How Safe Is Pietermaritzburg for Travel?

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Safety Index:

Pietermaritzburg is a city in the center of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

The capital of Kwazulu-Natal is famous for its history and architecture.

Travelers come here to see KwaZulu-Natal Museum – an impressive museum with well-curated displays reflecting a diversity of cultures.

Other exciting things here are Tatham Art Gallery, Tandoor Durban with delicious food, Msunduzi Museum – a complex that incorporates the Church of the Vow, the home of Andries Pretorius, a Voortrekker house and a former school with exhibits.

Religious sites are also of interest – three Hindu Temples,  Mosque of Pietermaritzburg and Modern memorial church –  The words of the Vow that the Voortrekkers made with God at the Battle of Blood River are in the Modern Memorial Church.

Warnings & Dangers in Pietermaritzburg

Overall Risk


The city is not safe to travel, especially at night. Never walk around the city after sunset. Avoid staying up in bars and don't carry a lot of cash with you. As a tourist, take maximum measures to ensure your safety while you are in Pietermaritzburg.

Transport & Taxis Risk


It is not recommended to use public transport; taxis are the best way to get around. Never sit next to a taxi driver. Discuss the price of the trip in advance and ask to turn on the taximeter.

Pickpockets Risk


Theft and pickpocketing are some of the most common crimes in Pietermaritzburg. Personal belongings need to be stored, exceptionally well. And leave the jewelry at home. Avoid crowds where you can quickly grab your handbag.

Natural Disasters Risk


Droughts, fires due to high temperatures, floods, and dam failures, earthquakes, and epidemics are common in this region. Find out the situation before your visit to Pietermaritzburg.

Mugging Risk


The risk of armed robberies and even kidnapping exists in the city. You need to be on alert, especially at night. Try to move around the city in groups and do not use public transport when returning home late. Staying outside at night is strictly not recommended.

Terrorism Risk


Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners, such as shopping areas in major cities.

Scams Risk


Scams are typical in Pietermaritzburg. Tourists are not advised to buy anything from the street touts. It is also better to take only licensed services. Check with your hotel what taxi services and shops are recommended to deal with.

Women Travelers Risk


Women are strongly discouraged from traveling to this city alone. Abductions and violence against women tourists are frequent. It is better to move around in groups with men and not go out after sunset.

So... How Safe Is Pietermaritzburg Really?

However, Pietermaritzburg is not considered a safe city.

The crime rate is very high.

It is considered unsafe to move around the city at night or in areas remote from the center.

Most crimes involve armed robbery, house theft, carjacking, kidnapping, and killing.

In this case, you should know that intolerance to skin color or religion of people here is very high.

Moving around the city at night is strictly not recommended.

Although incidents of crime against tourists rarely happen in South Africa, tourists should still be on alert.

Avoid an ostentatious display of expensive jewelry, cameras, mobile phones, and other valuables.

Keep your handbag with you, keep it closed or zipped, and do not leave it unattended.

Keep your mobile phone with you, and do not leave it unattended.

Do not carry large sums of cash with you.

Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets, and money together – leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.

Don’t carry your passport unless necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone.

Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.

How Does Pietermaritzburg Compare?

CitySafety Index
Cape Town43
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

  • Visas - Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a "Port of Entry Visa." Visitors who require a visa must apply in person and provide biometric data. A valid passport is a must.
  • Currency - The rand is the official currency of South Africa. The rand is subdivided into 100 cents. It has a sign: R; code: ZAR. The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia. However, the last three countries do have their currencies pegged at par with the rand.
  • Weather - The best times to visit Pietermaritzburg for ideal weather are from April to June and from August to October. The average temperatures in Pietermaritzburg vary somewhat. Temperatures feel very enjoyable all year with a low chance of precipitation most of the year.
  • Airports - Pietermaritzburg Airport is the primary airport serving the city of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. It is located 6 km south of the city center. It serves only domestic flights.
  • Travel Insurance - The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Pietermaritzburg Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 24° C
Feb 24° C
Mar 24° C
Apr 21° C
May 18° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 15° C
Aug 18° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 22° C
Dec 23° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

1 Review on Pietermaritzburg

  1. N
    Nick Peters says:

    Not Safe

    Pietermaritzburg like many other areas in South Africa, I would not recommend going. This is especially true if you are a woman. Does not matter race either. It just is not safe for women. I worked in the area for 6 months for animal conservation efforts and have run into plenty of issues. Luckily none of them ended badly. While I love the wildlife, the food, many aspects of the culture… It is not safe.

Rated 1 / 5 based on 1 user reviews.

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