Greater Tzaneen is a large, sub-tropical garden of fruit plantations. For visitors, one of the jewels in its crown may well be Kings Walden Garden Manor. Once a vast agricultural estate, today it’s a boutique hotel owned and run by Billy and Minette McKechnie.
The pond tells its own story. Originally, it was a grass tennis court when the manor was built in 1904 by Bill Tooley and his first wife. After she passed away from malaria, he married a younger woman named Elsie, who despised the tennis court as a reminder of Bill’s first wife. So, she turned it into a garden pond.
The McKechnies have managed hotels as far as The Okavango and if you want adventure, golf, water sports or hiking – they’ll point out opportunities in every direction. But staying at this garden manor is about the peace and quiet. It’s the African version of zen – and the art of fine dining.
Once you’ve taken a trip up the Old Coach Road to this garden manor, leaving after just one night will prove difficult. Which may be why more and more wedding and birthday parties book in for the weekend – or even longer.