Pietermaritzburg has a population of around 223,000, rising to some 500,000 when including the neighboring townships. It is the capital of KwaZulu-Natal province in eastern South Africa and its second largest city. It is known informally as “PMB” and expats living in Pietermaritzburg will sometimes hear it referred to as Maritzburg in both English and Zulu. The city is an important regional center for industry and has a thriving higher education sector. The City Hall of Pietermaritzburg, the largest red brick building in the Southern Hemisphere, was burnt down in 1895 but reconstructed in 1901 and is a famous local sight. Other tourist attractions include the Tatham Art Gallery and statues to mark the capture of Nelson Mandela and the visit of Mahatma Gandhi. Expats living in Pietermaritzburg can find out much more about the city from other international residents on the forums and discussion groups on InterNations.
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Pietermaritzburg is well served with transport links. It stands on the N3 national road between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban and is also a station on the railroad between Johannesburg and Durban. Pietermaritzburg (Oribi) Airport provides regular connections to Johannesburg. Pietermaritzburg was confirmed as the post-apartheid capital of the KwaZulu-Natal region in 2004. This resulted in the relocation of many government departments to Pietermaritzburg and a consequent increase in retail and residential developments in the city. Choosing the right neighborhood to live in can be a difficult decision for the new expat moving to Pietermaritzburg, but consulting with other expatriates in the area on InterNations can provide a lot of useful information. The online forum is also a great place to make friends when arriving in a new city.
The economy of Pietermaritzburg is supported by an important industrial center. The city is a major producer of dairy products and timber and it is also an important city for the production of aluminum. The higher education sector is another major employer. Since becoming the sole capital of the region in 2004, a number of government offices have relocated to Pietermaritzburg, making administrative jobs a larger factor in the city’s economy. At InterNations, you can keep abreast of the developments in Pietermaritzburg and perhaps forge new connections to benefit your professional life. It is an excellent platform on which expatriates working in Pietermaritzburg can discover new opportunities and also build a social life. To complement the host of online resources on offer, our Expat Magazine carries lots of articles and information on enjoying the expatriate lifestyle.