A History of the Royal Show

Today, Pietermaritzburg’s Royal Agricultural Show is the continent’s largest mixed exhibition incorporating a fully-fledged agricultural component – this annual ten-day event is well-known for including showings of livestock and agricultural equipment, but also for a wide range of other displays and activities, encompassing lifestyle exhibitions, music concerts and even a funfair. But where did it all begin? Read on to find out…

Africa’s Largest Mixed Exhibition

Throughout its history, ‘The Royal’ has had the privilege of hosting merchants and businessmen who recognise the benefits and harmony of interacting with one another, the agricultural sector and the general public.

Today the Show is the largest mixed exhibition incorporating a fully-fledged agricultural component on the continent of Africa. Not only does this include the exposition of some of the country’s finest livestock and agricultural equipment but also a range of ancillary activities and displays covering the industrial, commercial and service sectors within the province.

Included in the mix is the 2100m² Food Hall, where by way of exhibits and demonstrations, the entire food chain from farm field to dining table is informatively portrayed.

Similarly, the recently refurbished – century old – Crafts and Home Industries Hall affords young and old with eclectic displays and inter-active demonstrations of extraordinary talent. These include embroidery, needlework, tapestries, knitting, painting, photography, beading and wood sculpting. Whilst the emphasis is focused on the non-commercial competitive sections; the ‘purist’ component is today complemented in the adjacent hall with a mix of displays of modern crafts, many of which are available to purchase.

Other dedicated halls include those relating to business, home improvements and safety and security, together with a further 4 000m² under cover devoted to a broad mix of general displays.

Open site stands likewise cater for a mix of exhibits ranging from swimming pools and building requisites through to a vast array of tractors, agricultural implements and the latest motor vehicles and trucks. Also, and more recently ‘The Royal’ has pleasingly seen a significant increase in the presence of materials handling and construction equipment all indicating that the Royal affords incredible value from a corporate marketing and branding perspective in respect of capital items of note.

Full of contrasts, ‘The Royal’, with its unique ambience abutting the City with its own stream, is all about old friends, new introductions, long established traditions and stimulating fresh ideas. A truly pleasant and profitable experience for participants and visitors alike.

Be Part of the Royal Show!

Participants are offered an opportunity to:

  • Be part of the largest mixed exhibition incorporating a fully-fledged agricultural component on the continent of Africa
  • Participate in South Africa’s largest agricultural Show catering for livestock and equipment
  • Participate in one of the country’s major construction and materials handling equipment Shows; in its own right, indicative of the deemed prestige and ‘critical mass’ of the Royal Show;
  • Participate in KwaZulu-Natal’s largest audited annual event;
  • Exhibit product in a province which not only has the largest population in South Africa but also the second highest GDP and disposable income.


  • The province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to the broadest demographic representation in South Africa and the Royal Show therefore provides a unique opportunity to ‘test’ the market;
  • There is approximately 8 000 square metres under cover and 10 000 square metres of open exhibition space
  • A captive market of some 180 000 visitors
  • An exhibition where it is not uncommon for onsite sales to cover costs
  • An assurance on the part of the organisers that products of consequence will not be juxtaposed with Sunday ‘flea’ market type exhibits (which are increasingly in their own right being discouraged).
  • And a facility which is open, friendly and relaxed with a charm and ambience all of its own!