Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Filtering by Tag: Drakensberg Accommodation

The truth is incontrovertible: The Best Value in the World.


The Hartford Zulu Dance Troupe
(Hartford House)


One thing you’ll always notice about the change of seasons in the Drakensberg area, is that each season has a distinct character, and this year Spring has been as spectacular as ever.

It’s not only the birds that are singing: undoubtedly the best boy’s choir in the world, the Drakensberg Boys' Choir, is situated just up the road from us and they’re preparing for their Summer and Christmas seasons. If you’re in the vicinity of Hartford House, be sure to let us arrange a visit for you to one of life’s most outstanding choral experiences. We can even pack you a delicious picnic lunch and direct you via South Africa’s art capital, Clarens, all in the same morning.

Besides a burst of greenery and the profusion of young buds, they’re foaling “royalty” at South Africa’s champion racehorse breeding establishment, Summerhill Stud. This weekend also witnessed the departure of more than 100 bouncing two-year-olds to the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale in Johannesburg, on their way to racing glory no doubt.

Most of these youngsters have never set foot on a moving vehicle in their lives, and it’s a joy to watch the skills of our young Zulu horsemen coaxing them aboard to the encouraging serenades of school children, wives and "gogos" (or grandmothers) at the loading ramps.

You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to get among the trophy trout on this property. Just a few weekends back, two of our young guests availed themselves of our "master-class fly casting lessons", and each came away with prize trout of between six and seven pounds.

Another couple, whilst enjoying a “bomb-proof” horse ride in the direction of the Boathouse and Magic Mirror lake, were thrilled by a sudden stampede of startled Reedbuck and the sighting of the endangered Oribi.

We continue to be surprised, (but oh so pleasantly) at the pilgrimage of foreigners who travel from so far to visit with us at Hartford.

While we’ve always enjoyed a healthy sprinkling of Brits and Europeans, and a throng from the horse-loving countries to the west and east of us, we appear to have new devotees from the United States and Australia. People are supposedly rediscovering their roots, and it seems this area (Hartford House and Summerhill in particular) offers one of the warmest, most hospitable and genuinely authentic experiences on the planet.

There are others who delight in the entertainment of our Zulu dance troupe, and it’s a source of considerable pride to tell you that in a couple of weeks, they'll be winging their way to their third World Traditional Dance Championships to be held in the United States. The troupe have already achieved 2nd and 3rd in Tokyo and Hong Kong respectively and believe they now know how it’s done, and we’re confident they’ll return home the best Traditional Dance troupe in the world.

We know we don’t have to ask you to join us in wishing them well on their way. It’s the visits of our Guests that have encouraged and uplifted our people to such a degree, and we’re forever grateful for the contributions you make.

We sincerely hope this note finds you in the “pink”. If you aren’t already on your way to us, please visit us on our website at www.hartford.co.za for the latest in what’s up at Hartford. There’s just a tiny chance we might be able to lure you back before too long!

With the Rand at unprecedented levels against the major currencies, South Africans will be staying at home more than ever, and our foreign friends will find us the best value in the world, by a country mile.

Warmest regards,


Weather conditions to expect at Hartford House, Giant's Castle

Lazy summer days at Hartford House

Lazy summer days at Hartford House

The weather:

The altitude of the uKahlamba-Drakensberg (11 000 feet) and Midlands region keeps summer moderate, with temperatures rarely reaching 30 degrees Celcius.

Summer (December to February), the rainy season, is characterised by daily thundershowers. As a result the area takes on a healthy green hue – “green are the hills of KwaZulu-Natal”,

Winter days are warm – usually about 19 degrees Celcius while the night temperatures can plummet to below zero. Snow regularly illuminates the peaks of the uKahlamba-Drakensberg.

Autumn, some say is the best time to visit. This is when the rainfall drops and the lush green mountain slopes change to golden blonde.

Spring is a time of abundance. Showers are the precursor to summer rains. Buds burst into blossoms – the area is alive with activity.

The seasons and seasonal activities on the farm:

Summer: December to February - Relax at the pool – fly fishing – cocktails at sunset

Autumn: March to May - A leisurely walk – horse riding – catch up on the

region’s history

Winter: June to August - Crackling log fires – good conversation – fine wine

Spring: September to November - Familiarise yourself with the horse breeding industry

Average temperatures:

Summer 15-28

Autumn 11-24

Winter 0-19

Spring 11-24

Suggested essentials:

When visiting the area in summer, it is imperative to have a hat and sunscreen. A light-weight raincoat is suggested. A light-weight jersey might be needed on a cool evening. Bring out the woolies in winter – but not too many because the days are glorious. This is a farming community so dress is casual – we, however, ask that you add smart to casual for meals. Walking shoes would come in handy, as would a camera and binoculars. A healthy appetite is a must!