As said in my previous post about my festive holiday travel to South Africa, I decided to spend a week in Mpumalanga, from the 28th of December to the 4th of January, to relax and de-stress from a very hard year.
I booked two places (Tomjachu from which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago was the first), being Torburnlea the second – I opted for two totally different experiences, being one more rural/wildlife oriented and the other more “urban”.
As I am used to go to Nelspruit just for shopping usually, I had never stayed at Torburnlea, or even heard about Macaffin Village before. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
The place is located, very conveniently, close to Ilanga Mall, the best shopping center in Nelspruit, just literally 3 minutes driving. Close enough o the city, and yet located in a very relaxing, peaceful and safe area, a closed condo, in a macadamia nut farm.
From their site:
Our story begins with a dream of preserving the 125-year family history and heritage
In 2012 Andrew and Kim Hall, fourth generation family of the farming pioneer HL Hall and his wife Grace, began restoring the 100-year family farmhouse. Here they were able to realise their dream of preserving the family heritage and continuing Grace Hall’s legacy of “providing rest for the weary traveller” in her home long before Nelspruit was even established.
The homestead is located on the well-known farming estate of HL Hall & Sons, in the village that was once occupied by the first generation Hall family and farming employees. It was named Torburnlea by Grace Hall in 1923 as a reminder of the countryside in Scotland where she spent her childhood. Steeped in history, Torburnlea was once host to the eminent President Jan Smuts, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the classic children’s book “Jock of the Bushveld” and Harry Wolhuter, one of the first game rangers of the Kruger Park, who survived a lion attack while patrolling the reserve on horseback.
Step inside the homestead and you will appreciate the lengths that Kim and Andrew have gone to in the restoration process. Every detail has been considered; every guest’s need attended to. With a keen interest in environmental sustainability, Kim and Andrew gave special attention to the installation of water and energy efficient fixtures, the use of recycled and locally sourced materials. The result is an elegant yet inviting space that you may never want to leave.
Be sure to walk around the historic Heritage Park while appreciating the bird life and make time to listen to Andrew’s stories and interesting facts about the homestead as he takes you back in time. Ask to be shown the wine cellar, previously used by his great grandmother to store her farm preserves and cured meat. Enquire about the royal visit of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and the princesses during an unscheduled stop of the White Train at the nearby Mataffin railway siding on the farm.
Everything described above is absolutely true. The love you can feel at every corner, the extreme care with details, the stunning decoration, the peace this oasis exudes, is just amazing.
The house is beautiful and surrounded by green lawns. Birds woke me up gently with their singing, drinking water from a small fountain outside my room (I will have a whole IG stories dedicated to this place). The two resident cats (mother and son) are a delight, beautiful and friendly. One of the dogs, makes a point of greeting you during meals but runs away from cell phones like the plague (I was not able to take a decent photograph as she kept running away as soon as I picked up my phone).
My room was large, in fact more like a suite, with a stunning bathroom, a small patio with an iron table and chairs, overlooking the beautiful garden filled with Hortensia, where I did sit enjoying the birds singing and a cup of tea.
The food (and this is a very important aspect to me) is gorgeous. Breakfast is included in the price, and what a breakfast. 90% of it is home made, including butter and yogurt (delicious), compotes, stewed fruits, granolas, really artisan, with local products and lots of love.
Dinner is not included, but for 24USD you have a 3 course dinner, with a salad, an amazing entree, and dessert. The food is stunning.
They are so customer oriented that they will never (unless you want to) put you in the same table with other guests, in order to respect your privacy. That is very dear to me. The attention and love they put into everything is just beautiful.
I only had a brief time with Andrew and Kim Hall as they were traveling when I arrived, and came back on the day I was leaving, but I could see how passionate they are with what they do, and how much love they put into it. That is what takes a place from basic (well, never in this case), to outstanding and memorable.
And how could I not mention Stanford? Stanford received me with a great smile, and was responsible for making me fall in love with the place. His kindness, his history of life, his humor, and his food, oh my, his food. He is the one in charge of all the food, and you can really see the love he has for what he does. Originally from Malawi, Stanford is a delightful person.
I could not wish for a more perfect time, to continue the great start of the year I had at Tomjachu. Anything I try to describe will not make justice to it, maybe my photographs will make you understand how special this place is. If you like videos, check my Travel Instagram @life.with.di, as I will soon post a highlight with the videos and photos from Torburnlea.