Europeans adventurers first laid eyes on the spectacular Howick Falls in the early nineteenth century when transport riders and wagon trains forged routes inland from the coast. James Archbell, When horse-drawn traffic past the area increased rapidly, he donated a portion of his land to establish a much-needed village. The hamlet was named Howick, from the Northumberland home of the British Colonial Secretary, Earl Grey. Howick is included in the Midlands Meander and is home to several artists whose products range from honey treats to kites and leather shoes.
Adventure And Sport
Abseiling: Abseilers are allowed to use the top of Howick Falls as their starting point, follow the course of the gorge and land in the pool. Prior arrangements need to be made to make this adventure possible.
Fly-fishing: The streams and dams near town are brimming with trout, attracting enthusiasts from far and wide.
Hiking trails: Choose one of the many scenic hiking routes in the area, such as the Umgeni River, Howick Falls, Howick River, Beacon Hill, Stables and Howick Town Trails. The latter will teach you more about the town’s history.
Art And Crafts
Midlands Meander: Howick is included in the Midlands Meander and is a Mecca for those who love to shop for unique mementoes in unexpected places. The best advice for any visitor is to obtain a Midlands Meander brochure with detailed map as soon as possible and start exploring. The routes are extremely well organised and are well signposted. Shops in and around Howick include Peel’s Honey Shop, Kleinberg Wines that also sells delicious apple sours, as well as Buchanan Interiors.
Zulu-Mpophomeni Experience: Sample some local cuisine and wash it down with home-brewed sorghum beer. Zulu singers and dancers entertain visitors while they eat.
Entertainment And Shopping
Midmar Dam Public Resort: The Natal Parks Board’s Midmar Dam Resort offers family-orientated activities such as train rides, picnicking, beautiful drives and old steam locomotives. The world’s largest inland swimming race, the Midmar Mile, is held in the dam each February. Be sure to visit the Midmar Open-Air museum.
History And Architecture
Cedara Agricultural College: Established in 1905 to provide agricultural training and scientific information to the farming pioneers of Natal, it is reportedly the second oldest agricultural institution in South Africa.
Howick Local History Museum: The Howick Museum covers the history of the area and has displays on concentration camps, informal settlements and the SARMCOL strike.
Laager Wall: The Laager Wall was built in 1879 as protection against a possible Zulu attack.
Military Cemetery: Both British and Boer soldiers lie buried in the Military Cemetery. During the Anglo-Boer War, there was a concentration camp and a military hospital in the area.
War Memorial: The War Memorial in Morling Street commemorates the soldiers who were killed during both World Wars.
Fauna And Flora
Midmar Nature Reserve: Midmar Reserve allows game-viewing from land and water and offers enjoyable expeditions, such as sunrise cruises. The reserve also offers comfortable accommodation and several sporting facilities.
Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve: This reserve looks out upon the river and has six walking trails that traverse varied terrain. Some 260 bird species and animals such as giraffe, zebra and antelope can be seen in the reserve. The Umgeni Valley Reserve has self-catering accommodation and conference facilities, as well as braai and picnic spots. It also hosts an important environmental educational centre.
Howick Waterfall: The waterfall is bounded on one side by the town, the other side of the ravine remaining relatively untouched. Situated nearly in the middle of town, the water cascades down the ravine for an impressive 95 m. It is a most spectacular waterfall and deserves its status as a national monument. The Zulu nation knows it as KwaNogqaza, “Place of the Tall One”. Legend has it that a monster resides in the pool at its base. Local crafters sell their wares at stalls near the area and visitors can also choose to take the hiking route that follows the ravine and starts near the falls. Quaint little shops also line the street to the falls, so be warned that you will probably want to spend a few hours here.