Midlands Meander, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?
The symbol of the Midlands Meander is the Butler butterfly, found only in the Karkloof region.
The Midlands Meander is a route situated between the city of Pietermaritzburg and the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.
The Midlands Meander extends over 80km between Pietermaritzburg and Mooi River with stunning sites and scenery along the way. The expansive countyside vistas and fresh air replenish body and soul, while the mind is intrigued by the rich history of the region, which dates back to the 1800s.
The Midlands Meander began in 1985 when several potters and weavers came together to create an arts and crafts route through the region. Today more than 150 talented and creative individuals welcome visitors to their rural environs to view furniture, rugs, pottery, stained glass, leatherwork, kites, quilts, hammocks, ceramics, decor, wind chimes, weavers, bistros, restaurants, B&Bs, lodges, guest houses and much more.
For the active visitor the Midlands Meander is ideal for horse riding, hiking, tubing, swimming, biking, canopy tours, quad biking and fishing.
A visit to the Midlands should include a relaxing stroll through the areas beautiful forests and picturesque villages, sampling home-made cheeses and locally brewed beer and wine. Art lovers will enjoy watching locals creating uniquely African pieces and relish the opportunity to buy a few art works to take back home.
The Midlands Meander is one of the largest arts and crafts tourism route in South Africa and one of the most successful with bustling businesses belonging to the arts and crafts, hospitality, heritage and eco-tourism sectors.
The Midmar Dam hosts various events such as the annual Midmar Mile swim in February and includes activities such as windsurfing, sailing, boating and canoeing. The Midlands route is an hour's drive from Durban and about 4.5 hours from Johannesburg.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Midlands Meander office
Tel: +27 (0)33 330-2355
How to get here
From Johannesburg – 4.5 hours drive on the N3. Turn off anywhere from Mooi River onwards. From Durban, N3 towards Pietermaritzburg (PMB). Only one hour to Howick and then the Meander starts. Can fly directly into PMB airport; then only 25 minutes up to the Meander.
Best time to visit
All year round – a wide variety of weather changes which brings awesome landscape changes – from rich autumn reds, to wintry, snow capped mountains, to fresh dew tipped spider webs in spring and summer brings luscious greens, meandering mist and bright blue skies.
Around the area
Arts, crafts and cuisine, plus activities including hiking, fishing, horse-riding, health spas, golf, tubing, mountain biking, canoeing, zip-lining across forest top.
Tours to do
Day trips to 5-day overnighters.
Self-drive or through tour operators and pre-arranged transport. Some of the hotels also offer day trips.
Length of stay
Nothing less than 2 days to even begin to give the area justice, with 5 days even better.
Where to stay
Anything from a backpackers to a 5 star hotel or world-class health spas, self-catering, B&B’s, lodges.
The highly talented arts and crafts in the area including the renowned Craft Guild offerings.