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The capital city of South Africa is a fantastic place to discover local culture, food, art and entertainment and you could easily spend a week or more delving into all it has to offer. But if time is short, then here are our suggestions on how best to spend 24 hours in Pretoria.
After a delicious breakfast at your boutique hotel or at any one of the best breakfast spots in town, head over to the Voortrekker Monument to learn about the history of the Afrikaner people. Climb the 169 steps from the Hall of Heroes to gaze down upon the Cenotaph from the top of the dome.
Afterwards, explore the grounds on foot or jump onto a bicycle or into your car for a jaunt through the nature reserve to spot some non-predatory animals, including Burchell’s zebra, springbucks, black wildebeest, red hartbeest and black-backed jackals.
If there is time left, pay a visit to Freedom Park to learn more about those who sacrificed their lives for freedom during the Struggle and the Apartheid years.
Unpack your picnic lunch in the beautiful gardens on the grounds of the Union Buildings, all the while ooh-ing and ah-ing at the spectacular view across the city. Pay your respects at the statue of Madiba and gape in wonder at the impressive architecture of the buildings that house the seat of the South African government.
Then, if it’s October, take a leisurely drive through the suburban streets of Groenkloof and surrounds to see the world-famous purple jacaranda trees in bloom.
If not, consider taking a stroll through the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, or head further out to take a tour of the delightful Sammy Marks museum where your guide, dressed in period clothes, will show you around the Victorian mansion where you might even encounter a ghost!
If it’s the season and you’re a sports fan, then there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture of Pretoria than by attending a rugby game at Loftus Versfeld stadium. Watch the Blue Bulls in action and learn why the city is so obsessed with this game.
Otherwise, you may want to indulge in some retail therapy by perusing the shops in Menlyn shopping center, Africa’s largest mall. Here there’s everything from brand-name clothing to movies and kids’ entertainment to world-class restaurants, and cafes are at your fingertips.
If you and the night are both still young, join the hip and trendy just across the road at Menlyn Maine, where you can sip cocktails and rub shoulders with the in-crowd until the early hours of the morning.