The Kwazulu Natal’s Coat of Arms has as its motto: Masisukume sakhe (let us rise and build) – This is indeed what the present owners, Amo and Claire Jordaan, have done since purchasing the various farms in the early 1990’s.
There were no houses, tracks for roads, small overgrazed camps with poorly maintained barbed wire fences. At present there are 4000 hectares secured within a game fence. The internal barbed wire fences have been removed, and a road system developed which allows one to reach every area of the farm – the mountainous terrain allows for some exciting 4×4 driving!
The farming operation was primarily cattle ranching but we have since changed to game farming. We farmed a herd of around 2000 cattle – Brahmans of course! Claire grew up with them, and really loves this breed. We use solar powered movable fences to secure our cattle in camps. Our cattle dips and handling facilities have been carefully adapted and altered to cater for this specific breed’s intelligent, cunning and feisty temperament, and make “dip day” a happy day for all of us! We also have a small herd of dairy Braunveih “Heidi” cows – their calves are penned at night, and returned to their mothers after milking only 2 speens in the morning- happy cows and happy calves. The milk is for consumption on the farm, a local school… and feeding orphaned animals. We have kept our stud breading herd of 200 Brahman cattle on the Balladon farm.
There are also Damara Sheep and Kalahari Red Goats. Both of these are indigenous to South Africa and Namibia. The Damara sheep originated with the Himba people of Namibia, and are characterised by their colourful hairy (not wool) coats, fat tails and ability to thrive in demanding environments without human intervention. Our herd started with ewes and rams purchased from Dawie Du Toit.
Our Kalahari Red Goat herd began with animals purchased from Albie Horn and Tollie Jordaan. This breed originated in the 1970’s in South Africa and Namibia, and is renowned for its good mothering abilities, hardiness and adaptability to harsh conditions.
The usual farm birds – chickens, peacocks, geese and turkeys roam freely during the day, but are closed in at night to protect them from the wild cats. The Peacocks all roost in a huge white stinkwood tree, and keep guard over the lodge garden. Alarm calls abound when the kudu and nyala sneak in to graze the lawn and eat the day lilies, and the flowers from the 10000 clivias we planted under the trees.
The game – Black Wildebeest, Nyala, Waterbuck, Warthog, Blesbuck, Red Hartebeest, Impala, Ostrich, Zebra, Kudu, Mountain Rhebuck and perhaps a surprise or two? – yes…. there is! – co-exist with the other livestock, and roam throughout the farm. Our game animals were introduced onto the farm for our pleasure, and a strict no-hunting policy exists. Eland and Red duiker and Pythons were introduced in 2017.
“ Birders” will not go away disappointed! There are 270 birds listed in our sighting book. Secretary birds regularly breed on the farm, as do Marshall, Brown Snake and Crowned eagles. The African Fish eagles remind us frequently from early dawn to sunset, where we live. So do the Hadedas. Blue cranes and Ground Hornbills also delight us with their presence from time to time, as do the storks and swallows heralding the changing seasons. Our terrain is diverse, so expect to see many different species.
All the houses on the farm were built with rocks from the farm, and the skilled local builders are still with us today. In summer the landscape is Irish green, and in winter golden dry. Both have their own incredible beauty.
In 2012, Amo and Claire turned their home into the present day lodge. Major changes and developments took place, and are continuing. The thatched, double storey 3 bed- roomed self catering unit, was completed November 2016.We have also completed 4 eco friendly campsites, with high quality ablution facilities and kitchen wash- up area. Gas and solar energy installed at ablution facility.
After all these years, swimming in the river is no longer the only choice – a champagne picnic, next to and in, the river is a very tempting option. Swimming pools have being installed at the Lodge, Self-Catering Villa and the Balladon Cottage. Plans for an a la carte restaurant below the deck at the lodge, on the banks of the Bivane River are well on their way.
Our Lodge accommodation is luxurious. There are 5 rooms, within 4 self-contained thatched rondavels. Each has a full en suite bathroom and satellite TV. A same day laundry service is available. The rooms are situated in an indigenous park-like garden. The trees have been tagged for identification.
The main entertainment and dining area, known as The Diamond, is also on the banks of the river. Here we serve you delicious, traditional homemade South African cuisine. Cocktails and drinks at the magnificent yellowwood and stinkwood handcrafted bar, or on the deck overlooking the river, completes the experience. From the deck, otters are often sighted swimming in the rock pools searching for fish and crabs, fish eagles perch or fly by, and kudu, nyala and water buck come to the salt licks across the river.
Come and explore our family friendly world…fishing, horse riding, birding, hiking, 4×4 and mountain biking trails, game drives and nature at its best.