The beautiful Howick Falls in Pietermaritzburg

KwaZulu-Natal is well known for a variety of good reasons, not least of which is its natural features. It is little wonder that tourists are willing to fight tooth and nail to secure a spot at places the Thonga Beach Lodge in the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park. There are, however, other places in the province that have something special on offer. Want to know more? Just read on…

There’s just something magical about the power and majesty of water and its capricious nature. It’s always pouring, running, gushing, and dripping in the direction of the ocean and it doesn’t stop until it gets there. It also moulds itself to fit the vessel it occupies – be it the dam it fills, the river it travels in or the rocks from which it tumbles in the making of a waterfall. And as it travels, it takes with it little pieces of the places it’s been; wearing down rocks and forever changing the landscape – one tiny millimetre at a time.

People are attracted to water’s many forms – be it the ocean, rivers, dams, swimming pools, or waterfalls. Where there are waterfalls, there will be trails leading towards their pools as well as their summits – the more than 100 m tall Howick Falls is a good example of the tourist-attracting nature of water.

Located just outside Pietermaritzburg in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Howick Falls forms a vertical break in the Umgeni River; its cascading water crashing into a wide pool below. The local name for the falls is KwaNogqaza, which means “the place of the tall one” – a very accurate description for this single-drop natural attraction. Honestly, if a DVD box set of the world’s best waterfalls were released, it would have to include this wonder.

People who visit Howick Falls will get to appreciate not only the spellbinding view from the top of the waterfall, but the walking trails that guide plenty of foot traffic around the area – some of which lead you right to the bottom of the waterfall. While enjoying the view and the atmosphere created by the waterfall, visitors will have a lot to think about when it comes to the other side of Howick Falls – the side of this popular tourist attraction that includes the Howick Falls Monster as well as the more than 40 deaths that have resulted from people trying to cross the Umgeni River from the top of the waterfall.

In the early days of Natal, many pioneers thought it safe to cross the river close to the top of the falls, but the unpredictable and seemingly sinister waterfall had other ideas. Many of the deaths were also not accidents… Adventure-lovers will get a thrill to know that Howick Falls is also a location from which world-famous BASE jumper, Jeb Corliss, has deployed his winged suit.

If your interest is tweaked and you feel strangely drawn to visit the Howick Falls, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of colonially-styled Pietermaritzburg hotels to stay in and enjoy the natural wonder of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. One of these magnificent buildings is home of the Howick Falls Hotel itself where you’ll be able to find much more information on this historical site.