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About the Midlands Meander

We invite you to explore, indulge and dream amongst the gentle hills and warm-hearted people who call the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands home. The Midlands Meander route is situated between the city of Pietermaritzburg in the East and the majestic uKhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range (a World Heritage Site) in the West, in the uMgungundlovu district, one of eight regions of the ‘Zulu Kingdom’.

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Since 1985, the Meander has grown to more than 150 members and offers a greater variety, but still has the same quality of offerings. While the Meander is still known for its superb handcrafted goods and fine arts, it has experienced the most growth in the accommodation, wedding and conferencing sectors – providing offerings from good value for money to four-star luxury. It is famous for its Midlands hospitality, with great food, crackling fires and pampering spas. The days of sedentary holidays have gone – many of today’s Meander visitors enjoy a wide range of adventures and activities.

 

In line with international tourism trends, the Midlands Meander has seen the increase in demand for experiential tourism. The Meander has always excelled in “slow tourism”, where the emphasis is on the experience of the Meander community: the beautiful countryside and the welcoming Midlands folk. We are finding that people come to the Meander to escape the malls and the rushed city life: to immerse themselves in the country experience – seeking the authentic, the genuine.

While the Meander is the ideal quick break on that drive to Durban, we welcome the tourist who has chosen the slower, the experiential way, who wants to go down the Dargle Road or the Curry’s Post Road, or the Giant’s Castle Road to go to the studios or workshops of some of the finest craftspeople in the world, to meet with them, to talk to the artist or the leatherworker who has made a unique and original item that is priceless and can never be duplicated.

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The Midlands Meander is the ideal place for your dream wedding, set in the rolling hills of the Midlands, and it’s a great way to break away from the office to hold a refreshing and productive conference – just one hour from Durban and 4.5 hours from Johannesburg.

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In the Midlands, life is lived at a gentler pace, we take time to chat to strangers in the trading store and we grow our own vegetables. You may see us out on an early morning horse ride. On your visit, explore the forests and farmlands and the small villages inhabited by interesting characters. Gather inspiration and original art from world-class artists, crafters, enjoy gracious hospitality, savour new flavours and celebrate memorable moments.

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We know you’ll love visiting the Midlands Meander. And you’ll want to return to this Good Place.

No wonder thousands of people traverse the Midlands Meander each year. In 1985 local artists, potters and weavers decided to join forces to create an arts and crafts route. Soon enough, six studios were opened and the Midlands Meander was born. It is also known as the ‘arts and crafts route’. From humble beginnings, the Midlands Meander has grown to more than 160 places to eat, drink, sleep, shop, play as well as a diverse and fascinating mix of arts and crafts.

There are weavers, potters, woodcrafters, leather workers, artists, metalworkers, box makers, herb growers, cheese makers, beer brewers and so much more. There is very little time to be bored with the array of activities and things to see. These villages are also set in picturesque landscapes offering magnificent views. There is so much to explore in the Midlands Meander. From the vastness of shimmering waters of the Midmar Dam to the looming but breath taking Drakensberg Mountains, from quiet villages to an array of craft shops, there is just so much to see and do!

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Water sport lovers congregate at the popular Midmar Dam where enthusiasts enjoy windsurfing, sailing, boating, canoeing and much more. Another famed aspect of the Midland Meander Route is the Battlefields Route. It is hard to imagine that this tranquil and beautiful area was once the centre of military clashes of the Anglo-Boer War.

This region boasts some war memorials, and is close to the Battlefield Tours.

There are also many historical buildings many of which date back to the 1880’s. A number have been declared National Monuments including some well-preserved Settler Churches. Most popular is the Nelson Mandela Capture Site where Nelson Mandela was arrested before his 27 years behind bars.

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The offering of accommodation in Midlands Meander is varied enough to suit any preference. While it is still possible to stay in one of the original old hotels, you also can have the opportunity to spend the night in a tree house surrounded by wildlife in a nature reserve, cuddle by the warm fire in a cave in the mountains, camp in a lush forest or stay in an upmarket Bed and Breakfast or Guest House – whichever you choose, it promises to be a memorable stay.

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There are any number of fantastic restaurants with a diversity of mouth-watering munchies to choose from. Time goes so much slower in this part of the country. Interestingly, the word ‘meander’ means ‘to wander at random’. So take your time, relax and enjoy aimlessly wondering along the winding paths of the beautiful Midlands Meander Route in South Africa. It promises to be a truly unforgettable time.

The Midlands Meander Association has 157 members and the members are inspected each year and they pay a fee to belong to the association which promotes the area to tourists.

For more information go to:

www.midlandsmeander.co.za or email: marketing@midlandsmeander.co.za

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