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CONGRATULATIONS CAPE TOWN – VOTED THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY!

It comes as no surprise that Cape Town has been voted the Greatest City on Earth in the Telegraph Travel Awards survey for 2018, making this the sixth year in a row that the Mother City has claimed the top spot.

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The Telegraph Travel Awards performs an annual survey to find out Telegraph Travel readers’ favourite cities.

Over 45 000 readers responded to the survey and Cape Town was placed at number one, above popular cities such as NewYork and Tokyo.
Venice surprisingly dropped down to seventh place after having held a spot in the top three for six years in a row. Meanwhile, Seville, a small city in Spain, is slowly climbing the ranks, going from holding 13th place three years ago to holding fourth place in 2018.
Sydney, Florence and New York held their positions from last year’s awards.
From Table Mountain to wine farms, to local hospitality, to the penguins of Boulders beach to cosmopolitan charm of the city, not to mention the laid-back Capetonian lifestyle, there are dozens of reasons tourists and locals flock to the Mother City’s shores.
Top 10 cities in the world as voted by the Telegraph Travel Readers (UK)
1. Cape Town
2. Tokyo
3. Vancouver
4. Seville
5. Sydney
6. New York
7. Venice
8. Florence
9. Rome
10. San Francisco

Here are a number of reasons why our beloved city was voted the Greatest on Earth this year.
1. The exquisite Winelands

2. Our beautiful beaches and the city’s unreal natural landscape

3. Table Mountain, the city’s iconic landmark

4. The African penguins who waddle along Boulders Beach

5. World-class accommodations

6. Friendly locals who are open, curious and render genuine hospitality

7. Culture – a heritage of African traditions and influences of Europe & Asia

8. Variety – quite literally “a world in one city” and filled with surprises

9. Amazing flora with 8000 indigenous species alone in the Cape of Good Hope biosphere

10. English-speaking with excellent infrastructure & accommodations

11. Sumptuous food with a variety of fresh, succulent fruits and vegetables and flavorsome meats and fish Shopping:

12. Shopping – from roadside stalls to shopping malls – all at great prices!

13. A change of perspective – a journey here helps one better understand others and oneself

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Adapted from of cape{town}etc.com feature


 

INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY

TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY

The world’s fastest land animal is racing against extinction and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) invites wildlife lovers from all over the globe to celebrate this feline on 4 December. This year marks the fifth anniversary of this International Cheetah Day, designed to generate awareness for the cheetah, which, with fewer than 10,000 remaining in the wild, is sadly Africa’s most endangered big cat.

The cheetah is not only the fastest, but it is also the oldest of all the big cats. It has survived more than three million years through the Ice Age and a genetic bottleneck, but its numbers have declined by 90% in the last 100-years due to human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss. With so few cheetah remaining in the wild, the world’s cheetah population is at great risk of extinction.

With more than 40-years’ experience working with the species, Dr. Marker is widely recognized as a leading expert on the cheetah. In 1990, after witnessing the wild cheetahs being exterminated by African farmers, she launched CCF and permanently relocated to Namibia to do something about this crisis.

International Cheetah Day aims to educate young learners about the species, its plight, and inspire people of all ages to get involved with conservation efforts.

A few fun facts about the cheetah.

1. The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal. They can run 70 mph (or 110 kph), which is as fast as cars drive on the highway. The cheetah can reach its top speed in just 3 seconds!

2. The cheetah has a long, muscular tail that has a flat shape. The tail almost functions like a rudder on a boat because they use it to help control their steering and keep their balance when running very fast.

3. Cheetahs have “tear marks” that run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth. These marks help reflect the glare of the sun when they are hunting during the day. They work just like the black marks that football players put under their eyes during the games. These marks also work like the sights on a rifle, to help the cheetah “aim” and stay focused on their prey when they are hunting.

4. The cheetah’s fur is covered in solid black spots, and so is their skin! The black fur actually grows out of the black spots on their skin.

5. When cheetahs are running full speed, their stride (length between steps) is 6-7 meters (21 feet). Their feet only touch the ground twice during each stride.

6. Cheetahs are carnivores, and feed mostly on smaller antelope like springbok, steenbok, Thomson’s gazelle, and duiker. They usually chase down their prey and then bite its throat, killing it by suffocation.

7. A mother cheetah usually cares for anywhere from 2 to 8 cubs per litter, but cubs are often the target of other predators and many do not survive past the first year.

 

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ROYAL PORTFOLIO’S LA RESIDENCE SPECTACULAR HELICOPTER TOURS


 

La Residence in Franschhoek have crafted three distinct helicopter routes which will allow guests to sample the diverse expressions of South Africa’s top varietals, while soaring over dramatic and breath-taking landscapes.

Each helicopter tour is inclusive of wine tastings and a specialist guide that accompanies guests on the tour. Foreign language guides are also available.

 

ROUTE 1 | SWARTLAND AND HEMEL EN AARDE VALLEY

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The scenic valley of Riebeek Kasteel in the Swartland produces some of South Africa’s finest expressions of Shiraz & Chenin Blanc. Here guests will visit AA Badenhorst Family wines.

The helicopter will then flies to the Hemel en Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley where Creation or Hamilton Russel awaits. This region successfully grows the Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay and has pockets of cool climate Sauvignon Blanc growing in the valley.

Lunch is taken at The Royal Portfolio’s seaside hotel, Birkenhead House, located on the clifftops overlooking Walker Bay. Enjoy a three-course meal in this chic beach house, consisting of the freshest, locally sourced produce. After lunch, return to the helicopter for the short journey back to La Residence.

 

ROUTE 2 | STELLENBOSCH AND ELGIN

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This route combines the warmer region of Stellenbosch with the cooler growing area of Elgin, highlighting the effects of climate on wine. Waterford Estate on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is the first stop of the day where owner and winemaker Kevin Arnold has masterminded a wonderfully unique experience.

The short flight to the next estate takes one over the Helderberg Mountain range before landing in the fruit-producing area of Elgin. Paul Cluver is a family-owned and run winery which is focused on producing wine that reflects the uniqueness of the cool-climate Elgin terroir. Enjoy a relaxing light lunch at Salt Restaurant on the beautiful lawns under the overhanging trees.

The flight back to La Residence takes just 15 minutes over wonderfully dramatic landscapes.

 

ROUTE 3 | CONSTANTIA AND THREE BAYS

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The third route blends history and wine. The flight from La Residence ventures south to the oldest wine growing area of the Cape, Constantia, where guest will visit Klein Constantia.

Klein Constantia, situated in the hills of the region, benefits from the cool ocean air that is brought in by the prevailing winds and is home to one of the world’s most famous sweet wines – Vin de Constance – requested and enjoyed by Napoleon, Frederick The Great and many a visitor to Buckingham Palace. The wine produced today tops the South African achievers with 97 points from Robert Parker for its 2007 vintage.

From Constantia, fly over Cape Town’s City Bowl and then over the picturesque towns of Noordhoek, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg, seeing the Cape shoreline and its long, wide, sandy beaches.

Next stop is Buitenverwachting (Beyond Expectation) which formed part of the original Constantia Estate, founded by Simon van der Stel, the first Governor of the new Dutch colony at the tip of Africa. At Buitenverwachting you will enjoy a leisurely lunch, sampling some of Buitenverwachting’s internationally acclaimed wines.

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AT GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION

 

In Zimbabwe, Mpala Jena and Mpala Jena Suite, located just outside Victoria Falls have opened and are receiving rave reviews from their first guests.

Mpala Jena Camp is an exclusive canvas tented camp, located on a private concession within the Zambezi National Park. Overlooking a beautiful stretch of the Zambezi River shoreline, the four guest tents have been elegantly positioned under the dappled shade of a mixture of indigenous trees. The camp is named after the natural spring-line, Mpala Jena, which runs through the centre of the concession, and which attracts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, particularly during the drier months.1

‘Mpala Jena’ means “White Impala” and according to the local National Park rangers, at the time when the Zambezi National Park was separated from the Victoria Falls National Park and declared a National Park in its own right in 1979, there had been regular sightings of a “ghost-like” albino impala along the river in this area.

The Zambezi National Park has a healthy and ever increasing number of wildlife species, with higher concentrations of buffalo and elephant during the months June through to October.7a7584466526b7f0f015363a985e9925

 

Also in Zim   babwe, The Greater Mana Expedition in the brand new Sapi Reserve east of Mana Pools is being very well received by the trade and guests are loving this 6-night expedition.

The Mana Pools National Park and neighbouring private Sapi Concession (which has been awarded to Great Plains Conservation to manage and look after) form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a core area of the middle-Zambezi biosphere reserve. Following the conversion of the Sapi Safari area to a private photographic reserve in 2016, together the two comprise of 337,600 hectares of prime protected wilderness estate and are recognised as one of the finest in Africa. With an estimated 80% to 85% of these two wildlife areas only traversable on foot, this is Africa’s dream walking safari destination.

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Great Plains Conservation offers a 6-night expedition which explores the exquisite areas of both Mana Pools National Park and the neighbouring private Sapi Concession, creating an experience reminiscent of the old African explorers with a romance of yester-year, whilst ensuring that adventure and discovery are essentially part of the journey.

The Greater Mana Expedition is a safari experience that will certainly appeal to that keen safari guest who is looking to truly enjoy and partake in the excitement of tracking and exploring of one of Africa’s remote wilderness area. As such a large portion of the activities involve prime walking safari opportunities along with game drives and some canoeing and boating opportunities.

 

In Botswana, November sees the closure of the existing Selinda Camp for a total rebuild. Next year a much smaller, but more luxurious camp, will open with just 3 suites and one 2-bedroom suite along the same  lines of Duba Plains and Zarafa.

Duba Explorers Camp recently moved location to the north of the Duba Plains Concession and now offers wildlife viewing activities such as mekoro canoes, boats and  game drives.

 

In Kenya, the brand new, rebuilt Mara Plains and Mara Expedition camps have reopened to acclaim after being washed away earlier in the year.

FIVE OF CAPE TOWN’S FAVOURITE FARMER’S MARKETS


(Information courtesy of Cape Grace Hotel)

Fresh flowers, fantastic food vendors, abundant produce, and hand-crafted goods. Visiting one of Cape Town’s markets is the ideal way to spend time with family or friends, soaking up the festive atmosphere and perusing the artisanal fare. While farmer’s markets were virtually unheard of just a few short years ago, they have burst onto the scene in a prolific and colourful array of options. So grab your basket, and make sure to go hungry when you visit one of these favourites!
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The OZCF Market (Oranjezicht City Farm Market)
Held every Saturday (and on Sundays during summer) at the historic Granger Bay site of the V&A Waterfront, the OZCF Market Day is a community farmers-style market for independent local farmers and artisanal food producers. Locals flock to stock up on vegetables, fruit, bread, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey, meats, and cheeses, while everyone jostles around their favourite food stalls for hearty breakfasts, vegan and veggie lunches, steak rolls, or tempting dessert creations.
Saturdays, 9am – 2pm, Sundays, 9am – 3pm.

The Bay Harbour Market
A little further down the coast, the Bay Harbour Market hums with an eclectic energy, fuelled by the live bands, quirky vendors, fireplaces and tasty array of foods. Set in a bygone authentic fishery in the working harbour of Hout Bay, customers can enjoy everything from artisanal coffee to craft beer on tap. Add to that the arts, crafts, baked and ‘braaied’ goods on offer, and your weekend plans are set to be more than jovial. Visitors might even look forward to a swing dance or two, always to the beat of a local, up and coming band, groovy township guitarist or saxophonist.
Friday 5 – 9pm, Saturday/Sunday 9.30am – 4pm.

The Neighbourgoods Market
Quite possibly the one that started them all, the Neighbourgoods Market, at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, is always a wonderful way to while away time on Saturday morning. The winning combination of trendy clothing, jewellers, food stalls, cocktail makers and permanent stores attracts a young, hip crowd; the undercover and sunny spots ideal for all-weather Saturdays. The award-winning market features over 100 specialty traders, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, food alchemists, organic merchants, bakers, grocers, butchers, artisanal producers and celebrated local chefs to showcase and sell their wares. Again, make sure you’re an early bird, or face the crowds and just go with the flow.
Saturdays, 9am – 3pm.16

The Root 44 Market
Housed in sturdy marquees (which means rain is never an issue), and surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and trees, The Root 44 market is worth the drive out to Stellenbosch to visit. A sprawling colony of stalls offers crafts, and homeware (children’s clothing, funky t-shirts, jewellery, homeware, leather goods etc.) perfect for leisurely browsing, with an awesome selection of edible and drinkable treats available to snack on throughout breakfast and lunch. Tuck into a wood-fired pizza and craft beer, or sip on a flute of bubbles accompanied by oysters – all to the background tunes provided by the live entertainment. The Root 44 Market is also known to be exceptionally kiddie-friendly, boasting a natural wood play park and lawn area – ideal for busy-bodies who like to run around.
Saturdays & Sundays, 9 am – late.

The Mojo Market
You don’t have to wait for the weekend or compliant weather to enjoy the Mojo Market. New(ish) on the scene, this urban, indoor market is located in the vibrant area of Sea Point, and is open 7 days a week, 8am – 10pm! With a motley bunch of independent designers, artists and makers, and over 30 food vendors, there’s lots to take in. The Mojo Bar is the fulcrum around which the stalls unfold, so head there for a glass of something before taking a peek at the delectable food options. We love The Mussel Monger & Oyster Bar, as well the eternally popular Tortilla Modern Mexican, but there truly is something for every taste. When you’re loaded up, grab a seat at a booth, and appreciate a beautiful pink Sea Point sunset while the band plays on.
Food Stalls open Mondays to Thursdays, 11am – 10pm, Friday to Sundays, 10am – 10pm. Retailers open Mondays – Sundays, 11 am – 6 pm.

NEWLY DESIGNED BELMOND SAVUTE ELEPHANT LODGE LAUNCHED

Early this month, Belmond unveiled its new-look Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in the Chobe National Park, following multi-million dollar redesign. Savute Elephant Lodge, one of Belmond’s three safari experiences in the heart of Botswana, reopens as a Timeless Explorers Lodge, connecting its guests to nature. Surrounded by abundant flora and fauna, the lodge includes 12 tented rooms, spa, lounge, bar, open deck with pool, fire-pit and wildlife viewing hide overlooking the watering hole – a first in the area.

The lodge’s unique viewing hide allows guests to connect with the wildlife at eye-level, giving them a front row seat on nature’s drama. From first light to dusk, lions, elephants, cheetahs, hyenas and antelope gather for a refreshing drink.
To celebrate the reopening of the lodge, Belmond has commissioned acclaimed wildlife photographer Stephen Tuengler to capture the playful spirit of the animals in the Savute region, one of the world’s true natural wildernesses. The very essence of Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge is to allow guests to experience timeless exploration in the heart of wild Africa.

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The Savute region has long been associated with some of the world’s greatest explorers, including David Livingstone who arrived in the area in 1851 and observed the dramatic surroundings of one of Africa’s greatest wildlife spots, whilst observing and documenting every detail.
Belmond’s tented oasis, set beside the mysterious Savute Channel, will offer an exploratory base for guests in the heart of the national park. The newly designed interiors by Inge Moore of Muza Lab are visually calming, yet dramatic, filled with rich textures and colours, reflecting the earthy and dynamic surroundings. The contemporary lounge and bar connects with the open deck and the eye is drawn straight to the vast view across the plains. Curved and textured rattan chairs with leather detailing and furniture made of local materials fill the public spaces, allowing guests to sit and relax and document their memories following daily safari adventures.

LO RES MAIN AREA 02A (1)Bedrooms feature writing desks and impressive four-poster beds, vibrant pops of colour can be found throughout the rooms as well as in the bathrooms, contrasting with the natural tones of the savannah.
Respecting the nature and the wilderness of the region, sustainable design features include the removal of all concrete; the use of eco-friendly composite bamboo decking in the principal areas and the lodge will function on a 95% solar grid system.

MAIN AREA 02Bedit“I have a huge love and respect for nature and the wilderness; it’s something we as humans need to cherish and protect – so being able to design a project in the Savute is a real passion; honour and huge responsibility. I aim my design to be sensitive to the surroundings but to also create spaces where people can really cherish nature and each other, and take home memories without leaving scars on nature. I work on creating spaces that feel innovative; of the time and place; yet layered and relaxing to be in,” Comments Inge Moore of Muza Lab.

The re-design of Savute Elephant Lodge follows the total refurbishment of Belmond Eagle Island Camp in November 2015.
 Belmond Safari