In the first of a series looking at the host cities of this summer’s FIFA World Cup, BTN looks at Pretoria’s sport tourism credentials, including the attractions and opportunties for business and leisure travellers alike.
Pretoria or Tshwane is the capital of South Africa. Many embassies thus call this city their home. The Union Buildings house the administration of the country and have also been the setting for all the presidential inaugurations of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the incumbent South African president, Jacob Zuma. These sandstone buildings offer beautiful views over the city.
The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link, the rail-bound mass transit system that is being constructed, will serve the Johannesburg-Tshwane corridor and provide a link between Sandton and the OR Tambo International Airport. Funded by the Gauteng provincial government and the private sector, three stations are being constructed in Tshwane (Centurion, Pretoria and Hatfield). The distance between Tshwane and Johannesburg will be covered in less than 35 minutes at a speed of 160 km/h, and open up a number of opportunities for business and tourism.
There is a lively culture in the city with a variety of museums, monuments, historical buildings and art centres. The Science and Technology Museum offers a tactile experience of science at work. The South African mint has a minting press dating back to 1892, which is still in operation. The city also offers township sleepovers with a five-star stay.
(Right: Union Buildings)
Church Square and the State Theatre often host international and national performances. There are also two nature reserves where visitors can view wildlife such as buffalo, antelope, cheetah, jackal, giraffe and sable.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, situated in Tshwane/ Pretoria, is one of the oldest stadiums in South Africa. The stadium has been used for major sporting events since 1903, and the first concrete structure, which could accommodate only 2,000 spectators, was built by the City Council of Pretoria in 1923.
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 50,000. It has hosted many significant matches including during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 1996 CAF African Cup of Nations. It is now used by Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United as their home ground.
South Africa’s national team, Bafana Bafana, achieved its first ever victory over a European side at this venue when they beat Sweden 1-0 in 1999.
From budget to five-star Pretoria hotels, resorts and inns, boutique hotels as well as larger guesthouses which feature all the facilities and services a traveller would expect of an hotel. These Pretoria Hotels and Lodges offer en-suite rooms and public areas, including a guest lounge and dining area where breakfast and dinner (and lunch usually on request) is available.
Doing business in Pretoria
South Africa’s conference venues are of a high standard, with custom-built venues designed to international specifications in major centres. In Pretoria, facilities are also available at hotels, guest houses and educational institutions. These establishments provide facilities for small to large meetings, seminars, corporate events and functions, with a conference or board-room equipped with standard conferencing equipment. Menus can often be customised to suit your budget and the delegates’ requirements.
CSIR International Convention Centre - the centre’s auditoriums, conference, breakaway and function rooms can accommodate groups of between 10 and 450 people. 700 delegates can be accommodated in parallel sessions and up to 1,000 guests can be accommodated for cocktail-type events.
Absa Conference Centre - the ABSA Conference Centre in Montana is nestled amongst the foothills of the Magaliesberg in Montana Park, Pretoria. The centre offers the very best in comfort, convenience and presentation technology at a reasonable price.
Diep in die Berg Conference and Function Centre - this is the ideal facility for your out-of-the-office conference and training requirements or special corporate function. All-purpose conference centre consists of seven conference rooms which can accommodate up to a maximum of 450 delegates.
Moindis Guest House - a quiet, safe and leafy garden in Colbyn, Pretoria invites you to this interesting guesthouse with its earthy ambience and colourful touches of Africa, Morocco and India. Bed and breakfast accommodation is offered as well as self-catering apartments.
Relax in tranquil surrounds. Let the gentle sound of running water cascade over you, lifting your mood. Enjoy superior facilities and those little extras designed to make yours a total experience in excellence.
French flair awaits you in peaceful and beautiful surroundings and a tropical garden at Déjà-Vu where you are offered a tea garden, wedding venue with chapel and a luxurious guesthouse.
Province: Gauteng Province
Population: 2.2 million
Geography: Situated between rocky ridges in the north eastern part of the country. The city is in the transitional area between tropical savannah (Bushveld) and the Highveld plateau.
Climate: Dry winters with temperatures averaging 20°C during the day, dropping to about 5°C at night. Hot summers with occasional thunderstorms, daytime average temperatures 25 to 30°C.
Key Economic Sectors: Services, Commerce, Industry
Professional Football Clubs: Mamelodi Sundowns, Supersport United (Premier) Pretoria University (1st Division)