The only time I went to Pretoria
I was 7 years old. All I remember are the thousands of purple petals on the pavements
, and seeing the ballet of Anna Karenina at the State Theatre
So in order to compile a list of things to do in the Pretoria / Tshwane area I had to ask Portfolio Travel Blog readers and our Twitter followers, and thanks to them we now have the following, personally recommended by readers like you!
10 Things to Do in Pretoria
1. Visit a Komodo Dragon:
Along with 4000 other animals, the Pretoria Zoo
is home to a Komodo Dragon in its 80ha park close to the CBD.
2. Dream of flight:
Visit the SA Air Force Museum
(a must for anyone with small (or big) boys who love planes). You’ll get to view some of the Air Force’s retired bombers, fighters and helicopters dating back to the Second World War. Stroll through the hangars which now also house displays of uniforms and weaponry.
3. Take a Short Stroll to Freedom:
Visit Freedom Park
(not far from the Voortrekker Monument) and stop by the Garden of Remembrance, built in memory of all who died in the Struggle against Apartheid.
4. Ag please Daddy won’t you take us to the Drive In:
Take the whole family to this roof-top Drive In at the Menlyn Park
. Or take your partner for a date with a difference. You can even hire a restored classic car (1955 Chevy, 1957 Studebaker and the like) and grab a picnic basket for a real treat.
5. Step back in time:
Take a township tour with a whole lot of history thrown in: ‘A Taste of History of SA’ Tour
begins with a drive through Soweto before heading for Liliesleaf Farm where Nelson Mandela and the Treason Trialists plotted against the Apartheid Government. You’ll finish the tour at the former death squad base at Vlakplaas via the Voortrekker Monument.
6. Pack a picnic:
Pack a delicious picnic and head for the Pretoria National Botanical Garden
, home to the Head Office of SANBI (South African National Botanical Institute). Stroll along paved nature trails and enjoy the fascinating natural vegetation on the ridge – there are 50ha to explore, most of which are planted with plants indigenous to SA. While you enjoy your lunch on a green lawn under shady trees, you’ll be serenaded by some of the 198 bird species that live here.
7. Take to the High Tea: Rosemary Hill Farm
serves High Tea every Saturday from 11h00 – 14h00. Sip fragrant tea, nibble on cucumber sandwiches, tartlets, cream scones and meringues. What could be more elegant!
8. Market yourself: There are a couple of great Markets in the Pretoria area. We recommend Hazel Food Market and Hatfield Market.
Hazel Food Market
is an authentic food market that not only sells all the usual tasty fare, but also specializes in foods from other countries and cultures
is an entertaining and trendy market with live music on the last Sunday of every month. Over 200 undercover stalls offer incredible bargains on a wide variety of the funkiest merchandise - chic clothing, décor, accessories, art, crafts, jewellery and furniture. Great food in the Food Court. The Hatfield Antiques & Collectables Fair is held here on the first Sunday of every month.
9. Be captivated by the colour purple.
A leisurely walk down the street can be something pretty special in Pretoria – known as the Jacaranda City for the approximately 55 000 purple-blossomed trees that line the streets of the city. Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria at the same time as the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria
-legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams! Be sure to take your camera with to capture these incredible blossoms.
10. Get Cultured:
Enjoy operatic music performed by members of The Black Tie Ensemble
at the South African State Theatre
. This is just one of many shows and performances put on at the Theatre – visit the website for a full programme including Arts Festivals.
Pretoria Tshwane Accommodation
Portfolio Collection offers a selection of individually benchmarked Pretoria accommodation in the Tshwane area - From Pretoria Guest Houses and B&Bs to Villas and Lodges.
Go to www.portfoliocollection.com and search for Tshwane accommodation, or contact Portfolio for bookings and information.