KINGS WALDEN

Come and experience the magic of Kings Walden Garden Manor

This century-old heritage home and garden has a powerful spirit, a gentle soul and some of the best views in Limpopo. 

Come rest awhile beneath our famous lightning tree. This is where people fall in love and make friends, where conversations happen and memories are made. 

OUR ROOMS

Beautiful mountain views and a romantic garden provide a charming backdrop for six luxury rooms at Kings Walden Garden Manor – rooms that are made for romance and relaxation. Stretch out on extra-length king size beds; relax in front of the fire with fine wine, good music and great company. 

Kings Walden’s décor is classic and elegant with a modern African touch. Our bathrooms are spacious and sexy, with big showers and baths made for two.  There is WiFi in all the rooms. Each room leads onto the gardens, where there is a large swimming pool for your pleasure.

Paths lead to shaded spots in the garden where you can escape with a book or a lover. As the evening falls enjoy a glass of wine on the verandah overlooking the mountains, or linger over a drink in our stylish lounge.

 

OUR FOOD

Our delicious contemporary fusion menu features freshly made wholesome meals. Herbs and greens are picked every day from our organic vegetable garden. Our dishes showcase the bounty of subtropical fruit grown in the area, and we try and source our ingredients locally. We are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Enjoy gentle breakfasts and lazy lunches overlooking the mountains; savour elegant dinners in our gorgeous dining room, lit by candles and romance.  Our wine list has delicious local wines.

Head chef Lizzy Modjadji Phokungwana has been making magic in kitchens for decades. Trained by a Belgian Michelin chef, Lizzie presents a series of signature dishes with pride and passion. She is assisted by Creasy Gabaza Sono well known and well loved for her food flair.

OUR GARDENS

Kings Walden was born of great romantic spirit. It was here in the 1930’s that a beautiful young woman stood spellbound at the mountain views and said to the man beside her: “It’s so beautiful I never want to leave”. 

“Marry me”, he replied, “and you will never have to”.

And so Billo Tooley, the first owner of Kings Walden married Elsie Dickson who went on to create the original gardens. Elsie oversaw the construction of the low stone walls that still stand today, and she designed the initial garden on three levels – “like a ship sailing into the Lowveld”.  

She ordered the mass planting of poinsettias, bougainvillea and red hot pokers for the winter months and carefully positioned shade trees for the heady subtropical summers. She planted pink Brazilian kapoks, purple jacarandas from South America, red flame trees from Australia and pink tibouchinas from South America. 

Many, many years later, on the night Elsie died, lightning struck the enormous blue gum tree at the viewpoint. It is still standing today – a symbol of Kings Walden’s magical romantic spirit.

In the 1980s, her daughter Tana Hilton-Barber (nee Tooley) assumed custodianship of the gardens and took them to a glorious new level. She planted new trees, created a number of garden ‘rooms’, each with their own charming theme ( the white garden, the sunken garden, the winter walk), built a series of fountains and ripped up the old tennis court and replaced it with an ornamental dam named the Bibigar (place of women spirits, inspired by The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell).

Tana’s was the most passionate gardener’s gift. She created a complex and astonishing monument to her ancestors and made the Kings Walden gardens famous. It was voted the Most Romantic of the Decade by House & Lesiure magazine in the 90s. People came from far and wide to admire the views, stroll the grounds and immerse themselves in its romance.

Tana was passionate about lions, and introduced numerous lion statues and sculptures that continue to delight visitors and guests. She introduced the she-Spinxes that guard the Bibigar, and rubbing their nipples for good luck is a tradition that has endured. The famous lightning tree was photographed by British dendrologist and traveller, Thomas Packenham, and is recorded in his book Remarkable Trees of the World.

THINGS TO DO

ON SITE

 

Stroll through our romantic gardens

Enjoy a glass of wine and a wander the gardens which feature fountains, romantic walkways, secret gardens and seasonal masses of colour. The gardens were started by Elsie Tooley (nee Dickson), our grandmother, in the 1930s and became famous under the incredible talent of our mother Tana Hilton-Barber (nee Tooley).

 

Order a romantic picnic

Our chefs will prepare a delicious basket of seasonal produce to enjoy in a secluded spot in the garden.

 

Admire our tree

Our iconic lightning tree stands guard over some of the best views in Limpopo – the perfect spot to pull up a chair and just soak up the beauty

 

Swim

Head for our poolside and relax on a lounger with a good book or a gentle gin & tonic. We can arrange bespoke pool parties on request.

 

Get behind a book

Kings Walden has a wonderful library of books, including Africana collectibles, novels, gardening and cookbooks for you to enjoy during your stay

IN THE AREA

Do the Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour

Take to the trees like Tarzan and Jane on this adrenaline-pumping zip line experience through the forests and over waterfalls and gorges. 

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Explore historic Haenertsburg village

There’s only one main street in this quaint little mountaintop village. Take a wander and visit the coffee shops, bistros and restaurants. There are lovely gift shops, a collectibles book shop and museum about the area. 

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Go on a garden ramble

The Magoebaskloof area is home to several gorgeous.  Visit the 20ha Cheerio Gardens, famous for their outrageous spring show of azaleas and cherry blossoms reflected in moody silver dams. There is a tea garden here serving breakfasts and light lunches.

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Go birding

Kings Walden is an armchair birder’s paradise. It sits within the Wolkberg Forest Belt Important Birding Area and there are specials that are rarely seen elsewhere in South Africa, such as the Bush Blackcap, Chorister Robin-Chat and Grey Cuckooshrike. Good sightings are almost guaranteed during a gentle walk around the garden with a set of binoculars. Birding trips can be organized to the nearby Magoebaskloof and New Agatha forests as well.

 

Discover the Debegeni Falls

Listen to the sound of water running over ancient rocks. This magical waterfall in a forest is a lovely way to while away a few hours.

 

Say cheese

Take a tour of the mountain’s organic cheese farm at Wegraakbosch. From cow to curd, there are no pesticides or preservatives used. End off your tour with a glass of wine and a cheese platter overlooking the mountains.

 

Meet the people

Natural-born raconteur James Ndlovu will take you on a tour of a nearby village to meet the locals, visit a school, consult a sangoma (traditional healer) and eat delicious local fare. 

 

Visit Limpopo’s finest brewery

Zwakala Brewery is open on the weekends for tours and tastings. Enjoy their award-winning brews with lovely mountain views.

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Take a hike

There are some wonderful trails in and around the area, and we will advise you on the best routes and strolls. Guided hikes in the Wolkberg mountains can also be arranged.

 

Do a gin tasting

There’s delicious alchemy at The Old Packhouse Distillery, which is literally an old farm packhouse that’s been beautifully renovated into a distillery with tasting rooms, tables and an art gallery. Sample a variety of gins – blueberry, moringa, dragonfruit, mandarin and Valencia – and you can also try their rum, brandy and tequila under The Spirit of Limpopo label. 

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