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: South Africa

A True Midlands Meander Autumn Experience

Autumn on the greater Summerhill / Hartford Estate, Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa / Leigh Willson (p)

Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
— George Eliot / Letter to Miss Eliot 1841

NEW 7 WONDERS OF NATURE

Table Mountain - New 7 Wonders of Nature / TerraNova (p)

Table Mountain - New 7 Wonders of Nature / TerraNova (p)

"It's a Wonderful World..."

It's a universal fact that you can't speak of the world's most beautiful places without accounting for South Africa. There are many who believe that our valleys and hills are the  most enchanting farmland on the planet; others point to the Drakensberg and the Golden Gate National Park, while we'd challenge anyone to reveal a more spectacular coastline anywhere in the world, than our neighbouring Wild Coast. And then we have our wild places, Northern Zululand and Mpumalanga, and a Karoo that makes the Outback look ordinary. The winelands of the Cape have no competition in the world of viticulture, and just this week the New Seven Wonders Foundation identified Table Mountain as one of only seven new wonders of nature. It's in good company; the Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo and Puerto Princesa Underground River.

A tough contest when places like our district's Drakensberg Mountains, Kosi Bay, Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta etc missed the cut. You can excuse the organisers for omitting the Wild Coast - it's so inaccessible, it's unlikely any of them has ever been near it. And that's the prime reason why it remains one of the last natural beauties of the world.

In an independent impact report conducted by Grant Thornton, a leading tourism, hospitality and leisure research company, it was predicted that a R1.4 billion annual tourism return can be expected for South Africa. Basing their projections on the New 7 Wonders of Nature, in which a 100 million votes were cast worldwide, Grant Thornton estimate that tourism could increase by as much as 20% as a result of this latest finding.

While Hartford House remains one of the nation's favourite destinations, if Grant Thornton are right, we have something to look forward to.

DR IAN PLAYER CALLS FOR RHINO HORN TRADE DEBATE

The Endangered Rhino / Land Rover (p)

The Endangered Rhino / Land Rover (p)

"INGWAZI HONOUR GUEST IN THE NEWS"

Sunday, the 3rd July is a big day in the histories of Hartford House and the Land of Legends. We are honouring the Premier of KZN, Dr Zweli Mkhize and Dr Ian Player, the latter of whom is remembered as the saviour or the world's rhino populations. The tireless Ian Player was in the news again this week:

Fifty years after spearheading an international drive to save the white rhino from extinction, world-renowned wildlife conservationist Ian Player has set the cat among the pigeons by calling for an urgent national debate on whether to legalise the controlled trading of rhino horns.

Player - one of the central figures in the 1960's Zululand battle to save the world's last remaining white rhinos from extinction - suggested that re-opening legal trade in horns might be the only way to save the continent’s rhinos from the recent "catastrophic" wave of illegal rhino poaching by syndicates.

"Make no mistake, we are up against some very dark forces which threaten to overwhelm us," he told business people at an anti-poaching fundraiser in Durban Tuesday.

Noting that powdered rhino horn had been used in Oriental traditional medicine for several thousand years, the 84-year-old wildlife ambassador said: "Nothing is going to stop the deep-seated belief systems in the Far East. So we need to debate in all possible forums the merits and demerits of selling these horns legally… In the end, it may be the only way to save the rhino."

Extract from The Mercury

DELI NENE : UNILEVER INSPIRING CHEF FOR 2010-2011

chef deli nene

Chef Deli Nene
(Photo : Patrick Royal)

"THIS IS WHAT GETS US UP IN THE MORNINGS"

You're never going to make an independent fortune from racehorse breeding or a small boutique hotel, but both of these are the hand which fate has dealt us. That said, we wouldn't change them for the world, because there are other rewards that make our pursuits worthwhile.

In September this year, one of our junior chefs, Zandile Mchunu was chosen from across the country to represent South Africa at an international culinary exhibition in Shanghai. She was the third from our disadvantaged community to be selected for such an honour, and the third to have benefited from the tuition of Jackie Cameron. Jackie's own achievements are the stuff of legend, a testament to the enterprise and energy of a young lady of just 27 years. This is not about Jackie Cameron though, for a change, as you can find all you want on her on Google, or by visiting various places on this website.

This one is about Deli Nene, a third generation member of the Summerhill and Hartford communities, and a proactive "player" in the affairs of our farm family. It was her turn this week to make the headlines when multinational Unilever selected her in their illustrious band of "Inspiring Chefs for 2010/2011".

According to Jackie, "her perseverance and commitment to the company speaks for itself, having started in 1995 as a hand in the horse division at Summerhill. Her role quickly transformed from a horse lady to looking after the Muir household for 10 years. Her love for cooking and food soon outshone her other skills however, and she obtained a domestic household cooking certificate, which opened her doors into my kitchen. Who would have thought her journey would take her to this accolade when she started helping out on her weekends off, and eventually progressed to being permanent cook at Hartford. Her culinary talent, leadership ability, teaching skills and enthusiasm to learn and work with others has been inspiring and refreshing to witness. These qualities make her the woman she is today, and the chef she has become over the last few years. A true pleasure to work with, as she knows no limits... the world is her oyster".

Here's Deli herself :

"I grew up cooking with my mom and I always enjoyed it. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef or cook but didn't have the money to go and study. This was the reason I started working on the farm. As a domestic in the Muir household, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a quick-cooking course. This fuelled my wish to work in the Hartford kitchen even more so. So I decided to see if I could get a temporary job in Jackie's kitchen on my weekends off. Bit by bit I worked my way in. This was my long term plan. It took 10 years to finally get a permanent job at Hartford, and now this!".

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

2010 HOUSE AND LEISURE / VISA BEST OF SA AWARDS

land of legends, kwazulu natal, south africa

Land of Legends - Legacy of the Zulu Kingdom
www.landoflegends.co.za 

"PLAY IT AGAIN SAM : HARTFORD TOPS AGAIN"

There was a time not long ago, when KwaZulu Natal ranked as the poor third cousin in the eyes of international travellers in particular. That's changed in recent years, and if the outcome of the House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA competition is anything to judge our province by, it seems the world has finally awakened to the beauty and diversity of this spectacular region.

Within the walls of the province, there has long existed an intimate collection of hospitality properties known as the Land Of Legends, whose common glue is their celebration of culture, tradition and history, and their outstanding records of social upliftment and environmental preservation. These establishments include Hartford House, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Fordoun Hotel and Spa,the Beverley Hills Hotel and Rocktail Beach Camp, and the first three of these recently made the final five in each of their respective categories in the House and Leisure / Visa Best of SA competition.

Given that the best names in South African hospitality were among the finalists in each category, it's not only a wonderful tribute to the Land Of Legends in general and these properties specifically, but it's a compliment to the depth and diversity of KwaZulu Natal's offerings, that all three were voted national winners by the readers of South Africa's most popular lifestyle magazine, for the second consecutive year.

Hartford House topped the podium as the nation's best restaurant in that category, which included the The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francaise and Le Colombe at Constantia Uitsig, both of which rank in the World Top Fifty. Some achievement for celebrity chef, Jackie Cameron, and her team, considering the remoteness of their locality, 10kms on the Giants Castle side of Mooi River.

Hardly surprising, for their well established reputation for excellence, was the Phinda Homestead Lodge's top spot in the Best Of SA Lodge category, and here again, we should be mindful that the finalists included Ivory Lodge, Singita Sweni Lodge and Makanyane Safari Lodge.

In the Spa category, there were two KwaZulu Natal-based properties amongst the finalists, Fordoun Hotel and Spa and the Karkloof Spa, with the outstanding Nottingham Road-based Fordoun the voter's favourite for a second time.

While the voting was not confined to South African readers alone, the outcomes were probably as much a statement about the excellence of these KwaZulu Natal establishments, as they were for the values South Africans treasure most : excellent quality, great dependability and outstanding value, and the fact that increasingly, modern travellers have originality, authenticity and genuine hospitality at the top of their shopping lists, in the choice of where they eat and where they choose to stay.

Visit
www.landoflegends.co.za