South Africa 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
Email: [email protected]

UK & Ireland Trade enquiries
Natalie de la Porte [email protected]
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
The introduction of mobile applications designed to share information on interesting animal sightings in national parks, particularly in the iconic Kruger National Park, has become a major cause for concern for South African National Parks (SANParks). The rise in the use of these applications has resulted in an increased rate of lawlessness in the Parks including speeding, congestion at sightings as well as road kills caused by guests rushing to and congregating around these sightings.

This is according to SANParks, Managing Executive: Tourism Development & Marketing Hapiloe Sello, who said SANParks has been inundated with scores of customer complaints emanating from the use of these mobile applications.

According to Sello since the arrival of these mobile apps, authorities have received a considerable increase in reports of speeding cases, road kills as well as road rage incidents at sightings. “As an organisation we appreciate the fact that technology has evolved and that guests are taking advantage of it, however this is compromising the values of good game viewing in national parks.” 
She said SANParks holds a leading position globally in the conservation of bio-diversity and the management of eco-tourism; it would therefore be regrettable for SANParks to turn a blind eye to trends that reverse the gains made in these fields.”

“Most guests appreciate the leisurely drive through the parks and the potential reward of a good sighting as a key element of the visitor experience. This is an experience that SANParks commits to protecting and therefore the usage of these mobile applications is in direct contradiction to the ethos of responsible tourism espoused by SANParks.”

“We at SANParks discourage the use of these mobile applications as they tend to induce an unhealthy sense of eagerness for visitors to break the rules and, we are exploring legal mechanisms to curtail the use of sightings apps,” concludes Sello.
Published in 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: [email protected]

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: [email protected]

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
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