Newcastle is fast becoming a top KwaZulu-Natal destination, as it borders the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces. The road trip from Durban offers some of the most scenic views along the route. Once in Newcastle, travellers can enjoy a range of pandemic-friendly activities, including outdoor sports like golfing, hiking, fly-fishing, motorsport, birdwatching and boating. The city was once home to late reggae star Lucky Dube, disc jockey DJ Zinhle and soccer players Helman Mkhalele and Deli Mbatha.
Here’s how you can spend two days in Newcastle:
6am: Start the journey early to have ample time to explore.
It takes travellers four hours from Durban and three hours from Joburg to get to Newcastle.
12.30pm: Immerse yourself in the outdoors at Chelmsford Nature Reserve
Start your exploring at Chelmsford Nature Reserve, a 30-minute drive from Newcastle. The nature reserve is home to many attractions to suit all ages. Pack a picnic and savour the views of Ntshingwayo Dam or go for a self game drive to search for oribi antelope, springbok, wildebeest, zebra and more. For a more relaxing experience, take a calming nature walk or try your hand at fishing. Campsites are available at R80 per person a night. Day visitor rates start from R20 per person.
6pm: Dinner at Pint and Pigout/Scrapyard Lounge
Newcastle is home to a string of restaurants serving hearty meals. One of them is Pint and Pigout, which is famed for its Skaapboud pie made with pulled roast leg of lamb. The quaint eatery also features a pepper-crusted steak flambéed in bourbon called the Jack Black. If you are visiting over the weekend, visit the famous Scrapyard Lounge for an authentic shisanyama experience. The attraction, open from Friday to Sunday, is known for its tasty food and live entertainment.
The next day
9am: Savour African art at Carnegie Art Gallery
After breakfast at your hotel, head to the Carnegie Art Gallery, a public art museum that houses an array of African art and Zulu material cultural objects. There are also exhibitions.
The gallery, open from Monday to Friday, is free to enter. Call 034 328 7622.
11 am: Get adventurous at Moorfield Mountain Farm
At Moorfield Mountain Farm, guests can enjoy hikes or snap a few selfies at the picturesque waterfall. If you are feeling brave, you can pre-book an abseiling experience that takes place on the property. The daring activity allows guests to tap into their adventurous side. Picnic sites are also available. Day visitor entry costs R50 for adults and R25 for children under 18 years old. Abseiling rates apply. Visit www.moorfield.co.za/
1pm: Lunch at Vulintaba Country Hotel and Spa in Newcastle
Enjoy a scenic lunch at Vulintaba Country Hotel and Spa in Newcastle before your journey home. Boasting a range of meal options, guests can tuck into Black Beast Steak, Oxtail, a selection of curries, pizzas and more. If you are keen on an after-lunch activity, the hotel offers self-guided hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as birdwatching.
For those desperately in need of some pamper time, the hotel also offers a state-of-the-art spa facility on the property. Visit www.vulintabahotel.co.za/