KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsScottsville Racecourse
Where? 45 New England Road, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, Natal Midlands
How? Call +27 (0)33 345-3405
Scottsville Racecourse is popular for a number of good reasons, not least of all its excellent facilities and its being the setting for the movie Racing Stripes, a 2005 children’s movie about a racing zebra. It is situated in Pietermaritzburg, which is the capital city of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. This city is known for its historical and natural attractions too, making it a multifaceted hotspot for locals and tourists alike.
The Scottsville Racecourse is not only for fans and followers of horse racing, but it certainly adds to the experience if you know your racing. Initially, the course was maintained by plough and oxen, which is a very old-fashioned method that can scarcely be found anymore. In addition, the course would request local bikers with belt-propelled bikes to ride here so that the divots could be dispersed more effectively. More than this, little information is available regarding the early days of Scottsville.
In 1962, the first sponsored race (Gilbey’s Stakes) was hosted at the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club, making South African history and putting this course on the map, so to speak. In 1963, the Smirnoff Plate was also hosted here. Although both of these races were done away with in 1996, they were adopted by the Golden Horse (part of the racecourse domain) and are now known as the Golden Horse Sprint. Today, races take place four or five times a month.
The Scottsville track is an oval, right-handed one that has a circumference of around 2 300 metres. The home straight follows a steep bank and includes a 550 metre run-in, which always gets the excitement mounting and the crowds going. In addition, there is a 1 200 metre straight with a moveable rail for an interchangeable run-in length.
The facilities and amenities of the course are all about class, elegance and convenience. There are a number of restaurants and bars in which to enjoy excellent food and drinks, and to catch up on all of the racing news and results. Meet with friends and colleagues while being part of the racing excitement. In addition, there is an enclosed picnic area in which the relaxed ambience of the South African countryside can be enjoyed amidst the buzz of the track.
The Golden Horse Casino is also situated at the Scottsville Racecourse, and gives avid gamblers the opportunity to try their hand at any of the 22 tables and 450 slot machines. Even for those that just feel like trying their luck, this is a fun place to spend an hour or two. Gambling is not permitted for those under the age of 18 years.
The Scottsville Racecourse is less than an hour’s drive from Durban and the King Shaka International Airport. In addition, it is only 2.5 kilometres from the centre of Pietermaritzburg. Other tourist attractions that are nearby include the Mandela Capture Monument with the world-renowned sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli, the Valley of 1 000 Hills, and a number of malls and arts and crafts markets.