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If ever there was a suburb in Pretoria indicative of the status that the capital city of South Africa holds, then Hatfield would be that suburb. Hatfield is known by the locals as the embassy suburb and boasts magnificent palatial homes found along wide jacaranda-lined streets. Besides its prestigious standing, Hatfield is literally minutes from the Pretoria CBD, putting travellers within easy reach of the city’s attractions and business district. Furthermore, Hatfield itself is home to numerous lifestyle centres, excellent restaurants, chic cafés and bistros, and many other amenities.
There is a large student community resident in the suburb, the University of Pretoria being within walking distance. Hatfield includes an urban village where residences, businesses and recreation facilities are housed within the complex.
The suburb of Hatfield could best be defined as part academic, part old money with a bit of bohemia thrown into the mix.
Top 8 reasons to visit Hatfield
1. The University of Pretoria houses the magnificent Mapungubwe Collection of ancient gold figures and artefacts discovered at the Mapungubwe Iron Age UNESCO world heritage site, north of Hatfield. Entrance is free.
2. Duncan Yard is a maze of restaurants and fashionable stores more inclined towards bespoke merchandise. Other shopping centres in the area include the 70-store Hatfield Plaza and The Field Village.
3. The landmark Union Buildings, designed in 1908 by Sir Herbert Baker and the seat of the South African government, means many things to city residents and visitors; it’s a place of history, a public gathering place, a memorial to reflect upon, and a park with attractive terraced gardens.
4. Spend a few hours at the National Zoological Gardens along the Apies River, the zoo itself considered one of the finest in the world. The facility conducts important research and hosts regular educational programmes.
5. For a fun family outing, visit the Fort Klapperkop heritage site. The fort was erected during the 1899-1902 South African War and has a permanent hands-on display of military equipment, an old locomotive and Pretoria’s last tram.
6. Take a drive to the Fountains Valley Resort to enjoy a picnic alongside the river. This popular resort has swimming pools and designated braai (barbeque) areas. Paths lead to various hiking trails in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve where several buck species reside.
7. The vast Pretoria Art Museum showcases significant South African art, works include those of Pierneef and Irma Stern.
8. The symbolic Voortrekker Monument was built to honour the Voortrekkers and is a worthwhile visit to view the amazing stone and lattice work, the tapestries 10 years in the making and the 92m marble frieze depicting an historic timeline.
The nearest airport is OR Tambo International Airport, 50km from Hatfield. Catch the Gautrain, a fast train service that travels between the OR Tambo Airport and the Hatfield business district. Car rental agencies are located at the airport and throughout Pretoria city or book a vehicle online. Metered taxi companies are based in and around Hatfield. If you have the Uber app, order a ride via your mobile phone.
Did you know?
The British Architect Sir Herbert Baker was responsible for the design of many Pretoria buildings, most notable being the Union Buildings and Pretoria railway station. Local stone was used, some quarried from as far afield as Bela Bela. He was later knighted for his work done on Parliament House in New Delhi, India.
In 1940, renowned local artist Gerard Sekoto sold a painting to the Johannesburg Art Gallery but was refused entry to view his artwork. He pretended to be a cleaner to gain entrance. Some of his work is currently on display in the Pretoria Art Museum.