The Official website of Pietermaritzburg Tourism
Founded in 1838, Pietermaritzburg is situated within the Msunduzi Municipal boundary and is the Capital City of The Province of Kwa-Zulu Natal and second-largest city in the province.
Pietermaritzburg has landmark colonial buildings, such as the famous red-brick City Hall and the old Supreme Court building, now the outstanding Tatham Art Gallery, gracing its busy streets. Another colonial building that became famous for something other than its beautiful architecture is the old Pietermaritzburg railway station. It is from here that, in 1893, Mahatma Gandhi was told to leave the train as he was travelling in a ‘whites only’ compartment.
These days, Pietermaritzburg is, happily, better known for the fact that it is between here and Durban that the famous and grueling Comrades Marathon and the Dusi Canoe Marathon take place every year, drawing participants and spectators from around the world.
The big Midmar Dam, near Howick on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, hosts the enormously popular annual Midmar Mile swim, as well as other activities such as sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing and boating. The legendary Art in the Park annual Exhibition also been taking place here since 1962.
Since 2012 an event linking Mandela footsteps in 1961 and 1962, the annual Mandela Day Marathon starting at Manaye Hall in Imbali Township (venue of the All in African Conference in 1961) and finishing at the Mandela Capture site in Howick, is growing both in numbers and popularity.
One of the prettiest parts of the country is the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, which starts just north of Pietermaritzburg. The climate in this area is markedly different from that of the coastal region. During the crispy autumns and winters, the leaves and grasslands turn burnt orange and yellow, and in the spring and summer the gently rolling hillsides are covered in carpets of wild flowers. There are green, well-watered farmlands, lovely streams, rivers and waterfalls, such as the Howick, Woodhouse and Karkloof falls, and thick indigenous and commercial forests. This natural beauty is ideal for horse riding, hiking, swimming,biking, quad biking,fishing, and of course, the exciting Karkloof Canopy Tour.
Pietermaritzburg is the “City of Choice” because we are:
- only 45 minutes by road from Durban, Africa’s Busiest port;
- only one hour away by road to The New King Shaka Airport;
- only one hour by air from Pietermaritzburg Airport to OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg);
- only 90 minutes from the central Drakensberg resorts;
- the new capital of South Africa’s most popular province, KwaZulu-Natal whose economy continues to grow at an exceptional rate;
- an educational centre of excellence;
- home to great international events, such as the Comrades Marathon, the Duzi Marathon, the Midmar Mile, the Royal & Garden Show, Art & Cars in the Park and International cycling events like the UCI BMX World Championships.