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Overview
TThe Manor is a little more than an hour’s drive from the 21st Century hustle of Jo’burg but we travelled more than 100 years back into the past when we arrived at Welgelegen Manor outside Balfour on the Mpumalanga borderlands. With a slightly surreal experience with a mix of modern comfort and old-time extravagance; a bit like spending a few days as guests at an elegant country house party or dipping into a fictional romance. Our Country House - the one-time residence of Andries Mostert is a stately mansion designed by Herbert Baker in 1912 as a replica of the original 1800s Mostert family home, Welgelegen, in Rondebosch, Cape Town. The enchantment starts when we enter the gabled gates of the estate and drive up alongside the “two-mile-long” oak avenue, which is no longer in use. Duikers, munching on the grass on either side, looked up quizzically and went on grazing. The restored 54-room mansion all wood panelled and elegantly furnished open fires, oil paintings, bronze statuettes and collector’s pieces in keeping with a gentleman’s residence overlooks an expansive tree-fringed lawn to the front. At the back, is the herb garden with a gentle fountain, surrounded by lawn. Beyond that a deodar forest and farmlands. To one side is the swimming pool with a vine-covered patio leading on to the rose garden with its masses of delicately coloured, sweet-smelling blooms, sheltered by huge jacarandas, which shed a mauve carpet along the paths. Accommodation is in the carriage House Suites, the Garden Suites or the Manor House Suites. Our Garden Suites overlooking the herb garden. It consists of a spacious bedroom, a lounge (with tea, coffee and fresh cookies and a fridge), a dressing room and a sizable bathroom with a shower and a ball-and-claw bath. Under-floor heating, chandeliers and oak tables and bureaus added to the sense of luxury as did the fluffy towels on a heated rack. Massive stable doors opened on to the lavender fringed garden. Dinner is served in the panelled dining room resplendent with candles and a table scattered with rose petals and glittering with crystal glassware. All very much in keeping with the past century ambience at Welgelegen. There is plenty to do on the estate. Croquet, archery, a variety of walks, billiards, chess, swimming, a golf driving range and bird watching are all on offer. You can also hide away with a book in the small library or enjoy a relaxing massage. Facilities at Welgelegen include wi-fi and a grass landing strip. Private dining can also be arranged for couples or groups in the courtyard garden, at the poolside or in your suite.
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