Loretta Chamberlain, owner of Yukon House in Bezuidenhout Valley

Afternoon Tea in Bezuidenhout Valley

Bezuidenhout Valley, aka Bez Valley, feels like a forgotten suburb. Once home to wealthy Johannesburg socialites, the area has declined in recent decades. Many of Bez Valley’s stately old houses have been abandoned or fallen into disrepair.

Looking out over Bezuidenhout Valley
Looking out over Bezuidenhout Valley.

But Bez Valley maintains its sense of history. You can feel it while driving or walking its tree-shaded streets. Johannesburg’s oldest house is here and a few other historical landmarks remain. Yukon House is one of them.

Looking up at Yukon House in Bezuidenhout Valley.
Looking up at Yukon House, made partially of stone from the rocky hillside it’s built on.

Yukon House was built between 1906 and 1911 and was home to two Johannesburg mayors in the early 20th century. The house suffered periods of neglect as it changed ownership over the years (read this article about the theft of its priceless stained glass windows) but its current owners, Loretta and Henry Chamberlain, have lovingly restored the mansion back to its original glory.

Loretta Chamberlain, owner of Yukon House in Bezuidenhout Valley
Loretta standing in Yukon House’s dramatic entrance hall.

I’ve been meaning to visit Yukon House forever but it’s not open to the public all the time. So when I heard Kennedy of Micro-adventure Tours was hosting a historical tour there — including afternoon tea, my favorite meal — I jumped right on board.

Tour and Tea at Yukon House

This isn’t your average historical house tour. Loretta and Henry live at Yukon House so it doesn’t feel like a museum. This house is truly loved while also maintaining a very authentic, Victorian feel. Each room has some spectacular feature that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

The drawing room.
Fireplace in the drawing room at Yukon House.
One of two spectacular fireplaces.
Fireplace in the dining room at Yukon House
This green-tiled fireplace in the dining room took my breath away. I struggled to get a photograph that conveys how beautiful and unique it is.
Art Deco lamp in Yukon House
Art Deco lamp at the base of the staircase.
Staircase in Yukon House
Stained glass windows and an interesting religious frieze in the stairwell.
Yukon House chapel
The Yukon House chapel, which can be booked for weddings.
Cherub above a doorway in Yukon House
Cherubs above every door.
Front garden at Yukon House
Looking down on the manicured front garden.

Tea was served on the cool stone patio adjoining the drawing room. It didn’t disappoint. The food was great and I really enjoyed getting to know the other tour participants who were sitting around me.

Afternoon tea at Yukon house
It looks like someone snatched a few of the cucumber sandwiches before I had the chance to photograph them. Not pictured: Mouth-watering mini sausage rolls.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a fun, informative Jozi tour with great food. This was a perfect Saturday afternoon.

And I have good news: Kennedy is organizing another Yukon House tour just two weeks from now on 23 March 2019. Sign up by visiting his website: microadventuretours.co.za. You can also book your own event at Yukon House by visiting yukonhouse.co.za.

Mirror in Yukon House
Yukon House quirky mirror selfie.

Yukon House is at 33 North Avenue, Bezuidenhout Valley. My tour was complimentary. Opinions expressed are mine.

Previous Post Next Post

8 Comments

  • Reply Nikki Brighton March 5, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    How utterly wonderful! So many gems in that city of yours.

    • Reply 2summers March 5, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      True 😍

  • Reply Peter March 5, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    With your help Heather, JHB might just stand a chance of a renaissance of sorts …… Love your work

    • Reply 2summers March 5, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Peter!

  • Reply dizzylexa March 5, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Loretta never fails to put on a fantastic spread, love the house.

    • Reply 2summers March 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      The tea was great! Definitely added to my list of top Jozi afternoon teas 🙂

  • Reply autumnashbough March 5, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Those fireplaces!!!

    • Reply 2summers March 5, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      I know, right? And I really couldn’t properly capture the green one because of the lighting and furniture arrangement in the room. It looks so much more dramatic in person!

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: