The Natal Midlands Region, KwaZulu Natal

Inland of Durban, lying in an area that acts as something of a respite for all who go there, between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg, is a beautiful region filled with stretches of farmland, charming little towns, a wonderful arts and crafts route and picturesque scenery bordering on the sublime, known as the Natal Midlands.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Natal Midlands accommodation, explore the destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you visit the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

The Natal Midlands is rich with water - rivers, lakes, dams and waterfalls are abundant - and the landscape is endowed with green pastures, hills and forests, whilst the northern reaches of the Midlands are dominated by the foothills and mountains of the Drakensberg.

If you’re not hiking then spend time exploring the many coffee shops, art galleries, pretty guest houses, cheese farms, trout farms, potters, weavers and painters who have made this region their home. The Midlands Meander is now a wonderfully refreshing mix of over 150 places at which to eat, drink and shop, and extends from Rietvlei and Curry’s Post to Dargle Valley and Fort Nottingham - 80 kilometres of activity.

Did you know? Much of the Natal Midlands is popularised by the Midlands Meander – a self-drive arts, crafts, eateries and farmstay route that is a retreat for holiday makers. It is best done with some advance research, and a Midlands Meander guide (available at most stores en route) in hand to uncover the real treats and first-rate spots.

With Howick Falls on your doorstep, the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve with its nature trails, picnic spots, some of the best bass fishing and great birding; the Kamberg Nature Reserve, framed by the Drakensberg Mountains with some incredible scenery and place to walk and picnic; and the Loteni Nature Reserve - a great place for trout fishing, there is plenty for one to do.

But you would be forgiven for using your time here simply to drink in the sights, sounds and fresh air of the Natal Midlands, for without doubt here is a place to restore the soul.

Find accommodation in the Natal Midlands

South Africa Accommodation / KwaZulu Natal Accommodation / Natal Midlands Accommodation

Destinations in the Natal Midlands Region

Albert Falls

Overnight? Albert Falls accommodation
The source of the uMngeni River lies in the uMngeni Vlei area, an ancient wetland bounded by hills. From here it meanders eastward through undulating pastoral countryside until just before Midmar Dam, where it is joined by the Lions River. Below Midma...

Balgowan

Overnight? Balgowan accommodation
North of Howick, in the central part of the Midlands Meander that lies between Nottingham Road and Lidgetton, lies Balgowan, one of the most beautiful parts of the country with weather that invariably rolls all four seasons into one, but which gives your ...

Baynesfield

Overnight? Baynesfield accommodation
Baynesfield is a tiny little village roughly 22 minutes' drive south west of Pietermaritzburg. Pretty to drive through, it is the home of Baynesfield Estate, a museum, and a little railway station, but little more. Named after Joseph Baynes, who arriv...

Boston

Overnight? Boston accommodation
The little town of Boston is barely distinguishable in its own right. Rather it is linked to Bulwer in what has recently become known as the Boston-Bulwer Beat, just over an hour’s drive from Durban in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. The b...

Bulwer

Overnight? Bulwer accommodation
Aside from a little supermarket, a smattering of houses, a Build and Save and an Engen garage, there is not very much to the little town of Bulwer, through which the R617, one of the main routes into the southern Drakensberg, passes. But then the main...

Cramond

The small town of Cramond is situated close to Albert Falls in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is, officially, part of the UMgungundlovu District Municipality. This province is a popular tourist destination as Durban (its capital) is home ...

Currys Post

Overnight? Currys Post accommodation
Curry’s Post is a beautifully scenic area in the heart of the Midlands Meander that lies between Mooi River and Howick. It has a quaint history that involves the Curry Family, after whom Curry’s Post is named, who settled here, establishing an overnight w...

Dargle

Overnight? Dargle accommodation
The Dargle Valley and conservancy area is set in the midst of the Midlands Meander in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg - a land of magic waterfalls, river gorges, grassland, indigenous forest, wild flowers and wetlands. There is an array of sh...

Donnybrook

The distinctly Irish lilt to the name of Donnybrook misrepresents the rural village that lies in the midst of green hills on Route 612, between Ixopo and Bulwer, south west of Pietermaritzburg. There is little other than a police and petrol station to ...

Estcourt

Overnight? Estcourt accommodation
Lower down in the valley from Van Reenen’s Pass, and in the heart of the Anglo-Boer War territory, Estcourt is a fairly large town that serves as the gateway to the central Drakensberg, together with Winterton just 40 kilometres to the north. Initiall...

Eston

Overnight? Eston accommodation
Eston is real sugarcane country. Head out here from Durban and you're privy to a series of rolling hills, cattle farmlands, and fields of sugarcane. You get a pretty good idea of what most of the surrounding countryside must have looked like at some stage...

Fort Nottingham

Overnight? Fort Nottingham accommodation
Fort Nottingham is a very wee village just up the road from the more popular, vibrant town of Nottingham Road, in the Midlands. Back in 1856 the fort came into being when Queen Victoria sent the Nottinghamshire regiment, the 45th Sherwood Foresters, to...

Greytown

Overnight? Greytown accommodation
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 hi...

Harburg

Take the Midlands Amble (not to be confused with the Midland Meander) and you'll find yourself on the lesser-explored perimeters to the south-west and north-east of Pietermaritzburg, with the Albert Falls Dam as the fulcrum. The Amble incorporates the ...

Hidcote

Overnight? Hidcote accommodation
Being situated in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Province means that the whole Hidcote area enjoys some of the most wonderful scenery in all of South Africa. It is draped in natural beauty, thanks to the lush vegetation that characterises this part of the...

Hilton

Overnight? Hilton accommodation
The distinctly English country village of Hilton with its attractive sense of history lies only 10 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg at the start of the Midlands Meander. Hiltons beginnings originated in the purchase of a large portion of the farm Onge...

Hlutankungu

Deep in the heart of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, at the foot of the rolling mountain ranges of this region, lies Hlutankungu. This little area may not be well known on an international tourism scale, but Hlutankungu is a popular retreat f...

Howick

Overnight? Howick accommodation
The South African experience is about its history, culture and natural beauty; and all of these can be enjoyed when you stay overnight in Howick. Known as the place of many waterfalls, owing to the many tributaries of the uMngeni River that tumble down go...

Ixopo

Overnight? Ixopo accommodation
Ixopo is the main centre of the Southern Midlands and forms part of an important sugar farming, and forestry area. Although originally called 'Stuartstown', the original Zulu name 'Ixopo' has prevailed. This charming town is not a major tourism 'hub' ...

Karkloof

Overnight? Karkloof accommodation
Karkloof is a beautiful range of hills stretching for over 50 kilometres between Rietvlei, Curry’s Post and Howick in the Midlands of Natal. This area includes a steep, flat-topped kloof and an extensive range of mist belt forests, home to the Karkloo...

Kranskop

The rather little village of Kranskop lies just 36km north east of Greytown in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal. It rests in the shadow of a rocky ridge that is undoubtedly the reason for its name change from the original 'Hopetown'. Kranskop's rocky esca...

Lidgetton

Overnight? Lidgetton accommodation
Close to Howick in the southern parts of the central Midlands, Lidgetton is little more than a quaint trading post that today boasts something of an artists’ community, a café and post office, as well as a surrounding township that has formed around Lidge...

Lions River

Overnight? Lions River accommodation
The little hamlet of Lions River lies between Lidgetton and Howick right in the heart of the Natal Midlands about an hour’s drive from Durban; a tiny modest ‘if you blink you might miss it’ village, with not much beyond a trading store to lure you to stop...

Merrivale

Overnight? Merrivale accommodation
Merrivale rests not far from the banks of the Howick Dam. The south western suburb of Howick is a series of typical tree-lined, garden bedecked streets. A not-quite-as-smart as Howick neighbourhood, the typical country lifestyle is nonetheless in evid...

Mid Illovo

Overnight? Mid Illovo accommodation
The Natal Midlands is a spectacular part of South Africa, showcasing the verdant abundance of flora and the exciting fauna that calls this home. It is within this setting in the KwaZulu Natal Province that the scenic area of Mid Illovo is found. Mid Il...

Mooi River

Overnight? Mooi River accommodation
Experience the breath-taking beauty of the Natal Midlands when you book accommodation in Mooi River for the ultimate in a tranquil escape in South Africa. Mooi River is 160km from Durban and 64km from Pietermaritzburg. Mooi River is a farming and text...

New Hanover

New Hanover is a small farming community town just north east of the Albert Falls Dam. It lies on Route 33 between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown. There's little to the town to merit a stop. A general dealers called Mafutas, which does have a Standard B...

Nottingham Road

Overnight? Nottingham Road accommodation
As a child, I always thought Nottingham Road was the equivalent to ‘The Wind in the Willows’ in KwaZulu Natal, and indeed, this beautiful part of the world with its old-world country taverns and traditional old family farmland is reminiscent of the childr...

Pietermaritzburg

Overnight? Pietermaritzburg accommodation
Set in the heart of the Natal Midlands in KwaZulu Natal, staying in Pietermaritzburg particularly convenient for travellers that want to explore this part of the country. It is a city of charm and dignity, at its loveliest in spring when masses of azaleas...

Richmond

Overnight? Richmond accommodation
The town of Richmond lies in the Natal Midlands, and is roughly an hour-and-a-half's drive from Durban, using the R56 off near Camperdown on the N3, to get there. The little town is rather unglamorously described, together with Ladysmith, as well-known fo...

Rosetta

Overnight? Rosetta accommodation
Rosetta is one of those little villages that, until recently, would have been relegated to a passing glance as you drove through it, on the way to elsewhere. One can only hazard a guess that the local Mooi River, when in flood, reminded farmers of the Ros...

Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks train station lies just off the R33, south of where it passes the Umvoti Vlei Nature Reserve, between Greytown and Dalton. This is the open countryside of KwaZulu-Natal, typically a farming area where sugarcane is the predominant crop. Smallhold...

Wartburg

Overnight? Wartburg accommodation
This little piece of Germany is surrounded by hamlets of definitive origin: Harburg, New Hanover, Kirchdorf, Lillienthal, Schroeders and Hermannsburg. Wartburg itself is named after the castle in Eisenach where Dr Martin Luther translated the bible in...

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