In March, earlier this year, mountain fires raged on the Cape Town Peninsula. The Cape Town Cycle Tour had to be drastically shortened. Ash fluttered down on cars. Firefighters became country-wide heroes. The smell of smoke was carried on the wind.
It’s natural for the mountains to burn here every few years. It makes space for new things.
Unfortunately, one of the casualties of the fire wasthe Tintswalo Atlantic. The lovely lady and I fell in love with the place nestled at the bottom of Chapman’s Peak, and we were incredibly saddened to hear that it burnt down. Which is why when we heard that they had started rebuilding, our hearts swelled with pride. You can read about her experience here.
The question on everyone’s mind was whether or not it had the same feel. Was it the same place, or something else entirely?
Well, it felt exactly the same, but better somehow.
Using the same people who originally built the Tintswalo Atlantic, they got to work. they even had to bring some out of retirement for the task. Sometimes, it’s not what you know, but who you know that knows what.
Some things they improved on, the kitchen is bigger, as is the deck, and some things remained almost exactly the same. If the charred black shadow of the fire hadn’t gone all the way to the sea, I would have thought the blaze had missed completely.
This is me utterly blissed out.
On a hot day, you can’t beat an ice cold sour lemonade under shade, with ocean breeze in your face.
Even the pool is exactly as I remember it, even though everything was completely rebuilt.
But buildings and sheets and taps can only go so far when it comes to a place’s identity. It’s the people that make it what it is. After the fire, the staff were kept on and helped with the rebuilding, and their sense of pride is contagious when they see you enjoying what they have helped recreate.
Before the relaunch, we were invited to celebrate with them. It was a fantastic evening, at the end of which we were each given a key ring of a small piece of milkwood that had been burnt in the fire, with Tintswalo Atlantic’s logo laser cut into it. I thought that was fitting – the fire can come but we will always be here.
Of all the places I’ve been, this is my favourite, and I am indebted to everyone at Tintswalo Atlantic who helped rebuild such a wonderful place.