Frank Smith and Sue Engelbrecht, both originally from Johannesburg, met while on holiday at the Zimbali Coastal Estate in KwaZulu-Natal. Their paths crossed one sunny day on the Zimbali Country Club golf course, and they took to each other like a 9-iron to a golf ball. Frank hit one high into the air and watched it land close to a blond girl sitting on a bench down pitch. Offended that someone was using her as a target, Sue turned around to flash him a middle finger. He procured her phone number after apologising profusely, and the rest is history.
After two years of dating, Frank plucked up the courage to ask for Sue’s hand in marriage – and it was granted. He popped the big question on an immaculate summer’s evening while atop a hill that overlooked most of Joburg. He had laid out a blanket and brought along some snacks for the couple to share. He poured Sue a glass of champagne with her engagement ring resting at the bottom. She spotted it, chugged the glass’ contents in excitement, and let out an ecstatic YES as she flung her arms around Frank’s neck.
They decided to marry in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, choosing a venue that had a good balance of both rusticity and elegance. Frank looked the epitome of dapper, while Sue literally made mouths hang as she walked down the aisle in her mother’s stunning cream wedding dress. As if fate itself condoned the union, a downpour of summer rain came as soon as the newly married couple locked lips. They celebrated with their friends and family until the wee hours of the next morning, then hit the road to their first honeymoon stop at Zimbali Coastal Estate – empty soda cans attached by string in tow.
Sue’s feet were killing her, and Frank could barely keep his eyes open, but they made it to Zimbali safe and sound. The rain showered down from the heavens; drops of water punishing their Toyota Yaris’ roof as the couple looked around for signs of life. A tall figure emerged from the guard hut next to the boom gate they were parked in front of, and made its way to the driver’s side door.
Frank rolled his window down. It was the night watchman; smiling from ear to ear even though getting absolutely soaked in the downpour. ‘Welcome to Zimbali!’ He had to shout so as to be heard over the rain pelting the Toyota’s roof. ‘Can I have your surname please?’ He pushed a soggy visitors book through the window, along with a black ballpoint pen.
Sue piped up from the passenger seat, startling Frank who thought she was sleeping. ‘We’re the Smiths! We’ve booked a week at the Zimbali Ocean Villas!’ Frank understood his wife’s need to shout, but her words made his left ear ring all the same. As if reflecting on a private joke, the security guard chuckled to himself. ‘Zimbali Ocean Villas? Which one, baba? There’s two of them!’
Sue opened the cubbyhole and yanked out their booking confirmation form. The guard continued: ‘There’s one holiday house at number 48 Milkwood, and one at number 63 Milkwood.’ Sue strained to see the printed address in the dark. ‘It looks like we’re staying at number 63. Can you direct us from here?’ The security guard smiled, and proceeded to point the couple in the right direction. It was easy to remember, and within two minutes they were being let through the boom gate and into Zimbali for the first leg of their honeymoon.
The weather may have been diabolical, but the Smith’s found their holiday home with relative ease. They pulled into the driveway, and noticed that the front door stood ajar. Frank jumped out of the driver’s side, ran around to open his wife’s door for her, and they both rushed arm in arm to the shelter of 63 Milkwood Lane’s entrance. Waiting for them at the front door was a smiling woman smartly dressed with Zimbali Ocean Villas embroidered on a golf shirt, standing at attention like she had been expecting them.
‘You must be the Smiths. Welcome to Zimbali!’ She stepped aside and motion towards the doorway with her right hand. ‘Have a look around so long. I’ll bring your luggage in for you.’ She didn’t have to ask them twice, as Frank scooped his wife into his arms and carried her over the threshold. He nearly dropped her upon entering the holiday villa. Candles were lit here and there, giving the entire entrance hall a warm homely feeling. A wood fire crackled in the fireplace to their left, casting flickers of orange light across the spacious and luxuriously decorated living area.
The pair walked through the abode and found a sliding door that opened onto an outdoor patio, lit elegantly in shimmering white from the full moon that hovered silently above. The first thing they noticed was the rim flow pool that overlooked a 180-degree view of the Indian ocean. Sue dipped her bare left foot in and shivered as the warmth of the water sent a tingle up her spine.
A voice came from behind them. ‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’ They had almost forgotten about their one-woman welcoming party, who now stood at the patio entrance with two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. ‘Come inside, let me tell you a bit about Zimbali! You’re going to love it here…’ The Smiths looked at each other, smiled in mutual acknowledgement of the upcoming dream start to their honeymoon, and followed their guide inside. ‘We already do,’ they said as they closed the glass sliding door behind them.