The northernmost major city of South Africa, Pretoria is home to all foreign embassies as well as the administrative branch of the national government. There are several universities and research institutions in the area, which attract some of the best minds in Africa. Although not a major “party” city nor considered one of the most exotic destinations, Pretoria nonetheless has a lot of interesting cultural and natural landmarks to explore. Below are a handful of options for travel in Pretoria.
The city, at least in its current form, was founded by Voortrekker Andries Pretorius in the mid-19th century. There is some dispute as to what people may have occupied the area in prior times. Nonetheless, the Voortrekker Monument is a large granite structure which pays homage to the city’s pioneer settlers. It features a mixture of European and African architecture.
The centerpiece of the monument, called the Centograph, bears the Afrikaans phrase “’Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika’, meaning “We’re with you, South Africa.” The iconography of the Voortrekkers is common throughout the monument, making it a great way to gain some historical insight into South Africa while enjoying the grand spectacle of the Voortrekker Monument.
Rietvlei Nature Reserve
About 40 kilometers south of the city lies this wildlife refuge. Here visitors can encounter leopards, buffalo, hippopotamus, and other large mammals as well as over 400 indigenous species of birds.
Also known as the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, all of the exotic animals of African fame are easily viewable within a short distance of one another – like red pandas, African cheetahs, black rhinoceros, and giraffes. It is one of the largest zoos in the world. It is so large, in fact, that some visitors opt for golf carts to travel from one enclosure to the next.
This is one of the most highly rated adventure choices on travel sites. Visitors ride horses through the African bush, encountering African wildlife like lions on the so-called “Lion Tours”. Included in the tour packages are conservation education and information on how to get involved in saving endangered wildlife on the African continent.
Hazel Food Market
Located in the old East-Menlo Park district, this bustling international food market features dining options from all around the world. After exploring the city, this is a great way to relax and refuel.
For an experience in a truly international African city, Pretoria is definitely worth checking out.