Antbear Lodge accommodation, something different.

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What makes this Drakensberg accommodation option so special is that we are offering cozy & comfortable accommodation in a luxury cave. Glass doors open onto a wooden deck with hammock chairs and an uninterrupted view of the Drakensberg Mountains. We also offer accommodation in mountain view suites and garden view suites.(from the official Antbear Lodge web site)

 

 

 

 

This is the interview that I did with Andrew Attwood, founder of the South Africa Tourism Awards.

 

 

 

My wife and I arrived at Antbear lodge after our drive from Johannesburg and after filling out the relevant paperwork, our host, Andrew, said that he would walk us to our accommodation.

Although we could see stairs and what looked like a verandah, we did not spot the room that is actually built into the side of the embankment on the right of this image. What we thought was a large white boulder was, in fact, the roof of the ‘cave’ that was going to be home for the duration of our stay at the property.

We were very keen to see what lay ahead as we had stayed in a cave hotel in Cappadocia in Turkey on a visit some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

It turns out that the inspiration for this came from a time that Andrew had spent there as well.

 

 

 

This was the view that awaited us as we got to the top of the stairs…

The vista was certainly spectacular and as the day wore on the valley changed and morphed into a variety of different colours and hues.

From early in the morning with the mist filling the valley, to the evening when the long shadows cast by the setting sun alerted us to the fact that the day was drawing to a close and it was time to put on warmer clothing and head off to the main lodge building for dinner.

 

 

 

Getting closer…

These two chairs became our regular haunt as we took in the views that spread out in front of us.

 

 

 

And looking in the other direction… This was the view that we enjoyed every morning as we stepped out of the ‘cave’ on our way to breakfast.

As it had been a while since we were in this particular part of South Africa, it was an eye-opener to realize what a spectacular landscape the Drakensberg has to offer.

And if you were to expand that theme, every province has a speciality to offer visitors, both local and international. But, thanks to the pandemic, my wife and I have become tourists in our own country. And cheesy though that might sound, we have been able to start enjoying places that we never knew existed without having to board an aircraft or worry about the exchange rate.

 

 

 

As far as the eye can see…Looking more like a postcard than the view from our verandah.

There are settlements in the distance and we passed by some of them on the way to and from the N1. The 16km of secondary road that joins Antbear Lodge (and others in the area) to the main Johannesburg- Durban artery, is well maintained and the views are truly breathtaking.

 

 

 

The furniture is all crafted by hand in Andrew’s workshop on the premises and taking a closer look at each piece, guests will come to realize how intricate and complex the end results are. The cupboard in the cave is a work of art and should be in a museum of some sort.

If you have a careful look you might notice small LED reading lamps attached to the headboard. A thoughtful addition for those of us who like to read in bed…and are reading real books, not electronic ones.

I sometimes wonder what goes through the mind of an interior designer when they install bedside lamps that light nothing but the ceiling and the top of the table. I suppose they look pretty and have some decorative appeal, but aside from that…U.S.E.L.E.S.S.

 

 

 

Although we love staying in this accommodation, not all the guests that have visited have felt comfortable. Andrew told me a story of two international travellers who swore that they had not only heard a rattlesnake but had seen it vanish under the bed.

Needless to say, they spent the whole night with the lights on all the while worrying about the snake which was supposedly under the bed.

Turned out that one of the guests had brushed this lamp as she turned it off and thought it was the sound of a pre-striking rattler.

The owner, after an extensive search tried to convince them that not only was there no snake under the bed, South Africa has no indigenous rattlesnakes at all, but neither could be placated and as all the other accommodation was booked, they chose to after breakfast the following morning.

 

 

 

This is NOT the real deal but an accurate depiction of rock art that can be found in the area. Certainly in keeping with the theme of the accommodation and certainly something different from the usual bland artworks often found in vacation accommodation.

This piece might just become the inspiration for a tattoo that I have wanted for the longest time.

 

 

 

Not quite what we were expecting, even though the official website does make mention of a Jacuzzi bath. We both enjoyed time in the tub, with the lights off and only flickering candlelight to enjoy bath time.

 

 

 

This handcrafted statue by well known Midlands Meander artist, Tim Dlamini, caught our attention and seeing we were going into Howick during our stay, we discovered that he had an outlet in Piggly Wiggly Market. When we got to the gallery we were disappointed to find that they did not have one similar and none of the stock that they did have spoke to us.

We, therefore, left empty-handed…and seeing we were guests at Antbear, we did not put this one in our luggage.

 

 

 

The shower and toilet are situated at the end of the veranda near the door to the accommodation. It does mean that you have to step out of the room and cross a short stretch of the deck to access this facility. It was not too cold during our stay, however, in the dead of winter guests might think twice before stepping out…

 

 

 

The basin in the bathroom…note the handmade mirror frame and other wooden features.

 

 

 

Inexorably the sun starts to vanish below the western horizon. The end of an exciting and interesting day filled with a variety of activities and LOTS of rest and relaxation.

 

 

 

A great vantage point to watch the dying of the day…

 

 

 

No full moon while we were there, but this was bright and impressive enough to make it into this post.

Goodnight from the depths of the Drakensberg.

Many thanks to Andrew and his staff for making us feel so welcome.

 

 

 

To find out what the lodge offers click on the logo and you will be taken to their website.

 

 

 

 

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