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“Had to pinch myself more than once!!”

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Ant's Hill & Ant's Nest
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 January 2017

We stayed at Ant's Hill in Eagles Nest over the Christmas period. We enjoyed riding every day, jeep safaris, massages, feeding the rhino, the pool, afternoon tea, delicious meals, swimming with horses and sundowners. Every moment was a moment to savour. Staff, guides and wonderful horses made it an exceptional holiday. Chefs Eric, Friday and Everton cook and serve amazing food including local bush game. The room is out if this world - even having seen photographs of it, the real thing took my breath away. You don't need to take too many clothes with you as there is a complimentary laundry service. You can however pack children's clothing that you can leave behind for a local organisation called the Fold which supports local families. An amazing place which has given us many many fantastic memories. A place you simply can't afford to not experience. Thank you to all who made this such a special week.

Room Tip: Eagles Nest is the perfect room with a view for a couple.
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  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Thank Les D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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87 - 91 of 538 reviews

Reviewed 16 January 2017

Second stay at ''the Hill'' this time pure R&R after an exhausting 7 day walking trek in the Wild on the edge of Kruger. Just love the place, people and flexibility, Horses are amazing and cater for all abilities, getting really close to many different plains game plus the Rhino's and Cape Buff is special. A Leopard was actively feeding when we were there, but as in the real wild bush hard to see, but fun to check the prints and see the red back jackals on the left overs.

Conservation is the game here, its sad but necessary to have armed protection for the White Rhino's and ''Save the Waterberg Rhino and Tusk'' need to be supported, also very interesting to chat to their protector, Echo/Bravo anonymous and passionate about their survival. The breeding Prog' for Sable and Roan Antelope are also very interesting. Actively helping in animal capture also very interesting seeing the vets dart and then the logistics of tracking and re-location. All part of real time conservation and animal protection.

Great place for kids to explore and learn in reasonable safety, one party were chased by the Buff on bike's but that's all part of the experience, and there is always a tree some where to hide behind or climb!

Great staff, if you want to learn about bugs/trees/bushes etc they will teach you.

I would add a ''Game'' menu alternative daily (pre order), its good for us European's to try the local bush meat, my partner and I love it and the Chefs cook it well (Springbok Carpaccio, Wildebeest Schnitzel etc) bring it on.

Ant's Hill/Nest has something for everyone, you wont see the Big Five but you will have an amazing experience and you can choose to hang out with the other guests or live in splendid isolation on your own private terrace.

Go take a look, well worth the experience.
M&P London

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank michaeldicks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2017 via mobile

We stayed at Worlds view at Ants Hill for 3 nights with our two children aged 9 and 11. We had a truly fabulous stay. The overall atmosphere and friendliness of the staff was excellent. Adam, Aby, Craig and Jan particularly stood out. They were knowledgeable, accommodating and good fun.

There was a great amount of flexibility in what activities we could do do each day. They were able to accommodate us all doing slightly different things. This allowed some of the family to ride and the others to enjoy something different. The horses and riding experience were outstanding with a highlight being the swimming on horseback. We were all able to get close to the animals, particularly on horse back and were able to see all the game within the park. We knew that there were some animals (cats, elephants) which were not in the park and felt that the many benefits of our safari stay here outweighed this.

Our room was beautiful with a spectacular setting. The bath on the terrace and outdoor shower were popular with the children. My son enjoyed seeing wildebeest just outside of the glass walled toilet one morning. The laundry service, water bottles labelled up for us on arrival and well stocked fridge were very welcome. The food was good and at times it was a struggle to generate enough appetite between meals. The only thing which could have improved it was a bit more in the way of fresh baked items at breakfast for those not wanting a cooked breakfast.

We hadn't particularly looked for a lodge where the dining was communal but actually really enjoyed the experience. It contributed to a friendly house party atmosphere. The hosts at dinner helped facilitate this. The fact that we didn't have to choose dinner and they were able to work around any dietary restrictions meant that we had one less decision to make. Meeting people from different countries with different backgrounds was fun for us all. Some of the people in the lodge requested to eat privately in the evenings so I think there was an alternative.

The team organised a different location for sundowners each day which was lovely. We were able to chat with the team and relax over a couple of drinks. One day we visited the area of the park where the Rhino were gathered to be fed and were able to see them incredibly close up. Although this felt like a zoo experience these animals are wild within the park and it is a rare treat to be able to get so close. The drive home to the lodge in the dusk/dark after sundowners was fun (particularly for the kids) and provided the opportunity to see some nocturnal animals without doing a formal night game drive.

I would recommend Ants Hill without any reservation for a relaxed, friendly, luxurious and fun filled family holiday.

Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
Thank Toon_Traveller1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2017

We come to South Africa every year and after many years of wonderful traditional jeep safari experiences, we decided to do something different this year. That's why we chose Ant's Hill with their walking, biking and riding. Although the accommodations were nice, the staff pleasant and the horse riding and bicycling among the animals a real highlight, for the following reasons we still left thinking: "What a waste of money, never again!"

- the rangers: unprofessional und not at all knowledgeable. On the first day, the ranger was 15 minutes late meeting us and acted like it was completely normal to keep a family of new guest waiting. Then when we set off on our walking safari, it became very clear he knew next to nothing about the animals and insects we were seeing. Unlike the rangers we had in other lodges who captured our kids' interest with cool facts and stories about the most random plants and bugs, this guy was just a glorified guide making sure we didn't get lost. The activities on the following days unfortunately confirmed this feeling.

- the food: mediocre at best. First day, dried out pork. second day the worst lamb we had in South Africa. Breakfast - toast, cheese, disgusting cold cuts. special order was just eggs with bacon, day after day. And so on. What bothered us the most is the " one meal for everyone" policy. The staff refused to tell us what will be served ahead of time - we came to suspect this was in order to prevent people from making special requests. Unless one had specific dietary restrictions, there was no choice in the food and no chance to influence it.

- the forced "togetherness" with other guests - all meals and all sundowners happened with the other guests in the lodge ,,, at the same table. After a few meals this became a painful ordeal eliminating all private conversation and family time at the table and replacing it with superficial conversation among the loudest people at the table. Kids had no chance to be heard and sat through the meals in silence. Any side conversation came across as rude and exclusionist. Our worst experience of the whole stay.

- sundowners - one of our beloved traditions from the past safaris was ruined here. Again, all guests had to come together at preplanned times and places (on other safaris one decided with the guide when, where and how) and the sundowner took excruciatingly long, at the expense of the activity that one actually came to do. There was no chance to leave earlier and still see more of the animals since it was then planned that everyone leaves together again. The staff seemed to enjoy the sundowners the most, as they spent a lot of time huddled together, speaking in their local language, laughing and worrying very little about seeing anything else that day.

- the animals - for those expecting a real safari here will be disappointed. Besides missing some cool animals such as hippos and elephants (the missing cats we knew about beforehand), the reserve feeds its animals in certain areas. As a result, game drives mostly consist of looking at herds huddled around licking stones and hay piles and feel more like a drive through an animal park than wilderness.

Overall, compared to the great safari experiences we had (Sanbona and Shamwari in the last 2 years) where so much attention was paid to every detail of the guest's experience, Ant's Hill felt unloved and neglected, a place where the guests were tolerated rather than welcomed. We were quite disappointed and will certainly not be coming back.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank 123sarka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antslodges, Manager at Ant's Hill & Ant's Nest, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2017

We are very sorry to hear that you did not enjoy our establishment. We did want to write to you from the comments you left on your feedback form, however there was no email address to contact you and address all the points you brought up.
On speaking to the management at Ant's Hill, I understand our lodge manageress asked daily if everything was OK and if you and your family were enjoying your stay, however nothing was brought to our attention. We do have a policy where we prefer for the guest to let us know if they are not happy with anything, so that we can fix it there and then to ensure any requirements that you may have are attended to

In response to your comments:
Rangers / Guides - we are sorry that you felt that your guides were not knowledgeable and behaved unprofessionally. If you view other TripAdvisor reports on us, most comments are about the wonderful team of staff we have and we pride ourselves on our staff, however, we have found out who guided you and will be addressing them, as records are kept on all activities and which guide did what activity.

Dining - in regards to you feeling that you were having to dine at all times with other guests, as well as doing sundowners with other guests, all of our guests are welcome to request private dinners and sundowners. We do state clearly in our room information that you can at any time request to have private meals. Unfortunately you may not have picked this up at the time and do apologize for this.

Animals - We pride ourselves in the diversity of the wildlife that we have, (including some of the rarer antelope ie Sable, Roan, Nyala that are not found on other reserves) however it is a conscious decision to not have elephant and lions as this would mean we would not be able to offer activities such as horse riding, cycling and even walks particularly with children or inexperienced riders. Although we have always wanted to have hippo there are specific laws with carrying hippo and one has to guarantee that there is always permanent water for them, and as we do not have permanent rivers flowing through the property we can not take the risk of having them. Sadly this past year has been the worst drought in South Africa since the 1930's and we were forced into supplement feeding until such time enough grass can grow, although it may appear to have been green as the trees and bushes are green we were forced to supplement feed the grazers as grass is only now starting to push through. Each area in SA has been affected differently with the weather conditions, however the conditions we experienced this year are the worst since we started 20 years ago. We are one of the smaller private game reserves, that has kept our rhino and as part of our anti poaching and protection of them we do feed them. This has kept them safe for the last 4.5 years, maintained their condition throughout the year and resulted in more successful breeding.

We are sorry that you feel that the food was not up to scratch and we will tackle this issue.

Thank you for all your feedback and we are very sorry that your safari did not reach your expectations. We would be delighted to get your email address or telephone number to discuss things further with you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2017 via mobile

We had a holiday of a lifetime and loved every minute of it. The Guides to the Hosts couldn't be more helpful, they went a extra mile on Christmas Day to make it special. The only problem is the Family wants to go back next year.

Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
Thank Stuart M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ant's Hill & Ant's Nest

Address: Gunfontein, Vaalwater 0530, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Waterberg > Vaalwater
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 40 Speciality Lodging in Vaalwater
Price Range: R2 589 - R21 989 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ant's Hill & Ant's Nest 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ant's Nest & Ant's Hill are two private bush homes situated in the malaria-free Waterberg region of South Africa. Approximately 3 hours north of Johannesburg. These two bush homes are on a privately owned reserve and can offer guests game viewing activities which include game drives, game walks and fantastic horse riding. They can cater for all levels of riders and also accept kids of all ages. This is a wonderful destination for couples, honeymooners, families or just good friends travelling together. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ant`s Hill & Ant`s Nest Hotel Vaalwater
Ant`s Hill And Ant`s Nest

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