Pretoria, one of the nation’s three capitals, has more to it than the jacaranda trees it’s famed for. The array of things to do in Pretoria are as diverse as South Africa, guaranteeing fun for all age groups.
This includes visiting historic monuments, watching the latest flicks on a massive screen or seeing wildlife at nature reserves.
Most of the activities are inexpensive, making them perfect for everyone. If that sounds interesting to you, book some flight tickets as a kicker to your adventures. Read this comprehensive guide below so you can fully plan your trip.
Related read: Check out these tips for Flying with Children if you’re off on a family vacation.
Fun Things To Do In Pretoria
The list of fun stuff to do in Pretoria, Gauteng, is exhaustive. These activities are some of the best ones for all family members.
The Grove Mall
The Grove Mall is a treasure trove for entertainment, providing fun for both young and old. The options are so vast that you could spend the entire day at the mall. And honestly, nobody would blame you.
The Fun Company
The name is certainly self-explanatory; there’s fun galore at one of the prime spots for entertainment in Pretoria! It has a number of activities everyone can take part in for an incredible time.
This includes bumper cars, – without the road rage – tenpin bowling, classic arcade games, a 4D theatre, mini-bowling and laser tag. Prices will vary by activity.
The Grove is home to incredible flick viewing experiences. This includes a 2D & 3D cinema, an IMAX cinema and the luxurious “Cine Prestige”.
You can watch films in 2D and 3D, or opt for the IMAX viewing experience if you prefer a bigger screen. Or perhaps, immerse yourself in your favourite flicks by booking a VIP spot in the Cine Prestige. It has fully reclining leather seats, with a VIP lounge where you can buy amazing food, beverages, popcorn and other snacks.
Ticket pricing will vary but be prepared to part with R98 for just the 2D viewing experience.
The Ice Rink
If you’re interested in trying your hand at ice skating, head to the Grove. The mall is home to the Ice Rink, the only ice skating rink in Pretoria. The arena is open to all ages and ice-skating levels.
You can gracefully glide on ice daily from 9:30 am to 22:00 pm. The only exception being between 19:30 pm and 22:00 pm on Mondays. The rink is only open for professional sports at that time. Entry costs R80 and skates are available to hire for R35.
The Cedar Junction
Cedar Junction is another haven for great fun. It has a long list of fun attractions for the entire family.
This includes scenic mini-train rides around a lake. It makes up for Pretoria’s lack of an ocean, compared to cities like Durban or Cape Town, with a lazy river, four swimming pools and water slides. Young kids will love the jungle gym, trampolines, swings, jumping pillow, horse carousel and cup and saucer rides.
The Junction operates until 17:00 daily. They open at 10:00 on weekdays and 9:00 on weekends. Prices will depend on your group make-up and you can book your fun here.
Note: Water activities are closed during the winter.
Swinging at Acrobranch
Acrobranch will provide you with some of the best outdoor activities in Pretoria. It’s located in Musaiek, in North Pretoria and has many treetop obstacle courses suited for all ages and fitness levels.
These include ziplining across 300m of nothing but trees, walking on a narrow bridge and a swinging Tarzan rope. Kids as young as three years old can join in on the fun at a suitable level. Additionally, you can mountain bike in the area. Kids who aren’t comfortable with joining the treetop fun can also opt for pony rides, target shooting, jungle gyms and more.
Fees depend on the obstacles you choose but range from R90 to R330. They open from 9:00 to 18:00, with the last intake slot being at 16:00. Walk-ins and bookings are welcomed.
To help you re-energise, the Musaiek coffee shop has delicious treats and coffee on offer. Alternatively, you can have a picnic or braai with your family – you just have to book in advance with the coffee shop.
Note: Acrobranch is a cash-free zone, you’ll have to use your card.
Places To Visit In Pretoria
Thanks to the rich history of South Africa, there are tons of places to see in Pretoria. These all offer up something different for all visitors. From history enthusiasts to animal lovers, there’s something for everyone!
National Zoological Garden of South Africa
Known as the “Pretoria Zoo”, it’s the largest zoo in South Africa. Therefore, it also has a wealth of animals to show for its size.
Three of the Big Five animals, including lions, elephants and the endangered black rhino, can be seen at this zoo. Other animals include the nationally treasured Blue Crane, sea life in the aquarium, leopards, tigers, giraffes and the rare okapi.
You can roam around the zoo in rentable golf carts, ride a cableway for a drone-like view or walk on your own two feet. Its expansive list of animals makes it one of the best things to do with kids in Pretoria. The zoo is open daily between 8:00 and 17:00; tickets cost R110 for adults and R80 for children.
Freedom Park was built to appreciate those who played a huge part in the freedom of South African. Today, it stands as a significant historic monument and anyone interested in South African history must visit.
It has two different parts, the Garden of Remembrance and the //Hapo Freedom Park Museum. The Garden of Remembrance is a tranquil space celebrating all freedom fighters, which has several attractions. This includes the Eternal Flame, the Wall of Names and a hushed Sanctuary.
//Hapo recounts the history of Africa, with a focus on Southern Africa. It teaches this history through seven epochs, each focusing on a distinct period. Admission into the Freedom Park costs R45 for children, pensioners and the disabled; adults pay R65, and overseas visitors pay R150. The prices include guided tours.
Pretoria Art Museum
Located in the heart of Pretoria, this art museum is as large as it is impressive. It will surely scratch your artsy side’s itch with an extensive collection of art pieces.
The museum is mostly focused on showcasing South African work, but it also holds some renowned international pieces. The museum also hosts several national and international exhibitions.
Admission into the museum is R22 for adults, R12 for pensioners and R7 for learners. You can book guided tours for as little as R22 per child and R42 per adult.
Free Things To Do In Pretoria
Visiting Pretoria on a budget? Don’t worry, there are several fun activities in Pretoria that won’t largely eat into your bank balance. Even if you aren’t on a budget, they will leave you feeling happy – free of charge!
The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is in the Muckleneuk suburb, a surprising place for a reserve to be. Here, you can view several bird species as they soar into the sky or gather around to drink water. You can get an even closer look at the birds by going into the bird hide.
Afterwards, spoil yourself with great food and drinks from the Blue Crane Restaurant’s menu. While eating, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Blue Crane strutting its stuff outside your window. Kids also get access to a play area to extend their fun.
The Union Buildings
The union buildings are huge; they were, of course, the largest buildings in South Africa at some point. The structures also exhibit a part of the country’s history as well as being a part of it. It showcases this history by using various statues and monuments, making it a worthy visit.
These historical archives include the newly unveiled OR Tambo statue and a 9 m tall Nelson Mandela statue. The Mandela statue is world-renowned for being the tallest statue of the former leader. It’s also incredible to marvel at or take a picture with.
Spoil yourself with a picnic on its beautiful green lawn surrounded by exquisite flora.
Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve
If you’re looking to escape the frantic city life, the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve is a must-visit. It is surprisingly free to enter and explore. What makes it surprising is that the nature reserve is home to a diverse ecosystem, which you would normally pay to see.
This includes an abundance of birds and plants, and game such as springboks, impala and zebras. You can explore the reserve on three different hiking trails, each taking you through a breathtaking area. Pets, picnics, music and loud noise aren’t allowed.
For food, you can pack your own or sit down and have a delicious meal at the Rademeyers Restaurant. The reserve is open for 12 hours, from 6:00 in the summer and 7:00 in the winter. Guided tours and photoshoots are available for you.
Related Read: Find out why a Safari is the Best Family Activity right now.
What To Do In Pretoria: Ready To Start Your Adventure?
Having read up on the best things to do around Pretoria, it’s clear there’s more to it than meets the eye. The activities on offer are suitable for everyone. From art enthusiasts to thrill seekers, the young and old and those travelling on a budget too – Pretoria welcomes everyone.
With that said, start planning your Pretoria adventures today by booking a flight today!