Hebron’s origin began as a Government land grant designed to encourage settlers to inhabit the nether regions of the then all-powerful British Empire. The first owner of this land was a certain Carl Preller, granted 6165 acres of land on 25 September 1849. This covered the area as far as where Midmar Dam is today as well as through to lions river, up the dargle and further. Hebron Haven as it is today is Portion 84 of the original farm. He was born 1809 and died in 1870. It is alleged that Carl had two very lazy sons. He supposedly buried an amount of gold somewhere on the property prior to his death to keep them from finding and squandering it. He however died without revealing to anyone where the gold was hidden. He was indeed so protective of his money that it is believed that the ghost that is occasionally seen or heard at Hebron is in fact Carl keeping an eye on his gold. To add some credence to this myth, a box containing gold coins was reportedly unearthed when the tarred road to Dargle was constructed. Carl however is still seen at Hebron Haven.

Hebron was approximately one day’s travel from Pietermaritzburg, on the great road North to the gold fields, and as such was an ideal place to stop over for the night after having forded the M’geni River. In much the same way the Howick Falls Hotel owed it’s origins. There were many such places of accommodation that developed as stopovers for weary travellers and Lumbermen, working to supply the gold fields with building materials. Early Hebron would have seen these travellers camping out next to their wagons, as the original homestead was the only building at the time. Up until the big floods of 1987 there were the rutted tracks of wagons over the ford of the uMngeni. Unfortunately these rocks were washed away in the floods. It is said that Preller sold the farm to a Mr. Boschoff for a bottle of whisky.

Hebron then passed into the hands of Col Gardener around 1920. Mrs Gardener – his daughter, who was a near neighbour until a few months ago, had some excellent photographs of early Hebron Haven. These photos show the construction of the first rooms attached to the building as well as the two rooms still standing at the front entrance (circa 1923). It said that these rooms were the original post office for the area. There is a photograph of an old Gum tree that was allegedly the biggest Gum tree growing in the district. The trunk of this tree is still evident in the garden today. During the second world war, Hebron was “issued” with 3 Italian POW’s who helped build many of the buildings now standing.
Alec & Joyce Court purchased Hebron in about 1941 from Col. Gardiner who in turn sold to Reg and Liz Howse in 1944and who had the hotel from about 1944 to1958. John James Raw (the uncle of Vause Raw – United Party leader in the 70’s) also owned the hotel. A highlight of 1947 was a visit from the King and Queen. Other owners were Ivan and Pat Mc Donald till 1970. Mike and Rosemary Butt up to 1985. Vaughan and Alison Hatting, 1986. Wally and Anne Smith, 1994. Club Carravelle, with Garth Taylor as manager until 1996. In August 1996 owners Rowney, King and Goulden took over ownership. December 2002 saw Hebron Haven Hotel’s present owner, Master Chef and Hotelier extraordinaire Rudolf Pollabauer take over the reigns. ( See letter from Alec & Joyce’s daughter. )
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The Hotel developed around the concept of providing accommodation to travelling people and this lead to rooms being built as demand increased. Later with the development of Michaelhouse and Hilton there was great demand for accommodation during their sporting events and on weekends when parents came to visit the boys. Earlier years saw Hebron as a working farm and the home of the Lions River Polo Club. Guest farms as getaway destinations were also at a time very popular.

As business improved so more rooms were needed. Old storerooms and outbuildings were converted into rooms as these amenities were moved further from the public view. This has given rise to the “Old English” feel of Hebron Haven. Every room has its own character. Unfortunately this is a bit of a builder’s nightmare with no uniformity in design, shape or structure. Doors and windows were fitted, as they were available, with very little matching the next building. However this gives Hebron it’s own charm and uniqueness. Rooms may be double, twin or family size, sleeping from two to five in a room

There is a continuous programme of refurbishment in the rooms as well as on the property. The rooms are tastefully decorated with soft furnishings that further enhance the “Old English” atmosphere and provide a comfortable night sleeps. Reservations are made up to a year in advance to secure accommodation.

The Main building has a very comfortable lounge to relax in, read a book, chat with friends or just enjoy the ambiance of the country in front of the fireplace. The pub, “The King and Riddle” is a firm favourite with the locals. There is an almost tangible atmosphere in the pub perhaps remnant of the elation of previous wins by the Natal Sharks. Sporting events, locals’ night on Thursdays and Sunday lunches fill the pub to capacity, adding to the spirit of the “King and Riddle”. Hebron Haven is child friendly and family orientated.
The hotel has 33 Bedrooms, all en-suite and can accommodate up to 96 guests. Rooms (some double) vary in size from Single to Double, twin as well as Family
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Hebron Haven is proud to provide exceptional food at a good price. A place where one can bring the whole family out for a meal and leave satisfied both in stomach and in pocket. A continuously reviewed wine list further compliments the generous menu with reasonable prices. The a’la Carte menu is changed seasonally with the “firm favourites” becoming established. In keeping with the “family friendly” ethos, a kiddie’s menu as well as half portion is available on request. Constant supervision ensures as far as possible the consistency and quality of the meals produced.

Hebron’s Chefs are both, industry qualified and locally trained by owner and Master Chef Rudolf Pollabauer previously of Sun City, Holiday Inns, Southern Suns and of the famous Blues Restaurant in Camps Bay in Cape Town. Rudolf determines the appearance of any new items on the menu and is hands-on in the instruction of how the new dishes should be prepared and presented.

Hebron Haven’s food is one of the best marketing tools of the Hotel. Fellow Restranteurs, Guest House owners, locals and previous guests, further promote the kitchen’s fame. Sunday lunches are well attended by locals and meanderers. This has made prior reservation an absolute necessity for Sundays. The “fish ‘n chips” pub special on Thursday nights, served English style wrapped in newspaper, is one of the top sellers from the Pub. Hebron will soon be introducing it’s own separate Pub menu to cater for the growing demand for a quick, wholesome meal.

Hebron caters for Weddings, Birthdays, Special occasions and Conferences. Various set menus are available to ensure that the client’s budget can be accommodated. A set menu consisting of four courses is provided to in-house guests who have a further option of choosing a meal from the a’la Carte menu when on a B&B rate. In-house and walk in guests can enjoy a full country breakfast.
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Hebron Haven’s return to prominence has been achieved through hard work and determination of all who are employed at the hotel. There has been a consistent increase in patronage and occupancy resulting in a steady sustained growth of the business. Hebron now has return guests who used to spend their childhood holidays here, couples who were married here or spent their honeymoon at Hebron. Just as important are new friends that book their rooms again on departure after a memorable stay who will return with their friends to build on these founding memories. There is much credence in the belief that the old establishments will prevail.

Hebron Haven has adequately filled a niche’ in the market by providing a child friendly, family orientated venue for day trippers and vacationers who can relax and enjoy the country atmosphere in a safe, peaceful environment.

We continue to explore ways in which to entertain our guests, ideas to coax the locals to return to Hebron and to reward the patronage of our friends. Soon we will reintroduce the once famous “ drinks around the world” party, Karaoke, Theme evenings and the like.
The addition of our formal a la carte’ Restaurant as well as our new swimming pool and entertainmentarea have and are proving a major draw card for both casual guests as well as conference delegates.

We do not spend a lot of money on advertising. Most of our business is return business from satisfied guests. However we do realise that even in this small district there are people who have never heard of Hebron Haven and what we have to offer. There are also those who have had a bad experience here in the past that have vowed never to return. For future success, these are the people we intend to target as customers. People, who will make the once a week, or even only once a month, trip to Hebron for that excellent meal and who will bring their family and friends along with them the next time. These are our friends, our “Bread and Butter” income and our continued success.
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