Station House Waterside Getaway
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. A frequent visitor has uploaded recordings to YouTube which offer you an excellent opportunity to see the beautiful peaceful environment that we offer - these videos can be viewed on Erroll's Travel Log:
The cottage is sited under many 120 year old oak trees and only 50m from the water's edge of the beautiful, secluded Mearns Dam which is accessible only to those staying on its banks.
The Siding (our cottage) is located on the railway siding / platform of the old Johannesburg - Durban line (which operated along the Mooi River from the late 1890s until it was decommissioned in 1956) and is a fully equipped, comfortable self catering cottage for a group of up to 6 people - with 2 additional beds in the Annex, making it suitable for a maximum of 7 adults and 1 child.
A canoe and a small rowing boat are available, free of charge. Try your hand at fishing for black bass. If you want to explore further the dam's 20 kilometres of water, you can hire an electric motor for the boat. Private boats may be launched but petrol motors may not be used (Umgeni Water regulations).
There are 2 bedrooms in the cottage; one with a queen size bed, the other with 2 single beds. There is a queen size sleeper couch in the lounge (which is suitable for 1 adult or 2 children). We provide bed linen, duvets and blankets plus electric blankets for those cold evenings.
The open plan lounge/dining room is a large space but with a cozy atmosphere. It has a log fireplace for those cooler nights and a colour television, with the open-to-view channels of SABC 1, 2, 3 and eTV, provided via a DStv decoder. You may bring your own decoder to get access to your own DStv channels.
The kitchen is well equipped for 8 people and includes a stove, microwave oven and a fridge/freezer. An outdoor braai is available with a large table, benches and camping chairs for alfresco eating under the oak trees.
There is a shower room with a basin and a separate toilet. Bath towels are provided.
The covered wooden deck provides a shady place to relax and enjoy the exquisite view over the dam and the surrounding landscape. You can enjoy walking along the dam with its indigenous and wild flowers. You can relax in the sun at the water's edge, read a book sitting on a bench under an oak, watch the sun rising over the farmlands or setting over the dam.
It is quiet, peaceful and tranquil, ideal for relaxing and "recharging". We only allow one booking at a time, so the cottage and all its facilities are all yours to enjoy.
A maximum of 8 people (not more than 7 adults) can be accommodated if booking both The Siding and The Annex. By arrangement babies less than 24 months of age are permitted in addition to this maximum of 8 people.
The Annex is located close to The Siding, about 50m away. It has 2 comfortable single beds and its own shower and toilet (which are accessed from the outside). Being rustic in its construction, the Annex is better suited to teenagers and those who enjoy camping. There are no cooking facilities (just a kettle) and therefore can only be booked with The Siding. It can be booked instead of utilizing the sleeper couch in the cottage if there are more than 4 or 5 people in the party.
We are about 450kms from Gauteng, 150kms from Durban; 5kms from Mooi River, 6kms from Rosetta and 12 kms from Nottingham Road. We are easy to find - just turn off the R103 where an "Average Speed" overhead camera is installed opposite Nsele Medical Rescue. Follow our signs for 2.5 kilometres on a dirt road. Our access road along the edge of the dam is the old railway line that was used between Johannesburg and Durban until 1956.
Birdlife is abundant all year round and natural game is regularly sighted on our property of over 3.5 ha of natural land along the banks of the dam. Frequent bird sightings include all 3 species of crane, fish eagles, long crested eagles, jackal buzzards, various herons, kingfishers and water birds such as African black and yellow billed ducks and spur wing geese. In summer we have nesting Yellow Billed Kites, Barn Owls, swallows, weavers and sunbirds amongst others.
Mountain reedbuck, rhebuck, oribi, scrub hare, duiker, mongoose, porcupine and otter can be seen, especially in the early morning or at sunset.
The Midlands Meander is right on our doorstep and has something for everybody. Stretching from Mooi River to Hilton, it is well worth spending time browsing.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from: coffee shops, grill houses and wine bars, to upmarket 5* restaurants for special occasions. In Rosetta just 6km along the R103 is The Rosetta Hotel where you will find the local residents enjoying reasonably priced meals concentrated on seafood.
Coffee shops include Relish at The Junction (with a superb children’s playground), Country Market behind Knotts Square, Blueberry Hill (opposite Fordoun Hotel and Spa), Coffee & Life in the Sherwood Centre and Cafe Bloom,
In Nottingham Road, there is the the Austrian styled Bierfassel (specialities include eisbein and kassler steaks). Don't miss Notties Hotel, the oldest hotel in KZN, where you can join the locals for a drink in the pub. Or try the local beers at the Nottingham Road Brewery at Rawdons Hotel.
The Fork ‘n Cleaver grill at Netherwood (next to Blueberry Hill), opened in 2018, has a brewery and gin distillery where products may be sampled.
Linga Lapa off the N3 is a very popular spot with the locals (all day plus Friday and Saturday night grills and some Wednesday night braais) so early booking is essential.
A pleasant drive through the countryside would take you to many other restaurants including Cleopatra (Kamberg), Hartford House (Mooi River), Lords of the Manor (Hidcote), Granny Mouse and Caversham Mill (Lidgetton), La Lampara (Balgowan), Terbadore and Tumble Downs (Currys Post).
Depending on your preferences, you do a "Decor Route" - visiting the many decor shops in the area such as China Rose at The Junction in Nottingham Road, Mooi Loft in Mooi River, Linen Loft at Piggly Wiggly or a "Cheese and Wine Route" - including The Wine Cellar and Marrakech Cheese, all near Rosetta and Swissland Cheese in Lidgetton. And for the children, there is archery at The Junction in addition to the playground.
The area is well known for its excellent leatherwork including Groundcover Leatherwork and Tsonga Shoes. You can stock up early on those special and unusual gifts for birthdays and Christmas and you can buy excellent meats and delicious biltong at local butcheries.
You could book a special treat for a day (or a few hours) at a nearby spa such as Brookdale, Indigo Fields, Fordoun or Granny Mouse.
Sporting facilities available in the area include golf, tennis, bowls and trout fishing. Why not try the canopy walk and slide in the Karkloof?
The annual Highland and Traditional Games in May draws a large crowd from far and wide as does the annual Midmar Mile open water swim in February which is one of our highlights.
Nearby attractions include the Springrove Dam in Rosetta, the spectacular uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, one of South Africa's World Heritage Sites, which is within easy driving range. Explore Giants Castle, Highmoor, Kamberg, Loteni and Sani Pass.
Facilities On Site
- Self Contained Accommodation (for a maximum of 8 people/7 adults)
- 2 bedrooms in the cottage, queen sleeper couch in the lounge, a separate outside room for 2 people
- Log Fire (wood available)
- Electric Blankets in winter
- Outdoor Braai
- Television - SABC 1, 2 and 3, eTV (please bring your decoder for your own Dstv channels)
- Mearns Dam
- Launch Facilities for Private Boats
- Free Use of Boat and Canoe (Electric Motor for Hire)
- Fishing (Black Bass)
- Birdlife and Natural Game
- Midlands Meander
- Shops for just about everything you need or anything you have forgotten
- A Spar supermarket and chemist in both Mooi River and Nottingham Road
- Bottle stores in Mooi River and Nottingham Road
- Banks (FNB and Standard Bank) plus ATMs in Mooi River; ABSA ATM in the Engen Mooi-1-Stop; Standard Bank agency in Nottingham Road;. All ATMs also available in Spar Nottingham Road
- Excellent meats, especially beef and biltong: from Linga Lapa off the N3, Mooi-1-Stop Butchery and Lowland Meats in Mooi River.
- Fishing outlets include Wild Fly at the Gowrie Shopping Centre in Nottingham Road
- Petrol stations in Mooi River and Nottingham Road
- Restaurants, coffee shops, grill houses.
- Health Spas
- Nottingham Road Brewery at Rawdon’s Hotel
- Quad biking
- Golf, Tennis, Bowls
- Canopy Walk/Slide in the Karkloof
- Trout Fishing
- Mandela Monument and Museum (near Howick at the Midmar Dam)
- Rock Art in the Kamberg
- uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park (one of SA's World Heritage Sites)
- Battlefields (Colenso / Ladysmith)
- Mearns Dam
- Midmar Dam near Howick
- Albert Falls Dam near Pietermaritzburg
- Wagendrift Dam near Escourt
- Craigieburn Dam near Greytown
- Springrove Dam in Rosetta
- boat / marine slipway onsite
- canoeing onsite
- electric blankets
- fishing onsite
- heaters in unit
- lake onsite
- Malaria free
- medical facilities (less than 5km)
- not serviced
- parking all onsite
- tea / coffee making facilities
GPS CO-ORDINATES: AT STATION HOUSE ON THE DAM 29.25972 S / 29.96380 E.
FROM THE SOUTH - PIETERMARITZBURG / DURBAN - The "scenic" but slower route
1. Take the Nottingham Road off ramp (and pay no toll), turn right to Nottingham Road, drive 8 kms and pass Gowrie Village on the left.
2. Slightly further on at the stop sign at the Junction Shopping Centre, turn right under the railway bridge onto the R103 towards Rosetta. Stay on the R103, bearing right at the Engen garage and Spar, pass Standard Bank on the right. After 1 - 2 kms pass the Combined School where the first overhead Average Speed gantry is situated.
3. Drive a total of 12 kms from Nottingham Road, passing through the village of Rosetta at about 6 kms.
4. Look out for the STATION HOUSE sign (dark green and white) on the left at the crest of a hill and Nsele Emergency and Medical Services on the right as well as the second overhead Average Speed gantry. (Take the dirt road off to the left, you will be doubling back.)
FROM THE SOUTH - PIETERMARITZBURG / DURBAN - The direct and quicker route
FROM THE NORTH - HARRISMITH / JOHANNESBURG:
1. Take the Mooi River SOUTH toll exit off the N3 (you will pay a toll fee) and turn left (from DBN) or right (from JHB) towards Mooi River.
2. At the T-junction (Engen Mooi-1-Stop garage), turn left onto the R103.
3. After about 2 kms, drive under a railway bridge and note Mearns Farm on the right, drive up a long hill.
4. After the speed sign for 80 KPH, at exactly 5 kms on the R103, look out for the STATION HOUSE sign (black and white) on the left outside Nsele Emergency and Medical Services as well as the overhead Average Speed gantry. (There is also a green and white Station House sign in the farm fields on the right, 600m before this turnoff.)
FROM THE TURNOFF FROM THE R103 AT NSELE EMERGENCY AND MEDICAL SERVICES
GPS co-ordinates at this turnoff on the R103: 29.15.686 S and 29.59.122 E.
5. Take the dirt road off to the right immediately after the overhead gantry, passing Dunroamin' - watch for the dirt speed hump at the open gate.
6. Turn right at the fork (the left fork leads to Fountainhall farm) - there are 4 green signs including STATION HOUSE / CAWLEY.
7. About 100m along, there is a security gate (parallel to one on the Fountainhall farm road). CALL us on (033) 815-9514 so that we can open the gate.
8. Drive straight down the road, following the STATION HOUSE signs for about 2½ kms (watch for the many dirt speed humps) to the edge of the dam. This takes 4 - 5 minutes.
9. Turn left through the STATION HOUSE gate (it is closed each evening at about 17h00 to keep cows from entering) and drive along the old railway line for about ½km.
10. The cottage is straight ahead overlooking the dam on the right.
11. Parking is under the car port or next to the old railway siding (or in the shade under the oaks behind the cottage but parking under any old oak trees is at your own risk as branches do occasionally come down!)