Dear Travel Partners
If you love our wild world the way I do you will love some of our stories in this newsletter. New Beginnings, new births and new initiatives. We strive to support the sustainable choices wherever possible and constantly have conversations to create awareness about the plight of our wildlife. “You can’t force people to care about our natural environment, but if you encourage them to connect with it, they just might.”
It’s the final quarter of 2021 and we are racing towards the festive season already. Don’t miss this opportunity to escape to the bush or beach in the next few weeks.
Yours in travel,
CLIFFTOP EXCLUSIVE SAFARI HIDEAWAY WINS FOUR AWARDS AT THE 2021 HAUTE GRANDEUR HOTEL GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Ready to celebrate! We are excited to announce that Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway has been recognised as a global leader in hospitality at the recent 2021 Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards and was honoured to win four awards at this prestigious event.
Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway won Excellence Awards in the following categories:
- Best Bush Lodge on a Global level
- Best Game Lodge in Africa
- Best Marketing Director in Africa
- Best Relaxation Retreat in Africa
“We are delighted to be selected for this very prestigious accolade. Our recent refashioning and upgrade of this unique safari destination has contributed to our award,” says Wouter Pienaar, General Manager – Operations for Extraordinary.
The Haute Grandeur Global Excellence Awards recognise remarkable achievements in delivering consistent, exceptional experiences in the global luxury hospitality industry.
“To win a Haute Grandeur Global Excellence Award an establishment must excel on all levels. This season demonstrated remarkable consistency amongst our associated members, in a year that held unprecedented challenges”, says Founder and President, Marinique de Wet. “ Healthy competition is essential to achieve even greater heights because it ensures sustainability as a guaranteed golden stamp of excellence. Award-winning establishments are perceived as the benchmark in the industry and Haute Grandeur only award the most remarkable, of already exceptional hotels, spas and restaurants.
MABULA ELEPHANT GETAWAY HILL: A RELIC OF SOUTH AFRICAN HERITAGE
Mabula Game Reserve is home to a historical site known as Elephant Hill that was once occupied by the Sotho-Tswana people around 1,800 years ago during the South African Iron Age. The Iron Age was marked by the development of iron tools and weapons that were used in the tribal conflicts that had begun to emerge across the country as humans transitioned from nomadic beings to occupying permanent territories.
Between 1815 and 1840, there was a period of mass warfare and widespread chaos among the indigenous ethnic communities in Southern Africa. As King Shaka of the Zulu Kingdom continued to conquer territory in South Africa, other tribal communities consolidated their territories and joined the race to take over new territories in order to protect the future of their tribes. The competition over resources was intensified as colonial powers continued to grow in the region during this time. This conflict was particularly heightened amongst the Sotho–Tswana peoples as various ethnic enclaves competed over establishing their own territories. This period was known as “Mfecane”/“Difaqane”, which means “crushing, forced dispersal, forced migration”.
In the Waterberg region, the Mfecane period was marked with the tactical use of the mountainous nature of the area, coupled with the technology of the Iron Age, to be used in warfare. One such site is at our very own Elephant Getaway Hill. The remnants of the stonewalled site show that Elephant Hill was surrounded at all sides by a circular stonewall. The rocky and impenetrable nature of the area ensured that the combatants would be able to spot any intruder whilst remaining hidden behind the walls. There was also ample access to water as there is evidence of a stream that used to run down the side of the hill aeons ago. These elements created an almost-invincible barricade that would have been advantageous to anyone who made use of Elephant Getaway Hill.
Today, visitors to the site will be able to experience a fragment of the way of life during this war-tone era of South African history. Hidden beneath the untouched Euphorbias lay the traces of a forgotten time in history. Visitors to the site will be able to search around for any remnants of pottery, clay items, and iron tools that may have been left behind. It certainly entails an experience that will be etched into the minds of our guests as a postcard of the past.
ACCESS TO VICTORIA FALLS
Access to Victoria Falls is improving with flights to the destination and region increasing and the Victoria Falls Bridge border to Zambia and the Kazungula border to Botswana are both now open to fully vaccinated tourists with Covid negative PCR tests less than 48 hours old.
While Zimbabweans have been enjoying the great Zimbabwean road trip for some time, it is now possible for regional and international visitors to do so too.
On the domestic front Fastjet is flying the Harare – Victoria Falls route daily, while Air Zimbabwe is linking Harare and Bulawayo to Victoria Falls four times a week, and has just recently relaunched its Harare to Johannesburg route.
Regionally, Kenya Airways is flying from Nairobi to Victoria Falls to Cape Town return weekly, connecting Africa’s iconic tourist destinations, Ethiopian Airlines flies from Addis Ababa four times a week and Airlink from Cape Town six times a week. Mack Air flies from Kasane, Botswana daily, and Fastjet is currently operating four flights a week from Johannesburg.
British Airways (operated by Comair) resumed flights from Johannesburg on September 1, and South African Airways will start operating on September 23, connecting Johannesburg with Harare and Lusaka.
Internationally, Delta Air Lines has resumed flights from the United States to Johannesburg, while Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have extended their route networks into US cities, and Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines are flying into Lusaka and Harare.
Lufthansa’s Eurowings Discover will start flying from Frankfurt to Victoria Falls via Windhoek three times a week in March 2022, while British Airways has just increased the frequency of its flights between London and Johannesburg. This comes after the announcement by some countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, that their fully vaccinated citizens are free to travel to Africa with no quarantine on return home.
In other developments, on the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate 85 per cent of our staff are so far fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
EXCITING NEW ARRIVALS AT MABULA GAME LODGE!
We are thrilled to share the news that two lion cubs have been born at Mabula Game Lodge! The guides have been expecting the arrival after one of the Lake Kyle females disappeared for some time. It was thought that she had given birth and was hiding the youngsters.
The new arrivals were fathered by the dominant male in the recently arrived Kalahari Coalition.
SAFARI PLAINS WELCOMES DRIES LLOYD AS THE NEW ASSISTANT RESIDENT MANAGER
Safari Plains is pleased please welcome back Dries Lloyd to the Safari Plains Lodge Management team.
“We are all very excited to have Dries on board as the Assistant Manager at Safari Plains and wish you Luck in your new role here at SP.” says Kevin Jeffery, Resident Manager.
INTRODUCING JACQUI WILLIAMS AS THE NEW GENERAL MANAGER AT THE CAPE MILNER.
Jacqueline Williams joins The Cape Milner in the position of General Manager. Jacqui has worked in the Hospitality Industry for many years and most recently was the General Manager of the Townhouse Hotel in Cape Town for the last 15 years.
Jacqui adds, “Joining the Extraordinary Group and heading up the Cape Milner makes me very excited about the industry and especially this group of hotels and lodges. Extraordinary’s focus on the properties is clear but even more so in creating a family of teams that all work together to ensure not only the success of the group but also the team players. The Cape Milner has had a lot of care and attention given to her over the years and I look forward to continuing that work and ensuring that the hotel remains the Gem
AFRICA ALBIDA TOURISM RESERVATIONS WORKING HOURS EFFECTIVE 01 SEPTEMBER 2021
Please note that with effect from 01 September, the Reservations Office opening times have been rescheduled as follows:
Monday – Friday (6am – 10pm)
Saturday – Sunday (8am – 2pm)
AMAZING FEEDBACK FROM OUR GUESTS
Since reopening, we have received some amazing feedback from our guests which have been too good not to share!
“We decided to take a vacation for the first time since covid started. After ensuring that Clifftop took COVID protocols seriously, we decided to go there. We made an excellent decision. We were always giving a private area to dine in. We never had to ask after the first time when we let the staff know that we didn’t want to eat for other diners. This highlights the very personalized service that you get at Clifftop. Also, the private dining areas in the wine cellar, next to the pool deck and above the pool are all very romantic. The food was excellent. We are very fussy eaters and the chefs went out of their way to accommodate us.
The rooms are magnificent with their own private pools. The rooms are exceptionally clean. Again, making it so much easier with covid. It is just the most romantic setting. You are high above the Clifftop looking down into a valley with a river running through it. The game drives are great with very knowledgeable guides. Thank you Steve for the great experience.
I think recommending a place always comes down to one question – would I go back? Oh yes! The sooner the better.”
Fantastic Location! Beautiful Camp!
“If you want to truly feel like you are truly out in the bush with no one else around, then Hamiltons is the camp for you. We were there at the very end of the dry season- every river bed we drove over was bone dry, EXCEPT the one in front of Hamiltons. From the large deck at the main lodge, we saw elephants bathing n the river, many buck and zebra drinking and abundant birdlife. Try to book Tent 1 or 2 as they have the best river view. The game drives with Nick were excellent. He is a pro spotter and knowledgeable guide. He takes things slowly and lets one enjoy the relaxation of the bush and watching the animals instead of rushing off to the next sighting. The tents are nicely set up with private decks and outdoor showers. The mattresses are very good quality. The food is abundant, but a little uneven. However, the grilled meats such a rack of lamb and venison were EXCELLENT (and there were always vegetarian choices too). There’s no cell reception which makes for a totally relaxing stay.”
Image credit: Tim Hulme