Lilies growing wild in springThank you for visiting our Ilifu blog site. We hope you will enjoy browsing through the pages, entries, photos and information and leave your footprints by making comments and becoming part of our Ilifu community of family, friends and visitors. Ilifu is our holiday getaway, home away from home. We come here to unwind, chill out or do some undisturbed work in a serene and magical environment that restores the soul. It is also conducive to some weight loss if you manage to take a walk every day down to the stream at the bottom of the property and back up again….

How did I came to be the guardian of this lovely piece of paradise?
Ilifu cabin loungeAs we are often asked this question, here it is…After my exams in October 2005, my then husband decided to take me for a break to Cintsa. As we landed early, he decided to go and show me Hogsback and take in a breakfast. As we drove up the Hogsback pass, through the forest with lilies growing wild on the side, and into this quaint little olden day village, I lost my heart and the rest is history. By the end of the weekend, we have put in an offer on tannie Dulcie’s property, Ilifu. I just knew, that this is where I would like to retire one day….And more important, God knew that I will need a haven in times of sorrow and a retreat in times of joy!

It took another few months to convince tannie Dulcie that she had to sell her paradise to us, and this eventually happened on New Years day of 2006. Tannie Dulcie stayed on until October and me and Tharita brought the first load of furniture down (up?) on the first of August. It happened to snow on the way and gale force winds and pass closures forced us to take the “long way” to Hogsback. It took us 3 days to get there (reminiscent of the Groot Trek). When we got to Hogsback, there was no electricity or water with sub zero temperatures. Luckily I could look up some phone numbers on my laptop (thank you technology) and we found that Kings Lodge were serving food. We stayed in the cottage of which the door could not close. Sleeping in front of the fireplace helped a little, but Thaaitjie reports that once the fire died, she nearly froze to death….So, getting Ilifu came with its share of “hardship”.

All the furniture and artifacts have been brought here with a trailer. The furniture were collected form various antique and pawn shops from across the country. (Bloemfontein, East London, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cathcart). Paintings, carpets and artifacts have been collected from all over . Quite a few of my favourite African artists have found their homes here on the walls and some of the African artifacts have come all the way from Ethiopia.

Jaap & sandra after their wedding in the little chapelAs I were very exited about my new home, I invited the WHOLE family for Christmas and New Year (I must have been very excited). This means that I had to make more space (lots more). And so the renovations started. Finding a builder at such short notice was a challenge. ┬áSo I convinced a friend to come all the way from Nelspruit to come and build. This then also had magical consequences as Sandra (one of my bestest friends) came to visit Jaap for a weekend so that he does not feel so lonely, and low and behold, this resulted in them getting married in Hogsback in December. Sommer during a morning service with the church community as witness. So everybody be warned…..this place does something to you….

The renovations entailed that oom Cameron’s workshop (he apparently loved woodwork and actually build Jaap building the deck in the rainthe main cabin himself) was turned into a flat with toilet, shower and bathroom and open plan kitchen, dining room, lounge and bedroom with wooden floors and wooden windows. The cottage got wooden windows and the kitchen, which consisted of 2 separate little rooms, where turned into one room with a French door leading into a quaint courtyard. The water tank in the kitchen was sealed and the whole cottage got a new roof. We also created a laundry with a new geyser. A rustic deck (which old Jaap had to build in the rain in record time) was added onto the side of the cabin.

It took quite a few visits to Hogsback to get all the decorating done and I think it now has reach a point of saturation! So at last, we can just sit back and enjoy! Thank you to all the helping hands that have made it possible: Tharita, Ellie, Jaap, Sandra, Barry, Lientjie and the boys and their friends (who lend a hand under duress from Mom)…..thank you all.

PS. Camerons Cabin was subsequently renamed after Jaap, builder and friend, who died not long after transforming Ilifu into its current state. RIP.

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