It’s no secret that I love road trips! The Midlands Meander is one of my favourite road trips in SA. The lush green forests and farmlands, meadows of dairy cows, crafty small villages with interesting characters, historic landmarks and country cuisine make it an ideal road trip destination, whether you’re heading north from Durban or south from Joburg.
If you’re driving from Durban check out this cool Durban Road Trip Planner.
Its about “slow travel”…
The Midlands are more about “slow travel”, rather than having a jam-packed itinerary. You’ll probably need at least 2 days to complete this itinerary, though I do recommend taking a few more.
Pick up a route map – there’s something special about poring over a paper map – and get lost a little, you never know what gems you may find. Pack the car with some lekker padkos (or stop at a good padstal en route) and let the road tripping begin…
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site outside Howick is one of KZN’s most significant heritage attractions. It was here that Mandela was arrested in 1952, leading to the Rivonia Trial and his 27-year imprisonment. Lunch at the lovely Truth Cafe on site, serving traditional KZN fare.
Glide through the treetops at Karkloof Canopy Tours
Take a zip-line tour through the spectacular valley of the Karkloof Forest Reserve mist belt. This is beautiful, and you get a little adrenalin rush too! The tour consists of seven platforms (the longest being 180m) that zig-zag down a pristine forested valley. The tour takes 2- 3 hours and is a great family activity!
Nottingham Road Brewery
For the craft beer lovers Notties Brewery is a must! With beers like the Pye-eyed Possum, Pickled Pig and Tipsy Tiger, you cant go wrong 🙂 Stop at the Nottingham Road hotel for a proper pub meal, and ask about their resident ghost!
Cheese and chocolate tasting at Swissland Cheesery
The family-run Swissland Cheesery is a must-visit for cheese lovers. Picnic on the lush green lawns or take the kids to greet the resident goats. They’ve got a great range of goats cheeses including chevin and a mild blue cheese. You can learn about their artisanal cheese-making practices that have been passed on over the generations.
The 95m Howick Falls are one of the Midlands’ major attractions. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means “Place of the Tall One”. Wander around Howick village, shop at the arts and craft stores, picnic at Midmar Dam or grab the best coffee in KZN at Terbadore Coffee Roasters – their food is spectacular too!
Arts & Crafts for days!
The Midlands Meander is one of the largest arts and crafts routes in SA. From pottery, fine arts and weaving to furniture, leatherwork and beadwork, a Midlands road trip is not complete without visiting a few arts and crafts studios for a little shopping spree. Visit Tsonga Shoes for beautiful hand-stitched leather shoes, Alladin’s De-Lite for stunning stained glassware and pottery or paint your own pottery at Zulu-lulu Art House.
For more information about things to do on the Midlands Meander, check out their website or app (for iPhone & Android).
Road trip playlist!
No road trip is complete without a good playlist! Lucky for you I’ve created you one with some of my fave South African artists… Check it out here, and feel free to add your own favourite Mzansi road trip tracks to the mix!
Besides the padkos and the road trip tunes, don’t forget to make sure you’re protected with Car Insurance, so you can enjoy your journey with peace of mind.
These certainly aren’t all the stops on the Midlands Meander, just some of my picks. Did I leave out any good ones? Please let me know in the comments below.
This post was commissioned by Hippo.co.za but all opinions expressed are my own