KwaZulu-Natal’s “Lit­tle Ger­many” – New Hanover, Wartburg and Harburg – wel­comes you


The next time you leave Gaut­eng or Mpumalanga for KwaZulu-Natal but you re­ally aren’t look­ing for­ward to brav­ing the crazy traf­fic on the N3, try the slightly qui­eter route via Standerton, Volk­srust and New­cas­tle in­stead. From here, con­tinue on the N11 for a short while, then turn left onto the R68 to Dundee. Here, head south on the R33 in the di­rec­tion of the slightly ne­glected and taxi-over­rid­den Grey­town, and then, 74km fur­ther, Pi­eter­mar­itzburg lies wait­ing.

The coun­try­side around you changes grad­u­ally and the road twists and turns through a fairy-tale land­scape, al­most form­ing a tun­nel through the sug­ar­cane fields or pine, blue-gum or wat­tle plan­ta­tions that cover the rolling hills. Yes, you’ll prob­a­bly drive a bit more slowly, be­cause in­stead of in­con­sid­er­ate truck driv­ers, on this road you will find an­cient bakkies that just prt-prt-prt along to some or other lit­tle exit road. But that doesn’t mat­ter, be­cause your heart is beat­ing more slowly and the world is beau­ti­ful.

Then, 37km af­ter Grey­town and 37km be­fore you’d get to KZN’s cap­i­tal city – ex­actly on the half­way mark along the road so fa­mil­iar to many a sales rep – you’ll come across New Hanover, also known as Nieu-Hanover in Afrikaans or Neu Hanover in Ger­man.

The Ger­man in­flu­ence in this area strong but you won’t hear Ger­man spo­ken around you, nor is English spo­ken with a Ger­man ac­cent. For al­though the Ger­man roots run deeper than those of any of the blue-gum trees you see around you, and they reach fur­ther than the sugar-cane fields that melt into the blue sky on the hori­zon, up to ham­lets such as Wartburg, Harburg, Schroed­ers, Kirch­dorf, Lilien­thal and Her­manns­burg, the ma­jor­ity of the Ger­mans in these parts have been an­gli­cised.

NEW HANOVER Place of the meat eaters

You could eas­ily make a dash along the lit­ter-strewn main road, pass­ing the im­pos­ing mu­nic­i­pal build­ing and the even more gran­diose Home Af­fairs build­ing, to fin­ish the re­main­ing 37km to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, but it’s worth your trou­ble to turn right at the To­tal garage in­stead.

This is where you can par­take in the usual leg-stretch­ing ac­tiv­i­ties: go to

In sugar-cane coun­try a stretch of grass­land is hard to find. To reach this rare beauty, turn off the R33 onto the York road, then take the gravel road to­wards the plan­ta­tions. It’s com­mon­age that of­fers views of New Hanover (to the right of the di­a­mond-shaped plan­ta­tion) and Wartburg (on the hori­zon, fur­ther on).

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