I spent the best part of Sunday afternoon visiting the Crafty Duck Village in KwaZulu-Natal with some friends and what an enjoyable experience it proved to be! Situated just 10 kilometres from the Pietermaritzburg, the Crafty Duck offers locals a chance to get out into the countryside without having to travel too far too do so.
Upon driving through the gates I felt I had stepped back in time as old world buildings and green pastures greeted me with a most unusual charm. And unusual is certainly an apt word to describe the Crafty Duck experience with the Village catering for just about every need imaginable …
Crafty Duck sports a farmyard, snake and reptile park, wildlife sanctuary, fun train, horse and pony rides, jungle gym, craft shop, relaxation spa and of course a delightful restaurant, which was our main port of call for the day.
The Little Moravia Bohemian restaurant has an extensive menu with lunchtime dishes consisting of local cuisine such as fried chicken, lamb chops, venison potjie, bush pig and venison cottage pot pie to name but a few. For those with a hankering for the hot and spicy, there are also a variety of curried dishes to choose from.
However, German cuisine is what Little Moravia specialises in and with delicious dishes such as kassergriller, knackwurst, bratwurst, kassler, eisbein and sauerbraten and kloesse on offer to satisfy even the most voracious appetites, they certainly don’t disappoint. For the less hungry a selection of snacks and lighter meals such as potato wedges, quiches, scones and baked potatoes is available.
Photographs – Left: Entrance to the Restaurant / Centre: Pony / Right: On the deck
Starters include a variety of soups, spring rolls, chicken livers, mussels and calamari strips while a range of salads are on offer for the more health conscious, and if you just want a toasted sandwich you’ll be able to get that too.
Other dishes are the penne and ratatouille – An Italian pasta smothered in a rich French vegetable ratatouille with cheddar sauce and a choice of chicken or smoked gammon while the peposo consists of a peppery beef stew cooked in red wine. This interesting dish is served with rice and vegetables.
No meal would be complete without dessert and Little Moravia certainly delivers the goods with its delicious cheesecake, death by chocolate, Danish twirls and good old fashioned ice cream and chocolate sauce. For the thirsty a selection of hot and cold beverages is available while you can also relax with your favourite glass of wine or beer.
My friends and I decided to enjoy our meal outdoors on the restaurant’s wooden deck from which we spotted the resident Alpacas and Impala lazily grazing nearby. Alpacas are peculiar looking animals which I have come across only once before in my journeys around KwaZulu-Natal.
Native to South America the Alpaca resembles a small Llama in appearance and is bred specifically for its fibre which is used for making knitted and woven items, much as wool is. They look out of place among the other four legged residents, yet add to the unusual flavour of the Village with its curious blend of the wild and the tame, the cute and the ugly and the bold and the beautiful. But back to our meal…
Photographs – Left: Alpacasa / Right: The restaurant seating
I ordered the venison cottage pot pie which came with the most delicious potato wedges I have ever eaten. The pot pie was tasty too, although my portion was somewhat on the small side. My companions ordered a variety of dishes including the pork schnitzel, Bombay beef curry and Moroccan chicken prawn curry and were thoroughly impressed with both the presentation and taste of their meal, although one of them felt a little hard done by with her rather small helping of curry.
A late breakfast meant that I was forced to skip dessert, but this was certainly not the case with my friends with two of them making short work of the delectable death by chocolate and a third thoroughly enjoying her chocolate milkshake. All in all our experience at Little Moravia was most enjoyable and it certainly is a must for all those wanting to enjoy a tasty meal out in the country.
I ended off the afternoon’s fun with a tour of the snake and reptile park and wildlife sanctuary after earlier visiting the farmyard complete with horses, pony’s, pigs, sheep, goats and even the occasional ostrich or two. The snake and reptile park was off most interest to me as I have been fascinated by reptiles since childhood.
Snakes from all over the world make there home at Crafty Duck and I was able to get up close and personal with a red tail boa constrictor that was receiving some tender loving care from Rod, the resident exhibits officer. All constrictors are non venomous and kill their prey by suffocation. Red tails, which are native to South America, do not grow very big and once placed in captivity often become quite tame.
Photographs – Left: A new friend! / Centre: The craft shop / Right: The train
Handling one certainly was a memorable experience and was the first time I have ever touched a snake, let alone held one. Rather then being the slimy and slippery handful I had expected, the red tail was, courtesy of its scaly skin, coarse to the touch and surprisingly easy to handle.
The Village adheres to a strict policy that ensures that all snakes (both venomous and non venomous) are kept under lock and key at all times with the only exceptions being some of the smaller constrictors that Rod occasionally brings out of their glass enclosures for some personal attention.
So whether you are 8 or 80 the Crafty Duck Village has something to cater for every need and with friendly and helpful staff on hand and an entrance fee of just R25 (you won’t pay this if you are going to the restaurant only) it definitely is more than worth the visit.
Crafty Duck Contact details
Telephone: +27 (0)33 390 1334/6
Cell: +27 (0)82 807 6385 (Don)