Best Places to Visit in Pretoria
Nestled in the fertile valley of the Apis River, at the foot of the Magaliesburg Mountains, Pretoria is known as the city of jacarandas, thanks to the purple flowers that bloom in its many parks and gardens in spring. Pretoria is also the administrative capital of South Africa and shares its capital status with Cape Town and Bloemfontein. The city is about 55 kilometers from Johannesburg, but the two cities seem worlds apart.
Pretoria is a city of large numbers of officials, diplomats, and regular residents, and is inhabited by large numbers of Afrikaans. It is also an important industrial city and an educational and cultural center. The University of Pretoria was founded in 1930 and the University of South Africa UNISA is one of the largest open universities in the world.
Top things to do include visiting the city’s many historic buildings, monuments, and museums, as well as visiting its beautiful botanical gardens and nature preserves; some of which offer great game viewing opportunities just a short drive from the city centre. For more information on the best places to visit, see our list of the best tourist attractions in Pretoria.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Pretoria and make your trip enjoyable.
Top 12 Best Places to Visit in Pretoria
Here are the top 12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Pretoria:
1. Pretoria National Botanic Garden
Located on the eastern outskirts of the city, Pretoria National Botanical Gardens is an oasis of tranquility close to the city. The 76-hectare garden focuses on South African species, with more than half of the country’s tree species, as well as many flowering plants, cycads, aloes, and other impressive collections. A quartzite ridge divides the park into two parts; The vegetation on the warmer north-facing portion contrasts with the vegetation on the cooler, south-facing portion.
The plants are grouped according to climatic zones, such as the savannah, coastal forests of the Karoo, and the savanna plains of Namibia. Stone-paved nature trails wind through the natural vegetation of the rocky ridge above the gardens. Also here, the National Herbarium is home to South Africa’s largest herbarium, with over a million plant specimens cataloged and stored. After exploring the beautiful gardens, visitors can dine at the lakeside restaurant.
Address: 2 Cussonia Avenue, Brummeria, Pretoria
Official website: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/pretoria
2. oortrekker Monument
Perched on a hill south of the city centre, the Voortrekker Monument is a South African National Heritage Site and one of the country’s most visited historical monuments. It was built in 1949 to honor the Boers who pushed north into uncharted territory in the mid-19th century.
A famous landmark of the city, this 40-metre-high square granite structure features steps leading to the Heroes’ Hall, which features 27 marble reliefs depicting the Great March of 1838. Surrounding the monument is a wall showing oxcart wagons representing the trek. Every year on December 16, a ray of sunlight filters through the opening in the dome and illuminates the monument below. “Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika” (“We support you, South Africa”).
The hall hosts classical music performances from time to time, emphasizing its excellent acoustics. Museum exhibits show snapshots of life from this important period. After touring the interior, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Pretoria from the rooftop or dine at the restaurant.
Address: Eeufees Road, Pretoria
Official website: http://www.vtm.org.za
3. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
The 85-hectare South African National Zoo offers a full day of animal fun for the whole family. The large zoo includes a walkable aviary, a reptile house that houses animals from around the world, and the country’s only inland aquarium where visitors can see many fish, including a broken tooth shark.
Among the large mammal collections, lion and tiger exhibits, hippos and elephants stand out. Visitors can rent golf carts by the hour to tour the zoo, take the cable car for a bird’s-eye view, or wander the trails to see the animals up close; Wear comfortable shoes as the terrain is wide. Night visits and overnight camping trips are also offered.
Address: 232 Welfare Street, Pretoria
Official website: http://www.nzg.ac.za
4. Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre
Animal lovers can get up close and personal with some amazing African animals at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, about 45 minutes’ drive from Pretoria. The nonprofit center was founded in 1971 as a cheetah breeding program and has since successfully bred animals such as African wild dogs, vultures, and brown hyenas.
The center is also the first breeder of the rare king cheetah. Visitors can choose from a variety of educational tours, including three-hour guided tours with a breeder and touch experiences, for feeding and petting experiences with these graceful animals. This is a great opportunity for photographers to capture close-up images, and the cost helps fund conservation projects.
Official website: http://www.dewildt.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=62
5. Union Buildings
The Union Building is located in beautiful gardens on Meintjieskop Hill, the city’s highest point, near the historic Church Square, home to the city’s first settlement. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913, this impressive sandstone building is a fusion of Italian Renaissance, English Renaissance and Cape Dutch styles. It is the seat of government and is also home to the Office of the President and the National Archives.
Terraced areas in the garden sloping towards Church Street, the Delville Wood Monument commemorating South African soldiers killed in World War I; South African Prime Ministers are statues of Louis Botha, J. B. M. Hertzog and J. C. Smuts, and the 9-metre-tall Nelson Mandela. statue. Visitors come here to stroll the gardens, look at the buildings, and admire the impressive cityscape. The site also holds a special place in the hearts of many South Africans after former President Nelson Mandela took office there in 1994.
Address: Arcadia Park, Church Street, Pretoria
6. Freedom Park
Located on the panoramic Mount Salvokop, Liberty Park traces the story of South Africa’s liberation and pays homage to those who played an important role. Opened to the public in 2007, the site includes a poignant collection of monuments and an impressive museum showcasing the nation’s history from the dawn of humanity to the present.
The site overlooks the nearby Voortrekker Monument and other important landmarks of the city below. The Wall of Names with the names of all those killed in the great conflict in South Africa, the Eternal Flame and the Leaders Gallery, which inspire role models on the road to freedom, stand out. Guided tours take about two hours and offer fascinating insights into the building’s symbolic features as well as the stories represented here.
Official website: http://www.freedompark.co.za/
7. Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve
The Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers, covering 100 hectares at the foot of the Moreleta Kloof mountain close to the city centre. In the 19th century, the preserve was a dairy farm, and one of the original buildings was converted into a restaurant where visitors can dine on a beautiful deck, often with a herd of animals.
Springbok, impala, antelope, zebra, and ostrich are wildlife in the park, along with numerous birds. A tributary runs through the reserve to supply water to the animals, and the length of hiking trails ranges from 1.5 kilometers to 3 kilometers.
Other beautiful green spaces close to the city center include the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve, part of the Moreleta Spruit Nature Trail, a winding route that follows streams through changing landscapes, and the walkable Groenkloof Nature Reserve. four-wheel drive roads. Birdwatchers will enjoy the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, named after the South African ornithologist who wrote a popular handbook on South African birds. Bird skins cover the reservoir, and more than 100 native species nest here.
Official website: http://moreletakloof.co.za/about
8. Melrose House
Melrose House is a National Monument that offers visitors the experience of stepping back in time to the late 19th century. Built in 1866 by wealthy businessman George J. Heys, this beautiful Victorian home is where the Treaty of Vereeniging, a peace treaty that ended the Anglo Boer War, was signed in 1902.
Filled with antiques, the house is a fine example of well-preserved Victorian architecture. Highlights include stained glass windows, china decorations, paintings by British artists, and ornate architectural decorations. Provides guided tours. The house is also used for art exhibitions, concerts, and antique fairs, and the cafe offers snacks in the tea garden.
Address: 275 Jacob Mare Street, Pretoria
9. Ditsong Museums of South Africa
The Disson Museum in South Africa is a group of eight national museums with important cultural collections. Formerly known as the Transvaal Museum, the National Museum of Natural History in Disson is home to an extensive collection of mammals, amphibians, fossils, geological specimens and archaeological material.
At the Austin Roberts Birdhouse, visitors can see over 800 native South African bird species. Another Ditsong museum is the National Museum of Cultural History, which houses Bushman rock carvings, an ethnological section, Cape Dutch furniture, silverware, and archaeological materials.
Sammy Marks House is a historic house worth visiting. This magnificent Victorian mansion was the home of the successful industrialist and his family from 1885 to 1909 and still retains much of its original furniture and decorations. After visiting this place, visitors can enjoy tea and scones in the garden.
Official website: https://ditsong.org.za/
10. Rietvlei Nature Reserve
Located on the outskirts of Pretoria, less than 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre, Rietvlei Nature Reserve offers a peaceful nature getaway and wildlife viewing. Built during the Great Depression, the dam now accounts for 15% of Retoria’s water supply and supports the reintroduction of a range of highland wildlife to the area. Oryx, red antelope, buffalo, wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, black antelope, hippopotamus and even cheetah are the animals found here. Birdwatchers should keep an eye out for South Africa’s national bird, the blue crane, and a breeding pair of ospreys, as well as the ridiculous secretary bird.
The reserve includes 3,800 hectares of rolling hills, wide meadows, well-marked paths, and of course the dam itself, where fishermen can fish from the north and west coasts. Other attractions include lion tours, hiking and horse trails, bird skins, a popular tea plantation, and a playground for children to play in.
Official website: http://rietvlei-reserve.co.za/
11. Kruger House Museum
Housed in a modest Victorian building on Church Street, the Kruger House Museum is the oldest and most famous house in Pretoria. From 1883 to 1900, it was the home of Paul Kruger, the former president of the Transvaal Republic.
Today it has been converted into a museum with memorabilia and exhibits about his life and politics of the period. Notice the two stone lions on the balcony. In 1896, Northern Cape mining magnate Barney Barnato gave them to President Kruger for his birthday.
Location: 59 WF Nkomo Street, Pretoria Central
12. Horseback Africa
From walks with lion cubs to horseback safaris, Horseback Africa, a private wildlife sanctuary less than 50 km from Pretoria, is one of the region’s top attractions. The Lion Tour is the most special experience here. The mission is to raise awareness of animal protection while allowing you to interact with lion cubs up to one year old.
Start feeding lion cubs from the garden and learn interesting facts about their species. Then take a walk in the sanctuary with the adolescent lions. While the walks are dazzling for the guests, they are also very important for the lions who need to improve their hunting skills. However, lions often want to stop and cuddle.
In addition to the big cats, the reserve also offers horseback riding tours that allow you to get up close and personal on trail rides with other wildlife such as zebras, antelopes, kudu and giraffes. They are suitable for both beginners and experienced riders as each group includes at least two guides. You can choose to stay overnight, but most people visit on day trips, and the reserve offers packages that include morning horse safaris, lunch, and afternoon lion tours.
Official website: www.horsebackafrica.com
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Pretoria. If you think there are some more best and beautiful places to visit in Pretoria, we should cover. Write us below in the comment box.