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Hadedas, Barbet and Dikkop


John Bannon sent us his 'twitchers tale'
What can I say, except it is a wonderfully peaceful oasis amongst the madness that is the northern suburbs of Joburg. A true home from home for stressed-out businesspeople that visit regularly from all over Southern Africa and Europe and like me, from the UK.
We found it by accident when our usual B&B in Bryanston decided to sell up and we first made the acquaintance of the proprietor and owner, Lady Jean Wade, one cold frosty morning in July 2004.

Since that momentous day, I have never stayed anywhere else and god willing, will never do so and apparently, from talking to Jean's regulars over the past years, all of them are of broadly the same opinion.
I hear you ask, what is it that makes the place so special?

The rooms are well appointed, but have no phones or WIFI points and you will possibly share a bathroom, unless you are booked in one of the cottages or the 'posh' room upstairs, with it's veranda overlooking the sweeping six acres of gardens. Sort of like the Serengeti without the hordes of Wildebeest, but with Spotted Dikkops and plovers (birds).

But even the 'posh' room - yes I have been allowed to stay there - has a pair of amazingly noisy Hadedas (more birds), nesting right outside your window, serenading you at 0500 ( five-o-clock in the morning in Jean time). Plus a suicidal Barbet (another bird), who on seeing his own reflection in the patio doors, promptly decides to attack the cheeky intruder to his patch, by hadedahammering on the window...again around 0500.

What makes the Fourways Gardens Guest Estate so special is Jean Wade.

'Lady Jean' as we prefer to call her is not like any other establishment proprietor I have ever met. Think John Cleese, mixed with Florence Nightingale, add a good measure of steely redhead, not unlike the imperious Elizabeth 1 of England, plus a wonderful sense of humour twinkling in her cobalt blue eyes...and you might just be able to get the idea.

Coming from Liverpool, world capital of comedians and football (Liverpool FC that is, not the other unmentionables, known as Bluenoses) you might think that our accent is difficult too imitate. Not for Jean apparently, whose 'scouse' invective is a wonder to behold, especially as she usually sounds like a mad Brummy (someone who hails from Birmingham). Anyway, the Fourways Gardens Guest Estate is a wonderful place to stay. But don't even think about trying to stay there, because it's always full... and even if it isn't, I will tell you it is.

View accommodation at Fourways Gardens Guest House.

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