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What You Need To Know about Pretoria

Pretoria (Tshwane), in the Gauteng Province, is the administrative capital of South Africa. Known as “Jacaranda City” for its thousands of jacaranda trees, the city is also known for its universities and government buildings. The semi-circular Union Buildings encompass the president’s offices and hosted Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. Nearby is the massive Voortrekker Monument, honouring 19th-century Afrikaans settlers from the Cape Colony.

It is one of the three capital cities of South Africa

Area: 1,644 km²

Population: 692,348 (1996)

Currency

The currency used in South Africa is the rand (R), with 100 cents making up one rand. Notes are available in R10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 while coins come in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 rand as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.

Climate

The city has a humid subtropical climate with long hot rainy summers and short cool to cold,dry winters. The city experiences the typical winters of South Africa with cold, clear nights and mild to moderately warm days. Although the average lows during winter are mild it can get bitterly cold due to the clear skies and this in recent years have caused Pretoria to experience temperatures in the range of 2C to -5C at night.
Rain is chiefly concentrated in the summer months, with drought conditions prevailing over the winter months, when frosts may be sharp. Snowfall is an extremely rare event.

Language

The main languages spoken in Pretoria include Tswana, Ndebele, Afrikaans, and English

Security

  • Pretoria is considered to be a relatively safe city by South African standards and violent crime against tourists is somewhat rare. That said, basic common sense should still be used.
  • Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group. The city center becomes deserted after nightfall, so it would not be wise to hang around at these times. If you are cycling around the Hatfield shopping area (Hatfield Plaza), there have been cases of beggars asking for a ride from approaching cyclists (especially if you are walking with the bike). As this area is busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders there is very little chance of any real trouble happening, but it can be annoying and daunting for tourists as the beggars are quite insistent. That said, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers.

Shopping Malls

  • Menlyn Park, Located in the East. A large mall, it includes a roof top drive-in theatre.
  • rooklyn Mall, Just East of the city canter with its art galleries and movie theatres for both mainstream and independent films.
  • Kolonnade, In the North with its ice rink and other entertainment.
  • Centurion Mall, South of Pretoria, in Centurion.
  • Wonder park, In the North just as you get onto Brits road off the Mabopani highway, Skatepark and 100’s of stores.
  • Silver Oaks Crossing, Pretoria east, on the corner of Von Backstrom Boulevard & Hans Strydom Drive in Willow Acres.

Other Shopping: German bakery and Alma German butchery. East of Pretoria, Off-ramp Rossouw, and then turn north, after 200 m. closed Mondays. Also serves Coffee
There are also many smaller, local shopping centres usually with one of the larger chain stores as an anchor.

Gautrain

  • There are nine Gautrain stations in operation, two of which are situated in Pretoria. One being Pretoria Station (located adjacent to the existing Pretoria Main Station) and the other, Hatfield Station (located within the Hatfield Business Node east of the Pretoria CBD).
  • To travel on the Gautrain, you will need The Gautrain Gold Card. For more information on the Gold Card as well as other things to know regarding using the Gautrain, such as parking, operating hours and costs involved, see our Guide to Using the Gautrain. see more…