24 April 2013 by Christine Marot

Meandering through the Midlands

There are more than 150 individual destinations scattered between Pietermaritzburg and the town of Mooi River.

The Midlands lends itself to relaxed horse rides. Photo courtesy of the Midlands Meander Association

As a family we make a point of escaping to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands at least twice a year – more often if possible.

There are many reasons why we turn our backs on the sea of the South Coast and head for the hills: it’s the appeal of crisp, fresh air, clear starlit nights, hospitable country folk, sumptuous spa treatments, fresh farm-sourced fare, and an opportunity to wind down to the slow-paced tempo that is the Midlands.

A canopy tour is an exhilarating way to enjoy the magnificent forests. Photo courtesy of the Midlands Meander Association

There are more than 150 individual destinations scattered between Pietermaritzburg and Mooi River, so there’s the promise of revisiting favourite haunts – the fireplace at the Bierfassl in Nottingham Road during winter, or a lazy alfresco lunch at Café Bloom in summer – and the joy of discovering new ones.

Some spots remain high on our list of preferred destinations: Fordoun for an indulgent pamper session; Linga Lapa in Nottingham Road for plants and the most tender lamb; the Linen Loft in Lions River for percale sheets; Groundcover and Dirt Road for leather belts, bags and shoes; and a host of farm stalls to stock up on bottled marmalade, gooseberry jam, mazavaroo (chilli paste), fresh basil pesto and olive tapenade. 

There’s the promise of revisiting favourite haunts – the fireplace at the Bierfassl in Nottingham Road during winter, or a lazy alfresco lunch at Café Bloom in summer – and the joy of discovering new ones.

Apart from the myriad attractions along the Midlands Meander, there are a number of annual sporting and cultural events in the area. In February there’s the world-famous Dusi Canoe Marathon and Midmar Mile open-water swim; March features the Mountain Bike World Cup; March/April heralds the Splashy Fen music festival; May plays host to Music in May; the Comrades Marathon takes place in June; and September marks the popular Hilton Arts Festival.

Yes, the pace of life in the Midlands may be slow, but there’s always something new waiting to be discovered. Which is why we look forward to heading north whenever the countryside calls.

Indulgent wholesome cuisine is one of many attractions of the Midlands. Photo courtesy of the Midlands Meander Association

Category: Routes & Trails

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