I grew up on the farm next door to Kings Grant, but my early memories of Kings Grant were very different to what it is now. Back then, it wasn’t a lodge, but still a working farm and maize mill belonging to the Catholic Church. The farm manager’s daughter was my childhood best friend and I have many vivid memories of our days as Tweens, followed by the dreaded teens – much to our parent’s dismay! Back then, the St Isidore farm (now Kings Grant) was my retreat while navigating the turbulent years of teenager-hood! I have so many memories of this old farm and little did I know, while dreaming of travelling the big wide world, this little place in Ixopo, would continue to play a part in my life much later.
Many years on, since those days of being a teenager, my family bought the property and my mother transformed the old farm house, mill and dairy into what is now – Kings Grant Country Retreat.
It’s different here. It’s Ixopo after all. It’s not your Midlands Meander or your mountain resort. It’s simply in the country and it’s what you will make of it. You won’t be entertained but you can explore. You can sit next to the Brickfield dam, read a novel or have a social gathering. We do it all the time. It’s our favourite Sunday spot. Friends and family meet at the dam, light up a fire and chat while the kids canoe, fish and swim. It’s simply about being in a beautiful place and making what you will of it. A bit like living on a farm.
These rooms were once part of the main house. The bedroom was the lounge in which I remember watching countless MNET movies and playing Pac-man, television still being a novelty at the time. And the bathroom was the kitchen. Here we helped ourselves to hot dogs and coke! Something that was not a ‘staple’ in my own home!
The Restaurant was once a cow and calf hospital. It’s seeing better days now!
This is now Room 7, originally the dining room for the Catholic sisters. It was also the first (very small) restaurant/dining room of Kings Grant, seating up to 12 people at a push! At one point I was the chef here, as well as the waitress and ‘restaurant manager’! That big door which now leads to the bathroom once led to some very steep stairs down to the bottom-storey kitchen. I cant count the number of times I cursed those steps when carrying a number of hot plates up to the customers! It’s now one of my favourite rooms with a balcony overlooking the cobbled walkways and gardens. Much more relaxing than a kitchen!
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colours are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” – Elizabeth Lawrence
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
― John Connolly,
Back then, the mill didn’t look this polished. A thick layer of maize ‘dust’ settled on almost everything. What is now the conference room was once the maize storage room, piled high with bulging sacks of milled maize, a kids paradise. Many a times, we’d emerge from the mill after hours of play, looking like white ghosts, covered from head to toe in a coat of powder.
Kings Grant is situated a few kilometers outside of Ixopo in Southern KwaZulu-Natal. If you’re in the area, feel like a bite to eat, travelling Route R56, enjoy history, love the outdoors or simply feel like going somewhere beautiful and a little different, it’s in my unbiased (!) opinion that you should pop in! And if after this Christmas season, you need a holiday from a holiday, Kings Grant will be offering a 30% discount for the entire month of January for a 2 night stay in their superior rooms. For all enquiries and bookings, phone +27 (0)39 8342 730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates