In the heart of the Natal Midlands in KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg is convenient for travellers who want to explore this part of the country.
It is a city of charm and dignity, and at its loveliest in spring masses of azaleas burst into bloom. When the first Voortrekkers arrived in 1837, they discovered a tranquil countryside graced with forests, hills and valleys. They settled on a fertile tract of land beside the Umsindusi River and named it after two of their leaders, Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief.
Today, numerous Victorian and Edwardian buildings, quaint pedestrian lanes, shady, tree-lined suburbs, spacious red brick bungalows and upper-crust boarding schools reinforce the colonial ambience of "The Last Outpost of the British Empire".