Our perfect Sunday morning involves waking up bright and early to freshly-brewed coffee and croissants, and then going for a gentle walk to say hello to the cows and horses on the farm, before heading on a slow drive to explore the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Do you agree that Sundays should be about slowing down and delighting in life’s simple pleasures?
The things we often take for granted in the rush of weekdays – breathing in fresh air, walking through the countryside, laughing with friends and family and relaxing in the spring sunshine.
To highlight some of the wonderful things to do in the KZN Midlands, we’ve put together one of our favourite Sunday itineraries.
Start with a gentle – or brisk – morning walk
In the Midlands, we’re blessed to be surrounded by thriving and diverse ecosystems. From the indigenous mist-belt forests and rolling hills of the Karkloof and Dargle, to the Acacia savannah of the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, there are lots of habitats to explore, all teaming with life.
Here are some of our favourite spots to go walking and birdwatching near Howick:
Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve
Located just 1km from Howick off Karkloof Road, the 900 hectare Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve starts at the base of the Howick Falls and follows the course of the uMngeni River, passing through mist-belt grasslands and indigenous forests.
The reserve features panoramic views, wonderful walking trails and mountain biking routes, guided walks (including stargazing and full moon walks), adventure activities and a variety of animal and birdlife. The perfect place for nature lovers.
Open daily from 6am – 7pm in summer and 6am – 6pm in winter.
uMngeni – Howick Conservancy
The uMngeni – Howick Conservancy is wonderful place to go walking. The conservancy area stretches along the sides of the uMngeni River, beginning as the river enters Howick and ending before the Howick Falls. The conservancy is managed and maintained by a group of committed volunteers and is very popular with walkers and dogs and a great asset to the town.
Otters have been spotted, guinea fowl and Nile monitors are seen regularly and many wetland plants line the banks.
Entrance is free, but visitors can donate to the conservancy if they wish – details on the sign at the entrance.
How to get there: Entrance to the conservancy is located around uMngeni Avenue / James Road, Howick.
For the adventurous – go mountain biking around Howick
Howick is a very popular mountain biking destination. The area hosts many MTB events throughout the year and an extensive network of well-maintained trails and singletrack has been built through the forests and farm lands around Howick.
Find more information about the trails, including maps and day licences:
Howick MTB Club
Karkloof MTB Club
Take a slow drive on the Curry’s Post Road
The Curry’s Post Road is one of our favourite Midlands Meander routes.
Stop off at Groundcover Leather Company and take a look at their beautiful, handcrafted leather footwear and accessories.
How to get there: Driving along Howick’s Main Road, take the road directly opposite to the entrance of Howick’s Mediclinic.
Two lunch options:
We’ve listed two great options for Sunday lunch. Both are easily accessible via the Curry’s Post Road.
Abingdon Wine Estate
This is the perfect lunchtime destination for amazing food, exquisite wine and friendly service.
Situated at 1140m above sea level, Abingdon has 3ha under vine and produces certified single vineyard Estate wines from 100% KZN grapes.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Abingdon’s wine tasting sessions run between 10am and 4pm. Booking is not necessary for tastings, but the tasting bar can get very busy.
On weekends, the restaurant is open for lunch, and offers a range of Harvest Boards and tapas style dishes. Their food is delicious and diners can choose to eat outside overlooking the vineyard on sunny days, or inside in front of three roaring fireplaces on cold Midlands days. Booking is essential.
Find out more:
Terbodore Coffee Roasters
Terbodore Coffee is a more child-friendly lunch destination and ideal for coffee lovers.
Kids can run and jump around on the big lawns, play on the jungle gym and swings, and visit the little animal farm that is home to goats, bunnies and chickens.
Terbodore roasts their artisan coffee on site and is one of South Africa’s best coffee roasteries. If you haven’t tried their coffee then you’re in for a treat!
The peaceful location is perfect for taking time out to enjoy the great food on offer and amazing variety of coffee. Diners can sit outside or inside in the cozy converted barn.
View Terbodore’s menu here.
Booking a table on weekends is essential.
About Amber Avenue
Amber Avenue is an elegant guesthouse that offers peace and tranquility so guests can truly unwind and relax in comfort. Located 2.5km from Howick on the Karkloof Road in the KZN Midlands. Wonderful accommodation in Howick.
View our rooms here.