What, Where and When on The
There’s much to keep you busy in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Walk through farmlands and forests, cycle across the rolling hills and explore country lanes. This is where quaint coffee shops and morning markets come to life, and a wealth of creative studios offer everything from life-size bronze sculptures and wrought iron homeware to intricate glass beads are fashioned with care.
The Midlands Meander situated just off the N3 Toll Route, between Pietermaritzburg and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, offers you not only picturesque endless views; but also, beautiful accommodation, wedding venues and pampering spas. This region, rich with its lakes, dams and waterfalls lends itself to outdoor fun activities – 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 – you’ll find your chosen activity here. Ever wanted to drift in the sky and have a bird’s eye view of the earth below? Hot Air Ballooning is a fantastic experience, one that offers you incredible insight into an area you know from the ground – check out Hot Air Ballooning SA for their KZN experiences. Or head off in search of a wily trout – both rainbows and wild browns can all be found in the Midlands rivers, dams and streams. If not flyfishing for trout, then regular fishing for bass is loads of fun and will keep he kids enthralled for hours. Pick up a Midlands Meander map for a list of fishing destinations.
If you’re into fine wines, creamy cappuccinos and local brews, then this region doesn’t disappoint. There are several artisanal coffee shops that roast, grind, and brew their own coffee – enjoy a freshly brewed cup accompanied by a slice of freshly baked deliciousness – a buy a bag to continue the experience at home. Get to Meander Fine Wines for a great selection of wines, and if you want a wine farm experience, then pop into Abingdon Wine Estate over a weekend for a fabulous lunch and wine tasting. Should you prefer hops, then pop into the Nottingham Road Brewing Company for a taste of their eight brews, daily from 11am onwards at the Boars Head Pub, located at Rawdons Hotel. The Karkloof Farmers Market is the destination to purchase all things ‘Midlands’ – from fresh fruit and veges, to local produce and hand-made crafts. If you’re into olives, sauces and tapenades then Romesco Olives found in Howick has a wonderful selection for you to taste before purchasing for your pantry at home. For those with a sweet tooth, you will delight in the knowledge you are catered for! The Midlands houses Chocolate Heaven, Peels Honey Shop and Tashas Fantastic Fudge amongst others.
Much to the delight of visitors, the Midlands is blessed with a host of iconic attractions, including the Natal Railway Museum in Hilton, Mandela Capture Site near Howick, the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg with its superb collection of works in different media as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Museum with its sections on natural and human sciences as well as cultural history exhibitions and the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, with its 47metre high bell tower, magnificent stained glass displays and massive pipe organ – this beautiful piece of Victorian architecture was built in 1900 and is now a national monument.
Did you know?
The isiZulu name for the different forms of trout is ithrawuthi. Rainbow- and Brown trout were introduced into South African waters by the British in the late nineteenth century. As they are a cold-water species, they can only survive in the cooler waters of the KZN Midlands and Drakensberg region – and both are a highly sought-after catch for fly-fishermen, with size being of much importance!