Rob Caskie’s take on an affordable Midlands Meander

Posted on 19 May 2015

We interviewed Rob Caskie, storyteller extraordinaire, for our June issue. He’s lived in the Midlands for many years and knows it like the back of his hand, so we asked him for his recommendations for an affordable tour through the Midlands – if you have only a full tank of petrol and R1500 to spend. Here are his suggestions.

Also read: historic narratives in Howick with Rob Caskie


june 2015, rob caskie

Rob Caskie is a spirited man with a vast knowledge of our history. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


Mountains first

With my personal preferences, and because I like the mountains so much, I would say to folks unequivocally, that you have to drive yourself from Howick, along the R617 through Boston, Bulwer, Underberg, and on to the Sani Pass. Have a look at the mountains and those incredible bushman paintings and the area around the Sani Pass – it is simply breathtaking, the southern Drakensberg.


Bushman paintings

From there, take the back road from Himeville, through Loteni and emerge at Nottingham Road. From Nottingham road I would recommend strongly that you take the road through Rosetta, through Kamberg, to Giants Castle. Walk up to the caves that have a thousand year old Bushmen painting in them. It really does help to have a guide who will explain all the paintings, because the rock art and the San art in southern Drakensburg is truly astounding.


Visit the cranes

And then if you’re really keen on birds, which I happen to be, you can go from the Castle’s car park back to the KZN Crane Foundation, where they breed and raise wattled, crowned and blue cranes. Our national bird is a blue crane; the most threatened crane in South African is the wattled crane.


Grab a meaty meal

Because I love this area so much, from Giants Castle I would head back down to Rosetta, to Nottingham road and come across the highway at Linga Lapa, on the edge of the highway at Mount West you can have the most incredible meal in terms of meat. All sorts of meat you can have there.


Rest your feet

And the you bubble back down on the way back to Howick and sleep at Granny Mouse, or stay at an old hotel that just been redone and run and owned now by Protea, called The Hilton Hotel in Hilton, which is an old Natal landmark. It was a staging post in days gone by; people used to rest there on their way out of Pietermaritzburg with their wagons and their horses coming up the hill. That would be a considerably cheaper place to stay, right on the highway. Another place that is very nice and affordable is a place called Cranford Country House, a beautiful place, lots of colonial buildings, log fires… a great place to stay in the Midlands.

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