Travel

Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
4 minute read
17 Aug 2021
12:03 pm

KwaZulu-Natal Midlands: Top 10 things to do

Renate Engelbrecht

KwaZulu-Natal is often underrated when it comes to travelling in South Africa. Here are ten things worth doing in the KZN Midlands.

KwaZulu-Natal's Midlands. Picture: iStock

The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has been a favourite among South Africans for many years and has become a mini tourism hub in itself. Here are some of the reasons why both locals and internationals enjoy travelling to this region.

Stay at Hartford House

Hartford House offers a piece of English romance to local travellers with huge gardens with outstretched lawns, a lovely pool area with a wellness centre, some delightful dining options on a old-worldly porch that hugs the Manor House and a recently renovated, Colonial bar boasting some fabulously prepared tipples.

Dine at Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse

With the owners’ home also recently having been transformed into a luxurious, spacious self-catering unit and its original accommodation options still being popular for romantic getaways under the berg, Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse offers a blissful break from wherever you’re at. As it is based underneath the Cleopatra Mountain, which forms part of the Drakensberg range, it boasts brilliant hiking opportunities.

Visit their Copper Pot Spa upon your return or get comfortable in the lounge and coffee shop area. When you visit, also be sure to enquire about the underground wine cellar.

It is the cuisine at Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse that is really worth writing home about, though with Richard Pointon being the resident chef and spoiling guests with some of the best local cuisine.

Spa at Brahman Hills

It’s the epitome of a sailing cruise ship. The only difference is that the view is Savannah instead of sea, which is magical, nonetheless. The spa’s round windows and royal blue accents bring about a tranquil atmosphere, with private treatment rooms looking out onto rolling hills and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands’ unpretentious natural beauty.

Have breakfast at KwaZulu-Natal Midlands’ Terbodore Coffee

Apart from the beautiful dogs, this is probably the best breakfast to be had in the Midlands if you’re en route and in the area of Curry’s Post. Of course, the coffee comes first but you certainly can’t go wrong with a freshly prepared breakfast in their renovated barn. There is also an espresso bar and a small retail shop for those who like to wander and explore.

Taste wine in the Midlands

The majestic entrance of Highgate Wine Estate sets the bar quite high and with good reason. Who would have thought that wine can be cultivated in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands? This is also not the only wine farm in the region, but with it being located right next to Piggly Wiggly, it’s a win-win and at Piggly Wiggly you will get to taste some of the other wines as well.

Highgate prepares some lovely charcuterie boards to accompany their wine tastings and have a warm, welcoming restaurant with seating inside and outside that will effortlessly transport you right into the Cape Winelands.

Indulge in Wedgewood ice-cream at Piggly Wiggly

When you visit Piggly Wiggly (which is probably one of the best go-to attractions when you are travelling with kids), be sure not to miss out on Wedgewood’s signature ice-cream. The kids can also enjoy a fun train ride, with a proper train station and a railway line that runs through the premises while you wander between various art and craft shops.

You can even buy some handmade chocolates and fresh farm eggs here.

ALSO READ: Top South African wellness destinations

Make the best of what the Drakensberg has to offer

While technically not falling in the Midlands, it would be a shame not to visit the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000, it boasts the conservation of endemic and threatened species, as well as 35,000 San rock art images.

Monk's Peak
Monk’s Peak in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Picture: iStock

Visit the Nelson Mandela capture site

Just outside of Howick, a unique sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli marks the site where Nelson Mandela had been captured and imprisoned in 1962, before being exiled to Robbin Island.

There is also a museum where you will be able to learn more about South Africa’s political history.

Nelson Mandela capture site
The Nelson Mandela capture site. Image: iStock

Have fun at Checkpoint 103 Activity Hub

Located between Michaelhouse (the school made famous by the book series and movie, Spud) and Nottingham Road, this activity hub is sure to add some excitement to your Midlands visit.

Boasting Epic Karting, Kid Racer Electric Karts, Bubble Soccer, target shooting, mini putt-putt, kids’ sand art, and a Balance Bike track, Checkpoint 103 pulls out all the stops to make sure the kids (and you) have as much fun as you possibly can.

There is also a coffee shop and a gift shop and they even do special packages where they throw in an Amazing Race, Murder Mystery or puzzle challenge.

Go flyfishing in the Midlands’ Nottingham Road

There are many spots in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands ideal for flyfishing. Your best bet would be to contact WildFly, a fishing store in Nottingham Road but also a flyfishing club created to manage the local fisheries and conserve the quality of Trout waters in the Natal Midlands. The club often hosts flyfishing events and promotes accommodation waters via their website.