The Saunter, nestled between the mesmerizing East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and the charming town of Hilton, is far more than just a stretch of road. It embodies an extraordinary experience, an adventure that takes on many captivating forms, and unquestionably stands as one of the finest ways to immerse yourself in the essence of South Africa’s diversity.
To celebrate the sheer beauty and allure of this remarkable region, a gathering of nearly 200 participants has been curated to showcase their remarkable arts, crafts, activities, culinary delights, and captivating attractions along the enticing route of The Saunter. This picturesque journey commences from the coastal delights near the bustling metropolis of Durban and extends inland, leading travelers toward Hilton, a part of Howick renowned for its collection of breathtaking waterfalls. What sets this route apart is its unrivaled magnificence derived from the sheer diversity it encapsulates.
Prepare to be awestruck as the landscapes gracefully transition from sun-kissed, white sandy beaches to rugged mountain ranges, and from lush, verdant gorges to cascading waterfalls that plunge into captivating depths. Amidst this captivating beauty, visitors are presented with a unique opportunity to engage with local artists and craftsmen, each offering something new and intriguing.
The arts and crafts scene unquestionably form a vital pillar of The Saunter’s allure. As you traverse this enchanting route, you will encounter a rich tapestry of talent, including potters, sculptors, textile designers, carpenters, glass blowers, iron workers, painters, and weavers. Behold the delicate harmony of intricate detail and impeccable form that adorns their entirely distinctive creations. Moreover, seize the chance to engage in conversation with these talented artisans, discovering the wellspring of their inspiration and the profound depths of their love for the arts. Embark on studio visits to witness firsthand the magical process behind the creation of these exquisite pieces, and perhaps even acquire a cherished artwork to grace your own collection back home.
Throughout The Saunter, an array of delightful restaurants and cozy coffee shops beckon to weary travelers. From refined dining establishments to charming bistros, artisanal cafes, vibrant craft breweries, and delightful pizzerias, a multitude of options await. As you explore the myriad activities and attractions along the route, these welcoming establishments offer ample opportunities to replenish your energy, savor delectable flavors, and refuel for further adventures.
Speaking of attractions, The Saunter is a treasure trove of captivating experiences. An adventure center beckons thrill-seekers, offering a thrilling array of activities such as kayaking, cliff jumping, white-water rafting, zip-lining, wall climbing, and scenic cycling and walking trails. For those inclined towards cultural exploration, museums, nature reserves, a charming coffee farm, picturesque picnic sites, and even a serene working monastery await your discovery. And let’s not forget the golf enthusiasts – the two prestigious golf courses that grace this region are an absolute must for avid golfers and their families.
Families with children will find an abundance of delights along The Saunter. Little ones will revel in drumming lessons and the timeless tradition of archery, acquiring skills that echo the age-old customs of the land. The Winsome Animal Farm stands as an inviting sanctuary, welcoming visitors of all ages to explore its grounds and encounter a variety of animals, most of whom have been rescued. Sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, rabbits, squirrels, chickens, ducks, and pigs reside within this haven of compassion. Interacting with these delightful creatures and learning more about their lives proves to be a treat for the entire family.
Above all, The Saunter exudes an aura of serenity that permeates the very essence of this remarkable journey. The local inhabitants, known for their warm hospitality, contribute to an ambiance of genuine tranquility. Combined with the breathtaking natural scenery that envelops the route, this retreat offers a true escape from the frenetic pace of everyday life, providing a glimpse into the laid-back countryside lifestyle that characterizes this region.
Conveniently situated, Hilton serves as a gateway to other significant destinations. Just over an hour’s drive from Hilton lies Durban, home to the vibrant King Shaka International Airport. Alternatively, Johannesburg is a little over four hours away, allowing for easy access to South Africa’s bustling metropolis.
Activities and Attractions near The Saunter
As you embark on your journey through The Saunter, whether it be towards the Natal Midlands or the idyllic Midmar for a delightful picnic lunch, be sure to make a pit stop at the renowned Hilton Farmstall, a haven for gastronomic treasures.
Conveniently located at the Hilton Rotunda, the farmstall is a treasure trove of delectable delights. Step inside and discover a tantalizing array of cheese, dairy products, and savory meats, sourced locally and of the highest quality. The stall also offers a delectable selection of trout, nougat, and an intriguing variety of jams, honey, and mustard that will surely tempt your taste buds.
Immerse yourself in the bakery section, where the air is infused with the aroma of freshly baked goods. Treat yourself to a sumptuous, crusty loaf of bread that perfectly complements the flavors of the delightful jams on offer. And for a truly indulgent experience, don’t miss the opportunity to savor a scoop of their exquisite goat’s milk ice cream, a creamy and refreshing treat that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Beyond being a mere stopover to gather your picnic essentials, the Hilton Farmstall offers an experience in itself. Delve into the stories behind the locally sourced ingredients, engage with the passionate purveyors of these delectable treats, and discover the artistry and dedication that goes into creating each product.
With its charming ambiance and an abundance of tantalizing flavors, the Hilton Farmstall stands as a must-visit destination along The Saunter. Immerse yourself in a culinary adventure, stocking up on delectable provisions that will enhance your picnic experience and create lasting memories of your journey through the enchanting KwaZulu-Natal region.
So, as you meander along The Saunter, let the Hilton Farmstall be your gateway to a world of epicurean delights, allowing you to savor the flavors of the region and create a truly unforgettable culinary experience.
Natal Railway Museum
Nestled in the charming mist-kissed town of Hilton, within the picturesque province of KwaZulu-Natal, lies the enchanting Natal Railway Museum. Situated at the Hilton station, adjacent to what was once the bustling main railway line connecting Durban and Johannesburg, this museum offers a captivating glimpse into the rich heritage of rail travel in the region.
With a history spanning over 125 years, the railway line holds a storied past, sadly remaining dormant for over a decade. However, the Natal Railway Museum has ambitious plans to revive this iconic route, envisioning future trips that will transport visitors from the station through the breathtaking landscapes of the Natal Midlands, culminating at the majestic Howick Falls. This exciting prospect promises to reignite the romance and allure of train travel, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the countryside while reliving a bygone era.
Within the museum’s hallowed halls, a treasure trove of railway memorabilia and antique artifacts awaits. Delve into the displays, which showcase a captivating assortment of historic items. Admire the elegance of silverware once gracing the tables of the legendary Blue Train, a symbol of opulence and luxury. Behold the warm glow emitted by an antique steam locomotive lamp, evoking memories of a time when steam trains chugged through the landscape. And discover the intricacies of the train token system, a relic of yesteryears that played a crucial role in ensuring the safe passage of trains along the tracks.
As you explore the Natal Railway Museum, you’ll be transported back in time, gaining a deeper appreciation for the pivotal role that railways played in shaping the region’s history and development. The museum serves as a testament to the dedication and passion of railway enthusiasts who strive to preserve this vital part of KwaZulu-Natal’s cultural heritage.
A visit to the Natal Railway Museum is an absolute delight for history buffs, railway enthusiasts, and curious travelers alike. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia and charm of a bygone era, where the clickety-clack of wheels on tracks and the lure of far-off destinations sparked the imaginations of travelers.
So, step aboard this captivating journey through time at the Natal Railway Museum, where the echoes of past travels come alive, and the rich tapestry of South Africa’s railway heritage unfolds before your eyes.
Dining at The Redlands Hotel
Nestled along the scenic route of The Saunter, The Redlands Hotel beckons with its fully licensed bar and restaurant, offering a haven of culinary delights and unparalleled relaxation. Whether you seek a refreshing drink to quench your thirst or a delectable meal to satisfy your appetite, this esteemed establishment promises an unforgettable dining experience.
Step into the bar, where an impressive collection of whiskeys awaits, catering to all discerning palates. Savor the rich aromas and flavors of these carefully selected spirits, as you find the perfect libation to suit your taste.
At The Redlands Hotel, you can always count on ice-cold beers that provide the perfect refreshment. Whether you choose to unwind by the poolside during the summer months or cozy up by the fireplace in winter, this idyllic setting offers a tranquil ambiance that invites relaxation and contentment. Immerse yourself in the surroundings as you sip your favorite drink, allowing the stresses of the day to melt away.
For those seeking an exceptional dining experience, the Blue Room awaits. Discover the culinary mastery of the hotel’s talented chefs, whose reputation precedes them, garnering rave reviews from delighted patrons. The carefully crafted menu showcases an array of tantalizing dishes, complemented by an impressive selection of wines. Allow the flavors to dance on your palate as you savor each bite, relishing the artistry that goes into every creation.
Begin your day on a delightful note with a sumptuous breakfast at The Redlands Hotel. Choose from a tempting continental spread or indulge in a hearty full English breakfast, ensuring you start your day energized and ready for exploration. While the hotel’s doors are open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it is advisable to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.
As you venture along The Saunter, let The Redlands Hotel be your oasis of gastronomic pleasure and relaxation. Immerse yourself in the warm ambiance, where impeccable service and culinary excellence intertwine, leaving a lasting impression on your journey through KwaZulu-Natal.
So, whether you’re seeking a delightful meal, a refreshing drink, or a serene atmosphere to unwind, The Redlands Hotel is a destination that promises to exceed your expectations. Embark on a culinary adventure and create cherished memories within the elegant confines of this remarkable establishment.
Accommodation Options near The Saunter
The Knoll Guest House
When it comes to finding the perfect accommodation for your journey along The Saunter, look no further than The Knoll Guest House. Situated at the gateway of the enchanting Midlands Meander, near the vibrant city of Pietermaritzburg, this highly recommended property offers a haven of comfort and serenity for tourists exploring the Natal Midlands region.
Nestled on a picturesque historical farm, The Knoll Guest House and Backpackers welcome travelers with open arms. Its idyllic location atop a hill provides a cool and airy retreat during the summer months, while the misty ambiance of winter lends an air of mystery to the surroundings. Embrace the whimsical charm of Hilton, a place where hedgehogs, hobbits, and captivating myths find their home. As you gaze down into the valley and across the distant Drakensberg Mountains, you’ll feel a profound connection to the rich history and vibrant culture of the Zulu land.
The Knoll Guest House offers a range of self-catering accommodation options that cater to the diverse needs of its guests. Scattered across the property, these freestanding cottages and suites provide a peaceful and private sanctuary. Each tastefully decorated room boasts stunning views of the lush forest and majestic mountains, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. For added convenience, the guest house also offers meals on request, ensuring that your culinary desires are satisfied during your stay.
The heart of The Knoll Guest House lies within the converted barn, which once served as a milking parlour. Today, this charming space has been transformed into a bar and entertainment area, inviting guests to unwind and socialize. Enjoy a refreshing drink, engage in a game of pool or other leisurely activities, or simply curl up with a captivating book in the cozy lounge corner. During the chilly winter nights, the crackling fire inside the barn provides warmth and creates a snug atmosphere.
While at The Knoll Guest House, take time to explore the beautiful garden, where tranquility abounds. Embark on a leisurely stroll through the forest on the property, allowing the natural surroundings to rejuvenate your spirit. For those seeking more adventurous pursuits, the area offers an array of thrilling activities. Engage in exhilarating mountain biking, experience the joy of horse riding, soar through the treetops on canopy tours, indulge in fishing or golfing, or marvel at the vibrant birdlife that graces the region.
As you plan your stay along The Saunter, consider The Knoll Guest House as your haven of comfort and serenity. Experience the warm hospitality, revel in the natural splendor, and create cherished memories amidst the picturesque surroundings. The Knoll Guest House beckons you to embrace a truly unforgettable accommodation experience in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal countryside.
For tourists venturing along The Saunter and seeking exceptional accommodation in the Natal Midlands region, Hilton Castle stands as a captivating option. Nestled in the serene town of Hilton, positioned between the vibrant cities of Pietermaritzburg and Howick, this guest house with a self-catering option offers a delightful escape for discerning travelers.
Situated within close proximity to renowned attractions, Hilton Castle allows easy access to the surrounding wonders. The picturesque Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve is a mere 11 kilometers away, inviting guests to explore its pristine landscapes and immerse themselves in the beauty of the region. The Howick Museum, a treasure trove of local history, is also within reach at just 12 kilometers from the guest house. For travelers arriving by air, Pietermaritzburg Airport is conveniently located 18 kilometers away, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey to and from Hilton Castle.
Accommodation at Hilton Castle is designed to provide utmost comfort and relaxation. The guest house features three individually decorated rooms, each boasting tasteful furnishings and comfortable beds. Every room is equipped with modern amenities, including an en-suite bathroom, private access, a fan, a smart TV with Netflix for entertainment, a bar fridge, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Additionally, an apartment with a patio is available for those seeking a more spacious and private retreat.
The on-site facilities at Hilton Castle cater to the needs and desires of its guests. Enjoy a delightful braai (barbecue) or picnic in the designated area, providing the perfect setting for enjoying the region’s pleasant weather and savoring delicious meals. For added convenience, laundry service is available upon arrangement, ensuring that your garments stay fresh and clean throughout your stay. Unwind in the library, entertain your little ones in the play area, and make use of the currency exchange services, hairdresser/barber, and secure parking provided for your comfort and peace of mind.
As you venture beyond Hilton Castle, a myriad of attractions and activities awaits in the surrounding area. Immerse yourself in the joy of birdwatching, embark on invigorating hikes through the scenic landscapes, cycle along picturesque routes, and indulge in wine tasting experiences that showcase the region’s renowned vineyards. Engage in thrilling sports such as tennis, fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking, allowing your adventurous spirit to flourish amidst the stunning natural backdrop of the Natal Midlands. This captivating region, known for its fertile farmlands and charming villages, beckons with an arts and crafts route that invites exploration and appreciation of local talent.
Discover a serene country retreat within the Natal Midlands as you choose Hilton Castle for your accommodation along The Saunter. Experience the allure of its comfortable and well-appointed rooms, enjoy the convenient on-site facilities, and immerse yourself in the enchanting attractions and activities that await just beyond its doorstep. Hilton Castle invites you to savor a truly memorable stay in this captivating corner of South Africa.
Embark on an enchanting sojourn along The Saunter in KwaZulu-Natal, and allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty, diversity, and tranquility that await at every turn. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of arts and crafts, relish the flavors of local cuisines, engage in thrilling adventures, and find solace in the serene landscapes that define this extraordinary route. The Saunter beckons, ready to unveil its many faces of wonder to intrepid travelers seeking an unforgettable experience in the heart of South Africa.