Few cities personify the vibrancy of a contemporary African city better than Pietermaritzburg. Steeped in a history that speaks of Zulu, Boer, British and Indian influences, the city is a cultural treasure trove brimming with diversity and colour.
Offering a full spectrum of cultural engagements, it comes as no surprise that Pietermaritzburg lays claim to being the city of choice for culture. Much as its architectural structures and statues reflect a rich historical legacy, Pietermaritzburg and its surroundings offer a veritable feast of present-day experiences.
Baynesfield Estate Museum
Ecabazini Zulu Home
Macrorie House Museum
|Tel: ||033 3942161|| |
|Details : ||Historical Museum|
The Natal Museum
The Old Prison
DCO Matiwane Memorial Project
||084 519 9438
||Eco Tourism/Memorial park
Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience
|Tel: ||033 2380288|
|Fax:||033 2380288|| |
|Details : ||Tourism Experience|
Visit Mpophomeni township outside Howick and partake in activities traditional and modern that are intrinsically part of Zulu culture. Or plan a visit to the city during the annual Umphithi Music Festival in September that showcases resident and national talent. Consider a tour of Edendale, Imbali or Sobantu for a unique perspective on life in some of South Africa's most colourful townships.
For a shebeen experience, drop in at My Sistas (Unit 13), Sophie's Tavern (Stage 1), or Rovers Tavern (J15); watch sangomas in training in Unit 14; visit the Manaye Hall in Stage 1 where Nelson Mandela made his last speech as a free man before being imprisoned in 1961; pay your respects at the Stage 2 monument that commemorates all the fallen in the
The first township to rebel against 'Bantu Education'; watch Zulu dancing at Nomhle Dlamini's Place that also serves traditional beer and food.
Visit the Georgetown project where efforts are underway to restore the historic mud brick dwellings.
Visit the Msunduzi Museum Complex for a retrospective look at the life and times of the pioneers who settled the city 160 years ago. Attend a 'wildsfees' which literally translates to a venison feast or inspect the city's oldest oven in the house occupied by the widow of Boer leader Piet Retief, now the premises of legal firm of Hathorne and Cameron. Of course no South African visit is complete without enjoying a traditional 'Braaivleis' . Complete with Boerewors, Stywe Pap and Bredie, this popular and social 'ritual' has today been adopted by most cultures. Don't forget the local beers or the brandewyn.
Attend a religious ceremony in any of the Hindu temples or Islamic mosques; stroll through the Debi market, often described as the New Delhi of Pietermaritzburg, to buy fresh vegetables and sample the cuisine. Visit the lower end of the city and the Failsworth Road area for a remarkable shopping experience, be it for clothes, jewellery, or footwear; taste the delectable vegetarian fare from Kara Nichhas; and feast your eyes on the exquisite Gita Mandir temple.
Pack a picnic basket and head for the stunning Botanical Gardens. View some of the wonderful Victorian and Edwardian edifices, not only in the CBD but also in the upper west part of the city; attend a race day at Scottsville, one of the country's finest racecourses; enjoy a cuppa tea and cream scones at the butterfly farm.
The French experience courtesy of the Prince Imperial Route commemorates the death of the Prince Imperial during the Anglo-Zulu War. Book in at the Imperial Hotel and visit the French display at the Voortrekker Museum to reflect on our French connection.
A strong German influence is expressed in the city. Arrange to see the museum at the Deutsches Haus, and visit Fort Napier where 6000 Germans were interned during WW1 Enjoy a 20 minute drive to Wartburg where you can enjoy a traditional meal.
Significant representation from the Italian, Portuguese, Greek and Chinese communities add to the veritable pot-pourri of cultural influences. Cultures are brought together at intercultural events and celebrations around the city, and are highlighted on Heritage Day festivities in September.
| Pietermaritzburg Heritage Society|| 033 886 2693|
| Gandhi Memorial Society || 033 387 1010|
| Macrorie House || 033 394 2161|
| Voortrekker Museum || 033 394 6834|
| French Tour Guide || 039 682 0528|
| Deutscher Verein || 033 396 4685 |