WHERE IT ALL STARTED
CHRIS & LINDA ARRIVES IN ADDO
Chris and Linda Pickels moved to Hermiston farm in Addo in 1989 with their 2 sons David and Christopher. For nearly 10 years they farmed mostly with oranges and lemons, but being a fairly small farm of 25 hectares they were finding it hard to sustain their income and needed to supplement it. It was around 1998 that they converted their farmhouse into a bed and breakfast and named it Chrislin B&B (after Chris and Linda). They soon found that they were filling their 2 rooms quite easily, so they decided to expand.
And there were mud huts
Chris, who did not like anything conventional, came up with the idea of building a mud hut. He had some knowledge of building with mud because as a child he would play with other Xhosa children on his parents’ farm and together they would build forts and other mud structures. And so… he took the risk and through much trial an error, Chris and his sons built the first mud hut in 2000. Amazingly, guests seemed to enjoy the huts and so they built a few more. Towards the end of 2002, David, their eldest son, met Margaret and for extra pocket money they would cook dinner for guests in the evenings. This worked out so well that they decided to move to the farm permanently and assist with the running of the lodge. The following year Chris and David built a few more huts and a swimming pool.
The wedding venue
In 2004 David and Margaret got engaged and desperately wanted to get married on the farm. Margaret loves co-ordinating functions and so they decided to build their own wedding venue, which they named Sneezewoods. It took 9 months of sheer blood, sweat and tears but by December 2004 the venue was completed just in time for the wedding. For the next 12 years, Sneezewoods operated as a wedding venue and also the venue for breakfasts, light lunches and evening meals. From 2016, a family decision was made to not host any more weddings so as to concentrate on the core business being tourism.
Exciting Addo adventure trips
In 2006 David and Chris got itchy feet again and built a new style of hut, which became their orchard huts. In the meantime, Christopher Junior, their youngest son, started his own adventure company called Crisscross Adventures back in 2005. He now lives his dream with his wife Terri by showcasing all the wonders of the Elephant National Park & surrounds, through their range of activities. In December 2007, Margaret and David became proud parents to Ross, their second son Tristan was born in February 2011, and then in 2017, little Charlotte. Charlotte is the first Pickels girl to be born in 63 years, which was very exciting for everyone. Very sadly, Chris passed away suddenly in January 2011. Whilst the sadness of his passing is still heavily felt by his family, friends and past guests who knew and loved him, the legacy of Chrislin African lodge has been left behind by him for future guests to enjoy.
6 new spacious Sunset huts added
2014 was the Year of Renovation and Expansion. 6 new spacious Sunset huts were built (with interleading doors for families and couples travelling together), Sneezewoods in-house restaurant was redone and the Garden- and Orchard-huts were re-thatched with an interior make-over.
When life brings you lemons…
2018 was an exciting year for the Pickels family with the planting of lemon trees taking place early in that year. We have delighted in adding many lemon- based products to the dining area in addition to the other citrus products that Chrislin guest have become accustomed to, including their delicious home-made orange marmalade and freshly squeezed Orange juice, in citrus season.
Weathering the storms and making lemonade!
From the onset of the March 2020 Covid19 pandemic, we would be lying if we told you that we rose to the challenge and made it through unscathed. What started out as a few weeks of lockdown in South Africa quickly turned into unending months with different tourism industry restrictions. Our state of emergency was finally lifted after 750 days! The Chrislin family has has to undergo many changes, from attempting to operate with limited clients to having our most beloved family members David, Margaret and their three kids venture to Australia in April 2020 on a new adventure. Looking back on the past few years we have realised that we have surprised ourselves everyday with our own courage. As we continue to navigate the post pandemic waters, Linda, Christopher Junior, Terri and Madi (Manager), together with their loyal team look forward to making your stay at Chrislin a memorable one.