Known for its natural scenery and tranquil setting, the Midlands Meander truly is a sight to behold. The meander is a haven for foodies, nature lovers and city dwellers who desire an escape from their bustling lifestyle.
When you have a short time to travel you always fear about not having the opportunity to explore an entire area - that’s not the case with Midlands Meander.
The meander has activities and sites to explore that don’t make you feel worried about planning an entire itinerary but rather going with the flow, and in 24 hours, you can see quite a lot.
The area offers activities for the active person and the laidback person. There are activities for families, couples and the solo traveller.
The Midlands Meander caters to so many personalities but can be considered as one of South Africa’s most relaxing destinations.
Mandela Capture Site and Exhibition
Start your trip off with a visit to the Nelson Mandela capture site in an area just outside of Howick. The site holds a sculpture of Mandela’s face symbolising the spot where he was arrested by security police in 1962.
The sculpture was created by artist Marco Cianfanelli and is made up of 50 steel column constructions between 6.5 metres and 9.5 metres tall, that come into alignment to form a portrait of Nelson Mandela against a backdrop of rolling hills and valleys of the Natal Midlands.
The site also features a coffee shop, gift shop and an exhibition detailing Mandela’s life leading up to his arrest.
The next destination to visit is the magnificent Howick Falls. Standing at 95m high, Howick Falls is one of the Midlands’ most popular natural sites, after the Drakensberg mountains.
Visitors are able to take a picture of the falls and if they are lucky, notice the many rainbows that are seen near the falls during a clear and sunny day.
A trip to WESSA (The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) in the uMgeni River valley is definitely a must.
A large portion of the reserve is located in the scenic gorge below the Howick Falls, while the rest of the reserve is home to giraffe, zebra and a variety of antelope as well as over 270 species of bird, including the Crowned Eagle.
Have a Feast
Indulge your taste buds with a trip to Piggly Wiggly, a restaurant and gift shop nestled in the Highgate Wine Estate in the heart of the KZN Midlands.
The Piggly Wiggly is a great restaurant to take your family, your partner, a group of friends or yourself to when looking for heartwarming meals, scenic views and no sounds of bustling cars on the highway.
Bed and Breakfast
Rest your feet at either of the Midlands’ accommodation offerings. From St. Ives-Lion River Hotel to Abberley Guest House, there are a lot of options available to rest your head and recuperate for the next day.
Feed your Adrenaline Rush
St. Ives offers a number of activities in the on its farm - from mountain biking to hiking, fishing and picnics - The farm offers a number of activities with the occasional sightings of wildebeest, zebras, antelope and horses.
For those who desire a bit more, there is the Karkloof Canopy Tour, located 10km outside of Howick. The Karkloof Canopy Tour provides a zip line tour in the valley of the mist belt inside the Karkloof Forest Reserve.
The canopy tour includes long swooping slides over the forest canopy, stops below a 15-metre-high waterfall and takes in wider views across the beautiful Karkloof valley.
Flying along zip lines at speeds of up to 70km/h and reaching heights of 35 metres.
Chocolate and Cheese Tasting
A visit to the Midlands wouldn’t be complete without a bit of cheese tasting at the family-run Swissland Cheesery.
Visitors will be greeted by lush green lawns and grazing goats and can sample a range of goats cheese including chevin and a mild blue cheese, as well as learn about the cheese-making practice that has been handed down from generation to generation.IOL