Cape Town Hospitality Enthusiasts: We are looking for you!

Travelling Mystery Guest is searching for individuals interested in becoming mystery guests based in Cape Town.

The company assists hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, lodges, shopping centres and other tourism destinations with Customer Journey Evaluations. With Customer Journey Evaluations, Travelling Mystery Guest sends a mystery guest to evaluate the establishment’s brand promise and the overall customer journey. The mystery guest is responsible for taking notes and compiling a comprehensive report on the experience.

As Travelling Mystery Guest is continuously expanding, we’re looking for Capetonians that would like to become mystery guests. Ideally, we are looking for well presented individuals with a passion for and some experience in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Successful candidates will undergo training on the company’s mission and vision, assessment standards, requirements and quality assessment reporting.

If you think you have what it takes to become a mystery guest, send your CV to enquire@travellingmystery.co.za or alternatively to admin@travellingmystery.co.za.

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Sanlam Top Destination Awards honours Hospitality Establishments

Discount Traveler celebrates National Tourism month this September by honouring South Africa’s leading hospitality establishments with the fourth annual Sanlam Top Destination Awards. The awards have been specifically designed to honour South Africa’s key players within the South African Tourism sector and serve as a platform for nominees to compete for the title of Top Destination in ten categories and five star gradings respectively, as voted for by the public. Winners will be announced at a Gala Award Ceremony held at The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay on Thursday, 20 September.

Votes are now closed and the finalist establishments across the categories and star grading are being contacted. Jonathan Pepler, Managing Director of Discount Traveler and Founder of the Sanlam Top Destination Awards explains:

“The support for this year’s awards has been incredible, with more nominees than ever before.”

This year the Sanlam Top Destination Awards has added the Water Sustainability Award. The award has been created in conjunction with Water 4 Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism to reward the country’s most water conscious establishment.

The prestigious ceremony will be hosted by radio and TV heavyweight, Tracey Lange – presenter of kykNET’s Bravo! and KFM’s mid-morning show. Tracey will be joined by voice over artist, MC and fellow KFM presenter, Mamohau Seseane.

Title sponsor of the awards is financial giant Sanlam, while finalists can expect treats from David Green, Disaronno, Carabao, Ayama Wines, Romatex Hospitality Textiles, Healing Earth, Sir Juice, Zang Chocolate, Foxbox and Jekyll & Hide SA to name a few. Additional sponsors include Santam, Phangela Group, Cape Town Tourism, Water4CapeTown, 3-D Virtual Africa, Travel Africa TV and Magic 828 AM.

For those who didn’t manage to get a ticket to this year’s award ceremony, the evening will be streamed live via facebook.com/sanlamtopdestinationawards. Alongside the winners’ announcements, viewers can expect live performances by Ricky Botsis, Danielle Bitton and an authentically African dance presentation by Blush Productions.

Travelling must-haves

When travelling, packing smart is just as important than packing light. With these essentials, you’ll be prepared for any trip. Choose items efficiently and make sure you can manage with your luggage by yourself.

Hard-shell Rolling Suitcase

Although soft suitcases are great for squeezing in extra items, when it comes to rainy weather, no one wants to sit in a situation where you must drag your bag through the rain. We recommend a hard-shell rolling case like the K-Way Spinner 65L Roller available from Cape Union Mart.

Backpack

Not only does a backpack spread the weight, it also ensures that you can easily access all the essentials while travelling hands-free. The Anti-Theft Waterproof Travel Laptop Backpack is available at R499 from Takealot.com.

Foldable Down Jacket

A warm jacket is a definite travel essential. Down Jackets like the K-Way Tundra Down Jacket is very compact and won’t take up much space in your suitcase. Roll it into its pouch and it doubles up as a travel pillow.

Scarf

A large scarf can serve a variety of purposes – keeping warm, dressing up, covering your head or padding a fragile souvenir. Poetry has a wide variety of scarves to choose from. Go check them out on http://www.poetrystores.co.za.

Multi-Purpose Shoes

Two pairs are all you need. Leave behind the high heels you’ll only wear once and rather take one pair of waterproof, sturdy sneakers and a pair of comfortable shoes that can be used on long walks as well as for going out.

Wipes

When travelling, you want to avoid getting ill at all costs. We always prefer Dettol’s Personal Care Wipes, available at Clicks, to keep you feeling fresh and clean.

Customized First-Aid Kit

We suggest that you pack pain-pills, anti-itch creams, motion sickness tablets, stomach meds, cold/flu medicine, bandages and eye drops. Don’t forget your multivitamins!

Flip Flops

In addition to the above-mentioned two pairs of shoes, a pair of flip flops is also an essential. Flip-flops are water resistant and are flat enough to take up minimal space in a suitcase. Our favourite is the tried-and-tested Havaianas.

Pen

A pen will always come handy. Think filling in customs forms, doing Sudoku puzzles or doodling on a napkin.

Notebook

Be it for diarising memories made on an adventure or writing essential numbers – one simply cannot travel without a notebook. Hello Pretty has a variety of notebooks to choose from.

Noise-cancelling earphones

One way to make the best of a situation where you have noisy plane neighbours is to block out the noise while keeping yourself entertained. The Gadget Shop stocks most of the top noise-cancelling earphones.

Portable Power Bank Charger

Make sure to pack a portable charger. You don’t want to waste time waiting for your electronics to charge. A great portable charger is the 10000mAh Ultra Compact Power Bank available from Chargedpower.com. 

Face Essentials

Cleansing and moisturizing are the two smartest steps you can take for your skin when travelling. Look for a cleanser that is both soothing and that can gently remove makeup on the go. Once your face is makeup-freeClinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizer will hydrate even the driest complexion.

Sunscreen

Did you know that it is advisable to apply sunscreen in-flight, especially if you’re in the window seat? The altitude can expose you to harmful UVA rays.

Lip Balm

The Proudly South African Zam-Buk lip balm is all you need. Cherry Kiss Zam-Buk lip balm is available at Clicks and is perfect for all day use.

Small bag of toiletries

Luggage get lost so easily when travelling. The last thing you want to do is spend R500 on all the toiletries you’d need when your bags get lost. Pack a small bag with necessary items to keep in your hand luggage. Make use of Dischem’s Travelmate bottle set for some of your hair and skincare products.

 

Written by: Katrien Nel

There’s a new kid on The Block

You can now fill up on decor, coffee and inspiration at The Block Cafe in Block & Chisel, Diep River, Cape Town.

The cafe was designed by Block & Chisel directors Paul McAdam and Susan McCoubrey to reflect the principles of the Block & Chisel brand – it’s not just easy on the eye, but also easy to live with.  The coffee and toastie emporium is all about good food, prepared simply.

Chef Courtney Ah-Sing has worked tirelessly to create an uncomplicated, delicious menu. “Watching the space and menu grow has been wonderful. I love the freedom and flexibility that comes with offering daily specials. We also make our cakes smaller, so they are elegant and always fresh,” says Courtney.

You’ll find plenty of personal touches in the cafe. It’s what makes it so comfortable and inviting. For instance, they serve a Boetie Bester, which is a blend of strong coffee with a dash of condensed milk and milk foam. It’s a treat their master craftsman Sibley McAdam enjoyed during his school holidays visiting his good friends on their family farm in the Karoo.

“The cafe is all about relaxed enjoyment – it’s meant to be the sort of place you can spend time catching up with friends and really feel like you are at home,” says Susan McAdam. The space is designed to inspire the level of comfort, style and enjoyment that we all strive for in our own homes.

The beautiful oak bar was designed specifically for the space and constructed by Block & Chisel‘s  workshop team in Philippi. A truly commanding feature that shows off delectable goods, while also illustrating fine craftsmanship.

The dining area is a mixture of styles from classic to modern, with all items available to purchase. The cafe therefore serves as a way to “test drive” certain items before you buy them.

“We’re really proud of how the cafe has turned out, and hope that our customers get to enjoy spending time there as much as we have loved creating it,” Managing Director Paul McAdam adds.

Things to do before winter ends

Winter is slowly but surely coming to an end. With summer fast approaching, make sure that you take that last sip of hot chocolate and indulge in that glass of red wine beside the fireplace. Here are a couple of things you should do before winter ends:

Enjoy an old favourite movie with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn

When it is cold outside, even the idea of leaving the house to go to the movies is hard to get enthusiastic about. Gather your blankets, get a bowl of popcorn and enjoy a cozy movie night.

Go for a hike

Just because the weather becomes a little chilly doesn’t mean that you have to bundle up and spend our short South African winter avoiding the great outdoors. Hiking is a fantastic way to get those joints moving and to get a dose of vitamin D. We recently enjoyed a hike at the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve in Pretoria and what a wonderful experience. Bonus: You can bring your dogs too!

Enjoy a meal at an Italian Restaurant

A glass of vino to accompany a hearty pasta meal is exactly what you need to give you that unmatched winter feeling. Head to your nearest Italian restaurant to warm up with some delicious Italian cuisine before winter ends. Alfie’s Italian Café at The Village in Pretoria is a definite favourite.

Prepare a delicious dinner

Too cold to go out? Celebrate the end of winter by preparing a delightful feast with your closest friends at home. Woolworths has some of the best pastas in store – have a look at the options on their Instagram page and shop online here.

Baking: The cure for the winter blues

Winter is the perfect excuse for baking. Take out your grandma’s most mouth-watering, crave-worthy biscuit recipes and bake up a storm to warm up for the last stretch of winter.

Have a cuppa…

A steaming mug of hot chocolate or a cream-covered cappuccino is one of winter’s greatest pleasures. Head to your nearest coffee shop and indulge. Too cold to go out? Make your own by combining a cup of warm milk with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Top with mini-marshmallows and enjoy!

Enjoy a Winter Market

Get your friends and family together and enjoy a day of craft stalls and street food at your nearest Winter Market. The Hazel Food Market is one of our favourites and if you go there, you have got to try a Lamb Pita at Smaak.’s stall.

Credit: Renate Engelbrecht

How to plan a trip with a big group

Travelling in big groups with friends or family can result in the most amazing times of our lives, where the precious memories made will be remembered for years to come. However, if not planned meticulously, group travelling can be stressful.

Here are TMG’s top tips on how to plan a trip with a big group:

Have a leader (or two)

Appoint an individual to lead the planning of the trip. It makes travelling a lot easier if there is a go-to person who knows how the planning is progressing. If there is a lot of planning to do, different people can be in charge of different aspects of the trip. One person can be in charge of accommodation, one in charge of researching activities, another of meal planning, etc. The final decisions can still be made as a group, but this will ensure that everything gets organized in advance.

Agree on a budget

One of the most difficult aspects of planning a trip for a group is the budget. People have different ideas about how much they are willing to spend when travelling. Decide on a budget that suits everyone and adhere to it. Some activities could be optional so group members can decide whether they want to participate, but a budget for the necessities is crucial.

Consider Alternative Accommodation

Accommodation makes a huge difference to your travel experience. Hotels aren’t necessarily the best option when travelling as a big group. Renting a holiday house saves money and provides opportunities to cook together and socialize. Websites like Airbnb and Rentbyowner make it very easy to find homes to rent anywhere in the world.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Make reservations ahead of time. Transport and accommodation need to be arranged and booked as early as possible. Research the top things to do at your chosen destination and look out for group discounts.

Limit the amount of activities

It isn’t necessary to plan every moment of the holiday. Some of the best experiences may be decided impulsively during the trip, or just happen spontaneously.  Managing the itinerary for a large group, particularly one with children, is rather difficult and may lead to unnecessary tension. Limit big outings or activities to one per day.

Split up

It isn’t necessary for the whole group to be together all the time. If there are people who want to participate in different activities from the rest, split up according to interests.

Communicate

Communication is key when travelling as a big group. Make sure everyone is aware of the itinerary and all the details, pack clever and you are all set for your holiday adventure with the people you love!

 

Written by Katrien Nel