There are two types of travellers; those who, regardless of where they are in the world, want to reach out of the shower and know that the towel will be where it always is. The second group are more adventurous souls who want to hear the untold stories of the area they are visiting.
If you are in the second category, stars and room service aren’t crucial issues when you book into an establishment. What gets you going is having your interest piqued when you hear a hostelry owner describing getting a phone call calculated to get the average hotel owner heading for the hills.
As Pierre Urtel, owner of the WaysideLodge at Emgwenya (more familiar to oldies as Waterval Boven and Waterval Onder) recounts it; the call went something like this:
Worker: “Boss, do you want the good news or the bad news? ”Urtel: “Oh, no. I suppose the bad news first.”Worker: “There’s been a fire, and all the land up from the road up has been burned.”Urtel: “What’s the good news?”Worker: “You’ve now got a swimming pool, a tennis court and a bowling green.”
Backtrack the tale with Wayside Lodge owners and operators Pierre and Sally-Ann Urtel, and you have one of those stories that seem to abound in South Africa’s rural areas…