The Antbear Guesthouse is a thatched, whitewashed cottage built high on a natural platform overlooking the Bushmans River and Giants Castle.
This cottage is a bit off the beaten track and is more of an insider tip than just another bed and breakfast. We cater for small intimate groups and never have more than 10 guests at a time.
It's a laid back, lovingly cared for kind of place where you feel a sense of happiness and peace. Honeymoon stays turn into anniversary commemorations just as guests become friends. Even foreign tourists return for a second and third taste.
The name Antbear comes from its previous resident who lived under the floorboards before its restoration just a few years ago.
It's filled with gorgeous hand crafted furniture, wonderful wooden sculptures and a seemingly never ending collection of artistic aspects to discover.
Plan for slow and decadent dinners by candlelight prepared by your hosts Andrew and Conny.
Sometimes it's a Moroccan spread including a genuine Moroccan tagine prepared on wood coals or maybe it's a surprise of just how delightful Chinese food can be. Breakfast is served with freshly baked bread and scones and often it becomes a 2 hour affair
There is plenty to do in the area too. Walks in the Drakensberg mountains, visits to bushman paintings, horse trails though a private game reserve, canoe trips, canopy tours and the Midlands Meander to mention but a few.
The Antbear Guest House has five double bedrooms. Each room is differently decorated with uniquely eccentric and artistic wooden furniture. One of the rooms has its own private lounge and fireplace, another has an a joining bedroom with 2 single beds ideal for accompanying kids.
Our romantic honeymoon suite has the candle lit bath situated directly in the bedroom.
Of course each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom, and there is a lounge and dining room for your exclusive use.
The kitchen has a fireplace, which makes for an exciting cooking alternative. That rustic country feeling has been kept without losing any comfort. Candles are used extensively for atmosphere, as are the fireplaces.
The Antbear overlooks the Bushman's river, which rises in the high Drakensberg near Giants castle and meets the Tugela north east of the small town of Weenen.
It flows through one of those places on earth where the drama of human events seems to be etched forever into the landscape.
In the south the huge mountains form the backdrop to this gigantic natural stage and down on the plain bisected by rivers and studded by thorn trees, the red tinge of grass still seems to hint at the bloody battles that were fought here. It is an area of huge vistas, a myriad of vantage points where the landscape rolls out for as far as the imagination.
Wagondrift dam and Moor park (8km from the Antbear) are two small conservation service nature reserves where bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, black wildebeest, zebra and impala abound. Moor Park is renowned for its bird life including a pair of nesting black eagles.
A major feature of the park is the old Boer furrow trail which visitors can follow.
Kamberg (35km from the Antbear) has inspired many a dedicated fisherman to rise before dawn, get to out in the foothills of the Drakensberg and bag his trout. For anglers interested in not only catching trout, but also learning about their lifecycle, Kamberg is a special treat.
The hatchery is right here and visitors are welcome. For those of us not so interested in fishing follow the 5km trail passed the waterfall and chance upon the most exquisite examples of San rock art that can be seen anywhere.
Giants Castle (35km from the Antbear) with its splendid mountain scenery and towering escarpment is a mecca for those who love strenuous hiking trails, as well as those who prefer a leisurely stroll along the contour path to experience the peace and silence of the wilderness.
This reserve is famous for its caves and shelters are rich in San rock art.
Another popular attraction is the Lammergeyer hide where Lammergeyers (an endangered bird of prey) and Cape Vultures can be viewed feeding.
The Weenen Game Reserve (40km from the Antbear) is one of those rare safari places without malaria. At a relatively modest 5000 hectares Weenen is not like a large game reserve but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in variety.
There are views where the waving grasslands dotted with flat-topped acacias resemble a miniature Serengeti, complete with modest assemblages of zebra, giraffe and rhino. Other areas, cleft by deep gorges are thickly forested. In the south an escarpment looks down on to the Bushman's river meandering in its deep secluded valley and on the plateau beyond stretches the reserve's wilderness area which is only accessible by foot.
Weenen Game Reserve also boasts the highest density of rhino per square kilometer in South Africa.
Join Sengani Horse Trails for a horse safari (45 km from the Antbear) in the pristine KZN bushveld at Mtontwana Game Reserve. This bushveld area is malaria free too.
These professionally guided trails take you within meters of towering giraffe and snorting wildebeest.
This is an activity that novices can also partake in and something that that seems to make folks come back time and time again.
There are also options for a sundowner ride and day tips for more experienced riders.
White water rafting is available on the Tugela River. (45 km from the Antbear) Half day and full day tours and even horse ride rafting combinations are on offer.
Or a tamer option is the canoe safari down the Weenen Canal. The canal starts at the Bushmans River, passes through the Weenen Game Reserve, over an old brick aqueduct and then through picturesque farmland. All rafting and canal safaris are accompanied by qualified guides.
The Spieonkop game reserve (60 km from the Antbear), through its small size, allows for excellent game viewing throughout the year. This is also one of the most interesting battle sights of the Anglo Boer War. The nature reserve surrounds the Spieonkop Dam which reflects a completely different kind of safari feeling
The Midlands craft meander starts just 15 km from the Antbear. The old world charm and tranquil countryside has attracted a new breed of people who have taken residence among the farmers. These are creative crafters, sculptures, potters, weavers and leather workers who ply their trade in quaint old cottages and farmhouses and welcome the curious.
The Midlands is dotted with cozy country inns just perfect for unhurried lunches or just tea and home made jam scones.
The Howick falls (80 km from the Antbear) makes a worth while day trip. The waterfall falls some 90 m and the little trail down into the gorge is wonderful. On the way back why not stop at La Lampara the most excellent Italian restaurant in our region.
So if your looking for a place where art, beauty and time away are important then Antbear Guesthouse is worth a second look.
||The Antbear Guesthouse
||+27 36 3523143
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This page was last updated: 24 November 2012