KwaZulu Natal DestinationsGreytown, Natal Midlands
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of KwaZulu Natal, Greytown lies in the forest-clad, rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, a picturesque little town originally settled during the 1850s and subsequently awash with buildings of note, scenic drives and Boer history.
Greytown originally enjoyed a fair amount of importance, playing ‘little elephant’ to Pietermaritzburg’s ‘place of the elephant’. Louis Botha, the country’s first Prime Minister and a famous Boer leader, was born on a farm just outside of Greytown, and some believe that the Liberation Struggle for a democratic South Africa began in Greytown, almost a century ago, with the Bambatha Rebellion. This uprising against white authority by a local Zulu chief forced white residents to shelter in the town hall, built in 1897 and worth a visit when in Greytown.
Other interesting buildings include Greytown’s Mosque, built in 1946 to replace the original of 1898, the Shri Vishnu Mandir Temple, on whose dome the lotus flower symbolises spiritual life, and the St James Anglican Church whose archway and stained glass windows come from England.
The area around Greytown is awash with rolling sugar cane, pine, wattle, gum and poplar forests; and the winding roads to the Muden Valley are overlooked by a collection of aloes and euphorbia that cluster on the hillsides, making this a wonderful drive. These same hillsides are host to Bushman paintings, and where the road drops into Weenen, a cairn of stones was placed by early Zulu travellers who passed here, for good luck.