South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria (Tshwane) is just a short distance by car or Gautrain from Johannesburg and a great city to visit for a day or weekend getaway. It’s known as the ‘Jacaranda City’ because of the jacaranda trees which line its streets, which turn purple when the blossoms bloom in spring. This leafy city is home to fascinating historical landmarks, such as the Cultural History Museum and the Voortrekker Monument. Other tourist attractions in Pretoria include the iconic Union Buildings and the lush Pretoria Botanic Gardens.
Why visit Pretoria
- The weather in Pretoria is superb year-round.
- Nearby Cullinan is a late Victorian era village where the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, was discovered.
- The museums and monuments are fascinating places to visit.
- You can see the Union Buildings, where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president in 1994.
- The city is near to some excellent reserves, including the Pilanesberg National Park and Rietvlei Nature Reserve.
- Pretoria’s surroundings are full of excellent outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to golf and ziplining.
Quieter than Johannesburg it may be, but Pretoria is full of exciting entertainment offerings, superb restaurants and several iconic landmarks. Whether you’re travelling to Pretoria with friends, family or as a couple, enjoy the city's many tourist attractions with a Pretoria holiday package from Thompsons Holidays.
There are plenty of historical landmarks and exciting attractions to visit in Pretoria. Sir Herbert Baker’s iconic architecture is on view at the Union Buildings, or you can step even further back in time and visit Fort Klapperkop, constructed in 1889. Pretoria offers a plethora of stately mansions to explore, such as the majestic Melrose House Museum. View a fascinating collection of cultural treasures, including San rock art, Iron Age figurines and contemporary artworks in the National Cultural History Museum.
Things to do in Pretoria
- Visit Freedom Park, a place of hope that also honours those who lost their lives in the country’s political struggle.
- See the magnificent jacaranda trees in full bloom.
- Explore some of the city’s museums and find out all about South Africa’s history.
- Discover Pretoria’s iconic architecture, visible in the Voortrekker Monument and the Union Buildings.
- Visit the 1,000-year-old fig tree in the Wonderboom Nature Reserve.
- Enjoy horse riding at Esperanza Equestrian Centre.
- Watch a rugby match at Loftus Versveld.
- Embark on a safari in Rietvlei Nature Reserve.
- Take the kids to Cedar Junction theme park for a ride on a mini train.
- Learn all about animal conservation at Bester Birds Zoo.
- Enjoy mountain biking in Kiddies Bike Park.
Whether you’re taking the kids on an educational holiday, travelling with friends to embark on some adrenaline-filled adventures or want a romantic couple’s getaway, experience the best of Pretoria with a Thompsons Holidays travel package. Browse our deals and book now.
Weekends in Pretoria are rather quiet, which makes this the best time to discover the highlights of the city. Some of these include the Union Buildings, Fort Klapperkop, the grand Victorian buildings and gardens of the Sammy Marks Museum. Or try a sumptuous breakfast at the ‘Boeremark’ on Saturdays at the Pioneer Museum – be sure to get there early as it opens at 6am and there is a huge selection of fresh and cooked food for sale.
For even more fun, plan a weekend getaway near Pretoria. Travel east to Bronkhorstspruit to a little bit of the Orient at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple for peaceful rejuvenation or see the bold sculptures in the Anton Smit Sculpture Park.
North east of Pretoria you will find the old village of Cullinan, famous for its magnificent and world record-beating diamond, now turned into a quaint venue for dining, accommodation, abseiling, zip-lining and quad trails as well as mining tours. This charming Edwardian village has oak lined streets. Lunch at JanHarmsgat Se Agterplaas is a must or try the splendid High Tea at Rosemary Hill Farm.
For a day of family fun make up a picnic of tasty dishes from the Boeremark and head for the Fountains Recreation Resort where facilities include swimming, two play areas and a model steam train for rides that will thrill kids of all ages. The Cowhouse Market east of Pretoria is a full day affair for the family with a covered play area with water slides and jumping castles, climbing frames and cycle park. Don’t miss the daily duck races!
South of the city is Irene with its weekly Village Market in the grounds of historic Smuts House. The Irene Dairy Farm is an institution for lunch, picnics on the farm, a market as well as a tour of the milk parlor and of course plenty of delicious home-made dairy products.
With so much to do you may well wish that weekends were longer!