Discovering Pretoria, South Africa: 20 Fascinating Facts about the Jacaranda City

20 Facts About Pretoria, South Africa

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is a city steeped in history and culture. From its natural beauty to its vibrant arts scene, there is something for everyone in Pretoria. In this article, we will explore 20 interesting facts about this wonderful city.

Location and Geography

Pretoria is located in the northern part of Gauteng province in South Africa. The city sits at an altitude of 1,339 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 687.54 square kilometers.

History of Pretoria

Pretoria was founded in 1855 and was named after Andries Pretorius, a Voortrekker leader. The city was initially established as a Boer farming community but quickly grew into a town. In 1910, Pretoria became the administrative capital of the Union of South Africa.

The Union Buildings

The Union Buildings, located in the heart of Pretoria, are the official seat of the South African government. The buildings were designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913. The Union Buildings are also the site of the inauguration of the President of South Africa.

Pretoria National Botanical Garden

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is a popular destination for nature lovers. The garden covers an area of approximately 76 hectares and is home to a wide variety of plant species, including succulents, cycads, and aloes. The garden also has several hiking trails and picnic areas.

Kruger House Museum

The Kruger House Museum is a historical site that is dedicated to the life and legacy of Paul Kruger, the former president of the South African Republic. The museum is located in the center of Pretoria and features exhibitions that showcase the history of the Boer War.

Melrose House Museum

The Melrose House Museum is a Victorian-style mansion that was built in 1886. The house was used as a military headquarters during the Second Boer War and was later restored and converted into a museum. The museum features exhibitions that showcase the history of the house and its role in the war.

The Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is a large granite structure that was built to commemorate the Voortrekkers, the Boer pioneers who migrated from the Cape Colony in the 1830s. The monument is located on a hill in Pretoria and offers stunning views of the city.

The Pioneer Museum

The Pioneer Museum is a historical site that showcases the history of the early settlers in Pretoria. The museum features exhibitions that showcase the history of the city and its role in the development of South Africa.

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, also known as the Pretoria Zoo, is a popular destination for families. The zoo covers an area of approximately 85 hectares and is home to over 4,000 animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, and gorillas. The zoo also has several picnic areas and restaurants.

The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary

The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is a nature reserve that is home to over 170 bird species. The sanctuary covers an area of approximately 11 hectares and is a popular destination for bird watchers and nature lovers.

The Wonderboom Nature Reserve

The Wonderboom Nature Reserve is a nature reserve that is located in the north of Pretoria. The reserve covers an area of approximately 200 hectares and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. The reserve is also home to the Wonderboom, a fig tree that is over 1,000 years old.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

Loftus Versfeld Stadium is a sports stadium that is located in the heart of Pretoria. The stadium is the home of the Blue Bulls rugby team and has a seating capacity of over 50,000.

Jacaranda Trees

Pretoria is known as the Jacaranda City due to the thousands of Jacaranda trees that line the streets of the city. The trees bloom in October and November, covering the city in a beautiful purple hue.

The University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is a leading research university that is located in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria. The university was founded in 1908 and is home to over 50,000 students.

Festivals and Events in Pretoria

Pretoria is home to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Pretoria Show, Jacaranda Festival, and the Capital Craft Beer Festival.

Traditional Food in Pretoria

Pretoria is known for its traditional South African cuisine, including boerewors, biltong, and pap. Visitors can also find a variety of international restaurants and cafes in the city.

Shopping in Pretoria

Pretoria is home to several shopping malls, including the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, one of the largest malls in Africa.

Transportation in Pretoria

Public transportation in Pretoria includes buses, taxis, and a Gautrain system that connects the city to Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport.

Weather in Pretoria

Pretoria has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The average temperature in summer is 30°C, while the average temperature in winter is 18°C.

FAQs

What is Pretoria famous for?

Pretoria is known for its beautiful Jacaranda trees, its historical landmarks, and its traditional South African cuisine.

What is the best time to visit Pretoria?

The best time to visit Pretoria is in the spring (September-November) when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom.

What is the currency used in Pretoria?

The currency used in Pretoria is the South African Rand (ZAR).

What are some popular museums in Pretoria?

Some popular museums in Pretoria include the Kruger House Museum, the Melrose House Museum, and the Pioneer Museum.

Is Pretoria safe for tourists?

Pretoria is generally a safe city for tourists, but visitors should take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Pretoria is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture. From its natural beauty to its vibrant arts scene, there is something for everyone in this wonderful city.