Situated in the foothills of the Drakensberg, Nottingham Road is the hub of the Midlands Meander. This is an arts and crafts route that ties the area together, which has developed into a substantial tourism drawcard. But the town, established in 1905 and named after a British regiment stationed here, actually owes its existence to the extensive dairy and beef agriculture in the area.
Nottingham Road is a popular and rewarding destination in its own right, with plentiful hotels, restaurants, pubs and spas scattered throughout the district. It is also the doorway to the resorts of the central Drakensberg. Heading west out of town takes one towards the Kamberg, Highmoor, Giant’s Castle and Loteni Nature Reserves.
This is also prime trout country; the Mooi River that flows past the town offers some of the best fly-fishing in the country. Dozens of dams in the area are also stocked with trout, and many are available to be fished by the public.
No matter what one’s incentive is for a visit to Nottingham Road, one needs time to explore the Meander. Whether interested in art or appreciative of handiwork or fine food, there is enough to keep meanderers busy for days.
Look out for
Rawdon’s Hotel is an icon of the Midlands, and no visit to the area would be complete without popping in here. You can enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or a visit to the extremely popular Nottingham Road Brewery, situated on the premises.
Those whose favourite tipple is wine should head out of town to the Stables Wine Estate, the first to produce wine in KwaZulu-Natal.
Trout fishing is another favourite pastime in the Nottingham Road area. Pop into the Wildfly shop to stock up on flies or tackle. Here you’ll also be able to pick a knowledgeable fishing brain, or book one of the local fishing boats.
To gain a different perspective on the landscape, organise a hot air balloon trip and float gently over the hills and dales of the Midlands.
The Midlands Meander began for arts and crafts that were made in the area. One of the original members was Shuttleworth Weaving. It’s still flourishing and is one of the more interesting stops on the route. Here you can watch wool and mohair being spun and woven.
Swissland Cheese offers homemade cheeses that are made on the property from goat’s milk produced on the farm. A variety of styles and flavours are available.
The Groundcover Leather Company is another old favourite, producing all sorts of leather crafts and shoes.
Ardmore, a studio run by internationally famous ceramicists is worth a visit. You’ll be able to see the artists at work and buy some Ardmore originals.