Welcome To The Countryside!
A Fun Backpackers Set In The Spectacular KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
Looking for some fun on your tour of South Africa? Get on down to Bumpkins Backpackers, set in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
We're close to the N3, the main highway from Johannesburg to Durban, and right on the most popular backpacking route. The Midlands are between the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and the drop down to the coastal plains. It's a uniquely beautiful, countrified area and is one of South Africa's tourism playgrounds, offering a huge variety of things to see and do. Whether you're interested in scenery, African wildlife, hiking, art, history, culture, food, adrenaline activites, or just good old lazing around and partying, the Midlands has it all.
The backpackers lodge is at a spectacular location, on a guest farm at the foot of a mountain. The accommodation is clean and comfortable, and designed for a backpacker's budget. Our atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and provides a place where you can meet fellow travellers as well as party with the local yokels. We have self-catering kitchens, with plenty of supermarkets in the nearby town of Howick, but also offer budget meals with an accent on African cuisine. If you want to eat out there are plenty of restaurants in the area.
The Midlands has perhaps the greatest variety of tourist attractions in South Africa. Here are some of the things you can see and do:
- Mandela Capture Site Museum - this is the place where our former president, Nelson Mandela, was arrested by the apartheid authorities after being on the run, and began his 27-year incarceration. A large museum has been built on the site, with many exhibits detailing his life and his Long Walk To Freedom.
- Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve - the headquarters of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. This 900ha educational centre has a variety of species such as giraffe, zebra, warthog, blesbuck, as well as species endemic to the KZN Midlands such as the Karkloof Blue butterfly and the Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. It does not have the more dangerous species of game such as lion and elephant, and you can walk around amidst the zebra and antelope and get an idea of what life in the African wilderness was like a century ago.
Howick Falls - 95 metres high, this is one of South Africa's highest waterfalls. Zulu legend has it that a huge monster with the body of a snake and a horse's head - South Africa's Loch Ness Monster - lives in the pool at the bottom of the falls. Have a look from the viewing deck or take a walk to the bottom of the falls to look for the Inkhayamba, before visiting one of the curio shops or art galleries in the area, or grab a drink and a bite to eat at the local pub.
The Midlands Meander - the Midlands are famous for the Meander. It was started as an arts and crafts route by potter Ian Glenny in the 1980's, and over the years has grown to include restaurants, shops, speciality food and wine producers and craft breweries.
Township Tours - get a taste of life in rural Africa!
Zip line Canopy Tours - fly through the treetops of South Africa's second-largest expanse of indigenous forest.
Bubble Soccer, Paintball and Karting - at Checkpoint 103.
Horse Trails - ride through the beautiful Midlands or have a horse whispering experience at Horse Play.
San Rock Art - at nearby Impendle, and at Kamberg Rock Art Centre.
The Drakensberg Mountains - the Midlands are a great base from which to explore the Central and Southern Berg.
There are always things to do for free, whether it's taking a walk through the countryside or playing a game of cards, backgammon or chess with other backpackers. But we also provide plenty of things for free to help with your budget, such as:
- Free welcome drink
- Free Sunday dinner, consisting of traditional South African stew cooked over an open fire in a cast iron pot (potjie) or a braai
- Free tea and coffee
- Free breakfast - help yourself to bread, butter and jam
- Free accommodation on your fifth night
- Free WiFi
- Free pool table
- 7 Hiking trails up the mountain through indigenous forest
- Canoeing and swimming in our dam
- Free sports equipment: volleyball, cricket, football, rugby, croquet, badminton, petanq, cycling
Not sure about where to go, what to do, how much to pay or what to pack? We make recommendations based on years of backpacking around Africa.
We want you to have a fantastic holiday, so pack your backpack, get here and get ready for some fun.
If you're not a backpacker, but are looking for Midlands Meander accommodation
, we recommend Mount Park Guest Farm. Set in the spectacularly beautiful Dargle Valley in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands, Mount Park has a reputation for good value, with a wide range of activities for the whole family to enjoy.