Durban - Blue Haze Country Lodge has Wagendrift Dam on one side and a mountain range for a dramatic backdrop. No wonder this lodge near Estcourt is called the “oasis of the Drakensberg”.
A chicken farm stood on this 5.6-hectare property until owner Allan Tweddle took over 19 years ago.
I took my family, Sharon and baby daughter Jodi-Belle. We had a deluxe suite, which had a mini-kitchen, a dining table, two armchairs, two wardrobes, a king-size bed and a cot.
From the patio door, we had uninterrupted views of the sparkling dam.
The Blue Haze has 28 fully furnished, well-equipped suites, nine of which have two bedrooms.
For those seeking a more rustic break, there are four privately positioned log cabins.
On a walk with Tweddle, he proudly pointed out the rooms where King Goodwill Zwelithini stays when visiting that part of the world.
The venue is popular for weddings and honeymoons. A Victorian gazebo in the garden is a popular choice for garden weddings – or couples can opt to marry in the functions venue, which can seat 150 people in air-conditioned comfort.
At the far end of the property is a vegetable garden that supplies executive chef Sean Wallis with some produce for the kitchen.
Wallis, who has worked internationally as well as on ocean liners, is responsible for the cuisine at the in-house Pheasant à la carte restaurant.
The rack of pork ribs we tucked into one evening was the best we’d eaten in a long time.
I really looked forward to a horse ride to view giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu and duiker, but rain on the second day of our stay put paid to that.
Just before we headed home, we did, however, catch a herd of kudu on the move.
Jodi-Belle was fascinated with the two ponies that grazed near our patio. She also enjoyed getting her legs wet in the paddling pool and playing on the jumping castle.
The trampoline was popular among the older children.
Other activities on offer include game drives, white-water rafting, water sports, hiking and climbing, fishing, bird-watching and team-building exercises.