About last night – GP Lifestyle Tourism Street Party

Last night, the tourism trade came out to play at the very first GP Life Tourism Street Party to celebrate life in Gauteng, turning the city centre into an outdoor celebration.

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A block of eight “streets” in the regenerated 1 Fox Street warehouse was filled with music, entertainment, stalls, food, drink and dancing as the tourism trade partied through the day and into the night. This exciting event is designed to remind Gauteng-peeps that we have as much life and vibrancy to be proud of as London, New York, Sydney and Cape Town.

Gauteng Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Siphiwe Ngwenya welcomed the initiative and expressed confidence that it will be worthwhile. He said:

“The tourism trade is an important stakeholder in the We do/I do Tourism campaign that South African Tourism is championing and that we are part of. The campaign aims to grow tourist numbers by 5 million over the next five years and a bulk of that will have to come from Gauteng as the most visited province in South Africa. We are targeting a contribution of 1 million, which will only be achievable if the trade sector comes to the party. Therefore, we hope to grow this event into a premier showcase of the city of gold, Johannesburg, and destination Gauteng as a whole.”

The event brought the travel trade together to celebrate Gauteng as a destination and highlighted what it has to offer. The venue – 1 Fox Precinct  – spans a series of historic warehouses that date back to the city’s gold mining roots, now converted into a funky shopping and dining destination.

Different streets in the warehouse had different themes and interests, with 60 exhibitors spanning guesthouses, hotels, activities and adventure specialists and transport companies. Others that took part in the celebration, included the Cradle Tourism Company, Sandton Tourism, Soweto Tourism, Dinokeng, Vilakazi Street and global brands with a presence in Johannesburg.

Organised by Leisure Connexion and the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the event’s guests included Mix FM DJ Kerry-Anne Allerston, who hosted the music event, and performances by The Kiffness and Chiano Sky, as well as popular footballers, actors and musicians. Participants were encouraged to come dressed for the inaugural theme of “My City of Gold”.

“Johannesburg is an amazing city and worthy of competing against other world cities such as New York, Paris and London in the tourism field. Yet, there is a lack of belief in what the city and its wonderful people have to offer,” says Adelbert Retief, founder and MD of Leisure Connexion. He says:

“In other cities, the industry operates almost like a family in promoting their city even though they are in competition with each other. Now it’s time for our local tourism industry to come together and share stories, experience the offerings and grow the love for Jozi.”

Tour operators, agents and destination management companies arrived from 5pm to interact with the exhibitors and discuss business. At 9pm, the party started at the Good Luck Bar.

The GP Life Tourism Street Party will become an annual event for the industry to look forward to, where hotels, activities, restaurants and tour operators can showcase their products.

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Desert Destinations

With all the possible holiday destinations, it can be quite overwhelming when planning your travels. Since we are entering warmer temperatures again, Travelling Mystery Guest took a look at some interesting desert destinations to visit. Some are in our neighbouring countries and some are very far, never the less, they do not disappoint:

  1. Canyon Lodge, Namibia

Located near the Fish River Canyon, not only does this lodge provide activities for all visitors, but their unique stone chalets will make you feel part of the beautiful Namibian desert. For South Africans, this lodge is not too far from home and for international travellers, this oasis is worth the distance.

  1. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa

Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range (in Chile, South America), this destination is for those looking to travel further than South Africa’s neighbouring desert. Similar to the architectural design of the Canyon Lodge, the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge blends in with its surroundings, making you feel part of the terracotta ridge that rises behind it.

  1. Kubu Island
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Baobab in Botswana

Though this island’s location may not be defined as desert, the Kubu Island in Botswana (in the Makgadikgadi Pan area), consists of dry granite rock that features some beautiful Baobabs. An interesting fact about this destination is that the entire island is a national monument and it is considered sacred by the natives living in the area.

  1. Salvador Dali Desert, Bolivia

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The name of this desert, originating from the environment’s resemblance to Salvador Dali’s landscapes, already paints a picture in our minds of what to expect from this desert destination. It consists of long stretches of rocky hills, sand dunes and lagoons. So if it’s really desert that you’re after, you’ll find it here. This desert is in South America (close to Chile).

  1. Luxury Desert Camp in Erg Chebbi

Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs (a sand sea), the other is Erg Chigaga. The Luxury Desert Camp provides a true Moroccan experience in the desert, with the culture adding to every aspect of this camp. Camping in tents completed with Moroccan décor whilst surrounded by camels and the sun setting behind a dune would be an amazing experience!

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

 

Eikendal Vineyards swirls Cheesecake & Wine Pairings this Summer

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Zesty citrus flavours, followed by a rich berry delight Eikendal Cheesecake & Wine HR (1)and rounded off by a sultry salted caramel enchantment. These are the delectable cheesecakes that are on offer at Eikendal Vineyards as part of their brand new Cheesecake and Wine Pairing Experience – the first Stellenbosch wine estate to offer this.

Eikendal’s crisp Sauvignon Blanc pairs like a summer’s breeze with the creamy Lemon Cheesecake, while the plump Berry Cheesecake fuses seamlessly with the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay blend. The pairing ends on a high note with the estate’s award-winning Janina Unwooded Chardonnay, which brings out her charm alongside the decadent Salted Caramel Cheesecake. All worth every single calorie!

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Eikendal, conveniently situated between Stellenbosch and Somerset West on the R44, isEikendal Cheesecake & Wine HR (7) renowned for its award-winning, internationally acclaimed wines. Apart from the Cheesecake & Wine Pairing Experience, visitors can enjoy a Wine Tasting (which includes a tasting of the estate’s exclusive Icon range), a Cookie Tasting for the young ones, Cellar Tours, Fly Fishing, Cheetah Encounters, Vineyard Rides and a kids’ play area. The popular Cucina di Giovanni offers languid lunches and dinners and visitors even have the option of extending their Eikendal Experience by spending the night at the Eikendal Lodge.

The Eikendal Cheesecake & Wine Pairing Experience costs R80 per person and will be swirling the senses from October 2017 until April 2018, Tuesdays to Sundays between 10:00 and 16:30.

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To book for this sensory indulgence or for any queries relating to the Eikendal Experience, contact Chantal-Lee at 021 855 1422 or send an email to info@eikendal.co.za.

Grape Expectations for British Airways’ New Port

British Airways has added Graham’s Six Grapes, the Port favoured by Sir Winston Churchill, to its business class (Club World) drinks menu.

Mr. Churchill looking very relaxed with a glass of Graham's after lunch

Mr. Churchill looking very relaxed with a glass of Graham’s Six Grapes after lunch.

Back then it was known as Graham’s Vintage Character Port and was served to his guests at Chartwell House, his country home. The historic Port has a rich bouquet of ripe plums and cherries and will pair particularly well with the desserts and cheeses on board, in particular the Roasted White Chocolate and Hazelnut Tart and the Cheddar and Camembert with Spiced Mulled Apple Jelly.

Colin Talbot, British Airways’ head of catering, said: “Port is incredibly popular in Club World – last year alone nearly 41,000 bottles were served to our business class customers, so we are delighted to be adding Graham’s Six Grapes to the menu.  At altitude it holds its flavour well, thanks to its good structure and with the long lingering finish, it will wonderfully complement the dessert and cheese selection on flights.”

Additionally, British Airways launched a new restaurant-style premium dining service in Club World, with display trolleys allowing customers to select dishes from a choice of freshly prepared starters and desserts served on beautiful new table settings. The airline also announced a sleep partnership with The White Company and the British retailer will supply bedding and amenity kits in Club World to ensure customers get a good night’s sleep in the sky.

The new style dining and bedding is part of British Airways’ multi-million pound investment plan to benefit its customers, with a focus on excellence in the premium cabins and more choice and quality for all.

Four hundred million pounds will be spent on Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep, as well as a new seat in the future. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched and lounges around the airline’s network are to be revamped and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

Spring at its best

The Hertford, as it’s colloquially called, has impressed us this past weekend with some of the best cuisine and an almost rural feel.

The Hertford Country House and Function Venue, situated just around the corner from Lanseria International Airport, has just launched their spring menu, an array of delicious dishes with choices for diners of any kind. Their fillets were tender and tasty, their halloumi starters were not only generous, but divine and they offered a dessert buffet with some local treats like malva pudding, panacotta and a zesty lemon cheesecake.

For a Sunday lunch, this is the perfect spot. It was a lovely spring day under the trees and guests came streaming in for either the new menu, some additional a la carte options or their impressive tapas and lazily sipped on locally sourced wines like Leapord’s Leap‘s Merlot. Two tame horses checked in every now and again, carefully pruning the mulberry tree that proudly offered shade to visitors with its new spring leaves and birds were chirping happily, echoing my relief for a winter that’s gone by.

Horses enjoying the new spring leaves of the mulberry trees that offer shade to the guests

Horses enjoying the new spring leaves of the mulberry trees that offer shade to the guests

Contact The Hertford for bookings and more information: 084 761 2017 / hotel@hertford.co.za

Hotel Verde

South Africa has many impressive hotels and among them is Hotel Verde. The hotel is situated in Cape Town near the airport and it is South Africa’s greenest Hotel. Hotel Verde has won many prestigious awards and is an inspiration to other South African businesses to go green. Travelling Mystery Guest did a short interview with them to share their story with the hospitality industry.

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“Verde” means green in Italian. Is this where the name, Hotel Verde, originated from? 

It is Mario Delicio, along with his wife Annamarie, who are the owners and directors of Hotel Verde. They are originally from Italy, so this is where the Italian influence comes from, particularly in our restaurant, called Nuovo. It was the Delicio’s daughter, Anika, who came up with the name, Hotel Verde, to pay homage to the family’s Italian heritage and the hotel’s sustainability concepts.

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Hotel Verde opened its doors in 2013 and you have already won a few awards. Was it difficult at the beginning to convince consumers to be more eco-friendly? 

Hotel Verde Cape Town has been designed green – we hold a double LEED platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council, which looks at both design and construction, as well as daily operation and maintenance. A guest’s carbon footprint is reduced simply by staying at our hotel, so it hasn’t been difficult to encourage guests to be Eco-friendly. In most cases the choice to stay with us is already a sustainable decision. If they wish, guests can make their stay even more sustainable by using our energy-generating gym equipment, opting to take the stairs over the elevator, or reusing their bath towels. We also have a guest incentive program that rewards guests for going the extra mile in this way. By making Eco-friendly choices during their stay, guests can earn Verdinos and each Verdino is equivalent to R5, which can be redeemed against purchases at the hotel during their stay.

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Being quite the trendsetter in South-Africa, are you planning to expand? 

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Our parent company, Verde Hotels, offers sustainable hospitality solutions with a turnkey approach. They currently operate within Africa and are developing a resort in Zanzibar, which will open in late 2017. This will be the second hotel under the Verde Hotels brand.

 

 

Was it expensive to start the hotel? Considering all the special equipment that you use?

The green budget of nearly 11% makes it possible that today, Hotel Verde Cape Town can operate the hotel at only 35% of water usage and a 35 % of power usage of a conventional hotel of the same size. It is therefore the best investment in the long term.

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Are you continuously adding new ways to preserve the earth? 

As technology progresses, new and more efficient practices are made possible. We are always on the lookout for improvements at Hotel Verde and continually strive to regularly review daily operations in an effort to go greener. An example would be our approach to the current water crisis in the Cape – we have created additional signage to encourage guests to save water and only refill conferencing water bottles on request, among other implementations. For our brand, the newest example would also be the new Hotel Verde Zanzibar, which in some areas have equipment even more efficient than what was purchased 5 years ago for Hotel Verde Cape Town.

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Who / what was the main inspiration for the start of Verde hotels? 

The Delicio family believes that we all have a responsibility to the planet and should live sustainably; it was this thinking that inspired them to conceptualize not only a hotel, but Africa’s greenest hotel. Each member of the family has had a hand in making Hotel Verde the way we know it today and our staff ensure that our values and sustainable practices work towards staying Africa’s greenest.

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Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

A special thank you to Taryn Hickson, Marketing and Brand Manager at Hotel Verde, who agreed to the interview.

Die Kruger Nationale Park

Die Kruger Nationale Park is nog altyd ‘n baie gewilde toeriste aantreklikheid – nie net vir buitelanders nie maar ook vir Suid-Afrikaners. Een van Travelling Mystery Guest se mystery guests het onlangs by Satara gebly en ‘n staptoer in die park gedoen. Soos gewoonlik het die wildtuin, met sy verskeidenheid dier- en plantspesies, nie teleurgestel nie.

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