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Extraordinary Newsletter December 2022

By December 15, 2022December 20th, 2022Press and Media

Dear Travel Partners

“In moments of quiet reflection, our minds embrace the sea that we have crossed” Holmes, comes to mind when looking back on 2022. The pure pace and frenetic energy of a year filled with high’s and low’s, success and challenge. Travel and hospitality has never been so eager to prosper and at every level we have endeavoured to meet expectations and refashion our offerings. With the refurbishments and upgrades at Hamiltons Tented Camp, Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp, Safari Plains, The Cape Milner and the launch of the world-class Victoria Falls Safari Spa we feel well equipped to take on the New Year.

We are eternally grateful for the incredible support we have received from our trade partners over the year, we are so aware that without you we may have had a slower recovery. Our markets have showed strong support and at most properties’ occupancies have returned to pre-Covid levels. Our properties staff and management have expressed their deep gratitude and are looking forward to creating moments of magic for every guest during the year ahead.

Wishing you all an Extraordinary Festive Season and a very Happy New Year

Yours in travel,
The Extraordinary Team


Ready to celebrate! We are excited to announce that Safari Plains has been recognised as a global leader in hospitality at the recent 2022 World Luxury Awards winning the Luxury Safari Retreat award at this prestigious event.

The winners of the annual World Luxury Awards were announced on 22 October 2022 at a glitzy affair at Swandor Topkapi Palace, Antalya, Turkey. This was the sixteenth event of its kind and more than 300 guests flew in from around the world to celebrate their awards.

The World Luxury Awards recognise Hotels, Spas, Restaurants and Travel establishments for world-class service excellence.

Awards are presented on a country, regional, continent and global basis and winners are selected by public vote online, providing true recognition that reflects the hard work and dedication of staff.


The Greater Mabula Game Reserve’s smallest and most intimate tented camp reopens this week with a fresh and contemporary new look that enhances its special private location within this reserve in the Waterberg.

Sporting five refashioned luxuriously appointed tents, each on a raised platform with their own private decks and incredible views of the surrounding savannah, Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp is delightfully small and profoundly intimate. Ideal for couples and small groups, it allows for a fully immersive experience in the captivating African bush, just two hours’ drive from Johannesburg.

A new waterhole, strategically placed between the expansive plains and comfortably furnished dining and lounge areas of the lodge, promises blockbuster views of wildlife and birdlife when guests are not exploring the reserve early morning and evening with their dedicated field guide.

Guests can settle into a lazy afternoon with a gin and tonic keeping a keen eye out for the wild life grazing or cool down in the refreshing pool watching the resident African grey hornbills hop around the camp – this is their home too.

Natural fabrics and shades of earthy cream, white and olive-green create a tranquil backdrop for the lodge that blends beautifully with the tones of the bush beyond, with extra care taken to provide the perfect environment within which guests can enjoy their own personal bushveld escape, courtesy of the small, but dedicated team at Kwafubesi.

Signature South African cuisine served in a beautifully refreshed space with stunning views of the reserve, a fully stocked bar, and personal and attentive service are just some of the guest favourites that Kwafubesi offers.

The new safari tents are well spaced out, large and comfortable, with queen-size beds and fully appointed bathroom and outdoor showers, along with comfortable seating on private timber decks, so that guests can enjoy their surroundings in complete comfort and privacy.


Meet Victoria Falls Safari Spa Manager Avalon van Leent

Avalon will head up a team of four therapists at Victoria Falls Safari Spa, which when it opens on November 1, will bring a new standard to spas in Victoria Falls and put Zimbabwe’s leading tourist attraction on the map as a wellness destination.

It is the largest and first purpose-built spa in Victoria Falls, and will use all natural, plant-based Africology and Cashmere & Co. products.

Born in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Avalon studied Holistic and Spa Therapies with Camelot International in Johannesburg, where she gained a CIDESCO qualification, the world’s most prestigious qualification for Aesthetics and Beauty Therapy.

After completing her studies, Avalon joined a 5-star cruise ship called The Quest, part of the Yachts of Seabourn, to gain international experience and travel the world as a spa therapist, before moving to Australia and gaining further experience in the wellness industry.

But it was always her dream to return home, bringing her knowledge and experience to Zimbabwe, and after she and her husband Martijn’s travel plans were disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic they moved to Victoria Falls.

Nestled in peaceful indigenous woodland, rich in birdlife, with the occasional bushbuck or warthog passing by, Victoria Falls Safari Spa will feature three stand-alone treatment rooms, and a main area with a hair and make-up studio, a polish bar, a splash pool and café.

Reminiscent of an African tented safari camp, the spa will offer massages, facials, manicure and pedicures, as well as many other treatments, with mini options available for children. Its offerings will include half day and full day packages and wellness weekends.


This month we have been very privileged to see these beautiful creatures. They have moved their den onto the centre of the reserve. It is normal for them to move den to another area more often. This is the beginning of exciting times for us here on the reserve to watch these littles once grow on the reserve for the first time in the history of Mabula. Wild dogs are most active during early mornings, as soon as it is light enough to locate prey and late afternoons in the last bit of sunlight. During the hottest time of the day, they will rest in the shade, but will rarely let an opportunity to hunt pass them by. To have the opportunity to observe our four wild dog parents, who successfully added six puppies to the population, go about caring for their adorable puppies, is priceless.

Getting to see African wild dogs in their natural environment is always a special occasion. We were fortunate enough not only to encounter wild dogs and puppies, but to get the rare opportunity to see their behaviour when they have puppies. African wild dogs make use of burrows in old termite mounds, providing a safe place to hide and nurse their puppies for about twelve weeks. Wild dog pups are weaned at five weeks and from then they take meat from their parents, which is regurgitated by the adult dogs after returning from a morning hunt. The puppies are so cute, looking like little black and white furballs, swarming together with great excitement while making the most adorable twittering sounds when they see their parents coming back from hunt where they left them.

Although it is a member of the Canidae family, it is the last surviving member of a separate genus – Lycaon. Its scientific name, Lycaon pictus means “painted wolf”, which refers to the wild dog’s irregular coat pattern, which features red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur. In terms of the African wild dog’s physical appearance, each dog has its own unique coat pattern, with long legs, big, rounded ears, and a white-tipped tail, which also helps members of the pack find each other during a hunt. It is not only their coats that make them special. They each have individual characters, distinct skills, and their own idiosyncrasies. All wild dogs share a sense of fun, a gentleness of soul and a co-operative spirit, which makes them one of Mabula’s most enigmatic creatures.”



The Imbali Pride have had three buffalo kills around Hoyo Hoyo over the last couple of months. Stompie is still with this pride and he is growing each time we see him. Usually comprising four adult females and five youngsters, the Imbali Pride may have three additional cubs, as we have heard via contacts from Manyeleti and Buffelshoek. They were seen heading back towards the rest a week ago. The female and cubs have not been seen yet although we have seen the pride every few days between predator plains – Imbali – and Hoyo Hoyo.

“CRAZY EYES”, one of the sons of the Skybed males and reported to have eaten one of the younger male cubs in the Imbali Pride a few months ago, was found tucking into one of the buffalo kills around Hoyo Hoyo. Guides followed him one morning while scent marking, calling and again chasing one of the other older males from the pride before disappearing again into Manyeleti.


The group dynamics of this pride are ever-changing with various numbers having been seen. There has been some movement in the pride and the active calling of other males in the area and seeing them close to this territory makes us aware that the stability of the current pride males is coming to an end.

Male lions in our area are known for short durations of pride takeovers before they are pushed out or leave of their own accord due to other males pushing into their territory. Our pride male generally stays for no longer than two years before new blood moves in and they are pushed out of their own territories and existing prides as they have grown.


Jaco has been in hospitality for the last 30 years and comes with a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in upmarket restaurants and hotels.  He is also a qualified Green Belt in Six Sigma process improvement methodology and training. Jaco is passionate about the travel and tourism industry in South Africa and has also served as President of Skål International, Johannesburg.  As General Manager, he has overseen hotels like the aha Waterfront Hotel, Durban, aha Urban Park Hotel and aha The Square Boutique Hotel, Umhlanga.  He also served as Cluster GM at the Quatermain and Falstaff Hotels in Sandton.  Apart from his passion for people and hospitality, Jaco is also a keen nature lover and avid birdwatcher.



  • 2 cups Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 small carrot thinly julienned
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 4 snap peas julienned
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon mint
  • 2 stalks of celery, leaves plucked out for garnish and the celery sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ toasted cashew nuts
  • 4 medium-sized cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 sliced finely radish


  1. Wash and prepare all the vegetables and arrange them in a bowl.
  2. Slice the chicken into strips and arrange on top of the vegetables.
  3. Sprinkle salad with herbs and cashews; top with celery leave for garnish.