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Things to Do in Pretoria That Are Free & Affordable

Things to Do in Pretoria That Are Free & Affordable

Pretoria is a vibrant city with many attractions, but you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it. Whether you want to explore the rich history, culture, nature, or art of the city, you can do it on a budget!

Here are some free and affordable activities to enjoy in Pretoria, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure.

Free Things to Do in Pretoria

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Pretoria’s Church Street, now divided into Stanza Bopape, Helen Joseph, WF Nkomo, and Elias Motsoaledi streets, is the longest urban street in South Africa. 

With a length of 26 kilometres, it’s also one of the longest and straightest in the world.

Taking a drive along these streets offers a look at Pretoria’s historical sites and allows reflection on its significant role in the anti-apartheid struggle. It’s a must-visit for those wanting to explore Pretoria’s lively centre and learn about its past.

Pro Tip:
Pretoria is known as Jacaranda City because of the pretty purple jacaranda trees that bloom in spring, making the streets look really beautiful.

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Address: Government Ave, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 300 5200

Admission: Free

The Union Buildings in Pretoria, designed by architect Herbert Baker, are a great spot for a picnic. It took almost three years and 1,300 workers to build these government offices and their beautiful gardens.

You can enjoy the view and visit the impressive nine-meter statue of Nelson Mandela unveiled in 2013. It’s a perfect location for a summer day outing with its lush parklands surrounding the iconic structures.

Pro Tip:
The best time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too harsh. 

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Address: Corner of and, Roper St & Boshoff St, Muckleneuk, Pretoria, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 440 8316

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 7 AM to 6 PM 

Admission: Free entrance to bird hides

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Pretoria is named after J Austin Roberts, a self-taught bird and mammal expert born in 1883. Famous for his South African reference books, he tragically died in a 1948 motor accident.

Despite changes in the area, it’s still a great place to see common birds up close, even though some, like the brown hooded kingfisher and certain frogs, have disappeared.

Pro Tip:
Sunday afternoons at Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary are ideal for family picnics with opportunities to spot various birds around the Blue Crane restaurant area.

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Address: 2 Cussonia Street, Brummeria, Pretoria, 0184, South Africa

Phone: +27(0)12 843 5071

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 6 PM 


  • Pre-scholars (under 6 years old) – FREE
  • Scholars (6 to 17 years old) – R20
  • Adults – R60
  • Senior Citizens – FREE on Tuesdays

Pretoria National Botanical Garden is a large garden in Pretoria with two parts—one colder and one warmer—divided by a tall rock. You can walk on a trail to see plants and animals on the rock.

The garden features a dedicated section showcasing diverse South African flora within various habitats like savannas and forests. The garden is not only a scenic attraction but also a research center for scientists.

Pro Tip:
For dining options near the garden, you can try Milk Plum Cafe (0.5 km), which serves cafe food and international dishes; and African Pride Cafe (0.6 km), which offers African cuisine.


Address: C/O Garsfontein rd and Tierpoort road across Q4 Garage, Pretoria, South Africa

Phone: +27 83 311 0025

Admission: FREE

Klitsgras Drumming hosts fun drumming sessions with good music around a fire. You can drum or just hang out with some pizza and a drink while fire dancers and local musicians perform.

The family-friendly event happens every second Saturday, starting at 4:00 PM; the drumming starts at 6:00 PM. They also cater to team-building events, offering the benefits of group drumming for communication and stress relief.

Pro Tip:
No drum? No problem. You can rent one at Sights & Sounds, a shop with cool instruments, clothes, and jewelry. 


Address: Pretoria Boeremark, 665 Moreletta Street, Entrance, 670 Krige Street, Silverton, Pretoria, 0184, Gauteng, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)12 804-8031

Operating Hours: Saturday – 5:30 AM to 9:30 AM 

Admission: Free

Pretoria Boeremark, a Saturday-morning farmers’ market, is a cool way to start your weekend. Farmers bring their best stuff, like fresh bread and yummy pies, early.

They also have tasty treats such as vetkoek (fried dough bread), melkkos (milk porridge), and pancakes. This family-friendly market has been around for over 20 years, offering a real South African experience with all sorts of neat stuff.

Pro Tip:
For the best deals and product choices in the popular market, you should arrive early to avoid crowds, especially before 7 am. Early arrival ensures better quality and a less hectic shopping experience.


Address: Pretoria High school Old Boys Club, 378 Queens Crescent, Lynnwood, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Phone: +27 78 593 7716

Operating Hours: Saturday – 8 AM to 2 PM 

Admission: Free

The Hazel Food Market in Pretoria is like a treasure trove for food enthusiasts. You can explore a wide variety of treats, from fresh bread and organic veggies to unique international delights like Dutch croquettes and Bunny Chow.

They’ve created a cosy communal area, perfect for catching up with friends over a relaxing cappuccino. 

Pro Tip:
Bring cash and a reusable bag. Most vendors only accept cash and some charge extra for plastic bags. 


Address: 387 Helen Joseph St, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

Phone: +27 60 858 8607

Operating Hours: Saturday – 11 AM to 11:55 PM


  • Regular Tickets – R80
  • Children under 13 & Cyclists – FREE

Market @ The Sheds is this cool social spot in Pretoria organized by the Capital Collective. It’s a reconstructed warehouse filled with over 50 stalls offering everything from music and art to fashion and tasty bites like tacos from a kombi.

During the day, local bands set the mood with jazzy tunes, and when the sun sets, DJs take over for an energetic afterparty. 

Pro Tip:
To make the most of your day at Market @ The Sheds, stop by African Beer Emporium for some special burgers, Let’s Ene Designs for unique accessories, and Rock n Roses for beautiful flowers.

Cheap Things to Do in Pretoria

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Address: Cnr Francis Baard and Wessels Street, Arcadia Park, Pretoria

Phone: 012 358 6750

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 10 AM to 5 PM


  • Adults – R25
  • Pensioners & Students – R12
  • Wednesdays – R2

The Pretoria Art Museum is a great place for South African art lovers. You can check out artworks from way back in the 1600s, including work by artists like Henk Pierneef and Irma Stern.

Established in 1964, the Pretoria Art Museum started with a focus on South African art, while other museums handled European pieces. Today, it collects and preserves a wide range of South African art, from historical to contemporary works.

Pro Tip:
You can arrange a guided tour for an enriched museum experience. Afterwards, take a stroll through Arcadia’s streets, known for their beautiful historic buildings.


Address: City Hall, 432 Paul Kruger St, Pretoria Central, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 492 5744

Operating Hours: Open daily – 7:30 AM to 4 PM


  • Adults – R50
  • Children – R25

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History has been around since 1892 and is the best place to learn about South Africa’s nature. It’s in Gauteng, the only natural history museum there, and one of the biggest in the country.

Inside, you’ll find impressive displays, including Mrs Ples, a complete Australopithecus africanus skull! Plus, you’ll also find lots of animal skeletons, skins, and mounted specimens. 

What makes this museum stand out is its commitment to education, being the only institute in Gauteng that allows public access to original fossil material.

Pro Tip:
Attend the talks by established scientists and researchers and stay updated on the latest discoveries and developments in natural history. To join these activities, email [email protected]


Address: Lynnwood Rd, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0002

Phone: +27 (012) 420 3767

Operating Hours: Open daily – 11 AM to 2 PM


  • Minimum of 5 people – R50
  • Each additional person – R10

The Camera Obscura at Pretoria University is a glimpse into the origins of cameras. It gives you a unique view of Pretoria behind lenses in a dim room.

For the optimal city center view, it’s recommended to visit in the morning when the sunlight illuminates the area from the east. They run Camera Obscura Tours at Sci-Enza, the oldest interactive Science Centre in Africa.

Pro Tip:
Sci-Enza centre has lots of cool stuff to check out aside from Camera Obscura. You can dive into the exhibits on topics like robots, coding, space, and chemistry. 


Address: The Big Red Barn, C/O Nelson & Glen Road, Sunlawns Estate, Olifantsfontein, Centurion, Pretoria

Phone: +27 (021) 201 1121

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 4 PM 


  • 7 years and older – R100

Acrobranch Centurion, over near Irene at The Big Red Barn, is a cool spot for outdoor fun. They have a high-flying course with a 300-meter zip line and tree-top adventure courses for all levels, from beginners to thrill-seekers.

The activities help build confidence and coordination, all in a beautiful forest, with guides making sure it’s safe and enjoyable.

Pro Tip:
Wear comfortable clothes and closed shoes that can get dirty. You’ll be climbing, swinging, jumping, and zipping through the trees, so dress accordingly. 

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Address: Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)12 808 5174 or +27 (0)82 638-6778

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 6 AM to 6 PM


  • Adult – R45
  • Children – R35

Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve, just a hop southeast of Pretoria in Dinokeng, is a massive 200,000-hectare nature getaway. Originally meant for irrigation, it’s now a hotspot for fishing enthusiasts, offering a shot at bass, carp, and kurper.

Nature walks and bird watching are popular, and day trippers often picnic by the dam or try canoeing and fishing from the bank. It’s a convenient, natural retreat near the city.

Pro Tip:
The best times to go are early mornings and evenings when you can see animals and birds, like kudus, warthogs, and finfoots. 

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Address: 1 Lavender Rd, Annlin West, Pretoria, 0182, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 358 1792

Operating Hours: Open daily – 7 AM to 5 PM


  • Adult – R45
  • Pensioners & Schoolchildren (7 to 17 years) – R30
  • Preschool children (2 to 6 years) – R20

Wonderboom Nature Reserve is home to Die Wonderboom, an ancient fig tree that has shrunk over the past millennium. Legends say it once shaded 1,000 people or 22 ox wagons with 20 oxen each.

Even though the tree has grown smaller over time, it’s still a cool spot in the park, surrounded by other attractions, such as hiking trails, wildlife, and historical sites. It’s also a great place for a picnic.

Pro Tip:
The reserve also offers hiking trails that lead to scenic spots, such as the Wonderboom Fort, one of four forts built around Pretoria for protection against the British. The fort is now in ruins but offers a panoramic view of the city. 


Address: 7 Nelson Rd, Sunlawns AH, Olifantsfontein, 1666, South Africa

Phone: +27 82 389 4795

Operating Hours: Open daily – 7 AM to 4:30 PM 


  • Adult – R45
  • Pensioners & Kids under 12 years – R40

Big Red Barn in Olifantsfontein has beautiful bike trails and offers tasty brunch for a mix of fun and good food. The old hay barn is now a big restaurant, giving you a unique place to eat.

The best part is the easy hiking trails, perfect for beginners or a relaxed walk in the forest with family and friends. 

Pro Tip:
Bring along some water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized. There is a full-service restaurant on-site, the Red Barn Café, where you can enjoy a bite to eat or a refreshing drink after your adventure. 


Address: 32 Boom St, Daspoort 319-Jr, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

Phone: +27(0) 12 339 2700

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM 


  • Adult – R100
  • Children – R70

Pretoria Zoo, also known as the National Zoological Gardens, is the biggest zoo in South Africa. With over 600k visitors each year, the zoo actively helps protect endangered species.

This zoo is home to 3,117 animals, including a rare white rhino that was born here. It also offers an inland marine aquarium, a reptile park, and an ‘adopt an animal’ program for a year.

Pro Tip:
Rent a golf cart or a children’s pushcart to explore the zoo at your own pace. You can also ride the jungle train, the Ferris wheel, or the cable car for a different perspective of the zoo.

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Address: 14 Game Reserve Ave, Rietvallei 377-Jr, Pretoria, 0181, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 358 1812

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday – 6 AM to 6 PM 


  • Adult – R68
  • Adults & Schoolchildren (7 to 17 years) – R40
  • Preschool children (2 to 6 years) – R13

Rietvlei Nature Reserve is an urban oasis of 3,800 hectares near Pretoria, at an elevation of 1,700 meters above the sea level. A small herd of five hippos and a cheetah joined the Rietvlei wildlife in recent years.

It’s now home to diverse Highveld game like black wildebeest and blesbok, offering a unique wildlife viewing experience. Bird lovers can catch glimpses of the blue crane, secretary bird, and a pair of fish eagles in this natural gem.

Pro Tip:
You can also visit the nearby Marais Dam, which is a sludge dam that feeds Rietvlei Dam and has a rich birdlife. If you’re into sailing, you can join the Rietvlei Yacht Club and enjoy the water activities on the dam.

Address: Groenkloof Nature Reserve, Groenkloof, Pretoria, Gauteng

Phone: +27 (0)12 440-8316


  • Adult – R51
  • Adults & Schoolchildren (7 to 17 years) – R32
  • Preschool children (2 to 6 years) – R17

Groenkloof Nature Reserve, in Pretoria, is the continent’s first reserve, established in 1895 as a game sanctuary. The reserve, located in Fountains Valley, is known for hiking trails and diverse wildlife.

Despite its urban surroundings, ongoing rehabilitation efforts have made it a safe and enjoyable space. Cyclists can explore a popular 20-kilometre mountain bike route on the reserve’s sand roads.

Pro Tip:
You can also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, 4×4 drives, and picnics in the reserve. Don’t miss Mojo restaurant for a unique dining experience surrounded by nature.

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Address: Johann Rissik Dr, Rylaan, Pretoria, 0105, South Africa

Phone: +27 12 346 7703

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 10 AM to 3 PM 


  • Adult – R25
  • Adults & Students – R12
  • All visitors (Every Wednesday) – R2

Fort Klapperkop in Pretoria was a key defence spot during the Second Anglo Boer War. Now, the museum there gives you a cool look at how soldiers lived during the 1899–1902 war. 

You can check out the rooms with strong walls and turning guns that was part of the German plan. The museum also displays different types of heavy guns that were used to defend the forts, such as the famous 155-mm Creusot cannon (Long Tom).

Pro Tip:
At the entrance, you can find a mobile coffee shop that offers a variety of hot drinks. This is a great way to energize yourself before exploring the fort and its history.

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