Pietermaritzburg is the second largest city and capital of the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. Known for its beautiful examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, one may be fooled into thinking that Pietermaritzburg was founded by the British. In fact, the city was founded in 1838 by Dutch-speaking Voortrekkers (early Dutch settlers) who moved away from the British authorities in the Cape and headed north into Natal. The town was laid out according to the traditional Voortrekker grid pattern and from 1840 people quarried shale and manufactured bricks to construct the thatched Voortrekker cottages.
This site is one of the early Voortrekker Settler Cottages, though certain elements have been changed (the thatched roof has been replaced), it is an excellent example of early Voortrekker architecture. Typical features of Voortrekker cottages include thick walls of mud brick or shale, yellowwood floors and ceilings, haylofts, structure abutting onto the street edge. CyArk has partnered with the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and the African Conservation Trust (ACT) to form a new chapter, CyArk South Africa. The site was scanned in 2012 as part of a UKZN Heritage Mapping Unit project to digitally document historical buildings in Pietermaritzburg. In addition to UKZN and ACT, CyArk also partnered with Heritage KwaZulu-Natal in completing this project.