Photo of Pretoria

About Pretoria

One of South Africa’s three capitals, the historic city of Pretoria lies along the banks of the Apies River. A handsome old city, with a reputation for being an academic centre, it boasts some of the country's best universities, most prominent architecture, and some of the most famous sites for South Africans of all races. It gets its other name 'Jacaranda city' from the 50,000 or so purple Jacaranda trees which line the city's streets and parks. A vision between October and November, when they burst into flower. Our collection of the best places to stay in Pretoria showcase the most unique, boutique stays in this city filled with heritage.

Once the height of the apartheid regime, today, Pretoria, though still less cosmopolitan than the other major cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, welcomes a new sense of multiculturalism. Though still largely Afrikaans, and you’ll hear plenty of it spoken around town, you’re unlikely to meet anyone who doesn’t speak English. This was once the beating heart of the apartheid regime, after all, and its very name a symbol of oppression. Today, however, with its' inner-city witnessing some much needed urban renewal, this once rundown locale has welcomed plenty of new trendy bars, restaurants, and cafés.

With a low-key feel and less frequented by tourists, this small and friendly city is a great place to visit for those interested in modern South African history, as well as for exploring Kruger Park beyond.

What not to miss

  • If a safari is not on your itinerary, then you're guaranteed a sighting of the Big 5 at Pretoria Zoo, a 210 acres complex, home to Africa's wildest animals.
  • Explore Kruger House, the most home of South Africa's former president, Paul Kruger, who rose to popularity by leading the Transvaal War against Britain.
  • A lively dining experience, Afroboer blends the best of African cultures and flavours, under one roof, and one menu.
  • When they were built, over a century ago, The Union Buildings was the largest structure in South Africa. The official seat of the South African government, this enormous, Acropolis-shaped building watches over the city from its highest point. Wander the lovely gardens and take a picture with the nine-metre tall statue of Mandela.
  • Pretoria boasts some of the country's finest courses, and one of the most popular is Akasia Country Club well. Surrounded by the Magaliesberg Mountain Range it's a beautiful yet challenging course.
  • Enjoy a cold one out on the terrace at Zeppelin Craft Brewery.
  • If you can't make it as far as The Kruger Park, there are still plenty of wildlife opportunities. From birding at Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, big cats and game at Dinokeng Game Reserve, as well as excellent walking trails and bird spotting at The Faerie Glen Nature Reserve.
  • Explore Freedom Park, a beautifully designed complex of gardens and memorials that celebrates human dignity.
  • There’s a market for every taste Pretoria. From Hazel Food Market, held every Saturday to the Deep Roots night market for stand-up comedy and beer pong, or the Boeremark for traditional South African goods. Whatever takes your fancy!

Our collection of the best places to stay in Pretoria showcase the best independent stays in one of South Africa's most historic cities.

The Best Places to stay in Pretoria

For a great value stay

  • Well priced, easily accessible, Menlyn Boutique Hotel provides a stylish yet comfortable stay in town.

For a relaxing stay

  • A little bit of Tuscany in this smart tree-lined neighbourhood, Castello di Monte is an intimate setting, with just four room. A very grown-up stay.

Travel Information

  • With more of a tropical climate than the rest of the country, Pretoria can get hot in the summer months, with temperatures rising upwards of 40°C in the months of February-March and October-November. The best weather is between April and September, where it hovers between a balmy 19°C and toasty 30°C.
  • O.R. Tambo International Airport is approximately a forty-minute drive from town - taxis can be booked easily.
  • Or, if you want to rent self-drive to explore the Pretoria, visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

• Widen the net to include our recommendations in nearby Johannesburg or Gauteng.

• Or contact one of our gurus for advice.

Best Hotels in Pretoria

  • Menlyn Boutique Hotel Pretoria 27 rooms from £68

    A modern boutique hotel located in a quiet neighbourhood yet within easy reach of central Pretoria. Each of the suites is large, with every modern amenity, en-suites, and the best private balconies. There's a sunny pool, a spa, plus an excellent breakfast served each morning.

    City Style  -  A smart, sleek hotel within easy reach of central Pretoria
    Birdwatching  -  Struben Dam Bird Sanctuary is less than 1 km away
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Spa
    Check Availability
  • Castello di Monte Pretoria 4 rooms from £219

    This Tuscan style villa is pure luxury with spectacular views and landscaped gardens. Nestled amidst olive groves and lavender bushes it brings a touch of Italy to the African landscape. Rooms are filled with antiques, plus adults only make it a refined stay. A perfect spot.

    Country Escape  -  A slice of Italy in Pretoria this beautiful villa provides a very bucolic stay
    Local markets  -  Greenlyn Village Market
    Great walks  -  Through Waterkloof Park
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check Availability