By Norma Tsopo
A wild chatter of a small family of the rare Simango monkey burst overhead as we were about to leave the neat and well-kept White Horse Inn gardens. These masters of the rainforest canopy gracefully swung about.
This unexpected sighting of the majestic monkey was a perfect ending to a relaxing afternoon.
This explained why the country hotel, in this wooded corner of the picturesque Bvumba Mountains has a therapeutic reputation for comfort and relaxation.
There is even hope that lucky visitors could run into even more of the tropical rainforest’s rare habitat – dwarf chameleon and Blue Duiker from the hotel’s back door.
The most impressive bit for nature lovers is that the Inn has not disturbed nature in spite of having been a licensed hotel in over half a century.
It evolved gradually from a cottage into a family home before becoming a hospitality establishment over a 30-year period.
Built as a cottage in the 1930s it made the famous Rob Roy jam in the 1940s before its conversion into a home in the 1950s. It was later converted into an Inn in the face of growing fame of the Bvumba as a holiday destination.
While the hotel is completely safe from all dangerous predatory animals there are tales of a little girl who used to stay at the place in the 1950s who used to wake at dawn and watch a leopard that often came to drink from the beautifully set swimming pool.
It became a fully licensed hotel in 1959 but never broke its connection with nature.
The Chilsholms were the first owners of the hotel and grew its reputation around the food it served – a reputation the place still prides itself with a large à la carte menu.
Friendly and eager to please staff makes stay here homey.
The hotel has all the infrastructure to even be a great honeymoon destination. An enclosed courtyard, a separate lounge area and balcony for mini suites particularly ideal for this.
Beyond being a honeymoon destination, hotel gardens are now open for wedding ceremonies venue offering great photo-shoot scenery.
White Horse Inn’s Cottage Suite, consisting of a sitting room and two bedrooms, have proven to be a most hunted for venue for getaway family parties.
It is now also offering conferencing facilities for groups of up-to 50 participants with the great outdoors providing abundant space for break-away and physical activities.
With the misty Bvumba mountains endearingly referred to as ‘new England’ since its discovery by the white settler community the Inn offers a great experience for those who want to experience the often humid, cool high altitude region.
Memories of my experience of this facility will forever maintain their magical quality.