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Things to do in Pretoria: Top Places to visit

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There are some great things to do in Pretoria if you are a first-time visitor.  Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and situated in the Gauteng province.  It is very close to Johannesburg and the Oliver Tambo International Airport. Although it is a big city with a population of about 2.3 million, it is still small enough to create a feeling of being in a large town. The best time of the year to visit Pretoria is in October and November when all the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom (the reason why the city is also known as the Jacaranda city).

Here are my top 5 places to visit in Pretoria if you are a first-time visitor to the capital:

The Union Buildings

Source: South Africa Travel Net. The Union Buildings
Visiting the Union Buildings should be first on your list of things to do in Pretoria.  These buildings form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the Presidency.  Already built in 1913, it has a rich history, interesting architecture and has seen the inauguration of many South African Presidents.  From the Union Buildings, the visitor has an impressive view of central Pretoria and surrounding areas.

The Voortrekker Monument and Nature Reserve

With more spectacular views of the capital, the Voortrekker Monument portrays an interesting history of the Afrikaner and South Africa. It is one of the most visited cultural sites in  Pretoria and the setting includes a beautiful Nature Reserve.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve is an urban reserve boasting numerous wildlife in an area of about 3 800 hectares.  If you want to truly experience some African game, including two of Africa's Big Five namely the buffalo and white rhino, a visit to this Nature Reserve is highly recommended.  You can drive through the Reserve yourself or organise for a guided tour.  Several picnic spots are also available to the visitor.


Melrose House. Source: Melrose House.
If you want to learn more about the history of South Africa and Pretoria, there are several museums in and around the city, namely the Kruger museum, Smuts House, Melrose House, the Pioneer museum, the Police museum and the Natural Cultural History museum, to name but a few.  There are also several art museums, including the Pretoria Art  and the Anton van Wouw Art museums.

A bleak view of Pretoria when it snowed for the
 first time since 1968 on 8 August 2012 in the capital

Church Square

Church Square is a public square in the centre and heart of Pretoria and surrounded by numerous old historic buildings such as the Palace of Justice and the Old Government Building.  The Tourist Information Centre is also next to this square.

Related Posts

Best Time to visit Pretoria
What to do with kids in Pretoria: Fun train rides
Child-friendly restaurants in Pretoria.

The months of October and November  is the best time of the year to see 
Pretoria because  of the Jacaranda trees.


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