Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, and he named the city after his father. During the Second Boer War one of the POWs in Pretoria was none other than Winston Churchill who had been acting as a war correspondent.
In 2000, the city as well as several other townships, where cast under the umbrella of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. In the past many people wanted the city's name to be changed to Tshwane.
When South Africa hosts the 2010 World Cup Pretoria will be host to a number of games in the Loftus Versfeld stadium.
Pretoria has many wonderful tourist attractions. Among them is the Union Buildings which today serve as the government residence of South Africa. If you've time you could visit the Wonderboom Nature Reserve. This 200 hectare reserve is located to the north of Pretoria near the Magaliesberg Mountains. A must see here is the 1,000 year old fig tree! The Premier Mine in Cullinan is definitely worth a visit. Here, the Cullinan Diamond was unearthed, the largest rough-cut diamond ever found. It was eventually cut in two and now forms part of the British Crown Jewels in London.
The city has a large number of museums including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the most complete Australopithecus Africanus skull ever found. The Kruger House Museum is the former residence of Paul Kruger, the president of the South African Republic in the lat 19th Century. The National Cultural History Museum, tells the story of people and cultures of Africa from the Iron Age to the present and the Pretoria Art Museum is also well worth checking out. Another favourite is Melrose House Museum which is where the peace treaty of 1902 was signed, and across the way you'll find the beautiful landscaped gardens of Burgers Park.
The Groenkloof Nature Reserve is the 2nd oldest nature reserve in the world and is located next to the city. If you want to explore the breathtaking scenery of the Magaliesberg Mountains, then the Magaliesberg Nature Reserve is certainly worth a visit. The mountain range stretches from Pretoria all the way to Pilanesberg! On the other side there is the Rietvlei Nature Reserve which is technically within city limits but it is still a fair drive away.
Why not hire a car?
O.R. Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport on the continent; it's the closest airport to Pretoria and located in Johannesburg some 50km to the south. The N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national road routes all converge in the Gauteng Province so you're really well connected to the rest of the country.
Pretoria has a municipal bus service and this is supplemented by a large array of taxis and minibus-taxis though it is generally advised to avoid these. The most popular option for tourists is to hire a car in Pretoria. It's definitely the best way to explore the area!
Alternatively you can pick up your car in Johannesburg and drive the 50km or so north to Pretoria
By: Mairead Foley
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Mairead Foley writes for www.Novacarhire.com where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.
Visit Novacarhire.com for all you need to know before you take to the roads in South Africa, like where to go and what to see with your car hire. Book your Car hire Pretoria now.