Cheese? Oh, please!

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Colin Windell
Colin Windell

Colin Windell asks whether the KwaZulu Natal Midlands has meandered

Surrounded by some of South Africa’s most beautiful countryside – even in the brown of winter – the KwaZulu Natal Midlands and its “meander” should be bustling but it isn’t. It is, instead, a lethargy of service all displaying similar, overpriced goods masquerading as art treasures or antiques.

Rawdons.
Rawdons.

To be fair, some places are okay such as the pub at Rawdons and Nottingham Road Brewery – even if the shop didn’t stock any of the T-shirts on its display board. That is unacceptable and only another pint of Whistling Weasel assuaged my tourist rage.

The Lords of the Manor on the western border of the Meander, provides a gracious dining experience with good food, quality cutlery and a blazing fire. Not cheap, but it is worth the visit.

We stopped at Old Balgowan Winery and Cheesery because the prominent signage advertised a cheese factory. There is none. Nor has there been for some time, but no effort has been made to remove the signage. Talk about lackadaisickal marketing.

Another disappointment is the so-called Toy Shed (main image). Not a toy in sight, just some dusty ‘antiques’ and staff who could not be bothered to speak to us. Even worse was The Waffle House and Book Lounge where the owners ignored us to watch a video.

The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling has its main store in Rosetta with satellite stores as far as Clarens and tries to look a bit different, even if the pricing of most of its wares is imaginative, to say the least. This is not the way to attract tourist dollars.

It is impossible, in two short days, to visit everything on offer along the Midlands Meander and I’m sure we missed some gems but what we saw was just so terribly underwhelming.