South Africa: Pretoria

Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) capital; the other two being Cape Town and Bloemfontein, respectively the legislative and judicial capitals.

Nguni-speaking settlers, who became known as the Ndebele (derived from their Sotho nickname of 'refugees'), are thought to have been the first people to recognise the suitability of the Apies river valley as a place to put down roots. They named the river after one of their chiefs, Tshwane (little ape), which became translated in the Afrikaans 'Apies'. During the migratory wars in Natal, another band of refugees arrived here under the leadership of Mzilikazi, but they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832.

The Voortrekkers were the next people to settle in this lovely valley, with its protection provided by the surrounding rocky ridges. The site was eventually chosen in the 1850's as a central seat of governent for the bands of Voortrekkers scattered all over Transvaal. They named their capital after Andries Pretorius, the Boer hero at the battle of Blood river against the Zulus.

More places of interest in South Africa

Addo Elephant National Park | Blyde River Canyon | Cape Town | Hluhluwe & Umfolozi | Knysna | Kruger National Park | Orange River | Oudtshoorn | Pilgrim's Rest | South Drakensberg | St Lucia | Tsitsikamma National Park | Zuurberg National Park