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 Category: Fishing

HARTFORD’S DENIZENS

Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)

Paul Helmbold enjoying the Hartford lakes / Leigh Willson (p)

OF FINE COMPANY AND FINE FISHING

We’ve had a great time of it in recent weeks at Hartford, and we’re always flattered by the visits of people who travel thousands of miles to see us. Not only do they add to the tapestry of our life experiences, but they’re the reason we exist. You see, to serve is a matter of dignity for those of us who live here, and through their visits, our guests provide us with the opportunity to express our pleasure at having them here.

Though Hartford has become a “must do it” for a good number of our self-respecting countrymen, most of our traffic at this time of the year comes from across the world, mainly the northern hemisphere.

At dinner last evening, in a dining room of twenty-odd, we were just four locals, with the rest from Ireland, France, England and the United States. And what a company they were. We felt we’d known them for years, and by the end of lunch in the stud office the following day, there was something of a “raucous caucus” at the boardroom table.

While he was with us, Paul Helmbold gave the lie to those who claimed in recent days that there were no fish in the Hartford lakes with a haul of five fish over 2.5 pounds, while his wife Rachel, gifted horsewoman that she is, couldn’t resist the temptation of teaching the Goss grandchildren the disciplines of good horsemanship.

Our lives are built on memories of these visits, and we hope, whenever our guests pass this way, they’ll feel they’ve done the same.

Duncan Hay lands fine Rainbow Trout

Duncan Hay with his 3.0kg Rainbow Trout

Duncan Hay with his 3.0kg Rainbow Trout

We are often blessed at Hartford House with the visitation of very interesting guests. This week was no exception as Duncan Hay and his lovely wife Vicki joined us for a few days.

Duncan is a researcher from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) with expertise including; biodiversity and conservation, community based natural resource management, integrated catchment management, project and programme planning as well as rural community development.

Duncan is also a keen fisherman, as can be seen by the photo above. He caught this healthy Rainbow Trout, weighing in at 3.0kg, early on Wednesday morning in our main trout dam, Preston Pan. His tool of the trade was a "Black Leaded Woolly Hopper".

An interesting note is that Duncan was a friend of David Rattray from university, and they would spend time exploring Fugitives' Drift where survivors escaping the Battle of Isandlwana crossed the Buffalo River, where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives saving the Queen's Colour of the 24th Regiment and where David Rattray later established the world-renowned Fugitives' Drift Lodge.

(Photo kindly supplied by Duncan Hay)

visit
www.landoflegends.co.za

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

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The Hartford Zulu Dance Troupe
(Hartford House)

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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,

PAULA MACKENZIE
HARTFORD HOUSE

Fine Rainbow Trout fishing in Hartford's dams

Chris Helmbold displays his 54cm Rainbow Trout / Hartford House (p)

Chris Helmbold displays his 54cm Rainbow Trout / Hartford House (p)

Chris Helmbold was delighted with this fine 54cm rainbow trout which he caught in Hartford's Panjandrum Dam on the first cast with an egg pattern on a whiskey streamer dropper. This happened "on the evening rise when the fish were porpoising for snails in the sub-surface".

"I would guess the weight was around 2,72kg," says Chris. "She jumped seven times and fought ferociously for 15 minutes. After posing for the pic she was released to jump another day!"