Capital of KwaZulu-Natal

Pietermaritzburg is the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the second largest city in the province. It is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. It is the administrative capital of the province and is conveniently situated between Durban and Johannesburg, near the Drakensberg and several game reserves, Pietermaritzburg is a convenient stop over and base to explore KwaZulu-Natal.

One of its most attractive features is that it is a city set amidst the forested hills and rolling countryside of the Natal-Midlands. Pietermaritzburg is the largest town in the Natal Midlands, a scenic retreat that boasts unmatched natural beauty, charming villages, and a wonderful arts and crafts route to explore. The city offers many outdoor activities for visitors from walking amongst butterflies to Victorian Parks in which to relax and picnic. No stranger to huge outdoor events and festivals, the city is host to the world-famous Comrades Marathon, the canoeing Duzi Marathon and the Midmar Mile Swimming event as well as the outdoor Royal & Garden Show.

Pietermartizburg numerous Victorian and Edwardian buildings and many landmarks reflecting the substantial British contribution to the development of the town. Visitors can visit many Museums and historical places, take a tour through the Old Prison or a trip through the centre of town to hear the resounding sound of the One ‘O Clock Gun and see City Hall, the largest red brick building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Catering for every tourist need, the town has many restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and even a casino, the Golden Horse Casino, offering hours of fun and entertainment. Pietermartizburg also boasts every type of accommodation from luxury Hotels, Guesthouses and B&B’s to quaint self-catering cottages, caravan parks and camping!

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

Climate

Pietermaritzburg receives approximately 695 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the mid-summer months.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 17˚C and 28˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 21˚C.

Transport

There are daily local flights into Pietermaritzburg Airport. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.

History

The Voortrekkers had a good eye for town sites. After their defeat of the Zulus at the end of 1838 the trekkers selected farms and settled down to enjoy life in their dreamland of Natal.

To serve as capital of their republic they created the town named Pietermaritzburg after their two leaders Piet Retief and Gert Maritz. The site was in the fertile hollow at the foot of a tree-covered escarpment where the midlands of Natal rise 400 meters above the surrounding landscape.

The British took over Pietermaritzburg in 1843 and it became the seat of their administration for Natal. The first Lieutenant-governor, Martin West, made his home here, and Fort Napier, named after the governor of the Cape, Sir George Napier, was built to house a garrison.

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