The name of the town means ‘beautiful river’ and it aptly describes the town’s charming surroundings. The town developed on the farm Mooirivier, which belonged to JN Boshoff, who was later to become President of the Orange Free State. This town is conveniently located on the principal road and rail routes between Johannesburg and Durban. It is also the centre of the Midlands Meander that leads visitors to all the shops, restaurants, guest houses and artists and crafters in the area. The Meander has made Mooi River a popular tourist destination in its own right. Mooi River is also comfortably close to such lovely places as Giants Castle Game Reserve.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Kamberg Rock Art Centre: The Rock Art Centre is in the Kamberg Nature Reserve, part of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Take the walking trail through the park to arrive at the centre in time for the informative talks held at 8:30, 11:00 and 13:00 daily. The centre was built in the cave where the well-preserved San rock art was found. There are several informative displays and the guides are knowledgeable and friendly.
Art And Crafts
Midlands Meander: The four routes of the Meander thoroughly explore the Mooi River area and any shop or accommodation establishment will be able to furnish you with a detailed brochure and map of the area and its attractions. Sites to be visited include Sharrow Weavers, which sell beautiful articles woven by local Zulu women. There are several establishments in the area that sell carpets and clothing made by weavers, but that is not all. Several restaurants, wine shops, curio shops, art and craft shops are included on the routes and even if you only visit a few of these, you will still need a few days to truly discover the region.
Fauna And Flora
Nature Reserves: The unspoilt Kamberg Nature Reserve and Mkhomazi Wilderness Area lie at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains and provide a haven for many species of animals amid the splendour of the mountains. The Craigie Burn Nature Reserve lies on the Craigie Burn Dam and has several attractive camping sites and picnic spots.
History And Architecture
Rhode House Museum: Learn more about the town activities such as dairy farming and polo at Rhode House Museum.
Station Master’s Arms: Enjoy lunch at the Station Master’s Arms, a trackside pub at Mooi River Station, which harks back to about a hundred years ago.
St John’s Church: St John’s Church in Weston Road was built in 1872.
Weston Agricultural College Museum: Weston Agricultural College Museum houses a collection of photographs that document the combined history of the school and the town.
Racehorse Studs and Training Establishments: There are many prestigious racehorse studs and training facilities in the area. Visitors can get a glimpse into the workings of this exciting world through prior arrangement.
Mooi River Falls: The Mooi River Falls tumble 80 m down into a rocky gorge. Visits are by arrangement only, as the falls are on private property.