Known as the “Jacaranda City”, Pretoria is home to over 50,000 of these beautiful trees. The city’s wide streets are lined with an abundance of vibrant jacarandas that turn the city into a purple haze when in bloom.
Three universities, multiple sports venues, sprawling suburbs and a Central Business District can also be found in this South African metropolis. In fact, Pretoria is the centre of government, commerce and administration in the country. Many banks, businesses and other large corporations can be found here.
The city also has charming architecture, significant historical sites and a unique urban landscape which calls itself home to a number of smaller parks and gardens. Here are ten of our favourite spots for family-friendly picnicking.
1. Freedom Park
On top of Salvokop Hill sits Freedom Park, a wonderful architectural and historic site. The park contains a series of memorial sites built to commemorate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for freedom and human rights. There is also a museum on-site that honours fallen South Africans. Enjoy a picnic while learning about the rich history of South Africa.
Price: Adults R55.00, Children R35.00
2. Pretoria National Botanical Garden
Themed gardens are the perfect spot for picnics. A paved nature trail makes its way through Pretoria National Botanical Garden offering natural vegetation, grasslands and woodland. Each section boasts a diversity of indigenous plants and species, with over 20,000 flora and plants from around the country found here. Wildlife is the Gardens is vast and varied including over 220 bird species such as hawks, falcons and eagles. Watch out for antelope and mongoose as well. Between the months of December and February, you can watch as the annual migration of the brown-veined white butterfly passes through. Thousands of butterflies fill the sky on route to Mozambique.
3. National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
This venue is the perfect day trip, offering intimate picnic areas and no shortage of fun. There is a reptile park, aquarium, a collection of exotic trees and a cable car that runs to the top of a hill overlooking the city. The Pretoria Zoo is located in Pretoria’s city centre and has over 4,300 animals including 97 mammal species, 161 bird species, 279 fish species, 106 reptile species and seven amphibian species.
Price: Adults R110.00, Children R75.00
4. Burgers Park
Burgers Park is the oldest park in Pretoria and has been named a national monument. It is located in the heart of the city and named for Thomas François Burgers, the fourth president of the South African Republic. A statue of President Burgers also stands in the park. Originally founded as a botanical garden, there are four acres of lushious picnic space.
5. Rietvlei Nature Reserve
Visitors come here not only for picnics, but for fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, angling, cycling and horseback riding. Rietvlei Nature Reserve is truly a hidden treasure. A large dam located in the park is the source of 20% of Pretoria’s drinking water. Visitors have the chance to see wild animals such as rhinos, cheetah, buffalo, black wildebeest, blesbok, zebras and 240 species of birds. There’s also a separate lion encampment you can visit, with a guide.
Price: Adults R55.00, Children R20.00
6. Jan Celliers Park
This park, also known as Protea Park, is beautifully maintained and people can often be found taking photographs in the sunshine. Tranquil and relaxing, the running stream is filled with koi fish, water features and indigenous trees and plants. It also offers a spectacular view of the city. Take it all in, while you indulge in a perfect picnic.
7. Groenkloof Nature Reserve
Groenkloof Nature Reserve has a variety of activities for nature lovers including mountain biking, 4×4 and hiking trails. Of course picnicking is the perfect way to relax between exercise and wildlife viewing. Overnight facilities are also available.
Price: Adults R38.00, Children R22.00
8. Magnolia Dell Park
This quaint spot is a popular public park, and one of Pretoria’s most beautiful. There is a restaurant and tea garden on-site that is ideal for picnics. Magnolia Dell is also a venue for arts and crafts markets.
9. Nkwe Pleasure Resort
This resort has an iconic waterfall and a refreshing rock pool. There are sites for caravans, camping, chalets, log cabins and of course, picnics. There are shaded areas for visitors, as well as braai facilities. Children can play on the jungle gym or take a dip in the pool, and there is a shop available for drinks and eats.
Price: Adults R60.00, Children R20.00
10. Your Own Backyard
What better place to host a family picnic than in the comfort of your own home? You don’t need to go far to find a peaceful retreat, or outdoor space to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Your backyard can be transformed into the perfect picnic area with a little help from Easigrass. Artificial grass is the perfect alternative to create a lasting green space for your home. Contact us for a free quote.