Swanlamer Update 2016

I am writing around a post a year it seems, but this blog is just about updating guests, and not much had changed since we bought the place.

I had a quick trip to Swakopmund recently when home recently to tidy up some business issues. We are now planning our next trip early 2017, and then shortly after that, fingers crossed home to Windhoek for good – and we can spend all the time we want at our beloved flat then!!!!

The only updates I have are to the management. We changed our agent in 2015, and I’m happy to report now 12 months in, Christine and her team at Nel’s estates are doing a great job looking after the place.

Also we are listed on AirBNB which makes payments so much easier for overseas guests. Both myself and Christine are on the admin, so that means replies are far more reliable, see links below.

screenshot-2016-10-15-20-59-03Neil’s Estates: http://www.nels-estates.com/SwakopmundSelfCateringAccommodation.htm

Air BNB Listing: https://www.airbnb.ae/rooms/436177

 

Enjoy your stay!

Me and the kids - haircut

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An Awesome Trip to Swanlamer 12

We’ve just arrived back from Namibia, and had a great stay in Swanlamer 12, here’s some photos, a picture says it all,

IMG_8321SunIMG_8318 IMG_8317set on the balcony, my favourite!

work-desk_and_bookshelf A small workstation by the door is great , but I preferred the breakfast bar – on our trip there were two of us with laptops, so lucky we both had a spot to work!IMG_8243 breakfast-bar_and_condiments Lounge_with_open_Fire It was february, so we didn’t need to keep warm, but lit the fire for a great BBQ (Braai).Diningsetting-1 I love the current table arrangement, great for meals, and still easy to shift outside if we need to.IMG_8325 Also love the new lounge set-up, two sleeper couches are ideal for the swanlamer-lounge-1-2015 IMG_6856case of two additional singles,  our kids had one each, as a friend stayed in the twin room, but of course they decided to shift themselves around during the night!

IMG_8239 The linen is not all identical, but my absolute favourite is this linen set  by Iyaloo (a community project with Ladies from the townships in Windhoek). I think my manager may have put it specially on for our stay, since she knows I love it.  I’m trying to get more of them made, the project still completes the wonderful appliqué  patchwork, the problem was sourcing the white cotton or a white duvet set to modify.

And as a great outing we went to visit the seals in Cape Cross, well recommended!IMG_8301 IMG_8291 IMG_8290

Our Sister Site – BTB2

It was always my dream that By the Beach would have more than one apartment, and after moving to the UAE and discovering a few good deals on hotel apartment properties for sale, I was hoping it would come true.

But then again, By the Beach is not about hotel apartments, it’s about something special.

We finally found something special to add to the apartment rental plan, and being on the brink of the Zittau Hills, I managed to give it a similar sounding name….

http://bytheberg.com/

It’s in it’s infancy right now, but I hope within 12 months it will be close to rental ready. (Please forgive the current state of the colours and the cut and paste on the website. My web developer is flat out with mods to http://www.freekidsbooks.org...It’ll be fixed soon)

Swanlamer History

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).

Buying Swanlamer

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.

Copy of DSC02141 Copy of DSC02145 Copy of DSC02144 Copy of DSC02142

Decorating

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.

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Daily Rental

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.

Bruckerts-Atlantis-Feb2011

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.

Swanlamer Updates

We’ve put in some new furniture and fittings, as things do wear and tear over time. I’m awaiting new photos for the catalogue, here’s the snapshots I have in the mean time.

IMG_6854 IMG_6856 IMG_6857 IMG_6858 IMG_6863 IMG_6865

I’m also awaiting some new linen and throws from Iyaloo, just taking some time to coordinate with me being abroad.