Just like most metro areas in our country, Pretoria has it’s own subculture. Yes, to some it’s a subculture of Rugby, Braaivleis (bbq) and purple Jacaranda tree admirers. That is the assumption. Actually, the capital city offers amazing sights, sounds and tastes. If you were a tourist coming to Pretoria and I were to take you around, this would be my top 10 things I would like to show you:
- Eats & coffee!
Depending on the time of the month, day and maybe the weather, Pretoria offer so many places to have breakfast, lunch and dinner and have an experience of note. The only thing I feel Pretoria is missing though, is a decent Mexican restaurant. My suggestions to you….
Breakfasts: +27Cafe in Hatfield, Grounded in Rietfontein, Oppiplaas in Villieria & 23 On Hazelwood in Waterkloof.
Lunch: Huckleberry’s in Magnolia Dell, Cafe Bree in Groenkloof, Brewers BBQ in Rietfontein, Respek and Kaaskoek in Waverley, Tashas in Brooklyn.
Dinner: Ritrovo in Waterkloof, Harissas Bistro in Waterkloof, Culture Club in Waterkloof & Toni’s Pizza in Rietfontein, La Pentola in Riviera.
Weekend markets in Pretoria is definitely something to explore as you can catch a bargain and meet some awesome people. My suggestions to you….
Boeremark: On every Saturday from early until around 10:00-ish. They sell mostly food, crafts and fruit and vegetables.
Hazelwood: Every Saturday in Menlopark next to the Greenlyn Centre and it’s a foodie heaven! You can get anything from Roosterkoek (roasted dough bread), Pizza cones, Tacos, chillies, artisan breads, cheeses, pestos…… you get the picture.
Market at the Sheds: Every Saturday in the city centre and African urban market offers you live music, food, clothes and much more. Unlike the other two markets, here you have to pay an admission fee of R30pp. Well worth the trip and the fee.
3. Historic sites
History is synonymous with the capital and rich in culture. Some of the trips that are worthwhile making will be visiting….
Mandela Stature & Union Buildings, don’t forget to take a panorama shot with the city as backdrop.
The Voortrekker Monument is situated on a hill just outside the city and do have a restaurant available as well.
Melrose House in Burgerspark is beautiful and if history is your thing, go visit this lovely historical site.
Willem Prinsloo Museum, situated on the N4 outside Pretoria towards Bronkhorstspruit, this site offers you a taste of the old Afrikaans/Boer living. You might be so lucky to make your own candles there if your timing is right.
Paul Kruger at Church Square in the CBD of Pretoria. One of those boxes you should tick while you are in the vicinity.
Most ‘touristy’ places are based outside the city. Here we would encourage you to take a walk around the city centre and explore the great architecture and experience the buzz of people, the tastes of street food (if you are brave enough). Be wise to take a walk during day time and be safe. A good start will be to visit Paul kruger Statue and make your way to the Market at the Sheds. A good 4km walk (wors case scenario). Get coffee at Tribecca or Urban Eatery while you are here!
5. Take a day trip!
Why not take a day trip out to Hartebeespoort dam (about 40kms) and do some curio shopping, restaurant hopping and see the Dam. Visit Tant Malies while there, visit Chameleon village and Van Gaalens Cheesefarm.
Catch the Gautrain to Rosebank. About R100 return and walk around at the Mall and hop off at Sandton station on your way back and visit Nelson Mandela Square and perhaps a visit to Hard Rock Cafe?
Cullinan is about 60kms to the east of Pretoria and is both a historical visit due to the old diamond mines, but also have a rustic atmosphere and street, with great restaurants, shops and lots to enjoy. You might strike a bargain somewhere.
6. The National Zoo!
Why not spend a day at the National Zoo here in Pretoria. It’s an awesome fun outing for young and old and will occupy you a whole day. Be sure to dress comfortably.
7. Botanical Gardens!
When visiting a new city, we sometimes rush the living daylights in our routine to check all our visiting boxes. Be brave and add this one to the list as well and pack your picnic basket and go and relax and wander along the beautiful gardens. Cost is about R26,00 entry per person.
8. Rugby fanatic?
Visit Loftus and check to see if you can attend a Rugby match. While you are there, go grab a cold one at Trademarx the neighbouring waterhole.
9. Feeling sporty?
Why not grab a mountain bike and go cycle around the Groenkloof Nature Reserve. Just make sure to go in groups as it is advisable for saftey reasons to not go at it alone. They do offer guided tours of the reserve as well, be sure to ask them about it.
Lastly, if you would like to experience Pretoria in all it’s purple splendour, plan your visit towards the month of October and admire the purple Jacaranda blanket we are blessed with each year. The belief is, should a Jacaranda blossom fall on you, you will have good luck! So be prepared to stand as long as it takes, please do not try and shake the trees though!
Other things to consider!
Pretoria offers the city bus service that is semi-reliable. The new Are Yeng bus service (purple) operates between Hatfield and the city centre. The Gautrain bus system also works well and can be used in conjunction with your train journey.
Now there you have it…. it’s not a lot, but these are great experiences, just depends on the mood your in, the mood of your budget and off course, the mood of mother nature!
Have a ball!