Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa
The Natal Midlands
Howick, small market town close to Pietermaritzburg.
The Natal Midlands: Howick
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Pioneers found that the easiest ford of the river was just above the falls, but many wagons and people were swept over the falls in attempting the crossing. Howick arose as a small post at which a hostelry (whose owner also lost his son over the falls) and blacksmith service was provided for the pioneers.
The town was named after the Secretary for State for the Colonies, Henry Grey, who had recently acquired the title of Lord Howick after his ancestral home in Northumberland. Two other towns were also named Howick at the same time - one in Canada and one in New Zealand.
By the turn of the century, it had established itself as a small resort away from the humidity of the coast. Within the town boundaries, there are several walks such as the Umgeni River Trail, the Howick Falls/Gorge Trail to the base of the falls, the Stables Trail and the Howick Town Trail.
Other items of interest are the Howick Falls Hotel (1872) behind which are the laager walls built after the 1879 defeat at Isandlwana. Craft Southern Africa, located in the huge old agricultural hall displays surely the largest selection of ethnic souvenirs and curios in KwaZulu-Natal if not the whole country.
The dam covers 4600ha with a shoreline of over 60km and offers a variety of water-borne pursuits and chalets and caravan stands.
The resort features an historical village with restored cottages, a tugboat and a railway station. A recreational centre (with tennis, squash and bowls), conference centre and waterworld are planned.
A 1000ha game reserve adjoins the dam, stocked with rhino, wildebeest, springbok, zebra and blesbok. The carp fishing is excellent. There are three caravan parks, two campsites and 45 chalets (1/2 bedrooms). Adjacent to the chalets is a cafeteria.