Founded in 1855, the city is the historical capital of the Transvaal Republic and currently oversees the administrative running of South Africa while Cape Town is the country's legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the seat of judicial matters.
Pretoria's governmental importance makes it a great place for local authority jobs, with the Departments of Health, Transportation, Higher Education, Environmental Affairs and Public Services all based in the city.
While Pretoria has become more diverse in recent decades, it remains the place with the highest density of white residents in South Africa. However, a black middle class has become prominent since the end of apartheid with people of Pedi/Northern Sophos heritage making up the largest ethnic group.
Afrikaans is the main language in the city, but most road signs and shop displays are written in English. Sopho, Pedi, Zulu, Tswana and Tsonga are also widely spoken locally.
Like the rest of South Africa, Pretoria enjoys cool winters and warm summers. During the months of October to January, average temperatures are around 26 to 28°C , although it isn't uncommon for it to heat up to 30°C or more on some days. Due to Pretoria's high altitude and proximity to the Magaliesberg mountain range, the city can be very humid with heavy showers.
June is generally the coldest month with an average of 12°C. Frosts can be experienced around this time of the year but snow is extremely rare, with light flakes falling in 1959, 1968 and 2012. On-ground coverage has never been recorded, however.
Which country an expat is moving to Pretoria from helps to determine the length of time they are permitted to stay in South Africa without a visa. For example, nationals of countries such as the United Kingdom and United States are allowed to visit for 90 days without having to apply for a permit.
Expats from many eastern European, Asian and African nations are often only permitted a 30-day stay. A full list of nations and their statuses can be found on the Department of Home Affairs' website.
People who are considering working or studying in the country are required to hold either a temporary or permanent residence permit. Unlike a visa, which only allows access to South Africa's ports, permits allow a person to stay in residence for an agreed upon period of time.
There are differing types of permits depending on what the person intends on doing in the country. Recent governmental moves to plug skills gaps has led to the introduction of quota work permits, which are allocated to a limited number of qualified expats each year.
General work permits are given to eligible people in regular job roles, while intra-company transfer work permits are granted to those who have been transferred to the country by their employers.
Only after being granted a valid work permit will a person become eligible to apply for permanent residence. Those on the quota system have to prove that they have been working in South Africa for a minimum of five years before they can make a permanent application.
For more information, please see our article: Visas and Permits for South Africa.