This scenic area in the KZN Midlands is attracting more buyers due to its laidback lifestyle, numerous activities and ideal climate.
Located just off the N3 about 88km inland from Durban, Howick may seem quiet at first glance, but there’s a lot more to the area.
Set in a sheltered hollow, Howick is known for its waterfalls, with the 100m Howick Falls in the centre of the town, and many tributaries of the Umgeni River tumbling down gorges nearby.
Surrounding Howick are nature reserves, including Karkloof and Umgeni Valley, as well as the Midmar Dam and the KZN Midlands. While there’s plenty to do in the surrounding areas, the town itself offers everything from rock climbing near the falls, hiking and mountain biking, to art exhibitions, golf, bowls, tennis and sailing.
Known for its collectables shops, Howick is a great place for antiques, and arts and crafts. Foodies are in for a treat as a number of great eateries as well as weekly markets, respected butcheries, cheese makers and a chocolatier can be found in the area.
Howick is reputed to have one of the best climates in South Africa, and has become a popular choice for retirees because of its many retirement developments and wide range of ownership options. It also boasts numerous medical and care facilities including a private hospital and many private health practitioners.
Howick took its name from the British Lord Howick in the 1850s, but gained greater international recognition in 1996 when Nelson Mandela was awarded The Freedom of Howick. Mandela was arrested in a nearby road in 1962.
A little-known fact about Howick, and nearby Karkloof, is that it’s thought to be the location of the first manned flight in the world, with John Goodman Household flying a self-made glider in 1871 and in 1875 in the area. Statistics about the distance and altitude di¬ffer, but all seem to indicate that he outdid the flights made by aviation pioneers Otto Lilienthal and the Wright brothers.
I moved to Howick around 14 years ago to expand my business and haven’t looked back. It still has that country feel, but has all the city convenience of banks, doctors and shops as well as the very good Howick Primary and High Schools where I educated my children.
-Bruce Rudling, resident
Places to stay:
- Sunbird Guest House
- Biggy Best Cottages
- Meander Inn
- The Farmer’s Daughter: for its unique eclectic décor
- Tumble Downs: for gourmet food
- Delish Dish: for homely and hearty
- Black Olive: for perfect pizza
- The Snooty Fox: for contemporary cuisine
Things to do:
- Visit the Falls under the watchful eyes of Friends of the Falls
- Visit the nearby Nelson Mandela Capture Site and Museum
- Zip line at the nearby Karkloof Canopy Tours
- Howick is the start of the Midlands Meander – grab a map at the Tourist Office and take your pick
What attracts buyers to Howick?
It has an amazing sense of community, and people genuinely care about each other. The climate is good – summers aren’t too hot and the winters aren’t too cold. It’s also home to excellent medical facilities. Local Howick schools are well staffed, well equipped and well supported. All the private Midlands heritage schools are also within an easy reach. Looking for a good quality of life? What could be better than Howick?
-Lucy Blackman: St John’s Village
How would you spend a weekend day in Howick?
I would take a walk from one of the exceptional B&Bs along Amber Avenue, lined with giant London planetrees, then down to the Umgeni River where I can take a walk along the edge below some of the most gorgeous properties. A short cut past the junior school and down Harvard Street brings you to the heart of Howick, with bistros and touristy shops, and ends at the Howick Falls.
-Andrew Line: Harcourts Hilton
What makes a property in Howick a good investment?
Howick has become the hub of the Midlands, serving the commercial farming sector, commercial business and industrial needs, as well as a range of people-centred services, and offers housing options from one-bedroom starter homes to large family homes. There’s demand for homes across the price spectrum and a constant upward movement as more people filter into the housing market.
-Jennifer Gordon: Dormehl Property
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.