Located in the heart of the Kruger National Park, private and exclusive Fitzpatrick’s Lodge at Jock Safari Lodge has re-opened with a promotional rate for South African residents. The child-friendly, private camp can accommodate up to six guests in three suites and is booked on an exclusive-use basis.
Situated on the banks of the Biyamiti River, Fitzpatrick’s presents excellent game viewing from the lodge, including regular sightings of the Big 5. Twice daily game drives are offered, as well as guided wilderness walks. The luxuriously appointed camp caters for small parties of friends or family travelling together and comes with a comfortable lounge and separate TV room, as well as indoor and outdoor dining areas, plus a private boma and swimming pool. The one unit comprises of two luxury suites with bathrooms sharing a private entrance and foyer, as well as a private deck and plunge pool. Separately located, the third suite is completely private, also boasting its own plunge pool and deck with views across the riverbed and wilderness.
Steeped in history as the first private game lodge within South Africa’s largest National Park, Jock pays tribute to the legend of Sir Percy FitzPatrick and his feisty dog, Jock. The area in and around the 6000-hectare concession is known for an abundance of birdlife and a staggering diversity of wildlife, including the Big 5 and wild dog.
Fitzpatrick’s at Jock welcomes children of all ages and offers a Kids on Safari programme that encourages educational and recreational wildlife activities. Each child receives a gift and activity pack on arrival while a range of outdoor activities, arts, crafts and games are on offer, based on the ages and preference of the children.
UNIQUE CONSERVATION OPPORTUNITY WITH TINTSWALO LAPALALA TO HELP COLLAR THE WILD DOGS OF THE WATERBERG
Conservation enthusiasts have the rare opportunity to book a safari package at Tintswalo Lapalala over the Heritage Day long weekend of 24 September 2020, to join a veterinary team and scientists from the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) while they collar a number of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) in the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve (Limpopo).
The African Wild Dog is Southern Africa’s most endangered large carnivore, with only about 438 left in all of South Africa. Conservation history was made in April (2020) when 10 adult dogs, notably one of the last free-roaming packs of the Waterberg, were successfully captured and relocated to a holding facility on the Lapalala Reserve. In the reserve they will be safe from pervasive threats such as hunting, poisons, road collisions, snaring and habitat loss, which have over the years reduced the population to near extinction.
The dogs adapted quickly in the boma at Lapalala and within a few weeks a litter of pups was born. The eleven pups are now strong enough to be released into the reserve, together with the 10 adults. The first step however is to raise funds to purchase VHS and satellite tracking collars, which has presented the unique opportunity for guests to not only donate, but physically participate as sponsors of the project.
Derek van der Merwe from the Endangered Wildlife Trust says that it is critically important to safeguard this pack within the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve. The scientific monitoring of the pack will help to secure the future conservation of the species, particularly in the Waterberg. It is essential to keep track of their movement patterns, habitat utilization, and population demographics, and to avoid snaring and poaching incidents and breakouts. He says: ‘This particular pack is very used to going through fences as the Waterberg area in general is full of game fences. However, we are hoping that the time spent in the boma has given them some respect for fences and that they won’t head straight out of the reserve after release.’
Spreading over 48 500 hectares of pristine bushveld, the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest private nature reserves and is recognized as a champion of sustainable wildlife conservation. CEO Glenn Phillips says that this Wild Dog conservation project is another important conservation milestone for Lapalala. ‘We are however under no illusions that these dogs will eventually leave the expanse of the reserve and continue to do what they have always done. Roam free. We are very privileged to have been in a position to provide a temporary home for these wonderful, critically endangered animals, and trust that the role we played has provided them the best possible chance of survival.’
Tintswalo Lapalala’s Wild Dog Collaring Conservation package is available to 12 guests only, for the long weekend of 24 September 2020. Children are welcome. Guests will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take close-up photographs of the Wild Dog adults and pups feeding. They will also attend a briefing session by the veterinary team who will explain the collaring procedure, before they take part in the exercise which aims to collar at least two of the dogs. The release of the dogs into the reserve will take place on a later date (to be confirmed).
A new one-stop revenue and digital distribution platform has entered the tourism market with the launch of Scopic in South Africa. Led by CEO Adelbert Retief, the multi-facetted digital company forms part of Touch Down Travel Tech (TDTT), an integrated tourism technology solution business.
Scopic brings an attractive, cost-effective business model to hotels, guest houses and lodges that unlike others in the market who are retainer-based, works mostly on a shared-revenue, commission basis. This is particularly relevant as a post-Covid-19 solution while the travel industry is struggling for survival and budgets are under severe pressure.
Services include access to Conversion Based Property Management Systems that allow for the best revenue marketing experience based on rate parity, and supply and demand for all channels across all markets. It mobilises a much-improved business conversion opportunity by contracting digital marketing and service bundles via website, google and social media. Scopic also offers trade, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) and DMC (Destination Management Company) representation across the globe, as well as marketing services that include strategy, content management and digital advertising.
CEO Adelbert Retief says: ‘Revenue management for any property is based on multiple factors to make it successful, including systems, channels, OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) and various digital environments. With Scopic we bring that all together for the client, allowing them to focus on managing their business without having to worry about administering revenue.’
Scopic uses the latest technology to ensure that clients have the best systems in place and through its relationships with industry leaders, it connects clients directly with the best of the best. It is the marketing and sales partner for Inn Style PMS system in Africa, which comes with fully integrated revenue and management systems that is set to revolutionise business for small tourism providers. Scopic is also a sales agent locally for Room Raccoon, the ideal solution for those requiring a bigger Property Management System (PMS) that is fully integrated with all aspects of the property.
Retief and his board of directors including Chief Marketing Officer Greg Smith, Leonard Reyneke and Tijian Oberholzer, is a lean, seasoned professional team with over ten years travel related digital marketing experience. ‘We are excited to bring to the market this new revenue and digital distribution model as we are simply in the best position to get our clients’ content to the right people at the right time’, he concluded.
The South African travel industry received a welcome shot in the arm today (14 August 2020) when a dynamic new digital portal entered the market to promote and distribute product into all channels of tourism. Touch Down Travel Tech (TDTT) is an integrated tourism technology solution business that develops full, end-to-end platforms using the latest technology to provide a seamless integration between supplier and customer.
As a ‘digital eco-system’, TDTT will roll out five new travel brands over the next three months, to serve Retail, Trade, Mice, B2B and Corporate markets. Each of these business units, namely Ukiyo that drives travel content and bookings; online travel agency Xscape4u; revenue and distribution platform Scopic; Touch Down Destination Management Company; and retail travel agent Go Touch Down Travel and Tours; will be led by a team of well-known travel professionals with extensive experience.
TDTT was formed by travel product holding company Painted Dog Holdings and the Touch Down Group (TDG), who collectively have vast industry experience and knowledge of online travel audiences. The Touch Down Group was founded 27 years ago (1993) and currently owns/manages seven resorts in South Africa and three in Croatia, employing 600 people with offices in South Africa, the US, Australia, Indonesia, Croatia, Hungary and Canada.
The directors of Touch Down Travel Tech are widely known as prominent players in the tourism arena. They include CEO Leonard Reyneke and Chief Marketing Officer Greg Smith, as well as Tijan Oberholzer who started Touch Down Europe and Ross Backman of Painted Dog Holdings, which has shareholding in various travel solution companies.
The power of Touch Down Travel Tech is locked into product, people, technology and the digital audience, and it is expected to shake up the travel industry when the new product offerings are launched over the next few months.
CMO Greg Smith says: ‘Currently the travel industry is having to endure, and hopefully survive massive adversity during the pandemic. We have all had to adapt, and this has sparked the creation of this comprehensive product hub that will cover the full spectrum of the travel industry.
Our digital eco-system allows for content to be driven online, using the very latest technology to provide the best end-to-end solutions to serve the relevant audience within the buying circle in terms of market and product. Our hand selected team delivers the correct balance of experience and knowledge to each of the five business silos. Our mission is to innovate, integrate and inspire.’
Tintswalo is embracing the digital age with a new contactless App that introduces a creative way to interact with guests and eliminate the use of paper documents. Use of the App drives a ‘touchless’ travel experience that further reduces the risk of Covid-19 virus transmission that may be associated with physical interaction between guests and staff.
Each Tintswalo guest now receives a link to the Vamoos App to download before their stay, which takes them through the entire guest experience from booking until after their stay. The App digitally manages the guest registration, check-in procedure and signing of indemnities. The message system allows for easy communication with the hotel/lodge to accommodate special requests and dietary requirements, as well as arrival and departure details and the booking of transfers.
The directory incorporates all hotel or lodge information to replace room folders and menus, which are now available online via the App and can be perused before or during the stay. The App also includes local points of interest to help guests plan their stay and a booking option is available to make reservations at restaurants or to book excursions and spa treatments.
Lisa Goosen, the CEO of Tintswalo Lodges says: ‘The disruption to the travel and tourism industry is unprecedented in modern times, and we have been facing enormous challenges. During the pandemic we put on our thinking caps as we had to find a new and unusual way of doing business.’
‘Guests associate the Tintswalo product with luxury travel in safe, wide-open spaces and low-density guest numbers. These are ideal destinations for isolation, rest and relaxation, and re-connecting with loved ones. Our health and safety protocols are of the highest standard, and the use of the new App enables us to provide even more peace of mind to our guests. We appreciate their support especially during these difficult times. Our hearts are warm and our smiles are big and genuine behind our face masks, even though we are unable to show it at the moment with a signature Tintswalo handshake or hug!’, she concluded.
More than 100 hotels in Europe and Africa are already using the Vamoos App with Tintswalo being one of its pioneers locally.
Tintswalo Atlantic will be opening a new restaurant on Wednesday 29 July 2020. The Tintswalo Kitchen will welcome both resident guests, as well as casual diners with bookings taken for lunch and dinners from Tuesday to Saturday, as well as Sunday family lunch. (Closed Monday and Sunday dinner. Last sitting for non-residents’ dinner is 6pm, due to current Covid-19 curfew)
Reservations are essential, via Dineplan.
With an experienced, newly appointed kitchen team at the helm, the dining concept will feature fresh, seasonal cuisine, presented as Small Plates. The fixed-price menu of R650 per person offers diners their choice of 5 items selected from the menu that will list a variety of Small Plates, including seafood, vegetarian and vegan options, as well as desserts.
The Tintswalo Kitchen experience can be enjoyed in a relaxed seaside environment with a choice of cosy fireside dining, or outdoor seating on the deck above the crashing waves. The menu will be complemented by an award-winning wine list – pending Covid-19 alcohol restrictions. Health and safety protocols will be of the highest standard and during the current Covid-19 restrictions, no more than 40 diners will be accommodated.
The Tintswalo Atlantic boutique hotel is uniquely situated on a pebbled beach below Chapmans Peak Drive in Cape Town. It is renowned as one of the city’s most precious hidden gems and is lauded for its romantic setting and spectacular sunsets. The current hotel dining area will be more than doubled in size for the new restaurant, incorporating the generous space that is currently the hotel lounge and bar area.
Two of the guest rooms are being converted into a private bar and lounge area for in-house guests only. Situated on the opposite side of the property, this exclusive relaxation area for resident guests will make the most of the breathtaking sea views, overlooking the hotel swimming pool, deck and private beach. When the hotel re-opens on 29 July 2020, it will have 10 guest suites, including a 2-bedroom Presidential Suite, all individually decorated and named after famous islands around the world.
Coinciding with the launch of the new restaurant concept, a special 50% discount offer on accommodation is available to South Africans residents when booking a luxurious 2-night Staycation.
An orphaned rhino calf is recovering in an enclosure at the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary in Mpumalanga after an epic rescue mission took place in the southern parts of the Kruger National Park on Sunday 5 July 2020.
The male calf, who is estimated to be between six and eight months old, was spotted by pure chance by a member of JEMU, the Environmental Monitoring Unit of Jock Safari Lodge, who was on his way to the Concession. Owned and managed by the non-profit Caleo Foundation, Jock Safari Lodge was the first private concession within the Kruger National Park. Over the past 20 years Jock has worked closely with SANParks in support of various conservation initiatives, including the protection of endangered species such rhinos.
When it was found, the calf was clearly in distress, wandering around on his own just off a main tourist road. Rhino mothers very rarely leave their calves, which indicated that the mother was most likely already dead. The Kruger National Park Regional Ranger was immediately alerted to the baby rhino, who instantly assembled a Reaction Team in a combined effort to save the orphaned calf.
The rhino calf was however moving deeper into the bush and fearing that the Reaction Team might not find the calf if visual was lost, the JEMU member started tracking the baby rhino on foot. After about 2km, the calf suddenly came into contact with a herd of about 15 elephants. The elephants were aggressive and repeatedly charged towards the baby rhino with the obvious intent to kill it. Supported by a Kruger Park official that caught up with him, they distracted the herd by shouting and clapping hands to draw attention away from the rhino calf. WATCH SHORT VIDEO CLIP HERE: https://youtu.be/qVSA3xYQBJc
Clearly dazed and confused, the baby rhino continued to follow the elephants, with the aggressive matriarch charging continuing, placing the calf in grave danger. After several charges, the calf fortunately ran off into another direction, where he was later found standing next to the carcass of his mother. The mother had been killed by poachers and her horns had been removed. She was left to die, unable to provide for her baby or defend the vulnerable calf.
There was a flurry of activity, not only with the elephants in hot pursuit of the calf, but by now there were several lions very close to the carcass, making several advances on the calf. The lions spotted the JEMU member and left the calf to stare down the JEMU member with growls and tail whipping. The team retreated to a large termite mound, where they communicated a new GPS Coordinate to the Reaction Team and kept lock on the baby rhino until the helicopter had visual on the site.
Instinctively, the exhausted baby rhino gave one last chase with the arrival of the chopper, closely followed by an enraged elephant cow. Thanks to his excellent flying skills, the helicopter pilot managed to separate the calf from the herd of elephants to give the Vet the opportunity to dart the baby. After a few minutes, the calf was tranquilised, giving space for the Reaction Team to move in and perform vital lifesaving first-aid on the baby. A drip was inserted to treat its obvious dehydration and the calf was safely transferred by helicopter to the Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary, where its founder Petronel Nieuwoudt and her team were on standby to meet the precious new arrival. WATCH A SHORT VIDEO CLIP HERE: https://youtu.be/2IgqCpkQngQ
The baby rhino was taken into the ICU for monitoring and to receive vital fluids through the line that was administered in the field earlier that day. The calf was assessed for wounds, but apart from lion scratch marks, he seemed to have escaped relatively unscathed. The calf was clearly very traumatised after its ordeal and the sanctuary team spent the first night in the enclosure with him to monitor his progress.
In a recent update, it was reported that the calf has accepted the bottle of specialised, formulated milk and is drinking about 16 litres per day. He remains in a small enclosure and is still on a drip to monitor his vitals and organs. To recover from severe trauma like this, the first 24 to 72 hours are the most critical and it is therefore estimated that he should have a good chance of survival. WATCH A SHORT VIDEO CLIP HERE: https://youtu.be/iFqV7E7D3mk
Having survived all of this, he’s been dubbed Nhlanhla, ‘the lucky one’ in local Shangaan language.
Tintswalo Lapalala will be introducing fly-fishing on a ‘catch, release and research’ basis as a new activity within the pristine Waterberg reserve. Located three hours’ drive from Johannesburg, the sprawling 48 500 ha Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is a malaria-free sanctuary for many plant and animal species. These include the Big 5, but it is the spectacular Palala river that runs 37 kilometers through the reserve that sets it apart. With riverside locations that are easily accessible on foot, rocky rapids as well as deep, calm pools of clear and unpolluted water present exhilarating fishing opportunities suitable for all competency levels.
The Palala river is teeming with fish that includes healthy populations of a wide variety of species such as yellow fish, barbel, largemouth bass, red breasted and blue tilapia to offer excellent nymph style fly-fishing. In the dam, carp, yellow fish, silver catfish, barbel and tilapia offer sinking-line fishing for novices, including children.
The Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is one of the largest private reserves in South Africa and was founded in 1981 by conservation champions, Dale Parker and Clive Walker. It is recognised as a champion of sustainable wildlife conservation with the vision to leave a legacy for generations to come. Fishing is scientifically monitored and operated strictly on a catch-and-release basis. Led by qualified nature guides who are passionate and competent anglers, data is collected for ongoing scientific research projects.
During the drier months, April through to October provide the best fishing opportunities when the river is calmer and more accessible. During the summer months fishing excursions take place in the south of the reserve where the deep pools may yield feisty yellow fish of more than a kilogram.
Specialist fly-fishing packages are customized for keen anglers, while regular guests may opt for early morning or late afternoon fishing excursions. Guests may also choose to spend the day out in the reserve fishing at leisure and enjoying the tranquility of a river picnic at lunch.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has successfully started organic food production at Platbank, its newly acquired farm bordering the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo province). In line with Mhondoro’s food philosophy of ‘fresh, simple and organic’, its chefs take pride in offering a ‘healthy food’ concept, incorporating international culinary trends presented with local flair. Establishing its own fresh produce farm right outside the reserve has enabled Mhondoro to bring to the table the freshest possible organic ingredients, as well as unique guest experiences such as the opportunity for guests to select their own free-range eggs for breakfast.
The farming of free-range chickens has been a great success and its brood of Koekoek and Australorp chickens are well established and thriving, producing eggs in abundance. Within the 70ha farm, a 300m² greenhouse is planted with a wide variety of vegetables that include spinach, beetroot, pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and onions, as well as herbs and salad greens. Future plans for the farm include planting crops once an animal-friendly fence has been erected to keep out warthogs, porcupines and other curious animals who may be tempted by the delicious fresh produce.
With the lodge currently closed under COVID-19 lockdown regulations, all vegetables and free-range eggs are being donated to the local community, including to the Bushveld Mission Children’s Home outside Vaalwater. It is home to sixty orphaned, abandoned, abused and starving children between the ages of newborn to 18 years old and is staffed by 15 volunteers who have a mission to ‘love the children back to life’.
Mhondoro lodge manager Ronel Breytenbach says: ‘Charity starts at home and we are pleased to be able to supply food parcels to the local community where our 20 staff members come from. Many of our people have family members who have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic crisis, whilst other employees are sole breadwinners for families of up to nine people. The need is great – and we are grateful to be able to lend a helping hand in these difficult times.’
Tintswalo Lodges has introduced a self-catering option for families and friends to stimulate local travel and accommodate South African residents within the current lockdown restrictions. Exclusive-use, self-catering options are available at three of the Tintswalo properties, offering a choice between a safari or coastal breakaway for a group of up to 10 people.
The R25 000 per night deal for 10 people (2-night minimum stay) offers excellent value to South Africans seeking a luxury destination for a self-drive reunion close to home, or further afield once inter-provincial travel is allowed.
Options include the Manor House at Tintswalo Safari Lodge in the greater Kruger area; the Tintswalo Family Camp in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg; and Tintswalo at Boulders Boutique Villa in Simon’s Town, Cape Town. Lodges are fully serviced and all health precautions and safety protocols are fully complied with. Safari options also include two safari activities a day, a safari vehicle and the services of guide, as well as a private chef, housekeeping, laundry and wifi. (T’s & C’s apply. Excluded are food and beverages and gratuities)
With unobstructed views across Boulders Beach and its world-famous resident colony of endangered African penguins, Tintswalo at Boulders Boutique Villa boasts a unique beachfront location. Paying homage to maritime history and the villa’s location in Simon’s Town, the luxurious suites are individually decorated, some with private balconies. Ideally equipped for a group travelling together, the villa features open-plan lounges with fireplaces, a TV-room and two fully equipped kitchens and indoor dining areas. There are spacious outdoor terraces, as well as a wind-protected courtyard with a fire pit, and a sea view pool on the top deck.
Tintswalo Family Camp Welgevonden is located in the malaria-free Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg (Limpopo province). It ranks amongst SA’s largest private game reserves and boasts a great variety of game, including the Big Five. Five spacious freestanding luxury units are positioned on either side of the main lodge, which is comfortably furnished with spacious entertainment and lounge areas with fireplaces. The camp features a swimming pool with poolside loungers and a viewing deck overlooking the waterhole. It is child-friendly and protected by electric fencing against predators and dangerous game to allow children the freedom to enjoy the outside areas.
Situated in the pristine Manyeleti Private Nature Reserve, the Manor House at Tintswalo Safari Lodge features spacious lounge and dining areas and deep, shady patios that are ideal for relaxation and entertaining. The 56,000 acre Manyeleti Reserve is known as the “Place of the Stars” and has fenceless boundaries to the Kruger National Park. The traditionally styled private villa has 5 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, two with outside baths for indulgent soaks under starlit skies. Welcoming children of all ages, the family-friendly destination comes with a swimming pool and rolling lawns protected by game fencing, overlooking a waterhole that offers excellent game viewing 24/7.