Fascinating history and unexpected good museums
Pervasive litter and a particularly vicious one way system in the CBD
The ultramarathon capital of South Africa - but fascinating even for the chronically unfit!
Unlikely though it might seem, Pietermaritzburg is the place where Mahatma Gandhi first flexed his political muscles and embarked on his lifelong struggle to stand up to social inequality and defend the rights of the oppressed using non violent methods.Gandhi came from India to South Africa in 1893 and was employed by a local Indian businessman,...more
(work in progress)One thing's for certain: if you like red brick, then you're going to love Pietermaritzburg, and of all the red brick structures in town, the jawdropping City Hall is the hardest to ignore! The city was originally founded by the Voortrekkers in 1837, following their famous victory over Dingaan's Zulu troops at the Battle of Blood...more
(work in progress)Fortuitously, the reason for me being in 'Maritzburg was to liaise with one of the Natal Museum staff on a work-related project, which gave me a legitimate excuse to spend a little time exploring the museum.The Natal Museum is a curiously endearing blend of old and new. It is housed in a venerable red brick Victorian edifice and...more
(work in progress)Despite his diminutive stature, Mahatma Gandhi was a towering figure of 20th century history, and despite the multi Oscar winning biopic of his life, relatively few people realise how much of his adult life he spent in South Africa.Gandhi arrived from India in 1893 to take up the position of legal advisor to a wealthy Durban...more
(work in progress)Maritzburg is a city that has more than its fair share of beautiful buildings ... unfortunately this is not one of them!This hideous confection is hard to miss as it's right on Alan Paton Drive, which links the N3 highway to the Maritzburg CBD. To my mind, it is entirely devoid of any redeeming features, and to add insult to...more
The On Air Raptor Centre has a spectacular location on the top of a hill, on the Comrades route between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. They are concerned with the conservation and rehabilitation of Birds of Prey. I highly recommend their bird flying display - you could see an owl, goshawk, yellow-billed kite, falcon, and eagle. It is quite a moving...more
The snake and crocodile park was so much fun, you must take a guided tour during which the guide takes you around and gives you tons of information on the crocs!He then took us through to see all of the different snakes that call this home and Matt soon had a huge python hanging around his neck!A fun experience for the family!more
There are plenty of cultural villages located between Durban and Pietermaritzburg to visit.Of course we only felt the need to visit one, and as we had previously visited a Xhosa village when we were in Coffee Bay we did feel that this was touristy and was only here for the simple reason of tourists! But it was fun, and we did learn a lot about the...more
R103 Nottingham Road, Pietermaritzburg, 3280, South Africa
Good for: Couples
1 Hilton Avenue, Hilton, Pietermaritzburg, 3245, South Africa
Good for: Business
DO NOT RECOMMEND. I advance paid at a very high rate and even tried to reconfirm. The Central...more
The runway has a slope, so planes can take off one way only, which can be a problem when the wind is in the wrong direction. If the tailwind is too high and the plane is full, be prepared to wait. If storms or clouds close in, then the plan diverts to Durban and you are in for a long diversion or delay.more
Cheetah coaches offer a bus service between central Pietermaritzburg and central Durban and Durban airport. Depending on demand, there is a minimum of 1 bus per day. They haven't quite hit the 21st Century yet and the only way that you can book / contact them is by telephone on +27 33 387 1142.more
Avis Car Rentals, whose slogan, "We Try Harder", is probably well-known to the public, has a conveniently placed office at the Oribi Airport. Avis Car Hire offers a wide selection of cars ranging from small economy to comfortable and up-market models with a choice of daily or leisure rates. For more information on conditions of hire.more
Hi there. I am a newcomer to VT, but have taken note of he various responses to your e-mail. For simplicity sake I advise that, for now, you ignore the hot-headed males (politics in SA, as in America tends to encrouch on all areas of life - even religion - where it has no place!) and enjoy preparing for your upcoming adventure! The fact that you have posed the question about safety in SA tells me that you ARE aware of the possible risks and that you have read at least some reports on crime in SA. The world it is a changing, and not for the better. So I will address the safety issue merely by agreeing that you should be vigilent and aware. You do not state where in America you stay. This I believe could affect your perceptions. If you are use to city life, then you would know more or less what to expect. As a young student you should take care to socialise in groups and not travel excessively far at night. You should take care to lock your doors and not "be" a victim/soft target. I am a mother of two living in Pretoria and drive around a lot. I do so freely, but vigilently.
Make sure your vehicle is always road worthy and that you have a mobile at hand. It is not advisable to stop alongside the road if you are travelling alone. Also, when driving in SA, it is required by law that you always have your driver's license with you.
As it is winter now in the US, I am sure you are going to thoroughly enjoy the warm, balmy climate in Natal in Jan/Feb/March and April. Pietermaritzburg is reasonably close via the freeway to some beautiful midland sites. Natal is wonderfully green and lush in summer. Enjoy!
You know what a pain in the neck laundry is when you are on holiday - who has time for it??
Well, if you are staying in Pmburg there is a really great place to take your dirty washing... it's called the Orange Ring and you pay by weight - something like R15 per kilo for same day service.
You just drop your smelly stuff off and pay and when it's ready they send you a SMS message and you just drop by and pick it up when you like. If you want to do the washing yourself you can also do that.
And not only do they do service washes, but they also have an internet cafe, coffee shop and they are right next door to a pizza and a burger fast food restaurant! What more could you want or need??
Oh! a trainer/sneaker/takkie cleaning service? Well they do that as well!!
They are open from 7am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 8pm Sundays & Public Holidays.
If you visit Pietermaritzburg in summer, go to Darvill Nature Reserve in the morning and watch the sun coming up it is WOW!!
There is a lot of birds, particularly water birds. In Summer you can see the Warblers & the Cape Otter. An excellent hide has be been built over the water for viewing. There are marked paths. No accommodation is available.
To go there:
Midlands, Pietermaritzburg. Take New England Road from the city with Scottsville racecourse on the left. Cross the N3, pass the Pietermartizburg Golf Club.
Hey Abby,I'm racing both the TT and the Road Race (96k). Company on some pre-rides would be very welcome. Email me at jimisurfhotmail.com and I can give you or your husband more information. I know Portland and area very well. Often travel down the I5 from Vancouver for weekend fun. Nice city it is :)Hope to hear from you soon.Jimimore
Maritzburg (along with Durban) co-hosts the world's largest - and arguably greatest - ultramarathon events - the legendary Comrades marathon.I first witnessed Comrades a couple of days after I arrived in South Africa in 1987, and my considered (armchair) opinion at the time was that this was the greatest expression of mass national lunacy that I...more