A few weeks ago, a group of bloggers, writers, photographers and ladies from Kwa Zulu Natal and I, were invited on a trip to explore the Drakensberg. Carmen Barends had invited us to spend a weekend with her at some of her favorite destinations in the Drakensberg.
Now, I am always one for exploring, never knowing where I am heading next, but packed and ready to venture. To me, travel is life. I have visited the Drakensberg quite a few times, both for personal experiences like hiking Sani Pass on occasion or when I lived and worked in the Midlands Meander, and obviously all the die hard missions to Splashyfen.
So off we went to the “Berg” as us locals call it. I was travelling with fellow writers and bloggers Megan Deane and Verushka Ramasami , the car was filled with laughs and giggles all the way up. When we did get onto the final dirt road to Antbear Lodge, the excitement that we had all been keeping on the down low, eventually erupted.
I had no idea what to expect but let me tell you, when we walked into reception and eventually into our rooms, I was blown away. The woodwork that features in every single aspect of what Antbear Lodge is, unbelievable. Andrew the owner mentioned to me that it was 16 years worth of work and design. SIXTEEN YEARS! And you can see it. Andrew’s dad an avid woodwork lover, passed on much the same passion to Andrew, who has beautifully continued with the practice.
As we arrived just before dinner, we met our fellow writers, Inge Loker, Nicola Meyer, and photographer, Kirsten Hughes. A beautiful long table was setup for all the dinner guests, which meant that we all dined together. Which I think is a good idea, it’s always a lovely way to open up the opportunity to get people to interact with each other and create a relaxed environment. I think joint dinner tables are always the way to go, when you have several groups of people from various countries.
At dinner, we were told that most of the food we were eating was either, grown or created on site. Antbear believe in creating self sustaining farms and environments. Using and creating what they can on the land itself, and with their own hands. It’s great to see a hospitality environment take such strides to being environmentally aware.
The next day was scheduled full of activities, we were going to go horse riding, micro lighting and even do some woodwork. Megan and I volunteered to try on the micro lighting, but unfortunately when we woke up at 06:00 the next morning, the weather was not in the same mood.
Not that, that has ever stopped a traveler from travelling, so off we went quite literally “into the woods” to go exploring. Much like a horror movie we came across an abandoned and broken down house, then we found a long dirt road covered with tall wispy trees on either side.
The latter not bothering me though, as I found it the perfect way to practice my stretching and ballet moves (I’ve never been normal). And after that, quite literally we found an abandoned Winnebago in the middle of the woods. Of course, I had to explore, my curious nature taking over common sense. All we found though was an empty casing though. Still, a find is a find. I almost thought we were going to run into Jack, The WinneBago Man.
After we’d had our walk and headed back we had a lovely breakfast with the ladies. I have to admit I loved my breakfast omelettes. The omelettes were fluffy and fresh, and all ingredients were much the same. A benefit of growing all your food onsite or buying locally.
After breakfast, the group slit up, some went off to try their hand at wood work and some of us went off to find the horses. And find the horses we did. Valentino and I made fast friends and so stuck together for our ride. Now I have always been a bit hesitant against horse riding, for personal reasons, but decided to try it. And it was lovely. I am not sure I will be rushing again to go horse riding, but once every now and then I don’t think is too bad. I had a beautiful horse who rode smoothly and even took me on an unexpected gallop for a few seconds at one point.
I also loved that we had a mule come along for our ride, this mule apparently takes himself on these walks, when ever the other horses are ridden, which is quite cute. I also giggled at the fact that when we passed a group of donkeys in the field, the mule completely ignored them and kept on hanging out with the horses, lol.
Thanks Valentino, you’re a star!
That evening, the ladies and I all relaxed and chatted in the lounge, bar area next to a warm fire, before heading off to our gorgeous rooms for a night cap and sleep. My room was just amazing, my favorite feature being the closest. 100% wooden, with latches, and locks that reminded me of the mechanisms on a ship. I may or may not have opened and closed my cupboard doors about 80 times, for pure entertainment and joy.
After an amazing sleep in my double bed, covered in several blankets and kept warm by my own private fire place over night, a woke the next morning in quite the mood for chill. Antbear certainly does provide a space where one can let go of all technology, work and stress.
There are mountains to hike, gardens to walk through, birds to see and horses to feed. The rooms all have amazing views and I loved sitting above the cave room every morning, with my cup of hot chocolate just taking in the vast view before me. In my Tomy Takkies of course.
Sadly this was also the day we were meant to transfer to our next stop. Although once again the weather was not playing ball and we actually ended up cancelling and staying an extra night at Antbear.
So what did we do? Well I totally lazed out. I took full advantage of the wood fires, long lazy couches and tranquility! Oh and yes, at one point the comedy act that are Inge and Nicola started commentating on the Sharks Rugby match. Although one could not blame them, the poor boys were actually swimming more than they were kicking or running around with a ball. It was like water polo! We did win, so I have to say, “kinda what happens when you take on a shark in its natural environment”. (Giggle).
And whats a cold day by the fire with the ladies without, some sherry?
I have to say Antbear Lodge, you absolutely treated us like queens! I love your property, the staff at Antbear are friendly, funny, open and love their work environment which always makes such a different to an establishment.
I cant wait to come back with my friends and explore more of your property and the surrounding area.
If you’d like to find out more about Antbear Lodge and bookings you can click on this LINK.
And a HUGE thank you to Carmen and Kirsten for inviting us up and capturing our adventures!
And As Always….
You can find Ceeces Travel on Social Media Platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + at: @CeecesTravel
If you’d like to work with me, or invite me to explore your property, email me by clicking THIS LINK.