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Midlands hideaway

lakeside lodgings in a peaceful nature reserve.
  Just five kilometres off the N3 near Mooi River, Springholm Cottages, set in Blue Crane Nature Reserve, is a ready break en route to Johannesburg, or a base for longer Midlands meandering. This latest addition to Brahman Hills, a well known Midlands hotel and wedding venue, is a countryside retreat with a choice of self catering or B&B accommodation.
  I arrived late on a golden winter’s afternoon. The low sun cast a trail of diamonds across the dam and the air was filled with the peaceful sound of waterfowl.
  Stepping onto the deck of my Honeymoon Suite (alone, alas), the tranquillity of the place was palpable. The suite had all the mod cons, a bathroom with floor to ceiling glass, and a bathtub just metres from the shore. I knew where I’d be wallowing later.
  A walk along the water’s edge gave me the lie of the land. Brittle grass brushed my boots, frogs plopped into the lake, a trout disturbed the mirrored surface and kingfishers hovered, poised to dive.
On the hill stood three stone cottages with fine lake views, and along the waterside set apart from the Honeymoon Suite another three cottages.
  All come with an open plan living area, fireplace, DSTV and fully equipped kitchen. There is also an elegant main house set on a rise with four guest rooms.
  There’s a rowing boat on hand for guests to have a paddle or enjoy waterbased bird watching, plenty of vantage points to cast a line (brown and rainbow trout for catch and release only) and picnics on the riverbank can be arranged at reception. Or go beer tasting, mountain biking or trail running nearby.
  Once the sun had dipped behind the pine trees, I headed to Brahman Hills for a fine dinner at 89 on Copper, its cosy cellar restaurant. The next morning I was back for a lavish breakfast at Brahman Hills Cafe (it has a great à la carte menu), then a massage at the spa.
That was just the ticket for a relaxing start to my drive up to Joburg.