08 DISCOVER THULA THULA... MOBILE DENTAL SAFARI – more miracles in Matabeleland
01 April 2013 - 01 August 2013
an Island Paradise Competition
– a land of beauty
OH WHAT A NIGHT,
Jersey Boys on stage for the first time in SA
ENVIRONMENT, BOOKS, SAFARI’S AND MORE... Read Online for FREE! • www.travelmagsa.com
Thula Thula Private Game Reserve is situated in the heart of Zululand, south of Hluhluwe - Umfolosi Game Reserve, 40 minutes from Richards Bay, and less than 2 hours’ drive from Durban. This 4500 ha, malaria free game reserve was established in 1911 and has been operational as Thula Thula for the last 15 years. Experienced rangers will guide you on exciting safaris in open Land Rovers through the unique diversity of this ancestral land to encounter elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard, giraffe, hyena, crocodile, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, nyala and a spectacular variety of other indigenous species, great and small. Birdlife is prolific with over 350 identified species, including raptors.
Thula Thula was home to Lawrence Anthony, the best-selling author, conservationist, humanitarian and founder of The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation, the purpose of which is to protect the environment and enhance the survival potential of all life forms - through education, action and example. Lawrence’s three books, written with Graham Spence, describe three incredible conservation stories: ‘Babylon’s Ark’ relates his rescue of the starving & neglected animals in the Baghdad Zoo during the onset of the coalition invasion of Iraq. ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ describes Lawrence’s special relationship with a traumatised herd of elephants which were rehabilitated at Thula Thula. ‘The Last Rhinos’ was released on the 29th March 2012, shortly after he passed away.
Thula Thula Rhino Fund Lawrence’s wife, Françoise carries on his legacy and conservation projects at Thula Thula, with the assistance of her dedicated staff. In memory of Lawrence, and to assist with the protection and preservation of Thula Thula’s two special rhinos, Françoise established the THULA THULA RHINO FUND (as a chapter of the “Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation”) in order to raise funds for guards anti-poaching training and much-needed specialised equipment required to ensure the on-going survival of our rhinos, as well as to rescue more orphans in the future. Thula Thula Rhinos, Thabo and Ntombi are both orphans who were relocated to Thula Thula from Moholoholo rehab centre when they were four and eight months old. They have now been released
into the game reserve under high surveillance. Armed guards accompany Thabo and Ntombi 24/7 to protect them against poachers. With a gunfight having taken place a few months ago – as Thabo got shot in the front leg – as well as the loss of Heidi, a female white rhino who was killed by poachers in 2009, the need for increasing protective measures is a harsh reality. Should you wish to assist us with donations for this worthwhile project, please find the information below and contact details: Anne: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. TEO non-profit registration 2004/026715/08. Public Beneficiary Organisation (PBO) 930033558
Accommodation at the Elephant Safari Lodge and Luxury Tented Camp With its unique atmosphere, stylish décor and superb cuisine, Thula Thula offers you the choice of exclusive accommodation, the Elephant Safari Lodge, renowned gourmet destination, and the Luxury Tented Camp offering an authentic African bush experience in great style.
Both lodges offer a very unique and different experience. In addition a conference centre, fully air conditioned, with separate lounge with bar and TV with great bush views can welcome 32 delegates.
THINGS TO DO AT THULA THULA: • Daily Game Drives • Bush Walks • Therapeutic massages • Visit to the local rural Zulu village, for an authentic experience • Visit to Umfolosi - Hluhluwe Game Reserve • Cruise on the St Lucia Estuary to view hippos and crocodiles and the Cape Vidal beaches • Yoga bush retreat or yoga classes • French cuisine cooking classes • Mountain biking guided trails with game rangers ( all equipment provided) • Champagne picnic lunch in the bush
THERE ARE GREAT SPECIAL PACKAGES ON OFFER ALL YEAR LONG WEBSITE: www.thulathula.com OR ENQUIRE ON 035 7928322 / CELL: 0822599732 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com TravelMagSA
From the Editor...
ON THE COVER:
We decided that 2013 would be the year of effort, in every avenue of life, and as I look back on the past 4 months that have sped by in a blink, I believe that we are on the right track. What I love most about the small, visual delight that is TravelmagSA is it is always filled with amazing South Africans who are making an effort, and making a difference. Our job is to tell you about them, but while we keep you informed we also encourage you to support them and their causes. Read about Grant Nash’s Travel with a Purpose; discover how caring is the first step to conservation with Nicky Coenen’s Living Endangered Concept; support Thabo and Ntombi’, Thula Thula’s two special Rhino’s, read about Imvelo Safari’s 2013 Mobile Dental Safari and diarise to stay in Africa’s Greenest Hotel opening in August 2013. Ingrid once again takes us on an adventure - this time to Thailand; be sure to join the BackRoads Africa team, on a walking safari, read a good book, and DO NOT MISS the Jersey Boys!
DISCOVER MOBI LE
08 THU LA TH
U LA ...
– more SAFAR I M at ab elm irac le s in el an d
01 Ap - 01 Au ril 2013 gust 201 3
an Island Para Competit dise ion
– a la nd ND of be au ty
Je rs ey Bo T A N IG HT, fo r th e ys on st age first ti m e in SA .
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
FARI’S FREE! • www.trav AND MORE ... elmagsa. com
Travel South Africa Discover Thula Thula
Environment Give the chance to show you care
Conservation Travel with a purpose - Grant Nash’s journey to Japan
Expedition Africa Mobile Dental Safari 2013 Travel Thailand A land of beauty, serenity, easy travel and humility
Going Green Hotel Verde - Africa’s greenest hotel from the ground up
Theatre “Oh, what a night!” - Jersey Boys
Walking Safaris BIG FIVE - Greater Kruger National Park
Books / Restaurant Reviews
WIN an Island Paradise
Publishers Details: Cherry Berry Blue Publishing SA cc, Johannesburg, South Africa Editor: Penn Jolliffe • firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Design Concept, Production & Layout: Eye-4-Design • Eva Govender • email@example.com 011 056 5500 • 082 610 1653 Website design: www.travelmagsa.com • One2love, Plettenberg Bay Feature contributors: Mark Butcher, Ingrid Geertsema Sales & Marketing: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Professional Accountant: Pat Buchan
e-Published 2012 © Quarterly by Cherry Berry Blue Publishing SA cc. All rights reserved. Travelmagsa is registered by Cherry Berry Blue Publishing SA. ISSN 2220 – 413X While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information in this 8th edition of TravelmagSA, no responsibility can be accepted for quality of goods and services supplied by advertisers and sponsors. The publisher accepts no responsibility for material submitted by any client for reproduction, in regard to all relevant laws and regulations. Concept, text, covers and title of TravelmagSA is Copyright © and may not be reproduced by any process without the prior written permission of the publisher. The Publisher would like to thank all photographers, contributors, sponsors, advertisers and all parties involved for this exciting 8th edition.
Environment gives the chance to show you care CARING IS THE FIRST STEP IN CONSERVATION. That’s the reason Living Endangered has taken on the Wilderness Foundation as a beneficiary. “The foundation is primarily concerned with conservation of wild lands - protecting areas where nature is threatened,” says Nicky Coenen, who heads the Living Endangered concept. “There is no direct survival trust for the smaller species, so initially our aim is to uplift people’s knowledge and awareness as a positive force for social and environmental sustainability.” The creative inspiration stems from the tiny Table Mountain Ghost Frog struggling to survive in the nooks and crannies of Skeleton Gorge; the small, palm-sized Geometric Tortoise; and the Golden Protea that has disappeared for 30 years or more. All live in harsh, hostile environments that are rapidly shrinking. Each living endangered existence has a fascinating story bound to touch the hearts of those who care - people seeking to not only be different but to making a difference. Living Endangered gives five per cent of its turnover to the Wilderness Foundation to further the awareness of smaller species which are easily overlooked in the desire to save charismatic mammals or iconic birds. However, it is important to remember every animal plays a role in the circle of life. To view Living Endangered visit www.livingendangered.com. For details phone: +27 (0)21 794 6561.
Conservation Travel with a purpose – Grant Nash’s Journey to Japan Former Highveld and 5fm DJ, media personality, and activist, GRANT NASH recently travelled to Taiji in Japan, as part of an awareness campaign to save the world’s dolphin community. Grant was approached by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international non-profit marine conservation organisation whose mission is to defend, conserve and protect ocean wildlife worldwide. With the generous sponsorships from PURE IMAGINATION MEDIA and CANON South Africa, Grant was able to make, and document, this trip. The slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises, and small whales occurs in Japan annually from September to March, fishermen herd families of small cetaceans into shallow bays and mercilessly stab and drown them to death. This slaughter of dolphins was virtually unknown until 2003 when Sea Shepherd globally released covertly-obtained footage and photographs of the now infamous bloody “Cove” in a village called Taiji.
an entire species you cause havoc on the biodiversity. In short, the issue of dolphin slaughter or the decimation of any natural resource is a global dilemma that has far reaching and devastating implications. As custodians of this planet we an important role to play in its conservation,” says Grant Nash. To become a Cove Guardian – Get Info - Donate: http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/ http://www.grantnash.co.za http://www.facebook.com/CoveGuardians @CoveGuardians / @SeashepherdsSA / @GrantNash To motivate change in Japan, please mail the Japanese Embassy in South Africa on: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Cove Guardians” plea to the Japanese government to stop this cruelty has fallen on deaf ears, but by documenting the slaughter and raising awareness, the Guardians hope to unite the world to create change. “The Ocean, which covers two thirds of our planet, is an extremely volatile and complicated eco-system. This ecosystem thrives and functions on diversity. If you eliminate
Africa’s greenest hotel from the ground up “We have a responsibility as a company, as an employer and as a visitor on this planet to live as sustainably as possible. This is the only way we can survive long-term and hand over to our children in a responsible manner.” Mario and Annemarie Delicio of Dematech are the owners behind Hotel Verde – Africa’s greenest hotel. Dedicated and passionate about sustainability, they have transformed what was initially just a sensible business proposition into a showcase for some of the most advanced environmentally conscious technological installations as well as construction and operation practices in the world. Construction on Hotel Verde, which is a part of the recently launched BON Hotels group, began over a year ago just outside Cape Town International Airport, with a team of contractors and experts dedicated to finding the alternative. “If you look at what can be done from a green angle you look at energy, water and waste reduction,” Delicio explains. “You then take each of these areas and work out how to implement alternatives, generating your own electricity for example. Then you need to explore the extent to which you can go.” And the team at Hotel Verde have gone to the greatest extent yet seen on the continent – from locally sourced suppliers to sustainable practices on the building site to multiple ways in which they can generate their own electricity and reduce waste to almost zero. “We have an advantage because we are starting from scratch. We could go from choosing recycled bricks and insulation, to installing a geothermal field, coupled to ground-source heat pumps. When you build new you can plan much more than if you retrofit an existing building.” Andre Harms, Sustainability Manager and founder of Ecolution Consulting, is a trained mechanical engineer and the expertise behind some of the more technical aspects of the building. Having spent 15 months at the South African Research Centre in Antarctica, Harms knows what it is to value everyday resources and is applying this dedication to each facet of the project. “We have the opportunity to change the status quo here,” he says. “We have looked at different ways of doing everything, right from the word go.” This includes the photovoltaic (solar) panels cleverly positioned to provide shade as well as power. “They are mounted on the north façade of the building so as to not only generate electricity but create shading for the windows that get the most sun.” Another is to dramatically reduce the amount of concrete required by utilising Cobiax void formers – recycled plastic balls placed strategically within the concrete slabs that are required for the various floors. They displace the concrete, saving approximately 535 m3 or 1284 ton while maintaining the structural integrity. Hotel Verde also boasts a sophisticated grey water recycling plant that will contribute towards a 37% reduction of potable
water use. “We have run a network of pipes through the building in order to reticulate the grey water, collect it and supply it to the toilets,” Harms explains. They will also be utilising a rainwater filtering and capture system to provide water for the car wash and irrigation. The elevators will run on a regenerative drive, which will allow for about 30% of the input energy to be recaptured and fed back into the building, and double-glazed windows with spectrally selective glass will filter out hot rays, so less heat enters the building reducing the need for airconditioning. In order to bypass the need for standard air-conditioning systems, traditionally one of the biggest energy consumers, Hotel Verde will utilise ground source heat pumps made by 100 holes drilled about 76 metres into the ground, where the temperature is a consistent 19 degrees Centigrade. Renowned German supplier AGO Energy will install a complex network of piping and equipment specifically designed for Hotel Verde that uses the earth as a heat source in winter and “heat sink” in summer, boosting efficiency and dramatically reducing operational costs. “There is no other hotel in Africa that has gone to the extent that we are hoping to achieve,” Delicio says. “But going green is not just about the building, it’s about every aspect of the operation; zero waste to landfill for example. We might never reach that, but with the ideas we have in mind we will come pretty close.” Open to the public in August 2013, the hotel plans to incentivise guests with credit notes and bar tabs for those who utilise towels more than once, for example, or don’t use the air-conditioning. “It’s about getting customers involved and making them a part of the whole green thinking philosophy,” Delicio explains. Guy Stehlik, founder of BON Hotels, who will manage and operate Hotel Verde, says that the value of being involved in a project of this nature, plus its learning in terms of future hotels, is invaluable. “The three cornerstones of BON Hotels are Good people. Good thinking. Good feeling. Hotel Verde and the philosophy behind it is where the Good thinking lies. This is definitely one of the most innovative hotels in the country and we are thrilled to be involved in a project of this nature.” Despite the fact that this is the first of its kind, the Hotel Verde team doesn’t want it to be a secret; they want to share their convictions with anyone who’ll listen. “We might have the slogan ‘Africa’s Greenest Hotel’ right now, but we hope it won’t be for long,” says Harms. “We want to show the continent what can be done. We want to challenge the industry as a whole.” www.bonhotels.co.za • www.hotelverde.co.za
Affordable and unique walking safaris in the exclusive
BIG FIVE - Greater Kruger National Park Where:
Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
Every Monday (4 nights) and Friday (3 nights)
Min. 2 people, max 8 (16 yrs and over)
How much: R7, 200 pp sharing (Mon-Fri) and R5, 400 pp sharing (Fri-Mon) There is a world of difference between experiencing a safari in Africa on foot, “old style”, than from the tinted windows of a luxury bus! To walk- is to be out there with the African wildlife, sharing their paths and waterholes, the daily dramas of their lives, sharing their space. To walk - is to follow their tracks, feel the tingle of your own senses and hear the beating of your heart, as you edge closer to a herd of elephant resting in the shade. A safari is a journey of the body and the soul, a venture into the unknown and an opportunity to face some of the mysteries of nature. With over 20 years of experience, we still believe in the magic of the bush and strive to offer that “once in a lifetime experience” to all our guests. “The wilderness is something special. To me, the only way to experience the real spirit of Africa is on foot. Away from the noise and turmoil of modern society, it truly helps you to get your terrestrial problems into perspective.” - Norman Carr, Kakuli Where? Our operation is based in the bush in the Greater Kruger National Park, but transfers to and from Johannesburg can be included at a very affordable rate. Your safari starts on arrival in Hoedspruit, from where we transport you to our exclusive camp. There are no fences between the Kruger National Park and the Reserves. The big advantage of these exclusive wilderness areas is their privacy, so no sharing of sightings, or the camp with other tourists. Who? The safari appeals to those with an adventurous mind, and who are keen on a learning experience. Every walk is a book on its own, with the emphasis on information about all the wonders of nature, big and small. Because of the dangerous aspects of a walking safari, the minimum age is 16. Although there is no
maximum age, the walks can last up to 6 hours and tracking might lead the trail through thick bush, riverbeds and gullies. Therefore an average fitness level is required, especially in the hotter summer months (Nov - March). How? The scheduled safari’s run twice a week – either Friday to Monday (4 day / 3 nights) or Monday to Friday (5 day / 4 nights). The camp is private and secluded and not open to day visitors. The camp can sleep up to 8 people in twin-bedded accommodation. Linen and towels are provided. The combination of walks and drives in the open 4x4 Landrover are dependent on weather, and animal movements and are conducted from camp in the early mornings, late afternoons and at night at the sole discretion of the Trail Ranger. In Big Five areas, there are no guarantees on sightings – what you see is what you get. We do however guarantee a real bush experience! Safari Camp This private establishment, constructed in the traditional style of an African Safari Lodge has recently been refurbished and is now available to the public. Built on a small riverbed underneath huge Marula, Leadwood and Fever trees, the birdlife is magnificent and elephants often wander past in search of some shade. Situated on 3200 ha within the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve this select camp offers families, friends and small business groups a truly private wildlife experience. The camp sleeps a maximum of 8 people in 4 en-suite air-conditioned rooms. The camp facilities include a comfortable lounge area and an indoor dining room in case of bad weather. There is an outside deck area with a small pool and a fireplace, perfect for cooling down during the heat of the day or warming you up with your coffee before the morning walk, or for enjoying evening drinks around the fire. The camp has electricity.
What you need on Safari: • Greater Kruger is a malaria area -please take your own precautions. • Walking shoes and neutral coloured clothing (avoid white, black and bright colours) • Toiletries • Rain jacket and warm jersey • Hat and sunglasses • Sun block and insect repellent • Torch & binoculars • Camera (bring extra batteries) • Cash for Entrance Fees/Conservation Fees and drinks (no ATM’s in the bush!)
FOR A MORE DETAILED ITINERARY & BOOKINGS CONTACT INGRID AT BACKROADS AFRICA. Email: Ingrid@backroadsafrica.com Tel: 073 573 9622 • www.backroadsafrica.com
Expedition - Africa
MOBILE DENTAL SAFARI 2013
More Miracles in Matabeleland By Mark Butcher We rolled out of Main Camp Hwange National Park on 5 December at about 7.30 am - our little convoy comprising three Imvelo Safari Lodges Land cruisers and trailers loaded with twelve Spaniards, three Italians, three Americans, a half dozen Zimbo’s and about two tons of personal luggage, dental equipment and supplies, generators and compressors. We were headed towards Lupote Clinic about 25 km up the Vic Falls road.
We arrived at Lupote that morning to find Zondo a fellow director and his team already had our marquees up, and chairs and trestle tables unloaded. His buses were still on their way in, but we already had over 150 patients in the queue. The previous year our biggest day had been at Mtshwayeli Clinic in Tsholotsho, we had attended 353 patients and there’d only been 50 patients in the queue at kick off. Today was going to be a tough one, we hit the ground running.
The day before, the fifteen dental surgeons of ‘Sonrisas para Zimbabwe’ and their support staff from Imvelo performed two free dental clinics - one at Ngamo School near our lodge at Bomani, and the other in the clinic at Hwange Main Camp for National Parks staff and their families. This was part of our annual Mobile Dental Safari that provides free dental care to patients from over 100 remote villages in Matabeleland North. Started in 2012, the program is one component of our company’s efforts within our local communities around Hwange Park and Vic Falls, to provide direct benefits from our tourism programs to actually link conservation with meaningful rewards. The Dentists are self funded volunteers who provide their time and expertise and in exchange we let them stay in our lodges and try to enjoy some safari fun in their off time for gratis.
Two rooms within the clinic were set up for the dentists cleaning and sterilization department in one corner, fillings and root canals in another, tools and anaesthetics in the centre and patient chairs around the wall. Waiting room for pre exams with 40 plastic chairs in a circle under one of our marquees, the other marquee set up as our stores room and rest area for the doctors. Compressors under the window closest to the fillings department, connected to our generator under a tree. Banners, posters up and a quick team photo - Ipod in the Bose, I recollect we opened with Carlos Santana that morning - and the show starts.
Let me try and paint the picture for you. A long queue snakes into the pre exam marquee where a nurse at her desk registers each patient. They are then seated
Expedition - Africa
in the circle within the marquee where Sergio and Diego perform the pre examinations, administer anaesthetics, annotate recommended procedures and from there the patients are led off by the dentists, one by one to perform their miracles in the cramped confines of that dirty airless asbestos roofed ‘surgery’. Around the corner are Andy, Annette and Samantha Schatte - they are bagging pain killers and antibiotics for the patients after their surgery, and making balloon animals. Sam, a Texan who lives in New York dreamed them up for the kids. Balloon animals absolutely make scared kids smile. Inside in the opposite left hand corner Arantzazu performs her painstaking root canal procedures and Isabel, Natalya, Iria and Carla work on fillings. Around the perimeter of the rooms are the men focussing on the more physical work of extractions - Alfonse, Alberto, Cesar, Dino, Fabio, Ezio, big Juan and of course Paco, our Wahji Guru - he does yoga every morning. In the other right hand corner are two ‘trainee nurses’ cleaning and sterilising bloodied tools, centre stage our two Zim nurses arrange them in a semblance of order and pass them to the doctors. Outside my guys keep the generators and compressors thumping and gurgling and yell on the radios and cell phones, organising village heads and bus drivers doing collections. Under a big tree ladies of the village committee prepare sadza and beans over open fires in cast iron pots - enough for 400 servings. Now into this scene paint in several hundred local villagers male and female of every age and size standing sitting waiting queuing , all this in an area a half hectare in extent. It’s a heck of a show. Around noon to compound it all, the 40 degree heat built a huge flashing
thunderstorm, which at 2 pm hit us with a cloud burst that really was biblical in its proportions. Our team never missed a beat, but by 4 pm every team member was feeling the strain. Each time a dentist brought a patient out to collect another, they would glance up and look at the waiting line outside - we had already attended 300 patients, but the queue still stretched around the building. Not a single word of complaint - just words of encouragement - drop a gear, dig deep and keep going. Two particular highlights spring to mind from that long day - the first was a 22 year old mother named Sikathele with a 6 month old baby. What caught my eye was her Stormers rugby shirt (I of course am a Sharks man). Her front teeth were black and rotten, you could guess how a young woman would look at those in a mirror. I saw Arantzazu and Isa exchange meaningful looks and take over. A solid hour and a half later they had built her two new perfect front teeth. Andy kept her baby entertained so they could focus on their tasks. After a look in a mirror she couldn’t stop smiling. The other was the last patient of the day, again a young mother named Maina who needed multiple procedures both fillings and extractions. It was dark already and all of us exhausted wanted to hit the road so we could get to Gorges lodge where we were staying that night. But in a wonderful display of professionalism the whole team worked or waited patiently in the dark until that young lady was fully cared for - no short cuts, no corners cut. We knew we had pulled off something incredible with Four hundred and seven (407) patients, and thousands of procedures under very trying conditions. I declared it a world record, don’t know or care if it is - it’s our World Record.
Travel - Thailand
Thailand A land of beauty, serenity, easy travel By Ingrid Geertsema and humility By Ingrid Geertsema
Living in South Africa, where ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ averagely comes out of a person’s mouth about 300 times a day, I didn’t think I would find a country with similar cultural tendencies that easily. Or a country, outside of so-called western civilisation, that could be navigated so easily. Thailand has beautiful islands with white sandy beaches, an interesting topography and food to die for, but what struck me the most about Thailand is the serenity of the Thai people themselves. I am a pretty hot tempered gal. When evoked my hackles raise and I hear myself growling and snarling at whatever or whoever has the nerve to arouse my contempt or dissatisfaction. Over the years I have learned a few tricks to control it - count to ten, walk away or simply laugh about it – and I am often successful now that I am in my thirties. In Thailand I was brought to the test a few times. On one occasion I arrived in Chiang Mai and was in a big rush to get to a guesthouse to meet up with friends I had met along the way. I had about 30 minutes to get to the guesthouse from the train station, and not having been to Chiang Mai before, I had no idea how far it would be. I jumped into the first Tuk Tuk I saw, which was owned by a smiling young man, very eager to take me anywhere I wanted to go. After a bit of bargaining, we agreed on the price and I gave him the address. The blank look on his face should have been an indication that he clearly didn’t know the city all that well, but I was in too much of a rush to notice. For the next 1, 5 hours I saw about every corner of Chiang Mai. My temper flared from irritated to very angry within the first hour, but finally I just smiled at the proud and radiant young face when he eventually did get me to the meeting point, even though my travelling partners had already left about an hour before. I gave him an ‘A’ for effort and an extra tip for his perseverance, hoping that he too had learned something from our explorations. During the month that I was in Thailand, my fascination and respect grew each time I was humbled into calmness and appreciation by those eyes that always remain peaceful, even when faced with a raging woman.
Issue 8 Issue 8
Although I had just under a month, Thailand is a big country, and travelling overland is time consuming. My itinerary was as follows: • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Day 1 - Arrival in Bangkok – taxi to Viengtai Hotel (R500 pn) Activities: evening market Day 2 – Taxi, plane, bus and boat to the small island of Ko Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, 8 nights at Ko Tao Dive Resort (R500 pn), on the most southern bay of the island Activities: swimming, snorkelling, diving, markets, long tail boat trip around the island, massages. Day 10 – Taxi and boat to Ko Samui, the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand, 5 nights at O’Soleil (R300 pn) in a small bungalow on the beach of Choen Mon Activities: swimming, markets, temples Day 15 – Taxi, boat, bus and night train back to Bangkok, on arrival in the morning a train to Pak Chong, which lies next to Khao Yai National Park. 2 Nights at Bobby’s Jungle Tours (R80 pn) Activities: Khao Yai National Park (game drive, jungle trek, visit to Khao Lak Chang Bat Caves), evening market Day 17 – Overnight train to Chiang Mai, bus to Pai, a remote little town in the mountains against the Burmese border. 5 Nights at Breeze of Pai (R150 pn) Activities: tubing the Pai River, renting a scooter to explore Pai Canyon, Pai Hot Springs, and jungle hiking to several waterfalls, evening markets, and massages. Day 23 – Bus back to Chiang Mai, overnight Day 24 – Taxi and day train to Bangkok Day 25 – flight back
Travel - Thailand General information Thailand was for centuries known as ‘Siam’, the official title changing to ‘Muang Thai’ (‘home of the free’) in 1939. The country is located in Southeast Asia and borders Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. It has a population of nearly 65 million in a country roughly the same size as France and has 3,219 kilometres of coastline. Money One ZAR is worth about 3, 5 Thai Baht and ATM’s can be found everywhere. Exchanging USD or Euro’s, let alone ZAR is a bit of a challenge, so withdrawing cash is by far the easiest. Credit Cards are accepted almost everywhere at no additional cost. Flights Suvarnabhumi Airport, which lies about 35 km south-east of the city centre of Bangkok, is a modern airport that handles all international flights. Most domestic flights fly in- and out of Don Mueang International Airport. The cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have airports, as well as the islands of Phuket and Ko Samui. Domestic flights are expensive, but especially from Bangkok to the islands there are companies such as Sol Air that offer good deals (around B2,300) that include a flight to Chumpon (1,5 hours), a bus to the harbour (1 hour) and the boat trip to the island (2,5 hours). Taxi’s / Tuk Tuk’s Taxi’s can be found in all the major cities but are relatively expensive. Especially around Bangkok they are the easiest and the fastest mode of travel. From the airport to downtown Bangkok (about 1 hour due to traffic) you should not pay more than B500-600, including the fees for the many toll gates. A fun and much cheaper way to get around, but only recommended for shorter distances, are Tuk Tuk’s. Traffic is sometimes horrendous, and being exposed to the elements the fun wears off after about 20 minutes. Tuk Tuk’s cost averagely around B120-150 for a 20-30 minute drive. Buses You can pretty much get anywhere by bus, and it is generally faster than travelling by train, but the buses are often cramped and the bus drivers work long hours. Having to negotiate heavy traffic or long winding mountain passes, this can be a hairraising experience. Information online is not very reliable. Trains Thailand has an excellent railway system, and tickets can be prebooked online or bought at any train station at very affordable rates. Due to the long distances, you can choose either day or night trains, on the latter you have the choice to sleep in a chair or pay a little bit extra for a very comfortable sleeper coach, where they provide you with bedding. On long distance trains meals are provided in the normal seating coaches. Food and drinks Thai food is not only extremely healthy and light, but also very tasty. Typical ‘pad kos’ consists of mostly rice or noodles, mixed with fresh vegetables, nuts, a bit of meat (fish, chicken or pork) and local herbs and spices. The green and red Thai curries are served from mild to very hot. The freshest fish is caught on the islands but is relatively expensive. Most meals
on the islands (B100-400) are about 3 times more expensive than on the mainland. I found that the biggest variety of local dishes could only be found at the markets, where food is not only cheaper (B30-50), but also by far the tastiest, and all prepared in front of you – service with a smile! Salads and fruit are safe to eat at restaurants, but should be bought whole on the markets. Tap water should be avoided, but bottled water and cool drinks are all sealed and can be bought everywhere. Local beers are tasty and cheap (B50-80), but cocktails and imported liquor as well as wines are quite expensive (B120200), especially on the islands. Internet and WiFi Internet cafe’s can be found on every corner and free WiFi is available at restaurants, cafe’s, hotels and guesthouses. Mobile Network Thai SIM cards are very cheap and can easily be upgraded for as little as B70 per week. Airtime can be bought at every supermarket. Weather and best time to travel Thailand’s seasons are reasonably uniform through the country, but there are some regional differences. Basically Thailand has three seasons: summer, rainy and winter. The southern part of Thailand however does not have a winter.
Bangkok / Central East
Summer (mid Feb-April)
27 – 36 27 – 34 22 – 37 25 - 37
Rainy (May - Oct)
25 – 33 26 – 32 24 – 31 25 – 33
Winter (Nov - mid Feb)
22 – 32 25 – 32 15 – 28 17 - 30
Safety The crime rate in Bangkok is high and in the tourist areas you will find people trying to swindle tourists, but on average, the people of Thailand are very friendly, helpful and honest. And warm smiles along with Asian courtesies are more common than criminal activities. Let me put it this way – I have never felt safer travelling on my own.
“Oh, what a night!” - JERSEY BOYS
Now on Stage for the first time in SA. Don’t miss the multi-award winning worldwide smash hit musical, Jersey Boys as it makes its South African premiere at the Teatro at Montecasino on 3 April running until 26 May 2013. Currently on stage in major cities across the globe and enjoyed by over 16 million people worldwide, Jersey Boys is the newest Broadway musical to be staged in this country. Interestingly, Jersey Boys is frequently referred to as “a man’s musical” owing to its strong male fan-base who often return to see the show, bringing their sons, sons-in-law, golfing buddies and the like, usually with female company in tow to experience the real, true-life story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and their inspiring journey from the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that was built on everpopular hits such as “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, “My Eyes Adored You” and many more. Although the names of these and other show songs aren’t easily recognised by many, the tunes become more and more familiar as the captivating tale of the four musicians unfolds and the audience can be heard singing along. This show with its all-South African 19 member cast, 10-piece band and crew were last seen performing for eleven-weeks in Singapore, where it received critical acclaim, rave reviews and standing ovations. The cast sang their way into the hearts of Singapore audiences, immediately establishing itself as one of the most critically-acclaimed productions in Singapore with The Straits Times raving “... tunes so infectious they should be classified as a health hazard. Jersey Boys is a class act … “ While AsiaOne.com reflected “… made me feel like I was watching Frankie Valli and Four Seasons performing live in shows like the American Bandstand. HerWorld Plus couldn’t get enough of JERSEY BOYS stating it was “Great entertainment, fantastic music and stellar performances.” The Four Seasons are played by Grant Almirall (Chicago, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Frankie Valli; Daniel Buys (Boys in the Photograph, Mamma Mia!) as Tommy DeVito; Kenneth Meyer (Boys in the Photograph, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Bob Gaudio and television star Emmanuel Castis (Scandal!, Isidingo, season 4 winner of Strictly Come Dancing) as Nick Massi with Jaco van Rensburg (Showboat, Chicago, Grease) playing Frankie Valli at certain performances. The three leading female characters, fondly dubbed, the “Jersey Girls” are played by Carmen Pretorius (Footloose, Mamma Mia,
Cabaret), Taryn-Lee Hudson (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Kidz Rock, Let the Good Times Roll) and Kirsten Murphy-Rossiter (Some Like it Vrot, Grease, M-Net’s Crimes Uncovered). The ensemble features a host of multi-talented local performers who together with the band and crew worked closely during rehearsals with a joint South African and visiting top-notch New York based global creative team responsible for staging JERSEY BOYS throughout the world. The entire company spent invaluable time fine-tuning their roles with Jersey Boys Broadway director, Des McAnuff. JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice with music by original member of the Four Seasons and Grammy Award winner, Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and is directed by two-time Tony® Award winner Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo with music direction, vocal arrangements and incidental music by Ron Melrose. “JERSEY BOYS is a powerful piece of theatre with extraordinary music – it runs at breath-taking pace. When the final curtain falls and you are on your feet – and EVERYONE is always on their feet – all you want to do is come back to see it a second time! This is a evening of exceptional entertainment…!” says the show’s South African producer, Hazel Feldman. What ever you do, don’t miss the international musical phenomenon that’s a Broadway triumph. Book now at Computicket service centers, visit www.computicket.com or call 0861 813 9000 or to experience one of the great-value Show & Stay packages including accommodation, show tickets and breakfast at the three Montecasino-based Tsogo Sun hotels or to enjoy a special night of great entertainment including theatre tickets, dining, gaming and added benefits, Montecasino offers a number of choice hospitality packages created for groups of twenty or more guests. All these packages can be booked through SunConnect on 011 367 4250, or at email@example.com, for more info visit www.montecasino.co.za
Follow the incredible Jersey Boys journey: Web: www.jerseyboyssa.co.za • Twitter: https://twitter.com/JerseyBoysSA Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/JerseyBoysSA/425649164133222 • YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsibsqOsank&feature=youtu.be
Book Reviews MIKE LUNDY’S BEST WALKS IN THE CAPE PENINSULA Author: Mike Lundy • ISBN: 978-1-92054-566-6 Price: R130.00 ‘Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula’ is the ultimate authority on the best and quickest escape from the rat race – even if only for a day. A bestseller for 21 years, Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula remains one of the most popular books on hiking in Cape Town. Each of the 30 walks in this classic collection has been carefully chosen because of a particular point of interest, be it a waterfall, grotto, yellowwood grove, shipwreck or spectacular viewpoint. The routes range from challenging climbs to the top of Table Mountain to leisurely strolls among the fynbos, and will appeal to hikers of all levels of experience – whether aspiring ramblers or diehard adventurers. A simple grading system, information on the average hiking time, notes on the availability of water and practical advice on mountain safety and weather conditions ensure that the hiker is given a clear idea of what to expect. Every walk is accompanied by an accurate map and an easy-to-follow route description, spiced with historical snippets and nature notes. For this eighth edition, all route descriptions and maps have been brought up to date, the design and typography have been given a fresh, modern look and photographs and illustrations add lively interest. In addition, GPS coordinates for all tracks can be downloaded from www.gpstravelmaps.com/bestwalks.php With so many spectacular walks to choose from in Cape Town, Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula is the ultimate authority on the best and quickest escape from the rat race – even if only for a day. “A household name in South Africa, avid mountaineer Mike Lundy has written several books and more than 200 magazine features and newspaper articles on walking in the Western Cape and has presented weekly hiking reports on GoodHope FM, 567 CapeTalk and 94.5 KFM. In 1996 he received a merit award from the Hiking Federation of Southern Africa for exceptional services to the hiking community. He lives in Hout Bay, Cape Town.”
Book Reviews DIVING AND SPEARFISHING IN SOUTH AFRICA Author: Piet van Rooyen ISBN (Print): 978-1-43170-101-8 ISBN (ePub): 978-1-92054-535-2 ISBN (PDF): 978-1-92054-536-9 • Price: R170.00
South Africa has over 2500km of spectacular coastline washed by the icy rollers of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the temperate waters of the Indian Ocean along the eastern seaboard. This provides the country with a vast undersea wilderness and a staggering array of marine species that attract divers and spearfishers from around the world.
RIDING THE DRAGON’S SPINE – BEIT BRIDGE TO CAPE TOWN Author:David Bristow & Steve Thomas ISBN (Print): 978-1-43170-030-1 ISBN (ePub): 978-1-92054-529-1 ISBN (PDF): 978-1-92054-530-7 • Price: R220.00 (Print)
When windmill-dodgers David Bristow and Steve Thomas followed their dream to blaze (and map) a mountain bike trail across South Africa, they hoped to be spared howling headwinds, freezing rain and slushy terrain. They weren’t, yet were not deterred from having a mud-splattering good time. The result, the Spine of the Dragon trail, is the countries ultimate mountain bike tour, covering a distance of 4000km from Beit Bridge to Cape Town. Aimed at the average off-road rider, the 58-day trail through South Africa and Lesotho is broken into nine sections, each with several stages. The entire course can be done in one go, or as a series of shorter rides – ideal for those with boundless enthusiasm but limited time. The authors offer valuable advice on preparing for the trail that includes suggested clothing, gear, bike maintenance, food and safety.
In this book, Piet van Rooyen provides a comprehensive overview of all there is to learn about diving and spearfishing. Knowing when to dive, what equipment to use, which spearfishing and deep-diving techniques are most effective, and how to avoid the hazards of the sport - from shark attacks to diving and boating accidents – is essential knowledge for any underwater adventurer. Fitness training, prolonged breathholding, boat handling and safety guidelines are also discussed. Especially important in promoting sustainability, the very latest Each day’s route is described in detail and includes: in regulations and protective measures, species size restrictions • Customised, annotated map with GPS points • Total daily distance and bag limits are covered in detail. • Difficulty grading: from short and easy to long and hard Twenty-one major fish species are profiled, and prime diving • Entertaining insight into the people and places along the way and spear-fishing destinations – in the Western Cape, Southern • Engaging photographs Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – are given for help in • Accommodation suggestions and contact details planning where to go. Free GPS tracks for all routes can be downloaded from Regarded as the definitive text on the subject when it was first www.dragontrax.co.za published in 1988, this new edition of Diving and Spearfishing in South Africa will appeal to novice and seasoned spearfisher. www.randomstruik.co.za
TRAVELMAGSA WAS INVITED TO THE NEW PREMISES OF
We had the opportunity of tasting some of the mouth-watering fare, South Indian vegetarian, lamb, chicken, and seafood dishes - I highly recommend the prawns - and if you want to delight in some varying tastes then choose tapas of curries, briyanis, stews and spicy tandoori and masala dishes. The traditional breads are an absolute must and the Thava tandoor oven is in open view enabling diners to see how the breads and the tandoori dishes are prepared. The breads in the Tandoor oven include generous selection of Indian flatbreads, such as Kerala Paratha – a flaky, crispy, delicious melt in your mouth bread, not to mention the naan and rotis. Freshly ground spices ensure a flavourful taste experience. This award winning restaurant is located in Norwood Johannesburg, and it caters for private functions, outside catering, and take-away meals. There is also the successful Thava Midrand. They say guests will always leave Thava feeling as though they have visited India in the heart of Jozi and we agree! www.thava.co.za
INGRID GEERTSEMA Born in the Netherlands, Ingrid lived in The Hague for 26 years. Her desire to travel was strong even in high school, after which she struck a balance of exploring Europe and working in the Netherlands to pay for her travels. In 1996 she decided to go back to school and studied Communication Management at the University of The Hague, where she also joined an exchange program with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (USA). Two months after earning her degree (2000), the travel bug hit home once more, and Ingrid travelled to South Africa on holiday. This time, there was no returning home. Ingrid worked as a tour guide for Baobab Reizen, a Dutch overland company, for three years. During this time, Ingrid travelled extensively throughout Southern Africa. In 2003, Ingrid finally settled down in the village of Hoedspruit, Limpopo, where she joined Transfrontiers Wildlife Walking Safaris. She is now the Owner of Backroads Africa. Having worked in the safari and lodge industry for nearly 10 years now, Ingrid understands the varying needs of independent travellers that come to Africa on holiday, to work, study, or sometimes fulfil a dream. Ingrid combines her love and passion for travel and Africa with a personalised approach and a 100% commitment.
MARK BUTCHER In 1979 ‘Butch’ was a ranger for the Dept of National Parks and Wildlife Management in Hwange. He was primarily involved in anti-poaching, game water supplies, game capture and fire protection. After completing his degree at Rhodes University he began work for Zimbabwe’s Forestry Commission in Matabeleland as a wildlife officer and later as Provincial Wildlife Officer, and became responsible for the wildlife management within 1.8m acres of Indigenous State forest. Passionate about engaging local communities in wildlife conservation in and around protected areas it was at this time that he became heavily involved in community based natural resources management. Now, as Managing Director of Imvelo Safari lodges, Butch continues to develop responsible tourism projects in Matabeleland North that sustain conservation and also help support local communities.
To see some of the projects he is involved in at the moment check out www.imveloelephanttrust.com and www.imvelosafari lodges.com
e s i d WIN sland Para an I INATUR’s (Mozambique National Institute of Tourism) global Win an Island Paradise campaign to promote Mozambique in 65 countries worldwide as a compelling tourist destination of choice has gone live. The prize is ownership of an exclusive right of tenure to a fully-equipped, luxury 2 bedroom island villa on Benguerua Island, Mozambique for a period of 25 years which is supported by the resort infrastructure provided by Marlin Lodge. The latter is an exclusive boutique resort on Benguerua Island, the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. The island is approximately 55 square kilometers (11km long x 5.5 km wide), and lies 14km offshore. It is famous for its unspoiled white beaches, remarkable dive sites, excellent horse riding and incredible fishing.
To enter the competition, answer the following question: WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF MOZAMBIQUE? A: Pemba, B: Beira, C: Maputo, D: Ilha De Mozambique.
SMS the key word “PARADISE” and your answer (A, B, C or D) to 39721. Each SMS costs R1.50. For more details about the prize, entry requirements and terms and conditions visit www.winanislandparadise.com. Also visit
to enter the Take me to Paradise competition and be one of three lucky entrants to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two for 5 nights at Marlin Lodge on Benguerua Island.