When entering ANEW Hunters Rest’s reception area making your way to their restaurant, the wall on the left has images of clouds and below those, there’s the writing ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. And indeed, the group saw their silver lining through the Covid-19 storm.
The ANEW Hotels & Resorts Group recently acquired six properties of the Fortis Hotel Group: Hunters Rest in Rustenburg, North West; Highveld and Witbank Hotels in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga; The Capital and Manor Hatfield Hotels in Pretoria, Gauteng and Malaga Hotel in Emngwenya, Mpumalanga. The group started rebranding in September 2020 with former Protea Hunters Rest now trading as ANEW Hunters Rest.
Within Hunters Rest is an entry point to Kgaswane Nature Reserve, which is houses to the resort’s lookout deck. The nature reserve is also home to antelopes such as the sable antelope, zebra, impala and more.
Adding to these creatures are monkeys, baboons and some adorable squirrels. From the lookout deck, you get a perfect view of the Magaliesburg Mountains and Olifantsnek Dam, which is Afrikaans for elephant’s neck. It’s said that the part of the mountain overlooking the dam looks like the head and trunk of an elephant.
To get to the deck, guests can either drive up or take a hike. My partner and I joined Kevin Burley, ANEW’s Group Operations Manager on a 5km hike and he shared that upon request, the deck can be transformed for intimate events and that some romantics organise surprise proposals up there – a hint to my partner, I guess? He sure didn’t get that one.
To get our adrenaline pumping we went quad biking. I must say, I was scared as it was my first time on the bikes and I’m not the best driver on a normal basis. However, with the guidance of Sello, the resort’s adventure guard the experience was a breeze and if it was a race Sello and my partner would’ve come out last.
Among other things the venue offers archery activities and no, we didn’t get to hit the bull’s eye, golfing, a relaxing pool area for the entire family and this comes with a safe kiddie’s pool that has manageable water levels, picnics and a treatment spa. The spa employees have magic hands.
Before Rustenburg became a mining powerhouse, it was a citrus hub and some of the citrus orchards are still visible at ANEW Hunters Rest though the grounds made way for the golf course. Hunters Rest was named after George Wellington Rex. George was a hunter and his remains can be found at the property’s cemetery.
He was gifted the land at which Hunters Rest is built on by former South African President Paul Kruger. The land used to form part of Paul’s Boschfontein Farm. To experience “a taste” of this history the resort gifted me with homemade orange jam made from the Rex-Union orange, an orange variety grated by George himself.
As part of ANEW Hunters Rest enterprise development, they support Sonnyboy and Sons Composting and Recycling, Kenneth’s Car Wash an onsite carwash and valet service and use local vendors for corporate gifting. ANEW Hotels and Resorts was started by the Armour family.
They started with a timber treatment plant in Harding, KwaZulu Natal. The family business dates back to 1952 and over the years they expanded purchasing farmland and about five years ago went into the hospitality industry. ANEW currently has 10 properties ranging between three to five stars located in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West.
Words by Yonga Balfour