Destinations & Attractions in Natal Midlands, in Durban

Natal Midlands Destinations & Attractions

Nestled between Pietermaritzburg and the KwaZulu-Natal portion of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountain Range is the stunning gem of the Natal Midlands. The landscape is simply breath-taking, characterised by jade-coloured mountains, farms, waterfalls, forests, lakes and rivers. Its rich abundance is irresistible, luring tourists from South Africa and abroad to its serene borders.

Significant towns of the Natal Midlands include Pietermaritzburg, Howick, Hilton, Balgowan, Nottingham Road and Mooi River.

The Midlands Meander is a route that includes about 150 attractions and activities, each unique but playing an integral role in the overall appeal of this destination. This route includes arts, crafts, cuisine, outdoor activities, historical landmarks, wildlife, local events, accommodation and plenty of shopping facilities. The entire route covers some 80 kilometres and is sure to keep visitors coming back for more of the natural wonders and fun entertainment that defines this area.

The Marutswa Forest is home to an impressive array of plant and animal life, which is best enjoyed on the many trails and paths amongst the towering trees, which include massive yellowwood, stinkwood and sneezewood varieties. Animals include bushbuck, reedbuck, hyrax, mongoose, Natal dwarf chameleon, emperor swallowtail, Cape parrot and the African crowned eagle. A new addition to the forest is its indigenous nursery, where some stunning saplings can be purchased.

One of the best ways to experience the Natal Midlands is from an elevated position. Karkloof Canopy Tours will take you ziplining over the indigenous forests from the safety of a harness, attached to strong cables that criss-cross over the trees at canopy height. There are eight exhilarating slides that range from slow and easy to fast and fun.

Greytown is a picturesque village in a gorgeous setting, steeped in plenty of history. Its landscape is dotted with dense forests and rolling hills, which rise sleepily to meet the African sky. Howick is another town in the Midlands that combines natural splendour and history. It is known for its many waterfalls, which thunder down as a testament to nature’s power. It is also home to a strong element of the Zulu culture, and visitors will be able to find plenty of arts and crafts made by local creatives.

There are a number of nature reserves and similar facilities within the Natal Midlands, thanks to its abundance. These include the Kamberg Nature Reserve, Impendle Nature Reserve, Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, Loteni Nature Reserve, Oribi Reserve and the Karkloof Conservation Centre and Bird Hides.

Albert Falls

The Albert Falls Dam is rated as one of the best bass fishing dams on the planet, attracting many avid fishermen from all over the world. It is set within the stunning, lush countryside that characterises this part of the ...

Balgowan

Balgowan is known and loved for its exquisite landscape, which is characterised by streams, valleys, emerald vegetation and dramatic waterfalls. It is situated just north of Howick, and is a veritable hot-spot for those that just ...

Baynesfield

Baynesfield is a tiny little village roughly 22 minutes' drive south west of Pietermaritzburg. Pretty to drive through, it is the home of Baynesfield Estate, a museum, and a little railway station, but little more. Named ...

Boston

Boston is not much more than a charming little village that has been linked to Bulwer, since they are so close to one another. It is close to Durban too, but its location within the foothills of the Drakensberg gives this area a ...

Bulwer

Aside from a little supermarket, a smattering of houses, a Build and Save and an Engen garage, there is not very much to the little town of Bulwer, through which the R617, one of the main routes into the southern Drakensberg, ...

Cramond

The small town of Cramond is situated close to Albert Falls in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is, officially, part of the UMgungundlovu District Municipality. This province is a popular tourist destination as ...

Currys Post

Curry’s Post is a small town along the famous Midlands Meander. It has a rich history, having been established as a stop for carts and wagons generations ago. Its natural beauty is complemented by a number of tourist attractions ...

Dargle

In the heart of the Midlands Meander and the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountain Range are the Dargle Valley and its conservancy area. The landscape is enhanced by the dense forests, carpets of wildflowers and thundering ...

Donnybrook

The distinctly Irish lilt to the name of Donnybrook misrepresents the rural village that lies in the midst of green hills on Route 612, between Ixopo and Bulwer, south west of Pietermaritzburg. There is little other than a ...

Estcourt

Lower down in the valley from Van Reenen’s Pass, and in the heart of the Anglo-Boer War territory, Estcourt is a fairly large town that serves as the gateway to the central Drakensberg, together with Winterton just 40 kilometres ...

Eston

Eston is real sugarcane country. Head out here from Durban and you're privy to a series of rolling hills, cattle farmlands, and fields of sugarcane. You get a pretty good idea of what most of the surrounding countryside must have ...

Fort Nottingham

Fort Nottingham is a very wee village just up the road from the more popular, vibrant town of Nottingham Road, in the Midlands. Back in 1856 the fort came into being when Queen Victoria sent the Nottinghamshire regiment, the ...

Greytown

Often referred to as the ‘jewel of KwaZulu Natal, Greytown lies in the forest-clad, rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, a picturesque little town originally settled during the 1850s and subsequently awash with buildings of note, ...

Harburg

Take the Midlands Amble (not to be confused with the Midland Meander) and you'll find yourself on the lesser-explored perimeters to the south-west and north-east of Pietermaritzburg, with the Albert Falls Dam as the ...

Hidcote

Being situated in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Province means that the whole Hidcote area enjoys some of the most wonderful scenery in all of South Africa. It is draped in natural beauty, thanks to the lush vegetation that ...

Hilton

Just a few kilometres from the epicentre of Pietermaritzburg is the quaint little village of Hilton, which oozes a distinctive English charm. Its cool conditions and pretty setting are the formula of its ongoing allure to ...

Hlutankungu

Deep in the heart of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, at the foot of the rolling mountain ranges of this region, lies Hlutankungu. This little area may not be well known on an international tourism scale, but ...

Howick

Howick may be a small town, but it is well known for its abundance of beautiful waterfalls (thanks to the uMngeni River) and for being the site of Mandela’s arrest in the 1960’s. As such, it combines natural splendour with an ...

Ixopo

The sugar farming and forestry town of Ixopo remains a quiet escape, not frequented by hordes of tourists. Its countryside is picturesque and the air crisp and clean. There are many hiking trails in and around Ixopo, which ...

Karkloof

Karkloof refers to a range of hills that pass through the magnificent Natal Midlands, providing visitors with stunning views and breath-taking backdrops. This landscape can be enjoyed on the famous mountain bike trails through ...

Kranskop

The rather little village of Kranskop lies just 36km north east of Greytown in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal. It rests in the shadow of a rocky ridge that is undoubtedly the reason for its name change from the original ...

Lidgetton

Lidgetton is a small community that has not changed much since it was established as a trading post all those years ago. Today, it is made up of many creative souls, who add a trendy eccentricity to the village. This, together ...

Lions River

The tiny village of Lions River, nestled in the heart of the picturesque Natal Midlands, is a small escape. It is not a tourist hub, which is, probably, part of its appeal to those who do choose it as their retreat from city ...

Merrivale

Merrivale rests not far from the banks of the Howick Dam. The south western suburb of Howick is a series of typical tree-lined, garden bedecked streets. A not-quite-as-smart as Howick neighbourhood, the typical country ...

Mid Illovo

The Natal Midlands is a spectacular part of South Africa, showcasing the verdant abundance of flora and the exciting fauna that calls this home. It is within this setting in the KwaZulu Natal Province that the scenic area of Mid ...

Mooi River

The farming community of Mooi River retains its peaceful, historical sense of charm. Today, it is a favourite spot for fly-fishermen and those that enjoy boating. The river and its falls actually make for the ideal place for any ...

New Hanover

New Hanover is a small farming community town just north east of the Albert Falls Dam. It lies on Route 33 between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown. There's little to the town to merit a stop. A general dealers called Mafutas, ...

Nottingham Road

Nottingham Road is a quaint village, nestled within the beautiful farmlands of the Natal Midlands. It was established by foresters in the mid-19th century, and still exudes a peaceful historical element that invites its visitors ...

Pietermaritzburg

Pietermaritzburg has a long history, having been occupied by its first settlers in 1837. Charm and hospitality continues to infuse the town, providing visitors with plenty to see and do, as well as a prime base from which to ...

Richmond

Just 90 minutes’ drive from the bustling epicentre of Durban, within the Natal Midlands, is the little agricultural village of Richmond. There are a number of historical sites within the settlement, and little else to distract ...

Rosetta

Rosetta is one of those little villages that, until recently, would have been relegated to a passing glance as you drove through it, on the way to elsewhere. Originally the area was dominated by the Rosetta Farm, granted by the ...

Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks train station lies just off the R33, south of where it passes the Umvoti Vlei Nature Reserve, between Greytown and Dalton. This is the open countryside of KwaZulu-Natal, typically a farming area where sugarcane is the ...

Wartburg

Wartburg is a sweet little town in the very centre of the Midlands and all of the beauty of this area. As its name implies, it has a distinctive German influence, and visitors are often shocked to hear locals speaking German to ...
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