Near the town of Howick in the Natal Midlands, and conveniently close to the N3-freeway, you will find one of Kwazulu-Natal Province’s most popular playgrounds, the Midmar Dam Nature Reserve.
Most of the visitor activity is centred on the large Midmar Dam. Being the venue for the world’s biggest open-water swimming event, the Midmar Mile, held annually in February, the public resort with its well-kept lawns is especially geared to the enjoyment of a wide variety of water sports. Along the 15km of developed shoreline are zones set aside for picnics, fishing, powerboating and yachting, and a restaurant is located near the entrance. Accommodation options ranges from camping sites to fully equipped chalets.
At full capacity the Midmar Dam covers over 1,800ha, with the land area of the reserve covering an additional 2,844ha. A section of the reserve is set aside as a game park hosting a selection of non-dangerous mammals, including the rare oribi antelope, and a wide variety of birds, including the majestic fish eagle, in natural surroundings where visitors are allowed to walk, cycle or drive around in their own vehicles.
We found Midmar an excellent base from which to explore some other wild places in the area, particularly the Queen Elizabeth Park Nature Reserve, Karkloof Conservancy and Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, as well as the many country stalls, farms, art galleries and eateries that make up the “Midlands Meander”.