South Africa News
Newmark is delighted to have added the Drosty Hotel in the Eastern Cape to their growning portfolio.  This historic Victorian property was originally the magistrate's office in Graaff-Reinet (one of South Africa's 4 oldest towns).  It was converted into a hotel of great character in 1878 and is a fantastic base from which to explore the Karoo and its National Parks including Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra. Renovations are full steam ahead to return this gem of a property to its former glory as a 5 star boutique hotel experience, with a grand re-opening scheduled for December 2014. For more information visit www.newmarkhotels.com and follow Newmark on twitter on @newmarkhotels.  For more details and rates etc please contact info@ethosmarketing.co.uk
Published in News
Safari holiday specialist Travel Butlers has reported record sales of holidays to South Africa as people take advantage of the current strength of the pound against the South African Rand.

This week, Managing Director Paul Campbell spoke about the impact the fluctuating exchange rate has had on sales: “Two years ago, 1 pound was worth around 12 South African Rand. This has gradually changed over time and in January 2014 1 pound was worth around 18 Rand on average, and briefly peaked at over 18.5. This means that holiday makers are now getting 50% more for their money…and that is before taking into account the huge number of special offers that are currently on offer.”

The impact of the exchange rates and special offers is that Travel Butlers is reporting passenger bookings to South Africa up by more than 60% in January, with many people also taking advantage of the exchange rates to book more expensive hotels.

As Paul explains, “It is probably easier to see the impact of these changes if we look at the cost of staying at one of South Africa’s best known 5* safari lodges. A three night stay at Bayethe Lodge in the Shamwari Game Reserve in July 2012 would have cost £2100 for 2 people if booked in January of that year. The equivalent three night stay in July 2014 will only cost £1160 at current exchange rates - a saving of around 45% or nearly £1000.”

Travel Butlers believe that the combination of favorable exchange rates and numerous special offers is a win-win situation for both hoteliers and holidaymakers after several difficult years. As Paul recalls, “South Africa had a great reputation for value for money ten years ago. This was somewhat eroded around the time of the Football World Cup in 2010, when many hotels started to charge 5* prices for 3* services, and visitor numbers suffered a bit as a result. It has taken a couple of years, however we believe that South Africa is now better value for money than ever before, and this can only be good news for hoteliers and holidaymakers alike.”



NOTE TO EDITORS:

Travel Butlers is a safari holiday specialist based in Weybridge, Surrey. Founded in 2003 the company works closely with customers of all ages and budgets to build completely unique, bespoke safari holidays across Southern and East Africa. Travel Butlers prides itself on the expert knowledge of its staff, who have personally visited the safari lodges that the company offers and can therefore provide first-hand advice.

With the exception of just one single day (23rd October 2008), the pound has bought more SA Rand on every day in January and February 2014 than at any time in the last 10 years.
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Published in News
Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:44

Hapless on a horse or pro' on a pony?

Whilst many are celebrating the New Year festivities of the Chinese Year of the Horse we wish to celebrate Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve, our very special property where one can enjoy all levels of horse-riding within the African bush.

Set high on the rolling hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Pakamisa Lodge enjoys an enviable position in this unspoilt setting.  It might surprise you that I highlight its lack of the ‘Big 5’ and predators as a plus-point, yet this very characteristic allows for a unique safari experience: horse-riding in the African bushveld, safe in the knowledge that one doesn’t have to contend with dangerous animals.  Whilst traditional game drives offer a fantastic way to see wildlife, the noise of the vehicles engine invariably heightens an animal’s desire to flee.  Sat quietly on horseback, the possibility to pass through a grazing herd of zebra and cause virtually no disturbance is significantly higher.

Isabella, the hands-on owner, is passionate about horses and over the years has developed a world-class stud.  The Arabs were brought in from Spain and Isabella has successfully cross-bred them with an indigenous South African breed to ensure an excellent stable.  Whether a beginner or advanced rider, guests will be paired with a horse best suited to their level of competence.  Those sitting on a horse for the very first time can partake in a short lesson to calm the nerves whilst experienced riders might choose to spend up to 5 hours out on the 2,500ha reserve with a picnic lunch.

All tack is kept in an excellent condition and English or endurance saddles are provided, as well as helmets and riding chaps.

For those less keen to sit in the saddle, one can enjoy game drives on the reserve or guided bush walks, which can be a leisurely stroll to a viewing point or a more invigorating expedition along one of the bush trails in search of wildlife or examples of the 200-strong species of birds that inhabit the reserve.  For those yearning to search the ‘Big 5’, afternoon game drives can be arranged at another nearby reserve.  Competitively-spirited guests might enjoy the challenge of archery, clay target shooting, or air rifle shooting which can all be arranged locally whilst angling enthusiasts may wish to wrestle a tiger fish from nearby Jozini Dam.

Pakamisa Lodge has 8 luxury suites individually positioned in the indigenous gardens to ensure breath-taking views across the rolling hills and valleys.  The rooms are generous in size, each with a large bedroom, substantial bathroom, and sunken lounge leading on to a spacious patio.  The suites can accommodate two additional beds and kids over 12 are charged the very competitive 3rd person rate.  In keeping with Pakamisa’s tranquil setting, the rooms are techno-free but internet connectivity is available in the Main House and mobile signal is relatively strong in most areas.

Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve is the perfect safari lodge for guests keen to experience a horseback safari in a safe environment.  It also works extremely well in conjunction with a traditional safari lodge, as clients are able to enjoy the best of a ‘big game’ safari and the many varied outdoor activities available at Pakamisa.

For those self-drive clients wishing to combine a safari in the greater Kruger with a beach stay on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, Pakamisa makes for a welcome break as it’s virtually halfway between Hazyview and Durban.  Those considering it as a stop-over are recommended to spend at least 2 nights at the lodge to ensure that they are able to fully experience all that this hillside retreat has to offer.

Although Pakamisa is not be celebrating the advent of the Year of the Horse with colourful parades and festive fireworks, they are offering a ‘stay 3, pay 2’ deal during May, June, and July 2014.
Published in News
Friday, 24 January 2014 12:20

South Africa product managers FAM trip

South African Tourism are delighted to be partnering with South African Airlines and Eastern Cape Tourism on a product managers FAM trip from 23 March to 31 MArch 2014. The trip will start in Durban and then travel south to the magical Eastern Cape Wild Coast and to the villages of Mvezo and Qunu to see the ancestral home of Nelson Mandela before journeying onto Kings William Town and the University of Fort Hare to see where many of the fathers of democratic South Africa were educated. The trip finishes with visits to Craddock, Nieu Bethesda and Graaf Reinet to experience "Frontier South Africa" and to see some of the countries rarest animals.  

The Eastern Cape has long been a very popular destination for South Africans and as the birth place of Nelson Mandela SAT expects to see a significant increase in demand from international visitors for tours celebrating his life.This is therefore an excellent opportunity for a Tour Operator, who does not currently have a programme in the Eastern Cape to gain a valuable insight into the province. 

The Eastern Cape also offers stunning scenery, fascinating culture and history as well as famous South African hospitality. This is a not to be missed chance for a product manager looking to develop an Eastern Cape programme . 

If you would like more information or would like to be considered for the trip please email Andrew Sharpe at South African Tourism andrew@southafrica.net


Published in News
Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:14

Sabi Sabi Selati: New lounge & Feb offer

The rich history that surrounds Sabi Sabi is never more evident than at Selati Camp. Its vintage, olde world character reverberates with memories of days gone by, when life was a little slower, a little more elegant and a lot more romantic. Styled on the exciting reef gold rush era, one of Selati's most beautiful and intimate areas is the lounge. This inviting spot is adorned with authentic railway memorabilia, relics of the 19th century Selati Line from which the lodge takes its name. Softly lit by oil lamps, furnished with deep comfortable armchairs and watched over by the warm, ever-attentive staff, this is an enticing area in which to relax and meet friends old and new.

After an extensive rebuild and redesign, the recently revamped lounge revealed a completely new look. A major change has the lounge now leading directly into the intimate boma and much-loved farmhouse kitchen. New floors, rich fabrics and glorious new furnishings, combined with the extension of space, glass and entrance-ways have opened up the lounge area without compromising its historic ambience and familiar characteristics. Neutral colours in soft natural fabrics still dominate, and reflect splendidly in the gleaming floor. The sensation of being out in the African bush is enhanced by the more open design, while the feeling of warmth and hospitality is as strong as ever. Sitting in the lounge sipping a glass of wine around a roaring fire, it is easy to imagine the brave pioneers and exciting gold rush days to which Selati pays tribute.

Each mealtime at Selati Camp is a celebration of style and taste. A choice of several dining locations make the most of the bushveld backdrop. Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed on the outdoor wooden deck alongside the Msuthlu Riverbed. Dinner is served under the stars in the intimate boma or in the famed Farmhouse Kitchen - a warm and appealing replica of the farm kitchens of old.

This romantic setting is ideal for special occasions and Selati Camp has long been a favourite destination for honeymooners, couples and those seeking a luxurious break. Since taking over management of the lodge, husband and wife team Brett and Ashleigh Heasman have also added their personal stamp. Selati guests are enjoying the surprise special romantic touches on evening safari, fragrant rose petals strewn on the bed or in drawn bubble baths, and the delicious homemade delicacies resting on a pillow as a goodnight treat.

And as for the world prepares for the most romantic of months, Sabi Sabi celebrates romance in style. For every new 4 night reservation confirmed for the month of February, we will treat you and your partner to a couple's spa treatment at either the Bush Lodge Amani Spa or Earth Lodge Amani Spa. Amani Spa was recently voted by the readers of The Spa Traveller the Best International Spa in its category, so you will be sure to be pampered by our world class facilities.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 (011) 447-7172
Fax: +27 (011) 442-0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com






Published in News
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:23

Mateya Safari Lodge

On a visit to Madikwe Game Reserve at Mateya Safari Lodge, I woke up to melodic bird song and savannah views as a herd of impala walked into shot. I soaked up the safari  sunshine from the private, cocktail pool with spectacular waterhole and savannah views. 

The private, experienced guide and tracker team was Werner and Paul, both whom have been with Mateya for 4+ years. We were very fortunate following a pack of wild dog, who then found a lone, young buffalo. It was grim to observe the wild dog feasting on the live buffalo, all the while it groaned loudly in distress. Wild dog have to eat too... 

My Madikwe game viewing highlights: black and white rhino in their natural environment and a young male leopard, stalking an impala! Also enjoyed seeing several large breeding herd of elephant, prides of lion in very good condition, beautiful dark-patterned giraffe browsers, herds of wildebeest and guinea fowl grazing, zebra, kudu, warthog and buffalo. Bird spotting bounty included: big birds like ostrich, secretary bird and a pair of kori bustards, as well as pretty lilac breasted rollers, crimson breasted shrike, bulbuls, red and yellow hornbills and several starlings and sparrow.    

Mateya is unashamedly decadent. Safari exclusivity starts with a guide and tracker pair and a max. of four quests on the game drive vehicles. 

There are only five suites and delicious five-course dinners are served on priceless, pretty crockery. Guests get to hand pick fine wines for dinner, from the impressive 8000 bottle wine cellar. 

Mateya’s suites and relaxation areas showcase THE largest private African art collection in the world. Everywhere you look is layer, upon layer of refined interiors with artistic detailing and even more art. It was very interesting to explore the lodge with the art guide in hand, learning about the origins and symbolism of the art, ranging from Paul Augustinus magnificent, realistic animal oil paintings to Robert Glen’s life-sized bronze sculptures, to rare pieces from lost tribes of Mali, Cameroon and Benin.   

In a word - Mateya Safari Lodge is magnificent. Madikwe Game Reserve is a very scenic game reserve, with corn yellow grasses bending in the breeze, swathes of savannah with dead, Leadwood tree forests that punctuate the big, cloudless blue safari skies, framed by majestic mountains.

Hope I have tempted you to visit Mateya Safari Lodge when next in South Africa...

MATEYA FAQ’s at a glance

Accessibility:

· A Mateya safari combines very well with a Botswana safari and our lodge is easily accessed from Gaborone ­- at a cost of £100 per couple for the two-hour door-to-door road transfer;

· Fly with FedAir from Rand Germiston (JHB) into Madikwe Game Reserve  - twice daily flights in peak season at 10h00 and again at 13h00

75 000 ha Malaria Free Madikwe Game Reserve:

·  Madikwe Game Reserve (Madikwe) is in a malaria-free zone – a huge plus for families and couples travelling on ‘babymoons’ – but the biggest draw card of the reserve - is THE PHENOMENAL GAME VIEWING!

·  Madikwe is one of the best places in Africa to spot Wild Dog. There are three packs consisting of more than 30 dogs, many of which are juveniles. Quite simply Madikwe is THE reserve in which your guests can consistently view the endangered African Wild Dog, along with many other species including predators, the second largest herd of elephant in South Africa and large herds of plains game;

·  Mateya rangers can traverse on 75 000 ha and the Madikwe, max number of vehicles per sighting is three and less for sensitive sightings. Our three vehicles are fitted with silent ear-piece radio head sets, giving the option of joining significant sightings without intrusive radio chatter. The tracker and ranger team heads out to find their own game sightings;

·  Mateya supports Madikwe reserve management’s pro-active anti-rhino poaching initiatives, including measures such as the polygraphing of ALL employees as well as ballistic records of all official armoury;

Magnificent Mateya Safari Lodge:

·  The lodge and each of the 5 suites with private cocktail pools benefit from spectacular and uninterrupted views across a waterhole and / or savannah that sweeps up onto the dramatic Tweedepoort escarpment!

·  Given that exclusive Mateya only accommodates up to a max of 10 guests in its decadent, 175 sqm suites, the lodge’s three game vehicles are configured with: 4 – 4 and 2 guests. That is, a maximum of just 4 guests per vehicle. This works particularly well for families or honeymooners who often enjoy their own private vehicle!

·  Mateya offers a flexible safari experience that is tailored to the wishes of individual guests. For example if guests tell us they want to have a lie in, they are most welcome. In winter we often have a leisurely start and a half day game drive with a gourmet picnic lunch at a scenic location in the reserve. If guests prefer, in summer we have early dinners and head out on extended evening game drives with the added advantage (and James Bond coolness!) of night vision game viewing equipment;

·  Mateya is one of few lodges in Madikwe that employs both a tracker and ranger-host combination.  All three Mateya’s experienced rangers are qualified walking guides and also avid, published photographers.  Our vehicles have benches that are better suited for photography mobility and have also just been fitted with special swivel brackets for camera stability and movement;

·  Once guests are onsite the only extra’s they would pay for is telephone and spa – no nickel and diming here.

·  Innocent, our chef extraordinaire, meets guests daily to gauge their dining preferences, from the type of cuisine, to the preferred location and ambience;  

·  Mateya features the world’s largest private collections of African art, embodying the spirit of the continent and reflecting a plethora of cultures and artistic traditions. From majestic Paul Agustinus oils to spectacular life-size bronze sculptures by Robert Glen and Donald Greig, each piece in the Mateya collection has been individually selected for its unique and enduring appeal;

·  The Mateya library has a rare collection of first edition African explorer books including Grogan’s Cape to Cairo and Cornwallis Sportsmans Guide.

Access the Mateya Image Gallery - a large lodge and wildlife photography gallery is accessible from the Mateya website http://www.mateyasafari.com/

The website has a regularly updated trail camera gallery, a rangers video gallery and weekly screen saver sensational wildlife downloads. All three Mateya’s experienced rangers are published photographers.

Exclusive Retreats is an extension of Mateya Safari Lodge here in the UK. Renette Hartridge 


Published in News
Learn the Super Powers of a Bush Ranger

Perhaps it's a generational-thing, but it would appear that fewer children these days spend time playing make-believe games or climbing trees and developing their spirit of adventure. Has the advent of game consoles replaced this? Hopefully not.
With the likes of Bear Grylls turning his adventurous hand to childrens storybooks, it is likely that there is a new generation of budding outdoor adventurers aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

What better place is there for these young discoverers to fuel their imaginations than on safari? Here children become real-life adventurists exploring the natural bush in the company of rangers. It is very endearing to watch as young children are captivated by the tales of these rangers, who are soon elevated to the ranks of super hero.

At Makalali Private Game Lodge children can participate in the Junior Ranger Programme, which offers a fun-filled 2 days for kids aged 6 – 12 years.
With the excitement of the early morning game drive behind them and a scrumptious breakfast filling their tummies, kids will wave goodbye to Mum and Dad before heading off for 1 ½ hours with their newfound super-hero.

During the first day the ranger introduces children to various bush skills which will make them feel like mini Ray Mears. The kids will learn about local vegetation, including the 'toothbrush bush' and edible plants, whilst also learning how to source and purify water and other skills necessary to survive in the bush.
On the following days adventure the focus is on the animals. Rangers will teach the youngsters to identify and track the spoor. Whilst watching the animals, rangers will explain how the behaviour and warning signals can be read to ensure ones safety in the bush. This young tech-savvy generation will also be shown how one can avoid getting lost in the bush without the use of a TomTom...
The next morning the children will sit an informal test before they are presented with their graduation certificates and photos.

Much is said about the necessity to educate the next generation on conservation; they are the future custodians of protected wildlife areas. This Junior Ranger Programme will hopefully ignite that spark within them, ensuring that future adventurists preserve areas in which to explore.

Makalali Private Game Lodge provides accommodation in 4 satellite camps, each with 6 luxury suites, a communal pool, dining area, and boma. Some of the camps are equipped with family suites ensuring two kids can share with Mum and Dad. For extended families or a party of friends, these smaller camps are ideal and can make for an exclusive camp if there are at least 8 adults travelling.

Accommodation is on a full board basis inclusive of 2 game drives per day. The Junior Ranger Programme is available at a cost of ZAR300 per child.
Published in News
Thursday, 09 January 2014 10:27

Rand sinks to 4 year low against the pound

The South African rand is currently taking a beating against all major currencies. It could be the perfect time to move money into the country if you have international accounts or any outstanding invoices.

At the moment the rand is sitting at over 17.50 against GBP, which means your pounds are worth a whole lot more.

Sable FX offers industry leading guaranteed rates with no hidden fees. We have no transfer fees and funds are cleared within three working days.

If you want to take advantage of these incredible rates, please get a hold of us right now.

You can call us on 0207 759 7514 or email us at fx@Sable-Group.com to arrange your transfer today.
Published in News

Out in Africa Safaris is an exciting new venture, run by the lovely Cecile Auersperg - a well-known Austrian horse enthusiast and accomplished equestrian.

After organising horseback safaris for many years through her company Auersperg Safaris, Cecile has now set up base in the Greater Kruger area to offer exceptional horse safaris in this incredible location
.

Off the beaten track, close to nature : Significant distances are often covered on a daily basis, on paths used only by animals. The rides take clients through the bush, onto open plains and along meandering rivers where little is heard, but for the horse’s hooves on the ground and the sound of nature calling. Their qualified and experienced guides are adept at getting riders up close to Africa’s wildlife.

Out in Africa use mainly Boerpherd and thoroughbred crosses that are highly responsive and well accustomed to the terrain and the wildlife in the area. They have horses suitable for all levels of riding, although they will only take riding guests that are confident in all paces.

The Selwane Nature Reserve area is a mixture of broad leafed woodland with Bush willows and Mopane being the dominant trees. This is a habitat well suited to grazing and browsing animals such as giraffe, kudu, impala, wildebeest and zebra. This reserve is in a quiet and peaceful area, mostly surrounded by private game farms and some rural African villages. The Letaba Ranch area, about twenty minutes away, is open to Kruger. Here the Mopane woodland habitat and the Letaba River attracts big herds of buffalo and elephant in the dry season from June to October.

Out in Africa have exclusive use of a 4* luxury lodge during their safaris, which is combined with nights out in the bush at fly camps. At every stop the team will have set up camp and a masseuse will be ready to work away sore muscles after a day in the saddle! Sites are chosen for their natural beauty, safety and ambiance. It is a special experience to spend a day in the saddle out in the wilderness, have a hearty meal and hot shower and then rest snuggly in your tent while the African night unfolds under the brilliant night sky.


The Kondowe Ride
6 nights lodge based, 1 night fly camp : 
Non- dangerous game viewing from horseback and one day game viewing in Kruger NP with the opportunity to see some of the Big 5, including Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Elephant. See sample itinerary on our website.

Rack Rates
6 nights €1575 / 7 nights €1800 (extra nights are €90)


Greater Kruger Ride
4 nights lodge based, 3 nights fly camp.
Game viewing of the Big 5 from horseback. During the ride, guests have the opportunity to ride in the area of Greater Kruger, enjoying a unique safari experience by horseback. See sample itinerary on our website.

Rack rates
6 nights €1800 / 7 nights €2400 (extra nights are €90)


For more information on Out in Africa Safaris, do contact Cecile Auersperg at cecile@auersperg-safaris.om or see  www.outinafricaencounters.com. Alternatively contact Kamili on 0115-937-7475 or see www.kamilisafaris.com


Please note : We're planning a 2014 fam trip for upto 6 UK Africa specialists. Out in Africa are looking to provide an exceptional safari for a select group of passionate horse-riders.. Dates are yet to be fixed, so if this appeals, please do contact mandy@kamilisafaris.com to express your interest. This is one not to miss!

Published in News
The Office in Johannesburg has moved and there are new numbers and contact details, please update your records.

Lukimbi Safari Lodge:  www.lukimbi.com
I
dube Game Reserve:  www.idube.com

T
el:  +27 11 792 6165 / Fax: +27 11 792 5026
P.O. Box 2167, Northcliff, 2115, South Africa

Physical Address: 
Unit 2, Ground Floor, Boskruin View Office Park, 9 Girdwood Road (cnr Kelly & Ysterhout Roads), Boskruin.

Thank you for all your support of these lodges, the reservations contact details are still the same:  April Knight:  res@idube.com or
res@lukimbi.com

F
or makreting in the UK, please continue to contact:  tolene@boutiquetravelmarketing.com / Tel: 079 839 56739


Published in News
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