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Put away your iPads, kids. Wyndford awaits

Free State

Myrtle Ryan

 

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A tree house is located in the forest on the side of the mountain.Tractor rides are one of the favourites with the guests.The summer house was built by Italian prisoners of war - note the fine stone work.

Bloemfontein - Though self-catering is the norm nowadays, there is nothing more relaxing than not having to worry about cooking, shopping and cleaning.

This is where guest farms that feed and entertain score big points, especially with the lady of the house, who really needs a break from the stove.

Located on the banks of the Little Caledon River in the Free State, and within hailing distance of Lesotho, Wyndford Guest Farm is blessed with magnificent scenery. The gardens are glorious and the food delicious.

Children often demand more than a pretty setting, though. For them a holiday is all about scrambling, exploring and being entertained.

At Wyndford, absent are the young set romancing their iPads. There is no time, with all the activities such as hiking, zip-lining, abseiling, an animal farm, horse riding, mini-golf, tennis and a huge swimming pool.

There are special weekends to anticipate such as the Spider-Man in October, when you go looking for butterflies, spiders, scorpions and learn about them. Learn more about the constellations on stargazing weekends.

A favourite in times of abundant rain is tubing down the river. Hop on to a tube under the border bridge, then float gently downstream for 4km.

The zipline in the forest (which is also home to the farm’s first beehive) is surrounded by three tree houses, which also have swing chairs for parents while the kids play.

Wyndford’s cooks and waitress, who have been part of the family - some for 25 years - are well known to returning guests.

There is an array of scenic walks. Some have benches located at viewing points. Children love the side walk where they can crawl through caves.

The more adventurous enjoy Ibis Gorge, a longer walk in a lovely quiet part of the farm. The Chin of the Tortoise mountain offers scenic views into Lesotho and over the farm.

There are two guided walks a day (popular with people of all ages). Rainy days mean Scrabble, or a chance to work on a variety of jigsaw puzzles, while the evenings can bring anything from stalk the lantern to Wyndford’s version of the Amazing Race, or four square. I’m not going to spoil the fun by telling exactly what these entail!

The owners always try to introduce new things to the menu, while retaining old favourites, and say their chocolate-brownie pudding is often requested by guests when booking.

Tea time treats (morning and afternoon are included in the daily tariff) could include zucchini, orange and chocolate cake, or head chef Joy’s scones - which are legendary. Biscuits, jams and marmalades are all home-made.

An indication of popularity is often in how long a place has been operational. A Scottish lady started Wyndford around 1920, giving it the name Wynd (a winding road) to the Ford or river crossing (in those days of ox wagons this was where crossing into Lesotho was easy).

Some of the rooms are original rondavels, comfortably upgraded with modern amenities, yet retaining their old charm. Some have been named after famous London hotels such as Dorchester and Crystal Palace.

There have been many owners over the years and each brought something special. The gardens are always beautiful, even though hard-hit by the recent drought.

The owners believe their speciality is their accessibility to all parts of the country, with people often gathering there for family reunions and special celebrations.

Call 058 2230274, e-mail: [email protected] or see www.wyndford.co.za

Saturday Star

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