Howick is perhaps most famous for the 95-metre-high Howick Falls, around which many of the town’s tourist activities have developed.
A ford that allowed ox-wagons to cross the Umgeni River at this point was the landmark that led to the town’s establishment in the 1850s. A timber bridge replaced the ford after a few unfortunate souls were swept over the falls. This bridge was also carried away by floodwaters and the current bridge was erected at the beginning of the 1900s.
The town owes its continued existence to the extensive timber plantations and beef and dairy farms in the surrounding countryside. It also helps that Howick is surrounded by picturesque landscapes and a plethora of activities to keep residents and visitors busy.
The plantations are popular destinations for mountain bikers, and the rivers are usually clean and fresh. The two large dams in the district, Midmar and Albert Falls, are a hive of water sport activity over weekends. They are both surrounded by nature reserves. For more of an adrenalin rush, abseil down the Howick Falls with a friend, or fly through the indigenous forest on the Karkloof Canopy Tour. Also remember that the Midlands Meander begins in this neck of the woods.
Greater Howick has some very rewarding stops, including excellent eateries heading out of town towards Curry’s Post and the Dargle.
Look out for
To get the best view of Howick Falls - and enjoy a bit of exercise to boot - hike down into the gorge. The hike takes you through indigenous bush with spectacular views down the river’s course.
Swim in the clear river above the Karkloof Falls. These falls are even higher than the more famous ones down the road and are set in beautiful forests.
A craft market has sprung up in the car park near the falls, where there often are nice pieces of art on sale at reasonable prices. Just up the road are the formal shops, also well worth browsing through.
Watch beautifully quilted bedspreads and toys being made at the Zulu Quilt Centre, a community project that exports its products worldwide. These are also available for sale at the centre.
The Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve offers walks along the river, game viewing and birdwatching. The river also contains a healthy yellowfish population and fly-fishing can be very productive.
Another handicraft success story is The Woodturner on the Dargle Road. Lucky visitors may catch Andrew Early in action creating his wooden art, which is on sale.
Howick’s mountain biking enthusiasts are spoilt with some great trails, and the local club regularly organises social rides.