Chasing Views

For those who are from here, and those who are not, you might wonder where you can go to gaze at the lush countryside beauty or faraway mountainscapes whether you’re wanting to have a delicious lunch, go on a peaceful walk, or experience something more extended like a weekend away.


Sometimes amazing views can sneak up on you and leave you totally gobsmacked as you come face-to-face with them, and sometimes you can go looking for them. Just driving to and fro through towns like Howick, Hilton and Nottingham Road will offer a ‘scenic route’.


Let’s start with Hilton, which is nestled between Pietermaritzburg and Howick. Although it’s small, it’s perfectly positioned to show off views of the Drakensberg and the encapsulating countryside. This is perfectly captured when you visit Garlingtons Bistro, a relaxed yet upbeat spot located within Garlington Estate, which faces the natural reserve where guests can sometimes spot Nguni cattle and buck. In the distance is the verdant greenery of Mount Verde’s farmlands leading your eye all the way to the outlying hillsides. From the bistro, the crop you will see closest to you are blueberry fields and, interestingly, sometimes guests confuse it with a body of water! If you want to have a cup of coffee, an after-work cocktail, or a bite to eat, the restaurant serves everything from starters and snacks to sandwiches, pizzas and delicious cakes and treats for that sweet tooth. Of course, the best place to sit is outside on the patio to soak up the view.



If you would like something a bit more inland, hop on over to Howick and drive only a few kilometres to get to Karkloof, where you will be met with a sea of green from all the trees expanding far into the horizon. This is where you can visit The Old Mushroom Farm, which is on 11 Karkloof Road and overlooks Albert Falls and the sloping hillsides. It is truly a place where the outdoors and indoors co-exist in a tranquil space.



You can stop for a quick cup of coffee at Home Slice Cafe or a pizza at The Spot Bistro. You can also have a workout with a view at their gym, Activ8 Performance, but if you prefer running or walking, there is also a trail. Apart from food and fitness, you can hire an event space, join in on one of the many fun activities that are always up and coming, or stay the night at their self-catering accommodation.


If you are looking to stay a night or two, Notts Cottage has a view of the Berg on their doorstep while still feeling close to civilisation. It is a ‘cottage living’ getaway, located in Nottingham Road along the Lower Lotheni Road. It offers a self-catering cottage filled with all the comforts you will need, from two en suite bedrooms (single and king-size beds are available), a fully-equipped kitchen, and a lounge with a TV and DVD player to underfloor heating that makes it ideal for a trip during winter. Regardless of whether it’s winter or summer, you will still have beautiful views of the unfolding farmlands and Giant’s Castle.


If you want even more of the Drakensberg, you don’t have to travel too far. Netherwood Farm is where you can find Blueberry Café, Fork ‘n Cleaver restaurant, and Happy Days Brewery. You can have your pick of food and drink with a panoramic view of the Drakensberg Mountain Range, which includes Kamberg peak, Giant’s Castle peak and of course the beautiful Midlands countryside. In Summer, the sun sets behind Giant’s Castle and in winter, it sets behind the Kamberg peak. To top it off, you won’t only have the view from the bar or restaurant, but even from the loo! Here the view chases you!


If you want to travel just a little bit further out of Nottingham Road, the Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse is located on the Highmoor Road in the Kamberg Valley and is adjacent to the Highmoor Nature Reserve. It has everything from executive cottages and suites to the self-catering The Homestead, a spa, gourmet food and activities like mountain hikes and walks, horse riding and trout fishing, as well as a helicopter that can fly you over The Little Berg. It is an overall immersion in “country luxury” with views from below and above!


Okay, so let’s cut to the chase. While we have only dipped our toes into the world of the KwaZulu-Natal countryside panoramas, it goes without saying that there are so many more wonderful places to visit offering their own unique vantage points, so don’t be afraid to explore and be enveloped by the views just waiting to be discovered all around you.


Words by: Alicia du Plessis