WATCH | A day in Pretoria for an easy weekend itinerary

Whether you're in Pretoria for work, leisure or visiting family, Pretoria can get overshadowed by its glitzier neighbour - but its a city of history and natural vistas that appear a lot greener than the City of Gold. 

You can start your day with views of the city that would be great on a sunrise or sunset jog past zebras, and then there's also a hidden Italy in Waterkloof Ridge that will almost make you think you're somewhere in Tuscany - although the food looks prettier than it tastes.

READ: The best things in life are free: Here's how to explore Pretoria without spending any money 

glass of juice overlooking a garden

Castello Di Monte. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Heart of reconciliation

But the real heart of the city is its history, from the authority of the Union Buildings to Freedom Park erected to ensure we don't forget where we come from and the ones that sacrificed too much to get us where we are today.

A state-of-the-art interactive exhibit and Wall of Names (which has been controversial with who it chooses to commemorate) makes the park a must-do visit, so plan to spend a few hours here to take it all in. There are also guided tours available that help contextualise our oral and written history and explains the origins of Freedom Park.

ALSO SEE: Super toasty Jozi and Pretoria restaurants with fireplaces 

washing clothes in museum

The Freedom Park museum. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

a chair at the entrance of the wall of names

The Wall of Names. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Modern Menlyn

After a journey through the past propel, yourself right back into the future at Menlyn Maine - a trendy up-and-coming centre that some say might start competing with Sandton soon. Artwork is hidden everywhere, the grandiose Sun Arena is right across the road and at night it feels like parties are thumping from every direction. 

sculpture of a man standing

Outside the Menlyn Maine mall. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

You can also stay over at The Capital hotel, which has a rooftop pool that looks over the square and you can order room service from the Asian fusion restaurant Koi - which has the best dim sum I've ever tasted.

Pretoria is a lot more exciting than you might think.

SEE: SA Road Trips Mapped: Pretoria's wonders, both near and far 

deck hotel pool overelooking square

The Capital's deck pool, which would be pumping in sunnier weather. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

scultpure and trees in menlyn maine

Menlyn Main square. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

*Disclaimer: Gabi Zietsman from Traveller24 was hosted by SA Tourism in Pretoria. 

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