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Things to do

We’ve written this guide to give you an idea of things to do and places to see around Howick and the Midlands Meander. We’ve included details of Howick and the KZN Midlands’ best shops, cafes and restaurants, tourist attractions, wedding venues and outdoor activities. Read on to find out more.

About Howick

Howick is a small village in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa. It is on the doorstep of the Midlands Meander Arts & Crafts route and offers an array of shops, local boutiques, restaurants, cafes, stunning wedding venues, tourist attractions and outdoor activities for visitors of all ages. Howick is also a popular retirement destination, home to numerous retirement lifestyle villages, including Amberfield, Amberglen, Amber Valley, Amber Lee and Amber Ridge.

Yard 41 shopping centre in Howick. Image source: Yard 41


In the town of Howick, there are five main shopping centres: St John’s Village, Yard 41, The Falls Centre, Greendale and Fairways on MainSt John’s Village and Fairways on Main both have Pick n Pay supermarkets, plus a number of other local and national retailers. Greendale is home to a SuperSpar, while The Falls has Howick’s only Woolworths Food store.

Yard 41 (pictured above) is a beautiful new shopping centre overlooking the Umgeni Valley Nature ReserveShops and restaurants here include Blackwoods Home of Gardening, The Ruby Orchard, PYGA Mountain Bikes, Craik Speirs Hair Salon, The Treatery and The Farmer’s Daughter.

Piggly Wiggly country shopping centre is a 10 minute drive from Howick on the R103 heading through the Midlands Meander towards Nottingham Road.

Then there’s all the amazing local shops, delis and boutiques along the Midlands Meander, including The Gourmet Greek, Tsonga, The Ugly Duckling, Groundcover, and Homewood, to name a few. Visit the Midlands Meander website here to find out more.

Amber Avenue Guesthouse is around the corner from the Karkloof Farmer’s Market, which is a wonderful market that takes place every Saturday morning just outside of Howick on the Karkloof Road. Market products include locally-grown fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk and meat; deli staples like artisan cheese, pickles and preserves; and delicious bakery items like breads, cakes, bagels, croissants and Danishes. There’s also lots of hot-cooked food on sale, coffee, books, gifts and a plant nursery.

Blueberry Cafe (shown above) near Nottingham Road in the KZN Midlands serves great coffee and delicious blueberry pancakes. Plus they’ve got the best bathroom views we’ve ever experienced!

Cafes and restaurants in and near Howick

Foodies are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in Howick and the Midlands Meander. The town is home to some great cafes and restaurants including La Petite France (right next door to Amber Avenue), Yellowwood Café with its amazing views of the Howick Falls, The Orchard House at St John’s Village, The Farmer’s Daughter and The Treatery.

Further out in the Midlands Meander, some wonderful places to eat include Tumble Downs and Terbodore Coffee on the Curry’s Post Road; Abingdon Wine Estate and Il Postino Pizzeria near Lion’s River; Caversham Mill Restaurant in Balgowan; plus Blueberry Café, Café Bloom, Relish Café, Flamme Rouge, Barbz Café and the Country Market in Nottingham Road.

Tourist attractions

Howick and the Midlands Meander have lots to offer visitors. The Nelson Mandela Capture Site is just a few kilometres from Howick. The site consists of an impressive sculpture, created by artists Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose, commemorating Mandela’s capture in 1962. There is also a museum and café on site.

Other tourist attractions worth a visit include the majestic Howick Falls, Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve and the Karkloof Falls.

Outdoor Activities

The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is famous for providing a wide range of activities for adventure seekers and sports enthusiasts. In the Karkloof Valley alone there are many well-marked and maintained MTB, hiking and trail running routes that run through the forests, hills and valleys. Find more information about these trails here. Find local MTB or trail running events at Roag here.

Every Saturday morning, Piggly Wiggly hosts a free 5km Parkrun, which starts at 8am from the centre. Brahman Hills in Nottingham Road also hosts a Parkrun trail run every Saturday starting at 7.30am.

Karkloof Canopy Tours is just down the road from Amber Avenue Guesthouse. The zip line tour takes visitors on an adventure through the indigenous forests of the Karkloof Valley. It’s breath taking!

Wedding venues in the KZN Midlands

There are some stunning wedding venues in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands accommodating both intimate and grand weddings, plus everything in between. Here is a list (with links) of our favourite midlands wedding venues near Howick: Netherwood, Crystal Barn, Haycroft Farm, Orchards, Cranford Country Lodge and Old Halliwell Country Inn.

Amber Avenue Guesthouse is in close proximity to all that the KZN Midlands has to offer. Our bed and breakfast near Howick provides the perfect base from which to explore the Midlands Meander. It is ideal wedding accommodation as the whole house can be booked out by guests.

Book directly with us to receive a 10% discount on all advertised rates. 

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