Jenny Crwys-Williams | Wilbur, Niso, and Sunbird Lodge mansion in Bishopscourt

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Wilbur Smith and his wife, Niso, in the study of their Cape Town home. (Photo: Gallo Images/You/Jacques Stander)
Wilbur Smith and his wife, Niso, in the study of their Cape Town home. (Photo: Gallo Images/You/Jacques Stander)

Wilbur Smith will go down in literary history as a great adventure writer, with 49 novels and a memoir to his credit. “I’ll never win the Nobel Prize,” he told Jenny Crwys-Williams, “but I’m a damned fine storyteller.” He died this week, in Cape Town, at 88 and with more novels on the way.

Wilbur Smith died in the home he most loved: Sunbird Lodge, Cape Town. It lies in Bishopscourt, a stone’s throw from Kirstenbosch, with the mountain rising like a leviathan behind it.   

When I first saw it, the house sprawled, large roomed and comfortable, minus flash, which he claimed he detested. His then gatekeeper was his third wife, Danielle, who guarded him fiercely over the years and whose name popped up with effusive thanks to her in the novels he wrote over the course of their 28-year marriage.

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