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PIETERMARITZBURG

 

INTRODUCTION

Pietermaritzburg, set amidst forested hills and the rolling countryside of the Natal-Midlands, is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. The city is the administrative capital of the province and is centrally situated between Durban, the Drakensberg and KwaZulu-Natal's game reserves on the main N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban; Pietermaritzburg is approximately 80km north of Durban by road.
Pietermaritzburg is a thoroughly South African city. Laid out by Dutch settlers in 1838, it became the capital of the British Colony of Natal in 1856. In that same year a Christian Mission was established in what was to become Georgetown, and the first landowning Black community in our country.
Indian labourers and traders also made their way to the city in the second half of the nineteenth century.
During the twentieth century, despite being labeled "The Last Outpost of the British Empire", our
city also became home to vibrant so-called Coloured and Afrikaans-speaking communities.
Our city was the birthplace of major events: the Comrades Marathon; the Duzi Marathon; the Midmar Mile; and the Royal Show, have grown into nationally, and even internationally, significant events.

ATTRACTIONS

  • Andries Pretorius House The newest addition to the Voortrekker Museum complex is the reconstructed thatched-roof double-story house of Andries Pretorius, the victor of Blood River. It was originally built at Edendale, near the city, in 1846 on the farm "Welverdient".

  • Bandstand The bandstand alongside the Oval in the Park was built in 1892 from funds subscribed by the citizens to commemorate the service of British military units at Fort Napier.

  • Fine Victorian Building A high character Victorian building with a veranda over the sidewalk on two sides supported by cast-iron columns. The main gable facing Chapel Street is decorated in the "Magpie" Tudor Style. The date 1901 appears on a pane ion the first floor of the Pietermaritz Street elevation.

  • Fort Napier Dates back to 1843 when it was the British military headquarters in Natal. Interesting artillery pieces are mounted in the grounds. The mess hall, complete with clock tower, was erected "temporarily" after being transported from India in 1899 during the South African War.

  • Hindu Temple The main Hindu Temple in Pietermaritzburg is the Sri Siva Soobramoniar and Marriamen Temple in lower Longmarket Street. Established in 1898, the temple is the focal point of the annual Firewalking Festival held annually on Good Friday.

  • There are various Nature Reserves and and Game Parks in the area where you can go bird watching and game viewing.

  • Enjoy art and culture in the many galleries and theatres in the town

  • Howick Museum and J&J Stained Glass Co. Get an idea of how the early settlers lived. From furniture and medicine to sangomas and squatter houses.

  • Natal Railway Museum A collection of old steam trains, coaches and wagons and most aspects of steam and train travel in KwaZulu-Natal. Artifacts from 1860, books and photos are on display. 

  • Comrades Marathon House This Museum houses the official trophies, photographic and press releases and histories of the Comrades Marathon 

  • Macrorie House Museum This is the only mid Victorian (1863 - 1880) double storey house that is open to the public in Pietermaritzburg. Furnished in Victorian style furniture and artifacts, the house is exquisitely maintained and historical. 

  • Voortrekker Museum What used to be the Longmarket Girls' School, until 1972, is now the main building for the Voortrekker Museum. The Church of the Vow, Andries Pretorius House, E.G. Jansen Extension, an old ox wagon and a double storey house, furnished as a period house, on 333 Boom Street make up the entire Voortrekker Museum. 

  • National Botanical Gardens and Zulu Muthi Garden

ACTIVITIES

  • Enjoy game viewing and bird watching in the various parks and reserves around Pietermaritzburg

  • Enjoy picnics and BBQ's among the wildlife in some of the reserves 

  • A four day hiking trail from Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve at the foot of the Howick Falls and finishes at the Karkloof Falls. See white rhino, buffalo, giraffe and much more

  • Many other short and long guided or unguided trails can be found in the area

  • Excellent Fly Fishing

  • 4x4 Trails 

  • Horse and pony rides

  • There is a wide range of sporting facilities available for almost every type of sport, as well as watersports