Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Natal Midlands

Natal Midlands

The Natal Midlands lies between the Drakensberg and Natal Ea

The Natal Midlands offers tourism opportunities unparalleled in this fertile cradle of land found between the Sunshine Coast and the craggy Drakensberg Mountains. The Natal Midlands is a myriad waterfalls, lakes, dams, Zulu cultural villages, game reserves and historical battle sites. The Natal Midlands have some of the most historic battle sites in South Africa. It was here that the Boer met the British and the Zulu Impis met both! The climate is pleasant most of the year; summers tend to be hot, while winters are very mild. Locations include Albert Falls Nature Reserve, Estcourt, Howick, Notingham Road, Midmar Nature Reserve and Mooirivier.

The landscape is green and softly wavy, dominated by pastures and pine forests. Numerous rivers of crystal-clear water from the Drakensberg highlands make the Midlands the South African destination of choice for anglers. Particularly popular is the almost meditative art of fly-fishing. Trout was introduced to the Natal Midlands back in 1889 by Scottish settlers.

The Natal Midlands offer excellent hotels, guest houses, country lodges, restaurants and tea-gardens. The Midlands Meander route which runs mainly between Howick and Nottingham Road is a delightful shopping and browsing side-trip, including numerous antique shops, art galleries and arts and crafts studios

Activities in the Natal Midlands

  • Midlands Meander
  • Howick Falls
  • Horse Riding
  • Beer, Wine & Cheese tasting

Accommodation in the Natal Midlands

  • The Antbear Guest House - Guesthouse accommodation in the Central Drakensberg near Giants Castle The view is perfect, the food creative and delicious and the accommodation is unique but what really makes this place is the hosts Conny and Andrew

  • Sycamore Avenue - Romantic Treehouse Accommodation in the Natal Midlands and perfectly situated for the Midlands Meander I dont know when you last rediscovered the child within for me it was my Midlands Meander stay at Sycamore Avenue

  • Giverny - Creative Holidays, Self Catering and B&B in the Natal Midlands This is a great place to let your children become artistically inspired. And at the same time you to can enjoy a creative holiday

  • Indigo Fields - B&B Nottingham Road - Natal Midlands

  • Penny Lane Guesthouse - Bed and Breakfast Accommodation on the Natal Midlands Meander

  • Hartford House - Up Market deluxe accommodation in Mooi River in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands Food is amazing but I find Hartford rates a little on the steep side. I wish I was not so stingy
  • Swiss Manor House - Country Manor accommodation on the KwaZulu Natal Midlands Meander The grounds and building are very impressive
  • Stonehaven - Luxury farm cottage and suites KwaZulu Natal Midlands - Mooiriver - Estcourt Lovely place. Ron Gold also is a registed battlefield guide and does guided tours of the Natal Midlands and Midlands Meander.
  • Halls Country House - accommodation near Mooi River
  • Greenfields Manor House - Wedding venue and accommodation in the Natal Midlands
  • Dunroamin Country Guest House - Midlands Meander accommodation between Rosetta and Mooi River - KwaZulu Natal South Africa
  • Gleneagles Guesthouse - Mooi River Kwa-Zulu Natal
  • Argyle Arms Country Hotel - Hotel accommodation in Mooi River - Natal Midlands
  • Broad Moor - Guesthouse & Self Catering Cottage Accommodation between Mooi River & Giants Castle, KwaZulu-Natal
  • Midlands Saddle and Trout Resort - Timeshare in the Natal Midlands with access to the Central Drakensberg
  • Old Reasby Farm Cottages - Affordable guesthouse accommodation and tours near Mooi River
  • Sierra Ranch - Affordable family accommodation in cottages, chalets and hotel rooms
  • Mountain View Country House - Natal Midlands between Mooi River and Rosetta

The rolling, pastoral hills of the Natal Midlands have a quiet beauty of green hills, lush arable farmland and clear streams reminiscent of an English countryside. Scattered throughout are villages with country inns offering pleasant hospitality. North along the N3 from Pietermaritzburg and on the banks of the Umgeni River is the quiet village of Howick. This village has a fine climate and is a recognized resort for recuperative holidays. The river plunges over the Howick Falls, a drop of about 100 m and is one of the best known beauty spots in Natal. The town offers quiet comfortable accommodation and most amenities including a good 18 hole golf course. The nearby Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve is well worth a visit. The Midmar Dam and Nature Reserve is one of the best inland resorts in South Africa offering water sport, fishing, nature trails and an open air museum. The next town northward on the N3 is Mooi River, in the heart of a dairy and stock breeding district. This town is well known for it’s climate and renowned for it’s pottery. Craigie Burn Dam and Nature Reserve east of the town is also a popular recreation area. The Mooi River is known for it’s trout fishing. Estcourt is an important industrial centre on the Bushmans River and is notable for it’s bacon factory and diary products. The Wagendrift Dam and Nature Reserve provides sanctuary for a number of antelope species, and is a good venue for water sport. North of Calenso along the N11 is Ladysmith. Founded in 1850, it was a focal point in the Anglo Boer War and was under siege for 115 days. Mementos of the battles fought here may be seen in the Siege Museum. The town offers fine accommodation, and other facilities include a country club, sports venues, and aerodrome and water sport at the Windsor Dam

Albert Falls Amble

The Albert Falls Amble was established in October 1997, and is yet another piece in the jigsaw on unmatched attractions in Eshayamoya Country – the tourism marketing initiative of the Ndlovu Regional Council. The Albert Falls Amble covers a large area northeast of Pietermaritzburg, and takes in the historic locations of Bishopstowe, Cramong, York, New Hanover, Dalton, Warburg, Fawnleas and Hartburg. The Albert Falls Amble is complementary to the Midlands Meander, Boston Beat, Sakabula Circuit and Greytown Getaway – which in itself is the gateway to the Battlefields Route. The population within the Albert Falls Amble is almost as diverse as the scenic and cultural attractions. So in addition to the historically important Zulus, the area has a fully integrated population of former immigrant groups – including English, Irish, Indian, German, Scottish, as well as a sprinkling of European countries. The area is dominated by large tracts of water, the most notable being the Albert Falls Dam. The whole region has an abundance of wildlife, particularly birds. For example, within the Albert Falls Dam area some 280 bird species have been recorded. This is indeed a birder’s paradise. As for fishing competition held on the Albert Falls Dam. The fish eagle is the emblem of the Albert Falls Amble. It’s unique cry sounds continuously over the area and they are easy to spot. There are, in addition, many other raptors


The Albert Falls dam, completed in 1976, flooded the former Peatties lake area, and is now the bass fisherman’s mecca of South Africa. The Albert Falls Bass Tournament is the country’s premier inland competition and the watchword in these waters is catch and release.


Prolific in the area with many resident eagles, an abundance of waterbirds and over 200 other species to view. The rare Blue Swallow is found here, and has a trail named after it. Other bird trails are being developed and the various habitats can be comfortably covered in a day’s drive.

Boating and Skiing

The yacht club at Albert Falls Resort allows power boats. The dam is open to the public, but boasts must be registered and possess the relevant safety equipment. Satellite Dam is the home of the Natal Bare foot Ski Club.


Enthusiasts should visit the Noordsberg Club where there is a 9 hole course. Cricket and polo is also played here.

Game Viewing - On foot, in your own vehicle or in safari vehicles at various parks

Hunting and Hikers

These are numerous hiking trails, ranging from short walks to overnight trails. Hunting is restricted to clubs and private farms.

4 x4 Trails

Are being developed. Land off the main road is private and permission should be sought before entering

Farm Experience - Most of the B&B’s are able to show you aspects of farm life.

Hotels and Inns

Advertised and road signs indicate their locality. Meals are available at most hotels and pubs can arranged by the B&B’s.

Picnic Sites

Within the Nature Reserve and on the dam shore and river banks. Veldfires are dangerous and visitors are reminded it is illegal to make a fire in the area unless it is specially demarcated.


The Umgeni River, from Mortons Drift to Barnards Farm near Wartburg road bridge is very popular with canoeists.


As with all relatively remote areas in the world, there are certain rules that should be followed. Don’t walk alone, especially in the dark or in lonely spots. Do not stop for hitch- hikers and roadside vendors. Be sensible and avoid situations that look suspicious. Most people in the area are law abiding, and are helpful and proud of their country.


These are scattered throughout the area. Some are tiny, with little more than a post office, police station and trading store, while others offer accommodation, petrol stations and motoring services. There are both modern and traditional churches, many over a 100 year old.

Further Afield

Outside the Amble, but within easy driving distance, you will discover three magnificent waterfalls, the thundering Howick Falls, Karkloof Falls, and the Grey Mares Trail. The Midmar, Craigie Burne and Nagle Dams are close by. The battlefields of the Anglo Boer War and Anglo Zulu wars, are further away but still within an easy day’s drive.


Abrigar, Albert Falls Cash / General Store, Crafty Duck, Ecabazini, Hermansburg, Mvemwe, New Hanover School, Noodsberg, Nook & Cranny, Walter Meyer, Wartburger Hof

Nurseries - Top Crop, Willgrow

Picnic Sites

Albert Falls Resources Reserve, Bon Accorde Park, Cumberland, Hermannsburg, Peatties Lakeside Resort, The Falls, Willgrow Nursery

Game Drives – Albert Falls Resources Reserve, Game Valley Lodge






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