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Dearest Alan. How do I begin? I arrived in South Africa on my own but now I feel that the people I have met over here are friends for life. that journey would not have been possible without my first South African friend, your good self. I have so many fantastic memories from my short 8 weeks, here, our Safaris in Rustenburg and Pilanesberg, house dinners and your frequent excellent life advice. I'm glad that I could bring a few firsts to Swanage, my passion for diving and whiskey, as well as my unfortunate patient experience with a bout of appendicitis! I couldn't have wished for a more supportive and fun host for my time here, so much so that you became much more than just a host. I will definitely be back in the rainbow nation, although perhaps more the Cape Town side! I have had an incredible and enriching experience here and I know it will remain with me long after I have left. My warmest wishes to you. I'll be back! Graeme Downes, RAMC "aka Captain.
“Amazing experience!” Stayed with alan while doing a trauma elective at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital.. He works as an intensivist at Chris Hani. It Felt more like I was staying with family.. Had lots of memorable family dinners.. Great stories over a delicious meal.. Alan is a fantastic host and a great role model! Made close friends with the other student there at the time and we're still in touch.. 🙂
“Home away from home :)” Our stay with Alan was excellent! He was a perfect host/dad to all us medical students who were visiting at the Bara and Charlotte Maxeke hospitals. We stayed for 4 weeks and had no trouble at all becoming native south africans - renting a car as parking was easy in Alan's drive and the area the house is in is very safe. Lots of shops nearby and lovely kitchen to cook in. The house has a very open vibe with everyone mingling and often having barbeque dinners together. Alan also has an excellent entertainment system with several DVDs on hand for nights in. If you end up at Swanage, do give Alan a big hug from us!
“Best decision of my elective” I undertook a 6-week trauma elective at Chris Hani Baragwanath in Summer 2014. My first visit to Johannesburg, I was understandably anxious about where I was going to live, how I'd commute to the hospital, how safe I'd be getting around the city etc. I found this accommodation through the recommendation of a friend who'd stayed the previous year. What a brilliant tip it turned out to be. Beautiful home, a friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable host, and a great mix of other visiting elective students. I felt I got a real insight into the local area, and a huge amount of advice on how best to spend my free time. (Local restaurants, bungy jumps, safari... to name a few). The house is brilliant: spacious rooms, huge social space, well-stocked kitchen and an industrial BBQ all for the use of guests. The area seemed very safe, and I didn't have any problems during my stay. Large supermarket a few minutes walk away, with a big shopping mall, butcher and off-licence a few minutes drive away. It's an easy commute on good quality roads to the hospital, and our host helped us to organise a hire-car for our stay. The price was very competitive, and I think extremely good value for what was included. If you're looking for a proper 'home' for your stay, with a friendly sociable atmosphere and somewhere to relax after a long trauma on-call shift, this is definitely the place.
“Homesick after leaving Swanage - still!” The most fortuitous part of my trauma elective at Baragwanath was staying at Swanage. Alan is amazing - felt at home from the start.....the house is in beautiful surrounds, the suburb safe for Johannesburg (I did a 8km run most days without issues). A community feel with other doctors and medical students. Beautifully stocked kitchen, shops nearby. Local ear and advice....plus safe/ supportive as all in house medical in background. Alan gave awesome advice for travel following my elective, stayed in touch since. I plan to visit soon - plus if specialty training allows, head back to work. Would I recommend? Absolutely! (as long as youre not taking the last bed when I want to go back!!)
“Medical elective - April-May 2015” Stayed in Swanage with friends on my medical elective for 8 weeks from April to May 2015. Alan has a large property with spacious rooms and 2 bathrooms. Alan is an extremely accommodating host and really goes the extra mile to make you feel completely at home. If you get a chance I would recommend going on safari with Alan to Pilanesburg! I will definitely be returning in the future!
My brother, thank you for the great time I was allowed to spend at Swanage. I've enjoyed every single day of my stay in Johannesburg because of you. You are a very special perso, Someone who approaches people without any prejudice, You are one of the most hospitable, open minded and generous person I've every met. You always see the good side of a person and Ive never heard you say anything negative about someone. Just by reading your Swanage book I recognised, that with your personality you influenced many people in a positive way and I hope that you will continue this in the future. You can't imagine how happy I am that I have chosen your place to stay while I've been in Jo'burg because you gave me a place to stay which feels like home far away from home. Even the 30 minutes drive to Bara every morning were worth it. I won't take your friendship for granted and I really hope that I'll see you soon. All the best, your middle eastern brother Farjard.
Dear Alan. Words are not enough to describe my time at Johannesburg and Swanage.... So I will try and keep it simple. I wanted to thank you for everything you've done but also continue doing for us and for all the unforgettable memories i will take with me back home. The amazing trip to Pilanesberg with the leopard sighting. Bernie's pride - the best vehicle in the whole world, your overwhelming LK (local knowledge), your wise words and last but not least the home made dinners and the the time we spent together at Swanage. Until we meet again. Natalia (Lady Glibbery).
Alan, thanks so much for a great time at Swanage and for making it a home away from home. I was extremely lucky to find your place and I appreciate the great lengths you went ot make us all feel comfortable. Pilanesburg was also fantastic and I'm so glad I could join! SA was an awesome experience overall and it wouldn't have been the same without Swanage. I may be sending you some Americans next year, we're severely underrepresented in the community.. Please let me know if you're ever in the US and hopefully I'll be back in SA soon! Keep up all the great work. You've made an awesome place at Swanage.
Dear Alan. thank yhou for giving me a new home on the southern hemisphere. Time passed by so quickly, I feel like comaing back soon. So there is no need of saying good bye, rather see you soon. Your open heart inspires me of how to be a better person. I will never forget your delicious cooking and your close connection to nature. Having such a cosy retreat was a great balance for me, coping wit hthe rough reality in hospital. Next time I will hopefully have the chance to experience Pilanesberg together wit hyou. All the Best. Cecilia Veraar Cecilia.email@example.com