Skabenga (which means hooligan or vagabond in Zulu), the resident cat at The Oyster Box, has made Umhlanga’s ‘grand old dame’ his permanent home, for the past 13 years. It all started when he wandered onto the property as a stray, was fed tasty (expensive) titbits (prawns and seafood) by guests and…well…the rest is history… he never left…except briefly…during the building operations, when he was cared for by a cat-lover over the two year renovation period.
Just before the hotel re-opened in 2009, Skabenga was brought ‘home’. Initially, he wouldn’t leave the back-office. Skittish and nervous, hissing at anybody who came near him, the staff tried everything to make him ‘feel at home’; giving him his own basket and even a bling collar…every five-star hotel cat should have one! Nothing seemed to work. Until one day…he emerged in the reception area and has never looked back.
He has a favourite couch, takes his daily ‘inspection’ strolls around the hotel and is back enjoying the spoils that come with being the ‘Main Cat’ on the block! In addition, he has ‘impeccable timing’, emerging IN time, EVERY time, the red carpet is put out at The Oyster Box. Be it for a SPECIAL occasion (arrival of Team Cameroon during the Soccer World Cup) or a ROYAL occasion (the royal cocktail party for Prince Albert & Princess Charlene of Monaco).
Skabenga remains a favourite with all our guests and the General Manager regularly receives letters from previous guests, asking after him … there is even a book about him and he has his own Facebook page.