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THERE'S a giant man-made structure that resembles a cluster of anthills at the heart of the historic and rapidly growing Hammanskraal township, north of Pretoria.
Standing out among other standard buildings in the relatively quiet section of the township, it is virtually impossible to miss the African Cave Lodge.
This amazing lodge competes with severalestablished holiday destinations, including the Carousel Hotel and Casino, which is less than 10km away.
The first attraction of the majestic structure are two magnificent waterfalls flowing from the top of a gigantic rock formation decorated with colourful bulbs, inviting one to discover the interior.
The giant cave houses 54 luxurious guest rooms, 11 fully equipped conference halls, two restaurants, two swimming pools and an events hall with a seating capacity of 200 people.
Fifteen of these anthill-like guest rooms take the form of a horseshoe around a large, L-shaped swimming pool.
The fully furnished thatched poolside lapa with a couch is a hotspot for lazy afternoons. Providing cool shade, the lapa has rocking chairs and loungers. The tranquil atmosphere at the poolside is complemented by the sound of water flowing from a fountain just above the rooftop of one of the guest rooms.
The live performance hall, one of the lodge's features with a beautifully decorated stage, is located at the centre of the lodge's conference halls. Its decorations, combined with colourful lights, match some of the popular entertainment places in and around the capital city.
For guests who prefer a distinctively South African holiday the cultural village with its thatched huts, is a perfect choice. The village is completely and strategically detached from the main lodge. Like a settlement out of the era of legendary African kingdoms, the village is elegantly divided into individual households.
Each house is graciously painted and built in accordance with the styles of the Ndebele, Venda, Zulu, Swazi and other indigenous tribes.
Unlike the traditional huts, these are fitted with showers and flushing toilets, providing holidaymakers with a blend of Western and African treats. Guests at the lodge are greeted by the smell of fresh cow dung, which is applied to the foyer every morning. To make the guest feel more at home, plans to introduce poultry and livestock in the village are in the pipeline. The village will also be available for African rituals and cultural festivities.
The set-up in the village attracts even those guests who choose to be accommodated in the Western-style guest rooms of the main lodge. They find themselves spending more of their stay in the village than the main resort.
Shortly before Christmas those visiting the village will be treated to African cuisine and beverages, including traditional beer served in calabashes.
The lodge is easily accessible since it is situated on the old Warmbad route (R505), the main taxi and bus thoroughfare in the area, and it takes less than an hour's drive from Pretoria's central business district. Security is a priority. Besides a 24-hour security the resort is enclosed by an electric fence that gives guests peace of mind.
To welcome the new baby, the National Tourism Council has blessed the lodge with four stars, bringing the resort in line with international standards.
With the 2010 soccer spectacle around the corner the resort is ready to give tourists an unforgettable and truly South African experience.
To avoid disappointment, potential guests are urged to book in advance since the facility is generally fully booked.
Majestic, exquisite and out of this world: this is how content guests describe the feel of the African Cave Lodge and Cultural Village.