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Complimentary Guest Magazine

November 2012

Birds of Eden • Mapungubwe • Game Reserve Getaways


contents 24

Hanlie Kotze Letter from the Executive Manager

Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu Letter from the Editor

News Keeping You Informed

From The Mailbag Passenger Letters and Comments

EVENTS Dates To Diarise

BITS Need To Know

BUSH BREAKAWAYS South Africa’s Quick Game Reserve Getaways

A PIECE OF AN ISLAND ALL OF YOUR OWN Buying Island Property

SOUTH AFRICA’S ROYAL AGE The Kingdom of Mapungubwe

CONQUERING SOUTH AFRICA’S LITTERBUG Trekking for Trash

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06 08 16 10 11 12 14 30 16 20 24 28


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UNDER A CANOPY OF STARS

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Luxury Sleeping Out Options

PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS

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Peter Allison

A FRENCH INSPIRED RETREAT

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Franschhoek Country House and Villas

WATCH MAKING AT ITS FINEST

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The Vacheron Constantin Malte Collection

FOR THE BIRDS

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A Paradise for Rescued Birds

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THE PRINCESS OF PASTRY

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Chef Nicky King

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A NEW LEADER IN LUXURY?

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Infiniti

Destination Listings

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Luxury Accommodation & Dining Guide

IN THE TRACKS OF A LEGEND

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The History of The Blue Train

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SUITE LAYOUT

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Coach Info

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Letter from the Executive Manager Hanlie Kotze

A very warm welcome to you all. “And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet,” is an ancient St. Marher phrase which translates to: time and tide wait for no man. For the first time in a long time, I truly wish I had the power to stop the march of time. At this time of year, our body clocks should be beating a different tune – a slower, ‘holidays are coming’ tune. But I am sure I am not the only one wondering where the year has disappeared to, especially as there is still so much to do and so little time in which to do it.

End the Year in Style The year may have quickly vanished but this is really no time to despair. Soon our corporate clients will take time off, wind down and reward their clients, together with their employees, for their support and effort during the year. The best way to do this – we think – is to celebrate the end of the year in style on board the most lavish train on the planet. You have worked hard and now you can play hard – at an all-inclusive Blue Train VIP lunch or dinner function. Make it a memorable year-end for your clients, your employees and for yourself. We look forward to welcoming you all on board.

Thank You As some countries in the Americas are about to celebrate Thanksgiving – when they feast with family, friends and loved ones, and thank them for being a part of their lives – I would like to extend my own sincere gratitude to the people I spend the largest part of my year with – my colleagues. As people, we often take each other for granted and walk past each other on work corridors without a blink, consumed by whatever undertakings are set out for the day. However, now is an opportune time for me to say thank you to those same colleagues. Thank you for your steadfast passion for this business, thank you for your support, and thank you for the daily smiles. Thank you for the laughter – the antiseptic of the soul. Thank you for showing up and most importantly, thank you for you! Warm regards,

Hanlie

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Letter from the Editor Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu The Blue Train has been blessed to have been showered with a host of awards and accolades recently. Firstly it took home the coveted title of Africa’s Leading Luxury Train at the 2012 World Travel Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the world travel industry, and then followed this up by being announced as the second placed Runner Up at the exclusive Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards in the category of “Favourite Specialist Train Operator”. The Blue Train Magazine also did itself proud with a number of awards at the 2012 SA Publication Forum Awards, including placing third overall in the Communication category and being selected as a finalist in the Best External Magazine category, effectively recognising it as one of the best external corporate publications in South Africa. We are understandably proud of these achievements, but while certificates and trophies look great framed on walls and lined up on mantelpieces, the real benefit of any award is the sense of accomplishment that accompanies it, as well as the feeling of being recognised for your hard work – a feeling which is often underestimated, but one that is so important for boosting morale and self-worth. We all intrinsically want to be recognised and acknowledged for what we do; for the time and effort we put into certain aspects of our lives, the thought and care into others. This is what makes awards so powerful and so welcome, but we also need to remember that we do not have to wait for award season to acknowledge the good work a colleague, friend or family member is doing. It takes only a minute to pat a friend on the back and commend them for being a fantastic mother; to send your boss an email recognising a colleague for the way they handled a particular project; or to say to a partner how much you appreciate them always being there for you. It takes so little effort to recognise and compliment the good in others, but the psychological benefit it has on those people can be huge. So, while you are enjoying an unforgettable journey on The Blue Train, please take some time to fill in our in-suite comment card and let us know just who impressed you and who went out of their way to make your visit memorable. I know that they would appreciate hearing from you – as will your own friends and colleagues when you go home. There is too little gratitude and appreciation in the world – it is definitely time to spread some more of it. Enjoy the ride.

Noeleen

editor@bluetrainmag.co.za

THE BLUE TRAIN www.bluetrain.co.za Pretoria, Gauteng Tel: +27 12 334 8459 Fax: +27 12 334 8464 Cape Town Tel: +27 21 449 2672 Fax: +27 21 449 3338 United Kingdom Tel: +44 1403 243619 Fax: +44 1403 217558 Central Europe Tel: +44 2089 245126 Fax: +44 2089 245126 United States Tel: 001 305 864 4569 Fax: 001 305 675 7693 PUBLISHER Deidre Theron-Loots deidre@africanspiritmedia.co.za African Spirit Media (Pty) Ltd PO Box 11273, Hatfield, 0028 Tel: +27 861 THE MAG (843 624) Fax: +27 88 012 346 2367 mail@africanspiritmedia.co.za

EDITOR Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu editor@bluetrainmag.co.za MANAGING EDITOR Nicky Furniss nicky@tcbgroup.co.za ADVERTISING SALES Bryan Kayavhu+27 78 248 5245 bryan@tcbgroup.co.za Nikki de Lange +27 83 415 0339 nikki.sales@tcbgroup.co.za Robyn Shillaw-Botha +27 83 629 8818 robyn@tcbpublishing Images © iStockphoto.com Cover Image © Birds of Eden Avian Sanctuary DESIGN & LAYOUT Joanne Mc Laren joanne@virtualdavinci.co.za Virtual Da Vinci Creative Room

PRINTING Business Print Centre, Pretoria CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE Nicky Furniss, Nicola Weir, Keri Harvey, Cadine Pillay/mediaclubsouthafrica.com, Wilma den Hartigh, Janine Erasmus/mediaclubsouthafrica.com, Bernard Hellberg The Blue Train Magazine is published monthly by African Spirit Media (Pty) Ltd. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of African Spirit Media (Pty) Ltd, The Blue Train or any of their clients. Information has been included in good faith by the publisher and is believed to be correct at the time of going to print. No responsibility can be accepted for errors and omissions. No material (articles or photographs) in this publication may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without specific written permission from the Publisher. Copyright © 2012. All copyright for material appearing in this magazine belongs to African Spirit Media (Pty) Ltd and/or the individual contributors. All rights reserved.


news

The Blue Train Steams Ahead in Africa

The Blue Train was recently named “Africa’s Leading Luxury Train” at the World Travel Awards 2012 – an accolade it has now enjoyed for four consecutive years. Hanlie Kotze, The Blue Train’s Executive Manager, could not hide her excitement: “We are thrilled and very proud to yet again be named amongst the crème de la crème of the African continent. The World Travel Awards are hailed as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry and aim to reward those travel brands that have excelled and made a great contribution to the industry. This award is evidence of the hard work everyone has been putting in – especially over the last couple of months. It also serves as a signal that our plans to take this brand to another level are on the right track,” she said. “This award qualifies us for the Grand Finale, which will take place in New Delhi, India on 12th December 2012, where The Blue Train will compete with the world’s best for the coveted ‘World’s Leading Luxury Train’ award. We will be keeping our fingers crossed!” Hanlie concludes.

The Blue Train Wins Silver The Blue Train is delighted to have been announced as the second placed Runner Up at the exclusive Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards in the category of “Favourite Specialist Train Operator”. This prestigious awards ceremony was hosted at The British Museum in September 2012. The Blue Train previously won Gold in 2010, and came fifth in 2011. This year, the top prize went to The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which is a worthy winner. Other trains in the Top Ten included The Palace on Wheels, The Maharajas’ Express and Deccan Odyssey in India, The Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian in Canada, The Hiram Bingham in Peru and The Old Patagonian Express in Argentina. Rovos Rail, the other specialist train in South Africa, won tenth place which is fantastic news for South Africa – playing host to two of the world’s Top Ten trains. “We are truly delighted with this achievement. The nomination alone in these prestigious awards is a great honour for us,” comments Hanlie Kotze, the Executive Manager of The Blue Train. “We always strive to meet and possibly exceed all of our guests’ expectations, every time, all the time. It is through great nominations and awards

such as the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel awards that one finds time to reflect and iron out any shortcomings or complacency that may have crept in on our service standards,” she adds. Condé Nast Traveller is a highly respected publication that is largely regarded as the only authority on travel and lifestyle in the UK. Its ‘Truth in Travel’ ethos along with its policy of never accepting sponsored press invitations means that the publication never yields to pressure and is a magazine readers trust.

The Blue Train Magazine in the Spotlight The Blue Train Magazine once again did us proud at the recent 2012 SA Publication Forum Awards which reward excellence in custom publishing. The magazine was awarded certificates of excellence in two judging categories, namely design and communication, and was not only selected as a finalist in the Communication category but went on to place third overall in the category, which included over 150 other corporate publications. The magazine was also selected – for the first time – as a finalist for the award of “Best External Magazine Category A” (magazines with a higher budget). This effectively recognises The Blue Train as one of the best external corporate publications in South Africa – an accolade which the magazine’s production team are extremely proud of.

Business “Unusual” Charters A special tailor-made, all-inclusive charter on The Blue Train is a wonderful way for guests to explore South Africa’s landscapes and landmarks, lasting from a few hours to several nights. From a VIP cocktail breakfast, lunch or dinner, to a business “unusual” conference, a product launch with a difference, a special wedding reception, staff incentives or even a birthday celebration, the experience is up to you. The Blue Train follows any route, provided the rail networks are compatible to its technology.

The Blue Train is now a Heart Save Area Several Blue Train staff have completed a Heart Saver CPR/AED Course and are now proficient in the necessary knowledge and practical skills to recognise life threatening cardio-pulmonary emergencies on board. This will enable them to respond swiftly and effectively in the event of an emergency. The staff will be aided by the Samaritan Pad 500P with CPR Advisor, which is a small, portable and easy to use device, which helps to restore a pulse in most heart attack victims. It also aids rescuers by giving precise visual and voice instructions on how to use the device and how to administer effective CPR.

For Further Information For more information on The Blue Train’s exciting packages and to read the booking conditions for advance reservations, visit www.bluetrain.co.za or contact The Blue Train reservation office in Pretoria on +27 12 334 8459 or Cape Town on +27 21 449 2672. Email any general enquiries or feedback to info@bluetrain.co.za. n

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From the Mail Bag

Passenger Letters & Comments

Esther (chef) provided an excellent selection of food. Mosa (train manager) was very courteous and helpful. It has been a wonderful experience. Mr & Mrs Nair, South Africa Our trip was everything we expected and more. Mr DA Weightman, South Africa A wonderful experience that more than lived up to our expectations. Mr & Mrs Ritter, Australia It was an excellent experience with highly competent staff. Keep up the good work. Mr T Mahenge, South Africa A very well run operation. Great staff and experience. Mr & Mrs TL Falkenstain, Australia Thank you for making our tenth trip on The Blue Train just as great as our first one was. Mr & Mrs WG Roets, South Africa Leon and Kudos (dining waiters) were very friendly and helpful. Our butler Jan was excellent. We will definitely recommend The Blue Train to our family and friends. This was an incredible experience. Mr & Mrs G Andros, USA Thank you for looking after my clients so well – it is much appreciated. I have had only positive feedback from them. Mrs MW Bouwer, South Africa Chef Esther provided excellent gluten-free and fat-free meals. Your staff are excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed my trip on The Blue Train. Ms B Johnson, South Africa

Do you have a complaint or comment that you would like to share with us? Please fill in the guest questionnaire that is available in your suite or alternatively send an email to info@bluetrain.co.za. Please also feel free to send your photos from your trip on The Blue Train to the same address. Comments may be edited, shortened or translated from the original language.

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events Bubbly Bliss Get the festive season into full swing by attending the Franschhoek ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival from 30th November to 2nd December. Local Cap Classique producers, and their French counterparts from the Champagne region in France, will present their best bubblies over three days on the manicured lawns surrounding Franschhoek’s Huguenot Monument. This year, MasterCard will also host the World MasterCard Gourmet Theatre – an exclusive invitation-only environment that will see guests enjoying culinary demonstrations by some of the country’s top chefs. The theme for this year’s festival is black and white, with an emphasis on parasols and fans, as well as a prize for the best dressed couple. Tickets can be purchased through www.webtickets.co.za, with a 10% discount if they are purchased using a MasterCard card. For more information, visit www.franschhoekbubbly.co.za.

In Need of a Lifestyle Makeover? The Look & Feel Good Expo, South Africa’s premier health, wellness and lifestyle expo, will take place at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg from 9th to 11th November. Event attractions include health and wellness workshops, a fresh food kitchen, laughter workshops, a dance and movement stage, a fitness zone and martial arts studio, organic and natural products, a day spa pavilion, and a farmer’s market. Visitors can look forward to shopping for organic foodstuffs, browsing the stalls and learning more about alternative therapies and health products. There are also free workshops available, which will offer advice on lifestyle choices from experts, a chance to watch culinary pros whipping up nutritious dishes, as well as dance and yoga classes to try out. Visit www.ifeelgood.co.za for more information.

Wine on Tour Following on the success of The Wine Show Joburg and PE, the inaugural Durban Wine Show will be bringing some of the country’s best wines to the Durban Exhibition Centre from 23rd to 25th November. In addition to sampling wines from over 60 wineries, visitors can take part in interactive wine theatre sessions to learn more about these wines – directly from the people who make them. For those wanting to do their bit for charity, the latest Wine Laid Bare calendar will be available to purchase for R100 with all proceeds going to CANSA. Confirmed exhibitors at The Wine Show Durban include Bonnievale, Avontuur, Blaauwklippen, Orange River Cellars, Bosman, Domaine des Dieux, Winery of Good Hope and Simonsig. Tickets are available through Computicket. For more information, visit www.wineshow.co.za.

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events Music Under the Stars Nederburg will be celebrating summer with sizzling live entertainment and delicious food as part of the annual Nederburg Concert Series on 24th November. From 15h00 onwards, guests can select their spots on the soft lawns in front of the historic manor house and soak in the beautiful view of Nederburg’s verdant vineyards and surrounding mountains. Add a glass of wine, a specially prepared picnic platter and melodies to match from CODA, the popular Afro-jazz fusion band; the brilliant tenor James Bhemgee, as well as talented cabaret artist Niël Rademan, and you have the makings of a perfect summer evening. Tickets include a bottle of wine from Nederburg’s acclaimed Winemaster’s Reserve range per couple. Guests may bring their own picnic baskets or book a delicious Nederburg picnic platter for collection at the entrance. To book picnic platters or reserve tickets, contact +27 21 862 3104 or email nedwines@distell.co.za.

A Touch of 1920s Glamour Capetonians are invited to get into the 1920s swing of things as Great Gatsby makes its stylish appearance at Spier Wine Estate. Following sold-out shows in London, this interactive stage adaptation of the famous novel, promises live jazz, dancing and unbridled hedonism on the Spier lawns. Guests can look forward to late night foxtrots, moonshine in teapots, pearls, flappers, bootleggers and speakeasies. The ticket price includes the show, dinner and a bottle of wine per couple. Tickets are available at www.computicket.com and the show is scheduled to run from 20th November to 31st December. For more information, visit www.spier.co.za.

Wine, Dine and Design The third annual Sanlam Investments FoodWineDesign Fair will take place from 23rd to 25th November on the rooftop of Hyde Park Corner in Johannesburg. More than 100 talented winemakers, designers and food artisans will treat guests to the best of South African produce at this boutique outdoor market. Foodies, design fundis and those with a penchant for wine will be delighted by the wide array of exhibitors at the 2012 Fair. Designers such as Matblac, Skinny Lamix, Tinsel and Tin Table will offer visitors everything from jewellery to furniture. Prominent wine producers De Morgenzon, Tokara, Swartland All Stars, Graham Beck and Wedderwill will be introducing Johannesburg residents to their wines, and the likes of Pesto Princess, De Boerin olive oil and Green Goose Cheeses, will keep visitors’ pantries well stocked. For more information and well as pre-ticket sales, visit www.foodwinedesign.co.za.

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bits A Taste of Summer Celebrate Cape Town’s glorious summer weather with a visit to Constantia Glen boutique wine estate, just 20 minutes from the Cape Town city centre. Renowned for their cool climate Sauvignon Blancs and Bordeaux-style reds, Constantia Glen offers a wide range of tastings for visitors to their tasting room amidst the vineyards. The sun-kissed selection includes easy drinking summer pleasures such as the Constantia Saddle Rosé 2012 and Constantia Saddle Sauvignon Blanc 2012; the newly launched Constantia Glen Three 2009, and the elegant flagship, Constantia Glen Five 2008. There are also delicious cheese and charcuterie platters available to enjoy along with your wine tasting. Constantia Glen is open daily from 10h00 until 17h00 on weekdays, and from 10h00 until 16h00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Email wine@constantiaglen.co.za or visit www.constantiaglen.com for more information.

A South African Classic Remade It is no secret that Boerewors (a type of sausage) is one of the most renowned traditional South African dishes, but like most good things, the traditional “boerie” is due for an upgrade. That is where Gourmet Boerie restaurant in Cape Town comes in. The concept is all about the traditional Boerewors roll served with great craft beer and a touch of pizzazz! There are three craft beers available – Jack Black, Darling Brew and Devils Peak – while on the menu, Boerewors lovers can look forward to a host of delicious Boerewors rolls including The Breakfast Boerie, The Gorgonzola, The Herbiwors, and even a Kiddies Boerie. Customers have the choice between traditional, lamb, chicken or vegetarian Boerewors, while those with a sweet tooth can also look forward to traditional South African desserts such as milk tart and malva pudding. For more information, visit www.gourmetboerie.co.za or email enquiries@gourmetboerie.co.za.

Tickled Pink Bon Courage has recently launched their first pink Cap Classique, the Jacques Bruére Cuvée Brut Rosé 2006, beautifully packaged in shimmering pink and silver. The Brut Rosé 2006 is a classic blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, with a delicate salmon pink hue and a fine creamy mousse. Enticing aromas of raspberry and lemon with hints of toasted brioche lead onto a rich and expansive palate with fresh, generous, berry flavours and a silky richness followed by a long elegant finish. Delicious on its own and with oysters, the Brut Rosé 2006 complements a wide array of foods. Try it with grilled salmon, tuna, or prosciutto, to complement both the colour and the flavour of the Brut Rosé. It will also pair very well with creamy cheeses and is an extraordinary match for red fruit desserts. The Brut Rosé is available nationally at leading retailers.

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bits Clubs and Cuisine The Mont Rochelle Hotel has recently announced a two-night gourmetand-golf luxury package in conjunction with Pearl Valley, voted by Golf Digest as one of the top five courses in South Africa for 2011/12. Located in the tranquil Franschhoek Valley, Mont Rochelle’s five-star fine dining and lauded wines are the perfect complement to the game of golf. The package includes two nights’ accommodation in a Cabernet Room, full English breakfast daily, a five-course degustation dinner at Mont Rochelle’s award-winning Mange Tout restaurant, and a round of golf at Pearl Valley’s signature 18-hole course, as well as gourmet wine tasting and a cellar tour. Whether opting for a quality getaway to flaunt their handicap or improve their swing, or simply time away from the daily grind, this package will offer guests two blissful nights in one of the Franschhoek Valley’s most spectacular settings. Visit www.montrochelle. co.za for more information.

Deli Delicious Cape Town’s Winchester Mansions, and its resident and ever popular restaurant Harveys, has recently launched its own deli – H deli – to tempt culinary aficionados and food lovers alike. Visitors are guaranteed to be tempted by its selection of fresh breads, chocolate brownies, biscotti, homemade jams, artisanal chocolates and other mouth-watering baked goodies. The deli will also have homemade infused olive oils, premium charcuterie and cheeses on offer, as well as delicious sandwiches, wraps and ready-to-heat meals – a fantastic way for those on the go to enjoy wholesome meals with utmost convenience. And, of course, what would a deli be without freshly brewed coffee of superb quality? For more information, contact + 27 21 434 2351, email harveys@winchester.co.za or visit www.winchester.co.za.

Salty and Sweet Discover the unusual combination of Fleur du Cap wines and artisanal salts from around the world at weekly wine tastings at Die Bergkelder, every Wednesday from 1st October. The unique flavours of naturally occurring, ancient salts are the perfect fit for Fleur du Cap wines, which are crafted in a style determined by the grapes themselves. There will be five Fleur du Cap wines on offer at the weekly savoury parings. These will include Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier (paired with golden cheese straws encrusted with flaked Khoisan sea salt), Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay (paired with olives preserved with Black Lava Salt from Hawaii), and Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc (partnered with popcorn drizzled in Pakistani volcanic salt). The tastings start at 12h00 every Wednesday. Bookings can be made by calling +27 21 809 8225. Visit www.fleurducap.co.za for more information.

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Travel

Bush Breakaways South Africa’s Quick Game Reserve Getaways

South Africa is spoilt for choice when it comes to top-class game reserves, and increasingly some of the best on offer are now popping up within much closer proximity of the country’s large cities, making them convenient for a weekend away or midweek break. Here is our pick of the best of South Africa’s quick getaway game reserves. Text: Nicky Furniss Images: © Pumba Private Game Reserve, ZuluWaters Game Reserve, Dinokeng Game Reserve

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Travel

ZuluWatersGameReserve,KwaZulu-NatalMidlands Nestled in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, ZuluWaters Game Reserve offers visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of game – including Cape Buffalo and wildebeest – and to enjoy the reserve’s picturesque surroundings in a far more hands-on manner. The Bushman’s River and its dams are ideal for fly-fishing, and thanks to the absence of any large predators, guests can also opt for guided walks around the reserve. Undoubtedly the best way to truly experience ZuluWaters, however, is on the back of a horse. The reserve boasts a number of beautiful Appaloosa horses which are suitable for both experienced and novice riders. The reserve offers two and three hour rides in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the light is at its softest and the animals in their abundance. Being on horseback allows riders to get far closer to the reserve’s inhabitants than a vehicle ever could, and comes with the added bonus of time to reflect and a feeling of truly getting back to nature. For an equally tranquil game viewing experience, ZuluWaters can organise hot-air balloon rides, as well as trips to see some of the reserve’s original Bushmen cave paintings.

Guests have a choice of staying at Lake Cottage, Nandi House or in the architectural wonder of Shaka Lodge. The lodge was originally built as a personal residence by the reserve’s owner, and as a result it is a home away from home, albeit a very stylish one. It is available for single party bookings only and can accommodate three couples in separate and lavishly appointed bedrooms. Perhaps the best thing about staying at Shaka Lodge (other than the exclusivity of having the reserve almost entirely to yourself) is that it comes with a resident chef, Mbongiseni, who is a veritable wizard at whipping up tantalising meals worthy of any five-star establishment. Adjacent Nandi House can be used to accommodate additional guests in the same party, or can be hired out separately on a self-catering basis. Couples in search of a romantic hideaway need look no further than quaint Lake Cottage. It is perfectly placed for a spot of fishing at nearby Lake Murray or just as a quiet retreat. ZuluWaters Game Reserve is located near Mooi River and is a one hour drive from Pietermaritzburg. For more information, contact +27 36 352 0100, email info@zuluwaters.com or visit www.zuluwatersgamereserve.com.

Inverdoorn Game Lodge, Western Cape Within a two-and-a-half hour drive from Cape Town, Inverdoorn Game Reserve in the Karoo offers both day and overnight visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the 1,200 or so animals that call the reserve home. These include Bat-eared foxes, jackals, giraffe and leopard. The reserve also runs a specialised cheetah rehabilitation programme. Overnight guests can interact with Inverdoorn’s tame cheetahs, and have the possibility of spotting wild ones on one of the reserve’s three-hour game drives. Guests who like to experience the beauty of their natural surroundings under their own steam can also sign up for a guided walk through the reserve with an expert tracker. Inverdoorn offers a range of accommodation options for overnight guests, from four-star bungalows and guest houses for larger groups, to five-star luxury chalets and the ultimate opulent getaway, the Ambassador Suite. Guests can also look forward to delicious French and South African fusion cuisine made from only the freshest ingredients, most of which comes from the reserve’s resident organic farms. For more information, contact +27 214 344 639, email info@inverdoorn.com or visit www.inverdoorn.com.

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Travel

Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng When it finally opened last year, Dinokeng Game Reserve made history by becoming Gauteng’s first free-roaming game reserve. Situated just 90 km from Johannesburg and a mere 40 km from Pretoria, Dinokeng was designed not only to be a tourism destination, but also a source of employment for the surrounding community. Unlike many traditional game reserves, Dinokeng’s 18,500 hectares of land is owned by a number of different owners, which means that visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to the range of activities that is offered in the reserve. Apart from traditional games drives, visitors can also opt for clay pigeon shooting, boat cruises and even microlight flights. Dinokeng’s accommodation options are equally varied, and range from self-catering chalets and intimate guesthouses to luxury five-star lodges. Day visitors also have the opportunity to complete the perfect bush-inspired day out with a delicious meal at one of the reserve’s restaurants, or even a spot of wine tasting in the middle of the bush. For more information, visit www.dinokengbig5.com.

Pumba Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape Unlike many of the game reserves in the north of the country, the Eastern Cape is a malaria free area, making it the ideal bush break getaway destination for the whole family. Pumba Private Game Reserve offers its guests the full Big Five experience, with the added convenience of being less than a 90 minute drive from Port Elizabeth. The game reserve may be named after a lovable cartoon warthog – and indeed Pumba is teeming with these charming creatures – but it currently boasts far more famous residents in the form of a number of rare white lions. The highlight of any game drive here is undoubtedly to come across the impressive dominant male, his magnificent white mane resplendent in the afternoon sun. Guests can also look forward to a host of other animal encounters, from herds of elephant and gently nibbling giraffes to over 300 species of birds. Thanks to large swathes of open grassland, it is also possible to watch three adolescent cheetahs honing their hunting skills, while opportunistic jackals constantly shadow them. When not enjoying Pumba’s rich animal diversity, guests have the opportunity to enjoy its unrivalled hospitality. With a choice of two equally luxurious but distinctive camps, guests can

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choose the tone of their getaway. Msenge Bush Lodge offers the quintessential Out of Africa feel, complete with four poster beds, sweet smelling thatched roofs and roaring evening bonfires. Msenge’s 11 luxury suites are glass walled, so guests can truly appreciate being surrounded by African bushveld. Viewing decks and private plunge pools provide the perfect spot from which to watch antelope grazing on the plain below. Pumba Water Lodge is perfectly positioned overlooking the tranquil waters of Lake Cariega. The lodge’s main communal areas and all 12 of its stone chalets enjoy this magnificent view. Guests may spot a swooping Fish Eagle as they luxuriate in their own private outdoor showers, and are guaranteed to be serenaded by grunting hippos as they enjoy a sundowner on Water Lodge’s floating pier. The cuisine at both lodges is superb, the wine list extensive, and Pumba’s friendly and professional staff go out of their way to make guests feel at home. For reservations and more information, contact +27 46 603 2000, email respumba@pehotels.co.za or visit www. pumbagamereserve.co.za. n


Feature

A Piece of an Island

All Your Own Buying Island Property

As well as having the bragging rights to owning your own little part of paradise, buying an island property also has numerous investment benefits, and with a number of spectacular locations right on South Africa’s doorstep there are plenty of investment opportunities to choose from. Text: Nicola Weir Images: © Pam Golding

Indian Ocean islands in close proximity to South Africa, such as Mauritius and the Seychelles, are of course the natural choice for buyers seeking to invest in this type of property. With daily international flights now connecting them to Europe and Africa, these islands are fast becoming top beach holiday destinations for visitors from around the world. “An increasing number of investors are taking note of the real estate opportunities in these regions,

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including those purchasing to relocate, as a second home and for pure investment purposes,” says Chris Immelman, MD of the International and Projects Division for Pam Golding Properties. Mauritius and the Seychelles are very popular sites and South Africans continue to demonstrate a strong appetite for property in these regions. According to Jonathan Tagg, Director for Pam Golding properties in Mauritius, the reason


Feature

Pam Golding has reported sales in excess of $330 million to date on the Eden Island Marina development in the Seychelles

for this is down to the fact that these locations have sustained their desirability as prime tourism destinations and in addition, boast stable economies. Mauritius, in particular, has high appeal for both families and business owners. It has become a popular destination for those who conduct business outside South Africa under a different tax domicile and even for those who want to continue working after becoming ‘semi-retired’. It is also well suited to families, as the island boasts good schools, direct flights to most regions and is seen by many as a more favourable place to live in terms of security. When this is added to the appeal of an island lifestyle with pleasurable weather all year round and the fact that many island destinations near South Africa have economies that have shown sustained growth over the past few years, it is not difficult to see why these properties have become immensely popular both as holiday homes and permanent residences. One important factor to consider, if you are thinking about buying yourself a piece of island paradise, is that space is limited. An island can only accommodate so many houses, resorts and villas, and so competition for this precious commodity is fierce. So what exactly is the

demand for properties in a destination such as Mauritius? According to Tagg, the demand for this area is pretty high. “Since entering the Mauritian market with a dedicated Pam Golding office ten years ago, we have virtually sold out six real estate and integrated resort scheme developments,” says Tagg. He goes on to explain that people are willing to pay top dollar for properties of this nature with the most interest being in the $500,000 to $1 million mark. “This price range achieves the highest capital growth with many buyers seeking a relocation property for the future while others are simply looking to acquire a leisure property,” Tagg explains. These numbers might sound high but potential buyers should keep in mind that an investment of $500,000 or higher gains you Mauritian residency – a factor that is often crucial to the transaction. If buyers are looking to purchase Mauritius property with a view to gaining residency, there are two options. The first is

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the Integrated Resort Scheme which offers foreign property purchasers access to luxury residential property with high class facilities and amenities such as golf courses, marinas, health and beauty centres, swimming pools, nautical and sports facilities, and high quality restaurants. The minimum sale values in these developments are usually around $500,000. The second option, the Real Estate Scheme, is for small landowners and allows the development of any mix of residences or land for sale, mainly to non-citizens on freehold land of at least 1 arpent but not exceeding ten hectares (23.69 arpents). There is no restriction on the minimum price for the acquisition of a residential Mauritius property under this scheme but the acquisition of property worth at least $500,000 entitles the purchaser to a residence permit.

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The Seychelles, though expensive, has proved equally popular with Pam Golding’s sales figures on the Eden Island marina development reaching in excess of $330 million to date and $6.7 million in March 2012 alone. Properties in Mahe, the capital, start at $160,000, according to Jean-Paul Maurel, Director at Premium Realty, and a furnished twobedroom house sells for about $640,000. In Mahe prices per square metre vary from $50 per square metre for land without sea views to $1,500 per square metre for prime beachfront properties. Prices for buying a property might be high in these regions but those who have taken the plunge and are now living the island life would argue that having your own piece of paradise and living a laid back, secluded existence is worth every penny. n


Travel

South Africa’s

Royal Age The Kingdom of Mapungubwe

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe is Southern Africa’s first known kingdom and is estimated to have had at least 5,000 inhabitants

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One of the most remarkable kingdoms to have existed in Southern Africa has also been one of its most enigmatic – until now.The Kingdom of Mapungubwe has successfully been unearthed in recent years, and is now attracting tourists’attention. A visit to this UNESCOWorld Heritage site is certainly worthwhile – its story and its treasures will enthral anyone who ventures into this incredible region of Limpopo. Text & Images: © Keri Harvey

A thousand years ago, the Limpopo Valley was a busy place. Over 5,000 people lived where the Limpopo and Shashe rivers meet, in the mighty Kingdom of Mapungubwe. They hunted elephants for ivory, smelted gold, iron and copper and traded with exotic cultures on the east coast of Africa. On foot, they followed the Limpopo River all the way to Mozambique, where they traded their gold and ivory for delicate glass beads, finely woven cloth and Chinese porcelain. For 200 years the people of Mapungubwe went about their business, and then, just before 1300, they seemingly vanished into thin air. In 1932 a hunting expedition near Musina rediscovered the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in the strangest of ways. The party ran out of water, so they approached a bush hut and asked the old man inside for drinking water. He poured it from an unusual looking clay pot, but would not divulge its origin to the hunters. Eventually he disclosed that he had found the clay pot at a nearby secret hill.

A young local volunteered to point out the hill, which turned out to be the royal hill of Mapungubwe. And so this ancient kingdom, which had been lost for centuries, was found again. Mapungubwe was southern Africa’s first known kingdom and the site of many rare treasures. Best known is the famous one horned gold rhino discovered here, but gold ornaments, jewellery, millions of glass beads and East Coast cowrie shells were also excavated here, and are indicative of the right royal life clearly enjoyed at Mapungubwe. Three graves were found on the royal hill, indicating that this Iron Age community buried some of their dead sitting upright and facing east. These graves were also filled with treasures, which seems to signify that they were in fact royal burials. Archaeologists from the University of Pretoria have since excavated the site and they have estimated habitation in the area to have been from 1030 to 1290 AD. Archaeological evidence suggests that the actual hill was

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Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage Site today can learn more about Mapungubwe’s discovery, excavation and the many artefacts found here – including the famous gold rhino. They also have an opportunity to summit Mapungubwe Hill, previously the preserve of the area’s royal family

only settled in about 1220 AD, when Mapungubwe was already the hub of a powerful kingdom ruling the north of Limpopo province, along with north-east Botswana and southern Zimbabwe. Mapungubwe also shows some of the first evidence in southern Africa of a class system in action, with the royals living on the hilltop and the common farmers and craftsmen living around the base of the hill. Countless prized treasures have been unearthed on top of the hill in the royal enclave, indicating that a powerful political and economic system was in place. The commoners down below farmed cattle, sheep and goats, millet, sorghum and cotton – evidence of which has been found in ancient storage huts. Their other function was to provide a circle of protection for the king, who lived quite untouchably high above. It was forbidden for the common people to even look at the king directly. Mapungubwe’s biggest mystery, however, is why towards 1290 AD the people of Mapungubwe became restless. It could have been because of a dramatic change in climate, a malaria outbreak or divisive politics. Whatever the cause, the people of Mapungubwe split into factions, packed up and left. Some headed north to Zimbabwe to form part of the Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe, while others headed east to possibly form the Kingdom of Thulamela in the area that is now the northern Kruger National Park. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mapungubwe Hill lies at the heart of the evocative Mapungubwe

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National Park, a place of baobabs, wide open plains and dramatic natural rock sculptures. There is also a variety of unusual game species to be seen in the park. Klipspringer walk rock ledges and eland stand tall and stoic in the grassy reaches, while elephant, gemsbok and leopard also live here, along with over 400 bird species. As we climb the wooden ladder and summit royal Mapungubwe Hill, we are amazed by the rock larders, stone game boards and large free standing grinding stones used by the ancients. Everything they needed is here, fashioned from stone. Down below in the archaeological dig site, the story is written in the earth. Layer by layer through time, it reveals all that went on at Mapungubwe. It is a unique place with an enchanting story to tell: Of a great kingdom long ago that was lost and found, and in so doing gave us a royal legacy that connects us to antiquity. It is a thoroughly South African royal story, quirky and quite unexpected. n

Contact Information Accommodation: SANParks reservations, Tel +27 12 428 9111, web www.sanparks.org Mapungubwe National Park: Tel +27 15 534 7923 Mapungubwe Museum, University of Pretoria: Tel +27 12 420 2968


Feature

Conquering South Africa’s

Litterbug CAN DO! Trekking for Trash

A pair of South Africans, determined to see cleaner beaches around the country’s coastlines, will embark on a seven-month journey from October 2012 to April 2013 to create awareness about littering. Text: Cadine Pillay/mediaclubsouthafrica.com Images: © Erlo Brown

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Camilla Howard and Michael Baretta plan to educate South Africans about the detriments of littering as they walk 3,000 km along South Africa’s coastline


Feature The pair started their journey at Alexander Bay, close to the Namibian border, and plan to end it at Kosi Bay, near the Mozambican border

Camilla Howard, the founder of a Cape Town cooking school, and Michael Baretta, a manager for branding agency The Creative Counsel, plan to walk along 3,000 km of coastline from Alexander Bay near the Namibian border, around the southern tip of the country and all the way up the east coast to Kosi Bay, next to the border with Mozambique. CAN DO! Trekking for Trash, as their initiative is called, aims to raise awareness among South Africans about the growing problem of littering. “Camilla and I have always wanted to combine our passions,” says Baretta. “This is something we’ve always wanted to do and we’d really like to inspire a change in our society.” Before starting CAN DO! Trekking for Trash, the two researched the common reasons for littering and what this means to the South African society. “Litter is so much more than just unsightly,” explains Baretta, adding that it results in some serious environmental, social and economic issues. “Most notably it perpetuates the broken-window effect in our country.” The broken-window theory argues that a clean environment that is well maintained is a sign that the area is monitored and that criminal behaviour will not be tolerated. “If we can clean up South Africa, maybe we can reduce crime,” says Baretta. “Fundamentally it’s about an attitude of respect.” Howard added that litter is something that has always bothered the pair on a personal level, and this is prompting them to make a real difference and to change the attitudes of South Africans, especially young people, towards littering.

Taking Each Day as it Comes The daily plan for Baretta and Howard requires them to start each day of their journey at 06h00 and walk anything between 18 and 35 km before resting for the day. While one carries the litterbin – which is made of cloth, and can be carried like a backpack to take about 20 litres of rubbish at a time – the other will be responsible for carrying their food and water supplies for the day. The objective for each day’s mission is to fill the bin as many times as possible, while identifying the problem areas with regard to littering. The pair also hopes to encourage communities in the different towns they will pass through to make an effort to keep their areas clean. “It’s very difficult to measure change in perceptions,” says Baretta. “The strongest motivation for us would be to see how many other people we motivate to do something similar to our cause.” They also plan to visit 15 schools along their route, where they will perform a skit with a theme related to littering and recycling. Furthermore, they plan to install recycling stations sponsored by Collect-a-Can on the schools’ grounds. The

schools will participate in a programme where they will compete for a cash prize that will be given to the one that collects the most cans.

Making Noise for a Cause Using social media like Facebook and Twitter, Baretta and Howard will expose just how dirty South Africans are by posting pictures of the most littered areas. By geo-tagging areas that are too large for the two of them to manage, the two will challenge friends and fans of their initiative to take on the task of gathering volunteers to help clean them up. On a national level, they are raising funds to support informal waste collectors by providing them with protective gear, reflective outfits, gloves and also the skills to develop their small businesses. Packaging giant Nampak metal manufacturers and Collecta-Can have collectively formed an organisation called CAN DO! Trekking for Trash, which is the headline sponsor for Trekking for Trash. It is funding the maintenance of the social media platforms and providing money to keep Baretta and Howard nourished throughout their journey. Other sponsors include AVIS Fleet Services, Nokia, ADT, Hi-Tec and Energizer. Follow CAN DO! Trekking for Trash’s progress on www.facebook.com/TrekkingForTrash and via Twitter @Trekking4Trash. n

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A Canopy of Stars Luxury Sleeping Out Options

What experience could be more exotic than spending a night under the stars in the middle of the wilderness? With nothing but a fresh breeze between you and the canopy of the night sky above, these lodges offer an accommodation option unlike any other. Text: Nicola Weir Images: © Loisaba, Blue Mountain, Lion Sands, Kagga Kamma, Tswalu

Malori Decks atTswalu Private Game Reserve, Kalahari Tswalu Kalahari’s sleep-out deck, The Malori (which means ‘dreamer’ in Tswana), offers guests the unique experience of a safari sleep-out on a magnificent 100,000 hectare five-star private game reserve. The Malori deck boasts a raised platform with a thatched overhang for protection should it rain. Guests can choose to sleep under the thatch or further along the deck where it is completely open. The quaint bush suite also has weather-proof blinds which can be rolled up or down according to preference. There is no compromise on luxury. The king-size bed is dressed with exquisite Aldona linen, and luxury toweling robes and slippers are provided. An adjacent outdoor toilet, basin and shower are just a short distance away along a lit walkway. Guests are escorted to the sleep-out by a guide on a game vehicle from one of Tswalu’s luxury lodges; The Motse or Tarkuni Private Villa. On arrival, guests enjoy sundowners and snacks, while the chef prepares dinner. Guests wake at sunrise to the sounds of the early morning in the Kalahari, followed by tea and coffee and a delicious continental breakfast on the deck. Tswalu also provides children’s camping beds, so the whole family can enjoy an exhilarating Kalahari sleep-out under the stars. For more information visit www.tswalu.com.

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Star Beds at Loisaba Wilderness, Kenya Located on its own 61,000 acre private wildlife conservancy and perched on the edge of a plateau facing Mount Kenya, Loisaba Wilderness offers a unique and exciting safari experience. There are various accommodation options, but the best to bring you closer to the Kenyan wilderness is their two sets of ‘Star Beds’ – Koija and Kiboko. The Koija Star Beds are located 30 minutes from the lodge and overlook the Ewaso Nyiro River, while the Kiboko Star Beds are a 20 minute drive from the lodge and overlook a waterhole. Each Star Bed is set up on a raised, handcrafted, wooden platform that is partially covered with a thatched roof. Homemade ‘Mukokoteni’ beds are left out on the open deck for a night under the stars, but can also be wheeled under the shelter of the thatched roof. The local Samburu community own the Koija Star Beds, and are deeply involved in the management on both a daily and strategic level. Loisaba also offers an astounding range of activities including game drives, guided bush walks, horse riding, camel treks, quad biking, river rafting, fishing, mountain biking, spa treatments, tennis, croquet and boules. For more information, visit www.loisaba.com.

Outcrop Suites at Kagga Kamma, South Africa Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve is located in an untouched wilderness area south of the magnificent Cederberg Mountains, three hours from Cape Town. Away from mobile phones, traffic pollution, highways and city lights you will breathe a sigh of relief as you take in the silence and starlit skies. The stunning location of the lodge was once home to Bushmen and today many of their ancient cave paintings are still clearly visible on the rocks, some dating back 6,000 years. This spiritual land offers spectacular scenery, majestic mountains, strange rock formations and phenomenal night skies, where the Milky Way, billions of stars, planets, satellites and shooting stars may be seen with the naked eye. This exceptional sky view serves as the backdrop to the accommodation options at Kagga Kamma. Situated on a remote rocky outcrop far from the lodge, their Outcrop Suites provide guests with a chance to experience a ‘down on the ground’ luxury sleep out. While guests are checked in at Kagga Kamma’s lodge they are able to choose to sleep outside if the weather permits. Guests can choose to either have a picnic basket for dinner or depart to the outcrop after dinner at the lodge. A roaring fire and drinks are also provided. For more information, visit www.kaggakamma.co.za.

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Swag Beds at Blue Mountains Private Safari, Australia Blue Mountains Private Safaris provides an exclusive wilderness experience on Sydney’s doorstep. With access to a unique private campsite, a specialist safari guide leads guests to secluded spots to find wildlife and explore the gorges and escarpments of the southern Blue Mountains. Blue Mountain Private Safaris are designed to expose guests to the sights and sounds of the surrounding bush, whether it is a dawn chorus of kookaburras, or a kangaroo that has come down to the river bank to drink in the evening. The accommodation concept at Blue Mountains is simple – with none of the appliances we take for granted in modern life, they chose to focus on a few key creature comforts with the aim of ensuring that each guest eats well, drinks well and sleeps well. And what could give you a better night’s sleep than being swept along the Milky Way after bidding the bush goodnight. Your bed is the deluxe version of a swag, the bedding of choice for generations of pioneers in the Australian bush. It includes a thick mattress, 100% cotton 500 thread count linen, a cosy duvet for the cooler bush evenings and a choice of pillows. Your swag is laid out on a raised platform while an inlaid cushion provides another layer of comfort underneath your mattress. Above you the southern skies and a canopy of stars stretch from one ridgeline to another. Meals are enjoyed under a simple canvas and timber structure on the banks of the river. A drop of premium Australian wine and the soft crackle of the fire ensure complete surrender to your wilderness surrounds. Visit www.bluemountainsprivatesafaris.com for more information.

Chalkley Treehouse at Lion Sands, South Africa The Chalkley Treehouse is a secure bush bedroom under the African stars, with all the comforts one would expect from a five-star safari lodge. The privacy and seclusion of the Treehouse allows guests to be completely alone, elevated above the wilderness below – a unique experience that few places in the world can offer. It is built around a majestic 500 year-old Leadwood Tree, with secure access and beautiful views extending over the plains. In the Treehouse, a bush bedroom is set up to accommodate two people for the night with as many comforts as are practically possible, including a mosquito net, mattress, linen, bedside table, toilet and bush vanity table. Guests are taken to the Treehouse at sunset, where drinks and a delicious picnic dinner await them. They can then sit back and take in the African dusk, relaxing while they absorb the beauty and sounds of the bushveld, before turning in for their night’s slumber beneath the stars. As dawn breaks, guests are collected by their ranger for a morning game drive, followed by a delicious bush breakfast at one of the many animal and bird hides. Visit www.lionsands.com for more information. n

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Feature

Personal Encounters of the

Animal Kind

Peter Allison

When he was 19 years old, Australian Peter Allison flipped a coin to decide whether he should head for Africa or South America. Africa won, and his subsequent years as a game ranger spawned two popular books: Don’t Run, Whatever You Do and Don’t Look Behind You . He often wondered, though, what would have happened if the coin had landed on the other side. So at the age of 35, Peter headed to South America, and his many adventures there are captured in his latest book, How to Walk a Puma . We recently spoke to Peter about his love of animals, his most memorable moments and his latest book. Where do you think your love of animals stems from? Peter Allison: I have just always felt an affinity with animals. When an animal hurts you, you can always understand why. Animals are incapable of malice and I think that just makes them incredibly endearing. You write about many of your animal encounters in your books, but do you have one that sticks out for you more than the others? PA: For me it was a family of cheetahs that I got to know so well that I could lie down with them. There was a mother and her three young and she had killed an impala. I lay with them as they pulled chunks of meat off it – they were too busy eating to be concerned with me. Then they had their full-belly nap afterwards and there was nothing really exciting happening, so I fell asleep too. Later I woke up, because one of the young ones came over and started spooning with me. It was just such an incredible moment, because I had loved Africa for such a long time and right then I felt a little bit of love back. If you were dropped “Bear Grylls” style into a wilderness destination, what would be your best and worst case scenario? PA: I think the best case scenario would be if Bear Grylls was with me, because he’s a lot more competent than I am! And the worst case scenario would be if it was somewhere cold. If you dropped me in Alaska or Antarctica, I would have no idea what to do. The African bush would be fine; I could live off the land and I would feel pretty comfortable. In South America, I would also be ok, but I can’t stand the cold. My mother was Swedish, but I missed out on that gene. You say in How to Walk a Puma that the only animal you truly dislike is your own species, but there must be some animal that rubs you the wrong way? PA: I don’t have an enormous respect for cows, because they’re just stupid. I am very fond of them when they are on my plate, but not in real life. I have also lost my dignity to buffalo so many times that I can’t claim any great fondness for them. Buffalo have taught me things that really should be common sense – like you can jump into a thorn bush, but you can’t jump back out. I have spent half an

Text: Nicky Furniss Images: © Peter Allison

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During his time living with the remote Huaorani people in Ecuador, Peter tried to assimilate with the tribe as much as possible, including stripping down to nothing but a string around his waist

hour with a Leatherman clipping myself out of an Acacia tree that I had dived into to get away from a buffalo. Plus who wants to be killed by a glorified cow? But the only animal that I am afraid of is crocodiles. Other than crocodiles, what frightens you? PA: I am terrified of heights – I don’t even like standing up! But the most scared I have ever been was scuba diving – not in a cage – and seeing a great white shark. All it did was swim past, and that’s all it needed to do to be the most terrifying animal encounter I have ever had. A great white shark is just like a bus with teeth and it’s specifically built to kill – terrifying. You often say in your book that you do stupid things. What is the stupidest thing you have ever done? PA: Hmm, there is such a long list of things to choose from! If there is anything that I regret, it’s that I tried to pull a hair from an elephant’s tail. That goes against my ethos. It was part of that whole macho part of guiding that I really don’t like. I did guiding because I love animals, not because I love showing off. It was a stupid thing to do, and not only because we ended up playing cat and mouse for half an hour, but because I had upset my favourite animal. I love elephants so much and I had been disrespectful and stupid. In How to Walk a Puma you mention having a moment on a barren glacier in South America that made you stop and think. PA: Yeah, in remote places like that you just get the feeling that if your radio broke and your vehicle died, that is the kind of spot where nature just looks at you sideways because it’s just so desolate. I love that feeling, because suddenly it doesn’t matter if you have bills or a crazy family or you’re running out of airtime – all of those things that people worry about. It puts everything into perspective, because in those places you are just so small. And you can also have that with an animal encounter. When an elephant charges you and you survive, you never feel more alive than when you have been closest to death. I don’t do bungee jumping or anything like that, but I do love being chased by elephants! You have chosen quite an action packed lifestyle, so was it not rather a change of pace to write a book? PA: I have had two lifelong loves: animals and books. So I always wanted to write a book and I had always wanted to write about my experiences as a safari guide. When I went to South America, though, I actually said to my publishers: “There is no book here; I am too old to be jumping off things and falling over and hurting myself and I am going to be really boring.” And then a couple of weeks later I was running 16 km a day tied to a

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Peter now works as a marketing executive for Africa’s leading safari group, Wilderness Safaris, which allows him to globetrot to his heart’s content

puma! So I thought: “Ok, older but definitely not wiser!” But I don’t want to be caught in earthquakes and live with potentially hostile tribes. Those things will probably keep happening in my life, and I am happy if they happen, but I don’t want to have to manufacture them. I would rather let things happen as they will. If it takes ten years for me to have enough experiences to write another book, then I am happy with that. n

Quick Questions Worst holiday destination: Cairo Favourite comfort food? Chocolate… or gin! What is your most embarrassing character flaw? No filter between brain and mouth. Do you have a favourite animal? Elephant, without a doubt. What would people be surprised to know about you? That I am an amateur boxer.


Travel

A

FrenchInspired Retreat

Franschhoek Country House and Villas

Staying at the most comfortable and refined accommodation is a must if you are planning to attend the upcoming Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival. Celebrating the glorious sunny days of summer can also be an opportunity to celebrate yourself – the indulgent and pampering provisions at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas are ideal for any traveller wanting the ultimate lifestyle and wellness experience. Text & Images: Š Franschhoek Villas

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The annual Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is one of Franschhoek’s most popular events, when visitors can sample some of the country’s renowned Cap Classiques, as well as a selection of fine French champagnes, while enjoying the pretty gardens surrounding the town’s Huguenot Monument. Visitors who will be making their way to Franschhoek for the event on 30th November and 1st December need look no further than the Franschhoek Country House and Villas for a luxurious home away from home during their visit. The Franschhoek Country House and Villas is a charming gem in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley. This five-star establishment mirrors the French charisma that has made the town such a historically important spot for 300 years. Every feature of the hotel is carefully crafted to give guests a genuine sense of being part of Franschhoek’s French heritage. The cobbled streets, fountains and old stone buildings make the establishment one of the most charming, and finest, in the country. Four room types are available at the Franschhoek

Country House and Villas. Many features are standard in all, including complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and air conditioning. The De Luxe Rooms are renovated portions of the historic manor house, and come complete with en suite bathrooms, lounges and private balconies, as well as all of the amenities one would expect from a five-star establishment. The Luxury Rooms are more spacious than the De Luxe Rooms and boast under floor heating, a fireplace, private patio and lavish lounge area. The Garden Cottages are child friendly, with two floors in each. The private patio and balcony ensures there is enough space for the whole family, and all can truly relax in the peaceful garden surroundings. Finally, the Villa Suites are the newest and most luxurious offerings in the hotel. Each villa covers 100 m², and has a spacious lounge, dining room, fireplace and two private balconies. To top off the retreat experience, the in-house spa offers a range of massage and beauty treatments. Full body massages, reflexology, body wraps and facials are just the beginning – the hotel has also developed a number of

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signature treatments for both women and men. The spa is intimate and welcoming, and the professional pampering staff will guarantee the best possible experience. The hotel also boasts the award-winning Monneaux Restaurant, one of the top fine dining restaurants in the country. Head chef Louis Jansen serves up truly inspired creations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch on the fountain terrace is a delightful way to pass the afternoon, while dinner in the refined and elegant manor house dining room makes it clear why the restaurant has won numerous awards over the years. The underground cellar is ideal for private dinners with an extra-special feel, surrounded by some of the best South African and international wines, many made in the Franschhoek Valley. If exploring more of the region’s culinary pleasures is on your list of things to do, the hotel staff will book wine tastings and make reservations at restaurants around Franschhoek on your behalf, and the free shuttle service will take you there. Should you wish to combine business with pleasure; the Franschhoek Country House and Villas will cater for your every business need. The conference facilities include all the best technology needed to make a meeting successful and impressive. Data projectors, high speed internet access and televisions are just some of the features available in the opulent boardroom. The hotel staff will gladly make any special arrangements needed for your function. Whether you combine your stay with the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival at the end of November, or your holiday extends over the rest of the

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summer season, your visit is guaranteed to be memorable at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas. For reservations, or to make an enquiry, contact +27 21 876 3386, email info@fch.co.za or visit www.fch.co.za. Also check the website for special offers during the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival. n


Feature

WatchMaking at its Finest

The Vacheron Constantin Malte Collection

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Celebrating the 100 th anniversary of the introduction of the tonneau shape to watch making, Vacheron Constantin has redesigned its iconic Malte Collection and enriched it with the addition of four new models. These new models are classic in spirit, yet contemporary in style, just as they were a hundred years ago when Vacheron Constantin helped to introduce form-watches to the stylish gentleman’s wrist. Text & Images: © Vacheron Constantin

The year 1912 is a milestone date in the history of Vacheron Constantin. It was in this year that the Genevabased watch makers adopted the tonneau, or barrel shape for its timepieces – a novel feature in watch making history. Representing a revolution in the field of horological design codes, almost entirely dominated at the time by the rounded shape typical of pocket watches, this model proved an immediate success among both men and women. From its first appearance, it became an emblematic shape that would be associated during the 20th Century with the most prestigious horological collections, interpreted in particular through the Malte collection which was first introduced in 2000. The new models in the collection, the Malte Tourbillon, Malte Small Seconds and Malte Lady are complemented by an anniversary watch issued in a 100 piece limited series. These new timepieces were designed and crafted to accentuate the fact that the form-watch continues to hold a place of its own – one of exclusivity, originality and sophistication – within fine watch making. The design of the new pieces was approached according to the specific design codes of the Malte collection. This approach was accompanied by a reflection on mechanical horology and watch making craftsmanship and with that in mind, the Vacheron Constantin engineers and movement design engineers developed a new tonneau-shaped movement, and moulded the shape of the case.

The Calibre 2795, which was entirely developed and crafted in-house, now beats at the heart of the Malte Tourbillon model and displays the brand’s proven mastery of the world of horological complications. Moreover, the Malte Tourbillon, Malte Small Seconds and Malte 100th Anniversary Edition are all officially approved as meeting the new criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva – an independent certification of origin as well as a label honouring the technical and aesthetic mastery of fine watch making expertise.

The Malte Tourbillon In creating the new Malte collection, Vacheron Constantin could not ignore the most iconic of all horological complications, the tourbillon. This is represented on the Malte Tourbillon, the largest timepiece in the collection. On a pure, restrained dial featuring pink gold hour markers and Roman numerals for the 6 and 12 o’clock indications, the tourbillon bearing the seconds hand finds its natural place. The Malte Tourbillon has a curving 18K pink gold case and is fitted with a brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap complete with Maltese cross-shaped rose gold folding clasp. Such an exceptional watch deserved an equally exceptional movement, and this model is duly equipped with mechanical hand-wound Calibre 2795, comprising 169 parts, which beats at a frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour) and boasts a two day power reserve. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature

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Maltese cross, and magnificently showcases the exceptional level of finishing of each movement part, including a number of naturally hand-bevelled interior angles. The rounding off of the tourbillon bar, which always represents a significant technical challenge, calls for over 11 hours of manual work in order to meet the finishing criteria demanded by Vacheron Constantin. Rounding off consists of filing the end of each arm in order to give them a conical or semi-cylindrical shape. To finalise this operation, the craftsmen rub it down each arm with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes in order to achieve a perfectly polished effect.

The Malte Small Seconds The new Malte Collection now includes the Malte Small Seconds – an exceptionally understated model displaying the hours, minutes and small seconds, which for horological purists represents one of the most demanding stylistic exercises. Creating a pure watch interpreted in its simplest possible expression is an extremely subtle exercise in seeking equilibrium and harmony. Such is certainly the case for the Malte Small Seconds. It comes in an 18K pink gold case. The hour-markers and the 12 and 6 o’clock Roman numerals, also in pink gold, have been redesigned to smoothly follow the new curve that has been given to the tonneaushaped case. The hour and minute hands, as well as the small seconds at 6 o’clock, are all driven by the Vacheron Constantin 4400 AS movement and it is fitted with a strap in brown Mississippiensis alligator leather, complete with a Malte cross-shaped pink gold buckle.

The Malte Lady With the Malte Lady, Vacheron Constantin wished to pay tribute to all those with a preference for diminutively sized watches. This edition features a curving 28.3 x 38.7 mm pink gold case which houses a quartz movement, the Calibre 1202. Hour-markers along with Roman numerals for the 6 and 12 o’clock indications elegantly accentuate the diamond setting around the bezel, creating a striking contrast between

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horological classicism and a jewellery sparkle. This elegant and refined gemset watch comes with two strap versions in Mississippiensis alligator leather or satin.

The Malte 100th Anniversary Edition Model In celebration of the pioneering spirit of their tonneau watch, Vacheron Constantin created a fourth model, the Malte 100th Anniversary Edition model, a hand-wound watch issued in a 100-piece limited series. The case is distinguished by its finesse, the subtle elegance of its lines, the curve of its middle section, and by its discreet lugs which feature a delicate and classic shape. The dial is adorned with painted Roman numerals echoing those on historical models. Such a timepiece naturally had to be crafted from the noblest of materials, which is why Vacheron Constantin is introducing this anniversary edition in a case made of 950 platinum – a rare and precious metal that puts sufficient emphasis on the refined aesthetic of this watch and lends it a delightfully vintage appeal. The 100th Anniversary model is equipped with the Vacheron Constantin hand-wound Calibre 4400 driving the hour and minute hands. This movement, which is entirely developed and crafted within their factory, features exceptional finishing, and boasts a 65 hour power reserve thanks to its large barrel. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour), it comprises 106 parts and measures a respectable 28.60 mm, a size ideally suited to the dimensions of contemporary cases. The 100 watches in the Malte 100th Anniversary Edition are individually numbered on the caseback, and are fitted with a strap in blue Mississippiensis alligator leather, secured by a Malte cross-shaped buckle in 950 platinum. With this new Malte collection, Vacheron Constantin is paying tribute to a century filled with a wealth of tonneaushaped creations, and celebrating its fundamental values of classicism, elegance and technical mastery. Vacheron Constantin is available in South Africa from Charles Greig Jewellers in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Contact +27 11 325 4477 for more information. n


Feature

For the

Birds

A Paradise for Rescued Birds

The Birds of Eden Avian Sanctuary, located 16 km east of Plettenberg Bay on the picturesque GardenRouteintheWesternCape,isthebiggestsingledomefreeflightaviaryintheworld.Itisalso ahavenforexoticbirdsandminiaturemonkeyswhowouldotherwisestruggletosurviveinthewild. Text: Janine Erasmus/mediaclubsouthafrica.com Images: Š Birds of Eden

Situated in Eden Municipality, the sanctuary opened in December 2005 and is a popular attraction on the Garden Route. However, it also offers an important service in that it accepts previously caged birds and tiny monkeys whose owners want to give them a better life. The creatures live under a wire mesh dome which covers over 2.3 hectares of lush indigenous forest, with a volume of over 375,000 kilolitres. At its maximum height, the dome soars 55 m above the ground, giving the birds plenty of room to fly. It is supported by a network of cables running between 28 masts, which vary in height between 2 m and 34 m. According to Birds of Eden, the mesh and supporting structures weigh about 80 tons. The dome encloses a dam for waterfowl and a gorge with

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a waterfall. The forest vegetation is Afromontane, and includes tree species such as Ironwood olive, the Outeniqua yellowwood, the Black and White stinkwood, and the Cape beech. Bird lovers may opt to take the official guidebook and wander through the dome on their own, over some 1.2 km of walkways, or as part of a guided tour. The majority of walkways are elevated, so visitors can get close to birds perching in trees. Birds of Eden is affiliated with the adjacent Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, and both are run under the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance. Monkeyland operates on much the same principles, although there is no covered dome but rather a 6.5 metre-high electrified fence surrounding 12 hectares of primate paradise. Some monkey species, such as tamarins and


Feature Due to the fact that many of Birds of Eden’s inhabitants were previously caged pets, most are comfortable around visitors

This Red-masked conure is just one of the 204 different bird species which call the sanctuary home

marmosets, are too small to be released into the larger sanctuary, and these have found a home next door at the bird sanctuary.

A Second Chance Among Birds of Eden’s 204 different species are waterfowl, loeries, toucans, macaws and parrots, lorikeets and parakeets, cranes, flamingos, starlings and robins – but no raptors. There are over 3,500 individual birds in the dome, which is also home to leopard tortoise, several species of snake, little duikers, and other creatures. “We take previously caged birds, mostly exotics,” says Lee Dekker, manager of the sanctuary. “African birds can in many cases be released, but birds that originate from further afield simply won’t survive in the wild.” Birds are also taken in after SPCA confiscations, or may come from zoos or experimental facilities. Using a tried and tested technique called the Eden Syndrome, staff prepare birds for their new life. This magnificent Crested crane is one of the sanctuary’s most striking inhabitants

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A weaver busy building its nest

A striking Knysna Loerie

Feature

In the pre-release stage, which can take many months, the birds are dehumanised, put onto the right diet for their species, and allowed to socialise with others in a large aviary. Here they can also build up their flight muscles, especially if they have had to sit on a perch in a cage for a long time. “When we receive a bird, we do a health test so that we know what we have to do to get it flying fit,” says Dekker. “The birds are put onto a natural diet and are closely monitored after their release.” Most birds are easily able to recognise their own kind but, says Dekker, some have made friendships across the species divide. Their natural instincts are also unimpaired – when they are released into the main dome, it does not take them long to find a spot that is perfectly suited to them.

Colourful Characters

Raised walkways allow visitors a close-up view of many of the birds in the sanctuary

Birds of Eden’s raised dome is a feat of engineering and covers over 2.3 hectares of lush indigenous forest

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Over the years, many colourful characters have found their way into the hearts of staff and visitors. One of these is 38-year-old Meisiekind, a Catalina macaw, who has lived in cages for most of her life. Meisie was frustrated with her circumstances and when her owners had a baby, the bird became angry that she was no longer the centre of attention, which added to her temper problem. Finally, she bit her rival’s finger off and while surgeons were able to reattach the child’s finger, the macaw had to go. Birds of Eden was the answer. Rosie the Galah cockatoo is another celebrity bird. Australian in origin, the Galah is one of the most common and widespread of Australian birds. True to her name, Rosie is pink and grey in colour and is a confident and friendly bird, often greeting visitors by asking, “Hello, what’s the time?” It took 18 months to get Rosie ready for release into the dome, but she has settled in and is now familiar with all parts of her new home. Before any of these creatures can be released into the dome or the larger enclosure, they have to be able to find food and shelter on their own and be able to fly or move around with confidence. Feeding platforms throughout the forest offer a selection of seeds, fruit, vegetables and nuts, and the birds and monkeys have to learn firstly that the platforms exist and secondly, how to find them. But thanks to the Eden Syndrome, says Dekker, Birds of Eden has never had a failure. For more information, visit www.birdsofeden.co.za. n


Chef

Pastry The Princess of

Chef Nicky King

Fancourt’s recently appointed Head Pastry Chef, Nicky King, comes to the Garden Route lifestyleandleisureresortwithanimpressivepastrypedigree,includinghoningherskills atThe Mount Nelson (renowned for its superb HighTea), working at Franschhoek’s Le Quartier Francais – consistently voted as one of the top restaurants in the country – and as Head Pastry Chef aboard a number of Oceania Cruise Liners. Now that her feet are firmlybackonsolidground,Nickyisgettingplentyofopportunitytoindulgeherpassion for creating‘fantasy confectionary’at Fancourt’s various restaurants.We caught up with her recently to find out just what it is like to be a top pastry chef. Text: Nicky Furniss Images: © Fancourt

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Chef

Why did you choose to specialise in pastry as opposed to going the traditional cheffing route? Nicky King (NK): I wanted to follow my passion for creating fabulous confectionery. Are the challenges of being a pastry chef different from those of being a “regular” chef? NK: Yes, technically it is much more intense, as there is so much attention to detail required in order to be a good pastry chef. What skills do you need to be able to excel as a pastry chef? NK: You need to be passionate about what you do and also constantly creative. Do you have to have a sweet tooth in order to be a good pastry chef? NK: I don’t think it’s essential, though having a sweet tooth does make for more impassioned creativity. Are you ever tempted to lick out the mixing bowl when no one is looking? NK: Yes, I actually sometimes scrape the mixing bowl out with my finger – but only when I’m at home and nobody is around! What is your ultimate sweet temptation? NK: Definitely chocolate – I simply cannot resist it! There have been a lot of sweet trends recently – first there were cupcakes, then macaroons and now cake pops – what do you think is the next sweet trend on the horizon? NK: Gels, jellies, fun flavoured fudges and nougat, flavoured honeycombs, fruit spheres and caviar, essences

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and intense bitter and sour flavours, but always with an eye on keeping it healthy. What are some of your favourite desserts currently on the Fancourt menu? NK: Coconut Brulée, Chilli Chocolate Cantuccini and Strawberry Salsa – I introduced all of these onto our menu recently. What do you enjoy about working at Fancourt? NK: I enjoy just about everything, but especially the great people and the beautiful surroundings. Is there a place in the pastry kitchen for ‘healthy’ or ‘low fat’ dishes, or are the two concepts destined never to meet? NK: Yes, there is definitely a place for healthy and low fat ingredients, and we often create pastries that are nutritionally boosted. Our foremost concern is our guests’ satisfaction though. n

Quick Questions • What is your signature dessert? Chocolate Fondant. • What are your favourite ingredients to work with at the moment? Chocolate, fresh berries and cream. • What ingredients are always in your kitchen at home? Sugar and milk. • What is your pet peeve in the kitchen? Bad attitudes, laziness and staff that don’t stick to my motto of ‘clean as you go’ – but I am fortunate that I don’t have to worry about any of this with my team at Fancourt!


Feature

A New Leader in the

LuxurySegment? Infiniti

Besides a short-lived introduction of a single sedan model during the nineties, the Infiniti brand has eluded local buyers since Nissan first flighted the idea of its own luxury brand inthemid-eighties.Now,however,Infinitihopestoreshapethelocalluxurycarlandscape. Text: Bernard Hellberg Images: Š Infiniti South Africa

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Feature

Fans of the Infiniti brand have long pined for Nissan’s luxury marque to be made available to this market. One official reason, and there are a few good ones, that it has taken 25 years – since Infiniti was officially born – for the nameplate to arrive here, is the brand’s strong desire to create a Total Ownership Experience from the moment you enter the showroom, until you drive your new Infiniti off the floor. Following this reasoning, it was never an option to simply add on Infiniti dealerships to existing Nissan ones, and brand executives are clear that one of the few things shared between the two marques is an extensive local parts supply infrastructure. At the time of the launch earlier this year, Infiniti had just completed the first two of its initial network of four dealerships. Hatfield Pretoria and Melrose Arch have already opened their doors, soon to be followed by Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. These centres have been designed from the ground up and, apart from offering luxury and performance oriented cars, have been tasked with spearheading Infiniti’s focus on new customers aforementioned Total Ownership Experience. Infiniti explains that their Total Ownership Experience is

part of the brand promise and is founded on three pillars. The first is driving pleasure. The second is hospitality, and the third pillar is peace of mind. Looking at the dealership rollout plan, it is clear that Infiniti is serious about their offering and aim to deliver outstanding service. Although the idea for the Infiniti brand first surfaced during the mid eighties, it was not until 1987 that the name Infiniti was selected. The first products to be offered to the US market came in 1989 with the Q45 luxury sedan and the M30 luxury coupé. Today, the Infiniti model line-up includes several derivatives, with most models – excluding the M sedan and associated hybrid – being on offer locally from the start. The complete range for South Africa comprises the new Infiniti M luxury sedan (M30d), Infiniti FX performance SUV (FX30d, FX37 and FX50), Infiniti EX compact SUV (EX30d and EX37), Infiniti G Coupe (G37) and Infiniti G Cabrio (G37). A range of V6 and V8 petrol engines and V6 diesel engines linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission are available across the range. The Infiniti M luxury saloon, the M37, is due to be introduced soon, and the technologically advanced

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Infiniti M35h performance hybrid is, according to Infiniti executives, currently under consideration for the South African market. The only Infiniti to come under driver scrutiny at launch was the FX SUV. At first glance, the FX is big on looks and emotional appeal, but sacrifices size, especially in the boot. Great news, however, is that it makes up for it with aboveaverage driving flair. I had access to both the 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel as well as the more muscular FX50 with its 5.0 litre V8 powerplant. As could be expected, the diesel accelerates smartly and smoothly, with the sort of low-rev muscle that makes modern oil burners so much fun to drive. Add to that the seamless coupling with Infiniti’s standard seven-speed automatic (that whips between ratios at exactly the right moment) and it is clear that the FX lives up to Infiniti’s other brand promise, to deliver a performance motoring experience in every car. For extreme performance, though, the FX50’s 287 kW is hard to beat. From standstill its performance intent is clear,

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and the powerful V8 maintains its enthusiasm throughout the rev range. With at least half the power sent to the FX’s rear wheels, it really hunkers down on its haunches when pushed hard, forcing the traction control system into action more than once on the wet roads we had to deal with during the brand’s introduction. Inside, the FX has a large touch screen which dominates the dash. The number of goodies available underlines the car’s premium status, including seat heaters, bi-xenon headlights that peer around corners, and radar cruise control. The ultimate add on, however, has to be the scratch resistant paint – light scratches can heal themselves in sunlight – which promises to be a talking point and a feature that could prove handy for owners. Overall finishes are of high quality, although the wood grain is used sparingly and struggles to break up the dominant plastics across the dash. It all adds up to a car that does not conform to the usual luxury SUV norm – which could be good or bad depending on your point of view. n


Accommodation Guide

Sani Pass

Hotel & Leisure Resort

Nestled in the beautiful Mkhomazana Valley at the foot of the famous Sani Pass, Sani Pass Hotel and Leisure Resort is well known for its warm hospitality, its breathtaking views of the Drakensberg and its personal service. In operation since 1958, the Resort has played host to many generations and has helped to create many wonderful memories. Only six-and-a-half hours from Johannesburg and two-and-a-half hours from Durban, the resort – which can accommodate 175 guests – boasts an extensive range of facilities and offers a host of both indoor and outdoor activities to keep leisure and business travellers entertained. Now under new management, the hotel has also been undergoing renovations since 2011 which will restore this historical hotel to its former glory with accents of modern styling.

Contact

Sani Pass Hotel & Leisure Resort • Call: +27 33 702 1320 • Email: reservations@sanipasshotel.co.za • Website: www.sanipasshotel.co.za

WiFi

Universal AC

Spa/Pool/Gym

Smoking Rooms

Disabled Access

Room Service

Child Friendly

Guided Drive/Walk

Walks/Quads/Horses

Malaria Free

Conference Facilities

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access Two and a half hours from Durban


Accommodation Guide

FranschhoekCountry House & Villas

This five-star hotel combines local charm with fine dining and pampering, where the best local wines and cuisine come together in an idyllic setting. Situated in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, much is on offer at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas for guests to enjoy and indulge in. Complemented by the well known Monneaux Restaurant, the hotel is ideally located on the outskirts of the Franschhoek Village, only 1 km from the town’s centre. It is an ideal base to indulge your tastes for fine wines and world-class cuisine. Guests can choose between staying in the original and charming Franschhoek Country House or in one of its many modern and sumptious Villas. Whichever you choose, the accommodation on offer is designed with complete comfort and luxury in mind.

Contact

One hour drive from Cape Town

Franschhoek Country House & Villas– Franschhoek • Call: +27 21 876 3386 • Email: bookings@fch.co.za • Website: www.fch.co.za

WiFi Spa/Pool/Gym

access

Universal AC S/P/G

Smoking Rooms

Disabled Access

Room Service

Child Friendly

Guided Drive/Walk

Air-conditioning

Malaria Free

Conference Facilities

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Restaurant Guide

Bosman’s Grande Roche Hotel

An aura of timeless elegance sets the tone for Bosman's Restaurant at the five-star Grande Roche Hotel, where fine dining and attentive service are the order of the day. Situated in the Manor House at the Grande Roche Hotel in the Paarl Winelands, this 70-seater restaurant and terrace has a multitude of awards to its name including being listed as one of the top ten restaurants in South Africa, as well as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world. These richly-deserved accolades are recognition of the superb harmony of flavours and textures that are the hallmark of a truly magnificent dining experience combined with unsurpassable service and spectacular views across the Paarl Valley.

Contact

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Bosman's Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl Winelands • Call: +27 21 863 5100 • Email: reserve@granderoche.co.za • Website: www.granderoche.com

The Blue Train

access 50-minute drive from Cape Town


Restaurant Guide

Dutch East Franschhoek

The menu of homely but stylish Dutch East Restaurant is inspired by the seasons, combining local produce with eastern flavours. Dutch East Restaurant serves a variety of simple, eastern-inspired dishes. Head Chef Pasch du Plooy was introduced to eastern ingredients, flavours and combinations at a very young age. Later on he started to incorporate these ingredients into his style of cooking. Techniques like pickling and searing, as well as ingredients such as soy mirin and sesame have become staples in his kitchen. This makes for an eclectic and exciting dining experience in the heart of Franschhoek.

Contact

access One hour drive from Cape Town

Dutch East Restaurant – Franschhoek • Call: +27 21 876 3547 • Email: info@dutcheast.co.za • Website: www.dutcheast.co.za

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History

In the Tracks of a

Legend The History of The Blue Train

For over half a century, The Blue Train in South Africa has enjoyed an international reputation as one of the world’s pre-eminent travelling experiences. Officially named The Blue Train in 1946, the train’s predecessors trace their history to the 1890s and the discovery of diamonds and gold. Text & Images: © The Blue Train

For the empire builders of old, the unchartered African interior was the landscape of a dream in the making. A dream that would etch its course in parallel lines that snaked their way northward from the Atlantic shoreline, conquering the distance from Cape Town to Cairo. This dream was not to be, as the Great African Railway reached only as far as a bridge across the gorge of the Zambezi River, overlooking the thundering smoke of the Victoria Falls. But in the fading years of the 19th century, the discovery of gold and diamonds drew thousands to the edge of the continent, and those lines of tempered steel began to bear the burden of industry, commerce, and society on the move. Soon, as the moneyed classes made their presence felt, the network added leisure travel to its list of duties, and in the slipstream of leisure came luxury. The Union Limited and the Union Express, ferrying passengers between the mailships of Cape Town harbour and the goldfields of the Witwatersrand, were the standardbearers of steam-powered opulence in the easy-living heyday of the 1920s, boasting everything from card tables to hot and cold water on tap. A coat of royal blue and cream would later give the trains their distinctive livery, and it was from this line, in these shades, that The Blue Train – a “Palace on Wheels” – would ride the rails to legendary status. Withdrawn from service during the dark days of World War Two, extensively refurbished and modernised in the seventies and nineties, The Blue Train went on to define a new era of luxury travel, making the switch from steam to electric and diesel, linking veld to sea, and tradition to progress, with a sense of style, grace, and mesmerising power that have never come close to being matched.

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History

Keeping Up With Technology From the Age of Steam to the Age of the Internet, The Blue Train has kept on track with ever-changing technology. In the process, it has lost none of the charm that anchors it to a bygone era. In its earliest incarnation, as a direct descendant of the Union Limited and Union Express that plied their way between Johannesburg and the Cape coast, The Blue Train thundered down the rails at the command of a mighty steam locomotive. A wisp of romance still lingers from that coal-fired era, clouding the memory of an energy source that proved to be less powerful, less efficient, and far more difficult to maintain than its whisper-quiet replacement. Today, the dual Blue Train sets, differentiated only by their number of suites and the option of a Conference Car that doubles as an Observation Lounge, are hauled by a fleet of diesel or electric locomotives. Whatever the motive, The Blue Train glides through the countryside at a maximum service speed of 90 km/h, ensuring that the noise level of 55 decibels, somewhere between the sound of soft rainfall and normal conversation, is never exceeded. Inter-suite sealing ensures utter privacy for guests. In the world of ever-shrinking boundaries, ever-intensifying demands, rail travel in the grand old tradition has become a luxury in itself. The luxury of time: time to indulge, time to reflect, time to savour sights, sounds, senses and sensations. You’ll feel it from the moment you step into your suite, transformed by a magical act of alchemy from an elegant, spacious lounge by day, into a sanctuary of comfort and slumber by night. Bringing together cultures and travellers from across the globe, The Blue Train is an exclusive society on the move – one that will undoubtedly prevail for years to come. n

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Train Layout

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The Blue Train November 2012