A Little About Me
My name’s Danielle, I’m the owner of Swanlamer 12, and I also handle the online management of the apartment, and liaison with our rental manager Lucinda. (Lucinda handles all the day to day running of the apartment).
I’m was born and grew up in New Zealand, and lived there until the age of 24. I arrived to Namibia in 1999, looking for work, hoping to find a job as a charter pilot. I quickly fell in love with the country, and also, by chance, and very unexpectedly, I fell in love.
I’d begun working as a flight instructor at Windhoek, Eros airport, and met my husband who worked as an Air Traffic Controller in the tower there. We have a few jokes about it. (How did you meet, -first we talked, etc). Later I did find my dream charter job, and later joined the national airline both provided great experiences, fulfillment, and career progression, all and all a great time).
In mid 2007 (note the date), we agreed to buy Swanlamer 12 , on a whim. I still remember it so clearly, as we’d invited my grandmother, accompanied by my Mum, for a holiday with us, and at 83, I’m sure it was a place she thought she’d never go. We’d visited Capetown the week before, and now were finishing the holiday in one of our favourite places Swakopmund.
Mum had helped me decide on buying a couple of necklaces for 200ZAR which I loved, somehow it seemed like such a hard decision. When we traveled to Swakopmund, we’d decided to stay, for the first time, in a self-catering rental apartment . On arrival, I’d started immediately thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to have one of these. I’d started running in my mind the expected rentals versus mortage, and it seemed like not only a nice place to have, but a good investment. We asked the rental agent if she had any for sale. The day we were moving out, she showed us one or two places, the second one we put an offer in for, and (after some very hard work on bank loan applications from me, and converse to my usual luck, just prior to the credit crunch…did you note the date?) Swanlamer 12 became ours!
The funny thing about it and the reason I remember it all so well, is my Mum joked to me afterwards, “You spent more time deciding to buy the necklaces than you did the apartment!”, lol, I think she might have been right on this instance, and of course, it is absolutely never great advice to act on impulse with a large investment, but, this one worked out well. On the downside, we had a potential chance to buy across the road, around a year later, and now we’re kicking ourselves, of course 2008 lending was not as easy and various other reasons halted the purchase, but, alas, for now we only have our place.
We bought Swanlamer as a ‘shell’ and made it a ‘holiday home’, which was the most fun part for me.
The apartment also brought together another passion of mine, decorating. We bought the apartment as a shell, and finished all the tiles, carpet, bathroom fittings, kitchen, and paint, then furnished it. It was my third house, and being both small and upmarket I was able to put in some of my favourite things. I still love the sandstone tiles, the two shades of mushroom beige, and coloured concrete bench, combined with dark cupboards,
We spent a few good weekends on the project, and well speaking for myself I loved the process, and, it also gave our builders a little work, as at a time we had a shortage (we were building our own place in Windhoek too.
At the end it really felt to me to have just the right atmosphere.
The idea for Swanlamer 12 was for a holiday apartment, to visit on our off days, but it needed to pay the mortgage, as it was a second home, and despite both being professionals and at that point without kids, our salaries weren’t high, so I spent a bit of time online creating web pages and things on accommodation sites, to help advertise, and trying to make it a great place.
Through my years as a charter pilot and airline pilot, and travelling as a couple with no children, I’d had the great fortune to stay in luxury accommodation all over the continent and abroad. From this experience tried to make Swanlamer 12 the best everything I would expect to have when I stay away. For example, we don’t believe self catering should involve bringing the kitchen sink, so we always included toiletries, condiments, and coffee, which makes it for me so much nicer. It costs a little for me sure, and not everyone does include these-in fact, we found that most don’t, but I would expect no less.
Sadly I’ve not managed to find a good wi-fi service, this is one of the items missing. However, it can be a blessing, despite being online nearly 24-7, not having internet when I’m on holidays a pleasant break. I organise my accounts before I leave, then check in every 48 hours or so, to see if there are any apartment bookings or any other urgent messages, at a local cafe or restaurant or mall with wi-fi, or on data downloads on the phone.
Where We Are Now
In 2009 our jobs took us to live in the UAE, so sadly we don’t see our apartment much these days, it is in the kind care of Lucinda, our rental manager. I am kept up to date regularly and all items are attended to, guests we’ll looked after, however I can’t always give the place that personal touch with the furnishings, e.g. being able to order all the custom linen from Iyaloo*. But we try – (Kornbloom online helps!)
*Iyaloo is a project I created with our domestic worker to help her find an additional source of income, it now stands on it’s own two feet, and supports 4 women, 3 who are living with HIV. The ladies, previously unskilled, now support themselves and their families, manage purchases and pay the shop rent, from the income they earn from craft sales. More about Iyaloo can be seen on their website: Iyaloo.info.
Unbelievable, I must spend more time managing and writing blogs than I do taking pictures, this is the only one I have of all of us, and you can’t see Sascha, although, he is there.
Enjoy Your Stay!
We’ve really enjoyed our time spent at Swanlamer 12, both before we had children, and after, and alone or with lots of family and friends – (6 works okay, although we weren’t the ones on the sleeper couch!), and hope to continue to enjoy it, I hope you will enjoy yourselves there too, and please let me know if you have any queries or feedback.