Today, 2nd of April 2012, Galago Camp has re-opened on our own land, right alongside Vuyatela! This has been no small accomplishment as the builders only moved onto site at the end of January, and have worked tirelessly with only one weekend off since then. Jurie and I imagined what our new lodge would look like, but were met with some skepticism from many that we tried to impart our vision towards. Even our staff thought we were losing it, but after all these years, and several lodges later, stood by us and supported what we had in mind. Over the past weeks we have brought future guests over to have a look – painting a visual picture for them over the construction site – their comments were guarded to say the least!
The crunch started last Wednesday when we had expected the builders to be finished, but no, this was not appearing to be the plan. By Friday, we still did not have a front door, a basin fell off the bathroom wall and a loo sprung a leak! I was already working on “Plan B” – ask Buffelshoek if we could stay on at the “old” Galago for a couple more days while we sorted our lives out. I put a rather emotional call through to site manager, Shaun Petzer, expressing my dismay. He assured me that all was going to plan and he promised that the lodge would open as expected on the Monday. Shaun, apologies for not believing you! Shaun was there right up to the end, hanging curtains, blinds and pictures, adjusting plumbing and correcting electrical problems.
That was all good and well, but we still had guests in the old Galago Camp yesterday. As soon as they had checked out, we arrived in three Land Cruisers, a Jeep, a Hilux Bakkie, and a VW bus, and moved all the stuff we had accumulated over the last 13 years. The pot plants took another two vehicles and six very strong men to move the plants into their new positions. The cherry on the top most certainly happened last night when Jurie and I went over to unpack a couple more boxes of kitchen equipment so that today would be easier to manage. I was walking out the front door to remove some containers, to be met by Karula, the female leopard, who must have been watching us through the glass door. When she realised she had been seen she lay down on the lawn (between us and the car) and carried on watching us. When we needed to leave, Jurie beat on two stainless steel metal bowls to get her to move off so that we could get to the Jeep. As we got into the car, there she was a again – not threatening in any way – just there! During the night she paid the lodge another visit, this time carrying off some of the soft furnishings into the bush. A leopard’s way of welcoming us? Who knows, but we will be taking extreme caution while moving around at night.
This morning was a hive of activity, with every spare hand, cleaning and putting the final touches in place. At 12h45 we were done, and ten minutes later our guests arrived. Several times over the last few days I have told Jurie that this is the last time I am “making” a lodge – but now that all is done, I think I could do it again…..
And finally, some thank you’s are in order. Firstly, thank you Buffelshoek for allowing us to use Galago for the last thirteen years. You have been the most patient and supportive landlords. Thank you as well for allowing us to keep the name “Galago”, the firm foundation for our self catered business. Thank you to Jurie for his never ending determination to change with the times and see the future in this highly competitive industry. Thank you to our staff for weathering the changes with us and sticking by our side through thick and thin…. again! Thank you to Zoe and Rebecca for being so grown up while mom and dad have been busy with the lodges, and helping when needed.