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PODCAST: Hotel groups aren’t out of trouble by any measure

ALEC HOGG: It’s May 17 2012 and in this Boardroom Talk special podcast, Marcel von Aulock, the chief executive of Tsogo Sun, is with us in studio with results for the year to end March. Interesting to see many of the hotel companies have been complaining, really not preforming well, you guys actually had a pretty good year.  

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, we had a pick up in the second nine months of the year, obviously the first quarter was compared to a prior period that had World Cup in it, which is never going to be comparable. But in the second nine months of the year we did see an uptick and we’ve seen occupancies improve by around five percentage points, which is significant.

ALEC HOGG: Explain that in layman’s terms, what does improvement in occupancies mean?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: So we would have been, say, 56%, 57% for those nine months last year and we were at 62%, 63% this year. A good occupancy for a hotel group is somewhere between 68% and 70%, is a long-term sustainable occupancy. So hotel groups aren’t out of trouble by any measure but they’re a lot better than they were a year ago.

ALEC HOGG: Still too many rooms?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: More lack of demand. In our case in particular we service the corporate market and companies [have] cut back significantly since 2008 on travel spend and that doesn’t just get released quickly, you’ve got to have a very comfortable corporate sector before that demand comes back.

ALEC HOGG: It’s your best brand, your best known brand is Southern Sun but you were created through the reverse listing through Gold Reef. So you’ve got Gold Reef City, out south of Johannesburg, we’ll get into Southern Sun in a moment but it’s looking a bit tired, Gold Reef City, do you have any plans to maybe upgrade?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, the theme park itself did pretty well this year, the casino was refurbished just before we took over that business. So the casino itself is in good nick, the theme park does need some work and we’re in the planning with that at the moment, in particular to redevelop the historical part of it and bring back some of the museum factor that we’ve had there.

ALEC HOGG: There is the Apartheid Museum nearby, so do you find foreign tourists are making that a destination?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, the Apartheid Museum was, during the World Cup, the most visited destination in the country and it’s an independent organisation funded by us, we provide the operating costs and the capex for it. It’s very much an integrated part of our business but we don’t associate it too closely to the theme park itself for obvious reasons.

ALEC HOGG: The theme park had its problems, didn’t it? M-Net took a couple of swings at Gold Reef City at one point in time, are you over that now?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, that was about seven years ago, so…

ALEC HOGG: Well, we’ve got long memories [laughing].

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, it was one of those things we did inherit but we’ve solved that. The theme park itself is good, it runs but it needs a refresh, more to increase the footfall and we think we can do more with it, as opposed to just conserve what’s there.

ALEC HOGG: It’s interesting to watch your business though, you always seem to be building somewhere. A few of the examples, The Grace of Rosebank, when that hotel closed down I guess not many people thought Southern Sun would be buying such a small little outlet and yet you paid R85m for it.

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, it was a good opportunity for us, it is small, it’s 75 rooms but we’ve got hotels like that and we’re trying to make it a sister hotel to the Beverly Hills in Umhlanga, which is a very well-known South African landmark, it trades exceptionally well, that’s 80 rooms. The Grace was a nice opportunity because we get freehold title and unlike most hotel groups in the world we prefer to own our properties, it gives you freedom to do what you want, you’re a master of your own destiny. Hotels really have two key issues in life, you must never overgear them and you must watch product obsolescence. Gearing catches you particularly if you don’t own and you’re in a lease structure, etc. So by owning it and by having strong cash flows, backed by a casino company, we can fix a hotel like The Grace and we’re relaunching it as 54 on Bath and it will take its rightful place in that market.

ALEC HOGG: I notice that you’re also – from the commentary to your results – moving more aggressively into Africa, specifically Nairobi.

MARCEL VON AULOCK: We’ve been in Africa for about ten years, so we operate in seven or eight countries outside South Africa. What we’ve done in the last year is we converted what was a management contract in Nairobi to a lease, so we’ve taken it on trading for our own account. Ideally we would have liked to have bought the property but the landlords haven’t let go yet. We also opened up a new hotel in Lusaka, which is a StayEasy Hotel and it’s the first economy product that we’ve done in Africa, which is a little bit different to the normal four star, full service type hotels. A bit of a function of the Lusaka market becoming more sophisticated, so you’ve got shopping centres and retail, we did it in conjunction with Liberty for a pension fund in Zambia but it’s a nice experiment for us and it’s been trading very well since it opened in December.

ALEC HOGG: The Hyde Park Hotel, is that also an experiment, going into a shopping centre in South Africa?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: No, Hyde Park was originally put together by Hyprop, so we manage it for them. Hotels in South Africa work well with shopping centres because you get access to entertainment and food and beverage and so on around it. What’s unusual in Africa, outside South Africa, is the availability of a shopping centre to connect a hotel to.

ALEC HOGG: What parts of Africa are appealing to you, areas that you haven’t been in yet but would like to be?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: More likely to build hotels where we already are because we’ve got an existing infrastructure. In South Africa where we are so well distributed, it’s very easy for us to put another property in Sandton, open it, understand the market, we know exactly what the feasibility involves. It’s quite different going into a new country in Africa and they’re often very small economies. So a city that might be vastly underserviced will become oversupplied by a single 200 room hotel, whereas you can add 1000 rooms to Joburg and not really notice it. The countries where we are in we could develop additional product and particularly economy product where we’ve got a full service, which would give us economies of scale.

ALEC HOGG: You’ve mentioned or we’ve spoken a lot about hotels but a bigger part of your business, presumably, is the casino side and one might have thought in this economic climate it would be struggling?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: It has been struggling for the last few years, we’ve seen casinos not show huge decline but they ran out of growth. What we saw again in the second half of this financial year was accelerated growth in casino win and that resulted in our casino business, which is the biggest part of our business, does about 70%, 75% of our EBITDA, grew by 10% last year, which we haven’t had growth like that for a number of years.

ALEC HOGG: Casino win, what does that mean?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Casino win is what we keep, so it’s what the consumer, our customers, lose and what we keep.

ALEC HOGG: So just explain that model?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: When you place a bet you might put, say, R200 into a slot machine or R200 on a number, if you lose we keep the R200. If you win, we pay you out, then we’ve won nothing. It’s the net cash that we take becomes our revenue and out of that we then pay our gaming taxes and our VAT, service all our operating overhead and that’s where we make our profit from.  

ALEC HOGG: And it’s really a numbers game, you take a percentage of the turnovers because I suppose in roulette you pay out 35 to one and there are 36 numbers plus one number, etc?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, exactly, so slot machines run generally at about a 5% hold, which means if there’s R100 gambled we will pay out R95 and keep R5 on average over time. Tables generally have about an 18% but far more specific odds, you know what they are because the rules haven’t changed in a hundred years on tables. Slots is more of a churn game, so we keep a much smaller percentage but we have far higher, longer levels of play.

ALEC HOGG: Do people actually win?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, the difference is nobody gets the R95 payout as an individual, so you’ll lose R100, Joe will lose R100, John will lose R100 and I’ll pay out R300 to somebody else, so over time. But you’ll find there’s quite a sensitivity amongst the gamblers, they understand where they’re getting value for money and what they’re buying is an entertainment experience largely based on time that as long as they get a good experience, they’re not burnt quickly and that they enjoy themselves while they’re there, then they’re happy, they treat it as entertainment spend. Your average visitor to a casino probably spends between R500 and R600, including food and beverage, parking, etc.  So it’s like a night out.

ALEC HOGG: And he has a chance, no doubt, of winning?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Well, that’s why they come.

ALEC HOGG: Do you publicise the big winners?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: No. There’s also less of the…ten years ago the trends were the R1m jackpot, which would go off once a year. The industry has moved to smaller jackpots more regularly, so a place like Montecasino can pay out up to a thousand jackpots in a day on a busy weekend but of much smaller type numbers. It’s very presonalised to the people that are playing but it gives activity levels and that goes back to the entertainment factor of it as opposed to the life altering win. Nobody gambles to change their life, it’s an entertainment event and you’ve got to be able to enjoy that entertainment through winning and losing. Even if you lose over time, as long as you’re getting value for your money while you’re doing it.

ALEC HOGG: So they are mindful of the takeout, as you’ve called it, the amount that the casino keeps. What is the 1% tax or proposed tax in the budget going to do to you?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: If we keep, as a group, R6bn a year in casino win, we currently pay around 22% of that as gambling taxes and VAT straight to government, essentially they want to increase that to 23%. So in our case it’s a R65m charge in addition to the existing taxes. The difference of it is that it’s imposed by National Treasury, whereas the gaming tax environment in South Africa, since its launch in ’94, has been a provincial competence. That’s one of our concerns is that there is a seemingly a disconnect between the provinces wanting to adjust tax and national wanting to adjust tax. Adjusting tax in its own right is a fact of life, government will charge you more or less tax as time goes by. It’s when they act independently of each other and it’s not a coordinated approach and that we’ve been engaging with them. 

ALEC HOGG: Isn’t that changing though because it seems rather strange if a casino in the Cape has got a different tax regime to one in Gauteng?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: That was originally set up like that, the provinces were given the rights to determine how they set their tax levels and those indicated in many ways what people would bid. So it was a very competitive environment for the licences when it started and everybody understood a market that they would bid for, what they were prepared to invest in in terms of capital spend on the basis of this would be the area that you would operate in, there wouldn’t be other operators in that area and that you would get a certain tax regime.

ALEC HOGG: You mentioned that you’re going to be sprucing up Gold Reef City’s theme park, what about the Silverstar operation, there seems to be a lot of confusion around it, a licence was granted, take us through the story.

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Ja, Silverstar was part of the Gold Reef Group, so when we bought Gold Reef out we got seven casinos in addition to the seven that the Tsogo Sun Group had. Silverstar is in Krugersdorp, essentially the design of the casino we feel was wrong because it was based very much on the Las Vegas type product offering and what it lacks at the moment is footfall drivers and that’s what we want to put into it. So we’ve got plans in place and we’ve said we’re going to spend about R320m to upgrade the facility in terms of additional restaurants, cinemas, bowling alleys, an outdoor eventing area so we can have concerts, etc. Very much base it on the Montecasino model, which has been enormously successful because I think we’re on phase four or five of development at Montecasino, where we’ve brought in the Piazza, the theatre, we’re up to three hotels at Montecasino, where we started with one. So we’ve got 650 rooms at Monte, which are corporate hotels, it’s made that whole node come alive and that’s what we want to replicate in the West Rand. We saw, we had a festival at the Silverstar Casino in March and the numbers just took off, we had cars parked down the N14 because there’s a dearth of entertainment in that area. We think we’ve got quite a bit of land and space there and we can do quite well out of that.

ALEC HOGG: So entertainment certainly working in the West Rand. What about Montecasino, you’ve had Swan Lake with the Korean ballet dancers recently, many other events that you’re bringing in there, do they work as a marketing exercise or is it actually to boost the casino revenues?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: In the end we make the majority of our money from casino, largely because we outsource a lot of the tenanting. So where the restaurants are and so on are very often a retail type operation for us, we take a rental in for that. The point of running things like the theatre, the Phantom of the Opera is running at the moment, it’s been enormously successful for us, is that our casinos are a local market type casino. So the majority of our visitors come from a 20, 25 kilometre radius. That casino has been there for ten, 12 years now nearly, if you don’t continually change the entertainment offering, people won’t come back. You’ve got to upgrade the restaurants, you’ve got to keep the entertainment factor going. The cinemas are enormously successful and that’s an industry that’s suffering generally in the country but we find the cinemas at our complexes are trading well because we keep the product offering good, you’ve got access to parking, it’s safe. We have to keep that broader entertainment offering because otherwise a casino just becomes a box.

ALEC HOGG: But those events that you bring there, do you subsidise them? Do they make money?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Most of them we make money out of. So the theatre, for example, of its own right probably loses cash. It wouldn’t justify the R100m we spent to build the theatre. Where we make money is we co-invest in the shows with the producers, so we own 25% of Lion King, we own 25% of Phantom, along with Pieter Toerien and his partners. We’ve made very good money out of co-investing with the shows and it incentivises both us and the producer to get the show right and make sure that we never have dark time in the theatre.

ALEC HOGG: It’s an interesting business model and an interesting business as we’ve discussed today but looking ahead for investors in the next financial year, what can they look forward to?

MARCEL VON AULOCK: Our business has got two key aspects that we rely on, we rely on the corporate market in hotels and the consumer market in gaming. Both of those have shown accelerated growth in the last six months, if that continues we’re in a great position. We’ve got debt of around R3bn and EBITDA of R3.5bn, so our debt to EBITDA ratio is a very conservative 1.3. So we’ve got capacity to invest, we’ve upped our dividend by 20% this year to 60c a share. So we’re producing a lot of cash and we’ve got a lot of opportunities to invest. The part we can’t guarantee is the economy, if the consumer experiences another crunch or corporates have another crisis it will affect us because we have a largely fixed cost base. But the minute we can grow revenues just marginally above inflation, which is what our costs are running at, our flow through is absolutely enormous.

ALEC HOGG: Marcel von Aulock is the chief executive of Tsogo Sun.

MBABANE

Mbabane

Table of Contents

Get in
See
Do
Buy
Sleep
Embassies
Get out
Mbabane is the capital of Swaziland.
Get in

The nearest airport is Manzini International. It is probably the only one in the country. South African Airways connects Manzini to Johannesburg. You can easily travel to Mbabane from South Africa and Mozambique. Several mini-buses travel between Maputo and Manzini/Mbabane. Regular bus service is provided between Johannesburg and Durban. If you drive your own car you will find good tarred roads and several petrol stations/shops on the main roads.
See

The town itself offers not that much. There are no big attractions. The city centre consist of two small malls, a taxi and bus range, a hotel and at some days open markets.
Do

There is a Swazi cultural village close by and a game reserve. There are several factories around Mbabane which sell traditional hand-made Swazi candles.
Buy

sculptures, candles, glass, paintings, etc
Sleep

Mantenga Lodge Mantenga Road , Ezulwini Valley (15km from Mbabane) ☎ +268-4161049, (http://www.mantengalodge.com)
Embassies

United States 7F, Central Bank Bldg, Mahlokohla St, ☎ +268 404-6441, fax: +268 404-5959, (http://swaziland.usembassy.gov/)

PRETORIA

Pretoria

Table of Contents

History
Climate
Get in
By car
By air
By bus
By train
Get around
See
Museums and Galleries
Experiences
Performing arts
Outdoors
Learn
Shopping Malls
Other Shopping
Eat
Budget
Splurge
Drink
Sleep
Budget
Midrange
Splurge
Contact
WiFi
Hospitals
Stay safe
From a fixed line
From a mobile phone
Embassies and High Commissions
Get out
Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is in Gauteng.

History

The area known today as Tshwane Metro Council, with Pretoria (City) at its centre, was allegedly occupied by the Sotho people for many centuries. During the 15th century the Ndebele people also migrated into the area and settled along the banks of what is today called the Apies River. Around 1820 the Matabele under the leadership of Mzilikaza also entered the region, leading to local conflicts between the Matabele newcomers and the already established Sotho and Ndebele tribes as well as the European Voortrekkers who were steadily moving northward through the country. These conflicts came to an end when the Matabele were defeated by the Voortrekkers in 1837 at Mosega. By 1855 there was no known tribe in what is known as Pretoria area today. Only nomadic groups passed through this area, with a leader/person Tshwane (so it is alleged) one of the them. Pretoria was founded in 1855. Initially the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek was Ohrigstad, but Pretoria became the capital of the then ZAR. Later on Pretoria became the capital of the Transvaal province (old ZAR) after the Anglo-Boer War. The city was named after Andries Pretorius, the boer leader at the Battle of Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus under King Dingaan. In 1856 the area today know as Arcadia was acquired in exchange for a pony and added to the town. In 1899, during the Anglo-Boer War, Winston Churchill was captured and held as a POW in Pretoria until his eventual escape to Mozambique. British forces captured Pretoria in 1900 and held control over the city until the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging treaty in 1902. When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, Pretoria was elected the capital and is still the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa today.
Climate

Pretoria is located in a summer rainfall area with hot days regularly followed by short and intense afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are often accompanied by lightning and occasionally result in hail. Summer temperatures range between 16°C at night to 30°C during the day. Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between a minimum of 5°C and a maximum of 20°C.
Get in

By car

Five highways join in the Gauteng region, making it accessible from all cities in the country. This would include the N1, N3, N4, N12 and N14 national highways.
By air

The closest international airport is OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The Albertina Sisulu Highway or R21 leads from there to Pretoria. Airport shuttles are available on the airport or can be pre-booked:
JIATA Taxi Assosiation P O box 1899 Kempton Park South Africa 1620, ☎ +27 (0)11 390-1857, (http://www.taxi-pretoria.co.za/)
Your Choice Tours ☎ +27 (0)84 580-4802, (http://www.yct.co.za/)
Ants Events and Tours ☎ +27 (0)82 557-9604, (http://www.antsevents.com/)
By bus

Major bus companies like Greyhound, Translux, Intercape Mainliner and the BazBus offer connections to all big cities in South Africa.
By train

The train station is on the corner of Andries and Railway streets, just south of the city centre. There are frequent commuter trains to Johannesburg, other outlying towns and many suburbs of Pretoria. Metrorail is unreliable and notoriously unsafe, and is best avoided but the long distance Shosholoza meyl trains are safe and a very comfortable way to travel between cites, don’t use if in a hurry. The Shosholoza meyl service runs to Johannesburg (south), Polokwane, Musina (north), Witbank, Nelspruit and the Mozambique border (east). A high-speed rail link is being constructed between Pretoria, Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport, east of Johannesburg. It should be at least partially complete by 2010, in time for the World Cup.
Get around

As of January 2011 the Tourist Hop on/Hop Off bus has been suspended. The tourist office had no information on when or if it would return. Either use a taxi, rent a car, use the municipal bus service or, if you really must, use the minibus taxis. Walking after dark is definitely not recommended.
Tempest Car Hire ☎ +27 (0)12 663-1368, fax: +27 (0)12 663-1387, (http://www.tempestcarhire.co.za)
HeinRich ☎ +27(0)12 343-3331, (http://www.taxi-pretoria.co.za)
Rixi Taxi ☎ +27 (0)12 362-6262,
Tshwane Bus Routes (http://www.tshwane-busroutes.co.za/)
Municipal bus routes and timetables (http://www.tshwane.gov.za/bus.cfm)
See

Botanical Gardens ☎ +27 (0)12 843-5194, (http://www.sanbi.org/frames/pretoriafram.htm) Price: R15 entrance fee
National Zoological Gardens (The Zoo) 232 Boom Street (Near the city center) ☎ +27 (0)12 328-3265, Price: R10 for secure parking plus R36 entrance fee. For those not inclined to walk, golf carts are available at R80 per hour
The Union Buildings 2 Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)12 323-5649,
The Wonderboom (Wonder tree) Wonderboom Nature Reserve, (http://www.tshwane.gov.za/Services/Nature%20Conservation/Pages/Wonderboom-Nature-Reserve.aspx)
Museums and Galleries

Correctional Services Museum ☎ +27 (0)12 314-1766, (http://www.museumpark.co.za/dcs.htm)
Melrose House Museum 275 Jacob Maré Street, ☎ +27 (0)12 322-2805,
National Cultural History Museum 149 Visagie Street, ☎ +27 (0)11 324-6082, (http://www.nfi.org.za/NCHM/nchmindex.htm)
Pioneer Museum ☎ +27 (0)12 803-6086, (http://www.nfi.org.za/PM/pioindex.htm) Price: R7 entrance fee
Sammy Marks Museum Zwartkoppies, ☎ +27 (0)12 802-1150, (http://www.nfi.org.za/sammy/index.htm)
Transvaal Museum Paul Kruger Street, ☎ +27 (0)12 322-7632, (http://www.nfi.org.za/tmpage.html])
Voortrekker Monument and Fort Scanskop Eeufees Road, Groenkloof (On Proclamation Hill, big cubic building, to the south west of the city, you can) ☎ +27 (0)12 326-6770, (http://www.voortrekkermon.org.za) Price: R32 per person
Freedom Park Salvokop of Potgieter Street (Located on a hill across from the Voortrekker Monument) ☎ +27 (0)12 470-7400, fax: +27 (0)12 361-0021, (http://www.freedompark.co.za/)
Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum ☎ +27 (0)12 736-2035, (http://www.nfi.org.za/WPAM/wpmindex.htm)
Kruger House Museum 60 Church Str, ☎ +27 (0)12 326-9172, fax: +27 (0)12 328-5173,
Experiences

Friends of the Rail ☎ +27 (0)12 548-4090, (http://www.friendsoftherail.com/)
Klitsgras Drumming Circle Tierpoort, Garsfontein Road (Take the Garsfontein Road (M30) in the eastern direction. 14km after crossing Hans-Strijdom Drive, turn left onto Plot 62. It) ☎ +27 (0)83 311-0025, (http://www.klitsgras.co.za)
Performing arts

State Theatre cnr Pretorius and Prinsloo Streets, (http://www.statetheatre.co.za/)
Outdoors

Groenkloof Nature Reserve ☎ +27 (0)12 440-8316, (http://www.tshwane.gov.za/groenkloof.cfm) Price: R15 entrance fee, R35 (with R300 refundable deposit) for an overnight hut (sleeps 12), R50 per day for mountainbike hire, R100 for guided walks, R40 for access to the 4×4 trail (R250 if you get stuck and call for a recovery vehicle)
Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary cnr Boshoff and Roper, ☎ +27 (0)12 440-8316, (http://www.tshwane.gov.za/austinroberts.cfm) Price: Free entrance
Wonderboom Nature Reserve ☎ +27 (0)12 341-0591, (http://www.tshwane.gov.za/wonderboom.cfm)
Learn

University of Pretoria ☎ +27 (0)12 420-3111, (http://www.up.ac.za/)
University of South Africa (UNISA) Preller Street, Muckleneuk, ☎ +27 (0)11 670-9000, fax: +27 (0)11 471-2987, (http://www.unisa.ac.za/)
Tshwane University of Technology Staatsartillerie Road, ☎ +27 (0)12 382-5911, (http://www.tut.ac.za)
Shopping Malls

Menlyn Park (http://www.menlynpark.co.za/)
Brooklyn Mall (http://www.brooklynmall.co.za/)
Kolonnade (http://www.kolonnadecentre.co.za/)
Centurion Mall (http://www.centurionmall.co.za/)
Wonderpark (http://www.wonderparkcentre.co.za/)
Other Shopping

German bakery and Alma german butchery
There are also many smaller, local shopping centres usually with one of the larger chain stores as an anchor.
Eat

The renowned restaurants include Cynthia’s, The Hillside Tavern and Pachas. There are also many franchised diners throughout the city.
Cool Runnings 1071 Burnett Street, (http://www.coolrunnings.co.za/)
Budget

Centurion Mall Express Sandwich Baron (annemarie@sandwichbaron.com) Shop 30A, Cnr Hendrik Verwoerd and Embankment, Centurion Mall, Centurion, ☎ 27 (0)12 643-1144, (http://www.sandwichbaron.com/)
Tings 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 430-3176/7, (http://www.tings.co.za)
Splurge

Cynthia 283 Dey Street, Nieuwmuckleneuk, Brooklyn, ☎ +27 (0)12 346-8926, Price: Around R170 per person
Kream Restaurant 570 Fehrsen Street, Building 3 Ground Floor, Brooklyn Bridge, ☎ +27 (0)123 464642, (http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_details-MemberID-666.html) Price: Around R150 per person
La Pentola 5 Riviera Galleries, Well Street, Riviera, ☎ +27 (0)12 329-4028, fax: +27 (0)12 329-5464, (http://www.lapentola.co.za/) Price: From around R150 per person
Drink

Pretoria’s nightlife is concentrated in Hatfield (near the university), which boasts a number of bars and night clubs. Menlyn Square (just off the Menlyn shopping centre) is also a popular location which contains several venues but caters for the more upmarket crowd.
Drop Zone Hatfield Square,
Tings 065 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 430 3176/7, (http://www.tings.co.za)
Zeplin Wonderwater Centre, Cnr Braam Pretorius & Lavender Annlin, South Africa, (http://www.zeplins.co.za/)
Sleep

Being the capital, there are many posh hotels (including the Sheraton) and guest houses and all the usual hotel chains have one or more hotels. With so many hotels owned by the same chains, in particularly Southern Sun, and occasional change of ownership (e.g. a Holiday Inn is now a Southern Sun) things can get a bit confusing. Make sure you note the address when booking so you go to the right hotel. When Parliament is in session and when there are other state events it can be almost impossible to find a mid-range or splurge room. Consider nearby Centurion as an alternative if you have to be in Pretoria at those times.
Budget

1322 Backpackers 1322 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 362-3905, (http://www.1322backpackers.com/) Price: From R70 for a dorm
Khayalethu Backpackers 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, ☎ +27 (0)12 362-5403, (http://www.ghk.co.za/groupaccomodation.aspx) Price: From R125 for a dorm
Formula 1 ☎ +27 (0)11 807-0750, (http://www.hotelformula1.co.za/) Price: R249 per room (max 3 people)
Kia-Ora Lodge 257 Jacob Mare Street, Berea, ☎ +27 (0)12 322-4803, (http://myweb.absamail.co.za/hostel/index.htm)
Pretoria Backpackers 425 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, ☎ +27 (0)12 343-9754, (http://www.pretoriabackpackers.net/) Price: From R50 for camping, R80 for the dorms and R125 for a room
Villa Zieshaan 323 Minnaar Street, Central, ☎ +27 (0)82 855-4354, (http://www.villazieshaan.co.za) Price: R350 per room
Word of Mouth Backpackers 430 Reitz Street, Sunnyside, ☎ +27 (0)12 343-7499, (http://www.wordofmouthbackpackers.com/) Price: From R100
Midrange

Khayalethu GuestHouse 1291 Arcadia Street, Hatfielda, ☎ +27 (12) 362-5403, (http://www.ghk.co.za)
Don Arcadia I 599 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, ☎ +27 (12) 341-0098, (http://www.don.co.za/Don_Arcadia_I_hotel)
City Lodge ☎ +27 (0)11 557-2600, (https://www.citylodge.co.za) Price: From around R400 sharing
The Farm Inn Lynnwood Road, ☎ +27 (0)12 809-0266, (http://www.farminn.co.za) Price: From R510pps
Ithiliens Grace Guest House 47 Kamperfoelie Street, Amandasig (easily accessible from all major highways) ☎ +2779 892 2376, (http://www.ithiliensgrace.co.za) Price: From R280 up to R900
The Village in Hatfield _ 1252 Arcadia Street, Cnr. Glyn & Arcadia Streets, Hatfield (N4 into PTA-Hatfield, near Duncan Street) ☎ +27 (0)12 362-3737, (http://www.hatfieldvillage.co.za) Price: From R500 single
The Waterhouse Guesthouse 439 Stonewall Street, Faerie Glen (easily accessible from all major highways) ☎ +27 12 991 2823, (http://www.thewaterhouse.co.za) Price: From R670 single up to R1400 double
Splurge

Ellensgate Guest House 849 Church Street (Entrance at Eastwood Street) ☎ +27 (0)12 342-4089, fax: +27 (0)86 572-6549, (http://ellensgate.co.za) Price: From R860pps (b&b)
Protea Hotels ☎ +27 (0)21 430-5000, (http://www.proteahotels.com/) Price: From R500pps
Sheraton Pretoria Hotel ☎ +27 (0)12 429-9999, (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1136) Price: From R1750pp
Southern Sun ☎ +27 (0)11 461-9744, (http://www.southernsun.com/) Price: From R750pps
Villa Sterne 212 Johann Rissik Drive Waterkloof Ridge, ☎ +27 (0)12 346-2255, (http://www.villasterne.com/) Price: From R650pps
Contact

Complete GSM coverage with GPRS, 3G and HSDPA and Edge available almost everywhere. Buy a local simcard for your overseashandy at most supermarkets for 1-5 R. Then let your self get phoned from home ( call by call). Have your own handy with simcard with you in case of emergancies
WiFi

Always-On , +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100 MB. Coverage areas include:
Cafe Dulce
City Lodge
Holiday Inn
Mugg&Bean
Villa Sterne Boutique Hotel and Health Spa
Wimpy
Hospitals

Unitas Hospital Clifton Avenue, Lyttelton, Centurion, ☎ +27 (0)12 421-6700,
Stay safe

Avoid walking around after dark, even in a group. If you are cycling around the Hatfield shopping area (Hatfield Plaza), there have been cases of beggars asking for a ride from approaching cyclists (especially if you are walking with the bike), but pretend you are going the other way. The area is busy with shoppers, students, tourists, police and car minders so there is very little chance of any real trouble happening, but it can be annoying. Still, the Hatfield area is usually perfectly safe. In case of trouble, here are important telephone numbers.
From a fixed line

107 – Emergency
10111 – Police
10177 – Ambulance
082911 – Netcare911
From a mobile phone

112 – Emergency
911 – Netcare911
Embassies and High Commissions

Canada (http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/southafrica-afriquedusud/splash.aspx)
Greece 1267 Pretorius Street, Hatfields Office Park, Block G 1st Floor Hatfield, ☎ +27 12 342 7136, +22 12 342 7137, Emergency: +27 71 352 7326, +27 72 449 5196, fax: +27 12 430 4313,
United States (http://southafrica.usembassy.gov/)
Turkey (http://www.turkishembassy.co.za/)
Serbia 163, Marais street, Brooklyn 0181, P.O.B 13026, Hatfield, ☎ +27 12 346 6191, fax: +27 12 460 6003, (http://www.srbembassy.org.za/index.html)
Get out

Irene is a small town to the south of Pretoria with a day spa and a dairy farm.
Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
Rietvlei Nature Reserve, a small and quiet nature reserve with a number of wildlife species and lots of bird watching opportunities.
Visit Hartebeespoort Dam. There are hot air balloon rides over the Savanna, a cable car, a golf course and watersport.