Narrow, twisting roads and country lanes lead you to tucked-away cottages, workshops and studios where craftspeople of all kinds create pottery, weave rugs, paint pictures, fashion wind chimes, stitch handmade shoes and bags, sculpt clay, ceramics and bronze, brew beer and wine, and cook up some of the best home-made food in the country.
However, if you’re short of time, and maybe just have a couple of hours en route to Durban or Johannesburg, you can go to the one-stop Piggly Wiggly Country Village, just along Nottingham Road, past the historic prestigious boys’ school, Michaelhouse.
Piggly Wiggly is the new kid on the block, only 18 months old (the Midlands Meander itself started 28 years ago), but already has more than 20 very different shops, as well as a fabulous coffee shop where the award-winning cappuccino and the freshly baked cheesecake are already bywords.
It’s the new kid on the block, only 18 months old, but already has 22 very different shops, as well as a fabulous coffee shop.
A friend and I had been staying at Brookdale Health Hydro, just along the road, and on our last afternoon we took a leisurely drive to Piggly Wiggly. It was mid-January, the hills were green and glowing, cuckoos were calling, and some fat cows gazed at us from a nearby lush field.
First stop was the Coffee Shop (of course), and then we strolled around the attractive little shops that are built round a central green ‘common’, along with a Piggy putt-putt course, plenty of places to sit, and tall trees. The village still has a ‘newish’ feel, but the steady stream of visitors and locals gave it a great buzz.
Mollie and I had no kids with us so we had to give the candle-dipping shop and the ceramic painting a miss this time, but we ran amok in the Lavender Co (handmade soap and lotions); Sterling’s Wrought Iron (attractive plant and candle holders); Zulu Lulu (gorgeous art and handmade pottery); Mushka (scarf and children’s clothes); and the irresistible Huddy’s Books (a 1978 edition of Arthur Rackham’s Illustrated Fairy Tales). Plus some Lions River Chardonnay – KwaZulu-Natal’s first certified Chardonnay in the history of South Africa’s winemaking.
The last stop was for cheese, speciality breads, artisan cured meats, and venison carpaccio (and much more we didn’t buy) at Three Fat Pigs delicatessen, and then it was off home to Johannesburg in a very heavily laden car.