Random Harvest is a nursery, bed & breakfast, and a conference centre in Muldersdrift, but it is so much more. It’s a sanctuary for the world weary traveler who is too tired to travel but needs a break nonetheless.
I heard about the Random Harvest Nursery from gardening enthusiasts who enthused about their wide selection of indigenous Highveld plants and their efforts to rehabilitate the local grasslands. Random Harvest is not a commercial nursery selling garden equipment and ornamental features but if you’re looking to create an indigenous landscape for your residential or commercial property then you will want to pay them a visit. Their prices are reasonable prices and they’re a wealth of information if you want to consult them. They also have over 800 species of plants and oodles of time to advise you.
I only googled them because I needed volcanic ash for my garden (volcanic ash apparently does wonders for your garden) but I was intrigued to discover that they also had a tea garden and four star B&B accommodation. Suddenly I wanted a quiet country getaway more than I wanted volcanic ash but I knew I was going to have both. If not, why not?
Each of the eight cottages are named after an indigenous tree: Lavender Tree, Sweet Thorn, Wild Olive, Bushwillow, Rock Fig, Lemon Thorn, Yellow Wood, and Sage Wood, so I was anticipating a nightmare of florals but was pleasantly surprised to find they shared a neutral colour scheme and a minimum of colours or prints. They were more country chic than cottage kitch!
Prices were a very reasonable at R550 / person and the cottages are in pristine condition, I’ve recommended they increase their prices – Just not for me!
Reservations were effortless to make online.
The rate of R550 per person does not include meals but you can either arrange for an evening meal to be delivered to your cottage or make use of the self-catering facilities – the kitchen was very well equipped with all the utensils you’d need to whip up a feast if you were not going to eat from the Tea Garden. If aren’t up to cooking, you could plan a braai in your private garden – Random Harvest provide all the essentials to build a fire and will even deliver a meat-pack to your cottage!
Our accommodation was a pleasant surprise. Small and cosy, but, most importantly, it was pristine. It included a self-catering kitchen and (obviously) an en-suite bathroom which included a selection of lemongrass fragranced artisanal bath products. The linen was fresh and crisp while the mattress was firm and comfy. I was reminded that the website offered four star luxury and I couldn’t disagree.
The greatest luxury at Random Harvest that you cannot put a price on is the silence. We’re so often bombarded with noise that we don’t even realize it. Surrounded by tall trees and lush gardens I found myself relaxing into a sense of calm that I couldn’t possibly have imagined twenty minutes earlier leaving the city.
Random Harvest promote themselves with modesty and pride so when you arrive you are pleasantly surprised at how well organised this country destination is geared to offer world-class accommodation and service. I noticed this same attitude is reflected by all the staff who avail themselves with modesty and serve with pride. There’s no five star arrogance nor feigned subservience because the owners of Random Harvest have instilled a sense of pride in all their staff.
Random Harvest serves dinner in your cottage as they don’t have a dining room so I popped into their tea garden for a spot of lunch. They don’t have a liquor licence but we remedied that swiftly by shooting up to the liquor store less than five minutes away.
Lunch was a substantial steak roll served with a very moreish whole-grain mustard mayonnaise. It was accompanied by potato rosti. If the fresh country air had stimulated my appetite, that steak roll satisfied it. We also shared a salmon & leek quiche which was served with a vibrant garden salad consisting of grated carrot, sprouts, and purple edible flowers. It was prettiness on a plate that packed a powerful antioxidant punch with bold colour. Again, I realized how Random Harvest is an undiscovered gem that doesn’t flaunt her charms; she doesn’t need to, but rather allows you to make your own conclusions as time unfolds.
The steak roll would rival any I’ve had in a gastropub, the salmon in the quiche was generous, and the salad ingredients were equally functional as they were visually appealing, and I was curious enough to try dessert. I generally don’t eat desserts but the previous courses had spiked my curiousity even though I wasn’t hungry for one.
There was a pear, ginger & cinnamon tart that I just had to try. I knew I was going to regret it before it even arrived but I couldn’t resist. I wish I had! It was a sticky delight of rich sponge, generous portions of pear, and a subtle balance of spice. It had all the charm of a country girl determined to impress with none of the elegance of a polite dessert. It was too sticky, slightly too sweet, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was the kind of indulgence that a dessert should be.
I ordered the Steak And Guinness Pie for my evening meal which was a revelation in it’s own right. It was served in our cottage for reheating at our leisure. The pastry was buttery and rich that yielded a generous portion of tender steak. Unlike most pies which release a greuly mess of gelatinous gravy, it was rich and flavoursome. I wish I had taken pictures of it after I had cut it open but it truly was a generous pie. It was served with vegetable chips and a salad.
The menu is small but what it lacks in selection it certainly makes up for with wholesome country goodness. Linda De Luca, owner of Random Harvest, says that what they can’t produce themselves they source from local artisanal suppliers, and if they have excess, they will sell to customers – I even met the cow whose cream was served with my morning coffee!
Some people might visit Random Harvest for the nursery, others might visit it for the overnight accommodation, but I would return for the food alone. Fortunately one can as the tea garden does serve visitors to the nursery – and people who pop in for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch.
Random Harvest offers visitors a unique experience where they can hike through the grasslands, shop in the nursery, enjoy lunch in the garden shop, and maybe spend a night or two – or a few.
Less than ten minutes away, off Beyers Naude Drive, there’s no reason why Joburgers can’t add it to their To Do list for a #daycation or a #staycation.