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About Pretoria

Pretoria, also popularly known as The Jacaranda City due to the thousands of Jacaranda trees planted in its streets, parks and gardens, is one of South Africa’s three capital cities and a popular tourist destination among tourists from South Africa and abroad.


Around the 1600s, the area which was to become the location of the city of Pretoria, was inhabited by an African ethnic group, the Southern Transvaal Ndebele’s.

Pretoria was officially founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius who was a leader of the Voortrekkers.  The Voortrekkers were emigrants during the 1830s and 1840s who left the Cape Colony to move into the interior of what is now South Africa.  Marthinus Pretorius named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River in 1838.

Related articles: Pretoria must-see attractions, The Jacaranda CityHistory of Pretoria.

Pretoria is located in the northern part of the Gauteng Province, within a comfortable travelling distance to and from Johannesburg, Lanseria International Airport and the OR Tambo International Airport.

Pretoria Church Square

After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns. Although the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) approved changing the official name of Pretoria to Tshwane in 2005, there is still considerable uncertainty about the issue.

According to former Tshwane Executive Mayor Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Tshwane was the name of the son of an African chief who settled in the area hundreds of years ago.

Pretoria offers its visitors a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from 5 star hotels, B&Bs, lodges and apartments to campsites, self-catering houses and backpackers to suit every budget and every taste.

Visiting Pretoria, but not sure where to stay? See Where to Stay in Pretoria for more information.

The city is also popular for its vibrant and welcoming student community and is frequently visited by both business and leisure travelers who are often intrigued by its many places of interest including Pretoria’s historical buildings, embassies, restaurants, shopping malls, buzzing nightspots and major sports facilities.

Union Buildings, Pretoria Zoo, Pretoria Skyline

For more interesting tourist information for visitors to Pretoria and the surrounding area, please visit our Tourism Page.