Sage advice on restoring vigour and vitality has throughout the
ages extolled the benefits of spending time near waterfalls -
the surrounding atmosphere infused with nature's curative powers
unleashed by the cascading of water into water. Small wonder then,
that this elevated and magnificent area where our Zulu Kingdom's
mighty Mgeni River and its tributaries tumble from the edge of
the Midlands Plateau has for centuries attracted with its life-enhancing
magic. Powering their way from the majestic Drakensberg range
to the Indian Ocean, these cool and clear waters have plunged
from precipice to pool since time immemorial, carving wondrous
natural landscapes in the process.
Most dramatic of these is undoubtedly Howick Falls, approximately
100 metres of spectacular display almost in the centre of the
picturesque town itself. Known to the Zulu people as KwaNogqaza
- Place of the Tall One - the falls were first seen by European
adventurers in the early 19th Century, as transport riders and
wagon trains pioneered routes inland from the coast. English missionary
James Archbell was granted a farm here, but the rapid increase
in horse-drawn traffic soon compelled the government of the day
to expropriate a portion for the establishment of a village. This
settlement was duly named Howick, in tribute to the Northumberland
home of then British Colonial Secretary, Earl Grey.
Farming remains the defining nature of our pastoral and pristine
ambience, as evinced by the long established presence here of
a highly esteemed seat of agricultural learning. And perched some
1000- metres above sea-level humidity, our 'Waterfall Country'
is filled with opportunities to engage in activities synonymous
with genteel, bucolic living - fishing expeditions par none on
our bountiful waters, bird-watching and game-viewing amid a nature
lover's dream, the equestrian pursuits and golfing challenges
introduced by our Colonial forefathers, plus a modern addition
to the world of keep-fit regimes - mountain biking.
No real surprise that our 'old visitors' are returning in ever
increasing numbers to enjoy their golden years in this favourite,
invigorating environment! While up-market, well-appointed and
secure retirement complexes are becoming the new landmarks, gracious
smallholdings beckon the actively- or semi-retired with the promise
of 'gentleman farming'. These factors, in addition to our district's
many outdoor activities, present the entrepreneur with tempting
small- business ventures.
Reflecting on history again, Howick's get- away appeal had by
1851 seen the village evolve into a 'favourite resort of pleasure-
seekers...who fill the pockets of a former ship's purser, now
keeping a small house of entertainment on the river bank'. While
that pioneering haunt may well belong to the past, Howick is today
fairly abuzz with a noteworthy array of quaint and inviting taverns,
cafes and restaurants to suit the mood of any discerning palate.
Introduction to the wonders of Zulu and other traditional cultures
is yet another hallmark, along with their authentic and expertly
fashioned curios. This wealth of genuine Africana, plus European-inspired
handicrafts, fascinating fusions of the two and a treasure trove
of antiques, bric-a-brac and bygones contributes an irresistible,
magnetic charm to our easily negotiable Town Trail.Accommodation
to suit every pocket and predilection makes our hospitality the
ideal base for exploring further afield. These 'meanders' traverse
undulating countryside dotted with yet more arts 'n' crafts, nature
reserves and trails, outdoor sporting and recreation venues, historic
sites, quaint restaurants, inns and B&B establishments plus,
of course, more waterfalls!
We look forward to sharing with you our idyllic, healthy lifestyle
amid all the splendours of nature - you'll soon be harbouring
nostalgic thoughts of a swift return!