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Cranes Nest Mountain Lodge
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Farm 7, Cranes Nest, Belfast
+27 13 2569055
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Luxury at the End of a Long Dirt Road
ashbourne, United Kingdom
May 1, 2010
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Crane’s Nest Mountain Lodge, Near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa We booked the accommodation through roomsforafrica.com as we did with all our other accommodation for our trip to South Africa. This guest house was booked as we wanted somewhere ...
Crane’s Nest Mountain Lodge, Near Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa
We booked the accommodation through roomsforafrica.com as we did with all our other accommodation for our trip to South Africa.
This guest house was booked as we wanted somewhere rather nice to stay on our last night with the boys in South Africa and not too far from Blyde River canyon where we were going to visit that day.
Unfortunately we had a double puncture in our hire car and managed to get to Sabie to a ‘Super Quick’ tyre company as they were run safe tyres. We had thought it was only one but it turned out to be two completely useless tyres. They were able to order two similar replacements and the manager pointed us in the direction of a place to eat and said come back in a couple of hours. Needless to say this threw out our plans and we were not on the road towards Lydenburg until nearly 3.45.
Then to top this off we drove round Lydenburg several times trying to work out the stupid map we had off the internet and eventually I went in to another guest house to ask them where it was. We headed off in the direction she said but after about 20 km my husband thought we must be on the wrong road so we turned around. After some discussion in the car we were debating whether to just give up and go to another guest house and forfeit out £150 deposit or whether to persevere as it was getting dark and there were huge pot holes every now and then that were hard to see in the dusk.We decided to give it a try.
This was an awful road and the pot holes were like craters but we wound our way down the 50+km to a turn off. We were now at the point of no return as we were in the middle of nowhere and it was beginning to get dark. Another 15km down a dirt road and eventually we saw a sign for the ‘Crane’s Nest’ so, on we went.
However we got to a turn off with ‘Crane’s Nest’ 6km so onwards we went once again and then turned down the farm 6 turn off and onto the property so we thought we were there finally. However the road was awful, far worse than any field I’ve driven over taking the boys to music festivals in the UK. There were huge canyons and craters and cattle grids with logs to get over. It was so bad that even at 5mph the boys and I got out and walked up the drive which was about 1km. So needless to say we were not in the best of humour when we arrived.
The owner, Rosemarie greeted us warmly and said she had been worried about us, we explained our day and the fact that we had been looking in Lydenburg for some time too. She was so pleasant that we could not stay annoyed for long. She got one of her assistants, a very smiling man called Jacob to use a large torch to show us where our rooms were. He tried to guide us with the car over a field but my husband refused to take the car up there so we grabbed our luggage and carried it about 50 metres in the dark across a field to two different ‘houses’ or rooms which for us. He left us with the torch and we decided to have a shower before heading to the main house area for drinks and dinner which was part of the deal we had booked.
The rooms were lovely we had a big double bed and ensuite bathroom with a shower, toilet and basin. The boys’ room was similar except it had twin beds. Both rooms were built of stone/concrete at the base and then had tent style roofs to give a safari feel to the place. The bathroom was lovely basic but with an African feel to it. We had nice fluffy towels and some soap and shampoo provided. There was also a hair dryer but ours didn’t work which was disappointing as I hadn’t had one for some time by then.
Each room or small house was designed that you had a lovely view of both the countryside and mountains in the distance or the pool and garden but none were overlooked by any other one. They all had verandas with table and chairs and a fridge and a sink so you could do a braai or BBQ if you wanted. It was we discovered in the morning, a really beautiful setting and so tastefully designed and decorated. There were little touches like a tray with tea and coffee with rusks, a plate with a couple of apples and a small bowl with sweets as well in each of our rooms.
Anyway having had a shower and got changed we resolved to enjoy our last evening with the boys and headed over to the main reception and eating area. We were welcomed once again by Rosemarie who offered us a complementary sherry or juice, which I accepted but the men all went straight to beers. We were joined by a couple of very sweet Staffordshire Bull Terriers who were very well behaved and decided to lie on my feet.
Rosemarie then told us what we were having for our meal. We started with a homemade French onion soup with homemade bread which was delicious. The next course was a breast of chicken rolled around some stuffing, fresh vegetables all from their farm followed by Rosemarie’s own Malva tart and custard. The Malva tart is a South African speciality and was extremely tasty and once I am home I shall look up a recipe and try to make it again.
We were invited to go and join others sitting out relaxing and chatting after the meal but as we were all so exhausted we decided to call it a day and retire. My husband was already panicking about driving back along the road as another puncture on the drive back to Johannesburg would have been a big problem especially if we were in the middle of nowhere so he did not sleep very well but the room was very comfortable as was the bed .It is just a shame that we were not there longer and had we known about the miles of poor dirt roads we might have rethought booking this place.
The next day we felt much better and returned to the main reception area for our breakfast. Once again Rosemarie greeted us and invited us in to the buffet table where there was juice, cereals, muffins and some very unusual grilled fruit with cinnamon, cardamom and star anise flavour. I’d never tried it before but it was quite yummy, apples and bananas mainly which we had with yogurt, it was beautifully laid out on a table against the wall. After we had enjoyed that we were once again invited in to select from boerewors sausages in gravy, a huge omelette/ soufflé with bacon and some corn fritters which I did try and they were very tasty. There were such huge portions it even over- faced the boys who have very hearty appetites.
The setting was beautiful, in the middle of nowhere and so quiet. There was a lovely pool and the gardens were obviously well cared for but unfortunately we were not able to stay long enough to enjoy these facilities.
Before we left I was able to use the internet to check the boys in for their flight on Rosemarie’s computer and she refused any payment which was very kind. We had to pay the balance of our account and were able to pay by card and the bill was ready with an official receipt too.
This was a lovely welcoming guest house but you really needed to be told that a four wheel drive was needed for the farm track. Rosemarie’s husband did say that they provided a shuttle service with a four wheel drive but it was too late by then as we were already there. I would suggest it would be a perfect romantic getaway for a weekend as it is an idyllic setting with luxurious food and lovely comfortable rooms but is was somewhat outin the middle of nowhere so a long way from most places to get to which means you have to be prepared for a long and pretty awful drive in order to get there.
South African Road Trip
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