The Midlands – AfriCamps at Gowan Valley
Eat & drink
AfriCamps at Gowan Valley is located in the heart of the Natal Midlands and is the perfect destination for a family glamping getaway on the Midlands Meander route.
The Midlands Meander is popular for its relaxed atmosphere, picturesque countryside and welcoming people. Here you will experience a variety of stunning nature, adventure activities, South African history, local crafts and delectable country-style food spots. Balgowan is a farming area, well-loved for cycling and fishing in the many dams and streams. The area can see all four seasons in one day and you can expect some snow in surrounding areas during winter. The Midlands caters for a wide audience from foodies to adrenaline junkies, to serenity seekers – all in the beautiful and mystical surroundings.
Five brand new AfriCamps luxury tents are situated in our new camp at Gowan Valley Guest Farm. The farm is truly enchanting with its rolling green hills, endless fields, and mighty river. You will experience an ‘English countryside’ feeling, whilst you are welcomed with true South African hospitality. Your gracious hosts, Deanne, and Brett Bouwer farm Nguni Cattle and Golden Kiwis on the property as well as running their guest farm.
You can explore the farm during your stay while taking a 4km walk. Pass through indigenous forest to see the enormous 500-year-old Yellowwood tree, walk along the Mpofana River, see the newly planted kiwi fields and Nguni cattle. Take strolls through the gorgeous rose gardens on the farm and settle down at a grassy picnic spot next to the crystal clear river which flows strongly through the farm. Take a dip or try your luck and catch yellow tail or trout – strictly catch and release.
In surrounding areas visit the Howick and Karkloof falls, experience the Karkloof canopy tour, trek the Midlands on horseback, visit the Nelson Mandela Capture site and spend some time at the popular Piggly Wiggly for family fun and sumptuous meals.
Visitors to the area often come for weddings, to explore the Drakensberg Mountains or to play golf at some of the country’s most beautiful courses.
Many guests have had the pleasure of staying at the picturesque Gowan Valley Guest Farm. The property and its owners, The Bouwers, have earned a stellar reputation based on previous guest experiences since the Bouwers became the owners in 2015. In 2019 Brett and Deanne Bouwer joined the AfriCamps team and we couldn’t be happier to branch out to the captivating Natal Midlands with 5 brand new AfriCamps glamping tents.
How did it all begin? We have AfriCamps at Oakhurst’s camp owners, Jake and Claire Crowther to thank for that. Being keen campers themselves (in the more rustic sense of the word), the Bouwers were quite intrigued by the idea of adding a glamping option to their property. They were already looking for a new and interesting accommodation offering to develop on their farm. On a family holiday to Wilderness, The Bouwers visited old friends of theirs, Jake and Claire Crowther and that’s when they came across the AfriCamps concept. Although our Wilderness tents were still in construction in August 2018, they knew our fully equipped luxury glamping tents were perfect to set up on their beautiful Natal Midlands farm.
Check in – from 14:00 – 17:00 on day of arrival
As prior arrangements need to be made, guests are kindly requested to inform the specific AfriCamps host of their estimated time of arrival. This way you are ensured that the check in can be arranged without delays. You will receive the host’s telephone number in your bookings confirmation email. For check-in after 5pm please call the hosts at the camp to make arrangements.
Check out – before 10am on day of departure
ACTIVITIES ON OUR FARM
Guests can enjoy a 4km walk through indigenous forest where they will see the enormous 500-year-old Yellowwood tree, pass the mighty Mpofana River, the newly planted kiwi fields and Nguni cattle.
Take strolls through the gorgeous rose gardens on the farm and settle down at a grassy picnic spot.
Swimming & Fishing
The property is graced by the crystal clear Mpofana river which flows strongly through the farm. As part of a water scheme, the river also provides water to the farm. A hollowed-out section in the river is a great spot to go for a dip or enjoy the river from the banks by settling down for a picnic. Try your luck and catch yellowtail or trout – strictly catch and release.
Wood-fired Hot Tubs
All five tents offer the exclusive use of their own wood-fired hot tub. A wood-fired hot tub is the purest form of relaxation. Soak up your beautiful Midlands surroundings while listening to the calming crackle of the fire. Or take a dip to cool off on the hotter days.
ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA
Markets / Crafts
Piggly Wiggly (11km): A must-visit one-stop hub for food, activities and gifts the whole family will enjoy. In the centre of the Highgate Wine Estate enjoy wine tours and tastings in our beautiful family wine cellar. Indulge in breakfasts, light meals, lunches, pizzas, refreshments and, of course, a variety of coffees and teas at the coffee shop. Candle dipping and the miniature steam train ride around Piggly Wiggly will keep the kids busy on weekends. The active guests can take part in the 5km Parkrun. Visit Meander Fine Wines for 700 wines from the Cape, Natal and around the world. The Pizza Place offers freshly made country pizza. The Greenery will give you your healthy juice fix along with bagels and salads. Stock up on meat from The Pantry and visit chocoholics can visit Chocolate Heaven for the chocolate dipping experience… or just to buy some delicious chocolates.
A visit to Notties Junction (12km): Indulge in all the quirky finds while shopping at The Junction. 16 unique shops invite guests to grab a bite to eat, stretch their legs, or pick up some souvenirs.
Howick Falls (23km): The nearby area of Howick is waterfall country. Explore one or all three of the trails at Howick Falls to capture the perfect photo. At Howick Falls, also known as KwaNogqaza which means ‘place of the tall one’, the uMngeni river plummets 95m into a gushing pool. You can hike to the foot of this waterfall via the official Howick Falls Gorge Walk.
Midmar Dam (23km): This well-known dam which also hosts the annual Midmar Mile is perfect for boating, fishing, sailing or just soaking up the sun!
Karkloof Falls (37km): A visit to the Karkloof Nature Reserve promises a mesmerizing experience considering the 80+ bird species flying overhead, and the 88m Karkloof waterfall crashing down from the cliff face. Bring a picnic or enjoy the braai facilities. For the more adventurous, the Karkloof canopy tour is a must, or bring along your mountain bike for the beautiful trails.
Drakensberg Mountains: During your visit to the Midlands, you will be able to access parts of the Central and Southern Drakensberg. Not up for the drive? You can simply view ‘The Giant’ from the Nottingham Road turnoff.
Highmoor Nature reserve (61km): This World heritage site in the Kamberg Valley forms part of the Mkhomzi Wilderness Area and takes you into the Southern Drakensberg mountains surrounded by grasslands and streams. Visit the reserve for hiking trails, fly fishing, rock art sightings.
Maloti Drakensberg Park (53km): Beautiful day walks like the self-guided Giants Cup Hiking Trail and a wealth of rock art sites are must-sees. Fly fishing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, bird watching and swimming or some more options.
Midlands Meander Horse Trails (7.5km): A breathtaking horse trail winds through mountains, hills, dams, and pine trees in Lidgetton, a short 7.5 km drive away. Options include outrides, pony rides and even lessons.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Nelson Mandela Capture site (15km): This famous Nelson Mandela Capture Site commemorates a significant moment in South African history with a visitor centre and a world-renowned sculpture. Nelson Mandela was arrested on 5 August 1962 outside of Howick. He spent the next 27 years of his life in prison.
With two world-class golf courses around the corner, make a golfing glamping tour of it! Take a swing at Gowrie Farm, only 11km away. This course is known as one of the top 30 most fun courses in the country. (And we are serious advocates for fun) It is also the 3rd best short course in the world outside of America.
Bosch Hoek is a beautiful country course with loads of charm and becomes a beautiful display of colour in Autumn. The cosy club house with its fireplace is particularly inviting after as round of golf during winter.
Midlands Meander Routes
Pick one of 5 Midlands Meander routes and experience the best food, drinks, arts and crafts of each section. Visit the Midlands Meander website to get your map.
We offer ‘Cook Your Own’ breakfast baskets which are placed in the tents for guests to prepare. Pre-order your breakfast basket when making your booking.
- Streaky bacon
- 2 Mini pork sausages
- Double cream yoghurt
- 2 slices of Low GI health bread
- Butter / Jam / Cheese
- Medium roast ground coffee
- Seasonal fruit / fruit salad
- Orange juice
R110 per adult
R 75 per child (0 to 12 yrs)
We offer ‘Cook-Your-Own’ traditional South African braai baskets which are placed in the tents for guests to prepare. Pre-order your braai basket when making your booking.
- 200g steak (children: 100g steak)
- Chicken kebab
- Green salad
- Garlic bread roll
- Corn on the cob
- Marshmallows on a stick.
R175 per adult
R110 per child (0 to 12 yrs)
Meal baskets are charged per person per day.
Breakfast and Braai baskets should be booked a day in advance.
There are a number of great restaurants in the area. From coffee shops to fine dining.
- Cleopatra Mountain Farm House
- Lions River Craft Brewery
- Piggly Wiggly
- Blueberry Café
- La Lampara
Booking is essential especially during peak seasons, please ask the farm for assistance with this.
From the N3, take the Howick /Tweedie off ramp and turn left at the stop sign. Turn right at T-junction onto R103, towards Nottingham Rd. Drive along this road through Lidgetton. Landmark on right – Granny Mouse Hotel (2.2kms from Lidgetton). Next Landmark – Orchards/La Lampara/ Gunthers signage on your right. Continue on the R103 for another +/- 1km and you will see the Gowan Valley Farm sign on your right. Approximate travelling time from Durban to Gowan Valley Farm is 1.5hrs
From the N3 take the Nottingham Road off-ramp and turn right at the Stop sign. Continue for 7.5 kms towards Nottingham Road. Landmarks on left – Gowrie Village and The Junction. At three-way stop continue straight on R103 for another 14kms. Next Landmark – Michaelhouse School on your right. Continue on the R103 for another +/- 3km and you will see the Gowan Valley Farm sign on your left.
GPS Coordinates: -29.4000° S, 30.0736° E
Our tents sleep up to 5 guests, but our shared rates are based on a two person stay. Please note that the rates below are just a price indication, use our online bookings calendar to check current rates and availability. Food & beverage and activities & tours are not included in the price, unless otherwise stated.
Rates as from 1 May 2019
|Rate per tent (pp)||Additional fee adults (pp)||Children fee (pp)|
|Season||Single||Shared||3rd||4th||5th||0 – 2||3 – 16|
|Low season||1290||645||200||200||200||Stay Free||100|
|High season||1790||895||200||200||200||Stay Free||100|
|Peak season||2290||1145||200||200||200||Stay Free||100|
1 June to 30 June
1 July to 5 December
12 January to 31 May
6 December to 11 January
Rates as from 1 May 2020
|Rate per tent (pp)||Additional fee adults (pp)||Children fee (pp)|
|Season||Single||Shared||3rd||4th||5th||0 – 2||3 – 16|
|Low season||1340||670||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
|High season||1840||920||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
|Peak season||2340||1170||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
1 June to 30 June (excludes 12, 13, 14, 15 June)
1 July to 3 December
10 January to 31 May
12, 13, 14, 15 June
4 December to 9 January
Please look for the full terms and conditions on our website www.africamps.com/terms-and-conditions
All tents sleep a maximum of 5 people. The following items or services are not included in the price, unless otherwise stated:
- Food & Beverage
- Activities & Tours
- Daily cleaning service (Complimentary cleaning every 4th day only)
- Wood and firelighters for the wood-stove and campfires (for sale at farm)
Unfortunately, no pets allowed on the farm
To secure your stay a 50% deposit is required. The balance of the booking amount must be paid in full to AfriCamps, at the latest, one month before arrival. In the event of a booking made within one month before arrival, the entire booking amount must be paid immediately.
In the case of a late or incomplete payment, you are in default. AfriCamps will reserve the right to cancel the booking with immediate effect. You are responsible for all damages which suffered as a consequence of this, as well as all costs which AfriCamps has made with regards to your booking and the cancellation.
In the event of a cancellation more than a month before arrival, your deposit of 50% will be non-refundable. In the event of cancellation within a month before arrival, the entire booking amount is payable to AfriCamps. In the case of premature termination of the stay, the entire booking amount is payable to AfriCamps.
- More than 1 month prior to arrival: 50% Cancellation fee (50% deposit of full booking value is non-refundable)
- Within 1 month of arrival: 100% Cancellation fee (Full amount of booking value is due and non-refundable)
AfriCamps and the corresponding farm accept no liability for: theft, loss or damage, of whatever nature, during or as a result of a stay on one of our affiliated farms, falling into defect or putting out of action of technical equipment and loss or closure of supplies on the farm.
The guests and those who accompany him or her, are jointly and severally responsible for all loss and/or damage which arises, for AfriCamps, the farm in question and/or any third party as a direct or an indirect consequence of their stay, irrespective of whether this was caused through actions or refraining from actions by themselves or by third parties, who are at the farm through their making, as well as of all damage which is caused by any animal and/or matter which they have under their responsibility. If you leave your tent in an improper condition, AfriCamps is entitled to charge R250,- of additional (cleaning) costs. This can double to R500,- in combination with a late departure.