Tomjachu, it’s a bit of a strange name when you first hear it isn't it? I think my reaction when my fellow traveller Papi Mabele mentioned it was “What is that?”. Now that I've heard all about its origins and the rich family history behind it, I no longer think of it as a strange name, I think it’s just beautiful.
A bit of the history. (keep reading, I promise it's interesting)
What is now known as Tomjachu Bush Retreat was originally was originally a tobacco farm and it was bough by Gordon Fillery in 1986 with the intention for it to be a family home. This was after the previous farmer’s crop had failed but unfortunately, in 1992, Gordon fell ill and died , leaving the farm to his son Brian.
Realizing the potential and beauty of the farm, in 1995 Brian Fillery started converting it into a conservation reserve whose aim was to reclaim the bush, and create an environment where the animals, birds and plants could just live and be in their own paradise.
And that is exactly what I experienced...
In 1995 when this business started as a 3 star B&B, it was also given the name “Tomjachu” - named after Brian’s 3 sons, Tom, Jack & Hugo. TomJacHu, get it? lol
Unfortunately Brian passed away in 2016 so his 3 sons took over ownership of Tomjachu and they are continuing their family legacy by preserving this conservation paradise and there was something warm about how warmly we were received at Tomjachu that tells me that Gordon and Brian are proud, wherever they are.
The place is not at all crowded, which is why they are able to give their guests such special treatment, and there's the option of self catering, for those who want total peace and quiet.
The accommodation includes Homestead which sleeps 2 - 6 people, so whether you're there with Bae, friends or family, there's an option for you!
Ooh and there's Rock House, which is a romantic open plan thatched cottage with way too much space. That's definitely not a complaint though, the space was actually one of my favorite things about Tomjachu! They certainly don't have a land problem, given their 550 hectares hehe.
My suite was spacious and more importantly, super comfortable.
Keeper’s Cottage is a one bedroom country style cottage under a giant fig tree. Did I mention there's no dstv there? You have to want to come here for total peace, and honestly, I think TVs would be out of place there.
My 2nd favorite, Bush Cottage is newly renovated and ideal for groups or family as it accommodates 2-4 people. I loved the decor here and how though it was modern, there was still something warm and "bush" about it. A great combination of the glam and bush world, if I can call it that.
Then there is the most beautiful of all, the 5 star Valbonne Villa which sleeps 6 -12 and has 6 en-suite bedrooms. Yhuuuu I think this is where I lost my mind! I thought Bush Cottage was my favorite until I saw Valbonne. When I do go back, this is where I"m staying so I need friends to go back with.
Ladies, maybe we can have a Girls Trip to Nelspruit? mmh?
The views from that place!!!
As I said, the place is all about history and Valbonne was named after an area of France where Gordon Fillery and his wife Vikki lived before they moved to SA. It was beautiful seeing how in each of these rooms there is a piece of history/antiques infused into the decor.
That's the view from the pool at Valbonne!!
View from the bedroom...
and that's another view from the main bedroom! Can you imagine waking up to that each morning! What I liked about Valbonne.. actually the whole farm, was that it felt like home, there was nothing about it that felt artificial. It's a place to really switch off and connect with nature.
There are a number of picnic spots around the property, all accessible by the roads and hiking trails. There are 4 dams, and two watering holes on the property and it was interesting when we were given a map and had to make our way to the dam to go for our picnic.
The fun and exciting thing about that was that there are no dangerous animals like your Big 5, so we walked freely, following clues to the picnic spot and walked past animals grazing, drinking from their watering holes. This was definitely my best part of the weekend!
I just want to go back again guys...
We took a game drive and went on to have a nice bush dinner under the stars..
Perfect with a bushfire! It was quite an adventure.
Our last morning was even more perfect.. first from viewing the beautiful sunrise,
As beautiful as it can only be in Africa!
We thereafter took a guided hike through the farmer with our super dope host & narrator Jack whose every word had me going wow.
I started noticing things I don't normally notice, like the differences in the trees, the plants, birds, even little crawling things I'd normally consider bugs to be stepped on.
I left Tomjachu feeling relaxed and at peace. I left thinking about what I'm doing to take care of the environment. I left thinking about the importance of preserving nature and having the animals live freely, uninterrupted by us and our know-it-all tendencies.
I certainly left with more than what I was promised and I am looking for an excuse to visit their beautiful nature reserve again. You should go visit too!
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