A blend of the old and the new – exploring Pretoria

By Matt Tewhatu

A blend of the old and the new - exploring PretoriaSituated about an hours drive north of metropolis Johannesburg, Pretoria is one of the most naturally beautiful cities in South Africa. However, due to the sheer amount of exposure they attract and the attractions that they offer, Pretoria is often overshadowed by South Africa’s big three, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape town.

However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact the Pretoria is a beautiful city offering a unique blend of rural surroundings with an urban feel. Offering visitors deeper insight into South Africa’s history, Pretoria is definitely a must-visit for tourists on their tailor-made South Africa holiday particularly because it is so close to Johannesburg. Here are the must-visits on your trip to the region.

Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

Nestled at the foot of the Magaliesburg mountain range on the outskirts of the city, the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre is a captive Cheetah breeding facility which is over 60 years old. Officially credited with bringing the Cheetah back from the brink of extinction, the centre is extremely well known among local groups and its international recognition is becoming more widespread. Now housing a number of different animals including African wild dogs, vultures, honey badgers, an Anatolian shepherd dog, elands and vervet monkeys, visitors can meet some of the animals as well as learn a lot about their habitats in a day certain to please all members of the family.

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is the largest zoo in the country and the only one with national status. In addition to showcasing over 5000 different mammals, the zoo also home to an aquarium and a reptile park with the aquarium being the largest inland marine aquarium in the country.

Voortrekker Monument

Located just south of Pretoria in a nature reserve, the monument commemorates the pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaan settlers. It is the most visited heritage of its kind in the region and is one of the top ten cultural historical attractions. A trip to the monument is a stark reminder of South Africa’s dutch colonial history and, while it is often seen as a controversial structure, is a must see on your trip to Pretoria.

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

Located on the southern outskirts of Pretoria, the Groenkloof Nature Reserve is a fantastic spot to gaze at the Impala, kudu, blue wildebeest and ostrich, the giraffe and red hartebeest in their natural habitat. In addition to spotting game, the nature reserve offers a number of activities including night drives, mountain bike trails, nature treks and 4×4 routes.