Rooms: 16: 2 cottages with 2 en-s bedrooms with queen 4-posters; 4 cottages with 1 queen 4-poster, 1 double/twin & 1 twin; 2 en-suite rondavels all queen; all with shower & sep' bath; 7 thatch-free units in converted ceramics studio. All units have fireplaces and own spa-bath/jacuzzi.
Prices: R520 - R785 pp sharing.
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Meals: Full breakfast included. Dinner and lunch available in restaurant.
Directions: From the N3 take the R74 to Winterton and go south along the R600 towards the Central Drakensberg for 18km. You’ll see a sign on your left, 5km up partly dirt road for Ardmore.
GPS: S 29 00 29 E 29 29 17
Just in time for scones and tea on the lawn, the rain clouds parted and I was able to savour the stunning views of the three highest peaks in South Africa: Mafadi (highest at 3450m), Injisuti Dome (second highest at 3410m) and the majestic Champagne Castle (third highest at 3377m). The Drakensberg National Park begins just down the road so bring your hiking boots. Ardmore is a super-relaxed, free-wheeling sort of place. Paul (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom Hanks) is always working on something new - a deck, a tree-house, or, when I got there, he was in the process of moving his wife's prized cabbage tree. He enthusiastically showed me around the Zulu cotton-weaving factory, run by Sue with the help of the local Zulu community, and the new on-site museum celebrating the renowned pottery of the Ardmore Ceramic Art Studio, which was founded here in 1985 (although the pottery itself was relocated to a new site a few years ago). Sociable dinners, eaten by lantern light in the yellowwood dining room, draw on the farm’s organic produce - eggs from happy, roaming chickens and fruit, vegetables and herbs from a pesticide-free garden. There is masses to do at Ardmore: hike to waterfalls and mountain peaks; watch the rare bald ibis that makes its home here; fish, canoe, mountain-bike or, if you're lucky, catch the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir. There are many rock art sites in the area too. The small, thatched rondavels complete with fireplaces are sweet and cosy. Ardmore has a few rough edges, but it's very sociable, great fun... and really good value too.