Welcome to the NEW 9th edition of the Curious Curator.
This year seems to be flying by and we’re already in the heart of whale season on the west coast and well into the winter/low season where all the hotel bargains are to be had. There are even signs that spring is coming as spring flowers are already starting to pop up. Don’t forget South Africa offers incredible value if your clients can travel in September.
THAT’S A WRAP – OUR 14TH TRAVEL ACADEMY COMPLETED!
2019 saw us take the followme2AFRICA Travel Academy to new heights with not just one but three Academy programmes running alongside each another. This format was really well received by both the delegates and the suppliers – all of whom appreciated the smaller training groups as it allowed more focus.
The week got off to a great start with an evening hosted by Franschhoek Wine Valley showcasing the local food & wine as well as some of the amazing activities on offer in the local area.
Life is all about balance so after a hard morning of training sessions the delegates had the opportunity for some wine tasting…but why walk or drive to the vineyard when you can go by tram. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a great way to hop between vineyards!
Cape Town was no less exciting with the Academies split between The Belmond Mount Nelson, The Taj Cape Town & The Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel. With a free evening and 2 afternoons there was plenty of opportunity to go and discover ‘your’ Cape Town!
2019 also saw another first with a group of almost 20, including our Jono, hiking up Table Mountain. Whilst it wasn’t the clearest of days there was something quite dramatic about ascending through swirling clouds, and the cool temperatures were certainly welcome on the tougher than expected ascent!
The Academy finished with the Awards Dinners and the announcement of the Travel Academy Winner, except this year there were 3! The lucky winners were:
Angel Chua – Hayes & Jarvis
Carolina Neto Pereira – Trailfinders
Jen Watson – dnata Travel2
In addition to the overall winners we also had runner up prizes, as well as multiple daily ‘Team’ prizes totalling 27 prizes across the Academies throughout the week. A huge thanks to our suppliers who make this possible ensuring that 27 lucky delegates will be back in South Africa on their own personal trips furthering their knowledge.
The final highlight of the Travel Academy was the chance to enjoy one of the 3-night post Academy trips, all of which included a safari experience.
For many of the delegates the whole Travel Academy was a highlight and the feedback certainly reflected that.
The first half of the year saw some incredible bookings. A big thanks to the following consultants – you are smashing the bookings to Southern Africa guys…
A very high value booking was made by Emma Carr from Trailfinders (Nottingham). The booking included Madikwe Dithaba Lodge, Palace of the Lost City, Cape Grace, Leeu House and Tsala Tree Tops.
Two nice long stay bookings at One&Only Cape Town (10 nights) were made by Josh from Lotus
A very nice booking including KwaZulu Natal was made by Clare Daniels from Travelbag (Solihull). The booking included a stay at Granny Mouse and also Lions Valley Lodge.
A fabulous cross border booking was made by Kate Grant from Trailfinders (Brighton). The booking included Cape Grace, Blue Train, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa and Lalibela Game Reserve.
A very high value booking was made by Greig Wells from Travel 2. The booking included Radisson Blue Hotel Waterfront, The Marine, De Kloof Luxury Estate, The Plettenberg and Pumba Game Reserve.
Another amazing Rovos Rail cross border booking was made by Jennifer Morris from Trailfinders (Chelmsford). This 15 night journey goes from Dar Es Salaam to Cape Town.
No recognised bookings awarded in April as we were busy getting ready for our Travel Academy.
A high value booking was made by Ashley Patterson from Trailfinders (Ireland). The booking included Waterfront Village, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa, Franschhoek Wine tram, Sea Five Boutique Hotel and Sanbona Dwyka Tented Lodge.
An amazing Rovos Rail cross border booking was made by Gordon Mackie from Trailfinders (Richmond). This 15 night journey goes from Dar Es Salaam to Cape Town.
A special mention goes to the South Africa consultants at BA Holidays who are showing a great increase in bookings.
Our Norma and Wayne headed off for a well deserved break after the Academy. Click here to find out about their stay in Bushmans Kloof. Your clients will love it!
ANGIE’S THREE RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Our Angie thinks these three Cape Town restaurants are definitely worth a visit, but booking is highly recommended as they’re very popular:
Magica Roma : Click here for more info
Harlequin Restaurant : Click here for more info
Nelsons Eye : Click here for more info
A FEW NEW TOURS:
Our product department are always on the search for new, unique and interesting tours, and below are a few recent additions. For up to date prices and bookings, please contact our reservations team or book on our agent website:
Extreme Cable Tour : Click here for more info
Shark Cage Diving Tour : Click here for more info
Drakensberg Canopy Tour : Click here for more info
Flavours of Cape Town Tour – Private : Click here for more info
Stargazing – Explore the High 5 : Click here for more info
Wine Country Tour – Private : Click here for more info
Robberg Hike (2 Hour) : Click here for more info
CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS IN ZIMBABWE:
If you have guests travelling to Zimbabwe, please take note of the recent statement issued by the Zimbawe Tourism Authority regarding the legal tender of the Zimbabwean dollar.
The official statement issued by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority would like to assure all visitors to Zimbabwe that the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations, 2019 will not negatively affect the travelling public, specifically foreign visitors. The regulations are meant for any transactions carried out within Zimbabwe, where it is now illegal to use foreign in hard cash. The legal tender shall be the Zimbabwe Dollar in both cash and electronic format. Any freely convertible foreign currencies remain acceptable in Zimbabwe as follows:
1. Credit Cards are readily acceptable everywhere in Zimbabwe where the relevant arrangements have been made with the International Credit Card Companies such as VISA, MASTERCARD and others issued by different banks in the countries of origin of the travellers. Visitors are required to make the necessary arrangements with their banks before embarking on travel and when in the destination they need to look out for the logos of their respective credit cards. Please note that terms and conditions of the respective credit cards will apply and transactions are subject to the limits given by the banks. Service provider do have international credit card enable Point-of-Sale (POS) Machines.
2. Visitors may also withdraw local cash from international credit card enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) of the different banks. These will be clearly marked international and will have the logos of the accepted credit card companies.
3. Foreign cash may be exchanged at the bank, bureau-de-change or any other authorised foreign currency dealers at the prevailing bank rates. Visitors may then use the so acquired local currency to transact. Visitors are however encouraged to use plastic money and only exchange amounts of money in cash that they anticipate to use. However, visitors may convert their money back to their foreign currency subject to prevailing terms and conditions. This may include proof in the prescribed format that one changed money upon their arrival.
4. Online payments and telegraphic transfers remain acceptable forms of payment in Zimbabwe
5. Visa fees where applicable are payable in foreign currency and may be paid in cash at any port of entry. The Government of Zimbabwe has an evisa system and intending travellers may apply and pay for their visas online.
6. Tipping is not a commercial transaction and hence visitors are at liberty to tip the way they want. It becomes incumbent upon the recipient to ensure adherence to the foreign exchange regulations.
RENOVATION WORK AND CLOSURES:
Please take note of the following renovations and closures. For further information, please get in contact with our product team.
Kariega Main Lodge – will be closed for annual maintenance from the 21 June to 28 June 2020. Lodge will reopen on 28 June 2020.
Kariega River Lodge – will be closed for annual maintenance from the 1 June to 9 June 2020. Lodge will reopen on 10 June 2020.
Kariega Settlers Drift – will be closed for annual maintenance from the 08 June to 22 June 2020. Lodge will reopen on 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, reopening for guests on 18 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.
Protea Hotel By Marriott Stellenbosch – is extending its renovations on bathroom units in all the rooms with anticipated completion by December 2019.
African Pride Arabella Hotel – is currently busy renovating its 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors and the work is expected to be competed on the 7th September 2019.
Mimosa Lodge – will be moving their existing bar to another location on their premises and then they will be renovating the area where the bar was initially. They will be using sanders and grinders but no scaffolding. All the areas will be open to guests and guests will be accommodated as far from the noise as possible. Working Hours will be 10:00 until 17:00 from Monday to Friday.
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 out of the high season there will be many special promotions on offer.
South Africa offers an abundance of amazing festivals throughout the year to cater for all tastes. Below are just a couple of upcoming ones we recommend:
Hermanus Whale Festival – 27-29 September : watch the whales, enjoy live music, indulge in some great food and enjoy the many activities available during the festival.
Rocking the Daisies – 4-6 October : this fabulous Lifestyle Festival is a booming open-air multi-genre music event. Thousands of music lovers gather in Darling in the Western Cape Province. A don’t miss festival, and only an hour and a half drive to get there from Cape Town.