This capital, and second largest city of the Kwazulu Natal province in South Africa, was founded in 1838.
Centrally located between Durban, the Drakensberg and the game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal, a beautiful place to spend your vacation in South Africa.
Pietermaritzburg is named after the two leaders of the Voortrekkers: Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief. Their followers settled here in 1937 and introduced the place name. By the way, Retief never reached the city but was killed by Dingane. Maritz died of illness about a hundred kilometers from Pietermaritzburg in Estcourt. Six years later, the village was declared a military garrison town. Today it is mainly the stately Victorian and Edwardian houses, the beautiful walking paths and avenues and the English colonial influence that make the city more than worth a visit.
The city originated at the time of the Zulu empire and still enjoys its Zulu name: Umgungunglovu, freely translated ‘Place of the Elephant’. Another famous incident in Pietermaritzburg’s history is that Mahatma Ghandi was kicked off here in 1893. He had bought a 1st class ticket, but a white man refused the presence of Ghandi in the first class wagon. Because he rebelled against this, Ghandi was kicked off the train in Pietermaritzburg. You can see Ghandi’s bronze statue in Church Street.
For art and culture lovers there are plenty of interesting places / museums in the city: Tatham Art Gallery, KZN Railway Museum, Natal Museum, Msunduzi Museum and the Macrorie House. In the city you can take a half-day walking tour that takes you past most museums, old buildings and galleries. There are nice antique shops, markets and restaurants. Visit the area around Churchstreet for sculptures, African art and carpets.
Close to the city you will find a number of game parks and nature reserves: Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, Lion park, Tala Game Reserve and Albert Falls Nature Reserve.
You can play golf at the Maritzburg golf club (from 1886) or at the Victoria Country club located on the Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve.Add to my travel plans