Pretoria City Guide

2010-05-10 10:33
Pretoria's rich and colourful heritage is reflected in the city's myriad of museums and monuments and is punctuated by contemporary arts and craft markets, making the city alive with a unique blend of new and old.

Pretoria, also known as Tshwane, is the capital of South Africa, with many embassies calling this city their home. The Union Buildings house the administration of the country and have also been the setting for all the presidential inaugurations of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the incumbent South African president, Jacob Zuma. These sandstone buildings offer beautiful views over the city.

There is a lively culture in the city with a variety of museums, monuments, historical buildings and art centres. The Science and Technology Museum offers a tactile experience of science at work, while the South African mint has a minting press dating back to 1892, which is still in operation. The city also offers township sleepovers with a five-star stay.

Church Square and the State Theatre often host international and national performances, and there are also two nature reserves where visitors can view wildlife such as buffalo, antelope, cheetah, jackal, giraffe and sable.

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality was established on 5  December 2000. It is made up of 13 former city and town councils and is managed by means of an executive mayoral system. These councils include Pretoria, Centurion, Akasia and Soshanguve, and the surrounding areas of Mabopane, Atteridgeville, Ga-Rankuwa, Winterveld, Hammanskraal, Temba, Pienaarsrivier, Crocodile River and Mamelodi.

The Ndebele people were the first people to settle along the Tshwane River, which was named after a Ndebele chief. This would later become the site for Pretoria. In 1855, it became the first capital of the Zuid-Afrikaanche Republiek (ZAR), a territory claimed by the Dutch settlers in South Africa.

The Rivonia Treason Trial (1956-1961), which led to the prosecution and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela among others, was held in Pretoria. In 1994, the same accused would also be sworn into office as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

The city has long been synonymous with top professional football in South Africa and the breeding ground for many of the country's top players. Arcadia and Berea Park were the city's first professional sides. In later years Mamelodi Sundowns, Mamelodi United, Pretoria City (now called SuperSport United) have kept up the trend.

Arcadia were triple winners in 1974 but it is Mamelodi Sundowns who have been the real pride of the city. They broke the Professional Soccer League record, winning the league five times in a row since 1988. Sundowns were also runners up in the 2001 CAF Champions League. They have been nicknamed 'the Brazilians' because of their blue and yellow kit.

Supersport United have been dominant lately winning back to back championships in South Africa under their coach, Gavin Hunt. Pretoria University has the largest sports excellence school in the country. They also have the highest number of female football players, producing exceptionally strong women's teams.

Pretoria’s Soccer World Cup Stadium
Loftus Versfeld, a bastion of South African rugby and sport in general, is the city’s World Cup stadium.

For full information on this stadium, click [here]

Top things to do
* Visit the Union Buildings
* See Freedom Park for great views
* Visit the Voortrekker Monument for a reminder of the Afrikaner struggle in South Africa

Getting around
The high speed Tshwane BRT System, Gautrain link and regular shuttle and bus services will make access to and around Tshwane fast, efficient and simple. In and around the city, metered taxis are also a safe and good option.

Useful links:
GoTravel24's comprehensive guide to getting to and staying in Pretoria

Pretoria is renowned for its Jacaranda trees with their distinctive purple flowers. (SA Tourism)
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