Monday, October 4, 2010

“Goblin’s Cove”

Several years ago Goblin’s Cove was raised to the ground by a fire that destroyed the almost the entire property.
But like the Phoenix, it rose from the ashes bigger, better and even more quirky than before!
With up to fifty five people on site, it was rebuilt in the record time of four months, and a new balcony and third floor were also added.
My fiancée and I set out to discover what it is that makes this property so special.
New owners, Samantha and Jacques Smit are committed to making your time there an enjoyable one.
We decided to accept their offer of accommodation and stayed the night in a converted train coach on the property.
Having completed an electrical apprenticeship with the South African Railways and Harbours in 1974, it was a trip down memory lane for me.The majority of the original fixtures and fittings have been retained.Except those awful green horse hair pillows, which served no purpose at all! I seem to remember tossing some out of the window on one trip from Port Elizabeth to Zimbabwe.
Situated away from the main building to give it some privacy, the coach has been converted in such a way that it can accommodate 3 couples in luxury double bed compartments. It can however also offer 4 single bunks to lone adults or children. Showers have been installed, as have new toilets.For people like me; the old toilets and hand basins have been modified and retained.
Instead of a platform, a balcony runs the length of the outside of the carriage.Supplied with tables and chairs, it is the ideal venue to eat meals or just to sit and contemplate.
Although Goblin’s Cove does not do dinners; they are able to supply a dinner basket.And what a feast it turned out to be.
Biltong and salad wrapps, cheese and biscuits and two types of dessert awaited us under the white linen napkins.And proper silverware and crockery too.A bottle of wine was supplied with dinner, but for those, like me, who don’t drink, soft drinks were included. The food and wine got big thumbs up from both of us.
 I did miss the clatter of the wheels on the rails and been woken in the middle of the night by families shouting to members who were either departing or arriving.
Instead we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the birds in the aviaries close by.
Before we knew it, the sun was trying to force itself between the wooden shutters on the windows. (Remember those? With the leather straps to raise and lower them?)
Time to eat again!
Breakfast is served at the main building between 9 and 10.30ish.However, booking is essential. A set menu, it consists of good ol’ fashioned home cooking.Nothing too fancy, but filling and well prepared.The staff is really friendly and attentive without being intrusive.
For once the music that was being played was a pleasure.But then I am a fan of the Blues, even at breakfast.Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but not as intrusive as the usual Musak.
It is very difficult to try and describe the labyrinth of rooms and the various nooks and crannies in Goblin’s Cove. After the fire, well known artist and sculptor, Charles Gotthard, got involved with the rebuild and has created rooms of such diversity that we felt that we had only just scratched the surface on our tour through the property.Each room is decorated in a rather eclectic style with a variety of Charles’s sculptures thrown in for good measure. (There is a very special one in an alcove as you come down the steps from the front door)
Although not designed with conventional conference facilities in mind, Merlin’s Loft can seat about 10-15 people.
It is a great venue for creative think tanks and Goblin’s can offer outdoor conference facilities for up to 70 people.
The venue is REALLY child friendly with a huge sand pit and an area for them to participate in a variety of activities, including painting, which will keep them occupied while Moms and Dads enjoy their meal.
There are also two shops that sell a variety of Golbin,Elf and Fairy merchandise.These are tiny and need to be entered very carefully.But like everything else at Goblin’s,they are exciting to  browse in and explore.
We had got so involved in our investigations that we did not even realize that lunch time was upon us.
We ate on the new third floor balcony which overlooks the back of the property.
Booking for lunch on the week end is essential.Although the venue can seat about 120 people, we watched as several parties were either turned away or directed to the Gobble D’Gook Coffee Nook at the lower end of the property. Don’t be fooled by the name, run by Michelle Jacobs,they do great savory,sweet snacks and light meals for both adults and children.Coffee is their speciality,so asking for tea will get you rather strange looks from the staff.
 Lunch is a set three course meal.An eclectic mix of flavours and foods; it will satisfy most palates, carnivore or vegetarian.
After the meal, we decided that we were in need of exercise of some sort. Quad biking came to mind, and although not offered at Goblin’s the venue that we chose is less than 2 kilometers away.
 ‘In the Gorge’ run by Walter Coulsen offers quad bikes, paintball, abseiling, hiking and teambuilding facilities. Walter Coulsen left the gaming industry to pursue his dream of running a venue like this.When we arrived there the place was pumping to the sound of a young rock band.
Having almost broken my ankle in a quad bike accident a few years ago I am not the fastest person on four wheels.
My fiancée has no such limitations! She was off like a F1 driver, leaving me to follow in her dust.
The trail ride last just over and hour, and we were accompanied by a guide in order to make sure that we were both ok.
Up hills and down dongas we went, me being cautious and she going as fast as our guide would allow.
Mid way into the route is a race track that she was only too keen to try out, while I stood by taking photographs.
The second part of the course was more enjoyable although I did have a close encounter with a fence and a gate post.But luckily no harm was done to either me or the quad.
Although all three of us were covered in dust, I almost had to prise my fiancée off her bike in order for us to head home.
Just another day in the paradise that is the Magaliesberg
A Magalies trivia fact: Did you know that the Hekpoort police station was built by Paul Kruger?


Contact details:

Goblin’s Cove:
Samantha: (014)576 2143
E-mail: goblins@worldonline.co.za
Web site: www.goblins.co.za

Gobble D’ Gook Coffee Nook
Michelle: 082 902 4110

In the Gorge Adventures:
Walter Coulsen: 082 780 3485
E-mail: info@inthegorge.co.za
Web- site: www.inthegorge.co.za

Magalies Meander:
E-mail: info@magaliesmeander.co.za
Web-site: www.magaliesmeander.co.za

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