When we could manage to drag ourselves away from the beautiful grounds of Lords of the Manor, Gareth and I spent our days meandering through the Midlands, situated in the heart of South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal province. The Meander is a series of routes through an area encompassing such little-known towns as Mooi River, Nottingham Road, Dargle, Howick and Curry’s Post.
|Our hotel formed part of the Midlands Meander route.|
We would pick a new route every day (a great map can be found here) and slowly wend our way through small towns, past idyllic pastoral scenes and startlingly green countryside, stopping at whichever of the attractions grabbed our fancy. In this manner we managed to acquire a hammock and hammock chair, dined on the most delicious chocolate-filled home-made croissants, browsed for leather shoes and clothing, and perused the wares of various arts and crafts shops.
Although there isn’t much to see or do in Howick, the town remains one of the key attractions of the area, and a traditional stopping place for inlanders on their way to Durban and the east coast, due to the 95 meter waterfall cascading down a sheer cliff. While we stopped to admire the view, a group of intrepid mountaineers were abseiling down towards the pool below where, according to local Zulu legends, the spirits of their ancestors reside.
|Famous waterfalls of the world in relation to Howick Falls.|
|The gorgeous Howick Falls.|
One of the highlights of the trip for us was the afternoon we spent at Kleinbosch Estate learning how to shoot at clay pigeons. We formed part of a group of eight, some experienced shots and others first-timers like ourselves. After a quick crash-course in how to safely handle a shotgun, we had a hands-on lesson in aiming and shooting at moving targets. As the only female in the group, I was assigned the duty of keeping everyone’s score, although there wasn’t a strong competitive feel to the event and all of us had a fun time. I managed to hit six of my twenty shots, which isn’t brilliant by any means, but the instructor assured me was pretty good for a lady’s first time.
|Gareth has a go at clay pigeon shooting.|
|Suneé also manages to hit the target.|
Another morning was spent at the Midlands Saddle & Trout farm. It was a beautiful blue-sky day and while Gareth tried to coax the fish into biting, I wandered around the little dam taking pictures of the ducks and Burchell’s starlings and having long conversations with the horses grazing on its banks.
|Suffice it to say we didn’t have trout for lunch…|
|Lounging in our new hammocks.|
All too soon our long weekend was over and we had to return to the city. But there are still so many places to explore, I’m sure we will be back again soon…