Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Green Route Africa News

Green Route Africa will soon be sporting a brand new website – watch this space!

Please also follow us on Facebook – we will be updating with imagery from all our latest travels and adventures! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Route-Africa/84174213325

Green Route Africa paid host to two fantastic Familiarisation trips in this last quarter of this year, one from the Belgium and one from the UK

Below are a few comments from the very happy buyers:

United Kingdom Trip in conjunction with Virgin Airlines and local partners

Just a quick one to say thank you once again for a fantastic FAM trip to South Africa. A special big thank you to Green Route Africa. CB

I have returned to the office today not only with a massive smile on my face but with some AMAZING stories to tell my fellow colleagues. Needless to say they are all extremely jealous. MM

Thanks to Green Route Africa for such an insightful and fantastic trip. BS

UK Buyers explore Hout Bay by speedboat

Belgium – this was a programme in conjunction with KLM, HRG Belgium and our local partners in Botswana and Zambia

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
What a wonderful, fantastic 2 countries, full of nature and contrasts.
We admire your efficiency and your efforts to promote Zambia and Botswana.
We really enjoyed every moment in Zambia and Botswana.
We will certainly promote these 2 destinations and communicate our enthusiasm.
We got a lot of positive feedback from our clients. CR

Dinner on the Livingstone Express, Zambia

Green Route Africa wins major accolade at the UK C&IT Awards 2012

In October this year, Green Route won the Bronze Medal for being the Best DMC working in the UK market. The Gold & Silver winners are both UK based DMCs. These awards are voted for by our clients!
Well done Green Route Africa Team!

Our sister company - Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa recently got an excellent hotel write up on Eat Out

While an à la carte menu is available at all three mealtimes, in addition to a gourmet picnic, it is Cybele Lodge’s menu gourmand that it is worth travelling for..

This has got to be one of the best ‘wine-by-the-glass’ selections around. Champagnes include Pommery, Billecart-Salmon and Taittinger, in addition to some great SA bubblies. Great care appears to have gone into compiling the wine list, as evidenced by the Avondale biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc, Graham Beck Gamekeeper’s Reserve Unwooded Chenin Blanc, La Vierge Jezebelle Wooded Chardonnay, Bizoe Estalet Syrah and De Meye Trutina.

What our clients say!!

We look back with so many emotions (you could tell at the airport ;-)) and will memorize this wonderful event for ever as we had so many remarkable moments, views and contacts! We thank you soooo much for the perfect organization and the incredible workload you put in!!

My heart is full and words are hard to find - thank you seems so inadequate… but I would like to say how very much I personally appreciate what you have done for our event. Every single task you completed in preparation for, during and following our conference has been so valued and appreciated by all delegates.  Each one of the visiting delegates and their guests commented many times about how amazing the SA host team have been and how much careful individual loving attention you gave them at every interaction.   This would not have been possible without Green Route.

In the reflections session on Saturday evening many of the guests commented that they had a few concerns about coming to SA and that their fear was totally unfounded.  The choice of venue, attention to detail, menu preparation and your personal attention to our the demanding requirements were meet gracefully.

In the last weeks I know you have all given to the limit of your personal time and energy, abundantly and generously, and I cannot thank you enough.    You have no idea how enormously proud, we here in South Africa felt.   I think it was best expressed when we, the SA Host committee team and volunteers, received a standing ovation at the closing spiritual meeting.   We found this to be a very proud and emotional moment. 
International Conference

Recent Group Activity

The Dragonfly Group, incorporating Green Route Africa and Dragonfly Africa, has had a busy few months, with some large groups taking place in the last two quarters of this year.

We have recently operated an international incentive, with a conferencing component, for 900 guests in Cape Town, which is soon to be followed up by a congress of 1500 delegates, also taking place in Cape Town, towards the end of the year.

The team in Johannesburg were responsible for an exciting programme in Sun City, in October, comprising 650 delegates, whilst in East Africa; we will be hosting 700 delegates for an event in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania – spreading our expertise far and wide!  

Back at the office……

The girls at the Cape Town office paid homage to Halloween!

Halloween comes to Cape Town

END WORD – It makes you think

“There's no business like KNOW Business—KNOW your industry, company, product, service, customer, and competition better than anyone else! Harry K. Jones

Flight News

KLM now flies to Harare, Zimbabwe and Lusaka, Zambia

ROYAL Dutch Airlines KLM has resumed flights between Harare and Amsterdam, 13 years after it stopped flying the route.

The routing will be on an Airbus A330-200 and will be served in combination with Lusaka, Zambia. KLM says the Lusaka leg of the trip “is not a stopover, but a layover”.

The flight will depart from Schiphol, Amsterdam, at 10h20 and arrive in Harare on the same day at 9h25 every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The same flight returns from Harare at 22h30 for its flight back to Amsterdam via Lusaka "which is a mere landing and not a stopover."

A unique LANGA TOWNSHIP Experience

Langa, meaning “Sun” is a township found in Cape Town South Africa. It is the oldest of such suburbs in Cape Town and was the location of much resistance to apartheid.
Langa has over the years produced some prominent figures in sport, entertainment and other social fields. These famous people in recent times include the late musician Brenda Fassie, international acclaimed marimba group Amampondo, former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Thabo Mngomeni, boxer Nika Khumalo, South African wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile and many others.

There is a growing recognition that it is not enough to create an awesome incentive programme without including an element that will give something back to the less fortunate communities of South Africa, as well as create an awareness as to how a majority of South Africans live

We can provide a unique township “Life Experience”.  There are 4 legs to this programme, the main group will split into 4 smaller groups and then rotated across 4 different activities, as follows”

Langa Walking Tour
             Experience the entrepreneurial spirit which gives this township such vibrancy!
             Interact with the locals & experience their culture & traditions

Sports Match
·        Hear and experience the role Sport has played in Langa Township Life
Anyone for soccer?

Visiting a Pre-School
      See the importance of Education in the community
      Understand the circumstances that challenge parents daily

Arts and Cultural Experience
      Learn how Arts, Culture and Dance has played a significant role in the local communities

Afterwards lunch or “high tea” can be enjoyed at a local restaurant such as Mzansi’s. This activity could accommodate approximately 120 guests. In addition groups can get even more interactive, but painting a school or a crèche, for a half day activity.

Green Route Africa team painting a creche
Our sister company recently hosted a luncheon for a group of Australian buyers at Mzansi’s, on National Women’s Day, a highlight for many!

Learning to dance the Phata Phata at Mzansi's

2012 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant nominees in South Africa

The Eat Out Restaurant online guide publishes its Top Ten restaurant list on a yearly basis. This is certainly the most respected accolade a restaurant can attain in the country and the positions are hotly contested.
They recently announced the top 20 nominees, with a few exciting new additions. Interestingly enough, of the top 20, fifteen are located in the Western Cape. The Top 10 winners will be announced at the end of November. Click on restaurant link for more information.
Babel - Winelands (Western Cape)
Bistro Bizerca - Cape Town (Western Cape)
Delaire Graff EstateRestaurant - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
DW Eleven-13 - Johannesburg (Gauteng)
The Greenhouse (TheCellars-Hohenort) - Cape Town (Western Cape) (2011 winner!)
Hartford House - Mooi River (KwaZulu-Natal)
Jordan Restaurant - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
La Colombe - Cape Town (Western Cape)
Makaron - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
Overture - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
Pierneef à La Motte - Franschhoek (Western Cape)
Planet Restaurant at the MountNelson - Cape Town (Western Cape)
Restaurant Mosaic at TheOrient  - Pretoria (Gauteng)
The Roundhouse - Cape Town (Western Cape)
Rust en Vrede Restaurant - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
The Tasting Room at Le QuartierFrançais - Franschhoek (Western Cape)
Terroir - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
The Test Kitchen by LukeDale-Roberts - Cape Town (Western Cape)
Tokara - Stellenbosch (Western Cape)
Tokara Restaurant

Product Focus: Zimbabwe – an amazing country on the brink of a Tourism Breakthrough – “A country in search of tourists”

Green Route Africa has a long history with Zimbabwe having started their operations there more than 20 years ago. As the political situation changed, the office was relocated to South Africa. The country has however always remained much-loved and supported, especially in the Victoria Falls area, which has been largely unaffected by events elsewhere in the country. In recent years it has been overshadowed by Zambia, however we feel that Zimbabwe is on the brink of a revival.
Map of Zimbabwe
Sonia Luyten, our representative in Benelux and France, is Zimbabwean born, and she decided to go see first-hand what is happening in the region! We are glad to report that things are looking positive, with a sense of optimism we have not seen in  a long time. Properties are being renovated, products are once again being introduced, and hopefully, before long the country will once again takes its place as one of Southern Africa’s most diverse and beautiful destinations. 
In Sonia’s view the destination can already be offered for FIT business and we can begin offering it for special interest groups and certain incentive groups for the second half of 2013. In addition, KLM have now reintroduced their flight to Harare.
Here are two of Sonia’s highlighted destinations
1.  Bumi Hills, Lake Kariba – ideal for the luxury FIT market and special interest or incentive groups. Bumi Hills enjoys a hilltop position overlooking Lake Kariba, Matusadona National Park, on the opposite side to the town of Kariba and the dam wall.
Access:  The lodge is located in a remote region and can only be reached by boat or air. But once there it is well worth the journey for its exclusivity and beauty. From Victoria Falls and Harare it is a 1-hour flight in a light aircraft.
The lodge has 10 Premium (lake view) rooms and 10 Standard rooms (non-lake view). We think that this lodge has great appeal, for groups of approx. 20 guests sharing using the premium rooms or a complete buy-out. 
  • Boat Safaris – Pontoon and motor boats for game viewing and fishing
  • Sailing - Catamaran (10 guests)
  • 4X4 Safaris – In open vehicles with a professional ranger.  The park has 4 of the big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo) and one can go to Tashinga to see Rhino, however this lodge cannot be sold as a Big 5 safari experience. 
  • Walking Safaris - with an armed ranger
  • Rhino tracking - in Tashinga National park
  • Island lunches - clients are taken to a nearby island for a picnic lunch
  • Village tour - a very authentic cultural experience
  • Tour of the Kapenta fishing business – interesting cultural experience
  • Gorgeous spa with exceptional views
Spa treatment overlooking Lake Kariba
2. Hwange National Park

Hwange is home to one of the largest populations of African wild dog left in Africa and it’s a good place to see leopard and rhino among the many other mammal species. Africa has some of the most curious and interesting creatures which receive comparatively little exposure - bat-eared foxes, genets, caracal and a host of other "specials" are often the highlight of a game drive.
Access: The easiest access at the moment is via Victoria Falls
Driving distance is 157km from Victoria Falls airport (2 hours 40mins) & 179km from Victoria Falls town (3 hours). There is Hwange airport, but there are no scheduled flights into Hwange at the moment. A charter is possible.
There is a variety of accommodation styles to choose from:
The Hide – considered the most luxurious in the region with 10 luxury A-framed tented suites 
Camp Hwange – a semi-luxury lodge featuring eight thatch chalets -a unique FIT product
Hwange Safari Lodge – comfortable 3* property with 86 standard rooms, 16 deluxe rooms & 4 suites. Good value for money and for larger groups.
Ivory Safari Lodge – Located on a private concession 20 minutes drive from Hwange National Park. It consists of nine raised tree houses. Three of the tree houses are on slightly raised platforms, while the other six are set high up in the teak trees. Considered a family-oriented camp or for travellers looking for a good value for money option.
  • 4X4 safaris in Hwange National Park
  • Visit to a local village to buy pottery
  • Cultural village tours
  • Visit to Painted Dog Conservation Project
  • Bush dinners

Hwange Elephants

Embark on a Timeless Journey with the new Trams at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

On the other side if the gorge, we are getting excited about two new products in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Steeped in history, the Victoria Falls Tram Bridge Tours are a unique journey into the adventure and romance of a bygone age. Both morning and sunset tours begin with a stroll down the red carpet path which links the iconic, 108-year old Victoria Falls Hotel to the train platform at Victoria Falls Station. The 19th century-style tram begins its gentle, twenty minute meander through the vibrant town of Victoria Falls. Its final destination is right in the middle of the Victoria Falls Bridge which straddles the line dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia. This historic bridge affords spectacular views directly onto the face of the falls themselves.
The tram seats approximately 32 passengers on eight comfortable benches.
The new Tram

The two optional tours are - “Victoria Falls Tram Morning Bridge Tour” & the “Victoria Falls Tram Champagne Sunset Bridge Tour”
1. The Victoria Falls Tram Morning Bridge Tour
Once on the bridge, passengers disembark for a full Historic Bridge Tour – packed with humour, drama and plenty of facts, this theatrical performance includes a walk under Victoria Falls Bridge and ends at the Bridge Information Centre.
Passengers will be offered the chance to do a Bungee Jump, Bridge Swing and Bridge Slide or can watch all the drama from the Bridge Cafe.
Departs – 10h00
Returns to Victoria Falls Station – approx. 12h30
2. The Victoria Falls Tram & Bridge Champagne Sunset Tour
On arrival on the bridge, passengers disembark to watch a thrilling demonstration of stunt jumping by the Bungee Flying Squad.
Guests will then have time to relax, and absorb and celebrate a magnificent African sunset overlooking the gorges and the falls – an opportune time for an ice cold beer or glass of wine.
Departs – 16h45
Returns to Victoria Falls Station – approx. 18h45

Product Focus: Victoria Falls, Livingstone

Victoria Falls, Livingstone in Zambia has a busy year ahead in 2013.

Firstly the much-loved Royal Livingstone Hotel is undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade which will be completed by the middle of December in time for the festive season.

The hotel has also been voted in the Top 25 Hotels in Africa by Condé Nast Traveller Awards.

Located on the banks of the Zambezi River, within both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, The Royal Livingstone Hotel continues to offer superb accommodation, service and food.

New River Deck
A second river deck has now been opened. The venue can seat about 14 on the lower level and around 50 guests on the top deck. It has been created specifically for private functions and group check-in, whilst overlooking the Zambezi River.
The original deck is undergoing a renovation as well, but the idea is to have both decks and bars open and one deck reserved exclusively for Royal Livingstone guests (as opposed to Zambezi Sun and other visitors).
New Deck venue

Relaxing in the gardens

They plan to complete the refurbishment of the hotel by the end of November 2012. The refurbishment includes down duvets and pillows on the beds and state of the art flat screen televisions with satellite channels, a DVD player and WIFI access in all the bedrooms.
Beautiful decorative mosquito nets hang from above the beds which enhance the magnificently recovered wooden headboards bearing directional bed lights. The occasional furniture in the rooms is luxurious with antiqued painted chests of drawers, high backed chairs and ottomans.
The bathrooms are spacious and boast deep soaking tubs, separate showers, luxurious fluffy towels and enveloping robes and will be accentuated by environmentally friendly Molton Brown bath products.

"New look" Room
What we say: Following a recent visit by Rupert Jeffries, our Executive Chairman, we are in agreement, the newly refurbished rooms are looking fantastic.
They appear to be more spacious.  They have replaced the huge, dark-coloured wood armoire with the television inside with a flat screen television and a smaller chaise longue chair. The rooms also have lovely new curtains and general fabrics offering a more modern, fresh look.

On a recent familiarisation trip to the region we were once again reminded how spectacular the Victoria Falls are, even in low season, when the water levels are at their lowest (Sept – Feb). The delegates all remarked that the low water allowed them to view the enormity of the rock face and of course swim in Devil’s Pool, a truly unique and exhilarating experience (usually only available Oct – Feb).

View of The Victoria Falls from the Zambia side during low water flow