Pietermaritzburg comprises a very contemporary mix: the city is home to students attending the numerous private schools in the area, a large Zulu community and a sizeable Indian population. Pietermaritzburg is a reasonable base from which to tackle the Midlands Meander and is also within spitting distance of the Drakensberg.
Billed as a heritage city, and KZN’s administrative and legislative capital, Pietermaritzburg and its grand historic buildings around City Hall hark back to an age of pith helmets and midday martinis. While many buildings have been converted into museums, much of the CBD has, sadly, lost its gloss. This is partly due to the dire state of the local-government coffers. Elsewhere, the inner suburbs – plus Hilton, a suburb 9km northwest of the city centre – are green, leafy and pretty.