Mousing around the Midlands

2013-02-19 08:20

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 pulled up the blind, and there the source of the distant rumble was explained. A section of steep rapids along the Lion’s River was just a little further off from our bedroom.

The mist was beginning to clear and the swallows were making the most of the insects tempted out by the sunlight.

Sunbeds cornered the room alongside wall-to-wall windows and I was quite pleased to make use of the coffee selection, stoke the fire and sit myself down to enjoy the airborne acrobatics.

We had arrived at Granny Mouse a little later, and heavier, than anticipated, having been successfully distracted by the larder-is-full-come-hungry lunch menu at Piggly Wiggly.

The variety of tempting nooks and crannies around the Midlands Meander – all designed to facilitate the transfer of digits from your bank account to theirs – didn’t help either; sidestepping the manikin in a mohair shawl sale, led me straight into the Belgian chocolate shop.

Watching the birds above the valley, and the river which runs through it, I decided I liked the name given to the network of byways of the area. 

A very simple explanation of a meander, the shape of the river as it snakes its way across the countryside, is that as the flowing stream erodes the outer banks against which it turns, it widens the valley. The flow on the inside edge slows, and accumulates debris and silt.

Situated along the side of the valley that I looked out across, overlooking the river bend, Granny Mouse, felt every inch an established part of the Midlands Meander.

A familiar name in luxury breakaway guides across KwaZulu-Natal, few would guess that it was derived from the nickname of the original owner – it sounds more suited to a Beatrix Potter children’s storybook personality. With roses and hanging potplants, creeper trellises and water features (and the occasionally brooding mists of the green, rolling countryside) it would have been very well placed in England. 

Armed with some umbrellas conveniently stowed in the rooms we left the musings of the chalet and went exploring. Discovering a large swimming pool with day beds next to the spa, where one of the party was recovering from her week with a full-body massage, we found another pool overlooking a very large oval hemmed in by the river and massive willow trees. The swinging branches must have featured prominently in many children’s fond recollection of their stay in the child-friendly venue.

After a more civilised (and warmer) splash, in a bath larger than some aquarium tanks, also over-looking the meander, we golf-carted it to supper in the Eves Fine Dining Restaurant. A fun and opulent menu, I had caramelised camembert with pear to start, followed by a freshly caught midlands trout on a bed of risotto and prawns. This was all topped off with a delectable cup of chocolate mousse. A quiet drink next to a fireplace in a corner of the indoor warren brought an appropriate end to a very genteel experience.

The moment after a getaway destination has met all your expectations distinguishes a good place from one with awards lining the lobby. The hand-made Belgian chocolate-coated fudge squares I found on my freshly turned linen was such a moment for me, turning a good night into an excellent one.

If you plan to explore Granny Mouse for yourself, see these before you go:

Granny Mouse website here
Map to the Midlands Meander here
Activities in and around Granny Mouse Country House

Read more on:    travel south africa

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