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Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital, is located in the northeast of the country in the Gauteng Province. Many of the streets are lined with Jacaranda trees, which have a beautiful mauve blossom in spring. These trees have earned the city the nickname Jacaranda City, while plans have been put in place to rename the city to Tshwane.
The centre of Pretoria, Church Square is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Old Council Chambers and the Tudor Chambers.
Shopping malls and chain stores mean its a good place to stop and shop.
If it's your bag check out the Tswaing ('Place of Salt') Crater situated about 50 kilometres north of Pretoria. It gets 12,000 visitors a year because it's one of the best preserved meteor craters in the world. It's got a museum and entry to the area costs around R15 with guided tours available for a little more. To the west of Pretoria you can head out to Hartebeespoort Dam for a day, but the area is generally quite busy with locals flocking to the area on their days off.
Pretoria will be a host city for the World Cup 2010. World Cup matches in Pretoria will be held the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, one of the oldest stadiums in South Africa. The stadium has been used for major sporting events since 1903 and since 1948 it has undergone perennial upgrades. It has been used for both rugby and football matches and is home to one of the country's top rugby teams, the Blue Bulls. Loftus Versfeld is in the heart of Tshwane/Pretoria and currently has a seating capacity of over 50,000.
Due to its copious number of jacaranda trees, Pretoria is often referred to by South Africans as Jacaranda City. In late spring when the trees are in bloom, the area takes on a purplish hue. October’s Jacaranda Festival honors the native symbol with family entertainment and a special market.
Pretoria has a fairly moderate climate compared to many other parts in the country. Temperatures average around 27 °C from October to March and around 20 °C from June to August. Nights are roughly around 13 °C to 17 °C during winter, but only around 3 degrees on average in June and July. Extremes of 35 °C and -4 °C have been recorded. May to October is fairly dry, November to March is the rainy season with between 100 and 150 mm of rain each month.
Fly into Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport (IATA code: JNB/). From there the R21 (Albertina Sisulu Highway) leads to Pretoria. Airport shuttles are available at the airport or can be booked in advance.
Shosholoza Meyl is the national railway and the main routes are:
The N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national highways all connect in the Gauteng region, making Pretoria easily accessible by car from around the country.
Distances from Pretoria:
Pretoria is quite a large city, so it's likely you will need your car to get from your hotel to the main sights. Walking the streets at night is not recommended. Major car rental agencies in Pretoria include Avis, Budget Car Rental, Europcar, Hertz, and First Car Rental.
|Kia-ora Backpackers||257 Jacob Mare Street Berea||Hostel||-|
|Friends Accommodation Services||130 Mackenzie street Brooklyn||Guesthouse||-|
|Guesthouse Threebees Bed & Breakfast||Horridusplace 10 Pretoria||Guesthouse||-|
|Red Ivory Backpackers||Plot 190 Zandsontein||Hostel||-|
|Khayalethu Backpackers||357 Richard Street||Hostel||-|
|Dinkwe Guest House||873, 30th Avenue Rietfontein||Guesthouse||-|
|Cullinan Backpackers||82 Library street||Hostel||-|
|Grosvenor Gardens||Pretorius Street||Apartment||-|
|The Hotel 224||C/O Schoeman and Leyds street||Hotel||-|
|Manhattan Hotel||247 Scheiding Street||Hotel||-|
|Murray Street 137 Guest House||Murray Street 137 Brooklyn||Guesthouse||-|
|Roode Valley Country lodge||81 Kameeldrift East Zeekoegat||Guesthouse||-|
|Cranes Nest @ 313||313 Aquilla Street Waterkloof||Apartment||-|
|1322 Backpackers||1322 Arcadia Street Hatfield||Hostel||-|
|Pretoria Backpackers||425 Farenden street Clydesdale Pretoria||Hostel||-|
Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, and it's home to the country's largest residential, the Tshwane University of Technology.
Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).
See also International Telephone Calls
South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.
South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.
There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.
The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.
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