Did you know?The farm where Hartford House is situated hosted the British royal family for a period during their 1922 visit.
Hartford House is a country manor on a thoroughbred stud farm near Mooi River in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, renowned for its excellent restaurant which was named 10th on the list of the country’s very best by the authoritative publication Eat Out in 2012. The award is just one of many accolades.
The high commendations are the result of the efforts of the restaurant’s young executive chef, Jackie Cameron, who has achieved a reputation in gastronomic circles in her decade at Hartford House. Her menus reflect her knowledge of French cuisine and the Midlands’ freshest produce.
'I’m not passionate,' states Cameron, 'I am obsessive. I think my staff sometimes roll their eyes because I don’t allow anything to go out without having been tasted.'
Whether they stop by for a scone or a five-course meal, Cameron aims to give her guests an unmatched experience. She also puts a lot into building relationships with diners.
Breakfasts at Hartford House are described as 'celebrations of the creative spirit', while dinners are five-course, wine-paired, candlelit affairs, served in the historic dining room or on the rambling verandah. On Saturdays, the evening meal is accompanied by an impressive traditional dance display. An á la carte menu caters for lunch and the many non-residents who pop in to sample the Hartford House fare.
The colonial-style manor, built of sandstone against a backdrop of the Drakensberg, has picturesque views of hills and dales which guests enjoy as they tuck into chicken and ostrich kebabs, oxtail risotto, springbok Wellington and other imaginative and magical concoctions.
Recently, the Washington Post waxed lyrical, describing Hartford House as one of the three best country restaurants on the planet, no less!
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Hartford House Restaurant
Hlatikulu Road, Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal
Tel: +27 (0)33 263 2713
Best time to visit
Bookings at the restaurant and for accommodation at Hartford House are essential.
Around the area
Hartford House is located in the Drakensberg foothills. The area is home to spectacular scenery, San (Bushman) paintings, challenging hikes and fishing. You may even be able to catch a performance by the famed Drakensberg Boys' Choir. A canopy tour at the Karkloof Nature Reserve is a memorable experience.
Tours to do
Head off on a self-drive adventure along the Midlands Meander.
What will it cost
Hartford House is pricey – but you get what you pay for.
Length of stay
Three to four days is a good amount of time to explore the area.
Where to stay
The five-star Hartford House has a variety of plush suites on offer – located in the main house, at the lakeside, at the pool, overlooking the verandah or the gardens. You can look forward to fireplaces and sumptuous furnishings. A stay here for a few nights if possible is highly recommended.
Hartford House is within easy access to the Anglo-Zulu and South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War) battlefields, as well as the Mandela capture site at Howick. From here you can journey out on the Midlands Meander, stopping to buy arts and crafts.