Pretoria, the Jacaranda city, is a leafy city of wide avenues. It is also an old university town with typically vibrant music and arts scene.
Loftus Versfeld, the stadium which will play host to the 2010 event, is a modern international arena presently used by the rugby fraternity above all else.
First round games and the third place play-off game will be played in the stadium, which has been upgraded for the World Cup in order to hold 45,000 spectators.
Depending on the World Cup fixture list, Pretoria, or its outskirts, is conveniently situated for use as a northern accommodation centre for first round matches due to its proximity to Polokwane (250 km) , Rustenberg (120 km) and Johannesburg (58 km along a 3 lane highway). A smaller city, Pretoria has a cozier feel to it than its big city cousins down the road.
The stadium is 3 kilometres from the city centre and surrounded by the more pleasant eastern and university suburbs of Sunnyside, Arcadia and Hatfield. It is conveniently situated to the N4 major route, heading towards Nelspruit and the Kruger National Park, which in turn connects to the N1 route from Johannesburg, the airport, and southern cities.
Places of interest
Known historically as the bastion of conservative Afrikanerdom, Pretoria was the capital of the old South African Boer Republic before and during the Anglo-Boer war.
There are numerous reminders of that conflict around the city. Winston Churchill, after his capture in the Anglo-Boer war, was imprisoned in Staats Model School and escaped detention to flee to Mozambique.
The University of Pretoria, the largest in South Africa, has always been predominantly Afrikaans, but now the community has a modern, vibrant outlook on life.
Church Square, in the city centre, is the focal point of the civil service and is surrounded by many fine buildings, including the Raadsaal (parliament), Palace of Justice and old Reserve Bank. A statue of President (and Boer soldier) Paul Kruger dominates the centre.
Paul Kruger House Museum is Kruger`s old house and now a national monument and interesting though cluttered museum.
One of the major sites, on Monument Hill to the south western edge of the city is the huge Voortrekker Monument, a tribute to the independence, courage and determination of the pioneers that left the Cape Province and travelled the 1,000 miles in their ox carts to escape British authority.
Situated on Roberts Heights, just to the north of Loftus Versfeld, overlooking the city, and housing the Presidency and Foreign Offices are the Union Buildings and terraced gardens. Cecil Rhodes appointed Sir Herbert Baker as the architect to design the buildings, which were completed in 1913, and which are still the administrative headquarters of the country.
Built to commemorate the unification of the country, the t wo outer wings represent the Afrikaaner, and the English population. Other museums in Pretoria include the Museum of Anthropology and the not-for-the-faint-hearted South African Police Museum on Pretorius Street.
The Premier Diamond Mine at Cullinan, 30 kilometres east of Pretoria is renowned for the discovery of the largest gem diamond, 621 grams, ever found. It now comprises of 9 large stones (and many smaller "brilliants") , all part of the Crown Jewels or owned by the British Royal Family.
In the same area but more to the north is the Tswaing Crater, one of the best-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. Visits to the crater rim and museum are available.
Pretoria Zoo is the largest zoo in South Africa and one of the ten best in the world. Situated north of the city centre it is renowned for its snake park and aquarium.
Night life, including late night clubs, is centred around Hatfield, close to the stadium.
If you are going to the game, and even in you are not, a great place for a pre-match beer (and steak) is Eastwood`s on the corner of Eastwood Street and Park Street. It is within spitting distance of the stadium.
Centurion, a pleasant modern suburb, which is to the south of the city enroute to Johannesburg. Centurion has a vibrant waterfront area and a range of hotels and guest houses.
The Brazen Head Restaurant is a popular Irish pub situated in the Gateway Plaza at the corner of Old Johannesburg Road and Sarrel Baard Street.
Within easy range to the west are Magaliesberg Mountains and Hartbeespoort Dam. The mountains rise to almost 1800 metres and are a favourite venue for the climbers of the Johannesburg Mountain Club.
Eat Out In Pretoria
Conveniently situated for the World Cup venues of Rustenberg, Polkwane, Johannesburg and Pretoria, the mountain area is a protected nature zone and is home to over 300 species of bird life including hawks eagles and buzzards, and has a variety of wildlife from giraffe, buck, baboons, zebra and the occasional leopard.
The nightlife is one that is vibrant and varied, with a great deal to do in the city. Ranging from Centurion, Menyln, Kolonade to Wonderpark mall football fans are assured of a classic bar range with big screens to watch the game with a glass of a refreshing drink done in South African style. Snacks in these bars will include the proudly South African biltong, which is very popular in the capital city especially during rugby games.
Church Square, which is the City’s focal point on rather the centre of this magnificent host city has hosted large crowds with a big screen during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Certainly in 2010 a massive screen will be there for everyone to watch on the comfort of the grass or their camp chairs.
On the outskirts of the City, away from loud engines and the smoke of cars fans can be guaranteed of a night of fun at the brilliant Casino known as Morula Sun. When you feel that the Casino atmosphere at Morula Sun is not quenching your thirst for the ultimate entertainment or you feel like you want to move what you mama gave you the ask for taxi to Taliban Club, or one of the many nightspots in the lively city.
Party animals or those whose day is incomplete without some good music, coupled with a cold beer, snacks and lots of entertainment don’t hesitate to ask for directions to Hatfield. There you will find the likes of the popular Zanzu Bar, Coffi Club, Cappelos and News Cafe to name but a few.
Sunny Side’s popular Esselen Street will introduce you to the hardcore club scene. Ranging from the famous Times4, London Club and the wild Club Europa. Brooklyn Mall which houses the theatre of dreams for South Africa’s bests Hiphop artists and their work is one place you will enjoy if that is your thing. There are beautiful clubs and pubs but the Brooklyn Fashion TV is one place that will keep your body moving to some cranking music.
The Tourist Information Center (Tel: 012 358 1430) is in the Old Nederlandsche Bank Bldg. Church Square.
The HQ of the South African National Parks (Tel: 012 428 9111) is at 643 Leyds Street, New Muckleneuk.
Air: - OR Tambo International Airport lies to the north east of Johannesburg and is easily accessible from Pretoria. The route from the airport and cities to the south enter Pretoria along the N1 highway and join the N4 going east through the city to the World Cup stadium. OR Tambo International Airport (Tel: 011 921 6262) has direct air links with many cities in Europe including London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
Rail: - The inter city rail service into Pretoria connects to all major cities, and the new high speed Gautrain service, presently being built, will link the eastern suburbs of Pretoria to Johannesburg town centre, the International airport and Soweto, passing close to Soccer City and Ellis Park – the two Johannesburg match venues.
There are trains to Nelspruit via Pretoria (Komati), Cape Town (28 hours) via Kimberly (Trans Karoo) and Polokwane (Bosvelder). The luxury Blue Train begins in Pretoria for Jo`burg and Cape Town. Pretoria train station is in the east of the city south of Church Square.
Bus: - The N4 highway enters Pretoria from Nelspruit and Kruger Park in the east and from Rustenberg and the Magaliesberg Mountains nature area in the west.
The N1 to the north of the city is the direct route to Polokwane, Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa. The N3 from Durban forms part of the eastern ring road of Johannesburg so one can drive around that city to get to Pretoria.
Luxury coach services link Pretoria with all major domestic cities and destinations within southern Africa. Buses mainly depart from outside Pretoria train station. Getting Around There are taxi ranks at Church Square and JG Strijdom Square. City bus servicesa radiate from Church Square.
Rugby stronghold Pretoria has a number of teams including Supersport United, a premier league club, that plays at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Mamelodi Sundowns, known as "The Brazilians" due to their bright yellow colours, play at the 25,000 capacity Atteridgeville Super Stadium.
The University of Pretoria Football Club, aka Tuks FC, play in the Mvela Golden League at the Tuks ABSA Stadium. Garankuwa United are based in nearby Garankuwa and play at the 60,000 capacity Odi Stadium. The South African professional soccer season runs from September to May, so if you`re in town around those months there`s plenty to see.
The climate in Pretoria during the World Cup should generally be mild with no rain, the night time temperature can occasionally get down to freezing point but the days are bright and clear, and should average about 18 degrees Centigrade, slightly warmer than Johannesburg.