Jonas Sandström, a Swedish entrepreneur, came to South Africa in 2002 and fell immediately in love with the weather, the people and that intrepid mountain, Cape Towns’ Table Mountain. He bought his first guesthouse shortly before returning to Sweden that same year and carefully and lovingly renovated it to high Swedish standards with an African touch. Bickley House as it was called, was the first house built in the area of Sea Point and was originally a hunting lodge with a stable, at that time situated a little outside the city.

Five years later, it was time for the next guesthouse, this time in Green Point, a few minutes drive from Sea Point, Cape Town. Antrim Villa was an old Victorian house from the 1880s. The interiors were decidedly Scandi-African and the garden boasted palm trees, lemon trees and shady spots for relaxation.

Both hotels were featured in several international design magazines and books and were successfully run with the help of his loyal right-hand woman, Joy Daniels, for several years until both hotels were sold.

Gonana Guesthouse is Jonas’s third guesthouse. This time, however, Jonas has chosen nature over the city and has chosen to renovate a small 8 room house right on the beach in the sunny Cape west coast town of Paternoster. Employing local staff, and with Peggy Lannon as project manager, the guest house has been renovated and extended to include a deep swimming pool, large sash windows, and an expansive verandah on the first floor overlooking the sea (and incredible sunsets).

Jonas, originally from Stockholm, is a well-known personality with a long and exciting career behind him. Known as a creative and passionate entrepreneur in the gym, restaurant and interior design industries, he managed Koloni Restaurant in the city for several years and then opened a cafe with the same name in Saltsjö-Duvnäs. That was the start of a chain of seven other restaurants with the same name, all placed close to cultural centres or buildings with interesting histories. In typical fashion, his restaurants, as well as his guesthouses, focus on quality over quantity, local over imported.

Jonas now lives most of the year in South Africa except for the European summer months when he returns to run Koloni Restaurant in Skansen together with his husband Martin. In South Africa, he mixes city and country life and stays either in his apartment in Cape Town CBD or spend time with his mother (spontaneous and brave like him, she moved to South Africa at the ripe age of 70!) who lives in the lovely town of Darling, an hour north of Cape, play with his dogs and relax.

Gonana Guesthouse is a short 1-hour drive from Darling, and 2 hours from Cape Town International Airport. With so much beauty on the way to and from his two homes, his guesthouse and his travel business Gonana TravelJonas have his hands and his heart full.