When it’s time to turn off the lights and settle into your wonderful bed at The Manor House on Fancourt estate, you’ll find a little surprise waiting for you on your pillow – a small card telling you a short story about some of the things that make The Manor House and Fancourt such a special, unique place.
It’s a little finishing touch The Manor House staff came up with to intrigue and entertain guests as they prepare to call it a day. They got together snippets of interesting information about some of the animals and plants that also call Fancourt home and developed potted histories of The Manor House and Fancourt’s founder, Henry Fancourt White, so that guests would appreciate the wonderful legacy he left behind that they now enjoy.
Take, for example, the story of the Hadeda Ibis…
“I am not an endangered species and my feathers are a drab grey or brown, so I am not on a bird lover bucket list. I am the unruly cousin of the African Sacred Ibis revered in ancient Egypt and my real name is ‘Bostrychia hagedash’, reads the card.
“I am the one that yanks you from sleep with jarring squawks at first light. Some call me a “flying vuvuzela,” recalling the din of the plastic horn used by stadium fans during the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa in 2010,” it adds.
“Love me or hate me you cannot deny that I hold a certain fascination and now have a small niche in popular culture where lodges and restaurants carry my name.”
Indeed, the ibis has become legendary here at The Manor House since one of our celebrity guests, musician Pharell Williams, ‘remarked’ on it on one of his video tweets to fans. The video went viral, and the Hadeda had its 15 minutes of fame.
Another bedtime story tells of Henry’s descendant, Montagu White…
“Montagu White died childless. He favoured the arts in his Will by the establishment of a trust fund to the benefit of a meritorious art student and the National Art Gallery in Cape Town. On 14 and 15 November 1916 Fancourt was put up for sale on a giant estate auction. The estate fetched only 3 000 pounds on the auction and the sale was withdrawn. The old mansion then remained empty for two years. And as can be expected, those in the vicinity soon thought it to be haunted. Eventually, it was bought by Mr. Rubin John Bryce Greer at the start of 1918. He, his wife and four daughters lived at Fancourt for seven years – the ghosts notwithstanding!”
Who knew that going to bed would ever be so entertaining!