In 2012 Andrew and Kim Hall, fourth generation family of the farming pioneer HL Hall and his wife Grace, began restoring the 100-year family farmhouse. Here they were able to realise their dream of preserving the family heritage and continuing Grace Hall’s legacy of “providing rest for the weary traveller” in her home, long before Nelspruit was even established.
Rooted in the heart of the lowveld, the homestead is located on the well-known farming estate of HL Hall & Sons, in the village that was once occupied by the first generation Hall family and farm employees. It was named Torburnlea Homestead by Grace Hall in 1923 as a reminder of the countryside in Scotland where she spent her childhood. Steeped in history, Torburnlea Homestead was once host to the eminent President Jan Smuts, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the classic children’s book “Jock of the Bushveld” and Harry Wolhuter, one of the first game rangers of the Kruger Park, who survived a lion attack while patrolling the reserve on horseback.
Step inside the homestead and you will appreciate the lengths that Kim and Andrew have gone to in the restoration process. The rooms have been decorated individually with a keen eye for detail and comfort. The loft that once housed the farm school and church on a Sunday has been transformed into two luxury guest rooms.
With mindful attention to environmental sustainability, Kim and Andrew have installed water and energy efficient fixtures and use recycled and locally sourced materials wherever possible. The result is an elegant yet inviting space that you may never want to leave. Torburnlea Homestead is a member of the “Buy Local Lowveld Initiative”, dedicated to supporting locally owned businesses, focusing on people, their families and job creation in the Lowveld region.
At Torburnlea “rest for the weary traveller” is a meaningful experience within a unique product; care for our guests and their comfort forming the heart of our service. We believe it is our responsibility to care for the earth and its people through service and sustainability of the natural environment.
Sizwe lives in Pienaar outside Mbombela with his wife and 2 year old baby. His father Hendri has been working with the Hall family for over 30 years, and after helping his father build a wall at Torburnlea, his roles branched out and he has stayed on. Before working at Torburnlea he had only fixed cars.
Sizwe’s roles at Torburnlea include gardening, planting trees and his favourite role – looking after the new chicken family. While being at Torburnlea he has developed many skills including how to work in a kitchen for service and how to be a waiter. He says that most importantly, he has learnt how to treat and honour people.
Sizwe feels that the tourism industry is important to create jobs and he hopes that with his new skills (including a drivers license) that he will one day be able to start his own small business raising chickens or propagating plants. Outside of work he enjoys playing soccer and fixing cars, with his dream being to one day earn his mechanical certificate.
Stanford was born and raised in Malawi where he initially worked different jobs including as a gardener and foreman at a rubber producing factory before enrolling with a catering school. He started working in a family home as the chef before they relocated back to the UK. He relocated to South Africa where he worked at the Mount Grace Hotel in the Magaliesburg. Once his time there was done he worked in Zimbabwe and then found himself back in Malawi for 15 years helping to start a new guest house. During a visit to his son in 2011, who was working in the Kruger Lowveld of South Africa for friends of Kim and Andrew, Stanford met the Halls who were just about to open Torburnlea and were on the lookout for a chef. They offered him the job and he moved his life to South Africa for a second time.
Stanford enjoys to read and continues to teach himself, as well as picking up different culinary skills from every job he’s been in. He enjoys being exposed to new people and different ideas in the hospitality industry and hosting people brings him the most joy. Stanford enjoys working in a team and the dynamics that come with it, as well as sharing skills with team members.
Outside of work Stanford grows his own vegetables on a plot of land in Malawi that he sells. He believes that the produce that he cooks with should be fresh, organic and locally produced and he enjoys planting and working with different types of produce like Marog (African spinach).
Annie, Standord’s wife, was also born and raised in Malawi. After school she started a small catering business before being asked to join a family in Malawi as a housekeeper where she worked for many years before they relocated to Australia. Having met the Halls while visiting Stanford in South Africa, Kim offered Annie a job so that the husband and wife team could be closer to each other.
Annie’s roles at Torburnlea include housekeeping and laundry.
She enjoys working for the Halls and being around the people that are a part of the team. She also really enjoys Lucy, who sleeps with her and Stanford when Kim and Andrew are away.
George lived in Mozambique up until 1984 when his father died and his family relocated to South Africa where his uncle was living. His family now lives in Bushbuckridge and he lives in Kanyamazane with his wife and three children.
While working on the sports fields of Penryn College, he helped his friend Hendri create garden beds for Kim at Torburnlea and ended up staying.
George’s roles at Torburnlea now include keeping the beautiful verandah spotless, gardening, managing the self serve refreshments, room amenities, oil lamps and his favourite job – looking after Lucy. He would also regularly take Lucy to the frail care in the residential estate to spend time with the residents, which will hopefully start up again after COVID. George believes that tourism is important for South Africa because it brings money into the country for housing, food and education. He feels that Torburnlea is special because of its beautiful gardens and that the rooms are always made up perfectly.
On his time off he enjoys playing football, going for early morning walks, watching cricket and gardening. He hopes to one day learn how to drive.
Petunia lives in Kanyamazane with her Mom and child. Many years ago she worked with Kim at her physio practice before moving on to work for an elderly man in a close-by housing estate.
Her roles at Torburnlea include housekeeper, check in officer (making sure everything is perfect before guests check in and welcoming them in) and she helps Annie in the laundry. Petunia has learnt many skills while working at Torburnlea and hopes to have more roles in the future, in particular administrative work. She enjoys meeting new people that visit Torburnlea and the Shared Table events are a highlight for her as she loves food and cooking.
Petunia believes that guests enjoy Torburnlea because it is quiet with beautiful gardens, the guests are always welcomed warmly and the food is wonderful.
Siphiwe is from Zwelisha outside of Mbembela and is a mother and grandmother. She has been with the Hall family for over 21 years when she started working for Kim’s mother, Helen.
Her roles at Torburnlea include housekeeping, laundry, room checks and cleaning the silver.
Siphiwe enjoys being a housekeeper at a guest house because she gets to meet many different people and she understands the importance of them bringing income to their community. She enjoys getting the rooms and house perfect and she loves to see how much the guests enjoy the house.
At home she grows her own vegetables, has chickens and is involved in her community. She enjoys to sew but while she doesn’t have a sewing machine, she keeps herself busy with crochet.