The road map from Johannesburg to Durban offers access to the wonderful holiday destinations of the Berg, the Battlefields and the charming Midlands Meander. The N3 from Johannesburg to Durban is a national highway and a toll road. There are five toll plazas at Heidelberg, Villiers, Tugela, Mooi River and Marianhill. You may want to use cash for the tolls as only particular cards are accepted. You can avoid some of the tolls by using the alternate route-the R103.
A pleasant stop on the first half of the journey is Heidelberg and the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve offers walking and hiking trails and a 60km tourist driving route. Heidelberg is home to a well-known motor museum and some noteworthy Victorian architecture. You’ll pass the towns of Villiers and Warden, and further down the highway you’ll reach Harrismith, almost exactly halfway between Johannesburg and Durban.
The road map from Johannesburg to Durban offers a variety of routes into the Drakensberg (commonly referred to as “the Berg”) and the Battlefields. From Harrismith to Howick, secondary roads lead to various areas of the Berg. The Berg is a fantastic holiday venue! Depending on where you go, you can arrange your “time out” to be as active or restful as you like. Excellent hiking and rock climbing are to be had all over the mountain range. Resorts and accommodation venues cater for a considerable range of holiday preferences. Sports facilities, spa treatments and adventure activities can either be found at the resort or arranged for you. Golf, fishing, boating and horse riding are a few of the commonly available activities.
The Battlefields of the Harrismith, Ladysmith and Estcourt region are an intriguing study. The whole area is rife with military history, especially that concerning the British and the Boers. Official Battlefield tours can be organised, along with visits to the Siege museum and the memorials. You can stand on the battlefields where the British and the Boers clashed. One of the battlefields is located in the Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve, where you can picnic and splash out with watersports.
If you’re keen for a walk on the wild side, practise your game spotting at some of the following reserves, located between Harrismith and Durban:
- Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve (also the site of a battlefield)
- Weenen Nature Reserve
- Wagendrift Nature Reserve (see an Iron Age fossil bed from here)
- Thukhela Biosphere
- Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve
- Tala Game Reserve
- Phezulu Safari Park (experience traditional Zulu culture)
among many others. These reserves offer ample activities such as trail walking, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, paddling, boating, swimming, game viewing and more.
At the Mooi River Toll Plaza, take the R103 and spend some time on the lovely Midlands Meander. There are a number of picturesque lodges to visit and wonderful restaurants to eat at. Pick up some fresh farm fare at a local farm stall for padkos (food for the roadtrip). Stop at the Nottingham Road Junction and get a Midlands Meander map to plot your amblings; it’s cheap and makes the trip even more fun! Midmar Dam is a beautiful place to go picnicking and swimming. You can even hire a pedalboat and amuse yourself out on the water.
At this point, on the road map from Johannesburg to Durban it looks like you’re nearly “there” by now, but there are still worthwhile places left to visit. Make your choice and then head on down the hill...Durban awaits.