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A family run business, the three Tully sisters run a slick operation at Oaklands Country Manor in KwaZulu-Natal, where good food and getting out into the great outdoors are both key to their ethos.
Accommodation is comprised of five rooms facing the garden, four family suites and Hilltop House, which sleeps six people and has sweeping views over the polo field and across to Tandjies Berg. All of the rooms at Oaklands have terraces and fireplaces and are tastefully and simply decorated, and the suites and Hilltop House have a small kitchen for those who would prefer the option of self catering. More importantly, they all have a home from home air about them, without compromising on luxury.
Part of the original building dates back to 1865 and houses the dining rooms, sitting room and bar. Huge deep sunken sofas are scattered about the place, more often than not found with one of their six dogs sprawled across - the great danes are particularly friendly.
Food at Oaklands is delicious with the restaurant headed up by one third of the sister trio, Kathy, who swears by a 'know the farmer' ethos. The majority of the ingredients are locally sourced and together with second-in-command Johnson Ndluvu, who began working at Oaklands in the gardens during the school holidays, Kathy creates delicious yet unpretentious food.
Polo is a major event at Oaklands. They often host polo matches on their field, which is right in front of the lodge, and guests can also learn to play. For those who don't feel like playing the game, riding polo cross ponies is one of the many activities on offer, along with hiking, fishing, tennis and golf at the nearby course. There is also a swimming pool and a giant outdoor chess set.
Children are kept well entertained - there is a playroom brimming with toys and videos and an outside playground, along with a tree house, swing and trampoline.
- Oaklands is a great place to learn to ride, not least because of the beautiful countryside and well trained polo cross ponies.
Nick, Original Traveller