We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great day trip” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Midlands Meander

Midlands Meander
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Midlands Meander in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, is a collection of arranged routes that offer visitors hospitality in truly beautiful surroundings, outstanding accommodation, conference and wedding facilities, fascinating local events, fabulous cuisine and restaurants, revitalising outdoor activities and over-the-top adventure sports, historic landmarks, wildlife conservation, and best of all "shop-till-you-drop" unique arts and crafts. An easy one-hour drive from Durban and four and a half hours on the N3 highway from Johannesburg, there is much to explore and do in the Midlands.
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
176 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Great day trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2014

The Midlands Meander is a very nice daytrip with a little something for everybody. Lots of little stores with arts and crafts, restaurants and odds and sodds along the way. Throw in some of the most beautiful scenery in Kwazulu Natal if not all of South Africa. Also now on the Meander the Nelson Mandela capture site that is a must see and then continue to the Howick falls which are quite good.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MidlandsMeander1985, Public Relations Manager at Midlands Meander, responded to this review, December 7, 2014
Hello!

Thank your for your review. So glad to hear you enjoyed your time in this "good place" here in KZN.

We hope you will visit us again one day! In the meantime, Like our page on Facebook to stay updated.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

82 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    41
    30
    6
    4
    1
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Clitheroe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
198 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2013

This is an are near Durban with lots of craft/cheese/c;othes/chocolate etc places many with dining facilities.The drive is also quite pleasant in an area known as 1000 valleys.There are a wide range of outlets of all types including some 'touristy' ones but overall a pleasant area to visit and spend a day or two.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank recordable
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MidlandsMeander1985, Public Relations Manager at Midlands Meander, responded to this review, December 4, 2014
Hello!

We're so glad to hear you enjoyed your meandering! There is so much to do and see, so please come back and spend a couple of nights with here.

And please stay in touch to keep updated with the latest Midlands Meander events and specials. Like our Facebook page and send an email to marketing@midlandsmeander.co.za if you'd like to sign up for our monthly newsletter.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SA
Level Contributor
94 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Fab day out”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013

The Midlands Meander is a lovely gem hidden away. You can spend the whole day wondering from one little shop to the next. Great cheese, chocolate, wine you name it. Always a good idea to stop at the little stores buy some goodies and find a spot to have a lovely picnic.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SaLouise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MidlandsMeander1985, Public Relations Manager at Midlands Meander, responded to this review, December 4, 2014
Hello!

Glad you enjoyed your "meandering" and we hope to see you again soon! To stay updated, please like our Facebook page. You can also email us on info@midlandsmeander.co.za to sign up for our free monthly newsletter or so that we can post you our new Midlands Meander Guide.

Yours in "a good place".
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“The end and begining of freedom”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2013

For me the "Midlands Meander" has to be one of South Africa's greatest attractions for many and quite different reasons which I will explain. I visited last year over Christmas.

I visit South Africa primarily for the stunning game reserves and scenery particularly those found In Kwa Zulu Natal a part of Africa which has always captivated my heart and imagination. Its very different to the Cape Town region which tends to be less "African" and very much more mass tourist orientated possibly just a bit predictable, the truly ice cold cold sea and yes attractive mountain it still all feels like you haven't quite arrived in Africa. The beaches however in Natal are warm and the sun African with brief summer rains, fabulous game reserves (National Parks). The parks are very special uncrowded and rewarding for the top five game species but even more so for the flora and smaller fauna, there is also variety in the countryside and people mostly Zulu.

A hot spot area of our planet of truly remarkable bio diversity and indeed parts are now World Heritage sites. From the mighty towering snow capped mountains of the Drakensburg (Dragon mountains) that include the Cathedral Peak home of the mighty Martial African eagle to the warm fine sandy beaches of the blue Indian ocean where giant turtles lay their eggs in the soft white sandy bays, the "Midlands meander" lies nestled in this in the middle of gently rolling hills.

We began this wonderful trip by arriving at Durban's King Shaka airport a short hour or so flight from where we arrived in South Africa Johannesburg. The airport itself is very welcoming modern and new and renting a good car was absolutely no problem no international drivers license was asked for. There were no automatics and this was a relief as Im rather fond of a shift gear drive.

From Durban we drove inland through "The Meander" going out through the Karkloof back towards the coast to the Hluhluwe game reserve in Northern Kwa Zulu Natal and back to Durban. A trip of ten days. Mostly the roads are excellent but the part from Karkloof to quite far towards the bit where you join the coastal road is not surfaced for a long stretch, which I and the kids like very much but if you are not used to them they can be a challenge. There are alternative routes on better roads. Pot holes are a problem on the Meander itself in many areas so it pays not to drive fast or at night, many of the smaller roads are also not surfaced in this area. Don't be put off the rewards can be worth a little bit of a bumpy drive.

To reach the Meander and our first place of stay was a mere few hours drive inland on a very good highway from Durban.

At the very beginning of The Meander and our trip just after Hilton village is probably one of the few most poignant and important spots in the history of human liberation. This is of course where Nelson Mandela was apprehended and began his almost life long incarceration. The place the exact place police took him from a car and arrested him. He was full with hope ideas and plans his heart and soul brimming with the possibilities of the future freedom his country could take, to be home at last his home his beloved country. After having been away in distant lands to gain support for the countries liberation there by the side of the otherwise unremarkable small country road is the place that would start 27 years of his imprisonment. We silently got out the car and stood for a few moments taking in the magnitude of what had happened on that spot. A small railway line goes off through the long grass dotted with wild flowers some poor villages beyond a few feral looking dogs briefly barked at us and in the distance the wonderful mountains and blue skies.

It's a big relief that nothing has been done by the locals to turn the spot into some kind of tourist trap so one can still feel almost exactly what it must have been like as he looked around wildly for the last time before beginning a life of almost incomprehensible torture to most of us, to be trapped behind bars your lovely country just beyond the sea for years and years and years of your life. A small bird with a long train of tail feathers behind it floated undulating over the tips of tall grass bending in the breeze cheeping to its mate in the sunshine, otherwise it was incredibly silent. There is a very lovely small artistic installation depicting him. Through this louvered image you can see the great country beyond. A place of intense contemplation and spirituality for anyone who stops highly recommended.

From here the road winds up and through The Midlands Meander. The whole area has a rather incongruous "English" country feel to it for Africa from the "Granny Mouse" hotel with its tasteful floral and comfortable Chinz rooms where we stayed (the children insisted) to the stud farms and meadows of fat Herefordshire bulls, smart hotels and Pub lunches. In fact you could be in Herefordshire midlands even the people who mostly own the farms, hotels, bed and breakfasts and various attractions here have a particularly clean crisp spoken home counties English accent. The people are all very friendly and like nothing better than a chat.

There are plenty of places to eat and stay mostly very good some excellent. We also stayed a night at Rawdon's Hotel and were delighted, the food at the restaurant looked very good but we ate at the pub which was excellent.

Many people just drive through the area sampling the delights and scenery taking in the delicious air stopping for cream tea of buying a few curios, and this is fun for a long afternoon. But what we enjoyed most were the walks and hikes through the "veld" and mist belt forests looking at the wild flowers, fauna including good bird life and setting. Staying a few nights is the best way to do this.

The weather when we were there felt like a perennial Spring with a little high summer thrown in in the afternoons for good measure. Absolutely heavenly though I believe in winter it can get quite cold when snow blankets the high peaks in the background. Worth taking a warm something light anytime as the evening and night can be a bit chilly which is lovely for sleeping. There were a few thunderstorms too which were thrilling if not a little dangerous, it pays to look into the sky to see if anything is coming. Mostly this happens in the later part of a very hot afternoon.

I would recommend taking guides of the flora and particularly the birds with you so you can look them up. Many of the places where you can stay have walks through their farm lands and gardens you can do completely on your own after breakfast or in the evening. But the best bet is contacting and looking at the "Midlands Conservancies" site and forum before you leave as there are organised and fascinating walks and hikes guided by various people on different days of the week almost every day, they have a lot of knowledge about the fauna and flora. This activity is very rewarding and highly recommended.

There are many streams and rivers some for swimming and cooling down we had a fantastic day out swimming in the Karkloof Yarrow falls area with a walk and picnic lunch we bought in Howick (a small village nearby at the remarkable Howick falls) at a very good supermarket . The water is clean and cool absolutely refreshing. Watch where others swim or take just ordinary sensible precautions as you don't want to actually fall off the falls which are a little up stream anyway. Snakes can be encountered but generally vanish when they hear your footstep but it pays to keep an eye out and take good hiking boots.

The meander is also a good warm up for the Drakensburg where hiking is much more serious and spectacular you also should get permission to walk onto someone's farm though its not always possible to tell where one begins and another ends, but the National Parks areas are the place to hike on your own anyway and the paths are well used. Many parts of the Midlands are high density floral treasure troves and you will often also encounter some of the wild life which is a real treat. Obviously don't walk where you will damage anything and don't remove anything .

We had a lovely couple of days here on the Midlands meander and promised ourselves we would return but as with so many journeys and trips its just a dream but the very African memories will definitely remain forever.

Small word of caution, crime is known to be a problem all over South Africa. Its best not to stop the car in isolated areas of road for very long and always leave your car where it will be safe i.e. near others or a home or designated area like at a restaurant car park or Inn. Personal safety didn't for us feel for one moment threatened on our whole trip but you do need to exercise just ordinary sensible caution. Don't stop and ask for directions but wait to get to a filling station or village shop etc. Plan your trip well and get some maps or use your Ipad, best to plan before leaving everyday. Try not to look like and behave like a tourist. Don't think to stop and pick up anyone walking along the side of the road even children, if they look like they are in trouble call someone. And lastly it's a very good idea to get a local sim card from the airport and have a fully loaded phone at all times. Check your spare tyre when you pick upyour rental, make sure its full of air and sound.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank Gauldi V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MidlandsMeander1985, Public Relations Manager at Midlands Meander, responded to this review, December 7, 2014
Hello Gauldi,

Thank you for your excellent and detailed review - all the way from London!
We agree that the Midlands Meander has so much to offer - from idyllic scenery, to country hospitality, country critters, smart hotels, pub lunches, hiking through the countryside and the friendly people.

You say that you promised you would return... the Midlands Meander is eagerly awaiting :) . Please visit our website and Like us on Facebook to whet your appetite for your next trip.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
35 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“little bit overated but great for motorbiking”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2013

Shops are overpriced, food can be expensive, with accomodation also high priced, but hey when your flying past on two wheels enjoying the twisted meander then who cares. The roads were not as bad as I had read. A lot better than Mpumalanga. Sure there was a pothole or two, but show me a road that doesnt have. Stayed in a small place (Old beacon Hill) Good clean accomodation at a fair price just outside Estcourt and rode all the way down to Pietermaritzburg and back in both car and bike.
A great get away for a weekend.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank dbs_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MidlandsMeander1985, Public Relations Manager at Midlands Meander, responded to this review, December 4, 2014
Hello!

Thank you for your review. We're glad you had a great weekend away on the Midlands Meander.
There is something for everyone - from the budget traveler to luxury-seeker. You are welcome to give us a call or email for recommendations if you are looking for the more budget-friendly establishments and we'll be happy to help!

Hope you'll be back soon! In the meantime, you can stay updated on our Facebook page
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Midlands Meander also viewed

Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
 
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
 

Been to Midlands Meander? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing