The Midlands Meander is what weavers, potters, woodcrafters, leather workers, artists, metalworkers, box makers, herb growers, cheese makers, beer brewers and pianos have in common. You will find them all, and a great deal more on the Midlands Meander map - South Africa's first, largest and most popular art and crafts route.
The Midlands Meander extends over a distance of some 80 kms between Pietermaritzburg and Mooi River and was started in 1983 by several of the craftspeople who have long resided in the area (often as exceedingly contented refugees from city life) as a way to market their products, keep down their prices and allow visitors a glance at their craft.
From a very small beginning, the Midlands Meander has grown to well over a hundred stops on four routes. The symbol of the Midlands Meander is the Butler butterfly, found only in the Karkloof region.
Accommodation on the Midlands Meander
Midlands Meander Contact Details
Contact the Midlands Meander committee for a detailed brochure.The Midlands Meander Committee, PO Box 874, Howick 3290
033 3305305 or 082 8032327 - Fax 033 3433664
History of the Midlands Meander
Since its humble beginnings in 1985, when a small group of crafters came together to create an art and craft route, the Midlands Meander has grown into a vibrant network of 134 members, some of local extraction, and some who have turned their backs on the city to make their livings in this beautiful environment. Pop in and you may meet these talented and interesting people and observe the expertise that goes into the production of their goods.
Originating with the arrival of the first settlers in the early 1800’s the area boasts many wonderful homes and barns, an attraction to lovers of architecture. As you tour the Midlands Meander you will also notice that this area is home to a number of the country’s most famous schools. The Midlands Meander has also grown to offer much more than Arts and Crafts, but also now boasts a vast number of top-class hospitality establishments. Converted from classic old farmhouses or outbuildings, they cater for the full spectrum of guests’ needs, ranging from luxury to rustic. Partake of fine dining, informal cuisine, or simply self-cater. The choice is yours.
Do not be fooled by the tranquil serenity, as a range of other activities is also available to those who prefer some action to a slow drive through the country. Trout fishing, hiking and mountain biking are the perfect way to shake off the city while others enjoy the shopping.
A number of key events take place on the Midlands Meander each year, the Midmar Mile, the Springvale Horse Trials and the Midlands Meander Marathon being but a few. Consult the Midlands Meander Events Diary for further information.
The geographic boundaries of the Midlands Meander extend from Hilton in the south to Hidcote in the north and span from the Dargle Valley in the west to Currys Post in the east. An hour’s drive from Durban and less than five hours from Johannesburg, the Midlands Meander is within easy reach. All the tours are easily accessible from the N3 and all fly-offs are clearly marked with the Midlands Meander signage.
This area has a wonderful mild climate, and is a summer rainfall area, with dry winters. These conditions make the entire area Malaria-free and perfectly safe to travel to at all times of the year. In order to pack the right clothing, consult the weather guide on this page.
So, whatever your interest, be it fast or slow, artistic or gastronomic, be it a day trip or a week-long holiday, head on out to the Midlands Meander and experience the country at its best.
Climate of the Midlands Meander
Whilst the weather is generally predictable, it is possible to experience all four seasons in a day at any time of the year, so always have a set of warm clothes packed just in case.
To illustrate this point, consider that August 1977 had temperatures of 35 degrees while the summer of 1988 had zero rainfall and snow fell on the Berg in December 1956.
Summer: November – February