South Africa News
Friday, 19 August 2016 13:49

A Family Affair at Sabi Sabi

When two iconic families join forces, the result can only be described as spectacular! This is true of the successful collaboration between Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve and the Stellenrust Estate in Stellenbosch, a relationship which has lasted for many years. Sabi Sabi is famous for over 35 years of safari excellence while Stellenrust, one of the largest family-owned estates in Stellenbosch, has been operating since 1928. Having Stellenrust wines as the Sabi Sabi lodge wines was a natural choice and this relationship was cemented in 2010.

The two family-owned brands share many of the same principles that make them both leaders in their respective fields - community upliftment, true hospitality and a passion for, and commitment to their environment and their people.

Innovation runs through both families, and in 2012 Sabi Sabi and Stellenrust came together at harvest time and took a calculated risk, deciding to experiment with a "Bush Maturation" process - an undertaking that seemed impossible and with naysayers saying it would never work! Bush maturation meant maturing wine in a somewhat tropical climate but within a controlled environment. The process - as overwhelming as it was - was accomplished with the transportation and subsequent proper tapping of the wine into two 225 litre French oak barrels. These were housed in the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge wine cellar at a temperate 18˚C - one barrel containing a Shiraz and the other a Cabernet Sauvignon. Not knowing what the end results would be, samples were regularly sent to Stellenrust for testing and they were given a consistent thumbs up.

The culmination of this pioneering journey was celebrated at the end of June 2016 with the bottling of these wines. And what better way to share this occasion than by inviting a niche group of journalists and friends to witness this resounding success! Stellenrust and Sabi Sabi hosted the event and spent many hours bottling the wine from the two barrels using an ancient and authentic hand press method. This proved to be messy at times, but a huge amount of fun was had accompanied by much laughter. Everyone was given the opportunity to manually fill their bottles, followed by the corking, capsulating and labelling of the bounty with a specially designed label. The final sampling was undertaken and both cultivars were deemed worthy to be part of the Earth Lodge Private Collection - hand-bottled on site and ear-marked to stand the test of time. In essence, the message from the cellarmaster at Stellenrust was "this wine has aged beautifully and gives tremendous drinking pleasure".

Coupled with this historic event, Sabi Sabi's Earth Lodge provided a gastronomic feast of exceptional dining, fine wines and inimitable 5-star hospitality.

Only South African wines are stocked in the cavernous Earth Lodge wine cellar, and a detailed selection process is undertaken when choosing the best of the best - unique wines to complement a unique experience. Boutique style wineries that produce award-winning wines take pride of place on the Sabi Sabi wine list - one of the reasons why Sabi Sabi was recently awarded 2-stars on "The Best Wine Lists in the World - 2016".

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
UK & Ire Trade enquiries:

Published in News
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 11:48

Honouring women each August

A nation of strong, resilient and wonderful women has steered South Africa through its rich history – its struggles, challenges, triumphs and tragedies all held together by the strength of its women.

As South Africa celebrated the 22nd Women's Day on the 9th August, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve honour the very special women who are the core of Sabi Sabi. These hardworking and dedicated ladies fulfil a variety of roles within the company – many of them going home at the end of a long workday to care for families and children. They all have an incomparable role model in Sabi Sabi – co-founder Jacqui Loon – who raised her own family while creating the masterpiece that is Sabi Sabi. Jacqui inspired the architecture and décor, and still had time to use her artistic talent to paint the magnificent portraits which adorn some of the walls of the lodges and was instrumental in building Sabi Sabi into a global brand, her passion and commitment helping to create a legacy for future generations.

In many cultures – and certainly within the local Shangaan culture – women are revered as the 'heart' of family life – the nurturers, caregivers and upholders of family values. This culture exists at Sabi Sabi, where all departments have a strong female contingent, in fact so much so that at the helm of each of the four Sabi Sabi lodges is a strong female leader. These remarkable ladies expertly juggle career and family while at the same time mentoring and advising their lodge teams.

Although being predominantly male oriented, the safari department began employing a number of female guides many years back – in fact Sabi Sabi was one of the first private reserves who employed female guides. These ladies take their roles very seriously, and while they definitely have feminine charm, they are absolutely confident, highly trained and extremely capable.

This year we once again pay tribute to each and every single woman who is part of the Sabi Sabi team – and thank them for their tireless efforts to maintain Sabi Sabi as the icon it is today. We salute you!

Meet Evidence Lubisi – grace and beauty personified. Evidence is part of the Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge service team and exudes a calm and gentle nature at all times. Truly one of the loveliest ladies you will encounter.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
UK Trade enquiries:

Published in News
Friday, 29 July 2016 11:15

Families Love Fancourt

Fancourt is the ideal holiday resort for the whole family with an impressive range of leisure facilities on site including the Fancourt KidZ Club - but is an ideally located base from which to explore the Garden Route. There's still time to book families on a last minute getaway using their Pay3/Stay4 offer valid till the end of August 2016. Check out full details of everything on offer from young to old!
Published in News
Friday, 29 July 2016 10:58

"The Gables" at Glen Avon

Glen Avon Lodge is a family run boutique hotel in the heart of Cape Town's leafy Constantia Valley. Annette and David Stringer along with their daughter Wendy ensure a "home from home" welcome in this gracious Cape Dutch Manor House with its beautiful rose gardens and solar heated pools.

Last year the family bought the property next door and have since rejoined the two grounds and redeveloped the next door property into "The Gables" at Glen Avon, which is ideal for families who want to hire out the whole house – or as a businessman's "home from home" retreat, although individual suites can be booked too. It offers 4 deluxe suites, all with private patios or balconies – plus a self-contained two bedroomed cottage.

Because it also has a large open plan lounge and dining area (ninety square meters), leading out onto an outside patio area overlooking the pond and a fully equipped kitchen – it is ideal for small private celebratory functions for groups of up to 50 guests – be it a private breakfast party, high tea birthday celebration, family Christmas lunch – or even an intimate wedding!

The team can co-ordinate anything guests may need – from celebratory cakes, to table decor and flowers including amazing food for which Glen Avon is known, complemented by a selection of local wines from the surrounding Constantia vineyards. For more info contact Ethos Marketing.
Published in News
The introduction of biometric capturing has highlighted a bigger issue – the need for more staff – at OR Tambo International Airport.

The chaos that erupted following the changeover to the biometric system on July 1 resulted in travellers experiencing delays of up to three hours.

The process includes capturing fingerprints and an eye scan and is for both inbound and outbound travellers.

On Thursday Department of Home Affairs announced SA travellers are no longer required to have their biometrics captured when flying in and out of South African airports.  

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, announced today that the biometric system, which was rolled out for all passengers at airports last week, creating up to three-hour delays for both outbound and inbound travellers, has been updated. “As soon as the system reads a South African passport it now picks up that biometrics are not needed,” he explains.

Gigaba said that during the rollout of the system it came to the Department of Home Affairs’ attention that it did not have sufficient personnel in order to process the movement of all passengers with biometrics.

He also said that the processing of South African travellers’ biometrics was an oversight as this information is superfluous because it is already contained in their ID documents.

According to the Gigaba, the system is now running smoothly and travellers are no longer experiencing delays.

The department is, however, advising travellers to proceed through security gates as soon as they have checked in for their flight, in order to avoid congestion at immigration counters.

Source: Tourism Update
Published in News
African carrier, fastjet, is looking at launching flights between Cape Town, South Africa, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Richard Bodin, fastjet’s Chief Operating Officer, told Tourism Update the route was still in the early phases and flights would be launched in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest, although a later date was foreseeable.

According to Bodin, the airline’s routes from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe continue to see growth, especially its flights to Victoria Falls. The airline flies a double-daily service to Harare and to Victoria Falls three times a week. It also services Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania.

However, Bodin pointed out that, despite strong passenger demand, a strong dollar has negatively affected the airline’s revenue. As a result, it had trimmed down frequencies on marginal routes and there would be little in the way of new routes until next year, said Bodin. He added that there were other destinations the airline was contemplating for new routes, but declined to give details on these.

Source: Tourism Update
Published in News
So much of what guests experience at Sabi Sabi is new, exciting and unique. The wine selection is no different - delicious, unexpected, carefully selected and a superb mix of the best South African wines.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
 has been recognised this month as officially having one of the "World's Best Wine Lists". The reserve has been honoured with Two-Stars in the 2016 "The World of Fine Wine" annual awards - the guide for discerning individuals with a passion for wine. The awards are now in their third year and are "rapidly becoming as coveted as Michelin Stars", according to World Sommelier Champion Gerard Bassett.

Judged by some of the world's leading wine experts, writers and sommeliers, Sabi Sabi received the award with a wine list judged exceptional under the following criteria: superior breadth and depth in its selection; offers a high proportion of leading producers; includes a good range of wine styles and prices; displays superior organisation and presentation. Sabi Sabi's collection was also awarded the Jury prize for the Best Designed/Most Original Wine list in Africa and the Middle East for 2016.

This accolade recognises the careful consideration and expertise which has gone into the wine list at Sabi Sabi. A detailed selection process ensures that many of the wines are from small boutique style wineries with a fascinating story behind them, from their name or the terroir, to the unique way in which the wine is produced. A good example is 'Donkiesbaai Hooiwijn' - a South African wine produced from the same variety of grape as Chenin Blanc. The grapes are picked and placed on a straw mat (or 'hooi') and turned twice a week to avoid sunburn. Once the grapes reach 40°C they are pressed and the wine making process begins.

In keeping with a philosophy of only providing the very best for its guests, Sabi Sabi has for many years collaborated with the family owned and prestigious boutique Stellenrust Wine Estate (Stellenbosch) as the producer of its house wine. Three hundred litres of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is currently maturing in Earth Lodge's underground cellar in oak wine barrels, and will soon be ready to enjoy.

Jacques Smit, Marketing Director at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, said: "We are thrilled to have been recognised for the second year running in The World of Fine Wine Awards, gaining an extra star in 2016. This accolade is testament to the efforts of our team to ensure we offer guests an exemplary experience across every aspect of their stay. It is a privilege to introduce guests to these undiscovered treasures, and to celebrate the wine heritage for which South Africa is famous for."

Sabi Sabi would like introduce you to Simon Chiburre - one of the team members at Earth Lodge. Simon is a waiter and always seems to anticipate your needs with his winning smile.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728

UK & Ireland Trade enquiries
Natalie de la Porte
Published in News
Day visitors to the Kruger National Park are encouraged to book a time slot prior to their arrival between Friday, June 24 and Sunday, July 17.

“The Day Visitor Quota for the park is a management tool to maintain the carrying capacity of the park,” SANParks said in a statement.

Three time slots are available and visitors will be allowed to book up to 80% of day visitor quota via the SANParks Reservation offices and through the website.

“The three different slots aim to improve the spread of vehicles and, as far as possible, prevent unnecessary waiting periods at gates,” said Glenn Phillips, KNP Managing Executive.

Pre-booked day visitors will get preference over non-booked day visitors at the gate, and must arrive within the time slots as per their reservation.

Open safari vehicles are regarded as booked for all day visitor admissions. Un-booked guests could be denied entry.

Source: Tourism Update
Published in News
Monday, 20 June 2016 13:51

Garonga is Reborn

In the tourism industry there are refurbs – and then there are REFURBS ... and Garonga's recent three-month makeover has on all accounts been more like a rebirth! 

As Garonga Safari Camp enters its 20th year of operation it has undergone a complete transformation – keeping all the special touches and elements that make Garonga "Garonga" – but giving the whole experience a significant lift. But the changes have not only been cosmetic - the staff have all been for special training to hone their skills and the dining experience has been overturned.

Check out the full release for details on the changes on:

Please update the photos on your websites etc

Published in News
The Kruger National Park has started culling hippo and is considering its options for the  buffalo in the park too due to food shortages in the wake of the ongoing drought.

While the park received heavy rain in March, the past season's drought has had a knock-on effect on food supplies and now drastic measures need to be implemented to ensure the well-being of all animals in the park. 

This is according to Reynold Thakhuli for SANParks, who confirmed that the culling process has started. So far, 50 hippos have been culled and another 100 may be culled later this year. 

200 buffalo may also need to be culled.  

“The cull is not because of lack of water," Thakhuli says. "The problem is food."

Many areas of the park, especially the central areas from Skukuza to Olifants River, are still barren, with no grass for animals to feed on. 

Typically, during this part of the year, the Kruger's grasslands are plush from the summer rain, and enough to sustain herbivores through the winter months.  

In November last year, during the height of the drought, SANParks also issued a controversial statement saying they were not going to intervene in providing drought-affected animals with additional water supplies. 

They issued a statement saying they "will remain true to the conservation ethics as the dry conditions continue, managing as far as possible for healthy, naturally regulated ecosystems rather than the survival of individual animals in all the parks".

This meant encouraging a survival of the fittest principle. 

According to SANParks, there are currently around 8 000 hippos in the park. From these, around 300 had already died because of last year's drought.

According to Thakhuli, "The meat from the culled animals is currently being sold to staff as the park is in the process of getting their abattoir registered in order to supply hippo meat to needy NGOs around the park."

Elephants are feeling the effects of the drought too, and venturing out of park borders to find alternative food supplies. As a result, elephants are wreaking havoc on roads bordering the Greater Kruger National Parks. 

Source: Traveller24

Published in News
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