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Secrets of the Naomi Watts film shoot:

Opulent Living Welcome

There are more than 1 000 reasons to live in South Africa


everything started in December 2008 with yet another holiday in South Africa, the land where nature and wildlife take your breath away, where different cultures fascinate you and 11 languages are spoken. Located at the southern tip of Africa, with 2 798 kilometres of coastline bordering the Atlantic and Indian oceans, South Africa – known to the world as the ‘rainbow nation’ – is now the focus of the world as the host of the soccer World Cup 2010.

Barbara Lenhard & Florian Gast Publishers

The concept of Opulent Living came to us like a vision, and the vision became reality in May 2009 – as real as our love for this country – when we moved to Cape Town to start this project. The focus of our magazine is the beauty of South Africa with its variety of landscapes, its wideopen spaces, its history and the excellent choice of world-class establishments, including luxury hotels, hidden lodges, game reserves, manicured golf courses, wine estates with superb wines and stylish restaurants with award-winning cuisine. And last, but not least, such a variety of nationalities and origins. When we decided to move to South Africa, friends and family wondered about our decision to transfer to a developing country. In fact, it is very different and not always easy, but when you see the joy, the willingness and the determined and spirited effort of people to bring about positive change and growth, you come to realise you are privileged to spend time in this unique country.

Variety, of course, is the soul of pleasure. We truly believe that travelling should be rewarding and that holidays provide an opportunity to socialise and spend quality time with friends and family. You can experience all of this and more in South Africa. We hope that through Opulent Living we can share the beauty and sheer joy of this diverse country. And now, as we write these words for our first issue, we are sitting on the deck of a beautiful lodge in the Eastern Cape. We spent the morning watching Harry – the 1,5 ton male hippo – in a waterhole, popping up to breathe, sunning himself and yawning. Very relaxing, nothing more, but so enjoyable! We ask ourselves: why don’t we do this more often? It is so easy. Let us take you on an exciting journey ... twice a year, we will invite you to explore South Africa’s upmarket establishments, which have been built with passion and the desire to spoil people like you and me, to make us feel there’s no one who matters more than ourselves. We also bring you up-to-date and thoughtprovoking articles covering specialist topics of local and global interest. Let’s do it like Harry: dive up, not down, and let the spirit of this country come into our hearts. It works. Promise.

Enjoy! Barbara & Florian

Opulent Living



Map of South Africa · Spot your opulent retreat Dock House Boutique Hotel & Spa · Understated waterfront glamour


Thanda Private Game Reserve · Love the wild bush luxury


Hotel Izulu · Luxury meets African Zen spirit


Tinga Private Game Lodge · Living the African dream


Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards · Culinary capital’s hilltop hotel


Kichaka Game Lodge · Essential Africa


Birkenhead House · Of wine and whale song …


St Francis Golf Lodge · Golfers’ delight


Nguni River Lodge · Elephant safari the Addo way


Woodall Country House & Spa · Relaxed retreat


Colona Castle · Castle on the rocks


The Robertson Small Hotel · A haven of discreet luxury


La Residence · Unwind in secluded splendour




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Tintswalo Atlantic · Rooms with a view


The Oyster Box Hotel · Seaside glamour meets old-world charm


La Montagne Private Home · Bishopscourt beauty


Views Boutique Hotel & Spa · Luxe in the wilderness


Dossier · In the art of the winelands


Royal Malewane · Blissful spa safari


Karkloof Spa · Indulge in a journey of the soul at the ultimate lodge spa


Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve & Safari Lodge · The elephants walk in whispers


Mount Nelson Hotel · Oasis in the heart of Cape Town


Opulent Living







Sheer Driving Pleasure

Earth Lodge · Elemental Africa


Benguela Cove Lagoon Estate · A rare vineyard retreat


Illyria House · A taste of colonial romance


Dossier · Liquid assets


Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Residence · African dream


Rovos Rail · A time-honoured glimpse of South Africa by rail


Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa · Jewel in the crown



Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate · Inspired by a legend, designed around a lifestyle 104 Schoone Oordt Country House · A tranquil haven


Bezweni Lodge · Exquisite eyrie


Falcons View Manor · An elegant oasis


De Kloof Luxury Estate · Secluded chic



Opulent Living



De Kloof Luxury Estate · Secluded chic


5 Seasons Guest House · Warmth and charm


Beaumont Boutique Guest House · Boutique bliss


Clouds Estate · Informal grandeur


Auberge Hollandaise Guest House · Luxury for work or play


Blue Gum Country Estate · Peaceful retreat


Lily Pond Country Lodge · Idyllic hideaway


Villa Zest Boutique Hotel · Urban sanctuary


Fernwood Manor · Colonial comfort


Hawksmoor House · Dutch architecture in style


Opulent finds · must-have luxuries



Opulent Living



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Greater Kruger National Park 30 12 37

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Understated waterfront glamour Dock House Boutique Hotel & Spa One of Cape Town’s most intimate boutique hotels, included in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler

n Dock house Boutique Hotel & Spa

annual ‘Hot List’, Dock House plays host to only a few discerning guests at a time. Five generous

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront,

rooms and one glamorous suite – all leading into oh-so-spacious bathrooms – are individually decorated with sensuous fabrics, crystal chandeliers, original art and the softest carpeting underfoot, giving them a serene and gracious charm. Dock House is contemporary-classic in style but oozes country grandeur in its proportions and decorative detailing – hardly surprising, since it was the

Cape Town, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)21 421 9334 Facsimile: +27 (0)21 419 7881 Email: Website:

harbour engineer’s grand residence in the mid-1800s. The character of the historical house has been restored in a fusion of old and new. Genuine fireplaces roar and crackle with warmth on cooler evenings, and doors and windows open wide, bringing in fresh breezes off the sea. Upper rooms lead onto a wooden balcony with a bird’s-eye view of the harbour and V&A Waterfront complex. Well-travelled guests appreciate the no-fuss in-room check-in and thoughtful touches provided by the staff. One could happily spend the entire time enjoying butler service and the in-house menu … unless tempted by the Elements at Dock House spa, with its gym, sauna and massage rooms, as well as the new shopping wing at the V&A, just five minutes’ walk away. Dock House is a member of the Newmark Hotels portfolio, which includes the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay and the Victoria & Alfred Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. Of the three, it’s the most intimate – a cocooned haven for

Dock House is a glamorous yet discreet oasis set above the bustle of the V&A Waterfront. Interiors are irresistibly plush and the private pool sparkles invitingly.


Opulent Living

Photographs: DOCKHOUSE

anyone who wants to be in the heart of the city yet feel that they’re in a grand country home.

Love the wild bush luxury Thanda Private Game Reserve Recently voted ‘World‘s Leading Luxury Lodge’, Thanda not only offers the opportunity to see the Big Five on 14 000 hectares in northern Zululand but is also one of the most romantic destinations around – after all, ‘thanda’ means ‘love’ in isiZulu. Guests are sure to fall in love with its opulent offerings. The five-star facilities offer nine generously proportioned bush villas at the main lodge. Push the heavy wooden door aside and a haven of indulgent luxury awaits: vast thatched interiors with four-poster beds lead to capacious bathrooms with well-deslgned indoor-outdoor flow. Fold-back doors lead to the expansive viewing deck, with its private infinity plunge pool and two lovely surprises – an enclosed boma for romantic dinners (also ideal for families), as well as an open, thatched sala suspended over the bush. Laze away an afternoon on the sala’s decadent circular day bed. For even more pampering, head for the spa for signature body treatments that draw on the bounty of local ingredients with inspiration from traditional Zulu medicine. Relax later at the main lodge’s viewing deck overlooking a watering hole where top-class cuisine is enjoyed, or in the library or cigar bar. Thanda also has tented camps for those after rugged refinement and the traditional romance of safari.

n THANDA Private Game Reserve

Photographs: THANDA

Outside Hluhluwe, Northern Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal Telephone: +27 (0)11 469 5082/3/4/5 Facsimilie: +27 (0)11 469 5086 Email: Website:

Opulent Living


Luxury meets African Zen spirit

Tuscan architecture and Balinese influences combine in a distinctly African setting to create an opulent hotel experience.

Hotel Izulu Located on the lush northern KwaZulu-Natal coast, Hotel Izulu embodies its name, meaning ‘heaven’ in isiZulu. The combination of luxurious accommodation, elegant dining at Gigi’s and a world-class Impilo Spa offers guests a unique opportunity to indulge in utterly opulent experiences. The 19 luxurious suites are styled with a distinctive mix of Tuscan architecture and a Balinese influence to create elegant, comfortable, Zen-inspired spaces. The suites are set in freestanding villas with private courtyards and Jacuzzi, while for the ultimate in luxury guests can opt for the Royal suite. Located on an entire top floor, it boasts magnificent Indian ocean views from a private deck. Guests in need of a touch of pampering should head to the Impilo Spa to indulge in restorative body therapies and revitalising beauty treatments with top quality Clarins and TheraVine products. The calming surrounds, warm sun and well-trained professional therapists ensure guests feel like they’re in heaven. For those after gastronomic indulgence, a meal at Gigi’s is an unforgettable vegetable garden. Executive chef Guy Gorrie effortlessly combines South African flavours with international flair to result in a modern menu. The recently launched chef’s table is a must for serious gourmets – it offers up to six guests the chance to interact with the chefs while enjoying

n HOTEL IZULU Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal Telephone: +27 (0)32 946 3444 Facsimile: +27 (0)32 946 3494

a carefully constructed tasting menu. The ultraluxurious spa, gourmet and accommodation


experiences truly make this a world-class destination.



Opulent Living

Photographs: HOTEL IZULU

experience, and the restaurant‘s deliciously fresh produce is grown in the hotel’s organic herb and

Living the African dream Tinga Private Game Lodge Safari enthusiasts looking for an exclusive experience that celebrates the romance of the African

n TINGA Private Game Lodge

bush in style will find that Tinga is ideal. This intimate, five-star lodge is situated in the heart of

Skukuza, Kruger National Park,

the Kruger National Park on the banks of the Sabie River and is known as much for the promise


of big cat and Big Five sightings as for the attention its pays to offering superlative, discreet service and luxury. Consisting of Tinga Legends and Tinga Narina, which cater for just a handful of guests at any one time, the lodge is appreciated for its superb position overlooking the Sabie River, guaranteeing guests regular wildlife sightings throughout their visit and an elevated view of the goings-on in the heart of this wilderness area. At Tinga, life happens at a slower, altogether more enjoyable, pace. And in keeping with its commitment to offering luxury at every turn, one of the draw cards of this contemporary-colonial-style lodge is the extensive menu of body and beauty treatments offered by its professional team in the privacy of your own suite – a massage on your private deck will revive even the most jaded of city souls. Each of the spacious guest suites ensures you are likely to want to relax in your surrounds as much as possible. What better way to get into an Out of Africa frame of mind than by enjoying after-dinner starlit dips in your private plunge pool and lazy afternoons on your deck gazing out at the pristine bush? Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the focus given to providing an up-close experience with the wildlife in this exclusive private concession. A maximum of six people in a vehicle means game


drives are personal affairs, while private drivers and walking guides are easily arranged.

Old-fashioned romance meets 21st-century attention to service and luxury at Tinga. The elevated view of the Sabie River offers excellent wildlife viewing.

Telephone: +27 (0)13 735 8400 Facsimile: +27 (0)13 735 5722 Email: Website:

n Mont Rochelle Franschhoek, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)21 876 2770 Facsimile: +27 (0)21 876 3788 Email: Website:

Culinary capital’s hilltop hotel Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards Set against the purple backdrop of the Klein Dassenberg mountains and the vivid green sweep of 100 Franschhoek Valley vineyards sits the private manor house of Mont Rochelle. Sixteen elegant rooms and six sumptuous suites span over three wings: the Garden Wing, Manor House and new Vineyard Wing. Classically decorated in soft summer shades or tasteful Afro-colonial style, all of the rooms share one thing: breathtaking views. Book a Cabernet Room in the new wing for the best terraces. The Pinotage Suite has extra space for families and the Reserve Suite has a beautiful walled garden and private Jacuzzi, while the top-end Cap Classique Suites have their own plunge pools. The hotel boasts the award-winning Mange Tout restaurant – a fine-dining experience that combines the freshest local ingredients with a sophisticated international touch. The more relaxed Country Kitchen also caters to those who prefer to eat alfresco or stroll outdoors with a packed picnic basket to enjoy in the shade of an old oak tree. Guests can relax by the glittering pool, sink into a bubbling Jacuzzi or enjoy a treatment at the Wellness Centre. There’s an on-site gym, and hiking, trout fishing, horse riding and helicopter flights can be arranged. Neighbouring wine estates for touring abound, but guests don’t have to budge an inch from the manor house as Mont Rochelle’s Gold

The elegant yet welcoming ambience of Mont Rochelle is typical of Franschhoek’s gracious and traditional Cape Dutch homesteads.


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restaurants, in the Cigar Bar or at the superb wine cellar nestled among the vineyards and leafy orchards. It’s little wonder then that this beautiful wine farm is also a favourite venue for weddings.

Photographs: MONT ROCHELLE

Award-winning wine can be tasted at both

Essential Africa Kichaka Game Lodge At Kichaka Private Game Lodge, in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, it’s about getting as close to nature as possible. Whether from the rim-flow pool overlooking the waterhole, from the secluded deck of your luxury suite or from your ranger’s vehicle, there is seemingly no end to the sightings of creatures great and small. With the Big Five resident here, safari enthusiasts are virtually guaranteed of ticking an elephant, a lion, rhino, buffalo or even possibly an elusive leopard off n KICHAKA Game Lodge Outside Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Telephone: +27 (0)46 622 6024

their list, but it’s the other brushes with nature that add to the unique experience at this intimate lodge. Skilled rangers will inspire you with their fascinating anecdotes and ability to spot even the smallest creature at a distance. Birders are spoilt with a plethora of species and a chorus of early

Facsimile: +27 (0)46 622 6028

morning birdsong, and at night counting comets is a stargazer’s must-do.


Situated a mere 110km from Port Elizabeth, Kichaka is an understated stone-and-thatch lodge


designed to blend in with its pristine surrounds. Decorated in an soothing palette of natural hues and detailed with stylish Afro-chic touches, the sights and sounds of the African bush are at every turn – thanks to expansive terraces that provide ever-present waterhole views. Each spacious suite has its own secluded viewing deck and private plunge pool and can be reached via a wooden walkway that winds through the bush from the main lodge. With just 20 guests at any time, privacy is paramount here and those looking to make the most of their downtime can experience. Meals are served in the main dining room or on the deck of your suite, and selections of superior wines by the resident cellar masters are the perfect partner to the contemporary African cuisine. A gourmet’s delight and an animal-lover’s paradise, Kichaka Game Lodge epitomises a laid-back safari experience with the perfect dose of luxury.


Opulent Living

Photographs: KICHAKA

take their pick from a menu of massage treatments. Part of the luxury at Kichaka is the five-star dining

Of wine and whale song… Birkenhead House Every year whales come to wallow in the warm waters of Walker Bay in Hermanus. Sitting

n Birkenhead House

atop the cliffs of this sheltered sanctuary is the magnificent Birkenhead House, an open-plan

Hermanus, Western Cape

beachside private hotel, offering the discerning traveller expansive views of the ocean and the

Telephone: +27 (0)15 793 0150

far-flung heights of the Overberg mountains. Eleven opulent suites combine the luxuries of elegant furnishings, comfortable beds and the peace and quiet in which to enjoy the ultimate in seaside living. Each suite is lovingly decorated, modern and stylish, yet with a touch of Art Deco

Facsimile: +27 (0)15 793 2879 Email: Website:

or Oriental flair. The bathrooms are perfect extensions to the rooms, offering huge bathtubs and every other amenity imaginable. Contributing to the achingly romantic atmosphere are the fresh flowers, lazy wicker loungers, champagne on ice and doors flung wide open to let in the ocean air. Mealtimes are flexible and there’s an honesty bar where you can help yourself at any time. You’re invited to treat the place as your own private villa, complete with attentive staff and personal


chef. No stay is complete without delighting in the lavish, ever-changing menus. Fresh seafood, local game and a delicate handling of touches and tastes from Asia and Europe are a matter of course. Whether served in the cosy candlelit restaurant, on the expansive patio or savoured in the privacy of your bedroom, the world-class cuisine is something quite special. Of its many facilities, the plunge pool running down the centre of the house, an infinity swimming pool with ocean views out on the deck and a gym and treatment centre are only a wonderful warm-up for the two temperate beaches below. Birkenhead House is a part of The Royal Portfolio, as are Royal Malewane Private Lodge – on a private game reserve on the western fringe of the Kruger Park – and La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa’s gourmet capital. Birkenhead House is also a favourite wedding and honeymoon venue.

Opulent Living


Golfers’ delight St Francis Golf Lodge Travel beyond Plettenberg Bay towards Port Elizabeth and you’ll discover the unspoilt coastline of St Francis Bay, where the world-renowned St Francis Links course designed by Jack Nicklaus is the perfect setting for the St Francis Golf Lodge. Overlooking the first tee, it offers golf lovers a luxurious and relaxing base from which to enjoy exceptional golf in beautiful surroundings. The gracefully thatched 10-bedroom guest house combines the best of contemporary African decor with a harmonious ambience, which is matched by excellent service and modern amenities. It comprises two houses, each with five luxurious en-suite bedrooms, state-of-the-art bathrooms and a relaxed flow of living areas. The secluded swimming pool at the lodge is an ideal place to relax, but the veranda is simply the best spot to soak up the panoramic views across the course to the glorious sweep of St Francis Bay, with its warm Indian Ocean waters and pristine beaches. It’s the ideal place to book out entirely with friends, to enjoy as a private villa with direct access to the golf course – one that Jack Nicklaus describes as ‘the best links course I ever designed’. In  the  morning, guests step onto the first tee straight from a delicious homemade breakfast on the  veranda, as if it were their own private course. Guests are provided with temporary membership, with reduced rates, to play the course and can enjoy all the club facilities, including the spa, the golf academy and the lavish afternoon tea at the Club House just two minutes’ walk away from the lodge. St Francis Bay, Garden Route Telephone: +27 (0)42 294 0028 Facsimile: +27 (0)86 698 5590

After a day out, the lodge is a secluded haven of peace to retreat to for sundowners on the veranda with wonderful sunset views. Dinner can be organised by the private chef or guests can walk to the Links Lighthouse Restaurant on the estate, best known for its fresh seafood specialities. And


should guests need a break from the challenge of golf, the lodge is well situated for visits to several


Big Five game reserves, including Addo Elephant National Park, a two-hour drive away.

Photographs: ST. FRANCIS LODGE

n ST FRANCIS Golf Lodge

Each of Nguni’s individually decorated suites is inspired by the Nguni cow hide.

Elephant safari the Addo way Nguni River Lodge Nguni River Lodge is situated on an unspoilt, malaria-free private concession within the Addo Elephant National Park. The park is unique in offering not only the Big Five to safari enthusiasts but also a rich coastal marine zone in which it is possible to view whales and great white sharks in season. But what makes the Nguni experience truly one-of-a-kind are the elephant-back safaris available to guests in the park – humbling, personal encounters with these intelligent animals while gently swaying through the bushveld. They offer rare opportunities to get wonderfully close to all of the wildlife action. The lodge itself is nestled on a broad ridge overlooking a vast floodplain, and the main house and eight private suites all have spectacular viewing decks from which you can observe wildlife in absolute comfort. Each stylish double suite has a lounge and fireplace (the deluxe King Suite has two rooms), a private pool and one of those truly opulent safari bathrooms with an enormous tub-with-a-view taking centre stage. And outdoor showers looking over the watering hole take the ritual of bathing to new heights. Photographs: NGUNI RIVER LODGE

The lodge is a delightfully diverse mix of modern and traditional African styles, combining simple natural materials – rocks, reeds, thatch and wood – with comfortable furnishings made from lavish linens, leathers and suedes. In the evening, log fires crackle in the relaxed lounge where everyone gathers to share sightings of the day. The tantalising aromas of five-star haute cuisine waft from the open-plan kitchen to the dining room and out onto the spacious look-out deck where dinners

n NGUNI River Lodge Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape Telephone: +27 (0)42 235 1022 Facsimile: +27 (0)42 235 1045

are enjoyed under starlit skies. Nguni River Lodge is the perfect mix of adventure, beauty and


relaxation all enjoyed from luxurious surroundings in an extraordinarily biodiverse environment.


Opulent Living


Texture transformation. Haute couture styling effects.

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Styling revolution: for the first time, L'OrĂŠal Professionnel elevates creative styling to the level of ultimate glamour and cosmeticity with a unique cosmestyler collection. Revolutionary double zone technology with pearl protein transforms individual hair textures at the molecular level to deliver tailored strength control hold and protection.


Relaxed retreat Woodall Country House & Spa Woodall, nestled in the peaceful orchards of a citrus farm in the Eastern Cape close to Addo Elephant Park, is a haven of tranquillity in an idyllic waterside setting. Luxurious suites and spacious cottage rooms are individually styled with understated elegance, and private verandas open onto scented gardens alive with rare water birds. Relaxing at the pool or at the spa – well known for its signature citrus treatment – leaves guests feeling rejuvenated. Gourmet dinners, often served under the stars and always complemented by superb wines from its award-winning Diners Club Platinum wine list, are Woodall’s trademark.

The award-winning cuisine is inspired

by the flavours of local ingredients and freshly picked home-grown produce. Care to see game? Woodall offers personalised game drives with a private guide to nearby reserves, making it an ideal base for malaria-free viewing of the Big Five. Woodall is a Five Star Country House (TGCSA) and received a silver award in the ’Ultimate African Cuisine‘ and a bronze in the ’Best Retreat in Africa‘ categories at the Amarula Best Retreats in Africa Awards 2009.

Addo, Eastern Cape Telephone: +27 (0)42 233 0128 Facsimile: +27 (0)42 233 0510 Email: Website:


Opulent Living

Photographs: WOODALL

n WOODALL Country House & Spa

Castle on the rocks Colona Castle Sumptuous luxury coupled with distinctive good taste are embedded in the ethos of Colona Castle boutique hotel. Add to the mix a flourish of superb service and a grand setting and what it adds up to is a country house by the sea where home comforts and style are a given. Built in 1929, Colona Castle bears the hallmarks of a stylish past, with its elevated ceilings, elegantly crafted arched windows gracefully framing the natural environment and beautifully proportioned living spaces. Its location has a backdrop of rugged Cape mountains – including the iconic Table Mountain – and, in front, sparkling lakes and the sweep of False Bay all the way to the Winelands. There is nothing standard about Colona Castle, except that each item – from the deeply luxurious beds to the crystal glasses – has been selected for comfort or aesthetic value. Each room or suite n colona castle Lakeside, Cape Town, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)21 788 8235

has its own theme, and every antique objet has been chosen to highlight that. On offer are the superior-graded Safari Suite, Green Room and Moroccan Room; the executive Mogul, Chinese and New suites; and, finally, the full luxury complement comprising the Penthouse and English suites. Colona Castle also offers modern conveniences essential to the luxury traveller: a private


butler, swimming pool, garden and terraces, Wi-Fi and IT services, spa treatments, room service,


television and DVDs. Guests’ wishes are catered to on every level.

Photographs: COLONA CASTLE

Facsimile: +27 0)21 788 6577

Opulent Living


A haven of discreet luxury The Robertson Small Hotel A new addition to the Breede River Valley, The Robertson Small Hotel is the epitome of modern boutique charm in an exquisite country setting. With unsurpassed attention to detail, the 10 suites have unique and tasteful personalities: the Manor House suites showcase intricate Victorian touches like embossed ceilings and elegant, spacious rooms; the Stables suites offer a more contemporary feel, with touches of earthy brown punctuating a vision of white; and the n The Robertson Small Hotel

four Poolside suites are an exercise in restrained, modern design and open onto a shimmering

Robertson, Western Cape

swimming pool – perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot summer’s day.

Telephone: +27 (0)23 626 7200

The main draw card here is the signature restaurant, Reuben’s at the Robertson, where acclaimed

Facsimile: +27 (0)23 626 7222

chef Reuben Riffel has created a destination restaurant. Guests can enjoy the finest local fare, Website:

with an emphasis on organic and seasonal produce. There’s an excellent selection of wine from the state-of-the-art wine cellar, too. Inspiration is global but with a local spin: start with the likes of springbok carpaccio and tartare with an Asian soy gel, apple and ginger cloud and move on to light-as-air gnocchi with garlic foam or Moroccan-style warmly spiced dukkah-crusted lamb – all served with signature flair. Chef Reuben is well known for his dreamy desserts, and guests should leave space for the heavenly espresso panna cotta or homemade ice creams, and round the whole meal off with local cheeses exquisitely paired with fruit accompaniments. After a digestif in the opulently elegant bar, guests can return to their suites and be assured of a good night’s rest in vast king-sized beds with the best linens. In the morning, breakfasts are as light or indulgent as guests please. Whatever the occasion, the Robertson Small Hotel and Reuben’s will inspire return visits to experience even more of its country charm and exquisite food in the lap of discreetly comfortable luxury.

Photographs: THE ROBERTSON


A glamorous and discreet hideaway set among the mountains and vineyards, La Residence is the valley’s best-kept secret.

Unwind in secluded splendour La Residence Franschhoek’s most luxurious boutique hotel, La Residence is for the discerning traveller seeking a

n LA RESIDENCE Franschhoek, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)15 793 0150 Facsimile: +27 (0)15 793 2879 Email: Website:

secluded sensory haven, a private hotel where you can relax among the beauty and tranquillity of nature. Soaring mountains, manicured vineyards, fruit orchards and fragrant gardens all provide a stunning setting in which to enjoy all that this palatial country estate has to offer. Inside, one is instantly struck by the clever use of height and scale, especially in the grand dining hall with its spectacular chandeliers. Owner Liz Biden’s extravagant passion for richly upholstered furnishings in gloriously intense colours creates a wonderfully eclectic and theatrical interior, yet somehow La Residence retains the ambience of a private residence. Each of the 11 opulent suites is a work of art, whether tantalising with exotic Oriental touches or putting on the Ritz in full French boudoir fashion. Each colossal bathroom opens onto a vast


sunny terrace filled with summer scents and magnificent views. For extra pampering, guests can simply ring for a private therapist to massage away any lingering stresses and strains. Alfresco dining reaches its pinnacle in light, imaginative menus that capture local fare while celebrating a passion for international cuisine, all paired with excellent South African wines. La Residence is perfectly placed for an abundance of exciting outdoor experiences such as championship golf, hot-air ballooning, horse riding, wine-tasting, and carriage rides through the village and local vineyards. As part of a trio of properties making up The Royal Portfolio, La Residence is the most theatrical and glamorous of them all. It’s no wonder Andrew Harper voted it ‘Hideaway of the Year 2009’ and Tatler as one of the ‘101 Best Hotels in the World’.

Opulent Living


The Sentinel can be seen across the sea from every suite at Tintswalo Atlantic, the boutique lodge near Hout Bay.

Tintswalo Atlantic

Rooms with a view Nestled among milkwood trees and perched on stilts above a rocky beach at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, Tintswalo Atlantic blends in so seamlessly with the shoreline that it remains one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets.


ncient milkwood trees curl upwards through the balau decks that float above the bare rocks below. The profile of the Sentinel, the distinctive mountain peak across Hout Bay, is etched in front of the setting sun and the water ripples with soft swells. Between the yachts floating like butterflies near the quiet harbour, a whale is rolling about and flapping a fin, then lifting its tail. Mesmerised guests are sipping bubbly and sitting quietly. Just sitting. Perhaps it’s the white noise of waves moving through the kelp, but one thing’s for sure: once you reach the base of the steep winding track down to the lodge,

you feel separated from the rest of the world – yet remain intimately connected by the luxury first-world comforts. Somehow, senses are reawakened and all signs of tension magically dissipate. Tintswalo Atlantic is a boutique hotel just a few metres above the high-water mark on the Atlantic shoreline. The fourth property in the Tintswalo stable, it’s hard to see even as you drive along the world-famous Chapman’s Peak scenic drive. What makes it so private is the fact that it’s the only lodge found within the Table Mountain National Park, bordering on the well-protected Cape Mountain Fynbos Reserve and far away from any

Opulent Living


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP The Corsica suite in the Presidential Villa is furnished with soft drapes and salmon-coloured throws; bathrooms with shell mosaics and white bath linen add sensual touches.


Opulent Living

Fresh fynbos flowers, shells and a telescope to watch for birds or whales all bring nature inside.

other development. The coastline is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in Africa, yet Tintswalo Atlantic is only 20 minutes’ drive from cosmopolitan Cape Town, and five minutes by car from the picturesque town of Hout Bay, with its bustling fishing harbour. The pristine white-sand beaches of Llandudno and Clifton are also just a short hop away, as is the historic wine route of Constantia, where guests can sample wines from seven different wine estates. Of course, Tintswalo’s extensive wine list means that you don’t have to leave the lodge to enjoy some of South Africa’s best wines – you can enjoy them while indulging in the gourmet cuisine on offer. Watch the chef at work in the relaxed open-plan kitchen – or join in and try your hand at a cooking course.

Crystal Dinner food-and-wine pairing evenings are a highlight. Open to guests and up to eight day visitors, these sophisticated and festive dinners are held in the main dining area, with its views of the sea and Sentinel beyond. Dinner guests are greeted by the executive chef and are served with exotic pre-dinner cocktails and snacks on the deck before heading inside. Tables are set in white linen and silver, with a simple protea lending a uniquely South African style. Candles enhance the ambience while the sun sets and delicious aromas drift in from the kitchen. Each one of the 10 suites is furnished in a unique style. Named after islands around the world, the interior of each room befits the colour and character of the island. The Greek Ithica Island suite is painted a deep indigo blue, and the suite named after the

Turkish island of Princes is finished with deep terracotta and burnt orange touches. Freestanding, raku-fired, woodburning stoves add character and warmth in the evenings. Madagascar’s Saint Marie is a deep dusty pink and a feminine delight, with pretty touches such as the crystal chandelier with porcelain roses and bath treats in pink crystal bottles. Bathing under a glass roof set almost inside a milkwood tree adds romance. A private, exclusive-use presidential villa set into the trees up on the hillside above the main lodge has two spacious air-conditioned suites. Corsica and Elba have magnificent 180˚ views from the expansive deck, and both suites look over the sea to Hout Bay and are interlinked by a luxurious lounge area decorated in chic French country style with a cosy

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Opulent Living

the suites are designed for all weathers. They’re idyllic on a hot summer’s day but equally romantic in the rain when the heat from the wood-fired stove and underfloor heating throughout warms the room. Cocooning is easy here: sink into the deep sofas wrapped in a soft blanket to read a good novel or wrap yourself in a sarong, slip into the plunge pool or relax on the secluded pebble beach.

TOP The deck is the place to be as the sun sets over the Sentinel mountain peak. ABOVE Guest can relax in the welcoming lounge Photographs: TINTSWALO ATLANTIC

fireplace, day bed and deep, comfortable sofas. The draped four-poster beds are king-sized islands of white, splashed in colour with salmon and silver-blue scatter cushions and throws. The luxurious ensuite bathrooms are glass-lined, taking in the best of the views and mountainous surrounds while creating seamless indooroutdoor flow. The interiors are luxurious with crisp white towels, silky-smooth cotton linen, candles, mohair blankets and oriental carpets adding sensual touches. In fact, the romance of and atmosphere created by candlelight accounts for the lodge’s single biggest monthly expense! Local art is used throughout the lodge – a miniature beaded gecko sits cheekily on a bedroom wall, a wire basket catches the afternoon sun and shell mosaics adorn each individually decorated bathroom. All the rooms are connected via a wooden walkway and are lit at night with strings of concealed LED lights. Complete privacy is assured and guests can relax on private balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Each one of the suites has full sea views, perfect for soaking up the afternoon sun sundowner in hand. Built with the utmost care around the branches and into the canopies of the ancient milkwood trees (a protected species),

Tintswalo Atlantic

Freshly baked treats are served at High Tea every afternoon.

At Tintswalo Atlantic time tends to stand still, with the only reminder being the turn of the tides – and meal times, all of which are a treat. Afternoon tea is a lavish affair that includes smoothies as well as a range of teas, infusions, coffees and a scrumptious selection of freshly made pastries and tempting cakes. As well as enjoying the chef’s gourmet pleasures, guests can choose to experience a variety of walks in the surrounding area – or simply indulge in a picnic at the top of a 100m cliff face with spectacular sea views! Knowledgeable in-house guides explain that the three-hour Bokkemans walk affords guests breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding mountains, and that the trail runs through a forest area

that is home to many species of fynbos, including over 1 000 protea bushes. The world-famous V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape Point are less than half an hour away, making Tintswalo Atlantic one of South Africa’s premier luxury travel destinations, an accolade endorsed by US Condé Nast Traveler when it included it in its ‘Hot List’. As testament to the chefs’ food flair, Tintswalo Atlantic also landed the silver award in the ‘Ultimate African Cuisine’ category at the local Amarula Best Retreats Awards in 2008. For a secret getaway where privacy, sensuality and luxury fuse with nature, Tintswalo Atlantic is the closest to paradise you will ever get.

Hout Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape Telephone (accommodation reservations): +27 (0)11 300 8888 Telephone (day-visitor reservations): +27 (0)87 754 9300 Facsimile: +27 (0)11 300 8790 Email: Website: Transfers by vehicle or helicopter can be arranged. Other properties in the Tintswalo stable include: Tintswalo at Waterfall (Gauteng) and Tintswalo Safari Lodge and Manor House (Mpumalanga).

Indigo blues and cream are used in the Ithica Suite, reminiscent of the Greek islands’ summer hues.

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The Oyster Box Hotel

Seaside glamour meets old-world charm Umhlanga’s much-loved Oyster Box Hotel has undergone an extensive and meticulous three-year renovation worthy of its colonial heritage and priceless beachfront location. Recently reopened, the exquisitely appointed hotel now boasts 86 luxurious rooms and suites, a large spa, three exciting restaurants and an in-house cinema. Surrounded by lush, tropical gardens and offering uninterrupted views of the historic lighthouse and Indian Ocean, the new-look Oyster Box oozes glamour and style while retaining its old-world charm.


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he elegantly appointed Oyster Box may appear brand-new, but the original hotel dates back to 1947. Synonymous with sumptuous afternoon teas, family celebrations and romantic dinner dances in the Grill Room, this is a true seaside hotel that has held a special place in the hearts of generations of South Africans. For holidaymakers and families, honeymooners and business travellers, the Oyster Box now offers unparalleled luxury and choice, privacy and security. With 86 rooms and suites, the Oyster Box is like a luxury resort on a boutique hotel scale. The rooms and suites are either sea facing or overlook extensive tropical gardens fragrant with indigenous

flowers and shrubs. The decor throughout is characterised by extreme attention to detail, the clever interplay of colour and numerous witty elements, as well as a vast collection of South African and European art. Referring to the hotel’s enhancements, general manager Wayne Coetzer says: ‘Guests will be delighted to rediscover the elegance of the architecture, and the warmth of the hospitality is exactly as they remember, but with a wealth of new features and contemporary touches to add a vibrant new dimension to the Oyster Box experience.’ This grand icon of the sparkling KwaZulu-Natal North Coast was snapped

up a few years ago by the internationally based Red Carnation group, which has significant business interests in South Africa, including the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg, and Bouchard Finlayson winery in Hermanus. What followed was an arduous, multimillionrand renovation that took three years. While it must have been an enormous challenge to retain the hotel’s ‘colonial chic’ charm without compromising on the high style associated with other five-star properties in the Red Carnation stable, a seamless blend of old and new has been achieved.

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ABOVE Decor in the 86 rooms and suites is lavish, layered and supremely comfortable, offering many thoughtful touches. RIGHT Throughout the hotel, an impressive collection of contemporary local art provides bold colour and thought-provoking social commentary. There are over 80 paintings by 14 KwaZulu-Natal artists on display throughout The Oyster Box.


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From formal to casual dining, the Oyster Box offers many choices. For bubbly and oysters, head to the light and airy Oyster Bar; for nostalgic old-school ambience, choose the Chukka Bar. The sophisticated Lighthouse Bar upstairs, with its sexy red patent-leather banquettes and bar stools, is already a magnet for style mavens – and makes a legendary burger. Executive chef Kevin Joseph, assisted by head chef Luke Nair, oversees the three restaurants, including the famous Grill Room, daringly decorated in bright blue and white where guests can indulge in steaks, fresh seafood and retro favourites like crepes Suzette. On Saturday nights, there is always a dinner dance with a live band. The more relaxed Ocean Terrace overlooks the inviting rimflow pool and the sea. Its cross-cultural bistro menu includes designer pizzas and suitably spicy Durban curries. Inspired by the hotel’s original colonial architecture, the Palm Court is the place for traditional

high teas and homemade ice creams, prepared by pastry chef Juanita Venter. For relaxation, guests can retreat to the private library upstairs, with its impressive collection of antique clocks sourced from around the world. But perhaps the most exciting innovation of all is the new Oyster Box Spa, a peaceful sanctuary in soothing white behind a set of exquisitely carved wooden doors. The highlight of this wellness facility is a traditional Turkish hamam, a bathing retreat for cleansing and healing decorated with bespoke Turkish stone mouldings and tiles, expertly installed by two Turkish specialists over a period of months. Spa guests can indulge in treatments encompassing touch therapy, hydrotherapy, colour therapy and traditional Ayurvedic techniques. Most importantly, the Oyster Box has direct beach access. It is also within strolling distance of Umhlanga’s vibrant shopping and restaurant precinct.

The Oyster Box Hotel

Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal Telephone: +27 (0)31 514 5000 Facsimile: +27 (0)31 514 5100 Email: Website: There are daily scheduled flights from major cities throughout SA to Durban International Airport.

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La Montagne Private Home

Bishopscourt beauty Set high up in the leafy, wind-protected slopes of Cape Town’s most distinguished suburb, La Montagne overlooks the national botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch and the ever-changing peaks and buttresses of Table Mountain Manicured garden terraces surround this private home, which has its own spa, gym, pool and tennis court. Take a peek inside and you’ll discover why this home-from-home with gracious proportions and contemporaryclassic interiors is so sought after.


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Opulent Living




Wraparound views of Table Mountain and leafy Bishopscourt can be enjoyed from the luxurious bedrooms and from the 10-metrelong pool, set in the lush landscaped garden.


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majestic setting and serene oasis in the discreet suburb of Bishopscourt, just 15 minutes’ drive from Cape Town and close to Kirstenbosch Gardens and the wine estates of Constantia, this triple-storey villa with wraparound views is now available for exclusive rental. Its wow factor lies partly in that it less boutique hotel and more private home, with an element of understated luxury and absolute comfort throughout. The villa lends itself well to exclusive gatherings of family or friends in need of privacy and pampering by its charming and mature members of staff, who are there to meet your every need. Guests searching for pure relaxation will find that there’s really no need to leave the property as there’s plenty to enjoy: a Jacuzzi, sauna, treatment room and state-of-the-art gym, as well as a spacious

media room with a home cinema, excellent sound system and snooker table, all in a more informal downstairs living area and leading directly onto the garden. Outside, inviting loungers are the perfect place to relax with a good read while enjoying the view, which is simply breathtaking, with the mountains an ever-changing canvas during the day. A walk past the gazebo to the lower part of the garden reveals a floodlit tennis court, ideal for games played in the late afternoon during the heat of summer, when cool breezes blow gently down the mountain gulleys. The architectural designer and landscaper responsible for the recent refurbishment of the house was given ‘African Renaissance’ as the interior brief. With a subtle fusion of looks, from retro glamour to antique and African, the theme brings a newfound energy and contemporary style


A fusion of decorating influences is what makes the interiors so gracious and welcoming. The children’s suite blends old and new with a dash of bright colour.

to the interiors. Collections of evocative photography and original art were chosen to grace the walls. The dining room is one of the most striking rooms of the villa: a rich, jewel-like green was used on the embossed walls – often a talking point over dinner as it’s so unusual. The colour magically transforms the space by night when candelabra are lit and the table set for an elegant dinner. Guests drift outdoors onto the terrace or into the formal living room next door. In fact, it’s the easy mix and flow of different entertaining areas that also makes the villa so appealing for intimate weddings in all weathers. The enormous bedroom suites with spacious en-suite bathrooms are all individually decorated and designed to include a pause area where guests can sit and read or simply enjoy the views. La Montagne accommodates up to 12

adults and two children in six suites. Air conditioning, wireless broadband and satellite television are available in every suite – facilities matching those of a boutique hotel – so mixing business with pleasure is seamless. And what better place to work than in a room with a spectacular view of the mountains or to entertain clients if business requires? Everything from private chefs to helicopter trips can be arranged by the concierge staff, who are passionate about the city and happy to organise your itinerary for you. La Montagne is situated in the city’s most exclusive suburb, perfect for guests also wishing to explore Cape Town’s charms, from its magnificent sandy white beaches to its world-class wine estates. Of course, La Montagne has to be seen to be believed – but the lucky few who discover its gentle charm will never want to leave.

La Montagne Private Home

Bishopscourt, Cape Town, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)72 367 4788 Email: Website: Airport transfers available.

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Views Boutique Hotel & Spa

Luxe in the wilderness Dramatically cantilevered over the dunes and embracing the unspoilt beauty of the sweeping Wilderness beach below, the contemporary Views Boutique Hotel & Spa is the newest and most exciting addition to the Garden Route


nown as the pearl of the Garden Route, the seaside village of Wilderness has always been a much-loved holiday destination, with its pristine stretches of white sandy beach, the calm and winding rivers leading to the bird-filled wetlands that form part of the Wilderness National Park, and the untouched beauty of the Kaaimans River nearby. For years, nature-lovers and families have cherished happy holiday memories of spotting the steam train cross the Kaaimans River bridge, canoeing along the peaceful inland waterways and walking for hours along the coast. But it wasn’t until the contemporary Views Boutique Hotel & Spa opened that Wilderness realised its full potential.


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Wilderness now has a magnificent five-star boutique hotel perched on the sand dunes with views like no other. In fact, these are views that would be hard to match anywhere in the world! Conveniently situated just 15km from George airport (a 40-minute flight from Cape Town), this contemporary new gem of the Garden Route has changed the Wilderness landscape forever. Today, guests can even lie in bed and watch pods of southern right whales slapping their tails in the sea below when they come close to shore to calve in season. Everywhere, the glass-lined interiors invite nature in, including the Seaview Lounge and Library Lounge, which reveal stunning panoramas of the surrounding

landscape. The swimming pool – for in-house guests’ private use only – is solar-heated and positioned to face the Outeniqua mountains in the distance, giving both sea and mountain views. Architecturally striking, the design of the new hotel has created an extraordinary setting – one that constantly provided inspiration for interior designer Lulu Ridgway. Having taken her cue from the

The light-drenched atrium features a delightful glass seagull installation that, together with its spaciousness and magnificent outlook, makes you feel one with the outdoors.

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Even though Views Boutique Hotel is strikingly contemporary in style, this modern look is offset by the use of natural textures and driftwood so the effect is always uplifting, never stark.

breathtaking views and the hotel’s sunfilled glass atrium – where she designed a rotating installation of more than a thousand delicately handcrafted glass fish that is lit by LED lighting and suspended in circular layers over three storeys (an intriguing commission and one that attracts enormous interest) – Lulu began her 12-month interior project. Views has


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18 individually decorated suites with four interleading rooms designed to create family suites. The piéce de rèsistance is the penthouse – a 100m2 space surrounded by glass and with a bedroom, bathroom, private lounge and dining room. Needless to say, these views are jaw-dropping. The brief was to ‘complement the views and use no dark colours’, giving the

feeling of uninterrupted beachfront living – a new sense of barefoot luxury. By blending sensual and tactile fabrics with raw, earthy textures, Lulu achieved a wonderfully comforting but modern interior, contrasting frameless glass expanses with tactile accessories and pared-down colour. Weathered driftwood contrasts with pearly glass mosaics,

Aquatic colours and organic shapes are used throughout with striking installations such as this glass fish mobile, conceptualised and designed by Lulu Ridgway

and tactile resin-and-quartz flooring massages feet underfoot, while glamorous modern pieces offset the softest bedding. Custom-designed light fittings and crystal chandeliers were commissioned to enhance the airy spaces, and life-sized suspended seagulls add an unexpected and whimsical touch. For added luxe, customised mood-control lighting systems feature in every suite, and for guests’ convenience, a pillow library promises to provide the perfect shape, size or filling to suit everyone’s needs. Bathrooms are sumptuous, blissful sanctuaries with uninterrupted views of the ocean and designed for heavenly relaxation after a day at the beach or exploring the coast in nearby Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, both a short drive from the hotel and with an extraordinary range of activities on offer, from yacht charters to The Heads to walks along the Robberg peninsula or some retail therapy. But those who are keen to stay at the hotel and be pampered simply need to step into the Views Spa at the Sea or the fitness centre to discover a whole new sense of wellbeing. No expense was spared here and relaxation is guaranteed with a heated pool, Tylarium, Rasul chamber and flotation pool, all of which offer therapeutic experiences; the Hydrotherapy Lounge is the ideal place

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Opulent Living

views, making it the perfect venue for light meals or sundowners. Sails is a family-oriented restaurant that serves light meals, lunch and dinner either inside the glass-walled restaurant (protected on windy days) or on the sunny deck outside. Every table has incredible views over the sea below, where dolphins and whales visit regularly in season. Local South African cuisine produced with the freshest ingredients sourced locally is the

TOP Views from the cocktail deck and restaurant are truly breathtaking. ABOVE The marine theme is carried through to the decor in the spa.


to relax afterwards while sipping herbal tea. There are four treatment rooms, with a tandem room that is large enough for a couple to enjoy a variety of wellness treatments together. The Vitality heated pool is surrounded by intricate mosaics and hand-painted murals with hanging glass bubbles suspended from the ceiling. The spa has a fantasy feel to it, with underwater ocean elements featuring in the murals and gentle colours blended throughout. For the more energetic holiday-maker, state-of-the-art circuit training is available, as well as all the fitness equipment anyone could wish for, including personal trainers on request. Fancy a movie? Surround-sound luxury is at hand in the hi-tech media room or there’s a games room to be enjoyed at leisure. And if you need to work while on holiday (or have cleverly chosen the hotel as a business venue), there’s Wi-Fi connectivity throughout – even on the roof deck: how thoughtful is that? Conference facilities are available on request, making this the most desirable work venue in the land. Gourmet food is on offer at two gorgeous restaurants, and the Cocktail Deck overhanging the beach has exceptional

RIGHT Honeymooners can enjoy the endless views and even choose to dine on their own balcony BELOW Foam offers a sophisicated dining experience with its avant-garde menu.

speciality but the menu is wonderfully varied, with something for everyone (including children) to enjoy while soaking up the views … without doubt the most beautiful along the Garden Route. Foam is a more sophisticated 50-seater restaurant offering a dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Food is billed as avant-garde with ‘a splash of foam and science’. Named after the foam that

celebrity Spanish chef Ferran Adrià made so famous, Foam is set to attract foodies as it pushes the boundaries of South African cuisine. Elements of the Karoo are included in the trio of carpaccio (which features ostrich, venison and beef), figs, aloe gel, prickly pear chutney and black olive powder; and for mains the sous vide ostrich fillet with sweet potato fondant, sugarsnap peas, barley miso air, or the poached lobster tails served with spicy Asian slaw, risotto cake, rose ice cream and basil oil powder are both mouthwatering options. Dessert is difficult to choose: will it be the airbrushed chocolate volcano with lava bubbles, chocolate rocks, soil and berry sorbet, or the equally intriguing preserved lemon tart with crème fraîche, cherry caviar, caramello and rooibos ice cream? Even more beguiling is the Experiential Menu, keeping guests who stay a few days delighted with new taste sensations. With its unbeatable combination of spectacular location, staggering scenery and sublime interiors, Views is set to become the talk of the town, bringing visitors from all over the world to experience the natural beauty of the area and enjoy a five-star beach holiday.

Views Boutique Hotel & Spa

Wilderness (near George), Garden Route, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)44 877 8000 Facsimile: +27 (0)44 877 8001 Email: Website: Views Boutique Hotel falls under the umbrella of the Mantis Group of boutique hotels and lodges in Africa. Views is in Wilderness on the spectacular Garden Route, just 15km from George airport and a short drive from Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

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THIS PAGE Deborah Bell’s Oracle at Delaire’s grand entrance. following pageS The collaborative work of Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge (left) and Lionel Smit’s African

Woman – Divided Series (right) in the Tasting Lounge.

Dossier In the art of the winelands Laurence Graff, known for his art-interested eye, is focusing on South Africa and its artists By Sean O’Toole



aced with a choice between bold letters or small print, Laurence Graff early on in life opted for the former. A man variously dubbed the ‘king of bling’ and ‘Britain’s richest living art buyer’, Graff has consistently made news headlines, his life as complexly faceted as the luxury diamonds he is most famous for trading in. In 2009, the same year that Slovakia adopted the euro as its national currency, this London-born Swiss-based entrepreneur created a buzz with the launch of his company’s first-ever watch collection; became the victim of Britain’s biggest ever gems’ heist; travelled to New York expressly to bid on (and win, for $6,1 million) a rare self-portrait by Andy Warhol that had been hidden in a closet for four decades; and, just to prove that he wasn’t joking when he once said, ‘I have a lot of energy and need to express myself,’ quietly launched a luxury wine estate in Stellenbosch.


hile the story of the two fashionably appointed gentlemen who walked into Graff Diamonds at 6 New Bond Street with pistols in their pockets and larceny on their minds is a captivating one, it is a peripheral one. Standing on the veranda at Delaire Graff Estate, a fastidiously realised gourmetand-art destination that looks out to the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains,

surely one of the Cape Wineland’s most privileged views, bank robbers with eyes like diamonds are a very distant concern indeed. After all, the landscape here is more Tolkien than it is Guy Richie. But that’s just my version. Laurence Graff tells it much better. ‘After spending much time in South Africa working with the mines, I realised the growing interest in South African wines and saw there was a niche market for truly upscale vineyards that provided more than just wine,’ explains Graff, who in 1988 acquired a controlling interest the South African Diamond Corporation, a diamond wholesaler and manufacturer based in Johannesburg. The move enabled him to create a vertically integrated diamond company that mines, polishes, sets and sells these precious stones. His more recent decision, in 2003, to buy Delaire was made within five minutes of seeing the rundown farm at the top of the Helshoogte Pass. Thirty minutes later he shook hands on the agreement. Six months later he inked the deal. Delaire was finally his. Located on the top of Botmaskop, a right turn off the main road that connects Stellenbosch with Franschhoek, the interior styling of the newly launched Delaire Graff Estate was handled by London-based interior architect David Collins. It is the first time these two powerhouses – Graff and Collins –

have collaborated. ‘I am always directly involved in any project we do at Graff, and Delaire is no exception,’ says Graff, who made his fortunes servicing one key client, the Sultan of Brunei. A notoriously tough dealmaker, Graff imposed one important restriction on Collins: it would be he, Graff, who selected the art.


iven his well-known taste for Warhol, Picasso and Bacon, it might come as a surprise to learn that Delaire showcases predominantly South African art. Graff handpicked the collection, mixing acknowledged masters, such as watercolourist Durant Sihlali, with unknowns, notably the young painter Lionel Smit. The main dining room sets the tone for Graff’s local collection, presenting an uneven mix of pitch-perfect pieces alongside more idiosyncratic and whimsical selections. The key work here is undoubtedly the charcoal-and-burnt orange portrait by William Kentridge, which Graff bought two decades ago. (The work inspired the colour selection of the dining room’s bright orange leather banquette.) The Kentridge portrait looks across the dining room to a monochromatic drawing, a unique three-way collaboration between Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins. Perhaps less interesting than the trio’s earlier collaborative work from the

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1980s, it nonetheless has a dominating presence. These two substantial works on paper are flanked by a selection of Bell’s totemic sculptures and mixed-media paper works.


ased on a farmstead north of Johannesburg, Bell produces work that mixes mythologies and iconographies from countless eras and geographies. Earlier this year she participated in a group exhibition at the NIROX Sculpture Park, a purpose-designed cultural space in the Blaaubank River Valley near the Cradle of Humankind. It was here that she first showcased her towering sculptural work portraying two bronze figures on a chariot. Graff didn’t attend the event but he acquired it shortly afterwards, installing it in the outdoor pond adjacent the tasting room. He says of Bell, a diminutive figure in person, that her work is ‘very creative, fresh and interesting’. When visiting Delaire, be sure to spend a quiet moment with the work of Durant Sihlali. Alongside sculptor Sydney Kumalo and painter Fred Schimmel, he is one of the older, more historical figures represented in the collection. Born in 1935 in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, Sihlali was a masterful observer of things. In the manner of the English engraver William Hogarth, he was especially good at detailing scenes of industry and idleness. A quiet presence in a collection that leans towards the predictable and


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showy, Sihlali introduces a hint of sedition into the collection. During his life, which sadly ended in 2004, Sihlali never felt compelled to sell the best examples of his work. ‘Money has no value,’ he told The Daily News in 1976. ‘My works that are very good and have great beauty, I keep for myself.’ Few of the living artists represented in the collection could say the same.


raff acquired many of his historical pieces, including the gorgeous late modern period oil-onboard by Schimmel in the dining room, on an intense buying spree early in 2009. The buzz that accompanied it still brings a perplexed smile to Baylon Sandri’s face. The energetic force behind Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary (SMAC) Art Gallery, he says Graff got him out of bed with a late-night phone call. Graff was surfing SMAC’s website and wanted to inspect the work. The luxury jewellery magnate proved a fussy but knowledgeable art buyer. In total Sandri spent three long nights hanging and then re-hanging his gallery before Graff made his final selection. ‘My love of South African art comes from my long-term involvement with the country,’ explains Graff of his impulse to buy locally. ‘It has developed over time and I believe it is important to support and give back to the countries from where we source so many of our beautiful diamonds.’

Delaire is a fitting venue to view the work Graff has assembled. This is not a selfevident statement. Delaire was so named by its original owner, the wine connoisseur John Platter, whose son Cameron is a budding young artist. Cameron is about the same age as James Webb, himself an energetic and spry figure in the South African contemporary art scene and winner of the 2009 ABSA L’Atelier Award. Webb’s family home, Thelema, is located directly across the road from Delaire and neighbours on Tokara, the wine and olive-oil estate. Owned by the financier GT Ferreira, Tokara has long championed art appreciation among the vineyards, and the estate’s restaurant includes a large-scale tapestry by Kentridge. None of which is meant to gainsay Delaire’s achievements. The Delaire Graff Estate is a testament to a singular man, a man possessing creativity, enterprise and a fair share of audacious willpower. It is also the bold headline that will no doubt draw new visitors to a neighbourhood already deeply in love with art, wine and the resplendent outdoors.

Sean O’Toole is a Cape Town-based journalist and writer. He is editor of the magazine Art South Africa and also writes a weekly photographic column for the Sunday Times. In 2006 he published The Marquis of Mooikloof and Other Stories.


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Royal Malewane

Blissful spa safari A picture is worth a thousand words … and so is the truly sublime setting of the award-winning Waters of Royal Malewane Bush Spa, a perfect retreat after a day spent seeking the Big Five outdoors. Find out why Royal Malewane is without doubt one of South Africa’s finest bush lodges.

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he name Royal Malewane holds a certain cachet for safari lovers. As one of the world’s most celebrated lodges, where time-honoured splendour embraces modern-day indulgence with high-end comforts, it promises to exceed even the wildest expectations of safari connoisseurs. Here, the visitor is assured of a level of pampering and personal attention second to none – a philosophy that is not just a part of the spa experience but begins with its bush experts. Situated within the greater Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is set in canopies of indigenous acacia and lantern-bush trees, with wooden walkways linking six generous suites, each with its own viewing deck, private rim-flow pool and thatched gazebo – a perfect spot for private massages or lazing with a good book. The colonialstyled interiors have been beautifully conceived by passionate owner Liz Biden and close friend, interior designer Ralph Krall, with silver, crystal, crisp white linen, beautiful antiques and original artworks throughout. Two additional suites, the lavish and palatial Royal and Malewane suites, easily accommodate up to four guests each in two en-suite bedrooms respectively, with private lounge and dining facilities and the additional services of a butler, private chef and up to four complimentary massages per suite per day. Canopied king-sized beds and extravagant bathrooms with Victorian baths and expansive views of the bush through glass-lined walls as well as an outdoor shower make the rituals of bathing a pleasure. A regal hideaway indeed where absolute privacy is assured, but for special gatherings of families and friends the camp is intimate enough to be booked for exclusive use – quite possibly the most tempting option of all, especially when one’s nearest and dearest are so widely spread around the world. Arrive together via helicopter or executive jet and slip into the reserve incognito to enjoy blissful days of cocooned luxury. Indulge in a new-found freedom with activities planned only if required, and whenever anyone feels like it.


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Owners Liz and Phil Biden also recently opened their very special private residence, called Africa House, which, by contrast, offers a luscious palette of gorgeous colours and East African influences. Characterful windows and towering doors sourced from Lamu and Zanzibar along with hand-carved teak beds painted in stunning bright shades set this bush villa apart. Adding tropical zest to the decor are dashes of hot pink, turquoise and lime – colouring similar in style to La Residence, Royal Malewane’s sister property in Franschhoek, but rather more eclectic. Africa House sleeps 12 and has two butlers, a chef, its own rangers and housekeepers, making up a full staff complement of between eight and 12 to

pamper and care for guests. Private game drives allow guests to get to know the dedicated rangers and trackers who will take care of them for the entire duration of their stay. Royal Malewane’s game viewing is individually tailored, either by open Land Rover or on foot with expert and experienced rangers and trackers accompanying the guests. All the game rangers are highly trained and qualified, and pride themselves on being of the highest standard in the guiding industry, and the team at Royal Malewane is also privileged to work with the only surviving Master Tracker currently working in southern Africa. Tracking is an exhilarating experience for everyone,

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Sumptuous suites lead onto private viewing decks with a pool; massages in outdoor gazebos or salas bring you into close contact with nature; elephant saunters away.

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with all eyes and ears alert for any sign of game. Of course, with lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and black and white rhino constantly on the move through this 13 000-hectare reserve, the tracking experience is exceptional – as anyone who has come face to face with an elephant or buffalo will agree. All the guides are also avid photographers, making them more understanding than most when patience is required to get the best image. Interestingly, the lodge is one of the few properties to introduce each of its guides on its website, which features some of their photography – testament to its commitment to and respect for its rangers. Royal Malewane has always set a standard higher than most, so it’s no surprise that it has won numerous awards – in 2008, The Waters of Royal Malewane Bush Spa was voted one of Tatler magazine’s ‘Top 101 Spas in the World’, and this year it scooped the ‘Best Safari Camp Spa’ award from The Good Safari Guide 2009. This sophisticated gem in the untamed African bush, this blissful retreat, provides therapeutic massage, luxurious body treatments and hydrotherapy by


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internationally qualified therapists. Its philosophy draws on the muchcelebrated healing powers of water, and all hydrotherapy treatments make use of untainted mineral-rich water sourced from an underground stream that flows through the reserve. Relaxing around the 25-metre-long heated lap pool in the courtyard, guests soon surrender to the wonderfully calm and serene atmosphere, with the sounds of birds and insects of the bushveld surrounding them. Leading off this inner courtyard are double treatment rooms with spa baths, a fully equipped gymnasium, steam room, hot and cold African baths, a Jacuzzi and four casitas where guests can enjoy the treatment of their choice or simply relax in private after treatments, with only the gentle whispers of flowing water to soothe them. Indigenous oils and traditional African ingredients feature on

the spa menu, each offering a sensual and thoroughly relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Massages can also be done in the privacy of each guest’s suite or outside in the open-air sala. The spa offers treatments that merge the best of Eastern and Western thinking, as well as treatments incorporating selected indigenous elements that reflect the ancient healing powers of the bush. Encapsulating the African experience are The Waters of Royal Malewane signature treatments, making use of rare indigenous oils and traditional ingredients to provide a sensory experience with an unforgettable African touch. African Awakening, The Royal Treatment and African Renaissance are three-hour treatments, while the African Ritual treatments offer two hours of absolute bliss. Spa packages of three to five days can also be booked – the recommended duration for a holistic revitalisation for anyone needing total time out. When not detoxing or indulging at the spa or spotting game, manager and executive chef John Jackson treats guests to delectable world-class cuisine accompanied by excellent wines. He describes his style as ‘simple with full flavours, all imaginatively combined with wonderful fresh ingredients’. John’s food delights guests at every turn, whether it’s the 20-course à la carte lunch menus enjoyed in the dining area overlooking the waterhole or a fish barbecue around the pool. At night, dinner is served under starlit skies in the boma with a more traditional South African menu or in a Bedouin tent set up under a giant marula tree softly lit with romantic Moroccan lanterns and a Moroccan-styled menu. With 105 members of staff to look after 32 guests – a maximum of 20 guests at Royal Malewane and 12 at Africa House – visitors are guaranteed personal service, whether they want to book an adventurous hot-air ballooning trip or visit a golf course between game drives or even the nearby wildlife rehabilitation centre or cheetah project. But most visitors find the pampered luxury of Royal Malewane hard to resist and, indeed, hard to leave.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Sundowners in the African bush; chill areas on the deck with Persian carpets to complete the comfort zone; the interiors of the villas.

Royal Malewane

Hoedspruit, Greater Kruger National Park, Limpopo Province Telephone: +27 (0)15 793 0150 Facsimile: +27 (0)15 793 2879 Email: Website: Royal Malewane has a private airfield suitable for guests wishing to arrive via private charter flight.

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Karkloof Spa

Indulge in a journey of the soul at the ultimate lodge spa

An award-winning wellness and wildlife retreat set in the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal, Karkloof Spa is a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation. Its world-class spa centre is the most spacious in Africa, yet it feels both intimate and exclusive, with an internationally experienced team of Thai therapists offering expert treatments to soothe and revive. The lodge offers a luxurious retreat from urban life and the chance to restore and recharge body, mind and soul. Opulent Living


ABOVE Guests gather in the main living area of the lodge, with its lofty roof and wraparound deck. LEFT Spacious interiors of the private villas.


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ithin 20 minutes of leaving the city traffic behind, nature takes over. The road winds through dappled trees, grasses sway and the views and valleys emerge. Flat-topped acacia trees appear and then the dirt road gives way to a shallow river crossing – the first of three on entering Karkloof’s reserve. The sound of water is everywhere at Karkloof and is part of the healing journey that subtly begins to calm and soothe the traveller on arrival. A ride on a golf cart through the 3 500 hectare reserve takes you quietly on the gently winding road to the main lodge, nestled discreetly up on the hillside with a view over the winding river towards the 105-metre-high Karkloof Falls, the highest waterfall on the property. Rhinos graze peacefully and warthogs skitter about, tails held high, as you swoosh past. The bustle of urban life is forgotten and your journey has begun. Once deep in the valley, the route winds steeply up a hill until the road curves around and above the spa itself, nestled in a hollow of land surrounded by ancient rock figs, with the outline of its grass-covered roofs the only clue that there’s a  building below it. A testament to its eco ethos, the spa was built with the help of the community and designed to blend in with the environment – an aspect that has delighted the animals as much as it has intrigued visitors from all over the world, as it’s not uncommon to find antelope or even a giraffe nibbling new shoots while standing on the roof. What lies beneath is a first-class, Asianinspired spa, conceived by owner Fred Wörner, who has experienced first-class spas worldwide. As many travellers now do, he always books into a hotel that includes a spa as part of its offering and he has translated much of his extensive travel research into this property, giving it the edge over many others. But most importantly, great care has been taken to ensure that the guests feel that service is as exceptional as it is unobtrusive. When planning the spa, he took great care to make sure that all the thoughtful touches he remembered from his own

favourite spa experiences were included here. It’s no wonder then that Karkloof’s spa concept is nothing short of perfection. What makes it unique is its sheer size – yet the organic shapes and structures as well as the natural materials used throughout make it welcoming and warm. It spreads out over a vast area that’s interconnected with thatch-covered pathways, giving time for reflection between massages, sauna sessions and leisuretime in the expansive hydrotherapy area with its bubbling Roman bath, hot and cold Kniep pools, aromatic steam rooms and sauna. Six treatment areas reflect the landscape: Savannah, Wetlands, Forest, Tranquillity, Reflections and Thai Sala – space that reflects the Asian indoor/outdoor aesthetic so well. Each of these areas is covered by a ‘living roof’, literally grassed over and blending seamlessly into the surrounding environment – so much so that the spa is barely visible from the valley below. And while the spa may be fully booked, guests never feel a lack of spaciousness because all the peaceful treatment areas, tranquillity rooms and pools are so spread out. Even the manis and pedis are done in a separate wing, where an airy manicure and pedicure lounge with fold-back doors reveals expansive views out over the reserve. The gentle sounds of water and the wildlife setting have been absorbed into the design wherever possible, adding a healing presence. The lodge itself is within walking distance of the spa, but spa day packages allow the visitor to fully enjoy the reserve while maintaining the privacy of the lodge residents. With 500 hectares set aside for walking, bird watching, hiking or mountain biking and a further 3 000 hectares to explore on guided game drives, Karkloof offers guests the option to do as little or as much as they want. No expense has been spared at Karkloof’s boutique lodge, with its mix of African colonial decor where a blend of antiques and contemporary pieces is offset by handblown glass, woven kilims and Venetian mirrors. Guests head for the outdoor lounges to relax with a sundowner or gather in the cosy library or around the

Karkloof Spa’s main pool – irresistibly tempting after an invigorating or relaxing massage by an experienced Thai therapist.

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The tranquillity room at the spa has serene views of the bushveld – it‘s the perfect place to gather thoughts and restore balance.

crackling fire before dinner. The romantic restaurant, headed by chef Ciaran McCarthy, offers two menus – a lighter health menu of delicious and beautifully presented raw foods or a more indulgent gourmet menu. Both are complemented with wines from the superb wine list. Of course, no one minds if you mix the two! But for those who wish to detox or to continue with a holistic spa experience, the raw food menu is an absolute treat. The private, individual villas are a short stroll from the main lodge and once under the canopy of stars it feels as if your time at Karkloof has already been a fulfilling journey for the soul. Walking


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up the wooden walkway and across the veranda to the front door of the villa with its welcoming interior softly lit for the evening, it becomes evident just how much thought has gone into the guests’ stay. A complimentary bar is stocked with a selection of refreshments and drinks, and silk-bagged tea and an array of Nespresso espresso choices mean that you never have to call for room service to interrupt your private reverie. A flatscreen television is discreetly hidden and for those who still need to keep in touch with the outside world, there’s complimentary wireless access. Walk through into the spacious bathrooms with a large bath and shower and a view outdoors. Oversized beds with plumpedup duvets and pillows are perfectly placed to experience sunrise. It’s no wonder that Fred Wörner’s favourite tip for guests is to open all the windows and pull back the shutters at night (you might hear the animals grazing nearby but you’ll be quite safe!), snuggle under the duvet and wait for the sunshine to kiss your cheeks in the morning. The sun rising over the flat-topped acacias and slowly warming up the valley below is a blissful sight.

A short game drive in the valley followed by an invigorating walk to the Karkloof Falls before breakfast is the most exhilarating way to start the day. The walk begins in natural forest and continues over the river and rocks on a recycled wood-fibre walkway to protect the undergrowth. The path culminates at the foot of the dramatic falls that pound the rocks below. In summer, the rock pools invite refreshing swims and picnics can be set up with ease. The game drive takes you past a fish eagle’s favourite lair and through ever-changing vegetation to the valley where zebra, giraffe and a host of animals sun themselves in the early morning rays. The mist-belt forest is home to the unusual samango monkey and Knysna loerie, and the mix of dolomite cliffs and open grassland with three rivers flowing through it gives the visitor a wide range of game-viewing possibilities and activities. There are no fixed schedules at Karkloof Spa, so if the birdlife is fascinating or guests have spotted something special on the game drive, there’s no need to be concerned. All meal times are flexible at the lodge – meals are something that Fred believes should be organised


Photographs: KARKLOOF SPA

entirely around the guest’s schedule – as are the spa treatments. And with an early-morning dose of fresh air and exercise, breakfast is always a languid affair on the decks in the shade of the trees before you head to the spa for more soporific treatments. The intuitive Thai masseurs – so intuitive, in fact, that they can adapt their massage style to suit your emotional and physical needs – spend some time getting to know you and then gently work their magic. Tensions disappear under their nurturing hands, and the combined effect of water and steam slowly works to invigorate the body and restore balance. A session with one of these therapists is best followed by some reflective time in the pools, followed by a session in the tranquillity room with its beautiful outdoor views.

And so the cycle continues – one that can be enjoyed throughout your holiday or as a day spa visitor. A stay at Karkloof is indeed a journey of peace and tranquillity, a healing balm for the soul. So it’s no surprise that Karkloof’s holistic approach – to its guests and in its commitment to environmentally friendly practices – has garnered praise from all corners of the world; visitors have been astonished at the sense of timelessness that is quickly experienced in this gentle bushveld retreat where Fred believes that ‘luxury is a palette of choices set within the bounty of open spaces.’ Voted ‘Leading African Wellness Retreat’ by Amarula Best Retreats in Africa Award 2009 and Tatler’s ‘Most Exciting New Discovery for 2009’. Now a proud member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux.

Karkloof Spa

Cramond, near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Telephone: +27 (0)33 569 1321 Facsimile: +27 (0)86 635 9331 Email: Website: Karkloof Spa is a destination spa and a boutique lodge with 16 villas. It’s just over one and a half hours’ drive from Durban International Airport and 24km from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

Guests can book a game drive at any time that suits them – one of the many personalised touches at Karkloof.

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Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve & Safari Lodge

The elephants walk in whispers ‘Thula Thula…’ The hushed musical notes of a Zulu lullaby meaning peace and tranquillity float through the bushveld midnight like a sliver of silvery moonlight. For here there is a special kind of quiet, a chance to break away from the humdrum of everyday living and soak up the ambience of an ancient land. Thula Thula is so much more than a wildlife reserve for travellers and game – it is also a sanctuary.

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Romance, luxury and elegance are evident at every turn in the beautifully appointed Thula Thula Safari Lodge, and wildlife is right on your doorstep. Lawrence Anthony’s interaction with elephants makes this special place truly memorable.


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French cuisine. Retire rested and replete to one of eight private chalets exquisitely decorated in an eclectic mix of noble Zulu ethnicity and graceful colonial grandeur. All offer romance, luxury and tasteful elegance in everything from the large, beautifully draped four-poster beds to the private verandas, spacious bathrooms and personalised service. The ‘Suite Royale’ and ‘Suite Imperiale’ have been especially handpicked for honeymoons and special occasions. For a chance to experience a closer fusion with nature, stay in the Luxury Tented Camp, which has eight tents in total. All have two comfortable four-poster beds with mosquito nets, while two of the tents

are larger and contain two extra single beds, perfectly set up for families. Each has an en-suite bathroom with Victorian bath … or an outside shower where you can bathe beneath the stars and eavesdrop on a host of nocturnal creatures. At the Tented Camp you have wildlife on your doorstep. Sit in the pool and peep over at the animal comings and goings or wile away the afternoons lazing in a hammock overlooking the Nseleni River. Colourful buffet lunches are served outside near the pool and traditional South African braais (barbecues) and potjiekos (meat and vegetable stew) dinners are slow-cooked on open fires in the sheltered boma.



et in a malaria-free zone two hours’ drive from Durban, this private game reserve is said to be the oldest in Kwazulu-Natal. It is an area steeped in centuries of cultural and wildlife heritage, tracing its origins to the legendary hunting grounds of the powerful Zulu warrior, King Shaka. The reserve is family-owned and -run, and therein lies a tale. Lawrence and Francoise Anthony met in a London taxi queue – she an elegant Parisienne and he a passionate wildlife conservationist. It was destiny for the pair, who then moved to South Africa and bought the property with the intention of helping the local Zulu population to utilise and protect the natural resources of the area through ecotourism. The Lodge is all you could hope for in an exclusive African safari retreat. Cool air sweeps through the spacious living areas, while outdoor loungers and swimming pool offer respite from the midday sun. Pull up a chair and toast the evening with a cocktail at the Marula Bar or retire to the gazebo with a glass of fine South African wine to gaze upon wild game partaking in their own sundowners at the watering hole. What could be more agreeable than a romantic, candlelit dinner under an African sky? Almost certainly one cooked by a French-trained chef. Coowner Francoise – who trained with top chefs in Paris – and her team are on hand to create gastronomic feasts combining flavourful and exotic local tastes with the sophistication and flair of traditional

No stay at Thula Thula is complete without a game drive in an open Land Rover or a game walk with an experienced guide and tracker. Home to a diverse wildlife population including the Big Four – elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo and leopard – the reserve also has an abundance of other wildlife: giraffe, zebra, crocodile, nyala, kudu, springbok, jackal, monkey and many more, with over 370 bird species upon which to train your binoculars. For most, the draw card attracting locals and tourists aplenty is Lawrence’s famous band of wild elephants. These were relocated to his reserve as a lastditch attempt to settle them after they’d continuously created trouble on another farm. Traumatised, angry and mourning the loss of their matriarch and baby,

the elephants eventually responded to Lawrence’s tireless efforts to create a bond with them. The result is a beautiful viewing herd and his nickname, ‘The Elephant Whisperer’. It is said that when he goes away on a trip, the entire herd will come to the lodge to welcome him home. Thula Thula is situated close to other tourist attractions, so visitors can choose to take trips to the Zulu Cultural Village or head into the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve to spot lions. The St Lucia Estuary is also a magnificent place to find hippos and has an incredibly prolific birdlife. The beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean are a short drive away and whale-watching trips can be organised in season. Africa is a vast, wild, unpredictable and sometimes harsh land, yet when you

experience the warmth of the people, the nurturing of the wildlife and the protective environment at Thula Thula, the whole place feels guided by a gentle hand. Could it be the Anthonys’ or could Mother Nature simply have a favourite?

Thula Thula

Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal Telephone: +27 (0)35 792 8322 Facsimile: + 27 (0)86 603 7731 Email: Website: Thula Thula is just 45 minutes from Richards Bay airport and less than two hours‘ drive from Durban. There is also a 700m airstrip on the property. It is administered to the highest ethical standards, in keeping with modern conservation methods for the protection and enhancement of its indigenous and endangered species.

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Mount Nelson Hotel

Oasis in the heart of Cape Town The Mount Nelson Hotel reigns supreme as the grande dame of Cape Town, and indeed South African, hotels. At 110 years old, she shows no signs of ageing and this luxurious destination remains a favourite for discerning travellers. Set among nine acres of lush, romantic gardens, this urban sanctuary has it all: from a rejuvenating spa to indulgent wining and dining venues and exquisite suites to relax in.


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riving up the palm-lined avenue to the decadently pink Mount Nelson Hotel, or The Nellie as it’s been affectionately known since 1899, gives a first taste of the discreet opulence that awaits. The professional, personalized service at this urban destination is legendary; guests feel cared for and pampered without being fussed over – a rare and special touch. With Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop, it’s the ideal starting point from which to discover this cosmopolitan city. But what’s so extraordinary are the numerous pampering pleasures that await within its flower-lined walls … making it hard to leave this lap of luxury.

One of the reasons it feels so intimate is that its 144 rooms and 57 suites are spread between the gracious main building and the garden wings, all of which retain an air of contained refinement and privacy. Each room or suite is individually decorated with bespoke furniture, historical objets and sumptuous fabrics, giving guests the option of everything from the more floral and elegant to the more contemporary style of the penthouse or the lovely garden suites. Vast beds with magnificent linens and marbled bathrooms, coupled with hitech entertainment systems, complete the picture for a perfect night’s stay. There are myriad choices for the discerning diner. Award-winning executive chef

Rudi Liebenberg has a singular vision: ‘I want to create a clear and unique culinary identity for the hotel that is informed and inspired by modern tastes but has its roots planted firmly in the hotel’s rich heritage.’ And this identity culminates in the Cape Colony Restaurant, a venue with a grand ambience, antique chairs, old-world table lamps and dramatic murals depicting scenes of historical Cape Town, rooting it firmly in its sense of place. The food too makes a gentle nod to its Cape heritage, but with a distinctly modern flair. Local and seasonal produce is of utmost importance: think ostrich carpaccio with biltong dust or Saldanha Bay mussels in a creamy saffron and crayfish sauce

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The Mount Nelson Hotel’s indulgent afternoon tea served in the welcoming lounge is a world-class must.


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to start; then move on to the likes of springbok loin served with a chakalakastuffed onion or a warmly-spiced lentil bobotie. Local and international wines add the finishing finess to every meal experience. For guests with a sense of culinary adventure, the Chef’s Table is the hotel’s best-kept secret. Diners walk past the toasty ovens and rows of silver domes all at the ready for room service to a private table set in an alcove in the heart of the double-volume kitchen. The Chef’s Table is exclusive to six to 10 special guests who experience the fast-paced action of the chefs while enjoying the finest dishes expertly paired with wines. For those after a post-prandial digestif, or even a fun cocktail to start the evening, the Planet Champagne and Cocktail

Bar is a magnet for the who’s who of the city, as well as actors, models and politicians, who love its warm and modern decor, enhanced by a starry ceiling and a mobile of the constellations – definitely a talking point! With a generous fireplace for cooler nights, and the expansive veranda overlooking the charming gardens, it’s a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy signature cocktails and moreish snacks. An internationally renowned highlight is the Mount Nelson’s afternoon tea in the lounge. Classical music gently sets the scene while guests sink back on perfectly plumped cushions in couches set in niches or out in the flower-filled conservatory. Pastry chef Vicky Gurovich is the mistress of all things sweet, and the table is laden with favourite delicacies

give way to a calming, light-filled interior with the palest pink, silk-lined walls handpainted with spring blossoms. It features a sauna, steam room and jet showers as well as a peaceful conservatory – the ideal spot to unwind with a herbal tea. Each of the eight treatment rooms is individually decorated with lustrous silks and velvets to create an opulent feel. Signature treatments include soothing floral-extract facials, detoxifying body wraps and a specialist jet-lag massage, all sure to re-energise the weary traveller. Couples’ treatment rooms add an intimate touch to body-butter massages fit to make anyone float on air. All in all, the Mount Nelson Hotel is the consummate world-class hotel, encapsulating all the luxuries life holds for a truly unforgettable visit.

Mount Nelson Hotel

Cape Town, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)21 483 1000 Facsimile: +27 (0)21 483 1001 Email: Website:

Photographs: MOUNT NELSON

as well as some new creations. From traditional cheesecake, Black Forest gateau and light-as-air lemon chiffon to cream-filled eclairs, delicate finger sandwiches and savoury empanadas – not to mention local favourites like milk tart and koeksisters – every teatime whim is catered for. And don’t forget the tea: choose from an extensive and exciting collection on their menu. The hotel takes its tea seriously and tea tastings are a regular affair. To work off all these gastronomic indulgences, guests can take a leisurely stroll on the manicured lawns, dip into one of the heated swimming pools or spend the day at the heaven scented Librisa Spa, set in a tastefully renovated row of Victorian houses adjacent to the hotel. Once inside, the Victorian features

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Earth Lodge

Elemental Africa Pushing the boundaries of dramatic architectural design while bringing guests to the forefront of nature, this award-winning game lodge within the Sabi Sands Reserve is an unforgettable, seriously luxe bolt hole. Earth Lodge is literally sculpted into the earth so that it is almost invisible until arrival – a reflection of its sensitive ethos in this biodiversity hot spot Striking interiors make use of dusty earth colours and natural textures and materials throughout, while indulgent guest suites and inviting pools seem to merge with the bushveld beyond.


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here is something distinctly primeval about Earth Lodge in the Sabi Sands reserve. Here there exists an undeniable sense of drama – visitors are placed in the face of nature from the get-go, immersed in the unrelenting landscape with the natural bushveld surrounds literally at their fingertips. Built into a rocky slope, the lodge is a contemporary exploration of living in the wild, with an expanse of spaces that open onto the bushveld. The rough-hewn interior and exterior walls of the lodge perfectly mimic nature’s imperfections, while a palette of muddy green, deep ochre and dusty earth colours reflects

that you are in one of the most untouched regions of southern Africa. While the lodge makes an impression on the eye, it is not an imposition on this unique wilderness area. Ancient gnarled trees and imposing rocks are incorporated into both public and private spaces, and guest suites and pool terraces spill out into the bushveld. Couple this with the unique Sabi Sabi service offerings and a dedication to providing the ultimate in luxury and there’s no doubt that this lodge ticks a great many boxes for its discerning safari guests. Safaris are about witnessing Africa’s wild creatures at close quarters, and safaris based at Earth Lodge are no exception.

Part of the award-winning Sabi Sabi group (a three-decade-old safari concern that has made bringing people to the wild its business), Earth Lodge is situated within the Sabi Sands Reserve, a biodiversity hot spot that is home to over 200 mammal and 300 bird species, and sightings of and encounters with Africa’s Big Five are a regular occurrence on both day and night drives in the lodge’s Land Rovers. At Earth Lodge, extra details are evident at every turn. Take, for example, the superb wine and Afro-inspired cuisine that mark all meals, turning them into long alfresco celebrations of life – African style. Or the insider information that the guides and trackers provide, gleaned from years of

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The exclusive Earth Lodge in the Sabi Sands Reserve is designed to unite guests with the wild expanses of Africa, from the comfort of their suites through to alfresco dining experiences and luxurious spa spoils.


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The design of Earth Lodge incorporates a contemporary approach to life in the wilderness, with natural motifs and materials featured throughout.

living alongside myriad wild animals and birds. Or the fact that they really do understand that guests come here to forget about the city and their cellphones … and what better way to unwind than with a menu of spa treatments to restore body, mind and soul? The Amani Spa is an undoubted highlight of life at Sabi Sabi, and Earth Lodge guests are able to indulge in everything from meditation to dual couple’s treatments, as well as numerous beauty and body treats. In keeping with the rest of the lodge, the spa is an exercise in understated Afrostyle, with natural textures, materials and colours. Therapists use products containing indigenous essential oils, a factor that certainly adds to the authenticity of this Out of Africa experience. Each treatment suite has views onto the bush, except for the Pango (Cave) Room, where guests can indulge in a purifying and relaxing thermal mud treatment, the ideal antidote

to any stresses and strains they may have brought with them. Earth Lodge is a member of the Sabi Sabi safari family, with four distinct lodge experiences, summed up in their ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ catch phrase; each is designed to epitomise a different approach to safari life. The sibling lodges include Selati, an opulent thatched camp harking back to a colonial past; Bush Lodge, the laid-back bush retreat overlooking a well-frequented waterhole and open plains and famed for its warmth and hospitality; and Little Bush Camp, an intimate and exclusive escape shaded by a grove of trees and situated on the banks of the Msuthlu River. Each of the lodges is a unique expression of what it means to experience the wild side of Africa. And at Earth Lodge, there’s no doubt that the sheer rawness of the African surrounds will remain engraved on each and every guest’s mind forever.

Earth Lodge

Sabi Sands, Greater Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga Telephone: +27 (0)11 447-7172 Facsimile: +27 (0)11 442-0728 Email: Website: There are daily scheduled flights from OR Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport directly to the Sabi Sabi airstrip.

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Set in the most spectacular South African landscape, Benguela Cove is a rare combination of luxury and natural beauty – each complementing the other perfectly.


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Benguela Cove Lagoon Estate

A rare vineyard retreat What could be better than a day trip to a Cape vineyard, sipping wine, looking out over the ocean, breathing in the fresh, lavender-scented air? Well, living on a Cape vineyard, in a top-end, secure estate. Welcome to Benguela Cove.

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ou’d be forgiven for thinking it’s too good to be true. For starters, there’s the setting: Benguela Cove Wine Estate rests on the banks of the Bot River Lagoon, with views out over the lagoon to the Palmiet mountains as well as the vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields of the estate. Then there’s the extraordinary sense of space within Benguela Cove: 210 hectares with only 124 freehold stands make this the lowestdensity residential lifestyle estate in South Africa. Add in the exclusive leisure activities on offer – swimming, kite surfing and water skiing in the lagoon and golfing at one of South Africa’s world-class golf courses in the adjacent Arabella resort – and you can see that this is one estate that has all your needs covered. In the next few years a restaurant, café, shop and even a

boutique hotel will be added to the list of attractions, but for now the natural beauty, stunning homes and excellent wine will keep you more than occupied. Because that’s what else Benguela Cove Estate excels in – superb wine. The vineyards are still young, but the maiden vintage is already attracting attention and awards. Benguela Cove offers all the pleasures of living on a working wine farm – including a monthly wine allocation – without any of the day-to-day hassles of such an endeavour. Beauty and wine are not all there is to Benguela Cove, though. Leading architects dhk have carefully designed the estate to retain the essence of its extraordinary natural surroundings, using a unique combination of natural stone and exclusive finishes to highlight the


Residents can observe each stage of the viticultural process and then enjoy a glass of awardwinning wine while watching the sun setting over the vineyards.

Benguela Cove shares a coastline with Hermanus, known as the best whalewatching location in all of South Africa.

amazing views of the lagoon, vineyards and lavender fields. But they’ve also ensured the estate preserves some of its wild nature, in the form of an 80-hectare private nature reserve. Stroll through the Renosterveld Nature Reserve and you’re likely to spot grey rhebok, duiker, grysbok and other indigenous creatures mere minutes from your front door. Chris Drummond, developer of Benguela Cove, is committed to managing the estate in an environmentally sustainable way, conserving as much of the natural splendour as he can while still ensuring a top-quality luxury estate. One of the most beautiful positions on the estate is occupied by a sensitively designed manor house that illustrates just how perfect the combination can be. It’s now available for private functions. The final thing Benguela Cove has to offer, believe it or not, is accessibility. Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, 45 minutes’ from Cape Town International Airport and a mere 10km from the charming seaside town of Hermanus, Benguela Cove is

also right next door to the fantastic golf course of the Arabella estate. With the perfect proportion of privacy and seclusion to ideal location, you’ll be able to access all the modern conveniences of daily life while still living in the heavenly surrounds of a lagoonside vineyard. So you can sit back, relax, and truly enjoy the view… Yes, Benguela Cove Lagoon Estate may seem too good to be true. That’s what happens when passion, skill and extraordinary natural beauty combine: they create a place that can only be described as a dream come true.

Benguela Cove

Hermanus, Western Cape, Telephone: +27 (0)21 671 5417 Facsimile: +27 (0)86 562 8268 Email: Website: The chance to live among the vineyards with views out over the ocean and lagoon, amid the rolling hills of the Western Cape, makes Benguela Cove the ultimate luxury residential estate for all nature-lovers.

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Illyria House

A taste of colonial romance Pretoria is not a city known for its romance, but tucked away in the suburb of Muckleneuk you’ll find a five-star hotel that’s full to overflowing with both romance and charm. Illyria House is a restored colonial mansion, filled with 17th-century tapestries, fine antiques, crystal and white drapes. It’s the sort of place that was designed to woo you into a relaxed, blissful state far away from the concerns of the real world.


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Spend some time in the elegant parlour, tinkling on the piano or simply reading a book. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the sumptuous comfort of your bedroom.

llyria is named after none other than Shakespeare’s magical kingdom in Twelfth Night, and you’ll be hardpressed to feel as if you haven’t stepped into your own version of a magical kingdom as soon as you walk through the wrought-iron doors. The decor is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, with beautifully chosen antiques at every turn; and with only six en-suite bedrooms, each with its own particular charm, you’ll soon feel right at home. If there’s anything at all you need, your white-gloved butler is on hand 24 hours a day to fulfill your every request. Beds are made up in the finest linen and bedrooms are equipped with everything you might want to make your stay more comfortable – air conditioning, satellite television, wireless internet, coffee- and tea-making facilities and minibar. Glance out your window and you’ll be looking over the lush and beautiful garden. And what a garden it is! The perfect place to relax, either on the loungers in the sun, in the Courtyard of Singing Waters, where underwater music is piped into the heated swimming pool, or in the hidden treatment rooms of the spa – aptly known as the Secret Garden. The whole family will love being pampered here, and treatments now include options suitable for infants, children and teenagers too. Or choose the ultimate indulgence and have your butler prepare the garden pagoda

Jacuzzi for you… Stroll down to the end of the garden and the Jacuzzi will be softly lit with candles, with rose petals strewn around and white fluffy towels ready and waiting. It’s a blissful way to ease into the evening, an evening that is guaranteed to be one you’ll remember. Classical music playing softly in the background, a light breeze blowing in off the garden, and views out over the lantern-lit lawn provide the setting for the ultimate romantic dining experience. Choose from the superb seven-course menu and your meal will be served impeccably, as you’d expect from white-glove service. Dress code is elegant, as is the entire evening meal, the perfect way to send you off to a blissful sleep. On waking, you’ll probably hear bird song first – Illyria House is known as a wonderful spot for bird watching, so you may want to brew yourself a cup of tea and spend a few minutes looking out for any unusual birds. Or you may want to introduce yourself to the resident family of ducks waddling around the property. Or simply ease into the day in the cocooned luxury of your room. That’s the beauty of Illyria House – no matter what you choose to do with your time, it will be time well spent, pleasantly wiled away in a setting that is so luxurious and pampered you may not want to tear yourself away … unless it’s for another exceptional meal, that is.

ABOVE The beautifully landscaped gardens seem to blend in with the colonial charm of Illyria House. RIGHT What better way to ease into the evening than with a candlelit Jacuzzi in a garden pagoda? Pure romance.


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Photographs: ILLYRIA HOUSE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Illyria’s elegant swimming pool; gourmet meals are a formal affair in the evenings; breakfast on the veranda overlooking the garden filled with bird song.

Breakfast is a crystal-and-silver affair, with deliciously prepared fresh fruits and preserves, baked goods and a full English breakfast to go with the view out over the garden. As always, soft classical music will accompany your meal, and should you have any special dietary requirements, your butler will be only too happy to assist. Illyria House is famous for its wonderful tours to historical and cultural attractions – the hotel is perfectly situated within easy reaching distance of the Voortrekker Monument, Church Square and Freedom Park – as well as its personalised shopping and sports outings. Illyria’s other claim to fame is its delightful pre-dinner soirées, intimate musical evenings hosted by classical and jazz musicians, that are held intermittently at the hotel. Be sure to check if there’s anything planned during your time at Illyria – there are few places

more perfectly suited to fine musical appreciation. It may not seem possible that you could experience all of this – colonial luxury, a serene garden full of birdlife, the ultimate in relaxation and fine cuisine – while still being centrally located, but therein lies the beauty of Illyria House. Tucked into the heart of Pretoria, itself the beating heart of South Africa’s political and cultural history, you can be at the airport in a mere 25 minutes, and the Pretoria Railway Station in less than 5 minutes’ drive away. There’s really no excuse, then. Magic yourself away to a different world and experience the romance and relaxation of Illyria House. Give yourself the gift of a long weekend away in another world, far away from the cares and worries of this one. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, guaranteed.

Illyria House

Muckleneuk, Pretoria, Gauteng Telephone: +27 (0)12 344 5193 Facsimile: +27 (0)12 343 2654 Email: Website: Centrally located in Pretoria.

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Dossier Liquid assets Investing in wine gives buying expensive bottles a total new angle. By Fiona McDonald


Fiona McDonald

ess than a decade ago, a South African wine retailing for more than R500 per bottle would have been almost inconceivable. Nowadays, the numbers of individual labels that comfortably exceed that mark are legion – Ernie Els, Vergelegen V, Waterford’s The Gem, Saxenburg Shiraz Select and the charmingly named Mrs Kirsten’s Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc among them. How many people even remember the first wine that shattered the R100 per bottle ceiling? (It was the original Ashbourne from Hamilton Russell in the late 1990s, for wine-trivia addicts.) And a visit to any neighbourhood eatery sees parties of diners seldom paying less than that for the vinous meal accompaniment these days.


rom a current perspective, it seems ludicrous that there was ever a fuss about a wine costing more than R100 – or R500 – a bottle. To the current generation of both winemakers and consumers, whose world views are far more international than a decade or two ago courtesy of South Africa’s political transformation mid-90s, it is entirely feasible not only that the product is intrinsically worth it, but that prices have also appreciated with inflation, desirability, and growing sophistication and global regard of the local product.


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So is putting money into wine worthwhile? Wine investment was seen traditionally as the preserve of ultrarich hobbyists, certainly in the international context. Buyers would take up allocations of top Bordeaux and Burgundy in order to stock their cellars with wines to drink decades down the line. This is no longer the case. Buying patterns have changed, fund managers are getting in on the act in a big way and the traditional markets have moved from the United Kingdom and the United States to Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Reuters, for example, recently reported that one international wine-investment fund showed an annualised return of 13% over five years… Those numbers look pretty good in view of the pounding the markets have taken of late. South African-born Master of Wine and buyer for Handford Wines, a specialist wine retailer in South Kensington, London, Greg Sherwood said the potential returns on wine investments could indeed be substantial. ‘But it depends on so many factors – the motivation in using wine as an investment, the wines themselves, provenance, storage and the length of time invested.’ International experience bears this out. Liv-ex – or the London International Vintners Exchange – was established by two tech-savvy wine enthusiasts in 1999. Just 10 years down the line it has

Remember when the first wine shattered the R100 per bottle

grown from having 10 clients to 240 and accounts for 75% of the global finewine market, estimated to be worth in the region of about $3 billion annually. It’s a fine-wine index that tracks the price of top-tier investment grade wines, primarily from Bordeaux and Burgundy, and is essentially a fine-wine exchange. It is also credited with having shone a bright light on what used to be a fairly murky or opaque business. As a result of the transparency, traders and wine brokers alike are aware of the going rates for specific wines and vintages. Last year the Liv-ex 500, for example, reported a 12,3% gain for the year.


ittle wonder, then, that wine is fast gaining the attention of fund managers and investors who see it as an alternative or antidote to riskier hedge funds. Also no small surprise when a single 12-bottle case of highly desirable Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1990 sold at auction for $242 308 earlier this year! Similarly, Liv-ex’s website reveals that one case of Château Pétrus 1989 changed hands for £25 000 – a 32% increase over the last reported trade of this wine. ‘You need to decide why you’re investing in wine,’ is Sherwood’s advice. ‘Are you investing to keep and drink it, to sell it at a higher price and use the gains to fund still more drinking

purchases, or purely to broker it?’ If you’re buying for your own consumption, of course wine is a good investment. A bottle of Warwick Trilogy that cost R60 or R70 a few years ago is going to seem particularly tasty when compared to the current 2005 vintage price of R400! ‘If you purchase, say, five cases and keep one for personal consumption, the other four can be sold off at a later stage to finance further purchases,’ said Sherwood, pointing out that this is the usual scenario among savvy wine enthusiasts. But if drinking enjoyment doesn’t come into it at all and the motive is purely for investment, it’s a different ball game. ‘If that’s the case, then the investor is going to concentrate solely on bluechip wines – your First Growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundies … if you can even get them! If by some miracle – and it would take a miracle – you had access to five cases of Château Lafite, you would probably find yourself having to take an additional 20 cases of something far less desirable and valuable just to do the deal.’ Sherwood states that folk involved in this game seldom even get to see the bottles or cases they buy. ‘They remain in bonded storage in London and are often traded multiple times without ever leaving the temperature-controlled warehouses, appreciating as time goes by and each

ceiling? Times have changed…

trade is done.’ This is obviously relevant in an international context. What of South African wine’s investment potential? ‘Well, I was recently able to source a parcel of 30 bottles of Meerlust Rubicon 1994 – and sell it for £47,50 (R617,50) a bottle.’ Currently available is the 2005 vintage, which sells for R260 a bottle (WINE, August 2009). ‘So if you were able to access a pallet of Meerlust Rubicon from a good year, it’s almost inevitable that it would appreciate,’ said Sherwood. But, as with any type of investing, there are provisos. The product should be sourced from a reputable producer with a good track record, it should be insured, and temperature-controlled storage is vital. While wine is a tangible asset, it can also depreciate if stored too long. Knowledge of the wine’s life span and drinkability is important.


erry Bros. & Rudd, one of the world’s most instantly recognisable fine-wine merchants, offers a host of tips: deal with established and reputable merchants; buy unmixed cases in original (preferably wooden) packaging; expect to

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o what would the wines should you go for in the South African context and why? Other than sweet wines, whites don’t form part of the equation. Firstly, they generally don’t last as long as reds and their values – barring notable exceptions – don’t appreciate as much. As already mentioned, Meerlust Rubicon is a good option. It has a solid track record as one of South Africa’s top Bordeaux blends, as well as being one of the first. Vergelegen’s red blend or the flagship, rather modernstyled ‘V’ blend, De Toren Fusion V, Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz and Boekenhoutskloof Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Rustenberg Peter Barlow and Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon, would also reward the faith. One winery that cannot be overlooked is Kanonkop. Its Paul Sauer red blend has won the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) Trophy for the best blended red wine in the world on no fewer than three occasions, with the 1991, 1995 and 2003 vintages.


ape Winemakers Guild wines also offer good potential for the following reasons: the winemakers belonging to the Guild are considered the country’s best; the wines selected for sale at the auction are their pet projects and are chosen by a jury of their peers – who set very high standards indeed; and


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the quantities available by annual public auction are extremely limited … fewer than 100 cases by six bottles generally. At the 2009 CWG auction held at Spier in October, Boekenhoutskloof’s CWG auction Syrah 2007 averaged R5 100 for just six bottles, while the Etienne Le Riche CWG Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007 went for R3 700 per six-bottle case. So yes, wine can outperform other investments. But just like anything else – be it a book, work of art, antique watch or gold coin – it is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. However, it’s also a tangible asset. If the worst comes to the worst, uncork a bottle or two and enjoy!

Fiona McDonald is the former editor of WINE magazine in South Africa. Currently a freelance writer, she tastes extensively locally and abroad, notably at the Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge and Concours Mondial and is also a member of the Platter Wine Guide tasting panel.

Buying patterns have changed and investment returns look pretty good in view of the pounding the markets have taken of late.


invest for a minimum of five years but be prepared to sell immediately if advised to do so by your broker; buy in parcels of five cases or more; invest at least £5 000 or more if you want serious returns; listen to your wine merchant and trust his or her expertise and advice; provenance and history can affect the market price; and insure your purchases and store them with professionals.


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Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Residence

African dream Situated in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve, this intimate luxury escape takes guests into the heart of authentic Africa in style. With privacy guaranteed in this sole-use, secluded retreat, it offers the holiday of a lifetime and a chance to reconnect with special friends and close family while on safari.


hanks to its unique position and the diversity of its habitat, the fourth-largest game reserve in South Africa is also one of the most populated … with animals, that is. Consisting of an impressive 75 000 hectares of former farmland that was incorporated into a reserve in 1991, the Madikwe Game Reserve is situated in the wilderness regions of the North West Province, bordering Botswana. The reserve plays host to innumerable

wild creatures, including the Big Five, 66 large animal species, a growing number of endangered wild dogs (one of Africa’s most endangered carnivore species) and more than 350 resident and migrant birds. It is undoubtedly a wildlife-lover’s paradise. For the safari enthusiast who envisages ‘doing Africa’ in style, Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Residence is the ideal destination. This exclusive, secluded retreat offers unashamed luxury and privacy for

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up to 10 guests at any one time; guests are guaranteed sole use, making it a soughtafter destination for friends or families looking to spend time alone together in pristine African bush surrounds. Unlike many other safari lodges, it caters specifically for families visiting with children, offering everything from family game drives to Afrocentric entertainment and on-site childcare should parents want to catch up on much needed siestas in the afternoons. Royal Madikwe offers an opportunity to reconnect in utterly unspoilt surrounds without the distractions of city life and in complete privacy. The lodge and its suites are an exercise in contemporary African style, with a palette


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of natural hues, textures and unique details such as leadwood and marula trees that are incorporated into the overall design. Cushions add dashes of intense tribal colour to plump, curved sofas and are a foil for the organic shapes and materials used throughout. The result is a space that leaves you feeling absolutely part of the natural landscape, with the wind in the leaves above and birds chirruping overhead a constant and comforting soundtrack to your safari experience. Each of the spacious open-plan suites is air conditioned and has its own secluded elevated deck for game viewing. Here, it’s the details such as a private pool, a fireplace and the option to shower under

Eating under the starlit sky is a way of life on safari; family-friendly suites make kids feel right at home.

the stars that make all the difference. For families with younger children, the Luxury Bush Home (The Royal Suite) is the ultimate retreat and includes both a double en-suite and a twin en-suite room, as well as a private dining room, library, lounge, TV room and a hot tub on the private game deck. One of the most important elements of the Royal Madikwe experience is the wine and dining. The safari residence takes a laid-back approach to catering for guests, and menus are flexible and tailormade according to preferences. Gourmet travellers will appreciate the attention paid to producing delicious, wholesome food that uses as many local ingredients and seasonal produce as possible. High tea is a much anticipated afternoon affair; once the sun sets, guests are treated to gourmet food and wine experiences in the elegant candlelit dining room or outside for a starlit alfresco African feast. With a maximum of 10 guests at any time, Royal Madikwe can tailor guests’ experiences to suit their interests – from star-gazing safaris to African dancing

lessons and outdoor massage treatments – ensuring that they get the most out of their stay at this luxury bush escape. And for younger guests, activities like African arts and crafts, treasure hunts, bush-baking sessions and story telling in the kiddies’ lounge keeps eager minds occupied. And although Royal Madikwe has its own nannies, accommodation is available should families prefer to bring along their own childcare staff. Royal Madikwe is intensely involved with the surrounding community and 20% of all profits generated by the lodge is reinvested into local community projects. Passionate about maintaining responsible tourism practices, Royal Madikwe is the first establishment in the North West Province to carry the esteemed Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FITSA) trademark, which embodies its devotion to combining tourism, environmental management and local economic development. This luxury lodge – which is available on a sole and exclusive basis only – offers an outof-this-world safari experience with an undeniable feel-good stamp.

Royal Madikwe

Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Residence Telephone: +27 (0)82 787 1314 (reservations); +27 (0)82 568 8867 (residence) Facsimile: + 27 (0)86 671 6125 Email: Website: Royal Madikwe uses a private fleet of aircraft that offers exclusive air transfers in and out of the reserve. Its transfer service includes airport assistance and luxury road transfers.

Photographs: ROYAL MADIKWE

On cooler evenings, gourmet dinners are served in the dining room next to a roaring log fire.

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Rovos Rail

A time-honoured glimpse of South Africa by rail There are few chances in life to step out of modern-day reality and into something a little more romantic, more luxurious and, ultimately, more memorable. Rovos Rail, with its luxurious restored steam trains, superb on-board cuisine and unparalleled elegance, is just that: an unforgettable experience. From the moment you board to the moment you disembark, you will be transported to a place where only the very best will do.


his didn’t all happen overnight. In fact, until 1986, Rohan Vos (the brains behind Rovos Rail, hence the name) worked in motor-spares. He was approached by a colleague to start a steam-preservation group in Witbank, and from there the passion for railway began. Rohan visited a few railway rolling-stock auctions and came up with the idea of a family caravan consisting of two or three of the elegant old carriages, which he restored beautifully – a sort of holiday home on wheels.


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He quickly secured a contract with South African Railways to let him travel anywhere in the country at a fixed charge per kilometre per carriage, but the costs soon proved too high for him to be able to holiday in his dream carriages. South African Railways couldn’t drop the price of travelling for Rohan, but they could give him permission to sell tickets – permission that would lead directly to the establishment of Rovos Rail, a commercial vintage railway train with all the luxury of a five-star hotel.

For the next couple of years, Rohan Vos flew all over the country in his aeroplane, keeping his eyes peeled for old coaches and locomotives. Some had to be rescued from scrap yards and dumps, others had to be carefully extricated from back gardens, restaurants and – on one occasion – the mountains of Machadodorp in Mpumalanga, where the coach had been resting for 20 years, surrounded by trees. Rohan was lucky enough to find a book called Railway Dining Cars of South Africa, written by

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Relax in the comfort of your wood-panelled suite as you watch the South African scenery gently roll by … this is the perfect way to travel.

Les Pivnic, which helped him enormously in sourcing the various coaches and restoring them to their former glory. It was here that his previous work in the motor-spares business came in handy, as his technical knowledge ensured the carriages were pieced together perfectly. The result is that today you can take a trip on ‘The Pride of Africa’ and feel as if you have been directly transported back to an era of luxury and elegance, some time in the not-too-recent Victorian past. The suites in these meticulously restored carriages are larger than any other suites on similar luxury hotel trains and


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are made of wood, adding to the warm, personal atmosphere of the locomotive. Choose from the Pullman Suites (at 7m2), the Deluxe Suites (at 11m2) or the Royal Suites (at an expansive 16m2). Each suite is individually air conditioned, with extremely comfortable double or twin beds, and spacious en-suite bathrooms with a shower and, in the Royal Suites, a Victorian bath. The larger suites have private lounge areas, perfect for watching the world go by through the picture windows. The smaller suites have comfortable bench seats during the day that convert into a bed at night. Still, you probably won’t want to

spend too much time in your suite during the day – not when you could be sipping afternoon tea or sundowners in one of the Observation Cars, complete with enlarged windows perfect for soaking up the view, or on the open balcony at the end of the carriage – the only train in South Africa to let you get up close and personal with the scenery as it rolls by. As the sun sets, the pampering continues. Formal dinners are served in the delightful Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars, and are a feast for the senses, with local specialities complemented by the finest South African wines. Dinners are strictly formal affairs – it won’t take much imagination to spirit yourself back to the days of cognac and cigars, dapper suits and understated elegance. You won’t find any radios or televisions on board, further enhancing the sense of a more peaceful bygone era, and cellphone use is confined to the suites. What is unique about Rovos Rail, though, is that it manages all this charm without sacrificing comfort and luxury. Hidden minibars, carefully controlled in-room air conditioning and the ultimate in five-star service ensure this will be an unforgettable journey. The beauty of luxury rail travel is that it offers all the comforts you’re used to, but with a constantly changing view. There’s no need to rush, at this hotel-onwheels, no need to answer the phone or check your email or attend to the outside world. You can simply sit back, unwind, and watch the world go by.

Rovos Rail

Photographs: ROVOS RAIL

Telephone: +27 (0)12 315 8242 Fax: +27 (0)12 323 0843 Email: Website:

The direction of your journey is entirely up to you: from the epic two-week trip to Dar es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania to the brief but beautiful 24-hour journey along the Garden Route between Cape Town and George, or the spectacular seven-day Namibian voyage to the 48hour sojourn between Pretoria and Cape Town, the 55-hour Game Safari between Pretoria and Durban or the nine-day African Collage making its way between Pretoria, Kruger Park, Durban and Cape Town. Or why not take a leisurely journey

to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe? No matter which route you choose, it will be an adventure that stays with you forever. Although the use of steam is becoming steadily more difficult as the years go by, arrivals and departures in Pretoria are always steam-hauled, ensuring the most romantic beginning possible to your once-in-a-lifetime journey. ‘The Most Luxurious Train in the World’ promises a sublime trip through some of South Africa’s most scenic countryside as well as a small glimpse into a time gone by.

Rovos Rail is known as ‘The Most Luxurious Train in the World’ and it’s a title that the train lives up to. In conjunction with three classic aircraft, the Rovos Rail ‘Pride of Africa’ trains offer a number of routes throughout southern Africa, ranging from 24-hour trips to 14-day journeys. They offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort, superb suites and excellent South African cuisine and wine, while maintaining all the charm of the Victorian era of train travel.

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Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

Jewel in the crown Perched above the waters of the Knysna lagoon on the exquisite Western Cape coast and encompassing a world-class spa, golf and gourmet experience, this five-star hotel has it all. Surrounded by ancient indigenous forests, rugged cliffs and sheltered beaches, Pezula is a spectacular and ultraluxurious destination that is the jewel of the Garden Route.


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An early evening view of the exterior of the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa, a five-star luxury offering perched on the eastern head of the Knysna Lagoon.

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Afro-chic surrounds, like these at the award-winning Zachary’s restaurant, are a striking feature of the hotel, along with a series of spectacular views.


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ituated on the eastern head of the lagoon and close to the cosmopolitan coastal town of Knysna, Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa revels in its picture-perfect private surrounds. On one side the property overlooks the Indian Ocean, on the other, the Knysna Lagoon and Outeniqua Mountains. The hotel design takes its cue from its natural setting, with sandstone brickwork and detailing and flashes of gold and burnt sienna. The Pezula Championship Golf Course is an 18-hole, 72-par offering with extraordinary sea and lagoon views. Pezula Spa & Gym is an extensive complex

of top-notch treatment rooms, pool and hot-zone facilities, and includes a stateof-the-art gym, nail bar, hair salon and juice bar. With its comprehensive menu of beauty, body and medi-spa treatments, it’s no surprise that this spa has won numerous accolades and awards. Many of the treatments here are unique to the spa, incorporating indigenous oils and methods into each experience. Another draw card is the award-winning Zachary’s restaurant. Executive chef Geoffrey Murray and his passionate team serve up a menu of seasonal offerings, using local and organic ingredients

Natural motifs and materials, as seen in the sumptuous suites and the spa (below), are a striking feature.

wherever possible. Alfresco meals can be arranged at The Boma, an outdoor venue with spectacular sunset views, while Zachary’s also caters gourmet picnics to savour on the beach. Enjoy pre- or postdinner drinks in the elegant cigar lounge or champagne and whisky bar and plan a visit to the carefully stocked wine cellar. Guests can choose from 78 spacious suites, including two presidential villas. Each is an exercise in luxury and privacy. Bathrooms are huge, with oval-shaped baths and wet rooms for two. Patios or balconies, log fireplaces, Egyptian bed linen, homemade deli delights and a variety of five-star details add to the creature comforts. Enjoy breakfast on your terrace or make the most of starlit nights with an alfresco drink from the in-suite bar facility. A host of outdoor activities will lure you from your sumptuous suite. Join one of the knowledgeable guides for a nature trail through the indigenous forests down

to the Noetzie river where your canoe awaits you. Embark on a gentle paddle to the river mouth at Noetzie beach or explore the resort on horseback with a ride through sweeping fynbos landscapes (fynbos is part of the smallest and richest floral kingdom in the world). Spend the afternoon at the Field of Dreams playing tennis or pétanque. Try your hand at archery or hit some balls at the practice range. The choice is endless …

Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

Knysna, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)44 302 3333 Facsimile: +27 (0)44 302 3303 Email: Website: PEZULA Resort Hotel & Spa is situated an hour from George Airport, a 40-minute flight from Cape Town and two-hour flight from Johannesburg.

Photographs: PEZULA

Recent awards & accolades in 2009: Amarula Best Retreats in Africa‘s ‘All Round Excellence‘ and ‘Ultimate African Cuisine’ awards; Travel + Leisure’s World’s Greatest Hotels, Resorts & Spas’; Welcome Awards’ ‘Best Hotel in South Africa’.

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Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate

Inspired by a legend, designed around a lifestyle

Combining a world-class golf course with a breathtaking country setting and superb luxury is the ultimate answer to getting away from it all. The Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate in Tshwane provides a new interpretation of opulent living for the discerning homeowner. Home to the very first Ernie Els Signature Golf Course in Gauteng, the establishment is currently raking in the kudos for being a step above the rest. Opulent Living


BELOW This award-winning Ernie Els golf course in a scenic setting combines the best of two worlds and defines a new way of living.


ardener Ross Golf & Country Estate is the stuff legends are made of. The course may be the very first Ernie Els-designed golf course in Gauteng, but it has a strong sense of history: it’s built on the land where his grandfather grew up in the early 1900s on a farm called Knoppieslaagte. Grandfather Ernie Vermaak was the visionary who instilled the love of the game into the entire Els family – and certainly young

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Ernie’s career has done much to make his (late) grandfather proud. This is the first Ernie Els course in Gauteng, but the spirited South African golfer has also been responsible for designing courses in the United Kingdom, United States, Hawaii, China, Dubai and Mauritius. He brings not only his expertise back home to Gardener Ross but also his passion for the game and a keen understanding of the local surroundings.

This world-class golf course has been designed according to stringent US Golf Association standards. Stretching across 7 340 metres, the Gardener Ross course is said to be one of the longest courses in the Southern Hemisphere. However, Els happily reassures one that the course offers the perfect mix of challenges and ‘playability’ for golfers of all abilities. The course has enjoyed great popularity since its inception on 25 November 2007,


and to date approximately 3 000 rounds of golf have been played here every month. Gardener Ross has fantastic cart paths, pristine greens and wide-open spaces. Situated on the Highveld, the course is said to have a ball-friendly altitude: golf balls travel further in the thinner air – which is, of course, a bonus. When it comes to comfort and convenience, nothing has been spared. R100  million was spent on developing the golf course and it has exceptional facilities, including a chic club house, changing rooms, a driving range and a top-notch restaurant. Although just an infant in terms of years, the course at Gardener Ross was judged as one of the top courses in South Africa by Compleat Golfer magazine – as well as being voted the best new golf course in Gauteng for 2008. Rumour has it that Gardener Ross has been earmarked to host the 2011 SA Open Golf Championships. While the golf course is certainly the pièce de résistance of the property, the estate itself is also something to brag about. Situated on 300 hectares, it

comprises 1 131 stands that range in price and architectural design. There are four exquisite cluster styles to choose from to match every taste. The estate is also proudly ecofriendly, being wholly selfsufficient in terms of water management and irrigation. Even the type of grasses for the greens was carefully selected in order to be kind to the environment. In terms of lifestyle, security is key at Gardener Ross and the estate has 24-hour CCTV surveillance, patrol guards and an electronic access-control system, offering peace of mind as part of the deal. A host of amenities in the nearby vicinity is on the cards, including a wellness centre, private school and shopping centre. Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate offers a unique lifestyle in a relaxed, natural setting yet close to the cosmopolitan centres of Pretoria and Sandton – this is the best of both worlds. Certainly, Grandfather Els would be pleased to know that his old stomping ground has become one of the most sought-after lifestyle and golfing destinations in the whole of South Africa.

Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate

Mnandi, Centurion, Gauteng Telephone: +27 (0)12 668 9900 Facsimile: +27 (0)11 252 6312 Email: Website: Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate is situated halfway between Tshwane and Sandton. It is located just 4km from the N1/Ben Schoeman interchange and is just 20km from Centurion and 22km from Lanseria airport in Gauteng.

Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate features a variety of four exquisite architectural designs and state-of-the-art security.

Opulent Living


o p u l e n t g ems A TRANQUIL HAVEN

linger over delicious breakfasts in the sunny

SCHOONE OORDT Country House Swellendam, Western Cape

of the historic town of Swellendam and the

n A beautifully restored Victorian homestead in the heart of the Overberg, Schoone Oordt offers nine luxurious cottage suites set

conservatory before exploring the delights beautiful Overberg mountain region.; phone: +27 (0)28 514 1248; nine rooms, starting from R1 650 per double per night.

among fragrant terraced gardens, burbling fountains, secret woodland glades and an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Carefully chosen antiques blend elegantly with modern comforts such as custom-made linen, goose-down bedding and spacious en-suite bathrooms. Guests can choose to relax beside the large saltwater pool or

EXQUISITE EYRIE BEZWENI Lodge Somerset West, Western Cape n A thatched villa perched high on the Hottentots




spectacular views over hectares of unspoilt indigenous fynbos to the False Bay area. Two living areas and four spacious suites lead directly onto the deck with its heated pool, Jacuzzi and private massage table. An additional private suite upstairs has equally glorious views.; phone: +27 (0)71 400 1712; five rooms, starting from R1 500 per double per night.

AN ELEGANT OASIS FALCONS VIEW Manor, Knysna/Garden Route, Western Cape n Stepping onto the gracious Victorian veranda at Falcons View Manor overlooking Knysna Lagoon and The Heads, guests enjoy the elegance of a bygone era combined with contemporary comfort and style in a gorgeous setting. Nestled on a hillside in lush green gardens bordering on indigenous forest, guests can listen to bird song as they relax by the pool, eat a delicious breakfast or enjoy a light Mediterranean-style meal in the tea garden. Each of the nine rooms has  beautiful views over the lagoon, garden or forest, and all are individually styled with luxurious linen and thoughtful personal touches. A library and lounge, both with lagoon views, offer relaxation, while a welcoming and friendly ambience is supported by attentive service and delicious food to create a peaceful and refreshing oasis from which to explore the many attractions of the Garden Route.; phone: +27 (0)44 382 6767; nine rooms, starting from R1 850 per double per night.

108 Opulent Living 2 Opulent Living

SECLUDED CHIC De Kloof Luxury Estate Swellendam, Western Cape n A luxurious and secluded retreat, this beautifully restored Cape Dutch homestead in the Overberg combines historic ambience with modern chic and comfort. After lingering over lunch or tapas on the garden terraces, guests can relax on the private patio of their stylish garden suite, enjoy the pool and gym or practise their swing at the estate’s golfdriving range and putting green.; phone: +27 (0)28 514 1303; eight rooms, starting from R1 500 per double per night.

WARMTH AND CHARM 5 SEASONS Guest House, Stellenbosch/Winelands, Western Cape n In the heart of the historic university town of Stellenbosch, 5 Seasons makes a comfortable and charming base from which to explore the Cape Winelands and surrounding mountains. Elegantly furnished rooms with every sophisticated comfort on hand open onto terraces or balconies with gorgeous views of the town, vineyards and mountains beyond. The magic ingredient that turns it from a guest house into a home-from-home is the warm-hearted hospitality and personal attention of the hosts, Ralf and Simone Rumpf, who ensure that guests have everything they could wish for. Breakfasts can be served in the herb garden in summer, fondues savoured by the fire in winter, and drinks and snacks enjoyed beside the heated saltwater pool. In-room massages and beauty treatments, golf lessons, wine tours and restaurant bookings can all easily be arranged.; phone: +27 (0)21 886 6159; 10 rooms, starting from R1 200 per double per night.


Town and provide attentive and personalised

BEAUMONT Boutique Guest House Claremont Upper, Cape Town, Western Cape

service. They’ll advise on the best restaurants,

n Tucked away in the exclusive leafy suburb of Claremont Upper, close to all the attractions of Cape Town, Beaumont House

plan bespoke wine tours and organise private transfers for their guests.; phone: +27 (0)21 761 5540; five rooms, starting from R2 600 per double per night.

blends the sophistication of the city with the friendly, home-from-home atmosphere of a fine country house. Understated elegance and luxury create a restful ambience in each of the five suites, individually decorated in Frenchinspired furnishings. Relax around the pool or get the insider’s guide on the city from owners Peter and Gill, who are passionate about Cape

Opulent Living 109 Opulent Living 3

INFORMAL GRANDEUR CLOUDS Estate Stellenbosch/Winelands, Western Cape n Spectacular views over vineyards and mountains greet guests as they step out onto a private veranda from their luxurious suite at Clouds Estate. Utterly romantic and stylishly furnished with a light and airy Mediterranean feel, Clouds Estate has an informal grandeur that sets the scene for elegant relaxation, sipping the estate’s crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc beside the sparkling pool.; phone: +27 (021) 885 1819; five suites, starting from R1 400 per double per night.

LUXURY FOR WORK OR PLAY AUBERGE HOLLANDAISE Guest House, Durban North, Kwazulu-Natal n A warm and friendly welcome awaits guests at this stylish, contemporary guest house, conveniently located and within easy driving distance of Durban’s major attractions. Every luxury and comfort is thoughtfully provided by welcoming staff who anticipate every need – the genuine service loyal guests write about enthusiastically in the guest book and return to enjoy time and again. Tranquil air-conditioned bedrooms – some leading onto balconies with a view over the pool to the warm Indian Ocean – provide an ideal refuge in which to relax after a day spent on the golden beaches nearby or at work in the city. Travellers visiting Durban on business will find the luxurious executive boardroom ideal for exclusive launches and presentations and can then unwind by the pool with sundowners before heading out for dinner at one of Durban’s renowned gourmet restaurants close by.; phone: +27 (0)31 564 8568; 10 rooms, starting from R1 650 per double per night.


villa with private pool offers even more

BLUE GUM Country Estate Stanford, Western Cape

seclusion for families travelling together. Blue

n Soak up the peace and beauty of this private country estate, where vineyards and pastures give way to a fynbos mountain reserve. Lush gardens surround the lodge, where guests relax beside the pool or over tea in the conservatory, play tennis or croquet before enjoying a candlelit, three-course gourmet meal. Quality linen and rich fabrics add comfort and luxury to the spacious bedrooms, each with a private veranda from which to enjoy the views. A three-bedroom

110 Opulent Living 4 Opulent Living

Gum is near Walker Bay, world famous for its whales in season.; phone: +27 (0)28 341 0116; 12 rooms, starting from R1 590 per double per night.

IDYLLIC HIDEAWAY LILY POND Country Lodge Plettenberg Bay/Nature’s Valley, Western Cape n An idyllic retreat of peaceful lily ponds and indigenous forest, this architect-designed lodge is a balm for the soul, with its light and airy spaces that frame the mountains and beauty of nature all around. Situated near the Tsitsikamma National Park and 20 minutes’

to a vista of water lilies and abundant birdlife.

drive from Plettenberg Bay, Lily Pond combines

Guests can walk one of the forest nature trails

the best of country pleasures with beaches

and return to savour a sumptuous feast of

and forests close by. Relax on the deck by the

fusion food in the open dining area.

pool, enjoy a massage or simply gaze out of the French doors of the spacious luxury suites; phone: +27 (0)44 534 8767; 10 rooms, starting from R1 300 per double per night.

URBAN SANCTUARY VILLA ZEST Boutique Hotel Cape Town, Western Cape n Designer luxury accommodation for the style-savvy visitor looking for a personalised boutique hotel experience. The clean, modern lines of its Bauhaus-style architecture are the inspiration for the interiors of the seven en-suite rooms individually decorated in a seamless fusion of retro style and luxurious detail. Spoil yourself in the Bedouin garden oasis flanked by a nine-metre long pool.; phone: +27 (0)21 433 1246; seven rooms, starting from R1 690 per double per night.

COLONIAL COMFORT FERNWOOD Manor, Newlands/Cape Town, Western Cape n Cocooned in a quiet, leafy, landscaped garden with spectacular mountain views, Fernwood Manor offers a gracious and comfortable base from which to explore Cape Town and its surrounds. In the morning, guests step out from their immaculate, luxury rooms onto a private patio or balcony to the sound of bird song, then enjoy a delicious breakfast served in the elegant Provençal breakfast room or on the patio overlooking the beautiful pool area in summer. The spacious lounge with cosy fireplace provides a relaxing welcome after a day of sightseeing or walking in nearby Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The professional and friendly service ensures that guests have all they need for a wonderful and relaxing holiday; for those who are combining pleasure with business, Fernwood Manor has a 10-seater boardroom as well as a work station available for guests.; phone: +27 (0)21 674 4406; 10 rooms, starting from R1 300 per double per night.

Opulent Living Opulent Living111 5

n Hawksmoor House at Matjieskuil Stellenbosch, Western Cape Telephone: +27 (0)21 884 4815 Facsimile: +27 (0)21 884 4816 Email: Website:

Hawksmoor House offers an unspoilt, authentic and guests enjoy free run of the property.

Dutch architecture in style Hawksmoor House Hawksmoor House is a meticulously restored original 18th-century Cape Dutch country retreat set on a 220-hectare wine farm, Matjieskuil, in the Cape Winelands. With views of the surrounding farmlands and Table Mountain in the distance, Hawksmoor House is peaceful without being remote. The historic towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are nearby and Cape Town is easily accessible too, making this an ideal base from which to explore the area. Style abounds, with the eight spacious rooms each quirkily decorated in a gorgeous colour with sumptuous fabrics, antiques and retro prints. Bathrooms are modern yet utterly romantic, with garden views. The staff, as comfortable serving impromptu drinks on the terrace as they are whipping up a homemade cake for afternoon tea, are discreet. Says Hawksmoor House’s general manager: ‘What our guests enjoy most about staying here is that there are few restrictions. We take a relaxed approach to looking after our guests, which may not suit everybody but encourages people to feel completely at home.’ The warm and friendly staff members at Hawksmoor House also offer guests insider advice about where to eat and shop and also about how to experience Cape Town like a local. Relaxing by the pool, indulging in a massage or enjoying a glass of Hawksmoor wine is the perfect way to end the day.

Photographs: HAWKSMOOR

country-house experience,



WWW.HERTEX.CO.ZA | 0860 HERTEX (437839)

o p u l e n t f i nds SWEET TALK: Calling all style gurus n Like the Ascent, Signature and the existing Constellation model, Vertu’s new Ayxta cellphone features luxurious handcraftsmanship, a leather trim and access to the company’s bespoke concierge service – on call around the clock from anywhere in the world. The Ayxta’s clamshell form also packs a 3-megapixel camera with flash, an 8-gig micro-SD slot and 3G wireless connection. With all of this in one sleek package, the whole of Vertu‘s Ayxta cellphone is certainly worth more than the sum of its parts. $6 500 to $8 500 (ZAR48 013 to ZAR62 786).

SPREAD THE WORD: Write away n The name of timeless beauty

WELL CONNECTED: Press the right buttons n Acer and Ferrari have teamed

and actress Ingrid Bergman was

up to produce a true mobile

recently immortalised in Mont

warrior. Powerful, pretty and with

Blanc’s coveted signature editions.

five hours of battery life, the One

And just like the songbird, her

Netbook is a delight to hold. Did

namesake pens ooze classic,

we mention it is superfast? Par

understated elegance.

for the Ferrari course, of course. .

HOLD IT: Classic comeback n Rediscovered in the Gucci archives, the delectable Thirties pattern (woven onto hemp owing to leather shortages) that was the precursor to the famous GG logo now features in the exclusive Gucci Diamanté Canvas Collection. The House’s first signature print has travelled well into the next century

Gold dust: Stapled in style n Thanks to the quirky savvy of

to adorn this year’s ‘it’ handbags,

Dutch design house Oooms, you

shoes and small leather goods.

14-carat gold-plated staples.

can now own a set of sublime, Intended primarily as a form of jewellery, these luxury pieces can

A legend returns: Take a trip down memory lane n Old-fashioned photographic appeal meets mod cons in the new

be applied to just about anything

Olympus E-P1 ‘digital Pen’. Its mirrorless interchangeable lens mimics

normal stapler. 24 pieces cost

the style of the Pen range that was popular in the Sixties and Seventies,

Euro 140 (ZAR1 560), so be sure

and the stylish metal finishes echo camera legends of yesteryear.

not to waste any.


Opulent Living

– including clothing – with a

Opulent Living WATCH THE CLOCK: All in good time n Devotees of immaculate timepieces will be seduced by Breitling’s exclusive Chronomat BO1 for good reason – it exudes the sheer luxury, precision and craftsmanship of the brand. chronomatb01

Bling it on: Shimmering shades n For an oh-so-chic summer fashion statement, Dior’s glamorous Swarovski crystal-studded Delicacy sunglasses top the sexy stakes. Bright and bold, yet infused with John Galliano’s design sensibilities, they’re bound to be the most sought-after accessory of the season. £600 (ZAR7 398).

Upwardly mobile: Go on a power trip n Epitomising effortless style and sleek spaciousness, Bentley’s exclusive new addition to Series 51, the Continental GTC, is serious about sensory pleasures. Decked out with premium leather seats and primed with polished 14-spoke 20inch wheels, this bespoke creation is brimful of design genius. It offers a distinctive colour palette to boot, allowing you to tailor the interior to blend in beautifully with the convertible’s bright exterior options and dark aluminium finishes. $197 500 (ZAR1 458 854).

Connoisseur’s choice: Top tipple n Voted ‘Best Irish Blended

Riding high: Pure horsepower n What’s not to love? Barefoot

Whiskey’ at the World Whiskey

Saddle’s beautifully handcrafted

Awards in 2009, Jameson’s Rarest

pieces are made from superior

Vintage Reserve has been racking


up impressive accolades since its

standard with a regular inlay that

release in 2007. At ZAR3 790 per

fits horses of medium build – such

bottle, every sip‘s worth savouring.

as thoroughbreds and Arabians.




Opulent Living


Timeless elegance: Worth holding on to n As the newly appointed bag

from every corner of South

maker for Tiffany, Cape Cobra Leathercraft’s handbags are loved by stylish celebs such as Marcia Cross and Anne Hathaway. To acquire your own, make an appointment, then pop in to their Cape Town or New York offices and select a style and skin.

Africa, and from fabulously fancy to cool and casual – it’s all in the gorgeous 2010 issue of

Eat Out magazine.

Keep your cool: Glamorous gym gear n Thanks to French company KiS


A feast awaits: Tuck in n 1 001 of the best restaurants

– KEEP IN SHAPE, gym mats and

tailor-made sporting accessories

Leading light: Perfecting form and function n Designed by Ferrucio Laviani

includes masculine dumbbells

for Kartell, The Tati Lamp resembles

draped in a choice of calf skin,

a piece of Deco art that pays

ostrich skin or crocodile skin.

homage to contemporary lines.

skipping ropes have graduated in the glam stakes. KiS‘s range of

Shine on: Lord of the rings n Be dazzled by the sheer genius of master Swiss jeweller Piaget’s new Possession Entrelacée rings. Although the bands are delicately tied to one another, they’re able to move freely in what Piaget so aptly calls ‘an endless embrace’. Available in white or rose gold, and set with diamonds.

have a heart: Contemporary classic n Fall in love with the latest take on Burberry‘s signature check, the Hearts collection of stylish bags, accessories and jewellery – or spoil yourself with key styles from the Burberry Spring Summer 2010 Brit collection. Burberry, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.


Opulent Living

Patriot games: Walk tall n Kudos to Superga for launching a flag collection, because now you can step out supporting your true colours. Since its introduction in 1913, the classic Italian sneaker of choice has been a hit and the style’s remained virtually unchanged to this day for good reason.

Fragrance for men. By Porsche Design.

Watch it! Armed for attention n Taking the iconic Rolex Daytona to the next level is no mean feat, but ProjectXDesigns has watch customisation down pat, and transformed it into the swanky PXD DS2. Boasting retro styling and the latest carboncoating technology, it’s a limited edition run of 24 customised pieces, so don’t waste any time getting yours. £13 250 (ZAR164 316).

River magic: Decked out in style n Floating down the Chobe River – which divides Namibia’s Caprivi Strip from Botswana’s Chobe National Park – on a sophisticated houseboat, is just about the best way to explore its exotic riverbanks teeming with some of the densest wildlife on the African continent. And aboard the recently launched Zambezi Queen, the experience is amplified by five-star opulence, indulgence and superior comfort. From superb game viewing from the pristine decks to gently drifting while witnessing a shower of impossibly bright stars, it’s Africa at its most graceful and elegant. Enjoy two or three nights aboard this river safari. Don’t miss this boat.

Game on: Kick up a fuss n Whether or not you’re a Fussball fanatic, there’s no resisting this state-of-the-art soccer field. What’s more, you can have six of the 22 players modelled and painted individually – just take your pick from famous players, family, friends or even yourself; provide photographs and let the games begin. Geniusly crafted with a field made of glass, light shining from the bottom and stainless-steel handles and bars, this game means you’re bound to score. Euro 39 990 (ZAR441 899).

Scents of occasion: Bottled bliss n When the Idiom Collection,

Pièce de résistance: Location, location, location n Cape Town’s award-winning,

an exclusive South African wine

five-star Twelve Apostles Hotel &

range, partnered with parfumier

Spa has been given an extensive

Tammy Frazer of Frazer Parfum,


the result was a heady, wine-


inspired scent, and IDIOM by

and comfort The sublime setting

TAMMY is a hedonistic nod to

now boasts cool marble floors,

sensory delights. ZAR2 800.

chandeliers from Capri, antique

artfully with

combining simplicity

mirrors galore, and more.


Opulent Living

Smooth operator: Love at first sight n If you could date a car, this would be the one to woo. With its sharp styling and open-top engineering ingenuity, the Lexus IS 250C is the coupé to be seen in this season. Its 2,5-litre V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission say it’s serious about performance and the lightweight roof structure can be opened or closed in 20 seconds flat – the fastest time for any three-part folding roof system. Need more convincing? Elegant proportions, sweeping lines and convex and concave surfacing… Enough said.

Nectar of the gods: Sweet surrender n Packaged in 786 individually

Poised elegance: A world-class Pinot n The search for the perfect Pinot

numbered Baccarat carafes, each

Noir is a noble one, especially

crystal bottle of Louis XIII Black

when master winemakers limit

Pearl cognac is a collector’s item,

their offering to 120 cases. But

with a blend of 1 200 cognacs

that just adds value to Oak Valley

(aged from 40 to 100 years old).

Estate’s Pinot Noir – a gold-medal

No wonder a solid gold collar

winner at Mondial du Pinot Noir

enrobes the neck of each bottle.

in Switzerland.

Visual perfection: Sense and simplicity n Philips is giving black bars on the bottom and sides of LCD screens the boot, ushering in a new visual era with its impressive new format called true widescreen. Perfect for

pleasure. (Popcorn not included.)

Precious metals: Scent of a woman n Three distinct fragrances,

each one highlighting different

at-home cinema experiences, it’s 56 inches of sheer viewing

nuances of a woman’s life, form the essence of La Prairie’s Life

Spirited newcomer: Worth a toast n Knowing full well the demand will exceed availability, the magicians

Threads Fragrance Collection. With

behind The Elgin Distilling Company’s inaugural vintage of Malus (South

and spicy (gold), and elegant and

Africa’s first terroir spirit) invites connoisseurs to secure decanters of

edgy (platinum) notes, each of

this rare tipple sooner rather than later. With each decanter, the owner

the scents celebrates a different

also acquires the right to future limited-release vintages. ZAR6 840.

milestone. $125 (ZAR924) each.

floral and woody (silver), seductive

Opulent Living


Opulent Living Thank you

It took many hands, bright brains and plenty of energy to make it happen


here are quite a few thank yous on our list – without these people we would have not

started this project. They encouraged and supported us at every turn: Donald Keys, Uncork South Africa, a great friend,

Publishers: Barbara Lenhard & Florian Gast Newspace Publishing Group Managing Director: Florian Gast Assistant: Vanessa Joubert Sales agents: Josephine Buys, Kirsten Laurings Editor-in-Chief: Michelle Snaddon Copy Editor: Sally Rutherford Contributors: Jane Broughton, David Donde, Kit Heathcock, Robyn Hodson, Riekie Human, Suzie Jansen, Marinda Louw, Fiona McDonald, Bridget McNulty, Glenda Nevill, Sean O’Toole, Denise Slabbert, Vicki Sleet Creative Director: Florian Gast Designer: Joanna Orr

who was sitting with us in December 2008 talking about the first ideas for our project when he spoke the name out loud: opulent living. Fiona McDonald, for listening to our ideas at an early stage. Dr Susanne Reuther, WingsGroup, for connecting us with people. We have known each other for more than 20 years, but this was the beginning of a new level of friendship. Ian Manley, Manley Communications, for supporting us, and including us, introducing us to other supportive


There is no Plan B’. We liked that a lot! Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr,

our lawyers, for their time and help with legal questions and agreements. Great service! Mari Lategan, In Context Consulting, for her positive spirit and for listening to us, giving advice, and helping us. Brenda James, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Camps Bay, for her understanding, time and good advice. Ulrike Garbers, German Airline Press, who positioned us on selected airlines. Michelle Snaddon and her team – including designer Jo Orr and copy editor Sally Rutherford – for fabulous editorial work. Without them we would not have this magazine in hand. Absolutely professional! The owners, general managers, marketers, PR people, representatives and media buyers for participating in our first issue. Thanks for your commitment and trust in us. To our parents and siblings for accepting our decision to move to South Africa and motivating us to live our dream and do this project. To our new and old friends, in South Africa and in Germany, for being around, supporting us at every single moment through joys and worries, for accepting our absence in the last few weeks while we finished this magazine, and for always bringing energy into our life. And finally (don’t laugh) – to our lovely, wonderful dog Joya. She was also always there for us, shared every emotion with us and had to put up with a lot, especially as there was not always time to go to the beach. Right now, as we write the very last words of Opulent Living – The Ultimate Magazine for South Africa we are thinking of Harry the Hippo, diving up not down. We like it!

Issue no. 1: published in December 2009 Issue no. 2: to be published in June 2010 For advertising and sales please contact Booking deadline: 15 April 2010 Distribution: throughout South Africa and internationally via preferred partners, selected airlines, exclusive showrooms and boutique stores Circulation: 30 000 Nominal charge: R120 Printed in South Africa by Tandym Print Cover images (from left to right) courtesy of: Pezula; Tintswalo Atlantic; Princess Yachts Int PLC; Birkenhead House – Royal Portfolio; Aston Martin Opulent Living is published by Newspace Publishing CC. Copyright Newspace Publishing CC. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from Newspace Publishing or the authors. The publishers are not responsible for any unsolicited material. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Newspace Publishing or the editors. All features on hotels, lodges, guest houses and estates are advertorials. All prices correct at time of going to press.

Photograph: B. Lenhard / HIPPO

people, and telling us

Newspace Publishing CC 5a Avenue St Louis, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa, Headquarters: Pfeivestlstr. 42, 81243 Muenchen, Germany

an Authorised Financial Services Provider FAIS Licence no. 30414

tbsp /// beyond the line 32984

SYMMETROPHOBIA ~ The fear of symmetrical things.

There are lots of things to be scared of. Insurance needn’t be one of them. At Alexander Forbes, we’ve learnt a thing or two over the years about putting motor and household insurance-related fears to rest. We provide the widest cover with the least exclusions, and we give you the option of an up-front discount on your premium when you sign up with us, which puts money back into your pocket immediately. We also give each of our clients their own personal consultant who deals exclusively with their policy and all matters pertaining to it. Simply, we make insuring as effortless and as comprehensive as possible. Because we believe that while some fears in life might need to be accepted, insurance-related fears are just irrational.

Tel: 0860 111 234

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Your World is our World

Nick Brandt, Lion Before Storm II – Sitting Profile, Maasai Mara, 2006

Bernheimer Fine Art Photography is happy to assist you with creating a photography collection or help you find the image you have always been looking for.

Bernheimer F i n e A rt P h oto g r a p h y

Locations: Munich, Germany and London, UK at our partner gallery Colnaghi For more information please contact or go on

Opulent Living Magazine no 1  

THE coffee-table magazine for the finer things in life - South Africa edition

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