Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrLocated in the upper and calm suburb of Menlyn, Eastern Pretoria, this shopping center of 56 acres is not only the best in town but is also conveniently situated near the N1 highway and leading you directly to the Johannesburg metropolitan area, and the Oliver Tambo International Airport. There, you can find just about anything you need in terms of conviviality, exclusive fashion items, or just some quality time for you and your family at one of its restaurants or entertainment attractions.
It attracts not only people from Pretoria and foreign visitors, but also shoppers from the neighboring Johannesburg, which explains the huge amount of visitors visiting the mall each month, easily reaching 1.5 million.
HistoryMenlyn Park Shopping Mall, named after the suburb where it is located, was originally built in 1988 by the South African company, Bild Architects, and is the property of Old Mutual Properties from London, England. It has been renovated twice since its official opening, notably in 1998 when the American design firm, Development Design Group, was called to give the building its unique appearance.
The mall is currently undergoing another renovation that will cost approximately 200 million USD, and is expected to last up until the year 2016.
Architecture & LayoutIts more than unconventional architectural style is characterized by a tensile fabric roof which covers its grand hall.
Designed by Bild architects, this tensile, fabric membrane spans the entire length of the mall. It curves along a custom latticework of steel and cable forming a series of “peaks and valleys”.
Another spectacular feature of the roof is the installment of fiber optic lighting displaying the Southern constellation.
Other unique characteristics comprise an aviary with live exotic birds, a performing arts hall, a drive-in theater on the roof, and tensile shade structures for grandstand of the multi-purpose arena.
The structure covers 115,000 m² in floor space, and was completed in 2001.
RestaurantsThe mall has over 37 restaurants ranging from fine dining, fast foods, dietary eateries, and coffee houses. These restaurants can suit anyone’s taste and budget, with satisfactory service and dishes.
If you are planning on visiting Menlyn with your family or just enjoy fine dining , try the Baobab café, a reputed Pan-African restaurant offering a convenient setting with indoor and relaxed outdoor dining (where you can enjoy views of Pretoria East). Their menu is a mixture of South African and African dishes with casual light meals, cocktails, and formal dining possibilities.
The Parrot restaurant is just as exciting. It is a mostly busy restaurant, serving food to satisfy weary shoppers.
The Cubana Havana Lounge and Latino Café offers Cuban and Mediterranean specialties with prices ranging from $ 5.00 USD to $ 19 USD . It’s ideal for those who prefer the bar scene with its selection of 172 cocktails and cigars from the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
For those who love fried chicken, you can opt for Chicken Licken, which specializes in American fried chicken served with different assortments of sauces, fries, or rice.
Wimpy and even McDonald’s are present within the mall, for those who prefer hamburgers, or steaks.
Bakeries like Cinnabon are good options if you are in a hurry, it specializes in bakeries and is very famous for its cinnamon bun.
You’ll probably spend around $ 10 USD to $ 23 USD for dinner for two, depending on where you chose to eat.
What to Do
ShoppingMenlyn Shopping Mall has over 300 stores, among which its anchor stores specialize in cosmetics, food, clothing, electronics, and housing materials. Some of the items found in the stores have familiar names, like the British franchise Woolworths or even brands like Guess and Levis sell items that are not only manufactured on South African soil, but are also made using South African raw material, so prices are very competitive when compared to its European or American counterparts.
The anchor stores in Menlyn Park are Hyperama, a hypermarket which specializes in food items, electronics, and housing materials.
You have Woolworths selling just anything from food, clothing, cosmetics, and housewares.
Try shopping at Truworths and Foschini which both specialize in clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
Also try Stuttaford which sells exclusively foreign (European and American) branded items for all genders and ages. The last anchor store is Game. It necessitates a membership card of R50 ($4.45) and sells mostly electronic appliances.
EntertainmentThe mall offers, at the disposal of shoppers and visitors, an opportunity to do something different compared to other malls in the area.
You have so many choices, you won’t be able to try them all in one day, like the IMAX cinema, an outdoor events arena; a play park, the world’s first rooftop drive-in cinema; go-karts; 3D Numetro cinema, the Festival Market and the very exciting “Fly me helicopter rides”.
Accommodation nearbyThere is a wide range of accommodation available only 5 minutes away from Menlyn Shopping Mall with up-to-date amenities and features such as free WiFi, satellite TV, private bathrooms, coffee and tea facilities, and a shuttle service. The nearest and most reputed hotels to the mall are:
- Brooklyn Manor, situated 2.3 miles away from the mall, the rooms start from $ 77 USD per person.
- The Elegant Lodge Menlo Park, only a mile away, and the most affordable with rooms starting only from $ 53 USD .
- First Guesthouse, 1.6 miles away and added to its tempting amenities, it offers its guests a safety deposit box and room service. Breakfast is included in the price of the room, but lunch, dinner, and the shuttle service are available at an additional fee. Prices start from $ 75 USD per person.
How to Get TherePretoria is served by the same airport as Johannesburg, namely the Oliver Tambo International Airport. If you are coming from Johannesburg, take the N1 north taking you to Polokwane ; then take the Atterbury offramp and turn right when you reach the traffic lights, then cross the highway. You’ll see Menlyn Park Shopping Center on the right-hand side of the road.
SafetyMenlyn Park and its vicinities are normally safe, but due to the affluence of people coming from all over the Gauteng region, it would be safer to for you to avoid any unpleasant situations such as a robbery at gunpoint. Be very discreet with your belongings and make sure you make the proper arrangements for transportation. If you drive your own car, safe payable parking is available to visitors. Banks and money exchange institutions, like Thomas Cook, are also available within the mall, so if you want to make any money transactions, it would be safer to do it within the mall’s banking institutions.
Other Sites NearbyThere are a lot of interesting sites such as museums and natural parks near Menlyn Park Shopping Center.
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Author: Comasco. Last updated: Oct 11, 2014