Tuesday, March 11, 2014

East Africa News

Sanctuary Olonana announces upgrade completion
Sanctuary Olonana, situated in the magnificent Masai Mara, have announced the completion of an extensive refurbishment which includes an upgrade to the lounge, dining room and library, as well as soft refurbishment to the tented rooms and pool area.
In celebration of the new upgrades, Sanctuary Olonana is offering guests their first night free when staying 3 nights. The offer applies only to 3 night stays at Sanctuary Olonana between: 3 January - 20 June and 1 November - 15 December 2014.

Laico Hotels International announces the opening of Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach Resort - a new 5 star beach resort in Dar es Salaam
Ledger Plaza Bahari Beach Resort is ideally located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, amidst a large coconut grove and lush tropical vegetation. The cottage-style rooms and suites are spread along a white sandy beach, while the restaurant, bars and swimming pool overlook the ocean. The resort is a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the capital, Dar es Salaam.

The hotel boasts 96 rooms, 2 restaurants and bars, different sports grounds and activities, a white sandy beach, a gym and a large swimming pool. Its brand new conference center, equipped with the latest technology, is suitable for large events in a relaxing environment (10 to 500 pax). 

Have you heard - Tucked away places - Augrabies

The vast and arid Northern Cape is by far South Africa’s largest province – it is slightly bigger than Germany and covers nearly a third of South Africa's land area. Yet it has the country's smallest population, a little over 1-million people, and an extremely roomy population density of three people per square kilometre. The province lies to the south of its most important asset, the mighty Orange River, which feeds the agriculture and alluvial diamond industries. The river forms the border with Namibia in the north, while the Molopo River borders Botswana to the northeast. The Northern Cape is home to the world's largest telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is being built at Carnarvon. Sutherland is the site of the southern hemisphere's largest astronomical observatory, the multinational-sponsored Southern African Large Telescope, or SALT.
The landscape is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles. The cold Atlantic Ocean forms the western boundary.

 One of the highlights of this region is the Augrabies Falls. Few sights are as awesome or a sound as deafening as water thundering down the 56m Augrabies Waterfall when the Orange River is in full flood. The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, or Place of Great Noise.

Our recommendation for accommodation in the area is the newly opened Tutwa Desert Lodge, located 80km from Augrabies Falls. It has great potential for leisure travellers and small groups or incentives.
The lodge boasts 10 suites, for 20 guests in total and an additional 4 bedroom farmhouse, which is ideal for families. The owners also offer the use of three PC12’s 9-seater aircraft for private charter. Aircraft can depart from the Execujet hangar in Johannesburg or Cape Town. The flying time from Cape Town is 1hr30min, followed by a 4km 4x4 transfer from the airstrip.  A fly-in is recommended! One could also combine this with a short stop at Augrabies to see the falls, before heading on to the lodge.
Unique activities include safaris (one can see a variety of desert animals) and an ongoing leopard introduction programme (leopard tagging will take place from March 2014 so one could incorporate this as a unique activity). At a future date rhino and desert elephant will be introduced. With 25km water frontage on the Orange River guests can enjoy ½ day white-water rafting or ½ day canoeing activities. There is also a natural hot spring on-site where the lodge can set up 4 massage beds.

As for dining, there are two options – an on-site boma and a beautiful off-site Canyon Dinner with optional star gazing. 

Something NEW for the NEW YEAR– “Our Top Three Picks” in and around Cape Town:

The Marly Hotel & Umi Restaurant
Taking its name from Chậteau de Marly, built in the 17th Century for the leisure activities of Louis XIV and his family, The Marly says it all. This five-star hotel with its contemporary beach ambience is located in Camps Bay. The hotel offers eleven spacious suites, offering either sea- or mountain views; mirrored contemporary en-suite bathrooms; and state-of-the-art amenities for today’s discerning traveller. The luxury and deluxe suites have jacuzzis, outdoor showers and large, welcoming balconies. Among the hotel facilities are a private, pool-terrace bar and courtyard, 24-hour room service and a bath-butler service.
Umi, a modern Japanese restaurant, with seating capacity for 200 guests, will satisfy diners looking for tasty, healthy, in-house eating options. It boasts Camps Bay's newest, chicest, 80-seater bar that overlooks an outside terrace. A high-tech conference venue will satisfy the business requirements of top executives and their teams.
The hotel and restaurant is located in the heart of the Camps Bay strip, so it’s spot-on for those wanting to be “where the cool people are”.

Cavalli Wine Estate and Stud and Equus Restaurant
Situated between Somerset West and Stellenbosch lies Cavalli Wine Estate and Stud Farm. Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, this gorgeous new property offers a multitude of products; wine tastings, art gallery, fine dining, an event venue and exquisite views of the vineyards and Helderberg Mountain.
The newly opened Equus Restaurant offers fine dining, superb eco-design and a relaxing outlook over the vineyards and lake. Cavalli’s approach to cuisine can be described as “a contemporary take on the classics”, encompassing a combination of freshness, flavour and flair. Real, humble food cooked textbook style, paired with an expertly crafted wine list and selected whiskies.
Cavalli estate aims to encourage the local arts through its platforms of public sculpture spaces and an art gallery within the Restaurant / Function complex. The Gallery will retain a permanent installation showcasing classic South African artists, as well as a rotating exhibition of other notable works within the Cavalli Private Collection.

Bennet Street and Gold Restaurant
One of our favourite venues in Cape Town, Gold Restaurant, has announced that they have taken over management of the adjacent venue, Bennett Street. This versatile function space can comfortably hold 200 guests banquet-style and can be operated independently of the restaurant. For larger groups of up to 2500 guests, the entire complex, including Bennett Street itself, the road after which the venue was named, can be closed off to create a “street-party” atmosphere. 

Feature on Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe in UK & Ireland Sunday Times