General Facts

Place: Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Nickname(s): PMB, The City Of Choice
Coordinates:  S 29° 37' 01"     E 30° 22' 59"
Country:  South Africa
Province: KwaZulu-Natal
District Municipality: Umgungundlovu
Established: 1838

Population (2001)

Total: 521,805
Density: 804/km² (2,082.4/sq mi)
Time zone: South Africa Standard Time (UTC+2)


Total:  649 km² (250.6 sq mi)
Elevation: 596 m (1,955 ft)

As Capital of KwaZulu-Natal, the city is an administrative and industrial centre

Products include:

Wattle, bark extract, furniture, footwear, aluminium, chocolate and cloth. Motor vehicles are assembled in the city, and iron ore is mined nearby

Pietermaritzburg is the seat of the University of Natal (1909), a technical college, the Natal Museum and the Tatham Art Gallery

Points of interest include the Church of the Vow (1839), built to commemorate the 1838 Boer victory over Zulu forces; Fort Napier, erected by the British in 1843; and the Provincial Council Buildings.


The Comrades Marathon takes place annually, in June, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. It has been run since 1921 and attracts thousands of entrants. The start of the race alternates between the two cities.

In January there is an annual canoe race, Dusi Canoe Marathon, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The route follows the Msunduzi River into the Mgeni River, through the Valley of a Thousand Hills into the Inanda Dam and from here to the mouth of the Mgeni River.

The Midmar Mile is one of the largest open-water swimming events in the world; taking place at Midmar Dam, north of Pietermaritzburg in February every year, it attracts over 16,000 swimmers from around the world.

The most prominent soccer club is Maritzburg United. The club was relegated from the Premier Soccer League after the 2006 / 2007 season, and it currently competes in the Mvela Golden League.
Sports in Pietermaritzburg

The Pietermaritzburg Oval is considered one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in South Africa, and it hosted two matches during the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Pietermaritzburg cricket ground is notable as one of the two grounds used regularly for first-class cricket that have a tree within the boundary (the other is St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury, Kent).

Famous residents

  • Brendon Dedekind, swimmer (b. February 14, 1976)
  • Bessie Head, writer, was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1937.
  • Charles Llewellyn, cricketer (b. September 29, 1876). Holds the distinction of being the first non-White Test cricketer for South Africa.
  • Tom Sharpe, novelist, who described the city "half the size of a New York cemetery and twice as dead".
  • Cuan McCarthy, fast-bowling cricketer 1929-2000
  • Phyllis McCarthy, noted authority and breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • Shaun Morgan, lead singer of Seether, is a former resident of Pietermaritzburg and attended both Merchiston Preparatory School and Maritzburg College while he lived there.
  • Dale Stewart, bassist of Seether, is also a former resident of Pietemaritzburg.
  • Alan Paton, author of Cry the Beloved Country, was born in Pietermaritzburg.
  • Kevin Pietersen, cricketer (b. June 27, 1980). Newly appointed captain of England Cricket.
  • Jonty Rhodes, cricketer (b. July 27, 1969)
  • Kevin Volans, composer (b. July 6, 1949)
  • Butch James, Springbok and Natal Sharks rugby player attended Maritzburg College from 1994-2000. He played for Colleges' 3rd team and is now the starting flyhalf for the Springboks.
  • Greg Minnaar, twice crowned Downhill World Cup champion (2001, 2005) for winning the Mountain Bike World Cup points series. He was also crowned Downhill World Champion in 2003 for winning the season ending event.


  • Built in 1900, the City Hall is the largest all-brick building in the southern hemisphere and was declared a national monument in 1969.
  • At 14 meters high, the statue of Pegasus, adorning the entrance of the Golden Horse Casino, was the largest statue of a horse in the world.
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