Wild encounters on the Meander
One of the best kept secrets of the Midlands Meander is that there is a malaria-free area just four and a half hours from Johannesburg where there is an abundance of birdlife and game – and where you can get a booking – at local rates. Whether you choose one of the luxurious and upmarket private game lodges and nature reserves on the Meander or go to WESSA or Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reserves (also Midlands Meander members), you will find superb game viewing, birding opportunities and some of the best nature-based activities around.
ZuluWaters Game Reserve in the foothills of the Drakensberg offers guests the exclusive use of its 7000 acre estate in an intimate experience of its extensive variety of game. It offers game drives, guided horse-back game viewing, trout fishing, clay pigeon shooting and guided walks to view San rock art. Brahman Hills in Nottingham Road offers luxury accommodation and spa pampering as well as game drives and walks; horse rides; fishing and guided birding. In the indigenous forests of the private Karkloof Nature Reserve, you will find the four unique luxurious self-catering lodges of Rockwood Karkloof Lodges, which offers game viewing, fishing, tree and bird spotting as well as MTB trails, and self-guided hiking trails. Visitors to Bosch Hoek Golf Club in Balgowan can view game while they enjoy a round of golf!
WESSA’s Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve has spectacular views of the Howick Falls, with the greater part of the reserve in the gorge below the falls. There is an indigenous tree trail, and self-guided walks to mingle with the game animals.
Giant’s Castle Game Reserve in the Central Berg Region of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site with abundant game. It is best known by birders for its Vulture Hide. Day and overnight hiking are offered, as are climbing, trout fishing, picnicking, camping and swimming. Also in the uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park, Midmar Resort overlooks Midmar Dam on the Umgeni River, in the heart of the Midlands Meander. Besides being popular for sailing, boating and abundant fishing, Midmar’s park offers game viewing by vehicle, bicycle or by foot.
The Midlands Meander offers excellent opportunities for active interaction with nature. From towering mountains to the lush greenery of the forest, the Midlands Meander has some of the most spectacular scenery through which to walk, hike or ride horses. One of the fastest-growing sports in the Midlands is mountain-biking. If the Karkloof Classic is a little adventurous for you, try a few of the Meander’s extensive network of superb MTB trails. Why not try one of the most exhilarating ways to explore nature in the Midlands and enjoy the rich beauty of the indigenous Karkloof forest as you take a zipline canopy tour?
There are many nature-based activities that can be visited for the day. However, a wider variety of fishing, birding and specially designed riding, biking and hiking trails are available to guests at selected accommodation establishments. Plan your Meander activities here.