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May 2009 I Issue 205 I

for organisers of tours

Turning heads North West weekends

Diverse safaris

New experiences for clients

● 2010 ticket frenzy ● Oz flights to ease capacity ● Dedicated tourism minister for SA?




May 2009

R 8



A look at the latest tourism, destination and eco news from Southern Africa 2 Will SA get a dedicated tourism minster? 6 Wine tourism gains popularity 7 Emirates puts it stamp on Angola


SA spas introduce teen treatments


Safari companies are stretching clients’ imaginations

13 24 HOURS

Delightful De Rust


A perfect weekend escape


Learn more about this Pilanesberg gem


Ticket sales exceed expectations

election fever

IPE with anticipation – that’s really the sense one gets if you’re lucky enough to live in South Africa these days. With one of the most attention-grabbing national elections barely a memory and the energy of global sporting events infusing the nation, there can be no better time to join in the experience. Colourful election posters hint at hope and potential change and so we queue to vote for the future of our young nation.  Every vote counts – that’s what you hear around you as people proudly present the ink thumb mark proving they believe in SA’s future; a future that could see an entirely new cabinet structure for SA, this time with a dedicated tourism minister to refocus attention on this promising sector. Depending on whom you talk to there could be great support for a dedicated tourism minister within industry.  Currently within the Environmental Affairs and Tourism portfolio, the former has certainly enjoyed the main focus over the past five years. Tourism has taken a back seat as industry stakeholders work independently on projects aimed at taking the sector forward towards and beyond 2010. It’s all a little haphazard, I fear.  There’s little sign of an integrated approach and perhaps a dedicated Tourism Minister would be the figure to bring industry together. But can tourism in South Africa really be seen independently from environmental affairs?  If SA wants to own the title of ‘the greenest tourism destination worldwide by 2020’– as Satsa CEO Michael Tatalias suggests – environment and tourism should be working even closer together. And then of course there is the worst scenario: incorporating the tourism portfolio within the Department of Trade and Industry as a subsector.  A real step backwards! But what I do know is that whether you support a dedicated tourism minister, a restructured Environmental Affairs and Tourism Department or moving tourism into the Department of Trade and Industry, it’s your vote, your interest and your support that will make a difference to SA’s tourism industry.  It’s time for you to get involved!


New international airport readies province for tourism influx


Tall stories of Africa

Cover photo: SA Tourism

Nteboheng Phakisi, Liesl Venter, Jeanette Phillips, Chana Viljoen Advertising Sales Franck Deroche, Dee van Gaalen Advertising Co-ordinator Neo Matonkonyane Photographer Tijana Huysamen

Design Brendon Bester Printed by JUKA PRINTING (Pty) Ltd Published by Lugan Investments (Pty) Ltd trading as Now Media Tel: +27-11 327-4062 Fax: +27-11 327-4094

SUBSCRIPTION RATES R295 RSA full price R875 Foreign (airmail) full price R655 Neighbouring Africa


Publisher David Marsh Managing Editor Natalia Thomson Sub Editor Ann Braun Journalist Kate Els Contributors Sue Lewitton, Natasha Tippel,

Southern African Tourism Update

may 2009



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A tourism minister for SA? Kate Els & Natalia Thomson Rumour is rife in government departments at present with comments from ministers spurning beliefs that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) will be split into two ministries that will deal with these issues on separate playing fields. Speaking at an executive dialogue facilitated by ProServ International, Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe hinted at a shake-up that might occur post-election for all government departments. He said cryptically: “The ruling party is reconsidering the configuration of its ministries.” And although both DEAT and South African Tourism have refused comment, industry giants have been quick to voice their opinions on the possible implications this could have for tourism. Says industry stalwart, Herbie Rosenberg, South Africa needs a tourism minister with the political clout to ensure the tourism sector gets the support it needs. Removing the environmental focus from the tourism portfolio, says Southern Africa Tourism Services Association CEO, Michael Tatalias, would be a concern. “One of our big goals for 2020 should be that SA becomes the greenest long-haul destination worldwide.” Tatalias suggests that instead of a standalone tourism minister, Deat should be restructured to include two director generals (one for environment and one for tourism), and two deputy ministers should be appointed, one for environment and another for tourism. “The tourism deputy minister should be

Sports tourism exhibition planned for SA Kate Els

VALUE TOURISM…While tourism’s value should be realised, it shouldn’t be split from environmental affairs says SATSA CEO, Michael Tatalias. tasked with lobbying other cabinet ministries that are relevant, like the Department of Safety and Security and Department of Transport. The key thing we should be doing now, as part of a process to use 2010 to position SA for the next 10 years, is to structure ourselves in a way to take advantage of the next boom.”

South African Tourism (SAT) and the Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group are to stage a sports tourism exhibition to showcase SA’s ability to host major sporting events. The inaugural Events & Sports Tourism Exchange, to be held in June or July 2011, will showcase the country’s experience and expertise in hosting and managing large international events. Sugen Pillay, Global Manager: Events at SAT, says the need for a sports tourism exhibition is informed by the Sports Tourism Strategy that was compiled by SAT and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in 2006.  “Definite co-ordination between the sports and tourism sectors is needed. Sport provides an added attraction in the tourist offering, encouraging more people to travel to events.” Research conducted by SAT found that more than 10 per cent of foreign tourists came to South Africa to watch or participate in sports events, with spectators accounting for 60 per cent to 80 per cent of these arrivals. The Events & Sports Tourism Exchange will become an annual event and will involve industry stakeholders, venues, sponsors and the hospitality and tourism industries.  A mini sports tourism pavilion will be incorporated into Meetings Africa 2010 and the exchange will include a hosted international buyer programme.

Is this a virtual reality we’re living in? Kate Els Social media is a tool that needs to be utilised by the travel and tourism industry says Jerome Touze, co founder of the travel- and lifestyle-focused social networking community website, He says that social networking is a new method for stimulating travel bookings. The website allows users to “capture their experiences,” says Touze, and to recommend destinations according to their preferences. It’s by using the social website that Southern Africa can expect to increase destination awareness across the region. “In recent months, we have been working with tourism organisations who want to generate interest in their destinations,” explains Touze, who hopes to do the same for countries in the Southern African region. Tourism organisations are also catching the social networking bug with South African Tourism’s Italy office announcing the start-up of

2 l May 2009

its own Facebook group. “We are incorporating Facebook as part of our strategy in Italy. Facebook has stormed Italy since it translated the user interface into Italian,” says Lance Littlefield, SAT Italy. The organisation has started a page called “South African Tourism Italy” for the travel trade both in Italy and South Africa and is urging members of the trade to join. A recently launched consumer campaign, “Hai sentito che?” (“Did you hear that…?”), with accompanying website, uses the experiences and memories of Italians who have travelled to South Africa to communicate powerful first-hand stories about the destination. The webpage is linked to the Facebook group. For increased exposure, suppliers should be branching across the different types of social media says Johan Knols, founder of In addition to the blog, Knols created a

SA Tourism

Showing face online is the future of travel, say industry experts, and the forward thinkers are the ones who will strike it lucky in the global village.

HAI SENTITO CHE?... SA Tourism’s Italy office is engaging with tourists online. Facebook group to increase awareness among his peers. “The most important thing about social media is that it is completely free. In addition, there is no limit as to how much info you can upload,” he says.

tourismnews Crime drops in Table Mountain NP

SA Tourism

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Mossel Bay launches language training centre

Hilka Birns AN effective partnership between visitor safety rangers and the South African Police Service has seen a year-on-year decline in crime in Cape Town’s Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). In the latest incident on April 4, TMNP rangers arrested and handed over a suspect to the South African Police Service (SAPS) an hour after a couple were mugged on Lion’s Head. With the help of the park’s dog unit, rangers caught the man in possession of the stolen goods, but a second suspect managed to escape. TMNP said the past festive season had seen the lowest number of incidents since the park had adopted a visitor safety strategy five years ago.

The University of Buenos Aires Language Centre (CUI) has teamed up with local company, Armiger, which will administer courses to train locals of the Garden Route town in Spanish, and later also in Portuguese, Italian and French. Said Louis Harris, Mossel Bay’s Co-ordinator for 2010. “It’s also definitely one of the top three languages on the Internet, which makes it one of the most important of the so-called Fifa languages, and Mossel Bay is proud to have taken the lead in beginning to train our hospitality, emergency and other personnel to speak, read and write it.”

IMPROVED SAFETY… Hikers can expect a heightened level of safety on Table Mountain.

Lesotho launches grading scheme Nteboheng Phakisi

opportunities from key funding organisations. The workshop formed part of the first phase of the project. The proposed procedure to be followed for the development of the grading system will comprise five stages: a situation analysis; development of a draft grading scheme with minimum requirements and grading criteria; a piloting phase of the scheme; a workshop with stakeholders regarding the pilot phase; finalisation and development of regulations. A Basotho hat was suggested as a grading symbol, but it was decided that it may create confusion and wouldn’t be easily recognised internationally. The star grading scheme will have criteria for hotels, bed and breakfast, campsites, motels, guesthouses, lodges or resorts, self-catering and youth hostels. During the workshop the majority of delegates felt that grading should be mandatory for accommodation establishments, unlike in South Africa where it’s voluntary. It was agreed that this would help improve the quality of service and assist with the marketing of accommodation establishments.

The International Cruise Council Australasia has added South African Tourism to its associate member ranks. Cruise Council General Manager, Brett Jardine, said the latest membership reflected the growing importance of the cruise sector to a wide range of destinations.“As an associate member, South African Tourism will be able to keep our Cruise Council-accredited agents abreast of all the cruising opportunities opening up in South Africa, and provide them with greater knowledge of the destination.”

Tourism Radio increases market presence

In preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Tourism Radio has increased production of its devices, which allow users to tune in to their content. It is hoping to ensure that over 800 vehicles will be fitted with the units before the start of the tournament. Tourism Radio is a unique location-based radio broadcast that keeps tourists informed about the area they are in via GPS technology. The specially designed Tourism Radio device is fitted into rental cars. The station offers users informative content about the area they are travelling through, including the 'Intellipoint' system, which draws attention to points of interest as they are driven past.


FOLLOWING Zambia’s example, Lesotho is the latest country in the SADC region to announce the development of an accommodation grading system. This joint venture between the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) and the Private Sector Competitiveness Project, forms part of the initiative to position Lesotho as a premier tourism destination and for the country to take advantage of upcoming events such as the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. “According to the Tourism Act 2002, LTDC is responsible for the grading and classification of accommodation establishments. However, we have partnered with other stakeholders such as Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions South Africa to make this project a success. The first phase of the project is already complete,” says Ramatlali Nkhahle, LTDC’s head of investment promotion. As part of the project, a stakeholders’ workshop was held recently in Maseru to discuss the concept of grading, agree on its principles and present available financing

SAT joins Cruise Council

Southern African Tourism Update may 2009


productnews For free daily news updates:

Premier Hotels & Resorts International

TAKE A BREAK AT It’s happening!

HOTELS CAPABLE CONFERENCING… An artist’s impression of the East London International Convention Centre.

Orion Mont-Aux-Sources

N-Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal Tel: +27 36 438 8000 GPS: S 28°39'40.2" • E 028°59'58.6"

Orion Piggs Peak Hotel & Casino Swaziland Tel: +268 437 1104 GPS: S 25°54'21.95" • E 031°17'40.65"

Orion Hotel Devonshire

Braamfontein, Johannesburg Tel: +27 11 339 5611 GPS: S 26°11'34.13" • E 028°02'09.72"

Orion Safari Lodge

Rustenburg Kloof, NW Province Tel: +27 14 594 1030 GPS: S 25°41'11.5" • E 027°11'46.2"

ICC for East London opens in July The International Convention Centre East London, managed by Premier Hotels & Resorts International, is scheduled to open its doors in July. Southern Africa’s only beachfront convention centre, the complex will also be the only conference and exhibition venue of its magnitude in the Eastern Cape. Located on the Esplanade and incorporating the 254-room Premier Hotel Cascades as well as the adjacent 175-room Premier Hotel Regent, the complex offers a range of accommodation options to complement the ICC. The entire complex features a 600-seater auditorium, a 2 200 sqm exhibition hall, three conference rooms with a combined floor space of 800 sqm, multiple breakaway and board rooms, and various restaurants.

Orion Hotel Wartburg

Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal Tel: +27 33 503 1482 GPS: S 29°26'5.08" • E 030°34'58.48"

Orion Katse Lodge

Lesotho Tel: +266 229 10202 GPS: S 29°19'50.56" • E 028°28'52.14"

Orion Mohale Lodge

Lesotho Tel: +266 229 36432 GPS: S 29°28'42.5" • E 028°03'42.8"

Allée Bleue Wine Estate near Franschhoek, has opened Kendall Cottage. Built in 1920, the luxury cottage offers two generous suites, a spacious living room with hospitality bar as well as a private terrace overlooking the estate’s lavender and rosemary fields. Exclusive butler and chef services are on hand for guests.    Kendall Cottage is the first phase of the estate’s luxury accommodation future offering. By mid-2010, a total of 17 stylish suites will have been be completed using the existing and historic collection of manor houses that dot the estate. A fine-dining restaurant will also be opened to residents and day visitors.

Zambezi Queen river safari to be launched

Orion Hotel Promenade


Nelspruit, Mpumulanga Tel: +27 13 753 3000 GPS: S 25°28'15.2" • E 030°58'47.41"

Central Reservations: +27 11 718 6452 (Office Hours)

Allée Bleue opens luxury cottage

River safaris on the Zambezi Queen on the Zambezi and Chobe rivers in Botswana and Namibia will be launched in August. The luxury houseboat is on three levels. The first level has an air-conditioned lounge with a small library, games and computer facilities. The second level includes 14 suites and master suites and the third is an entertainment deck with dining facilities, an open-plan lounge area with fireplace, a bar and a pool.


4 l may 2009


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UK’s Acacia develops new Southern Circuits

BEACH VIEWS… The Radisson Blu Hotel Luanda will be located on the beachfront.

Rezidor plans expansion into Angola The Rezidor Hotel Group has announced plans for its expansion into Luanda, Angola. The Radisson Blu Hotel Luanda will feature 257 rooms, 1 000 sqm of conferencing space, several restaurants with outdoor terraces, a pool, and a spa and fitness centre.

Says Andrew McLachlan, Vice President Business Development Africa & Indian Ocean Islands, the property will be located on prime land on the beachfront in the central business district at the entry to Ilha de Luanda. “The property will boast dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Luanda Bay,” he said.

Sun City Hotel gets makeover SUN International has just completed a €22.3m renovation of the Sun City Hotel’s bedrooms, restaurants, conference and back-of-house facilities. The refurbishment started in February 2007 and included all 340 guest rooms. In the standard and family rooms, the entire bathroom was gutted and enlarged and now features a separate shower and Edwardianstyle bath. The floors and walls have been retiled and new vanity units, light fittings and shelves have been installed. The bedroom floors have been recarpeted and repainted, the furniture re-covered and new modern linen introduced. All the rooms are now fitted with Panasonic flat-screen TVs. Some of the standard twin rooms now feature interleading rooms for families or groups travelling together. One of the major changes is the conversion of the old media room into the new Letsatsi conference centre. It has two boardrooms, a 43-seater auditorium, 12 breakaway rooms and a business centre. Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) is available in public areas for guests.

Public restrooms and back-of-house areas were also refurbished. The kitchen, which services the whole hotel including the pool, bars, Sun Terrace restaurant, Calabash restaurant, room service, Letsatsi conference centre and the Letsatsi Boma, has seen a €1.7m renovation of its facilities. Outside, the Sky Train escalator and bridge at the front entrance of the hotel have been demolished. All the road surfaces at the entrance have been replaced and a new bus stop demarcated off the main road, accommodating two tour buses at a time and eliminating congestion. The hotel is currently refurbishing its Extravaganza theatre, which will be relaunched towards the middle of July as a dinner theatre club. A makeover of the casino is also on the cards for the future. “The hotel was in need of modernisation and now it has a cutting-edge look,” says GM, Jo Kentgens. She adds: “We welcome visitors to check into our newly refreshed Sun International offering, as we’re sure to delight business and leisure travellers alike.”

Southern African Tourism Update

Acacia Adventure Holidays, based in the UK, has developed its new Southern Circuits, ranging between 20 and 42 days. The itineraries, which combine overlanding with small group safaris, will allow adventurers to travel full circle round Southern Africa; taking in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa. On the 20-day Durban to Windhoek route, campers will go overland, stopping at the Fish River Canyon and Etosha National Park before switching to a small group safari (maximum 14 people) on the second leg and heading to South Africa’s Wild Coast. Stays on the small group safari are in comfortable B&Bs and guesthouses and are available year round. The tours include all listed highlights, transport, road tolls and taxes, all camping/ accommodation and cooking equipment, most meals and services of tour leader and driver and local guides.

Selinda Canoe Trail opens GREAT Plains Conservation will be running the Selinda Canoe Trail along the Selinda Spillway in Botswana with set departures from May to October. The 70km route will begin downstream from Motswiri Camp in the north-east Okavango Delta and run eastwards through the Selinda Reserve towards Selinda and Zarafa camps. All three nights will be spent in fly camps along the way at no particular pre-arranged site. The days will be spent paddling along the Spillway with stoppages whenever there is something of interest to be seen along the banks. Each Canadian-built canoe holds two people, who will paddle their way downstream under the guidance of a trail leader. Participants will need to be reasonably fit. Some canoes will have an extra seat, offering the possibility of taking three people in one canoe if any guest is worried about their fitness. The area is well known for elephant, buffalo, sable and roan antelope and wild dog, with the possibility of seeing cheetah, lion, leopard and a variety of other species. At the end of the three-day canoe trail, guests will be transferred to the Selinda airstrip for departure, or stay on for an additional night at either Zarafa or Selinda camp. The package of US$1 450 per person sharing includes all activities, meals, drinks and transfers from Motswiri Airfield and to Selinda airstrip. may 2009


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Harvest festivals juice up wine tourism Harvest festivals, with wineries rolling out the barrels for tourists wanting to get knee-deep into stomping some grapes, have taken off as wine tourism in the Cape continues to reinvent itself. Tourists from Holland, Belgium, the UK and a few Capetonians, accompanied by musicians playing French and Irish folksongs, scrambled on to a hay-laden tractor and chugged into the vineyards at Grande Provence in Franschhoek recently. Armed with straw hats, secateurs, crates and wine to keep up the spirits, they eagerly picked grapes by hand before baring their soles for the traditional stomping of the grapes. The day ended with games of French boules and lunch on one long table under the oaks.

At Eikendal cellar in the Helderberg winelands, the ceremonial ‘Weintaufe’, or blessing of the harvest, has evolved into a popular highlight on the winelands tourism calendar. Activities include live music, tractor rides, a community market and the baptism and tasting of the first Eikendal wine of the year, straight from the barrel. Squishing Merlot between the toes is not a new thing. Grape stomping goes back as far as Rome in 200BC and was used in all wine-producing countries. For centuries, grapes were picked by hand and stomped to extract the juice from which the wine was made. Today, health regulations have put a stop to that, but a little ‘vino pedicure’ still goes a long way to pull in the tourists!

STOMPING GROUNDS… Capetonians get into the spirit during the harvest festival at Grand Provence in Franschhoek.

Holgate’s expedition to focus on TFCAs The Boundless Southern Africa (BSA) Expedition will cut across nine SADC countries from May to August. The fourmonth-long expedition aims to create maximum awareness about the tourism and investment opportunities in the seven Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). The BSA expedition will be led by Kingsley Holgate of National Geographic Travel and will start at the National Tourism Indaba in Durban on May 11 and end at the mouth of the Orange River in the Ai/Ais/Richtersveld in August.


6 l May 2009

The 10 000km expedition will cover nine countries, seven Transfrontier Conservation Areas and 30 national parks and nature reserves. Boundless Southern Africa is the consolidated marketing brand that was launched in May 2008 to raise the profile of the seven TFCAs. The secretariat for BSA was appointed in 2007 and is hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. It is one of the legacy programmes for the 2010 Local Organising Committee.



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Air Berlin revives Cape Town route

DUE IN AUGUST… Emirates will use an A330-200 on its new Luanda route.

EK to fly to Luanda EMIRATES has announced that it will launch flights to Angola on August 2, making it the carrier’s 17th African destination. The flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays using an A330-200 in a three-class configuration with 237 seats. Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said: “This new Luanda flight provides enormous potential to develop air travel into Angola, alongside the assistance we can provide for international trade through Emirates SkyCargo. In the past year, we have seen strong growth in Africa of 17 per cent. Now, with Luanda starting in August and Durban starting later in the year, this is going to be another very exciting year in this largely untapped continent.”

LTU/Air Berlin has said that it is eager to resume flights into Cape Town later this year, reports destination marketing agency, Cape Town Routes Unlimited. Says David Frandsen, Executive Manager: International Marketing: “The airline has decided to begin flights to Cape Town from October once a week and has also indicated that it would consider increasing these flights to twice-weekly frequencies during the peak of the high season.” He said the two organisations had decided to partner marketing efforts for the route and a proposal would be viewed later this year.

New scheduled services for Sefofane

Sefofane Air Charter has expanded its operation and now operates schedules in Zambia and Namibia. Sefofane Namibia’s new daily service operates from Windhoek to all Wilderness Safaris and Safari and Adventure Co. camps in Namibia, including Serra Cafema. From May 1, Sefofane Zambia will introduce a three times a week service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Livingstone to Kafue National Park and Lusaka. The return service has the same routing.

SAA to offer Washington-Dakar service

From May 1, SAA’s eastbound non-stop Washington-Johannesburg flight will be replaced by a service via Dakar. As a result, SAA will now be able to offer a round-trip Washington-Dakar service.

SAA, DJ announce interline agreement



SAA has reached a new agreement with Australianbased Virgin Blue (DJ) to offer “greater choice, seamless transfers and more value fares to passengers travelling to South Africa”. Thevan Krishna, SAA’s Head of Australasia, says the agreement with Virgin Blue has been negotiated for over a year and means travellers from Australia will now be able to book tickets to Johannesburg and greater Africa using Virgin Blue’s network. “SAA is seeing strong interest in travel to South Africa and Africa due to the low value of the SA rand compared to the Australian dollar. 2009 is shaping up as a big year as we build up momentum and prepare for the World Cup in 2010. We have great confidence in the future of the route and are delighted to be partnering with Virgin Blue in the future,” said Krishna. The new agreement took effect on April 8.

Southern African Tourism Update

May 2009


health&wellness Mount Grace

SA’s spas

tap into the teen market Sue Lewitton brings you some of the newest trends and developments…


TAKE THE PLUNGE!... Enjoy the view of the Magaliesberg from the Mount Grace Spa.

Mount Grace Spa gets a face-lift THE Mount Grace Spa in Magaliesberg has just completed an upgrade that has seen the main building double in size. Thirteen treatment rooms have been added, five of them double rooms to allow friends and partners to share treatments. In total the spa now has 18 treatment rooms and offers over 15 different facials, new body wraps and an extended menu for men. “We have taken the opportunity to overhaul our spa offering, revise our spa menus and introduce high-end international

8 l May 2009

skincare, body and nail products. We have brought in renowned brands Babor and Mary Cohr for skin and body treatments and OPI for pedicures and manicures,” said spa manager, Francisco Caceres Garcia. Additions include a new pedicure lounge and spa suite with a shower, two treatment beds and a hydro bath for two people. A technogym with iPod stations on all the cardio-vascular machines, a steam room and swimming pool with a wooden deck, have also been constructed.

raditionally, hotel spas and wellness centres have been the domain of adults who are in need of a little pampering and down time to recover from the stresses of life in the fast lane. Recent trends have shown that a much younger generation are just as eager to hop on to the massage table and hotels around South Africa have started to adapt their menus to meet the needs of this new market. One of the spas tapping into this trend is Chicama Country Spa at Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift. Patrick Schoeman, Director of the spa, says that although treatments haven’t been specifically designed with children in mind, the spa does cater for this market and will tailor make treatments according to the needs of younger clients. “For example, we can do mini facials, mini hand treatments and mini foot treatments,” says Schoeman. “We are very open to the possibility of creating standard treatments and packages for children,” he adds. For now, it seems the trend is to focus on older children, as Owner of Gingko Spas, Peter Krug, says: “We have found that the demand for treatments for children under the age of 12 is very low if not non-existent. Another reason why we have not ventured down this road is that after a short survey conducted at our spas, we found most clients would prefer not to run the risk of having to endure a lively child in tranquil surroundings.” Ginkgo Spas has a ‘no children’ policy in place but instead offers a teen spa menu with treatments specifically targeting the needs of teenagers’ skin and muscles. This spa menu is available for teens between the ages of 12 and 19 years of age, but teens under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during massages and a bathing suit must be worn. Also keen to tap into the teen market is Bushmans Kloof. A new range of special spa treatments for older children and teens between the ages of 10 and 17 is being introduced, called the Bushmans Kloof Hip Spa Menu. It will offer a range of treatments including facials for teens, manicures, pedicures, back scrubs and back massages. Treatments range between 10 and 45 minutes and can be taken in the spa, or in the duo spa gazebo together with a parent.

Bushmans Kloof adds African flavour

Pezula launches medi-spa

Shamwari Townhouse

Pezula Spa in Knysna has launched a medi-spa facility featuring a menu of specialist treatments. The medi-spa team includes a nurse and beauty therapist, two aesthetic medical practitioners and a medical herbalist. Included in the menu are 20-90 per cent AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) peels, which in most cases combine microdermabrasion with Intense Pulse Light (IPL) to treat acne, pigmentation, broken capillaries and hair removal. Also on offer is Botox, dermal filler, schlerotherapy, skin tightening, weight loss, mesotheraphy and non-surgical face-lift threading.

Get in a Sweat... Stress melts away in Shamwari’s steam room.

Rock Retreat opens in PE Shamwari Townhouse’s wellness facility, Rock Retreat, in Port Elizabeth, has opened its doors. It offers a selection of Pevonia Botanica facials, massages, body wraps and specialised body care treatments, as well as regular treatments like waxing, manicures and pedicures. Full-day experiences are also available. The facility has two private treatment rooms, a steam room, an art deco designer shower and outdoor relaxation facilities. The Rock Retreat’s signature facial, the Luminous Renewal Elastin Facial provides relief to dull or damaged skin and strengthens the skin’s elasticity. It incorporates a blend of concentrated vitamin C with a formulation of pure dried seaweed to reduce fine lines on the skin, counteract photo-ageing and restore youthful appearance. Southern African Tourism Update

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape, has launched a new spa and wellness programme. The spa now has six treatment rooms and a steam chamber. Africology, a South African anti-ageing body and skincare treatment range, has been introduced. The dual spa gazebo offers seclusion and privacy and treatments can also be taken in guest rooms or in a secluded rock shelter overlooking a valley. Next on the cards for Bushmans Kloof are new wellness and spa packages, revitalising wellness therapies and scientifically designed nutritional options. Wellness menus will incorporate indigenous products such as rooibos tea as well as fresh produce from the lodge’s own organic gardens.

Seven Colours arrives in SA THE Rosebank has become the first South African hotel to launch the Seven Colours Spa brand from Mauritius, which focuses on treatments that seek to balance the seven chakras or energies of the body through colours, fragrances and music. Facilities include a special hydrotherapy pool that helps to massage and relax the feet, increase blood circulation and relieve pressure on nerves and muscles. The spa is open daily from 09h00 to 20h00. It has seven massage rooms, a special double treatment room and two hammams or steam rooms. A resident bathologist prepares rejuvenating aromatic baths for guests unable to make time for a spa treatment. â–


Largest & Leading Hotel Group! Africa’s largest and leading hotel group, Protea Hotels, offers a diverse range of hotels and resorts each with superior appointments, personalised service and an individual character. Our collection includes country hotels, seaside resorts, private game lodges and city centre hotels located throughout South Africa.


For more news see



May 2009



SA Tourism

destinationsouthernafrica SLACKPACKING… South Africa’s Wild Coast offers some great walking trails.






A visit to Southern Africa would not be complete without a brush with the wild, but increasingly more visitors are looking to stretch their imaginations. Leigh Yorke-Smith explores the options.


ompetition reigns in the Southern African tourism product market and safari operators have had to adjust their mix accordingly to keep ahead, constantly being pushed to ‘think out of the box’ and capitalise on experiences that explore locations that lie beyond the seasonal hotspots. Today, safaris are positioned with almost any experience in mind: they can focus on birdlife, explore spectacular coastlines or ride the region’s great rivers by raft or canoe – the list is endless.

Bird wonderland Pafuri Camp, situated in the fabulous wildlife and scenically rich area of the northern Kruger National Park, offers superb game viewing and the best birding in all of the Kruger. Rocktail Beach Camp has one of the most remote and unspoilt beaches in South Africa and world-class diving and snorkelling in the pristine waters of the Maputaland Marine Reserve.

Contact your Tour Operator for bookings. CSPVHIUUPZPVCZ B OT S WA N A





For birding enthusiasts, prime new terrain is Mozambique’s 4 000 sqkm Gorongosa National Park, one of the few relatively unexplored wilderness areas left in Africa that is accessible to tourists. One Africa has launched exclusive walking safaris for travellers wishing to explore this untapped wonderland. Owner, Jocelyn Janisch, says the unique walking and water-based safaris introduce guests to an amazing ecosystem showcasing an incredible bird population with up to 400 species in the greater Gorongosa region. “Gorongosa is truly a birder’s paradise” she says. “Many tourists visiting the park are birders who have driven great distances to get here. Not only is the access to rare species a draw-card but also the sheer quantity of birds that can be found in one area. Guests will visit the Songue Lagoon, a favourite hang-out for pelicans and fish eagles, with a trained birding guide. The Mozambican government plans to open concessions in the park within the next few years so it suggests that your clients visit before it becomes further populated.


10 l may 2009

with a difference Walking on the Wild Coast

The Eastern Cape coastline offers unique walking safaris with breathtaking views and rugged coastlines. Known as ‘slackpacking trails’, the region’s Wild Coast walks are easy to manage, incorporating a multi-day hike with the comfort of two- and three-star hotel accommodation at the end of each day. Luggage is transported daily to each venue. Cedarberg Travel offers guests a 55km ‘Wild Coast meander’ of comfortable yet slightly challenging terrain, including crossing the Kei River on a pontoon. Daily walking distances vary from 6km to 21km and guests are accompanied by guides and porters from local Xhosa communities.

Underwater treasures

Tropical Lake Malawi, all 579km of it, lies amidst nine wildlife reserves, including the world’s first freshwater national park offering unparalleled scuba diving in a marine reserve filled with exotic fish. Lodges may not be plentiful, but there are numerous good options on offer. The lake’s

sparse beaches adorn a variety of islands with the unpopulated Domwe and Mumbo Islands offering exclusive tented camps.

Maputaland sea turtle monitoring In summer, the beaches of Rocktail Bay, Namibia, are crawling with sea turtles. The season culminates between February and April when the hatchlings emerge from the sand and make a dash for the ocean. Guests visiting Rocktail in summer (mid-October to mid-March) are able to accompany the resident turtle expert on research drives at low tide at night helping to monitor the turtles' nesting numbers and behaviour. Guests are also encouraged to 'adopt' a turtle, and are updated via e-mail whenever 'their' turtle is spotted nesting.

Hopping about in the mud

With its ideal location along the banks of KwaZulu Natal’s Mkuze River, AmaKhosi Safari Lodge is home to hundreds of frogs. During the rainy months from November to February each year, guests can enjoy

wading through ponds and reeds on the banks of the river in search of all things that go “ribbit”. Headed up by GM, Alwyn Wentzel, frog enthusiasts can look forward to ticking off the lodge’s frog checklist of no fewer than 32 species in the immediate area. Depending on weather conditions, as many as 15 to 20 species of these slippery little amphibians can be sighted in one outing.

Bond with an ellie

The Elephant Sanctuary, with three properties across South Africa, offers guests the opportunity to interact with the elephants that live there as a result of rescue operations. Guests brush and groom the elephants, walk trunk-in-hand and interact with them in the forest area. Guides provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants, their habits and personalities. Guests will also learn about elephants’ anatomy, have the opportunity to feed them and, by spending time with them, form a relationship and bond with the elephants.

' ' e v i l A y t i ''A C

Ekurhuleni meaning “the place of peace in Xitsonga” is an amalgamation of cities, townships and peri-urban areas condensing Alberton-Thokoza; Benoni-WattvilleHome to the OR Tambo International Airport ,Ekurhuleni meaning “the place of peace in Xitsonga” is an amalgamation townships and peri-urban Etwatwa-Daveyton, Boksburg-Vosloorus, Brakpan-Tsakane, Edenvale,of towns, Germistonareas condensing Alberton-Thokoza; Benoni-Wattville-Etwatwa-Daveyton, Boksburg-Vosloorus, Brakpan-Tsakane, Edenvale, Germiston-Katlehong, Kempton Katlehong, Kempton Park-Tembisa, Nigel-Duduza, Springs and Kwa-Thema poised to Park-Tembisa, Nigel-Duduza, Springs and Kwa-Thema poised to showcase an abundance of unique, untapped, diverse and unspoilt tourism products nestling showcase abundance of Africa, unique, untapped, diverse and unspoilt in the Eastern part ofan the economic hub of South Gauteng. With well over 200 conference facilities, the City oftourist Ekurhuleni products boasts a variety of tourism products for the discerning that include tours, Mine tours, Arthub décor tours, Wetland tour and the Gauteng. OR Tambo Route. nestling in thetravelor Eastern partTownship of the economic of South Africa, The area email: ü website: has around 8 000 industries and is responsible for about 23 percent of the gross geographical product of Gauteng province, which is sub-Saharan Africa’s most economically powerful and active region. TU4595

Southern African Tourism Update

may 2009

l 11


Warming winter escapes Southern Africa has plenty to offer in winter. Sue Lewitton suggests how your clients can make the most of the chillier months…


SA Tourism

Hike the Drakensberg

Hikers looking to avoid the wet and unstable weather of Drakensberg summers should try visiting the region during winter. From May to August there’s usually less rain and the light snowfall enhances the mountain range’s natural scenic beauty. Winter hiking is a bit more challenging and weather can sometimes change without much warning, so it is essential visitors have all the right gear. It’s also important that they fill in the mountain register before they set off.


Ski Lesotho

Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains are home to one of the region’s few ski resorts – Afri-Ski. The lodge, which is under Austrian management, has a onekilometre ski slope, ski lift, ski school and a snowboard park. Other facilities include a resort bar and restaurant and a kids’ club. Ski season runs from the beginning of June until around August or September, depending on weather conditions. Afri-Ski has the equipment to make large quantities of snow, so ski conditions are guaranteed in season. A selection of accommodation on offer includes en-suite lodge rooms and free-standing, selfcatering chalets. Be sure to tell your clients that Afri-Ski runs on a cash-only basis, so credit cards and cheques are not accepted.


Summit Kili

The winter months of June, July and August fall within Kilimanjaro’s dry season. Those seeking to climb Africa’s highest mountain should definitely avoid November and December when rain can be heavy and clouds obscure the view. Kilimanjaro has three summits. The first, Kibo, reaches 5 895m making it the highest

12 l may 2009

LOOKS CAN BE DECEPTIVE... The Drakensberg offers challenging hikes in winter. point in Africa. It is also permanently covered in snow and offers gentle slopes for less experienced trekkers. Mawenzi reaches 5 149m at its highest point but the climb is technically difficult and best left to the experts. Shira Ridge is the smallest at 3 962m.


Bush safari in Botswana

For a more relaxing winter escape, tourists should head to the Okavango Delta for its prime game-viewing season. Winter in Botswana usually means blue skies and pleasantly warm weather. It’s also the dry season so the lush vegetation of the rainy months begins to thin and the flood waters from Angola fill the Okavango Delta’s streams. Game is easy to spot as animals gather around water sources.

Although winter in Southern Africa is famed for its mild temperatures, there are various regions, including Lesotho and the Drakensberg, that can experience snowy weather and icy conditions. Tour operators should always check out local weather forecasts in order to properly advise clients on what clothing and gear to take with them on their trips. LOG ON TO

For your free daily newsletter featuring destination, tourism and product news from the entire Southern African and Indian Ocean Island region, log on to ■

Delightful De Rust There is no better place to stop for a well-earned rest than the picturesque town of De Rust in the Western Cape as Liesl Venter finds out… Ride in a donkey taxi

A ‘chauffeur-driven’ donkey cart ride through the historic streets of this small town is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only does it allow one to marvel at the beauty of the Victorian architecture, it is also a quaint and different way of exploring the town. The more adventurous can take rides to nearby farms to enjoy a leisurely picnic breakfast or lunch.

Visit Meiringspoort

Arguably the town’s biggest draw card, Meiringspoort Pass is one of the most visited spots in the Little Karoo. This incredible passageway of towering sandstone cliffs through the Swartberg mountain range has beautiful picnic spots and spectacular scenery. There are paths to walk and a waterfall in the deep ravine where the water drops some 60 metres.

Visit Herrie se Klip

Declared a national monument in 1971, Herrie se Klip can be found in Meiringspoort. This giant boulder is believed to have been author and writer CJ Langenhoven’s favourite resting spot. Here he chiselled the name Herrie (after an imaginary elephant character from one of his books) into the rock during one of his visits.

Shop till you drop

On the first Saturday of every month locals from the surrounding farms gather along with the townsfolk for the village market. Here fresh produce is sold along with art and other handmade crafts. A must-buy is the locally made ginger beer and homemade lemonade. There are several art galleries in the town that display works of various artists. A glass studio sells a variety of beautiful glassware and there are also a few antique shops.

Leisurely lunch

Visitors can opt for lunch at the Village Trading Post or The Plow, where they can enjoy a meal while watching village life go by. The Groen Bliktrommel is another option or one can have a picnic at Meiringspoort.

SEE FOR MILES... De Rust is famed for unique scenery.

Taste some wine

Mons Ruber Wine Tasting Centre offers a variety of beverages for visitors. It is famous for its copper-pot-stilled brandy, and there is also a small museum where delicate feather articles are on display. At Domein Doornkraal Wines a large variety of wines as well as a unique 12-year-old vinegar can be tasted.

Visit Stompdrift Dam

The Stompdrift Dam, situated only 8km from De Rust, offers a relaxing and peaceful breakaway for outdoor lovers. Here one can take a cruise on the Safari Ship or bird lovers can spot the wide variety of birds, including the African eagle, that live here.

House Martin Guest Lodge

This 110-year-old Victorian manor house has 12 en-suite luxury guest rooms, each with its own veranda leading on to the gardens, orchard and sparkling pool. The atmosphere lures guests into gentle relaxation after a day exploring the walking and biking trails in the area. The lodge is wheelchair friendly. There is also an on-site restaurant.

Olivier’s Rust self-catering accommodation

Olivier’s Rust offers comfortable, fully equipped apartments, a caravan park, a swimming pool and under-cover barbecue facilities for its guests. The apartments are ideal for families and are serviced daily. There is safe parking for vehicles.

Die Gat Guest House

A farmstead and historic monument, Die Gat Guest House is situated in the valley of Middelplaas (‘the farm in the middle’), near De Rust. Characteristics of the old homestead, such as the paint of German origin on the interior walls of the ‘voorkamer’ (lounge), the original architectural form of the house and the picturesque environment, have ensured that many South African films have been shot here. Supper is enjoyed in the ‘voorhuis’ (dining room) or under the pergola beneath the starry night skies.

Southern African Tourism Update

may 2009

l 13


The perfect N

orth West province sits in the ideal location for weekend breakaways from Johannesburg and could prove to be a popular destination during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Within an hour’s drive of Johannesburg or Pretoria, guests are able to experience watersports, wildlife or African heritage. Tour operators are already experiencing interest ahead of the tournament. Says Brigitte Erdman, Owner of VIP Travel into Africa, the North West province is an ideal weekend destination simply because of its proximity to Johannesburg. “Depending on the client’s time, I would recommend visiting a Big 5 reserve such as Madikwe.” Tau Game Lodge’s Nordic representative, Carlos Leite-Ferraz, says that the North West has an added advantage over other nearby destinations because not only is it a malaria-free area, but it is also easy to access as the roads are in good condition. He adds: “The Soccer World Cup will be big for the North West – it is close to the ‘action’ and the Bafokeng stadium is super.” Leite-Ferraz adds that a short drive time and excellent air access will increase the province’s popularity stake for international tourists.

A portfolio of lodges in Madikwe - for every need • Situated in Malaria free, Big Five Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, SA

LEAVING A LEGACY... Tshukudu gets a brand new look.

Tshukudu revamps rooms

Legacy’s luxury Tshukudu Bush Lodge, in the Pilanesberg, has just undergone a complete refurbishment. The rooms have been modified to create a greater sense of space while the bathrooms have had a subtle face-lift. All public areas have received similar attention, with the new ‘fire pot’ area carved out of the mountainside. The new dining area provides a traditional bush lodge experience with contemporary design trends.

Madikwe lodges introduce mobile massage unit

• 6 unique lodges: Tuningi Safari Lodge Motswiri Private Safari Lodge Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge Thakadu River Camp The Bush House Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge

Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge, Tuningi Safari Lodge, Thakadu River Camp and Motswiri Private Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve have all introduced the services of a mobile massage unit. Local women from the surrounding communities have been professionally trained to massage guests in the privacy of their own suite. As a result, the surrounding community is uplifted with new skills and job opportunities. Treatments offered by this mobile massage service include a one-hour full-body massage; 30-minute back massage; 30-minute Indian head massage and a 30-minute foot massage.

• Tailor-made safaris for honeymoons, families, conferences, incentive travel • World-class chefs to ensure an unforgettable culinary experience • Easily accessed from Johannesburg by road or daily air shuttles from OR Tambo International.

Unforgettable Tel: +27 11 805 9995


a The M




14 l May 2009


SA Tourism

A myriad of activities The North West offers a large variety of activities for all travellers. Here are Tourism Update’s top picks for the region…

Lesedi Cultural Village

Situated on the border of Gauteng and North West, Lesedi offers tourists an authentic African experience with dancers, food and arts and crafts. Guests can even stay over in an authentic guest room situated in each of the traditional villages at the property, built in the style of each tribe but furnished for comfort with en-suite bathrooms and all modern conveniences.

Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris

Give clients the opportunity to discover the province from the sky on a balloon safari. Passengers are treated to coffee and biscuits before taking off to witness the sunrise from the air. After the flight, a champagne breakfast buffet is waiting back at the company’s Magaliesberg property. Bill Harrop’s can accommodate up to 140 passengers.

The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle as it’s known, offers plenty of entertainment for tourists. Meandering around the area, travellers will find plenty of adventure sports opportunities as well as graded accommodation establishments, many of which also offer health and wellness facilities. ■

FLOATING HIGH… Balloon safaris are an excellent way to see the North West from a different angle.


Southern African Tourism Update

May 2009

l 15


Situated in the north-eastern region of the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa, Ivory Tree Game Lodge offers luxury accommodation in one of the country’s best known Big 5 reserves. The lodge offers accommodation in either standard suites or one of three executive suites. Standard suites feature air-conditioning, an outdoor shower and a covered patio while the executive suites have an additional lounge and private plunge pool. The public areas at the lodge include two central lounges, a bar and cocktail lounge, a multi-tiered dining room and open-air Boma. These areas were designed to accommodate groups or to provide a more intimate setting for private occasions. All public areas offer views of the surrounding landscape, while the property’s largest swimming pool has been positioned between the lodge and a newly completed water-hole. The principal activity at the lodge is openvehicle safaris using 10-seater vehicles. On arrival, guests are assigned a dedicated ranger for the duration of their stay. This enables the ranger to better understand the particular interests and needs of guests and ensures a satisfactory experience while staying at the lodge.

an African Anthology

Spending time in the Pilanesberg

RELAX AND ENJOY… Guests can enjoy open-air dining at Ivory Tree. The lodge can also assist guests in booking alternative activities such as hot-air ballooning, elephant-back rides, and golf at nearby Sun City. The lodge is also child-friendly, and while children under the age of six may not be allowed on game drives, those between

six and 12 can be entertained with a 'Kiddies Bush Bumble', a shortened safari concentrating on the little things in the bush while avoiding deliberate encounters with the Big 5. A dedicated conference facility caters for up to 80 delegates in classroom style. ■


16 l May 2009

thegoalpost A monthly round-up of everything about football going on in and around South Africa in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 2010 LOC

Fifa ticket frenzy continues


ickets for the 2010 Soccer World Cup are disappearing fast as fans of the game across the globe continue to scurry to get a seat. With applications streaming in, the LOC (Local Organising Committee) is advising fans to buy tickets now. “If you are waiting for a week or a month before the kick-off, you won’t be able to watch the game,” said Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive of the LOC. At midnight on March 31, the deadline for the first phase of ticket sales, applications for 1 635 136 tickets had been received. With only 743 000 tickets available in this phase, it underlines the extraordinary level of interest in the event.

Most applications from SA

Fifa Spokesperson, Delia Fischer, said the massive interest in the tickets since they went on sale in late February had not wavered. “Within 10 days there were applications for more than 506 000 tickets from over 140 countries.” According to Fischer this compares very favourably with the 2006 World Cup. Not surprisingly the opening match and the final are the most sought after. The highest number of applications has been from South Africa, making up 30 per cent of the total. Second are the Americans followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Australia. Says Fischer: “Team-specific ticket applications were also received and it has been interesting to see the global interest in the first African World Cup.” All applicants were notified via e-mail or SMS about the success of their application by the end of April. Applications are entered into a random selection draw. The second ticket application phase opens on May 4 and will remain open until November 16, after which tickets will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

SA banks go global South African banks are ready to welcome the world and are introducing foreign languages to ATMs. Absa, the first to launch a pilot project, will offer German, Spanish, Portuguese and French as language choices. The aim is to ensure international customers can bank at their leisure using the language of their choice.

FIRING UP THE CROWDS…The Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg has been designed to look like an African pot on a burning fire at night.

SA stadiums on track, says LOC South Africa will have numerous world-class stadiums as a result of the World Cup. According to the Premier Soccer League, soccer in South Africa has always been reliant on councils and rugby organisations for good playing fields. “The World Cup has been the levelling field for football and finally we are having our day in the sun,” said a spokesman. And across the country the fruits of labour are slowly but surely paying off as the stadiums – five of which are newly built – are taking shape. There is no doubt, says LOC Communications Manager, Rich Mkhondo, that all will be ready in time for the kick-off.

All the major refurbishments to the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg and Ellis Park in Johannesburg have been completed, with the focus now on the final touches. Green Point Stadium has passed its halfway mark and is set to be completed by the end of the year, while the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit as well as the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane and the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban are on track for completion in October, says Mkhondo.

Tour operators announced Fifa and MATCH have released the list of tour operators authorised to distribute 2010 Soccer World Cup travel packages inclusive of tickets. Fischer says the list, which can be viewed on the Fifa website, is not final. “We are still reviewing operators while we are also encouraging tour operators who want to be part of the programme to apply via our website.” She said the current list included numerous tour operators representing major source markets for South Africa.

Included on the list are Mundoreps SRL from Argentina, Total Sports Travel from Australia, Thompsons Holidays from South Africa and Thomas Cook Retail Ltd from the United Kingdom. Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands and Sweden also have tour operators on the list. “The various tour operators selected are already preparing their packages,” said Fischer. “DerTour, the first German tour operator participating in the programme, has already presented its planned programmes at ITB in March in Berlin.”

The name of the official 2010 Mascot, the leopard Zakumi, comes from ‘ZA’, South Africa’s international code, and ‘kumi’, which translates into ‘ten’ in various languages across Africa. ■

Southern African Tourism Update may 2009

l 17


Tourism to swell

There is much expectation in the Zulu kingdom around the new international airport currently under construction. Liesl Venter gets the lowdown…

Gateway to the world

The new international airport at La Mercy (to be officially named King Shaka International Airport at a later date) is all about making KwaZulu Natal accessible to the world. Emirates Airline has already committed to flying to Durban and at present remains the only international carrier with a firm agreement in place to fly to the new airport. Flights from Dubai will commence on October 1. The airline will offer 35 weekly non-stop flights between Dubai and South Africa – three daily flights to Johannesburg and a daily service to both Durban and Cape Town, said a spokesman for the airline.

18 l may 2009



s the new international airport at La Mercy in Durban starts to take shape, the dream of a province is slowly but surely being realised. Many in KwaZulu Natal are optimistic about the impact of the airport on the province, which until now has been reliant on Johannesburg and Cape Town for its international visitors. Says Michael Bertram, CEO of South Coast Tourism: “This is a huge opportunity and especially addresses the long-haul issues we have had. Another hour’s flight to Durban after landing in South Africa is often just too much effort for a traveller, but now they can fly directly here.” It is all about giving people additional choice, he says. “It gives Durban another slice of the pie. We definitely believe tourism will increase.” And it will impact on the entire province, says Bertram. “Margate Airport is being closed for renovations that will start in early May. Once this airport is upgraded, we will be able to bring tourists out to the more remote areas of the province.” Colin Naidoo, Airports Company South Africa Spokesman, says construction at the new airport is already 55 per cent complete with operations expected to start in the first quarter of 2010. With the current airport already handling almost five million passengers a year, Naidoo claims that it is a necessary development for the province. “It is the first new airport to be built in the country in the new dispensation and will be capable of handling 7,5 million passengers annually.” There is no doubt, says Naidoo, that it will bring about a range of new economic opportunities for the province.

NOT LONG NOW... An artist’s impression of the new international airport at La Mercy in KwaZulu Natal. Bertram says it is critical for the province to have its own international airport. “An international airport on our doorstep is our gateway to the world. It fits in with the growth and development strategy of the province, but also when looking at a route like Port Shepstone to Durban it brings about endless opportunities as it is part of a long-term strategy that will see the various corridors in the province developed sensibly.”

Development is key

As the province gears up to welcome the world to its corner of Africa, development is happening everywhere to ensure visitors get the best experience. Plans to reshape the Durban central beachfront are continuing, says eThekwini City Manager, Mike Sutcliffe. “The plans will

open up the beachfront and allow access to the beach from the harbour entrance in the south to Blue Lagoon in the north.” According to Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the province did extremely well over the 2008 festive period with occupancies hovering around the 70 per cent level for KwaZulu Natal, greater Durban and Durban Central, a sign that it was going places as most destinations in the world were feeling the pinch with the global economic downturn. Its continued success, it says, is due to aggressive destination marketing, ensuring it is in the forefront of potential visitors’ minds. Targeting international visitors remains high on the agenda, also taking advantage of upcoming sporting events such as the British Lions Tour of South Africa and the Fifa Confederations Cup.

KwaZulu Natal is one of the more popular domestic tourism holiday spots because of its warm climate and wide variety of beaches. The province is also very diverse in that it offers bush breaks too. The coastal towns are all closely linked and are dotted with tourism attractions.

Quarters hotel due to open soon TRANQUIL ISOLATION... The new Lions Valley Lodge from a distance.

Exclusive Ladysmith lodge opens Lions Valley Lodge, set to open this month, is situated on 8 500 hectares of the Nambiti Conservancy in the Ladysmith area. Accommodation in freestanding thatched suites allows for optimum privacy with décor following individual themes. The luxurious bedrooms are complemented by walk-in closets, spacious lounge areas and en-suite bathrooms. Suites include an outdoor shower and private outside Jacuzzi.

Quarters Hotel in Durban will extend its services with the arrival of Quarters on Avondale. The primary Quarters Hotel will manage all reservations while all other facets of the new hotel will be handled on-site. The property is expected to open on May 1. Each of the 17 rooms planned for the restored Edwardian homes will be airconditioned. Windows have been double glazed to shelter guests from the noises of the outer world. ‘Jam’, the new restaurant housed in the establishment, will open its doors to both guests and the public. ■

My space

TKZN launches tourism site TOURISM KwaZulu Natal’s new website,, is part of a joint partnership between various tourism authorities in South Africa, including Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Gauteng Tourism and Mpumalanga Tourism. “The core reasons for the partnership are economies of scale and broader reach. We have been able to share much of the costs of technology behind the site and realise that it will be mutually beneficial to promote the partners through each of our sites,” says General Manager of Tourism Information Services at TKZN, James Seymour. The new site is based on an international system with the intention to make a destination management system that is more visually appealing and user-friendly. The site features real-time booking systems, Web 2.0 technology such as satellite and electronic maps, preference centre forms to capture contact details and needs of users into a customer relationship marketing database, and interactive media such as web cams and online videos. “The site has been a long time in development. The intention was to build a system that ensures tourism authorities in South Africa are aligned and operating on a higher level,” says Seymour. Future plans for the site include more Web 2.0 features such as blogs, more advanced real-time booking systems for all tourism services, shopping carts designed to tailor make packages, and an extensive network of touch screens to access portals.

A luxury safari beyond your dreams &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve Sabi Sand Game Reserve Madikwe Safari Lodge Phinda Private Game Reserve Okavango Delta Serengeti Under Canvas Sossusvlei Desert Lodge Masaai Mara Kwandwe Private Game Reserve TU1373SD

Southern African Tourism Update

may 2009

l 19



our expert traveller shares her views on tourism

opportunity abounds

Tall stories of Africa


We thought that in Africa, everyone bathed in cold water.

here’s the true story of a well-known local television celebrity who was travelling by train with a group of journalists through KwaZulu Natal. She asked her neighbour what was growing so lushly in the fields through which the train was going. “Sugar cane,” he replied, and was rather surprised when she asked what sugar cane was used for.  “You get sugar from sugar cane,” he said.  “Oh,” she said incredulously, “I thought they mined sugar.”  If locals have such peculiar ideas about the scenery of South Africa, can you imagine what foreign guests think?  Americans, especially, seem to have an idea of Africa based on old black-and-white films and rides at Disneyworld.  They might be visiting another planet, not merely a different country.  Take, for instance, a routine booking: a self-drive holiday for an American couple, starting in Cape Town, along the Garden Route, north through Golden Gate and thence to Durban – probably the most civilised and developed stretch of tarmac in the country.  They sent their travel agent a list of questions:  did they need to hire a 4x4 for our wild and dangerous roads?  Did this country have any hospitals?  Their medical insurance was paid up, but they just wanted to be 100 per cent sure.  Were there any hotels in which they could stay or did they have to bring camping gear?  The bemused travel agent wondered whether these brave adventurers had actually looked at the package of glossy brochures she’d sent them.  As far as these two were concerned, South Africa was a vast stretch of wilderness, one giant game reserve.  But even game reserves have their mysteries.  A British guest at an exclusive game lodge complained bitterly to the management over breakfast one morning that she had been kept awake for most of the night by a leopard noisily killing a buck right outside her bedroom window.  Even when she had pulled the curtains to block out the gory sight, the struggles continued – not to mention the sucking and slurping sounds she had to put up with as the leopard settled down to its meal.  It had simply ruined her stay.    And what about the rather serious Swiss couple who were shown to their room in a guesthouse in Zululand?  Within minutes they were back at reception, looking apologetic.  There was a slight problem with their room, they said.  They would prefer to have another room – without any mosquitoes.  The receptionist was flummoxed.  She tried to explain that even though the rooms were sprayed regularly, mosquitoes had an annoying habit of flying through open doors and were almost impossible to eradicate.  This was not good enough for the Swiss, who decided to check out and go in search of some establishment that was hermetically sealed.  So much for guests who expect too much from Africa – but what about guests who expect too little?  An extremely remote lodge in Botswana played host to a charming couple who seemed to love every minute of their stay.  However, as they headed off towards their light aircraft to be ferried back to their international flight connection, they mentioned casually to their pilot that they had had no hot water for the duration of their stay. He was horrified and hastened to tell the manager.  The manager was equally horrified, and hastened to tell the guests that the pilot light on their geyser must have blown out: all that had been needed to ensure copious amounts of hot water was a match. They were clearly uncomfortable about the fuss they had caused and attempted to placate him:  “We weren’t so very concerned,” they said. “We thought that in Africa, everyone bathed in cold water.”

What a year 2009 is turning out to be! While we have all been focusing on 2010 and the soccer, a bonanza year of other sporting events that will bring in loads of overseas tourists has crept up on us! Not only have we got two full cricket tours from the best supported teams in the world, Australia and England – never forget the loyalty of England’s barmy Army which will hit our shores in November – we also had the unexpected, though very welcome, arrival on our shores of the Indian Premier League. The top games are already sold out, and the skies between India and South Africa, not to mention our world-class cricket grounds, are full of cricket enthusiasts from the subcontinent. And we have the qualifiers for the Cricket World Cup playing qualifying matches around the country, not to mention the ICC Champions league matches. Whew! Let’s look at rugby – a British Lions Tour is a big event worldwide – and playing our own great team! That will be a real crowd puller. Looking at motor sport, we have had in 2009 the A1 Grand Prix to chalk up, and the World Superbike Championship soon. And we must not forget the Confederations Cup – the precursor to 2010 that kicks off in June. And if you want to regard beauty pageants as sporting events, we still have Miss World to look forward to. Yes, 2009 is going to be a year to remember. For the tourism industry, when was there last so much opportunity? SA has been blessed by sport, and the reason is that the world has recognised our ability to host world class events. So World Cup, here we come! Who else has had so much experience in staging major sporting events! For more information contact: Marjorie Dean Tel: +27 86 12 728 72 Fax: +27 11 886 7557 Email: Website: Physical Address: 3rd Floor Petrob House 343 Surrey Avenue Ferndale Postal Address: PO Box 900 Ferndale, 2160

20 l may 2009

Keep your head above the rest...


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Tourism Update  

For organisers of tours

Tourism Update  

For organisers of tours