Known for its array of arts, crafts and cuisine, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is an ideal conference destination thanks to its stunning sites and scenery.
Here are some of its best conference add-on activities with a historic twist:
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Possibly one of the most prominent historic sites in South Africa, the place where former President Nelson Mandela’s run from the law came to an end was, until recently, just a small bricked area with a plaque. In 2012, 50 years after his arrest, an impressive steel sculpture and visitor centre were unveiled to give full recognition to the significance of this spot.
Kamberg Rock Art Centre
Situated in the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, this centre helps visitors to understand and interpret the 40 000 San Bushman rock art images that can be found in the area.
In the quaint town of Howick, you will find the spectacular Howick Falls, which attracts tourists from all over the world. Myth has it that a snake-horse creature lives in the pool at the bottom of the falls, and the pool itself is also believed to have magical powers. An hour-long walk takes visitors to the base of the falls, where the validity of this legend can be put to the test.
KwaZulu-Natal boasts some of the country’s most historic battlefields, old fortifications and places of remembrance. While not all of these sites are in the Midlands, it is worthwhile looking at the province’s Battlefields Route when visiting the region. It is advisable not to visit the Battlefields in a haphazard manner but rather choose an era, war or campaign and then select the sites to visit. Guides are available and are highly recommended as their knowledge of the historic events enthral all history lovers. Battle sites include those involving the Zulus, the Voortrekkers, the Boers and the British forces.
This beautiful Victorian house and its adjacent museums are worth visiting. They are made up of a dairy and kitchen museum in the original butter factory, the sewing machine museum in the old cheese factory and then the beautiful Baynes house itself. There is a five-hectare historic garden to explore, as well as a hiking trail.
Nottingham Road Hotel
Popularly known as Notties, this is one of several hotels in the region that history lovers will enjoy. The hotel itself is as much a part of the little village as is its resident ghost, Charlotte. Legend has it that Charlotte was a prostitute who died at the hotel. There is no record of her death, as it is not known whether she was murdered or committed suicide because of her unrequited love for a British soldier.
There are also several other tales around her death. Visit the hotel and you are sure to be told how she moves the mirrors around or rearranges the flowers. This is undoubtedly the ‘go-to’ hotel for a Midlands historic tour.
Source: Liesl Venter. Image: Pixabay