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Wartburg - South Africa own German community
Wartburg is a little piece of Germany which resides right here in the centre of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Wartburg was settled in the 1850s by German families, the community expanded and won the right to teach German for the first four years of schooling. There is now a hostel that will accommodate 150 scholars who wish to further their opportunity to learn German.
Many of the inhabitants of the Wartburg area are now fourth generation Germans and it is not unusual to hear German spoken in the shops. The local industry is mainly mealies (maize), sugar cane, timber and kiwi fruit although there is an increasing arts and crafts community.
Travelers arriving in the village of Wartburg could be forgiven for thinking they were in Germany. They’d quite likely hear German spoken in shops and the local hostelry, and surrounding hamlets have names such as Kirchdorf, Harburg, Lillienthal, New Hanover and Schroeders, with Hermannsburg a little further afield. Many of the people living here are fourth generation Germans, with their language, customs, schooling and worship a legacy from the immigrant farmers and missionaries who arrived in the colony in the mid 19th century. It was in 1850 that cotton planter families founded New Hanover, followed in 1854 by members of the Hermannsburg Mission who settled in what became known as Hermannsburg. Relatives and friends, mostly from the Hanover district, followed. And as new settlements arose, steeped in the Lutheran faith, churches and schools were built. The latter still command respect for their high standards and academic diligence. The Wartburg crest depicts the arrival of the immigrants by sailing vessels; the heraldry of Wartburg castle in Eisenach where Dr Martin Luther translated the bible into German; the ‘Luther Rose’: and the watchword ‘Pray and Work’. These words are also inscribed on the church bell of Kirschdorf and reflect the industry of the local community to this day. The area’s income is generated mainly by the cultivation and processing of sugar cane, mealies and timber. About 250 farmers transport sugar cane to two sugarmills which process approximately 2000 000 tons of sugar cane annually. The growing kiwifruit and avocado export industry necessitated the recently erected refrigeration and packaging plants.
How to get there - Hermannsburg 70 km, Pietermaritzburg 30 km
Altitude – 1000 m above sea level
Average Rainfall – 845 mm – 1000 mm per annum
Dams – Albert Falls Dam
Old Station Building – A National Monument
Albert Falls Resources Reserve
About halfway between Pietermaritzburg and New Hanover, this is an inviting resort for watersports, fishing, picnicking and game viewing. It’s a pleasant day outing and for longer stays there are self catering chalets, rondavels and caravan parks.
A small private reserve, well stocked with game, that spreads on either side of the Karkloof River below the waterfall. Guests enjoy a feel of Africa not far from the city, in a blend of country house and luxury safari lodge accommodation. Access is from two points on the R74 between Pietermartizburg and Greytown.
Karkloof Nature Reserve
Crafts & Home Industry
The beginning of a craft and home industry culture is evident in the Wartburg area with taxidermy, bronze sculptures and mohair garments, as well as farm produce for sale, calligraphy and fabric painting at nearby Dalton, as well as homes offering bed and breakfast services
Devils Slit, Peters Gorge, here you will enjoy breathtaking views over green hills and dales of lush sugar cane plantations.
A three star country inn, was built in the German style in 1984 and offers 16 double rooms, rustic lounges and a swimming pool. Each suite is named after a German town. To walk into the foyer of the Wartburger Hof is to step back in time. The antique chest and grandfather clock are hundreds of years old. The hotel’s cuisine is typically German, as is the warm hospitality. Here you will notice the Wartburg coat-of-arms, which depicts the arrival of immigrants by sailing vessel, a heraldine portrayal of Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, the rose of Luther and the ‘Pray and Work’ motto. These words were inscribed on the church bell of Kirchdorf in 1881 and are remembered to this day in this charming part of Kwazulu Natal.
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