Esteemed wine critic Jancis Robinson recently published ‘A South African miscellany‘, awarding a 17.5 out of 20 score to the Brookdale Chenin Blanc 2019 – effectively placing it amongst the highest rated Chenin Blancs in South Africa.
‘Powdery, fragrant honeysuckle and jasmine with sweetness of ripe white peach. Creamy, tingling, richly textured spreading all over the palate. Apricots and avocado, matcha powder and tarragon and dripping ripe white melon. A quiet tap-tap of pepper on the scalpel-fine drawn-out finish. Elegant and beautifully composed. This is a seriously classy, sophisticated-artisan Chenin,’ says Robinson who was internationally recognised as ‘the Best Wine Critic of the World’ in the Best Wine of the World Competition 2018.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Klein Drakenstein mountains in Paarl, Brookdale Estate produces wines as unexpected as they are enchanting. A true Cinderella story, Brookdale Estate was once overgrown and underused. The Rudd family, originally from the United Kingdom, recognised the potential of the property and acquired the 67-hectare estate in 2015. Their vision was to create a world-class country estate producing fine wines, including interesting blends crafted from varietals that are somewhat ‘unusual’ in South Africa.
A single block of old-vine Chenin Blanc, estimated to be about 36 years old, was saved to become Brookdale’s maiden release in 2017. New vineyards were planted, and the Rudd family set out to further restore the balance of nature on the estate by clearing 27-hectares of alien vegetation. Indigenous vegetation was planted, including 3700 trees, as well as expansive gardens for Manor House resident guests to explore.
As ardent wine connoisseurs, Brookdale Estate is the pinnacle of the Rudd family’s passion. Here, Mediterranean varietals, a unique Paarl terroir and unusual winemaking techniques are brought together under the visionary hand of Tim Rudd, talented young winemaker Kiara Scott and consultant winemaker Duncan Savage.
The summer of 2022 will see the opening of a new Cellar, Wine Tasting Experience and Restaurant on site at Brookdale.
Despite the travel industry’s troubled times in the wake of the pandemic, FIVESTAR PR has not only retained its longstanding clients – Tintswalo Lodges, Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Jock Safari Lodge, but is growing from strength to strength having signed up several new hospitality and lifestyle clients over the past few months.
Janie van der Spuy who heads up FIVESTAR PR says: ‘Naturally, it has been a very difficult year for the industry, but it is encouraging to see that intuitive clients continue to invest in marketing and PR, recognizing that they will reap the benefits once travel normalises.’
The boutique agency has taken over PR representation of The Liz McGrath Collection, which includes Cape Town’s Cellars Hohenort Hotel and Greenhouse Restaurant, The Marine Hotel in Hermanus and The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay.
It has also been contracted to provide PR support to members of international marketing agency, Inspirational Places, including recently launched Perivoli Lagoon House and Mosaic Lagoon Lodge outside Stanford, as well as Schoone Oordt in Swellendam, The Residence in Houghton (Johannesburg) and Federal Airlines.
Another feather in its cap is the appointment of FIVESTAR PR on the marketing team to launch Brookdale Estate in Paarl, a top-end boutique winery with luxurious Manor House accommodation, as well as a restaurant and wine tasting centre that is currently under construction.
‘We operate in a niche market of small, privately owned luxury boutique hotels, safari lodges and lifestyle brands. A solid track record and proven results over more than 20 years in the PR business has stood us in good stead, once again affirming that in the PR industry reputation is everything,’ van der Spuy says. ‘Now is not the time to take a back seat. The PR industry has to be proactive and work smarter and harder than ever before, albeit within a smaller media network, in order to maintain a public presence and exposure for our clients.’
‘It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s encouraging to see the rebirth of some lifestyle titles such as House and Leisure and Woman & Home. Many niche publications have not only survived, but are even thriving. In terms of the travel and hospitality industry, business has shifted to the local market and South African travellers now have the opportunity to book iconic travel experiences locally, at rates that may never be repeated. It’s our mission to carry this message into the market and to make sure that when they do book that bucket list trip locally, they choose our clients,’ she concluded.
Tintswalo has opened a dedicated kosher kitchen at its family Camp in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg, 2,5 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. The kosher kitchen operates independently from the lodge catering facilities and is fully equipped and designed for food preparation according to Jewish kosher dietary laws. Kosher chefs are available, as well as kosher wines and grape juice to offer a professional catering service to Jewish families. Guests have the option to book the lodge on an exclusive-use basis, whilst self-catering is available if a group prefers to bring in their own kosher chef.
Tintswalo Family Camp Welgevonden is the ideal destination for a multi-generational family safari, religious celebrations and small weddings. The lodge can sleep between 10 and 16 guests, accommodating up to 20 guests when some bathrooms are shared. The accommodations are private, spreading across five spacious, freestanding suites with between one and three bedrooms each. Children of all ages are welcome, and the camp is protected by electric fencing against predators and dangerous game to allow the young ones the freedom to run around and explore.
Comfortably furnished, Tintswalo Family Camp is a home-away-from-home all year round, featuring warm and welcoming communal lounge areas with large fireplaces, as well as a spacious entertainment room that may be converted into a private function room. The lodge is also geared for outdoor living, sporting an expansive deck with lounge and dining areas overlooking the swimming pool and poolside loungers. The Welgevonden Game Reserve comprises of 36,000 hectares of pristine bushveld and ranks amongst South Africa’s largest private game reserves, and is home to a great variety of game, including the Big Five. Within the camp is a viewing deck facing a waterhole, while twice daily safari activities are included. Special rates are available for SA Residents until 19 December 2021.
Federal Airlines has reaﬃrmed its commitment to continue oﬀering special fares for SA and SADC residents until the end of 2022, following a strong increase in forward bookings.
FedAir introduced specials fares for South African & SADC residents in November 2020 as part of its reintroduction of ﬂights following the travel restrictions experienced in South Africa last year. Since then, SA & SADC resident customers ﬂying to safari lodges on the FedAir shuttle ﬂight programme have been able to make use of FedAir special fares that start from R2850 per person one-way, including taxes. The FedAir network includes the Sabi Sand and Timbavati Game Reserves, Garonga and other Hoedspruit area lodges in the Eastern region of South Africa, as well as Madikwe Game Reserve in north western South Africa.
Commenting on the positive developments, Federal Airlines CEO Mark Hurst stated: “With the surge in safari lodge domestic vacations, the airline was encouraged with the number of bookings over the recent Easter period. We continue to receive positive feedback from customers about our response to the needs of travellers and the travel trade, as we recover from the eﬀects of the pandemic. We will continue to oﬀer SA & SADC resident fares on our regular shuttle ﬂight programme, all of which form part of our ongoing ﬁrm commitment to support domestic tourism industry initiatives and safari lodge connectivity and sustaintability.”
FedAir recently amended some of its booking terms, adding ﬂexibility for customers who wish to make changes or cancel within prescribed periods. The SA and SADC Resident rates, which have proved extremely popular, remain available until the end of 2022 and can be booked via the lodges. In addition to the Shuttle Services, the Private Charter division of FedAir continues to oﬀer customised, exclusive charter ﬂights to meet personal schedules and requirements as required.
About Federal Airlines
Federal Airlines (FedAir) is one of the most multi-faceted aviation companies in South Africa. FedAir innovated the service of doing guest shuttles out to some of Africa’s most stunning luxury safari lodges in the 90’s, and since have partnered with world leaders in luxury safari experiences as part of their commitment to raise the bar in bespoke aviation. As a result, FedAir has become renowned for delivering a unique and seamless travel experience unparalleled in the market with shuttle services to luxury safari lodges and charter services. Operating out of its own exclusive African-themed terminal departure lounge, customers can enjoy complimentary refreshments, canapes and light meals before stepping directly out on the tarmac to board the aircraft.
The company philosophy is to hold customer service in the highest regard, delivering on the promise of reliability, safety and excellence in shuttle and charter ﬂight services.
FedAir currently operates Beechcraft 1900, Pilatus PC12, Cessna Caravans C208B and Embraer ERJ145 aircraft, providing a versatile and reliable ﬂeet to service lodge destinations.