Nguni cow at Brahman Hills in KwaZulu-Natal

A Summer Weekend at Brahman Hills

Two weeks ago I spent a weekend at Brahman Hills, a beautiful lodge near the N3 highway in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal.

The cottage where I stayed at Brahman Hills.

I stayed at Brahman Hills once before in 2016. Read my previous post for all the details on what Brahman Hills is, what the Midlands is, and what I liked best about my stay — it’s all still true.

I went back again for a few reasons:

First: I loved Brahman Hills the first time and selfishly wanted to enjoy it again.

A morning hike at Brahman Hills. I didn’t get to hike much the first time I went.

Second: Last time I went to Brahman Hills with a partner, but this time I was invited as part of an all-female media trip. Traveling with girls is fun.

Ladies’ hot tub party!
Relaxing at the spa with a bunch of rad women.

Third: I last stayed at Brahman Hills in winter, when the landscape was dry and desolate. I loved the winter feel but wanted to go back in summer, when everything is green and sparkling.

Brahman Hills barn on a misty summer morning.
A wet walk through Brahman Hills’ Blue Crane Nature Reserve. My shoes and socks were soaked for days but it was worth it.

Fourth: I wanted to see more of the Midlands Meander, which has become one of my favorite tourism regions in the country.

Charming shop in the Midlands
The charming Ismail Wholesale House in Howick, which has the most amazing selection of enamel dishes. The Midlands is filled with funny little places like this.
Mind-blowingly intricate ceramics at Ardmore Ceramics, a Midlands must-visit.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site, which I’ve visited before but never get tired of.

Fifth: Brahman Hills has a herd of the most beautiful cows in South Africa.

A mesmerizing mix of Brahman and Nguni cows.
Nguni cow at Brahman Hills in KwaZulu-Natal
Cow.
More cows.
I LOVE THESE COWS.

New Things About Brahman Hills and the Midlands

There are a few important things I either didn’t discover during my previous Brahman Hills visit or didn’t get around to properly covering:

First: The spa is sensational. I’ve received my share of great spa treatments (one of travel writing’s greatest perks), but the Brahman Hills treatment stands out. The setting is beautiful, the staff are wonderful and talented, and the massage literally brought me to tears.

The Brahman Hills spa, surrounded by a sea of lavender, with its signature porthole windows. I wish I could live there.

Second: Brahman Hills is making great strides toward sustainability. The lodge has a lovely herb garden, and while we were there they were digging a large dam that will eventually provide hydropower for the property.

The herb garden.

Third: The food at Brahman Hills is even better than I remembered. The high-end restaurant downstairs, 89 on Copper, is great for a special occasion but I also really enjoyed the breakfasts and dinners at Brahman Café upstairs.

Breakfast at Brahman Hills - eggs benedict with salmon
Breakfast at Brahman Hills: Eggs Benedict with salmon.

Fourth: Brahman Hills sits next to a highway rest stop (although you’d never know it), which has recently been revamped into the nicest South African rest stop I’ve ever seen. (That’s really saying something because South Africans are serious about their highway rest stops.)

The rest stop consists of two buildings: The Windmills Grab & Go, which is the equivalent of a convenience store but much nicer, and the Windmills Kitchen (formerly the Midlands Kitchen), a rest stop food court but minus the crappy fast food chains and with local food vendors instead.

We ate at the Windmills Kitchen a couple of times — it’s under the same ownership as Brahman Hills — and it’s not only a great place to stop along the highway but also a viable dining option for those staying at the lodge.

Windmills Grab & Go.
Windmills Kitchen
Windmills Kitchen.

Fifth: For an area so sparsely populated, the Midlands Meander has an incredible number of excellent coffee roasteries. I wrote about Terbodore after my last visit, but on this trip we also visited Steampunk Coffee and Coffee + Life. Both were great.

Michael Goddard of Steampunk serves up iced coffees on a blazing hot Midlands morning.

Lastly, I must reiterate that Ardmore Ceramics is one of the most incredible crafting centers I’ve been to in South Africa. The shop is beautiful and you can watch the artisans at work. Do not miss this place.

A ceramic woman on a zebra. I don’t know why but I love it.
Woman at work in Ardmore Ceramics
Seahorse in progress.

There is a lot more I could say about both Brahman Hills and the Midlands, and plenty more I still haven’t experienced yet myself. Don’t take my word for it though. Just go.

Cows at Brahman Hills
The cows await you.

My stay at Brahman Hills was complimentary. Opinions expressed are mine.

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6 Comments

  • Reply autumnashbough January 31, 2019 at 1:41 am

    So pretty. And those are very cool portholes.

    • Reply 2summers January 31, 2019 at 6:43 am

      They are!

  • Reply eremophila January 31, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Some nice R+R for you☺ love the garden and the eggs benno.

  • Reply Lani February 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Cows.

    • Reply 2summers February 4, 2019 at 12:51 pm

      🐮🐮🐮🐮🐮🐮

      • Reply Lani February 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm

        Hahhaaha. Too cute.

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