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Encircled by green meadows dotted with livestock, the town of Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Province has retained much of its old world charm. On entering Nottingham Road, you are greeted by wide open spaces and friendly townsfolk who welcome their guests to enjoy the country style accommodation and hearty meals on offer.
Nottingham Road is the gateway to the Kamberg section of the Natal Drakensberg Park where Zulu king Shaka once kept his royal cattle and where fly fisherman visit to catch trout in dams stocked by the Kamberg hatchery.
The town is regarded as a must-stop on the well-known Midlands Meander, a series of arts and crafts routes that pass through this extraordinarily beautiful piece of South Africa.
Top 6 reasons to visit Nottingham Road
1. Route 4 of the Midlands Meander encompasses Nottingham Road and the many art villages, craft centres, micro-breweries and restaurants along the route. Download the free Midlands Meander app to better plan your itinerary for the day.
2. Take advantage of the fresh clean country air by hiring the necessary gear for fly fishing along one of the numerous streams and dams in the nearby Kamberg area.
3. Experience authentic Zulu lifestyle on the Thendela Village Cultural Tour. The tour includes a traditional lunch, storytelling and a consultation by either an Inyanga (traditional herbalist) or Sangoma (traditional healer).
4. Learn a new craft by taking one of several short courses on offer in the Midlands, ranging from beading to pottery, basic wrought iron metalwork and making your own cheese. See the online Midlands Meander brochure for more details.
5. Visit the Capture Site along the R103 where Nelson Mandela was apprehended in 1962. The site has an amazing steel portrait of the man and the renowned Impumelelo Bead Artists are stationed here. Order a picnic basket to be had under the trees.
6. Golfers relish the beautiful greens and waterways on the scenic 18-hole Bosch Hoek golf course in Balgowan. Visitors are welcome and course fees are reduced on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The nearest airport to Nottingham Road is King Shaka International Airport 150km away. Chartered flights may land at Oribi Airport in Pietermaritzburg, 70km from Nottingham Road. Shuttle service companies operate at the airports, however, to best enjoy Nottingham Road and the surrounding areas, hiring a car is the practical choice. To hire a vehicle, simply order one online and collect either at the airport or in Pietermaritzburg.
Did you know?
Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train in Pietermaritzburg in 1893 during British occupation of South Africa. At the time, people of colour could not ride in first class carriages. While waiting at the train station, he determined that the best way to fight such injustices would be through peaceful means and so began his philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience.
Whenever you see a tin labelled ‘Common Cents Can Make a Difference’, make a donation to ensure the survival of the Karkloof Blue, a rare butterfly on the red list and endemic to only 3 small regions in KwaZulu-Natal. Interestingly, the butterfly has formed a symbiotic relationship with the Natal sugar ant and will only lay its eggs where the ants are present.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.