Presentation of the destination
Pretoria is the capital of South Africa. In southern Africa, in the province of Gauteng, it is nicknamed the city of Jacarandas: every spring, the thousands of trees of this species bloom and give the city a mauve color. She is part of the municipality of Tshwane. It is twinned with Kiev in Ukraine, Washington DC in the United States and Basel in Switzerland. Pretoria is known by 11 names according to the South African languages: for example Isizoulou in ePitoli, Isixhosa in iPitoli, or Sesotho in Pitoriya. The inhabitants of Pretoria are 67.7% white, 24.5% black African and 1.6% Asian. It speaks Afrikaans 61.2% and English 15% It is popular with tourists, because it is safer than Johannesburg and can be visited easily on foot. Her motto is "Praestantia Praevaleat Pretoria", which means "Pretoria is the first in excellence".
Points of interests / things to see
The ethnic group of the Danes occupied the river valley, which would later become the cradle of the city of Pretoria around 1600. Following the cycle of wars and migrations caused by the came to power of the Zulu King, Chaka, in Natal, another group of refugees arrived in the region. They quickly had to leave their villages to flee the Zulu invasions of 1832. The city itself was founded by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voorrtrekkers (immigrants from the Cape colony), who gave him his name after his father Andries Pretorius, a national hero after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of the Blood River. He also negotiated the Sand River Convention in 1852, during which the British recognized the independence of the Transvaal (an independent country managed by the Boers). Pretoria became the capital of the Republic of South Africa on May 1, 1860. The city was deeply marked by the Boer Wars: during the first Boer War, she was sieged By the Republican forces in the late nineteenth century, until the Treaty of Pretoria of August 3, 1881 that ended the war.
During the Second Boer War, Winston Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria before escaping to Mozambique. The city surrendered to British forces in June 1900. From these clashes were preserved a number of forts, preserved as national monuments. The Boer Republic of South Africa and the Orange River settlement united with the colonies of Cape Town and Natal in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa, from which Pretoria became the capital. administrative. After apartheid, new municipal structures were created and Pretoria became the center of the metropolitan municipality Tshwane.
Pretoria lies about 55 kilometers north-northeast of Johannesburg, between the Highveld Plateau to the south and the subtropical Bushweld to the north. It rises to an altitude of 1350 meters in a warm, sheltered and fertile valley surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Its climate is humid subtropical: its summers are long, hot and rainy, and its winters are cool, short and dry. The snow is extremely rare. The average annual temperature is 18.7 ° C and the temperature record is 42 ° C on January 25, 2013.
Architectural styles blend in Pretoria, thanks to the diverse cultural influences it has experienced over the years. There is a British colonial style, but also a South African style, or an Art Deco style. Among the remarkable buildings, let us remember the buildings of the Union (Uniegebou in Afrikaans), which are the seat of the government of South Africa, registered with the register of the national monuments. They constitute one of the most important historical and tourist monuments of the city. They stand in the Arcadia neighborhood, at the top of Meintjies Hill, and it is separated by Government Avenue. 275 meters long, they are divided into two wings that form an acropolis. Another notable building, the Mahlamba Ndlopfu is the official residence of the South African president, designed by South African architect Gerard Moerdjik, in Cape Dutch style (an architectural Cape style). from the west) and completed in 1940. It is surrounded by impressive gardens. In another style, the Loftus Versfeld stadium is located in the Arcadia district, on a site that was already used for sport in 1906. It has a capacity of 51,762 places and mainly hosts matches rugby.
The Voortreekker Monument was built in honor of the Boer pioneers. It is an important symbol, located on a hill south of Pretoria, and the most visited in the province of Gauteng. This South African national heritage building was built on the initiative of President Paul Kruger to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Blood River. Its construction began in 1937 following the design of the same architect Gerard Moerdjik, and ended the following year with the last stones laid by descendants of the Voortrekkers chiefs. The Voortreekker Monument is 41 meters high and has the largest marble frieze in the world: 92 meters long and 2.3 meters high for 180 tons. He is surrounded and guarded by a statue at each corner, representing Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and the unknown Voortrekker. Every year, on December 16th, anniversary day of the Blood River victory, the inscription "Ons vir you Suid-Afrika" (We for you, South Africa) appears on the ceptaphe thanks to the light of the sun which crosses an orifice at the top of the dome.
One of the must-see in Pretoria is the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, founded by South African physicist Jan Willem Boudewijn. It covers 85 hectares, half of which is on flat ground and the other half on hill sides. The two parts of the zoo are separated by the river Apies, which are crisscrossed by two bridges. You will discover thousands of mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians from all over the world. Nature lovers can then visit the National Botanical Garden, between Pretoria Road and Cussonia Avenue in Brummeria, east of Pretoria. It follows a ridge of rocks that runs from east to west. The 76-hectare park was opened in 1946 and hosts the National Institute of Biodiversity of South Africa. The western part includes the wetlands, the garden of cycadophytes, the garden of succulents, the garden of medicinal plants, in the middle of which you will find a restaurant, a stage of concerts, a garden with tea and a fall artificial water. The part is less developed, but there is a pre-natural and an arboretum. The more adventurous will go as far as Hartbeespoort, 40 kilometers from Pretoria to practice water sports and discover its wildlife park.
Pretoria has several natural reserves, including the Groenkloof Reserve, at the southern entrance to the city, which was the first natural sanctuary proclaimed in Africa in 1895. Its primary purpose was to protect the dwarf antelope Ouré bi. The Rietvlei Reserve covers 3800 hectares, and there are indigenous and exotic species of trees, 319 species of birds and 1600 mammals including 4 lionesses and one lion in a separate enclosure. The small reserve Wonderboom is spread over 1 kmÂ², where one finds mainly species more or less close to Ficus salicifolia.
The "African Window" is a building that houses the Museum of Cultural History of South Africa. You can see objects found during archaeological excavations, historical documents, archives on the archeological history of Pretoria since the Stone Age. At the Mapungubwe museum at the University of Pretoria you can discover the national treasures of Mapungubwe, a 13th-century site in the Limpopo Valley. They include ornaments of gold, ivory, bone, ceramics, clay figurines, commercial beans and iron crafts. The Melrose House is an example of the transition from Victorian style to Edwardian style. She belonged to the businessman Goerge Jesse Heys. It is known to have been rehabilitated as the headquarters of British forces during the invasion of Pretoria in June 1900. Its interior is characteristic with its windows of stained glass painted by English artists, richly colored carpets, ceiling and chimney ornaments, and porcelain ornaments. In Paul Kruger Street, the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History exhibits collections of pre-ancestral fossils, as well as skeletons of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
Pretoria is home to Melyn Park, Africa's largest shopping center, with 250 stores, 20 movie theaters, an open-air cinema, 5,000 parking spaces and 50 restaurants. , under four large capitals and a veil of 30 meters in height. The National Cultural History and Open Air Museum exhibits objects and works of the Transvaal Afrikaner ethnic groups and a pre-historic collection of rock art. The Central Station is a work of the famous British architect Herbert Baker in 1908. Another curiosity is the Cullinan mine, 40 kilometers to the east, where Cullinan, the largest diamond, was discovered. of the world of 3106 carats.
Vacation rentals in Pretoria (Gauteng)
How to get there ?
Pretoria is served by the Metrorail train company from Germinston and Johannesburg in the south, Attenridgeville in the west, Ga-Rankuwa in the north and Mamelodi in the east. The Gautrain high speed train line connects Pretoria to its eastern suburbs of Hatfield, Centurion, Sandton, OR Tambo International Airport and Johannesburg. You can also go to Pretoria by the Blue Train luxury train. There are several bus companies in Pretoria, including Putco which is one of the oldest and most recognized, and the company run by the municipality. By road, Pretoria is accessible by the free N1 highway and the Ben Schoeman highway that cross the city from the south. The N4 road enters Pretoria as a motorway from Witbank to the east. The N14 road leaves from the center of the city from the M4. The R21 highway crosses the city from north to south. Pretoria is also served by many regional roads, such as the R55 which runs through the city from north to southwest to Sandton. The R50 from the south-east to go to Delmas. The R511 passes west of the city. The R514 begins north of the center and ends at the junction of the R511. Pretoria is serviced by OR Tambo International Airport and the smaller Midrand Airport.
Pretoria twins towns, sister cities
Discover the pretoria's international relations with partnership cities and friendship cities.
Hotels in Pretoria (Gauteng)