Safari in Southern Africa

Clients often ask where the best place in Southern Africa is for a safari experience, the answer is anything but straight forward. The reason for this is because there are so many different and uniquely exceptional experiences available.

  

The Sabi Sands takes some beating and is widely regarded as the pinnacle safari experience in the region.  It is impossible to argue against this and I would not even begin to try.

Shamwari in the Eastern Cape is  so incredibly special with numerous achievements in conservation and the successful reintroducton of the Big Five into the region. The Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is unique and  the  TV documentary based on this has achieved global acclaim.

Chobe in Botswana is an incredible wilderness and the river is something quite mystical. The large elephant herds, hippo pods and lion prides leave you truly breathless.

The Okavango Delta definitely deserves a mention and is one of those real bucket list experiences for many people. There are many exquisite high end boutique stlyled lodges to choose from.

Along with the above heavyweights some of my other personal favourites are:

The reserves of Northern KZN particularly Phinda and Thanda with their sublime hospitality offering and amazing wildlife are both highly recommended. As a KZN boy, I suppose I have a degree of bias but the experiences I have seen many of our guests and groups  enjoy over the years has given me some of the most incredible life memories, which I will treasure forever.

 

The Pilanesberg with the wide range of lodges and probably the best value for money is as good a natural environment  as any of the very best mentioned above. The game somehow seems to have a unique wildness,  you get a sense of the harsh competitiveness of the bush where survival really is a daily achievement.

In conclusion there are a plethora of options and each is unique and has it’s own individual nuances and features. The one thing that is certain is you will have one of the most incredible, authentic and memorable experiences of your life. As a motivator it is  still incredibly successful as an incentive choice, achieving  phenomenal success across group profiles everytime.

Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Sun City

Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Sun City

 

We have just successfully operated an exceptional inbound incentive programme for a leading  Global Financial Services and Lifestyle Company.

The first leg of the programme comprised of privatising all four of the Sabi Sabi Lodges as well as & Beyonds Kirkmans Camp, in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

The sublime experience enjoyed at this world renowned game reserve was incredible.  Game viewing was the highlight with most guests seeing all of the big five, including an incredible interaction between a leopard and a hyena with the hyena successfully stealing the kill of the leopard. The hospitality, cuisine and special evening events with vibrant entertainment rounded off the experience and will leave each participant with special lifelong memories.

Then onto Sun City for the group Gala Dinner Awards evening, The Palace hotel was the base. Three venues were used including pre dinner drinks in the Elephant Courtyard with a harpist for entertainment.

Then onto a formal served dinner at the Palace Pool Deck, which ended with a  massive fireworks display. This signalled the move to the after party in the Lost City Crocodile Lounge where a DJ and casino awaited the group to entertain them late into the night.

The logistics included fourteen charter flights and in total across the programme seven of The Inside Edge team were on the ground to make sure every micro detail was meticulously delivered.

 

New York City

New York is indeed a fascinating fast paced city. An eclectic blend of diverse cultures and a rich history of “rags to riches success stories” have created a buzz and vibe that truly sets it apart.

A recent site inspection to this magnificent city spoiled us with visits to historical landmarks. A city where “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” can only be the platform for a spectacular incentive trip and with its vast variety of beautiful venues, leaving us in a difficult position of which venues “not to select” from the spectacular options on offer.

 

From an old banking hall with a superhero undertone in its name “Gotham Hall”, to restaurants overlooking the bustle of Grand Central Station, to “Top of the Rock” rooftop venues on the Rockefeller Centre, planning has commenced and the programme is shaping up for what we are sure will be a well received and fantastic reward for many of the already well travelled top achievers. “Lady Liberty” we are on our way!

 

Mauritius

We have just returned from a trip to Mauritius and stayed on the West coast of the island which meant that every day ended with a breathtaking sunset over the ocean. Although Mauritius is undoubtedly a tropical paradise, the island has much more to offer than just beautiful beaches.

The cuisine in Mauritius is heaven for the seafood lover. The dishes where influenced by Indian, French, European and Chinese cuisine but many of the dishes are unique to the island.

The capital of Mauritius, Port Louis which is the country’s political, cultural and economical centre was great for local cuisine and bargain shopping with hundreds of stalls selling Mauritian souvenirs, local delicacies and of course, Mauritian rum!

Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens is one of the main attractions of the island.  We were taken on an informative guided tour through the gardens which not only boasts rare and magnificent plant species like the giant water lily, but also showcased several fascinating bird species.

The lavish estate, Château de Labourdonnais sits amongst the magnificent orchards in Mapou and offers intriguing excursions as well as an impressive venue for events. The lush gardens with hundred-year old trees, endemic plants and orchards with tropical fruits is absolutely spectacular. The tour ended with a tasting of the estates own locally crafted rum.

A firm favourite with every one of our small group and the highlight of the trip was swimming with the dolphins. Swimming with pods of wild spinner dolphins was a massively rewarding and therapeutic experience which will never be forgotten. This was followed by a boat trip to the stunning island of L’ile aux Benitiers where we had a barbeque lunch and some leisure time to explore the lagoons and coral reefs around the island.

From beginning to end, the Mauritian people showed sincere warmth and hospitality.

 

Phinda Rock Lodge

We recently had the opportunity to visit the refurbished Phinda Rock Lodge, which is part of the &Beyond group of hotels. Situated in Northern Natal, just 300km north of Durban it is easily accessible, either by road or their private airstrip.

Phinda Rock Lodge is a small exclusive lodge which caters perfectly for small executive groups. The Lodge itself has 6 double suites which include private plunge pools overlooking the landscape.

 

Phinda Rock Lodge has had a major refurbishment which takes it into the league of the very best safari lodges in Southern Africa.

 

Spectacular Zambia

With all that Southern Africa has to offer it’s not always easy to stand out as a top contender. If Zambia Victoria Falls with its natural heritage and spectacular landscapes, including one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, isn’t enough, some extraordinary activities and experiences should leave you with a lifetime of exceptional memories.

The Royal Livingstone Anatnara Hotel has easily got to have one of the best sun-set locations in the world, on the deck overlooking the top of the Victoria Falls. Guests gather as if in a spiritual ritual daily and sit memorized by its tranquil beauty.

If you prefer the sunset from different angle, we invite you to join us on the Royal Livingstone Express train onto the Victoria Falls bridge. The initial brain child of Cecil John Rhodes, the significance of visiting the bridge and the “Cape to Cairo railway scheme” will see you fulfil Rhodes dream of “crossing the Zambezi River on a train, where as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”.

The Silo Hotel

The Silo Hotel has recently opened its doors for visitors in Cape Town, Run by the magnificent Royal Portfolio Hotel Group, it is well known for its other luxurious hotels in Africa.

  

The Silo has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). Zeitz MOCAA will house Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art and will open in September 2017. We think this museum will become Cape Town’s answer to Le Louvre and the Tate

From the outside, it’s an industrial beast with an standout set of 25-feet-high convex windows overlooking the V&A Waterfront. The inside, by contrast, is a riot of color, patterns and design, with 28 individually designed rooms stocked with vibrant custom furnishings, oversized chandeliers and feature artworks.

The hotel compromises of 28 rooms, for dining options it offers a bar, a cafe, a rooftop restaurant and a private dining room that can accommodate 22 guests.

The hotel also features a spa, a panoramic rooftop bar with swimming pool and The Vault, the hotel’s very own private gallery of African contemporary artists in the building’s basement.

  

The Silo has long been a landmark of Cape Town and in 1924when it was completed was the tallest building in Sub Saharan Africa at 57m tall. It has been a functional grain silo and integral part of Cape Town ever since and only recently closed in 2001 when it began it’s new chapter in the Zeitz Museum and Silo Hotel.

The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen with the brilliant Luke Dale-Roberts at the helm, who has been at the forefront of the Cape Town culinary scene since his time at La Colombe stretching back to 2006.

 

This was the perfect venue for our privatised tasting menu lunch for our VIP Group from Haivision. The TTK team did not disappoint – the meal was outstanding, the service exceptional and each and every member of the group were full of praise and compliments for an out of this world dining experience.

Watching the artistry in the open plan kitchen was spectacular, the team work and various role players coming together to create perfection on a plate was both inspiring and at the same time somewhat mesmerising.

       

Restaurant accolades include

2016 Eat Out Restaurant of the Year
2016 No 22 in The Worlds Best restaurant and Best in Africa.

We have a number of photos from this event, The balance can be found on our Facebook page here: Facebook

The 8 course menu that we used can be seen below, I am sure you will agree extravagant and amazing are suitable adjectives !

TEST KITCHEN

 The below menu will be available for guests on the day.

 8 COURSE SET MENU 

DARK ROOM

TEST KITCHEN BILLIONAIRES SHORTBREAD
PORK SCRATCHING, PINT OF GUINNESS , CELERIAC SALT AND VINEGAR
PEKING QUAIL SANDWICH
SMOKED LAMB, BARLEY AND TOASTED GINGER
WAFER, XO DRESSING 

FIRST COURSE

12 HOUR SMOKED TROUT TARTARE, HOMEMADE SOUR CREAM, LEMON VERBENA OIL, DILL OIL
GOURMAND Almenkerk Chardonnay 2014
TEA Weekend in Shanghai

 SECOND COURSE

 TTK NICOISE SALAD
GOURMAND Bellingham “Bernard Series” Viognier 2013
TEA Imperial Lapsang Souchong

 THIRD COURSE

SEARED SCALLOP WRAPPED IN BACON, CAULIFLOWER AND CHEESE, BLACK GARLIC SALSA
GOURMAND Fable Mountain “Jackal Bird” 2012
TEA Indian Nights

 FOURTH COURSE

PAN SEARED SWEETBREADS, LIQUORICE LIVER JUS, LIME GEL, PRESERVED LEMON AND PINENUT
GREMOLATA
GOURMAND Crystallum Pinot Noir 2015
TEA Indian Nights

FIFTH COURSE

PAN SEARED DUCK BREAST, SOUR CHERRY CLAFOUTIS, DUCK LIVER STUFFING, SOUR CHERRY JUS
GOURMAND Bosman Nero d’Avola 2015
TEA Lemon Bush

 SIXTH COURSE

LAMB MINESTRONE, POTATO PARMESAN DUMPLING, LAMB AND TOMATO EXTRACTION
GOURMAND Oldenberg Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2011
TEA African Ball

 SEVENTH COURSE

“BREAD, MILK & HONEY”

 EIGHTH COURSE

STRAWBERRY ROSE ICE CREAM, COCONUT MERINGUE,
MINTED STRAWBERRY SHERBET,
RHUBARB AND BURNT VANILLA BUTTER, BERRY SNOW
GOURMAND Silverthorn Green Man 2014
TEA Pink Flamingo

 

Munich, Germany

Having just returned from an amazing trip to Munich and the surrounding area, the incentive product surpassed our expectations and by a distance too.

The history, cuisine and culture of the Bavarian people, amazing technology on show at BMW, top quality hotels and the magnificent scenery. Not to forget the Olympic Tower  at 198 m high as well as the tranquil Tegernsee lake with the Alps as a backdrop all combine to create a full and exceptional programme.

The sunny warm weather was perfect and the late sunsets a treat, especially when enjoyed in one of the many Beer Gardens in the city.

Our DMC Conference and Touring were brilliant, they display the efficiency Germany is renowned for but do it in such a personable and fun way.

It is easy to twin Munich with Austria and the Central European location allows for easy extension trips to a host of major European cities. My own personal favourite (which I am saving for doing on my next group) is one of the good value for money River Cruises Conference and Touring are famous for.

Escape to the Cape Incentive

In an action packed “Escape to the Cape” incentive trip with one of our best clients started off in Johannesburg, meeting the attendees off their international flights and chartering 6 private flights with personalized event branding to fly them into Cape Town. First stop was Shamwari with 4 lodges all booked exclusively, we had amazing game drives, seeing amongst others, Lions mating, elephant herds and giraffes. We culminated our stay at Shamwari with an open fire bush dinner under the stars.

Our Cape Town leg of the programme included canapés on Table Mountain during check-in then a 45 Harley Davidson transfer to the One & Only Hotel. Our stay at the Cape Town Waterfront was made special by a troupe of Cape Town Minstrels who led the way to dinner at Sevruga Restaurant

Activities whilst in Cape Town included Shark Cage Diving in the Great White capital of the world, a dinner in a cave overlooking the ocean which included 9 helicopter rotations as well as a 16 vehicle transfer in classic cars to one of the most exclusive and luxurious villas in Clifton.

The program culminated with a private cheese, wine, biltong and beer tasting as well as farewell lunch at the prestigious Delaire Graff Wines estate

A few comments from our client and Shamwari:

Jan the head ranger at Shamwari said
“In the 7 years of being a ranger here I’ve never seen so many charters land in sequence and so professionally with-out a single hitch”

Rachel of Zibrant Live! said
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you again for all your hard work, dedication and professionalism which made this event such a success. The unforeseen challenges were handled so smoothly and quickly, and nothing was too much trouble. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you, and you are a credit to TIE. We love working with the team and look forward to bringing more groups in the not too distant future!

What we crammed into 4 days was unbelievable and the experiences were first-times for most, if not all, of the group. They were blown away by what we created, and I don’t think the programme could have been any better.”