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: Zulu Dancers


Hartford Zulu Dance Team in action
(Photos : Hartford House)

"Hartford Zulu Dance Team"

It's with great hustle and bustle that the Award winning Zulu Dancers from Hartford eagerly enter their details for the up coming season of SA's Got Talent. With Auditions for the first round taking place on the 23rd June at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, they'll be competing against various acts from musicians to magicians as well as acrobats and smooth groovers.

The Zulu Dancers have been performing at Hartford House for the last ten years and comprise young zulus from Bruntville, a community just outside Mooi River. They take great pride in showcasing their Zulu Heritage and we love watching them perform with such vigour and enthusiasm. We are very excited that news of their amazing talent has travelled and that they have been invited to attend "SA's Got Talent".

From all the staff at Hartford and Summerhill we wish our team of dancers all the best, and we cannot wait to see them on etv in September 2012.

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wedding at hartford house kwazulu natal south africa

A Hartford Wedding

Durban, South Africa

 It’s always gratifying to receive feedback from guests who stay aHartford House, as an enormous amount of effort goes into making every guest’s stay a memorable one.  It was therefore with deep appreciation that we received these reviews via theripadvisor.com website.

We booked Hartford House for my daughter’s wedding.  We took over the whole hotel for two nights. What an unbelievable experience! All the guests from the United Kingdom and South Africa thought it was a very romantic location for a wedding. 

The food we had at the reception was, as expected, excellent. The accommodation in the suites which overlook the lake was out of this world.  I do not think I have stayed in a room anywhere in the world as large as the one at Hartford House.  We also took advantage of the guided tour of the stud farm which was very interesting and informative. 

My daughter could not have had a better wedding experience. The staff could not do enough for us during our stay.  A highlight was the performance by a local group of young Zulu dancers which the hotel arranged for the evening before the wedding.  They were the best we’ve seen.

London, England

hartford house south africa ezulweni lake suites

Ezulweni Lake Suites

During our stay I mentioned to the manager that they should put Hartford House on the TripAdvisor site, and I’m glad she did!

This is a fabulous place for ambience, countryside views, peace and tranquillity and excellent food.  We were lucky that, while we were there, a top South African jockey and his family were staying and, together with them, we had a guided tour of the stud farm with Mick Goss, the owner. They look after and breed for many of the top owners in the world. The horses are amazing! There are just fields of mares and foals.

They have several rooms, the best definitely being the suites which overlook the fishing dam which is quite good for fly-fishing. My husband also went on a fly-fishing trip on the small trout rivers nearby which were demanding but, apparently, very good.

I would thoroughly recommend Hartford House.

Cape Town, South Africa

hartford house south africa siyabongo suite bedroom

Siyabonga Suite 15 Bedroom

We booked at Hartford House in Natal for 2 nights, due to the fact that the on-site restaurant was voted as one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa.

The Siyabonga Suite we stayed in is completely separate from the whole estate, overlooking the dam. The suite itself was massive with a complete lounge with fireplace, entrance area, and a big bedroom with seating space. The bathroom was the cherry-on-top with 2 freestanding baths next to each other for bathing. A massive shower room with separate toilet and dressing area completed the suite. Everything in the suite was in neutral earthy colours and our suite even had a grass roof. The materials used to build the suite were made by the locals with their local building materials.

The main building is absolutely beautiful. The building is still the old original sandstone farmhouse. Inside, portions of the ceilings are even stained glass, which lets light through during the day and is absolutely amazing. The main building houses the restaurant, lounge, porch and breakfast area. Everything has old world charm, yet is updated with modern style and done tastefully. It is a beautiful house.

The estate itself is on a working stud farm and apparently breeds some of the best horses in the world. We did see some horses and it's understandable why. The estate is massive with every inch of ground manicured to perfection.

The highlight of our stay, however, was the restaurant. Being avid “foodies”, the dinner and breakfasts during our stay were mouth-watering sensations each time. I'm not going into detail, but each course was made with fresh ingredients from the estate and had a perfect combination of tastes. Even breakfast was a three-course meal, and not the normal buffet with a selection of everything. The three-course breakfast was a refreshing experience with exquisite combinations.

All in all, this estate combines everything perfectly. The proximity to the Drakensberg is also very nice, as it's only 50kms from Giant's Castle.

We loved our stay here and will be back again and again.

HARTFORD HOUSE DANCERS : A National Institution

hartford zulu dancers

Hartford House Zulu Dance Troupe
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

About ten years ago, a group of local kids approached us with a view to auditioning as a traditional dance troupe. Mick Goss grew up in the heartland of traditional dancing in one of the remotest parts of South Africa, and he’d seen just about every traditional dance there was to be seen. Reluctantly, and only because they represented families of our disadvantaged, he and Cheryl agreed to attend an audition on Hartford’s front lawn. In the event, some 30 turned up, ranging from ages 8 to 18, together with six makeshift drums, strapped with animal hides and beaten with garden hoses as substitutes for the traditional drumsticks.

Remember, the judges had sat through more than a thousand renditions of traditional dance routines in their lives to that point, so this had to be impressive to become anything more than just another audition. Yet these kids were so good, when the show was over, it took the Gosses less than a minute to decide they would be a permanent fixture, on duty every Saturday evening at Hartford House for as long as the weather permitted. These youngsters were not just talented, they had regaled themselves in the full ceremonial gear at their own expense, yet they were part of an impoverished community. No doubt about their determination, not to mention their self belief.

Until three years ago, they’d never ventured beyond the confines of Mooi River, then, out of the blue, they were invited to perform at the Provincial Championships in Durban. There they won the right to represent KZN at the National Championships, and the rest is a fairytale. As the best dance group in South Africa, they were sent to Tokyo for the World Traditional Dance Championships, and on debut, they ranked third, in the whole darn world! It’s barely believable, we know, but here they were, the only team on the African continent to rank this high, and a year later, in Hong Kong, they finished second.

Reality is, this team is still a “work in progress”, and they’re getting better by the day, to the degree that we were confident, had it taken place as scheduled in the United States earlier this year, they might’ve returned with the World crown. Sadly, the present economic climate in the United States has led to the postponement of the event, but these youngsters will still have their day.

You need only ask those that’ve witnessed their routine to know how good they are. And while a man of Michael Jackson’s dance talents owes everything he’s knows to his African roots, he’d struggle to make the “bench” in the Hartford troupe.