The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is one of South Africa's oldest major regional museums which was first opened to the public in November 1904. The museum is a cultural and natural history museum dedicated to the understanding of the natural world and the history of humankind.
If you're interested in South African heritage, this museum is a must-see as it hosts several of South Africa's most important heritage collections. The internationally renowned collections feature regional archaeology, African cultural products, European settler history, seashells, insects and other fauna. In addition, the Natal Museum is a proud custodian of one of the most important collections of Zulu objets d'art in the world. There's a room dedicated to KwaZulu-Natal history, geological and paleontological material, and a recreation of a late 1800s Victorian street featuring shops, a stable and period houses. There's also a full-sized replica of a Drakensberg cave, complete with rock art, and a wrecked olden-day trading vessel. What makes the KwaZulu-Natal Museum particularly interesting is the array of interesting temporary exhibitions that give the museum a definite dynamic advantage. Temporary exhibitions and happenings have included an exploration of the history of segregation in the US, xenophobic violence, children’s art exhibition.
The museum's in-house Department of Human Sciences includes a team of archaeologists and cultural heritage technicians who specialise in multiple disciplines covering both South Africa's past and its material culture.
Discover the fascinating research being carried out on human cognition and modern behaviour, the history of hunter-gatherers and farming communities, as well as rock art and Nguni history.
Make time to visit the exhibition department where educational and entertaining exhibitions are rotated to keep travellers returning for more. The displays are interactive to encourage dymanic learning and to stimulate interest in South Africa's cultural diversity. A number of temporary and travelling displays, incorporating multimedia technology, are also created by the exhibition team.
The Natal Museum is also home to the Natal Museum Library, South Africa's largest research library, which is dedicated to the collection, preservation, study and exhibition of objects of cultural and scientific value, particularly in the field of natural and human sciences.
Learners from surrounding schools often visit the museum which is equipped with an internet café, resource library and film room to encourage further research and study.
This museum is wheelchair friendly and includes a ramp, lift and special toilet facilities.
- Adults (over 17 years) R 10.00
- Pensioners FREE
- Children under 4 years FREE
- Children 4 - 17 years R 2.50
- School Pupils on Tour R 1.50 per child
A ramp entrance, lifts and special toilet facilities are available. Ask at reception for assistance.
Guided tours, lectures, videos, etc are available by arrangement. See the Education Department Page for more information and booking details.
Two lecture theatres are available for cultural, scientific and educational pursuits. Lectures and illustrated talks are given by Museum Staff.
Our research library and scientific staff are available for additional information.
A range of unique collections - there are eight natural history and around ten cultural history galleries that include an array of mammals (together with the last wild elephant in KwaZulu-Natal), birds, amphibians, insects, an extensive mollusc collection (there are few South African land snails that are not represented in the Natal Museum) and a life-size T-Rex model. There is also a room dedicated to KwaZulu-Natal history, geological and Paleontological material, and a reconstruction of a Victorian street set in the late 1800's, complete with shops, stable and period homes. Take a walk through a life size recreation of a Drakensberg cave with rock art drawings or a walk on the wooden deck of a wrecked trading vessel in our Towns and Trade Exhibition. What makes the KwaZulu-Natal Museum particularly interesting is the array of interesting temporary exhibitions that give the museum a definite dynamic advantage. Temporary exhibitions and happenings have included an exploration of the history of segregation in the US, xenophobic violence, children’s art exhibition. The Museum officially opened an exciting exhibition on the Soccer World Cup, in May 2010. The 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian people to South Africa was celebrated in November 2010, with the launch of a new permanent exhibition showcasing the Indian community of Pietermaritzburg. The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is also very popular with the schools and family visitors alike. The museum boasts an internet café with an impressive 16 computers, resource library for learners and film room.