Brett recently went away on a relaxing getaway to African Tree Lodge in Westville where he had a lovely stay at this great four-star guest house.
As the electric gate closed behind me, and I drove into the African Tree Lodge, I had what I imagine would be the sense one would get upon entering Jurassic Park, were it a real place. Not so much because of all the dinosaurs [a fake, but realistic looking, croc greets you near the entrance] but more so the feeling of being cut off from the real world, in the best of ways.
Located right in the middle of suburbian Westville in Durban, one might think twice about this being the ideal location for a relaxing Guest House experience, but the moment you drive inside and take a look around, you realise this is something different.
Having set aside a couple of days to finish writing a book I'd been working on, the Tree Lodge turned out to be the ideal location. I lost all sense that I was in the middle of a typical suburb as I was surrounded by such greenery and lush vegetation, that I felt cut off from the rest of the world, and able to dive into the task at hand.
With the Westville Mall literally up the next road and the Woodcutter's Pub and Grill a few streets away, I had access to everything I needed. Also, the knowledge that greater Durban and all its entertainments and delights was but a short drive away. I did meet up with some mates twice at Woodcutter's - this as we discovered a Wednesday 2-for-1 rib special on the Monday night that we visited, and so had to return in force.
Currently with 11 rooms but with another 5 on the way [as they have just purchased the property next door which is just a short path's walk away], there is room for a number of people, but the place is spread out enough that you can choose to enjoy it by yourself.
For me a desk in the corner of my comfortable room was exactly what I needed to write, with a small table and chairs on my private balcony a bonus looking out onto what could have easily been a huge grass and plant-filled area of a botanical garden. Taking the opportunity to walk around the grounds there seems to be an ongoing series of little paths and areas with benches and couches, which really gives you the feel of being on a bit of an exploration. Some stunning birds [small bird, extremely long tail is the best this very much non-ornithologist can do] add character to the forest vibe and I was told there was a resident meerkat, although I sadly did not make its acquaintance.
Lloyd, who manages the Lodge, was more than accommodating, spending plenty of time with me at breakfast answering questions and sharing some of the history of how African Tree Lodge has grown from just five or six rooms to the work they are doing on adding a whole new section next door. The breakfast was incredible , beginning with a sampling of different fruits and followed by a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, mushrooms and more. I was able to skip lunch in my writing 'cave' and make it all the way through to dinner.
If you are looking for the full on guest house experience, but still wanting to be in touch with the city and everything it has to offer, The African Tree Lodge is a highly recommended place to stay.
To find out more about African Tree Lodge and to book a weekend away in Durban, click here.