Cool things to see and do in Pietermaritzburg

​Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Pietermaritzburg is popularly called Maritzburg and is often informally abbreviated to PMB. Situated on 118 Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Rosebank College, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) will open its first Connected Campus in Pietermaritzburg in 2018. Registrations are now open for the new academic year.

If you are still unsure of where you will be studying in 2018, consider Pietermaritzburg. Below we offer ideas on cool things to do and places to see in Pietermaritzburg.

Visit the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden

Exquisitely designed, these gardens have exotic species and indigenous flora. Take a guided tour during a weekday or lounge around at the weekly farmers market on a Saturday morning. Situated along Mayor's Walk, the garden is open every day of the year, from 8am to 6pm, and from 8am to 5:30pm in winter.

Ghandi statue

Ghandi spent 20 years in South Africa during his apprenticeship to become a Mahatma or Great Soul, eleven of these were spent in KwaZulu Natal. In May 1893 Ghandi was ordered by a white man to move from first class to third class. Ghandi, who had a fist class ticket refused and was thrown off the train in Pietermaritzburg. This became a momentous moment in Gandhi's life as he decided to stay and fight the oppression of Indians in South Africa. Today a bronze statue stands in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg depicting Gandhi forever striding forward. The statue was unveiled in 1993 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu marking the centenary since Ghandi was thrown off the train.

Ride a steam train

For only R10 a ride, get aboard a steam train. Founded in 1922, the Pietermaritzburg Model Engineering Society has been resurrected into an amusement train park and has been active since 1970. This unique activity allows adults and children to board upon its four locomotive trains, which are powered either by diesel or steam. The venue however is only open on the first Sunday of every month from 10am to 3pm.

Valley of a thousand hills

Situated between Pietermaritzburg and Durban is the Valley of a Thousand Hills. The Umgeni River meets the Msunduzi River in the valley and the Dusi Canoe Marathon is run through the area every year. Named after the many hills, cliffs and valleys which rise up from the banks of the Umgeni River as it flows from the distant Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean.

With so much to offer, Pietermaritzburg is definitely a city worth exploring.


Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997 (reg. no. 2007/HE07/002). Company registration number: 1987/004754/07.

Written by Karabo Keepile

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