mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve is back under owner-management of the founders, Barry and Sonya Theunissen. The reserve is located in the heart of Zululand in KwaZulu Natal, just two and a half hours drive from Durban, where it is home to sister-lodges Biyela and Mthembu. ‘mFulaWozi is not just about magnificent game viewing, delectable cuisine, and stunning décor, it’s about a journey of purpose, and the creation of a culture of mutual respect’, says Barry Theunissen.
Carefully built by hand by members of the local Mthembu and Biyela Zulu clans, all suites come with their own private viewing deck where guests may immerse themselves in nature and the rich history of the area. Designed by architect Peter Whitehouse with interior design by Michelle Throsslle, both lodges are operated off the grid with solar power, and water sourced locally and supplied via a filtration plant.
Biyela Lodge is named after local chief Biyela, a descendant of King Shaka, and consists of 12 luxury standalone suites as an inviting and exclusive destination for couples, complete with private plunge pools. An oasis of privacy and eco-luxury, the suites are styled on a modern apothecary theme as a fusion of modern ideation, with an expression of the magnificent environs surrounding it. With cool rectilinear pavilions, the lodge is built into the hillside of this piece of untouched mFulaWozi wilderness, perfectly positioned to maximise the sweeping views of the imposing flood plains of the White iMfolozi River below.
Warm and welcoming Mthembu Lodge is set on the embankment of the White iMfolozi River, where it commands magnificent views complete with game watching from the comfort of its seven, luxury one-bedroom suites and two-family villas. Aimed at the discerning traveller, Mthembu is the perfect family destination, welcoming children from the age of 10, and offering a sensual, quiet, and a naturally elegant definition of space. It combines fresh innovative design and stylish African touches, with a wealth of natural materials such as earthy woods, leather and brass.
The mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve stretches across 16 000 hectares of untouched African bushveld, 6000 hectares of which have already been incorporated into the Hluluwe iMfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. With the dropping of fences between the parks, it is now one of the last havens where large numbers of animals, including the Big 5, that can roam freely. This unique wilderness area embodies the spirit of the Zulu nation and unlocks the tourist appeal of the rich culture, history and biodiversity of the land. It offers a thrilling game drive experience to resident guests of Biyela and Mthembu Lodges exclusively. Spa treatments are available, while other wilderness experiences include birding, guided walks and trails, and excellent photographic opportunities.
As one of the final bastions of the Zulu nation, mFulaWozi offers a unique combination and insight into of Zulu history, culture, wilderness and wildlife, allowing guests to connect with five hundred years of history. Shaka Zulu conserved this land to protect the endemic game as part of his hunting ground and conservation area. Historians, academics, and conservationists have dreamed and motivated for years to establish a sustainable ecotourism node of this vast scale and importance. Its purpose today is to continue protecting and preserving both the wilderness and its communities for generations to come.
mFulaWozi is championing a sustainable model for socioeconomic development within the local communities which have been impacted over the last few years. The upliftment of these disadvantaged communities has now allowed the communities to run various initiatives, creating a resilient economic environment. Not only is it a blueprint for a future where humans and wildlife can live and thrive together, but it is also mFulaWozi’s legacy to commit to the preservation and conservation of the Zulu culture.
Tswalu, South Africa’s largest private game reserve, is introducing a conservation experience focusing on generic data collection of endangered rhino populations of the Southern Kalahari ecosystem. From April to September, guests are welcomed to join the rhino notching initiative to analyze and support the genetic integrity of the protected rhino populations across South Africa after suffering a tragic decline over recent years.
During this intimate wildlife experience, trained trackers and veterinarians set out across the Kalahari to dart young rhinos, ideally between two and three years old. After marking and associating the rhino with a recorded number, the team plants a small microchip under the skin and horns for future identity and security purposes. DNA samples are then collected and later added into a global DNA database that helps track and prevent illegally traded rhino horns.
During this encounter, guests form part of the ground crew and are invited to take part of this microchipping experience that includes helping to monitor the rhinos body temperature and breathing. The private rhino notching experience covers the costs of a wildlife veterinarian, the specialized drugs in the darts, and flying expenses. Guests can further participate in Tswalu’s rhino recovery initiatives by donating directly to the reserve; first and foremost an ambitious conservation project that funds numerous research projects, geared towards understanding and conserving key species within the Kalahari ecosystem. All funds directly contribute to a credible and imperative rhino conservation project to re-establish populations where they can be protected.
As one of the many wildlife conservation experiences, Tswalu practices low-impact, high-value approaches to sustainable ecotourism to help fund the critical conservation work for future generations. Tswalu’s conservation goals focus on restoring the natural environment, re-establishing and protecting biodiversity, and maintaining the Kalahari’s characteristic ecological processes, all carried out through environmental research supported by the Tswalu Foundation. The Tswalu Foundation is a world leader in the field of environmental research within the southern Kalahari. However, the benefits of the targeted research extend beyond Tswalu, adding to a collective knowledge base that has already assisted conservationists in wilderness areas in other parts of Africa as well as those working in academic fields.
Brookdale has launched the maiden vintage of its unique Sixteen (white) Field Blend, as well as the fourth vintage of its old-vine Brookdale Chenin Blanc. A study in the balance of dichotomy, the two new wines showcase the diversity of Brookdale as one of the new wine-producing treasures of the Paarl Winelands.
Brookdale Chenin Blanc (2020) is the fourth expression of this site-specific wine that is produced in limited quantities. It is widely recognised for its flavour, nuanced character and precise equilibrium. Juxtaposed against this classic old-vine Paarl Chenin, is the fresh and intriguing vibrance of the new Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend (2021) – the first milestone in the journey of developing unique white and red field blends on the estate.
Under the gentle hand of winemaker Kiara Scott, the two new wines share the benefit of a minimal intervention approach to winemaking, that results in a unique combination of character and elegance in the glass.
Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend (2021) is a celebration of the ancient, lost art of field blend winemaking. In 2018, sixteen different white varieties were interplanted as bush vines on Brookdale. These include cultivars that have flourished for centuries in France’s Rhône River Valley, the Mediterranean coastline, and the Iberian Peninsula. Planted together for structure and complexity, and some for acidity, it speaks to a wide range of flavours, as well as versatility and enjoyment with food.
Winemaker Kiara Scott says the vineyard was monitored closely in season and harvested on ‘gut feel’ according to the variability of the ripeness of the grapes. This was followed by co-fermentation and vinification for a true expression of field blend philosophy, where it is ‘all about the totality of the blend, rather than the individual varietals’, to deliver a level of complexity, balance and elegance.
Tasting notes cite that ‘like a meadow in spring, the Brookdale Sixteen Field Blend 2021 is aromatically diverse; laced with white flowers, heather, orange blossom, and hints of jasmine; then bright green apples, pear, and an undertone of nutty apricot kernel. Subtle, balanced with a soft, enveloping texture, the palate offers concentrated, minerally stone fruits evolving to nectarines and ripe citrus. This depth is cut with a juicy, mouth-watering acidity before a pithy finish’.
The terroir of the Paarl Valley opens up a world of possibility through its unique combination of character and elegance. From old-vine Chenin Blanc (1985) grown on decomposed shale and granite, Brookdale’s flagship Chenin Blanc is one of the certified old Chenin vines found in the Drakenstein region.
Minimal winemaking was employed once again to allow this stony terroir to shine through in the 2020 vintage. ‘Unmasked, crushed stones unspool while limey, powdered chalk rides a wave of white citrus and white pear, underpinned by subtle oak spice. On the palate, the sensational white fruit continues. The mineral structure presents vertical and endless, enlivened by soft buoyant acids and a mouth-coating citrus purity. The finish is luminous, with a real granitic freshness.’
Tim Rudd, the owner of Brookdale says he is delighted to bring to market these two unique, terroir-driven wines. ‘Wine begins in the vineyard with the earth’s minerals, the sun’s warmth, and the air the connects them. It fulfils its potential with passion, creativity and skill in the cellar, but here at Brookdale we believe it really finds meaning the moment when the wine is shared and enjoyed together. We are excited to release these two new wines which are very different – but share the expression of the true heart of the Paarl Valley.’
Marketing and sales representation company, Inspirational Places (IP) has announced the expansion of its portfolio of luxury hotels and lodges across Southern Africa, with the addition of mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, and soon-to-be-opened Mukwa River Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia.
mFulawozi Wilderness, home to Biyela and Mthembu Lodges, is back under the management of the founders, Barry and Sonya Theunissen. The sister-lodges are situated on the banks of the White iMfolozi River in the heart of Zululand, just two and a half hours drive from Durban. Biyela and Mthembu re-opened in 2021 after an extensive revamp that included a focus on interior design. Biyela consists of 12 luxury standalone suites – an exclusive offering with private plunge pools; whilst Mthembu Lodge offers seven, luxury one-bedroom suites and two family suites as the perfect family destination.
The mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve stretches across 16 000 hectares of untouched African bushveld, 6000 hectares of which have already been incorporated into the Hluluwe iMfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. This unique wilderness area embodies the spirit of the Zulu nation and unlocks the tourist appeal of the rich culture, history and biodiversity of the land. It offers an exclusive game drive experience to guests of Biyela and Mthembu Lodges only.
Mukwa River Lodge in Zambia is set to open on 1 April 2022. It is situated in a prime position on the banks of the Great Zambezi River, an easy 21km drive from Livingstone with convenient access upstream from Victoria Falls. The six-suite luxury lodge will offer a range of exciting water-based activities, including water safari and game viewing opportunities. Mukwa River Lodge is sister property to Inspirational Places members The Residence Boutique Hotel in Houghton (Johannesburg), and Camp Ndlovu in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo).
Inspirational Places now represents members in South Africa, Namibia and Zambia. Other recent additions to the IP portfolio include Brookdale Estate in the Winelands (Paarl); Perivoli – Lagoon House on the banks of the Hermanus Lagoon (Stanford); The Alphen Hotel & Spa in Constantia and The Marly Hotel & Spa in Camps Bay (Cape Town); and Habitas Namibia in the greater Windhoek area (Namibia).
Allie Hunt, who has owner-managed Inspirational Places since 2008, says that with international markets opening up slowly, the company’s focus is to take the clients of Inspirational Places back onto the global platform. ‘We are passionate about profiling and promoting some of the most unforgettable Southern African experiences. Despite two difficult years during the pandemic, we managed to pull through, thanks to the commitment of the current members to keep Inspirational Places going. We are also thrilled to have been able to grow with the addition of a number of new members, whilst keeping our portfolio and service approach both focussed and personal.’
IP also represents shuttle and charter airline Federal Airlines, which continued operating, keeping the skies open under extreme conditions over the last two years. Federal Airlines continues to offer a reliable and dependable air service getting guests to South African safari lodges timeously.
Completing the current IP portfolio is longstanding members Schoone Oordt Country House in Swellendam; The Residence in Houghton; and Mosaic Lagoon Lodge in a milkwood forest outside Stanford; safari lodges Jamala Madikwe in the Madikwe Reserve; and Camp Ndlovu in the Welgevonden Game Reserve (Waterberg); as well as Wild Frontiers, which operates both as a DMC and Lodge owner in Tanzania (East Africa) and other parts of Southern Africa.
TINTSWALO OWNERS PARTNER WITH LIAM AND JAN TOMLIN TO OPEN ‘THE BAILEY’ – NEW 3-LEVEL CULINARY DESTINATION COMING TO BREE STREET (CAPE TOWN)
An exciting collaboration between famed restauranteur/chef team Liam Tomlin and his wife Jan, together with the owners of Tintswalo Lodges (Lisa and Warwick Goosen, and Gaye and Ernest Corbett), will see the opening of a 3-storey culinary and hospitality destination in a historic building in Cape Town in April (2022).
Opening at 91 Bree Street, diagonally opposite Heritage Square, ‘The Bailey’ will be a multi-level offering of welcoming spaces for those who are passionate about food, wine and good company. Unlike any other venue in the Mother City, interesting heritage spaces are being designed here to create a gravitational pull to a mature and sophisticated crowd. The Bailey will appeal to those with a sense of style and an appreciation for quality; who have a taste for culinary classics, great wines, whiskeys and other premium beverages.
Three juxtaposed levels of offering are being created against a backdrop of beautiful interior design within a historical Cape Town city centre building, showcasing its classic lines, high ceilings, stunning flooring and floor-to-ceiling original wooden windows.
On the ground level, the glamorous bakery café will feature a patisserie with fragrant teas and coffees, delicious cakes, macaroons, pastries and fresh juices. It will serve all-day breakfast, as well as brunch, lunch and classic cocktails, while the ‘ultimate’ High Tea will be introduced later in the year. Complete with a champagne bar, the stunning ground floor space of The Bailey is envisioned as the ideal meeting place in the heart of the city.
The second floor will be presented as a classic brasserie, paying homage to grand European tradition with a menu of iconic dishes and superb wines. Slick service will be orchestrated by the maître d’ holding the floor, adding an element of hospitality theatre to a contemporary dining experience.
The top floor will be curated into a unique wine and whiskey bar, also offering a private wine and whiskey reserve for regular patrons. Featuring an open terrace, it will be a relaxing meeting point to entertain a sophisticated mix of Cape Town’s creative minds and entrepreneurial mavericks. A space to relax, to think, and to collaborate within a like-minded community.
The Bailey is developing off the back of the success of the partners’ first joint venture – Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic, which opened at the end of 2020. It was voted ‘Africa’s Best New Restaurant’ in the 2021 World Culinary Awards and included in the coveted Condé Nast Traveller Readers Awards as one of the Best New Restaurants in the World.
The Liz McGrath Collection has unveiled new-look interiors at two of its three hotels. The summer lounges at both The Plettenberg and The Marine (Hermanus) have undergone a complete transformation, each boasting fresh and distinctly different interior design to reflect their uniquely individual settings.
Situated on a rocky headland in Plettenberg Bay, The Plettenberg is the ultimate seaside destination on the Garden Route and is widely known as the ‘best address in Plett’. Its sister-hotel, The Marine is an iconic landmark on the famous Hermanus cliff path, within walking distance to the many attractions of South Africa’s ‘whale watching capital’. Both hotels share the coveted characteristics of unimpeded seaviews, luxurious and comfortable accommodation, world-class cuisine and warm South African hospitality to welcome all guests who cross their thresholds.
Interior designer Sue Bond has created a new look for both hotels along a mutually shared theme to produce beautiful, inviting public spaces by using colour, textures, wallpaper, objet d’art, as well as original South African works of art. Working within the existing structures, she started with wallpaper to bring colour and interest, setting the scene for layers to come. ‘In The Plettenberg I used a vibrant English floral garden pattern to bring fresh greens indoors. The fun Andrew Martin fabric on the sofas sits comfortably with masses of cushions, layered rugs on the floors, and origional art. Oversized arm chairs and inviting sofas draw you in to take a closer look at the focal feature, a triptich of the artist Olivier’s Irises. Lighting in the space was paramount with organic floor lamps placed to contain the area. Carved wooden mirrors reflect the pattern-on-pattern and widens the space visually.’
The main attraction in the sea facing Summer Lounge at The Plettenberg, is a collection of vintage platters, boxed in perspex with a grass cloth backing to repeat the colour of the branches in the wallpaper. A fun addition are two massive oil paintings of blue and white plates providing an optical delight when sitting at the pool looking into the hotel.
‘Ottomans, grouped seating, bespoke painted furniture, greenery and practical hard surfaces to balance a glass of champagne, all come together to result in a very special aesthetic that lifts the spirits of everyone visting this iconic grande dame ‘, Bond says.
In Hermanus at The Marine’s Sun Lounge the same visually exciting design ethos was applied to bring comfort and conversational seating, combined with interesting art and vistas interrupted by fresh colours. ‘The start of my inspiration here was a very distinct play on the local fynbos. The Protea is the signature flower of the historical hotel, and commissions around this theme were given to three local artists. The collage of a giant King Protea by the artist Olivier, takes centre stage on fresh wallpaper adorned with a loose protea pattern. Adding further interest is Martin de Kock’s vibrant oil paintings of modern proteas with a twist. The art in the room takes it all up a notch. Eye catching, yet seamless with the many patterns used on the piles of cushions and striking armchairs at the fireplace.’
Rugs were repeated as opposed to The Plettenberg’s individually sourced rugs. The centrepiece, an oversized, ornately carved antique table that was bleached for this installation, takes pride of place to display magnificent white King Proteas in a giant Chinese bowl. A pop of yellow and striking blues lighten up this space, echoing the sea and fynbos viewed through glorious arched doors.
Once again, a collection of platters, yet different to those at The Plettenberg, continues a theme. ‘I love the simple synergy, but keeping the individuality of the two different properties. Hung en masse around the beautiful fireplace, the platters create a unique art piece to pay tribute to the hotel’s history, while not dominating the wall. Loads of cane, painted vintage tables and the most spectacular amoire have transformed this much loved space into the fabulously inviting place it should be’, Bond concluded.
FIVESTAR PR has extended its portfolio with the appointment as the South African PR representative for Tswalu. With conservation, community and culture at its core, Tswalu sets out to restoring the Kalahari through sustainable conservation, supported by ecotourism, offering privileged access to one of the last remaining wilderness areas in South Africa.
As South Africa’s biggest privately owned game reserve (111 000 hectares), it is first and foremost an ambitious conservation project that funds numerous research projects, geared towards understanding and conserving key species within the Kalahari ecosystem. With accommodation for a maximum of 28 guests at the Motse camp and Tarkuni homestead, Tswalu has the lowest guest footprint in South Africa.
The opening of Restaurant Klein JAN on the reserve in 2021 has added another interesting layer to the Tswalu guest experience. The culinary traditions, ingredients and regional produce of the Northern Cape are the shining stars on a seasonal menu rooted not only in the southern Kalahari’s remote and dramatic landscapes, but also in the resourceful, creative people of this remote, unexplored region.
INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANT AWARD PUTS THE SOUTHERN KALAHARI ON THE CULINARY MAP – RESTAURANT KLEIN JAN HONOURED AT LA LISTE AWARDS 2022 AS ‘INTERNATIONAL HIDDEN GEM’
Cape Town, 3 December 2021; Kalahari is proud to announce that Restaurant Klein JAN was honoured at the prestigious gala evening in Paris on 29 November 2021. With South Africa’s first Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen at the helm, the restaurant was awarded as the ‘International Hidden Gem.’
Described as a ‘restaurant worth going an extra mile for’, Klein JAN is situated in the middle of South Africa’s largest privately owned reserve dedicated to conservation and research. Klein Jan was launched in April 2021 and is an exciting collaborative project between chef Jan Hendrik and Kalahari.
Creating Restaurant Klein JAN at Tswalu has been the South African-born Jan Hendrik’s great homecoming project. Growing up on a farm, he felt an instant connection to the vastness of the Kalahari and knew that the time had come to return the spirit of JAN – his Michelin-star restaurant in Nice, France – to home soil. The Kalahari felt like a blank canvas with unlimited possibilities, he said.
Every taste at Tswalu Kalahari is a reminder of South Africa’s culinary heritage, interpreted in a fresh, modern way. Tswalu’s executive chef, Marnus Scholly, and Jan Hendrik spent two years delving into the authentic flavours, heritage foods and ingredients in the Northern Cape.
“The idea behind Klein JAN is to celebrate local and foster a sense of community. Our suppliers are the real heroes and have become part of the greater Tswalu family, which includes the talented teams behind Klein JAN and Tswalu. Being recognised as the world’s Hidden Gem will keep on motivating us to do better, to learn more from nature, and to keep searching for authentic stories from the Kalahari to tell. It is a privilege to convey the Kalahari’s unique sense of place to the world.” – Marnus Scholly, Executive Chef, Tswalu Kalahari
In true ‘hidden gem’ fashion, the restaurant has a magnificent root cellar at its core. This subterranean storehouse is stocked with all the ingredients destined for the plate, many of them cured, preserved or pickled in-house. Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of the dining journey, bringing to life all these region-specific ingredients on a multi-course, seasonal menu.
Dining at Klein JAN is a culinary adventure from start to finish with different courses – visual works of art – served in theatrical, interactive spaces. As part of their stay, Tswalu’s guests get to enjoy one complimentary dinner at Klein JAN, adding a unique dimension to a safari of a lifetime in the southern Kalahari. With the addition of this destination dining room to the guest experience, the culinary traditions and ingredients of the Northern Cape have become the shining stars of a seasonal menu rooted in local culture.
The wide, open spaces of Tswalu Kalahari have long drawn those seeking a deeply layered, immersive safari. Transformed by summer rain, the green Kalahari is nature at its most diverse and surprising, and to spend time here is to be touched by exuberant, soulful beauty.
Through a vision of restoration and biodiversity conservation, Tswalu Kalahari is striving to protect this breathtaking wilderness for future generations. A commitment to celebrating local provenance, heritage and culture, as part of Tswalu’s journey towards greater sustainability, makes the reserve the perfect home for Klein JAN.
Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic was voted ‘Africa’s Best New Restaurant’ in the 2021 World Culinary Awards. Earlier this year it was also included in the coveted Condé Nast Traveller Readers Awards 2021 as one of the Best New Restaurants in the World.
Sister-event to the World Travel Awards, the World Culinary Awards serves to celebrate and reward excellence in the culinary industry and aims to foster growth, innovations and best practice on a global scale. The programme recognizes the full spectrum of the global culinary sector with categories ranging from Best Culinary Destination and Best Hotel Restaurant, to Best Rooftop Restaurant and Best Landmark Restaurant.
Few places in the world offer dining so close to the wild Atlantic Ocean as Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic. On site at the iconic Tintswalo Atlantic boutique lodge on Cape Town’s Chapman’s Peak Drive, it boasts a breathtaking location on the shoreline within the Table Mountain National Park.
Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic features Liam Tomlin’s fine-dining quality global tapas concept, brought to table by Head Chef Braam Beyers. Ingredients are fresh, local and sustainable, paying homage to the ocean at its doorstep. As a multi-sensory dining experience on the sprawling wooden deck, here guests may immerse themselves in the idyllic views and fresh sea breeze, or dine in the contemporary dining room in cooler weather. The décor is elegant and understated, allowing the ocean, mountain, fynbos and the unique food and wine experience to shine as the star attractions.
The Marine Hotel in Hermanus is celebrating World Vegan Month (November) with a new, plant-based menu created by Executive Chef Rudi Blaauw. Part of The Liz McGrath Collection, The Marine is one of South Africa’s most spectacular seaside hotels and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The 1st of November is recognised globally as World Vegan Day to mark the establishment of the Vegan Society in 1944. It was in those early days that the phrases ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ were first coined. Now, more than 70 years later, the benefits of veganism for humans and the natural environment are widely known and chefs all over the world are preparing creative vegan menus to meet the increasing demand from health-conscious diners.
Newly appointed as Executive Chef at The Marine’s famed Origins Restaurant, Rudi Blaauw says he focuses on the quality of the produce, letting that shine and allowing creativity to follow. Blaauw brings with him extensive experience gained at two Relais & Châteaux properties, including five years as Executive Sous Chef at Delaire Graff Estate’s famed Indochine Restaurant in the Cape Winelands, followed by his most recent tenure as Executive Chef at Ellerman House in Cape Town.
The vegan a la carte menu at The Marine includes options such as Tandoori cauliflower steak with spiced black lentils, sultana relish and chickpea crisps; or Quinoa & baby beetroot salad with apple, walnuts, fennel, mustard vinaigrette and celery as starters.
For main course diners may choose between Ancient grain risotto with roast pumpkin, arugula, pomegranate seeds, pecorino and broccoli; Grilled baby kohlrabi, artichoke gratin, miso velouté, baby fennel and heirloom tomato; or Spinach, sweet potato, chickpea dhal, coriander raita, tomato salsa and poppadums. A selection of vegan-friendly wines is available for perfect pairings.
A choice between a selection of Sorbets with seasonal fruit and coconut gel; or Coconut frozen gateau with date & pecan crust and pina colada gel, ends a light, healthy and delicious meal on a sweet note.