Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, reflects the extremes of the country’s history. A visit to Pretoria is a giant step towards a new understanding of the complexities of the country.
This beautiful city is a showpiece of South Africa’s sad and controversial past, and of its vibrant new life. Statues and monuments commemorating the country’s past history are seen in the very environment where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black President of an optimistic, forward-looking nation.
But it’s not all about the past. This is a modern and growing city, with a firm grasp on the future, with first-rate shopping, top restaurants and a lively arts community. The heart of the new Pretoria is to be found in the hamlet of Hatfield.
In the centre of the city is Church Square, presided over by the huge bronze statue of ‘Oom Paul’ Kruger, seen by many as the father of Afrikanerdom. South of Pretoria, high on a hill, stands the proud shrine to the Afrikaner community, the massive Voortrekker Monument.
But the most famous landmark in Pretoria is the crescent-shaped Union Buildings. Here, in 1994, in these terraced gardens, in one of the pivotal moments of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela took office as President.
Springtime in Pretoria will leave you breathless, when the 70 000 cultivated Jacaranda Trees burst into bloom and carpet the streets in endless lilac. It’s a sight to behold, when the many statues stand proudly in a blur of colour.
Can't Be Missed - Pretoria
- Meander about the Union Buildings gardens, where thousands gathered in 1994 to see the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black President.
- Join the ‘in-crowd’ wining and dining in Hatfield.
- Marvel at the imposing Voortrekker Monument, and brave the steps to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
- Stroll through the city’s many arts and crafts shops.