Meandering from Howick to Nottingham Road
We started our weekend in Howick, then meandered through autumn trees. There were interesting stops & chance encounters with the friendly locals. These were standout stops for us:
The Everything Store
You can find almost anything you might need on a road trip, camping adventure or braai, here, but the real highlight is the enamelware. There are beautiful plates, kettles and serving dishes or tea sets in unusual colours. And it’s very affordable. When you pack for your trip, leave space to trek back with some of this enamelware.
This little trinket shop captures the spirit of KZN’s creativity. With interesting jewellery from India and Indonesia and wraparound skirts in magnificent fabrics, it’s worth a browse even if you don’t buy. Paul Goodwin (aka Pobsie ) runs the place and is great to chat to about the area or to help identify the stones on the rings you pick. Next door is Earth Treasures, owned by Heather Poulsen. It’s filled with cabinets of crystals, precious stones and minerals (from sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar) that claim to cure all kinds of ailments (calmness, heart disease, intuition) and are beautiful just to look at. Look out for the metallic bismuth crystals that look like the little castles from fantasy novels.
Brimming with alternative influence and refreshing ideas, and with the best coffee in a 10km radius, it’s the locals’ favourite. ‘We start our day here because the coffee is just the best around,’ young Patrick Ndlovu tells us as he grabs his. He is a designer at Tsonga Leather Shoes And Bags, founded in the area. Michael Goddard, the owner of Steampunk, is an off-thewall creative who also hosts regular poetry nights there. An anthology of the works of local poets who have read there is also on sale. And if you need a treat, pick up a Muggle ball (highly addictive) or a rusk baked by the local ‘Biscotti elf’. The magic is all around you in this valley.
This place has layers; the kind you’ll always return to because once you’ve been there, it’s impossible not to connect to it.
Nelson Mandela capture site
As you walk towards the path leading up to the sculpture, you aren’t really expecting much from the erected steel columns – until you get there and Mandela’s iconic face appears as the pillars line up. Artist Marco Cianfanelli masterfully manages to get you to stop in your tracks and engage.
Il Postino Restaurant and Art Lounge
The name, Italian for ‘the postman’ explains the retro postbox on the wall. A favourite spot for delicious pizza, they also recently launched an adjacent gallery space where local artists can collaborate to exhibit. ‘It’s been a long-term dream and it’s really great to have local artists get involved and for me to have this space as a workshop,’ says renowned bronze sculptor Michael Mawdsley. He’s most famous for larger works but I loved the smaller detailed birds he was working on when we popped in.
THIS PIC: When you stand in this spot at the Nelson Mandela capture site, the steel columns become one. BELOW: A bold, blue postbox wall at Il Postino Art Lounge.
THIS PIC: Regulars at off-the-wall Steampunk Coffee. BELOW: Firoza Moola, co-owner of The Everything Store, showing off the impressive enamelware selection.
THIS PIC: Fun-loving Paul (aka Pobsie) on the lawns at Spiral Blue.