Issue 4 September to December 2015
The Great Karoo BOOK SAFARI
THE SPIER REVOLUTION
AFRICA IN PICTURES 10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN KAMPALA
Issue 4: September to December 2015
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MAASAI DREAMING 2015/10/20 9:31 AM
Xplore. Xperience. E
shwane - the very name rings with adventure. It speaks of ancient times, of African warriors, of the wild lands of the continent, of the pulsing metropolitan heart of a modern nation. It is a place of history, sport, art and culture, a place of restaurants and nightlife, of the Big Five - and of technology, commerce and industry. The City of Tshwane is the capital of South Africa.
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Nelson Mandela was inaugurated at the honey-coloured Union Buildings overlooking the rolling gardens of the capital. Today, a nine-metre tall statue of Tata Madiba reminds us of his unifying legacy. Tshwane boasts champagne weather - a gorgeous warm spring, a long hot summer with afternoon thundershowers and balmy evenings, a russet autumn and a short mild winter - good for a night at the theatre or a meal at a world-class restaurant.
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A N t s
e. Enticing Tshwane landmarks, experience its melting pot of cultures, and enjoy its extraordinary scenery. If youâ€™re fortunate to visit the city in November, you only have to step outside to experience our signature spectacle - the blossoming of the jacaranda, which every year transforms city into a glowing, purple-hued painting.
It is the largest metropolitan municipality in South Africa and the third-largest city in the world after New York and Tokyo. Itâ€™s an energetic, vibrant home to 2.5-million people of all races in an area of 6 368 square kilometres. Tshwane has a rich heritage, multi-cultural diversity and natural beauty. Thousands of tourists visit the city every year to explore its distinctive
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here are many reasons to fall in love with Africa, and this issue highlights some of the very best. Our 12-page photographic essay, courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Africa, is a celebration of the varied aspects of the continent, from incredible landscapes and people, to magical wildlife moments that will take your breath away. The award-winning photographic exhibition is heading to the Smithsonian Institute to further spread the magic of Africa. (See page 50 onwards) There is no better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than by focusing on tropical island holidays to places like Bazaruto and Mauritius – both glorious destinations with acres of white sand beaches that beg for cocktails with umbrellas and no planned itineraries. With holiday season being top of mind, there are also some great features on Malawi, Tanzania and Swaziland written by Kate Turkington, Kate Els and Bridget Hilton-Barber respectively. For something a little different, well-known blogger Heather Mason takes us on a photographic journey through Stone Town, Zanzibar, and Chris Marais invites readers on a fascinating book safari through the Karoo. Our features on Kampala (Dawn Jorgensen) and Benguela (Sharon Farr and Jasyn Howes) shed light on travelling in Africa, and unexpected adventures along the way. Speaking of adventure, Fiona McIntosh gives us her top ﬁve African adventures. Don’t miss Chris Fallow’s incredible shark image on page 38! Establishments featured include Segera Retreat in Kenya and Dar Kawa boutique riad in Marrakech; both offer an interpretation of contemporary design and a down-to-earth feel inspired by nature and vast, open spaces. Keri Harvey shares the Maasai Mara and her travels into the deserts of Egypt in words and pictures, and Kwenta Media’s Tracy Maher unpacks the phenomenon that is Homo naledi in our own backyard. We also salute some incredible women who are making their mark in the world: Eugene Yiga’s South African Songbirds, as well as Women in Tourism by Max Marx. Not to be outdone by the women, chef Lentswe Bhengu (page 100) and fashion designer David Tlale (page 32) put their best feet forward. Dawn Jorgensen’s story on the Spier Revolution is a sincere look at how to be environmentally and community conscious, sustainable, and still create a sexy and viable tourism product – the gorgeous eight-pager (page 72) beautifully tells the Spier story. All of us at African Travel Market wish you a long and wonderful summer, and we hope you enjoy our latest issue. Denise Slabbert and the ATM team
IMAGES: NATURE'S BEST PHOTOGRAPHY AFRICA; DAR KAWA/TANIA PANOVA; SEGERA RETREAT, RYAN JAMES/DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS.
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Publisher Publishing Editor – Nawaal Mdluli email@example.com Editorial Team Editor – Denise Slabbert Managing Editor – Tracy Maher Online Writers – Hlulani Masingi, Thina Mthembu Copy Editor – Grant Moodie firstname.lastname@example.org Design Team Designers – Hedwig Visser, Lelethu Tobi Junior Designers – Asanda Mazwi, Siphokazi Masele Digital & Web Specialist Lekeke Mahlo Business Development & Production Manager Nuraan Motlekar email@example.com Operations & Finance Manager Kelly Moyo firstname.lastname@example.org PR & Events Coordinator Mbalenhle Fakude Operations & Finance Nuraan Motlekar Admin Assistant Tebatjo Manamela Drivers Gabriel Mashishi Yusuf Msinyi
PHOTOGRAPHS: KERI HARVEY, SPIER, STUART PORTER, ANANTARO BAZARUTO, HEINRICH VAN DER BERG, NATURE’S BEST PHOTOGRAPHY AFRICA.
Contributors Bridget Hilton-Barber, Chris Marais, Dawn Jorgensen, Eugene Yiga, Fiona McIntosh, Heather Mason, Jasyn Howes, Kate Els, Kate Turkington, Keri Harvey, Max Marx, Shaen Adey, Sharon Farr, Tracy Maher, Zama Nkosi.
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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.
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You are invited, come back home… Nawaal@Kwentamedia.com
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PHOTOGRAPHS: KWENTA MEDIA, WITS UNIVERSITY.
here’s something Ingoapele Madingoane knew when he still lived in the earthly dimension before crossing over to the great river of immortality. I wish I could see him face to face and ask him what triggered him to write the poem Africa my beginning, Africa my ending. You see, there’s something inside each African that ululates and bursts into song, dance and poetry when it is stirred. There are moments when the belly is impelled, pressed and stimulated to the extent that it can’t do anything, but rupture into praise and poetry. Perhaps South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was speaking a similar language – which in all honesty is not a spoken language – when he said at the unveiling of the new Homo naledi species that it was such a great ﬁnd, it would inspire poets and writers. There are moments that inspire the poet within us to come forth. Moments so great, they cannot be captivated logically, quantiﬁed or explained. In my decades of work in the African travel and tourism arena, I have come across my own poetic moments, almost all of which were instigated by walking barefoot on Mother Africa, treading on her soil and opening my spirit to her healing properties. Africa is not the place the world focuses on only when something like the Ebola virus erupts and causes the entire world to pay attention; she is a spirit wrapped within the earth, disguised as a location. It is not just intrinsically knit into the controversial journey of humanity and its roots – a journey brought into the spotlight with the ﬁnd of Homo naledi – but it is her umbilical cord that connects human beings, in spite of race, religion and colour. Africa is home and African travel equates to authentic travel. It has diverse people, awe-inspiring history and unearthed genealogies; it represents humanity’s birthing place. You can’t say you have travelled until you have been to your motherland, kissed her soil, breathed her air and reconnected with your spirituality. You dare not say you have seen it all until you have had an impartation – your one-on-one poetry-inducing moment that stems from the shores, rocks and earth of Africa. And not just in one part of Africa or at a particular location, but all of home put together. You can’t pinpoint it. Your soul will know when the poetry gushes out that you have found it. Africa is not a destination. You come to Africa to catch a glimpse of the unfathomable. If one were to get caught in the language of phenomena, one would be excused because it is like trying to describe the indescribable using human terms, words and phrases. There are just not enough words to contain Africa. Even if you are from Africa, you don’t know destination Africa until you put on your boots and travel. It saddens me to see Africans travelling all over the world without knowing their own continent. Do you know Africa? She knows you very well. Your roots are entrenched in her soul. This is where your umbilical cord lies. Your footsteps can be traced on her bosom. You started here. You end here… Allow me to borrow the words of Ingoapele Madingoane again: Africa my beginning, Africa my ending. Don’t take my word for it. Come and inspire your own essence and creativity. With the melting down of the world’s economy, there’s no better time to come to Africa. The continent offers super value for money. If you have not been to Africa, or perhaps want to return home, this is your invitation. You can’t go home once. It’s the Motherland. You go home often and remain home even after you have departed. Africa beckons you with your ethnic tribal call, chanting out your true name into the atmosphere. Can you hear her? Do you know Africa?
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CONTENTS September 2015
Great Reads: Karoo Book Safari
ON THE COVER Image by David Crookes/Segera Retreat.
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CONTENTS September 2015
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South Africa’s Star Rises Again
White Desert Dreamscape of Egypt
South African Songbirds
Five Big African Adventures
Twenty-four Hours In Benguela
Photo Essay: Nature’s Best Photography Africa 2015
Swaziland’s Place Of Heaven
The Spier Revolution
The Reign of King David Tlale
Rift Valley Eco-Luxury at Segera
Under The Orange Trees Of Marrakech
Lentswe Benghu: The Master Of His Plate
Kuche Kuche Till Dawn in Malawi
Africa’s Wild Heart
Shooting The Streets of Stone Town
Ten Things You Must Do In Kampala
Women In Tourism
IMAGES: MARK DUMBLETON NATURE’S BEST PHOTOGRAPHY AFRICA, WILDERNESS SAFARIS, HEATHER MASON, ANANTARA BAZARUTO.
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AFRICOLOGY SPA Spiral Aloe Lifestyle Clinic offers a mixture of cosmetic and relaxation treatments at our Africology Spa. Our Spa ethos is ‘the healing art is sacred.’
Spiral Aloe Lifestyle Clinic Address: Shop 61, Dainfern Shopping Centre, Cnr William Nicol and Broadacres Avenue, Dainfern. Email: email@example.com | www.spiralaloe.co.za | Twitter: @Spiral_Aloe | Facebook: Spiral Aloe Lifestyle Clinic
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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
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Travel News Keeping up with interesting new developments across Africa is no mean feat. We highlight a few, from hotel revamps and airline news to the rhino wars… DRONES IN SELOUS SET TO AID IN WAR AGAINST POACHING Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania will add drones to its arsenal of conservation tools soon in a bid to further protect the reserve’s pool of endangered species, particularly elephants. The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation will work with government and the reserve’s authorities in getting unmanned aerial drones to combat rising numbers of poachers inﬁltrating the conservation area. Over half of the country’s 109 000-strong elephant population has been poached since 2009. In the Selous alone, the endemic elephant population has declined from over 38 000 elephants in 2009 to just over 13 000 in 2013. The private sector initiative is a collaboration of tourism businesses that realise the effect elephant poaching is having on Tanzania’s tourism industry.
TAKING BOLD STEPS The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) have are taking proactive steps to combat rhino poaching along the Elephant Coast. They recently implemented a rhino de-horning programme along the Western Shores with a ﬁrm commitment to put rhinos (and their safety) ﬁrst. iSimangaliso Wetland Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis says, “The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, like other conservation areas in northern KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger National Park, has experienced an unprecedented surge in rhino poaching effort during the past 24 months – often with simultaneous multiple poaching incursions. In a considered response, and after in-depth discussion, reﬂection and specialist consultation, the iSimangaliso authority, together with our conservation partners EKZNW, is putting into place an additional suite of bold strategies and interventions to bolster rhino security in sections of the park where they are most under threat and vulnerable to rhino poachers.”
WINE SALES SET TO AID RHINO-POACHING INITIATIVE IN SA The Rhino Tears wine brand, from the Mt Vernon Wine Estate in Cape Town, is now available for purchase online, meaning that wine lovers can now support the ﬁght against rhino poaching in a fast and efﬁcient way. The wine is available for purchase on www.rhinotears.co.za for R700 for a full case (12 bottles, including delivery) and can be delivered countrywide. A portion of sales from every bottle sold – R15 per bottle – goes directly to the Unite Against Poaching initiative of the SANParks Honorary Rangers, to be used in anti-poaching projects in SANParks. Over R367 000 has been raised for the cause since the brand launched at the end of 2014.
andBEYOND DONATES LIONS TO RWANDA Earlier this year, andBeyond donated ﬁve lionesses from Phinda Private Game Reserve to be translocated to Rwanda. This move was part of an African Parks project aimed at reversing the extinction of lion in Akagera National Park. Rwanda had a period of intense turmoil following the 1994 genocide and, due to lack of management, many of the lions were poisoned by cattle herders. As a result, lions became extinct in Akagera 15 years ago. andBeyond has a long history with lion conservation in Southern Africa.
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Airline News PROFLIGHT LAUNCHES LUSAKA-KAFUE SERVICE A new route between Zambia’s capital and Kafue National Park in western Zambia has been launched by Proﬂight Zambia. Flight P0654 operates thrice-weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11h15, arriving at the park at 12h50. The return leg of the ﬂights departs from Busanga at 13h05, arriving in Lusaka at 14h40.
TURKISH AIRLINES TO ESTABLISH MAPUTO ROUTE Linking Mozambique to Turkey, Turkish Airlines will launch its route to Maputo via Johannesburg on 28 October 2015. The ﬂights will operate three times a week, on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
IMAGES: ©ISTOCK.COM, SA TOURISM RHINO, RHINO TEARS, ANDBEYOND, THEBESTOFZAMBIA.COM.
TRIPADVISOR LAUNCHES DEDICATED AIRPORT PAGES
SAA IN CODE-SHARE WITH AIR CHINA SAA recently signed a code-share agreement with Air China that will enable SAA to jointly market Air China’s newly inaugurated nonstop service between Johannesburg and Beijing, as well as points beyond Beijing to Chengdu, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chongqing. Air China will in turn market SAA’s services from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The code-share arrangement is already open for sale, for travel effective 29 October 2015. Visit www.ﬂysaa.com for more information.
Touted as the world’s largest review platform, TripAdvisor has announced the rollout of dedicated airport pages on its website to enable travellers to make better informed choices about what to do, where to eat and what to avoid when commuting through major airport hubs. Over 3.1-billion travellers pass through airports each year, with the average traveller spending 150 minutes from arriving at the terminal to the doors of the plane closing at the gate,” said Adam Medros, senior vice-president, global product, TripAdvisor. “We want to help them quickly ﬁnd things to do on the site while they’re waiting to catch a ﬂight, or book an airport hotel when they need a place to stay.” Singapore’s Changi Airport is the ﬁrst airport in the world with hundreds of its amenities listed on TripAdvisor. Other major airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport and London Heathrow Airport, will be launched in 2015.
FASTJET INCREASES LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS Fastjet has increased the number of ﬂights on its growing international and domestic network from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania. It now offers daily ﬂights on its international routes from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, Harare and Lusaka, providing passengers with increased and more convenient travel options at affordable fares. It has also doubled its ﬂight frequency on the newly launched Dar es SalaamLilongwe route from two to four ﬂights a week. Fastjet’s Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro to Entebbe routes remain on thrice-weekly schedules. For more information, visit www.fastjet.com.
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Travel News HOTEL/LODGE/CAMP
PARK HYATT ZANZIBAR NOW OPEN
MARINE PARADE HOTEL SET FOR A MAJOR MAKEOVER
Setting a precedent as the ﬁrst Hyatt hotel in Zanzibar, Park Hyatt Zanzibar sits on the beachfront in Stone Town, is housed in two buildings, one of them being Mambo Msiige, a UNESCO heritage building dating back to the 17th century, a typical Zanzibari mansion and an architectural gem, featuring intricate carvings and centred on a courtyard. “We are delighted to be bringing the Park Hyatt brand to the culturally and historically rich island of Zanzibar and, in particular, to be housing the hotel within Mambo Msiige, a building of such extraordinary signiﬁcance,” says Marcela Herrendoerfer, general manager of Park Hyatt Zanzibar.
The iconic Tsogo Sun Garden Court Marine Parade was opened in 1985 along the Durban beachfront. Thirty years later, it is set for a R110m refurbishment. John Aritho, general manager of the Garden Court Marine Parade, says: “Tsogo Sun’s Development team painstakingly retained the core elements of the ‘70s architecture, and combined it with the modernity of today’s technology in a seamless way so that the guest experiences a fresh, modern product of a world class standard.” No doubt, this hotel will return to its former glory as the doyenne of the Golden Mile.
HOTEL VERDE ACHIEVES GLOBAL FIRST FOR GREENING Hotel Verde in Cape Town has been awarded a second LEED Platinum Green Building Certiﬁcation by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the ﬁrst hotel globally to achieve a double Platinum certiﬁcation for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The hotel’s ﬁrst Platinum certiﬁcation was awarded in May 2014 for New Construction in the Green Building Design & Construction category. This establishes Hotel Verde as one of only six hotels in the world, and the only hotel in Africa, to receive this accolade.
ASILIA AFRICA TO OPEN HIGHLANDS NGORONGORO EARLY 2016 The newest property in the Asilia Africa basket will be The Highlands, set to open at Ngorongoro, Tanzania, in March 2016. Set high on the slopes of Olmoti volcano, with incredible views all the way to the Serengeti, this luxury camp will boast eight stylish tented suites all celebrating the gorgeous landscapes of the surrounding area. Guests can enjoy going on a Ngorongoro Crater Safari and also explore the highlands surrounding the camp. Visit AsiliaAfrica.com for more information.
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RETURNAfrica LAUNCHES TWO NEW PRODUCTS IN PAFURI
IMAGES: ©ISTOCK.COM, SELOUS GAME RESERVE, RHINO TEARS, ISIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK, SERENA CAMP, PARK HYATT ZANZIBAR, HOTEL VERDE, BLUE TRAIN, JACQUES MARAIS/CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS, RETURNAFRICA.
September saw the double launch of Pafuri Camp and Baobab Hill Bush House. Pafuri Camp has 19 luxury designer tents with en-suite bathrooms. There are seven ‘family tents’ that sleep up to four people, making this a 52-bed camp. Baobab Hill Bush House is the old ranger’s accommodation for a total of eight guests at any one time in four comfortable rooms. It is situated on a small hill just north of the Luvuvhu River, with excellent views of the surrounding area. For more information, visit www.returnafrica.com.
EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS AT INGELI For a great family getaway, the Ingeli Forest Resort near Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal surrounded by indigenous forests is the perfect place to relax and get close to nature. There are biking and trail-running routes and spectacular birding and hiking opportunities. There is a jungle gym and play area for the kids, as well as a new 18-hole Adventure Golf Course. Not too far down the drag, you’ll ﬁnd the beaches of the South Coast, as well as the Oribi Gorge and Adventure Centre. A beautiful stone-wall chapel makes this a good choice for a wedding venue. For more information, call +27 (0)39 553 0600 or visit www.ingeliforestlodge.com.
THE BLUE JEWEL OF AFRICA TO GET A REVAMP For over 65 years, the Blue Train has been synonymous with the quality of luxury rail travel across the world. Some would say that the Blue Train has seen better days and that its glamour factor has faded over the years, but that’s all about to change, thanks to a new partnership between Transnet and Sun International. The Blue Train is about to go to the very next level – there is talk of new routes, dynamic packaging and pricing and increased opportunities for local travellers to take advantage of the ‘Blue Jewel of Africa’. Watch this space!
CYCLING WITH PURPOSE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS The 2015 Nedbank Tour de Tuli, a multi-stage mountain bike event which took place from 13 to 18 August, saw 340 participants cycle across almost 300 kilometres of remote wilderness terrain in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. In the process, the event created awareness and funds for some of the areas in which Children in the Wilderness (CITW) operates. CITW is an NPO that runs sustainable environmental education programmes in seven African countries to bridge the divide between communities and the wildlife areas they live next to. “We are extremely grateful that Tour de Tuli sponsors and participants have given so generously, not only ﬁnancially, but also in kind. We are very fortunate to have such a loyal support base who enable us to continue creating a network of sanctuaries that uplifts and cares for our children and conserves our planet”, said Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Programme Director.
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Highlights of some of Africa’s great cities and what to do when you get there. SHOP/EAT/SLEEP/SEE IN SWAKOPMUND SHOP: Not quite the shopping mecca of the universe; there are a number of malls with the usual mall fare, but for speciality goods you might want to try Karakulia Weavers for rugs and carpets or Peter’s Antiques for West African Art. Look out for German-Namibian delis and places to buy good beer.
SHOP/EAT/SLEEP/SEE IN LUXOR SHOP: Try to avoid the very touristy outlets and rather shop for bargains at the souks or at the following places (recommended by TripAdvisor Readers): Habiba Gallery; Caravanserai; Aboudy Book Shop, Fair Trade Center Luxor, and Pafurm D’eternite – for essential oils and local perfurmes.
EAT: On the West Bank, try the Nile Valley Hotel (even if it is just for the views) or Restaurant Mohammed. According to Lonely Planet, owner Mojammed Abdel Lahi’s wife cooks up an Egyptian storm. On the West Bank try Oasis Café and New Oum Koulsoum Coffee Shop. For al fresco dining, there is AsSahaby Lane or one of the most popular restaurants in Luxor, the Sofra Restaurant & Café.
Try the historic Old Winter Palace Hotel, with its incredible views of the Nile River. Beit Sabee on the West Bank is a boutique hotel with strong design ethic, or you could go for the Moorish Al-Moudira. TripAdvisor readers loved Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa and Cleopatra Hotel Luxor.
Good value for money is Sam’s Giardino GuestHouse (rates are friendly for single travellers); Hotel Deutches Haus is popular with business travellers and The Beach Hotel always gets good reviews. Hansa Hotel is well-situated, with everything in walking distance from the hotel.
Try the Fish Deli for seafood and salads; the restaurant at the Hansa Hotel is popular for those who like German cuisine (great breakfast spread); Village Café for unfussy food and coffee and Secret Garden for apparently the best pizza in town. If you love beer, don’t miss a visit to the Swakopmund Brauhaus.
Where to start! On the West Bank, definitely the temples of Hatshepsut and Medinat Habu, the Valley of the Kings (including the tomb of Tutankhamen), Colossi of Memnon, and the temples of Karnak and Luxor on the East Bank. Take a relaxing felucca ride on the Nile.
In Swakopmund it’s more a case of DO than SEE. There are lots of adventure activities on offer inlcuding sand-boarding, surfing (Nordstrand is best); skydiving or taking a scenic flight over the coastline. If you have a few hours to spare pop into the National Marine Aquarium.
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SHOP/EAT/SLEEP/SEE IN PRETORIA SHOP: Pretoria/Tshwane in Gauteng has some pretty fine malls and markets, with Menlyn boasting one of the biggest malls in the Southern Hemisphere. For fun market days, visit the Pretoria Boeremark, Hazel Food Market, and Irene Market.
SHOP/EAT/SLEEP/SEE IN HARARE EAT: Home to a number of international consulates, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in South Africa’s administrative capital. For fine dining, try the famous La Madelaine; Ritrovo Ristorante run by Giovanni and Fortunato Mazzone serves up superb Italian fare, and Zemara Restaurant offers outstanding Congolese Food.
SHOP: Craft markets are the best places to buy local art and craft in Harare. You might also want to try Doon Estate, Sam Levy’s Village, Avondale Flea Market and Simpli Simbi. Kikis is great for furniture, and Patrick Mavros’s place is a must for lovers of beautiful silver jewellery.
Protea Fire & Ice Menlyn is contemporary and fun, while The Sheraton is a well-known business hotel and popular amongst visiting diplomats; Illyria House is a great boutique choice, and if you are heading out of town, try Kievits Kroon and The Orient in Pretoria.
Amanzi Restaurant has a fantastic outdoor verandah and excellent food and service; for a spot of Asian, try Chiang Thai. For business lunches try Emmanuel’s Restaurant or Paula’s Place. Victoria 22 is perfect for that special occasion, and go to Butcher’s Kitchen if you are in the mood for a steak.
IMAGES: ©istock.com, DARLING LAMA PRODUCTIONS.
Hatfield for laidback bars and eateries; visit Freedom Park to learn more about South Africa’s struggle heroes. If you are travelling with kids, the Pretoria Zoo and Irene Dairy Farm are firm favourites. Church Square and the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History are also popular attractions.
Crown Plaza Monomotapa is a good business hotel, as is the Meikles on Jason Moyo Avenue. Cresta Lodge, Cresta Oasis, and Cresta Jameson all make the grade. Bronte Hotel with its lovely gardens is also a solid choice.
SEE: The National Gallery houses some of the best African art, while history buffs will enjoy a visit to the National Archives of Zimbabwe. Wild is Life in the Mukuvisi Woodlands is an animal sanctuary well worth visiting and if you want to hang out with the in crowd, The Red Bar is the place to be.
must read The Lonely Planet Guide to Africa is essential reading for any tourist to the continent. Visit www.lonelyplanet.com. Some of the above information was sourced from TripAdvisor. Visit www.tripadvisor.com.
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On Trend Africa and South Africa are a hive of creativity when it comes to all things in architecture, design, arts and crafts, food and wine…. VALLEY LODGE SPA One of the Magaliesburg’s best-kept secrets is the Valley Lodge Spa – a slick, contemporary spa where visitors can book a range of treatments, and enjoy the hydro facilities and the gorgeous indoor pool. It’s the kind of place where you feel stress simply melt away as you enjoy any one of the massages on the menu, using the excellent range of Africology products. Valley Lodge is a family-friendly resort, so moms can let dad and kids enjoy the facilities or maybe take a canoe out on the river, while she enjoys a soothing rose facial or indulges in a body treatment with gold-infused products… yes, gold! For more information, visit www.valleylodge.co.za.
TAKE THE FAST TRACK WITH SAMSONITE Samsonite Ultimocabin is an elegant range of hard-side cabin luggage that is optimised for a speedy and efﬁcient security check transition. The fully recessed front pocket can be accessed from an upright position, allowing fast and easy access to important documents, laptops and iPads. The hard shell is strong and durable and an integrated TSA combi-lock keeps your valuables secure. Interior features include a front pocket, padded laptop and tablet compartment, removable wet pocket, small pockets for phone, passport and tickets and a large pocket for documents. The rolling tote has a double compartment system, which allows you to keep your business and personal items separate. Samsonite’s Ultimocabin is available in a striking matt colour palette of black, silver and Earth from leading luggage stores nationwide. Visit www.samsonite.co.za or follow @Samsonite_SA on Twitter.
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AVONDALE ECO WINE SAFARIS Situated in the Paarl Valley in Western Cape, Avondale Organic Wine Farm now offers guided eco-wine safaris. These fun, interactive safaris take guests on a tour through the ultra-modern underground gravity-ﬂow cellar and then out into the vineyards, to gain a better understanding of the biodynamic practices this farm incorporates into the production of its organic wines. The property stretches out over 200 hectares of cultivated land, and guests can ﬁnd out more about Avondale’s attempts to re-establish indigenous fynbos species on the farms, as well as other green methods employed. The good news is that a glass of Avondale’s lively Methode Cap Classique, the Armilla Blanc de Blanc, is part of the adventure. Guests can also enjoy a delicious lunch, created from only the freshest organic ingredients straight from the farm. For more information, visit www.avondalewine.co.za.
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REMOS ORIGINALE BETTER THAN EVER If you’re ever on the North Coast of KwaZuluNatal Africa and feel the twinge of hunger pangs, look no further than Remos Originale in Mount Edgecombe. A small café that opened in 2007, the place is all about pasta, mama, famiglia! That same passion for family and fantastic food has gone into the revamping of the original store and, despite a few new additions on the menu, you can still order the much-loved Remos classics. One of the exciting additions is the Pasta Factory, where you can order authentic homemade pasta to take home with you. There are also kiddies’ pasta-making classes on offer, which run through the school holidays. For more information on the kids’ classes and to book a time for your budding little chefs, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGES: VALLEY LODGE; AVONDALE ORGANIC WINE FARM, MONTBLANC, REMOS ORIGINALE, REMOS ORIGINALE, TINASHE: THE TEST KITCHEN.
SOMMELIER FOCUS: TINASHE NYAMUDOKA Tinashe Nyamudoka is a wonderful African success story, and his exuberance for doing what he loves is certainly an inspiration. As head sommelier for The Test Kitchen in Cape Town (the 28th best restaurant in the world, according to the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2015) Tinashe says, “Wine is my passion. Wine is my life. If it weren’t for wine I wouldn’t be where I am today. It is an amazing beverage in that it connects you to other people. As a sommelier I try not to sell the wine, I try to sell the experience, the story and the love.” Nyamudoka is thrilled to join Luke Dale-Roberts and the team at The Test Kitchen and comes with an impressive CV, having worked at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Nobu at the One&Only in Cape Town and The Oyster Box in Umhlanga Rocks. He is pretty down to earth in his attitude towards his favourite tipple and says there are great wines available no matter what the budget. “The best of us don’t want to ﬂog the most expensive bottle of wine… the challenge and the pleasure lie in suggesting a bottle of wine that the client will like”. Nyamudoka says it is important to not follow the crowd when it comes to a choice of wine and that there is no place for pretension, when selecting that perfect bottle of wine. “Your own experience of the wine is true,” he says. Visit The Test Kitchen at www.thetestkitchen.co.za.
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On Trend OPERAS IN NOVEMBER In this issue, we salute our opera DIVAS (see: South African songbirds on page 32), and if you are looking for a few local events, Cape Town Opera definitely has your number: MARIA STUARDA In collaboration with the UCT Opera School and Sponsored by Naspers, Donizetti and Schiller give us the greatest confrontation history never saw, that between the Virgin Queen and Mary, Queen of Scots. On alternating nights, Cape Town favourites Noluvuyiso Mpofu and Maudée Montierre embody the passionate Maria, as Bongiwe Nakani and Violina Anguelov plumb the depths of Elisabetta’s psyche. Lukhanyo Muyake and Makudupanyane Senaoana return from European triumphs to say farewell to UCT in a belcanto festival that puts the ‘melody’ back into melodrama. At Artscape on 7 and 8 November.
FOUR:30 Cape Town Opera, in collaboration with the UCT Opera School and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, presents an evening composed of four new home-grown operas. Four notable South African composers have teamed up with four acclaimed writers to create half-hour works that are powerful and innovative, telling contemporary African stories in imaginative new ways. These are: The Application, Blood of Mine; Bessie: The Blue Eyed Xhosa; and Anti-Laius, all directed by Geoffrey Hyland and Marcus Desando and conducted by Kamal Khan. At Artscape in Cape Town from 21 to 28 November.
GREAT READS If you are always looking for great places to take the family on holiday, then look no further than Family Fun, an informative guide to child-friendly activities covering four major cities of South Africa: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Compiled by Lisa Mc Namara of Child Magazine, the book is packed with useful information covering numerous child-friendly sites and activities. It’s published by Map Studio and is on sale at all good bookstores. If you love a good coffee, then you simply can’t do without another of Map Studio’s brilliant books, Coffee Culture – The South African Coffee Lover’s Bible. Launched in 2014, the book is as popular as ever, with its reviews of over 100 places in South Africa to drink the best coffee ever. Visit www.mapstudio.com for more.
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IMAGES: CAPE TOWN OPERA, MAP STUDIO, MACUFE.
Macufe is a highlight on Bloemfontein’s cultural calendar as the city ﬁlls with the sound of music and poetry, the spectacles of dance, drama and sport, and the sheer joy of creativity and expression. Taking place at various venues, theatres and stadiums across the city, Macufe is Bloemfontein’s answer to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival or the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, which is held in Oudtshoorn. The city puts on her party dress and there’s music, food, markets and more. In 2015, it will be taking place from Friday, 2 October to Sunday, 11 October. The theme has yet to be announced, but is sure to match the 2014 theme, which was Ya Lla Melodi Ya Tokoloho, a celebration of 20 years of freedom. The festival always attracts big names in the local music industry, as well as top-billed international acts, and on the sports front, there will be a half marathon and a big walk, as well as the annual highlight football match between premier football clubs Bloemfontein Celtic and Kaizer Chiefs. Celtic have kept the cup on home ground for the past two years. Will they pull it off three years in a row? Music is a major component of Macufe and the programme is divided into the Main Festival, Divas, Indoor Jazz and Gospel. Last year’s star line-up included top local and international musicians such as American guitar virtuoso Earl Klugh – the man they say is a true statesman of contemporary jazz – plus R&B soul and jazz singer Chantay Savage, daughter of a Chicago jazz muso and award-winning
R&B singer and songwriter, Chrisette Michele. Local artists featured big and included Zahara, Thandiswa Mazwai, Maﬁkizolo, Rebecca Malope, Ringo Madlingozi, Sibongile Khumalo, Jimmy Dludlu, Don Laka, Jonas Gwangwa and Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi. Started by the Free State provincial government in 1997 with the aim of showcasing and promoting the cream of the crop in a variety of creative disciplines, the festival has since established itself well in terms of infrastructure and marketing – and strives to improve each year. The ﬁrst crowd was a mere 30 000. Today, Macufe attracts over 140 000 people from South Africa, Africa and the world. During the 10 days of festivities, the city of Bloemfontein is lively, friendly and full of people and activity. There’s an extensive food court and a popular beer garden. Another highlight includes the arts and crafts market, which has over 80 exhibitors showcasing everything from metalwork to woollen jerseys. You can browse the market and shop for home décor, furniture, clothing and accessories, shoes, leather, plus alternative health and healing products. The market has grown and changed from its humble beginnings as a street ﬂea market to the well organised and exciting market it is today. The market will host music and cultural performances daily, with a special award ceremony planned
for exhibitors. Macufe also has a media centre and accreditation centre for artists and journalists throughout the festival. Be sure to make your way to Macufe this year, for more entertainment than you bargained for! For more information about the festival, visit www. macufejazzfestival.co.za or www. macufe.co.za; e-mail: info@c-2. co.za; call +27 (0)51 444 230 or fax +27 (0)86 601 4050. By Bridget Hilton-Barber
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SOUTH AFRICAâ€™S STAR RISES AGAIN Any discussion about the origins of humankind is often thoroughly fleshed out to reveal two standpoints, resolute faith or empirical evidence. But these need not be mutually exclusive; rather, when well understood and supported, they can co-exist in manâ€™s never-ending journey to understand his origins. 20 | African Travel Market
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left: homo naledi skeleton. ABOVE: skull of homo naledi. both images by professor john hawks.
outh Africa has found world acclaim for several reasons. The political struggles waged and won on the rocky road to achieving democracy in 1994 paved the way for the country’s global celebration of peace negotiators. World heritage sites, both natural and cultural, have been identified and given worldwide recognition; and the continent of Africa has been aggressively marketed as a destination of choice for both business and leisure tourism – due to its ability to combine the luxury needs of the first world with the eco-sustainability requirements of its vast natural landscapes. It is also particularly well known for the fossilised treasures that lie buried within her earthly core. The painstaking work of palaeontologists led by Dr Robert Broom resulted in the discovery of Mrs Ples in 1947, the skull of the first adult of what was later determined to be Australopithecus africanus, or early homonid or human ancestor. In 1994, Ron Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) accidentally brought to the surface the skeleton of the Little Foot, finding more
Australopithecus africanus foot bones three years later. The famous late Wits paeleonthropologist, Professor Phillip Tobias, described Little Foot as “the most remarkable skeleton” and “pretty much complete from foot to head.” The continent holds many secrets yet to be uncovered and, as the Vice-Chancellor of Wits, Adam Habib, puts it, the world was not prepared for the momentous impact that was made, nationally, continentally, and globally”, on Sunday, 12 September 2015.
‘UNDERGROUND ASTRONAUTS’ STREAM LIVE SA Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa stated: “Today we unearth our past. In unearthing our past, we also unearth knowledge about our present; we get to understand our present even better… [Professor] Lee Berger and his colleagues are getting us to go on a journey that we so want to know more about.” It was little surprise when SA made international news headlines again and began to trend on social media as a new palaeontological discovery was announced – that more answers to our ancestry had been dug up.
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When he took to the podium, Professor Burger, research professor in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits and a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, praised his team of both Wits scientists and volunteer cavers, The Rising Star Expedition. In a moment that took two years to reach fruition, they stood on the shoulders of giants such as Professors Dirks, Brain and Tobias, as they looked to their extraordinary finds to explain the origins of our species. With the assistance of National Geographic and eLife, they could bring the discovery of a fossil hominid to the world. Using groundbreaking technology, the team live streamed their findings through tweets and social media. Their speleonauts or ‘underground astronauts’ entertained a large public audience, scientists and classrooms across the globe as they would rise out of the cave, the Rising Star, and share their moments of exploration directly with the world. Without any expectation of an extraordinary discovery, the expedition team went into the cave with the idea of uncovering one fossil. This turned into multiple fossils, which became multiple skeletons and individuals. At the end of their 21-day experience, they had discovered the largest assemblage of fossil hominid remains on the African continent.
PIONEERING OPEN ACCESS Partnering with National Geographic and open access journal, eLife, was a significant move in the world of science and technology. The excavation was live streamed from day one, to create first elements of a common global academy, giving post-graduate students access to journals or scientific knowledge essential to their studies and getting their degrees. Habib emphasised, “Knowledge is the bequest of the entire of humanity.” Wits pioneered a practice of science for the 21st century; an open access practice that says knowledge is available to the collective contributions of all of humanity and not just to those who can afford it. Phillip Tobias described the practice of open access as “a discovery that establishes a scientific foundation for a common humanity.” Living in the 21st century, we are presented with global challenges such as climate change, inequality, poverty,
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LEFT top to bottom: professors lee berger and john hawks; ‘underground astronauts’ team of explorers; science tent packing up on day 22 of rising star expEdition. RIGHT TOP to bottom: lindsay eaves in the rising star cave, by ellen feuerriegel; mirror images of skull face by heather garvin; homo naledi hand AND mandible occlusal, both by professor john hawks.
and terrorism that affect the survival of all species. These can never be resolved if we are trapped within national and institutional boundaries. Chief Science and Exploration Director Officer at National Geographic, Mr Terry Garcia, revealed his true explorer nature as he ended his talk at the media briefing at Maropeng with these words: “When it seems as if science has answered so many questions, when nearly all of the blank spaces on the maps have been filled in, there are still mysteries out there. There are still wonders we haven’t seen and there are still discoveries waiting for us. The 21st century is going to be the greatest age of exploration.”
HELLO HOMO NALEDI The initial discovery was made in 2013 in what is called the Dinaledi Chamber (Chamber of Stars), in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg. The Rising Star expedition uncovered more than 1 550 numbered fossil elements – the single largest fossil hominid find made on the continent of Africa – in a cave so narrow that a special team of only the most slender of cavers could penetrate it to retrieve fossil remains. Thus far, the remains of 15 individuals have been retrieved, with skeletal dentition representing the entire demography of a population, ranging from birth to old age. There is anatomical evidence from almost every age across that range. The Dinaledi chamber has preserved many remains, but Professor Burger admits, “This chamber has not given up all of its secrets.” He adds, “There are potentially hundreds if not thousands of remains of H. naledi still down there.” In addition, the equal representation of the fossils (whole bodies, in other words), the pristine condition of the fossil deposits, as well as the lack of other fossil types lead scientists to suggest that this is more that just a random discovery.
A NEW SPECIES OF HUMAN ANCESTOR H. naledi was named after the Rising Star cave – naledi means ‘star’ in Sesotho, a local South African language. “Overall, Homo naledi looks like one of the most
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primitive members of our genus, but it also has some surprisingly human-like features, enough to warrant placing it in the genus Homo,” said John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S., a senior author on the paper describing the new species. When we compare H. naledi to the images of Lucy (Australopithecus) and Homo erectus, Hawks says, “It is a creature that looks like no other hominid we have found before… It is truly a remarkable picture of the entire anatomy of an extinct species that connects to our family tree somewhere among the earliest members of our genus.” How is this related to us? Hawks explains that the primitive and derived features in different parts of H. naledi’s anatomy sometimes confuses things, but overall it is very clear that this is primitive relative to Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus as a group. The root of H. naledi comes from the origin of the genus homo and therefore its features must tell us about the features of those ancestors that we share in common with those species. This remarkable picture of anatomy gives us an unprecedented view of the biology of a hominid and in particular, an extinct primitive hominid. As stated by Professor Berger, contrary to popular belief bones do not speak for themselves and Hawks emphasises that the mysteries that remain before us in trying to interpret these anatomies are scientific problems that will engage us for decades to come.
SIGNIFICANCE NOW AND THEN To explanation such a collection of fossil deposits in one place, neatly arranged with little or no bone damage prior to or after death, Professor Berger and his team have eliminated the theories such as mass death or catastrophic incidence. Without any archaeology or sign of habitation within the Dinaledi chamber, and the fact that the tight chamber was impossible to access by medium or larger vertebrates, has led to the conclusion that H. naledi represents another species of human relative that disposed of its dead. The significance of this realisation shifts our current belief that Homo sapiens are the only species to have
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ritualised behaviours towards their dead. What may be our singularly unique qualifying behaviour that separates us from the animal kingdom, has been shaken to the core. Professor Berger says with enthusiasm, “When you eliminate all the probable you are left with the impossible.” Knowing that there was another species that understood the significance of death in the same way that we do, is a thrilling discovery in the world of anthropology, to say the least. Thanks to the initiative taken by Wits and its partners to live stream the excavation process and showcase the announcement to the world, Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind will become a global destination of choice. It’s value as a visitor drawcard to Africa and South Africa in particular, based on fascination factor alone – whether you are a believer or a sceptic – has escalated, as people will make their appointment to meet with what could have been their primitive rising star, Homo naledi. By Tracy Maher
PRIMITIVE VS. HUMAN-LIKE
Note: The research was supported by Wits University, the National Geographic Society and South African DST/NRF. Ongoing exploration and conservation of the Rising Star site is supported by the Lyda Hill Foundation. #NalediFossils #AlmostHuman
top to bottom: entrance to the rising star cave system; the rising star cave; infographic of system by eric roberts and national geographic (dark).
IMAGES COURTESY OF WITS UNIVERSITY.
Introducing Homo naledi: A tiny brain, about the size of an average orange (about 500 cubic centimetres), perched atop a very slender body. Stood approximately 1.5 metres (about 5 feet) tall and weighed about 45 kilograms (almost 100 pounds). Teeth are described as similar to those of the earliest-known members of our genus.
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There is nowhere else on Earth quite like it. Actually, Egyptâ€™s White Desert could easily be on another planet. Its beauty is utterly surreal, with natural limestone sculptures as far as the eye can see, their foundations set in golden desert sand. And utter stillness pervades.
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ABOVE: Bedouin in Bahraya Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt. Top RIGHT: Mushroom rock in the White desert. BOTTOM RIGHT: Cooling off in Siwa, Egypt.
huge sphinx in a field of giant mushrooms. Towering pinnacles like chimneystacks; animal faces and birds frozen in flight. They all stand in gold dust sprinkled with black pebbles, and a full moon bathes the scene in liquid indigo light. It appears as a larger-than-life Salvador Dali creation; actually, it’s Egypt’s exquisite and inspiring White Desert. For over 3 000km², ice-white chalky sculptures rise from the sandy desert floor in a natural art exhibition. Carved by the wind into fanciful designs, the White Desert is as close as you’ll get to walking on the moon. It’s so quiet that you can hear your heart beat, so movingly beautiful that you don’t want to blink. About 500km from Cairo, the White Desert forms part of the Western Desert of Egypt – an expanse of sand that is also part of the Sahara that swathes right across North Africa. The great sand sea of the Sahara is mostly a huge dune field, but for a few exceptions: the White Desert and Black Desert are two.
Ali Ganawi cuts a dashing image in long white robes and Ray-Bans. He’s thoroughly Bedouin and has been driving the desert all his life. When I ask if he’s ever been lost, he looks quizzically at me and says: “How can you get lost, when you have the sun and stars?” They’re navigational tools to Ali, who has never used a compass, much less a GPS. He spends his life driving where there are no roads, not even tracks – and there is definitely nobody to ask for directions. The ancient oasis town of Siwa is enchanting, with the old mud-brick city of Shali spilling down the mountainside. Oases, lakes and sweeping palmeries transform the desertscape into a substantial piece of green paradise.
“The local Bedouin people are friendly and hospitable, and the vibrancy of the culture is depicted in colourful hand-woven carpets and tapestries.”
Intricate silver jewelry is also a traditional Bedouin craft and often depicts the sun and stars, which are integral to Bedouin life. Now we’re off, on an unmarked desert highway. It’s like launching into space. The jeep is packed with food and water, carpets and tables, tents and firewood. Only sand lies before us, miles and miles of it, all the way to the next oasis town of Bahariya. You don’t count kilometres in the desert, you talk in time. Just a few kilometres can take extremely long to traverse, if the sand is thick. Today, we’ll be jeep-bound – stopping just for lunch. So catching some shuteye may in order. That didn’t happen, not for a minute. It was simply impossible. As the sandscape unfolded before me, it became more and more alluring in its surreal beauty, more captivating in its apparent nothingness. By the end of the day, I was wide-eyed with amazement and completely inspired. It was a journey of the soul, absorbing the unspoiled splendour of the place and being bewitched by its vastness. Deserts are places of stillness, yet their silence speaks. Your imagination runs wild when you are surrounded by sand into infinity. There are delicate seashells at my feet. They’re
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Top: Sunrise in the White Desert, Egypt.
fossilised and date back 80 million years to when this sand sea was under the ocean. You just can’t stretch your mind that much, standing here now in wall-towall desert, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest Mediterranean coastline. It’s an enigmatic place that appears empty on the surface, but holds ancient secrets that encourage you to think beyond the mirage of daily life. Bahariya is the gateway to both the Black and White deserts, which lead off a long straight stretch of asphalt. The starkly unexpected Black Desert starts showing its sultry face just outside this oasis town. Low-slung sand mountains appear to have been sprinkled with tiny black pebbles, as if a giant hand from above dusted the hills in black basalt. It’s a true moonscape, scorched and surreal. Crystal Mountain lies a little further along, but you’d drive right past if you didn’t know about it. Quite unobtrusive, the mountain is named after the quartzite crystals that dazzle its slopes. A natural rock arch of glistening crystals leads to a sand path past shining gems encrusted in the rock. The place is said to have spiritual significance and special powers. That may be, but it’s also magnificent in its natural simplicity.
Driving south, the sandscape flattens out as if the hills are slowly being ironed flat. And then the mushroom fields start forming, taller and taller. The formations are otherworldly and first appear as strange desert snowmen that have melted a little in the sun. But the sculptures are solid limestone. Once beneath the ocean, now the elements have carved the rocks into earth sculptures that depict whatever the mind chooses to see. If you let your imagination run wild, you will find yourself in a fantastical land of creatures and characters frozen in time. The White Desert completely defies description in its majestic, awe-inspiring beauty. It is a slice of peaceful nirvana on Earth. Sleeping under a star-spangled sky on a desert floor of sand is unforgettable. Surrounded by ice-white rock sculptures that glow under the full moon, it is almost ethereal. Sure, you can sleep in a tent if you choose, but that would shut out the stars. In the pure desert air, every heavenly body is brighter and whiter, and every sound is amplified. There’s a sense of being fully present, of what’s important and what is not. And tonight, sleep is a very distant thought. Lying flat on the sand staring straight up to heaven has got to be the ultimate natural
theatre. This is a million-star hotel, but the experience is too precious to sleep though. Words and Images by Keri Harvey getting there South African passport holders need a visa for Egypt, acquired in advance of travel from the Embassy of Egypt in Pretoria. Cairo to the White Desert is a four-to-five-hour drive. Select Egypt offers a two-night camping trip in the White Desert. See www.selectegypt.com or e-mail email@example.com. Memphis Tours also offers a white desert and Bahriya Oasis itinerary. See www.memphistours.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s essential to use a reputable land operator in Egypt to travel to the White Desert. It is remote and not suitable for independent travel. From time to time the White Desert may be closed to tourists – ensure you enquire in good time. For more information on the White Desert and other deserts in Egypt, see www.dfcegypt.com
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IMAGE: Bernard Bruwer.
We spoke to three South African sopranos who are lighting up stages around the world with their voices.
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OPENING SPREAD: GOLDA SCHULTZ. Top LEFT TO RIGHT: Pretty Yende, GOLDA SCHULZ.
Her life changed when she was 16 years old and heard the famous Lakmé duet in a British Airways advertisement. This heavenly music, which one of her teachers later identified as opera, made it clear to her what she was meant to do with her life. “I wanted to be an accountant before I learned about opera,” says Yende, who grew up in Mpumalanga, South Africa. “I was interested in the world of business and money management and I guess all that passion has been reconnected with what I am doing now.” Yende, whose encouragement from her grandmother had her singing in church as a child, studied at the South African College of Music (part of the University of Cape Town). But it was only once she started entering competitions, becoming the first person in history to win first prize in every category as she did in 2009 in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, that the world began to take notice of this rising star. Since then, she has performed leading roles with companies across the globe and learned fluent Italian while living in Milan. Besides winning first prize at both the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition in 2010 and the World Opera Competition in Moscow in 2011, she was also awarded the
Order of Ikhamanga by President Jacob Zuma in recognition of her remarkable achievements. “Singing Lucia (from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor) for the first time in the concert version was special for me,” says Yende, who will sing the role in a fully-staged production presented by Deutsche Oper in Berlin. “The incredible complexity of the character itself, as well as the technical demand, was worth it. I grew a lot as an artist as well as vocally, which is a dream come true for any singer.”
She fell in love with opera after listening to Maria Callas singing Norma Casta Diva. So she started taking singing lessons at the age of 19. “At first, I was doing it because a lot of people told me that I had a lot of talent,” says Schultz, who studied journalism and has a degree in radio broadcasting. “They thought that I should consider it as a profession. Then my own passion for the job took over.” Still, there were challenges. The first time she performed in a concert at the music department of Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, Schultz had such horrible stage fright that she fainted straight after singing her aria! But encouragement from her teacher caused Schultz to push herself and overcome
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ABOVE: Siphamandla Yukapa and Lynelle Kenned.
her fears … all the way to Juilliard, a prestigious school for performing arts in New York. “Moving to New York was an amazing, scary experience,” Schultz admits. “It was the first time I was away from my family and I was homesick. It was also such a culture shock: huge buildings, lots of people and being surrounded by so many talented artists; not just musicians, but actors and dancers. It was intimidating, but I was in this place of inspiration with my colleagues and classmates.” Indeed, Schultz found New York to be a city full of inspiration. She could go to the museums, to the Metropolitan Opera and to the ballet. She also watched plays and musicals on Broadway and went to concerts, plays, and dance productions at her school. It was “inspiration overload, which was just joyful and amazing.” Another special moment came on 26 July 2014. Not only did she get to sing Sophie von Faninal in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (a role and opera she loves), but she did so at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. “I felt so honoured and so proud to be standing on that stage with amazing internationally renowned cast members,” she says. “My parents came to Germany and were in the audience to watch me sing. When I took my bow, I looked to the area where my parents might be sitting in the darkness. And I just
burst into tears because I was so proud that I got to share this huge moment with my family.” Schultz loves the fact that being in Europe means there are so many opera houses where one can perform. It’s a special experience to be an opera singer, have a steady income and know that you can take care of yourself. But what she loves most about Germany are the people (who take a while to get used to you, but like you when they do) and the beer (which is some of the best she’s ever had). “There are a ton of opera companies and opera houses that I still want to see,” she says. “And there are so many roles. I don’t think you can narrow down the list; it’s endless! I love this job and I just want to see how far I can get. So it’s just one foot in front of the other every day.”
Growing up in a musical family, Kenned was exposed to some of the best classical music from an early age. Her parents noticed her musicality as a child and invested in piano, violin, and cello lessons from the age of six. But what made her decide to turn this into a career? “Seeing a magnificent production of Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat at the Artscape Theatre in 2005 sealed the deal,”
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says Kenned. She sang in school and church choirs and matriculated from Stellenberg High in 2006, and was part of the SA Youth Choir and Stellenberg Girls’ Choir – winners of Choir of the World in Wales in 2006. After school Kenned joined the UCT Opera School, graduating cum laude in 2010. Since then, she’s made the theatre her second home. Indeed, nine years after seeing the production that made her want to become a performer, she starred in the same show. It toured the UK for five weeks in 2015 and received a nomination for a UK Theatre Award. “Show Boat is a dream musical on a grand scale,” she says. “Just thinking back on it gives me goosebumps.” Last year, Kenned also played Cherubino in Marriage of Figaro. She’s especially fond of this performance because it marked her first professional role
straight out of opera school in 2011. And of course, nothing says opera like a Mozart classic! But besides her performances in opera, Kenned is making a name for herself in South African musical theatre. This year alone, she’s been the lead in West Side Story and Orpheus in Africa, a musical by David Kramer that returns to the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town from 22 September to 31 October 2015. “One day, I will take Broadway and the West End by storm,” she says. “But until then, any stage will do. The size of the stage or the audience doesn’t make a difference to me; I perform as if every time could be my last. Life on the stage is the air that I breathe.”
“No amount of rehearsing can prepare you for that first time you step out in full costume in front of the audience, accompanied by a full orchestra.”
By Eugene Yiga
IMAGES: ©CAPE TOWN OPERA.
ABOVE: George Stevens, Golda SchulTz AND Lynelle Kenned.
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www.zui.co.za Sandton City | Morningside Shopping Centre Village View Shopping Centre | Groenkloof Plaza
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: IMAGES: CHRIS FALLOWS/APEXPREDATORS.COM
AFRICAN ADVENTURES The African continent is renowned for its wildlife and there are plenty of exciting wild animal encounters to be had. But if you’re looking for a serious adrenalin fix, try one of these extreme adventures for size.
MAIN: GREAT WHITE SHARK LUNGING OUT OF THE WATER.
WHITE SHARK VIEWING AND CAGE DIVING, SOUTH AFRICA
Few experiences match eyeballing a great white shark and the Cape Coast is the best place in the world to do just that. With over 10 000 predatory events recorded over the past 18 years, the chance to see and learn about natural predation at Seal Island, in False Bay, is unrivalled globally. Although the chance to get up close and personal with magniﬁcent great whites from the submerged cage is the main attraction for most guests, shark-viewing and cage-diving operators Chris and Monique Fallows are internationally renowned shark fundis. They aim to educate their visitors about the ocean’s predators rather than provide a quick adrenalin ﬁx. Shark enthusiasts sail out from Simon’s Town harbour before dawn and then, as the sun is rising, watch the playful antics of the seals around the island. Suddenly the calm is broken: there’s a ﬂash of white as the apex predator of the ocean launches itself out of the water and disappears with a baby seal in its mouth, as you stand there speechless on the deck. Then it’s time to don a wetsuit and mask and get into the cage – if you’re feeling brave, that is! Sightings of dolphins, whales and seabirds on the journey back to the harbour are almost guaranteed, making this trip one of Africa’s most magical adventures.
RAFTING, ZIMBABWE/ ZAMBIA
The Zambezi River rates as the ultimate white-water adventure for most visitors to southern Africa, and no wonder. It has everything – a stunning paddling starting point at the base of Vic Falls, an impressive journey through the steep-sided Batoka Gorge, and seriously scary rapids.
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MAIN: Wild Horizons Rafting. RIGHT TOP: Bloukrans BungEE. RIGHT bottom: Trekker on Rwenzori’s Stanley plateau.
Go for an oared raft to minimise the chance of capsizing – your chances of swimming in a paddled raft are definitely higher. And if your whole crew wants to avoid the hectic stuff, say so; there are easier, ‘chicken runs’ down most rapids. The major rapids of the upper gorge are runnable only at low water (from August to December), so that’s the time to go for thrills and spills – for the rest of the year the trips are shorter and more mellow. Oh, and if rafting’s not adventurous enough, how about running the rapids on a riverboard?
BUNGEE JUMPING, South Africa
For my money, the most terrifying adventure on the African continent is the Bloukrans Bungee, which at a whopping 216m holds the title as the highest bridge bungee in the world. After walking the tightrope out onto the bridge, you are harnessed up, your feet are trussed together and then you’re shuffled to the edge, at which point you seriously question your sanity.
But there’s no turning back. The chilling countdown begins: Five, four, three, two, one, bungee! You launch yourself into the air and it’s an adrenalin rush of note. Then comes the sickening recoil as the stretched latex cord reaches its limit and contracts, shooting you back up before you plunge again, stomach lurching. Finally the bouncing stops and you come to rest upside down staring at the brown river below. When the crew member comes down to hoist you back to the safety of the bridge you feel like hugging him with relief. But you’ll be stoked and left with bragging rights that few other experiences can beat.
AND CLIMBING IN THE RWENZORI, Uganda
Scaling Africa’s highest peak, the towering, snowcapped extinct volcano Kilimanjaro, appears on most people’s bucket lists, but trekking in the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ is much more of an adventure. Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains is the highest range on the
continent and the numerous peaks offer everything from straightforward treks to technical climbs. But don’t go expecting a walk in the park. The range is notorious for rain and the mountains are swathed in perennial mists exhaled by the vast forests, lakes and swamps. Daily storms turn paths into a morass of mud, and rock slopes into treacherous, lichen-covered slides. But the opportunity to walk for a week or more without seeing another group is a real privilege and a very different experience to following the crowds on Kili. Combine a visit to the Rwenzori with a trip to track mountain gorillas in the nearby wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, for the ultimate African adventure.
05. SKYDIVE SWAKOPMUND, Namibia Jumping out of a plane is guaranteed to get the pulse racing. Swakopmund is one of the best places on the planet to try skydiving, with the golden dunes of the Namib Desert, its empty skies,
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ABOVE: Skydive AT SwakopMUND.
You assume the position: head up, arms crossed over your chest, legs bent, and tumble into space. The first few seconds are disorientating but once you’ve stabilised, the remaining 30 seconds of free-fall are a rush that passes too quickly, until the canopy opens with a snap and you’re jerked upright. As you enjoy the seven-minute float back to the earth’s surface, you feel more alive than you can remember. The sky is a piercing blue and the stark Namib Desert plains and rippling golden dunes look more beautiful than ever. Are you ready to take the plunge? By Fiona McIntosh Fiona McIntosh is the author of numerous books, including Mild to Wild Adventures & Activities in Southern Africa, MapStudio 2013
ESSENTIAL INFO Shark-Cage Diving: Apex Shark Expeditions: +27 (0)79 051 8558, www.apexpredators.com White-water rafting, Zimbabwe/ Zambia: Wild Horizons: +26 (0)31 344 571, www.wildhorizons.co.za Bloukrans Bungee: Face Adrenalin +27 (0)42 281 1458, www.faceadrenalin.com Trekking in Rwenzori, Uganda: Wild Frontiers: +27 0)11 702 2035, www.wildfrontiers.com Skydive Swakopmund, Namibia: Ground Rush Adventures:+264 (0)64 40 2841 / +264 (0)81 124 5167, www.skydiveswakop.com.na
IMAGES: SHAEN ADEY, FIONA MCINTOSH AND SUPPLIED.
spectacular scenery and a highly professional and long established skydiving school. It’s a 10-minute transfer from your guesthouse to the little airport, where you’ll be kitted up and taken through the drill by your instructor, as the colourful canopies of other jumpers glide in. Then it’s your turn to get on board the little Cessna. For the next 25 minutes, as the plane gains altitude, you’re treated to a bird’s eye view as you gaze out of the window at the infamous Skeleton Coast, Walvis Bay lagoon and in the distance, the mighty granite mounds of Spitzkoppe and Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, bursting out of the plains. With five minutes to go, your instructor clips you to his harness and goes through the final checks, then you edge to the open door of the plane. The ground is 10 000 feet below, but surprisingly, it’s too high to be scary.
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27째 EVOLUTION ULTRA-LIGHT COMPOSITE FRAME INTEGRATED PATENTED HINGE HIGH-PERFORMANCE SUNLENSES HANDMADE IN FRANCE For further information contact Sport Vision 011.836.0241/011.669.0500. www.sportvision.co.za
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Once ravaged by war, the coastal Angolan town of Benguela offers an incredible beach and street culture, and is a worthy stopover on any given Sunday.
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OPENING PAGE: FOOSBALL ON THE BENGUELA BEACH. ABOVE: Lifeguards on the beach. RIGHT TOP: BENGUELAN Man washing his motorbike. RIGHT BOTTOM: FishermAn at dusk.
fter the congested high-rise business buzz of Luanda, a Sunday afternoon relaxing in the tranquil beauty of Benguela was exactly what we needed to revitalise us for the next leg of our documentary shoot in Angola. Strolling along the wide, tropical, tree-lined streets in the colonial part of the city, passing the majestic Nossa Senhora do Populo church, we stopped occasionally to take in the detail on the colourful Portuguesestyle homes, with their ornate metalwork and tropical gardens. The local Benguelans were also out and about enjoying the balmy March weather. People leaned over balconies to catch some rays, chat to restaurant patrons spilling out onto the street, or wave to friends passing by on foot or on motorbikes – a popular form of transport across Angola. We gravitated towards the sea to walk on the soft sand glistening white at the end of the road, rounding the corner straight into the heart of this charmed and alluring port city.
Benguela’s vibey beachfront was packed and pulsating. Rollerbladers cruised by as people chatted in groups, chilling out or dancing to rhythms emanating from car radios and beat boxes along the promenade. For a while young street dancers dressed in black captivated us, their funky hairdos and rebellious attitudes defied their nimble grace. There were kids frolicking in the warm Atlantic under the gaze of lifeguards and fishermen waiting for a bite, while young people played foosball and older folk sat on the wall watching the world go by. Immersed in the feeling of an endless summer, it was hard to believe this country had been wracked by 27 years of civil war (1975-2002) that ended only 13 years ago. I had seen the devastation firsthand when I came here in 1995 during a brief ceasefire to work on a documentary exploring the benefits of peace, which was sadly not to be found at that time. Yet here at the beachfront in Benguela, as a witness to the creativity, vibrancy and tenacity of Angolans, it seemed
that they were well on their way to healing the political wounds of the past. As the country continues to rebuild itself, we could see the real potential that young people hold for this country and the continent. A real highlight was the capoeira groups doing their highly acrobatic cartwheels, handsprings and fast fighting moves. As I watched them, I was reminded of another brutal era in Angola’s past. Brazil may be famous for developing capoeira and sharing the popular African martial art with the world, but this is where it originated, as Angolan slaves were captured and taken to Brazil 400 years ago. The city of Benguela was founded in 1617 around the São Filipe fortress and was one of the bases for Portugal’s expansion in Africa. The Portuguese only abolished slave trafficking in 1836 and it was right here, from this idyllic port with its colourful fishing boats bobbing in the bay, that as many as two million Angolans were shipped across the Atlantic as slave labour to the Americas, in particular Brazil and Cuba.
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IMAGES: JASYN HOWES, Sharon Farr.
ABOVE LEFT: Portrait of a local. LEFT BOTTOM: Capoeira moves in the streets. ABOVE: Nossa Senhora do Populo Church.
The port is still a centre for trade via the Benguela Railway, which links the region with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. It is Angola’s third largest city after the capital, Luanda, and Huambo, but is considered by many to be the cultural capital. We stayed at the Misinga Hotel, which is a moderately priced and wellrun establishment with comfortable rooms and a great in-house restaurant and bar. Centrally located, it is within walking distance of the beachfront, with a range of restaurants and bars in every direction. You’ll find the infamous prego roll on pretty much every menu in Angola, but one of the best we had during our three weeks there was at the affordable diner-style Tudo na Brasa in the centre of Benguela. The place that quickly became our local favourite was the Cassanga Bar Restaurant, which is more up-market and definitely one of the hip and
happening spots in the city. The best meal we had from their vast Portuguese fusion menu was a steak with pepper sauce and stir-fried veggies. They also offer an amazing selection of ice creams from a kiosk next to the entrance, which makes the perfect finale to your meal as you wander back to your hotel through the warm breezy streets.
“Few people speak English in Angola so it’s worth learning a few useful Portuguese phrases...” Angolans have a great love of music and nightlife, so a number of restaurants offer live music at weekends, overflowing onto the pavement and throbbing late into the night. We flew into Catembula Airport, which is between Benguela and Lobito
and services both cities, but if I went to Benguela from Luanda again, I’d definitely drive there on the coastal road for its spectacular scenery. Angola isn’t exactly a popular tourist destination and, aside from the occasional intrepid fishing enthusiast, most people go there as contract workers for big oil companies or to pursue the many business opportunities the country’s growing economy offers. However, I’d head back to Benguela on holiday in a shot. It has a year-round warm climate and is renowned for beautiful beaches, where you can dive, surf, fish and swim to your heart’s content. Angola is also working hard to revive its wildlife populations at parks and forest reserves close to the city. And if that’s not your scene, Angola’s greatest allure could well be discovering its cultural heritage through the rich traditions of music, dance and art that have influenced the world for centuries. By Sharon Farr
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AFRICA IN PICTURES
Recently on display at Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, the winners of the Natureâ€™s Best Photography (NBP) Africa 2015 competition showcased the wonder and beauty of the continent.
FIRST RUNNER-UP AFRICAN CULTURE CATEGORY. IMAGE BY HEINRICH VAN DER BERG.
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CANYON ALOES WINNER IN AFRICAN LANDSCAPES CATEGORY. IMAGE BY MARK DUMBLETON.
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A MOTHER’S LOVE SECOND RUNNER-UP IN WILD CATS OF AFRICA CATEGORY. IMAGE BY CAROLE DESCHUYMERE.
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NAMIB SUNRISE FIRST RUNNER-UP IN AFRICAN LANDSCAPES CATEGORY. IMAGE BY MARK DUMBLETON.
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MILKY WAY WINNER IN AFRICAN LANDSCAPES CATEGORY. IMAGE BY MARK DUMBLETON.
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ELEPHANT IN MIST HIGHLY HONOURED IN MAMMALS OF AFRICA CATEGORY. IMAGE BY STUART PORTER.
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PLAYTIME HIGHLY HONOURED IN MAMMALS OF AFRICA CATEGORY. IMAGE BY CAROLE DESCHUYMERE.
PLAYING LEOPARDS HONOURED IN WILD CATS OF AFRICA CATEGORY. IMAGE BY KURT JAY BERTELS.
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BATHING ElephantCARMINE In Mist LEFT: Elephant In Mist, MammalsHIGHLY Of Africa. HONOURED RIGHT: Milky IN BIRDS Way OFOver AFRICA KokerboomklooF CATEGORY. IMAGE , African BY BRENDON Landscapes. CREMER.
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The Nature’s Best Photography Africa exhibition moves from Cape Town to the Nature’s Best Photography international exhibition at The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. To find out more about these beautiful images and the photographers, visit www. naturesbestphotography.com.
APPROACHING STORM HONOURED IN LANDSCAPES OF AFRICA CATEGORY. IMAGE BY LEE SLABBER.
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MAASAI DREAMING Kenya is old Africa conserved. With the sweeping plains of the Maasai Mara as its wildlife flagship, and the regal Maasai people living around it, this is a bucket-list destination for nature photographers and all lovers of wild places.
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he Maasai chief is admiring his cattle. He walks between them, carrying a traditional spear and draped in a red shuka blanket. Every once in a while he pauses, looks one in the eye and continues. The cattle are tame, accustomed to being handled and admired. “One of the cows is sick,” he says, as he continues perusing the herd in the boma, “and I want to find her and treat her so she will get better quickly. You know, cattle and children are our wealth.” Chief James Maatany is in charge of the Maasai village at Talek, on the edge of the Maasai Mara. One of the official park entrances is just a short walk from Talek, but this gate is more of a token than a way to keep any wildlife in or out. Rivers form the natural borders of the vast reserve, so wildlife often strays into the village. People are tolerant of this and since the Maasai don’t kill or eat wild animals, as it’s against their belief, the wildlife seldom comes to harm. The chief is still explaining this when, behind him, a line of Maasai warriors or moran, all wrapped in red shukas, start jumping. One by one they rise up from the ground, higher and higher, as if they have springs in their feet. When they reach their zenith, the next warrior takes over jumping until he tires, followed by the next as the resting warriors chant him skyward. The warriors jump so high and gather so much
momentum; it is an impressive sight and for a moment you can imagine it being an official Olympic sport.
“They’re just practising,” says Chief Maatany, “because the higher they jump, the further they will be able to see across the Mara. Seeing far is important to us, to protect our cattle and our village.” Maasai have good eyes, and because we wear red we can see each other easily too.” The choice of red clothing is also a camouflage tactic, but not in the usual way. “It’s so that the enemy can’t see who is wounded in battle,” the chief continues. But fortunately battle is no longer high on the Maasai list of things to do in the day. Crossing back into the Maasai Mara from Talek village, the sweeping plains open up to reveal wildlife sprinkled across them as far as you can see. Mara means ‘dappled’, not for the thousands of animals that punctuate the landscape, but for the intermittent bushy outcrops that provide a hiding place for wild animals.
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FROM ABOVE LEFT: Maasai chief on the land; Maasai GIRL, and Maasai ELDER in traditional clothing, KENYA.
One day, a skittish caracal darts from one such bushy patch, on another day a leopard. These are the plains that host the wildlife spectacle of Kenya’s flagship park, where vast herds of antelope and zebra travel alongside dozens of Masaai giraffe, buffalo, elephant and wildebeest. And every day we see lions, lots of them. It’s October, the time when the afternoon rain clouds gather to momentarily brood before releasing a quick, replenishing shower over the Mara. Along with the rains, the fertile volcanic soil offers plentiful grass for grazing, greener even than the adjoining Serengeti plains in Tanzania, which is why 1.2 million wildebeest make the long annual journey to the Mara, allowing their home turf a few months to recover. For photographers and wildlife lovers, the annual migration is a spectacular sight. Not just for the daring river crossings, where wildebeest by the hundred launch themselves from steep river banks to cross rivers heaving with crocodiles, but for the sheer size of these herds. Zebra travel with the wildebeest and a rear guard of predators follows their prey on a perpetual rotation between Tanzania and Kenya. It is a physical circle of life. Henry Sadera has watched the migration so many times he’s lost count. A stoic Maasai with the eyes of an
eagle, he sits behind the wheel of the game drive vehicle. He can spot wildlife with the naked eye long before anyone holding a pair of binoculars. It’s almost as if he senses where animals are and instinctively anticipates their behaviour. Henry anticipates wildlife so precisely it almost defies belief, but to him this is normal living in sync with the Mara. This afternoon we are headed out to savannah and Henry appears to be on a mission. After 40 minutes of driving, our guide stops the vehicle and points ahead. “Cheetah,” he says, “she’s lying in the grass.” After much squinting and looking about, we eventually spot the cat with the aid of our binoculars. Only the tips of her ears are visible, but for Henry that was all that was needed. “She’ll get up soon and start looking to hunt,” he says with the air of a wildlife prophet, reducing his passengers to a silent admiration. As surely as if she had heard him, within moments the cheetah rose, her long lithe limbs slowly carrying her towards us. We all watched intently as she appeared to focus on a second vehicle alongside us. Pausing briefly as she approached the vehicle, without ceremony she jumped onto the bonnet and moved onto the roof. You could hear the photographers’ breathe in and for the first time in their lives, they were too close to a cheetah to take
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ABOVE: Game drive AND CHEETAH VIEWING with a difference in the MAAsai MARA, Kenya.
a photo. Henry smiled knowingly. “This she learnt from her mother,” he says. “She jumps onto vehicles to be able to see further across the plains. It means she wants to hunt for dinner.” Wherever you drive in this section of the Maasai Mara the wildlife is diverse and prolific. Predator and prey are everywhere and it doesn’t take you long to capture the Big Five (other than the black rhino, which is rare in the Mara) on film. Before the sun had set, we were privy to a leopard chasing down a hare before it could retreat into the safety of its burrow, a large herd of elephant and endless sightings of zebra and antelope. It’s difficult to decide which is more beautiful, Kenya’s people or the wilderness? Photographers are spoilt for choice and some will find their pleasure in the colourful cultures, while other travellers will come to experience the feeling of old Africa that’s alive and well in this land.
Kenya, the Maasai Mara and her people, the Maasai, are enchanting and will certainly steal your heart – if it’s a wild one. Images and story by Keri Harvey ESSENTIAL INFORMATION Photographic safaris and tours to Kenya and other wild places: Contact C4 Images and Safaris on +27 (0)12 993 1946 or 087 805 7641 (SA); e-mail email@example.com or visit www.c4safaris-images.co.za Stay At: Entim Maasai Mara. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.entimmara.com.
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PLACE OF HEAVEN
They call Swaziland the tiny mountain kingdom with the big heart. Tiny it is – but its heart is big indeed, and it beats friendly and funky in the Ezulwini Valley, the country’s main tourist hub, also known as the ‘place of heaven’. By Bridget Hilton-Barber MAIN: Sculpture at Guava gallery.
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(LEFT PAGE) TOP LEFT: Giant puppets of Mozambique. TOP RIGHT: Homeware from gone rural shop. BOTTOM LEFT: Traditional Swazi hut. BOTTOM RIGHT: Reggae band performing at House on Fire. TOP: The scenic Ezulweni Valley.
rom Mbabane, the capital city, the King’s Highway goes down a long steep pass called Malagwane Hill, where the views are so wide you immediately understand why Ezulwini is the Swazi word for ‘place of heaven’. Flanked to the west by the craggy Lugogo Mountains and to the east by the sacred Mdzimba mountains, Ezulwini is a subtropical green jewel. Many visitors – and it’s highly recommended – stop for a drink and to drink in the views at the famous Mountain Inn just outside Mbabane, where you can see Ezulwini from on high in all its heavenly glory. The turn-off is at the very bottom of Malagwane Hill and as you drive into the valley, the distinctive peak of Execution Rock rises up. The name comes from a century back when criminals were made to walk to the summit and plunge to their deaths. Swazi warriors provided assistance with their spears, of course – a quick prod to facilitate the downward journey. Eish! Even though the Swazi political system, as the last remaining African monarchy, is very conservative, the Ezulwini Valley has always been deliciously decadent. Perhaps it is because of the presence of Sheba’s Breasts, the beautiful twin mountain peaks named after the mysterious Queen Sheba of Ethiopia? The Royal Swazi Spa, the very first casino in southern Africa, opened in Ezulwini in the 1960s alongside hot springs called the Cuddle Puddle.
Down the road was the infamous Happy Valley Casino (and Why Not disco), the favoured haunt of white South African men in search of gambling and naughty gals. By the 1980s, Ezulwini was dubbed Swaziland’s Golden Mile because of its proliferation of hotels, casinos, golf courses, restaurants and other honey pots. Today, Ezulwini is more salubrious, known especially for its arts, crafts and culture. The long-time tourist hotels are still here – the Royal Swazi Spa, the Lugogo Sun and Ezulwini Sun. The Happy Valley Casino is all blingy and respectable and in case you’re wondering, the Cuddle Puddle is as popular as ever. Its magnesium-rich waters, which remain at a constant 42˚C, are now channelled into a large swimming pool that steams away gently beneath overhanging trees. Culturally, Ezulwini is perhaps best known for its annual Bushfire concert, held at the House of Fire; a fabulously Africa-meets-Gaudi-style venue with views over the Ezulwini Valley and lots of creative spaces and places. Bushfire showcases contemporary African musicians and attracts some 10 000 visitors from Nelspruit, Maputo, Jozi, KwaZulu-Natal and Zimbabwe. The concert has a world music feel to it and also features poetry, theatre, craft and workshops. It’s inspiring to visit the House of Fire any time you’re in Ezulwini – and have lunch or a drink at the lovely Malandela’s venue and restaurant next door.
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PHOTOGRAPHs: Bridget Hilton-Barber.
(LEFT PAGE) TOP: Weaver at Gone rural shop. BOTTOM: Sambane cafÉ, Swazi candle centre. above: House on Fire exterior.
Ezulwini Valley is also a real hub of arts and crafts, for which the Swazi people are famous. Don’t miss the iconic Swazi shop Gone Rural (at House of Fire), which has hand-woven home accessories like mats, placemats, lamp stands, baskets and more. This is where traditional skill meets high-end design with amazing results. And it’s definitely worth a visit to the Swazi Candles centre, a short drive away, past the local markets and roadside stalls. Swazi Candles is one of the oldest organisations in Swaziland and has a huge display room full of unusual candles and soaps. The centre also has Kwazi Swazi, a bookshop with music, T-shirts and souvenirs; the Baobab Batik shop; and a charming mercado selling mainly Mozambican arts and crafts. You can coffee-up or have a light brunch or lunch at the laidback Sambane Café. Across the road is the Ezulwini Craft Market – Swaziland’s largest, with more than 100 different stalls, including wooden carvings, plates, beadwork, jewellery, textiles and traditional stuff. Ezulwini has some great restaurants, like the Guava Gallery, which is also an art spot and serves soul food with good views. You can go upmarket at the renowned Calabash Restaurant – they say it’s the best in the country. Or you can pack a picnic and head for the
Mantenga Craft Centre and Nature Reserve, another long-time favourite spot for ramblers, strollers and those in search of peace and quiet. And if you’re into traditional Swazi food with a comfort twist, head for Lidwala Backpackers, which is laid-back and easygoing. Try the local Sibebe Beer, named after a huge granite outcrop north of Mbabane. There are many places to stay in and around Ezulwini. One of the loveliest is Buhleni Farm Cottages, which are just off the main road and feature simple chalets in a glorious subtropical garden. You can do walks, horse riding or just hang out. Another great escape is Mlilwane Nature Reserve, which has chalets and a backpackers’ spot. The beautiful reserve has small wildlife and is centred on the Mantenga Falls and river. For more information about travelling in Swaziland, take a look at the following websites: swazi.travel; thekingdomofswaziland.com; welcometoswaziland.com; swazi.com. For more information about the annual Bushfire Festival, visit bushfire.com, and for a look at the lovely House on Fire and its offerings, visit houseon-fire.com.
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THE SPIER REVOLUTION Spier Wine Farm in the beautiful Western Cape winelands takes sustainability in tourism to a whole new level.
“So, how long has Spier been focused on sustainability?” I ask Heidi NewtonKing, CEO of Leisure and Human Resources Director on the farm. We are sitting and chatting in her sunny office in one of the many historic buildings on the farm as I learn about its eco-tourism philosophy and the many projects Spier is involved in. “Since the beginning,” she says, referring to 1993, when Dick Enthoven and family purchased this significant agricultural property and began a transformation that focused on long-term relationships with both the land and the people. Spier Wine Farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is one of the oldest farms in the region. Recognised for its cultural and historical significance, as well as its architectural worth, it boasts no fewer than 21 Cape Dutch gables, more than any other property in the area. Yet evidence of Stone Age tools discovered on the land hints at man’s presence here, long before the first free burghers from the Cape colony established a farm in 1692. For many of us though, Spier is a household name, a place that holds memories of long lunches and leisurely picnics enjoyed on the lawn before time spent feeding the rather oversized bass in the lake, or taking a walk along the river. It’s always been accessible and welcoming, with an assortment of activities and a
collection of fine wine and food that catered for every taste, preference and budget.
THE REAL SPIER STORY This story is about a philosophy – an ongoing evolution that has seen Spier rise to a place of feel-good excellence, which is evident in the food, wine, accommodation, art, and the personal attention offered by all you meet there. The passion is tangible, infectious even, as you explore the estate and all it offers, learning more about the family that owns it and the dedicated team that is there to match their vision.
The four-star 153-room Spier Hotel is the first South African hotel to be awarded Fair Trade in Tourism accreditation and is recognised for pioneering responsible tourism. Fondly referred to as ‘the village’, it opened in 2010 with spacious rooms built in clusters around lush lawns and pools, connected by walkways to the reception area, that has a large contemporary styled lounge with bar,
fireplace, restaurant and reception. The room categories allow a choice between garden, riverside terrace and upstairs suites. All rooms are spacious with lounge areas, beautiful finishes, comfy king-size beds and all modern amenities, including spacious bathrooms with bath and shower. In keeping with the sustainability ethos, mini-bars are energy-efficient and showerheads water-wise. The Hotel Restaurant and Wine Bar offers elegant a la carte dining, with only the freshest available produce on the menu. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with bar snacks on the terrace, or order a light meal. The Camelot Spa overlooks the pool area and offers a variety of treatments to revitalise and enrich your experience.
AWARD-WINNING WINE Wine is ever important here and grapes have been grown on the land since the early 1700s. Today, under the watchful eye of celebrated Cellar Master Frans Smit, his winemakers Jacques Erasmus and Johan Jordaan, as well as viticulturist Johann Smit guide the team to awards. From vineyard to cellar, grapes are handled with great care, picked and sorted by hand, with special attention given to the pressing and crushing process. Their range includes the celebrated 21 Gables, Creative Block, Spier’s signature collection and the Frans K Smit flagship red.
OPPOSITE TOP LEFT AND BOTTOM RIGHT: Art is an integral part of the spier experience, Eco-friendly farming methods are the backbone of the spier philosophy, featured here: Chicken Pen, workers in the Vineyards and nguni cattle grazing freely; Biodynamic Farmers Alfred Zvavahera and Victor Motsi. BOTTOM RIGHT: THE PROTEA GARDEN.
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OPPOSITE FROM TOP LEFT: SIGNATURE SPIER MERLOT WITH DELICIOUS BURGER; SPIER WINETASTING SHOP AND COUNTER; WINE-TASTING DECK. ECO-EXPERT ANGUS MCINTOSH. Top Right: VIEW OF THE DAM FROM THE WINE-TASTING DECK; NGUNI CATTLE AND THE SPIER ‘EGGMOBILE’.
These can be tasted under the trees or in the recently opened wine-tasting room, which is magnificent with its double-volume height and natural light that streams in through the glass doors, allowing views towards the Helderberg Mountains. The wine and chocolate pairing is extraordinary – and so is the Method Cape Classique, which is a personal favourite.
ECO-FRIENDLY FARMING METHODS Yet on this 620-hectare property, much of the focus remains on the land and farming methods – working according to biodynamic principles, which aim to create a balanced farm ecosystem with minimal damage to the environment. Beyond the vineyards are pastures, where farmer Angus McIntosh raises grass-fed cattle free of hormones and antibiotics. Fresh produce is grown organically in Spier’s vegetable garden and happy hens, which are truly free, scratch around in the field, laying eggs in ‘mobile homes’ that are moved regularly, in turn offering fertiliser. McIntosh’s enthusiasm is unrivalled and time with him will offer invaluable insight into farming done right. Here is a man who followed his dreams, leaving a high-end job in London to put his hand to something that mattered. If you are out walking, you may see him come down one of the hills on his mountain bike, his chosen method for getting around.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT The onsite restaurants source as much food as possible from the farm. The Restaurant Eight subscribes to balance, abundance, harmony and infinity, as its symbol indicates. Here, Chef Charl Coetzee brings his years of experience and delicate touch to the fresh produce offered on the seasonally changing menu. Eight’s décor embodies the eco-approach with, among others, the ceiling on the terrace lined with over 10 000 individually crafted flowers made from recycled white plastic milk
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OPPOSITE FROM TOP LEFT: EIGHT RESTAURANT USES ONLY THE FRESHEST INGREDIENTS; MAIN BAR. CHEF CHARL COETZEE IN KITCHEN; OUTSIDE DINING AREA. CHEF LORIANNE HEYNS; DESIGNINSPIRED INTERIORS. TOP RIGHT: HOTEL TERRACE; CREATIVE BLOCK WALL.
bottles and lit with low-voltage LEDs. It’s an incredible sight. There’s also the Eight To Go deli, which offers a collection of ready-to-eat organic choices to stock your pantry with – olive oil, pesto, elderflower cordial, vinegars and flavoured salts too. Picnics are seasonal and can either be put together from the deli yourself or pre-ordered.
WORKS OF ART Then there is the art. Inspired by Dick Enthoven, Spier has one of the most extensive collections of contemporary South African art in the country. Artworks are displayed in the restored Cape Dutch buildings and around the hotel, each area treated as exhibition space displaying the work of emerging and recognised talent. The Spier Collection is curated around Spier’s focus on environmental and social responsibility and is rotated every year to give exposure to as many artists as possible, keeping the spaces fresh for visitors. Look out for the Dying Slave by Marco Cianfanelli – one of the many works of art found around the farm. This ninecolumn piece consists of 225 000 pieces of colorful stone used in the Byzantine mosaic style and portrays the face of a tormented man. It took 10 mosaic artists five months to create and will leave you in awe of their dedication. Around the farm, you will also see pieces from the Creative Block Project on display and for sale. Here, anyone is invited to create a work on an 18cm x 18cm blank block and the best ones are purchased for resale. The proceeds go into the art programmes, namely the Artist Patronage Programme and the Spier Art Academy.
GET ACTIVE While on the farm, it’s a must to enjoy some of the activities on offer. Take a Segway tour through the vineyards, past the Protea Garden and into the farming area to learn more about the method and work being done. Segway is such a fun way to get around, with longer tours and a sunset option available. There are audio walking tours available to bring the
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TOP RIGHT: EAGLE ENCOUNTERS; CHILDREN’S PLAYROOM MURAL; COOKING WITH CHEF LORIANNE HEYNS. TOP LEFT: EXTERIOR OF THE HOTEL, LOUNGE ARTWORK; HOTEL’S MAIN SWIMMING POOL; BREAKFAST AREA AND CONSERVATORY.
‘werf’ and history come to life. See the gables and learn about the heritage, or head up into the farmlands for a more extensive walk. Alternately, you can book a guide from the hotel. I did this with Wiseman and it was excellent. Visit the Eagle Encounters to learn how these birds of prey keep the farm healthy and balanced, allowing Spier to do pest control naturally and without the use of nasty chemicals. Eagle Encounters receives and rehabilitates birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. When they are fit, they are released into the wild, although some hand-reared birds are kept for education purposes. It’s a fascinating tour and an opportunity to get up close and personal with these precious predators.
IMAGES: SUPPLIED BY SPIER.
GIVING BACK As you spend more time exploring and learning about their approach to nature, it becomes evident that anything you can do Spier can do better, and they do. Yet everyone I speak to highlights the fact that nothing works in isolation. Eco-tourism and sustainability are about learning from each other, about dedication and commitment. As the world becomes more industrialised, Spier becomes more determined to bring back to ground level the things that matter. They have looked at nature and recognised that there is no waste there and worked hard to mimic that – almost succeeding. Today, 95 percent of the waste produced on the farm is recycled on site. All wastewater goes to the treatment site to become irrigation water. In fact, there are more than 400 water-saving devices on showers, basins and toilets. Natural light and ventilation, as well as energy-efficient lighting, used where possible, are just some of the ways Spier gives love back to the environment. If you opt to have your conference at one of the gorgeous venues at Spier, you could leave your leftover stationery behind to be distributed to schoolchildren from surrounding communities. Pens are made from 100% recycled newspaper and carry messages like ‘I used to be a newspaper’. Re-used bottles with filtered water ensure no waste or carbon footprint and are marked ‘water does not come from a bottle’. It’s ingenious and effective, not to mention really cool. You can offset your carbon footprint with a small donation when checking out of the hotel and explore sustainability in action with a tour of their Treepreneurs nursery. I was gifted a nurtured spekboom tree to bring home on my visit. Spier want their visitors to leave rested and at peace, and for the property to be a place of inspiration. They achieve this, as more of us are lucky enough to experience the true substance of this much-loved farm and how it all fits perfectly together. As I think just this, General Manager of Hotel and Leisure, Joep Schoof, cycles by on one of the Qhubeka bikes, which are available to guests, and waves. That moment sums things up for me perfectly. Here is a place to learn and explore – where you can create your own Spier memories while keeping your heart and mind focused on nature. Story by Dawn Jorgensen
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6-8 April 2016 Cape Town
2015/10/20 9:43 AM
THE REIGN OF KING DAVID
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David Tlale has become synonymous with sophistication, refinement and aspiration, and as much as his success is about the journey of a young boy from Vosloorus to conquering international fashion catwalks, it’s also about the art of daring to dream big and building a lasting brand. hen we enter the David Tlale studios in trendy Maboneng in downtown Johannesburg, one of the things that immediately catches your eye, aside from the jaw-dropping creations that are draped on black mannequins, is his staff who are all dressed in what has become his signature colour, black. And not just that, everyone here is dressed well and that leaves the impression that tardiness is not allowed in this space. David possesses a presence that can easily be described as “larger than life” yet he takes over a room without ever raising his voice. His tone is calm and self-assured, and while there’s something about him that can come across as intimidating, there’s also warmth that belies someone who comes from a background where humanity and humility are prized. His name is well known in all corners of the country and in international fashion circles too, but David has no intention of taking things stylishly slow, instead he says he’s just gearing up. THE INCEPTION OF EXCELLENCE David Tlale’s childhood was similar to many children growing up in townships across South Africa. He grew up with his domestic worker mother, four siblings, and a network of extended family that helped build his foundation. “I had two uncles from my dad’s side who were a major inﬂuence when I was growing up. The one was a technician whose swag was untouchable,” recalls David fondly. “He was always well dressed. My other uncle was an artist who would paint landscapes around the house. I fed from their creativity and was motivated to be a very active young man in all that I did.” And so David’s journey to leadership and being a pioneer began. “I was always a class leader, a boy scout, a cub leader, the Sunday school teacher, a choir conductor or the youth leader. These were different leadership roles that I played throughout my youth and I was always active in that sense. I also had a strict mother; being beaten was not abuse, it was grooming me. All those inﬂuences shaped my life.” In high school, David continued to keep busy with different projects. He worked in a hair salon and dabbled in décor while completing his studies. “I was always a dreamer but it wasn’t my dream to be a fashion designer. In primary school I thought I would be a teacher; then I wanted to be a doctor in high school, and then later I wanted to be an accountant, which is why I went to TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) to study Internal Auditing,” he explains. It was during this time that David found his calling.
A FASHIONABLE UNDERTAKING In his ﬁrst year of studying auditing, David started feeling bored. “I started hanging out with the fashion students and I just couldn’t believe the energy surrounding them. There was music playing and so much creativity in that space. So many different things were happening at the same time. The next day I went to the fashion department and told them I wanted to sign up. They said it was too late to change courses. I then went to Vaal University [of Technology] to apply, got accepted and never looked back.” David followed his heart, despite the fact that his mother was not supportive of his choice. “First year I was an average student; everything was a new language to me. At the end of that year when there was a prize giving, a classmate received the ﬁrst prize. I told her from next year she must kiss that prize goodbye, because it would be mine,” he recalls with a laugh. Hard work and the desire to be the best meant David kept his word. He won best student in his second, third and ﬁnal year of studies. Even though the seed had been sown, it would take a few more years before the David Tlale name would carry weight in the fashion industry. After graduation David worked as a lecturer, a job that came about when his university offered him a post. He lectured for almost ﬁve years. “In 2003, I felt I had fulﬁlled my dream to be a teacher and now wanted to put all my attention to my fashion, which I was doing part time,” he explains. In 2003, David’s work won him the Elle New Talent award. This accolade combined with a co-sign from the Sunday Times for Best Designer, made the fashion world stand up and take notice.
CREATING A LEGACY There have been many awards since then. In 2007 a new benchmark was created for David when he, and other local designers, were invited to showcase their work in Paris. This experience changed how he saw the world. “When we hit Paris my perspective changed. I saw my brand and myself in a new light. I knew I had to dream bigger and do more. I knew my work had to be beyond my capabilities and beyond what my peers were doing. It was either this or nothing.” David started getting a taste of international fame. Next in 2009, he and other local designers were sent to showcase their work in New York. “When we got to New York, I loved it and saw ﬁrst-hand how fashion was being done on a big scale. I knew that this would be the next home for my brand. I also knew that I wanted to showcase solo, because no one remembers a group and I wanted to be remembered.”
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FLYING HIGH BUT FIRMLY GROUNDED I ask David how his success has changed him, and how far removed is that boy from Vosloorus to the designer who graces magazines and dresses some of the world’s most stylish women? “I’ve always taken care of how I dressed since I was a young boy and I have always cared for people, and that hasn’t changed. There is a thin line between me, the person, and me, the designer. I believe I am working 24/7; even when trying to have a social life, people see the brand. “On Sundays when I’m not working or travelling, I attend Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto, under the leadership of Bishop Musa Sono. After that my time is dedicated to family, where I don’t have to be a brand. It’s where I’m a son to my mom, an uncle to nieces and nephew, and a brother to my sibling,” explains David.
“My journey in the industry has been God opening doors and Him giving me opportunities. None of this is coincidence, or luck; it’s God’s will.” His spirituality, says David, plays a big role in his life. “Spirituality is huge for me. It controls my comings and goings. I easily say the establishment of my brand is based on spiritual values. My ups and downs have taught me a lot, and God helps me bounce back and stand strong. My faith, tenacity and stubbornness helped me become the person that I am. Without Him, my family and my spiritual mentors, I wouldn’t be where I am,” he says, his voice sounding even more serious. Unmoved by the busy nature of a city such as Johannesburg and the social life of being a celebrity, David says that he survives because he is clear on who he is. “As the Bible says, you can’t serve two masters; you give your all to your job or you give your all to the fabulosity of long lunches and being seen around town. Here we work because you have
to, to be on top of your game. You have to set limits for yourself. If you’re going to a dinner party, then you have to work extra hours so that you can enjoy it without your work slacking. Nothing can be done slowly when you have goals. You have to be a multi-tasker, and a 360-degree thinker with back-up plans. Be present in your brand and be prepared to do some things you don’t necessarily want to, because you have a certain future in mind. For me, my work is my private life and that makes things a lot more streamlined.” With name firmly in lights and his brand burgeoning, what is next for David Tlale? “I will continue to make the brand stronger. I want David Tlale to be a brand based in South Africa that is preparing for the global market. We want stores in New York, Tokyo, Dubai and other major cities, among other goals. If Marc Jacobs can do it, so can I.” By Zama Nkosi This article ﬁrst appeared in Essays Of Africa magazine.
MORE INFO To ﬁnd what David Tlale has to say about style and grooming, and dreaming big, visit www.essaysofafrica.com
PHOTOGRAPHER: GARETH JACOBS. STYLIST: DAVID TLALE. HAIR & MAKE-UP: LUCOH MHLONGO.
Through a lot of knocking on doors and working on creating the lasting impression he’s become known for, David Tlale became a name recognisable in international fashion circles. “We’ve now had six seasons consecutively in New York. The brand is growing globally and we are currently working on a Spring/ Summer collection for the next New York Fashion Week. In July, we will be presenting our ﬁrst bridal collection at Cape Town Fashion Week. Things are going good,” he states conﬁdently.
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This year, SAA celebrates 50 years of flying to Mauritius. With its gorgeous beaches, incredible hospitality, beautiful weather and tons of family-friendly activities, whatâ€™s not to love?
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ABOVE to bottom right: Wigwam dinner on the beach, One&Only Le Saint Géran, Deities, Villa, One&Only Le Saint Géran, colour everywhere.
ou’ve got five minutes, so hurry up and get spiritual,” shouted the PR guru as we all wafted around the Hindu temple at Ganga Talao, ‘the sacred lake’. We’d been there a while but, to be honest, I could have stayed for the day. Surrounded by Lord Hanuman, Lord Shiva and in the presence of Goddess Lakshmi, the smell of incense and the sound of chanting had us being ‘totally present’ and a little oblivious to the fact that we were on a tight schedule. As long as we were dressed appropriately (no skimpy attire) and left our shoes outside, devotees welcomed us into the heart of the temple. What is almost immediately noticeable on the island is acceptance, no matter what your religion is or where you are from – a feeling of tolerance permeates the island, and as our cherub-faced guide Choiscelle ‘Iris’ Tave said, “Mauritius welcomes you to have most enthusiastic holiday.” Iris is one of those ‘shiny happy people’ songs are written about. You know the type: no matter what the weather, or what is going on in the world or in their lives, their glass is always half full. In Iris’s case, it is more like glass overflowing, and then some. She was only too happy to share her beautiful island with us.
AROUND THE ISLAND Accompanied by Iris’s good vibes and lilting Mauritian accent, we visited the southwest coast. The first stop was the Bois Cheri tea factory followed by a tea tasting at the restaurant, with gorgeous views of the lake, plantations, and south of the island. A photo stop at the Black River Gorges viewpoint had us gasping at the incredible lushness of the area – a moody mist adding to the gravitas of green forests that go as far as they eye can see. The Black River Gorges National Park is the island’s biggest national park, declared a protected reserve in 1994 and home to incredible coastal forests and birdlife. Rhumerie de Chamarel is located close to the ‘Coloured Earths of Chamarel’ and is definitely worth a stop. Here you can learn all about the island’s rhum-making history and the best part is a rhum-tasting afterwards – it kicks like a mule. You have been warned! This was followed by a lunch with a view – this time it was on the verandah of The La Chamarel restaurant nestled in the Black River mountains, where we munched on our palm heart salads with vistas that stretched to the Indian Ocean to keep us company.
Mauritius has an incredible food and drink culture, and a visit to the Port Louis Central Market is always a colourful experience. The market has had a serious ‘clean up’ over the past few years, and while it was very much ‘anything goes’ in the earlier days, it’s now pretty organised, with mountains of the freshest produce stacked high. It’s the place where the locals go to buy their fruit and veg and where haggling is still part of the deal; whether you’re buying a tomato or a pashmina – it’s expected. If you have the time, the city has some incredible historic sights worth viewing, such as the Natural History Museum, the Blue Penny Museum and Fort Adelaide, or wind your way through the streets and alleyways that make up this port city. A salute to the modern era of Mauritius, there is also the Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis with its restaurants, pubs and shops – a touristy hang out with a good dose of bling thrown in for good measure. The seaside ‘village’ of Grand Baie on the northwestern part of the island, with its designer shops and malls, caters to those in search of more upmarket shopping. Although, you’d probably have a better time ordering a cocktail at one of many
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ABOVE Left to right: Port Louis central market and streets of Port Louis.
10 REASONS TO LOVE MAURITIUS 1. Beaches, Beaches, Beaches: White powdery sands, a million palm trees. Mauritius is the epitome of every tropical island cliché.
2. Mauritian People: With a fantastic heritage and history behind them, the local people are incredibly warm and welcoming. Tolerance and understanding is what being Mauritian is all about – you might even be greeted with a ‘Sawubona’ or ‘Goeiemôre’ by a local. 3. Cuisine: Whether you are feasting on fresh langoustines braaied on the beach with your feet in the sand, eating a pineapple on a stick at Port Louis Market, tasting smoked Marlin for the first time, or sampling the finest Indian or Mauritian dishes at any one of the fine dining restaurants, Mauritius is the ultimate foodie destination. 4. Watersports: For soft adventure or greater extremes, there is so much on offer, from snorkelling and scuba diving to glass-bottomed boat journeys, kite surfing or just lolling about in the waves. 5. Family-Friendly: A destination with safe beaches, great hikes and walks, most resorts have a kid’s entertainment programme and affordable family packages are also on offer. 6. Accommodation Options: Take your pick from five-star resorts to selfcatering holiday homes, apartments and home-stays. 7. So Much To Do: While lolling about on the beach is always an option, there is a wide range of excursions on offer, from Harley-Davidson safaris around the island to hikes into the forest and plenty of water sports.
9. Natural Attractions: There are plenty, including mountains, oceans, natural reserves, lush forests. 9. For Every Budget: Caters to all budgets, is affordable and pretty easy to get to. 10. Location: Just four hours from Johannesburg, it a quick and easy destination for South Africans. We have no doubt many will continue their long love affair with the destination for many years to come. By Denise Slabbert ESSENTIAL INFO While South Africans have been flying to Mauritius for over 50 years, the One&Only Le Saint Géran Resort is also synonymous with the journey and growth of the island. The resort recently celebrated its 40-year anniversary, and it’s been through quite a few changes since visionary hotelier Sol Kerzner first laid the foundations for this incredible hotel. It now falls under the One&Only brand and continues to attract travellers from near and far with its fantastic facilities, brilliant location and incredible reputation for service, with many staff members having been there for over 30 years. Visit lesaintgeran. oneandonlyresorts.com/. SAA continues to fly to Mauritius daily. Visit www. flysaa.com for more information.
IMAGES SUPPLIED BY ONE&ONLY LE SAINT GÉRAN, RYAN JAMES/DARLING LAMA AND ©ISTOCK.COM.
restaurants in the area, putting your feet up and watching the yachts come in and out of the harbour. The cultural heritage is rich, with people of Creole lineage (African and Malagasy origins), Indian descent and from the Far East (Sino-Mauritians), as well as a good dose of French colonial heritage. On the northern part of the island, we spent a few hours at Eureka Colonial House – a sprawling property with a fascinating family history. We had a cooking demonstration on how to make a traditional Mauritian potato curry before sitting down on the verandah to enjoy a feast at a long table that just didn’t stop giving. You can’t do it all when visiting the island, and it’s a good idea to choose your excursions carefully, because spending a few hours on the beach or around the pool doing nothing at all is compulsory (or should be). Upon the advice of Iris, on our last day we opted for a trip on a catamaran where we sipped cocktails, snorkelled and sunbathed. ‘Ah Mondays,’ sighed our PR guru before ordering another cocktail, and we all gave an enthusiastic collective sigh. As Iris says, it’s very easy to have an enthusiastic holiday in Mauritius.
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The luxurious Segera Retreat in Kenya is a combination of evocative landscapes and lyrical design that is both playful and has a conscience.
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MAIN: TRANQUIL INTERIORS BY MAIRA KOUTSOUDAKIS LIFE INTERIORS + ARCHITECTURE + CREATIVE DIRECTION. LEFT: LOCAL FOLK ON SEGERA GAME DRIVE VEHICLE. RIGHT TOP TO BOTTOM: DINING AREA; GORGEOUS GARDENS; PRIVATE OPEN-AIR BATHING AREA.
ondé Nast Traveler put Segera Retreat on their Hot List 2014: Best New Way-Out-There Hotels. It is something of a journey to get there if you consider that it is situated on the Laikipia Plateau between the Great Rift Valley and Mount Kenya, but those who have been lucky enough to visit will tell you that every dusty footstep towards this eco-paradise is worth the energy. As the team at Condé Nast pointed out: “Most people go to an East African lodge in order to see the Big Five, but at Segera, owner Jochen Zeitz has created something that offers much more than just wildlife spotting. A visit here is like being a guest at his house: The eight villas are set on his working cattle ranch amid 50 000 acres of preserved wilderness, yet have all the comforts you could wish for, including huge bathrooms and oversized beds with canopies that are draped with billowing mosquito nets, and local art from Zeitz’s own collection.” Managed and run by Zeitz and marketed by Wilderness Safaris, this property is known as an eco-lodge with a strong focus on wildlife, the natural environment, forwardthinking conservation, and upliftment of local communities plus, of course, the fact that the property wins awards for gorgeous design and décor.
“The fact that Segera is a living, breathing art installation in one of the most beautiful parts of the planet is definitely an added bonus.” The eight villas that make up Segera Retreat are surrounded by lush gardens and linked by snaking wooden walkways. Glimpse up from your wide deck and look further afield to the African bushveld vistas that stretch beyond this horizon and the next. Certainly, having Mount Kenya in your back garden is a big plus and the timber villas are all built on platforms, giving guests the opportunity to drink in the beautiful landscape from an elevated position. And
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LEFT: THE EXPLORER’s ROOM; RIGHT TOP TO BOTTOM: OUTSIDE LOUNGE; POOL AREA, GIRAFFE VISITATION.
if you can’t get enough of the surroundings, there is a private outdoor bath to reinforce the mystique of the moment. Interiors echo the language of the natural surroundings with a mix of wood, thatch, cotton and natural fabrics. The Explorers’ Room is something of a highlight, and a great place to spend a few hours in the cool sanctuary where you can thumb through old maps, read a book and enjoy the artwork and tranquillity of the space. There is also a playful opulence to Segera Retreat thanks to the talents of design guru and dedicated fan of the African continent, Maira Koutsoudakis, from Life Interiors + Architecture + Creative Direction, who says,
“Here there is a hedonism and acceptance of the luxury of living in the African Wild.” There is a design and orchestration to how things work at Segera, but there is also a delicious freedom that permeates the experience.” Skilled local chefs create delicious meals and menus are inspired by seasonality and what is available from Segera’s own gardens and from neighbouring farms. A dedicated Kenyan influence is present in the cuisine and the liberal use of items like fresh lime, lemongrass and spices. Choose a bottle of your favourite tipple from around the world and dine amidst views of the vast woodlands. All wines from the naturally cooled Wine Tower are from African vineyards, although fine French champagne is always on the menu as an option. Wellness is a deliberate theme at Segera, although it would be hard not to feel energised simply upon arrival at a place that instantly tunes the senses, stills the breath and gives guests the opportunity to just be. For those who need more, the wellness centre offers a range of treatments and therapies. You can order your massage either at the spa or in your suite, and there’s a state of the art gym – just in case you need an antidote for an over-indulgence of that French champagne. Yoga and meditation
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ABOVE: DUSK OVER LAIKAPIA PLATEAU.
of Jochen Zeitz and everyone at Segera to achieve a healthy balance of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – the cornerstones of this philosophy that have become a way of life at the Retreat. The Centre for the 4Cs is located on the property, which is an interactive experience cum museum dedicated to holistic sustainability. This 4Cs philosophy is not simply a marketing ‘show and tell’ exercise; Segera is dedicated to enhancing local livelihoods through sustainable commercial businesses, and through supporting cultural activities and investing in education in the area. There have been workshops with the neighbouring Turkana, Borana and Samburu women and you will be able to buy some of their incredible beadwork when you visit the Retreat. Being green was a focus when the lodge was built and continues to be a high priority. There is a dedicated waste water recycling process as well as a solar farm to make sure that electricity needs are met in the most ecofriendly way possible. Recycling is another focus, as is the farm-to-table approach and key relationships with various farmers in the region. “I’m building Segera to promote a different way of doing tourism,” Zeitz told the Financial Times when he launched the lodge back in 2013. He certainly is doing so, and it’s worth taking the journey to see the 4Cs in action.
ESSENTIAL INFO Segera Retreat is marketed by the Wilderness Collection, part of Wilderness Safaris. Visit www. segera.com or www.wildernesscollection.com. Getting there: Fly to Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi (Kenya Airways and SAA are all options). Then you will take a 90-minute shuttle to Segera Retreat. Wilderness Safaris will handle all land arrangements. Staying there: In addition to the villas, guests can rent out the stoneclad Segera House (max. four people at any one time). The house has its own observation deck and saltwater pool. For a spot of fun, a vintage landcruiser and its partnerin-crime, a crimson Rolls Royce, are parked outside. Romance on the mind: Villa Segera is another option for holidaymakers who are looking for a romantic retreat. The property is made up of two wooden buildings that are connected by a wooden bridge, gorgeous art works, a saltwater pool, and an art gallery with exclusive Michael Poliza images that add to the beauty of the experience.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID CROOKES COURTESY WILDERNESS SAFARIS AND SEGERA.
are also on offer upon request, although a walk around the sculpture garden will also restore the soul and have your chakras taking a bow. Art is a key component of being at Segera. It’s here that you’ll find contemporary pieces from The Zeitz Collection, with incredible works from artists such as Kudzanai Chiurai, Penny Siopsis, Marlene Dumas, Chris Ofili and many others. The sculpture garden was constructed in 2012 and consists of works in steel, stone and bronze. There are numerous outdoor installations and projections in the grounds and The Zeitz Foundation also runs an international artist residency programme where artists are hosted at Segera. Certainly one cannot help but be inspired by the natural environment surrounding the Retreat. The Laikipia Plateau is part of the Ewaso ecosystem that stretches for over 56 000 square kilometres and is the natural habitat for the endangerered patas monkey and 40 percent of the world’s remaining Grevy’s zebra. You will also find the big cats – leopard, lion and cheetah – and elephant, buffalo, hyaena and a large variety of plains antelope, as well as beisa oryx and reticulated giraffe. You can choose from game drives and walking safaris to ‘peeping Tom’ hides, where one can view and photograph the wildlife without disturbance. There is a sincere commitment to the Zeitz Foundation’s 4Cs philosophy and the desire
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UNDER THE ORANGE TREES OF
RRAKECH, SOMEWHERE IN THE HEART OF THE MEDINA IN OLD-TOWN MA D NESTLED UNDER THE IN-BETWEEN THE MAZE OF SPICE MARKETS AN LLED DAR KAWA. CITRUS TREES, YOU’LL FIND A LITTLE OASIS CA
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rand strategist, textile and interior designer, specialist in handicraft, visionary and self-declared ‘citizen of the world’ Valérie Barkowski fell in love almost 20 years ago. The place was Marrakech, Morocco, and the property was a riad or traditional house, built in the early 17th century. “The house was renovated for the ﬁrst time in 1999, by Belgian architect Quentin Wilbaux, a purist and connoisseur of the medina of Marrakech. The house was in very poor condition and during its restoration, we tried to get as close as possible to the original architecture,” says Barkowski. Rooted in spirituality, the house was known as the Derkaoua Zaouia, a building and the centre of living for a religious brotherhood. “What is special about the house is that the architecture is so well balanced and simple that the house does not need much. Also, it is a former place of meditation and, strangely or not, people who enter the house always comment on the peaceful presence they feel. What I like about the place is that we have kept it like a home and not a hotel. So, it’s a home away from home for our clients,” Barkowski says with obvious pride. Guests return time and again to visit this boutique sanctuary under the orange trees, where life is slow and deliberate. The beautiful weather, the ideal setting in the heart of the city and the fact that there is so much on offer in Marrakech, make for the perfect ingredients of a holiday in Marrakech heaven. Every effort has been made to ensure that Dar Kawa mirrors its ancestral Moroccan architecture; authentic materials are used as simply as possible, without compromising effect. Cedar wood and cement, muted colours and works of art create a signature design language, while elements of playfulness are subtly added to maintain a relaxed and unhurried atmosphere. Inspired by the local craftsmen in this part of the world, Burkowski has also developed and designed a range of linens for Dar Kawa, in line with her philosophy of ‘less is more’. The intimacy of the riad is uncompromised; despite the expansive courtyards and natural spaces, there is just one double room, two junior suites and one suite, which Burkowski describes as a mini-apartment in the house. Additional space can be found on the pleasant rooftop, she says, “where you can wander or daydream” as the mood invites you. New additions include a spa on the ground ﬂoor, where massage and other beauty treatments are offered as required. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch on the patio, where there is a large daybed for true Moroccan lounging, or dine on the terrace and select from dishes made from only the freshest ingredients sought at the market or Burkowski’s own back garden. “A few months ago, we started a permaculture garden and we have our own chickens. We make our own jams and everything is fresh and tasty. We hope to be able to supply Dar Kawa fully from our garden next year. Until then, there is still a lot of work to be done,” she admits. While you may be tempted to have a leisurely cocktail and relax the day away at Dar Karwa, there is no shortage of things to do in town. Burkowski suggests visiting the Ben Youssef Madrasa, Bahia Palace, the Jardin Majorelle, the Photography
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IMAGES: DAR KAWA; TANIA PANOVA.
PREVIOUS PAGES: patio WITH large daybed for true Moroccan lounging. LEFT FROM TOP to bottom: lady in courtyard, cosy YET spacious bedrooms. above: beautiful art pieces on the walls. LEFT AND RIGHT:unique interiors.
Museum of Marrakech, as well as browsing the local artisans and markets. “Take a day trip to the mountains or into the desert and learn about the culinary and beauty traditions of Morocco,” she says encouragingly, adding, “The strong tradition is depicted in the beautiful crafts and it is wonderful to immerse yourself in this incredible place of creativity. Coming to Marrakech is like entering another world, another time. You have the visible and the invisible, and I still discover new places and crafts after 19 years.” For an experience in simplicity, refinement and invisible luxury, Burkowski invites you to Dar Karwa, with a gentle reminder that in this part of the world, life is in constant flux. For first-timers to the region, she suggests that a flip through the pages of Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams by Anglo-Afghan author Tahir Shah, will be a good initiation into the world of Marrakech. He says it best: “I believe that Marrakech ought to be earned as a destination. The journey is the preparation for the experience. Reaching it too fast derides it, makes it a little less easy to understand.” ESSENTIAL INFORMATION For more information on Dar Kawa, visit www.darkawa. net. Read about Valerie Barkowski and her many creative projects at valeriebarkowski.com.
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MAIN: LENTSWE BHENGU, FROM FINANCE TO FOOD AND NOT LOOKING BACK.
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MASTER OF HIS PLATE
After five years working at top investment companies, Lentswe Bhengu decided to follow his passion for food. It has taken him across Africa and his journey is just getting started. orn and raised in KwaZuluNatal, Bhengu studied for a B.Com and has worked at top finance companies. But, at the age of 25, he decided to hang up his investment tie and become a chef instead. “I wanted to open a restaurant after I left finance, but I also wanted to be a reputable restaurateur,” says 29-year-old Bhengu. “So I told myself to just do the schooling thing.” He was already living in Cape Town, so he enrolled at The Culinary Academy, now The Hurst Campus. And although he still wanted to open a restaurant straight after studying, he was sucked into working life instead. “I started working and working, more and more,” he says. “And then the foodie in me came out. I was always a cook before. But after culinary school I was around people who spoke the same language of passion.” Another person who speaks his language of passion is his business partner, Jurgens van Wyk. The two connected over a glass of wine and chatted about starting a series called ‘Africa on a Plate’. “He had experience behind the camera and I had the passion and skill of cooking,” Bhengu says. “We started with a web series. It was recognised by MWEB (a South African internet service provider) and, a year later, we designed a food portal for them. A year after that, we were featured on The Africa Channel (an American television network) to produce a TV version, which is now being aired across the United States, the Caribbean and Canada.”
The show follows Bhengu travelling around Africa, learning how to become a better chef. His goal was to look at it through the eyes of someone who didn’t go to culinary school, but who still wanted to get all the flavours and skills from the best of the best. “I go to high-end restaurants, I go to street vendors, I go the mama across the road and the auntie who makes the bobotie,” he says.
“And I learn from everyday people why their meal is the best. They teach me a skill and I make an inspired version of it at the end. It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s just giving the wheel some mags!” They filmed four episodes in Tanzania: at Dar es Salaam, Pemba Island, Zanzibar and Stone Town. Because everybody thinks of Zanzibar as ‘The Spice Island’, Bhengu expected to find dishes like pilau rice filled with so many spices. But when he got there, he was shocked to discover something else. “To them, spices are such a sacred thing that it’s only used in abundance for celebrations and for showing off,”
he says. “But one restaurant I went to splashed out and went overboard with spices because it was a big thing with the camera crew. And that’s when I learnt that what we see in the books and on the flag doesn’t necessarily correlate to what we get on the plate.” Another culinary surprise came from Nigeria, where Bhengu found an interesting contrast of different foods. Yes, there are staples across Africa – yams, cassava, and variations of pap – but Nigerian cuisine took it to a whole new level. “They can pretty much grind anything into a flour and make that into a staple,” he says. “That’s why Nigerians, wherever they go across the world, are so patriotic about their food. They have their own type of food, made from different ingredients that we all get today, but they change it up so that it’s specifically Nigerian. It’s very creative.” Closer to home, Bhengu grew up with modern influences on his cuisine. It’s the reason he can enjoy such a variety of food. But it’s also the reason he finds it hard to pinpoint a specific South African meal. “We don’t have that one ingredient or that one meal or that one solidifying dish that we call South African,” he says. “It has influences from the French, from the Dutch, from the English. For example, pap is found everywhere across Africa, chakalaka is found everywhere across the world (just in different variations), and bunny chow is more Indian than South African. We don’t have that one thing that’s ours.”
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Still, he’s happy to keep exploring and sharing his love for food. As someone who comes from a big family, with siblings in Johannesburg and Durban, he loves making elaborate meals when cooking for someone special or bringing guests into the fold. But as a single guy (“no spouse, no kids, no cat, no dog, no nothing”) and the only member of his family living in Cape Town, he’s happy to keep his cooking quick, easy and not too ﬁnicky when he’s by himself. As long as it’s good, wholesome, and hearty food, he’s happy. “I’m a big risotto fan,” he says. “It’s such a simple dish that everyone pulls their nose at it, but it’s a dish you need to get right for it to taste good. Every chef knows if someone can make a good risotto, you can hire them. It’s the same with eggs. Because they’re simple dishes to make, they’re also easy to mess up. But I love anything with eggs. I’ll eat breakfast any time of the day!”
IMAGES SUPPLIED BY: AFRICA ON A PLATE/GREEN ZEBRA PRODUCTIONS, HEADSHOTS BY LIEZEL VAN DER MERWE PHOTOGRAPHY.
By Eugene Yiga OPPOSITE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: LENTSWE’S SALMON STARTER; EAST AFRICAN PRAWN DISH; THE FLAVOURS OF ZANZIBAR; MALVA PUDDING WITH AMARULA CREME ANGLAISE; CHEF LENTSWE BENGHU. TOP RIGHT: FISHING THE TRADITIONAL WAY OFF PEMBA ISLAND; LENTSWE BHENGU, CHARMING AND TALENTED.
CHEFS WHO SHARE Bhengu is the South African ambassador for the Chefs Who Share ‘Young Chef Award’, an inspiring new initiative that aims to showcase and nurture South Africa’s young culinary talent. The third annual ‘Chefs Who Share – the ART of giving’ gala event, which has raised R6m since it began in 2013, took place at Cape Town City Hall on 10 September 2105, presented by Mercedes-Benz and associate sponsors Deutsche Bank, Swiss International Air Lines, Bulgari, Chocolat Frey, the Century City Conference Centre and Taj Cape Town. Proceeds from ticket sales and an art auction went to MAD Leadership Foundation and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Learn more at www.chefswhoshare.com.
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LOVING BAZARUTO Itâ€™s easy to fall in love with Bazaruto â€“ one of the five islands in the Bazaruto Archipelago off the lively mainland town of Vilanculos in Mozambique. Bridget Hilton-Barber spent a weekend with spirited girlfriends at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa.
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MAIN: AERIAL VIEW OF MAGNIFICENT BAZARUTO. MAIN RIGHT: ANANTARA SPA ENTRANCE. ABOVE: HOTEL INFINITY WET POOL BAR. RIGHT FROM TOP LEFT: VIEW FROM THE HOTEL POOL; CLUB NAVAL; DELICIOUS MADAGASCAR CHOCOLATE AND MANDARIN TARTS; POOL VILLA DECK AT SUNSET; Don Carlos, Almond Piri Piri.
hite sands, warm seas, frisking dolphins, waving palm trees – the place is idyllic. There’s little more glorious than a Bazaruto Island sunset when you are in love. When your heart is aflame, and you’re floating gently in a swimming pool, drink in hand, gazing out across the darkening waters of the Indian Ocean as the sky turns red. Sigh. There was just one small problem. The object of my love was on the other side of the world in the Pacific. Thank heavens for girlfriends! Believe me, Anantara is possibly the most romantic destination you could hope to find in these parts, but it’s equally fabulous for family holidays or, in our case, wonderful women in search of a good time. There are few guarantees in love or life, but one of them is that if you put a whole lot of spirited women on an island with a whole lot of wine, they are going to have fun! And never mind my darling in the Pacific, I fell in love with Bazaruto – I think we all did – the minute we could
see it in the distance from the beach at Vilanculos; a soft grey-green hump, full of promise and playtime. We took off our shoes, waded out to the boat and, after a 40-minute, 30km bounce across the Indian Ocean, we arrived at the lovely Anantara on Bazaruto, spread out across the beach and sand dunes, blending in with the palm trees and fringed with a white beach. Naturally there were many couples holding hands and billing and cooing on the beach or over the buffet breakfast.
“Anantara Bazaruto is seriously romantic and suitably private.” There are chalets on the beachfront, chalets tucked into the indigenous greenery, and chalets on the hill with incredible views. Wooden walkways lead to various bars, restaurants, poolside lounges and private spots. The décor is designer, the dining is delicious. You can kick back and do the lazy beach thing, or hang around at one of the two pools at the lodge; or you can
get into action mode and do a series of island-style stuff. Bazaruto is 37km long and up to 7km wide and there’s a diversity of delights. We were in Action Mode with lashings of Chardonnay – and in the course of our stay we went snorkelling and lunching at Paradise Island, which is uninhabited and has a picturesque old chapel. We tried to swim with a pod of dolphins that swam alongside the boat (they were a bit fast), went horse-riding, dune-boarding and swimming and hiking, and then we all ended up in the Anantara Spa, er, naked in the steam room and covered in mud. It’s a girl thing. The Anantara Spa, set up on the hill above the resort with achingly gorgeous views, has been voted one the Top 101 spas in the world by Tatler magazine. Start purring. There’s an ice pool, a hydro pool, a wet room, a viewpoint pool, a juice bar... We had rubs and naked mud steaming and extended sessions in the viewpoint pool (even though it was dark) and had to send a minion back to the bar several times to get more wine.
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TOP: WHERE THE OCEAN MEETS THE SKY. RIGHT FROM TOP LEFT: THE AUTHOR GOES DUNE-BOARDING; SUNSET IN PARADISE; INFINITY CURVES AND PALM TREES; BEACH DECK DINNER; DHOW DELUXE: VIEW FROM THE MAIN BEDROOM OF ONE OF THE VILLAS.
In case that sounds outrageous, let me assure you that Anantara Bazaruto is also perfectly family-friendly and you can do really fun things like scuba diving, paddling, wakeboarding and other respectable activities. For me, the highlight was our day spent frolicking around Paradise Island and duneboarding on vast golden dunes on the other side of Bazaruto, just before sunset. Oh yes, and the lying in the pool at sunset, gazing out across the sea all the way to Madagascar.
ADVENTURES FOR HER Along with the islands of Benguerra, Magaruque, Banque, and Santa Carolina, Bazaruto falls within the Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park, part of the Eastern African marine eco-region, which stretches along a 4 600km coastline from South Africa to Somalia. The park has a unique ecoand marine system of coral reefs, white beaches, coastal dunes and inland lakes. It’s a protected zone and home to more than 2000 species of fish, including the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, four whale species, five dolphin species and five kinds of leatherback turtles. Humpbacks migrate down the coast every year, making August to September
spectacular months for whale-watching. Wildlife species here include freshwater crocodiles, turtles, small antelope, rodents, samango monkeys, snakes, falcons, frigate birds and one of the last remaining viable East African populations of the enigmatic dugong – the strange creatures that early sailors thought were mermaids.
ADVENTURES FOR HIM Vilanculos is a lively tropical village overlooking an azure bay in the lee of the islands. It was originally developed in the 1950s by Joaquim Alves, a flamboyant Portuguese businessman, to promote tourism to the Bazaruto archipelago. His original art deco home still stands in town and is now the BIM Bank. According to local legend, Alves made his fortune supplying diesel to the fleets of German U-boats that preyed on Allied shipping during the Second World War and were responsible for thousands of deaths just off the coast of southern Africa. A secret pipeline which Alves and his accomplices used to supply the submarines, allegedly still exists in the channel. By Bridget Hilton-Barber
ESSENTIAL INFO FOR ANANTARA BAZARUTO Contact: +27 (0)10 003 8979, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.bazaruto.anantara.com. HOW HOW TO TO GET GET THERE THERE Airlink: The Regional Feeder Airline offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA. Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Vilanculos, as well as from Nelspruit to Vilanculos, offering a same day bush and beach experience. Connectivity: Through Airlink’s alliance with SAA travellers connect conveniently with SAA, their partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Frequent Flyer Programme: Airlink is a member of South African Airways loyalty programme – Voyager. Visit www.flyairlink.com. Flight Bookings: Online booking agent or SAA Central Reservations on +27 (0)11 978 1111.
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IMAGES: BRIDGET HILTON-BARBER; ANANTARA BAZARUTO.
KUCHE KUCHE! Till Dawn! Kate Turkington downs a pint in one of Africa’s smallest, friendliest and least discovered countries – Malawi.
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MAIN: Wilderness RiverClub.
think this may be the first time in a very long and very far-flung travelling career that I find myself sitting with a beer in one hand and a roasted dried mouse in the other. The beer is one of Malawi’s best; ‘Kuche, Kuche’ (which means ‘until dawn’). Thankfully, however, too many buzzing mozzies will drive us away from this spot long before dawn and the prospect of more charred rodents. (It’s hard to refuse a barbequed mouse when offered so charmingly by a smiling, expectant Malawian.) The River Shire (pronounced ‘Shirra’) is huge, certainly on a par with its betterknown neighbour, the Zambezi, which the Shire joins before the former enters the Indian Ocean in neighbouring Mozambique. Huge also are the Shire’s crocs, 65 million years of evolution producing a shrewd brain and total reflexiveness. Let an unwary antelope, monkey or bird stray within reach of these lightning, snapping jaws, and it’s instant oblivion. I’m staying at Mvuu Lodge, in a comfortable tent with a wooden deck jutting out over the reeds and riverbed, surrounded by fever trees and baobabs wearing their bright green springtime leaves, like so many Ugly Sisters now getting into their finery for the Palace Ball. I watch the moon rising from my gently swinging hammock on the deck, as the sun and the toasted mouse go down. That first night I’m sure there is a herd of elephant, or at least two or three hippos in front of the tent, because the splashing is so loud and continuous. However, when I peer over the railing with my torch, I see not paddling pachyderms but a shoal of mediumsized fishes, silver in the moonlight, leaping in a perfect arch out of the river. Behind them, neck curved in another perfect arch, are the jaws of a large crocodile, which gulps the lot in midair. This process is repeated until dawn, when one of the best bird choirs in Africa erupts in splendid song. Mvuu is the place for bird specials, so if that Angola pitta, Bohm’s bee-eater, palmnut vulture, spurwing lapwing or collared palm thrush have been evading you, you’ll practically fall over them in and around this delightful little bush camp. We
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TOP LEFT: LAKE Malawi, boat on the beach. Top RIGHT: Elephant, Game watching from a small boat on the River Shire. FAR RIGHT: Selling pots by the road. BOTTOM RIGHT: Kaya Mawa, LIKOMA ISLAND, LAKE Malawi Wilderness, luxury open-air accomModation.
drove to Mvuu from Blantyre, in Malawi’s south, past red mahogany trees, tea and tobacco plantations, rows of wooden carvings, bananas drying under mounds of dusty palm leaves, piles of second-hand clothes for sale beside the road, signs advertising everything from ‘First Hand, Second Hand Shop’ and ‘The Best Fairness Cream in the World’ to ‘Drive Safely Always’ and the ubiquitous ‘Kuche Kuche’. As we drove further north towards Mvuu, dozens of tiny mosques, reminding us that this was once a busy and prosperous slave-trade route, mushroom between the Borassus palms, the heavily laden mango trees, and some rival Christian churches. Small faces oozing with mango juice smile at us, and bicycle taxis, some with passengers perched on the cushioned seat behind the driver, wobble by. Lake Malawi is the third biggest lake in Africa and has more species of fish than any other lake in the world. To the casual observer, Likoma Island lies in the middle of this lake, but is actually
towards the east and a few kilometres from Mozambique. On the island stands a huge Anglican cathedral dedicated to St Peter, whose statue faces the lake, holding the Keys to the Kingdom, while a distinctly African-looking cockerel stands at his feet. The island is called ‘Silikoma’, which means ‘Sweet land’, but the site where the cathedral is built is known as Chipyela – ‘The Place of Burning’. It was here that the first missionaries witnessed witches being burnt at the stake. The foundation stone of this cathedral – the largest and most beautiful in Central Africa – was laid in 1903, and the structure was completed in 1905, a possible but unconfirmed inspiration of the legacy of David Livingstone The story is a familiar one – unwilling tribes made war on the early missionaries, bishops keeled over with malaria and other tropical diseases, one drowned… but the faith and the cathedral remained, and today, over 1 000 people and three choirs worship every Sunday in
the magnificent church with its antique silver plate, eight altars, stained-glass windows, hand-carved soapstone pews and soaring rafters. Vincent, the elderly verger, showed us proudly around the cathedral, insisting on taking our photograph. His old rheumy eyes wavered, his hands shook, his legs and his nostrils quivered as he mastered the digital camera. I have a quite memorable picture of two pairs of legs from the knee down as a memento to his enthusiasm. The early missionaries hit upon the idea of a steamer to traverse the lake and chase up their converts. If you’re a seasoned African traveller, try a 24-hour journey on the Ilala Ferry, a charming old rust bucket that serves as a kind of bus service around the lake. (The timetable is pure fiction, so just be in the vicinity of Monkey Bay at any time on a Friday morning and slide into African time.) This is quintessential Africa as, at the various ports of call, you watch the semi-
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TOP: Relaxation in Malawi.
Located in Southern Malawi and situated along the Shire River, Liwonde Park (where Mvuu is) consists of woodland, floodplains, grasslands, swamp and lagoons. Liwonde supports the largest population of elephants left in Malawi, has a high herbivore carrying capacity and a viable, but threatened, population of black rhino. It’s an important bird area with over 400 species listed. A premier game-viewing destination, years of rampant illegal extraction (snares and illegal fishing) have impacted on the biodiversity of the area and resulted in a major decrease in visitors to the area. African Parks assumed management control on the 1 August 2015 and will be focusing on addressing the poaching threat, as well as mitigating human-wildlife conflict as the most pressing priorities. Commitment to the local people is everywhere obvious – in a well-equipped school and hospital, in the love and respect they enjoy from the villagers, in the cheerful and slightly ‘slapgat’ way the staff go about their business. This is no enclave tourism
where visitors are off limits to locals. At dawn, the women are filling their buckets and washing their pots on the beach, and the sails of fishing boats meander past throughout the day. One evening, thousands of migrant fruit bats arrived from further up Africa to make the most of the mangos in season. Twittering, pushing, nudging, whispering and grooming, they hung happily upside down in a giant baobab tree as the day began to slip away into the night and the dawning of another uniquely Malawian day. Now it was just about time for another Kuche Kuche… By Kate Turkington ESSENTIAL INFORMATION For information on Mvuu Lodge, visit Central African Wilderness Safaris at www.cawsmw.com. Visit www.africanparks.org.
IMAGES: KATE TURKINGTON, THE WILDERNESS SAFARI.
organised chaos of people, goods and livestock being loaded and offloaded. Or sit on the top deck and watch the waitresses gyrate to rented videos of West Africa’s pop idols. Co-o-l! Likoma Island harbours 4 000 souls, and the most stunning lodge in Malawi, Kaya Mawa – a cross between a medieval keep, or a Lord of the Rings mini castle. As one guest remarked, “This is the sort of place where the baddies would hang out in a James Bond movie!” Capetonians Andrew Came and Will Sutton came to this island in the early 1980s. With the support of the local chief and the help of the villagers, they built the whole place – cottages, decks, walkways, rooms, restaurant, bar, swimming pool and steps – entirely by hand. With no electricity on the island, there was no other way to build. Will and Andrew sold the bush camp to current owners, Nick Brown and James Lightfoot, several years ago and the place has been reinvented to reflect a fantastic blend of luxury and laidback comfort, rather than a honeymooner’s retreat.
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MAIN: OLIVER’S CAMP, ELEPHANTS UNDER DRAMATIC CLOUDS.
WILD HEART From the dusty stretches of Tarangire National Park to the sheer beauty of the Ngorongoro Crater, the Namiri Plains and the Serengeti, Tanzania weaves a very special kind of magic.
umping down on the runway at Dar es Salaam, there was no way of knowing what to expect. The early morning air was humid and reminiscent of something more tropical than an airport. The buildings hinted at their Arabic inﬂuence and the few people around all seemed to be sauntering to somewhere better. But my ﬁrst impression of Tanzania was incomparable to what lay ahead of me in the coming days – the discovery of the true African safari and the meaning of hospitality. The dust of Tarangire National Park tasted familiar. There was an electric ambience that comes with being out in the bush, and Jackie and Justin, who manage Asilia Africa’s Oliver’s Camp, were at the ready with cold drinks and big smiles. I instantly felt at home. In what would become a common thread for the camps I stayed at in Tanzania, the setup was simple yet sophisticated. The comfy leather chairs and worn books strewn about were signs of the lives that this place had touched before me. There were no boundaries between the ‘wild’ and us; it seemed to creep in, and sometimes did so literally in the form of beetles and tsetse ﬂies. Slapping away a mosquito, I looked up from my rather regal gin and tonic in time to spot the tiniest steenbok dart past my open-air tent. I couldn’t help but wonder what else would be slinking past my door in the middle of the night. “Did you see the lions last night?” inquired Justin over breakfast. The blank look on my face gave him the answer, as he detailed that the tracks just outside my door were sign enough that a pair of lionesses had made their way along my tent’s private pathway. Naturally, I hadn’t stirred. A walking safari of the nearby surrounds, accompanied by rangers from the camp and the park, revealed the large elephant population of Tanzania – a population I would later learn is under severe threat from ivory poachers. Standing just 200 metres away from these gentle giants is an experience I couldn’t recommend enough, and as the wind changed and the matriarch detected us, I’ve never felt more thrilled and terriﬁed at the same time.
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MAIN: OliveR’s Camp, Elephants under dramatic clouds. TOP: Namiri Plains, Outside TENT AreA. right TOP TO BOTTOM: Oliver’s Camp, Main AREA; Zebra walking in Tarangire at Oliver’s camp.
This journey in Tanzania led me to the Ngorongoro Crater. Looking out from the viewpoint into this collapsed volcanic crater, or caldera, site reveals its breadth; it is a thriving ecosystem within a self-contained wildlife reserve with its own migratory passages. Just beyond the crater is the Serengeti, where countless thousands before me have ventured to explore the wild heart of Africa. Many baby wildebeest have fallen bewildered victims to the migration on this drive. Lost and alone, they waited their imminent death, explained our guide, Ayoub. “There is no hope for them, but they give hope to the hungry predators that remain once the migration has passed through here,” he said, revealing his gold-capped tooth. Venturing to the isolated Namiri Plains proved to be a 12-hour safari (not one I’d recommend), with cheetah
and lion cubs for entertainment. The eight-tent camp is designed to have the lowest environmental impact possible, and is for the true safari seeker, with no interruption from modern conveniences and only bucket showers to rinse off the dust of the Serengeti. Nearby kopjes were the homes of more predators than we could count, from leopards and lions to families of cheetahs nurturing a trio of teenage males. The communal spirit between the cats here was noticeable, and how easily we found the next group was surprising. Wildlife in Tanzania eventually becomes taken for granted as there seems to be so much here that tour vehicles just roll on by, looking for the next predator or bird of prey to gawk at. Being so far removed from the popular tourist spots of the southern Serengeti, Namiri Plains gives its guests an
authentic feel of how expansive it really is. Hours of driving without encountering any other vehicles reinforced that for our group again and again. Heading to the northern section of the park, we stopped for a picnic at the Serengeti Hippo Pool. This would be my most memorable experience of Tanzania and, frankly, my most memorable wildlife experience of all time. Fat, lazy hippos floated their bloat against each other in a body of water no bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Flicking their tails while carp jumped for air between their bodies, the cacophony of bubbles and overpowering scent of hippo faeces put me in a trance. For over 30 minutes, I just stared at these magnificent beasts while they did as little as possible, their curious calves popping up between them every so often. The final lodge where we hung our hats was Sayari Camp. This flagship
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TOP: Serengeti Hippo Pool. right TOP TO BOTTOM: eagle AT SUNSET IN SERENGETI in National Park; Namiri Plains, Staff Carrying Tea and Coffee; Tarangire; Lioness and Cub; Sayari Camp, guest tent bedroom.
camp for Asilia Africa immediately unveils itself as such. Bright cushions, contemporary décor and linen couches in the common area are unique here. There is little of the colonial feel we experienced at previous camps and this appealed to my inner-city girl in many ways. Large concrete baths overlook the surrounding grasslands, while king-size beds are linked to the outside terrace with the swish of large, glass sliding doors. The Tanzanian border and Kenya beyond are tantalisingly close, with many travellers opting to traverse the imaginary line with ease, to enjoy neighbouring parks like the Maasai Mara in one trip.
As we said our goodbyes after the shortest week of one of the longest game drives I’ve ever experienced, it was impossible not to reflect on the incredible wildlife sightings. Predators seem to roam more openly here, allowing for better sightings than I’ve had in my own home country, South Africa. The people too, are friendly and warm, and nothing was too much to ask for. In most cases, it wasn’t enough that I hadn’t asked sooner for them. Tanzania’s landscape, customs and sunsets have taken up residence in my heart. My return will be as soon as this year to explore a different part of the country, and it can’t get here sooner.
getting there (and around) Low-cost airline, Fastjet, is a convenient carrier choice for flights into Tanzania and for internal connections. The earlymorning arrival in Dar es Salaam from Johannesburg means a full day of activities upon arrival. Visit fastjet.com for details. SADC Residents Asilia Africa has fantastic resident specials and offers for all of its camps throughout the year. The rate is much lower than the advertised rate for travellers coming from Europe or the United States. Visit www.asiliaresidentsafaris.com for more details.
By Kate Els
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IMAGES: Asilia Africa, Kate Els.
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SHOOTING THE STREETS OF STONE TOWN
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There are many wonderful things about Zanzibar: snow-white beaches, cerulean water, aromatic spices, and friendly locals. But for me, the best thing about Zanzibar, specifically about Stone Town, is the photography. African Travel Market | 121
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MAIN: Kids on doorstep, stone town, zanzibar. TOP: Jaws Corner. right TOP: WOMEN AT THE PHARMACY. BOTTOM LEFT: Green peas at THE market store. BOTTOM RIGHT: Fish stacked at THE market.
tone Town, the oldest quarter in the island’s capital city of Zanzibar Town, dates back nearly 200 years. The old city was once the seat of the Sultan of Oman and throughout the 19th century it was a busy spice and slave-trade port servicing Africa, Europe, India, Persia and the Middle East. Zanzibar became a British protectorate in 1896 and eventually merged with Tanganyika to form the nation of Tanzania. Stone Town’s mix of African, Middle Eastern, Asian and European influences has churned into a culture that resembles a pot of Zanzibari seafood curry: bold, spicy, sweet, colourful and mysterious. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Stone Town, over and above the rest of Zanzibar, feels ancient and otherworldly. Thick-walled buildings, many of which were built with chunks of sturdy ocean coral, close in on one another. Narrow cobbled streets, just wide enough for a couple of scooters and crisscrossed by tangles of electrical wires, are perpetually filled with people: women in colourful hijabs or black abayas, men in loose white robes and woven taqiyahs (Muslim caps), and giggling barefoot children. Stone Town’s maze of streets – cool and permanently dusklike, as only a few rays of midday sun find their way between the buildings – occasionally open onto bright courtyards where several roads intersect. One such intersection is ‘Jaws Corner’,
so named because the elders of Stone Town go there to flap their jaws. Men sit on stone ledges lining the walls of Jaws Corner (one wall is painted with a menacing great white shark), drinking tea and watching political speeches on television. Bicycles skitter past, bells tinkling, weaving between pedestrians. Scooters hoot. Brightly coloured batik paintings, woven scarves and wooden sculptures spill onto the street from ubiquitous souvenir shops, whose owners call out to passing tourists. “You are welcome,” the shop owners call. “There’s no charge to look. Hakuna matata!” Jaws Corner, like many such corners in Stone Town, is a photographic treasure trove. When I first arrived in Stone Town, sticky after the taxi ride from the ferry port, I felt too overwhelmed and intimidated to pull out my camera. Our guesthouse, the Zanzibar Coffee House, was on a pedestrian-only thoroughfare. Our taxi driver drove as far as he could, then parked and led us the rest of the way on foot. During that short walk, I saw dozens of colourful shop fronts, intricately carved wooden doors, streetwise cats, and interesting human faces, all begging to be photographed. We skirted the edge of the huge local food market, a noisy warren of stalls. I couldn’t quite see inside the market but my mind was already taking pictures. However, I wasn’t sure of the protocols. The people I encountered looked friendly but guarded; my usual strategy of
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making eye contact, smiling, and pointing to my camera with a questioning look did not seem to work. Is street photography acceptable in Stone Town? How about inside the market? Could I photograph women and children without a cultural backlash? After a day or two in Stone Town, I got the hang of things. Here’s what I learnt: I didn’t try to capture every beautiful scene. There were too many. I calmed my photographic eye and looked for the very best shots. I blocked out the movement and noise around me and took my time. When I spotted interesting people, I asked to take their portrait. They usually said yes and often allowed me to shoot their children as well. I hired a local guide for a few hours. Skilled guides are easy to find in Stone Town. Our guide, Abdul, gave us a detailed lesson in Zanzibar’s history, along with the confidence
I needed to take photos in busy places, often acting as a translator. Abdul led us through the packed markets, which provided a bonanza of photo opportunities. When I wanted to photograph a scene without disturbing the people in it, I shot candidly. By setting my DSLR camera to automatic and holding it firmly against my chest, I took photos in secret. This strategy worked well in capturing the frenetic movement of Stone Town’s streets. The shots aren’t perfectly sharp, but they’re real. I photographed dozens of Stone Town’s beautiful cats, which were always willing subjects. On my next trip to Zanzibar I plan to spend less time at the beach and more time on the streets of Stone Town. And I’ll take plenty of memory cards. Story and Images by Heather Mason
IMAGES: SUPPLIED BY HEATHER MASON.
top: Dhow sunset.
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BEACH CLUB B I L E N E
M O Z A M B I Q U E
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10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN KAMPALA Uganda’s capital city takes on a whole new look when travelling around it on the back of a Boda Boda motorbike…
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e skirt around the corner down a rather narrow road that leads right into the pulsating heart of the city. With one hand on my camera, I try to capture the passing sights, holding on to the Boda Boda motorbike and my guide with the other. There’s a happiness within that I only feel when travelling in Africa; in this case, deep into the markets of Uganda’s crazy capital city, Kampala. The smell of dusty earth and a sense of hard work seasoned with spicy desire is what I breathe in as I climb off the bike to move between the stalls and consummate traders who offer their fresh veg, fruit, batik printed cloths and herbal remedies for sale. The smoke from wood ﬁres for street food mingles with exhaust fumes as cars, taxis, bicycles and pedestrians pass by, each contributing to the welcome buzz of activity. Yet the capital of the Republic of Uganda, with its population of less than two million people spread over 23 hills, is much more than this colourful market. Here is a city with a history that traverses time and emotion, from the peak of post-independence to a civil war that saw it in collapse into complete chaos. Today, Kampala is home to modern supermarkets and shopping malls, upmarket areas with embassies, government buildings and renovated hotels that would make any city proud. The highbrow areas fuse with a humbler downtown, yet the whole place beams with optimism that comes from this new era of Africa. There’s construction work underway, trafﬁc that leaves you exasperated and an energy that seems ﬁtting and functional. Should you be lucky enough to ﬁnd yourself in this pulsating capital, these are things you should do. Visit Parliament House Open to the public, you can tour the building or even see government in action. They sit from Tuesday through to Thursday afternoons and sessions are conducted in English. You’ll need to visit the public relations department to arrange this, but permission is almost always granted on the spot if you have
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TOP LEFT: Taxi Rank, KAMPALA, Organised Chaos. Top RIGHT: Kampala, Royal Mile.
an identification card and are decently dressed. Look out for the impressive wooden cultural map of Uganda in the main lobby, featuring the country’s flora and fauna. Kampala Taxi Rank While downtown, take some time to watching the commuters and traders at the pulsating rank move without a pause; it’s an incredible sight.
Take A Tour Of The Buganda Kingdom Visit the Lubiri or King’s Palace, the King’s Lake, New Scottish Parliament and the Museum of the Buganda Kingdom. Buganda is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in presentday Uganda and includes the central region and Kampala. Lubiri, or Mengo Palace, was built in 1922 and is the former home of the King of Buganda, though it has remained empty since 1966, when military led by Idi Amin stormed the palace, forcing the king of the time to flee to a life of exile
in the UK. The building was later converted into an army barracks, with the notorious underground prison and torture chamber of Idi Amin built next door in the 1970s. Take a sobering guided visit to see where he is said to have killed 200 000 people. Inside, hand and footprints as well as the scrawled messages of prisoners bear testament to his horrendous crimes against humanity. The palace is at the end of a onemile straight ceremonial drive that runs through the city from the Bulange Royal Building, which is known as the ‘Kabaka‘njagala’ (‘the King is coming’) road. Uganda National Mosque A highlight will be time in the Uganda National Mosque in Old Kampala, previously known as the Gaddafi Mosque, which can seat more than 15 000 people. Here you can climb the tall minaret and take in the wonderful elevated views of the city. Remember to dress modestly, or
you can choose to be covered up for a small fee, which is quite fun to do. At least take a drive past Constitutional Square, Freedom Square and the Independence Monuments. The Uganda Museum There’s plenty to interest you here, with its varied and well-captioned ethnographic collection covering clothing, hunting, agriculture, medicine, religion – including how to make banana beer – as well as archaeological and natural history displays.
Baha’i Temple of Africa At the beautiful temple with its manicured gardens you will learn more about this idyllic monotheistic faith that emphasises the spiritual unity of all humankind. It’s peaceful and on a Sunday you can even sit in for a while, listening to their songs.
Ndere Centre If you’re interested in traditional dance and music, try to catch a dinner-
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TOP: Kampala, Cow in the King’s Palace.
Owino Market The local markets and the authentic traders’ stalls selling fruit, vegetables and meat are a must-visit. This is where the majority of the people shop. Owino Market around Nakivubo Stadium has everything from soap to televisions, but is most famous for its second-hand clothing. You can even buy material here and get one of the tailors to make something for you.
Street Food The most popular to try is the local Rolex, a chapatti with onions, peppers and egg fried up with much show of confidence. It’s absolutely delicious. If you can find it, the 2K Restaurant offers excellent local cuisine and delicious banana beer.
Walter ’s Tours Traffic is a nasty beast in this great city and I would recommend that you minimise your time spent in a car or you will be restricted in what you can achieve. Rather book a full-day tour on Boda Bodas with a young entrepreneur who has a collection of talented guides at your disposal. Walter’s Tours offers assorted tour options and can even tailor make one to serve your specific interest.
Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as the Pearl of Africa and, once there, it’s easy to see why. Beyond the walls of this vibrant city are golden plains, thick rain forests, snowcapped mountains and emerald-green tea plantations. You have a chance to go gorilla as well as chimpanzee trekking, to safari in the national parks and get a sense of the culture that is strongly African, yet holds Asian, English and Arabic influences. As for Kampala, I want more time to get to know this great city. It’s seductive and real, all wrapped into one. By Dawn Jorgensen
ESSENTIAL INFO Kampala offers a range of accommodation from sheer luxury to very affordable. Among the recommendations are the Villa Kololo with its renowned Mediterraneo Restaurant, as well as the Sheraton Kampala for luxury, Urban City Blue for middle mark, and the Red Chilli Hideaway on the outskirts of the city for affordable hostel-style accommodation, free Wi-Fi, generous lawns and pool. For a touch of fancy, the Kariba Country Club will offer insights into expat living. Bear in mind that with international flights out of Entebbe almost always leaving first thing in the morning, you will need to overnight there the night before flying out. It isn’t possible to do the transfer in time on the day of your early flight. It may be 54km, but is likely to take a few hours irrespective of what time of day. For contact information for Walters Tours, visit www.walterstours.com.
IMAGES: Dawn Jorgensen, ©ISTOCK.COM.
theatre performance at the Centre. They showcase dances from many of Uganda’s tribal groups with highenergy performances taking place in their amphitheatre. They even have traditional drumming and dance classes if you’d like something more interactive.
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“Luxury Summed up in Three Words”
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: +27 (0) 21 449-2672, FAX: +27 (0) 21 449-2067 E-MAIL: INFO@BLUETRAIN.CO.ZA
The Great Karoo Book Safari Read up on the Karoo and its secrets and you’ll never pass it by again. Here’s where to find the best books on South Africa’s heartland.
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MAIN PICTURE: karoo landscape. LEFT top: Aunty Evelyne Olifant, NieuBethesda home-cooking. LEFT bottom: ABERDEEN BOOKS AND CRAFTS.
he current boom in Karoo books is a bit of a gold rush, with publishers big and small bringing out everything from down-home cook books to pictorial coffee-table specials by legendary photographers. By all reports, Karoo book sales are excellent and the number of subjects covered is growing every day. Which is wondrous news for readers and travellers who have been befuddled by the Great Nothing, the Incredible Blasted Heath, the seemingly empty space between Bloemfontein and Cape Town that they cross at least once a year, in their quest for the quintessential bucket ‘n spade experience on a patch of our coastline. Now there are all manner of publications that tell you who lived here, what antediluvian creatures lurked in its flat lands, how to prepare a legendary lamb chop, what the different Karoo bossies are all about, the significance of this San rock engraving, what that memorial means, who died here in the AngloBoer (South African) War, whose greatgranddaddy climbed off the boat in Algoa Bay, and why that daft French explorer, Francois le Vaillant, swanned about with a baboon called Kees. Just in case you wanted to know why we’re all in a flap about the shale gas fracking issue, you should read the various books on our rivers and our geology and then you’ll understand how precious Karoo water is to the whole country. The next time you’re in the Colesberg area and you see a distant donkey cart bearing a little family huddled together against the winter chill, you’ll realise these are possibly the First People of the Karoo. That’s because you might have read the book on the so-called karretjiemense. When you’re walking down the main road in Prince Albert wondering which house to buy, take some time to look at the various architectural shapes that make up a Karoo-style
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ABOVE: HELEN MARTIN’S SCULPTURES AT THE OWL HOUSE, NIEU-BETHESDA. RIGHT: CRADOCK, BEFORE A STORM.
house. There are books on that, too. The story of Helen Martins and her Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda is another case in point. If you’ve seen the play or read some of the books on her life, those cement figures out in the yard and off-beat décor in the house all make sense. If you haven’t done your homework, the experience could leave you cold. Karoo books are not merely historical. There are also very handy ones in circulation. If you’ve read some of the excellent cook books (a major Karoo book genre these days), you’ll know your way around a Karoo butchery and by nightfall, some choice cuts will be sizzling on the braai. More and more bikers are streaming into the Karoo, for a weekend or a long road trip. Many of them have little knowledge of the challenging back routes available. Yes, there are books for bikers in the Karoo. Exposure to these books and time spent in the small dorpies and on the heritage farms from Springfontein to
Somerset East, Calvinia to Cradock, will eventually give you what we call ‘Karoo Eyes’. You’ll know your Climax from your Aermotor, your Tweetand Merino from your Dorper lamb, your anker karoo from your kapokbossie, your sandstone from your ironstone and your Aga from your Esse. You’ll know where the British soldiers lie buried, where Boer women and children were interned, where the old ghosts roam, when the UFOs came to visit, how lesser kestrels fly from Kazakhstan to roost on our telephone poles, and why blue cranes like to hang out with sheep in the veld. Most important, you’ll have a new sense of wonder about the Karoo. And then you’ll come and visit us. Right. So now what are the titles of all these books and where does one find them? Well first, we’ll provide a suggested reading list (see bottom) of Karoo books we know about. Then you begin with Google, in the comfort of your home. Do a title search, see
if Kalahari or Loot have the book(s); maybe try out some of the smaller book dealers like Fables in Grahamstown or Fogerty’s in Port Elizabeth. Cape Town has all sorts of bespoke book dealers who might have the titles in stock. You may have to order some of these books from offshore sites, because of their rare nature. Next, go the local bricks and mortar route and visit your nearest Exclusive Books. If the book you’re looking for is reasonably fresh, chances are they should have it in stock. And now, here’s the fun part of the exercise. There are only about four dedicated bookshops in the whole of the Karoo. If you’re driving south from Gauteng, the first one would be Fontein Bookshop in Philippolis, Southern Free State. Then there’s the lovely Dustcovers in Nieu-Bethesda and, nearby, the prime bookshop in the region: McNaughton’s of Graaff-Reinet. South of that is Art & Books in Aberdeen. But the Book Safari
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doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s hardly begun. That’s because, you see, most of us who live in the Karoo have to develop a number of little enterprises, different income streams, to survive in the small towns. So you’ll find Karoo books in some of the most unusual spots. Look out for a padstal on the way. A good padstal is a cave of wonders. There, nestled in among the preserves and the handcarved walking sticks, is the very tome you’ve been searching for. Antique shops in the little towns also stock special Karoo books. Some of them come from the major publishers, but most have been produced by the independents. And they’re often the real gold. A small-town historian produces a lively account of his dorpie, a farmer’s wife and her friends show you how to work venison, a Port Nolloth diver brings out a rough diamond of a book about his life under the waves and a Richtersveld prospector tells of his days along the Orange River. All of it is magic – pure magic!
We know a farmer called Blackie de Swardt, of Prior Grange near Springfontein, Southern Free State. He’s a good farmer, a keen sportsman and an Anglo-Boer War historian who has published 963 Days at the Junction – a detailed account of the war in his district. He’s a dark horse, indeed. But ask Blackie to show you a copy of the rather remarkable 100 Proofs That Earth is not a Globe, by one E.L. Venter. There’s a book for everyone in the Karoo… Text and Photographs by Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit have published Karoo Keepsakes I and II in print. They’re on sale from their website www.karoospace. co.za and in many unusual Karoo outlets. They also sell a variety of illustrated e-books on the Karoo from their site, designed for mobile devices as traveller’s companions.
karoo bookshops McNaughton’s Bookshop, GraaffReinet: E-mail karoobooks@ telkomsa.net or call +27 (0)49 892 3978 Dustcovers Bookshop, Nieu Bethesda: E-mail info@ dustcovers.co.za or call +27 (0)82 517 0045. Springbok Lodge and Restaurant, Springbok: E-mail sbklodge@ intekom.co.za or call +27 (0)27 712 1321. Montagu Bookshop, Montagu: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 (0)23 614 2772. Oom Japie se Huis, Philippolis: Call +27 (0)51 773 0050 Aberdeen Books and Crafts, Aberdeen: E-mail peter@ aberdeenbooksandcrafts.com or call +27 (0)83 794 2262 Richmond Books and Prints, Richmond, Northern Cape. E-mail booktownrichmond@hotmail. com or just pop in.
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TOP WOMEN IN TOURISM
A formidable force for good in the tourism industry, African Travel Market (ATM) highlights the contribution of our key movers and shakers to find out what motivates and inspires them to even greater heights. LEFT: MMATŠATŠI RAMAWELA, ©istock.com.
CEO Of The Tourism Business Council Of South Africa (TBCSA) Mmatšatši Ramawela took on the role of CEO in October 2006, after joining the TBCSA as its chief operating officer earlier that year. Her mandate is to provide a voice to organised business in the South African travel and tourism sector. The TBCSA uses this voice to influence macro-economic policies that affect the private sector. Under her leadership, the TBCSA has grown to encompass 16 sector associations. Ramawela’s career in the tourism sector spans more than 20 years. In 1996, she joined the National Parks Board as senior manager: marketing and was responsible for promoting the country’s 22 national parks. Among her achievements was the successful rebranding of the National Parks Board into South African National Parks. Before joining the TBCSA, she worked for the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority and the Limpopo Tourism Board. Ramawela is also a trained tourist guide.
CEO Of Thompsons Africa And CoFounder Of Thompsons Holidays Linda Pampallis heads one of the most successful inbound tourism companies in southern Africa and started Thompsons Holidays – then called Thompsons International Tour
Operators – in 1986 with Anton Thompson and André Kruger, launching Thompsons Africa in 1989. Since its inception, the Thompsons group of companies has achieved major success in both its inbound and outbound businesses locally and internationally. “It’s been fascinating to see how the global and South African tourism industries have evolved and developed, and the challenges and changes that have come along over the years,” says Pampallis. She has witnessed computerisation of the industry; the transformation of travel to a massdemand item; the expansion of South Africa’s aviation industry in the 1990s, and Cape Town’s transformation from a ‘dorp’ into an iconic travel destination.
Senior Manager: Marketing, Amadeus Southern Africa Jannine Adams is responsible for the company’s marketing strategies, digital activities, communications and market analysis – and together with the management team, for business strategy and development. Since joining the company in 1999, Adams has witnessed it evolve from a small start-up with fewer than 10 clients in South Africa to one with thousands of customers in 11 countries in Southern Africa. Adams started her career in travel as a receptionist at Lufthansa.
After working her way up to national groups manager in four short years, she left to join Amadeus as a trainer, and then became an account manager. It was in this position that she got to understand the travel industry as one that consistently requires innovation, new technologies and solutions, strong partnerships and collaboration. “Over the years I’ve learned that growth and comfort do not coexist,” she says. “Without hard work and braving the unknown, I would not have the power to create, nurture and transform.”
Group CEO Of Travel With Flair (TWF) Travel with Flair is one of the most successful travel management companies in South Africa. Since 2009, TWF has won numerous awards annually at the World Travel Awards, most notably the award for Africa’s Leading Travel Management Company. An accountant by training, Mukoki started the business 18 years ago with just three employees. Today the company employs 880 people, with offices in Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Pretoria plus 14 in-house agencies at corporate clients. It also operates in nine regions in Africa. Mukoki was the first African to sit on the Association of Corporate Travel Executives board. In 2012, she became the first woman
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TOP LEFT: LINDA PAMPALLIS. BOTTOM LEFT: NINA FREYSEN-PRETORIUS. BOTTOM RIGHT: JOHANNA MUKOKI. RIGHT FROM TOP: JANNINE ADAMS, LINDIWE RAKHAREBE, DORCAS DLAMINI
in southern Africa to win the Emerging Category in the prestigious Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Award (southern Africa chapter). And in July 2014, she was a ﬁnalist in CEO magazine’s Most Inﬂuential Women in Business and Government for Africa awards.
President Of The International Congress And Convention Association (ICCA) Appointed to this position on 2 November 2014, Nina FreysenPretorius is the ICCA’s ﬁrst president from Africa and only the third female president in the association’s history. She was the ideal candidate to fulﬁl the ICCA’s mandate and drive growth for its members due to her boldness, strategic thinking abilities, and in-depth understanding of the international association meetings industry. Since founding The Conference Company in 1997, Freysen-Pretorius has becoming a driving force in the Southern Africa conference industry. She was national chairperson of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industries from 2009 to 2013 and has been a second vice-chairperson of ICCA since 2010. “The potential of the business events industry as a contributor to economic growth and job creation in Africa is enormous,” Freysen-Pretorius says, “and having ICCA members globally support my presidency as an African recognises this potential.”
CEO Of The Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) Lindiwe Rakharebe’s background is the corporate ﬁnancial sector, having worked in managerial positions in all four of the major banking institutions in South Africa over the past 30 years. Before joining the Durban ICC in April this year, she was ABSA’s regional executive for KwaZulu-Natal. Rakharebe is well known for her passion and dedication to growing the KwaZuluNatal economy. “My experience in the ﬁnance sector has groomed me to work well in a structured environment,” she explains. “Working at the Durban ICC is giving me the opportunity to home in on
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my creativity. Service excellence is crucial in this business and I believe that if you have love for people, so much more can be achieved.”
Group Sales Director For Protea Hotels, A Member Of The Marriott Hotel Group Dorcas Dlamini’s role is to implement and control Protea Hotels’ national sales strategy and grow its market share in the corporate, travel trade, government and MICE sectors. She joined Protea Hotels in 2003 as a junior sales coordinator and quickly moved up the ranks, holding positions such as national sales coordinator, training sales executive and regional sales manager for various provinces. Dlamini was also part of the team that managed the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ project for Protea Hotels. In July 2010, she was appointed Protea Hotels’ sales manager for government before moving on to become group national sales manager, where she focused on corporate & MICE business. Last year, Dlamini received the Association of Southern African Travel Agents’ 2014 Future Leader in Travel award. She is also a board member of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry.
FLORENCE MULENGA SHAWA
General Manager Of Chongwe Safaris Florence Mulenga Shawa is the ﬁrst woman in Zambia to manage a safari company. She runs Chongwe Safaris’ four camps – Chongwe River Camp, Kasaka River Lodge, Tsika Island Camp and Chongwe House. At the age of eight, Mulenga Shawa moved to the UK to attend boarding school, returning home to Zambia in 2001 armed with a BA in Business Administration and a Diploma in Business and Finance. She took a job at the renowned Chainama Hotel, where she was soon promoted to MD. Needing a change, she joined Chongwe Safaris as manager of Chongwe River Camp in 2008, an odd choice for a city girl who’d never been to the bush before. But after surviving her ﬁrst season in the fenceless camp, she was promoted to GM of Chongwe
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ABOVE FLORENCE MULENGA SHAWA. RIGHT TOP: AMANDA KOTZE-NHLAPO. RIGHT BOTTOM: DAWN NATHAN-JONES.
Chief Convention Bureau Officer Of The South African National Convention Bureau Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo was appointed chief of this business unit of South African Tourism in November 2011, following a successful tenure as head of the Conventions Bureau and Events at Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU), where over ﬁve years, she and her team secured more than R750m worth of business for the city. She has more than 17 years experience in the business events sector and served on the provincial and national boards of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) for seven years. Under her leadership, South Africa’s global ranking as a businessevents destination has moved from 34th position in 2013 to 32nd position in 2014, on the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking list. Last year, Kotze-Nhlapo was elected to represent Africa on the ICCA board.
CEO Of Imperial Car Rental Imperial Car Rental operates two of the country’s most respected car rental brands – Europcar and Tempest Car Hire. Until recently, Dawn NathanJones was only the second woman ever at the helm of a car rental company in South Africa. Under her leadership, Europcar has become one of the most successful car rental brands in the country, with a signiﬁcant African footprint. In 2009, Nathan-Jones spearheaded the complex rebranding of Imperial Car Rental to Europcar. She has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Woman of the Year award from South African motivational organisation ‘Women of the World’, which recognised her involvement in social upliftment programmes in South Africa. Under her leadership, Europcar – which this year was voted ‘Africa’s Leading Car Hire Company’ at the World Travel Awards for the 10th consecutive year – is involved in far-reaching charity work, supporting several programmes focused on children, education and HIV/AIDS. Nathan-Jones has been a patron of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund since its inception. By Max Marx
IMAGES: MAX MARX; SUPPLIED.
Safaris. “Initially, it was not without its challenges,” admits Mulenga Shawa. “Being a black Zambian woman running a safari company, I had to earn the trust of my employees, as well as my industry colleagues.” Today, Mulenga Shawa is a highly respected member of the Zambian tourism industry.
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