Remarkable Rwanda

“Remarkable Rwanda” before visiting seems like a bit of  a boast, after visiting it seems like one of the largest understatements ever.

The cleanliness of the country, efficiency, friendliness of the people and natural beauty are evident at literally every turn.

Air Rwanda has a brand new fleet of aircraft and the air access is ever expanding.

One and Only Nyungwe House is magnificent, the 22 suites are exceptional and the setting on a large tea plantation adjacent to the largest Rain Forest in Africa is breathtaking. Activities include a canopy tour (70 metres above the forest floor) and walking trails to view the wildlife of the forest (which is home to 13 species of primates), waterfalls, Chimpanzee trekking, tea tastings and a world class spa. Nearby there is the massive lake Kivu which is one of Africa’s great lakes covering over 2700 sq km and reaches a depth of almost 500m in parts. As you would expect the lake offers a wide range of water based activities and experiences for those looking for adventure and action or the more sophisticated and sedate options.

The second must see destination is the Musanze and Volcanoes National Park with five extinct volcanoes. Home to 12 visitable families of Mountain Gorillas, there are currently only around 1000 Gorillas left in the wild. This bucket list experience where you get as close as 7 metres away from these great apes is something quite extraordinary and will give special lifelong memories to all who experience this. There is also an opportunity to see Golden Monkeys in the wild.

The nearby luxury lodges include the Governors Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge (10 suites), One and Only Gorillas Nest which opens in July (21 suites), Singita (12 suites) which opens in August.

The capital city Kigali is clean, safe and open for business. There are Radisson Blu and Marriott  Hotels as well as the popular East African Hotel Group Serena present, all of whom offer international standard accommodation and amenities. The vibrant city has a number of attractions worth a visit including the local markets, an art gallery, the Genocide Museum which can all be included in a city tour. There are a number of restaurants offering modern Rwandan cuisine as well as upmarket Italian and Belgium eateries.

The modern Convention Centre is perfect for all manner of events and can hold everything from small executive conferences through to large Conventions.

A few facts about Rwanda:

Gorilla Trekking – One of 3 places in the world

Rwandan Cuisine & Coffee – One of the worlds best coffee growing regions

Kigali Growth – 6% – 8% GDP Growth, 91% school attendance, Excellent Healthcare (Life Expectancy – 70 years old).

Safety –  Ranked 5th safest country worldwide in the Gallup Law and Order index (2017)

Safari – Akagera National Park is now a Big 5 destination

Umuganda – National day of community service, once a month ! (and plastic bags are banned!)

Whether for business events, incentives or leisure I can assure you Rwanda is truly REMARKABLE.

Rwanda News

 

As we head towards 2019, The team at The Inside Edge are excited about new challenges, new destinations and new experiences. We have identified Rwanda as a great destination with incredible potential for both Incentives and Business Events, we are confident it will develop into the next big thing and must visit destination globally.

To this end, I will be travelling to Rwanda in January to make our being able to operate with full service on the ground capability a reality by the middle of 2019 at the latest.  Meetings are being set up with key local partners, stakeholders and suppliers.

Kigali the capital of Rwanda has fantastic meeting and conferencing facilities, with their star of the art conference centre catering for 2600 guests. A mere 6 kilometres from the main airport making it very accessible. Rwanda has many luxury hotels and lodges both in the capital and across the country. Some of the product includes amazing gorilla trekking, with many National parks including the Nyungwe Forest National Park which is regarded as one of the most pristine rainforests in the world as well as incredible lakes and waterfalls.  Akagera National Park is more savannah like and has abundant wildlife including Lion, Rhino, Giraffe, Buffalo, Leopard and Hyena.

Rwanda is ranked 5th safest country worldwide in the Gallup Law and Order index (2017) and is also widely recognized as one of the cleanest countries in Africa. To this end Rwanda have “Umuganda”, Translated directly as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’ is a national day of community service, which happens once a month where everyone goes out and helps the community, by cutting grass, helping paint a school or repairing buildings, Plastic and grocery bags are also banned

The country enjoys a great climate just about all year round and air access is improving all the time.

Keep updated on our Rwanda adventure by following our blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts

 

 

Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa

Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa

The hotel now managed by First Resorts has undergone a major refurbishment and both the public areas and bedrooms were fantastic. The rooms were spacious with a large dressing space/ entrance, lounge area as well as a private patio. Housekeeping was excellent, throughout. The facilities were well maintained, the gardens and golf course was perfect for a tranquil late afternoon walk, whilst watching the antelope and enjoying the birdlife which was abundant. The nearby Beach Club and beach were private and very exclusive.

The hotel is ideal for golf groups, conferences and leisure travel, situated just over an hour South of King Shaka International Airport.

The value for money on offer is truly outstanding, contact us for a quotation.

Zimbabwe is Back!

Having just attended the recent Indaba Travel Trade Show in Durban, an amazing feature that stood out was the Zimbabwe stand, reclaiming their rightful place at the top table of African Incentive Destinations. Who can forget recent years when those stalwarts of the Zim Tourism industry flew the flag as best they could but there was almost a sense of pending doom and despair lingering around the stand. Hardly any appointments were scheduled and most of the interaction seemed almost sympathetic.

Well not this year there was a constant buzz on the stand and deals were being done at what appeared to be just about every turn. International hosted buyers were hungry for the emergence of this regional super weight, with outstanding natural beauty and sublime hospitality. Welcome back neighbour we missed you, it sure is good to have you back and we cannot wait to make up for lost time.

To this end we feature a stunning four night incentive recommendation. Two nights at the grand old dame of hotels The Victoria Falls Hotel followed by two nights at the amazing Matetsi Victoria Falls with exquisite game viewing in their 55 thousand hectare concession with accommodation sprawling along the edge of the mighty Zambezi River.

Highlights include:

Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

A fine dining dinner on a steam train accompanied by a harpist.

Helicopter flight over the Victoria falls.

Tour of Victoria Falls

Game Drives (Big Four there are no rhino in the reserve).

River based Game viewing.

Game Walks

Fishing

Spa treatments

For a full programme and quotation contact me

bradg@ie.co.za

we would be delighted to assist

London, England

London is an amazing  world class city with an incredible vibe and pulse.

Tradition and ceremony abound, with truly fascinating history on just about every block.  2018 London sees classical  and modern architecture sit side by side dominating the impressive skyline.

The Tower of London,  Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, seeing the the winding Thames River and the numerous bridges  from the London Eye, are just a few of the features which stand out as must see experiences for the first time visitor.

Cuisine is at the cutting edge of global trends with a wide range of options tantalising the taste buds across the price spectrum. The Granary at Kings Cross, which as an area has enjoyed a recent rejuvination, was outstanding on this visit.

The West End shows are  a personal favourite and there is something which appeals to each and every taste, from the classics like the Mousetrap, to musicals like Phantom of The Opera, then the modern spectaculars like Harry Potter.  Not to mention the world famous Comedy Store which is an icon in Leicester Square, showcasing some of the finest stand up comedy you will ever see.

Sport in the captial is incredible and for Cricket, Football and Rugby Union fans you are spoilt for choice. On this recent trip we saw a West London Derby between Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, which had an incredible atmopsphere with hilarious football chants and songs from start to finish. This on the same day England met Ireland on St Patricks day in a Rugby Union encounter at nearby Twickenham.

Someone once said “if you are bored with London, you are bored with life” there really is so much to do and experience the challenge is leaving out what not to do rather than selecting what you want to do.

Cape Town Water Update 3

DayZero, the program where Cape Town was estimated to have run out of water, has been declared a success and will not happen this year. The savings of water by residents has been unprecedented and allowed for enough water for its citizens and visitors.

While the drought is still a reality and Cape Town is hoping for good winter rains, the immediate concern of running out of water has passed. Hotels and Businesses in Cape Town are still bringing online various water saving and augmentation plans such as desalination plants, boreholes and extracting water from the city’s aquifers.

Cape Town has set a world-class standard, reducing its consumption by nearly 60% in just 3 years. Melbourne reduced their consumption by half of that after 12 years, and regions like California, achieved reductions of under 30%. The response to the drought crisis now has to move to a culture of sustainable and efficient water-use.

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.