Durban - The road leads arrow-straight through plantations, takes a turn, and 4km later leads you to the gates of Chase Cheese Farm and Lodge.
Apparently schoolchildren visit by the busload, so it should prove a fun outing for a family looking for something different.
There were no buses disgorging loads of children during my visit, so it was peaceful. Even the goats were still in the fields.
At midday, there is a “cheese tour”, which includes a demonstration of milking a goat – which hops up obligingly on to a wooden platform, with a brace for its neck, while it patiently allows some children to try their hand at milking.
Because the animals are very tame, and enjoy being touched by children, this usually brings shrieks of delight.
There is also a short presentation on how the cheese is made.
Inevitably, who can then resist a trip to the curios/coffee shop, where organic cheeses are on sale – made either from goats’ milk, or milk from the farm’s herd of Jersey cows.
The dining deck – which is wheelchair-friendly – beside the swimming pool has some unusual dishes on offer, such as a savoury muffin with sweet chilli and biltong.
The piece de résistance, inevitably, is a cheese platter (for one or two people) which includes six kinds of cheese, olives, biscuits, grapes, and pineapple relish.
When I was there, two young German women ordered a large hamburger each, with a cheese platter to share. The fresh air certainly gives you an appetite.
For those looking for a peaceful and reasonable spot to spend the night, the farm’s self-catering accommodation is located beneath a big, spreading tree.
Each of the four small two-bed rooms has different, attractive decor. There’s a small gas plate for cooking, a kettle, TV, fridge, crockery and cutlery.
With the Isimangaliso Wetland Park not far away, there are plenty of activities to fill the days, and most people just use the accommodation for sleeping.
The owner serves dinners and breakfasts on request in the restaurant.
* The farm is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm. A cheese tour costs R60 for adults, R30 for children. Accommodation costs R170 each, but this goes up over Christmas and Easter. - Sunday Tribune
* Contact: 082 321 5000; e-mail: [email protected]; web: www.cheesefarm.co.za