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A Wonderful Weekend Away at Antbear Eco Lodge
D and I were invited for a weekend getaway to Antbear Lodge in the ‘Burg a few weeks ago, thank you to the lovely Shiv from Sugar & Spice for organising!
D and I have only been together for a few months and were shoved into lockdown at the very beginning of our relationship, so a little road trip and a weekend out of our homes was such a treat. It was our first holiday together ♡
The Beautiful Antbear Lodge
The most unique thing about the lodge is the countless handmade wooden elements they have incorporated. A quick browse of the (million) photos below and you will find doors, furniture, decor, signage, lighting and more that have been made out of wood and glass. Reuse and recycle is the name of the game at Antbear Eco Lodge, it is eco-friendly accommodation after all!
D and I arrived quite late on Friday evening as I only finished work at 4.30, we joined the others on the deck (which you can see on the right of the above picture) and had a nice catch up in the chilly air once we arrived. It’s such a wonderful change to experience the fresh Midlands air in comparison to the humid Umhlanga air, I actually loved the cold weather – finally got to wear some proper winter clothes!
Antbear Lodge work smart. To reduce the use of paper and prevent waste, they have implemented a paper-free check-in system. Simply scan the QR code (by using your smartphone camera) and fill in your details on the mini-site. You receive an email with “housekeeping” and “some of the things we like recommend you do while you are here”. In the time of COVID-19, you barely had to even interact with a staff member to get checked-in!
While I mention COVID-19, it’s worth saying that D and I visited Antbear Lodge while intra-provincial travel was allowed. The staff complied with strict safety precautions and we social distanced and wore masks when necessary.
This is Antbear Lodge’s “honesty bar”. Alcohol sales were not permitted during our stay but the premise is that you pour yourself a drink and fill in what you had on a room card. We had soft drinks while we were there but there is a great wine selection and spirits, beers, and spirit coolers are available. It was a pleasant surprise seeing this novel concept, it gives you a sense of being a part of the family; trusted and valued.
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Antbear has a set three-course menu every night. They have the menu up on a chalkboard in the afternoon and dinner is served from 6.30 pm. I was able to eat the entire three-courses, with a fresh bread roll, on both nights but I was pretty darn full! That made for a good night’s sleep after a nice, warm bath.
There is a continental breakfast spread filled with one of my favourite parts of Antbear Lodge – homemade cheese (from their farm animals’ milk), jams and pastries! Not only were their handcrafted bits simply delicious, but it showcases their ecofriendly manifesto even further. Did I mention they even have their own veggie garden?
D managed to “convince” the hostess that he could have Andrew, the owner’s, dessert so he had two chocolate mousses!
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Accommodation at Antbear Lodge
D and I stayed in one of their Mountain View rooms. They also offer the most gorgeous of the lot, the “Luxury Cave“, the Garden View rooms and Pet-Friendly accommodation where you can bring along your precious pooches for your eco-getaway.
Activities at Antbear Lodge
One of my highlights of the trip was simply walking around the lodge grounds, hanging out with the animals and watching the sunset. We also went for a 4-hour hike with one of the guides in the Estcourt area, and stargazing and African folktales in hammocks on our last night. Nicola from Run on Coffee has the most beautiful pic of the hammock stargazing, you can see it here.
Hanging Out With the Animals
It was a chilly start to the hike but the incredible incline (read: mountain we climbed up) made us hot, fast! It was an 8km hike that took 4 hours. We enjoyed a packed lunch at the top point of our hike; we chomped on a sandwich, an apple, mini cheddar-type crackers and a muesli bar. Deon Small, from Berg Adventures, was our guide. He hosts a wide range of activities, from quick hikes to school leadership exercises to “Slack Packing“.
Stargazing and African Folktales in Hammocks
I am disappointed that this is the only photo I have, but it was really too dark to take photos. D and I snuggled up in the same hammock (new couple, you can tell) with a warm blanket and antbear (aardvark) hot water bottles each.
Mlendeni, a local known to Andrew’s family since a young boy, was the storyteller. He showed us some of the stars and then told us the stories his grandmother told him as a child. It truly was very special.
You can view other activities, such as microlighting and hot air ballooning here. Please note that additional activities are billed separately.
And What a Wonderful Time We Had!
I am so incredibly grateful for this weekend away. D and I did a little “Midlands Meander” on the way home, stopping for treats and wanders around shops along the way. Here are a couple of random snaps to end off the blog post:
Thank You For Having Us, Antbear Lodge!
A huge thanks to Andrew for accommodating us. I really hope that this post inspires you to support his family business and to go visit soon. The tourism industry has taken a huge knock during COVID-19 and it would be devastating for this sector to lose so many beautiful spots in South Africa, I implore you to take the opportunity to travel intraprovincially if you can to support local tourism.
You can go follow Antbear Lodge on social media at these links:
Thank you so much, Andrew and Andile, for hosting us!
PS. You can read the other ladies’ blog posts here:
*Disclaimer: I was hosted at Antbear Lodge in return for a blog post and social media posts. The views on the post are not influenced by the sponsorship, they are true and my own.