PMB / MIDLANDS
The capital city of Pietermaritzburg, set amidst forested hills and the rolling countryside of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. It is a contemporary African city that speaks of Zulu, Boer, British and Indian influences, and visits by the likes of Gandhi, Mandela and Queen Victoria, as well as its museums, art galleries, quaint antique shops, markets and a special style of country living are some of the things that make the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands region of South Africa special. Take in the many heritage sites on a walk through the city’s historical centre and enjoy the architecture and history of the town. One of the highlights of the town is the City Hall, built in 1893. It is reputed to be one of the largest all-brick buildings in the southern hemisphere. Be sure to pop into the Mandela Capture Site near Howick to view the remarkable sculpture that marks the place where former president, Nelson Mandela was captured.
The Midlands landscape is green and softly wavy, dominated by pastures and pine forests, dotted with a myriad of waterfalls, lakes, dams, and villages. Pick up a Midlands Meander map and explore some of the routes offering visitors easy directions to a wealth of fabulous cuisine, historic landmarks, artist studios and ‘shop till you drop’ opportunities to take home the perfect hand-woven rug, wrought iron candlesticks, a designer pottery teapot or deliciously creamy Swiss-styled local goats cheese. Kids will love exploring the gardens of Groundcover, painting their own pottery at the Zulu-Lulu Art Bar or feeding the goats at Swissland cheese. The region abounds with restaurants and teagardens offering everything from freshly roasted artisanal coffee, freshly baked delicacies as well as delicious breakfasts and lunches – take time out to pop into a local wine farm and be surprised at how fabulous KZN produced wine is!
This region, rich with lakes, dams and waterfalls, is a fly fisherman’s dream – add to that nature reserves and forests and you’re set for a variety of outdoor adventure activities. From trail running and hiking, to mountain biking, horse riding and paddling and even game viewing – you’ll find your chosen activity here. The Karkloof Canopy Tour offers adrenalin junkies a rush as you whizz past towering trees, cliff faces dotted with orchids and over a pristine forest floor… and hot-air ballooning enables you to view it all from above. Sound like too much activity? Then opt for a spa day… the Midlands offers some of the finest spas South Africa has to offer, providing sophisticated spa seekers with an enviable range of treatments and rituals using the world’s favourite spa products alongside traditional African treatments.