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Pietermaritzburg's history goes back to 1838 when Dutch speaking Voortrekkers from the Cape moved into the area and laid out the town, naming it after their leader. Today the city is the capital of and second largest city in KwaZulu-Natal. Much of the city centre's architecture dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with some splendid examples of Victorian and Edwardian shop-fronts. Pietermaritzburg is located in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal at the foot of the escarpment and is on the N3 highway, the major arterial road between the Witwatersrand and the harbour city of Durban, some 90 kilometres to the east. The railway from Johannesburg to Durban passes through the city.

Pietermaritzburg's infrastructure is good, and the city has several hopitals, a number of private and government schools and is home to the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The city is considered as of the most desirable residential areas in South Africa, and is mostly surrounded by the forested hills of the Drakensburg mountains. It offers some excellent investment opportunities in both older properties, cluster developments, security complexes, apartments and vacant land.

Pietermaritzburg offers plenty of sporting facilities. The Alexandra Park just to the south of the city centre is home to a race course, sports fields, a cycle track, pavilions, a garden of remembrance and to the Mayor's Garden, and there are numerous hiking trails in the hills surrounding the city.

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