Pretoria, adorned with purple flowering jacaranda trees, is the de facto capital of South Africa. Soon to be known as Tshwane, Pretoria is somewhat calmer – and safer - than its southern neighbor, Johannesburg.
This sedate and leafy city offers a fantastic outdoor lifestyle, with plenty of parks and outdoor activities. However, don't be lulled into a false sense of security by Pretoria’s veneer of serenity; the city suffers its share of crime, which makes wandering around on foot after dark, or letting your children roam the streets on their bikes, inadvisable.
Waterkloof and Groenkloof are among the beautiful older parts of town, where detached houses flank tree-lined streets. Many of these have large gardens, most with swimming pools. Families here spend most of their leisure time either at home in their garden with friends, or at other people's houses for braais (BBQs).
What is special or unique about your city?
Pretoria is one of South Africa's three capital cities, serving as the executive or administrative capital. Many of the city's streets are lined with jacaranda trees that blossom purplish-blue in spring, giving rise to the city's nickname of "Jacaranda City." Having grown in a much more organized and sedate manner than its bustling neighbor Johannesburg and, thanks to some great foresight by the city fathers, it also boasts over 100 parks, including bird sanctuaries and nature reserves. Pretoria also plays host to many diverse cultural and artistic activities, the Pretoria State Theatre being in the forefront of these.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Pretoria is a lovely city, sprawling across the hills of the northern Highveld, quietly absorbing the cultural mixes that its designation of administrative capital brings to it.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Pretoria's welcome and hospitality help to strengthen the first impressions of tranquility and beauty.
What is the local language?
Although there are 11 officially recognized languages in South Africa, English is the official language.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
It is advisable to have at least a working knowledge of English.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Respect for all other cultures and traditions, as well as patience and tolerance for all people whose home language is not English.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
November to April is mostly warm to hot, with afternoon and evening thunderstorms that can cause a moderate drop in the temperature. May to October tends toward sunny, warm days, but cold to very cold early mornings and evenings, with early morning frost a common occurrence. Layered dressing is advisable. Pretoria tends to be a couple of degrees warmer than Johannesburg, despite only being approximately 50 kilometers apart.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, home to both the largest residential university in the country, the University of Pretoria, and the largest distance education university, the University of South Africa, more commonly known as UNISA. The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is also located in Pretoria.