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Pretoria Travel Tips, South Africa

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Pretoria, South AfricaPretoria, South Africa
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Pretoria is the executive and de facto national capital of South Africa. It is located in Gauteng Province in the northeastern part of the country. The city covers 1,644 sq km (634.8 sq mi) and has a population of 2.35 million people (2011 estimate).

Pretoria is within the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, and thus, is often mistakenly called Tshwane, which means "we are the same", and is also the name of a mythical tribal chief. The decision whether or not to change the name of the city is still being deliberated upon, as of 2011. So far it has met with opposition from Afrikaners who felt the change overlooks the history of the city.

Raadsaal, PretoriaRaadsaal, Pretoria
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authorshipŢetcu Mircea RareŞ
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Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius. It is said that he named it after his father Andries Pretorius (which makes little difference, as his own name is also Pretorius).

Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic in 1860. In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was created, Pretoria became the administrative capital while Cape Town the legislative capital. It was granted city status in 1931. Between 1860 and 1994, it was also the provincial capital of Transvaal.

Melrose House, PretoriaMelrose House, Pretoria
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Located between the Highveld and the Bushveld, Pretoria is about 1,350 m (4,500 ft) above sea level. It experiences a dry subtropical climate. Summers here are long, hot and rainy while winters cool and dry. January is the warmest month with average high temperature of 29°C. It is also the wettest month, receiveing 136 mm of rain. June and July are the coldest month, with average low temperature of 5°C.

Visiting Pretoria

The nearest international airport is in Johannesburg. If you arrive there, you can take a train to Pretoria. The recommended trains to take are the Shosholoza meyl trains.

Union Buildings, PretoriaUnion Buildings, Pretoria
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authorshipŢetcu Mircea RareŞ
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Places of Interest in Pretoria

  1. Church Square
    Public square at the heart of Pretoria with a number of historic buildings including the Raadsaal (former parliament building of the Boer Republic), and the Palace of Justice.
  2. Fort Klapperkop
    Fort built in 1898, today a Gauteng Provincial Heritage Site and a South African National monument. It is open today to the public as a military museum.
  3. Fort Schanskop
    Fort outside Pretoria, built in 1897, today a Gauteng Provincial Heritage Site and a South African National monument, also open to the public as a military museum.
  4. John Voster Tower
    Telecommunication tower in Pretoria.
  5. Melrose House
    A historic building, once the residence of the British Commander-in-Chief Lord Kitchener. It was built in the 1880s and features many different forms of precast embellishments.
  6. National Zoological Gardens
    Also called Pretoria Zoo, this is one of the top zoos in the world and a leading center for the breeding of endangered species.
  7. Pretoria City Hall
    Historic building of mixed Neo-Greek and Roman architecture, located next to the Transvaal Museum. In front of the building are the statues of Marthinus Pretorius and his father Andries, after whom the city was named.
  8. Sammy Marks Museum
    The home of industrialist and founder of the South African Breweries, today preserved as a museum showcasing its fine Victoria style furnishings.
  9. South African State Theatre
    A complex of five theaters where different types of performing arts are staged regularly.
  10. Transvaal Museum
    An outstanding natural history museum with a good collection of stuffed animals, archaeological artifacts and geological exhibits.
  11. Union Buildings
    Administrative complex of the Union of South Africa built in 1910.
  12. Voortrekker Monument
    Monument commemorating the Afrikaner pioneers who trekked from the Cape Colony in the 1830s to free themselves from British rule.

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