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Extraordinary Newsletter March 2022

Dear Travel Partners

As we enter the beginning of a new season, I am inspired by the new energy in the travel industry. The past two years seem to be slowly fading and every day brings hope and a glimmer of better things to come. Along with this comes positivity – a positive attitude enables you to go with passion and see possibility in every challenging circumstance.

The mind is a powerful thing. If you allow yourself to keep a positive state of mind, your attitude will follow. So many ways to develop a positive attitude come to mind in our current situations. Personally, I believe it is important to listen to one’s inner dialogue, when faced with a negative thought, turn it around into a positive one. Interacting with positive environments and positive people reinforces us in a positive manner. Finding spaces that have special meaning and good memories is another way of staying positive. Our Extraordinary destinations and collection of luxury lodges and hotels come to mind. We look forward to welcoming your travellers soon!

Yours in travel,
Cindy

Africa’s Eden

What a joy it was to feel the buzz again, the excitement among the Victoria Falls travel trade and an international collection of buyers who were in attendance was palpable. A spectacular evening at the Lookout Café, overlooking one of the seven natural wonders of the world kicked off the event and this has been peppered with great food (catered in fully recyclable containers by the famous Mel of Victoria Falls Pop Up’s and a balanced program of free and hosted nights.

The fabulous event was at Pioneers Victoria Falls which opened in September 2021 and has the exhibitors spaced out across the gorgeous gardens and terraces.  100 companies including various airlines, accommodation suppliers and activities from the Kaza region and beyond are attending as exhibitors.70 buyers hail from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa. A really well planned connect delivered an important message of ‘travel readiness’ with creative. Pre and post-tour options were available for the buyers. Twenty-minute prescheduled meetings allowed for meaningful dialogue and updates on markets and products.

Ross Kennedy CEO of Africa Albida Tourism on attending the first Africa’s Eden hosted buyer show in Victoria Falls : “The Africa’s Eden travel show and congress in Victoria Falls has been such a success! The energy, enthusiasm and positivity of buyers from over 20 countries communicates such a strong message of the pent-up demand across our source markets. It has been a major success for regional tourism. The immediate feedback from Byers and exhibitors suggested that the event will unlock real new bookings for the very near future.”

Africa’s Eden is a members driven destination marketing association. Their next hosted event is planned in Kasane Botswana in November 2022.

MABULA’S LION AND CHEETAH CUBS UPDATE

Over the few months it has been very special on the reserve watching our cubs grow and develop and soon they will be adults and face life on their own or part of the pride or coalitions. They were born in September 2021.

Our lions’ cubs were the first once to be sighted on safari in September 2021 on Lake Kyle gully where the mother was hiding them. Lionesses prefer to den in the gully as it is safer for the cubs for the first eight week since it is critical time for their survival.

It is amazing to see these lions cubs fight over food and growling at each other. When the mother hunt they hide in bushes and watch all the technics the mother is using to catch the prey. In that way they can learn. After 2 years they will have to hunt on their own.

On the other hand mother cheetah did not remain behind, she gave birth on Danie Joubert area which on the Southern side of the reserve dominated by thatch grass. Very clever to choose area like that as it is not favoured by predators expect plenty of impalas for her to hunt.

It is amazing to see these cubs continue to thrive and, as would be expected, have dominated our viewing since they were born. It is amazing how quickly they grow and change. Few months ago, they were still very small, unsteady on their feet, and quite pale.

THE CAPE MILNER GIVES BACK

Recently members of The Cape Milner team spent some time with a few local charities, assisting those in need with donations from the hotel.

The first donation drop was to Hope of Home Charity shop. Home of Hope is an organization that aims at taking care of children in need by providing education to those with special needs and assists them in becoming responsible members of the community, continuing to support them into adulthood. The charity shop provides working world experience for these young adults.

The second donation was to Leliebloem Child & Youth Care Centre who sent The Cape Milner team a heartfelt thank you for their donation, “Thank you to all those team members at The Cape Milner Hotel who are a part of the decision to provide for Leliebloem House. God bless you all richly. We hope that your support for the work we do, will continue throughout 2022 as we journey into a new season with our children. In the words of Neal A Maxwell: “We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” We continue to strive to provide the best possible services to the children in our care with what is at our disposal.”

EUROWINGS TO FLY FROM FRANKFURT TO KMIA

In an exciting announcement made at the beginning of February, it has been announced that Eurowings Discover, the long-haul leisure brand of Lufthansa, will become the first intercontinental airline to fly directly to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA).

Starting from mid-November 2022 the new service will create a direct link for the German market flying three times a week from Frankfurt to KMIA, with a short stopover in Windhoek, allowing direct access to the Kruger National Park, an extremely popular destination for the German market.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN EASED REAFFIRMING ZIMBABWE AS A MUST-VISIT DESTINATION IN 2022 AND BEYOND

The government announced on January 28 that quarantine had been lifted for fully vaccinated visitors to Zimbabwe, although a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48-hours of departure for Zimbabwe is still required for entry.

We hope this move will herald the start of a buoyant 2022 for tourism, and operators are looking forward to once again welcoming visitors from around the globe to the destination.

The announcement by the Government of Zimbabwe in respect of the easing of restrictions relating to Covid-19 is so important as to be viewed as a lifesaver for tourism.

The easing of travel restrictions in source markets, such as the UK, also provided a major boost to potential arrivals from April, with bookings across Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate’s 98 rooms already at 52 per cent for that month, as well as longer-term forward bookings for 2023.

The activity and forward planning for the region as witnessed by the Africa’s Eden travel show next week in Victoria Falls, coupled with new airline access and support is immense.

Airlines currently flying into Victoria Falls are Fastjet, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, British Airways (operated by Comair), Airlink, Air Zimbabwe and Mack Air, as well as charter airlines, while Emirates has resumed flights to Harare.

In addition, on June 30, Fastjet will introduce four flights a week between Victoria Falls and Maun, gateway to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, as well as flights between Victoria Falls and Nelspruit, near South Africa’s Kruger National Park, from March 16, linking the region’s prime tourist destinations.

Altogether 99 per cent of staff currently working at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate staff have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and, according to the latest available official figures, 86 per cent of Victoria Falls’ adult population.

AIR ACCESS INTO VICTORIA FALLS

Gateway to the KAZA (Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) region, Victoria Falls is well-positioned to become the next regional tourism hub, adding to those of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Since the commissioning of the new Victoria Falls International Airport in 2016, the destination has welcomed new airlines connecting it and the region with main source markets.

Join Africa Albida Tourism to discuss this important topic.

WHEN: Wednesday, 16 March 2022
WHERE: Click on the link below
TIME: 10h00 EST

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

IMBALI LODGES PROUDLY SUPPORTING NYELETHI COMMUNITY FARM

Earlier in February one of our executive team members, Cindy Sheedy Walker, spent the day at Nyelethi Community Farm. The Imbali Lodges are proud to support the community farm as one of our produce suppliers to the three properties. Cindy was given tour of the farm which ended in a donation of a vehicle packed full of delicious fresh produce which was sent to the Mirantha Youth Group, an organisation that the Imbali Lodges proudly supports.

The Nyelethi Community Farm has created 10 permanent opportunities of employment as well as a number of part-time jobs during the planting and harvesting season for the local community. As the farm continues to grow it aims to increase the number of permanent jobs for more community members.

The Imbali Lodges are proud to support the Nyelethi Community Farm and look forward to a long-lasting partnership.

CELEBRATE EASTER WITH A DELICIOUS HOT CROSS BUN MARTINI FROM SAFARI PLAINS

INGREDIENTS
For the spiced sugar syrup:

  • 100g sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Fresh ginger, to taste
  • 1-star anise
  • a few cloves

For the cocktail:

  • Ice, for mixing
  • 3 T vodka (or gin)
  • 1 T spiced syrup
  • 1 T dry vermouth
  • 2 T clear apple juice (optional)
  • Orange peel, for garnish

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the spiced sugar syrup in advance: simmer sugar and water with 1 cinnamon stick, sliced fresh ginger, 1-star anise and a few cloves.
  2. Strain and chill. The syrup will keep well in the fridge*.
  3. To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka (or gin), spiced syrup, dry vermouth and clear apple juice. Shake, pour, and garnish with orange peel.

Cook’s note: *Alternatively: add a dash of syrup to brandy, whisky or cognac on ice for, quite possibly, the perfect autumn nightcap.

HAMILTONS TENTED CAMP GUEST REVIEW

“From arrival to departure was absolutely amazing. Welcome drinks and butlers to assist and attend to whatever your need be. Beautiful rooms. Amazing game viewing in and around the lodge. We woke up one morning to a lion kill in front of the deck where we have breakfast lunch and dinner. That night we had a lioness in front of the lodge while having dinner. Absolutely incredible. The same night we had the night porter walk us to our room after a delicious dinner. As we proceeded to the deck leading to the rooms we were welcomed by a huge elephant bull feeding on a bush a few feet away from us o the deck while the lioness was on the other side of the deck. Closer to our room we passed a hippo grazing what an eventful evening. We had the hyenas around our tent lions and elephant all in one night. Absolutely fantastic and highly recommend. Friendly staff and very professional.”

Elephants of Mabula captured by guide Liam Heighton