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.
MHONDORO GOES OFF THE GRID: CELEBRATING ITS 5th BIRTHDAY WITH LODGE REVAMP AND NEW ECO-FRIENDLY INITIATIVES
Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa is celebrating its 5th birthday with the unveiling of an extensive revamp that took place over the past few months. The 5-star lodge, situated in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo province), also earned three major accolades in the 2020 Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards, which voted Mhondoro the Best Family Villa on a Global level; Best Pool Villa in Africa; and Best Safari Lodge in South Africa.
In line with the vision of the Dutch owners, Frank and Myriam Vogel, to further reduce the carbon footprint of the lodge, various eco-friendly initiatives have been put in place. Mhondoro is the proud owner of a major solar power installation of 620 solar panels and batteries. This is the largest solar operation at a lodge in Limpopo province and has successfully taken the operation off the grid to be self-sufficient in terms of all its electricity requirements.
Other projects include investing in a grey water filtration system for irrigation around the lodge, and the use of glass decanters and personalised steel water bottles for guests to minimize the use of plastic water bottles. Guest check-in is being done online to reduce the use of paper and re-usable leather wallets have been introduced for staff gratuities that will save 2000 envelopes per year. Mhondoro recycles all glass, paper and plastics used at the lodge, and has an agreement with Nespresso to recycle used coffee pods and grinds.
Lodge improvements include the refurbishment and redesign of guest suite bathrooms, the extension of decks and the addition of plunge pools to all suites (excluding Family Suites for child safety reasons). Soft furnishings and décor items have also been updated throughout the lodge.
Mhondoro has also purchased two farms measuring about 2 400 hectares adjoining Welgevonden Game Reserve. These tracks of derelict farmland are being rehabilitated and over time will become protected wilderness areas. A section of one of the farms is already being utilized to grow fresh produce for use at the lodge. It includes a chicken coop for farm fresh eggs and a greenhouse where herbs and vegetables are grown, with surplus produce donated to the surrounding communities.
Mhondoro sleeps a total of only 24 guests in two Luxury Pool Suites; a 2-bedroom Executive suite with en-suite bathrooms and a plunge pool; a 2-bedroom Family Deluxe suite with 2 en-suite bathrooms; another Family Suite with 2 bedrooms and a shared bathroom; a romantic Honeymoon suite with a private plunge pool and viewing deck with a daybed; and an exclusive-use Villa that can accommodate six adults.
Unique features include a custom-built stargazing ‘star deck’ and a waterhole with underground game viewing hide that is connected to the main lodge by a 65m reinforced concrete tunnel. Other lodge facilities extend to a gym, infrared sauna and heated swimming pools for all year-round swimming, and a dedicated Spa complete with a private, outdoor spa deck and bath.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge has received wide acclaim for its exciting virtual safaris which have been viewed online over the past year by millions of fans locally, and all over the world. When level 5 hard lockdown first kicked in and its lodges were deserted, Tintswalo acted swiftly and instinctively to find a creative way to continue communication with loyal guests.
In the African bush nature played out as it had since the beginning of time, and the guides of Tintswalo Safari Lodge continued their early morning game drives to monitor animal activity and conservation within the reserve. Getting up at the crack of dawn, they started filming what became known as the ‘On the Beat in the Manyeleti’ virtual game drives, which were broadcast on social media around the globe.
The first virtual safari went live on 25 March 2020 with 41 092 views. Now, exactly a year and 178 episodes later, Tintswalo’s Virtual Safaris have received an astonishing 7,4 million views from followers all over the world.
Says Alistair Leuner, Regional General Manager of Tintswalo’s Safari Operations: ‘During lockdown social media became a lifeline for many people as a way to connect to the world out there. People were looking to escape boredom and isolation and were searching for interesting and meaningful content. It was a great opportunity for Tintswalo to not only bring the bush right into their living rooms, wherever they were, but also to inform and educate the public about various important conservation issues.’Hosted and narrated by experienced guides, each and every virtual safari brought new adventures to the screen. From tracking the day-to-day movements of a herd of elephants and exhilarating sightings of wild dogs passing through the area, to following the Manyeleti’s magnificent Mbiri pride and finding a lion cub in a tree. Heart-warming comments and support poured in daily from fans far afield. This was ‘reality TV’ at its most authentic best!The game rich Manyeleti Nature Reserve is known world-wide for its Big 5 sightings, but also for its birdlife and many smaller and other interesting creatures. Tintswalo’s ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris include video footage of actual sightings and personal encounters experienced by game rangers on patrol. Whilst nothing beats going on safari in real life, Tintswalo’s virtual safaris are still continuing and are said to be an inspiration to many viewers who are planning their ‘bucket list’ safari trip of a lifetime.
Videos are uploaded daily on all Tintswalo’s social media channels:
Tintswalo Boulders Boutique Villa (Simon’s Town, Cape Town) has extended its culinary offering with the introduction of in-house dining options for resident guests. In addition to Tintswalo’s signature breakfast feast that is included in the rate, guests may now order family-style platters and dessert to enjoy dinner on the terrace overlooking Boulders beach, in the wind-protected courtyard around the firepit, or in the spacious indoor dining areas on chilly evenings.
A variety of wholesome, 2-course menus are available to choose from, including Mustard crust roast beef and jus with a steamed green veg medley, duck fat potatoes, Tintswalo salad and freshly baked breads, followed by Mini-lemon meringue. Other options include Sea bass & prawn curry with carrot, red onion and coriander salad, served with steamed basmati rice and papadums, ending on a sweet note with a Chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate mint glaze. Light meals are also available for lunch, including salads and sandwiches, as well as a Cake of the day. The villa is now also licensed and offers a full bar and wine list.
Tintswalo Boulders offers guests direct access to the boardwalk leading to the famous penguin beaches, and since opening two years ago, has become a popular destination for celebrations and for families with children.
Tintswalo Lapalala has launched two conservation participation experiences that offer guests the unique opportunity to join the Lapalala conservation team in rhino and elephant research and monitoring activities in the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo Province).
Lapalala Wilderness Nature Reserve is committed to ensuring the survival of Africa’s rhinos and in doing so, applies best practice research, management and monitoring of these magnificent animals. As part of these management programmes, the reserve conservation and veterinary teams are in the process of implementing various monitoring methods which include, ear-notching, DNA sampling, as well as the inserting of microchips on each animal.
Guests are invited to participate in one of these Rhino Experiences that will take place on four specific dates throughout 2021 (May 7-9; June 18-20; July 16-18; August 20-22). The veterinary team will dart and immobilize a white or black rhino and participants may assist with monitoring the animal during the capture. The DNA collection forms part of the Rhino DNA Indexing System (RhODIS), which is a forensic tool that stores a unique genetic fingerprint for every rhino that has been sampled using blood, tissue and horn. It also plays an important part in Lapalala’s rhino security initiative and its fight against poaching as DNA data may be used as evidence in court.
The Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is located within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the past 40 years the reserve has become a beacon for wildlife research and conservation in South Africa. Recognised as one of the largest and most scenic private reserves in southern Africa, its abundance of flora plays home to a vast array of wildlife that is protected within its 48 500 hectares. This includes 300 bird species, 50 fish species, 147 mammal species, 114 reptile species, 33 amphibian species and various breeding projects. Eco-friendly Tintswalo Lapalala is operated off the grid to accommodate only 16 adults and four children, and as one of only two lodges within the reserve, it guarantees a rare, and personalised wilderness experience.
Guests may also have the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the giants of the bush during an Elephant Collaring operation. The 27 elephants within the reserve are carefully monitored as part of the sustainable management of the population. From time to time, as an elephant collar needs to be replaced, a small group of guests have the chance to join this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Guided by an experienced ranger, the group is driven in an open 4×4 safari to meet up with the helicopter used to locate and dart the elephant. Guests may assist the veterinary team in monitoring the elephant’s vital signs, such as breathing rate and temperature. DNA samples are collected while the elephant’s collar is replaced, before the tranquiliser wears off and the elephant is free to join its herd again.
Following the success of OurAfrica.Travel 2020, the organisers have announced that the virtual meeting platform will be back in March 2021 to offer the travel trade a safe and affordable Africa-focussed travel show. Pre-scheduled, one-on-one, face-to-face virtual meetings will take place over 10 days to bring Africa to global buyers, conveniently and practically during their working hours.
Spearheaded by industry experts Allie Hunt and Storm Napier, OurAfrica.Travel 2021 will be presented in partnership with ATTA (Africa Travel & Tourism Association) on the following dates: 1 – 5 March (Europe, Africa, Asia & Oceania) from 04h00 – 19h00 CAT, and 8 – 12 March (Americas) from between 10h00 – 23h00 CAT.
Storm Napier says: ‘In 2020 we had no less than 321 exhibitors and 1199 buyers who connected virtually in just under 21 000 virtual meetings. The feedback has been phenomenal and by popular demand, we are delighted to bring the show back in 2021 and look forward to growing it even further.’
The 2020 event included some of South Africa’s most prominent travel brands such as, Escape & Explore, Wilderness Safaris, Triumph Travel, Singita and Red Carnation Hotels, all of whom have already confirmed their participation for 2021. Global buyers who participated in the 2020 event ranged from Private Safaris Switzerland, Swain Destinations and Swagman, to Virtuoso agents, FTI Touristik, Lusso and The Africa Adventure Company.
The show will take on the same format as the inaugural event of 2020, with the addition of a more extensive Indian Ocean section to include participants from Zanzibar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, Comores and Maldives.
Exhibitors who offer accommodations, safaris or other special experiences all over Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, are invited to sign up to connect with African travel specialists from around the world.
Chris Mears from ATTA says that digital events are here to stay, providing some certainty in marketing endeavours, at least until the trade are able to once again meet in person. Alison Hunt added that the resilience of the travel trade industry is certainly being tested. ‘We did not think that we would need to arrange another OurAfrica.Travel virtual show but, here we are! We’d like to thank ATTA for their support and partnership within the event. We are ready to show the world that Africa is truly the most diverse and rewarding travel destination one can ever explore.’
The transformation of the iconic Glencairn Hotel has been completed with the opening of Barstaurant at Glencairn, a new family-friendly restaurant off the shore of False Bay between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town.
Barstaurant at Glencairn occupies the entire floor area of the landmark building, which dates back to 1904. It is the new family offering created by the Tintswalo group, in partnership with Tintswalo Atlantic’s seasoned general managers Ryno and Melissa du Rand, and restauranteur Clint Fennel, who is well-known in the industry after ten years managing Willoughby’s in the V&A Waterfront.
The beauty and character of the historical Glencairn Hotel has been meticulously preserved to showcase its unique and hidden features. Local contractors were used during the renovation process, which created 40 jobs. In line with the ethos of a family business, the interiors were designed by the owners themselves with the assistance of third generation decorator Camlyn Goosen to create a stylish, yet casual family restaurant and neighbourhood bar.
The restaurant seats 80 diners and offers various seating areas, including a welcoming lounge area with a fireplace, a sushi bar, and a light and bright covered terrace, as well as cosy dining in the Sports Bar area, which includes an alcove for more private dining. The outdoor dining areas are already popular with parents and their young children, overlooking lawns with jungle gyms and safe play areas, with sea views in the distance. Specially geared for children, Barstaurant at Glencairn includes a kids’ menu with an inter-active opportunity to make their own pizzas.
Barstaurant at Glencairn is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Specialities include an All-Day Breakfast, wood-fired pizzas and classic bistro staples such as Fish and Chips; Cheeseburgers or Steak cut-of-the-week and hand-cut chips; Tacos; Chicken Ceasar Salad, salads and vegetarian options. From Wednesdays to Sundays a sushi menu is available too, freshly made by the team of professional sushi chefs and overseen by sushi aficionado Clint himself. An extensive selection of drinks is available, including beers on tap and craft beers, and a wine list that features some popular options, as well as more unusual vintages and varietals. Live music is available on weekends and sports events are broadcast on big-screens in the bar area.
Tintswalo owners Warwick and Lisa Goosen say their years of passion for the tourism and hospitality industry have sparked a love for new and exciting projects. For Warwick this project was the opportunity to create something new from the old, and completing the circle with food and drinks, play and sport. ‘There is an energy in the Deep South of Cape Town like nowhere else in the world. I feel it and I love the location and being able to expand our offering as a group, reaching out to the local community and to families specifically, with our partners by our side,’ he says.
In support of its community, Barstaurant at Glencairn is forming a charity to support local initiatives close to its heart, ranging from firefighting to land and sea conservation projects using the hashtags #landshepherd, #fireshepherd and #saltshepherd.
The Barstaurant at Glencairn team is looking forward to becoming a household name to families in the area and beyond, not only as a favourite eatery for adults and children alike, but also as a destination to celebrate special occasions and make lasting memories with loved ones.