Outdoor Activities in the Midlands Meander
KwaZulu Natal is one of South Africa’s most spectacular provinces; characterised by endless natural vistas, an extensive scenic coastline and a year-round temperate climate that is quite irresistible. It is no wonder, therefore, that is remains such a popular destination, not only for South African travellers but for tourists from around the world. The Midlands Meander is nestled within the midst of the province and comprises a number of routes that, quite appropriately, meander through the lush beauty and pristine landscape.
These routes are adorned with exciting restaurants, historical landmarks, arts, crafts, and accommodation facilities. However, it is for its natural splendour that this entire area is best known and loved. There are a number of outdoor attractions and activities along this route, each of which is special and memorable in its own unique way.
The Midmar Dam is the perfect fishing spot with plenty of trout for the avid angler. It is also the ideal spot for swimming and waterskiing, while families are invited to picnic on the dam’s banks and take in the spectacular views. The tranquillity of the dam is contagious, infusing every moment with a sense of serenity that is quite special.
For those that love the romance of walking deep within the forest vegetation of South Africa, the Marutswa Forest is just perfect. This forest is recognised as one of the country’s top bird-watching destinations, and is home to the Cape parrot, African crowned eagle, orange ground-thrush, yellow-throated woodland warbler, crowned hornbill, and many more avian species. Other significant animal species in the Marutswa Forest include the rock dassie (or hyrax), Natal dwarf chameleon, and reedbuck.
The Karkloof River and Falls lie amidst dense KwaZulu Natal vegetation. These spectacular falls plummet 105 metres over the Shafton Gorge, and leave one feeling somewhat awe-struck at the sheer power and splendour of nature. There is a much smaller waterfall that is above the main falls and, together, they make for a magnificent vista. The Karkloof Canopy Tours take visitors ziplining over the indigenous forest of this region, allowing them to enjoy the natural splendour from a novel perspective, dangling safely at the canopy of the forest. The Karkloof Conservation Centre is home to bird hides that showcase the avian wonders of the Midlands.
The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve is ideal for those that love hiking and walking, as there are a number of trails through its expanses. There are a number of faunal species here, including leopards, baboons, and a host of antelope species. The prolific birdlife is impressive, and includes five kingfisher species and seven eagle species. Driving and walking through the reserve gives visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonders of this area, far away from the city buzz.
Picnicking at the gorgeous Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve makes for an idyllic family get-together. The topography of this reserve is something very special, and makes for incredible views and unrivalled photographs. There are a number of trails through this reserve, on which visitors are able to experience Umgeni Valley in a very intimate way.