New Year’s Eve


New Year Traditions around the world

Since we are approaching the end of 2017, Travelling Mystery Guest decided to take a look at the traditions people have for New Year’s Eve around the world. For those of you who are frequent travellers, you might have the privilege to encounter some of these traditions. As for us here in South Africa, we will embrace our own traditions this year!

  1. Denmark


The people of Denmark save all their unused plates and dishes for New Year’s Eve where they then shatter these plates against floors or doors together with friends and family. This tradition ought to release all your frustrations built up through the year!

  1. Spain


This beautiful country believes that their luck revolves around grapes. People would try to fit 12 grapes in their mouth and when this is achieved, it is believed that you will have good luck in the New Year. This seems like an easy way to improve your luck in 2018!

  1. Peru


Peru actually has a festival where they fight with one another to settle any differences that they had. The Takanakuy Festival is held to ensure that everyone starts the New Year on a clean slate. This is certainly an interesting and unique way to forgive and forget.

  1. USA


One of the most famous ways of celebrating the New Year is the Ball Drop in Times Square, New York. This tradition started in 1907 and every year a specially designed ball is dropped in front of thousands of spectators to symbolise the New Year.

  1. South Africa


New Year’s Eve in South Africa is celebrated with friends and family, popping champagne when the clock strikes 00:00 and wishing everyone a happy new year! Most people will probably have a braai and prepare a festive meal and some will even have fireworks (where it’s allowed). When looking at what other countries think about New Year’s in South Africa, it seems we are quite popular for some of the biggest parties, especially in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

We hope you have some exciting plans for this upcoming New Year’s Eve, whether it’s at home or somewhere exotic. South Africa will always be special, with beautiful beaches and growing urban cities. There are a lot of opportunities to make this New Year’s Eve a great one! Cheers to the New Year!


Does travel make you a better citizen?

According to a recent global survey done by Contiki, including South African youth travellers between the ages of 18 and 35, travel definitely makes you a better citizen – locally and abroad.

The South African statistics revealed that 70% of travellers indicated that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics and 41% said that they would run for public office. 49% of travellers voted in the last national election, compared to the 39% non-travellers and 55% of travellers voted in local elections, compared to the 36% non-travellers. 51% of travellers also indicated that they were patriotic.

Globally, 40% of travellers versus 31% non-travellers indicated that they participate in community activities. 21% of travellers, compared to 5% of non-travellers indicated that they have communicated with or written to their national government and finally 63% travellers versus 36% non-travellers said that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics.

“While it might seem like a paradox, there are plenty of reasons for travel to have these kinds of effects on one’s sense of citizenship. The friendships you make over a 3am Gyros in Mykonos will be friendships that will stay with you for a lifetime, and the people you interact with and cultures you’re exposed to have a profound impact on your tolerance and understanding. Contiki’s unique social travel experience sets millennial travellers up to have better relationships with their friends, family and with their wider communities at home, through the skills they learn through their travel experiences.” – Kelly Jackson, General Manager for Contiki.

The survey results give strong evidence that experiencing new cultures and viewpoints through travel in turn enhances character attributes which prove a positive impact on citizenship, such as perspective, empathy and appreciation. Despite young people spending a greater amount of time away from their native countries when travelling, young people who travel do in fact gain a greater sense of citizenship than those who have not travelled internationally.

Also check out The Power of Travel 


Contiki commissioned Story and Verse and Fan Data Analytics – two third party professional research and insight organisations – to conduct this research. 

Story and Verse enlisted the expertise of Adam Ganlinsky, PhD, Columbia Business School, to advise in the form of an interview about the character attributes that change as a result of travel, as indicated by his own academic research. These include empathetic concern, perspective-taking, generalised trust, interracial connection, open-minded thinking, learning goal orientation and general self-efficacy. 

Fan Data Analytics, using this insight, conducted a survey of a pool of 2,980 18-35 year olds from the United Kingdom (824), United States (514), Canada (513), Australia (520), South Africa (305) and New Zealand (303). The response pool was broken into equal groups of travellers and non-travellers, as defined below: 

  • Travellers: someone who has travelled outside of their home country
  • Non-travellers: someone who has not travelled outside of their home country  

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Fan Data Analytics.


Preceding finalists from 11 African countries and excelling over 47 000 votes, Hayward’s Grand Safari Company has clinched The Safari Guild’s Best in Africa Award for top Mobile Safari at the 11th The Safari Awards, announced by CEO Henry Hallward at a glittering awards evening held at World Travel Market, London recently.

With a roll call of beating drums and the popping of champagne corks, owner Peter Hayward and his agile team were delighted to receive this well-deserved accolade:

“Twenty-five years before the famous explorer David Livingstone arrived in Africa, my great, great grandfather, 24-year-old James Hayward, arrived on the tip of Africa on an adventure into uncharted territory. He was one of the first true pioneers into a landscape that teemed with vast herds of wildlife. Today, we are proud to carry on the tradition of bespoke, authentic group mobile safaris in a tradition that originated in 1685. Today, the Grand Safari continues to play a pivotal role in preserving the continent’s environmental heritage and showcases Africa’s unique natural capital.”

Hayward’s Grand Safari Company is not a new contender to The Safari Awards. They previously received Best Mobile Safari Company in South Africa two years in a row and were Highly Commended as Best Mobile Safari Company in Africa. Having now reached the pinnacle achievement on The Safari Awards platform, Hayward said: “This award is not just a quick pat on the back for us. It sets a standard in the industry for Africa. It’s not about ego either; it’s industry validation that all our hard work over the past 20 years is finally paying off. Currently, we consistently continue to receive an average 9.6 out of 10 across 22 points of guest satisfaction feedback from our delighted customers who experience a Grand Safari expedition, so to have this internationally recognised and acknowledged establishes our reputation abroad and helps our employees take pride in their work and continue in their efforts. Further to that, it instills confidence in customers regarding the quality and professionalism of our organisation and raises the profile of the continent of Africa as a travel and incentive destination within the tourism industry globally.”

Established in 2008, The Safari Guild was formed to manage The Safari Awards as a platform to recognise excellence within the safari industry and it encompasses a vibrant community of over 5 000 safari specialist agents sharing product knowledge on over 1 200 safari lodges, camps and operators.

CEO Henry Hallward says:

“The Safari Guild and these awards have an important role to play by influencing the debate on how best to manage and protect dwindling wildlife resources, by working with the people who own it. Our expectation is that travel professionals who engage with The Safari Guild will, in time, use their influence and buying power to reduce unnecessary exploitation of wildlife resources and encourage and support safari operators to share their gains equitably with the local communities and wildlife conservation entities that enable primary protection of wildlife for future generations.”

Representing Hayward’s Grand Safari Company to receive the award on the night, was Sasha Ella, Group Marketing Manager of Mantis Hospitality, who brought the award home to the African continent and into the hands of Peter Hayward and the Hayward’s Grand Safari Company team.

Pop-Up Camps SA in the Overberg

We recently visited Pop-Up Camps SA’s pop-up camp at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Oh, what a magnificent and eye-opening experience! 

We were able to spot a few whales and got to experience the coast on a whole new level. Pop-Up Camps SA is famous for their unique settings such as De Hoop and we are excited to see which spots they choose in 2018. 

Here is a glimpse of what to expect. Be sure to visit their webpage,, to see where they’ll be popping up next! 

Also keep your eyes pealed for the Beeld newspaper (South Africa), where you will be able to read more about this rare and wonderful experience. 

Written and recorded by: Renate Engelbrecht

Stap in Magoebaskloof

Magoebaskloof is een van Suid-Afrika se mooiste dele en tog is daar min mense wat werklik weet wat dit het om te bied. ‘n Onlangse staproete het my liefde vir die area opnuut weer laat blom.

Die Magoebaskloof Staproete is ‘n sirkelroete van 60 km wat oor 5 dae gestap kan word. Inheemse woude, bergstrome en plantasies maak van die roete een vir die boeke. Jy kan ook kies hoe ver jy wil stap, met opsies van 2-dag roetes tot 5-dag roetes.

Wat kan jy hier sien?

Die huilklip, ‘n natuurlike rots wat soos ‘n gong klink wanneer dit met ‘n ander klip gekap word, is een van die bekende en gunsteling besienswaardighede op die roete. Net so is die dierespesies wat jy op die roete kan gewaar, baie indrukwekkend. Van samango ape, bosbokke en bosvarke tot ‘n wye verskeidenheid voëlspesies – veral in die Grootbosch Woud. Kyk ook uit vir die hoogste geplante boom ter wêreld.


  • Maak seker dat jy die Dokolewa poele en die Waterval Hut by jou roete insluit. Dit is twee van die mooiste dele van die roete en jy sal spyt wees as jy dit mis.
  • Die 2-dag roete is ideaal vir ‘n familie wat graag die woud wil verken. Die 5-dag roete is meer gevorderd en jy moet redelik fiks wees om hom aan te pak.

Wat om te pak:

  • ‘n Hoed is ‘n moet
  • Oordentelike stapskoene – Ek het my hi-tecs van Cape Union Mart gedra en hulle het perfek gewerk.
  • Dik kouse
  • ‘n Waterdigte baadjie – Dit raak soms mistig en mag selfs reën.
  • Ekstra klere.
  • Kos
  • ‘n Gasstofie met genoeg gas, vuurhoutjies en ‘n potjie waarin jy water kan kook.
  • Plastiekborde, bamboo eetgerei, eko-vriendelike papierservette en ‘n beker.
  • Die nodigste items vir noodhulp – Verbande, pleisters, Detol, ens.
  • Voorgeskrewe medikasie, maar ook medisyne vir allergieë, hoofpyn en naarheid.
  • ‘n Multifunksionele instrument, soos ‘n Leatherman van Awesome Tools.
  • Sonbrandroom en ‘n sonbril. Hoewel die meeste van die roete onder digte woude is, is daar wel dele waar die son jou kop warm sal brand.
  • Slaapsak en kussing.
  • Water
  • ‘n Koplig – Trappers het ‘n wye verskeidenheid waaruit jy kan kies.
  • ‘n Pak kaarte – soms kom ‘n mens vroeër by die slaapplek aan en dan wil ‘n mens bietjie speletjies speel en ontspan.
  • Indien jy kontaklense dra, kyk uit vir Dischem se oulike reispakkies met kleiner botteltjies kontaklens skoonmaakmiddel. Ek gebruik altyd die Bausch & Lomb Boston Multi-Action Solution, wat ‘n spesiale vlugpakkie is. Dit sluit selfs ‘n Zip-Lock sakkie in, wat handig te pas sal kom. Dischem het ook baie oulike ander reis items soos kleiner botteltjies sjampoe, stortseep, handeroom en meer.
  • ‘n Buff is altyd ‘n goeie item om byderhand te hê. Soms is die oggende maar nog koel. Kies jou gunsteling buff op Adventure Inc.
  • Gemaklike plakkies of sagte skoene vir wanneer jy jou stapskoene uittrek. Gewone inglip plakkies soos Cotton On se thongs, sal die ding doen.
  • ‘n Rol toiletpapier
  • ‘n Swartsak of twee
  • Jou kamera. Verkieslik iets wat lig is om te dra. ‘n GoPro is ideaal – probeer bietjie die GoPro HERO Black 5.
  • ‘n Handoek en ‘n lappie wat vinnig kan droog word.
  • ‘n Kaart van die roete
  • Twee planne van die roete – een wat jy by ‘n vriend los en ‘n ander wat jy in jou motor los.
  • Insekweerder

Vir meer inligting oor die Magoebaskloof staproete, kontak: of 013 754 2724

Geskryf deur: Renate Engelbrecht

Foto krediet: Alicia Maree

The #IDoTourism Movement

How can we do tourism? How can you do tourism? And why should we?


To build a greater nation and to show off South-Africa’s potential globally. South Africa Tourism has started a movement to show the importance of every single South African in our tourism industry. The ability of this industry to create jobs and the effect that tourism has on the entire country has been greatly underestimated.

We have a beautiful country and South African people are amazing. By standing together, we can improve our entire economy by supporting this movement. On the 5th of October, Margie Whitehouse from South Africa Tourism highlighted the importance of this movement at the Tshwane Tourism Association’s meeting, which was hosted at 012 Central. Travelling Mystery Guest supports this movement.

Are you going to do tourism? Remember to use #IDoTourism if you share it online.

Watch their inspirational video to learn more about the #IDoTourism movement:




Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

How to simplify business travel for your guests 

With the rise of conference-calls and video-conferencing systems like Skype and Google Hangouts, it may seem like the days of face-to-face meetings are numbered. But a lot of business leaders and industrial psychologists reckon that there’s no substitute for meeting someone in person, especially at critical junctures in a business relationship, like introducing yourself or closing a deal. So how can hotels make business travel less stressful and worth your while? Dawn Weir, head of kulula work, suggests the following:

Identify the business benefits for your guests:


Weir says that business travel can be beneficial for the individual traveller and their business. British Airways On Business for example, enables your enterprise to earn points when you travel on BA, Iberia and American Airlines, and you’re entitled to members-only offers and discounts. BA Executive Club enables you to graduate to higher tiers where you can, for example, get cabin upgrades and access to business lounges and use the points to, say, take your family on holiday with you. Hotels can advertise these types of benefits to their business customers and even form an alliance with the airline to do advertising for them on their planes.

Assist them to be travel ready:


In the current busy, always-connected corporate lifestyle, your guests can never be too prepared to travel at a moment’s notice. Weir admits to being a super organised individual and has a travel drawer with her travel necessities, ready to pack at a moment’s notice. This drawer includes luggage labels, extra ID and passport photos, toothbrush cover, toiletry bag with miniatures (shampoo, hand sanitizer and moisturiser), travel brush, neck cushion and eye masks. But not all your guests will be this organised. Offer a travel kit at an additional (not too expensive) cost. Things like ID copies and passport photos are not in your control, but you can add some toiletries and essentials to the kit.

Suggest apps to simplify their arrangements


A few apps that you can advise your business travellers to use, include:

  • Scannable: This app enables the camera on your smartphone to record documents at a quality similar to those that have been scanned or photocopied. Take a picture of that all-important, game-changing, freshly-signed contract and the app straightens and neatens it up so you can email it. It’s quick and discreet and it’s also a way to keep track of your expenses. Take a shot of your receipts and mail them to your accounts department.
  • There’s no shortage of online project-management tools, but Trello has earned the loyalty of its 10m users through canny use of colour-codes, to-do lists and timelines.
  • AroundMe uses your mobile device’s GPS to find facilities like banks, ATMs, parking-garages, eateries and medical facilities, while Wi-fi Finder does the same, but for wi-fi hotspots.

Create a break room for your guests:


Airport lounges provide a haven from the hubbub of departure-lounges, but not all are equal by any means. The best ones have space for some work, high speed wi-fi, a good selection of food, a decent wine-list, and facilities to shower and freshen up. The SLOW Lounges at a number of South African airports have these facilities, and there’s even one at the Radisson Blu Hotel opposite the Sandton Gautrain station (SLOW in the City), which provides boardrooms, lounges and the option to arrange for private areas to do business lunches and interviews, with the benefit of waiters on call for food and drink orders. A new lounge recently opened at Lanseria International Airport called SLOW XS and has, among its many attractions, wine-tastings offered by local drinks specialists, Winesense, and is exclusive to FNB/RMB cardholders and kulula passengers. When your hotel’s business rooms is booked, some of your guests might need a quick freshen up, and this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate the said “SLOW Lounges” at your hotel.

Lastly, remind your guests to hydrate and rest when flying:


Weir says many business travellers tend to put in more working hours when away from the office and home and they might be so busy and tired that they forget to stay hydrated. A simple bottle of water can be given to your guests upon arrival and departure with a designed label to remind your guests to drink enough water and to get some rest during their travels. A nice personal touch can be to wish them safe travels on the label as well.

Edited by: Alicia Redelinghuys