KwaZulu Natal DestinationsHowick, Natal Midlands
Known as the place of many waterfalls, owing to the many tributaries of the uMngeni River that tumble down gorges and over sharp inclines on their way to the Indian Ocean, Howick is possibly best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in August 1962 (see the Nelson Mandela Capture Site), and most visited because of the Howick falls.
The little village of Howick - a great place to find antiques, arts and crafts, and part of the Midlands Meander - was named after Earl Grey, the British Colonial Secretary who started out in life as the Viscount Howick. It remains fundamentally a farming town that supplies the number of farms in the area, and people pass through here on their way to the interior or to Midmar Dam, just 7 kilometres away.
Howick Falls is a 100 metre cascade of water, practically in the centre of town. The falls were known by the Zulus as KwaNogqaza - place of the tall one - and first seen by European travellers on their way to trade from the coast in the early 19th century. You can arrange to abseil alongside the falls down the gorge and into the pool, if youíre in an adventurous frame of mind, and if not, there is a safer alternative from a viewing platform above the falls that is close to the car park.
For those opting for bit of a walk, there is a steep but safe trail that descends to the river bed. The view from here is utterly breathtaking, but the return climb more than a little vertical. Fly-fishing is a popular pastime, and dams and streams in the area are brimming with trout. Mountain bike fundis can enjoy the hills in and around town and horse trails, produced by the local polo clubs, cross the countryside.