Soccer World Cup 2010
A very exciting prospect for South Africa is the hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Pretoria is one of the host Cities.
The matches will be played at Loftus Versfeld (see the tip on rugby). This stadium is in the Arcadia area, close to sites like he Union Buildings (see tip) and close to many embassies and consulates. The Sheraton Hotel is one of the jotels in this area.
Every host city in South Africa is busy to prepare for this great event.
Geet Indian Restaurant offers authentic Indian food and drink.
The menu offers outstanding food from starters to desserts and includes traditional and modern dishes from North India.
Unfortunately I had two bad experiences with the quality of service, but the food made up for that - the food is very good. Several
Stroll through history at Jan Smuts House
Jan Smuts' House in Irene (a southern suburb of Pretoria) is a serene place to spend a few hours. Added to that, you have an opportunity to gain an understanding of General Jan Smuts, possibly South Africa's most prominent international statesman prior to Mandela.
Smuts was a paradox - an Afrikaaner who fought against the British in the Boer War, yet was a total Anglophile and royalist who commanded Allied Forces in both the First and Second World Wars. Many people would consider it unlikely that a South African could have been such a prominent world leader in the 20th century, yet he was one of the chief negotiators of the Treaty of Paris at the end of World War I and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations). He was eventually voted out of power by a narrow margin in 1948, and was replaced by D.F. Malan of the National Party, who subsequently launched the disastrous system of grand apartheid.
Smuts hobnobbed with the influential and famous during his time as Prime Minister and even had royalty such as the present Queen and her parents to stay - which doesn't sound like much of an achievement until you understand that he accommodated them in his personal home (rather than a state residence). Even more remarkably, the house in question was a modest wood and corrugated iron farmhouse that had been originally fabricated in Britain and was bought on auction at the end of the Boer War (although admittedly, considerably extended and upgraded thereafter). The spirit of his wife Ouma (literally 'Grandma') - who was a very unassuming woman who hated the limelight - is apparent in the modest furnishings.
The house is much as he left it, and the walls are covered with fascinating photos that conjur up the life and times of a most remarkable man. The displays are well pitched in that they provide a good overview of his life, but it is the visual images juxtaposed with a very simply furnished house that really makes the impact.
The house is surrounded by a tranquil garden and it is possible to take a short walk up to Smuts Koppie (translated as 'little hill', although 'koppie' actually means 'little head' in Afrikaans), where Smuts used to retreat to think: this is where the ashes of both Smuts and his wife were scattered.
There is a cafe (which was rather good when I was last there) and the property also hosts a flea market (open on the first and third Saturday mornings of the month and particularly vibrant in the run up to Christmas), so you could easily combine both attractions if you visited over a weekend. Irene is also quite close to the Voortrekker monument (see travel tip elsewhere), and given the antipathy between Smuts and the National Party leaders who succeeded him, it would be particularly interesting to combine both attractions in a day.
Paul Kruger House
The Kruger House was the home of SJP Kruger, who was the president of th old ZAR (Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek).
Kruger was a very influential figure in South African history. I'm sure that most people are familiar with The Kruger Park (Game Reserve).
His statue can be found on Chusrch Square.
The museum gives a good background of his life and political role he played in the history of South Africa.
Admission fees are R20 per person
Capital of South Africa
"The Overshadowed City"
Although it is the capital of South Africa, Pretoria is overshadowed by the spectacular beauty of Cape Town, a city that shares the title of the capital of South Africa, and also by it's giant city neighbour, Johannesburg. Much to the Pretorians disdain, Pretoria is seen by "Jozis" as merely one of its satellite suburbs but the citizens do not see it that way. Pretoria is very much a separate city from Johannesburg which has evolved from its bigger sister city in a different way. Johannesburg is all about money, fast cars, shopping malls and freeways, while Pretoria has a more genteel atmosphere about it. It has history and culture with a more relaxed lifestyle.
Unfortunately, very few tourists visit Pretoria as they tend to go straight to the coasts of South Africa and of course, Cape Town. Pretoria has a lot of sites for tourists to visit. Its history is very much the history of South Africa with all its turbulence and heroism. Wander around the city centre and you will see monuments and museums that tell wonderful stories about this country. One will be able to understand how this country evolved from a farming and mining society to the tortured descent of apartheid and the current Africanisation of present day South Africa.
Outwardly, Pretoria looks very much a Western city. Tree-lined avenues and streets in the more affluent suburbs look very similar to those in Vancouver, Brisbane or Dallas. Pretoria has lots of greenery, it is very pleasant to stroll around . Then some of the civic buildings are very stately and grand, you could be in Copenhagen, London or Mumbai. It truly showcases the city as the country's capital with many magnificent examples of civic building architecture. The most famous is the Union Buildings which was built in the late 19th century. The imposing building situated on top of a hill, overlooks a well tendered park and also offers a great view of the modern city below. It is definitely the crowning glory of Pretoria which should not be missed.