The KwaZulu-Natal brew route is akin to a treasure hunt, as beer lovers meander across the province, from the Valley of a Thousand Hills, through the Midlands, and northeast into Zululand, then to the seaside, seeking to uncover the province’s finest beers.

Did you know?

The beers on the KwaZulu-Natal brew route are pure-brewed and have complex flavour profiles so they are perfect for pairing with food.

The KwaZulu-Natal brew route is an epicurean adventure. Though unofficial, beer buffs can trust the brew route (designed by local beer lovers) to guide them to the best regional boutique and garagiste beers KwaZulu-Natal has to offer.

A passion for micro brewing has taken root in the province, resulting in the KwaZulu-Natal beer-tasting route, which isn’t a conventional signposted A-to-B route.

Instead, it’s a quest, through some of the province’s loveliest landscapes, to discover malts, ales, and lagers made by passionate local brewmeisters.

Every stop on the beer route in KwaZulu-Natal is deliciously different.

Begin your ale-ramble in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, just outside Durban, where Shongweni Brewery uses only the finest ingredients, natural processes, and no artificial additives to make ‘beer with a view’.

Then, it’s on to the craft brewers at Botha's Hill. At Porcupine Quill Micro Brewery, not all beers are created e-quill. Brew master John Little’s whole-hops, unfiltered, bottle-conditioned beer brands, Quills, Dam Wolf and African Moon are perfect to quaff with the farm's handcrafted cheese and charcuterie.

Thereafter, meander on to the Midlands, and the Nottingham Road Brewery. Feast on very fine eisbein at their Bierfassl restaurant, and if, after too many pints of Tiddly Toad Lager, you’re as pie-eyed as a possum, spend the night at the adjacent Rawdons Hotel.

Next morning, heft yourself from the horizontal, and, armed with a fortifying truckle of beer cheese, make your way to Eshowe in Zululand, to the Zululand Brewery, where you can taste their all-natural Battlefields-inspired brews, and tour the brewery.

In South Africa, traditional sorghum beer is a religious and ceremonial as well as a social drink. On request, Zululand Brewery conducts guided tours to rural Thothotho, where you can sample some of this highly nutritious, unfiltered alcoholic brew, and observe a brewing tradition that dates back centuries.

End your KwaZulu-Natal brew route adventure on the north coast at Luyt’s Brewery in Ballito, where it’s a good idea to tour the brewery prior to taking a liking to their Luyt premium lager.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Zululand Brewery
+27 (0)35 474 4919
E-mail: zulubeer@gmail.com

Shongweni Brewery
Tel: +27 (0)31 769 1235
Email: realbeer@shongwenibrewery.com

Quills Micro Brewery
Tel: +27 (0)31 777 1566
E-mail: info@craftbrewers.co.za

Luyt Brewery
Tel: +27 (0)32 946 3290
E-mail: reception@luytlager.co.za

Nottingham Road Brewery
Tel: +27 (0)33 266 6044
E-mail: brewery@rawdons.co.za

How to get here

KwaZulu-Natal is accessible by road and rail. King Shaka International at La Mercy, north of Durban, services the province.

Best time to visit

Breweries on the KwaZulu-Natal brew route are generally open all year round. Check opening hours before arriving.

Get around

The best way to do the beer route is to drive yourself, but it’s possible (if pricey) to hire a metered taxi to take you to Valley of 1000 Hills, or the Midlands. You could also hire a tour operator, who will ensure you can tipple and travel safely.

What will it cost

Because the brew route is made up of craft brewers, you’ll rarely be charged to tour the brewery or to taste the beer, but call ahead to be certain.

Length of stay

A week is sufficient if you plan to tour the whole route. Otherwise, an afternoon at an individual brewery, or a weekend if you’re visiting an area, will suffice.

What to pack

KwaZulu-Natal’s climate is warm to hot, and generally humid. Inland, temperatures tend to be cooler so a warm jacket won’t go amiss in the Midlands or Eshowe.

Where to stay

Accommodation abounds in this province, from five-star hotels, to Zulu huts, and backpackers' lodges. There are many fine guest houses and boutique hotels in the Midlands.

What to eat

Make a point of sampling the regional specialities as you go. Find free range farm dinners in the Valley of 1000 Hills, the Midlands in particular has some superb country restaurants; Zulu feasts can be found near Eshowe, and bring a big appetite for seafood to Ballito.

Best buys

Beer tankards, t-shirts, beer kegs, and even beer cheese are available at most of the breweries. Complete your beer route experience with a bottle of Ijuba Special, a traditional sorghum beer commercially brewed according to Zulu preference.