Pretoria City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2007

Pretoria was founded in 1855, and is one of the three capital cities of South Africa. Named after the prominent South African political leader and general, Andries Pretorius, the city is a multifaceted conglomeration of different cultures and nationalities, all of which come together to form a uniquely diverse society.

The city is gifted with many remarkable architectural structures that speak volumes of its proud history, many of them gorgeously framed by a backdrop of breathtaking Jacaranda trees that come into full bloom in October. As much a world cultural center as it is a seat of research and education, Pretoria offers visitors a charming old world experience that is balanced with a cosmopolitan urban sensibility.

Residential Places in Pretoria

Pretoria has traditionally often been compared to Johannesburg in many respects, and it is no different in the area of real estate. Prices of residential and commercial properties in Pretoria on the whole tend to be almost twice as much as they are in Johannesburg. This can perhaps be explained by the higher disposable income of the residents of Pretoria and their more stable overall financial situation, which makes them more willing to pay higher prices for residential properties.

Some of the more scenic neighborhoods in the city are Willow Park Manor, Equestria, La Montagne, Die Wilgers, and Meyerspark. In these areas, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of R1, 900,000 for a stately 3 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms and 2 garages, to about R455, 000 to R550, 000 for a smaller 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house.

Hospitals and Universities of Pretoria

Health care is generally very good throughout South Africa, both in terms of service and facilities. There are a number of general hospitals in Pretoria as well as specialist medical establishments that cater to specific medical concerns. Among the better hospitals are Pretoria Academic Hospital, Pretoria East Private Hospital, Pretoria Eye Institute, Pretoria Urology Hospital, and the Pretoria West Hospital.

South Africa’s pride: Education in Pretoria

South Africa prides itself as a center of education and research, and Pretoria upholds this claim admirably with a host of colleges and universities that are among the best in the world. Some of the tertiary learning institutions that you can find in the city are the Cornwall Hill College, Cranefield Institute of Management, Tshwane North College, and University of Pretoria.

The University of Pretoria or PE is one of the most respected research universities in South Africa and the largest university in the country. The university registered a total of almost 50,000 students in 2006 that were enrolled in more than 2,000 academic programs. One of only four universities in the country that has made it into the list of top 500 universities in the world, PE has since 1996 managed to produce the highest research output of all the universities in the country.

Pretoria is also the location of the University of South Africa, which is actually a distance learning educational institution offering courses in agriculture, environmental sciences, economics, management, accounting, business studies, arts, education, languages, communications and many other fields of study.

The University of South Africa has been accredited by the South African Council on Higher Education. You can contact them by phone at 0861 670 411 within the country, and +27 11 670-9000 internationally. You can also email them at [email protected] and visit their website at www.unisa.ac.za for more information.

Commercial Places in Pretoria

Pretoria’s multicultural heritage is evident in the wide variety of restaurants and food establishments that can be found all over the city. One thing is for sure: you will never run out of food options here! Greenfields Restaurant in the Castle Walk center is well worth checking out for delectable selection of dishes prepared with a traditional touch. Casablanca Manor boasts of an impressive menu that is made more memorable by the rustic yet stylish safari-themed interior. Finally, for a gastronomic experience that combines all the best elements of Indian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, and South African cuisine, check out Lucit Restaurant at Belrene Street.

Service Establishments of Pretoria

Electricity in Pretoria is supplied primarily by Eskom, who is also responsible for providing electricity for much of South Africa through the national transmission system, which the company owns and operates. The company generates more than 40,000 megawatts of electricity, and is one of the largest utility companies in the world. You can find out more information about Eskom on the company website: www.eskom.co.za.

Wi-Fi access is readily available throughout most of Pretoria through the Always-On Company, which you can reach at +27 (0) 11 575-2505. You can pay for access by credit card from any of a number of access points, among them Cafe Dulce at the Centurion Mall, City Lodge in Arcadia, JB Rivers at Lynwood, the Holiday Inn at Arcadia, Villa Sterne Guesthouse at Waterkloof Ridge, and virtually every branch of Mugg&Bean. Prices are around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.

Embassies in Pretoria

For any consular assistance that you may require while you are in Pretoria, you are in luck, as the British High Commission offices can be found right in the city. You can find them at 255 Hill Street, Arcadia 0002, and you can call them at the following telephone numbers: (27) (12) 421 7500 for the switchboard, (27) (12) 421 7733 for general inquiries, (27) (12) 421 7800 for consular inquiries, (27) (12) 421 7801 for passport related inquiries, and (27) (12) 421 7802 for Visa inquiries.

You can also fax them at the following numbers: (27) (12) 421 7555 for the switchboard, (27) (12) 421 7599 for general inquiries, (27) (12) 421 7877 for passport related inquiries, and (27) (12) 421 7888 for Visa inquiries.

The consular section can be found at this address: Liberty Life Place, Block B, 1st Floor 256, Glyn Street, Hatfield 0083. You can call them at (27) (12) 421 7802 for Visas, and at (27) (12) 421 7801 for passports. You can also fax them at (27) (12) 421 7888 for Visas and at (27) (12) 421 7877 for passports.

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