Snowfall is expected in parts of the Midlands and Drakensberg. Join us at Hartford for warm hospitality and cosy fireplaces. Take advantage of our Snow Week Special; 20% off accommodation rates from the 24th-28th July.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Drakensberg
Hartford House, nestled in the magnificent Drakensberg Midlands area, is the perfect place to escape to for that quick break from the humdrum routine of a busy city life! And it’s only a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg and 2 hours from Durban. So join us to get that breath of fresh country air... with a drop of luxury on the side.Read More
This was a short two night visit and we stayed in the enormous Lakeside Suite (I think there may be more than one, but it was the closest to the main house). The room had a massive living room with an open fire, and absolutely massive everything else, including the views; splendid! Service in every regard was second to none.Read More
Rediscover – Relax – Revive. Hartford House nestled in the magnificent Drakensberg Midlands area, is the perfect place to escape to, for that quick break from the humdrum routine of a busy city life! And it’s only a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg and 2 hours from Durban, to get that breath of fresh country air and a drop of luxury on the side.Read More
If you're a discerning gourmand, Hartford's menu and wine list will impress you.Read More
The Drakensberg Mountain Range offers a major attraction to our international visitors, and Hartford House's close proximity to the majestic Giant's Castle, ensures truely authentic 'day trip' experiences. This is what a recent guest from Germany had to say on the TripAdvisor website...Read More
Stretching majestically for 245km, the Drakensberg mountain range forms a natural barrier between the Western reaches of KwaZulu–Natal and the Kingdom of Lesotho. This is a mountain range of spectacular beauty, where golden sandstone and soaring basalt buttresses rise above the pristine steep-sided river valleys, rocky gorges and high rolling grasslands.Read More
I consider myself to be lucky for lots of reasons, one of which is I wake up in the mornings to long views across verdant valleys, rolling hills and a world heritage site. I live in one of the world's most beautiful places, among some of the world's nicest people. I'm not alone in this discovery though, as the story of those who've made our neighbourhood their home, is as old as mankind itself.Read More
Whilst relaxing as a guest of Hartford House, we understand that you may want to spend time exploring the magical beauty of the greater Summerhill/Hartford Estate. What better way to enjoy your exploration than to take with you a specially prepared picnic basket... with that very special Hartford touch, of course.Read More
Dinner at Hartford House is a spectacular five-course affair, served in the grandeur of a timeless dining room, or in the candlelit splendour of one of Africa's great verandas.Read More
We all know the best weather follows a snowfall, or at least those of us who live in the Midlands do. Last night witnessed the first snow-dusting of our neighbourhood this winter, and from their lofty perch at "The Monastry", high up on the Giant's Castle end of the farm, our students at the School Of Equine Management Excellence and those doing their internships at Hartford House, looked out on a crystal-white landscape from the Drakensberg in the West to the ancient scene of the Battle of Willow Grange on their North-Eastern perimeter. No matter how often you've seen it, you never quite get over the goosebumps that come with it, and while this fall was just a smattering of the destruction of 2012's, the early rays of the rising sun and the ebbing mist of early morning found us in a winter wonderland.
There's a fascination in most of our hearts, and particularly those of our coastal dwellers, for a snowscape, and if your hospitality establishment isn't already full, you can count on a weekend like this to make sure it is. Mercifully, Hartford House has been "cooking" for the past couple of years, and there's seldom a spare bed on a weekend, but that doesn't mitigate the palpitations we feel in our breasts when we rise to this sight. Suddenly there are Beverly Hills helicopters flying in for weekend lunches, Ballooning SA's hot air balloons (two of them) will be billowing up from our paddocks in the wee hours of Saturday and Sunday, and those that are lucky enough, will have a view from an entirely different perspective.
Diners at tomorrow morning's breakfast and disembarkers from these escapades, will be treated to the incomparable energy of our traditional dancing troupe, whose name and fame extends to Tokyo and Hong Kong, where they ranked third and second in the world respectively on their debut performances. Now they've been invited to perform at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival, where no doubt, they will dance the socks off anyone who's lucky enough to see them, courtesy of Col. Reggie Purbrick (let’s not forget the OBE part!).
It's never good to speak ill of the dead, and this is not intended to diminish in any way the marvellous talents of Michael Jackson. As a dancer, he was as good as he was because of his "Africaness", not because he was American, yet in this company, he would battle to make the bench!
There were more than a few townspeople among the guests at Hartford House this weekend, who lamented the rain which forced a reappraisal of their outdoor plans, and again this morning, there was a rush among the guests for "Summerhill" apparel, particularly fleeces and weather-beaters, when a snow-bedecked Drakensberg emerged from the clouds at 6:30 am. For us though, the farming types, it was manna from heaven. In our 35 years at Summerhill, we've never known quite as mild a winter, and while the spring has been predictably unpredictable, the bit of rain we've had might otherwise have sufficed where it not for the soaring "summer" temperatures and cork-dry berg winds September and the early part of October brought with them. Uncharacteristic weather plays havoc with breeding plans and the foaling process, where creatures of habit generally follow the dictates of habit, no matter our human interventions. Places like the Karoo, the Western Cape and sometimes the Eastern Cape can justifiably use the term "drought", but it's hardly a term us Natalians can claim to belong to us. The last time we could genuinely complain that things were dry, was 1992, when irrigation dams dropped to a third of their capacity, but we all coped. While outsiders may have noticed that the terrain was different, they would hardly have said we were in trouble, beyond the obvious drop in our dam levels.
Snow on the mountains in late October you might say is unseasonal, and you're right, but it's not unprecedented, and while it may send a few shivers down the spine, the largesse this morning includes the free-flow of our rivers and an immeasurable supply of free nitrogen for the environment. Not that its deterred our visitors: an American banking group, charmed by the contrast between a beautiful spring garden and the chills of a glistening Giant's Castle, promptly booked their return visit to Hartford next year on check-out this morning.
For all the trials and the tribulations that accompany the foaling season, it's been pretty much free-wheel in 2013, and while that says something for the husbandry skills of a team that ranks with the best anywhere, it always helps to remember that whatever you do, Mother Nature is still in charge.