When the lovely Carmen Barends (who I hadn’t met in person) asked me whether I would like to be one of the bloggers on a special trip to Antbear Lodge in the Drakensberg, you can guess what my response was – YES! Antbear wanted to host some Durban bloggers who could see and experience their lodge, activities and food.
Anytime that I am able to go see and experience the majestic Berg is a definite plus for me. The clear fresh air, bird life, flowing streams and rivers and of course the views of the Drakensberg mountains themselves are some of the many reasons why I love the Berg.
I have been following Antbear Lodge on Facebook for some time and always thought that it looked like a fabulous and fun place to visit. It is confirmed, it is a fabulous and fun place to visit!
Inge Loker (Snap, Sizzle and Cook) and I travelled up together and we left my house at about 11am on Friday 16 September. We decided to go up early because number 1 : we could and number 2 : we wanted to have lunch at the Bistro at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. If you are in the area doing the Midlands Meander I really recommend a stop for lunch at the Bistro as the food is a taste sensation.
We had a VERY leisurely lunch at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa and left for Antbear Lodge later than we expected to. It took us about 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive from Granny Mouse to Antbear Lodge and we took the roundabout route by going through the Mooi River toll and exiting just past Wagensdrift Dam.
After checking in we were given a tour of the main lodge by Dom and she showed us the large dining area, lounge and the honesty bar. Yes you did read that right – an honesty bar! Feel like having a soft drink, beer or a glass of wine? Well just go to the back of the bar and take what you want, then write in the book the item and your room number. When you check out at the end of your stay you can settle what you consumed.
|Communal table, driftwood Antbear and the honesty bar|
|Stunning stained glass that the owner Andrew made|
After seeing the incredible woodwork inside the lodge I was very curious as to what the room we were staying in looked like. There are 15 units consisting of luxury suites, en-suite double rooms, family units and one amazing luxury cave. We stayed in an en-suite double room. The first item in our room that amazed me was the door and its clever opening and closing mechanism. The next items inside the room that were ingenious were the fridge cupboard, the wardrobe and the small bathroom cupboard. Please don’t be worried when you see the brown water in the toilet – the toilet has been cleaned it is just the colour of the borehole water. We had a big open shower and a Jacuzzi in our bathroom and the all important fireplace inside the main room to chase away the morning and evening chill.
|Incredible door to the room|
|Lots of beautiful woodwork and amazing furniture|
|Shower, jacuzzi bath and yes ladies that is a hair dryer|
After unpacking we headed back to the main lodge to see the rest of the ladies and to relax in the lounge before supper. On the menu that evening was salad, braised chicken & veg and lime mousse cake. Dinner is at 7pm and is eaten at a communal table so you are able to chat to your fellow guests. On the Friday night there were quite a few German tourists that were staying at the lodge. The owners of Antbear Lodge, Andrew and Connie, speak German. It was a delicious meal and I enjoyed chatting to my fellow blogging ladies and also listening to the chatting happening further up the table. After the meal we clustered around the fire to relax and chat (again) until we were too tired to stay up anymore.
The next day dawned with some very loud birds squawking and then loudly tapping on the front and side windows. They are very efficient nature’s alarm clock birds (still trying to find out what they are called). We were meeting all the ladies for breakfast at 8:30am so before we made our way to the lodge we had a bit of a walk around the rooms and even had a quick look inside the luxury cave (it is manmade). So much attention to detail inside the luxury cave and they have even added a rock art painting.
Breakfast consists of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereals on the side table and there were freshly made scones with various fruit purees on the table. You can also order a hot breakfast and I had a cheese, mushroom and bacon omelette served to me by Rika (volunteer from Finland).
After breakfast I took a quick trip back to the room to change into my horse riding gear so that I could join Inge and Cee on an outride. We just went on a short ride as Cee had not ridden before and Inge had not ridden since high school. It was lovely to take a look at the scenery and we were even joined by the resident Mule, Rain. I did get a chance to do some trotting and cantering by holding my horse back while letting the others get ahead of me. It started to rain (actual water not the mule) just before we reached the horse enclosure but not long after we dismounted it stopped. That was the scenario for the rest of the day – rain, no rain, rain, no rain etc.
While we were on our horse ride the rest of the ladies had taken a walk to see the wedding and conference venue and then gone to the woodwork workshop where we then met up. Andrew (owner of Antbear Lodge) showed us how the food boards were created that we had eaten off on the Friday night. Carmen was brave and used the sander to sand down a few of the boards and then we were all given a piece of sanding paper to properly finish off the edges of the boards we had chosen. I love my little board and I might do something crafty with it instead of using it for serving food. There are lots of lovely ideas on Pinterest.
|Andrew, Carmen sanding and one of the table numbers|
We had a light lunch of a delicious butternut soup served with freshly homemade rolls. The temperature had dropped a lot so sitting around the fire in the lounge was a must. We were very entertained by watching the rugby on the TV – the Sharks were really swimming in the pouring rain in Durban. Lots of laughter and chatting while drinking hot chocolate. We were joined later by a German couple who had just returned from driving the Midlands Meander and they had also gone to the Nelson Mandela capture site. They were loving their stay in South Africa and had planned to drive down the coast the following day. At supper time we sat at a different table and were joined by the German couple and a couple from Hillcrest. Supper on Saturday evening was tomato soup, beef casserole and rice and orange cake for dessert. I haven’t had orange cake in a very long time and enjoyed it immensely. We were all very tired after our busy day so we didn’t go back to the lounge for more chatting but straight to our rooms to get an early night.
We awoke to overcast skies and intermittent rain and of course the nature’s alarm clock birds tapping at the glass again. It was much, much colder Sunday morning so I made sure that I was very warmly dressed. I even put on my scarf and gloves for the walk to the main lodge for breakfast. Enjoyed having the same breakfast that I had eaten on Saturday morning – cheese, mushroom and bacon omelette but this time I also asked for one sausage. Definitely needed to be fuelled up for the trip home on wet and muddy roads. Then it was the sad time – saying goodbye to the fabulous staff and to my fellow bloggers.
|Outside view of room and the view through the front window|
Thank you to Antbear Lodge owner Andrew Attwood and the rest of the staff for inviting us to spend time at your beautiful and unique lodge.
Now you need to go and experience Antbear Lodge. If you are coming to Kwa-Zulu-Natal on holiday or are already a local - why not stay at a place you have not been to before?
Take a look at Antbear Lodge’s website over here
Follow them on the following social media channels :
It was lovely to spend time with my fellow bloggers : Carmen (Meanderings), Inge (Snap, Sizzle and Cook), Verushka (Spicegoddess), Megan (Stuffed Feeling), Cee (Ceece’s Travel) and Kirsten (Kirsten Hughes Photography).