What To Do In Pretoria
The Pretoria National Botanical Gardens is a true botanical tapestry. Boasting the presence of 50% of the entire country’s tree species, a picnic with the kids in this urban oasis can be an enjoyable and educational outing. Put on a warm jacket and follow the paved walkway through the two diverse sections of the garden.
Adults pay R33 entry and children R15. Kiddies under the age of six can enter the Botanical Gardens, and run wild, for free.
Details: Cussonia Avenue, Brummeria / 012 843 5071 / http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/pretoria
Irene Farm is a fully operational dairy farm located between Pretoria East and Centurion. There is plenty of space to walk around and enjoy the farm animals, bird life, beautiful surroundings and fresh air. Irene Farm has two on-site restaurants, a farm shop and a spacious garden area with a children’s playground. Entrance to the farm is completely free. If you intend to have a bite at one of the restaurants after letting your little one run around for a while, advance booking is highly recommended.
Details: Nellmapius Drive, Irene / 012 667 4822 / http://www.irenefarm.co.za/
The notorious Bellville native sons from the rock and roll band, who celebrated fifteen years in the industry recently, have been building and developing their very own recreational hangout right here in the capital city for some time now. We’re happy to report that work is finally completed. The grand opening was on the 2nd of February. It had its soft opening a week prior to that, but the brand spanking new Fokofpolisiekar-styled bar is now officially open for business.
What To See In Pretoria
The Voortrekker Monument
Kom ons begin met die highly-charged, frequently-cited Voortrekker Monument. While those who hold their history and culture dear have an obvious affinity for the monument, a wholly new image is emerging for the rest of the citizenry. The former associations are falling away, and it is nowadays valued by all Pretorians more for its design and statuesque presence on the hill.
Its declaration as a National Heritage Site in 2011 is testimony to its natural value as a grand piece of architecture. Designed by Gerard Moerdijk, construction took more than a decade, with building starting circa 1937 and only ending in 1949. At 40m tall, the monument also contains the biggest marble frieze anywhere in the world, in the Hall of Heroes dome.
Details: Eeufees Rd, Groenkloof 358-Jr / 012 326 6770 / http://www.vtm.org.za/
The Union Buildings
Now probably more famous for having the greatest concentration of unproductive morons to regularly gather in one place, the architecture here still outshines the politics. Designed by Herbert Baker, the Union Buildings have an almost regal and often fascinating element to them. Completed in 1913, the accomplished (Sir) Baker sculpted Cape Dutch, Neoclassical and Edwardian touches out of the sandstone used throughout the construct.
Also a National Heritage Site, many consider the Union Buildings to be Baker’s magnum opus. Although he built many other stunning buildings afterwards, few were ever on the scale of the Gauteng houses of parliament. Tours are available and, certainly as a Pretoria citizen, you should take one sometime, kind of like how it should be illegal to live in Cape Town unless you’ve been up the cable car.
Details: Government Ave, Blackmoor / 012 300 5200 / http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/
What tally of wonderful buildings would be complete without a haunted house? Erasmus Castle is classified as a Victorian Art Nouveau building, but the mansion has a colloquial moniker too – die spookhuis! It’s allegedly haunted but – don’t worry – you’ll never get a chance to thrill yourself one Friday night with a group of chommas and a weak torch. The property now belongs to Armscor, and it would seem silly to go snooping around an arms manufacturer’s premises, don’t you think?
Details: Cnr. Delmas & Nossob, Erasmuskloof / 012 355 6999 / http://www.armscor.co.za/
Where To Eat In Pretoria
A fifth generation restaurateur and celebrated chef, Fortunato Mazzone’s food philosophy eschews precision. Fortunato (fondly known as Forti) is a man of many contrasts: a high-tech enthusiast who runs an old-school kitchen equipped with a pot of master stock; a qualified economist who has studied opera and law and a chef with no fear of expressing his ideals through his food. Presentation is key when it comes to fine dining. Each dish looks like a work of art, replicated perfectly with every order. Forti Grill & Bar does not fail in this department.
Detals: Time Square, Menlyn / 012 003 6180 / https://www.suninternational.com/time-square/restaurants/forti-grill-and-bar/
For quite some time now Exec Chef Pellie Grobler has been on my radar. My Instagram feed (a platform I whole-heartedly believe changed the face of the culinary industry for the better) has been filled with wonderful creations plated by Chef Pellie and his staff over at the Black Bamboo in Ashlea Gardens. The ever-evolving menu, with suggested pairing options from a remarkable wine list, for each artistic meal is proof that “fine dining” is on the rise. A passion for food, as well as an intimate understanding of what people enjoy eating and how they interact with the experience, is what drives Chef Pellie’s pursuit of culinary perfection.
Details: Tugela Rd, Ashlea Gardens / 084 508 9752 / https://theblackbamboo.co.za/
Cowfish is a shining example of how modern eateries are leaning more and more towards a fusion of cuisines. Chucking convention out the window, Cowfish offers a fresh combination of what people simply love to eat: burgers, sushi and dim sum. The burgers are served with a generous amount of toppings and the Asian-based creations at Cowfish have yet to disappoint. The meals on offer at Cowfish are inventive and interesting, with some great G&T options on the drinks menu. And the laid-back décor adds to the casually trendy ambience of this funky eatery.
Details: 11 Hazelwood Road, Menlo Park / 074 111 8033 / https://www.facebook.com/CowFishZA/
Where To Sleep In Pretoria
Discover a new generation of hotels in Pretoria. A trailblazing first for Sun International and South Africa, The Maslow Time Square features a variety of Pretoria accommodation options, all under one roof. Located in the heart of the Menlyn Maine Precinct, The Maslow Time Square is a premier hotel in Pretoria which gives you access to unrivaled entertainment, top retail outlets and the finest culinary experiences on offer.
Details: Aramist Ave, Menlyn / 012 003 6011 / https://www.suninternational.com/time-square/rooms/
The Orient Hotel
Enjoy Arabian nights on the Pretorian countryside. Set in a 280ha conservancy in the Crocodile River valley, this Moorish-styled castle makes you feel as if you are walking onto the film set of Casablanca in vivid living colour. Swing by the Retaurant Mosiac and experience international award winning cuisine by Chef Chantel Dartnall and her team.
Details: Francolin Ave, Elandsfontein / 012 371 2902 / https://www.the-orient.net/