Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, which stretches for 114,000 hectares across the southern Kalahari, has opened its new Loapi tented camp. Designed to exacting environmental standards by Cape Town architectural firm GAPP Architects, it offers a true wilderness experience in the largest privately protected area in South Africa. The camp is unique in that guests don’t share any communal spaces. Instead, there are six private safari homes, each an exclusive-use retreat or independently run micro-camp.
With expansive views across arid savannah grasslands, Loapi Tented Camp’s six private safari homes are tucked into the contours of the ancient Korannaberg mountains and can accommodate two or four guests for the ultimate private wilderness experience. In the local language, Setswana, Loapi means ‘the space below the clouds’, and the light-footprint design speaks to being suspended between earth and sky. “The overarching design philosophy was that the new camp needed to be as low impact as possible, to reflect Tswalu’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and the owners’ vision of regeneration of the environment,” said Sally Tsiliyiannis, of GAPP Architects. The modular design, combining canvas, steel and glass, was largely manufactured off-site to minimize the environmental impact and protect the iconic shepherd’s trees. “The main design intent was that, should it ever be required, it would be possible to take the built structure apart and cart it away, leaving the environment exactly as it was found.”
Designed as contemporary glass and steel pavilions, the living and dining areas form the heart of each home, together with an open-plan kitchen, fully stocked pantry, and bar. Deep, shaded decks feature day beds for relaxation, a water-wise plunge pool, and a fire pit for sundowners and early morning coffee. The bedrooms are cocoon-like sanctuaries under canvas, connecting guests to the sights and sounds of nature while providing exceptional comfort and insulation from the Kalahari’s extreme temperatures. The sophisticated tented design incorporates generous overhangs, providing ample shade and reducing the need for excessive energy consumption.
The camp features further minimal-impact, eco-friendly design solutions, including the latest in solar power and water recycling technology, energy-efficient air conditioning, and solar-powered pool pumps.
“Embracing a true wilderness experience, Loapi speaks to a much-needed change of pace for unscripted time in nature, with space to breathe out, be present, and reconnect with what truly matters. Inspired by the nomadic spirit of camping, the tented homes offer complete freedom to explore the reserve’s vastness and diversity at your own pace, knowing that everything is being taken care of behind the scenes by your private guide, chef and homathi, a private butler,” said Marketing and Public Relations Director Russell Binks, who shared his excitement about Tswalu’s latest addition, one of only three camps sharing exclusive access to this private reserve. With its commitment to sustainability, Tswalu is dedicated to protecting biodiversity and vital wildlife habitat, as well as the dramatic natural beauty of the surrounding area.
Embracing an authentic, immersive Kalahari experience, guests have complete freedom to do whatever they want. The six homes (four one-bedroom homes, and two two-bedroom homes), span over 300 square metres and over 400 square metres, respectively, and are for those desiring complete privacy on safari. The micro-camps are at least 50 metres apart to ensure privacy and solitude and each home comes with a private team that includes a homathi (butler) and chef, a private vehicle, and the undivided attention of an experienced guide and tracker. Guests can choose to spend all day tracking Kalahari keystone species, like the desert black rhino or brown hyena, visit nearby pans where resident black-maned lion prides converge, or take a picnic breakfast to the top of Bushman Hill where Hartmann’s mountain zebra and greater kudu are often spotted.
Most of all, Loapi provides the luxury of space and time to do nothing more than relax on the deck and gaze at the view, relishing the deep silence.
Tintswalo Atlantic has launched a Beauty Boutique on site with an exclusive Spoil Day for 2 package that offers the opportunity to relax, unwind with BABOR facials, and enjoy a lunch feast at Chefs Warehouse.
The package kicks off at 9h30 with a pampering BABOR facial for the first guest, while the partner relaxes in the beautifully appointed Residents’ lounge. On a sunny day, the pool deck with heated pool is also available for use while admiring the endless views. The 60min BABOR facials use luxurious skin products that are carefully selected to meet the specific needs of each person. It is an outcome-focused treatment, which includes décolletage, shoulder, head, scalp and foot massage for the maximum relaxation and pampering. The two guests then swop around and after the facials, may freshen up before sitting down at their table for 2 at Chefs Warehouse, to enjoy a delicious 4-course lunch with a complimentary bottle of Cap Classique to toast their special day together.
Few places in the world offer dining so close to the wild Atlantic Ocean. Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic features Liam Tomlin’s global tapas concept showcasing ingredients that are fresh, local and sustainable, to pay homage to the ocean at its doorstep. Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic won the World Culinary Awards as South Africa’s Best Hotel Restaurant 2022, and received a Two Plate award in the 2023 Gourmet Guide ratings, and a One-star in the 2022 Eat Out Awards.
The day package has very limited availability as only one package is available per day, from Wednesdays to Sundays, until 31 August 2023.
The Plettenberg, part of the Liz McGrath Collection, has introduced a Royal Breakaway & Wellness package offering guests the opportunity for quality downtime in an idyllic setting during the cooler months.
Situated along the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay boasts a year-round temperate climate, pristine beaches and dense green forests culminating in the ultimate destination for focussing on health and wellness. A myriad of exhilarating outdoor activities is available in the area, alongside pampering spa treatments and delicious, healthy food, and the warm hospitality and cosy comfort of this 5-star hotel overlooking the ocean.
From sea-facing suites to plentiful opportunities for R&R and sunset beach strolls on any of the six Blue Flag beaches – a majestic break awaits. The Royal Breakaway & Wellness package includes luxurious accommodation and a bottle of wine on arrival, daily turndown, as well as a delicious breakfast the next morning, served in the privacy of your own room or in the Restaurant. In addition, the package includes a credit to be used in the spa or restaurant.
The Fresh Wellness Spa offers opportunities for a little pampering, perhaps after working up a sweat at the new on-site gym. A wide range of skin and body treatments are available, including touch therapies and spa packages. Fans of cold-water therapy have the ocean right on their doorstep to add a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea to the holiday or take the plunge in your choice of the hotel’s two swimming pools, one of which is heated all year round.
Explore the Robberg Nature Reserve on foot, or venture further afield as the great outdoors has never been more accessible, thanks to the new Plett Camino route. There are many scenic tracks in the area where adventures await hikers, runners, walkers and mountain bikers. The new Plett Trails app offers a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide to not only the best, but also the lesser-known trails of the area.
Returning to The Plettenberg, world-class cuisine is served at The Restaurant where Head Chef Kyle Macaskill makes it easy for those who like to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even whilst on holiday. Diners can look forward to fresh, light and nourishing dishes on a menu that includes the Plettenberg Caesar Salad, Dukkah Spiced Ostrich, and abundant ocean treasures served in the Fisherman’s Seafood Platter.
As part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Plettenberg’s barefoot luxury and genuine hospitality extends to the whole family, welcoming children and well-travelled canine family members who are also treated as VIPs. Two private villas are available adjacent to the hotel, perfectly suitable for families travelling together, or for those seeking sanctuary and a little more privacy.
Set at the foot of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the Constantia Valley, The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel & Spa boasts nine acres of beautifully maintained gardens that may be explored during a guided tour every Wednesday morning, followed by tea and scones served on the terrace or in the lounge of The Conservatory restaurant.
Testament to a rich history, the trees in the surrounding forest at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel & Spa date back 300 years to when it was known as Klaasenbosch Farm. The garden boasts magnificent views of the Table Mountain range and contains a myriad of delights, from the Picnic Garden and Hohenort Lawns, which are favourite wedding venues, to a structured garden with a beautiful water feature, and several ponds. Eco-zones within the gardens include 950 vines, as well as Herb, Vegetable and Citrus gardens, which grow fresh produce for the hotel kitchens.
The various sections of the gardens display some of Constantia’s most beautiful indigenous flora, immaculately maintained by Head Gardener Leigh-Ann van Wyk and her team. Van Wyk, who holds a National Diploma in Landscape Technology, has been caretaker of these meticulous grounds since 2016.
The gardens slope up towards Table Mountain and are spectacular throughout the year, with different blooms revealing themselves across the seasons. Garden tours are led by Leigh-Ann van Wyk herself, who takes pleasure in sharing her favourite highlights of the particular time of the year. Some visitors may be lucky to sight varied fauna within the gardens too, such as the resident duck family, Cape Dwarf Chameleon colonies and squirrels, as well as bird species that include the Cinnamon Dove, Cape White-eye, Lemon Dove, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Forest Canary, and many others.
Once the garden exploration has worked up an appetite, guests are invited to sit down to freshly-baked scones and tea, including the signature Cellars Hohenort Blend of Nigiro tea, blended by Master Tea Blender, Mingwei Tsai, that incorporates the spicy fragrance and bronze/apricot colour of the Liz McGrath Rose. The Liz McGrath Rose was hybridised in 2003 to commemorate the 80th birthday of the late Mrs McGrath, the founder of The Liz McGrath Collection of three sister-hotels.
The Cellars Hohenort Hotel & Spa Garden Tours are open to the public by reservation, and are presented every Wednesday at 10:00, at a cost of R190pp (includes the guided garden tour, tea and scones). Bookings are essential. Private groups may also be accommodated by prior reservation on dates and times of their choice, subject to availability.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has invested in a major solar power installation that consists of 620 solar panels and batteries to supply all the power required by the 24-sleeper luxury lodge in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo).
It is one of the largest solar operations at a safari lodge in South Africa and it has successfully taken Mhondoro off the grid to be self-sufficient in terms of all its electricity requirements.
CEO Fritz Breytenbach says that the travel industry is heavily impacted by Eskom’s energy crisis. ‘The only way for us to continue attracting well-heeled local and international travellers, is to make sure that we literally keep the lights on. In the luxury travel and safari industry especially, guests expect a certain level of service, and it goes without saying that all lodge facilities and amenities should be available to guests and in working order – whether there is loadshedding, or not.’
‘But besides offering a luxury, 5-star product to our guests, we are proud of the fact that everything we do here at Mhondoro is based on environmentally safe principles. Internationally there is a lot of talk about so-called greenwashing, but this capital investment in our solar plant is another tangible example of the vision of the Dutch owners, Frank and Myriam Vogel, to further reduce the carbon footprint of the lodge.’
Various other eco-friendly initiatives have also been put in place at Mhondoro, including the installation of a grey water filtration system for irrigation around the lodge. Mhondoro also operates its own water purification plant that produces drinking water fresh from the surrounding Waterberg mountains, and uses glass decanters and personalised steel water bottles for guests to minimize the use of single-use plastic water bottles. All glass, paper and plastics are recycled, and Mhondoro has an agreement with Nespresso to recycle used coffee pods and grinds. Furthermore, guest check-in is being done digitally to reduce the use of paper and re-usable leather wallets are used for staff gratuities that save 2000 paper envelopes per year.
Mhondoro also produces as much of its own fresh produce as possible. The owners purchased two derelict farms adjoining Welgevonden Game Reserve of which a section is utilized to grow fruit, as well as vegetables and herbs in two greenhouses. A chicken coop was successfully established to supply farm fresh eggs for use at the lodge. The balance of the 2400 hectares of farmland is being rehabilitated and over time will become protected wilderness areas.
Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse is back on Bree Street due to popular demand, operating in new premises across from where Tomlin’s tapas concept was first introduced to Cape Town in 2014.
Chefs Warehouse at The Bailey is now based on the ground floor space previously occupied by The Bailey Bistro. Upstairs at The Bailey, The Brasserie continues offering its favoured, classic French inspired cuisine, along with The Old Bailey Lounge Bar on the top level.
Fans of the original Chefs Warehouse concept may expect some old favourites such as Salt & pepper squid with chilli, pineapple and caramelised ginger; Vietnamese rice paper rolls; and a signature Risotto dish. It will also feature some exciting new dishes conceptualised by Tomlin and Executive Chef of The Bailey, Asher Abramowitz.
Open all day from 12:00 to 21:00, the á la carte menu invites diners to order individual plates from the tapas menu of vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes, as well as fish dishes prepared at the open seafood bar.
Tintswalo Lodges has launched its Travellers Club to provide discounted preferential rates and special offers to regular guests who sign up as members. Membership to the Travellers Club is open to SA residents exclusively and is secured by an annual deposit of R60 000, which is used in full as credits to pay for bookings at any of the lodges within the Tintswalo portfolio throughout the calendar year. (*Terms and conditions apply – see www.tintswalotravellersclub.com)
The family owned and managed Tintswalo group now operates seven luxury lodges in six pristine locations, including award-winning seaside properties Tintswalo Atlantic and Tintswalo Boulders in Cape Town, and safari lodges in the sanctuary of the Manyeleti Private Nature Reserve in greater Kruger, as well as the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve and Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg. Recently Tintswalo also crossed borders for the first time with the opening of Tintswalo at Siankaba in Zambia. The luxury tented camp comprises of seven luxury tented suites raised into the tree canopy on the banks of the Zambezi River, 38 km from Victoria Falls and 48 km from the Chobe National Park.
Members of the Tintswalo Travellers Club have access to the lowest rate per season at each of Tintswalo’s properties, including discounts of up to 20%. Current rates can be secured for bookings up to two years in advance. The annual Travellers Club deposit may be utilised to not only cover Tintswalo accommodation, but also additional expenses associated with the booking, such as taxes, conservation levies, flights, transfers and optional excursions and lodge activities like spa treatments. Once the R60 000 is depleted for the year, members may continue using the Tintswalo Travellers Club special rates until the next membership deposit is due the following year.
Tintswalo CEO Lisa Goosen says: ‘We are excited to introduce the Tintswalo Travellers Club to our loyal South African guests who have supported us over the past few challenging years. Thanks to their support, Tintswalo not only survived the pandemic, but is thriving and expanding as we go into 2023. One of the great advantages of membership to the Tintswalo Travellers Club, apart from the benefit of excellent preferential rates, is the ability to lock in the current rate for advance bookings of up to two years. This includes popular peak times such as Easter and Christmas, when demand is at a premium.’
She continued to say that membership to the Travellers Club and its convenient concierge service is designed to encourage guests to explore multiple destinations within the Tintswalo family. ‘Each of our lodges are located in a special, pristine location, offering a guest experience that is unique. We invite our members to make use of the opportunity to explore our river and seaside lodges, as well as the diversity offered by our locations in three game reserves. Each property is different, yet carries the Tintswalo identity with pride to showcase some of Mother Nature’s crown jewels in South Africa and Zambia.’
Visit the website for more information: www.tintswalotravellersclub.com
Tintswalo has crossed borders for the first time with the opening of Tintswalo at Siankaba in Zambia. Situated on two densely forested islands in the mighty Zambezi River, the luxury tented camp is ideally placed 38 km from Victoria Falls and 48 km from the Chobe National Park, providing convenient access to some of the region’s top tourist attractions.
Lisa Goosen, the CEO of Tintswalo Lodges says: ‘Zambia is a country full of wonder, mirrored at Siankaba with a guest experience that centres around the local people who will truly engage, enlighten and delight you. Tintswalo at Siankaba brings a new adventure and another unique perspective to our portfolio, but it does have that one unique characteristic shared by each of the Tintswalo properties – it really has ‘soul.’
Tintswalo took over the management of the Siankaba camp earlier this year, and after a complete refurbishment re-opened as a luxury tented camp in November 2022 to accommodate 14 guests in seven suites raised above the ground in the tree canopy on the edge of the Zambezi River. All the tented suites have en-suite bathrooms, as well as private balconies that extend over the river, inviting guests to relax while viewing all that unfolds on the river and the riverbanks of neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Tintswalo at Siankaba evokes images of style and elegance in a truly African way. Subtle architecture blends with a backdrop of natural forest, creating an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. It is a place of spectacular natural beauty and a haven for an astonishing variety of plant and birdlife. The tented suites are linked by a winding, raised walkway, keeping guests safe while protecting the fragile riverine environment below. An expansive deck with lounge and dining areas overlooks the bush and a swimming pool with poolside loungers.
Included in the rate is a trip to Victoria Falls with an excursion to the local curio market. At the lodge, guests may also enjoy fishing and sunset cruises, as well as educational nature walks within the island forest to learn about the natural environment, including spectacular trees with medicinal properties. Other activities include a cultural tour and visit to the local communities, Mokoro boat trips, massage treatments, or exploring the bike trails around the lodge using locally produced bamboo frame bicycles. Optional excursions for the guests’ own account include guided game drives in safari vehicles within the Zambezi National Park on the Zimbabwean side of the river.
The lodge can be booked per room or on an exclusive-use basis with itineraries tailor-made for a memorable, personal safari experience for families or groups of friends travelling together. Tintswalo at Siankaba is also the perfect setting for a magical bush wedding when booked on an exclusive-use basis.
Rates are full inclusive of accommodation, all meals and house drinks, wifi, guided excursions mentioned above, as well as round-trip transfers from Livingstone Airport, which is served with non-stop flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, in partnership with Glamtrails, has introduced an inspiring new guest activity that starts with an immersive, guided walking experience and concludes with a Classic High Tea treat at the hotel. Guided by accredited mountain guide, author and Glamtrails’ owner, Tim Lundy, walkers will enjoy captivating scenery and stories of local history, and the fauna and flora of the region. They will experience Kirstenbosch’s famous scented garden, learn some of the history of the Garden at Colonel Bird’s bath, and view rare and endangered cycads while enjoying panoramic views along the way. The excursion ends on a sweet note with The Cellars-Hohenort pulling out all the stops with a decadent High Tea.
Situated in leafy Constantia, the 5-star Cellars-Hohenort hotel is perfectly positioned with convenient access to the world-renowned botanical gardens. The Glamtrails excursion starts with a complimentary transfer from the hotel to Kirstenbosch from where Lundy will lead the way to the scented garden to share information about the wide range of fragrant plants used in everyday life.
The walk continues to a natural spring that was turned into a freshwater pool by Colonel Christopher Bird, the British Deputy Colonial Secretary, in the early 1800s. Winding down a gentle slope, the next stop is the Dell, which contains some of the plant life that existed during the time of dinosaurs. Go back in time and walk through the ancient plant species Cyclades, admiring some life-size dinosaur models, before continuing to the Protea and Erica gardens. From here, the path climbs up around the gardens towards the dam for some spectacular views before heading to Kirstenbosch’s Rycroft Gate and out of the gardens. The walk crosses Rhodes Drive and continues through the Secret Forest on the way to The Cellars-Hohenort, taking a detour for guests to view the magnificent, manicured gardens of the hotel.
The Glamtrails route covers 4km and should take around one hour and 30 minutes. Although it is not a strenuous walk, a basic fitness is required, along with comfortable walking shoes, a sun hat and sunscreen.
Once back at the hotel, the legendary Liz McGrath Collection hospitality awaits with a refreshing welcome drink, followed by a decadent four-course High Tea, served against the backdrop of Table Mountain. Start with the savoury selection that includes Tea Sandwiches, followed by a second course of Caramelised Onion Tart, Smoked Salmon Mousse Cornets and Goats’ Cheesecake. Buttery Scones are the next highlight, served with strawberry jam and Chantilly cream, before the grand finale of irresistibly decadent delicacies such as Walnut Carrot Cake, Key Lime Pie and Mini-Milk Tarts, to name but a few. The Classic High Tea also comes with a choice of eleven loose-leaf teas, as well as Lavazza coffee. Each tea blend is meticulously curated by Master Tea Blender, Mingwei Tsai, who has also created a unique Cellars-Hohenort Blend of Nigiro tea, incorporating the spicy fragrance and bronze/apricot colour of the Liz McGrath Rose.
RESTAURANT KLEIN JAN AT TSWALU KALAHARI SELECTED AMONGST 10 EXTRAORDINARY FINE-DINING EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD (TRAVEL + LEISURE)
Leading travel magazine Travel + Leisure, has singled out Restaurant Klein JAN at Tswalu Kalahari as one of 10 of the world’s most extraordinary fine-dining experiences. The US-based digital and print magazine provides a local eye on the best places to stay, eat, see, and explore, and reaches more than 16 million travellers every month.
Klein JAN tells the story of South African culture through food, from the ways of the old to the new. Creating Restaurant Klein JAN has been Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s great homecoming project. Growing up on a farm in South Africa’s rural Mpumalanga province, 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 – to home soil. The Kalahari region’s underexplored ingredients were the perfect inspiration to open a new restaurant and bring fine dining home – giving the food from the Kalahari the global stage it deserves.
In the words of Travel + Leisure: ‘The adventure begins en route to this one-of-a-kind dining destination, since wildlife and matchless landscapes encompass the drive in. Combine a century-old farmhouse in the midst of the Kalahari Desert’s iconic orange sand, an awe-inspiring subterranean root cellar 13 feet (almost four metres) below, and a soaring dining room open to the wild, and you start to get the picture of Klein Jan, a transportive culinary experience created by Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen for South Africa’s largest private safari reserve. The surprises are endless and stupendous, both in the way diners physically move through the meal and the flavours, textures, and stories packed into the delectable journey that is distinctly of the Kalahari. This is no passive lunch or dinner; it’s participatory, immersive, and wildly thrilling, mysteries unfolding with every exceptional bite.’