Are you in South Africa’s capital city and looking for something to do. In this article we list some of our favourite things to do in Pretoria. The city is one of the large cities in South Africa and attracts travellers for both leisure and business. It is home to many of South Africa’s monuments. While not as fast paced as the neighbouring city of Johannesburg, Pretoria has loads to see and to keep both locals and tourists occupied. Here is a list of some of our favourites.
Our List Of Things To Do In Pretoria
Visit Menlyn Maine
If you are looking for one place where you can get up to a lot of different things, Menlyn Maine is the easy winner. It is Pretoria’s fore-running mixed use development and home and also arguably the most picturesque urban scape in the whole city. It is also Pretoria’s new boutique shopping haven in Menlyn Maine Central Square. The square is a great place to socialize, with an array of restaurant and cafes, and the courtyard that is lined with eye-catching sculptures while you enjoy an al fresco meal. Right across the road is Time Square which lights up beautifully at night and houses Sun Arena, Sun Casino and a host of fine dining restaurants and rooftop lounges.
If you are looking for the hippest place in Pretoria, we can think of any place that makes a better argument than 012 Central. The multi-space precinct in the heart of the city, is an events venue and hosts some of the most popular monthly events in Pretoria. The old buildings have been transformed, as part of the revamp of Pretoria’s city centre, into a series of venues that where the hip attend regular events such as Market At the Sheds, which happens every last Saturday of the month, 012 central City Walk, and African Beer Emporium, among other events. For more information on events and exhibitions, visit the official website and Facebook page.
Officially known as the National Zoological Gardens of Pretoria, Pretoria Zoo is the largest zoo in the country and the only one that carries a national status. At 85 hectares, it is one of the 8 largest zoos in the world and has placed in the top 10 zoos in the world. The zoo forms an integral part in the conservation of threatened species and breeding programs. You can have a picnic on the green lawns inside the zoo or take a cable car ride for a bird’s eye view over the centre. The zoo is open every day of the week from 8:30am and closes at 5:30pm. For more information and current prices for tickets, visit the official website.
The Union Buildings are an easy shoo-in for any list of things to do in Pretoria. Servicing as the office as the president of South Africa, the property is also one of the most popular monuments in the city and open to visitors. The buildings are home to large lavished gardens where you can kick back and take a break from you travels. The beautiful terraced gardens are planted with various indigenous trees.
For those photo moments there are numerous monuments on the ground, such as the statue of General Louis Botha which dominates the lawn, and the most popular is the statue of Nelson Mandela, located atop the terraces. The Union Buildings were designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913. Local sandstone and tiles were used to create this 285m long building. From here, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of Pretoria.
Pretoria Botanical Gardens
The National Botanical Gardens has 50 hectares devoted to a developed garden that hosts 50% of the South Africa’s tree species. A paved nature trail gives access to the fascinating natural vegetation on the ridge, which boasts a diversity of indigenous fauna and flora. It is both a facility for scientific research and entertainment. Many events are hosted there regularly and you can visit there at your leisure for a picnic or a braai (barbecue).
Fort Klapperkop Military Museum
Fort Klapperkop is a photographer’s dream, whether professional or aspiring. The historic military fort has been restored and turned into a museum with pieces from the Anglo-Boer War. The viewpoint from the heritage site offers some of the best vistas in all of Pretoria. It is a popular tourist spot and is maintained by the city. Keep your visits to the Fort confined to official visiting hours and travel in groups, as there have been muggings at the Fort. There is security on patrol along with boom gates but be prudent and leave valuable at home when you decide to visit. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, and is closed on Mondays and public holidays. Entry into the museum, at the time of writing, is R25 for adults and R12 for pensioners and students. For more information, visit the official website.
Hazel Food Market
Hazel Food Market is one of the hidden gems for amazing culinary experiences. The market is tucked away in the suburb of Menlo Park and has been operating since 2009. On Saturdays, the market is opened to visitors and has over 70 stalls selling fresh food products that vary from fresh produce, to guilty pleasures in South African favourites like filled vetkoeks and home-made sweet treats. There is also a selection of international cuisine on the menu, all in a family friendly setting.
The market operates on Saturdays from 8AM to 2PM and admission is free. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon, whether solo or with the little ones along. For more information, you can visit the official Facebook page.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve
Groenkloof Nature reserve is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life while in Pretoria. The reserve is located on the Southern edge of the city, on the border between Pretoria Central and Centurion. It is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in South Africa, run by the City Of Tswhane. It’s a great place to go hiking, for 4X4 trails, and mountain biking, with many events being held there. There are no restaurants or shops in the reserve, but braai and picnic facilities are available if you bring your own food. It might also behoove you to bring along a pair of binoculars if you are interested in seeing wildlife.
The Groenkloof Nature reserve is home to a variety of game such as kudu, impala, giraffe, as well as an array of bird life. There are all types of events and facilities available to visitors at a nominal cost. Visiting hours are between 5:30am and 7pm in Summer, and from 7am to 6pm in Winter. For more information such as prices and facilities, you can visit the official website.
Adventure Zone Cullinan
While this one is not exactly in Pretoria, it’s worth adding to the list as it offers good variety and is just 30 minutes away from the city centre. If you are interested in partaking in some adventurous activities, Adventure Zone Cullinan has a good selection of activities. Whether you want to something simple like a quad trail or horse-riding, or something to get the blood pumping like zip lining, Adventure Zone provides a good variety of activities that are great for groups. They operate daily between 8 am and 5am and the prices are quite affordable. For more info, visit the official website.