Chance to test new Ford minibus takes Yoliswa Sobuwa on a much-needed getaway

Drakensberg works its magic for out-of-town trip

The rustic cottages at Dalmore guest farm gave one a true experience of a farm life.
The rustic cottages at Dalmore guest farm gave one a true experience of a farm life.
Image: SUPPLIED

Johannesburg is known to be a city on the move, where one barely has time for oneself. That’s why I jumped at an opportunity to spend a weekend in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal.

The cherry on top was that I could take along my two boys – 14 and three years old. The #Fordweekend trip came at just the right time as the country had moved to level 1 lockdown after we’d spent most of the past six months indoors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Driving a new update in Ford’s versatile Tourneo Custom range – a seven-seater convenient for family trips – we left the City of Gold and headed for Dalmore Guest Farm in the Drakensberg on a Friday.

The drive took longer than expected as it was raining, however that did not dampen our enthusiasm for a weekend away from the city.

After about four hours on the road, we made it to the last stretch that led to the guesthouse and were immediately surrounded by nature.

The farm was built in 1913 and has been restored to its former glory. It is in the heart of the Drakensberg, situated midway between Bergville and Winterton.

We arrived just after 7pm and received a warm welcome from the staff members, who served us lasagne for supper.

The farm has self-catering rustic cottages and rondavels with thatched roofing. Inside, vintage items are coupled with modern furniture. The shiny bare floors took me back to my grandmother’s house back in the village of Tsomo in the Eastern Cape. I immediately felt at home and I liked the fact that there was no DStv, which meant more bonding with my family.

Time to recharge

The next day, we rose at 8am and started with a farm breakfast.

The enormous lawns of the guesthouse gave my active three-year-old space to run around and also play with the friendly dogs. There was also a children’s play area and a pool. Being so close to nature was what I needed to recharge my batteries.

There were several exciting activities nearby such as the horse trails at the Dragon Peaks resort, and the Chocolate Bar for artisan chocolates. The Spioenkop Nature Reserve is just a five-minute drive away, boasting white rhino, giraffe, zebra, kudu, eland and a vast number of smaller antelope. I was also very excited to see the Drakensberg Boys Choir School.

We also visited the Drakensberg Sun spa for a full-body massage. I guess I must have been really tired as I slept halfway through the massage, but afterwards I felt light and rejuvenated.

Meanwhile, my boys and my partner had the time of their lives playing games and, of course, taking pictures as the place was mostly surrounded by mountains and green plantation. The morning went very well for all of and we had our lunch at the Valley’s Bakery.

We spent the afternoon relaxing in our cottages with the children playing outside. Later on in the afternoon we took a drive in an open bakkie to the Spioenkop Dam for sundowners. Here we were surrounded by mountains, and this is where we got to know one another . I discovered there were other guests from France and Germany. It was such a good feeling to watch the sunset but unfortunately because it was cold we had to go back to the farm for a warm steak.

On our third day we drove back to the Dragon Peaks mountain resort for horse riding. This is where we met Lwazi Khoza, a horse trainer who attracted my attention as he spoke eloquently to the mixed races going horse riding.

Lwazi Khoza is very passionate with the horses
Lwazi Khoza is very passionate with the horses
Image: SUPPLIED

The 30-year-old father has worked as a horse trainer for 11 years. He said the first year had been difficult as he could not express himself in English.

“I went to a rural school in Bergville where we barely spoke English. After I passed matric I did not have money to pursue my studies and I was assisted by a relative to get a job here. I did not have a problem as I grew up riding horses but I could not communicate with tourists,” he said.

However, his boss saw a lot of potential in him and encouraged him to at least learn one English word a day.

“The situation at home was bad and I was the only breadwinner. I made it a point to read a book with the help of a dictionary and my boss and the rest is history,” he said.

When it was time to head back to Joburg, we left the Drakensberg content. I was happy that I had been able to introduce my children to another life, which they enjoyed so much.

THE ACCOMMODATION

Dalmore guest farm is situated between Bergville and Winterton in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal. It offers B&B and self-catering accommodation. It is a family friendly destination that allows you to experience farm life with a variety of animals. It has a library, children’s play area, wifi, swimming pool and a picnic area. It has affordable rates as well. For self-catering it’s R585 for adults and R350 for children. The B&B is R690 for adults and R400 for children. For more information, call 082-344-0159, e-mail dalmorefarm@gmail.com or visit dalmoreguestfarm.co.za.

ESCAPING IN STYLE

It can be very stressful to travel long distance with an active three year old. However this was not the case when we travelled to the Drakensberg in the new Ford Tourneo Custom minibus — now with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The seven-seater is spacious and convenient for all kinds of trips. My 14-year-old son was fascinated by the touchscreen infotainment system which was also compatible with his smartphone. His phone’s battery never ran low as there were a few charging ports in the car. I was also impressed by the driving safety features, which included front and rear parking sensors, a rear parking camera and lane-keeping aid. See ford.co.za

• Sobuwa was a guest of Ford

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