South Africa News
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 12:54

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife joins AMG

AMG Representation has added Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to its portfolio of African clients.

Based in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is entrusted with the long-term conservation of the province's rich biodiversity and wildlife experiences - comprising beaches, mountains, game parks, lakes, dams, forests, a range of wilderness walking trails and accommodation in bush lodges and camps.

Managed by the representation consultancy's African specialist Natalie de la Porte, AMG's strategy will focus on partnering with key industry players and educating the UK travel trade on the diverse wildlife experiences available within the Ezemvelo run parks. This will be supported by a proactive trade and consumer PR campaign.

"Ezemvelo has an all-encompassing portfolio that takes in the natural beauty of KwaZulu-Natal and we are so excited to be working with them," says de la Porte. "The itinerary scope for UK operators is immense - stretching from the heights of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, through the tropical savannahs of Zululand where the Big 5 inhabit Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (Africa's oldest established national park), and on to the brilliant coral reefs of the Indian Ocean that fringe the lakes and wetlands of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. 
"We are looking forward to getting on the road to educate the trade as well as putting together a series of educational visits," she continued.

Ezemvelo's sales and marketing manager Sijabulile Ntuli, added, "AMG is no stranger to us, having handled our activity at WTM last year. We were impressed with the level of industry knowledge, contacts and professional credentials, making our decision to appoint AMG as our UK representative agency an easy one".

Find more information about Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife via this link
Published in News
Thursday, 31 March 2016 09:55

SA opens first solar-powered airport

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has congratulated the Department of Transport on the official opening of South Africa’s - and Africa’s - first solar-powered airport in George.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters launched the project that is spearheaded by the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) at a special ceremony in the city on Friday.

Most of the airport’s energy needs will be supplied through 200 square meters of photo-voltaic (PV) panels. PV technology generates electricity from solar radiation providing a renewable and clean energy source

In its first phase, 750kw will be generated through this clean energy source, which is sufficient to meet the airport’s daily needs. This is expected to increase with plant capacity in future.

“This ground-breaking initiative shows that government is well on track in transitioning South Africa to a low-carbon, inclusive, resource efficient and climate resilient economy and society,” the Minister said.

The Department of Transport is one of the key departments driving South Africa’s Green Economy Strategy. Green transport initiatives form part of government’s strategy to shift the economy towards cleaner industries and sectors with low environmental impact

“What has been achieved at George Airport is also the result of successful collaboration in the green economy sector between government, entities such as Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), and the private sector.

“The new solar-powered airport will rely on cost-effective, renewable sources to generate energy, and simultaneously support South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets,” says Minister Molewa.

This is in alignment with South Africa’s National Climate Change Response Policy whose objective is to effectively manage climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity.

The 2016 Budget by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan earlier this week highlighted that South Africa continues to invest heavily in the green economy.

“We have already made significant headway in the uptake of renewable energy, greening our public transport system, and promoting energy efficiency in government facilities, to name but a few,” Minister Molewa said.

In the transport sector, initiatives are underway to shifting freight from road to rail, and introducing electricity regenerative braking in locomotives. This is already saving close to 0.5 Mt of CO2 annually. 

In addition, 14 000 taxis are being converted to compressed natural gas, with an expected emission reduction of 23 – 27% per vehicle.

“Investment such as at George Airport, must give momentum to other private and public sector entities to reconfigure and retrofit their existing infrastructure in support of more sustainable energy consumption patterns,” Minister Molewa said.
Published in News

It is now 10 years since Little Bush Camp, the newest lodge in the Sabi Sabi Portfolio, first opened its doors to guests. In celebration of this anniversary, Little Bush Camp has undergone a major transformation.

Taking its place as a beautifully intimate lodge with its own unique personality, the recently refurbished suites at Little Bush Camp are perfectly positioned between the eclectic "Today" design of Bush Lodge, and the avant garde "Tomorrow" philosophy of Earth Lodge.

The 6 stunning suites have been remodelled and upgraded. They are ultra-luxurious with an air of African sophistication and a chic finish. Using the continent as his source of inspiration, designer Derrick Tabbert patterned the new look around 'African adornment', with aesthetics borrowed from diverse African cultures. Tabbert has an unerring eye for charm, and introduced a myriad details, special features and interesting touches throughout the supremely luxurious spaces.

Bold organic patterns in warm earth tones have been hand-painted onto the interior walls of the suites, creating an unexpected artistic backdrop to the stylish furnishings and carefully sourced original artefacts. Draped netting over the beds is tied with leather fasteners, hand-dyed African print fabric has been inlaid onto comfortable wooden armchairs, rope and copper pipes combine to create towel rails. There is deliberate asymmetry in the bedrooms, creating a naturally comfortable atmosphere. Beautifully carved wooden tables and decorative pieces add extra appeal to a fascinating mix of textures. Finally, to complete Little Bush Camp's transition to an ambiance between those of Bush Lodge and Earth Lodge, Tabbert utilised some classic African canvas elements to blend in with his modern approach, then added the lustrous colours of South Africa's mineral wealth as a finishing touch.

Beyond just recreating the design of the suites, the rooms themselves have been remodelled to bring in much more natural light and a feel of being open to the bushveld. The en-suite bathrooms are now enormous and bright. Floor to ceiling glass French doors have replaced the walls around the bath on 3 sides, creating the perception that the indoor bath is actually part of the outdoor shower - a stunning illusion. And while some may prefer to shower outdoors, the huge indoor rain shower is glass walled to continue the open effect. Besides the artefacts in the bathroom, African influence is brought in via the 'suri' light, a gorgeous hanging light, its interlocking circles fashioned after the earrings worn by the women of the Suri Tribe in Ethiopia.

Flowing from the luxurious interior is an inviting private wooden deck overlooking the Msuthlu River and beautiful ancient riverine trees. Here one finds the ultimate indulgence, Little Bush Camp's signature spa bath. This is the spot to unwind, the cool water a delicious place to relax and have a bush cocktail. A comfortable day bed with soft cushions and other outdoor easy chairs are just perfect for taking a nap, catching up on some reading, or just lounging, watching and listening to the surrounding animal and birdlife.

Tabbert has preserved many of the former features and objets d'art of the lodge, and integrated them perfectly into its new style and character. His fresh approach has taken Little Bush Camp to a whole new level, a stunningly beautiful Sabi Sabi lodge in a league of its own.

Click here for photographs of the stunning new suites at Little Bush Camp. For high res images, please contact Natalie de la Porte: natalie@amglt.biz

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com

Published in News
Monday, 29 February 2016 15:01

Pakamisa rejoins Ethos Portfolio

Ethos Marketing is delighted to welcome Pakamisa in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal back into its fold.

Pakamisa" is a Zulu word, meaning "to lift up" which is fitting considering the work this beautiful lodge does to uplift and protect its precious wilderness, staff and local Zulu communities. The 5-star graded lodge enjoys panoramic views over its own 2500 hectare malaria-free private game reserve ... and offers the chance to combine the pleasure of horse riding with the thrill of an African safari - getting up close and personal with wildlife such as giraffe, zebra, baboon, waterbuck, warthog, and a variety of antelope, reptiles and birds.

Pakamisa is an intimate wilderness retreat with just 8 suites and prides itself on being owner-run, with personalised service, close attention to detail and a wide range of activities on offer for the whole family –complemented by fine wines and unforgettable cuisine. It is also Fair Trade certified.In addition to horseback safaris and game drives/bush walks, guests can also enjoy outdoor activities such as clay pigeon shooting, air rifle shooting and archery.

Situated 5.5 hours' drive from Johannesburg and 4 hours from Durban, Pakamisa is the perfect base for those wishing to explore Northern Zululand and is also conveniently situated on the main route from Kruger Park to Durban. 

Follow Pakamisa on twitter @pakamisa_
Published in News
Below is an update from the Department of Home Affairs South Africa on developments regarding visas to South Africa. This statement was released on the 5th of February 2016. 

The actions that were to be taken in the immediate phase, within the first three months that followed the Cabinet decision, (that is, from 1 November 2015 to 31 January 2016), were to,

  1. Implement the capturing of biometrics at ports of entry, starting with a pilot at OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town airports,
  2. Look at introducing an Accredited Tourism Company Programme for countries like China, India and Russia,
  3. Consider a long-term Multiple Entry Visa for a period exceeding 3 months and up to 3 years for frequent travellers (for business meetings), business people and academics, 
  4. Ensure that principals issue letters confirming permission for children to travel on school tours,
  5. Extend the validity of the parental consent affidavit to 6 months.
With the support from partners, the Department of Home Affairs has delivered on all these concessions. This was within the recommended timeline, of three months.

Implementation and capturing of biometrics at ports of entry

The implementation and capturing of biometrics at ports of entry took off, and with success, at the ports of entry that were selected for the pilot project phase, that is, OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. 

The pilot was implemented at Lanseria (using 2 counters initially, and currently 5 counters), King Shaka (5 counters), Cape Town (4 counters initially, currently 8) and OR Tambo (8 counters in the Transit Area). From January 2016, training has been provided to immigration officials by the Department’s Learning Academy, to ensure efficient use and management of the system. Training is ongoing as additional counters/ports are enabled for biometric capturing.

Introduction of Accredited Tourism Company Programme

The National Department of Tourism (NDT) is the lead department in respect of the accreditation of tourism companies. This is for countries like China, India and Russia. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DHA and the NDT was signed in December 2015. In terms of the MOU, the NDT would identify and accredit tour operators and provide DHA with a list of such operators.

The NDT has confirmed that the management of the tourism sector in China is highly regulated and therefore tourism operators are already accredited by the said Government. Last month, the NDT provided a list of tour operators in China which have been accredited by Chinese state authorities and the NDT.

And thus, on 29 January 2016, Minister Gigaba had waived the requirement to apply for a port of entry visa in-person for Chinese travellers who are travelling as part of a tour group. Accredited Chinese tour operators will apply on behalf of such travellers, on condition that the biometric data of the travellers will be taken on arrival in and on departure from South Africa. A Standard Operating Procedure guiding this application process was prepared, approved and communicated to all foreign missions and staff. 

The NDT is undertaking research in relation to the accreditation of service providers in India and Russia.

Introduction of long-term Multiple Entry Visa

The issuance of a long-term multiple entry visitor’s visa for a period exceeding 3 months and up to 3 years for frequent travellers (for business meetings), business people and academics, has already been implemented. A 10-year visa waiver for business executives from BRICS’ countries is also available, since December 2014, allowing such executives to remain in the Republic for 30 days at a time. 

Further, in line with its commitment to ensure that immigration served as a vehicle for enhancing economic growth, on 29 January 2016, the Minister of Home Affairs approved the granting of 10-year multiple entry visas to business and academics from Africa. This measure was to be implemented in the next phase, with concessions falling under 3 months to 1 year).

Letters for travel to be issued by school principals, in respect of SA children

The Department of Home Affairs has developed a standardised template for school principals to complete and issue, to confirm permission for South African children to travel on school tours, in lieu of individual parent consent forms. The template is on DHA’s Website. Standard Operating Procedures have been developed and staff members have also been informed of this change. 

The Department has taken additional steps to facilitate the travel of South African sports teams abroad. In this regard, the Department of Sports & Recreation has been consulted and has accordingly provided a list of 75 accredited sports federations. Home Affairs has prepared individual letters for the identified sports federations informing them of the agreement between the two Departments to facilitate the travel of sports teams abroad on the basis of an affidavit, to be provided by the respective federation. Such letters were accompanied by sample affidavits and a request to federations to submit particulars of persons authorised to issue the affidavits.

Extension of validity of parental consent affidavit to 6 months

As recommended, the Parental Consent Affidavit has been extended from 4 to 6 months. The DHA Website has been updated accordingly.

Re-examination of Transit Visa requirements

The successful implementation of biometric capturing at key ports of entry has formed the basis for the review of the Transit Visa requirements. Given this review, from 18 December 2015 travellers transiting through Lanseria, King Shaka, Cape Town and OR Tambo airports will not require Transit Visas. The old saying – patience is a virtue – is clearer now. The Department had earlier pleaded for some space to do what needed to be done within the framework of what is permissible in law. We trust that this measure will enhance travel to SA and the region. 

Issuance of a Travel Advisory

The Department of Home Affairs is actively engaged with the implementation of the proposed review of the regulations regarding the issuing of a Travel Advisory. This is to address the recommendation on the issuing of a strong advisory for travellers accompanied by minors from countries which are visa-exempt, to ensure compliance with Unabridged Birth Certificate-related directives. After consultations on this matter, it was determined that the best way to give legal force to this advisory would be to amend the Immigration Regulations. Home Affairs is working jointly with the NDT, to ensure the regulations are amended accordingly.

Having implemented all of the recommendations made by the IMC that fall within its control, the Department of Home Affairs will now focus on giving effect to the measures falling in the next phase (3 months to 1 year), which are to,

  1. Add visa facilitation centres, including in Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Botswana,
  2. Consider a visa-waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries,
  3. Look at issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to SA having in their passports valid visas for the UK, USA and Canada or any other country that applies stringent checks on visitors to their countries, to ease travel for tourists,
  4. Consider granting a certain category of frequent travellers (business and academics) from Africa a 10 year Multiple Entry Visitor’s Visa [Achieved]
  5. Open two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth, in addition to the centre recently opened in Sandton,
  6. Print parents’ details in their passports so that they do not have to carry birth certificates.
We are hard at work to fully implement these concessions, understanding this to be in the interest of the country, its citizens and other persons. Minister Malusi Gigaba is happy that this matter is being handled in collaboration with stakeholders.

The media in South Africa have also played their role, by keeping this important matter on the public discourse, objectively and otherwise. The bottom line though is that this is our South Africa; it is for all of us to move it towards the better life we have envisioned for all our people in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.

The full statement can be found on the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa website
Published in News
Thursday, 04 February 2016 11:48

Meet South Africa


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv1MU_Nh8ck
Published in Videos
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 14:26

The Blue Train turns 70 & visits Kruger

The Blue Train is celebrating its 70th birthday this year so watch this space for news of upcoming celebrations.

The train will also be heading up to "Big 5" country with its brand new Hoedspruit departures in 2016. The Blue Train will make two round trips up to the Limpopo Province, one in July and the other in August, offering guests the choice of four spectacular 19-hour one way journeys. These new departures will enable some fantastic new "rail safari" combination packages with the many wildlife reserves and private safari lodges in the Greater Kruger and Sabi Sands area.

For those wanting to take the Blue Train northbound, the train will travel from Pretoria to Hoedspruit on Friday 8 July and again on Friday 12 August 2016, departing at 15h00 in the afternoon and arriving at 10h00 the next morning.

Those wanting to enjoy the rail journey after their safari can opt to travel southbound from Hoedspruit to Pretoria on either Saturday 9 July or Saturday 13 August 2016. The train departing at 15h00 in the afternoon and arrives at 10h00, allowing plenty of time for those wanting to catch international flights home.

These one way journeys between Pretoria and Hoedspruit in either direction take 19 hours as opposed to the usual 27 hours between Cape Town and Pretoria and cost around R5000 less per person – an attractive option for those with this Blue Jewel on their travel bucket list on a tighter budget.

Please visit www.bluetrain.co.za or email claire@ethosmarketing.co.uk for further information and follow us on twitter @BlueTrainSA
Published in News
We are always asked when is the best time to visit Sabi Sabi and our answer is - any time. The bushveld is wonderful the whole year, each month having its own special characteristics and beauty.

January
The bush is usually lush, green and bursting with colour. There is the constant sound of birdsong and frogs croaking. Long hot days are followed by fiery sunsets and balmy evenings. The animals are sleek and well fed, and there is an abundance of water in pools and puddles and the perennial rivers.

February
The days remain long with very slightly cooler temperatures and the odd short-lived, exciting thunderstorm. Warm daybreaks are ideal for morning safaris, birds are still abundant and the latest crop of animal babies are a bit older and bolder and are much more visible.

March
Subtle changes start occurring; a hint of autumn is in the air and rainfall is experienced less frequently. Large herds of plains animals make the most of the still-green vegetation...and where there is prey there are always predators in close proximity!

April
Autumn makes its appearance. The trees starts changing to vibrant colours as the leaves become hues of red, brown and yellow. The rutting season begins and the animals prepare for winter. The days are shorter, and mornings and evenings are still comfortably warm. With little or no rain the skies are clear and bright.

May
The dry winter months have started. Water is becoming scarcer and as the grasses get drier and shorter, animal viewing is abundant. The migratory bird species start their long journeys northward - some travelling as far as India and China.

June
Winter is in full swing but in this region the mild climate makes for comfortably warm days with chilly early mornings and nights. Game viewing is superb as the animals venture out in search of water, gathering around the pans and watering holes.

July
Midday temperatures are still warm, but it is now necessary to layer clothing in the mornings and evenings. Dry conditions prevail and the big herds break up into smaller groups. The bare winter trees make exquisite silhouettes against the endless blue skies - any photographers dream.

August
There is a promise of Spring in the air as the days begin to lengthen. It is now a little warmer, but it is still dry and the vegetation is sparse. Wildlife is still easy to find as animals frequent the dams, pans and waterholes, which are by now the only water sources.

September
Spring arrives full of potential. The bushveld seems to hold its breath waiting for early rains. The days are noticeably longer, some green shoots appear in the dry bush and the dawn chorus of birds and insects escalates. Some of the female animals are showing signs of pregnancy.

October
The environment is bursting with colour, a myriad shades of green. The first animal babies are born and a few species of migratory birds arrive back filling the air with new sounds.

November
Summer rainfall starts with the onset of magnificent afternoon thunderstorms soaking the bushveld for a short time - then disappearing. The temperatures are much warmer, day and night. There are newborn animals everywhere. The vegetation is lusher and denser, bushveld flowers burst into bloom, dotting the landscape with their magnificent colours. With all the youngsters filling the reserve, predators abound to take their opportunities.

December
A festive air is evident as the year draws to a close. The long hot days of summer are here, and the fresh mornings and warm evenings are a welcome relief. The green bushveld teems with life and all the migrant birds are back. With an abundance of wildlife and predators on the prowl, game viewing is spectacular.

Month by month, year by year, the cycle of life continues in this unspoilt paradise that is the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com
Published in News
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 14:27

Swaziland Achieves New Highs and Lows

The Kingdom of Swaziland is the perfect choice for adrenaline seekers. As the smallest country of Southern Africa, you can enjoy a wide range of adventure activities from the tree top canopy tour in Malolotaja Nature Reserve to caving the only major granite cave system known in Southern Africa.

The Malolotja zip wire is a heart-in-mouth experience that everyone should try. Situated in a gorge deep in the Malolotja Nature Reserve in northern Swaziland, 11 elevated forest platforms await.  The lines begin slow and short to provide a slight taste of what is to come then gradually become more intense, ranging from fast to high (almost 80m off the ground!) to a shaky (but secure) suspension bridge over the Majolamba River. It can take up to 3 hours to complete, with exceptional views of scenery and fascinating wildlife. Baboon Rock is a favourite for tourists to see the baboons that frequently use it as their sunning spot.

This tree top canopy tour provides an opportunity to combine adrenaline with appreciation of the natural environment. As well as being a family friendly activity, the zip wire is also environmentally friendly. The lines go through the trees, rather than cutting them down, proving to have a minimal impact on the surroundings. The bases between each zip blend into the surroundings, offering a wonderful bird’s eye view of Malolotja gorge.

From high up in the sky to deep underground, an 800m course of subterranean passages 90m below ground provide a unique cave system formed by the Kophola River that flows underground between Msunduza and Kophola mountains. This is the only major granite cave system known in Southern Africa, and comprises of a series of water-eroded chambers with names such as ‘Key Hole, ‘French Connectionand for the Harry Potter Fans, ‘Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Progress through the caves is slow and strenuous but also exhilarating - with belly crawls, body jams and fluttering bats! Swazilands highlands, mountains and gorges offer opportunities to both climb and descend a number of rock faces.

Swaziland has its fair share of offerings when it comes to an adrenaline rush, other examples include River Tubing down the beautiful Ngwempisi River, climbing and abseiling on Swazilands mountains and gorges, white water rafting on the Usutu river, Quad biking the ‘Devils Cauldron, mountain biking with wildlife at the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary or trekking at the largest exposed granite pluton in the world!


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Adele Cutler, Swaziland Tourism PR

Tel: +44 (0)1664 823750   M: +44 (0) 7976 578988    
adele@kamageo.com

Published in News
Newmark Hotels has been awarded the contract for the 46-apartment hotel that will take up 2 of the 15-stories that make up Hallmark House in the exciting Maboneng precinct in downtown Johannesburg. The hotel will offer unparalleled 360 degree views of the dynamic Jo'burg city skyline and is due to open in September 2016.  For the full story visit http://bit.ly/1HKtJ9s
Published in News
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