Welcome to the NEW 7th edition of the Curious Curator.
This year has been a very busy one and we thank you for continuing to place your trust in us to look after your clients in Southern Africa. I’m sure you’re all enjoying the festivities and parties this season brings and are starting to wind down before the craziness kicks in, so we wish you a peaceful and joyful Christmas, and many thanks to those who have joined us at our various events these past few weeks.
Just a reminder about our Cape Town office operating times – kindly note :
17th December will be a public holiday- Day of Reconciliation
25th December – Christmas Day
26th December – Family Day/ Day of Good will
01st January 2017– New Year’s Day
The reservation team will be available on the 17th December, albeit on skeleton staff. Our work hours will be from 08.30- 19.00 (South African time) to facilitate any bookings or queries. Due to the Public Holidays, certain suppliers will likely be closed or be operating with minimal staff which may affect our response times.
Our offices will be closed on 25th & 26 December 2018 and 1st January 2019.
For any after hour queries or urgent matters, please contact us on our emergency mobile number : +27 (0)82 773 5419.
What fantastic bookings we’ve had over the past few months, we would particularly like to give a mention to the following consultants…
Best combination of Cape Town, Winelands, Safari & Golfing – showcasing that South Africa also caters for those golf lovers. This goes to Mark Vyner from Lotus Dial-a-flight London Bridge office – the booking included Table Bay Hotel, Oude Werf Hotel, Shamwari Eagles Crag and Fancourt including golf.
High value and most varied booking goes to Pete Orchard from Trailfinders Richmond – the booking included The Portswood, Table Mountain Hike & City Tour, Cape Point & Peninsular tour, Harbour Square Hermanus Apartments and then a romantic South Africa Tour which included Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek wine tram, Mooiplaas Guest House, Cango Caves Heritage tour, The Robberg Beach Lodge, No 5 by Mantis, Gorah Elephant Camp and Rovos Rail.
Highest value cross border booking goes to Steve Hornbuckle at Trailfinders Pathfinders London – the booking included a long stay at the luxurious safari camp ‘Time + Tide Chinzombo’, Zambia.
And not forgetting our sister company followme2RUSSIA. The best booking goes to Rafaela Barbosa Carr from Trailfinders Canterbury – the booking included Metropol Moscow, Red Square walking tour, car hire for the day, Golden Ring tour, rail from Moscow to St Petersburg, Taleon Imperial Hotel, St Petersburg city tour & St Catherine Palace, private tour of Peterhoff , walking tour of Hermitage and a tour of the Faberge Museum.
Highest value booking in South Africa goes to Aimee Barton-Pimlott from Gold Medal – the booking included, Kariega Settlers Drift, The Plettenberg and The Marine.
Best cross border booking goes to Margit Jensen from Marco Polo Denmark office – the booking included Victoria Falls Hotel and Ngoma Safari Lodge.
Highest value booking in South Africa goes to Alex Money from Trailfinders London office – the booking included The Marine Hotel, Dyer Island Cruises, Marine Dynamics, aha Harbour House Bridge, Motswari and Jock Safari Lodge.
Best cross border booking in South Africa & Mozambique goes to Becky Soussi from Hayes & Jarvis – the booking included the Waterfront Village, Chitwa Chitwa and Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa.
Our Jono puts the luxurious Rovos Rail to the test and he can’t praise the experience enough. Click here to read all about this adventure.
We are blessed with fantastic dining options in South Africa, especially in and around Cape Town. The prestigious 2018 ‘Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards‘ took place at Grandwest in Cape Town on Sunday 18th November and the top 10 winners were:
1. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
2. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
3. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
4. Wolfgat (Paternoster)
5. La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
6. Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town)
7. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
8. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
9. Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
10. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
To read more, and to find out who the runners up were, click here.
If you are looking to liven up the table this Christmas, take a look at some of these recipe ideas
Kuzuko Lodge – will be closed for annual maintenance from 30 May 2019- 21 June 2019 (incl.) to which they will be open for sale from 22 June 2019
Ulusaba Safari Lodge -the River rooms (mainly 2, 3 and 4) will be renovated between 14 January – 3 February 2019, the swing bridges will be removed
Pumba Bush Lodge – will be closed for general maintenance over 3 – 9 June 2019 (incl) and will reopen on 10 June 2019
Pumba Water Lodge – will be closed for general maintenance over 17 – 23 June 2019 (incl) and will reopen on 24 June 2019
Steenberg Hotel – will be closed 1 May – 1 September 2019 for a complete renovation of the hotel, reopening on the 2nd September 2019
Kariega Main Lodge – will be closed for renovations from 13 June – 20 June 2019 (incl) and will reopen on 21 June 2019
Kariega River Lodge – will be closed for renovations from 2 June – 12 June 2019 (incl) and will reopen on 13 June 2019
Kariega Settlers Drift – will be closed for renovations from 13 June – 21 June 2019 (incl) and will reopen on 22 June 2019
Anantara Bazaruto Island – will be doing soft refurbishments to their rooms and Club Naval Facility. The work will take place from provisionally 7 January 2019 up until the 14 January 2019 (subject to change)
President Hotel – they are in the process of refurbishing their reception area and the rooms located on the first floor. The refurbishments for the rooms located on the on the first floor is a general light upgrade that will include new furniture design corridors etc. The reception area will have new check in desks for FIT and groups
Royal Zambezi – will be undergoing renovations of 8 rooms with some extensions, adding pools and building a shop. The work is expected to start from 1 December 2018 -15 March 2019
Shamwari Bayethe Tented Lodge – will be closed for renovations over 1 May – 30 June 2019. Shamwari Long Lee Manor is currently closed for renovations
Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge – renovations to the conference room are still on going, and due for completion 31 March 2019
Don’t forget to look at our agent website for all of our latest free night and long stay offers available. There are some fantastic deals to be had if your clients are willing to travel in low season (May-Sept in Eastern and Western Cape). In and around the Kruger, you’ll find free night specials year round if they stay for a minimum of 4 nights.
Rovos Rail and Shongololo Express’ suites and cabins go non-smoking. Effective from August 2018, all suites and cabins on board Rovos Rail and Shongololo Express will be non-smoking. Guests wishing to smoke may do so in the designated smoking area located in the Club Lounge towards the rear of the train. The aim of this policy is to protect guests and associates from exposure to second-hand smoke and reinforces Rovos Rail’s commitment to be considerate of the environment and provide safe and healthy surroundings.
Finally Big Five. It’s official, Samara (Eastern Cape) is now home to the ‘Big Five’. The Samara experience will always be about more than just ticking boxes and chasing the world’s most famous megafauna ad nauseam, but they are thrilled to be re-establishing a lion population which has been locally extinct for 180 years, contributing meaningfully to conservation and responsible tourism, as well as adding an exciting new dimension to their safaris. Samara is already home to elephant, black (and white) rhino, buffalo and the occasional leopard.
Passenger listings for Robben Island. Robben Island Museum is now expected to adhere to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) regulations with regards to producing valid, complete and accurate passenger listings. Please be advised that as of 1 December 2018, Robben Island Museum will no longer accept tickets that do not reflect a customer’s full details (Name & Surname) and the customer will be turned back should the ticket not correspond to the passenger’s proof of identification (passport or SA ID document). Please ensure that you capture the correct details when booking your ticket/s to avoid disappointment.
NB: Tickets are not transferable and positive identification will need to be presented at boarding. This applies to both adults and children.
Helicopter Scenics now offered at Camp Okavango and Xugana Island Lodge. A helicopter is now permanently based in the Camp Okavango and Xugana Island Lodge concession. Having a helicopter in camp means scenic flights will be more affordable for a memorable addition to your travellers safari in Botswana! Seeing the Okavango Delta from a helicopter is a truly magnificent experience. Helicopter Horizons will remove the doors providing uninterrupted views and close up angles of the majestic delta and its wildlife. A scenic flight is not just a must for keen photographers but an exciting opportunity to witness the remarkable Okavango Delta from above. It is recommended to pre-book this for guests to ensure they don’t miss out. You may add a helicopter scenic flight for any existing or new bookings for either Camp Okavango or Xugana Island Lodge now!