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.
Duvet & Crumpets offers various self-catering accommodation options. There are double/twin en-suite units as well as garden cottages. The garden cottages are ideal for "relocation" purposes and long-term stays are available. For larger groups, ...
Hilton Safari Lodge is a thatched upmarket B & B set on over an acre of beautiful gardens, situated in the heart of the village within easy walking distance of the Quarry Shopping Centre and a choice of restaurants.
Thorner Cottage is situated on our sugarcane farm, overlooking a lovely 4ha bass dam, which guests are welcome to make use of, and surrounded by beautiful hills which makes for lovely walks.
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.
Delightful main bedroom with double Brass bed, as well as a quaint little loft room, under thatch. A Further two beds on the verandah makes the cottage into a comfortable 6 sleeper
Indigo Fields is different from anything else you may have experienced ... a unique spa destination where every aspect of your stay from our indulgent spa treatments to our lovingly prepared meals and delightful accommodation...
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...
Two stylish self-catering cottages situated in a forested area, 2.5km from central Hilton. Set in a large peaceful garden with indigenous trees and abundant birdlife, each cottage has French doors opening onto its own private garden area
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 ...
Located in the tiny Van Reenen village (population 23), situated on the N3 highway at the top of Van Reenen pass, The Green Lantern Inn is famous among travelers and sportsmen as a halfway refreshing point and offers unrivaled old school hospitality
Situated a mere 600 metres from the popular Cascades shopping centre in the leafy northern suburb of Montrose, and less than 5 minutes drive to the Liberty Midlands Mall and the N3 highway, Gecko Hill is a popular self catering destination.
Impangele Bed and Breakfast is just a few minutes from the Howick North/Tweedie offramp from the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban. There are no long off-road treks to find our little piece of heaven, where rolling lawns.
Five charming self catering dwellings exist on the farm, The Boat House, Crane Cottage, Otter Cottage, Rose Cottage and Heron Cottage. Guests need not leave the farm to enjoy Bass fishing, birding, boating or a picnic after a leisurely walk around
Mount West farm cottage is a 4 bedroom period style family home that has been beautifully restored as a fully equipped, self catering cottage for weekend getaways.
Lavender Trout Farm in Nottingham Road is located on the R103 on the Midlands Meander- only 3kms from Michaelhouse School and 7km from the centre of town. These 2 self-catering houses are surrounded with gorgeous views and 3 dams.
Offering 7 tastefully decorated and comfortable double or single en-suite rooms with private entrances. Also offering a Country atmosphere with all the conveniences of town living and faculties only 3km away
The Victoria Country Club Guest House is situated +/- 5kms from the Pietermaritzburg CBD and is within easy access from the freeway.