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What makes the Midlands region stand out is the beautiful verdant scenery and the sense of peace you have when all around you is nothing but tranquil beauty.
The Midlands area is located in the centre of KwaZulu-Natal Province, north of the capital Pietermaritzburg and stretching west to the Drakensberg Mountains, and eastward to Karkloof. The landscape is blessed with shimmering streams, indigenous forests, waterfalls, green pastures and undulating hills. Amongst this epitome of natural beauty are Zulu villages, farms and welcoming towns.
The Midlands is best known for the Midlands Meander, a series of pioneering arts and craft routes that span several towns and veer off the beaten track.
It’s the perfect retreat for a relaxing holiday, however, golden beaches and mountain climbing activities are both no more than an hour’s drive away.
Top 8 reasons to visit Midlands
1. You can get a map and take a few days to travel the 5 routes on the Midlands Meander. Each route offers something unique and the entertainment options are endless; nature parks, unusual craft displays, quirky road stalls, craft brewers, basket weavers and restaurants to name a few.
2. Adventure lovers will enjoy the 2-hour Karkloof Canopy Tour, a sequence of zip lines ranging between 40m and 180m and spanning an indigenous forest.
3. Visit the 95m Howick Falls, an idyllic picnic site. The place is shrouded in mystique and myth. According to local legend, a serpent inhabits the pool below the falls.
4. The Zulu-Mpophomeni Tourism Experience is a fun and educational tour of a township and Zulu kraal, with customary beehive huts. The tour includes a traditional Zulu meal and sorghum beer served in a clay pot, Zulu dancing and praise singing.
5. You could take a leisurely drive to the large city of Durban to enjoy the golden beaches along this stretch of the coast.
6. Lovers of architecture will appreciate the magnificent colonial buildings perfectly maintained in Pietermaritzburg. This city is known as the last outpost of the British Empire.
7. The Midmar Resort and Nature Reserve is surrounded by a vast body of water, a favourite destination of water sport enthusiasts and anglers. The reserve includes a wildlife park, hiking and cycling trails.
8. The Midlands is filled with entertainment. Other options available are fly fishing, bird watching, a visit to spas, wine cellar tours, horse riding and olive oil tastings, with ample children’s activities at most venues.
The nearest airport is King Shaka International Airport roughly 120km from the Midlands area. There are many car rental agencies in Durban city centre and at King Shaka airport, or you could order a rental online. You may find a shuttle service company willing to transfer you to the Midlands, however, expect the cost to be prohibitive and to truly enjoy the area, rather hire a car.
Did you know?
The Midlands has some of the finest and most expensive private schools in South Africa, the best known being Hilton College, Michael House and Kearsney College. The popular novelist Wilbur Smith is a Michael House alumni.
In 1893, a young lawyer named Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from a Whites Only train carriage at the Pietermaritzburg station. Gandhi became an anti-war hero whose peaceful campaigns for justice inspired the world. There is a statue of the man in the Pietermaritzburg Church Street Mall.