The enchanting KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander has always been home to artists and crafts-people. In 1985 local artists, potters and weavers joined forces to create an arts and crafts route. Six studios opened their doors to the public and the KZN Midlands Meander was born.
The aim of the Midlands Meander was to encourage the public to take to the country, and to give visitors a chance to find interesting accommodation in the Natal Midlands and see crafts-people at work. By selling directly to visitors, the studios were able to keep prices down, and with the active support of hospitality establishments in the area, such as Midlands Bed and Breakfasts and Natal Midlands self catering accommodation, a unique route was formed. Other artists and crafts-people were encouraged to move to the area and today the Midlands Meander is a stimulating arts and crafts route with quaint and exciting Natal Midlands accommodation options.
The Natal Midlands Meander reaches from the N3 freeway to well into the Drakensberg Mountain Range. Holiday Travellers between Johannesburg and Durban would benefit from an overnight stay in one or two of the Natal Midlands accommodation bed and breakfast or Guest House options.
Scenic beauty and picturesque villages
The Natal Midlands can boast an excellent road infrastructure, which takes travellers through scenic beauty while linking Midlands Meander outlets and picturesque villages along with some of South Africa's leading hotel accommodation and Midlands guest houses, and a host of delightful Drakensberg or Midlands bed and breakfast establishments. Bird watchers and fishermen will enjoy a visit to the Chelmsford Nature Reserve just south of Newcastle, which also forms a part of the Midlands Meander route.
There are many historical buildings in the Natal Midlands, several of which date back to the 1880's. A number have been declared National Monuments including some well preserved Settler Churches.
Whether you're a Natal Midlands local discovering the doorstep experiences of the region for the first time, an overseas traveller exploring this enchanting Midlands Meander countryside, or a holidaymaker en route to the coast, the Midlands Meander has something for everyone - all year round.
The National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg is a very pleasant place to take a stroll under the shade of beautiful magnolias, some dating from the Victorian era. The Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg has impressive collections of insects and moluscs, as well as excellent exhibits of dinosaurs and early human habitation, all adding to the interesting activities dotted around the Midlands Meander.
THE BATTLEFIELDS Accommodation and activities
It is difficult to imagine that the scenic and tranquil landscape of central and northern KwaZulu-Natal was once the focal point of major military clashes; where over a time span of 70 years, one historical drama after another unfolded in the Natal Battlefields / Midlands region, and all of this against the backdrop of the African veld and the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. This region can get quite cold in Summer and scorching hot in Winter which calls for comfortable accommodation in this Battlefields Region. Air conditioned accommodation or adequate heating should be considered when booking into a Natal Battlefields bed and breakfast or Guest House. Battlefields Self Catering accommodation which is generally more cost-effective should also be considered, for larger parties. If you are uncertain about comfortable midlands accommodation options, then check out the star-graded properties on Where to Stay.
Largest concentration of battlefields in South Africa
The Natal Battlefields Region boasts the largest concentration of battlefields in South Africa drawing visitors from all over the world, especially British holiday makers who take advantage of a healthy exchange rate and book into some of the wonderful Battlefields accommodation guest houses and Midlands bed and breakfasts. In these Midlands Battlefields military engagements were to shape the course of South African and world history, and rock the pedestal of the British Empire. Battles raged over the green hills and sweeping grasslands of the Natal Midlands.
Every town, historical building, battle site and memorial has a fascinating tale to tell, an event to commemorate, a poignant memory to recall.
But don't let the KwaZulu Natal Battlefields description mislead you into thinking you are going to spend your time in the past. The region has the climate, scenery, wildlife, cultural diversity, cuisine and Midlands accommodation hospitality to make your visit unique and memorable.
Although the towns of Colenso forms a part of the Natal Midlands Battlefields Route, accommodation options are very limited.
Estcourt, Ladysmith, Newcastle and Dundee bed and breakfast or Guest Houses form the "bigger town" options, not to say that you should not visit some of the smaller, historic Midlands accommodation options on Where to Stay.
The comfortable 1840 Settler's homestead has been lovingly restored and offers self-catering facilities. Westwood is within a conservation area and guarantees secluded trout fishing with breathtaking views in the lush Natal Midlands.
Three wood and iron cottages were built on the property as Mill Manager houses for the Caversham Mill. They date from the early 1900s, and every effort has been made to preserve the original style in order to maintain their historical heritage.
Sugarlands Cottage is a cozy self catering cottage situated along the Currys Post Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, with easy access off the N3 (1.5 hours from Durban and 4.5 hours from Johannesburg).
All 40 chalets have their own under cover parking, there is a front door entrance and glass door entrance to pool or Gardens. The double room suites consist of 2 rooms, main with 2 double beds, TV and DStv, aircon, en-suite bathroom with bath & shower...
Three double bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, 2 bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen and verandah. Bedroom 1 is double en-suite, bedroom 2 is double, bedroom 3 is double, bedroom 4 is single. The WC has one bath and one shower each.
Discover a sense of wholeness, of peace, of healing, of happiness. St Andrew's Retreat near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal is ideal to use as a quiet and central base from where you can explore the Midlands.
Located in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, just 24kms from Pietermaritzburg, is the town of Howick, named after the Secretary for State for the Colonies, Henry Grey, who had recently acquired the title of Lord Howick. Here you will find the Howick ...
Duvet & Crumpets offers private accommodation in an early Maritzburg homestead. We cater for business executives, families, sporting teams and contract projects. A full English or "health" breakfast is served in the dining room or in your own unit...
Solitude Retreat Centre is a space set apart from the busy-ness of life for connecting with ourselves, each other and God. It is situated in a tranquil part of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, near Midmar Dam...
In a peaceful game farm setting, nestled below the war graves of the Anglo-Boer War on the top of Trenchgula Hill, lies a luxury 4-star quality Guest Lodge with 8 rooms under thatch, each with a double bed and a single bed in the loft. Each room ...
Little Fields is a small piece of rural heaven in the Kwazulu Natal Midlands. Set just outside of Hilton, overlooking fields and pastures, this guesthouse offers you a tranquil setting in which to catch your breath.
Elandsheim is situated in the heart of the famous Zulu, Anglo and Boer battle sites, 55 km from Dundee, halfway between Johannesburg and Durban. We are surrounded by privately owned game reserves, rivers, waterfalls and magnificent Zululand thornveld
The original homestead now houses the breakfast room, dining room, offices and 3 stylishly furnished rooms decorated to suit the original history and ideal for the overseas visitor to relate themselves with Newcastle history. We also offer another...
Little Europe Bed & Breakfast accommodation is situated 2km from Hayfields shopping centre, Scottsville Race Course, Nedbank Centre and Natal University.