Amanda and David moved from UK to South Africa in 2006, having bought a very battered but much loved home in Swellendam which they set about converting it into a B and B with plenty of character – focusing on a warm, friendly atmosphere, comfort, and value for money.
Swellendam has many accommodation options, and it was a measure of their hard work that within the first two years of operations, Impangele had made the top five on the list of guesthouses on Trip Advisor, which position they have maintained, more or less, ever since.
None of this would have been possible without their team – Beauty and Simon have been with them since the beginning, with support from Noluvuyo, their teenage daughter, and their beautiful little one, Nosiphosihle, who has been a major tourist attraction since her birth in January 2007.
Beauty is the heart of Impangele. When she first encountered Dave and Amanda she was bewildered by their inability to speak any Afrikaans at all (she spoke Afrikaans and Xhosa fluently and was pretty good at English). She had to take them under her wing and explain the proper relationship between “Madam” and staff – and Madam was seriously chastised for not looking like a a proper lady, and wearing jeans and shorts.
Despite the lessons, “Madam” and Beauty have become fast friends, and have been through a lot together – including running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere when on a trip to the hospital for an antenatal check up. In 40 degrees heat: Beauty was eight and a half months pregnant, and the only life forms available to help were a very curious troop of baboons, keen to share the impending crisis. To find out how the story ends – make a booking at Impangele, where Beauty and Amanda have begun to write a book together about their adventures!
Beauty’s self confidence has grown along with the business, from being a domestic worker initially, she has become an efficient manager, trainer of staff, receptionist – she can operate the booking system, and her accent when answering the phone is more English than her employers! “Madam” has corrupted her to the point where she too wears jeans – though thankfully she draws the line at shorts – for which she is not really built.
Her greatest love is décor, and she is responsible for many of the elegant touches and extras around the place. Her second greatest love is shopping – closely followed by the family : Simon, Noly, Nossie and Snoekie the dog.
Beauty’s Xhosa feasts have become a favourite with guests. When she came up with the idea to cook traditional food for visitors to Impangele, Amanda and Dave jumped at the chance to give her an opportunity to develop her own business as well as enhance their own. The Xhosa Feasts were added to the website and it was not long before a request came in.
The following conversation ensued between Beauty and Madam.
B: What am I going to cook?
M: (puzzled) Well, I don’t know, I’m English! What actually is traditional Xhosa food?
B: I’m not really sure – can’t you use that googling thing to find out?
M: But you must know, what do you eat at weddings and family get togethers?
B: (light dawns) Kentucky Fried Chicken, of course!
(M gets rapidly onto the googling thing)
M: It’s samp and beans, mfino spinach, baked chicken, pap……
B: (interrupting) But that’s what we eat all the time………..
The feasts have been very successful, and have given Beauty an additional source of income: it is her fervent desire that Nossi, the little one, will get a good education, so any spare cash she gets goes into the “Nossie box” , which is firmly screwed down, ready for opening on the day Nossi turns six and is ready to start school.
Simon, Beauty’s husband, is gardener, mechanic, handyman, carpenter, inventor and painter. His skills and versatility are amazing, he can make anything, grow anything, paint anything, and mend anything – he has even been known to iron in a domestic emergency. He is a gentle soul, courteous, kind and reliable and he dotes on his two daughters, for whom he would do anything. We have to guard against poachers here at Impangele – Simon is a rare animal and many of the other guesthouses would steal him away if they could!
Due to the success of the business, the team has recently been augmented by Denaline and Barbara who help with the laundry and cleaning. Impangele is a cheerful place to work – all the staff greet guests with genuine smiles, as there is nothing they enjoy more than seeing guests enjoying the fruits of their labours!