KwaZulu Natal DestinationsHilton, Natal Midlands
Hiltons beginnings originated in the purchase of a large portion of the farm Ongegund in 1857 by Joseph Henderson, whose wife called their farm ‘Hilton’. Hilton is a good five degrees cooler than Pietermaritzburg, and it is this access to fresh air, coupled with first sightings of the Drakensberg, that lures people to Hilton.
The town may now be home to 10 000+ residents, but it manages to retain its village feel, right down to its meagre adherence to traffic control with only two traffic lights, and some distinct examples of Tudor-style architecture.
The broad streets are tree-lined, and although the village isn’t officially a ‘garden city’, it bears a strong resemblance to those cities so tagged, with window boxes brimming with flowers, garden clubs and green interest groups. Hilton is home to no fewer than five schools, including the boarding schools Hilton College and St Anne’s.
Hilton College has become the site of the Hilton Arts Festival, which spreads over nine venues on campus during September, and runs for two-and-a-half days, bringing the best of South African theatre to KwaZulu Natal. There is usually a line-up that includes drama, comedy, music, cabaret and an arts and craft market - most of them straight from the Grahamstown festival that happens in July.