Jonas Sandström lives by intuition and with full-throttle passion. Owner of Gonana Guest House – Paternoster’s first off-the-grid, eco-conscious, luxury accommodation – Swedish-born Jonas is an innate entrepreneur. He calls himself a “creative, result-orientated concept developer”, which is a modest description of his impressive achievements.
Aside from a marketing qualification, Jonas is entirely self-taught and self driven and his personal brand now straddles countries and continents. From senior management positions at massive, upmarket retail chains across Sweden and Norway, to establishing gyms and his own chain of organic food cafes in Stockholm, Jonas says he is simply driven by “change, development and the belief in the power of human beings”.
An entrepreneur for over 20 years, Jonas actually discovered South Africa on a whim. “I invited a friend to join me for a holiday to South Africa nearly 20 years ago. After 10 days, I decided I wanted to stay. She went back to Sweden, and I bought a heritage house in Cape Town. It was Lord Nelson’s hunting lodge from the late 17th century, and absolutely beautiful.”
Jonas quickly set about renovating Bickley House into a 4-star guest house. “I had never run a guest house in my life,” he laughs. A few years later he bought a second guest house in Cape Town and also qualified as a registered tour guide for South Africa – all a far cry from being a celebrity television show personality back in Sweden. But Jonas’s intrepid entrepreneurial spirit is super charged, and a decade ago he also started Gonana Travel, to Scandinavians uniquely designed, personally guided journeys around South Africa.
Scandinavia is part of an ever-growing eco-conscious tourist market in search of authentic, tread lightly establishments and experiences. Jonas’s newest venture, Gonana Guest House – right on the beach in Paternoster – is just that. Beautiful, sustainable, Fair Trade registered and a study in tranquility and harmonious living, those who visit can savour the stillness and authenticity of this special place and leave minimal environmental impact. Being off the grid and vegetarian also shows that Gonana truly reveres the magnificent environment it lives in – an ethos that Jonas lives by. “I love South Africa,” he says, “and I will never give it up for anything. The people, spontaneity, open space and beauty, it’s a country with huge potential. And laughter is also never far away.”
Gonana Guest House
Paternoster, South Africa