Welcome to the NEW 10th edition of the Curious Curator.
A big 2020 hello from all of us here at followme2AFRICA! We hope it’s been a good peak booking season for you, despite the many challenges the travel industry continues to face, and you can happilly and confidently promote and sell holidays to our beautiful continent. Remember, holidays to South Africa are incredibly good value for money, especially when you get here, as the rand is still weak against the sterling.
You may have noticed that we took a bit of a break from sending our newsletters out, whilst we were going through a few changes here, but we’re back and ready to share lots of news with you all!
As we all bid farewell to our good friend and colleague Steve Bailey, Norma has a final few words for the boss man. We will miss you Stevie!
Final Internal Memo
2nd March 2020
What a journey, Steve! A roller coaster in every sense: with ridiculous highs and lows that were pretty terrifying.
It’s going to take a while to process the fact that, after 25 years, you are offski!
It all began (shortly after registering ECCO Tours in the UK in 1995), with your arrival in Cape Town on a miserable wet August day, into a bleak, cold apartment, clutching a fax machine and a sleeping bag.
There were many, many dead ends, wasted ventures and exhausting attempts to survive. We lived on credit cards, and there were times when we nearly gave up. Thankfully, the shame of returning to London and admitting defeat was something you were not prepared to consider.
But the breakthroughs finally began to happen and we survived; the company changed its name in 2015, and now ‘followme’ (followme2 Africa & Russia) are rolling off the tongue more easily than ECCO!
I could not have wished for a better business partner; there simply are no words to express my gratitude to you for your Friendship and unlimited Support you unselfishly have given me over the years.
Wishing you the Best of the Best. Live Life as only you know how!
The first month of the year saw some incredible bookings. A big thanks to the following consultants – you are smashing the bookings to Southern Africa guys…
Kelly Clarke from Lotus Dial A Flight (Manchester office) made a group booking of 20 adults on a Lions Rugby Tour for 2021
Ed Chivers from Lotus Dial A Flight (Maidstone office) made a group booking of 12 adults on a Lions Rugby Tour for 2021
A very high value booking was made by John Walker from Trailfinders (Liverpool). The booking included The Palace of the Lost City, Lion Sands Narina Lodge, Hunters Country House and the Table Bay Hotel
A great cross border booking was made by Heather Thomas from Gold Medal (Leyland office). The booking included Fugitives Drift Lodge, Cape Grace, Sanctuary Stanleys Camp (Botswana) and Thorntree River Lodge (Livingstone/Vic Falls)
Three fabulous bookings worth over £50k were made by Samantha Morrison from Travel 2/Simply Luxury (Glasgow office)
Our Siobhan had a great time on her helipcopter trip over the Mother City. Click here to find out more!
ANOTHER GREAT ADDITION TO FRANSCHHOEK’S FOODIE SCENE:
Epice – The latest venture from the team behind La Colombe, La Petite Colombe, Foxcroft and Protégé. Epice – derived from the French word Épice meaning spice (and is pronounced eh-peace) – is an intimate fine dining restaurant located at Heritage Square, Franschhoek (opposite Leeu House).Serving an array of delectably curated dishes, the fine-dining restaurant is headed by chef Charné Sampson (previously sous chef at La Colombe), and features a flavour-packed menu inspired by the team’s culinary expedition to India, as well as memories of travels through Spain, Japan, Mexico, Denmark and the US.
Chef Charné’s menu features home-cooking-style dishes with a refined edge. Says Scot: “Charné has always had a love for spices and Epice is the perfect place for her to weave her magic.”
Have a peak inside Epice here
THE MOST INSTAGRAMMED ROAD TRIP IN SA!
Southern and East African Tourism Update reports that Route 62 is the most Instagrammed road trip in South Africa.
OUR FAVOURITE NEW PROPERTIES:
We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting product, so below are just a few of our safari favourites this month. All rates are loaded in our system, so get selling!
Xigera Safari Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Click here for more information
Hwange Bush Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Click here for more information
Kwando Lagoon Camp, Kwando River, Botswana
Click here for more information
NEW KRUGER CONNECTIONS:
Federal Airlines have announced an expansion to its Kruger-Mpumalanga (KMIA) shuttle flight offering. From 6th July 2020, Federal Airlines will offer seamless connections to guests wishing to combine Victoria Falls and Kruger National Park as part of their safari itinerary.
This has been made possible due to the recent announcement from partner company, Fastjet Zimbabwe. The recent announcement sees FN 8801 departing Victoria Falls (VFA) at 11:20 and arriving into Kruger-Mpumalanga International (MQP) at 13:05. FN 8802 will depart MQP at 13:35 and arrive at VFA at 15:15. Flights will be operated on the 50 seater Embraer 145 Regional Jet.
LOAD SHEDDING IN SOUTH AFRICA:
I’m sure many of you have already heard of load shedding, or load reduction regarding the electricity supply, but if not, it’s always good to be aware of this so you can advise your clients in case they experience this whilst on their holiday. This is usually done with very minimal notification from our main electricity supplier, so it’s not always possible to provide advance warning, but it should have little impact as most hotels and establishments have generators.
RENOVATION WORK AND CLOSURES:
Please take note of the following renovations and closures. For further information, contact our product team.
- Savute Safari Lodge closed for annual maintenance from 18-24 February 2021
- Camp Moremi closed for annual maintenance from 10-16 February 202
- Camp Xakanaxa closed for annual maintenance from 3-9 February 2021
- Xugana Island Lodge closed for annual maintenance from 26 January-1 February 2021
- Camp Okavango closed for annual maintenance from 19-25 January 2021
- Leroo La Tau closed for annual maintenance from 15 January-28 February 2021
- Thornybush Waterside will be renovating 4 suites at the property. They will be upgrading the 4 suites and adding in central lounge areas
- The Centurion Hotel in Johannesburg has closed and will reopen end March 2020, after heavy rain fall in Johannesburg and severe flooding recently
- Garden Route Game Lodge closed for renovations from 4-17 May 2020
- Sanbona Tilney Manor closed for maintenance from 15-21 June 2020
- Sanbona Gondwana Family Lodge closed for maintenance from 1-30 September 2020
- Sanbona Dwyka Tented Lodge closed for maintenance from 6-12 July 2020
- Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Wanders will be upgrading their Bedrooms and redesign of public spaces and extension of food and beverage facilities. Until 31 July 2020
- Amakhala Woodbury Lodge annual closure from 16 June – 8 July 2020
- Kariega River Lodge annual maintenance dates extended from 1-13 June 2020
- Aquila Private Game Reserve – kindly note that the Elephant Restaurant is currently undergoing renovations as well as their bar lounge area aptly named Level Up.
- Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve advised of building works taking place at the property. They are currently developing 2 new suites with a planned finish date mid April 2020
- Gondwana Kwena Lodge – kindly note that Kwena main lodge will be shut down for a soft refurb from the 18 June – 8 July 2020. Please note that all services will run from Lehele Lodge
- Kwande Melton Manor – kindly note that the annual property closure dates for Kwandwe Melton Manor has changed. The new revised dates for their annual refurbishment closure are 11-29 June 2020
- Kwande Ecca Lodge – kindly note that the annual property closure dates for Kwandwe Ecca Lodge has changed. The new revised dates for their annual refurbishment closure are 4 May – 20 June 2020
- Kings Camp – will be adding Plunge Pools to their Luxury Suites until 31 March 2020
- Kariega Main Lodge will be closed for annual maintenance from the 21-28 June 2020
- Kariega River Lodge will be closed for annual maintenance from the 1-9 June 2020
- Kariega Settlers Drift will be closed for annual maintenance from the 8-22 June 2020
- Delaire Graff Estate/Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa (including Indochine Restaurant) will be closed over the winter months from 1 May – 17 July 2020. Over this time they will be doing annual maintenance as well as refurbishing the Presidential, Luxury, and Deluxe lodges in a similar style to the new Superior Lodges. The new furnishings, accents and colours will elevate the experience for our guests across all stays
- Fairmont Zimbali Lodge – kindly note that we have stopsold Fairmont Zimbali Lodge on our system until further notice. We had certain service delivery issues and have decided that it was best if we stopsold the property until all issues have been resolved
- Winchester Mansions will be closed until 31 October 2020
- Fancourt Manor House will be closed for refurbishments from 8 June – 8 July 2020
Don’t forget to look at our agent website for all of our latest free night and long stay offers available. Now we are officially coming out of the high season there will be many special promotions on offer.
If your clients are heading on safari to Chobe National Park, you might want to suggest they take a balloon trip – especially if they’e looking for a ‘wow’ experience or they’re celebrating a special occasion. Our partners AirVentures offers balloon safaris over a vast concession known as the Seloko Plains in the Chobe Region of Botswana. Situated 45 minutes south of the town, Kasane, the Seloko Plains are an important wildlife corridor, extending from Zimbabwe to join up with, the Chobe National Park, and the Kasane Forest Reserve. A diverse habitat with large tracts of forest which open up into wide open grassland plains, the area offers a variety of wildlife species to be viewed from the hot air balloon. For more information, please contact our reservations team.