Pietermaritzburg is a beautiful city, nesting among wooded hills.Its centre lies between the Dorp Spruit (Town Creek) and the Umsindusi rivers. The city was laid out according to Dutch tradition, and so has a Church Street and a Commercial Road intersecting at right angles at its heart. Other street names, such as Longmarket Street and Loop Street (Walk Street) are reminiscent of the same tradition. The city remains traditionally Victorian, with wrought-iron lace-like work on several of its older buildings. It is one of the best preserved Victorian cities in the World.
Pietermaritzburg is the gateway between Johannesburg and Durban as a result there are many bus services, rail services and taxis available on a daily basis.
Pietermaritzburg has a airport, which is known as Oribi Airport. It is not a international airport but it offers national destinations and inter - city flights.
The city lies some 600-700 metres above sea level, and so has a cooler and more extreme climate than Durban or the Kwazulu-Natal Coast. The summers tend to be very hot and tropical, with thunder storms and temperatures well above 30 degrees Celsius in mid-summer. The winters are usually very dry and can be quite cold with several degrees of frost during some nights. The rivers flood unpredictably, and disastrous floods of both the Umsindusi and the Dorp Spruit have been reported sporadically at most times of the year: even during the dry season.
Popular attractions in the city include the Lion Park on the South-Eastern side of the town and a few game parks. These, together with the spectacular scenery afforded by the surrounding country-side, especially the Drakensberg Mountain areas, make Pietermaritzburg a sought-after tourist destination. Vistitors to Kwazulu-Natal are well advised to include the region in their itineraries.