Tuesday, 13 November 2012

MIDLANDS MEANDER BREAK (Part 1)


We have just returned from a very relaxing weekend break at the Beacon Vlei Guest Farm.Nestled in the heart of the KwaZulu Natal Midlands, Beacon Vlei Guest Farm offers B&B and self-catering accommodation with a touch of history. I wouldn't say that the accommodation was luxurious, but it was clean,functional and typical of many Midlands old farm houses. What it lacked with the decor of the rooms, it made up for in it's stunning location,such a peaceful and tranquil setting.
Situated on a 23 Hectare private dam the surrounding wetland area, is home to hundreds of beautiful bird species and wildlife.


Fishing is one of the main activities at Beacon Vlei, the dam used to be one of Natals top Fly fishing dams. Fishing is free for guests provided you bring your own rods and tackle. They have numerous boats which are also free for guests to use for fishing or just for a row on the dam. 





I named this "Sundowner Island"


Getting to Beacon Vlei proved to be somewhat of an adventure in itself....as usual we set off late 4.30pm instead of 2pm, so guess what? we hit all the Friday afternoon traffic! Not a good start...


To add to our worries we had to drive in the rain, which hit us about 20mins into our journey. As we approached Pietermaritzburg we drove through a terrible thunder storm...rain,wind, lightening the "works" little did we know at this time...that this storm had just come through the Curry's Post area like a mini tornado....uprooting trees,posts,boundary fences and knocking off the power in its wake! and this was the area we were heading!!!



When we arrived at Beacon Vlei fortunately they had power, but everywhere was very muddy and a little "leaky" to say the least, but despite this, the rain had stopped and the skies were bright blue and it was sunny. Not sure about my black patent muddy wedges though.....





That evening we went off to the nearby "local" the infamous Nottingham Road Hotel for dinner and even though I have been to the pub several times before over the years I was pleasantly surprised, as the hotel has had a mini revamp. The hotel has been around since 1854 and is steeped in history, as is Nottingham Road itself. (If you would like to read more about the interesting history of the hotel and the village then visit their website below and view under "history")

The pub was very busy and lively, as it is frequented by the locals as well as tourists...be aware that the pub is a "smoking" pub!
The dining room was all candlelit and had a lovely seated area in front of the stone lit fire. The food was good traditional fayre and reasonably priced. I had local Dargle Valley pork bangers,mash and gravy....all very yummy and hearty!




The next morning we woke to beautiful blue skies and a wonderful view of the early morning mist over the dam....and an array of bird sounds...not sure what the birds were sorry....not my forte I'm afraid!

We were "fed and watered" and ready to "Meander through the Midlands".





The Midlands Meander in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, is a collection of arranged routes that offer visitors hospitality in truly beautiful surroundings, outstanding accommodation, conference and wedding facilities, fascinating local events, fabulous restaurants, revitalising outdoor activities and over-the-top adventure sports, historic landmarks, wildlife conservation, and best of all “shop-till-you-drop” unique arts and crafts.    An easy one-hour drive from Durban and on the N3 highway from Johannesburg, there is much to explore and do in the Midlands.  

Off we went to the Karkloof Framers Market in Howick on the first of our meander stops. It offered the usual array of market goods etc nothing out of the ordinary...I was really chuffed though with my R50 purchase on the 2nd hand book stall...
Sis in France watch out!




Our next stop was at the Groundcover Leather Company, which was founded in 1990 by Justin and Amanda McCarthy. A family business located on a farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa. Groundcover is the expression of a lifelong passion for leatherwork and a search for a meaningful livelihood. Again I have visited Groundcover several times over the past twenty years or so, but I was excited to see that they had moved with the "fashions" and now create some wonderful leather bags,wallets and purses in colours other than their original tan and black....they had some great pieces and the prices were good to....






To be continued....




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