Driving to the Midlands is the most calming and relaxing experience one can partake in.
The Midlands Meander route is between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg, and has a lot to offer. If you're lucky, depending on when you travel, you can also see snow.
It has spectacular rolling hills, bright and colourful vegetation (each season comes with its beautiful shades) and quiet and dainty farming towns that make you feel nostalgic causing you to reminisce about playing outside and carefree as a kid.
There is something beautiful about how nature and humans collide in peace and harmony, which is the charm most rural and farming communities possess.
If you want to take some time out to rejuvenate away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then a trip to the Midlands is for you. The roads are good to travel on and if you take the N3, even better.
Here are some reasons why the drive is worth it.
Right at the beginning of this route, you have Howick Falls. Howick Falls is off the N3 and you don’t have to wiggle and meander on inland roads to access it. Howick Falls is also known as “the place of the tall one or KwaNongqaza”. The waterfall is a 95m cascade into a scorching pool and legend has it that a giant snake-like creature lives in the pool. If you’re on a day pass, there are some trails to walk to enjoy this majestic waterfall.
Highgate Wine Estate
Who said KZN doesn’t have wine farms and can’t produce wine? This family-owned wine estate is loved by locals and many who enjoy “the drink of the gods”. The Highgate Wine Estate offers wine-tastings, delicious food, tours of its cellar and a picnic in the forest. Its wine tasting comes with a beautifully laid charcuterie with brunch or lunch served with wine of course; you just have to book in advance.
The Blueberry Cafe
The Blueberry Cafe on Netherwood Farm in Nottingham is also a lovely place to have breakfast, brunch or lunch. It’s quite popular among travellers as one can sit and enjoy breathtaking views of valleys and hills, while also watching beautiful Nguni cattle grazing peacefully on the property’s kraal. There is a beautiful garden on the property and some birds and peacocks. The aesthetic of the cafe is country rustic meets tropical rainforest. The cafe has a lovely menu and delicious nibbles from different local surrounding farms are available for purchase.
The Fordoun Spa offers some of the most luxurious self-treatment packages. If you want to truly relax and rejuvenate, then consider this treat. The spa boasts a team of experts that include skilled masseuses, reiki and bio-energy specialists, a traditional African Healer and highly trained aestheticians.
Fordoun also offers unique African treatments that include the Indulgent African Earth Experience, the Inkomfe (African Potato) healing wraps and Ndukuduku massage. The spa also has detox programmes and a signature range of Ndlovu products, created in conjunction with Dr Elliot Ndlovu, a herbalist and ethnobotanist. The range of products include scrubs, shower gels, massage oils, bath salts, body butters and teas.
Swissland Cheese Farm
If you love cheese, then this one is definitely for you. Swissland Cheese Farm is a cheese farm run by Francine Isaac. The farm is open to the public and offers artisanal cheeses from goat’s milk. The farm is open on the weekends and also has picnic spots. It's also an ideal spot for kids who can interact with the goats on the farm. Swissland offers organic cheeses such as Isinyani, cream cheese, Pecorino and Go'Brie.