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Landmark Panorama Route lodge turns 45

News Desk

One of the oldest family-run resorts in Mpumalanga, Misty Mountain is celebrating its 45th birthday this year.

The charming mountain lodge, situated on the beautiful Long Tom Pass on the R37 between Lydenburg and Sabie, is renowned for its warm hospitality and unforgettable views, as well as its convenient location on the Panorama Route. At 1 700 metres above sea level, on a clear day, one can see Piggs Peak in Swaziland, some 100 kilometres away as the crow flies.

The property was initially bought by Robert and Ann Sheard in 1966 as a weekend getaway for their family. The Sheards lived in Johannesburg where Robert worked successfully in the computer industry and the remote timber farm, with its single farmhouse, provided some much-needed rest and relaxation for the businessman and his wife.

Soon the majestic scenery, the rolling mist, the crystal-clear water and the clean air crept into their hearts, and in 1974 they relocated permanently to the farm and started a self-catering holiday resort known as Misty Mountain Chalets.

By 1975, the Sheards had built 12 self-catering chalets and a trading store that serviced not only the guests at Misty Mountain but the local forestry community as well.

In the early 1980s, the Sheards added a couple more chalets and in 1986, purchased the 208-hectare timber farm next door for R125 000.

In 1987, Misty Mountain was declared a South African Natural Heritage Site due to the prevalence of certain rare and endangered fauna and flora on the property, most notably the endangered Blue Swallow.

Twenty years after Misty Mountain was started, Robert and Ann’s son James Sheard and his wife Lisa moved to Misty Mountain to take over the running of the resort. By late 1996, a new restaurant and entertainment complex had been built and the following year, all the existing chalets were renovated.

In 2000, 10 new studio chalets came on stream and a conference/function centre was completed two years later. Another four studio units were built in 2004, bringing the capacity of Misty Mountain up to 84 beds.

Misty Mountain now offers a variety of leisure activities, including the innovative Long Tom Toboggan, guided quad biking, trout fishing, walking trails and bird-watching, and Lisa and James continue to warmly welcome regular and new guests with the same Sheard hospitality that has characterised the lodge for 45 years.

“James and I are constantly amazed by the number of people who return to Misty Mountain over the generations,” says Lisa. “We had a family here in March who was married at Misty Mountain 19 years ago.” She says it is also a sentimental place for many people. “We have families returning whose children were conceived here and we’ve had people asking to scatter the ashes of their parents here because Misty Mountain was so special to them.

Visit www.mistymountain.co.za for a detailed article on Misty Mountain’s history and its 45th birthday special.

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