Ronel Rademeyer keeps company with a Kievits Kroon cat as she enjoys a picnic on the estate's lawns.
Ronel Rademeyer keeps company with a Kievits Kroon cat as she enjoys a picnic on the estate's lawns.

Escaping to the perfect getaway

By Andrea Bryce Time of article published Jul 18, 2013

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Johannesburg - Sometimes all you want is a patch of green grass, some shade, a pillow and your book, away from traffic and maniacal taxi drivers, deadlines, washing lines, floor mops and school exams.

When this time came recently, I found that tranquil spot under a towering tree just 45 minutes from Joburg. My partner and I were ushered through the reception at Kievits Kroon on to lush lawns where blankets and pillows lay waiting.

We were brought a picnic that could have fed a football team, and we tucked into wraps with mango atchar, quiche smoked snoek pate, smoked Canadian salmon, roast beef, chicken liver mousse served with Melba toast and citrus marmalade, gypsy ham with spicy pineapple, chicken drumsticks, salads, cheese and crackers, French loaf and desserts.

Just then the skies opened. The staff rushed to our rescue, and we finished our outside feast inside.

Kievits Kroon is built on an old farm. The farmhouse was knocked down and a gabled house built in 1998. The 140-room hotel, spa and conferencing facilities and Granita restaurant as they are today were completed in 2001.

“What we are selling is peace and quiet close to the cities,” says managing director Alan O’Leary. “We’re selling an escape.”

We found our escape soon after the heavens opened on our picnic, when the sun returned. The grass was dry an hour later, and we resumed our positions under the tree. Entertainment was provided by the resident cats vying for our affection and chasing each other up trees.

Kievits Kroon is just off Kameeldrift Road near Roodeplaat Dam. It’s close enough to Pretoria and Joburg for convenience, but far enough in the country to be tranquil.

Tapping into this outdoorsy advantage, the company, as one of its corporate responsibility projects, supports the Academy for Canoe Development based at the dam. The academy enrolled 40 children from Leeuwfontein Primary School in 2009 and, within a year and a half, it had produced national champs. Kievits Kroon staff provide children at the academy with a hearty meal and a remedial teacher helps them with their homework before they make for the water to start their training.

“The children are taught to swim and canoe, and at the same time the programme helps dispel the myths of water serpents,” says O’Leary.

Many of the children were malnourished before the programme was started.

Leeuwfontein Primary and others have also benefited from Kievits Kroon’s Ithuta Art Project. The school’s 230 pupils are mostly the children of poor local farm workers who live in informal settlements. The school is funded by the government but relies on donations such as stationery and books.

Itutha, with the help of artist Zelda Susan, teaches the children basic art skills. Their artworks decorate the walls of Kievits Kroon and are for sale, with the proceeds purchasing essential items for the school.

If you’d like a bit more than a lie on the lawn though, superb spa facilities are available to give you the chance to chill out and detoxify with the help of expert therapists. There are steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, Swiss showers, plunge pools and an indoor heated pool with a stunning view of the estate.

But the best part of a Kievits Kroon stay, in my opinion, is the acclaimed Granita restaurant. Superb service and exquisite food make for a world-class dining experience. Our chef for the night, Thabo Letsholo, impressed with an eight-course feast, and our maître di Louis Mokhonwana saw to our every whim.

The next morning’s buffet breakfast was just as good – the perfect way to end the perfect break away from the city. - Saturday Star

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