Dear Travel Partners
Extraordinary continues to explore the future of adding value and purpose to the tourism proposition. Why travel the mundane, miss the unique stories or experience the rewarding warmth in knowing your journey has made a difference to someone or something! We invite you to enjoy a selection of our Extraordinary news.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE THE PEOPLE WE LOVE, THE PLACES WE’VE BEEN, AND THE MEMORIES WE’VE MADE ALONG THE WAY
Yours in Travel
The Extraordinary Team
Hamiltons Tented Camp wins at the 2023 Haute Grandeur Hotel Global Excellence Awards
Get ready to celebrate! We are excited to announce that Hamiltons Tented Camp in the Kruger National Park has been recogonised as a global leader in hospitality at the recent 2023 Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards and was honoured to win two awards at this prestigious event.
Hamiltons Tented Camp won Excellence Awards in the following categories:
- Best Eco Safari Lodge in South Africa
- Best Safari Retreat in South Africa
“We are delighted to be selected for these very prestigious accolades. Our recent refashioning and upgrade of this unique safari destination has contributed to our award.” says Cindy Sheedy Walker for Hamiltons Tented Camp.
Hamiltons Tented Camp in the Mluwati Concession Kruger National Park employs 100% local employment equity candidates within 50km radius of Kruger. The camp focusses on staff development through skills development. The two safari guides Suiteboy and Nicolas have been employed since 2003 and 2004 respectively and both hail from the neighbouring community of Welverdiend.
The Haute Grandeur Global Excellence Awards recognise remarkable achievements in delivering consistent, exceptional experiences in the global luxury hospitality industry.
MABULA’S PLAYFUL CHEETAH CUBS
A highlight of the past few months has been the emergence of the female cheetah with three new cubs. The mother cheetah was found in the late afternoon, with three tiny cubs right in front of the lodge entrance.
The cubs have provided countless hours of entertainment for our guests with playful and energetic sightings.
As they are now older and now able to go on hunts with their mother, there have been many sightings of mum on the hunt with the three cubs interested in nothing but playing and creating distractions for their mother.
Raising of cubs by any of the predators we see on Mabula is never a small feat especially with other predators like brown hyenas, wild dogs and leopards, there is a constant competition between the predators. As such, the cubs often succumb to the jaws of a different species than their own.
After a gestation period of 100 – 110 days, a female cheetah will gave birth to a litter of cubs. Cheetahs have, on average, between three and five cubs in a litter. They are born blind and helpless, and so, for the first six weeks of their lives, they are kept very well hidden in the long grass of the open savanna of Mabula.
The mother will move them from one den to the next, which may come in the form of a thick clump of grass, a fallen tree with some undergrowth, or occasionally in some rocks but these are not abundant in the open grasslands where the cheetah roam. The mother has to leave the cubs alone when she goes out to hunt. During these first few weeks, the cubs are incredibly vulnerable to predation from other carnivores.
With cheetahs being at the bottom of the big predator hierarchy and the nature in which they raise their young, it is extremely difficult for a mother to raise her young to adulthood. There are so many threats out there that would likely kill a cheetah cub if it came close to one, and across Mabula, there are a few of said threats. Wild dogs, leopard and hyena populations are growing high, all of which would not give a second thought to killing the young and helpless cheetah cubs.
When the cubs reach the age of around 18 months, they will have gained as much experience as they can from their mother, and they will start a life of independence. They would spend a few weeks together away from their mother, after their mother has left them and, depending on their sex, will either separate completely if they are all females or form a coalition if they are males.
Once the mother has left the cubs, she will start to look for a mate again and will potentially raise another litter. Until then, we will still have many more sightings of the three of them together
GUIDE SPOTLIGHT – MPHO MOTHAPISI AT KWAFUBESI TENTED SAFARI CAMP
Every now and then one come’s across individuals who restore our faith in humanity. Who remind us of all that is good in the world. And who leave us feeling inspired. Mpho is such a person.
My girlfriend and I were privileged to spend three nights at Kwafubesi last week. We were blessed in that for four of our six game drives, it was only us and Mpho on the vehicle.
I struggle to conjure up the words to express the just how much we enjoyed Mpho’s company and how much value he added to our experience.
His knowledge of the bush is second to none – that is because of how deep he feels it. His heart and passion for the bush and for making his clients experience all the wonders the bush has to offer, knows no boundaries. I must harp on this point: he is so determined to share his deep affection for those moments only the bush can provide, that’s it’s impossible not to end up feeling those same feelings – and that is his end goal. If his clients are happy, he too is genuinely happy. He puts his clients over everything. Having said that, he is at no point over-bearing.
Mpho had us looking forward to every single minute in the vehicle with him, and indeed we enjoyed every minute. It’s hard to think of a way to derive more value out of three hours then spending them with Mpho on his vehicle at Mabula.
As I say, words to fail me to some extent. To sum up my feelings, I will say that I sit here, a week or so later, feeling a much richer person for having spent the time with Mpho at Mabula than I did before. I am proud to have been one of his guests.
I hasten to add that Mabula is likely the best managed reserve I have visited. The attention to detail from reserve management is evident for all to see. All of those involved can be extremely proud!
In closing: if wealth is not about possessions but about experiences, Mpho has made me very rich indeed.
A WARM WELCOME TO CLIFFTOP EXCLUSIVE SAFARI HIDEAWAY’S NEW MANAGEMENT COUPLE
We are excited to welcome Nolan Muir and Shauna-Lee Stephen who have started as the new Resident Management couple at Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway.
Shauna and Nolan bring with them a passion for hospitality and a wealth of experience in managing safari lodges, having previously worked for the River Hotel Group and Mantis Collection, managing properties in locations from Botswana to Madagascar and within South Africa, most recently being Shiduli Privat Game Lodge in the Drakensberg Mountain range.
The Mluwati Concession Guides were selected for a rare training opportunity with the renowned master tracker Renias Mhlongo recently. Consistent guide training and mentoring is an essential key to unlock and grow the potential our team of guides by equipping our guides with special knowledge and skills by in various disciplines.
Motivating our guides to reach for higher values, norms and standards requires mentoring and coaching from the industry’s best.
In this discipline (TRACKING) it was only natural, that Renias Mhlongo the industry guru was available to lead the guides. Renias, was born and raised in the Southern Kruger National Park, and has worked at Londolozi Game Reserve as a professional tracker, trainer, and evaluator for the past 36 years. He played a pivotal role in habituating the now-famous leopards of Londolozi. Renias became a certified tracker in 2002 and, in 2010, he became the principle trainer at the Tracker Academy at Londolozi. In 2013, he qualified as a CATHSSETA-accredited Lead Tracker (NQF4). Renias is also the co-author of two books, “Changing A Leopard’s Spots” and “Tracker Manuel”, with his long-time colleague, Alex Van Den Heever. Alex and Renias conduct motivational workshops in South Africa and abroad, with their inspirational presentation, “The Power of Relationships”. Renias also travels the world, hosting workshops to teach people the traditional art of tracking animals.
It was a great honour to have Renias spend time with our team of guides, sharing his deep knowledge and passion for the African wilderness. He truly inspired us to aim for the highest standard in our guiding.
SAFARI PLAINS SLOW-ROASTED LAMB FLATBREAD
Ingredients For the Slow-Roasted Lamb
- 2kg Leg of Lamb
- 1 house Garlic
- 200g Carrots
- 200g Onions
- 200g Leeks
- 200g Celery
- 50g Tomato Paste
- 1½ litre Red Wine
- 1½ litre Beef Stock
- In a large pan, heat some oil and brown your veg and garlic.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2min.
- Pour in the wine and bring to the boil until all the alcohol has evaporated.
- Add the beef stock and simmer.
- In another large pan, brown the lamb and season with salt.
- Transfer the lamb to a large roasting dish, and pour the wine over the lamb.
- Place in the oven to roast.
- Once the lamb is cooked, allow to cool, then shred the meat.
For the hummus
- 2 tins Chickpeas
- 3 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 100ml Olive Oil
- 2tbls Lemon Juice
- A pinch of Salt
- Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth
For the rocket
- 2 packets Rocket
- 100ml Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon (juice and zest)
- Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest together.
- On service, dress the rocket with the mixture, and place on top of the lamb.
For the Spiced Yoghurt Dressing
- 2 Onions – finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 2tsp Paprika
- 1 litre Yoghurt
- In a pan, sweat the onion and garlic until soft.
- Add the paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Place in a bowl, and add the yoghurt.
- Stir well and season
- 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds – toasted
- 2 punnets Cherry Tomatoes – drizzled with olive oil and roasted