Extraordinary March 2021 Newsletter

Dear Travel Partners

The world seems to be in reset mode with our Southern African environment seeing heavy rains, the likes of which we have not seen for twenty years. Our friends in the Northern hemispheres seem to be having record snow falls and I have to wonder if this extreme weather has something to do with less aircraft in the air? Or has Mother Nature finally stepped in to rip the world back to normality? We have seen abundant wildlife births this season and have enjoyed watching nature flourish. The environment seems to be trying to restore itself – but sadly without any tourists to witness the miracles of such peace and tranquillity, all around.

This is the perfect time to plan your journey – and to consider the Africa we love and call home as your next destination. Wide open spaces, natural social distancing and low tourism density should make Southern Africa the ultimate choice. Encounters with incredible wildlife and meeting the truly special people in our communities guarantee anyone who chooses this destination to truly embrace that bucket list moment. CAUTION – it does not usually end up as a once in a lifetime visit though, in fact, a vast number of our guests return regularly to reconnect with Africa – over and over again.

Yours in travel,
Cindy

CLIFFTOP EXCLUSIVE SAFARI HIDEAWAY INTRODUCES NEW APP

The Clifftop App is your digital companion at Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway. Plan your journey with us in advance by using our bookings feature. Arrive at the Lodge in style by completing our contactless check–in forms that allow you to seamlessly begin your indulgent retreat. From pre–booking your wellness treatments to making use of our in–app fitness routines, the Clifftop App has been purpose–built to enrich your experience with us. Take your safari experience to the next level with our digital species checklists that allow you to keep a record of all the species that you get to spot during your adventures around the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere inside Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. Create lasting bonds with Clifftop and enjoy the various benefits of joining the Clifftop community. Travel better with Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway.

Download the Clifftop App at your designated App Store

DINE AT SAFARI PLAINS – CRISPY CIDER-BRAISED PORK BELLY, BROCCOLI PUREE AND POTATO FONDANT

Crispy Cider-Braised Pork Belly

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • Few celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • a sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml of good cider (savanna)
  • Small splash of cider vinegar. Plus, extra to season
  • 1L fresh chicken stock
  • 1.2kg pork belly

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180°c place all the ingredients except the pork and sunflower oil in a flame-proof pan that will fit the pork snugly. Season and bring everything to a boil then turn down the heat and slide pork into the pan. The pork should be totally submerged, top up with water if needed.
  2. Cover with tin foil cook in the oven for 3 hours undisturbed. Remove from the oven and strain the liquid, keep aside. Cook the pork until the skin is nice and crispy.
  3. Reduce the sauce until thickened.

Potato fondant

  • 6 medium Maris Piper potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, bashed
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 200ml chicken or vegetable stock

Method

  1. Slice the ends off the potatoes so they lay flat on either side.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-low heat. When hot, add the potatoes cut-side down. Fry for 5-7 minutes, or until deep golden brown, then flip and fry on the other side. Add the butter to the pan to melt.
  3. Scatter the garlic and herbs around the potatoes and season well. Carefully pour the stock around the potatoes, being aware of any hot butter that may splash out.
  4. Cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, then serve.

Broccoli puree

  • 3 heads of broccoli
  • ¼ cup onions chopped
  • ¼ baby marrow sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped

Method

  1. In a pot fry onions garlic, baby marrow and broccoli for a minute or until onions are soft, not brown.
  2. In a pot have boiling salted water ready and add the sauté mixture. Boil for about 5 minutes and remove ¼ of the water and blend until smooth and creamy.

HAVE YOU MET: JOHN-ROY VAN DER STRUYS – EXECUTIVE CHEF AT SAFARI PLAINS

A food journey that started in 2011, quickly growing into a life-long passion and with experiences in some of South Africa’s best hotels, John-Roy’s philosophy in the kitchen and being able to work well with his team is to lead by example.

“I believe that it does not matter if you cook for one person or for a hundred people the same must be presented to all. Consistency is key for running a successful kitchen.”

WELCOME TO MABULA GAME LODGE!

YOU’RE INVITED TO EXPLORING VICTORIA FALLS WITH AFRICA ALBIDA TOURISM

In this month’s virtual session of Exploring Victoria Falls with Africa Albida Tourism, we will be looking at the incredible water flows over the Falls, the highest that they have been in 60 years according to the Zambezi River Authority. Flows this year are double those of last year, which in itself was also a bumper year!  Don’t miss out!

WHEN: Thursday 4th March 2021

WHERE: CLICK HERE

TIME: 16H00

VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI LODGE IS NAMED TO THE TRAVEL + LEISURE 2021 T+L 500 LIST OF THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD

Zimbabwe has once again been put on the global tourist map, with Victoria Falls Safari Lodge being named among the 500 best properties in the world by prestigious United States magazine, Travel + Leisure.

Each year, the readers of Travel + Leisure — the largest travel media brand in the United States, with an audience of 8.1 million — share their thoughts on destinations, city hotels, resorts, and more in the World’s Best Awards survey.

On the Travel + Leisure 2020 World’s Best Awards readers’ survey results, Travel + Leisure has recognised the best hotels in the world by naming them on this year’s T+L 500 list. The hotels are listed alphabetically, not in a ranked list, and are grouped into eight geographic regions: Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific; Canada; the Caribbean;

Europe; Mexico, Central America, and South America; and the United States. Readers rate hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and value.

Africa Albida Tourism chief executive Ross Kennedy said: “We are absolutely thrilled to once again feature on the US publication Travel + Leisure’s annual list of the Top 500 hotels in the world, and in particular, to have been selected as one of the Top 5 Africa Resort Hotels.

“To be recognised in the same company as The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, Durban; La Residence in Franschhoek; Tongabezi Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia and Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania is truly incredible as it is the travellers and readers who vote,” Kennedy said. “This is a testament to our operations team, and every member of staff who plays a role in delivering the experience, service and quality to each guest. We are so proud of this recognition.”

Kennedy added, “This announcement, coming almost a year into lockdown, has been extremely uplifting for us all, and with vaccinations now being rolled out across the globe, we are looking forward to the recovery of our industry as travellers are motivated to venture to long-haul and bucket list destinations.”

SMILING FACES FOR THE START OF SCHOOL

What a wonderful sight these beautiful smiling faces of the Acornhoek community are as they started school with their newly donated uniforms and supplies. Twenty children of the Mirantha Youth Group received their packages as well as food parcels for their families as part of Hamiltons tented Camp, Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge and Imbali Safari Lodge’s Corporate Social Responsibility program.

WELCOME BACK TO ZIMBABWE!

Look forward to exploring Victoria Falls with Fastjet now back from 16 March 2021 with three flights a week!

With its wild landscape, majestic falls and picturesque sunsets, Victoria Falls is the ultimate African safari destination. Whether you are looking to unwind and enjoy a relaxing break or spend your days exploring the falls and local town, there is something for everyone to look forward to.

Flights Now Open on www.fastjet.com
Three flights per week from 16 March 2021

  • Fastjet recognises that we have operated this route before and discontinued the service. Most recently in 2019, when we operated it seasonally, we carried out all our obligations on the flight series and did not cancel any passengers during the three months we operated.
  • Many people have been worried about the financial state of Fastjet. These people should maybe consider that Fastjet still flies and in fact flies more frequencies daily now than it did, pre-COVID.
  • They should also maybe consider that Fastjet is proud to have kept all its staff employed during the COVID lockdown AND paid, albeit at a reduced salary)
  • They also might like to consider that Fastjet is not and has never been in Business Rescue, unlike certain other carriers, who we seem to be compared unfavourably to.

EXCITING NEW MANAGEMENT COUPLE AT CLIFFTOP EXCLUSIVE SAFARI HIDEAWAY!

STACEY COLEMAN – RESIDENT MANAGER

Extremely dedicated and passionate about hospitality and tourism, we are sure Stacey will be a most valued leader and member of the Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway team!

WIMPIE PRETORIUS – ASSISTANT RESIDENT MANAGER

No stranger to the industry and with over 10 years of experience managing some of the country’s top reserves, Wimpie brings with him experiences including, Head of Reserve and Head of the Cheetah Rehabilitation Project at Monate Game Lodge as well as holding the position of Reserve Manager at various Private Game Reserves around the country.

IMBALI WELCOMES URSULA MONTGOMERY AS THE NEW RESIDENT MANAGER

She brings to Imbali Safari Lodges her 26 years’ experience, a wealth of knowledge, passion, professionalism and understanding to ensure that her guests have the most incredible stay. Ursula and her team at Imbali Safari Lodges look forward to welcoming you to the various lodges and offering you a personalised experience with extraordinary everlasting memories.

MABULA GAME LODGE – WELCOMING SHERLEY RICHARDS AS ASSISTANT MANAGER

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Sherley Richards, who joined as the new Assistant Manager at Mabula Game Lodge. Sherley is no stranger to Mabula or the Extraordinary Team and we are delighted to have her back with us.