This small town named Val, the smallest town in SA with a postal code, is also home to the legendary Val Hotel.
The almost unknown little hamlet of Val is about 50 minutes from Heidelberg in Gauteng and only a stone’s throw from Greylingstad on the road to Standerton.
Although the hotel is over a hundred years old and dates back to the 1800s it celebrated its 27th year under the ownership of Rita Britz on July 6, 2021. “We bought the Val Hotel (which is pretty much the entire town of Val) at an auction on 6 July 1994, at exactly 10 am, for the “extravagant” amount of R18 000.”
The Bulletin spoke to Rita about the hotel and Val in general, and it is evident that Val is a place to visit for peace and quiet. That said, it does not imply that there is nothing to do but it is not the place for lights and coins that city dwellers sometimes craves. There are a few surprises in this little town.
“It is not even a one-horse town,” Laughed Rita, “we share a horse with Greylingstad.”
Val Hotel has 12 rooms, 6 self-catering cottages and a backpacker. It can accommodate 50 or more guests and offers full catering. The hotel has a cosy private pub, large fireplaces and spacious entertaining areas for functions, conferences, weddings and all celebrations of life. The small and beautiful thatched church, “The Church of St Francis of Assisi, VAL,” further down the road is extremely popular for weddings.
This little church has 12 benches and can seat 60 if there is no social distancing. It is also an exceedingly popular spot for small weddings and photographers alike.
The façade of the hotel has remained much the same as in the old days. This section of the hotel has its original mud walls and was completed before 1896.
Initially, there was a sand road in front of the Val Hotel. One of the proprietors, Mr Pape, owned a parrot. Whenever an ox-wagon came past the hotel, they would halt promptly at the whistle of the parrot. Needless to say, the parrot was not very popular among farmers trying to get 16 oxen on the move on a sand road, which was no easy feat.
Visit the Val Hotel Web page HERE
The area around Val is rich in history with the particularly important railway line that runs from the coast to the Reef (Johannesburg area). The British defended this line with all their might as it was utilised as a supply line.
There is a very humorous story about the Boer war where the Boers derailed a train and found it full of whisky and Christmas cakes, needles to say it was a jollification afterwards. We will bring this story at a later stage.
The Bulletin will bring you a few more stories from Val over the next few months.
Be sure to contact Val Hotel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a quick outing for a day or for a few days. You will not be disappointed.