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In Love with the St. Fort Country House – Clarens, South Africa

Sometimes the best places are off the tourist track.

Leaving from Port Shepstone we drove back up the coast toward Durban on the N2 then turned inland on the N3, driving past the Drakensberg Mountains, heading north all the way up through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and on to the small town of Clarens.

The Drakensberg Mountains would have been a wonderful place to stay and explore for several days but we just didn’t have the time. I wanted to choose a place that was closer to the Joberg airport and thought the Golden Gate Highlands Park looked like a more manageable size to explore. As it turns out, we did not take the time to explore that park either. That’s because we fell in love with our accommodations at the St. Fort Country House where we could hike right outside our door and not have to drive more than 10 minutes to get to downtown Clarens.

Driving Through the Golden Gate Highlands Nat’l Park – it is Beautifully Green in the Spring and Summer and Brown in the Winter
See the Zebras?
Golden Gate Highlands

I am happy to report that our drive along the N2 and N3 was fine! The N3 even had a wide middle divider and only rarely was someone walking along the road. For once I could relax and enjoy the beautiful South African countryside.

Part of the Impoverished Rural Settlement Around Clarens

The St Fort Country House is the most picturesque farm situated on about 8.5 square miles of land (2,200 hectare) in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. The early 1900s house is built of sandstone, has ensuite bedrooms, wood burning stoves and comfortable antique furniture. We had the whole house and homestead to ourselves because it was the winter slow-season. Every day staff would come to work in the house or on the farm and the owner – a wonderful lady named Ernestine – would come each morning to make our breakfast with the help of her assistant Sylvia.

The Main House Where We Stayed
Just Inside is our Cozy Living Room – it was warm in the day but very cold at night.

 

Each Morning We Had Breakfast in this Dining Room
My Husband’s Favorite “Activity” on the Farm
Beyond the Pond Lies the Homestead and House
In the Foothills of the Maluti Mountains

They hold weddings at the farm and it is no wonder, they have their own chapel, a reception hall, and the grounds are full of photo opps. I wish my husband and I could get re-married here!

The Private Chapel
Originally, Ernestine’s Daughter Wanted to get Married on the Farm so they Converted this Building for the Reception Area.
Winter Downtime – I can imagine how beautiful it must be when there is a wedding!

I couldn’t get enough of this farm. It was peaceful and quiet, the natural water from their spring was clean and delicious, the grass was spongy and dry (good for bare feet), there were some farm animals, wild rabbits (previously domesticated) and many birds. There was great hiking too; I will cover that in the next blog.

Below is a slideshow of some of the photo opportunities on the farm.

 

 

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