PINPOINT Our guide to me­an­der­ing through the KZN Mid­lands, stop­ping off for gor­geous craft and ex­cel­lent food and drinks along the way

THE ROLLING HILLS OF KWAZULU-NATAL ARE HOME TO A SCENIC ARTS AND CRAFTS ROUTE THAT’LL HAVE YOU COM­ING BACK FOR MORE

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Contents - COMPILED BY ROXANNE ROBIN­SON PHO­TO­GRAPHS SAM LINSELL, ROXANNE ROBIN­SON, SUP­PLIED

It’s all about misty mountain bends and warm hospi­tal­ity, am­bling through quaint towns on the hunt for that de­li­cious plate of but­tery ar­ti­chokes you’ve heard about, stop­ping off at ‘the place with the in­cred­i­ble view from the bath­room’, or find­ing the con­sum­mate ad­di­tion to your decor sta­ble. In short, the Mid­lands Me­an­der in KwaZu­luNatal has all the el­e­ments you need for a per­fect long week­end.

1. STEAMPUNK COF­FEE

Lo­cals love it for the steampunk in­te­rior, kind baris­tas and fresh pastéis de nata, but it’s prob­a­bly best known for its ex­cel­lent cof­fee, which is trace­able (mostly African) and roasted on site. Do your bit to save the en­vi­ron­ment by bring­ing your own mug, and re­mem­ber, cash is king here. Thokan’s Garage, Old Main Rd, Lions River. steam­punkcof­fee.co.za

2. BLUEBERRY CAFÉ & THE WINKEL

Stop for a salad, scones or a slice of blueberry cheese­cake, but don’t leave with­out tak­ing in the vis­tas from the best bath­rooms on the Me­an­der. If knit­ting is your thing, The Winkel sells 100% merino yarn from Pull the Wool – plus all-nat­u­ral beauty prod­ucts by Lulu & Marula. Nether­wood Farm, R103, Not­ting­ham Road, 033-266-7132. Blueberry Café

3. SHUTTLEWORTH WEAVING

It’s well worth tak­ing time to dis­cover this fam­ily-owned con­cern that shares a space with Café Bloom. Find your­self a mo­hair, wool or cot­ton throw or rug (ask to see the gold-threaded ones) and if you have time, ar­range a visit to their farm dur­ing the week. 1 Not­ties Ave (D111), Not­ting­ham Road, 076-709-3049, 082-540-9639. shut­tle­worth­weav­ing.com

4. ARD­MORE CERAMIC ART

World-renowned stu­dio Ard­more of­fers week­day tours where you can ob­serve its ceramic masters at work. Visit the gallery to ad­mire their vi­brant pieces, but be warned: you may feel the sud­den urge to stretch your credit card to its limit here. Caver­sham Rd, Lid­get­ton, 033-940-0034. ard­more­ce­ram­ics.co.za

5. ABINGDON WINE ES­TATE

For a Fri­day sun­downer or a week­end lunch and some wine-tast­ing with a view, head to Abingdon, the first es­tate to pro­duce cer­ti­fied sin­gle-vine­yard wines in KZN. 7 D369, Lions River, 083-463-8503. abing­don­es­tate.co.za

6. THE GOURMET GREEK

Be­fore you stock up on this lit­tle busi­ness’ hand­crafted cheese and dou­ble-thick yo­ghurt, savour a free sam­pling from its de­li­cious range – try the Brie spread. 10 D369, Lions River, 033-234-4338. the­gourmet­greek.com

7. CAVER­SHAM TEX­TILES

At one of Caver­sham’s fab­ric screen­print­ing work­shops, you can ig­nite your cre­ativ­ity and take home a tote bag in your very own print. Call ahead for open­ing times, or make an ap­point­ment to view its hand­printed fabrics and prod­ucts. C4 Caver­sham Val­ley Rd, Lid­get­ton, 083-305-2928. caver­sham­tex­tiles.com

8. THE GREENERY JUICE CAFE

Tickle your palate with an ar­ray of smooth­ies, pressed juices, bagel op­tions or a crisp salad al fresco un­der the vines. Look out for the Ard­more wall­pa­per on the walls and grab a bag of frozen bagels for later. 1 Dar­gle Rd, How­ick, 082-373-5945. the­green­eryjuice­cafe

9. SAINT VERDE BOTANICALS

You can eas­ily spend ages gaz­ing at the com­pre­hen­sive as­sort­ment of ex­otic and in­dige­nous suc­cu­lents and agaves on dis­play at the Trick­ett fam­ily’s farm and nurs­ery. 21 Emoyeni Farm, D666, off Dar­gle Im­pen­dle Rd, 082-449-1938. Saint Verde Botanicals

10. GROUNDCOVER

Groundcover will go out of its way to en­sure you’re happy with your hand­made leather footwear or be­spoke ac­ces­sories. Not ev­ery­thing is made to or­der here: there are finely crafted hik­ing boots and san­dals in a va­ri­ety of colours, and leather belts to last you a life­time. 3km off the N3 high­way, about half­way be­tween Mooi River and Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, 082-562-0874. groundcover.co.za

11. LA LAMPARA

At this fam­ily-run Ital­ian eatery, the dogs nap at your feet and the ar­ti­choke starter is so good it might bring you to tears. Go with friends so you can sam­ple an ar­ray of dishes, and be sure to end with a limon­cello. Make your lunch long and lazy, and then walk it off around the won­der­ful sur­round­ing gar­den. Farm Bosch­fontein, Lid­get­ton, 082-416-0195. La Lampara Ital­ian Restau­rant

12. THE COT­TAGE AT SAINT VERDE BOTANICALS

Look­ing to overnight in the Mid­lands? You won’t want to leave this gem in the Dar­gle Val­ley. Ex­pect all kinds of at­ten­tion to de­tail, such as care­fully cu­rated books and board games, and hand­writ­ten notes ex­plain­ing why there’s no TV. Cooler months call for a crack­ling fire and jazz on the turntable. 21 Emoyeni Farm, D666, off Dar­gle Im­pen­dle Rd, 082-449-1938. Saint Verde Botanicals

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