throughout the reserve. It is a nice place to spend an hour or so with nature.

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

If you are looking for more things to do in Pretoria, check out the sections below. We have listed all the attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Tshwane and around it.

Things to do in Pretoria, South Africa

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Voortrekker Monument
  2. Freedom Park Heritage Site & Museum
  3. Union Buildings
  4. Ditsong Kruger Museum of Natural History
  5. Ditsong Kruger Museum of Cultural History
  6. Pretoria Art Museum
  7. Melrose House Museum
  8. Fort Schanskop
  9. Fort Klapperkop
  10. Mandela House
  11. Jan Smuts House Museum
  12. South African Air Force Museum
  13. Ditsong Pioneer Museum
  14. Ditsong Sammy Marks Museum
  15. Fo Guang Shan Nan Hua Temple
  16. Lilliesleaf Museum

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Groenkloof Nature Reserve
  2. Rietvlei Nature Reserve
  3. Moreletta Kloof Nature Reserve
  4. Hennops Hiking Trail
  5. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
  6. Wonderboom Nature Reserve
  7. Ann van Dykk Cheetah Centre
  8. Lion & Safari Park
  9. Rietvlei Dam
  10. Hartbesspoort Dam

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Pretoria National Botanical Gardens
  2. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  3. Loftus Versfled Stadium
  4. The Fun Company Menlyn Park
  5. Grove Ice Rink
  6. Jan Cilliers Park
  7. Fountains Valley
  8. The Fun Room
  9. Magnolia Dell
  10. Just Breakout
  11. De Jong Diving Centre
  12. The Big Red Barn
  13. Burgers Park
  14. Acrobranch Pretoria North
  15. Hedianga Farm
  16. Montecasino
  17. Freedom Park
  18. Park Acoustics
  19. Puzzle Park
  20. Aha Lesedi Cultural Village

Shopping in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Hazel Food Market
  2. Market@theSheds
  3. Hatfield Plaza Shopping Centre
  4. Irene Village Market
  5. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
  6. The Grove Mall
  7. Waterglen Shopping Centre
  8. Lynnridge Mall
  9. Parkview Shopping Centre
  10. Hillcrest Boulevard
  11. Kolonnade Shopping Centre
  12. Brooklyn Mall
  13. Sunnypark Shopping Centre
  14. Wonderpark Shopping Centre

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Hiking
  2. Horse Riding
  3. Off Roading
  4. Fishing
  5. Camping
  6. Wildlife Safari

Sightseeing in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. Nelson Mandela Statue
  2. Church Square
  3. Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway
  4. Nelson Mandela Square

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Pretoria, South Africa

  1. The Blue Crane
  2. Peppertree
  3. Rockets
  4. Forti Bistro
  5. Afro Boer
  6. Hillside Tavern
  7. Forti Bar & Grill
  8. Social Grill
  9. Create Wolwespruit
  10. Caraffa
  11. Priva Gastrolounge
  12. Blaq
  13. Fermier Restaurant
  14. LM in the East
  15. De Kloof
  16. La Fiamma
  17. Skyline
  18. Carlita’s
  19. Le Terrasse Rooftop Cafe
  20. As Greek as it Gets

Where to Stay in Pretoria?

Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range and Budget Hotels in Pretoria. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Pretoria.

Luxurious Hotels

  1. The Capital Menlyn Maine
  2. African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection
  3. Apogee Boutique Hotel and Spa
  4. Kievits Kroon Gauteng Wine Estate
  5. Menlyn Boutique Hotel
  6. Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Pretoria Menlyn
  7. Magalies Mountain Lodge
  8. Opikopi Guest House
  9. Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel
  10. Castello di Monte

Mid-Range Hotels

  1. The Blades Hotel
  2. Premier Hotel Roodevalley
  3. The Regency Apartment Hotel Menlyn
  4. Sheraton Pretoria Hotel
  5. City Lodge Hotel Lynnwood
  6. Garden Court Hatfield
  7. Southern Sun Pretoria
  8. Hudson House
  9. ANEW Hotel Capital Pretoria
  10. Alpine Attitude

Budget Hotels

  1. Morning Star Express Hotel
  2. City Lodge Hotel Hatfield
  3. Manhattan Hotel
  4. Sir Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel – Groenkloof
  5. SUN1 Pretoria
  6. Town Lodge Menlo Park
  7. Goodey’s Guesthouse
  8. StayEasy Pretoria
  9. Hotel 224
  10. Premier Hotel Pretoria

TripAdvisor

Custom Tours Package in Pretoria

How to Reach Pretoria, South Africa?

By Air

The Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the closest airport to reach Pretoria. The airport receives direct flights from several cities in Africa, Europe and Asia. This includes Algiers, Francistown, Beijing, Shenzhen, Paris, Mauritius, Mahe, Lagos, London, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Cairo, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Amsterdam, Sydney, Doha, Jeddah, Singapore, Istanbul, and several others. You can get a train, bus, and cab from Johannesburg to visit Pretoria.

By Road

Pretoria is well connected with other cities in South Africa by its train network. It sits on the Shosholoza Meyl Economy Class route. You can direct trains to reach Pretoria from Messina, Louis Trichardt, Komatipoort, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Cape Town, and more. You can also get connecting trains to travel to Pretoria from Ladysmith, Durban, Bloemfontein, East London, Port Elizabeth, and several others.

South Africa also has a quite well connected by bus network as well. But, it is better to get on the train as bus travel is not convenient for long-distance journeys. If you are planning to visit Pretoria by road, you should head for routes N1, N3, N4, N12, or N14.

By Water

There are no direct water routes to reach Pretoria.


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