Welcome to Pietermaritzburg

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.

Top experiences in Pietermaritzburg

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Pietermaritzburg activities

$163.36 Day Trips & Excursions

Sani Pass and Lesotho 4x4 Experience from Durban

One of our most popular tours! The Sani Pass Lesotho 4x4 tour leaves from Durban and stops at the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Your guide will give you a short tour of the city and visit Mahatma Gandhi’s statue by Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Afterwards the tour moves towards the Drakensberg Mountains and up to the Sani Pass in Lesotho. Passport required.The Sani Pass is a 33km gravel road that straddles the sheer cliffs of the Drakensberg escarpment in a series of tight Zig Zag curves. The route begins at the Sani Pass Hotel which is 1566m above sea level. You will be travelling in a Land Rover 4×4 upwards along the narrow road crossing the South African / Lesotho border post which is 1968m above sea level. On route the landscape of KwaZulu-Natal opens-up displaying spectacular views of rolling hills and vast skies.At the top of Sani Pass, at a height of 3240 metres / 9900 feet is the “Highest Pub in Africa” where you will be given time to enjoy a warm pub meal. You tour guide will take you to a local’s home near the pub to introduce you to a Basotho people in a local village. There you will see how the Basotho people of Lesotho live. Thereafter you will make your way down Sani’s Pass and cross the boarder back into South Africa and head back to Durban.

$193.07 Day Trips & Excursions

Lion Park Safari Guided Day Trip from Durban

Depart Durban at 9am and head to The Lion Park, in the Natal Midlands. The Lion Park is a wildlife haven not far from the major cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is just 15 miles (25 km) from Pietermaritzburg and just over 8 miles (14km) from the town of Camperdown. Here you can enjoy a game drive through the park with lion feedings taking place at irregular intervals. The park is home to lions, African elephants, Asian elephants, impalas, nyalas, grey duikers, porcupines, bush pigs, kudus, vervet monkeys, bush babies, cane rats, black backed jackals, zebras, blue wildebeests, and leopards.After the Lion Park, you will then proceed to Tala Game Reserve. Tala allows you to get closer to nature, to really interact with the environment and to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the African bush. Tala is a wildlife sanctuary spanning over 3000 hectares and incorporating many diverse natural environments, the reserve features over 380 bird species, with big game that includes kudu, hippo, giraffe and eland.Several distinctive and remarkable plant species are also to be found on Tala. The fiery aloe in full bloom, the imposing euphoria and the smell of the fragrant wild sage on a dewy morning make every stay at the reserve unique and memorable.After game viewing you will have lunch at Tala Game Reserve and head straight back to Durban thereafter. Lunch, bottled water and snacks are included in the price. Arrive back in Durban around 4pm.

$163.36 Day Trips & Excursions

Nelson Mandela Capture Site and KwaZulu-Natal Guided Day Tour from Durban

Depart the City of Durban or Umhlanga around 6am, and embark on a journey of the Midlands and Nelson Mandela capture site. Walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela as you journey to the rustic place where he was captured more than 50 years ago. The Nelson Mandela capture site is now a powerful and poignant memorial to a critical moment in South African history – and the start of Mandela’s 27 years in captivity. Marco Cianfanelli's Mandela memorial art is marvel to watch!Explore the City of Pietermaritzburg which is a capital city of Kwa-Zulu Natal, also known as the Zulu Kingdom. Spend time at some of the intriguing craft shops to be found along the route Midlands route. Be captivated by the Howick Falls and spectacular views of the Drakensburg Mountains and enjoy lunch in a great atmosphere created by locals.The guide will keep you captivated with the fascinating South African stories throughout the journey. This an experience not to be missed!

$876.22 Cultural & Theme Tours

Durban 3Days Tour

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECTDAY1Depart to the Cosmopolitan city of Durban and travel islands to Pietermaritzburg,the administrative capital of the kwaZulu Natal Province.Enjoy the brief city Tour and take in the significance of this high character city and it's captivating past.The Mahadma Ghandi statue is visited outside the Colonial Building.Continue the Journey through the Midlands to Hiwick and the site where Nelson Mandela was Captured in 1962.The Natal Midlands is a Beautiful region filled with stretches of farmlands,charming little Towns,a wonderful arts and craft route and picture square,scenery bordering on the sublime.Go back to the Hotel&enjoy some Leisure before Dinner.DAY2Today is dedicated to enjoying the magnificent Scenary on offer in Drakensburg,as well as discovering in cultural Significance of this UNESCO world Heritage site,The Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park.At the Giant's Castle,enjoy a 45_Minutes walk to the Main caves for a short Tour and interpretation of the San paintings and artificial on display in the museum.After the Son experience,you then go and spend the remainder of the afternoon,enjoying the facilities on offer at the hotel.Day3Spend a day at Swaziland to lean about the Zulu Culture directly from the Zulu People themselves,who Live the history and their Heritage at the Famous Zulu Land.Visit Traditional Zulu Kraal&village then enjoy the typical Zulu Dish for lunch,then sit back and enjoy their Dance Moves.

$152.22 Cultural & Theme Tours

Sani Pass Day Tour from Durban

This tour is for all ages and fitness levels.  The duration of this tour is approximately 6 hours with a transfer of  approximately 2.5 hours from Durban and the same on return. You will depart at 6:00 from your accommodation in Durban. If you are staying outside of Durban please contact us to confirm if there is a surcharge necessary.  Please bring your valid Passport and Visa if necessary (check http://evisalesotho.com/visa-exemptions/ to see if you require a visa which can be purchased online). It is advisable to bring a warm jacket, an extra bottle of water, sunscreen, binoculars and your camera.  During your drive from Durban you will pass the historic town of Pietermaritzburg and then turn off towards the Southern Drakensberg mountains.  As you get drive further into the mountains you will pass small picturesque rural villages and vast farmlands.On arrival in Underberg you will be met by a professional Sani Pass guide and will transfer to a 4x4 vehicle.You will drive past farmlands and the foothills of the Drakensberg towards the South African border control.  Then the tour begins in earnest.  You will climb 1000 metres on a gravel road in for 8 kilometres through a World Heritage site and magnificent scenery to the Lesotho border post. At the top you will reach an elevation of 2840 metres.During the climb up the pass you may see a variety of bird life, eland, baboons and small buck.  Endemic fauna and flora are abundant through this world heritage site.After the Lesotho border control you will head into the remote Lesotho Highlands. You may even get to see some of the elusive Basotho shepherds covered with traditional blankets and wearing traditional head attire.  You will visit a small village which was originally built to assist the local shepherds and see their stone houses.  Your guide will give an explanation of their way of life and daily rituals.Thereafter you will head towards the Highest Pub in Africa for lunch and drinks (at your own cost).Perched on the edge of the Escarpment you will have excellent photo opportunities from the front decks of the Restaurant.After lunch you will go back via the border and wind down through the astonishing Sani Pass bends which is one of the most spectacular scenes in Africa.  With a full tummy and lots of memories you will be met by your driver for your transfer back to Durban.A real opportunity to see not only the magnificence of this pass but a different country as well.

$148.51 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full-Day Mandela Capture Site Tour from Durban

The tour starts from your hotel in Durban and proceeds to Pietermaritzburg - the capital of KwaZulu-Natal and named after Piet Mauritus Retief. You will have the opportunity to see attractions such as the city hall as the city has the most historical buildings of the British architecture. You will then proceed to the Nelson Mandela Capture Site which is where Nelson Mandela was captured and sent into his incarceration, and nearby is a museum where his life is laid out. The tour then proceeds to the Howick Falls otherwise known as "the place of the tall one". The waterfall is a 95m cascade into a pool that the locals believe to be a place of spirits of the ancestors. To conclude the tour, you will be taken to The Valley of a Thousand Hills where you will experience the Zulu culture and Zulu dance at Phezulu Cultural Village . You can venture into the traditional Zulu Huts where various artefacts, beliefs and rituals are explained. You will then conclude the tour with a visit to the Reptile Park where a qualified park guide will intrigue you with interesting facts about the resident crocodiles and exotic reptiles, before returning to Durban.

Pietermaritzburg in detail