The Naked Barista… 24 August 2015
The Midlands Meander
Some two decades ago this original arts and crafts route in South Africa began as the project of Ian Glenny, a famous potter. The address simply stated, ‘first farm on the right, Dargle’.
This route winds through picturesque stretches of farmland dotted with quaint villages and some famous schools and stud farms.
Explore studios, as anything delectable for the senses and crafts can be found here including weavers, potters, woodcrafts and leatherworks. Sample homemade cheeses, herb teas and other fresh produce.
We only did a day trip to lunch with friends, Christo and Megan…
They came from Durban and we came from the opposite direction – Penny Farthing lodge, where we are staying for my husband’s working site at Mazebeko. It was around two hours for both them and us to arrive for lunch at The Bierfassle, an Austrian Pub.
The Bierfassle is situated in a country village in the hub of the Midlands, which is known as Nottingham Road. The feel and vibe reminded me of the time that we were visiting our friends, Reinhardt and Nadine, in London in the year 2009, and there we also did a roadtrip to the countryside.
We only visited Nottingham Road as our time was limited, but it is afterall the tourist hub of the Midlands. After lunch we went for a drink at The Nottingham Road Hotel. Seated on the verandah outside, we were superblessed with waterside views and magnificently beautiful nature.
Nottingham Road is a country village against the backdrop of the distant Drakensberg mountain range. Surrounded by open farmlands and dams and beautiful forests. The village consists of old-world country hotels, family taverns and inviting bistros. Weekends it fills up with visitors as it is only an hour and a quarter drive from Durban.
Some 13 kilometres from Nottingham Road, is the site of a fort built by the 45th Sherwood Foresters, ‘Fort Nottingham’. These men were stationed here in 1856 to protect settlers from cattle raids by the Bushmen known as the ‘San’. Here is situated the smallest town hall in the country. Inside the old fort is a museum. Also held in this area is the annual Fort Nottingham Highland and Traditional Games which include, traditional music, highland dancing and games, food stalls and other exhibitions.
It is interesting how Nottingham Road came about as a village grew at the site of the railway station in the 1880’s following the construction of the railway line between Durban and Johannesburg.
We will definitely put The Midlands Meander on our wishlist for a proper visit.
If you are blessed to find yourself here, accommodation ranges from guest farms to superior hotels, lodges and health hydro’s. Cosy country restaurants and pubs as well as hotels and bistro’s caters for any palette. An award winning wine estate opens by appointment for tastings as well as meals and there are two breweries to boot.
Beautiful indigenous forests offers cycling, walking and horse trails past tall trees, grasslands, rippling streams and rugged waterfalls.
Definitely a must for a memorable meander with it’s old world charm and intriguing history…
Superblessed to have been here with beautiful friends…
Gratitude and much love.