from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – IT is only located in the coal mining town of Dundee, north of Durban, but Chez Nous can take you all over the world and make you feel at home.
Started as a four-bedroom bed and breakfast (B&B) establishment in 2000, it has grown into an 11-bedroom facility.
Through the way the rooms are themed, they give visitors an experience of different cultures.
These themes include African, Egyptian, French, Japanese, Kenyan, Madagascan, Malian and Mauritian. There is also Cycad, Earl Grey and Spa.
Rooms are created with each of the above-mentioned themes instead of numbers. The décor has the proprietor’s original paintings.
The home itself has a French finish. The B&B thus is known for their famous French omelette and freshly baked croissants as well as homemade bread.
It has a French flair and homemade jams and is the self-styled maker of the best honey in South Africa.
Elisabeth Durham owns and manages Chez Nous (French for “With Us”). She has dual nationality – South African and French- having been born in the latter’s capital, Paris and having lived in South Africa for 40 years.
She is also a fully qualified tour guide.
“I finally realised my life’s long dream when I started my B&B from scratch 23 years ago,” Durham said in an interview.
She revealed giving up her job and one well-suited property in the central business district of Dundee.
“I soon realised that four bedrooms was not sustainable. I then purchased the second house adjacent property,” Durham said, adding she struggled to secure financing but preserved.
“I started to renovate and adapt the second house and the first one to become an 11-bedroom B&B,” she said.
She told CAJ News Africa that starting this business was a dream coming true.
“My passion came from the love of people and my ancestors were in that field,” Durham added.
Chez Nous is strategically located, half way between Durban and Johannesburg.
It also offers Battlefield tours to school children whose curriculum include History as a subject.
A recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the B&B also exhibited at the Rand Ester Show in Johannesburg this year, where it was sponsored by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN).
As already in summer, Chez Nous anticipates increased demand, hence specials will be on offer for long term guests.
The establishment has adapted to the changing times and guest needs, from solar systems to modern decor.
“I still today improve my business by adapting to new demands of the guests and South African difficult conditions, such as installing solar system, water tank supply and modernising my décor, new logo and brochure,” Durham said.
Backed by her dedicated ‘A-Team B&B’, Chez Nous stands as a testament to perseverance, innovation, and the love of hosting.
“A good working team is also essential, we call ourselves: The A team B&B,” Durham concluded.
– CAJ News