Elmari and Gordon Anderson, after much deliberation and thought, decided to immigrate with their 4 children, to Canada in 1997. Gordon, a family physician, continued medical practice in Wainwright, Alberta, while Elmari continued her dedication to her children as homemaker. The Anderson clan lifted their roots and made Canada, Alberta and Wainwright their new home.
“We arrived from sunny South Africa in Wainwright, Alberta on a cold and snowy November day in 1997. We travelled from plus 30 to minus 30 degrees Celsius in 2 days. Wide eyed and overwhelmed by people surviving in temperatures colder than the freezers in our homeland, we scrambled from vehicles to buildings”.
Wainwright opened its arms, took them in and with four kids participating in anything Canadian, from hockey to lacrosse, they quickly became part of this very accommodating and friendly community.
“Initially we rented a house in Wainwright, while putting our thoughts together and planning our dream house. The one and only house we were ever going to build in our lives.”
It took the couple 2 years to plan their dream house. Gordon has been saving pictures and ideas over years in a binder, and now was the time to realize that dream and to build their “perfect house”.
“We kept on changing the plans, until just before driving him crazy, we accepted the final plans from the architect. In the mean time we were so blessed and fortunate to be able to purchase a “forest in town”. A large 150 by 300 feet lot in the then newer development in town. Completely inhabited and covered by natural poplar and also pine and spruce trees. While building the house, we protected each tree with our lives, but ultimately had to sacrifice some of them in order to build the house. We are proud though, to mention, that we have planted many more than we have lost.”
The Andersons built a 6 bedroom house, with a walk-out basement. “We were initially thinking of a log house, as we absolutely love wood and the wood effect and look. But we didn’t want too much wood either and therefore compromised on drywall walls with wood panels and the high wood ceilings. Our biggest attraction in the house by far, however, are the huge Douglas Fir beams we were able to salvage from when the local elevator in town was taken down.”
“In this house, which we love so dearly, we brought up our 4 children and sent each one of them on their own path. So many special moments and memories were created and will be remembered forever.”
The Anderson house has been the venue for many functions, big and small, and is eminently a house created for hosting functions. It has many other unique features including an inside BBQ room, outside hot tub, wooden fire sauna, hunting room and even a gym.
“We also organize tours to South Africa as from 2000 and we have many people from all over the country visit us for meetings and it is always very heart warming to hear them mention that the house resembles a Lodge.”
Over the past 19 years The Andersons have brought over many African art and artefacts and their entire house is decorated with this art, creating an unique African art collection in Canada.
“But life moves on and as all the children have left, we had to decide what to do with our beloved house. We could sell it, but would never be able to do that. So we decided to share the house with other people. We feel it is such an unique and special house and it has so much to offer, that we had no choice than to convert it into a Lodge. We trust it will bring only pleasure and enjoyment to each one visiting our home, which is now the new South Africa House Guest Lodge.”
“We have specially created four en-suite units, each with a living area and each with it’s own character. We decorated each unit in unique African style and decor, even a pair of African “elephant tusks” in one room. We have saved no costs. It is our goal to also cater for families and groups whom are visiting Wainwright and are looking to rent the entire Lodge.
This is the fulfillment of a dream and we are at last in a position and therefore excited to serve people with only the best.”
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