Previously, Mooirivier, in Kwazulu Natal province, was known as “Lawrenceville” after the Irish farmer who first settled here. The name that the Voortrekkers gave the area simply referred to the river that they liked. The Zulu people called the river Mpofana, which means ‘place of the moose’, because there were many moose here and in the Drakensberg (the largest antelope in Africa). A relatively large amount of water flows through this area and is therefore suitable for agriculture and animal husbandry. To the north-east of the village lies a waterfall of 80 meters height and a width of 50 meters in the river, worth a visit when the water level is good. Some parts of the Mooi River are ideal for exploring by boat or canoe, while others are a paradise for fly fishermen. Outside the village you will find Craigieburn Dam which is an excellent place for trout fishing (ask for a fishing permit at a tourist information point or post office), or to keep a nice picnic by the water. Water sports enthusiasts can visit the Midmar Dam about 45 kilometers south-east of Mooirivier.

The village itself does not offer any striking sights, but in the vicinity there is a lot of natural beauty that can be explored well from Mooirivier. Mooirivier is also called the ‘Gateway to the Midlands’. The Midlands consists of a hilly landscape with small lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forests and grassland where the cows graze. The area is known for its many artists and craftsmen, where you will find workshops and workshops of potters, weavers and sculptors, among others. You can drive the Midlands Meander (also known as Arts and Crafts Route) by car, this route takes you past the sights, arts and crafts shops, galleries and eateries. The Midlands region is also known as the region where the best race horses in the country are bred and trained, the best known is Summerhill. Several horse farms are open to tourists, a tour at Summerhill takes about an hour and you need to make an appointment in advance.

Mooirivier is a good base for visiting the Drakensberg, the wonderful Giant’s Castle Game Reserve is just a 40-minute drive away. You can choose from a wide variety of hiking / biking trails through the mountains or choose a nice spot for a picnic and watch the sun set behind the mountains. At the Main Office (head office) of Giants’s Castle they can inform you well about the routes and from this point there are excursions several times a day to the rock drawings of the Bushmen (San). These former inhabitants of the region have provided some caves with so-called Rock Art, which gives us a good insight into the wildlife that lived in the Drakensberg at the time. It is half an hour’s walk from the Main Office to where the Rock Art is located, this is one of the largest and best-preserved places with rock paintings in South Africa. It is possible that during your visit to Giant’s Castle you will see monkeys, moose or bearded vulture. In the winter the vultures are fed at a fixed place and you have even more chance to see these huge birds. You can rent lines at the head office for fly fishing in the Bushman River and in some places you can also swim in this river. There is a small shop, a restaurant and accommodation, from the main entrance it’s about 7 kilometers to Giant’s Castle.

The climate here is pleasant, the summer is the rainy season where the days are warm and the nights cool. The average rainfall is 900 mm per year and usually falls during a thunderstorm. The hottest months are January and February, while the coldest in June and July. In winter it can freeze at night, but during the day it is dry and the sun is shining.

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