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Saturday, January 22, 2011 telegraph.co.uk/southafrica

SOUTHAFRICA Your 16-page guide to a wealth of irresistible experiences

LAND,#PLENTY Celebrity chefs, a golfing hero, a newscaster, a socialite and some best-selling authors describe a wealth of amazing South African experiences

ERNIE ELS’ TOP COURSES Þ GARY RHODES ON THE FOOD TRAIL Þ KATE SILVERTON’S ADVENTURES Distributed with

The Daily Telegraph

In association with www.africatravel.co.uk


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SOUTH AFRICA FOREWORD

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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CONTENTS FAMILY FUN Lucia van der Post nominates the best safari camps 4

GLORIOUS FOOD Gary Rhodes on the trail of top eateries and watering holes 6

ACTION PACKED Kate Silverton has a wild time coming face to face with sharks 8

TOP HOLES Ernie Els gives tips on his favourite South African golf courses 10

ULTIMATE LUXURY Victoria and Kitty Spencer’s idyllic bush and beach trip 12

SEE MORE AFRICA Jo Foley combines South Africa with Victoria Falls and Mozambique 14

WHAT’S NEW The lowdown on the latest trends in accommodation 16

PRODUCED BY TELEGRAPH CREATE IN ASSOCIATION WITH AFRICA TRAVEL AND SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM

Editor Jackie Holland Commissioning editor John Wilmott Picture editor Abi Patton Design Carollyn Vassallo, Tim Shearring, Susanna Hickling Sub-editors John Barton, Paul Carroll, Clara Penn, Sean Huggins Travel sales manager Chris Debbinney-Wright Cover Photolibrary.com

Paradise perspectives From the cool contrasts of Cape Town to the mountains and wilds beyond, Imraan Coovadia offers an insider’s view on South Africa’s enduring appeal I live in Cape Town. Because of its geometry, Cape Town is a great city for writers and poets. Writers love perspectives, seeing things from more than one angle, and finding out that all things are relative and related to each other. If there was an Einstein of human relationships, which there couldn’t be, he would have told us that everything about human beings is related, and relative, and Cape Town would have been his observatory. A 10-minute drive through the city (from Gardens, say, where I live, through Zonnebloem and Woodstock and Rondebosch and Plumstead and, eventually, Athlone) includes a crazy number of angles, a wide variety of people – from the bergies, the drifters, the students and the refugees from Congo and Zimbabwe to office workers and European tourists – Lamborghinis on display, and, perhaps, the president’s convoy which passes me on the M3 because we go to work in different directions. He goes to parliament and I go to the university. But I feel that politicians and writers, just like tourists, have a common interest in figuring out this complicated and endlessly interesting place which has as many historical links to India and Indonesia as to Holland and the United Kingdom. If Cape Town, with 3.5 million people and an entire mountain range inside the

Seaside special: the chic Cape Town suburb of Camps Bay

The Drakensberg is where I once saw a thousand rainbows in a single hour

municipal boundaries, can still feel like a town where you can’t go anywhere without running into somebody you know, then South Africa feels more like a small continent, or a sub-continent. The West Coast is almost unknown to tourists, but it is filled with flowers in September, and it can be almost as barren and beautiful as the Karoo, where the wind doesn’t let you sleep at night and you can be more alone than anywhere except southern Namibia. Near the Sutherland Observatory, in the Northern Cape, and where there are as many stars as there are flowers, was where I first saw the shape of the Milky Way. Many tourists go to the Kruger Park to see lions and elephants, but dolphins and whales also visit Cape Town in August, and hippopotamuses roam through the beach towns near the Mozambique border in the evenings. And the Drakensberg, the long mountain range in the north, is where I once saw a thousand rainbows in a single hour – just before being caught in the most savage hailstorm of my life. The football World Cup was maybe the first time in many years that the streets in Cape Town and Durban and Johannesburg were as beautiful, in their own way, as the landscape. We’re an up and down country, never sure if we have a past and no future or no past and a great future.

Since getting the World Cup perfectly right, except for the football part, the country has been much steadier, and maybe more so than at any previous point in its history. Yes, there are a thousand and one things we need to improve, from public health to safety and education, but there is a sense that they are improving from one year to the next, or at least that many people are trying to improve them. Cape Town, in particular, with its oceans and mountains and restaurants and night clubs, is a paradise for tourists. But it is the unexpected places I would go to if I were visiting. I would drive along the West Coast to the Namibian desert, or through the Western Cape to almost unheard of places like the Hex River Valley, and the seaside village of Arniston. Or you could just climb, rather than taking the cable car, to the top of Table Mountain which is one of the strangest and most extraordinary places on the planet, and where, in the middle of a town as big as this one, if you walk just a way off the main track, you can manage never to have another human being in earshot. ÞAward-winning novelist Imraan Coovadia is associate professor in the University of Cape Town’s English department and is currently completing a new novel and short story collection.


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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INTRODUCTION SOUTH AFRICA

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A unique experience is guaranteed Jackie Holland recalls her South African odyssey and outlines Africa Travel’s options for this astounding destination Creature feature: lions and hippos are just some of the natural attractions

Classic South Africa

Settings are spectacular, sounds are mesmerising and you are sure to get close to nature

their knowledge is unsurpassed. And Africa Travel only ever gives recommendations and suggestions based upon personal experience and is committed to regular site inspections to keep you updated and offer you the best possible accommodation and activities. To demonstrate the range of South African experiences that can be tailor-made for you by Africa Travel, in these pages you will learn about the magic of author Lucia van der Post’s recent family safari (see page 4), follow TV chefs Gary Rhodes and Heston Blumenthal on the food and wine trail (page 6) and relive newscaster Kate Silverton’s adventure-packed holiday during which she abseiled down Table Mountain, went cage-diving with sharks and rode a horse along a beautiful, deserted beach (page 8). On page 10, South African golf hero Ernie Els nominates his favourite courses; Lady Victoria Spencer and her daughter Kitty take time out from Cape Town to be pampered in five-star retreats (page 12); and journalist Jo Foley shows how easy it is to combine a visit to South Africa with stays at Victoria Falls in Zambia and Azura in Mozambique (see page 14). No matter how many times you visit South Africa, the magic never fades. The settings are spectacular, the sights and sounds are mesmerising, the accommodation and cuisine are world-class and you are sure to get close to nature.

Sun City

Kruger National Park

Johannesburg

S O U T H

A F R I C A

ta ins

I first visited South Africa 22 years ago. There was a drought, the Limpopo River had dried up and my wildlife-loving editor dispatched me to the Northern Transvaal to report on an operation to move hippos to the south, so that they could be near water. The hippo-catchers and I sat all night in a tree and eventually some of these huge yet sensitive creatures were lured into a truck. It didn’t occur to me that if I had tumbled from my branch, I could have been bitten clean in half. What I did learn, though, was how passionate South Africans are about the welfare of their wildlife. What’s more, I had never before witnessed such dark, star-filled skies or heard the hypnotic sounds of the bush. This magical night gave me the Africa bug. The following day, I slept in a luxurious room on a private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park that, I was told, had recently been occupied by Margaret Thatcher. At dawn, I was taken on my first game drive in an open-top 4x4 and, within an hour, was lucky enough to spot the Big Five – elephant, water buffalo, leopard, lion, and rhino. My guide, glowing with pride, presented me with a certificate recording this extraordinary achievement. I treasure it to this day. Since then, tourism in South Africa has advanced in leaps and bounds. Although visitors may not get the chance to help relocate hippos or have the Big Five under their belts in less than 60 minutes, the range of experiences on offer is extraordinary. This supplement, produced in association with Africa Travel and South African Tourism, aims to give you a taste. As its name suggests, Africa Travel is the expert, the acknowledged specialist, when it comes to this vast, mysterious continent. The company knows and loves Africa – and wants to share it with you. Not only does Africa Travel have unrivalled experience in planning holidays but also specific expertise in arranging tailor-made travel, so each trip is unique. All of the company’s staff have travelled extensively throughout Africa – indeed, some were born and brought up there – so

Durban

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Stellenbosch

Franschhoek Port Elizabeth George Cape Town Hermanus

From £2795.00 per person

The classic self-drive tour - combining the wildlife & scenery of Mpumalanga, the famed Garden Route, enchanting wine region and Cape Town. 2 nights Cybele Forest Lodge & Health Spa, Hazyview Perfectly located for sight-seeing in Mpumalanga, a 300 acre estate with a charming farmhouse set in glorious gardens, with a selection of suites & cottages as well as a spa. 2 nights Simbambili Game Lodge, Sabi Sands Eight magnificent hand-crafted suites with private plunge pools & viewing decks are the base from which to enjoy game drives in one of South Africa’s most prolific wildlife areas. 2 nights Bay Lodge, Plettenberg Bay Located behind a sweeping beach, this six-suite hideaway boasts rooftop terrace, Jacuzzi, heated swimming pool, and funky bar & lounge. 3 nights Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards, Franschhoek A stylish country retreat with superior accommodation, fine dining, wine-tasting, wellness facility, sauna, swimming pool & horse-riding centre.

3 nights Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel, Cape Town A lovingly restored national monument, now a chic boutique hotel, boasting charming accommodation and a swimming pool, all within walking distance to shops, bars & restaurants. Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Upgrades available: World Traveller Plus from £525.00 return Club World from £2095.00 return Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between May & August and receive an additional complimentary night at Cybele, Bay Lodge, Mont Rochelle & Cape Cadogan!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SOUTH AFRICA FAMILIES

Animal magic on the veld It’s a family holiday of a lifetime, where children learn to love nature thanks to expert guides and stunning wildlife, says Lucia van der Post

Private Places For those in search of their own piece of paradise - some of the Cape’s most desirable & private residences. From £1845.00 per person 2 nights The Last Word Constantia, Cape Town Situated in exclusive Constantia, an exquisite seven-suite hotel with luxury swimming pool, sun deck, in-suite spa treatments and some of South Africa’s largest bathrooms! 2 nights The Last Word Franschhoek, Franschhoek An elegantly restored historic villa in the heart of the gourmet village with just six luxurious rooms and a small shaded garden with swimming pool. 2 nights The Last Word Long Beach, Kommetjie Tucked away in a picturesque lobster-fishing village on the Cape Peninsula, a chic beach property which sits right on eight kilometres of pure white sand. 2 nights The Last Word Sea Five, Camp’s Bay Spectacularly located within walking distance of Cape Town’s most glamorous beach, this beautiful seven-room villa has pool, sundeck and a stunning Penthouse. Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car One-way upgrades to World Traveller Plus from £295.00 Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between May & Sept and stay for a free extra night at each property!

Tel: 0845 450 1523

When I’m asked, as I often am, about my favourite place in Africa, I’m always a bit perplexed. How to choose between the wide open spaces of Kenya, the glories of the Rift Valley and Samburu country and the sense of adventure and wildness in Tanzania’s Ruaha or Katavi. Then there are Zambia’s wildernesses, its game-filled Kasanka Plains and the charm of the beautiful Luangwa river. Malawi has its lake and its wonderful Nyika plateau, while Zimbabwe’s Mana pools and Zambezi river are world-beaters. Botswana’s magic waterways and elephants are unforgettable, while Mozambique and Namibia have charms of their own. But when it comes to choosing a safari for first-timers or families longing to be certain of seeing the thrilling game they’ve read and dreamed about, it has to be South Africa every time. What South Africa delivers with almost magical reliability is game in the sort of abundance that is only found elsewhere in Africa in the Masai Mara, where the plethora of minibuses and the big game lodges mostly make it seem less like a dip into untrammelled wilderness and more like a visit to a zoo. Add to that the fact that its familyoriented programmes are second to none and one can see why it is a wonderful destination for one-off, multi-generational celebrations and the once-in-a-lifetime visit to a wildlife park. Up in the lowveld in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province is one of Africa’s largest, most magnificent game reserves, the Kruger National Park. I can’t think of a better introduction to this great continent’s wonders. Some 220 miles long and roughly 40 miles wide, it’s 7,332 square miles of wondrous bush. It’s part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park where the fences have come down between Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park, restoring some of the old migratory routes so that animals can wander freely between them all. It’s a glorious park, ranging from the lush, tropical riverine forests in the north to typical wooded savannah and acacia thornveld. A perfect destination for those who long to see the abundant plains game — a vast variety of antelopes, lions, elephants, leopards, wild dogs and the totemic white rhino — it has options for every kind of safari. A wander through Kruger, starting right up in the north at Parfuri, in a self-hire car, driving down through the park, staying at the simple but clean and beautifully run government lodges, is a wonderfully inexpensive way for the young and adventurous to see for themselves what it’s all about. But you need to know that if you’re

new to the bush, half of the time you won’t know what you’re looking at and you’ll have trouble finding it. It takes time, experience and years of observation to learn to spot the signs of when lions are about to hunt (usually just after dusk when you’ll have to be safely back at camp), when the baboons or the antelopes are agitated, when leopards or cheetahs are on the prowl, let alone whether the bird spiralling up on the thermals is the white-backed vulture, the brown snake eagle or the bateleur. On top of that, you have to drive in closed cars and stick to the marked roads. But on the western border of the park is a host of private game parks where the wildlife is just as rich. The lodges showcase the work of some of South Africa’s finest safaristyle designers and you are wrapped in comfort from the moment you’re greeted with a crisp hand towel and a welcoming drink to the time you have to leave, when your own safari guide will see you on to your plane or car. These private lodges have become experts over the years in conjuring up magical experiences – surprise breakfast picnics during early morning game drives, complete with fresh pancakes, champagne and eggs anyway up, lantern-lit bush dinners, thrilling night drives looking for the caracal, genet, serval cat and leopard. And the guides are almost all highlytrained passionate nature-lovers who can bring the whole experience to life, even down to the miraculous life cycle of the dung beetle. It was thanks to our wonderful guide Tom at Londolozi that we spent a thrilling evening watching a pride of nine lions hunt down a wildebeest. First they woke dozily from their daytime snooze as we sat and waited. Then they groomed each other and the younger ones started to romp around until finally the lionesses got down to the serious business of feeding them all and led them out to stalk the prey. It was fast, thrilling, awesome, unforgettable. Here, too, were thrilling encounters with that shyest, most secretive of cats, the leopard. But perhaps most interestingly of all for families, almost all the lodges in the private concession have family-oriented programmes that aim to give children not just an adventurous, fun-filled time but to instil in them a deep love of the natural world and all its wonders. Modern holidays, and most particularly safari-style trips, are not just for having a jolly time, they’re heaven-sent opportunities for learning, for doing things together as a family that modern metropolitan children cannot do at home – camping out, orienteering, learning to lay and light a fire, make bows and arrows, and other survival skills.

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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FAMILIES SOUTH AFRICA Creature comforts: see elephants, leopards and more from a base such as Mateya Safari Lodge, bottom right

At Jabulani they ride atop elephants rescued from trauma and become immersed in elephant lore. At Singita they can learn to fish and shoot with a rifle, to track, to study birds and insects as well as the big mammals. And for those who don’t like the idea of giving their children (or themselves) anti-malaria pills, South Africa has two malaria-free destinations – the Eastern Cape and Madikwe, on the north-western boundary with Botswana. In the Eastern Cape there’s the Amakhala Game Reserve, which has the big five mammals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) but also the wonderful, seven-roomed Leeuwenbosch Country House, which a family or group of friends could take over in its entirety. Its children’s programme is special, partly because its owner, William Fowlds, is a vet who brings an extra layer of expertise to the business of animal viewing and who is happy to take children out in his helicopter when he has animals to dart. For honeymooners or those who want a child-free experience, Amakhala’s Bush Lodge is the place to stay – it has just four suites in lavishly set-up tents. Nearby, close to the Cape’s Graaff Reinet, is the spectacularly beautiful Samara, deep in the heart of the Karoo, a great arid plateau which was once an inland sea and which was named after the Khoi-San word for thirst. It’s still a palaentological treasure house and on Samara there are ancient fossils, bushman paintings, but with its purple-rimmed hills and many different biomes, it’s a wonderful place to get a first glimpse of Africa’s splendours. It doesn’t have lions because it nurtures its cheetahs and there are no elephants because of all the special trees they would damage, but it is filled with plains game and many species that you won’t see in the Kruger (red hartebeests, springboks, blue cranes, black wildebeests and Cape Mountain zebra). It, too has special programmes for children, taking them camping, walking them up to cheetah, teaching them to read the stars, to track and giving picnics and adventures along the way. Those wanting family privacy can take over its Manor House with its four double-bedrooms, swimming pool, private guide and 4x4s. In Madikwe there are lodges for every purse, from the sweet, community-owned and run lodges to the Etali Safari lodge which has a wonderful children’s programme with star-gazing (Africa’s special gift to the world are its night skies) as one of its specialities, while the parents could indulge themselves in the wellness centre and spa. For a child-free sanctuary, Mateya Safari Lodge is the place – its wonderful art collection lifts the spirits and its USP is a very South African take on luxe. These lodges are not cheap but the experiences they offer linger in the memory. They offer superb guiding, great comfort, lovely food and – most important – wildlife on an abundant scale that it is hard to find anywhere else. As an introduction to Africa, they’re hard to beat. Þ Lucia van der Post travelled to South Africa with Africa Travel (0845 450 1523; africatravel.co.uk). A family holiday, staying for three nights at Samara and four nights in Cape Town at the Table Bay Hotel, costs from £7,420 for two adults and two children under 12, including British Airways flights and Budget hire car. Þ For general information on South Africa, call 0870 155 0044 or visit southafrica.net

For All The Family A wonderful holiday for all the family to enjoy some of South Africa’s best familyfriendly properties. From £8575.00 for family of 2 adults and 2 children under 12yrs 2 nights Thornybush Game Lodge, Thornybush Game Reserve With game drives, bushwalks, a sumptuous spa and family suites keeping everyone occupied, this is the perfect safari experience for all ages. 3 nights Cascades Hotel, Sun City Ranking amongst the most exciting resorts in the world, there is so much for families to do from the waterpark, mini-golf & tennis, to horse-riding, mountain-biking, and a children’s club. 3 nights Cape Royale Luxury Hotel & Residence, Cape Town Perfectly suited for families – with large family suites, child-minding services, rooftop pool, spa & wellness centre – and right in the heart of the city close to all the major attractions.

Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Exclusive to Africa Travel: Stay between Jan & Apr for a free night at Cape Royale or between May & Aug for a free night at Cascades!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SOUTH AFRICA FOOD AND WINE

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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A delicious feast for all the senses Gary Rhodes goes on the food and wine trail and discovers a full menu of flavours, aromas and scenic splendours Saturday. One chap was making charcuterie-style sausages, and cooking them up for people to try on the spot. Next door was a cheesemaker, selling freshly made mozzarella. It was so ripe and creamy that he was able to cut it with a spoon. Someone else was threading wild mushrooms on a skewer, and roasting them on an open grill; and then there were bread stalls, vegetable stands, and people selling pastries, cakes and local beers. Another trader had a long trellis table, on which he placed 10 thin pizza bases that he had baked earlier, and added tomato, parma ham, mozzarella, artichokes, rocket and parmesan shavings. It was pure theatre – he moved up and down the line, adding the ingredients with a flourish, and a crowd gathered to watch. Each batch sold out immediately. Travelling on to Franschhoek, we stayed at La Residence – a stylish hotel set in a tranquil valley in the stunningly beautiful Cape Winelands. As well as tasting the superb wine produced on the estates here, the region is perfect for walking, cycling, horse-riding, fishing, golf, paragliding and hot-air ballooning. A more sedate excursion is by horse-drawn carriage through the world’s most stunning vineyards. We ate at the Pierneef restaurant at La Motte winery, which has an almost nouvelle

take on Afrikaans cuisine. Here we enjoyed biltong and prawn salad, short rib of beef with basil mash, and pumpkin cheesecake tart. We also went to Haute Cabrière vineyard, where the proprietor, Achim von Arnim, offered us a long plate of seared sesame-coated tuna with avocado, sweet peppers and a soy vinaigrette sweetened with maple syrup. This was the finest dish of the whole trip – quite sensational. Our dinners were memorable, too. At a small, homely restaurant called Ryan’s Kitchen we ended up sitting in the garden way past eleven, chatting to the proprietor, his wife and parents. The evening after, back at La Residence, we dined at the chef’s table. He demonstrated to us how bobotie, a traditional South African meat loaf, was made. We left South Africa with the knowledge that it is becoming a real gastronomic destination – and it’s only going to get better. This was our first visit for seven years, but Jennie and I agreed that we can’t leave it that long before coming back. Þ Gary Rhodes’ visit to South Africa was arranged by Africa Travel (0845 450 1523; africatravel.co.uk. A five-star trip, staying three nights each at One&Only and La Residence, costs from £2,475pp, including British Airways flights and Budget car hire.

ERIC MILLER/PANOS PICTURES

My first visit to South Africa was 16 years ago, when I took over a restaurant for a week as part of a promotion. Before travelling, I drafted a menu and sent a breakdown of everything I’d need; but when I arrived, I found that it was impossible to get hold of even the simplest ingredients, such as leeks. How things have changed. This time, I couldn’t believe the quantity of restaurants, the quality of produce and the number of home-grown chefs producing great food. All those years ago, eating out didn’t seem to be such an important part of social life in South Africa; but now every place we went to was packed. Cape Town is a great international city, and we couldn’t have hoped for a warmer welcome. Soon after my wife Jennie and I checked into One&Only Cape Town, we were introduced to head chef Jason Millar – a true professional, and someone I hope will become a good friend. We had our first meal at Bizerca, a little brasserie in an unassuming corner of the business district. Here, Jennie had the most popular signature dish: a slow-braised pig’s trotter, chopped almost to the texture of haggis, and served with scallops – the combination really worked. Next, Jason suggested that we make a trip to the Old Biscuit Mill, which is home to an amazing food market every

Passion and energy ignites a culinary explosion Heston Blumenthal sings the praises of the world-class cosmopolitan dining offered in the nation’s restaurants

I first went to South Africa as a teenager. My father was born in Zimbabwe and was educated in the Cape, so my first trip was to visit my relatives. I have been back many times since. There are so many facets to the beauty of South Africa, from driving up The Garden Route and the amazing experience of the game reserves to the natural beauty of the Drakensberg mountains and other wonders of nature, such as God’s Window in Mpumalanga, so called for its panoramic view of the Lowveld with the Kruger National Park and Mozambique in the distance. The extreme natural beauty of South Africa is so breathtaking. Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the

world and the vineyards are only 45 minutes away.

» ABUNDANT DELICACIES As for the produce, the beef is as good as you will find anywhere in the world and the lamb from the Karoo is excellent – you will occasionally even find truffles. There is an abundance of fruit and an outstanding selection of incredible seafood – gloriously rich butterfish, oysters from Knysna and of course the crayfish. So the restaurants have a huge abundance of outstanding produce to choose from, often inspired by the multicultural population. In the Cape, there are cuisines influenced by

Blumenthal, right, says chefs are leading a taste revolution

The beef is as good as anywhere in the world and the variety of seafood is outstanding


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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FOOD AND WINE SOUTH AFRICA

I couldn’t believe the quantity of restaurants, the quality of produce and the number of home-grown chefs producing great food

Gourmet Delights An opportunity to enjoy some of the Cape’s very best food & wine, with refined dining and wine-tasting in glorious surroundings. From £2345.00 per person 2 nights The Robertson Small Hotel, Robertson

This luxurious small country retreat lures with unsurpassed comfort, genuine hospitality, two swimming pools & the Reuben’s restaurant. Glorious food: Gary treats his taste buds to local produce at the Old Biscuit Mill market in Cape Town

in the land of plenty countries ranging from Portugal to Malaysia, represented in dishes such as Bobotie and Waterblommetjie. There is a culinary explosion in South Africa at the moment with an amazing new energy. It is testament to the perseverance of South Africa’s chefs – 20 years ago you couldn’t even import basics such as gelatin. They have so much passion and drive and now South Africa is a great location for a culinary holiday. La Colombe, one of Cape Town’s most well-loved fine-dining restaurants, has achieved

an impressive 12th place in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants of the World Awards 2010 under its executive chef Luke Dale-Roberts. The Tasting Room restaurant at Le Quartier Francais hotel in Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands is also in the top 50, where its executive chef Margot Janse and her team serve course after course of exquisite culinary delights with ingredients sourced from Le Quartier’s own organic garden or from small local producers. Luke Dale-Roberts and Margot Janse are perfect examples of the energy and drive currently being exhibited by chefs in South Africa and it would be great

2 nights La Residence, Franschhoek

Superb cuisine and fine wines at this world-class hideaway are offered alongside fine antiques, delicate bed linen, tranquil vineyards and expansive gardens. 3 nights One&Only, Cape Town

to see more of the country’s restaurants on that list.

Situated in the Waterfront, divine cuisine, exquisite service & unforgettable vistas are matched only by the facilities which include a wonderful spa, heated outdoor pool and fully equipped gym.

» BOUTIQUE WINES

I love South African wines – from the great Burgundian chardonnays like Hamilton Russell to the new breed of boutique wine makers who have taken the original South African grape, chenin blanc, to a new height. Reds also range from the traditional Meerlust through to classics such as Warwick Estates and new breed boutiques such as Eben Sadie. You could spend a month in the wine regions and just scratch the surface of the density and quality of the wines produced. What’s more, the setting is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car One-way upgrades to World Traveller Plus from £295.00 Exclusive to Africa Travel: Enjoy a complimentary dinner at The Robertson Small Hotel, plus an extra nights free accommodation and a dinner credit of ZAR400.00 at the One&Only!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SOUTH AFRICA ACTION

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A wild and wonderful adventure To say that South Africa is a country of diversity is something of an understatement. It’s difficult to think of many places where you can observe the elusive leopard in its own territory, watch whales and their calves playing in the ocean, look a great white shark in the eye or ride a horse along a deserted beach. I did all of these on my trip, as well as scare myself silly by dangling off a 400ft-high ledge at the top of Table Mountain – as you do. I had agreed to abseil this landmark rather than take the rather more traditional cable car down. I hadn’t banked on the “surprise” halfway down as the cliff gave way to open air, leaving me hanging without a foothold in sight. Looking down probably didn’t help. When my brain-to-hand co-ordination failed me completely, I was left swinging in the mist like Tarzan’s less-talented sister. On establishing that I would not fall any further, I carefully lowered myself down on the rope, managing to feel as though I had enjoyed the experience once my feet touched rock again. It was certainly a different way to see Table Mountain. I climbed back up, the mist wrapping around my legs like ghostly fingers pulling me towards the cliff edge, and finally got my own mitts round a restorative mug of hot chocolate. Then it was back to our hotel, the chic Kensington Place with its attentive but not intrusive staff, nestled beneath the mountain itself. Before leaving Cape Town, my husband Mike and I took a helicopter trip over the city, in the care of a rather dashing pilot who looked so young that I thought he could only have qualified a few days earlier. There was also the chance to indulge in some retail therapy in the interiordesign shops of Kloof Street, where I picked up two leather trays and a pair of gemsbok horns (and had to be talked out of buying a set of warthog tusks to go with them). We rose early the next morning for the two-hour road trip to Grootbos. This private nature reserve of more than 4,000 acres was established in the Nineties by Michael Lutzeyer, the son of German emigrants. It is seen by many in South Africa as a beacon for responsible ecotourism. Each year, youngsters from nearby townships are taken on to be trained in gardening, landscaping and life skills. Within a year, almost all find jobs in the horticultural sector. At Grootbos we enjoyed a wide range of nature activities, including walks with guides who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the 9,000

or more species of plants native to the Cape. But the highlight of our stay was cage-diving with great white sharks, something I had wanted to do for a long time. First, we were given a lecture by one of the experts, Hennie. He explained that the film Jaws had done terrible damage to the reputation of the great white – painting it as a vicious predator that needed to be eliminated to ensure the safety of bathers. Conversely, such notoriety has also drawn shark-watchers to places such as South Africa, and their money is now helping marine biologists to tag, study and ultimately protect different shark species and especially the great white. We lowered ourselves gingerly into the cage as we spotted the first grey body mass moving purposefully through the water, that infamous fin breaking the surface. Hennie had explained that sharks are intelligent, with about the same brain-to-bodysize ratio as that of a dog, and often like to “play”. “We want a player today,” he’d announced. The crew would toss a tuna head on a line into the water, and the sharks would circle in close to us, nuzzling the bait. Before they could snatch it, a deckhand would reel it in – the theory being that as long as the sharks never get to eat the tuna, they won’t associate the boat with food. We watched as the crew tempted one shark and then another back and forth, until they grew bored with that jape and swam off in search of other food – presumably meaning the seals nearby would be in for a tough time. I got close enough to touch one of the sharks and was enthralled by its presence. By the time I came out of the water I felt a much greater affinity with this prehistoric creature, with its perfectly evolved predator design. The next day we had another magical experience on the water, watching whales – a mother and her calf, who swam so close to the boat I felt as though she was eyeing me personally. She was calm and gentle with her calf, flipping herself over so it could ride for a while on her stomach. She seemed so knowing – quite at ease with us in the boat, yet fully aware and protective of her calf. It was another first for me and I felt so lucky to have shared those moments before she signed off with a flip of her tail. It was then time to transfer to Cape Town airport for our flight to Kruger Mpumalanga, and a short drive to Londolozi on the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Londolozi pitches conservation as being at the heart of its ethos. Each year, it invests large

ROBIN HAMMOND/PANOS PICTURES

BBC newsreader Kate Silverton cage-dives with sharks and abseils Table Mountain in a country where ecotourism helps protect glorious wildlife

SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

The Daily Telegraph


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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ACTION SOUTH AFRICA Action woman: after following the coastal horse-riding trail, Kate relaxes on spectacular Noordhoek Beach; she takes a whale-watching boat trip at Grootbos, below left; and a helicopter flight over the Cape Peninsula, below right

Halfway down, the cliff gave way to open air, leaving me hanging without a foothold

sums of money in projects that nurture and safeguard the habitat, determined to show that man and wildlife can interact on a sustainable basis. It takes its commitment to ecotourism so seriously that it has developed the prototype of an electric Land Rover, an emission-free vehicle that can whisk guests silently through the wilderness. Our most memorable experience at Londolozi was a photographic safari. At first light, we set out in a Land Rover equipped with tripods and a wealth of other camera gear. We were keen to see a leopard: Mike had never seen one before, and I’d only seen one from a distance and up a tree when I was presenting Big Cat Live for the BBC. It was by no means guaranteed that we would get a sighting, as leopards are the most elusive of the big cats. But just 45 minutes after we had set out, the guide spotted one, way off in the distance. We did a quick about turn, and there she was – a female, lying down with one paw crossed over the other, regal, relaxed; absolutely awesome. She was beautiful, 12 years old but in very good shape. According to our guide, she was spending time on her own, after raising three litters. She was utterly unperturbed by our presence and allowed us to follow her for two hours, as I snapped away and sat back in wonder in equal measure. We watched as she made her way towards four warthogs, which were completely oblivious to her. Not so the giraffes, which strained their elongated necks in her direction standing alert as guardsmen. Our leopard did not make a kill that day. Perhaps she did not sense she had the opportunity; when an animal hunts alone, it cannot risk injury from a warthog’s tusks without weighing up her chances carefully. I felt so privileged to have been able to spend so much time with such a beautiful animal. It was a captivating few hours that I shall never forget. I’ve been to the African continent on many occasions, mostly on a shoestring budget. This trip offered more by way of luxury. The camp in which we stayed enabled us to view elephants from the floor-to-ceiling window in our shower, and hippos grazing beyond the veranda in the evening – quite a privilege. What I love about coming to somewhere like South Africa, though, is that in the end, safari is safari, whether you’re staying in an openroofed shack or a luxury camp. The next dream is to take my 70year-old parents on safari, so they can share the same wonders before they are physically unable to do so. On our last morning at Londolozi, a parade of elephants came ambling by, both adults and calves. It was another mesmerising sight. Here in the cold London winter, it’s reassuring to think that the conservation efforts currently under way in Southern Africa are helping to ensure those elephants can continue to do that. If people keep contributing through responsible tourism, there’s every reason to hope that they always will. Þ Kate Silverton travelled with Africa Travel (0845 450 1523; africatravel. co.uk) which arranges tailor-made holidays to Africa. A similar trip, with three nights each at Kensington Place and Grootbos and two nights at Londolozi Varty Camp, costs from £3,090 per person, including British Airways flights and Budget hire car. Þ More information on South Africa: 0870 155 0044; southafrica.net. Abseil Africa: 0027 21 424 4760; abseilafrica.co.za. Base 4 Helicopters: 0027 21 934 4405; base4.co.za

The Big 7 From the magnificent beasts of the bush to the giants of the ocean and the wide open plains of the Cape, a unique trip perfect for the wildlife enthusiast. From £3345.00 per person 2 nights Londolozi Varty Camp, Sabi Sands The finest conservation and the finest accommodation collide to create a world-class safari experience, with classic safari chalets dotted along the banks of the Sabi River. 2 nights Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Walker Bay Stunningly located overlooking the sea, the unique range of activities include nature drives, horse-riding, walking trails, beach excursions and boat trips to view the seals, sharks and whales. 3 nights Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat, Western Cape Fantastic rock art sites, sweeping landscapes, a superb spa and activities ranging from game drives & fly-fishing to mountain biking, canoeing & archery – Bushmans Kloof has it all. Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Upgrades available: World Traveller Plus from £525.00 return Club World from £2095.00 return Exclusive to Africa Travel: Take advantage of an extra nights complimentary accommodation at Grootbos & Bushmans Kloof plus free yoga at Londolozi!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

The Daily Telegraph

Let the greens and tees of South Africa challenge you – from the majesty of the Cape to the beauty of the Garden Route and the excitement of Sun City, South Africa is a golfing mecca.

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Golfing Heaven

Where glorious scenery

From £2595.00 per person 3 nights The Palace of the Lost City, Sun City An architectural one-off, decorated with frescos & murals and home to a wide range of facilities including a waterpark, tennis, horse-riding and two award-winning championship golf courses. 3 nights Steenberg Hotel, Cape Town This luxury hotel boasts fine dining, wine-tasting, a spa, spacious guest accommodation and a superb golf course in the heart of Cape Town’s wine-producing area. 3 nights Fancourt, George South Africa’s premier golfing resort – three championship golf courses are supplemented by a golfing academy & performance lab, spa and excellent guest rooms, suites and lodges.

Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car One-way upgrades to World Traveller Plus from £295.00 Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between May & August and enjoy an extra night at The Palace, unlimited golf at Fancourt on the Montagu & Outeniqua courses or 3 spa treatments, and wine-tasting at Steenberg, all with our compliments!

Tel: 0845 450 1523

Ernie Els, winner of the 2010 South African Open, says his country is a golfer’s paradise I feel very privileged to have been able to travel the world playing the game that I love but the one big negative has been that it has left me little time to visit my beloved South Africa. Before my children went to school, my wife Liezl and I used every chance to fly back from our new home in Orlando, Florida, sometimes even for a few days. Now it takes a bit more planning. As a youngster I was fortunate that my parents took us on holidays around the country, contributing to the sense of adventure I still embrace. Whether you’re enjoying fine wine and good food, playing golf, exploring some of the world’s greatest game parks or just leisurely watching the most unforgettable African sunset over the Kalahari Desert, I can assure you that a visit to my homeland will be a life-enriching experience. I grew up in Johannesburg and I started playing golf with my grandfather when I was about eight, practising at the nearby courses of Germinston and Kempton Park. I went to an all-white Afrikaans school and my brother and I were among the first Afrikaans-speaking players. In those days, rugby was a way of life and everyone grew up dreaming of being a Springbok but, like a whole generation of other South African golfers, my hero was Gary Player. In many ways I am proud to be an Afrikaans-speaking South African, but for most of my sheltered childhood I didn’t

know there were other people living in my country, too. From the age of 20, I began to travel and see South Africa in a completely different light. The black people in our country had a very tough time while white South Africans were looked upon as racists and cut off from much of the world – it was not a great time in our country’s history. Which is why the Rugby World Cup of 1995 was so symbolic. I was there at the World Cup final and it was a huge moment when President Mandela – the nation’s first democratically elected president – came out on to the pitch wearing Francois Pienaar’s Springbok jersey. I am one of the lucky people who have got to know Nelson Mandela. I was also immensely proud of the country that we could stage probably the world’s biggest sporting event – the FIFA World Cup – last year. My only disappointment was that my schedule did not allow me to be part of it. Everybody I know who attended the tournament said it was an unbelievable experience and portrayed the country at its best. In so many ways sporting events like this have helped to show just how far my country has come in a short period of time. What has never changed is how much South Africa can offer to the visitor. It’s a

paradise for all those who like the great outdoors. You can probably guess where you find the Kalahari lion and you can spot all the Big Five in the many game parks that span the length and breadth of the country. Flying into the Oppenheim Farm and going on safari is still something that I cherish. Although I grew up in Johannesburg, I must admit that Cape Town is a fantastic city. It boasts a unique position and no trip to South Africa would be complete without a trip up Table Mountain. George, too, has changed but it is still a great town with world-class hotels and restaurants and it’s become a great golfing destination. Away from the cities, the wine lands of Stellenbosch are a place of real natural beauty with stunning mountains leading down to the coast and wonderful beaches, while the Hermanus area offers panoramic vistas and unmatched opportunities to see southern right whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and the great white shark. The diversity of the tourist experience is matched by the range of the golf on offer. I am biased, of course, but I have always felt there is something about golf in South Africa. It’s not just the weather and the great African landscapes, but the fact that you can play all year round and


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Golf heaven: the Fancourt Montagu course, main picture. Inset: Ernie Els; Nelson Mandela greets Francois Pienaar

Spa Escape The chance to be pampered in spectacular settings, ranging from the African bush and the stunning Garden Route, to under the shadow of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

is par excellence on all types of courses – from coastal links to parkland layouts. And the game is also opening up. Most clubs used to be found on private estates but many are now open to the public, allowing visitors the chance to have a taste of the finest we have to offer. I have had some great experiences playing tournaments here, from the bright lights of Sun City to the heart of the bush, with courses such as Leopard Creek in the Kruger National Park. I have one hazy memory of Des Terblanche, a fellow tour professional, and I, floating down Crocodile River (which was so named for a reason), with beers in our hands after a tournament here. It was probably not the best idea but perhaps Nick Price was right when he said: “Ernie is so laid back he is almost horizontal.” The sport is definitely growing. Several players, including me, have foundations which promote the game among the less privileged. The current Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen, is the most famous graduate from my foundation at Fancourt, near George, after his stunning win at St Andrews. It has seemed a natural progression for me to move into golf design and I’ve taken my inspiration from Jack Nicklaus. My design philosophy is to ensure golfers have to think carefully about their second shots because of good bunkering, slopes and angles. But you might be relieved to know that I also think it is important to give people a big fairway to play to. My international courses range from Mission Hills Golf Club in China and the wonderfully named Whiskey Creek Course in Maryland to the Hoakalei Country Club in Honolulu and Anahita in Mauritius. But it is the ones I’ve designed in South Africa that feel particularly special, none more so than Gardener Ross, built on the family farm near Pretoria where my grandfather grew up.

My five favourite holes

17th at Oubaai, Herolds Bay A wonderful par 3 with the green below and the Indian Ocean as a backdrop (above). Oubaai is the first course I designed in South Africa. Þwww.oubaai.co.za

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12th at Durban Country Club, Durban A short par 3 where the green is on top of a mound with steep drops on either side. It is nicknamed the Prince of Wales after he took 12 here. Durban is one of those special courses which test every club. Þwww.dcclub.co.za

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13th at Leopard Creek, Malelane The green on this 505-metre par 5 is on

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the banks of the Crocodile River and offers magnificent views of Kruger National Park. Þwww.leopardcreek.co.za 17th at Hans Merensky, Phalaborwa Water is not the only hazard on this par 3, which is played over a large dam in Limpopo Province, where a herd of hippos often gather to bathe. Þwww.hansmerensky.com

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16th at Fancourt Links, George This is a great par 5 with a real links feel, with deep bunkers and the fairways narrowing as it reaches the green.

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The thing that excites me most away from golf is being able to spend time with my family because I spend so much time abroad. I miss my friends and the smell of home-cooked food, although on any trip back to South Africa I also like to keep up-to-date with our wine business. I got into the wine industry through friends who owned a vineyard in the Stellenbosch area, a great red winemaking region and perhaps the best for visitors to come and get a taste (literally) of our fine wines. Stellenbosch is 40 minutes from Cape Town, in the Western Cape, and is blessed with a Mediterranean climate and the soils with oak leaf, clay and granite. These bring the warm fruit flavours to the wine, while the cool Atlantic breezes extend the summer ripening period. I have learned a lot from the awardwinning winemaker, Louis Strydom, about my favourite Bordeaux variety. He spent a lot of time there and specialises in the Bordeaux blend so I’m a big fan of his. But there are a multitude of good South African wines – Waterford Estate, Rupert & Rothschild and Schalk Berger & Sons wines appeal to my taste. But they always taste that little bit better under a South African sky. Þ Africa Travel (0845 450 1523;

africatravel.co.uk) arranges tailor-made travel to South Africa. A golfing break, staying for four nights in Sun City at The Palace of the Lost City and three nights on the Garden Route at Fancourt costs from £2,095 per person, including British Airways flights and Budget hire car. Ernie Els offers wine and golf safaris incorporating some of South Africa’s finest wine estates and golf courses, bookable via Africa Travel.

Þwww.fancourt.co.za

Interview: Charles Starmer-Smith

From £2645.00 per person 3 nights Bush Lodge, Amakhala Game Reserve Accommodating guests in large luxury air-conditioned tents, it is the perfect base from which to enjoy game drives, river cruises, canoeing, bush walks or a spa treatment. 3 nights Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa, Knysna Coastal excellence – with large suites, magnificent spa, golf course, swimming pools, hikes, canoeing and breathtaking beaches – dramatically perched on a stunning headland. 2 nights Taj Hotel, Cape Town Five-star luxury hotel located in one of the city’s historic quarters, and offering guests superior accommodation, fine dining, heated swimming pool, champagne & oyster bar and an excellent spa.

Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Upgrades available: World Traveller Plus from £525.00 return Club World from £2095.00 return Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between February & September and receive an additional complimentary night at each property!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

The Daily Telegraph

The ultimate bush and beach break in Staying in a boutique hotel, a luxurious wilderness lodge and a romantic hotel set above a sandy bay provides the perfect escape, as Victoria and Kitty Spencer discovered

South Africa has been my home for 15 years, and it’s a country I have grown to love. The pace of life in Cape Town is gentle and I’m surrounded by the natural beauty of mountains, forests and rivers. Kitty, my 21-year-old daughter, is more of a beach person, and takes full advantage of the superb sands within 10 minutes of where we live – but the itinerary of our recent week-long trip promised plenty to please us both. Johannesburg was our first destination. After being met at the airport, we were taken to the Saxon, a beautifully stylish boutique hotel. I loved the décor, which was elegantly African without being ostentatious or overbearing. Among the Saxon’s best characteristics was the amount of space. Our suite, named after Nelson Mandela (who edited his autobiography here) was vast, with its own lobby for complete privacy. The first thing we did was to take lunch outside, beside the magnificent gardens. Then Kitty and I went to check out the spa. We didn’t opt for any treatments: it was enough for us to reach a state of total relaxation in the series of plunge pools and whirlpool baths. Our intention had been to take a look around Johannesburg and perhaps do some shopping; but we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to leave the hotel. Most striking of all was the sense of seclusion. We simply lost track of the fact that we were in the midst of a large city – there

Intimate retreats: luxury meets the wild at the Royal Malewane, above; a whirlpool at the Saxon, far left; Birkenhead House, left, offers soothing sea views

was no noise or bustle. Kitty and I enjoyed a wonderful feeling of calm, as if we were in the middle of the countryside, and cocooned from the outside world. Before long, it was time to move on to the real wilderness. We took a flight to Hoedspruit and a short drive to Royal Malawane, on a private game reserve next to the Kruger National Park. As we arrived, the staff were waiting outside with fresh fruit juice, and we were whisked straight to our rooms. The property is owned by the Biden family, and its interiors have been designed with exquisite taste by Liz Biden. There’s a wonderful old colonial feel to the place, with African artworks and antiques from all around the world scattered throughout. The Royal Suite,

where we were staying, was once the owners’ quarters. It’s a home in itself, set at the end of all the other accommodations, and we later learnt that this is the suite requested by Elton John whenever he comes to stay. I’ve spent time at many safari lodges, but this was easily the most luxurious. Kitty and I each had our own bedroom and bathroom, and a dining area at our disposal. My four-poster bed was the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in, and so high off the floor that I had to climb a ladder to get into it. Outside, we had a large veranda with a wooden deck leading right into the bush, and we had the use of a plunge pool and outdoor shower. We loved the gardens at Malewane – a rarity in the bush – and the excellent

We enjoyed a wonderful feeling of calm, cocooned from the outside world


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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LUXURY SOUTH AFRICA

The Very Best Featuring some of South Africa’s very best accommodation, where the emphasis is on style, grandeur and outstanding service. From £4995.00 per person 2 nights Royal Malewane Game Lodge, Thornybush Game Reserve A truly extraordinary property offering the finest gameviewing, the finest accommodation, the finest cuisine and the finest bush spa in all of South Africa.

heavenly hideaways food. There was also the chance for us to take a three-hour signature treatment in the spa. The women who gave us our full-body massages were amazing: kind and nurturing but with deceptively strong hands. Kitty relished the chance to use the well-equipped gym next door, while I took time to read and meditate. Both of our game drives were in the evening, departing at about four o’clock and returning at nightfall. We’d set out in Land Rovers well equipped with binoculars, blankets and raincoats, and keep going for about an hour-and-a-half before finding a scenic spot to stop for refreshments. Here, we’d stretch our limbs, and be treated to delicious canapés and any drinks we wanted. Our ranger, Juan Pinto, has long been renowned as one of the very best in Africa. He proved to have an amazing grasp of animal psychology and could predict the behaviour of all the wildlife we came across with almost supernatural accuracy. He and our tracker, Wilson, were a close team – they had been working together for more than 12 years. We felt as though these two knew the bush better than anybody. Although we didn’t see any lions, we were able to observe the other members of the big five at close quarters. Watching hippo and white rhino was a spellbinding experience but the most memorable encounter was with a herd of elephant. They had surrounded us and one adolescent male became quite frisky.

He was none too pleased at our appearance, and wanted to see us off. I found it a little scary, though Kitty was totally unfazed – and we knew we were in expert hands. Juan explained that retreating too soon could provoke the elephant to give chase, so we waited stock-still for what seemed like an age, until he gave the signal that we should drive away. We received a warm welcome when we returned from our game drives. On the first night, there was pink champagne waiting for us – I don’t drink, but Kitty enjoyed it. The next day, it was raining when we got back, so we were offered a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and a roaring fire had been lit to keep us cosy. Because of the possibility of encountering wild animals, we were always escorted around the estate by the staff, who couldn’t have been more kind, friendly or obliging. They managed to get the balance exactly right. You feel as though you’re part of the family while you’re there but you’re still granted your privacy and never feel compelled to take part in things if you don’t want to do so. A lot of the staff members have been at the lodge for a long while, and are enormously loyal to the Biden family. If we were to go back to Royal Malewane in five years, I feel certain that we’d still recognise several of them. The family also owns Birkenhead House, to which we headed next. In terms of location, it’s difficult to imagine

more of a contrast with Royal Malewane. The hotel stands on an outcrop above a sandy bay, just outside Hermanus – a small, genteel place about an hour-anda-half from Cape Town. But what was charming was that many of the staff had worked at both places and knew where we’d been and what we’d experienced. Birkenhead House’s interior decor is as graceful as that of the safari lodge – and there’s a similar attention to detail. One night, we went up to bed to find that the staircase had been lit up with little night lights. Kitty went to her room to find that a candlelit bath had been drawn for her, and a bottle of champagne placed alongside. It was marvellously romantic. I’m not in a relationship but Kitty is and I felt slightly guilty to be there with her. This is the sort of place you should be with someone you love, not your mother! But by the time we returned to Cape Town, we felt as though we’d been away for weeks. It was lovely to be able to connect, talk and laugh while being looked after so well, and I felt like a new person. It’s an experience neither of us will forget. Þ Victoria & Kitty Spencer’s trip was arranged by Africa Travel (0845 450 1523; africatravel.co.uk). A similar holiday, staying overnight at The Saxon, two nights at Royal Malewane and three nights at Birkenhead House costs from £3,895 per person, including British Airways flights and Budget hire car.

1 night The Saxon, Johannesburg Possibly South Africa’s most famous hotel, the exquisite suites & state-of-the-art facilities on offer provide an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. 2 nights Rovos Rail Enjoy the romance and style of one of the world’s most luxurious trains, as it travels over 2 days from Pretoria to Cape Town, making stops en-route in Kimberley & Matjiesfontein. 3 nights Kensington Place, Cape Town Stylish rooms, impeccable service, fabulous bathrooms, sun deck, swimming pool, city views and designer touches – Kensington Place has it all. 2 nights Birkenhead House, Hermanus Superlative service, divine interiors, exquisite cuisine and unrivalled views from a boutique cliff-top coastal retreat, sited perfectly above a stunning beach. Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Upgrades available: World Traveller Plus from £525.00 return Club World from £2095.00 return Exclusive to Africa Travel: Receive an additional night at Kensington Place with our compliments!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

The Daily Telegraph

Awesome sights that lie Visit neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique to see the grandeur of Victoria Falls,

The Falls, Bush & Beach The majesty of Zambia’s Victoria Falls and the renowned wildlife of South Africa combined with the powder-white beaches of Mozambique - the ultimate Southern Africa adventure. From £5295.00 per person 3 nights The Royal Livingstone, Victoria Falls A wonderful property in a wonderful location - set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi just a short stroll from the magnificent Falls, and offering five-star sophistication and service. 2 nights Lion Sands River Lodge, Sabi Sands Located in a prime game-viewing area and offering superb big-5 safaris both in game vehicles and on foot, the thatched rooms have private viewing decks which look out onto the Sabi River. 5 nights Azura, Benguerra Island A world class island retreat with a full range of amenities & activities, and spacious villas with outdoor showers and private plunge pools which lie right on the deserted and beautiful beach.

Includes British Airways flights One-way upgrades to World Traveller Plus from £295.00 Exclusive to Africa Travel: Receive an additional night at Royal Livingstone & Lion Sands if travelling between May & August!

Tel: 0845 450 1523

Some travellers like to stay and linger in places while others, like me, have to see everything – now. I want to experience everything within reach to make my journey worthwhile — so I combined my trip to South Africa with neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique. When I arrived in Livingstone in Zambia, I knew that this was just the first stop on a journey to remember. My reason for visiting Livingstone was evident the minute I left the airport – I heard it. A slow, deep rumble which sounded as if it was coming from somewhere far off, but in fact the source of the noise was just a short drive away. It was the mighty crashing of Victoria Falls, one of the great wonders of the world – a vast, thundering curtain of water. And while it’s neither the highest nor the widest falls, it is still regarded, given all its dimensions, as the largest waterfall in the world. Seeing it for the first time, I found only one word to describe it – awesome. A monumental moving wall of water which throws spray 1,600ft high. On a clear day, you will see a near-perfect rainbow... see it at night during a full moon and the sight of a lunar rainbow is something that will live with you for ever. Should you feel like a walk on the wild side, take a stroll under the falls. You can rent heavy waterproofs for this but let me assure you that nothing can stop this volume of water getting through, so make sure you wear flip-flops or jellies otherwise it will take other types of shoes and sandals ages to dry. The intrepid can do a bungee jump but I, being a sensible woman, took a helicopter ride over the falls (microflights are on offer too). When David Livingstone first saw them, almost from the edge, he remarked that this must be how the angels see them. My helicopter ride gave a better idea of how the angels look down on Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local name for this spectacle, meaning “the smoke that thunders”. After the excitement of the falls, the lawns of the Royal Livingstone Hotel are calm and relaxing, with gentle views across the Zambezi to the little islands that seem to float on the river and which are home to myriad birds and several herds of elephants. Indeed, one of the great joys of relaxing on that lawn, particularly with a sundowner to hand, is to see a line of elephants cross from the islands to the riverbank, stopping to drink and bathe as they come. But the sound is ever present – deep, low and soothing. It is particularly effective as a spa accompaniment if you opt for a massage at one of the outdoor gazebos on the riverbank. Lying there in the African warmth, a gentle breeze playing with the curtains, a pair of healing hands manipulating and soothing your tired muscles and the song of the falls, beats any urban spa experience. After such a spectacular introduction to my southern African foray, what could possibly match the joy and wonder of Zambia’s great attraction? My inclination was for something totally different – the bush and a safari – so off I headed for Kruger National Park. This met all my

criteria of seeing and experiencing as much as possible in one trip. South Africa’s magnificent game reserve has more than is possible to fathom in one lifetime, let alone one visit. Almost the size of Wales, this hotbed of natural wonders is home to more than 500 species of bird, 147 types of mammal, more than 330 different types of tree, a plethora of plants and acres of archaeological sites. And if you think there will be no chance to relax, you will be wrong, especially if you stay at the über-chic Lion Sands Ivory Lodge overlooking the Sabie River on its own private game reserve. Of course morning, evening and even night game drives are on offer, as are bush walks and breakfasts, but often I did not have to move from my own huge and private viewing deck in order to see waterbuck, elephant, and zebra as they paraded along the riverside to give me a closer view, like models on a catwalk. I should also mention that my deck was a rather grand affair with its own huge daybed and plunge pool, so I was always more than happy to return to it with a pair of binoculars and a bird book at every opportunity. Bush camps and lodges have always offered great style and comfort but Ivory Lodge is truly special, bringing contemporary ZAMBIA

MOZAMBIQUE Livingstone Victoria Falls

Indigo Bay Johannesburg

Bazaruto islands

Kruger National Park

SOUTH AFRICA

design into the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and winning any number of awards along the way. My suite was more spacious than my London flat, with its day- and night-time pavilions decked out in simple ebony and ivory tones with local African artefacts and an elegant choice of black and white photographs throughout. The bathroom was immense, with indoor and outdoor showers plus a creamy egg-shaped bath, and of course there was also the aforementioned deck. While it was not difficult to leave such luxury for an early morning game drive, returning to it was hedonistic heaven. Morning – just as the sun is coming up and the air is chilled – is my favourite time in Africa. The awakening light in a sky that reaches to infinity, the odd cry from a hyena after a good night’s scavenging, a lumbering lion in the distance, sated and heading for sleep, and the twittering of hundreds of birds stirring with the dawn is the stuff of dreams, yet here you are witnessing it from the back of a 4x4. Follow this with a bush breakfast set out under the shade of a giant acacia tree and a short walk just to get the feel of Africa under your feet, and the chances are you will immediately resolve to return again


SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2011

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EXPLORE MORE SOUTHAFRICA

just over the border enjoy a wildlife spectacular and stay in stylish resorts, writes Jo Foley Taking a tumble: the incomparable Victoria Falls; below, the stylish Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, where lions can be seen at close quarters

The sound of the falls is always present in the African warmth — deep, low and soothing

and again. Once you have experienced the call of the wild and the beauty of the bush, it is with you for ever – and immediately you start making plans for the next time. One of the best ways to begin making such plans is while lying in the shade on the whitest sands you will ever see. Mozambique is a revelation; forget all those pictures and programmes you have seen of tropical islands and examples of paradise, they are as nothing compared to the view that assails you from another private hideaway, Azura, on Benguerra Island. It’s a resort with just 14 exquisite villas, each hand-crafted from local materials and with its own infinity pool, garden and pathway straight to the beach. The idle can spend their time between pool, sea, luxurious day-bed and pampering spa, while there is a host of sports for the active. Benguerra is within the Bazaruto Marine National Park, whose reefs and ridges are thought to be among the best in the world with hundreds of reef fish and marine life, but there is also every chance of spotting the elusive dugong, for this is its largest breeding area. If you’re not a diver then just choose from windsurfing and sailing, snorkelling (take the guided safari), kayaking, deep-sea fishing, or simply take a boat trip. Dolphins abound in these waters and you can see them throughout the year, while between April and May you can see whale sharks, and humpback whales later in the season from August to October. At various times throughout the year, if you’re lucky you can see leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. And I still haven’t mentioned the birds... after days in the bush I assumed the role of a serious birdwatcher but was still unprepared for the numbers that abound in Azura. But my abiding memory is of lying on a fat beanbag on the sand one evening, watching the heavens fill with stars. The resort’s own Sky Ranger, equipped with laser pointers and telescopes, showed me a couple of Saturn’s rings, a number of constellations, the occasional passing satellite and the Milky Way sashaying and shimmying into view. Not even strong cocktails, fine wine and gourmet food could top that as an evening’s entertainment. My wish at the beginning of this trip was to see everything that I possibly could, but I had not expected such largesse. The sounds, the sights, the space and the warmth, the wildlife at sea and on land, the luxury and pampering – could any combination of three countries so close together offer more? Þ Africa Travel (0845 450 1523; africatravel.co.uk) arranges tailormade travel to Southern Africa. A multi-country holiday to include two nights at the Royal Livingstone, two nights at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and three nights at Azura costs from £4,975 per person, including British Airways flights.

Affordable Paradise A great value trip to South Africa, beating the credit crunch and offering the high life for a low price. From £1975.00 per person 3 nights Four Rosmead Boutique Guesthouse, Cape Town Located within an historic monument on the slopes of Table Mountain is found stylish accommodation, swimming pool & sundeck, landscaped gardens and immaculate service. 2 nights Rosenhof Country House, Oudtshoorn Close to Oudtshoorn’s many attractions, a magnificent Victorian house with luxury accommodation, immaculate gardens, shady pool and handpicked antiques & paintings. 2 nights Hog Hollow Country Lodge, Plettenberg Bay A perfect holiday retreat, located in a nature reserve close to a host of nearby attractions and offering great guest accommodation, superb cuisine, a swimming pool and decks with hammocks. 2 nights Leeuwenbosch Country House, Amakhala Game Reserve Beautifully-restored and family-owned colonial house, with game drives, bushwalks, horse-riding, river cruises and canoeing available in a malaria-free environment. Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between May & August to take advantage of an additional free night at Hog Hollow & Leeuwenbosch, a room upgrade at Four Rosmead and a Meerkat Adventure Tour at Rosenhof!

Tel: 0845 450 1523


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SOUTH AFRICA WHAT’S NEW

Stay in fine style Look out for the new kids on the accommodation block, says Jo Foley The hotels, lodges, hostelries and villas of South Africa are constantly on the lookout for new ways to attract and welcome guests. Each year, you can guarantee something special and splendid will come on to the market to meet the needs and demands of the discerning traveller. The latest fashion is for private apartments or villas attached to hotels, so that guests can have all the peace and privacy they need, and yet have access to everything the hotel has to offer – restaurants, library, gym, spa or bar. More Quarters for instance is a collection of luxury, self-catering one- and two-bed apartments in beautifully restored town houses right bang in the centre of Cape Town, just minutes from the cafés, bars and galleries of the famed Kloof Street. Alongside is Redcliffe House, a four-bedroomed villa with its own private plunge pool. In all of these, you can be as private as you wish while having full use of the facilities of the Cape Cadogan Hotel, a beautifully restored old farmstead, which was declared a national monument at the beginning of the last century and is now one of the most chic boutique hotels in the city. The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa in Johannesburg is one of the most iconic hotels in South Africa. It is the place where every VIP visitor from president to pop star stays, and the place chosen by Nelson Mandela in which to finish his autobiography. Set in lush gardens, it is cool and contemporary, and now has the addition of three spectacular villas – all have their own private terrace, plunge pool and up to seven interconnecting suites. They also have private lifts to the underground car park and a decked skywalk to the main hotel entrance. Ideal for families for a special holiday or

Kruger, Grape & Cape

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Three of the best: clockwise from right, the Robertson Small Hotel, a foodie’s paradise; the contemporary chic of the Saxon Boutique Hotel; and La Residence, the last word in luxury

Private apartments attached to hotels offer peace and privacy, along with full use of hotel facilities

From £2895.00 per person

Three of the finest destinations combined – the Kruger’s Big 5, the stunning wine region & Cape Town’s buzz. 3 nights Lion Sands River Lodge, Sabi Sands 3 nights Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards, Franschhoek 3 nights More Quarters, Cape Town Includes British Airways flights & Budget hire car Exclusive to Africa Travel: Travel between March & August and receive an extra free night at Mont Rochelle!

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The Daily Telegraph

celebration, they are the ultimate in contemporary chic. Uber luxury is the keynote to any stay at La Residence in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley. With opulent suites filled with antiques, landscaped gardens, gourmet food and in-room spa treatments, it’s the ideal haven for hedonists. This year, it will get even better when six villas open just two minutes walk from the main house. The villas, which are spacious and exquisitely decorated, share a communal pool, although one fourbedroomed affair has its own private pool. Guests have access to all the amenities and services of the main house, including arranging visits to wineries, horse-riding, quad-biking or hot-air ballooning, as well as a spot of golf or trout fishing – not to mention getting tables at the local restaurants. Another great wine area is Robertson, a favourite tourist attraction along the longest wine route in the world. Linger a while to experience and taste, and be sure to stay at the Robertson Small Hotel in one of its 10 spacious suites. It’s a foodie’s paradise: the area is not only renowned for wine but also for its local farm producers who offer their own breads, cheeses, salamis and oils. Best of all, the Robertson is home to Reuben’s, voted one of the best restaurants in South Africa, and the eponymous Reuben Riffel, one of the best chefs in the country. Small, chic and sexy – that’s Sea Five, a glorious boutique hotel minutes from Camps Bay – Cape Town suburb and most glamorous beach in South Africa. This is where the colours of the Côte d’Azur meet the style of the Atlantic shore. All seven suites have private terraces, with great views of the mountains behind and the ocean in front, while the penthouse has a 360degree panorama of the area. Best of all, it is a short walk to the beach and all the best bars, restaurants and clubs of Camps Bay. Tinga Private Game Lodge deep in the Kruger National Park has two exclusive lodges, on the banks of the Sabie River. Beautifully refurbished, they have everything a safari veteran or first-timer may require, including twice daily game drives, bush walks, private bush breakfasts and dinners, spa treatments and access to a golf course. With just nine suites in each lodge you get acres of space, and as each overlooks the riverbank, you can spot game from your own private terrace without ever having to move from your suite.

Africa Travel are the UK’s leading specialists in arranging tailor-made travel, safaris and flights to Africa. Contact us today for further details on these fantastic offers or to allow us to tailor-make your ideal African experience. Order your copy of the LATEST Africa Travel brochure www.africatravel.co.uk

Discover the ultimate in luxury from the perfect partners for travel to South Africa Tel: 0845 450 1523


Telegraph South Africa Supplement 2011