Wife and I decided to take an unscheduled weekender and we found a little gem off the beaten track up in Waterval Boven, namely, the guest lodge Shamrock Arms.
When we first entered the town we were somewhat shocked by the deterioration of the town itself, there are still many historical buildings (circa 1870 - 1890) but most of them were starting their decay. The old steam railway museum (1916) has disappeared and the only museum building still standing (1880) has been turned into a shebeen, the road up to the falls is no longer there, not even a 4x4 track anymore. However, it is still a quaint little town and echoes it's old railway heritage, there are lots of hiking trails and I'm told it is quite popular as a mountain bikers destination. Almost at the end of the main "drag" (3rd ave) was where we found the Shamrock Arms.
The Shamrock Arms Guest Lodge is in a well maintained building, originally built in 1880, and it's heritage shows in the way the Bar and Dining hall decor is kept within the boundaries of that period, but the modern era meets with the old in a very pleasing fashion. The rooms themselves are furnished in a 1980's, early '90's style and are not overly cluttered, the long verandah where one can sit and have a cigar, brings back the fond memories of an un-rushed and happier time, and if you don't have to be anywhere at a set time, is a lovely place to just sit and relax. The Bar and Dining area is where the guests get together to share notes and chat, 'perfect strangers becoming friends', is a phrase that springs to mind, and then there is the service...
The owners, Terry and Cheryl, hail from Gauteng and have now been in W. Boven for 10-years running their little B&B and they give their guests the relaxed "hands-on" attention that you can only find in a quite little town, together with their concierge, Jaco. Jaco cooks the meals, takes care of the guests needs, entertains the guests, does the bookings and runs the staff. Despite that Jaco has had little or no formal training as a Chef, he cooks a meal fit for a king, whilst playing chef and waiter he still finds the time to chat with the guests and make them feel comfortable.
If you want a quite weekend in the mountains of Mpumalanga, consider The Shamrock Arms as a destination, from there the very clean city of Nelspruit is 90Km, with Sudwala Caves a short 20Km or so. The vintage farming and horse community (Horse riding, Wild horses, and stunning scenery) of Kaapsehoop is about 45Km toward Nelspruit.