Words by Phumeza Langa
I’ve always believed that our country has beautiful destinations that are just ready for us to explore, albeit when time, and budget allow. One such place is perfectly situated in the KwaZulu- Natal Midlands, the Beacon Vlei Guest Farm – a hidden gem that a group of us discovered on a couples road trip.
We were traveling with a little person, so we had to make sure that we stayed at a place that was family-friendly and also offered something for us grown folk, both at the guest farm and when we went exploring the Midlands Meander. As soon as we arrived, the husbands saw the lake and went straight for it, already wanting to go rowing!
Beacon Vlei offers both B&B and self-catering options – and of course in our excitement we selected the self-catering option, the wives would handle the kitchen things, whilst the guys would braai for us. Admittedly, the wives agreed that the next place we go to, would definitely see us not anywhere near a stove or dishes!
The cottages are really lovely, kitted out with all the mod cons that one would need, including a TV with DStv, which you will hardly watch. We stayed in the Crane and Heron cottages, each with two couples and our youngest roadtripper. All the cottages on the farm have that homeliness balanced out quite nicely with that “out of the city” mood, which you start feeling even before you reach the farm. (Note: ideally, travellers should use an off-road vehicle to go to Beacon Vlei, the road is a mild bundu-bashing experience that most cars wouldn’t be too thrilled to try out).
The décor, was simple and tasteful, nothing kitsch or anything that overwhelms you on a sensory level. There were some pieces of furniture that my cousin Futhi and I drooled over in both our rooms and the cottages, that had us telepathically redecorating our homes back in Jozi in that moment. The farm is so peaceful. There was a morning where I managed to have some quiet next to the lake and yes, I could really hear my thoughts, quieten them down too and just be in that moment.
The farm is surrounded by wetland area – gorgeous! but with a chill at night in the colder months – and if were ornithologists, we would have been geeking out at the different bird species we saw. We were told that other wildlife including buck, Reed and Bush buck amongst others, porcupine and wild pigs paid the area a visit if it wasn’t already home.
We managed to make our way to some arts and craft shops, as well as the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick. We certainly wished we had more time to spend in Beacon Vlei and explore a bit of the area, as there is so much to do! Activities include battlefield tours, fly fishing, birding, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, exploring cheese farms, art galleries and paragliding to name a few things – it is safe to say it’s on the list of places that we must go back to!
Visit their website here for Accommodation and rate queries