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Issue 3 May to August 2015

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THE WORLD ACCORDING TO DOOK CELEBRATING CREATIVITY:

• HASSAN HAJJAJ • THULA SINDI • SANDIBE LODGE

Issue 3: May to August 2015

ONE DAY IN DAKAR www.atmmag.net

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DURBAN FLAVOURS FROM SINAI TO REUNION AND BEYOND

MESMERISING

Morocco

HIKING THE CONTINENT

& ROADS LESS TRAVELLED


ONE WORD DESCRIBES THE NORTH WEST PROVINCE...

WITH UNBLEMISHED, UNTAMED, NATURAL LANDSCAPES.

www.tourismnorthwest.co.za Call centre: 0861 111866


Just a stone’s throw from Gauteng lies the magnifient North West province of South Africa, boasting vast numbers of protected biodiversity and steeped in rich cultural heritage. Whatever your reason for visiting, allow yourself a moment to enjoy the many wonders of the province as every memory you make will be sure to linger with you for a lifetime.


Lion Sands,

his issue of ATM is a celebration of all that is African. Morocco is one of our focus features and, according to Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure and The New York Times, it’s one of the continent’s super-hot destinations. Tripadvisor’s Top 25 Destinations in the World list for 2015 was recently announced with Marrakech taking the number one spot. From the sultry palaces of Fez and the romance of Casablanca, to the riads of Marrakech, what’s not to fall in love with? In addition to our pictorial love fest with Morocco, we also highlight Moroccan-born photographer Hassan Hajjaj (now living in London) and his gloriously creative images that push boundaries and definitely make one smile. Hajjaj has exhibited his works all across Europe and America and has also made his way into Time magazine. Another marvellously quirky creative is our very own Dook. He was actually born in Singapore but we South Africans like to claim him as our own – view his incredible eye in our photographic essay: The World According to Dook. If anyone has done a great job marketing Africa and the islands to the world, it’s this talented photographer, who

2 | African Travel Market

specialises in taking incredible pics of lodges, hotels, people and destinations. You’ll see his images across a number of our features, including Babylonstoren, Madikwe and the feature (and our cover) on andBeyond Sandibe Lodge in the Okavango. After a substantial refurb Sandibe is waving the African flag high with a string of international awards for excellence and was recently featured on Travel & Leisure magazine’s ‘IT List for 2015’. If you are looking for travel inspiration, look no further as we take you on a journey to Dakar (thanks to incredible images by Jasyn Howes); Lesotho; Zambia; Madikwe and the Sinai Desert. If your taste buds are in need of joy, read Ishay Govender-Ympa’s story on Durban’s gorgeous curries, as well as a review of Market Food South Africa – a new book that unpacks the various food markets around the country. Top sommeliers, Luvo Ntezo and Esme Groenewald, also share their lives as well as lists of special wines to drink for 2015, and well-known blogger Dawn Jorgenson takes our senses on a stroll in her story on Babylonstoren in the Cape winelands. For those not wanting to hang out on the couch, Fiona McIntosh explores

Marrakech

Africa’s greatest hikes, while writer Kate Els takes us on an ‘everything but the beach’ journey to Reunion. Another exuberant soul is Thebe Ikalafeng, Mr Brand Africa guru, who shares his insights with us in the article on page 124. Trendspotter Kojo Baffoe underlines Thebe’s vision and shares his views on ‘True Africa’ and the incredible innovative souls who make this continent tick. Speaking of one of those souls, don’t miss the feature on designer Thula Sindi – a force to be reckoned with on the international catwalks and an entrepreneur (and super nice guy) of note. We also have our regulars, including Travel News, Trends and City Beats to further whet your appetite to get out there and explore this incredible continent, where creative inspiration is always part of the deal as long as you are prepared for the original and unexpected. Best Regards Denise Slabbert and the ATM Team.

PHOTOGRAPHS: ©ISTOCK.COM; DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS/RYAN JAMES, DOOK.

Mnemba Island, Zan zibar

Kruger Park


Publisher Publishing Editor – Nawaal Mdluli publisher@kwentamedia.com Editorial Team Editor – Denise Slabbert Managing Editor – Tracy Maher Features Writers – Hlulani Masingi, Thina Mthembu Copy Editor – Nicky De Bene editorial@kwentamedia.com Design Team Designers – Lelethu Tobi, Asanda Mazwi, Siphokazi Masele Hedwig Visser (freelancer) Website Development/Online/ IT Administrator Shelly Mathole, Mpho Mahlo Production Production Manager – Tumi Mdluli Advertising & Marketing New Business Development Team PR & Events Coordinator – Mbalenhle Fakude advertising@kwentamedia.com Operations & Finance Nuraan Motlekar accounts@kwentamedia.com Admin Assistant Tebatjo Manamela

PHOTOGRAPHS: BABYLONSTOREN, DARLING LAMA, FOUR SEASONS THE WESTCLIFF, RIAD FÈS, SHAEN ADEY, ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE.

Drivers Gabriel Mashishi Yusuf Msinyi Contributors Elizabeth Badenhorst, Bridget Hilton-Barber, Dawn Jorgenson, DOOK, Fiona McIntosh, Ishay Govender-Ympa, Jabulile Ngwenya, Jasyn Howes, Kate Els, Keri Harvey, Kojo Baffoe, Lauren Groenewald, Phindiwe Nkosi, Oscar Gutierrez, Rod Taylor, Ryan James, Shaen Adey Published by Kwenta Media Physical Address – Fourways View Office Park, Block C, corner Sunset Avenue and Sunrise Boulevards, Fourways Tel: +27 (0)11 467 5859 Fax: +27 (0)11 467 2808 Content Director CEO Kwenta Media – Nawaal Nolwazi Mdluli

African Travel Market (ATM) is 100% owned and published by Kwenta Media (Pty) Ltd. The publisher and editor reserve the right to alter copy and visual material as deemed necessary. Copyright by Kwenta Media (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.


If ever there was a time for responsible tourism in Africa, it is now! A little rain each day will fill the rivers to overflowing.” – Liberian Proverb

4 | African Travel Market

a broader concept. How can we… no, how do we fight to make climate change concerns part of our continent’s annual state of the nation address? It should become every country’s government focus, so that we can begin to address and heal the careless ways of the past: harmful pesticides, unnatural fertilisers, high electricity and water wastage, all of which have effects that are now abundantly clear. In the midst of great strides made by certain industry giants to rectify mistakes of the past in an epoch of rapid information, now is the time to protect our parameters. It is not the job of governments and external parties only, but one that is to be engraved into each traveller walking on African soil. Our hearts should chant: “I want to be a responsible traveller and embrace responsible tourism establishments!” Chic, contemporary, stylish resorts must go hand-in-hand with an ecofriendly, sustainable attitude that looks towards creating economic growth and a healthy Africa for all who live in it and its visitors. How can we enjoy the unfathomable beauty of Africa, while making an effort to reduce our carbon footprint? It should not be considered an effort, but a consciousness that we embrace in the race to save our planet. Every step, no matter how small, can make big improvements. I would like to highlight that we are not building something new, but rather giving a facelift to what is out there. It is already happening and we support the positive initiatives aimed at taking on the African challenges of safety, health, renewable energy, positive economic growth and so much more. We all have a moral duty to protect our endangered

species, not least of which is the rhino. It is about creating authentic experiences that far surpass the actual holiday and speak to having a positive impact on our entire value chain of tourism. South Africa already has great policies in place, but they will remain just that without trustworthy, dedicated executors? Hence, responsible travel makes it within everyone’s reach to do their bit. Let us all understand that responsible tourism is the message and as we receive this message, be it at conferences, gatherings or even through private tours, let us take on the challenge to spread this message as far and wide as possible. We have a duty as stewards of the land, as Africans, or as visitors to Africa to keep this continent growing. “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – Former RSA President, Nelson Mandela

PHOTOGRAPH: KWENTA MEDIA.

here is our sun? Surely there is no continent with as much sun as the African continent? How much sun is required for Africa to step out and step up in the field of renewable energy and to fully embrace the responsible tourism? What is our African Agenda for 2015 and beyond? From the time we are born, we all have some form of initiation to light and water; these elements become integral parts of our existence. The sun and water not only sustain life, but they are the source of life. Mother Nature is crying. Africa as a continent is under serious threat. The success of this narrative requires Africans in Africa to observe, learn and grow as fast as possible and ensure that we adhere to the existing policies on environmental impacts. There was a time when Africans not only walked the land, but they also nurtured it to the extent that we became the land so close were our feet to the ground. The same earth that formed the contours of Africa surrounded our very essence and kept us together. With the passing of time, we tend to take our resources for granted. We pollute our rivers, ignore dripping taps, scoop up more than we need; we forget our dependence on light energy and water. But we need to remember that there can be no sustainable tourism without water and sunlight, and it is not too late to rise up and join arms in the eco-tourism fight. If ever there was a time to raise the battle cry for eco-tourism, supporting bio-diversity and searching for sources of renewable energy, it is now! Conservation needs to be redefined, as we look at it in


may 2015

CONTENTS 60 86 REGULARS 02

Editor’s Letter

04

Publisher’s Note

10

Travel News

14

City Beats

16

On Trend

20

Great Reads

19

ON THE COVER

andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in Botswana is gaining recognition worldwide for its stunning eco-friendly design and gorgeous interiors inspired by nature. © Image by Dook for andBeyond.

86 African Travel Market | 5


may 2015

CONTENTS

24

INSIDE 6 | African Travel Market

24

Morocco: In Full Colour

32

The Royal Mountain Kingdom Of Lesotho

36

Hassan Hajjaj, A Free Spirit

40

The Bassline: In Music We Trust

44

Savannah And Snow: Best Hikes In Africa

52

Photo Essay: The World According To Dook

60

In The Flow Of The Zambezi River

66

The Four Seasons Opens In Jozi

70

Thula Sindi, Trend Is A Dirty Word

76

Shapes & Shades Of Nature at Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge

80

KwaZulu-Natal Spice Pot

86

Superstar Sommeliers

90

Magnificent Madikwe

96

The Beauty That Is Babylonstoren

102

Beyond The Beach: An Adventurer’s Reunion

112

A Day In Dakar

118

Sinai From On High

121

Africa Onwards And Upwards

124

Made In Africa: Q&A with Thebe Ikalafeng

128

This Is True Africa

132

Tshwane, Place Of Business And Tourism

52

PHOTOGRAPHS: DOOK, DARLING LAMA, FOUR SEASONS THE WESTCLIFF , SHAEN ADEY, ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE, MAJEKA HOUSE, NANDOS, RIAD FÈS.

FEATURES


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FOR RESERVATIONS, RATES, SCHEDULES AND SPECIAL PACKAGES PLEASE CONTACT US: PRETORIA: TEL: +27 (0) 12 334-8459/60, FAX: +27 (0) 12 334-8464/8081 CAPE TOWN: TEL: +27 (0) 21 449-2672, FAX: +27 (0) 21 449-2067 E-MAIL: INFO@BLUETRAIN.CO.ZA


RWANDAIR LAUNCHES DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN UGANDA AND KENYA

MANDARIN ORIENTAL ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT IN MOROCCO

Rwandan airline, Rwandair, has commenced direct flights between Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya, following the signing of a MoU between Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Rwanda. The daily direct flights launched in January are likely to meet demand driven by business travellers and short-stay leisure tourists, says the airline. Flights will depart at 09h00 from Entebbe and at 21h00 from Nairobi.

Situated just outside the city of Marrakech, Mandarin Oriental plans on the development of a 50-acre resort, including 54 villas each equipped with a large garden, open-air shower, and heated pool. Seven suites will include rooftop pools overlooking the Atlas Mountains, while two Spa suites complete with infinity lap pool will be available. Rumoured to be opening in the second quarter of 2015, Mandarin Oriental Marrakech will include five restaurants and an expansive spa complete with yoga studio, fitness centre, an indoor pool, four treatment rooms and two couples suites.

ETHIOPIA INCREASES VISA COSTS South African passport holders will find themselves forking out much more than anticipated ahead of a leisure or business trip to Ethiopia following a considerable visa fee increase. The cost of a tourist visa for Ethiopia has increased from ZAR140 to ZAR480 for 30 days single entry, while the cost of a business visa has increased from ZAR140 to ZAR360 for 30 days single entry. Ninety-day and sixmonth multiple entry visa fees have also been increased accordingly.

GABON TO CREATE MARINE PARK NETWORK Announced at the World Park Congress held in Sydney towards the end of 2014, a network of marine parks in the Central African Republic of Gabon is to be established. These marine parks will disallow any commercial fishing activities and look to preserve the country’s ocean territories. Thirteen existing marine parks, along with six RAMSAR sites, will be joined to formalise a protected area that accounts for approximately 21 percent of the country’s territory.

10 | African Travel Market

IMAGES: ©istock.com, constance hotels, rwandair, RYAN JAMES/DARLINGLAMA, SHAMWARI.

Keeping up with the interesting new developments across Africa is no mean feat. We highlight a few, from visa info to award-winning hotels, airline news and more.


Sandton lockdown – all for a good cause In October 2015, a number of streets in Sandton will be closed as the City of Johannesburg hosts the world’s second EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition. This festival is aimed at encouraging locals and visitors to forego their cars and instead opt for public transport, bikes or walking.

TWO LIONS SET FREE AT SHAMWARI GAME RESERVE

IMAGES: ©istock.com, constance hotels, rwandair, RYAN JAMES/DARLINGLAMA, SHAMWARI.

CONSTANCE HOTELS CERTIFIED BY GREEN GLOBE Green Globe has announced the inaugural certification of six Constance Hotels and Resorts in Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives. “Each of the properties in Constance’s Ultimate Hotels Collection and Unique Resorts Collection, across the three destinations, have made significant contributions to sustainable management in some of the world’s most beautifully delicate island ecosystems,” says the organisation of the announcement. Green Globe ranks hotel and resort performance as a percentage against Green Globe’s International Standard for Sustainable Tourism. Comprising more than 300 performance indicators, this standard was developed over 15 years ago and today underpins all sustainable tourism certification globally.

Transported across continents from Belgium to Johannesburg and on to Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, two lionesses have been released into wild territory. Maggie and Sonja have been held in captivity for most of their lives, but will now have the opportunity to establish a pride and roam freely through the private game reserve. Shamwari Wildlife Director and vet, Dr Johan Joubert, said on arrival at their final destination: “I am very satisfied with the rescue and translocation of the lionesses from the Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium to Shamwari Game Reserve. Although it was a long journey for them, they travelled well. It was snowing when they left, two days ago, and now they are adapting to a hot African summer’s day. They experienced natural grass and trees today for the first time in their lives.”

MADAGASCAR LAUNCHES WHALE FESTIVAL Taking place from 4 to 12 July 2015, the Madagascar Whales Festival will celebrate the majesty of the humpback whales that live in the island’s surrounding waters, increasing awareness of these marine mammals. The festival will be held on the small island of Sainte Marie and coincides with the annual breeding season for the humpback whales, which occurs in the warm channels alongside the island.

African Travel Market | 11


BOTSWANA TO DEVELOP LIBERATION ROUTES A workshop organised through Botswana’s Department of National Museums and Monuments has uncovered the potential pull of a selection of tourism routes dedicated to liberation and heritage sites across the country. The Liberation Heritage Programme, as it has been dubbed, aims to focus on creating routes that detail Botswana’s role in the liberation of other African countries. Heritage sites linked to African leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Samora Machel will be included. No date has been set as yet to the launch of these liberation routes, however.

SAA RESUMES NON-STOP FLIGHTS TO THE BIG APPLE Travellers around the globe were thrilled to hear that South African Airways (SAA) has resumed its nonstop service on its daily flight from Johannesburg to New York – John F. Kennedy International Airport. This route has been operated for a number of years, but there was a stopover in Dakar during the lowseason winter months. However, the SAA service between the Big Apple and Johannesburg is once again operating non-stop in both directions throughout the year.

CAPE TOWN INCLUDED ON COMMEMORATIVE MONOPOLY BOARD Cape Town joins 21 other world cities that are celebrating the announcement that they have been included in the Special Edition game of Monopoly Here&Now (World Edition) to honour the game’s 80th anniversary. Cape Town was the only South African city to make it onto the travel-themed board (which is being developed by a company called Hasbro). The new game will be available from spring 2015 and will feature iconic landmark tokens and new gameplay, in which players race round the board to visit as many locations as possible, collecting passport stamps along the way.

12 | African Travel Market


SA TOURISM LAUNCHES MADIBA APP

SA EXPRESS ADDS WEEKLY FLIGHTS TO THE PILANESBERG

IMAGES: ©istock.com, SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM, BLUE MARLIN HOTEL, RYAN JAMES/DARLINGLAMA.

SA Express introduced three weekly flights between Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and North West province’s Pilanesberg International from 1 April 2015. In addition, the airline has also introduced two flights between Cape Town International Airport and Pilanesberg. The additional flights will give travellers greater access to the Pilanesberg, a malaria-free Big Five area that is well known for its fantastic wildlife and a range of bush accommodation, with the resort of Sun City in close proximity.

After the success of the Mandela Routes project that was launched by SA Tourism in 2013, travellers can get even closer to Mandela and the various Nelson Mandelarelated tourist attractions with a new app that highlights the main areas of interest related to his life. From Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia to the streets of Soweto and his prison cell on Robben Island and beyond, the app will certainly get travellers from near and far following in the footsteps of this great humanitarian and Father of the Nation.

PLANS FOR SUN INTERNATIONAL TO ACQUIRE PEERMONT GROUP Plans are afoot for major player in the hospitality and resort industry, Sun International, to acquire 100 percent of the Peermont Group. The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approvals, but once all the paperwork has been signed (this can take anything from nine to 12 months), it will be all systems go. The move will expand Sun International’s local offering, with the big coup being Emperors Palace with its fantastic conference and entertainment facilities, as well as its proximity to OR Tambo International Airport, adding to other great resort/ gaming destinations such as Sun City in North West Province. Sun International also has its sights set on Latin America.

RE-LAUNCH OF AN OLD FAMILY FAVOURITE If you’re looking for a ‘bucket and spade’ family destination in South Africa, you might want to consider The Blue Marlin hotel in Scottburgh, along the KwaZuluNatal coastline. The hotel has been completely re-launched after a major refurbishment and definitely has a new lease on life. The good news is that the hotel is still great value for money and easily caters for both the family holiday and the business stopover. Just 40 minutes from Durban, the hotel is close to the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary and a number of great golf courses and biking trails. For more info, visit bluemarlinhotel.co.za.

African Travel Market | 13


Highlights of some of Africa’s great cities and what to do when you get there. SHOP / EAT / SLEEP / SEE… IN LILONGWE SHOP: The craft market outside the Post Office in Lilongwe’s old town displays authentic Malawian crafts, while the city’s main market next to the bus station sells just about everything. The Four Seasons Centre on Presidential Way has great food shopping, plus swanky shops. Lilongwe City Mall on Kenyatta Road is central and pretty popular.

SEE: Wander around the Old Town and the main market. Come night time, Chez Ntemba is a lively dance spot, while Harry’s Bar caters to jazz aficionados. The Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary covers an impressive 180 hectares and is worth a visit.

SHOP / EAT / SLEEP / SEE… IN WINDHOEK

SLEEP: Kiboko Town Hotel in the Old Town has decent rooms and Mufasa Backpackers Lodge on Lister Road is also good value for money. Backpackers favour Mabuya Camp (Livingstone Road) with its traditional thatch huts and the Sanctuary Lodge boasts individual thatch chalets, gracious surrounds and a good restaurant.

14 | African Travel Market

EAT: The Old Breweries Complex is home to Paul’s, which serves quality modern fare, as does Sardinia’s on Independence Avenue and The Gourmet in the Kaiserkrone Centre. For African specialties, there’s La Marmite. SLEEP: For independent travellers, try Cardboard Box Backpackers or Chameleon Backpackers, Lodge and Guest House. If you fancy overnighting in a castle, try Hotel Heinitzburg. For a great business option, try Hilton Windhoek.

wonder workshop, sea cliff hotel, lilongwe wildlife centtre, malawi tourism, hilton windhoek.

EAT: For choice Italian fare, there’s Mamma Mia’s in the Old Town Mall. Ama Khofi is a French-inspired coffee shop in the Four Seasons Centre that serves ice creams, cakes and salads. Don Brioni’s Bistro offers burgers, steaks and a candlelit terrace.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN JAMES, ©iSTOCK.com, E.H. DOHERTY, LA MARIMITE RESTAURANT, mamma mia,

SHOP: Post Street Mall on Independence Avenue is a onestop shop, and Maerua Mall and Wernhill Park are popular shopping centres. For authentic craftwork, head to the Old Breweries Craft Market. Windhoek’s German heritage means general supermarkets stock jams, pastries and cured meats.


HILTON WINDHOEK

SLEEP: Msasani Peninsula outside of Dar is favoured by upmarket travellers, while those who wish to stay inexpensively and centrally prefer town. The Sleep Inn is conveniently located and offers a refrigerator, fans and air-con in addition to double beds. The Palm Beach Hotel is a local favourite, known for its art deco features. Pricier but with all the mod cons are the Harbour View Suites, Southern Sun and Dar es Salaam Serena Hotels. SEE: The Msasani Peninsula is a fun hangout for revellers, while the Village Museum on Makaburi Street provides visitors with an insight into local village life. The National Museum on Shaaban Robert Street houses acclaimed local fossil discoveries. The beaches south of Dar are a popular getaway option.

WONDER WORKSHOP, SEA CLIFF HOTEL, LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTTRE, MALAWI TOURISM, HILTON WINDHOEK.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN JAMES, ©ISTOCK.COM, E.H. DOHERTY, LA MARIMITE RESTAURANT, MAMMA MIA,

SEE: The National Museum of Namibia provides visitors with a quick history lesson on Namibia’s independence struggle. The adjacent Owela Museum is particularly popular, offering natural history and cultural exhibits. The National Art Gallery houses the work of local artists in various mediums.

SHOP / EAT / SLEEP / SEE… IN DAR ES SALAAM SHOP: Tanzania’s major city has its share of craft markets, such as the Wonder Workshop in Karume Road. Mwenge’s Carvers’ Market is on Sam Nujoma Road and features carvers at work amongst the stalls selling curios and cloth.

EAT: Diners favour the Msasani Peninsula north of the city, with its choice of eateries at Msasani Slipway and Seacliff Village. In the city itself, Al Basha on Bridge Street provides sandwiches and good Lebanese fare; Patel Brotherhood off Maktaba Street is the spot for Indian curries and veggie dishes.

SHOP / EAT / SLEEP / SEE… IN CAPE TOWN SHOP: Shop up a storm on Greenmarket Square; Cavendish is the place to go for designer labels; and the V&A Waterfront has everything under one roof. EAT: Try the breakfasts at Jason’s Bakery. Luke Dale Roberts’ The Test Kitchen is a must. For organic, simple and delicious, The Kitchen in Woodstock has your number. Head off to the award-winning restaurants like Terroir, Indochine and The Tasting Room in the winelands.

SLEEP: Village & Life in De Waterkant is a great value-formoney option. Boutique hotels and apartments such as More Quarters are a good option. For high-end stayovers, don’t miss the One&Only, the Cape Grace, The Taj or the Westin (all great business hotels). SEE: Start off with a trip up Table Mountain to get your bearings and for incredible views; there is Kirstenbosch for lovely walks and the Constantia winelands for wine tastings. Historic tours of Cape Town and the Castle are an option, or take the ferry to Robben Island. MUST-READ! The Lonely Planet Guide to Africa is essential reading for any tourist to the continent. Visit www.lonelyplanet.com.

African Travel Market | 15


Africa is a hive of creativity when it comes to all things in architecture, design, arts and crafts, fashion, jewellery and technology. KATY AND SIR JAMES In the industrial heartland of Johannesburg, just this side of the highway, you’ll find a place called Kramerville. It’s a fantastic area to shop for items for the home (lighting, artworks, interiors and décor), but it’s also a great place to let your hair down – at certain times of the month, anyway. Katy’s Palace Bar is open on the first Sunday of every month and is a great place to hang out and catch the good vibes. It’s a huge industrial warehouse filled with Joburgers in search of a good time. There’s a buffet on offer and live music, not to mention forever views of the Sandton skyline. For those who love a good party, just next door you’ll find the Sir James van der Merwe Bar open for retro parties every Wednesday night. Great cocktails are on offer that will soon make you forget it’s a school night. Both venues can be booked for private functions. Visit katyspalacebar.co.za for more information.

Katy’s Palace Bar

WETU, NOW?

WETU, FOCUSING ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

16 | African Travel Market

For those in travel (or are interested in travel) the WETU digital platform is definitely the place to be. The Wetu system allows tour operators to provide their clients with interactive itineraries and brochures, which have proved to significantly improve the chances of converting inquiries into confirmed bookings. With digital brochures, an incredible photo library, suggested virtual itineraries and activities and a focus on the African continent, WETU and its cutting-edge technology is definitely one to watch. Visit wetu.com.

IMAGES: RYAN JAMES/DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS, BLUE VIEWS/SOUTH BEACH,

FUNKY AND FAB IN KRAMERVILLE


CAMPS BAY CRED When you next stay over in Cape Town, why not book a Penthouse at the South Beach apartment complex, within spitting distance of the gorgeous Camps Bay beach. The building has just undergone a massive renovation and is in superb shape, thanks to owner Tony Stern and Greg Wright Architects. The place has taken its cues from Miami Beach itself and is all white and blue, with some glorious Lionel Smit artworks adding light and shade to the space. Rooms are serviced but the apartments are self-catering – which is no problem, with the restaurants of Camps Bay literally on your doorstep. It’s five-star all the way, on your own terms. For more information, visit www.blueviews.com.

SLICK ‘MIAMI’ EXTERIOR, SOUTH BEACH

YEAR-ROUND DELICIOUSNESS AT NOBU

ELSA’S KOPJE (www.elsaskopje.com), RELAIS & CHÂTEAUX, ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN.

IMAGES: RYAN JAMES/DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS, BLUE VIEWS/SOUTH BEACH,

GORAH ELEPHANT CAMP

Nobu restaurant at One&Only Cape Town has announced its Wine and Dine series for 2015. Every month head chefs, Dil Tamang and Keisuke ‘Keke’ Itoh, will create beautiful Asian feasts, and menus will be paired with some of the world’s best loved wines and champagnes, including Taittinger, Moët et Chandon and Veuve Clicquot. On the local front, Graham Beck, Paul Cluver, Vergelegen, Hartenberg, Oneiric and Rust & Vrede all make a good showing. Nobu’s charming wine steward, Mercy Mwai, will assist with the wine pairing at all of the events, testing her own creativity to the limits, while the charismatic Aubrey Ngcungama will provide miles of smiles with his usual witty compering, proving again to be one of the Mother City’s finest food ambassadors and personalities. For more information, call +27 (21) 431 4511 or e-mail restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com.

OFF THE GRID AT GORAH Being eco-friendly and environmentally aware is simply part of the safari and hospitality business, but there are few places that do it as successfully as Gorah Elephant Camp in the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape. It is here that you’ll find 11 luxury, tented suites that are truly off the grid. Solar is the word at this camp that follows the 1900s theme to a T – without forgoing any of the luxuries, of course. Gorah Elephant Camp is a Relais & Châteaux property. Visit.relaischateaux.com.

NOBU RESTAURANT FOR FINE ASIAN CUISINE IN CAPE TOWN

African Travel Market | 17


RETURNAfrica TAKES OVER PAFURI WALKING TRAILS

DOOK FINE ART PRINTS

Recently established travel company RETURNAfrica has taken over the popular Pafuri Walking Trails (previously run by Wilderness Safaris) and is looking forward to the start of the trails season. Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to note that the Pafuri Walking Trails season is open from 1 April to 31 October 2015. The trails offer participants the opportunity to walk in the private Makuleke Concession in the northern Kruger National Park – an area with incredible biodiversity and exquisite scenery. This popular trail is a three-night, four-day experience, guided by an experienced field guide. Guests will experience the various habitats and abundant wildlife of the area, from woodland and riverine forests to flood plains and pans where animals roam freely and in their numbers. Visit krugerpark. com/packages/4-day-pafuri-walking-trail/.

You will see the incredible work of Dook all over this issue (including the photo essay on page 52). This inspired photographer is almost famous for his incredible fine art works, and is often on call from interior designers and hotels to create art installations. His black and white prints from the Skin and Bone series are nothing short of extraordinary, and can be purchased online from dookskinandbone.com. Dook – Skin and Bone Waterbuck

EXPERIENCING NATURE ON FOOT IN PAFURI

STAR TREATMENT AT THE TWELVE APOSTLES If you are in need of a real treat during 2015, then Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Cape Town may have just the thing for you. The ‘Once Experienced, Never Forgotten’ two-night package is a major win, including a spa treatment, fine dining, high tea and a helicopter flip over the V&A Waterfront for just R3 420. So if you have a special anniversary coming up, or just feel the need to spoil yourself and a loved one, visit 12apostleshotel.com.

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12 APOSTLES HOTEL, THE PERFECT GETAWAY


DAVID KRYNAUW HAYWIRE LIGHT

IMAGES: RETURNAFRICA, RED CARNATION HOTELS, NANDO’S, DOOK, ©ISTOCK.COM.

NANDO’S HEARTFELT CELEBRATION OF SOUTH AFRICAN DESIGN

PETS ENJOY THE BEACH TOO

One of the most iconic South African brands, Nando’s, is putting its full weight behind South African design. Hot on the heels of the extraordinary revamp of Nando’s Central Kitchen (the company’s corporate campus) under the creative leadership of Tracy Lee Lynch, the celebration of South African design is going largescale. At Design Indaba 2015, Nando’s founder, Robert Brozin, announced big plans to start the rollout of a major collaboration between the much-loved brand and local designers, and the good news is that the Heartfelt Celebration is going global. In the next year, Nando’s has plans to open about 100 restaurants around the world, and budget has been allocated for local design, with a focus on collaboration and sustainability. Robert Enthoven, the patron of the Nando’s Heartfelt Celebration of South African Design, says, ‘An on-going collaboration between Nando’s and South African design is hugely important on a number of levels. First, it can provide a very powerful stimulus to the South African design industry by attaching a business that loves buying authentic South African design that speaks Nando’s home language. Second, South African design is giving Nando’s a very interesting edge globally. Our customers and staff love that, as well as the support we’re giving to young South African talent.’ Visit nandos.co.za/art-projects.

HOLIDAY WITH FIDO

NANDO’S CENTRAL KITCHEN, TOTALLY SOUTH AFRICAN.

According to a TravelGround.com Travel Trends Survey, it appears that South African pet owners are a niche travel market that has the potential to grow from strength to strength. The survey says South African travellers who require pet-friendly accommodation went on holiday less often than others due to a shortage of suitable accommodation for their furry friends. “Most pet owners prefer nearby destinations as it puts less stress on their pets,” says TravelGround operations manager, Marosane Hutchinson. “Pet owners also tend to lead active lifestyles so indoor activities don’t form as much a part of their ideal holiday plans. Accommodation with a nearby field or hiking trail is a major drawcard.” She goes on to say that senior travellers are very keen on going on holiday with their pets, many of whom are considered to be ‘family’.

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ATM takes a look at the best new reads including Paul Duncan's latest coffee table book, a must-have market guide, and a Karoo couple who have jumped the digital divide.

SAM NHLENGETHWA AND HIS WIFE MAUREEN IN RETRO JOZI TOWNSHIP STYLE

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HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS

B/W PHOTOGRAPH: DOOK. IMAGES: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE & ADRIAAN LOUW.

Paul Duncan’s rather spectacular new book, South African Artists at Home, is the perfect gift for anyone who has a creative streak lurking somewhere in their psyche (and that means most of us). The book gives a glimpse into the life and times of some of South Africa’s great artists, including painters, conceptual artists, photographers – names like Conrad Botes, Willem Boshoff, Willie Bester, Sam Nhlengethwa, Beezy Bailey and many others. The narrative is rich and enlightening and the images are given lots of space to breathe. As Duncan says in the introduction, “This is not art discourse; it’s not a mirror of the country’s art scene. What if offers up, though, is an insight into the relationship between making arts and the daily life of an artist in their domestic space.” His book is rich, real and inspiring – with colour, texture and, yes, even mess and clutter. It’s a fascinating and intimate glimpse into the spaces that surround some of the country’s finest working artists and is a must-have for anyone who loves design, creativity and art or all three. South African Artists at Home is published by Struik Lifestyle and is available at all good bookshops.

BEEZY BAILEY IN HIS STUDIO

HYLTON NEL IN HIS LIVING ROOM.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

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MARKET FOOD - FAST, FRESH AND FABULOUS

NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET, BRAAMFONTEIN

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HAM AND MOZARELLA EMPANADAS FROM V&A MARKET ON THE WHARF


HOUT BAY HARBOUR MARKET

IMAGES: MARKET FOOD SOUTH AFRICA/BOOKSTORM, ERIC LABUSCHAGNE, PIERCE SYNOTT, LISSA STEWART, KAROO SPACE.

MARKET FOOD – TRY THIS AT HOME

All the way from Krugersdorp to Kakamas and beyond, food markets are seriously fashionable. Markets are all about foraging for fabulous food and ‘making a day of it’. The best thing about these market outings is that they are generally aimed at being a family affair. The good news is that a new book is out called Market Food South Africa (published by Bookstorm) by Dianne Stewart, Jessica Cairns and Lisa Stewart. This beautifully photographed book includes delicious recipes from foodie entrepreneurs all over the country. Try a range of delights from Jing-Yi Song’s Brie and onion spring rolls from Market on Main in Johannesburg or La French Connexxion’s Mediterranean Fougasse from the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market in George to Cindy Valayadam’s cheese and corn samoosas from the Litchi Orchard farmers’ market in Umhlali. “Market food is about more than just food. It’s about the experience,” say the authors in the introduction. “Having visited markets all over the world, we are constantly inspired by the culinary skills and extraordinary creativity we find at food markets here in South Africa.” Luckily for us readers, the authors have packaged the best of South Africa’s markets into 167 pages worth drooling over. When perusing the visual celebration that this book certainly is, one can only wonder how much fun the mom and two-daughter team (plus various family members dragged along for good measure) had compiling this – their passion for the topic, and enjoyment of the market experience certainly spills over the pages. Along the way, they also discovered a great sense of the environment and the strong desire of consumers and producers to go back to basics. “Markets provide an excellent opportunity for meaningful exchanges between food entrepreneurs and customers, who are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and are more concerned about the origins of the food and the fresh produce on offer.” An added highlight of the book is the fantastic lists of markets that will be supremely handy for those travelling this beautiful country of ours. To top it all, there is a website to support this clever endeavour, so keep your eyes peeled for marketscoop.co.za. Look out for Market Food South Africa at all good bookstores (and at markets too, of course)!

PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES FROM STELLENBOSCH FARMER'S MARKET

"Market food is about more than just food. It's about the experience." KAROO WRITERS THRIVE IN DIGITAL SPACE

Veteran journalist, Chris and his wife Julie moved to Cradock in the Eastern Cape some years back and transformed their offering from print journalism to thriving in the digital space. Their website, karoospace.co.za, presently houses a Karoo Space e-bookshop with eight titles (and a publishing schedule for at least 12 more titles over the next three years), a free travel and lifestyle features section and Karoo Central, an exciting classifieds field for traders from the 101 towns and villages of the South African heartland. “We’ve spent nearly a decade criss-crossing the Karoo, gathering content on its people, places, legends and landscapes,” says Chris, business director and publisher at Karoo Space. “And now we’re telling the great story of the Karoo to the world, in print and in digital format,” says Marais. They still write regularly for magazines such as Country Life and Sawubona (and ATM’s first issue) and their bespoke publishing house released two coffee table travel and lifestyle books on the Karoo (Karoo Keepsakes I and II), both of which rapidly became bestsellers, and there are three more print books in production that will be published in the course of 2015/16.

CHRIS MARAIS AND JULIE DU TOIT

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IN FULL

COLOUR

NIGHT-TIME MARKET IN MARRAKECH

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Morocco is one of Africa’s hottest travel destinations of the moment. Offering a riot of colours, flavours and luxury experiences, what’s not to love?


hether it’s Conde Nast Traveller, Travel and Leisure magazine or the New York Times, Morocco is definitely flavour of the month on the international travel scene – from gorgeous guesthouses in Fès or stylish gin joints in Casablanca, to legendary hotels in Marrakech, Morocco combines contemporary design in an ancient almost Biblical setting, and the results are extraordinary.

SEE

EVERY ORNATE DOORWAY INVITES A STORY

COLOURFUL WARES ON OFFER AT THE MEDINA

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The country is lavish in its colour schemes – the piercing blues of its craftwork, the burnished red walls of the Marrakesh medina, shocking orange mountains of spice in the markets and the biscuit hues of the desert that provide the backdrop to this fascinating destination. Morocco and its people are as effortlessly exotic as the desert is quiet and mesmerising. Many a traveller has succumbed to the seduction of Morocco’s alleys, alcoves and Atlas Mountains. Even those who have never travelled to Morocco have a tagine stashed away in the kitchen, for its food has gone global and remains Morocco’s best ambassador. Going through a door in Morocco is like stepping into another world. From the outside you’re faced with a nondescript entrance, but cross the threshold and a world of wonders is revealed, with opulent courtyards and modern Arabic furnishings, the smell of mint tea in the air, water features, languid palm fronts and a waiting local who relishes the chance to show off his country’s hospitality. It is a heady, heady mix – an urban oasis, a relief from the streets’ fabulous sensory overload. Just across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, accessible by ferry from the tip of Europe, lies Tangier. Unashamedly mercenary when it comes to trade and relieving you of your ‘baksheesh’ in a heartbeat, Tangier has its attractions, like the walled Kasbah area and Medina. This historic part of town is crammed with food stalls, merchants, craftsmen, carpet vendors and snake charmers. Inland from Tangier is the nearby village of Chefchaouen, deemed to be one of the prettiest in the country thanks to its bright-blue buildings, red roofs, narrow lanes and a charming square. Further south along the coast, the capital, Rabat, and movie-famous Casablanca are stepping up to the international travel plate, spending money on infrastructure and rural tourism. Rabat is all old-world elegance with wide European-influenced boulevards, shady trees and imposing buildings of yesteryear. Here you can enjoy a laid-back café moment with fantastic coffee and patisserie to match. Casablanca is its brash sibling, a financial go-getter in an almighty hurry. In looks it boasts Hispanic and Moorish influences and attractive art deco facades, but


VEGETABLE SELLERS AT THE MARKETPLACE SHARE A JOKE

THE CAMEL, AN ECO-FRIENDLY FORM OF TRANSPORT


COUSCOUS AND VEGETABLES ARE A REGULAR ON THE MENU

its most famous landmark is the very over-the-top and enthralling Hassan II mosque that allows non-Muslim visitors. Of course there’s a Rick’s Café in homage to the 1942 movie classic, opened by a former (American) diplomat, boasting mosaic floors and traditional arches plus cocktails and a piano man. Revellers head for Casa’s beachfront at Ain Diab, where clubs, cocktails and late nights are de rigueur. The imperial cities of Marrakech and Fès, however, are the aristocrats of local destinations. Entering Fès is like stepping back in time and onto a real-life movie set celebrating an Islamic yesteryear going back 1 200 years. Medina’s alleyways are so confusing that you may as well wander at will, take in the astonishing sights of pack animals, people and hole-in-the-wall shops and then rely on a taxi once you exit to find your bearings. The exotic dish of Bastilla (saffron and cinnamonscented almond chicken in layers of paper-thin pastry), a successful Moroccan culinary export, comes from Fès.

EAT Marrakech, inspiration to many an artist, is a renowned food destination, particularly at night. The main square in the city’s medina (Djemaa el-Fna) comes alive at dusk, when vendors set up shop and seduce passersby with the smell of their grills, breads and sweet treats. It is hugely social, communal and unforgettable, thanks to local specialties that live up to every expectation. Don’t miss out on mechoui – roast, carved lamb served with bread and salad – a dish that is a meal in one. In more upmarket establishments around town, try a couscous platter with spicy Merguez sausages, fluffy meatballs, fragrant broth and slow-cooked root vegetables for an authentic local experience, followed by a tea-pouring (from a dizzy height) ceremony. There is nothing mass produced about this country’s cuisine and that is its enduring allure.

SHOP SHOP UP A STORM AT ANY ONE OF THE LOCAL MEDINAS

Shoppers will exhaust their wallets in Marrakech’s souks. Travelling interior designers – bring an extra suitcase or two, or better yet, a container. Lamps, carpets, candleholders, glassware – the choice is impossible, affordable and contemporary.

STAY

POOLDECK, HOTEL SAHRAI

Staying overnight in a riad, a small hotel in a previously private home with a lush inner courtyard, in the Marrakech medina (old city) is recommended; try Riad Idrissy or the stylish Dar Kawa. La Mamounia became famous in the late 1970s when Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a song in honour of this establishment, where Winston Churchill is purported to have written his memoirs.


COIN PATIO TRADITIONAL, RIAD FÈS


PLAY Equally regal and catering to the modern leisure traveller tastes, there’s the 18-hole Palmeraie Golf Palace resort outside Marrakech that enjoys a magnificent setting of extremes. On the one side, there’s an endless stretch of desert; on the other, seven lakes and thousands of palm trees plus the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The Marrakech Palace hotel has on offer – apart from exceptional dining – a magnificent swimming pool, tennis court, fitness centre, spa, horse-riding facilities and massage options. From Marrakech, you can head for the coast and the Portuguese-influenced port of Essaouira or the snowcapped Atlas Mountains in the opposite direction. Make the most of the chance to experience the attractions of traditional Berber life in mountain villages as old as time with walnut groves and terraced gardens. Grandmothers still make couscous, bread and cheese by hand and the animals won’t be hurried. Essaouira is famous for its fish dishes and markets, picturesque location and ocean views. Portuguese sailors came here in the mists of time and influenced the local cuisine, which is the town’s claim to fame apart from its seaside location and traditional musical festival in June. Agadir is the country’s main beach-resort town, rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1960 and, as such, not as rich in history as the seaside villages of Asila and Essaouira. Today, Morocco is funky and smart, a mix of the old world and the new – a heady experience that delights and enthrals and where being totally alive in every moment comes as part and parcel of your itinerary. By Elizabeth Badenhorst

WHERE TO STAY Marrakech: Riad Adore: www.riadadore.com P’Tit Habibi: www.pitithabibi.com Dar Kawa: www.darkawa.net Tchaikana: www.tchaikana.com La Moumania: www.moumania.com Casablanca: Movenpick Hotel Casablanca: www.movenpick-hotels.com Gray Boutique Hotel and Spa: www.grayhotelandspa.com Fès: Riad Fès: www.raidfes.com Riad Laarousssa: www.raid-laaroussa.com Hotel Sahrai: www.hotelsahrai.com Riad Idrissy: www.riadidrissy.com Atlas Mountains: Kasbah Tamadot: www.virginlimitededition.com/en/ kasbah-tamadot Source: Conde Nast Traveller (UK); New York Times, Travel and Leisure Magazine.

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IMAGES: ISTOCK, LA MAMOUNIA, RIAD FÈS, HOTEL SAHRAI.

THE POOL AREA OF LA MAMOUNIA, AN OASIS IN THE MOROCCAN DESERT


THE ROYAL MOUNTAIN

KINGDOM Lesotho offers exceptional mountain vistas, an authentic African experience, and a people steeped in tradition.

LOCAL MODE OF TRANSPORT IS A PONY.

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esotho’s national credo – ‘Khotso, Pula, Nala’ (Peace, Rain, Prosperity) – speaks of a majestic land where people still observe tradition by paying homage to their family clans and royalty, particularly King Letsie III, born David Mohato Bereng Seeiso. Another member of royalty with an allegiance to this land is the United Kingdom’s Prince Harry, who is known to be particularly fond of Lesotho and its people, and has spent considerable time in the kingdom doing upliftment work.

AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE OF POPULAR WORSHIP

To get a feel of the local atmosphere and observe people engaging in worship, I was told: “Whatever you do in Lesotho, you have to visit Adonai.” The worship experience at Adonai lived up to all it was said to be and more. There was dancing, music, prayer, testimonies, the collection of tithes and offerings, praying for the tithers, a vibrant sermon, and congregants responding to the occasion. I listened, danced and even cried, but I left feeling encouraged. It’s an experience one can’t describe with a limited human vocabulary.

BASOTHO MAIDEN

BATTLE OF THE ‘FREE MOBILE CONCERTS’

When in a foreign country, ask your way to the nearest market and you’re sure to experience a slice of local colour – in Lesotho and its capital Maseru, it’s freewheeling musicians and choirs performing at will. They walk around the markets carrying backpacks with microphones and sell their CDs out of hand. I enjoyed seeing people clap to the beat of an old guitarist, whose personality compensated for his ‘softer’ sound system. The performers all sell CDs and DVDs and ask for donations from their crowds of supporters. People stood on crates to watch the more popular performers, while some musicians weren’t above a bit of crowd poaching, trying to lure a captive audience away to their cause. At times, we sang and danced along or just walked to the next performance, which was just a fruit stall away. I was told one could find these performers in local markets any day of the week, but especially on weekends.

FASHION ALERT

Anything that shows the Lesotho flag, the image of the king or the country’s iconic traditional hat is held in high esteem by this patriotic nation. Locals wear these items

TRADITIONAL BASOTHO BLANKETS – CALLED SEANA MARENA OR ‘CHIEF’S BLANKET’ – ARE A POPULAR ITEM

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BASOTHO GIRL CHILD

even more than tourists do. Traditional Basotho blankets – called Seana Marena or ‘chief’s blanket’– used to be worn by chiefs only, but are now a popular item available to all. They are draped around the body as ceremonial wear at meetings, weddings, funerals, in villages and cities, and for just about any occasion. They’re even portrayed on billboards, with custom-made blankets available for children and infants. Such is their appeal that I met a Chinese merchant who proved to be an expert on the subject of traditional blankets. Referring to himself as Ntate (father) Chen, he considered himself to be a Mosotho and was fluent in the language, with accent and mannerisms to match. He kindly explained their symbolism to me, and what made the blankets differ so much in price. A particularly special moment for me was my unplanned meeting with a herdsman and his cattle in the Maseru city centre. He was dressed in mud boots and a warm Seana Marena and after a brief conversation, he kindly let me get on his donkey – a scene that reminded me of the first full-length feature film produced in Lesotho, which I had seen recently – The Forgotten Kingdom. It was by sheer coincidence that I was fortunate enough to be hosted by someone who had been involved in the movie. Subsequently, this host took me sightseeing to Moshoeshoe International Airport, Maletsunyane Falls, Moshoeshoe Stadium (sports arena) and to one of my favourites – the Pioneer Shopping Mall – which stocks all things necessary and fun.

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BASOTHO PONY BOY

A MAGICAL HISTORY

As you travel through this mountain kingdom, take the time to sit down with the elderly who will be only too glad to tell you about the mysteries of Thaba-Bosiu (Mountain at Night), a famous local outcrop which they believe literally moved to protect its people during a time of strife amongst local tribes. Myths and legends define a culture and in Africa, the elders are the keepers of such oral traditions.

LOCAL DELICACIES

The best places to taste local delicacies are undoubtedly the markets and it is customary to negotiate all prices, even those of food prepared in a three-legged pot over a fire. In one market, there was a woman who sold living and/or freshly prepared chickens. If you didn’t mind waiting, you could point out the living chicken that you wanted and it would be caught and prepared for you along with papa (a stiff porridge made from maize meal, boiled and made into a dish) and moroho (a wild green plant often cooked with tomato and onions). Papa le nama (maize porridge with meat) was also a hit. Should you wish to stock your fridge or shopping bag, there’s a supermarket in Maseru’s Sefika Mall. The Good Times Café in the LNDC Centre is a favourite with the country’s beautiful people, while the Regal is considered the posh restaurant in town. It serves excellent Indian food and is a haven for vegetarians looking for quality fare. The Maseru Sun offers a good breakfast, plus mainstream snacks and dinner.


THE COUNTRY’S ICONIC TRADITIONAL HAT

A PERFECT ENDING AT THE MASERU SUN

My accommodation at the Maseru Sun Hotel and Casino (Sun International) brought together all that was wonderful about Lesotho. The tasteful African interiors were matched with warm hospitality and modern amenities (air-conditioning and swimming pool) that took care of my every possible need, so much so that I forgave the conference-goers gathered here from across Africa and their spirited (loud) get-togethers. The view from the hotel room was breathtaking; the cloudless night sky clear made me feel as though I was

closer to heaven than ever before. Staff and guests were pleasant and willing to assist where possible, from offering directions to walking you to a security man outside who sold airtime. For me, however, the continental breakfast stole the show. I remember Lesotho with great fondness for its views, its people and markets, and the uniquely African experiences it offers any traveller willing to engage with the local people. Khotso! (Peace!) By Phindiwe Nkosi

PHOTOGRAPHS: DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS

INFORMATION ON LESOTHO Location: Lesotho is easily accessible from Johannesburg/Pretoria and Durban by either bus or air. It is a landlocked, mountainous country, beautiful and real, but also affordable and not overrun with visitors. The local bus service is well developed and can take you to most places. Make enquiries at your overnight stay or at any of the main malls. To do: Hiking in the mountains or highlands and trekking on a local Basotho pony to enjoy the landscape, waterfalls and mountain trails are highly recommended. To see: Maseru’s Catholic Cathedral located at the end of Kingsway, Maseru, is a major local landmark, while Thaba Bosiu mountain is a venerated site outside the capital (16km away, bus transfers available from Sefika Mall). Ts’ehlanyane National Park boasts a luxury lodge, inspiring wilderness vistas and exceptional hikes. A day trip to Teyateyaneng – the craft centre of Lesotho, 45 minutes from Maseru – is a must to appreciate the skill of the local craftspeople famed for their tapestry work, mohair goods, carving and weaving. Accommodation: The Maseru Sun’s sister hotel is the Lesotho Sun, much favoured by business travellers for its convenient city-centre location.

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FreeSPIRIT

London-based Moroccan photographer and artist Hassan Hajjaj lives in a world of colour, creativity and self-expression and pushing the boundaries is simply all in a day’s work.

MIRIAM, FROM KESH ANGELS COLLECTION


assan Hajjaj is fearless in his work and outlandish in his commentary on life and how he sees it. If colour was a flower, his work would be the exuberance of the desert after the rains – it’s in your face, draws you in and feeds your eyes. His colour magic has its roots in a Moroccan childhood filled with the bold marine blues and greens of the ocean and the uninhibited dress sense of street performers. “Moroccans aren’t scared of colours clashing,“ he points out. In the harbour town of his youth – Larache – street photographers would stage-manage their subjects and portray them as wannabe Western gunslingers with fake props, right there on the pavement. His father worked in London and would send the family outfits. To thank him for his largesse, Hassan’s mother would dress her brood in their new threads and march them off to the local studio for a formal family portrait so their father could have a memento of home. These influences blended and bubbled into a style of portrait work that is cutting-edge in its own special way and pays homage to modern ‘royalty’ – the musicians, artists and performers who pride themselves on their ‘street cred’ and on being the trendsetters, whether they are reggae stars, belly dancers or ethnic musicians turned success stories. Their poses are unapologetically original – no sitting on chairs or hands under the chin in his work. Hassan blends the original and unique in people and turns them into a vision that entertains, makes you giggle and ultimately convinces you of its appeal. His collection, ‘My Rockstars’, features people he bumped into in Marrakech, performers like a male belly dancer and a snake charmer transformed into the extraordinary, thanks to Hassan’s funky frames, outfits and backdrops. They share space with “friends that I admire and who influenced me, who live according to their own beliefs, anyone from a boxer to a fashion designer”. A number of these friends have since become ‘names’ in their various disciplines.

“I wanted to document life around me, show off my friends who may never make it to the main stream…” This self-taught photographic phenomenon first branched out with a shop in London’s Covent Garden called Rap, where he sold whatever was new and unusual MR K. JONES, MY ROCKSTARS COLLECTION


in clothing, all produced by his designer friends. A stint as a stylist on a photographic shoot got him interested in camerawork and so the whacky clothing in his shop, his out-there friends and a camera in hand were combined to produce a vision of his particular world and its people. “I wanted to document life around me, show off my friends who may never make it to the main stream…“ If Andy Warhol were still alive he’d be so proud. In tribute to the American artist who embraced the commercial side of art, Hassan designed a Parisian watering hole called ‘Andy Wahloo’ that celebrates recycling by turning nothing into something, with crates as seats and a defunct lightbox masquerading as a table.

“If I could, I’d design the whole world.” Hassan had the good fortune to catch the attention of gallery owner Rose Issa, who now shows his work and initially encouraged him to do his own thing. His recognition has since spread and continues to grow, taking him to exhibitions in Dubai, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. His future plans include exhibiting ‘Rockstars’ in London and collaborating with the design of a nightclub in the city that puts art front and centre. As he says, “If I could, I’d design the whole world.”

CREDIT

CARAVANE, ROCK STARS

MASTER COBRA MANSA

GANG OF MARRAKESH, KESH ANGELS


ALL IMAGES BY HASSAN HAJJAJ

WAMUHU LEGS


IN MUSIC WE TRUST 40 | African Travel Market

PHOTOGRAPH: OSCAR GUTIERREZ

A STATUE OF MA BRRR (BRENDA FASSIE) OUTSIDE THE BASSLINE.


The Bassline is known across Africa for showcasing the best of the continentʼs music, including musical giants like Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Salif Keita, Youssou NʼDour, Angelique Kidjo and Femi Kuti. logo of the Jozi city skyline and its slogan: In music we trust. “My original dream was to have a jazz club that would bring South Africa together,” says Bassline founder Brad Holmes. “In many ways it was easy, I simply created the platform so many South African musicians and fans were begging for.” In its first decade in Melville, the Bassline established itself as a home for musicians, jazzheads, jollers, hipsters, barflies and visiting music lovers from Africa, Europe and the USA. It was a legendary spot with soul and spirit. Concentrating initially on jazz, the Bassline then started featuring world music and unplugged rock and began hosting impromptu funk jam sessions, poetry reading and other funky Afro cultural events. South African jazz and

world stars such as Vusi Mahlasela, Zim Ngqawana, the late Moses Molelekwa, Vusi Khumalo, Paul Hanmer and Jimmy Dludlu, to name a few, started their careers at the Bassline in Melville. “In 2004, we got the opportunity to run a venue 10 times the size of the Melville Bassline,” says Holmes. “It was a financial decision – we needed critical mass – and also a cultural decision. Newtown was pinpointed to be developed as the cultural precinct of Africa, and we wanted to be in there.” After a legendary weeklong party and jazz fest, the Melville Bassline closed its doors and reopened in Newtown as a key tenant, along with the Market Theatre, the Dance Factory and Museum Afrika. The new Bassline had a 1 000-capacity concert venue

PHOTOGRAPH: ROD TAYLOR, WWW.OSCARGUTIERREZ.COM

n 1994, the year South Africa became a democracy, a sexy little jazz club opened its doors in the hip suburb of Melville, Johannesburg. Twenty-one years later, the Bassline is now the soul of Newtown – a happening cultural precinct accessed over the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge on the edge of downtown Jozi – and probably South Africa’s best known venue and concert production house. Guarded at the door by a statue of the late, great South African Afropopster Brenda Fassie, the Bassline is part of a new African musical revolution and urban renewal programme, drawing regular crowds to big-stage gigs and events. Just about everyone, it seems, knows the Bassline, with its

THE 'POET OF MAMELODI' - VUSI MAHLASELA

African Travel Market | 41


PHOTOGRAPHS: OSCAR GUTIERREZ (WWW.OSCARGUTIERREZ.COM), ROD TAYLOR, THE BASSLINE.

LUYANDA MADOPE AND FELLOW MUSICIANS

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INTERIOR OF THE BASSLINE PHOTOGRAPH: ROD TAYLOR, WWW.OSCARGUTIERREZ.COM


PHOTOGRAPH: ROD TAYLOR, WWW.OSCARGUTIERREZ.COM

and an intimate 150-seat performing space – both with top-of-the-range sound. And they began developing some of the urban youth stars of kwaito, hip-hop, rock and Afro-pop, such as the Parlotones, Freshlyground, Thandiswa Mazwai, Jozi and many more. “Since starting, we’ve hosted over 3 000 concerts” says Holmes, “and have been doing large-scale concerts for crowds of between 5 000 and 30 000. We’ve grown to become a major concert production house and we also conceptualise and produce international music concerts or events on the big stage.” The Bassline has been involved in happenings like New Year’s Eve in Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown; Africa Day in Soweto; and Arts Alive month, which features over 100 performing arts events across Jozi, including the huge Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake, which last year brought a 10 000-strong crowd. In 2004, the Bassline was behind the South African leg of a global broadcast across the world to two billion people. In 2010, they managed the South African showcase at MIDEM in Cannes, featuring many of South Africa’s international acts. And in the same year the Bassline did the international production (Johannesburg, Cape Town, New York, London) of the United Nations ‘Millennium Development Goals’ AllAfrica Song featuring a stunning line-up of African songwriters and performers. “We spent the first decade in Melville,” says Holmes, “and the second in Newtown. And we’re planning on spending the third decade here as well. “ The noises of 10 years ago are finally turning into action and Newtown is at the heart of urban renewal and music development. The Atterbury Group has invested billions in developing urban apartments, a huge shopping centre and about 4 000 parking bays. “It’s really exciting to see the place beginning to happen at last,” says Holmes, “with the Bassline being an essential part of it.” By Bridget Hilton-Barber

KENNY LATTAMORE IN FULL SWING

Contact them on +27 (0)11 838 9142 or e-mail info@bassline.co.za. Visit www.bassline.co.za for their exciting March line-up and plans for this year’s Africa Day on 25 May. NEWTOWN CULTURAL PRECINCT Get in your car, take a taxi, hop on a bus – get to Newtown and see what’s new. The whole precinct is dedicated to arts and culture and features museums, art galleries, restaurants, the SAB World of Beer, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre craft markets, dance events and clubs. There’s stuff going on day and night, and especially on weekends. Seek, and you shall find! It is home to some of Joburg's biggest events – the Diwali Festival, Joburg Carnival, Joburg Arts Alive, SA Fashion Week and the Dance Umbrella, among others. Newtown’s central point, Mary Fitzgerald Square, plays host to a number of local and international performers, events and festivals. Newtown Cultural Precinct is within easy reach from Braamfontein, the M1 and the Bree Street Taxi Rank. Visit www.newtown.co.za.

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Savannah & Snow Fiona McIntosh picks her top hikes in Africa, which will take you across game-filled plains, through lush tropical rainforests and up to fabled African snows.

hirty years ago, I visited Africa for the first time. I had a loose plan to fly to Johannesburg, hitchhike up to the Okavango Delta and then carry on through the Caprivi Strip to Namibia, where I had booked on to the Fish River Canyon hike. The trip didn’t quite turn out as intended. I was somewhat naïve in thinking that hitching was a viable way to explore southern Africa and we spent days at the side of dusty roads! But when I finally arrived at the main viewpoint on the rim of the second-largest canyon in the world, I knew that it had all been worthwhile. The sight of the incredible grey, purple, pink and orange layers of the deeply incised canyon and the isolated sparkling pools half a kilometre below was breathtaking. But the hot sun was baking and the arid rocky wilderness looked intimidating. Doubts crossed my mind. Were we, two enthusiastic but peelywally and inexperienced Brits, really up to the challenge of descending the knee-jarring path to the canyon floor and then surviving the cold desert nights, the spiders, scorpions and whatever else Africa was going to throw at us as we navigated

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our way along the sandy, boulder-strewn riverbed for 90km to the end? Five days later, we shuffled into the Ai Ais Resort at the trail’s end, hungry, footsore, sunburnt, proud of ourselves and determined to relocate to Africa. The hike had opened my eyes to a new world. Empowered by the experience, I’ve spent the past 30 years striding out on Africa’s most iconic trails. Exploring on foot was a wonderful way to get to know my newly adopted continent. I’ve climbed Africa’s 10 highest peaks (and many lesser ones), traversed much of the southern African coastline, trusted my life to rangers guiding me on foot through Big Five country, immersed myself in dense indigenous forest and magnificent fynbos and felt like the Pied Piper as local people spontaneously joined me on treks through their homelands. Goodness knows how many thousands of kilometres and pairs of boots later I am still discovering spectacular new trails that showcase the diversity and the magnificent landscapes of Africa. Identifying my favourite trails is therefore a challenge, but if you’re planning on lacing up your boots, then the following should be on your bucket list.


GOLDEN LIGHT WOLFBERG ARCH IN THE CEDERBERG AT SUNRISE.

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FISH RIVER CANYON HIKING TRAIL, NAMIBIA

Although it’s one of Africa’s most strenuous hikes, the Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail is a must for fit, intrepid backpackers. Setting up camp in the golden light of late afternoon as the towering, multihued rock walls go through their various moods, sleeping out under starlit skies and the sense of awe that you experience from being out in this vast, rugged wilderness in which you’re unlikely to see another soul, will live with you forever. But make no mistake; this is a tough hike that takes some planning and experience. A medical certificate is required and you need to carry all your food and gear for the 90km hike – though there are softer ‘slackpacking’ alternatives, such as Canyon Mule Trails’ guided treks, where your gear is transported by mules, and a five-day guided, portaged hike from Fish River Lodge on the Western Rim, if you’re not up to a self-sufficient hike.

VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE/ ZAMBIA

Forget the famous Zambezi rafting trips. If you really want to appreciate the sheer scale of Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world, then walk along the edge of it. During the wet season, from May to September, the thunder of the crashing waterfalls and the drenching spray make negotiating the network of trails from the Zimbabwean side of the falls an exhilarating (and very wet) experience! Equally intimidating is the hike all the way down to the ‘Boiling Pot’ of churning rapids on the Zambian side of the falls. But the ultimate Vic Falls walk (which is offered only in the dry season) is from Livingstone Island to ‘Devil’s Pool’, a natural pool right on the lip, from which you can peer down the mighty waterfalls. Only for the brave!

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THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, UGANDA

The snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are one of Africa’s best-kept secrets and hiking there, with the attendant retinue of rangers and porters, has a wonderful air of colonial adventure. A typical weeklong circuit of the range involves trekking through dense jungle and bogland, past stands of outsized lobelia and overnighting in rustic, but scenic huts. There are easier, shorter treks, and if you’re looking for more of a challenge you can add a glacier ascent of Margherita Peak which, at 5 109m, is the third-highest peak on the continent from where there are stupendous views over the neighbouring peaks, glistening ice fields and verdant green rainforests of the park.

CEDERBERG, SOUTH AFRICA

Exquisite rock art, magnificent landforms and unique, hardy fynbos species are just a few of the attractions of this magnificent wilderness area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just north of Cape Town. Numerous trails lead to deep mountain pools, to striking rock formations like the Maltese Cross, and to fascinating mission villages. But if you’re reasonably fit and happy with a bit of scrambling, the fullday trail from Sanddrif Holiday Resort through the dramatic Wolfberg Cracks and over to the Wolfberg Arch is the one to pick.

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MOUNT KENYA, KENYA

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro carries the bragging rights, but if you want to avoid crowded camp sites and smelly long drops, then go to Mount Kenya, the continent's second-highest peak, which is far more rugged and far less congested or costly than Kilimanjaro. After climbing up through Afromontane forest, stands of bamboo and wonderful giant heathers, you emerge onto open moorland and then climb steeply up to the infamous ‘vertical bog’ – a section of boot-sucking, soggy marsh – before picking your way over rock and scree slopes until you reach the final snowy ridge that leads to the ‘walker’s summit’, Point Lenana. The view from the top is spectacular. As the rising sun casts a golden glow over the surrounding peaks, you gaze down and there in the distance is the perfectly symmetrical cone of Kilimanjaro, casting a shadow on the surrounding bank of cloud.

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SIMIEN MOUNTAINS, ETHIOPIA

South Africa’s highest mountain range, the mighty Drakensberg, is one of my favourite stomping grounds. But slogging up the long rocky passes to the top of the 3 000m-high plateau demands a high level of fitness and mountain-walking experience. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that Ethiopia’s Simien mountains offer a similarly dramatic escarpment – and that you can drive to the top! The Simien National Park, near the historic city of Gondor in the north of the country, offers some of the finest and easiest trekking on the continent. Once you’ve been dropped off on the plateau, all your gear is loaded onto mules and you can spend as long as you fancy walking through stands of blazing red-hot pokers and other exotic vegetation, often encountering groups of baboons, and if you’re lucky, endemic, endangered walia ibex and even Ethiopian wolves.

NYIKA PLATEAU, MALAWI

Malawi boasts a wonderful range of hiking options, including strenuous hikes on Mount Mulanje, Central Africa’s highest peak, and on the Zomba Plateau. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Nyika, Malawi’s oldest and largest national park right on the Zambian border in the north of the country, is the perfect place to walk if you want to slow down, listen to the birds and smell the flowers. The guided and fully supported three-day Livingstonia Trail traverses a spectacular grassland plateau with splendid panoramas across archetypal African plains teeming with zebra, eland and roan antelope.

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Some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery is to be found on the remote Wild Coast and since there are few roads, walking the coastal paths is the best way to explore the region’s deserted, white beaches, dramatic cliffs, ruggedly beautiful green hills and incredibly diverse flora. But hiking here, in what was the Xhosa homeland of the Transkei, is also a cultural immersion; the area is dotted with rural villages and the smiling, colourful people you meet, or stay with if you choose, are central to the experience.

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Fiona McIntosh is the author of numerous books on hiking and other adventures in Africa, including Slackpacking, A Guide to South Africa’s Top Leisure Trails, Sunbird (2007) and Mild to Wild Adventures & Activities in southern Africa, MapStudio (2013). Read more of her favourite hikes on www.nightjartravel.com/hiking.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHAEN ADEY, ©ISTOCK.COM,

WILD COAST, SOUTH AFRICA


!

Situated on the R52 Koster road, approximately 20km from Rustenburg and 40km from Sun City, Akwaaba Lodge and Predator Park offers guests affordable accommodation and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to interact with a wide variety of predators. Meaning ‘welcome’ in Ghanaian, Akwaaba’s owner and the staff live up to their promise, and set out to make all its guests feel totally at home from the moment of arrival until the point of departure. Rest assured, visitors will return.

What Akwaaba Has To Offer! Take A Walk On The Wildside Open daily from 8am to 5pm, lodge guests and day visitors are invited to tour the predator park and enjoy interactions with different wildlife, such as cubs and walking with a cheetah. Akwaaba Predator Park is the owner’s vision, based on his passion for wildlife, and has become a home and refuge for neglected cubs, injured or abused animals or cubs ranging from jaguars, cheetahs, black leopards, wild dogs, hyenas, to white lions and tigers. Say ‘I Do’ Akwaaba Lodge offers the perfect wedding venue for couples seeking a more natural setting to exchange their vows, catering for up to 150 guests. Let Akwaaba take some of the pressure off and help you organise everything from the décor and catering, to a ring-bearing cheetah and photo sessions. Also, take advantage of the convenient accommodation for the couple, their family and friends. Lay Down With The Lions With seven standard rooms and one luxury room, Akwaaba Lodge has ample accommodation to suit most travel needs, be it for a romantic getaway, a family retreat or a workshop weekend with colleagues. Dine on lovingly prepared meals, lounge at the pool or indulge in a massage at the spa. Conference Vibes With the city vibe an hour or two away, Akwaaba offers corporates a fully-equipped, airconditioned conference centre that caters for up to 200 delegates, perfect for training workshops or brainstorm sessions. The sounds of nature and sheer beauty of the environment provide respite for weary workers and inspiration for creative teamwork activities. Coming Soon!  Game drives  Hiking trails  Bush dinners

Special Attractions!  World’s only strawberry leopard to be born in captivity.  Jag the jaguar and Bullet the Jack Russel, an unnatural friendship.

All food is halaal and no alcohol is sold. Corkage fee applies. Currency accepted: Rand, US Dollars and Euros.

* *

Visit www.akwaabalodge.co.za or email info@akwaabalodge.co.za.

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The World According to Dook! He was born in Singapore, but South Africa has claimed him as one of its own. Dook has spent the last 20 years taking spectacular images of lodges, wildlife, destinations and people. His eye for detail and visual language has showcased the best of Africa to the world, and he has claimed many international covers with his interpretations of the continent and further afield.

ALPHONSE ISLAND, SEYCHELLES


Meet the Chefs

SEA FRESH CHEFS MAKE A SPLASH AT LONG BEACH HOTEL, MAURITIUS


All in a Day's Work Sintureperro et

Di cone con cuptate ctaquae LOCAL FISHERMAN WITH A STUNNING SAILFISH, MNEMBA ISLAND, ZANZIBAR


Safari in Style

DINNER ON THE GO AT TANDA TULA EXCLUSIVE MOBILE CAMP IN THE TIMBAVATI PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE, A PART OF THE WORLD-FAMOUS KRUGER NATIONAL PARK


At One with Nature From photographing some of the world finest lodges, hotels and destinations to capturing the spirit of international celebrities, artists and creatives, Dook continues to inspire and delight with his incredible images and quirky view of the world.

SOFT HUES AND GLOWING LANTERNS HELP CREATE THE MOOD FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE EVENING AT LION SANDS, KRUGER PARK


QAMARDEEN HOTEL, DUBAI

MICHELANGELO HOTEL, SOUTH AFRICA

Visit dookphoto.com

HAMMAM, LONG BEACH SPA, MAURITIUS


The Zambezi River is one of southern Africa’s most beautiful, vibrant rivers, giving security to people, wildlife and plants, but its magic is in keeping everything working together soulfully despite the challenges.

BOATING IS POPULAR ALONG THE MIGHTY ZAMBEZI, AND A FAVOURITE ACTIVITY FOR VISITORS TO ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE

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NOTHING BEATS THE GLOW OF AN AFRICAN SUNSET

rowing up, our father always used to say our clan name, Ngwenya, protected us if ever we were caught unawares in the African bush. I recall a story he often told of swimming in the crocodile-infested waters of the Limpopo when he was a young man and walking away unscathed. I was in awe as a little girl, especially when I saw the Limpopo River, but in my teenage years, the awe turned into disbelief. That is until I had my own encounter diving off a cliff into the rapids of the Zambezi River. My mind was focused on hurling my body into the water and enjoying the thrill of the adrenaline rush, without knowing that one of my own lurked a short distance away. “There’s a crocodile about 40 metres away,” Scott, our survival instructor, said as we got out of the water. However, despite my fear, that wouldn’t be the last time I would throw myself into the cool waters as we were reassured that here, close to Victoria Falls, where the waters run faster, the crocs are fewer. Besides, we were having too much fun. Far away from the Victoria Falls, closer to Kariba Dam, is the Lower Zambezi. Things are quieter here. Little thunder roars, things move slower and everyone, everything is on alert. My first sight of the expansive body of water separating Zimbabwe and Zambia moves me to quiet tears. Children from the nearby Chirundu village standing on the shore stare in frightened amazement and then laugh, so I quickly whip out my camera and ask for their picture. The young lady wearing the blue T-shirt with ‘Phillips Cowboys’ on it seems hesitant but still she stares straight at me. The other older girl with the braids carrying her younger sister seems confident. The topless boy is not looking into the camera and the beautiful girl with the pink skirt and brown hair acknowledges me with a shy smile. I take about 10 photographs but soon Jacob, our guide, calls. I step into the boat, waving to the children, and give myself over to the wide, slow moving river. I search my mind for the feelings I’m experiencing as we cruise past verdant thickets and bush, moving past impermanent islands in the waters where fish, reeds, grasses and herons flourish. I look into Zambezi

River’s depths and see my reflection. My body tingles as the cool air rushes past my ears, the cattle egrets fly in formation above us as they make their way home after a long day, and the sky begins colouring itself, choosing gold dust to throw on the calm waters mirroring the setting sun. “This is so beautiful,” I say to Jacob as I look around me, “and peaceful. You are so blessed to live here.” “My family has lived here for many years,” he responds with a proud smile. “I come from a large royal family who have farmed here and known these waters.” The banks are dotted with villagers who have come to do their laundry. The women, with wide smiles and colourful clothing, wave as we cruise past, their men fishing from their manmade canoes. “Look,” Jacob suddenly calls out, pointing to a pod of hippos, breaking my reverie of centuries-old kingdoms. From a distance, the pod could be mistaken for boulders or dead boughs but the large pink eyes and small flapping ears, which quickly disappear beneath the surface the closer we get, give them away. The pods are numerous but he navigates easily between them until we meet a young bull elephant crossing the river, forcing us to stop. I watch as his body submerges gradually into the water. Jacob warns us that the river can swell to great heights during the rainy season, pointing to the alcoves of the breasted rollers who make their homes above the previous flood line. It’s rather high and we stretch our neck to notice the mark. The young bull finally steps out of the water onto the bank on the other side and trumpets his annoyance before going to join his herd. Jacob starts the motor but the sudden movement of a crocodile in the reeds catches his attention. We only see the slip of his long tail. “Don’t worry,” Jacob reassures us, “you will see many of them while you are here.” I don’t believe Jacob until we go on a canoe ride along a channel just off the river the next day. With a volley of four canoes, one behind each other and three people in each, this experience is soulful. The breeze is gentle as we glide through the valley. Everyone is quiet, except Chris, our guide, who speaks now and then to let the others know of

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FLYFISHING AT SUNSET

ELEPHANT WALKING ACROSS THE RIVER

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obstacles in the water or wildlife of interest. The high sand walls that make up the valley seem to wrap us in and the overhanging bush on either side acts like a parasol. The ride is so hypnotising that I am sorely tempted to trail my fingers in the water alongside the canoe. But they watch every movement and because we’re so quiet, they don’t run off; not the hippo camouflaged in the thicket, or the crocodiles in the long grass close by, nor the Egyptian geese frolicking on the swamp or the emerald dove in the trees. Chris instructs everyone to stop when we encounter a breeding herd of elephants crossing the channel. For a few minutes, it’s a flurry of photography but soon we’re waiting patiently as this large family carefully crosses, the adults ensuring the adolescents and babies are able to climb the cliffs into the safety of the bush. Not every encounter with elephants in my life has been this smooth. If it’s true that your clan name protects you, then the iNdlovu ancestors would have been gratefully appreciated when we decide to explore the Lower Zambezi National Park, which can be accessed by either land or water. Though dry and barren in some regions, it seemed something was causing excitement as baboons barked and stirred up dust, herds of impala jumped wildly as a few jackals ran past, when we caught up with another breeding herd of elephants. A young mother who was already distressed or excited, evident from the secretions of the temporal glands, came charging towards our idling vehicle. “James,” I called to our friendly guide, half climbing out of the vehicle. “Let’s go.” He made no move to start the car but shouted, and the pachyderm stopped in her tracks. “It’s all right,” James reassured me. “She won’t do anything, although I suggest you don’t try jumping out of the vehicle.” He was right, of course, about disembarking from the vehicle into the unknown of the bush, and I knew better. However, she returned with a maddening vengeance. This time, James shouted and slammed his door, which startled her and she turned away angrily, but we got the message. The evening was cool as we wrapped our coats around us while James pointed out a couple of genets, when my companion said she was also shaken by our encounter. With the stars clear in the sky, I sat back and thought of the elephant in the river trumpeting in annoyance. Had it been at us, or the crocodile? It seemed I had my answer when, on my last day, as I was walking to the new lodge at which I would be staying, I came across a great bull eating winterthorn pods. He was also blocking my path. I backed away slowly and contented myself with afternoon tea, enjoying the sun on my skin and watching the crocodiles on the bank doing the same, with the occasional grunt of hippos in the distance. Dad was right: caught unawares, I’ve been safe at every turn, but like a mother, this water talks to us, feeds us, lets us play, and all we must do is respect each other. When I went to my room, the bull was gone. Give and take – that’s the magic of Zambezi. By Jabulile Ngwenya

LAZY AFTERNOON FOR THIS ZAMBEZI LEOPARD

PLUNGE POOL ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE

LOUNGE AREA OF ONE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL SUITES CALLED KANSANSHI.

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WHERE TO STAY

PHOTOGRAPHS SUPPLIED BY: ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE.

There is an array of accommodation options along the Lower Zambezi. Some have no fences separating them from the Lower Zambezi National Park, so you may encounter wildlife, but security is provided and safety briefings are also given. All the lodges will offer a range of activities: fly- and course-fishing, game drives, mountain hiking, canoeing, bush walks, village tours, cultural tours. Kanyemba Lodge: www.kanyemba.com Royal Zambezi Lodge: www.royalzambezilodge.com Chongwe River Camp: www.chongwe.com Air Transfers to and from Lusaka Royal Zambezi Lodge has two private planes that make up Royal Air Charters. They also service the lodges around Lower Zambezi. Visit www.royalaircharters.com.

WOODEN DECK, ROYAL ZAMBEZI LODGE

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A HOTEL FOR ALL

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The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg, has officially re-opened its doors and is gaining a reputation as one of the city’s best spots to enjoy a meal, spend a romantic evening, host a meeting or unwind in its new spa. otel General Manager, Sebastien Carre, worked hard to hand-pick his team of 300 staff and toasts to a firm belief in the tourism potential of Johannesburg: “It’s such an exciting time for Joburg, as a new generation discovers its charms and shapes its future. Even if you think you know the city, it’s changing so fast that it is definitely worth another visit – and if you’ve never been here before, you are in for a very special treat.” After an 18-month restoration, the hotel has been transformed to reflect an elegant and contemporary style. All 117 of the guest rooms were completely renovated, while public spaces were also redeveloped. Contemporary dining options have opened their doors, with signature restaurants Flames and View making their mark on the Joburg food scene. As one would expect, architects and designers also took advantage of the incredible views over the city that the property offers, including the installation of glass elevators that overlook the jacaranda trees and Johannesburg Zoo. Flames restaurant will offer a barbecue-type concept unlike any other. Under the management of executive chef Dirk Gieselmann, a culinary master who has had a hand in a multitude of famed Michelin-starred international restaurants, the crowd-pleasing menu is influenced by the enviable outdoor lifestyle and local barbecue or braai, a cross-cultural culinary tradition that is inherently South African. As the hotel’s only all-day dining destination, it is centrally situated and leads outdoors onto a wide terrace for al fresco dining with a view. “With a chef of Dirk’s calibre now on board, complemented by an urban chic setting and the exceptional quality of South Africa's food produce and wines, we are setting a new standard for dining in Joburg,” says Carre. The hotel’s curated collection of contemporary African art is highlighted by Hannelie Coetzee’s Face Sculptures in the arrival area. The piece was commissioned especially for the hotel. A total of 375 original artworks were commissioned from local artists for the hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces. The Spa at Four Seasons is described as “a haven of luxurious pampering and results-oriented therapies” and is open to both hotel guests and the public. The Spa consists of nine treatment rooms and men’s and women’s facilities, including ice fountains, saunas and steam rooms. There is also a fitness centre open 24 hours a day, with two outdoor pools, a lap pool and a family-friendly pool available to guests. Spa Director, Julanda Marais, describes the signature Red Nomads

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LUXURY SUITE

FOUR SEASONS FACTS  The hotel has a total of 117 rooms, comprising 105 guest rooms and 12 suites.  The low-rise buildings of the hotel are surrounded by three hectares of landscaped gardens and courtyards.  There are close to 1 500 square metres of event and meeting space available within the premises of the Four Seasons.  Visit www.fourseasons.com for more information.

PHOTOGRAPHS SUPPLIED BY FOUR SEASONS THE WESTCLIFF.

treatment: “Inspired by the ancient Himba tribe, known for their red-ochred skin, our Red Nomads treatment features South Africa’s own Terres d’Afrique products, including rooibos and baobab plant extracts, Kalahari melon and coconut oils, and petrified wood crystals.” The hotel is also positioning itself as an idyllic venue to host weddings, with a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that cater to any level of affair, from intimate dinner parties to lavish banquets. “Four Seasons wedding experts work with each couple to create their dream wedding, and with the utmost attention to every detail, brides, grooms and their families and friends can relax and enjoy the event knowing everything is absolutely perfect,” says the hotel of its offering. Meeting and events organisers can also rely on the expert assistance of the hotel’s team. The flagship Arcadia Ballroom with panoramic views and terrace is divisible and features a pre-function space. Thirteen additional fully equipped rooms offer a choice of smaller venues, or a complete suite for a conference. Guests looking to create an African adventure using the Four Seasons Hotel as a launch pad will also not be disappointed. The hotel describes itself as the “perfect pairing to a safari in South Africa and Botswana, or going further afield to the hotel’s sister property in the Serengeti, or perhaps jetting off to tropical bliss in Mauritius or Seychelles. “Africa is an important development market for Four Seasons, so travellers can look forward to news about more urban and resort locations in the future,” promises Carre of the group’s future in sub-Saharan Africa.


For your nearest stockist contact Picot & Moss 011.669.0500 www.picotandmoss.co.za


THULA SINDI, CONTEMPLATIVE CREATIVE

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Photograph: Mags Norgaard I

Thula Sindi, one of South Africa’s finest designers, has created timeless designer wear for a sophisticated audience, having raised the benchmark without ever having to follow the crowd.

ne wonders if the little boy who grew up in the industrial town of Klerksdorp in South Africa’s North West province ever dreamed that his designs would be making waves on the catwalks of New York, Paris, Boston, Lagos, Johannesburg and soon-to-be Shanghai? In addition to showing his collections around the world, Thula Sindi has garnered titles such as South African Designer of the Year (SA Tourism), Best Youth Entrepreneur for 2012 (Small Enterprise Development Agency) and one of South Africa’s Top 200 Young South Africans (Mail & Guardian newspaper in 2013). Yet he remains humble and dedicated to the craft that has given him the catwalks of the world as a platform. A gentle soul with massive creative vision, Thula Sindi also has the sense to know that fashion is very much about business. He says his mission in life is to “try to create what is important and what is necessary” and his brand take-out is “modern, sophisticated, simple”, the three things he lives and creates by. “I want to create things that are really simple, to create simple things in a beautiful way and to create beautiful things in a very simple way,” says Sindi. “People need things that are vital and when they see it they fall in love, but each time they wear it they think this is a very useful garment as well as being a good buy. So, yes, simplicity, sophistication and modernity are the cornerstones of my business and my own personal philosophy.” He says African designers are definitely getting more airplay on the international catwalks. “I think fashion is always searching for what’s new and what’s fresh, so it’s really just a part of that search,“ says Sindi. “African designers are doing interesting things and (with) the inspirations and colours on the continent and all the multiple

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THULA’S GIRLS, DESIGN INDABA 2014

influences, they will always end up on Western runways.“ According to Sindi, perceptions of African designers have changed over the years and they are now being accepted as designers who are simply part of the milieu of the fashion world, as opposed to being in a separate category of their own. When someone like Beyoncé wears a design by one of the designers from Africa, Sindi says it definitely helps to raise the profile. Sindi doesn’t buy into the existence of ‘African fashion’ in its own standalone category. “Being a designer on the continent means you create clothes that are seen through the prism of the influences of the African continent and it adds a unique element, but it is fashion at the end of the day – it’s functional, it’s beautiful, it’s meant to be bought – so I don’t think there is something such as African fashion,” Sindi explains. “I think there is fashion created by African designers and that can be anything; it can be contemporary, it can be historical, it can be futuristic, it can be a lot of things…” When it comes to personal inspiration in his work, Sindi chooses the more practical route. He says, “I love to create new shapes, new colours, new proportions, and functionality and modernity, so I always find new ways of doing it, whether it’s through different

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fabrications, or proportions or details. So I am really inspired by clothing in itself.“ He believes in being necessary in his work and not letting ego interfere with good business sense. “I think I am a very well-balanced designer. I create items that people do want, so we do sell a lot of clothing. I research a lot about what my customers’ needs are; I pre-empt a lot of needs.”

“…simplicity, sophistication and modernity are the cornerstones of my business and my own personal philosophy.” In giving advice to young designers wanting to follow in his footsteps, he says that knowing your customer is the key to success. “Read a lot, study, observe, know the market, know what the customer needs, pre-empt their needs, and service their needs,” he advises. ‘Really be necessary, because the customer has got hundreds of thousands of choices and for them to choose you, you need to make a quality product that they need, that they want, that they can even use – and come back to you and buy even more.”

He says mentorship has a role to play when it comes to nurturing new talent but that designers shouldn’t get too comfortable. “Mentorship is good in some ways: not as in spoon-feeding someone, but mentorship as in showing someone the ropes and then letting them fly. Designers should know when they graduate what they are gravitating towards in terms of their business and not spending two or three years interning or being mentored. It’s really about being an entrepreneur – you are just creating clothes, so you are a design enterprise at the end of the day.” Sindi suggests that what is needed is true business mentorship – showing and educating upcoming designers how to run a successful business in terms of nuts and bolts and running the books effectively. He doesn’t shy away from the challenges facing upcoming African designers in the global arena. “Scaling up our businesses and investment in infrastructure, stores, logistics, exposure to international markets – all of that needs money and investment and that is a challenge on the continent,” says Sindi. He has a few favourite African designers, including Lisa Folawiyo and Orange Culture from Nigeria. “Lisa Folawiyo is a great designer, very feminine with a very international aesthetic, but


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she loves using African prints and just working with them in different ways. I love Orange Culture from Nigeria; they do menswear primarily – very avant-garde, very left field. It’s also extremely Africa, but Afro-futuristic, if that makes any kind of sense. I also love Gavin Rajah; as a South African-based designer he has got a great aesthetic, very sophisticated, lots of handwork – embellished, beautiful, really the closest we could get to couture.” Sindi admits that when it comes to new talent on the continent, there are so many designers to choose from. “A designer that is kind of bubbling under in South Africa is Floyd. He has got a menswear brand called Floyd Avenue; really innovative, really artsy, but also really practical and I think his brand will do really, really well.” He says African fashion is moving forward at a rapid pace and in the next decade the online space will be the future of fashion. Sindi doesn’t buy into fashion trends or fads, saying fashion is all about ‘tribes’ of people and catering to the aesthetic needs of a particular group of people. “Trend right now is almost like a dirty word. People are wearing

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SINDI’S SLICK, UNCLUTTERED STYLING

what they like, there are little tribes of people if you know what I mean – there are goths, they will always wear gothic fashion; there are people who are sexy – they will always wear sexy fashion; there are people who are very artsy who will always wear arty fashion. There are more kinds of little tribes of fashionistas, so it’s really about designers plugging into whichever subculture or ‘tribe’ of aesthetics they want to go into – it’s really about African designers plugging into their customer base.

“Trend right now is almost like a dirty word. People are wearing what they like, there are little tribes of people if you know what I mean.” He says Fashion Week events such as Africa Fashion Week, Mozambique Fashion Week, Fort Harcourt Fashion Week, are very important for the industry. “The main job of fashion weeks is to let designers do what they do to the media, to buyers, and to the public at large and they work really well in that they create

a platform for designers to present their vision with the right models, the right lighting and the right music, as well as the right sets and right images. They then go forth and get used for look books and media, so you really get to say ‘This is who I am’. It’s a really great platform to get vision to the world and to the media.” So what is next for Sindi? He says: “I am going to try my luck in the Asian market, showing at Shanghai Fashion Week and being part of the fashion market in Asia because I really think that the African designer is needed in that space and the Chinese customer base is looking for something new because they have been inundated with the same-old, same-old when it comes to European brands flooding the market. I’d like to bring some kind of product difference to that market as well. That is the next move for my brand, while also growing in the continent and particularly inside South Africa.” Thula Sindi is one of South Africa’s foremost designers. Read more about him at www.thulasindi.com or call +27 (0)82 847 6137.

PHOTOGRAPHS: SIMON DEINER/©SDR PHOTO OR VISIT WWW.SDR.CO.ZA, THULA SINDI.

INSIGHTS INTO THULA SINDI’S NEW COLLECTION


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SHAPES AND SHADES OF NATURE Eco-friendly in the extreme, the redesigned andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge was inspired by the secretive African pangolin and the Delta’s creative resources. African Travel Market | 77


ndBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge’s design is utterly unique and inspirational to the point that visitors approaching are heard to exclaim out loud before coming to a standstill to admire its eccentric outline, curves and bones. The lodge is to all intents and purposes a functioning work of art that allows you to become part of the bush. Entering the lodge, you feel as if you’re walking into and then melding with a giant wooden carving, featuring a vast skeleton and the overlapping scales of the African pangolin, which is an endangered mammal endemic to these parts. The design has its roots in the visions and ideals of revered architects such as Sir Herbert Baker and Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed a structure should look as if it were moulded out of the surrounding resources so as to, over time, become one with its immediate landscape. With Sandibe, architect Alex Michaelis has given classic ideas a contemporary expression. An immense diningroom table has been carved from the root of an ironwood tree and the sweeping interior staircase delivers you to a deck flanked by papyrus reeds and the endless expanse of the Okavango Delta’s waterways. There is a quiet quality about this sophisticated and uncluttered retreat on the water that allows unhindered access to the views and sounds of the wilderness. The lodge reflects its surroundings with earth-inspired décor touches, using handwoven baskets made in the area and employing shades of

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copper and textures of wood to a create visual effect and a sense of style that is a tribute to the beauty of the delta, its people and their craftsmanship. With only 12 designer guest suites (on stilts for better gameviewing) featuring private pools located at the edge of the forest, privacy and serenity are a given and the massage sala (rest area) is where weary bodies are pampered and revived after demanding flights or long days in the bush. Limiting the number of guests keeps the impact on the environment light and funds from the lodge go towards upliftment work among the local people, providing education, healthcare and training where it’s most needed. In keeping with contemporary eco-design ethics, no cement was used, the electricity is solar and, once the structure ages, it will take on the colours of its environment and simply blend into the forest. Situated next door to and having access to the animal-rich Moremi Game Reserve is a definite plus for visitors staying at Sandibe. The chance of encountering a favourite African animal is excellent as the reserve and its surrounds are home to Africa’s predators and their varied prey. Baboons are plentiful in the delta and they have a habit of sneaking off with four o’clock tea treats whenever possible. They also tend to take a keen interest when you take an al fresco breather under your suite’s private outside shower – having a bird’s eye view from a nearby tree as they do. An outside shower is one of the many treats of the African bush, to be enjoyed at an indulgent and lingering pace.

IMAGES: andBEYOND, DOOK.

STAFF ENJOY A PLAYFUL MOMENT DURING A PHOTO SHOOT


There is nothing like rounding a bend – whether on land or water – and all but bumping into an elephant flapping its ears, demanding you respect its space. Gliding along the delta’s waterways on a dugout makoro (makeshift canoe), your world becomes serene and every sound magnified in a space where nature rules the day – your stealthy approach bringing you in close proximity to easily startled animals that would usually slink away.

Night time in the delta is magical. A long cool drink, a fiery sunset and the nearby honking of a jittery hippo can rejuvenate even the most cynical of souls. Dinner in the boma (reed enclosure) around a blazing fire under the stars is the delta’s tonic, guaranteed to lift you up at dawn for your early morning game drive even if you did have one too many gin and tonics while staring into the coals. The quality of bush cuisine is astonishing in view of the fact that provisions have to be flown in from far and wide. They bake fresh bread, cakes and muffins, will do you a proper fry-up breakfast to your taste and specifications, produce a designer salad in the middle of nowhere and roast spiced meat on the fire that will make you jealous of early man. In plain speak – the food is good. For the ultimate African bush experience, you would do well to consider andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, knowing that your visit will not only revitalise your self, but serve and uplift the area and its people as well.

FACT FILE

THE OUTDOOR SHOWER OFFERS WIDE VIEWS OF THE AFRICAN BUSHVELD

 andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge forms part of the ‘andBeyond’ wilderness properties located across Africa.  Travelling from the landing strip to Sandibe Lodge (in the northwest corner of Botswana) is only a 45-minute game drive, with the lodge providing all transfers. Sandibe is located right next door to the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, a wildlife sanctuary where wild animals can be observed in pristine African habitats.  For more information, visit www.andbeyond.com/ sandibe-okavango-safari-lodge/.

SOFT CURVES ARE A FEATURE OF THIS AWARD-WINNING LODGE

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KWAZULU-NATAL

SPICE POT 80 | African Travel Market


The cuisine of the Indian descendants, whose forebears arrived in Durban to work on the sugar-cane fields under British rule in the late 1800s, has remained and grown to represent a significant culinary contribution to both the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the food of South Africa. ISHAY GOVENDER-YPMA dishes out from the curry pot. A KITCHEN IN MARITZBURG

Mustard seeds spatter and sizzle in the splash of hot oil around the sliced onions that are transforming into a pearly translucence. On this signal, my mother scatters a handful of deep green curry leaves into the pot. The leaves crackle and crisp on contact, releasing a punchy, warming fragrance. It’s a thrilling jolt to the senses, filled with happy memories for someone like me who grew up in a KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) kitchen brimming with hand-me-down recipes from faraway shores and aromatic Indian spices and leaves. I hover closer to the pot and my mother gently shoos me away as she sprinkles her special blend of homemade masala, stirring watchfully with a spoon. She instructs me to open the door in her small kitchen and I stand there for a while, dodging the aroma of the masala, which now burns in the back of my throat. The pleasing aroma of tempering spices wafts out of the open door and curls in breeze-powered puffs up the road. It’s familiar and comforting, a smell we grew up with in this Pietermaritzburg suburb, situated an hour outside Durban. To us, who know the scent, it heralds lunch times of turmeric-gold potato curry, served when we arrived home from school. It signals suppers of chicken curry and rice that we always ate together as a family when my father returned from work. The fragrance of spices cooking signifies the imminent arrival of guests and, sometimes, the meals prepared for grieving neighbours who had lost a family member. The greatest act of support that someone in your

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A VARIETY OF SPICY CURRY DISHES

neighbourhood could perform in the days when I was a child was to brew a pot of tea for your visitors or bring a dishtowel-wrapped pot of curry and warm rotis or fluffy rice to provide nourishment and comfort. Not much has changed in this regard in these older neighbourhoods, like the one my parents still live in, where formerly, under the Group Areas Act of apartheid, Indians lived together but separately from other South Africans. Aunty Angie across the road still sends over her one-of-a-kind mince samoosas when we visit my parents.

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INDIANS IN DURBAN

The Indian Diaspora around the world has resulted in the careful preservation of recipes from the Motherland, often adapted over the generations and around the availability of ingredients. The indentured labourers who arrived in Durban, mostly from Chennai (formerly Madras), between 1860 and 1911, contributed to what has become a significant cultural and culinary characteristic, not just of KwaZulu-Natal, where the majority of Indian descendants live, but also across South Africa.

Mention bunny chow – the hollowedout quarter loaf of white bread filled with sugar-bean or mutton curry – and it’s enough to make an ex-Durbanite weep with longing. With our large and diverse collection of cultures, it really does speak volumes that the humble curry, made mostly from accessible and simple ingredients (like vegetables, flours, rice, legumes and chicken) has carved its spot in the South African culinary landscape.

EVOLUTION OF CURRY

Naturally, Indian gastronomy isn’t limited to curry, and all the Indian


SHAMEN REDDI AND HER FAMILY

EAT HERE!

FRESH SPICES FROM THE MARKET

food we know of today is a result of a complicated history of invasion, fusion, emigration and environmental adaptation. In her book, Curry – A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors (Oxford Press), historian Lizzie Collingham expounds that the curry we know today, even that which arrived on the shores of Durban, is a result of a multitude of influences. The word curry is one the British picked up from the Portuguese, who were stationed in Goa, and referred to brothbased dishes as ‘caril’ or ‘carree’. This was adopted from the Kanadan and Malayalam word, ‘karil’, which

referenced a few sautéed dishes and seasoning spices. In Tamil, ‘kari’ also referred to these spicy seasonings, giving birth to the word ‘curry’, the generic term we use today.

MOTHER’S COOKING IS BEST Zuleikha Mayat, the 89-year-old (at the time of writing) editor of Indian Delights (Interpak Books), an iconic tome of family and community recipes published in the 1950s and revised several times, says KwaZuluNatal’s Indian food is appealing “to anyone who loves good food”. In

Crab & Prawn Curry: Impulse by the Sea 167 Seaview Drive, Tinley Manor Beach, +27 (0)32 554 4626 Curry Buffet (upmarket): The Ocean Terrace at The Oyster Box 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, +27 (0)31 514 5000 Bunny Chow: Goundens 39 Eaton Road, Umbilo, Durban, +27 (0)31 205 5363 Palaak Paneer: Vintage India 20 Windermere Road (Lilian Ngoyi), Durban, +27 (0)31 309 1328 Mutton Curry: Govender’s Curry Kitchen 5 Eaton Road, Umbilo, +27 (0)31 205 4590 Tripe And Trotters (Also In Bunny): Capsicum Restaurant at Britannia Hotel 1299 Umgeni Road, +27 (0)31 303 2266. Vegetarian: Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant (at the Hare Krishna Temple) 50 Bhaktivedanta Swami Circle, Chatsworth, +27 (0)31 403 4600 Late Night Roti Rolls: Sunrise Chip ‘n Ranch 89 Sparks Road, Overport, +27 (0)31 209 2020

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it, she emphasises the pleasures of home cooking, the need for frugality and taking time over meals. The book, the first project of the Women’s Cultural Group in Durban, of which Mrs Mayat is still an active member, was inspired by her desire to become a better cook than her mother-in-law, she says. A tough feat for anyone – the adage of ‘mother’s cooking is best’ is one most children of Indian descent belonging to that generation strongly believed in. Those who were born in KZN (like me) or lived there for a period, yearn for the local style of cookery that isn’t easily replicated outside the home – grandma’s and mother’s curries that weren’t stingy with the oil, featured the perfect ‘melting’ potatoes and were served with finely cut tomato sambals and homemade mango and carrot achars. Shamen Reddi, who along with her late husband, Neville, founded Impulse by the Sea restaurant in Tinley Manor 20 years ago (which she still runs), also credits her mother with impressive cooking skills. “I know it sounds clichéd, but my mum is the best cook. Before I got

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UMHLANGA ROCKS LIGHTHOUSE

married, I couldn’t fry an egg, to be honest. But, with the encouragement of my husband, who was also my greatest critic and supporter, I learned to prepare all the South Indian favourites from both our mums.” The idea behind the restaurant, which started out as a takeaway business on the beach, was to sell the ‘home food’ loved by locals that Mrs Reddi explains wasn’t very easy to find at the time. “The in-season crab curry is a signature dish. We serve it in the shell, with all those lovely juices; it’s very spicy. It’s not for the faint-hearted!” Mrs Reddi says. While she personally prepares the crab and fish dishes as well as the rotis (she often starts the day at 3am), she’s taught Thami Mthethwa, a former cleaner, the ropes. They’ve been cooking together for 15 years now.

A FINER TOUCH

Chef Kevin Joseph, the charismatic head chef at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, mentions that he learnt how to cook from his father. It remains a challenge to contest the superiority of simply cooked Indian fare, but

Chef Joseph and his team have got it down pat, attracting a large local patronage, often the most critical customers. They know good curry, after all. “We serve 13 varieties of curry every day. The favourites are chicken and prawn, traditional lamb curry, lamb vindaloo and vegetable korma,” he says. The curry buffet has become a must-experience activity in Durban because of the variety in one sitting (“Pace yourself,” the waiters will advise), as well as the quality and value offered. But, when he isn’t creating the buffet or fine-dining meals with Indian-inspired flourishes, in his downtime, Chef Joseph enjoys a takeaway from Solly Manjras in Springfield or a sit-down meal at Malis Restaurant in Goble Road – both serving Indian food, naturally. It turns out it’s possible to not have too much of a good thing. Ishay Govender-Ympa is a travel, food and culture writer, as well as a recipe developer. You can follow her popular blog at www. foodandthefabulous.com.

PHOTOGRAPH: ©ISTOCK.COM, ISHAY GOVENDER-YMPA, OYSTER BOX HOTEL.

CHEF KEVIN JOSEPH, OYSTER BOX HOTEL


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SUPERSTAR SOMMELIERS

Making a career out of the art of wine is a growing trend in South Africa – and a number of South Africa’s sommeliers are making a name for themselves locally and internationally. Two sommeliers making waves from the fairest Cape are Esmé Groenewald and Luvo Ntezo.

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MLOUNGE AT MAJEKA HOUSE IN STELLENBOSCH

ESMÉ GROENEWALD – HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Born and raised in the Stellenbosch winelands, Esmé Groenewald (main picture left) has a special affinity for South African wine. She joined the talented team at Majeka House last April, as sommelier for the awardwinning Makaron restaurant, alongside executive chef – and superstar in her own right – Tanja Kruger. The restaurant is known for showcasing the best of local cuisine in gorgeous Stellenbosch and visitors come from near and far to enjoy the ambience, the inspired décor, the delectable menus and the selection of wines (some of which are grown just down the drag). No stranger to the demanding world of hospitality, Groenewald cut her teeth in the demanding restaurant industry, working at and managing a number of Cape Town restaurants and discovering and nurturing her love of wine along the way. “As with many sommeliers, I never chose this profession; it chose me,” she says. “One afternoon, sitting on the patio sipping wine and overlooking the vineyards, the penny dropped. I knew where I wanted to go.”

Landing up at Terroir Restaurant on Kleine Zalze Wine Estate in Stellenbosch was a fantastic experience on a personal and professional level and it was here that she was further inspired to follow her dreams and enrolled with the Cape Wine Academy. She says the time at Terroir laid the foundations for a career in wine. “Chef Michael Broughton pushed me to learn more about wine and introduced me to so many flavours; Joakim Blackadder (sommelier) constantly showed me how much I have to learn and always had something rare and unusual for me to blind taste.” As she progressed with her studies over time, her passion for the craft grew and matured. She says, “With every graduation I thought I was done, but the subject becomes addictive. She continues her studies with distance learning through Wine & Spirit Education Trust in the UK (WSET), and adds, “Wine is an inexhaustible and fabulous field.” Groenewald remains enchanted and inspired by the holistic Makaron experience and its incredible food and wine philosophy. The wine list is extensive, with many wines coming from her ’hood. She is also pleased about the fact that she has the opportunity to truly get creative when it comes to selection.

“I’m thrilled about the freedom I have to create something unique – the prospect of being able to throw out the rule book, focus on customer service and create a great, in-depth wine programme that is funky and unique.” For her, the journey is unique. “I believe that wine is a love affair, passionate and personal.” If you’re in need of a boutique dining and wining experience with that extra special touch, book your space at (manager-owned) Majeka House and Makaron restaurant, and you will probably be lucky enough to have Groenewald help you to choose a delicious bottle of something from a farm just this side of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. To book your place at Majeka House and Makaron Restaurant, call +27 (0)21 880 1512 or visit www.majekahouse.co.za. ESMÉʼS TOP WINES FOR AUTUMN/WINTER (2015-03-19)  Louis Cabernet  Sijnn Red Blend  Newton Johnson Pinot Noir  Vergelegen V  Hartenburg Gravel Hill

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LUVO NTEZO, HEAD SOMMELIER AT THE ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN

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EVENING SHOT OF THE ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN

PHOTOGRAPHS: MAJEKA HOUSE, ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN.

LUVO NTEZO – THE LOVE AFFAIR CONTINUES

Luvo Ntezo is one of those heartwarming South African success stories… a classic tale of ‘good guy makes good’ and then carries on making great. Raised in a modest household in the Eastern Cape, Ntezo took on a job as a pool porter at Steenberg Hotel in Constantia, Cape Town at the age of 20. After six months of working the pool and serving wine by the glass, he battled to open a bottle of wine for an English family, frustrating him no end. He says, “I had never opened a bottle of wine before and after trying repeatedly, I finally had to ask the family for help. The next day I went to the winemaker, John Loubser – I wanted him to teach me all there was to know about wine.” Loubser obliged and young Ntezo was eager to learn everything there was to know about wine and the winemaking process from Loubser. In 2003, another opportunity presented itself and Ntezo left Steenberg to accept a job as a glasswasher at the exclusive 12 Apostles Hotel on the Atlantic Seaboard. The position allowed him to be closer to home and although he didn’t realise at the time, it was the future calling. It was here that then general manager, Clive Bennett, saw his potential and offered to send him to the Cape Wine Academy to become a certified sommelier.

Ntezo flung himself into his studies for the next two years. His hard work and determination paid off and in 2008, Ntezo took first place in the prestigious national Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommeliers category – and has done so every year since. He then went on to compete in Vienna and took fourth place in the world stakes. His training for this globally recognised competition exposed him to the wines of the world and he’s never stopped learning. In June 2011 he was appointed head sommelier at One&Only Cape Town – the fact that he is ultracharming and extremely passionate about local and South African wines certainly works in his favour. He says the list at the One&Only Cape Town is impressive, and he is extremely enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge with guests and his fellow staffers. “It’s my job to introduce our guests to new tastes and to help them celebrate their favourites – there are no golden or unbreakable rules with wine in my opinion. We want to encourage people to explore their own taste preferences,” says Ntezo. “If we can show them something new to enjoy along the way, we’ve done a good job.” Making wine accessible to diners at One&Only is key and the hotel offers

monthly Wine & Dine evenings, where smallish groups of people get to dine with celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, Ntezo and a chosen winemaker. He says nothing gives him more joy than seeing guests enjoying the combined food and wine experience. He might fly around the world tasting wines of the world and entertaining guests from all corners of the globe at One&Only Cape Town, but this father of two says he is still learning and his journey of ‘enlightenment’ gets richer every day. “Every day I discover new things and meet new people; I’m lucky though – wine is a great unifier. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you can share and enjoy a bottle of wine, you’re halfway there.” To book your place at Nobu or Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town, call +27 (0)21 431 4511 or e-mail restaurant.reservations@ oneandonlycapetown.com.

LUVOʼS TOP WINES FOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2015  Grangehurst Nikela  Mullineux Syrah  Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cab Sauv  Southern Right Pinotage  Waterford The Jem

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MAGNIFICENT MADIKWE A vast choice of accommodation options, a wild and diverse landscape, the Big Five and incredible biodiversity – Madikwe Game Reserve is blessed with natural riches and a good dose of community spirit.

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IMAGE: dook/MOROKURU FAMILY..

atching a pack of wild dogs moving along a dusty sand track like a giant mottled shark as they seek out ‘dinner’ against a bold orange sky is one of the pleasures of visiting Madikwe Game Reserve, something that wouldn’t have been possible 30 years ago, when the area was all farmland. The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve covers 75 000 hectares and lies just this side of the Botswana border. It is something of a ‘miracle reserve’, as the people who live and work there will tell you. The reserve made history with Operation Phoenix – one of the largest wildlife translocation programmes in the world

(1991 to 1997) that transformed hectares of farmland into a veritable wildlife paradise, with over 8 000 animals (of 28 species) released, including elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, rhino, spotted hyena, antelope, giraffe and many others, including the three hunting packs of African wild dog that roam the reserve at will. The reserve’s accommodation options range from ultra-luxurious to rustic and eco-friendly and it offers a unique experience thanks to a variety of landscapes and habitats that support diverse wildlife, including the best of the African bush ‘lookers’, such as cheetah, eland, kudu and giraffe, plus 300 species of birds and the enigmatic brown hyena (more beast than beauty but captivating, particularly at night).

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The Big Five are definitely a drawcard, but the rich habitat of the area allows for game drives that result in deeper experiences and unparalleled activities courtesy of the nature and wildlife in the area. With over 20 lodges spread across the reserve, travellers have a wide choice of accommodation to suit every pocket and preference. No day visitors are allowed, so choosing the perfect place to stay is both mandatory and recommended.

MATEYA LODGE

Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge is built atop a naturally occurring boulder outcrop among local Tamboti trees, which are prized for their wood. The lodge receives only 24 guests at any one time and offers private suites with view-friendly glass walls and thatched roofs that blend into the surrounds. Well-lit wooden walkways connect the suites with the magnificent main gathering area, where guests meet for cocktails, meals and teas. The library stocks all manner of information on local wildlife and history, plus popular fiction choices. You have to breathe for yourself, but Madikwe Hills will pretty much take care of anything else. It’s indulgent and delicious and is located slap-bang in the middle of the reserve, meaning game drives have boundless choices – you can set off in any direction and travel at will without bumping up against borders or boundaries. At dusk, as you sit on your private deck and look out over a vast expanse of African bush; it’s not unusual for giraffe or elephant to step into view before a flaming sun drops below the horizon. Honeymoon couples may want to consider the lodge’s Little Madikwe Private Village, which comes with its own vehicle and game ranger, plus the services of a trained personal butler. Mateya Lodge will feel like home for those with a refined eye who appreciate local art and prize Wi-Fi connectivity. The lodge is beautifull designed with décor that showcases fine examples of African art and offers the comfort of private plunge pools matched to suites that combine visual appeal and comfort. That Out of Africa draped mosquito net luxury safari feel pervades. Oenophiles are particularly welcome as Mateya boasts a serious wine cellar that aims to please.

JACI'S SAFARI LODGE

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Jaci’s Safari Lodge will suit those with children. Although the African bush isn’t always perceived as child friendly, Madikwe caters particularly well for families. It is recommended if you’re travelling en famille as local nannies (who are excellent childminders) can look after even the youngest of the young. With the threat of malaria out of the way, Madikwe is the ideal location to introduce


youngsters to the riches of the African wilderness via ‘Jungle Drives’ (for children up to five years), during which things of interest to children are highlighted and their questions are answered. IMPODIMO

Jaci’s Tree Lodge is a bush fantasy world adjacent to Jaci’s Safari Lodge, where you live and walk at the level of trees off the ground. The décor embraces African textures and incorporates invigorating views into your living space. You’re not just staying here – you’re part of the bush. Impodimo is another beautiful lodge that welcomes youngsters and offers Kiddies Bumble Safari outings, which are not as long as the regular bush drives. Known also for its spa treatments, it is ideal for stressed parents who could do with a bit of pampering while their offspring are introduced to the inhabitants of the African bush. Tau, Madikwe Safari Lodge, and Etali all offer spa facilities and treatments in addition to beautiful thatch and woodrich accommodation and enviable settings, overlooking rivers, water and the bushveld savannah.

POOL AND WATERHOLE - ETALI SAFARI LODGE

Etali is a classical lodge that is a favourite among many travellers who have been visiting Madikwe for years. Flowing spaces embracing beautiful views of the bush and contemporary Afro-chic décor with a definite Zen slant create a unique language at this stylish lodge. Owners, staff and everyone you meet are friendly and welcoming. The lodge is upmarket and sophisticated, yet laid back at the same time. Madikwe Safari Lodge is renowned for its service and offers three accommodation options – Lelapa, which caters for families, and Dithaba and Kopano for couples and groups. When it comes to dining, visitors can look forward to a quality experience, with items such as grilled venison (very much organic and no air miles involved) and local specialities taking centre stage. Bread, cakes and muffins are baked fresh on the spot, fruit is prepared daily and the sit-down dinners are a feast of salads, swank main courses and indulgent desserts. Eating around the fire, though, is the preferred way to go as the smell of the wood enhances your dining experience immeasurably. Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Lodge is the perfect romantic retreat for honeymoon couples. The breathtaking Royal Villa is literally a home away from home it is so spacious and lovingly decorated.

PRIVATE PLUNGE POOL - MADIKWE SAFARI LODGE

ROYAL MADIKWE LODGE

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MOSETLHA BUSH CAMP & ECO-LODGE

Mosetlha Bush Camp and Eco-Lodge are in keeping with the times and strive to have as low an impact on the environment as possible, without sacrificing on the comfort scale. Meals are prepared al fresco over open fires, open-topped walls encourage a breeze to cool you down in lieu of air conditioning and bucket showers filled with hot water keep you clean and refreshed. The smart thing to do is to visit during South Africa’s dry winter months (from June to early September), when game viewing is at its best (shorter grass, and animals congregate at water holes). The days are warm but not blasting and the evenings are refreshing – ideal to cosy up to the fire. Buffalo Ridge and Thakadu River Camp are examples of Madikwe’s ethic of social upliftment. The luxury lodges are fully owned by the local communities living in the immediate vicinity of the reserve. This ownership has an effect on employees – they’re empowered and realise that through their service they contribute to the greater good of all. There are a few bush treats at Madikwe that shouldn’t be missed – having an outdoor shower or bath with a view always produces a frisson of daring; coffee and baked treats at sunrise with the sounds of the wilderness around you ensure a perfect start to the day; al fresco dining around a gorgeous fire or on a deck where the scenery plunges away from you is as dramatic as you could wish it to be. Your only responsibility here is enjoying yourself.

BUFFALO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE LANTERN DINNER

Find out more about Madikwe Game Reserve and its accommodation offerings at madikwe-lodges. co.za, www.madikwegamereserve.co.za or visit the North West Parks & Tourism Board website at www.parksnorthwest.co.za.

IMAGES: MADIKWE SAFARI LODGE, ETALI SAFARI LODGE, ROYAL MADIKWE, BUFFALO RIDGE SAFARI LODEG, IMPODIMO GAME LODGE, JACI'S SAFARI LODGE, MORE HOTELS AND MOROKURU FAMILY..

This lodge also boasts a honeymoon suite with all the trimmings, which creates a mood of exclusiveness and luxury. There are more than a dozen others to choose from, each special in its own way – lodges such as Madikwe River Lodge, Makanyane, Motswiri, Rhulani, The Bush House, Tuningi , Jamala Madikwe, Molori and Morukuru.


The beauty THAT IS BABYLONSTOREN An ancient valley, a manor house that dates back centuries, works of art everywhere, flourishing gardens and shady spaces, inspired design and a dedicated eco-ethic… Babylonstoren is natural living at its most inspired and the perfect place to pause.

'WOOD SNAKE' - SHADED WALKWAY IN THE GROUNDS OF BABYLONSTOREN FARM

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INTERIOR, THE GREEN HOUSE

GARDENS ARE AT THE HEART OF BABYLONSTOREN

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FRESH BREAD DAILY

WHERE ART MEETS FOOD, BABEL RESTAURANT

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here’s a knock at the door and as I open it I’m presented with a broad smile and a silver tray that holds delicate canapés and a glass of perfectly chilled Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc. “Just a little something to see you through to dinner,” I’m charmingly told of the surprise delivery. I settle in to savour the flavours as the sun softens. Invited to spend a night, I’d arrived a few hours earlier to take in as much of the farm as possible. Located between Franschhoek and Paarl in the Cape Winelands and about 60km from Cape Town, Babylonstoren offers one of the oldest and best-preserved examples of a traditional Cape Dutch farmyard. The classic Manor House dates back to 1777 and there are numerous buildings from the 1690s, when the farm was originally settled. The old cellar and ‘Koornhuis’ for storing wheat, as well as the ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates, all of which add character to the traditional courtyard surrounded by its whitewashed wall. A pair of donkeys and a collection of rather tame and very happy turkeys, ducks and chickens now call this area home. Babylonstoren has seen complete restoration under the owners, Koos Bekker and his wife, Karen Roos. Since buying it in 2007, they have invested a wealth of work, vision and passion into transforming the property into one of the county’s top luxury destinations. Karen understands décor and design, balancing it perfectly with considerate detail. Combine this with true South African hospitality and the way in which they honour the land, acting only consciously, and you have magic. From the start, their primary focus was establishing an edible garden, which they did, taking inspiration from the original plans and drawings used when laying out the Company Gardens. Planting over 350 edible fruit and vegetables, herbs and heritage plants, this formal French kitchen garden pays tribute to the traditions of the Cape. Furrows bring water from the Berg River and burnt orange reservoirs serve to breed fish while reflecting the surrounding Drakenstein Mountains in the afternoon sun. On a garden tour with Gundula and her dog Doring, I learn about the philosophy behind the food garden, while head chef Cornelle Minie fills her basket with herbs. Babel Restaurant is the best place to taste some of these fresh offerings. It’s an absolute triumph in a converted cowshed with an open kitchen and the menu scribbled on the wall next to a much-photographed sketch of a bull. There is a fresh menu daily, organised by seasonal colours and influence, be it beef or smoked trout with generous portions of homegrown vegetables. Here, emphasis is on provenance, on real food that’s lovingly prepared. In the middle of the room, what were once feed troughs now hold glass bottles of water and


BABEL RESTAURANT SURROUNDED BY GARDENS AND A MOUNTAIN BACKDROP

POND WITH EDIBLE FLOWERS

DUCKS ON A STROLL

BOTANICAL BOUNTY – BABYLONSTOREN

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FRESH FROM THE GARDEN

BABYLONSTOREN HAS ITS OWN WINE LABEL

EXTERIOR OF THE GREENHOUSE

FRESH AND DELICIOUS

A PLAYGROUND FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS

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IMAGES: DOOK AND BABYLONSTOREN.

Babylonstoren whites on ice. The service is gracious and attentive, with each course matched to a wine from the farm, or at least the area. Or you can opt for the Greenhouse, situated under oak trees at the back of the garden, with a collection of tables and Luxembourg chairs both inside and outside the conservatory. Offering lighter meals, here you can construct your own sandwich and dream up your own tea from an offering of freshly picked herbs. The accommodation takes the form of eight en-suite one-bedroom and four en-suite two-bedroom guest rooms in converted labourers’ cottages. On opening the door, you will find that a light, soft white and utterly inviting room awaits you. The rooms hold a king-size bed, a shelf divider with a library of mostly South African books, and a lounge area with a fireplace and glass wall opening onto the patio. The bathrooms are large, with claw-footed baths and showers, double vanities and a slim wraparound window that brings in fresh air. It is effortless luxury, with everything you need and much more, right down to Wellington boots and sweet treats. The note on the bed reads, ‘We've been expecting you.’ The Garden Spa is near the large farm-style pool, the treatment rooms and the new Turkish Hammam, which offers an array of treat options. I had a massage that incorporated the aromatic herbs grown on the farm, my therapist working wonders with her strong healing hands. There’s much to do at Babylonstoren, or you can just relax into the gentle pace of it, savouring the experience with all of your senses. What I do recommend are the following: take a guided tour of the food garden with Gundula, enjoy a cellar tour and tasting (they even have pizza nights in the cellar), meditate in the mulberry garden, feed the donkeys, walk the prickly-pear maze, cycle to the dam, and climb the Babylonstoren hill, from which the farm got its name, to take in the view across the valley. Walk the plum orchards. Eat fruit off the trees. Breathe in the indigenous herbs. Spend much time barefoot on the chamomile lawn. Here is the art of natural living. A place to pause.

LUXURY FARMHOUSE ACCOMMODATION

TIME OUT IN THE SAUNA

Babylonstoren is open daily between 9am and 5pm. E-mail enquiries@babylonstoren.com to book a tour and take a look at babylonstoren.com for more. Advance bookings at Babel are essential and, yes, they do have a wedding venue. What a fairytale that would be! There’s wine tasting, a deli bakery, cheese and charcuterie rooms and a farm shop with a collection of wonderful gifts. Whatever you need, the team in the welcome area and lounge will assist in their charming way. Do take note of the regular workshops on offer too.

QUIET TIME AROUND THE POOL IS AN OPTION.

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THE INCREDIBLE TWO-LEVEL TAKAMAKA FALLS FROM AN AERIAL PERSPECTIVE

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Beyond the beach AN ADVENTURER’S REUNION The Indian Ocean Islands are mostly known for their beach resorts complete with jet skis and rum cocktails. Reunion, however, is an entirely different affair…

mere four-hour flight from Johannesburg, Reunion Island has always been incredibly popular with French travellers looking to escape the harsh European winter and enjoy this sliver of French territory in the Indian Ocean. The island has received recent attention for its plethora of adventure activities, local creole food and attractive, colourful villages dotted across the remains of an old volcano. However, the remaining active volcano on the island, Piton de Fournaise, is probably the biggest drawcard for adventure seekers.

CLIMBING CALDERAS

The ancient peak of Piton des Neiges, an inactive volcano that collapsed and formed three craters, or calderas, overlooks the mostly untouched parts of the island. Areas that can be navigated only by footpaths, carved over decades by local Creole residents headed towards small villages, have become trekking central for travellers looking to spend all of their time in the lush outdoors of Reunion. With over 200km of trekking path within the calderas of Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos, the opportunity to backpack between small villages and their homely lodges is appealing. Wandering through these villages, enjoying the local fare and meeting travellers on a similar journey, is a great precursor to all of the island’s adventures.

The natural formation of the calderas has laid the foundation for more activities than you can fit in on just a week’s journey, but rock climbs ranging from beginner to the elite are in order, while helicopter flips in and out of the craters take off every few minutes from various bases along the island’s coastline. While the Mafate caldera can be entered only on foot (or by helicopter), Salazie and Cilaos have corkscrew roads that can be fun to traverse on a self-drive. The road into Cirque de Cilaos has over 200 hairpin bends that snake up the mountains towards the caldera’s namesake village. The drive can be both harrowing and thrilling, and while some passengers may not agree, it really forms part of the island’s charm.

THE PEAK OF THE FURNACE

Reunion’s active volcano, Piton de Fournaise, is situated in the centre of the dense lava fields that form an alien landscape scattered with porous volcanic rock. Nothing really grows here and as you come over the ridge of the surrounding mountains, there is a discernable line where the volcano has claimed its territory. White rocks mark the walking paths, IN stark contrast to the red and black pebbles that form loose gravel on the ground.


(LEFT AND RIGHT) THE MAFATE CALDERA IS AN AWE-INSPIRING TREKKING PLAYGROUND, IDEAL FOR HIKERS OF ALL LEVELS.


Hiking to the volcano from the viewing deck that overlooks it from a safe distance is a six-hour endeavour. People have been known to get lost in the landscape and dehydrate from the icy winds that spiral inside the crater surrounding Piton de Fournaise. The trek to the top is best started before sunrise and should not be attempted without sturdy boots. A trip around the rim of the two open chutes, down into the volcano, are possible only when the volcano is in a good mood. As soon as the park rangers detect any underground ructions, all roads to Piton de Fournaise are shut for the sake of everyone’s safety.

idyllic spot is better known to locals and gets very busy on weekends, but it makes for a great stop for those headed down and around the southern tip of Reunion. Further along the coastal road, lava tunnels running underneath the barren fields of molten and reset rock can be traversed by travellers who don’t fear confined spaces. Donning the necessary safety equipment, explorers use torches to inch their way through the underground pathways and air pockets that formed in the lava as it settled on the slopes of the volcano over the years.

EXPLORING THE WILD SOUTH

Getting out of the car and into a wetsuit to roll down one of the rivers of the caldera is great for those who enjoy ‘kloofing’ or jumping off cliffs into natural pools. In Reunion, this is known as an aquatic hike and actually does include hiking a short distance in a wetsuit and helmet to get to the ideal launch point. Guides will point out the best places to make an entry into the icy waters, and making your way back to the starting point using the natural drift of the river is a high for any adrenaline junkie. Naturally, your exit from the river is incentivised with a glass of local rum and a toast to surviving some of the more intense rapids and jumps. The beauty of Reunion’s natural water features extends beyond rivers though, and a drive into the Salazie caldera will reveal waterfalls flowing directly off the sides of the

The eastern side of the volcano slopes down towards the coastline, an area less populated and very overgrown in places. The Wild South is also full of gems to discover, if you take the time and have your own vehicle to get around. Amidst the vast fields of stuck lava that have forged their way into the ocean, lie the Anse des Cascades. These sheets of waterfalls run off the mountain and drop straight into the bay below, creating natural showers that offer a popular cooling-off spot in the high heat and humidity of the island. Dedicated picnic spots and a small restaurant front the bay, while local fishermen launch from the rudimentary jetty in the hopes of bringing back something for the market. This

FLOWING THROUGH THE GORGES

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THE TAMIL TEMPLES OF REUNION STAND OUT AGAINST THE LUSH GREEN LANDSCAPE.


TASTY CREOLE DISHES ARE SERVED ‘FAMILY STYLE’ AT EACH TABLE, READY TO SHARE BETWEEN FRIENDS.

steep cliffs and into rivers that run beneath the roads. Viewpoints, often with more cars than are safe squeezed into them, dot the road up to the Creole village of HellBourg, allowing drivers the opportunity to stop and take in the sights of these cascading layers.

IMAGES: REUNION TOURISM.

TASTING REUNION

The laidback Creole culture on Reunion is one to delve into when visiting the island. Colourful villages scattered across the mountainsides offer local dining options accompanied by more rum and plenty of Maloya dancing, a local style unique to Reunion. While the food isn’t spicy, the accompanying condiments can be. Fresh fish, chicken and goat dishes are usually on the menu, while areas of the island are known for their own champion dishes. The lentils of Cilaos, for instance, are cherished and served lovingly with comforting gravy. Portions are big and priced low in comparison to eating out at the French bistros of the coastal towns. The Saint-Paul market, open on Fridays and Saturdays, is the most cherished of the food markets on the island. Artisan producers and farmers, alongside artists and crafters, bring their wares to sell to locals and travellers alike. Bread laced with vanilla pods, fresh coconut ice

cream and spices to tickle the senses are on display for most of the day. Placed alongside a stretch of beach born of black volcanic sand, the market is ideal to collect a basketful of food items before you head out to one of the thousands of dedicated picnic spots that veer off most major (and minor) roads. By Kate Els GETTING THERE Reunion is just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg on Air Austral. Flights out of South Africa depart twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays. Although Reunion is an overseas department of France, South African passport holders do not need a visa to visit. Getting Around The entire island can be traversed by vehicle in a couple of hours, so car hire is an excellent option for those who don’t mind driving on the opposite side of the road to South Africa. A reliable bus service is also available along all of the major coastal roads and into the calderas where possible. Guided tours by bus and in 4x4s are available, as well as helicopter flights across the island.

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Being in Sinai is a little like stepping onto the moon, but for the Bedouins who sprinkle the rugged landscape, it’s a harsh place, dry, desolate and achingly beautiful.

RIDING CAMELS AT ST CATHERINES

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ST CATHERINES ANCIENT ARTWORK

THE HOLY MONASTERY OF THE GOD-TRODDEN MOUNT SINAI, ALSO KNOWN AS ST CATHERINE’S MONASTERY

BEDOUIN MAN TAKING RESPITE IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY.

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holy pilgrimage for some, a muscle-burning, blister-making trek for others… Climbing Mount Sinai is for the strong-legged and deeply determined – and for those travellers who want to see the sun rise from the very top of Egypt. We are sunrise specialists, so Mount Sinai was in our sight. Up at 1am, we start our climb an hour later, dressed warmly against the night chill. Step by step we go, though there are the options of taking camels and donkeys part of the way up. It gets too steep for them too, though, and then you have to leg it to the summit anyway. We shed clothing as we go, scarves and gloves into our daypacks. Our blood is running hot and our legs are burning like hell’s fire. We consciously divert our thoughts to the monk who built these 3 750 Steps of Repentance from cut stone. He built them alone, and we wonder how badly he could have sinned in life to desire such dire repentance. We’re climbing slowly, so pilgrims pass us en route and we move over for them so they don’t break their stride. “Enough,” says fellow climber and friend Abdullah Mohammed, “let’s rest for a minute. How I wish for a glass of sweet mint tea to restore my soul.” We’re so fatigued, we’d settle for the bland grass tea we’d tasted the previous day in a Bedouin settlement. And then to rest on one of their colourful carpets in the shade would be bliss too, surrounded by the silence of the desert stretching out in every direction. Our desert guide, Mohammed Torky, drove us deep into Sinai with the promise of meeting resident Bedouins. This was their territory after all, and they eke out a living on this parched land, although it’s difficult to see how. There are miles and miles of gravel and sand sweeping between low-slung bare hills, and then the flat stretch tents of the Bedouin woven from camel and goat hair in jet-black. It’s their traditional colour, and even in the searing heat of over 50˚ Celsius in summer, the women still choose to wear black from top to toe. After an hour of driving, Mohammed stopped his rattling Jeep between two low-slung hills. “Now we walk,” he said, as he hopped from the Jeep and beckoned us to follow him through a shallow canyon. “It’s not far, and it’s cool when you get there.” We followed him for 20 minutes, walking slowly through the thick sand. And as the canyon opened up, there was a beautiful sight: shade, people and a fire with a kettle of water boiling for tea. Lying in the shade on a rainbow carpet was a Bedouin man in a sky-blue tunic. His wife and daughter were making the tea, dressed in pitch black with only their kohllined eyes visible. They greeted us warmly and motioned to us to sit down. We were wilted from the heat and quickly sat down in the shade on the soft carpet that covered the desert floor. In striking colours of red, green and blue – all natural dyes – the carpet was woven by hand using wool and camel hair. A Bedouin carpet can take up to a year to complete and is created in small strips and then stitched together. Every carpet is unique and patterns are never repeated. “Never ever,” emphasises Mohammed. “The Bedouin really take pride in their carpets.”


IMAGES: KERI HARVEY, ©ISTOCK.COM.

LUXURY RESORT ALONG THE RED SEA

Soon we were handed a small glass of steaming tea, pale in colour. “It’s grass tea,” explained Mohammed, “and yes it’s made from grass. There’s very little here and the Bedouin use everything they have.” And, as expected, the tea tasted just like grass. But it would be sweet nectar right now, as we ascend Mount Sinai with quite a way yet to go to reach the 2 285m summit. “Onwards and upwards,” proclaims Abdullah, and we reluctantly continue stepping our way up the mountainside. “It’s not that far to go,” says Abdullah, pointing skywards, “you see those stalls? Well, they are near the top.” A little way up are rickety tables and makeshift awnings and as we draw nearer we can see they are laden with rocks and stones. Only in Egypt will they sell you a rock at the top of a mountain, so you can carry it all the way back down again. Which is of course what we did with an oversized egg-shaped piece of lapis lazuli. And then it happens. Just as we reach the top of Mount Sinai, the morning sun breaks through cloud and we see sunrise from the very top of Egypt. The first rays of the day stretch across the mountaintop and the 50-plus other climbers who have also arrived at the summit all fall silent. “Thank you, Ra,” says Abdullah, as he makes his way to pray the first of his five prayers for the day. We soak up the rareness of the experience and wait for Abdullah to return. “Yallah Habibi,” he says, or “Let’s go Beloveds,” and we gingerly start our descent with tired and wobbly legs. “Just go slowly,” cautions Abdullah, “because going down the mountain is hard on your knees.” It is, but the sight of St Catherine’s Monastery lying down below distracts us. Dedicated to this legendary Christian martyr who was tortured and beheaded for her beliefs, it’s built from simple stone and has been dated to 337 AD. Monks still live there, surrounded by a granite perimeter wall that’s three metres thick. Inside is the basilica, chapel, monastery and a descendent of Moses’ burning bush.

Finally we’re back at ground level, Mount Sinai at our backs and standing on jelly legs. The drive to Dahab on the Red Sea coast will be for pure relaxation and dinner at the seaside. Festive, open-air beach restaurants line the water’s edge and serve fresh seafood and local delicacies until late at night. Egyptians are not morning people, but stay up late to socialise and enjoy the cooler temperatures of night – and we will join them. Maybe tomorrow we’ll go snorkelling, though this is a wonderland for scuba divers. Not just the fantastical colours of fish and coral gardens, but the wreck diving in the Red Sea is spectacular – Ras Mohammed and Sharmel-Sheikh particularly. Or if we can’t move a limb tomorrow, we can always loll on the beach and go for gentle dips in the ocean. Either way is fine, because we have been to the top of Mount Sinai and seen Egypt from on high, and at ground level, deep in the desert with traditional Bedouins, who uphold their ancient culture even though the world has sped up around them. Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is truly otherworldly, deeply evocative and thoroughly ancient. It’s a place that will likely change the way you look at life and priorities. For us, it was a lesson in living in the moment. By Keri Harvey FACT FILE Best Time To Go: October to December and February to April. Visas: SA passport holders require a visa for Egypt. Getting There: See www.dfcegypt.com or email the owner Ayman on info@dfcegypt.com – the company is reputable and has specialised in desert safaris in Egypt and Sinai since 2003. Advice: While Egypt is in political transition, it’s advisable to consult land operators in Sinai ahead of booking your trip.

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TWO TEENAGE GIRLS ENJOY TIME ON THE MAIN BEACH OF GOREE ISLAND, SENEGAL

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t’s 2am when we land in Dakar, Senegal. It’s the rainy season and we walk into a sticky wall of humidity. Our hotel has collected nearly everyone on our plane – pilots, flight stewards and expats – some are working on mines, others in construction. They’re all checking in to do business. The first thing you notice at the Onomo Hotel or ‘Onomollywood’ are the huge canvas prints depicting scenes from American blockbuster movies. Instead of Mena Suvari in the classic American Beauty publicity still, or Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, beautiful African women are featured as the stars. The photo series by Senegalese artist Omar Victor Diop explores what Hollywood’s face could have been if filmed in Africa. Our driver, Yacoob, meets us later that morning in a banged-up yellow cab with only windows for aircon. He navigates his way through the traffic Dakar-style – shouting at overcrowded Bollywood-styled busses, horse carts and motorcyclists without helmets. Every corner has a small business and a soccer team. Mixed and matched players are scoring on open plots, no matter the traffic or the time of day. The city’s outskirts feel like a construction site – a concrete jungle emerging behind layers of scaffolding filled with men wearing little or no safety gear. Only the call to prayer breaks through the sound of drilling and traffic. We drive through the city centre or the plateau with its colonial and upmarket buildings and embassies; the plateau was built after France named Dakar the capital of French West Africa in 1902. Leaving the open lanes, we manoeuvre our way through the medina with its congested streets and traders crushed together, its buildings bruised and licked with pastels. Even though it looks a little broken, the feeling on the street is vibrant. This is where celebrated musicians like Youssou N’Dour and Omar Pene were born and the creative spirit is tangible.

A YOUNG TEXTILE SALESMEN WHO TRADES IN THE HEART OF DAKAR’S MARCHE SANDAGA

A SENEGALESE WOMAN CRUSHING PEANUT SHELLS BY HAND

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A BUSY SIDE STREET IN DAKAR’S MARCHE SANDAGA.

A TAXI CAB ZOOMS PAST WALL ART IN DAKAR, SENEGAL.

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Locals really like to dress up, even if it’s just to go about their usual business. Women and men are wrapped in bright boubous (flowing wide-sleeved robes) and prints. It’s intoxicating and we ask our driver to stop at the Marche Sandaga so we can buy fabric. Suddenly we have a tour guide, a personal shopping assistant and a bodyguard who take us through the sprawl from stall to shop, through little alleys and into workshops. These are ‘sweatshops’ of a different kind – the air is hot, dripping with the culture of couture. People are crammed together, industriously sewing and trading. Colourful wax printed fabrics are stacked up against walls and line corridors. Everyone is aggressively trying to sell us something, from silver jewellery and cellular phones to chicken feet. Yacoob tells us that his countrymen are proud to be known for their teranga or hospitality. Although we feel a little overwhelmed, we see the truth of this when our self-appointed entourage waves us goodbye without asking for anything. We head to the port and board the last ferry of the day to Gorée Island. Senegal has a reputation as one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Investors are eager to do business and locals are more than willing to reciprocate. We meet a host of new friends, all trying to sell us something. ‘The Colonel’, a wiry old man with an American twang informs us that he was President Barack Obama’s personal guide to the island. Obama described his 2013 visit as a “powerful moment”. The House of Slaves on the island has become a place of pilgrimage for many African Americans. As the ferry pulls in, the island presents a scenic face different from its terrible history. Families are relaxing on the beach. French colonial architecture and pastel shuttered buildings are divided by a communal square with galleries, homes and curio shops. Everything is weathered but full of character.

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A RESIDENT OF GORÉE ISLAND SEATED ON A LOG OUTSIDE HIS HOME

DAKAR LOCALS SWIMMING ON THE MAIN BEACH OF GORÉE ISLAND


A SENEGALESE MAN SMILES A WARM WELCOME

A YOUNG BOY PLAYING IN THE ROCK POOLS

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At the Colonel’s sister’s beach restaurant, we eat freshly caught dorado and watch the local soccer team jog by. We begin to understand that embracing the hustle is part of the experience. Back on the mainland, we pass Corniche beachfront where toned athletic men and women are running up and down the promenade. We decide to end the day with a local Gazelle beer at the Secret Spot on the Almadies Peninsula, also known for its surfing. Placing our order in broken French, we look out at a storm over the Atlantic and marvel that this is the westernmost point of Africa. We agree that you have to have stamina to experience Dakar. When we ask about a good venue to listen to some of Senegal’s renowned sounds, we are told that the real music will start before midnight. The day is not over yet; you need a full 24 hours to scratch the surface of this pulsating city. Thanks for your teranga, Dakar. By Lauren Groenewald INFORMATION: Getting There: South African Airways flies directly to Dakar, visit: www.flysaa.com. In addition, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and KLM also service the destination from Johannesburg. Accommodation: There is a wide range of accommodation available in Dakar. For affordable quality accommodation you might want to try the Onomo Hotel, www.onomohotel.com. For 4 and 5 star business accommodation, look no further than Radisson Blu Dakar, Novotel Dakar and Pullman Teranga. Guesthouses are also an option in both Dakar and Gorée.

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A RESIDENT OF GORテ右 SEATED INSIDE HER HOME ENJOYS A LIGHT ISLAND BREEZE

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WTM Africa Means business

HAVE YOU PRE-REGISTERED TO ATTEND WTM® AFRICA TAKING PLACE IN CAPE TOWN AT THE CTICC BETWEEN 15 AND 17 APRIL 2015? With the rapid expansion of Africa’s footprint in the global travel arena, World Travel Market® (WTM) Africa, is set to exceed all expectations this year with a phenomenal variety of international B2B travel exhibitors, spanning across 60 different countries. The show’s outstanding conference programme will include presentations from top international travel experts as well as trend setting panel discussions, and is not to be missed. Due to high demand and increased interest in Africa as a travel hub, WTM® Africa has disclosed a refreshed 3 day exhibition and strategic networking

event programme which promises to be bigger and better than 2014. WTM® Africa 2015 is the must-attend event for both regional and international travel professionals as you can look forward to a jam-packed agenda that includes an assembly of networking sessions specifically designed to cater for travel professionals such as the auspicious WTM® Buyers’ Club and the Hosted Buyer Programme as well as the world-renowned WTM® Africa exhibition. The WTM® Buyers Club attracts top-quality buyers and is renowned for generating sound business leads. Buyers’ Club Members are primarily Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Wholesalers and Private Travel Arrangers with purchasing power. This year, over 80% of the Buyers’ Club are new to WTM Africa, which will help generate new business and larger industry deals. Pre-register to attend WTM Africa today and you stand a chance to win a GoPro. Visitors must be available for the live draw at WTM Africa on 17 April 2015 in order to win. Register via a simple online application process and avoid long queues and an onsite fee. -www.wtmafrica.com

Organised by:

wtmafrica.com

THE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IN DESTINATIONS CONFERENCE WILL BE RUNNING ALONGSIDE WTM AFRICA 2015. As the heart of South Africa’s tourism policy for the past 20 years, a core theme and focus for WTM® Africa in 2015 is responsible tourism and how the travel industry can help improve the impact their sectors have on social development within their country, on their continent and globally. Based on the dynamic event programme, visitors can attend debates and seminars and listen to topical and beneficial talks from a vast array of speakers covering topics such as why responsible tourism matters, African Responsible Tourism Awards, the evolution of tourism, next generation hotel marketing, Southern Africa’s approach to developing a multiple entry visa as well as travel in the digital age

Book your seat TODAY!

- www.wtmafrica.com/rtd11/


AFRICA ONWARDS AND UPWARDS Tourism has been touted as the leading developing sector of investment and growth in Africa. Year-on-year arrival figures show an increase in travellers looking to explore what were once considered no-go countries like Angola, Mozambique and Rwanda.

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he tourism potential of Africa has repeatedly been labelled as ‘untapped’ and while this hasn’t changed, growth in tourist arrivals, coupled with a heightened awareness of African destinations for business and leisure, seem to be signalling the start of major investment in the continent’s tourism infrastructure. The African Development Bank has echoed this sentiment for many years, cautioning that this potential can be recognised only with grand developments in transport infrastructure, including airline connections, roads and railways, among other sectors. Mthuli Ncube, African Development Bank Group Vice-President and Chief Economist, states in his foreword of the organisation’s publication, African Travel Monitor: “While Africa accounts for 15 percent of the world population, it receives only about 3 percent of world tourism. To maximise Africa’s tourism potential, critical investments are needed in key infrastructure sectors, for example transport, energy, water and telecommunications.” While this may be the warning from the African Development Bank, it is quick to add: “Africa’s future looks bright given the huge growth in adventure and eco-tourism, coupled with the continent’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Already, several airlines from the United States, Africa, Europe and the Middle East have plans to expand their routes. Soon those untouched beaches and remote villages will become a thing of the past.” Despite a lack of infrastructure throttling growth in some cases, the numbers are in fact showing positive growth. In 2012, Africa attracted 33.8 million visitors, up from a low 6.7 million visitors in 1990, and its receipts from tourism for the same year amounted to over US$36bn, or 2.8 percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), the World Bank reports. “Africa’s private companies are increasingly attracting regional and international investment and the returns on investing in Africa are among the highest in the world,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice-President for Africa. The conceivable pay-off in Africa’s resources is enormous, according to the World Bank’s African Tourism Report 2013. “Africa’s mountains, savannahs and rivers, and cultural events such as music, dance and festivals, are far above the natural assets found in other regions,” says Iain Christie, one of the report’s co-authors. “With these natural attributes, tourism can play an enormous role in development. But to do so it must be integrated into each country’s economy and government structure and be seen as a benefit by everyone, from the president, to the ministers to the general population.” The Tourism Data for Africa Portal, a project developed in collaboration between the African Development Bank, New York University Africa House and the Africa Travel Association, details the percentage share of total government expenditure in the tourism sector. Over the course of a decade, the data maps reveal that African countries have largely increased their total tourism spending, with North African countries seemingly pushing tourism expenditure more than other regions. Countries such as Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Botswana lead the pack, with over 6 percent of total government expenditure being ploughed into the development of the tourism sector.

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NAIROBI BUSINESS DISTRICT

AU CONFERENCE CENTRE AND OFFICE COMPLEX (AUCC), ADDIS ABABA


PHOTOGRAPHS BY: STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS, ©ISTOCK.

Sadly, destinations such as South Africa, Namibia and Zambia have done little to increase the percentage of government spending in the past decade on developing this potential economic gold mine, despite their natural, cultural and infrastructural resources. This lack of increase in infrastructure development has, however, not deterred international conglomerates from making their entry into the African tourism landscape. Large hotel chains, including the likes of Four Seasons, Marriott and Radisson, are on a consistent search to secure land tenure and development opportunities across thriving African capitals. While many of these chains are implementing steps to develop hotels that cater to the business travel market, the longterm sights of these projects are firmly on the predicted growth in leisure travel within Africa. “Africa is an important emerging growth market and, despite political uncertainty in parts of the region, we continue to see demand for growth of all of our brands throughout the continent,” says Hassan Ahdab, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Vice-President and Regional Director of Operations for Africa & Indian Ocean region. “Starwood will increase its African portfolio by nearly 30 percent with 12 new hotels set to open over the next three years, adding nearly 3 000 guest rooms to the continent and creating thousands of local employment opportunities.” The search for new destinations for investment and travel has similarly driven the global meetings and events industry to look to Africa for new, exciting alternatives. The annual Meetings Africa exhibition has proven the desire to explore Africa as an option for large-scale exhibitions, events and conferences. The South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) has driven exhibitor numbers from African countries over the past few years and has repeatedly exceeded the expectations of international buyers in attendance. South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima says of the exhibition: “In the past 10 years, Meetings Africa

has emerged from humble beginnings into the continent’s premier and best represented business events exhibition, a show that is globally recognised as the best place to do business with Africa.” In addition to the infrastructural development necessary to grow tourism in Africa, skills development is an essential component of this same equation. Ethiopia is looking to address concerns about skilled labour within the tourism sector through its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). This five-year project, started in 2010, was considered ambitious, but four years on, the country seems to be obtaining its tourism objective of increasing the country’s GDP between 11 and 15 percent per year. Gezahegn Abate, International and Public Relations Director at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, reported in January that Ethiopia’s tourism sector had created 783 638 jobs over the past four years of the GTP period. A training programme offered through his ministry has seen more than 1.4 million people pass through its doors. Skills development in 110 tourism professions is offered, creating skilled human capital in the field of tourism. An increase in the demand for tourism data out of Africa, coupled with heightened awareness of what the continent has to offer, is a positive indication of the awakening potential within our tourism sector. Time is likely to reveal growth across all fronts, while foreign investment is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. The marriage of the private and public sectors is cited as the key to the success of the tourism industry in many reports, and perseverance appears to be paying off for investors and governments alike. By Kate Els

ST. REGIS MAURITIUS RESORT, PART OF STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS

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MADE IN

AFRICA

ATM asked brand guru Thebe Ikalafeng a few questions about his passion – rebranding Africa. 124 | African Travel Market


Q. What is Thebe Ikalafency up to lately? Working hard and focused on lending a voice and rolling up my sleeves to actively participate in driving the African agenda and championing ‘made in Africa’ brands and social entrepreneurship, which are key catalysts for Africa’s economic independence and renaissance. Brands play an important role in Africans’ purchase decisions. A McKinsey study has established that, in North Africa, 72 percent of consumers equate popular brands with quality. In both North and sub-Saharan Africa, brand loyalty averages 58 percent. Thus, through our Brand Africa (brandafrica. org) initiative, we are creating a case for African industrialisation and a platform for African entrepreneurs to industrialise and build ‘made in Africa’ brands and mobilise African youth to take charge of Africa’s destiny. Q. We keep hearing ‘Africa Is Rising’ – where is the evidence? Despite all of the challenges, there are more reasons to believe in and invest in Africa. Africa has the world’s fastest growing and youngest population. Africa is projected to account for more than 40 percent of the global population by 2030 (McKinsey), with 70 percent of the population under the age of 30 (United Nations). The African economy is outpacing other regions globally, with average growth in excess of 5 percent and projected six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world (The Economist). In 2011/12, the number of high net worth individuals in Africa grew 9.9 percent, the second highest growth rate in the world after North America, according to the World Wealth Report by Capgemini. According to McKinsey’s Rise of the African Consumer report, Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow more than $400bn by 2020. Africa is the future – for Africans and for pro-Africans. What we need to ensure as Africans is that we are pilots and not just passengers in the African renaissance.

Q. Which countries are the ones to watch out for and why? Despite its size, Rwanda is an inspirational country. In 20 years since the genocide it has rebranded itself to become a globally admired nation. It is arguably the cleanest country in the world (certainly in Africa). Kenya continues to set the pace as the technology hub of Africa. With its economic might and demographic advantage, Nigeria is a lurking giant that rightfully should be the dominant African leader. I’m excited about what it’s capable of and will achieve once it overcomes its domestic economic and social challenges. South Africa, the dominant African-branded economy with huge infrastructure advantages, needs to get back to basics to restore its lustre and grow beyond the lethargic one to two percent. There’s so much more that South Africa can contribute to the rest of Africa. Mauritius, the most competitive African nation, is clearly now the African ‘offshore’ magnet with its businessfriendly policies – an inspiration for other African nations. But across Africa, there’s a buzz and exciting energy everywhere. Africa is opportunity.

Q. Which African leaders are paving the way for the future of Africa? Without a doubt Africa’s wealthiest person, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, is setting the pace in industrialising and creating trusted ‘made in Africa’ brands. Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu’s $100-million pledge and Africapitalism initiative to nurture one thousand entrepreneurs every year showcases new African philanthropy. Similarly, Patrice Motsepe’s pledge to contribute 50 percent of his family wealth to corporate social investment is impressive. Koos Bekker’s DStv has been a catalyst in connecting Africans and enabling them to tell their story. Without DStv, there probably wouldn’t be such a big market for Nollywood. Precious Motsepe’s Africa Fashion Week has enabled the likes of iconic fashion designer David Tlale to be a regular at New York Fashion Week. Mamadou Toure, founder of Africa 2.0, and Fred Swaniker of the African Leadership Academy lead the way of young Africans driving Africa’s destiny. But that’s the beauty of Africa. The talent and inspiration is limitless. For this generation of Africans, we are truly ‘what we’ve been waiting for’.

Q. What do African businesses across the continent need to do to succeed on a global scale? African businesses and brands should not try to emulate non-African brands and businesses. They should compete when it comes to quality but distinguish themselves with their unique African identity. We cannot beat Europe or America at who they are, but they certainly cannot beat us at being African. That’s our advantage. We have a unique environment that should inspire our creativity and offering to the world. Brands such as Kenya’s Safaricom mobile money transfer brand, M-Pesa, Nigeria’s online retailer brand, Konga, and South Africa’s MTN are leading Africa’s brand revolution and growing capability in building world-class African brands built from African insights.

Q. Which industries are changing the face of Africa? Telecommunications has been the singular catalyst for Africa’s growth. Brands such as MTN and Safaricom have enabled Africans to obliterate barriers, to connect, transact and communicate. For instance, Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer product has enabled Kenyans to go from 5 percent banked in 2006 to 70 percent in 2010. The mobile money transfers on M-Pesa alone are more than the entire world’s. The development of the ‘pay as you go’ payment solution by Vodacom and MTN in the early 1990s has enabled every single African to be able to access mobile telephony irrespective of access to credit. Financial services, energy and telecommunications are enabling industries that are changing the face and pace of Africa every day.

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“… across Africa, there’s a buzz and exciting energy everywhere. Africa is opportunity.” Q. What business/ entrepreneurship challenges are facing Africa? We need to be stepping up African initiative in the areas of health and agribusiness. That’s the security for a continent that’s still dying too young and going hungry with arid land in its backyard. This will require a huge investment in skills and training. We need African education for African challenges. Energy remains the number one crippling infrastructure challenge across Africa. Q. Should Africans focus on investing in Africa? It’s certainly about time to stop begging, borrowing and blaming. Fifty years and trillions of dollars in aid have brought nothing to Africa except corruption and dependency. For Africa to prosper, Africa must invest in Africa. We need to grow intra-African investment beyond the present 15 percent. Intra-European trade, for example, is about 70 percent of the total. Africans must have confidence in Africa – and buy African. We need to industrialise and grow and support ‘made in Africa’ brands. If one looks at our recent Brand Africa 100 list of the most admired brands in Africa,

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only 22 percent are made in Africa and represent only 1 percent of the value of the top 100 – in a list dominated by the US and Europe (with Asia rising quickly). Q. What does Africa have going for it as a continent? How do we highlight our strengths and deal with our weaknesses? Although we are 54 diverse and sovereign nations at various levels of development, what we have in common is a history and resilience, creativity and a can-do attitude. These attributes are what define us and militate against all challenges. Africans know African needs and conditions. We need to manage and drive the narrative about Africa, to change its image and reputation. It’s our story and we need to own it. Q. What role does tourism play in the future growth of Africa? Tourism is the new African gold. For countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia and Egypt, it's a key contributor to gross domestic product – and a major differentiator of the countries. Q. Your favourite places to travel, stay and play in Africa? The beauty of Africa is its diversity. Every country has its unique charm and attraction. Whether its gorilla tracking in Tanzania, the undulating mountains of Rwanda or the genocide museum,

PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS

or the Big Five in SA, leisurely beaches of Mauritius, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the historic pyramids in Egypt, or a view of the Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe or Zambia; the diversity of Africa’s tourism product is like its people – adventurous, enchanting, warm and educational. Q. Your motto, or a motto, that you think should be adtopted by entrepreneurs and visionaries around the continent? Kwame Nkrumah once said: “I’m an African not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.“ It’s what keeps me grounded and committed to Africa. George Bernard Shaw: “Success is a continual state of becoming where the goal is always ahead and never behind. Thus one can never rest on laurels and must always stay motivated and challenged.” With so much to do for our continent – there can’t be a moment to rest. Thebe Ikalafeng is a global African brand and reputation architect, adviser and author. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine, he is the founder of the award-winning brand and reputation firm, Brand Leadership Group. Visit www. ikalafeng.com.

IMAGES: BRAND LEADERSHIP, ©ISTOCK.COM.

LAGOS, NIGERIA


For further information contact Picot & Moss 011.669.0500. www.picotandmoss.co.za MAKERS OF THE ORIGINAL SWISS ARMY KNIFE I W W W.VICTORINOX.COM


THIS IS

TRUE AFRICA Kojo Baffoe takes a look at Africa as a place of innovation, inspiration and creativity, sans age-old stereotypes.

et’s be honest. When people talk of Africa, it is often cloaked beneath the pretty, yet slightly grimy, mantle of standard stereotypes, starting with ‘Africa as a country’. This is wildly ironic considering that there are about 3 000 distinct ethnic groups, more than 2 000 languages and dialects spoken, and 54 countries in Africa. And while we are now the ‘new frontier’ or are ‘rising’, as has been proclaimed and documented far and wide, the focus seems to be primarily on what nature gave the continent, as opposed to what we are actually doing. This is evident in the fact that if you talk to anyone looking to come to visit any part of the continent, ‘safaris’ or ‘going to the bush’ tend to be high up on the list of things to do. Do not doubt that we have beautiful landscapes, a plethora of wildlife, flora and fauna, and an abundance of minerals, but that cannot be all that Africa is. The continent continues to have its challenges, its pain, its tragedy, but the one thing that stands above everything else is the resilience of its people, regardless of where they are and regardless of their circumstances.

TRUE GREENFIELDS

UNLIKELY ALLIES I BY BEVAN DE WET

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The reality is that Africa has lagged behind, for a range of reasons and depending on whom you are talking to, for some time now. What this means is that there is still much work to be done and, as a result, the limitations in terms of


what can be done are the boundaries of the imagination. There are potholes in the road to Africa taking its rightful place, but it is these obstacles that create innovative thinking. Initiatives like the Innovation Prize for Africa, which has been celebrating and recognising innovation in various industries, including manufacturing, health, agriculture and energy, since 2011, highlight how Africans are using technology to create sustainable products. The overall winner for 2014 was an Osteogenic Bone Matrix innovation, invented by Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Nuno Pires, which injects bone growth proteins into the bone to bring about quick and complete healing. The Special Prize for Innovation went to Dr Melesse Temesgen of Ethiopia for his Aybar Broad Based Furrow Maker, which is effective for draining water from fields by creating furrows. African companies have altered the trajectory of industries. For example, M-PESA, out of Kenya, has changed how we look at mobile money and it has been launched, with varying success, in countries like India, South Africa and Afghanistan (as M-Paisa). Malawian William Kamkwamba captured the world’s imagination with his story, which he documented in the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (William Morrow, 2009), of how he was able to bring power to his home by creating a windmill using scraps. And he is one of many who quietly go about bringing real change to all corners of the continent.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

There is a trend towards doing business yet also making a positive impact. Social entrepreneurship is a concept that is bandied around extensively these days and it is most evident when you peel back the standard image of Africa. Forgood (www.forgood.co.za), started by digital and management consultant, strategist, startup junkie and investor Andy Hadfield, is a

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CHOREOGRAPHER AND DANCER, PAUL MODJADJI

STREET BARBER 2 BY BAMBO SIBIYA

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THE ARTS

Africa is seen as a ‘mobile first’ continent, with the impact of mobile technology reaching far across our lands. Africans are using the strides in technology to alter all aspects of society. Despite the rich art and culture that has existed for centuries, this is one area that has received limited attention. With Guns and Rain (www.gunsandrain.com), Julie Taylor seeks to address this by amplifying the reach of artists, primarily in Southern Africa to begin with. The platform is a space where contemporary African art can be purchased from anywhere in the world. Taylor scouts for artists extensively, as well as interacting with artist collectives like Artist Proof Studio, Assemblage and Bag Factory. At present, artists are from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and are primarily young and emerging, although there are those who are established locally but not internationally. They present the true face of African art and the intention is to build a substantial gallery to truly help the artists break down borders and change perceptions about using technology. Another space that is committed to the arts in Africa is African Digital Art (africandigitalart.com), started by Kenyan digital artist, designer and curator, Jepchumba. They define digital art quite broadly, incorporating art, video, audio, animation and design (such as web and graphic). They have been systematically curating digital art from across the continent and currently have content representation from about 45 countries.

IMAGES: FORGOOD.CO.ZA, GUNSANDRAIN.COM, PAUL MODJADJI, RYAN JAMES ©BEVAN DE WET, ©BAMBO SIBIYA.

social enterprise that seeks to address the needs of the nongovernmental organisation sector by facilitating the donation of goods and services. Or, as he more aptly puts it, “We connect people to causes. There are 85 000 non-profit organisations (NPOs) in South Africa (possibly more) that have become really good at solving individual problems in particular areas. What if we could build a platform that didn’t solve individual problems – but simply made the whole process of solving those problems easier? Think intellectual, resources and technology infrastructure for the NPO sector. We start by keeping it simple. Allow people to respond to the current needs and campaigns of our approved causes. Allow people to create offers which are matched to our approved causes.” You can donate time, from helping to bake cakes, coaching and mentoring to financial, public relations and event-planning services, or goods, such as furniture, clothes, music equipment and even old newspapers. The power of the platform is that it takes business principles and creative thinking and applies them to a social problem. How many of us have stuff lying around that is not being used to its full capacity?


FUTURE AFRICAN

ARTIST PROOF STUDIO, JOHANNESBURG

NIZE NISIKHONZELE PHELA BANDLA BO 2 , BY BAMBO SIBIYA.

Someone who has been involved in this initiative is Kenyan digital strategist, Mark Kaigwa, who has positioned himself as a leading thinker, not just in East Africa, but continentally. His ‘strategy and storytelling for digital Africa’ consultancy, Nendo, looks to represent the true African consumer through the monitoring of trends and the development of strategies that speak directly to them. Kaigwa says, “Looking at African businesses that have become leaders today, the recipe for success in, for example, five years from now will be different. In my opinion, this is due to the devices in people’s hands and the information they access. Also, in my opinion, the people who will continue to transform business aren’t necessarily sitting in London, Tokyo or New York but here on the continent. So, with Nendo, it’s about creating a vehicle for exceptional Generation Y, millennials and African digital natives to bring a fresh mind-set to business as allies and collaborators. It is a vehicle to produce thought-provoking ideas on the internet and media in Africa.”

One of Nendo’s main projects recently has been the A-Z of Kenyan Twitter, giving insight into understanding both language, people, and interesting titbits about the Kenyan twittersphere, often in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The plan is to expand this beyond Kenya into the rest of the continent, a further indication of the importance of social media in providing Africans with a platform to represent themselves. The next time someone asks you what is cool about Africa, tell them it is the people and what they are doing. Every one of us has a story and life experiences that can add value to our lives as well as the lives of others. The reason Africa, as a continent, is seen to be ‘rising’ is because of the people. The landscapes are pretty and the animals fascinating, but the people are phenomenal.

KOJO BAFFOE

Kojo Baffoe is a content architect, writer, speaker, blogger, entrepreneur, connector of people and ideas, sometime poet, former magazine editor and co-founder of the content design and insights company, Project Fable. Follow his blog on www.kojobaffoe.com or find him at: @kojobaffoe facebook.com/kojobaffoe ANDY HADFIELD AND GARTH JAPHET FROM FORGOOD.CO.ZA

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TSHWANE PLACE OF BUSINESS AND PLEASURE

The administrative capital of South Africa, Tshwane has the best of both worlds, fantastic entertainment and dining options, as well as incredible business infrastructure and a range of tourism attractions. TSHWANE, THE ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL OF SOUTH AFRICA, ALSO KNOWN AS THE ‘JACARANDA CITY’

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shwane, home to the Union Buildings, countless government departments and many international embassies, consulates and missions, has always been a popular business travel destination. Foreign investors have also repeatedly chosen Tshwane – which incorporates Pretoria – as a home for their regional offices. It is easily accessible to travellers from OR Tambo International Airport, to the south-east, as well as to Johannesburg, in the south. Well-equipped meetings and conference venues make the city an ideal events and exhibitions destination. These include the CSIR International Convention Centre and the Lynwood Conference Centre. Events organisers are also using the city’s unique attractions to create outstanding events, such as overlooking the skyline of central Pretoria from the grounds of Freedom Park. A surge in business travellers to the city has also seen equivalent growth in travellers looking to entertain themselves on weekends and after hours. This guide will give you a tasting of the eateries, attractions and activities on offer.

A FOODIE’S CAPITAL

While other cities and regions in South Africa garner large amounts of attention for their culinary flair, Tshwane has always been a bit of an underdog in this regard. But the city is Gauteng’s best-kept secret for ‘those-in-the know’. Small eateries and bistros serve gourmet fare in an understated manner, while locals revel in the hotspots that are ‘under the radar’. De Kloof, located on the sprawling Waterkloof Estate, serves intricately detailed dishes that have been recognised by top South African chefs. Overlooking the greens, De Kloof offers fine dining in a relaxed setting that is perfect for an important business dinner or a laid-back Saturday lunch. Pairing a burger with a milkshake may seem like a rather outlandish task but local foodie blogger, Alida Ryder, describes the process at Ginger and Fig in Brooklyn, Pretoria, as ‘genius’. This bistro serves locally sourced produce and aims to please with its artisanal fare. There are also a number of casual and quirky eateries dotted around the suburb of Hatfield that are great for a night out followed by some live music or the nightlife in one of the local hangouts. For super-smart dining, there is always the famous La Madeleine Restaurant, which is very popular for ‘that special occasion’, as is Ritrovo Ristorante, run by Giovanni and Fortunato Mazzone and known for the finest Italian fare in the whole of Gauteng. For African cuisine in the city, local foodie Anna Trapido waxes lyrical about Zemara Restaurant, which is known for its fine African and Congolese dishes. Outside of South Africa’s administrative capital lies Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient. The Moorish architecture of this boutique hotel lends itself to the quirky delights that are placed on chef Chantel Dartnall’s seasonal menus. Guests here never leave disappointed and a lunch is always likely to extend into an all-day affair. African Travel Market | 133


PAUL KRUGER STATUE, CHURCH SQUARE

AWARD-WINNING CHEF, CHANTEL DARTNALL, ADDS A SENSE OF STYLE TO TSHWANE'S CULINARY LANDSCAPE

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VIEW OF THE UNION BUILDINGS FROM FORT KLAPPERKOP


THE SIGHTS TO SEE

The history of Tshwane and its surrounds is obvious in its architecture. Evidence of the heritage and culture of Pretoria can be found just by walking through the streets of the central business district, checking out Church Square, for instance. At the heart of this historic city centre you’ll find the Palace of Justice and a number of buildings that date back to the early days. Travellers can also make their way to the Union Buildings and pay homage to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, at the larger-than-life statue erected in his honour after his death in 2013. The city’s most elegant and awaited affair, though, has to be the blooming jacaranda trees in spring. The purple flowers drift down from these trees lining the roads and create a thick purple carpet of blooms that covers roads and gardens. The intense smell of the flowers is the city’s signature, and one that will always remind one of time spent here. A trip to the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History will unveil South Africa’s role in the birth of humankind. Fossils, available for the public to view, an ornithology collection and the remains of the great mammals are all on display in the museum’s permanent exhibitions. The huge suspended whale skeleton outside Ditsong is a reason to visit on its own. If you’re visiting Gauteng with children, then don’t miss out on Pretoria Zoo, officially known as South Africa’s National Zoological Gardens. The gardens cover 85 hectares and this is the largest zoo in the country, with over 8 000 reptiles, animals, birds and fish. It is also the only zoo in the country with national status. A visit to the Voortrekker Monument pays homage to the Afrikaans ancestry that played a major role in the establishment of the country as it is today. Home to one of the largest marble friezes in the world, the intricate marble sculpture details early South African history and has been called out as a controversial glorification of South Africa’s early apartheid era. On Salvokop, you’ll find Freedom Park, a living museum that commemorates the lives of South Africa’s struggle heroes. There are various aspects to Freedom Park, including The Wall of Names, the Garden of Remembrance and //hapo, the fascinating Freedom Park Museum. For those who love rugby, a trip to the Loftus Versfeld Stadium should definitely be on the radar. In this part of the world, rugby is religion and Loftus is also home to the Blue Bulls rugby team. This venue was also used as one of the 2010 Fifa World CupTM stadiums. One of the city’s most popular outdoor markets happens every Saturday at the Irene Dairy Farm near Centurion. This worthwhile market is packed with artists, delicious foodstuffs and interesting craft. The market opens early in the morning and patrons arrive soon after to make sure they grab the best of the wares before they sell out. Other notable markets include the Pretoria Boeremark (farmers’ market) and the Hazel Food Market.

FAMILY VISITING PRETORIA ZOO

TELLING SOUTH AFRICA'S STORY, //HAPO – THE FREEDOM PARK MUSEUM

A SKELETAL WELCOME, EXTERIOR DITSONG MUSEUM

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SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS

As much as it is a city, Tshwane is sprawling and includes a number of nature reserves, open outdoor spaces and sports facilities. For golf enthusiasts, it’s an ideal getaway too. The Silver Lakes Golf Estate, Waterkloof Golf Estate and the Pretoria Country Club all come highly recommended for those who take their handicap seriously. And with many near or surrounding natural reserves, taking the family along to enjoy the outdoors is a real possibility. A round of golf at the Pebble Rock Golf Course near Roodeplaat Dam can be followed by an afternoon of watersports on the northern side of the dam, which is ideal for canoeing, sailing and angling, while designated picnic areas line the shores. The Groenkloof Nature Reserve just outside central Pretoria is a great option for hiking enthusiasts. With trails varying in length and difficulty, hikers can choose a trail that is best for their group’s fitness level, while enjoying the glorious views over the Fountains Valley and catching a glimpse of the non-predatory wildlife that lives in the reserve. Horse trails, 4x4 trails and picnic areas and overnight accommodation are all included at Groenkloof, making it a good option to escape from the mania of the city for a weekend. Great day trips include a visit to the Tswaing Crater, to the north of Onderstepoort. The impact site of a meteorite about 30m to 50m, is a good place to hike. Go on safari in Dinokeng, where there are a number of game lodges in the region. It is here that you can see the Big Five – a mere 40 minutes from the centre of the city. The little town of Cullinan is also a great day trip, where visitors can browse around this historic mining town and visit quirky places like Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas. Albizia Restaurant in Cullinan is definitely worth the stop. Here, chef Lientjie Wessels Dention weaves her magic and you get to taste Afrikaner-inspired dishes with a twist. Note: you definitely need to book beforehand.

136 | African Travel Market

MELROSE HOUSE MUSEUM

DID YOU KNOW?  Tshwane is the third largest city in the world by land size.  Tshwane is home to 134 foreign embassies and missions, giving it the largest concentration of diplomatic and foreign missions in the world after Washington DC in the USA.  Tshwane is home to the Tshwane Open golf tournament, held in 2015 at the prestigious Pretoria Country Club Club.  Tshwane has one of the world’s largest urban nature reserves, the Rietvlei Nature Reserve.  Tshwane is home of the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple, the largest Buddhist temple seminary in Africa.  Tshwane is easily accessible from Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport via the Gautrain, an 80km rapid transport system.

WHAT IS THE TSHWANE VISION 2055? The City of Tshwane has undertaken an ambitious plan that scales four decades and aims to build a liveable, resilient and inclusive city “whose citizens enjoy a high quality of life, have access to social, economic and enhanced political freedoms and where citizens are partners in the development of the African Capital City of excellence”. For more information on Tshwane, visit tshwanegov.com.

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IRENE DAIRY FARM, GREAT FOR KIDS


“Luxury Summed up in Three Words”

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African Travel Market  

African Travel Market is a new glossy travel, trade and business tourism publication that aims to promote African as a world-class travel an...

African Travel Market  

African Travel Market is a new glossy travel, trade and business tourism publication that aims to promote African as a world-class travel an...

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