“Back in the day” as the saying goes, it was possible to go on an annual holiday without having to mortgage the family house, or to get an overdraft from a bank.
Some of us from “that” generation remember these holidays with mixed emotions. Sunburn and burn wors on a braai Or sea side hotels where the sea seems to spend some of the time inside your hotel room.
Wet washing that won’t dry because of the humidity and, of course, frayed tempers after being cooped up in a small room for the duration of this annual event.
Then there are those special destinations that evoke all the good memories of those halcyon days of our childhood memories.
My wife and I recently decided to try an see if an “old style” holiday is still possible without having to resort to either extending our mortgage or having to go cap in hand to the bank!
Our holiday destination was to be the Wynford Guest Farm which is situated about 20km’s from Fouriesburg in the Eastern Free State and right on the border with Lesotho.
In fact it must be one of the few places in South Africa where you have a view into another country!
The farm logo at the entrance to the property is designed to replicate the shape of the mountain behind it that seems to cradle the property in its giant shadow.
This mountain was to play an important part in our stay here, however we would only find that out once we had checked in and settled in our accommodation.
We both said goodbye to our cell signal (unless you have international roaming as the property seems to be covered by Lesotho cell reception) at the main gate and followed the tree lined entrance road to the reception area.
On our way to the reception we stopped off to admire the beautiful hand built church (non-denominational) in which services are held every Sunday.
At the main building my wife and I were met by the resident Border Collie and cat… both seemingly a must for this type of family venue. The former seemed very happy to see us and as it turned out to greet every new guest, while the latter, in true feline fashion, only chose to interact with us later.
Situated at the reception area is a small shop (they stock great marmalade) as well as a lounge and a dining room.
And speaking of dining rooms…be warned, Wynford is KNOWN for its food and lots of it.
None of the proverbial buffet style here. No ways! Three hearty meals a day put a serious bulge in our waistlines. And, of course, in between meal times there was morning and afternoon tea with a baked treat!
Remember the mountain? We found out that it is most helpful in combating excessive eating! Guests are offered the option of either long, or short, guided mountain walks. Or for the very energetic you can use the various roads on the property to go for a run. Either of these activities will allow you to eat without feeling guilty.
For the adrenaline junkies they have the option to first climb up the mountain and then abseil down.
Rock art has been discovered on the property and a visit to this site is well worth the short walk. My wife was excited to find that some of these painting depicted dolphins although neither of us could figure out how they had come to find their place on this wall.
For those who come to relax, and they are by far the majority of the guests, there are board games that can be hired and a well-stocked library full of great reads for a cold winter night. (We went in the early part of winter and it was already very cold)
But warm clothing and a blazing fire in the lounge at night soon chased the cold away.
Comfortable beds, tea and coffee stations and under-floor heating as well as satellite tv are all standard in most of the rooms.
Wynford has something to offer all ages and most of the families we met were there on a return visit. (For one family we met, it was there 6th visit )
The youngsters (and the young at heart) can spend some time feeding the rabbits or wandering through the farmyard. Horse riding is available for those who want to test their skills in the saddle.
There are several accommodation types on offer. From Swiss style family chalets to the original accommodation built when the farm first opened. Guests also have access to a tennis court and swimming pool.
The well-equipped communal games room includes a snooker table and dart board.
Old style hospitality in the 21st century? Who would have thought it still existed!
Pack up the family, leave the mobile phones, laptops and I-pods at home and have yourself a great family holiday at Wynford Guest farm!
Telephone: 058 223 0274
Fax: 058 223 0664
GPS Co-ordinates – S 28°41,602 E 028°13,992