Cape Town Drought

The Cape has experienced a severe drought, the worst in living memory. There are serious water restrictions in place and the current water levels in the Cape dams is sitting at around 30%.

The rainy season Mid May to Mid August is still ahead of us and should significantly increase the dam levels (we are at the height of the drought now in our dry season).

The V&A desalination plant which will supply 2 million litres of water a day will be online in March / April 2018 and the Strandfontein desalination plant which will provide 7 million litres of water a day will be online in March 2018. Other major projects coming online are the Cape Flats aquifer which will supply 80 million litres of water per day, The Table Mountain aquifer at 40 million litres per day and the Atlantis aquifer 30 million litres of water per day. These aquifers will be online in the next 3 months and will augment the supply of water from the dams.

Most hotels have installed water tanks and boreholes to pump and store water as a contingency linked to collecting rain fall in order to maintain the levels in the tanks.

Lastly water may be cut to residential homes in a worst case scenario but rationing will take place in commercial and tourism zones.

We will have a focus on hotels that are preparing on drought saving measures: Further hotels will be featured in the coming weeks

The Westin:
Located on the foreshore, the hotel building a reverse osmosis plant at the hotel to convert sea water into drinking water for guests.

Westin marketing director Ross Baines said they would release the details in the next few days, but that the plant would be running by the beginning of March. It would provide water to other Cape Town hotels in the Marriott group, of which there are six in the City Bowl area.

The Cape Grace:
The five-star Cape Grace Hotel on the V&A Waterfront did not have a desalination plant, but had installed a machine that extracts drinking water from air. Brand manager Samantha Williams said they implemented various measures to cut down water use, including giving guests bottles of hand sanitiser.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Kapama Game Reserve Incentive

What:

Incentive Event for UK Company for employees across the UK who exceeded their sales target

How Many:

50 participants

Where:

Kapama Game Reserve (lodges)

Highlights:

World class safari experience, including on an afternoon game drive witnessing the spectacular sighting of a Leopard successfully hunting a warthog

Surprise Bush Dinner for the participants

Kapama Game Reserve is situated in the Limpopo province, next to the Kruger Park, in an area renowned for its wildlife and superb safari destinations, Kapama is home to the Big 5 game as well as over 40 mammal species and 350 bird species. Hoedsruit airport is a 10 minute drive away making this a prime incentive destination for clients who are inbound from Cape Town or Johannesburg.

Please be aware video below is not for sensitive viewers.

The Beverly Hills Hotel

The Beverly Hills Hotel

nullThe Beverly Hills Hotel Umhlanga Rocks (spelt Beverly like Sol’s daughters name without the “e”)

 

This hotel has had a huge impact on my life, it is the hotel I fell in love with when working there as Food and Beverage Manager and where I got my first taste of hotel General Management (more than 20 years ago). It is also where I first met my life’s love who later became my wife, she stayed at the hotel on business (we were both working for The InterContinental Hotel Group at the time).

The staff are what made the hotel special many from the very beginning when the hotel opened at that time in the twilight of their careers. They would regale me with incredible stories of when the Hotel opened and Sol Kerzner the hotels South African founder who later went on to develop Sun City and then after that The One and Only Group of luxury hotels and resorts.  I hung literally on every word, the staff, the guests, the owner it was rich pickings for these skilled story tellers.

Stories like lowering tables over the balcony after breakfast in the Society Room to set up the pool terrace for lunch, as there was not enough money to buy tables for both and they wanted to offer guests a different venue for different meals. During my time at the hotel the eccentric “Goldfinger” who came every Sunday morning for breakfast and brought his own gold cutlery to replace the silver the hotel used as standard. He announced his arrival in one of his Cadillac convertibles with Elvis blaring as he handed the keys nonchalantly to the valet.

The passion for quality and personal service were woven into the tapestry of this hotel and it was never a place but rather a living breathing entity. All of us who worked there were entrusted as custodians to make sure it remained the same for the new people who joined and the new guests that visited subsequently.

My wife and I were also incredibly fortunate to be invited to attend the 50th Anniversary celebrations, which did this grand hotel proud. Sol Kerzner himself was present and he too shared stories from the early years, convincing investors that this project in the sugar cane fields North of Durban was not folly and fantasy. Some of the original staff attended as guests and it was incredibly special to catch up and reminisce about the times that we shared at the “Bev”.

 

Last Sunday I was out walking on the promenade in Umhlanga with my wife and kids and we passed this local icon, the memories came flooding back and I found myself telling the stories to the next generation. Long may the legend continue……