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Pietermaritzburg: a scenic tapestry of curvaceous landscapes, wildlife reserves and echoes of historic battles

Located on the east coast of South Africa, in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, lies the laid-back city of South Africa. Famed for the historic Battle of Blood River, between the Zulus and Voortrekkers, this city boasts a fascinating history as well as stunning landscapes. Must-see attractions include the Valley of 1000 Hills, Msunduzi Museum and the National Botanical Gardens.

Cheap flights to Pietermaritzburg are now available for a limited period of time, so get ready to enjoy the spectacular landscapes and outdoor attractions of this historical city! Pietermaritzburg is home to Pietermaritzburg Airport (PZB), located to the south of the city, an easy 15-minute drive from the centre of town. Pietermaritzburg Airport serves a multitude of local airlines, including South African Airways, Kulula and Mango Airlines. Direct flights depart from Johannesburg, on a 60-minute route; flight duration from Cape Town is 1 hour, 55 minutes.

Popular flights to Pietermaritzburg

Flight Route Airline Trip Type Travel Dates Searched Price from
Johannesburg - Pietermaritzburg Airlink Return Nov 3 - Nov 24 1 day ago R1,938
Cape Town - Pietermaritzburg Airlink Return Nov 11 - Nov 15 1 day ago R4,338
Durban - Pietermaritzburg SAA Return Mar 22 - Mar 22 1 day ago R5,098
George - Pietermaritzburg Airlink Return Nov 19 - Nov 26 1 day ago R5,648
Pretoria - Pietermaritzburg SAA Return Sep 18 - Sep 18 1 day ago R7,278

Why visit Pietermaritzburg

rolling landscapes

Rolling Landscapes

Pietermaritzburg is set against a backdrop of wonderful, lush hills and mountains painted in hues of gold and amber. The curvaceous paths and rugged peaks complement the meandering streams in the Valley of 1000 Hills.

rich history

Rich History

The city harbours a history of tribal battles between the Zulus and the Voortrekkers. The museums depict a deeper insight into historical events, while the City Hall stands as the largest red-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Nature and Wildlife

Nature and Wildlife

The natural surroundings form a playground for game reserves and nature gardens. Spend a few nights under the stars at nearby game lodges where you’ll be treated to The Big 5 and the best of South African hospitality!

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country South Africa
Currency South African Rand
Language English / Afrikaans
Hub Airport Pietermaritzburg Airport (PZB)
Airline South African Airways
Time Zone GMT + 2
Travel Adaptor Type D / M / N

Destination review

9 reviews

Best time to visit Pietermaritzburg

This city features a humid sub-tropical climate, with mild winters and warm summers and is a perfect holiday destination any time of year. The ideal time to visit would be from January through to May when school holidays are over and you can enjoy the sunny outdoors. Summer seasons begin in September and end in March, while winter begins in May through to September. Winter is also a good time, with minimal rainfall and cooler temperatures, however, be aware of crowds and higher prices during school holidays in June and July.

Weather & Climate in Pietermaritzburg

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 17°C 17°C 16°C 13°C 8°C 4°C 4°C 7°C 10°C 13°C 14°C 16°C
High °C 28°C 28°C 27°C 26°C 23°C 22°C 22°C 23°C 24°C 25°C 26°C 27°C
Rainfall (mm) 140 123 113 64 31 12 12 28 48 87 115 124

Whether you are South African or an international visitor planning to visit this part of KwaZulu-Natal, this city is the gateway to some of the province’s most charming attractions.

Pietermaritzburg is the capital city of the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa and you will find plenty to see and do in this region. With a good mixture of history, culture, scenery and even wildlife to be found in the city and its surrounds, you'll love exploring one of the most charming cities in the eastern region of South Africa.

Things to see and do in the city and its surrounds include the Basani Arts and Crafts Centre, Natal Zoological Gardens, KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens, Tatham Art Gallery and the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. You may want to stop past the wine estates in the Midlands to sample some of the finest wine in the region.

Nature enthusiasts can marvel at the Valley of a Thousand Hills – a scenic drive from Durban. Howick Falls and Butterflies for Africa are also special attractions worth a visit. Go on a game drive in the surrounding game reserves, where you will be treated to an abundance of African wildlife.

Compare several airlines, and book your cheap flights to Pietermaritzburg online at Travelstart!

Tourist visas are valid for a stay of up to 90 days. Check the consular website to see if your country is exempt from obtaining a visa.

You will need the following if you wish to visit South Africa:

• A valid and acceptable passport or travel document

• At least TWO blank pages in your passport for endorsements

• A valid visa (if required)

• Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay

• A return or onward ticket

• Yellow Fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the Yellow Fever belt of Africa or South America.

The Department of Home Affairs can be contacted at the following number: 0800 601190

Pietermaritzburg is a very friendly city. Like any modern metropolis, it is a fairly safe city but petty crimes are common, especially towards tourists. Be vigilant at all times and keep an eye on personal belongings. Ensure bags are always zipped closed and do not walk around flaunting valuables. Walking around the city at night is not advisable, especially for solo female travellers. Use a clearly marked taxi cab or Uber to get around in the evenings.

Item Johannesburg Cape Town Pietermaritzburg
Meal (inexpensive restaurant) R 90.00 R 100.00 R 90.00
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R 22.00 R 20.00 R 20.00
Cappuccino (Regular) R 19.00 R 20.00 R 21.00
Taxi 1km (Normal tariff) R 10.00 R 12.00 R 8.00
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 35.00 R 35.00 R 35.00

The Pietermaritzburg city centre has a few options for bargain hunters, from backpackers to couch-surfers. The more average-priced forms of accommodation include beautiful guest houses, lodges and campsites. Hotels are located in the city centre. Pietermaritzburg also offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beautiful landscapes of the Valley of a Thousand Hills offers a quiet retreat with hiking, camping, horse riding and farmers’ markets on offer.

Wherever you decide to stay, Pietermaritzburg has various forms of accommodation that are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget.

Renting a car is the easiest way of getting around the city, especially for those looking to take further trips into the surrounding areas. The warm beaches of Durban are only an hour’s drive away! There are also a number of registered taxi services around the city. Bus services run throughout the city; while mini bus taxis are cheap, they are hazardous and are to be used at your own risk. There is also a fairly reliable rail service connecting the city centre to the rest of the city. Shuttles to and from the airport can easily be arranged at the arrivals gate.

Main attractions in Pietermaritzburg

Msunduzi Museum

Msunduzi Museum

Kwa Zulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens

Kwa Zulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens

Ghandi Statue

Ghandi Statue

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