Nestled just outside of Ballito in the sugarcane hills of the North Coast, lies Verbara Forest Lodge, a secluded haven of luscious green splendour. Situated in the tranquil surroundings of a spacious garden, the Lodge overlooks an awe-inspiring 200 hectare coastal indigenous forest. Idyllically located for private or corporate functions, providing an exclusive yet homely setting.
Discover the captivating wonders of Verbara, home to an abundant variety of bird species and wildlife as well as two bass fishing dams, walking and mountain bike trails through the forest and a large crocodile farm… providing the ultimate nature lovers retreat.
The Verbara Farm (previously Rietvalley) has been in the Essery’s name for more than 140 years. When Edwin Essery, a surveyor and land agent came out to South Africa from Cornwall in 1864 he fell in love with the indigenous Natal bush and settled down on the farm with his wife, Emma and their 10 children.
The Essery’s farmed coffee and instilled a love of the land in their son Harry who inherited the farm when his father died in 1912. Harry loved the bush and the vast greenery covered with colossal mahogany trees, wild figs and other marvels. He was entranced with the birdlife and despised the idea that sugarcane was taking over so much indigenous bushland.
He stubbornly refused to plant cane, preferring to plant small plantations of bananas and citrus. Harry ran the farm for 40 years, fiercely protecting the land from commercialisation. When he died, his nephew Vernon, a respected lawyer and Mayor of Durban in the mid-1950s, bought the farm and renamed it Verbara – a combination of his and his wife’s (Barbara) names. The couple used the farm as a retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
In the 1970’s Vernon’s son, Howard, took over the running of the farm after studying agriculture at Natal University.
Howard and his wife Pam, a nursing sister, who he had met while at university and married soon after finishing varsity, settled down on Verbara to raise their 4 children and farm bananas, macadamia nuts and sugar.
They have kept much of the land in its virgin form and have turned Vernon and Barbara’s refuge on the forest edge into a luxurious 10-sleeper lodge.
Property type: Farm House
Accommodation Type: Entire Property
Mountain bike trails