“Self Care” is one of the January buzz-words, encouraging busy people to find mindful balance – working hard but remembering to relax and be gentle too, to minimise stress and avoid burn out.
We have some suggestions for relaxing weekends to recharge, regroup and refocus; down time spent with loved ones, or on your own, enjoying the simpler things.
Coffee and Chill
What could be more of a quintessential relaxing weekend, then enjoying a good coffee with the weekend papers; or a good book, amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in the province?
1000 Hills boasts some quaint coffee shops – many outdoors and with a spectacular view; and many set in garden or nursery settings. Among them are Mushroom Farm, Kloof and Highway SPCA, Hillcrest Aids Centre, PheZulu, 1000 Hills Village, Stone House, Talloula, Fig Tree Farm and Sunset Valley.
And of course there is Shongweni Market which, every Saturday, offers a myriad light meal and refreshment options – to a live music soundtrack – overlooking the magnificent Kirk / Wekeweke Falls.
The 1000 Hills has many walking and hiking options – either more formally through one of the nature reserves or trails. One can choose from Honey Trails which offers hiking, running and cycling opportunities to experience the incredible natural beauty of ‘Honey Hill’; Springside Nature Reserve in Hillcrest boasts 21ha of forest, grassland and wetland, or Krantzkloof Nature Reserve which conserves 668ha of the Molweni and Nkutu River gorges.
Lower Molweni in 1000 Hills is a hikers’, birders’ and nature lovers’ paradise. Durban Green Corridors and their stakeholder partners have created a network of community-developed nature trails through the cliffs and forests of the area. Among them is the Mqeku Picnic Site is 20 minutes from Hillcrest in the heart of the Valley of 1000 Hills which offers fabulous bird life, river tubing; sliding on a natural rock slide, 4×4 trails; nature hikes and pretty picnic and braai sites.
A range of outdoor family-friendly, Covid compliant activities can be found at the NU driving range complex. Open to golfing enthusiasts of all levels, as the outdoor complex boasts a 300m long driving range, a PB golf shop, putt-putt and adventure golf. They are geared for experienced serious golfers as well as for the recreational golfer, and for families.
Of special interest is an all weather simulated games and sports arena, which caters for all skills levels, ages and interests with various sporting code options. There is also a race simulator and virtual shooting range.
Msinsi Inanda Dam and Resort is 24 km from Hillcrest. One can day trip or stay overnight.. The dam provides a range of water sport activities on the 1, 469 hectares of water surface ranging from boating, canoeing, jet skiing, yachting and fishing. There are four slipways from which boat users could launch their craft onto the dam.
Inanda Dam is typically the second overnight stop for the Duzi canoe marathon; it has been a venue for various musical events and the annual Inanda Dam Bass Classic.
The Umgeni Steam Railway runs trains over the month-end weekends and special days The next ones are on 29 and 30 January 8.30 and 12.30 (steam); 12 February 12.30 (diesel); 13 February 8.30 and 12.30 (diesel); 26 and 27 February 8.30 and 12.30 (diesel)
The journey departs from (and returns to) Stokers Arms in at Kloof Railway Station. The train follows the Old Main Line, meandering along the Valley of 1000 Hills, through one of the oldest operating tunnels in South Africa to Inchanga.
At Inchanga, passengers can wander through the craft market and food garden, visit the model railway and stroll up the little hill to the Railway Museum in the old Station Master’s House.
Ammazulu Gardens and Sculpture Precinct is a magical experience featuring enormous sculptures hidden in a portion of the 20 acre primeval forest. Local, African and international artists from diverse traditions have created the works using different media. At the centre of the garden is an alfresco café – the Ping Pong Pagoda Café and behind the café are five airy hanger sized studios with artists at work and art retail options.
Good to Know:
For accommodation options, visit:
Tel 084 4411 141
NU Driving range
Exit 31, M13
tel 076 653 9930
Springside Nature reserve
93 Springside Road, Hillcrest
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
152 Kloof Falls Rd
Whatsapp: 079 702 6452
Picnic sites are not open
Lower Molweni Hikes
Tel: 031 322 6026 / / 078 726 4890
Mqeku Picnic Site
Info and map: https://durbangreencorridor.co.za/mqeku-adventures
The Pot and Kettle
Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch
Live music on Sundays
8.30 until 4pm
Tel: 031 777 1312
Umgeni Steam Railway
Departs from and returns to Kloof Station:
Booking is essential: http://umgenisteamrailway.com/
Ammazulu Gardens and Sculpture Precinct / 88 Kloof Falls Rd, Kloof.