Tuks is the tertiary institution of choice for students from all over South Africa, so their newfound home might deviate from what you may be used to. This is an outline of some of Pretoria’s characteristics such as its weather, transport and entertainment spots to help you get acquainted with the capital.
The city is situated in a valley in the transitional area between the Highveld and the Bushveld. Its climate is humid subtropical with seasonal summer rainfalls and dry, clear-skied winters. The valley traps the heat of summer, contributing to high temperatures and humidity. Winter is an especially confusing time (not just because of exams) the clear skies and frigid temperature mean you run the risk of sunburn while freezing in the winter wind. Pretoria has its windy days, particularly around the change of seasons.
Being one of the country’s capitals means that there are several options of transportation available. Decent pedestrian infrastructure exists, commuter rail services are run by Metrorail, two Gautrain stations are present within the city (Hatfield and Pretoria) with several Gautrain bus routes. Public bus services are offered by the Tshwane municipality such as A Re Yeng bus rapid transit services, taxi ranks, and the University of Pretoria’s own bus service between campuses.
Congestion is very real and time-consuming in the mornings and the afternoons, so beware of 08:00 and 16:00.Therefore, make sure you leave home in time for your 07:30 lectures and your late 17:30 tests.
While the city is comparatively safe, constant vigilance is necessary and advised. There are security services present on all of the University of Pretoria’s campuses.
Although Pretoria is not the entertainment hotspot of the country, there are a few places that you can go to keep yourself entertained. Near campus, there are bars and clubs like Aandklas, Springboks and Jolly’s which will make sure that you have a very active nightlife. For a weekly update, make sure to catch Perdeby’s weekly party guide published every Tuesday. Africa’s second biggest mall, Menlyn is about 20 minutes from Hatfield depending on traffic so if the itch to shop hits you, Menlyn is the best place to go to in Pretoria. If you want something more relaxed you can visit the Pretoria Zoo or the Pretoria Botanical Gardens for some quiet time outside.
Image: Michael Ridge