Surrounded by hills, the Jacaranda-lined streets of Pretoria can be found in a sheltered valley some 50 kilometres north of Johannesburg. Founded in 1855, today the city and its surrounding areas are home to around 2.5 million people. From architectural marvels like the Union Buildings to humbling spaces like Freedom Park, Pretoria is an essential stop for visitors to South Africa’s northern Gauteng Province.
Known as the Jacaranda City, Pretoria is home to some 50,000 non-native Jacaranda trees. When spring arrives (in October in Pretoria), the city is treated to an explosion of colour as the Jacaranda's purple flowers appear.
While visiting Pretoria you’ll find plenty of things to occupy your time, whether you’re more interested in the city’s history or seeing some of South Africa’s natural beauty. For those looking to learn more about Pretoria and the country in general, you can check out the impressive Union Buildings and their sprawling gardens, visit the Voortrekker and check out Freedom Park. To sample some of South Africa’s beautiful flora, make sure to check out the Pretoria National Botanical Garden.
Once the sights have been seen, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants throughout the city. Both South African flavours and international influences can be seen in the cooking here, with a huge variety of dishes for you to try. When you’ve finished eating you won’t be disappointed with Pretoria’s selection of bars, dance clubs and more.
Sports fans should note that the city’s newly renovated Loftus Versfeld Stadium will host a number of matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup including the showdown between Bafana Bafana (South Africa’s national team) and Uruguay on June 16th.
Pretoria is part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and you’ll find some people refer to the city as Tshwane.