1. WEEKEND GETAWAY
Oaklands Country Manor (Van Reenen)
There are many reasons to pass through Van Reenen, halfway between Johannesburg and Durban, and there’s a very good reason to stop and spend a few days — Oaklands Country Manor. The manor — set among polo fields in the beautiful, rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal that are perfect for spontaneous hikes — is a family affair, run by siblings Kathy, Caroline, Annie, and Simon Tully.
Chef Kathy Romer-Lee, the personal chef of Roald Dahl at one point, is passionate about “veld to table” food, sourced from their own garden and farms in the region. Fans come from all over the area on a Saturday night for the famous curry spread.
The farm was originally owned by Sir Hervey James Hugh Bruce-Clifton, a former Major in the British Army, and is now run by his wife, Lady Caroline. Oaklands, just 7km off the highway, offers more than just good fun in the country — the many activities include horse riding in the shadow of majestic mountains, paddling along or fishing in one of the two dams within viewing distance of the hotel patio, bird watching, walking and hiking, and, of course, eating. The daily chalkboard menu offers delicious, home-style food that is unfussy and big on flavour. The award-winning fare includes a soft-boiled egg, deep-fried in a crisp parmesan crust set on local asparagus; the famous Dargle Valley pork roast; and heirloom beetroot, avocado, and haloumi salad. - Andrea Nagel oaklands.co.za