35 Kelkiewyn B&B: Celebrating 10 years of warm, homely comfort
35 Kelkiewyn B&B is different from other guest houses. For one thing, Dirk and Riana Joubert live on the premises and raised their two sons on site.by Lowvelder
This assures that guests are treated to that personal touch. Repeat customers have come to expect friendly reception from the Jouberts, as the couple run the place themselves.
This bed and breakfast will celebrate its 10th birthday this month and now features eight rooms with 15 beds, sleeping 23 people in total. Each room has a private entrance and en-suite bathroom, television with DStv, microwave, bar fridge, tea/coffee facilities, hairdryer and safe.
A generator and reserve water tanks ensure that the premises are never left in the lurch when these services may be interrupted. For the Jouberts, running this B&B is fun, but hard work. Their efforts have earned 35 Kelkiewyn three stars.
They love meeting different people from all walks of life and backgrounds from all over the country and getting to know overseas visitors.
“Breakfast around this table is so social,” Riana said. “Mostly people start off as strangers, but they soon find communal points of interest.” She also famously bans cellphones from the table. “Am I serving tech and eggs?”
Located right in the heart of Mbombela, at 35 Kelkiewyn Street in West Acres, it is conveniently close to Mediclinic Nelspruit, the TUT Nelspruit campus, i’langa Mall and Hoërskool Bergvlam, the home of Innibos National Arts Festival.
They often receive business travellers, shoppers from Mozambique, and the family of hospital patients. “We offer them a free shuttle between the hospital and here.
We want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Dirk said. “Do you know how many tourists get injured, sometimes from accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road? We look after the family while they are staying here.”
The Jouberts have been part of the journeys of women travelling to Mbombela to give birth, and those families who need to support loved ones receiving treatment in town, far away from home.
Dinner is provided on request – and made by Riana herself. 35 Kelkiewyn may have initially been Dirk’s dream, but her background in foodservice management puts her in charge of the kitchen. The staff is small but trained. “I realised early on that you need people who can do the work,” Dirk said.
Merriam Mongwe’s background in hotels makes her laugh at the “small” number of rooms she cleans each day. Thandi Mashele can get all the linen washed and ironed before 14:00.
Riana is usually in charge of the food, but when she cannot be, either lady takes over. “They can do everything I can do.”
Dirk is usually on-site, ready to welcome a new guest. They like speaking Afrikaans, but he can also greet guests in several different languages.