Tag Archives: East London

Statue-esq Cape Town: a City which honours its city leaders!

I’m currently doing a Tour Guiding course, and am learning so much more about our City, both in theory teaching as well as practical tours of our city and outlying areas. Yesterday we did a tour of the city centre, and I learnt a lot more about the eminent Capetonians who are honored with statues in the city centre. Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 24 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   From 25 October FlySafair will offer flights between Cape Town, Durban, and East London, as well as between Johannesburg and the two cities. Costs start at R399 one way, reports Southern African Tourism Update. The routes were selected after a vote by 20000 passengers.

*   Saronsberg is the wine estate which has been ranked highest in the South African Wine Index 2015 Wine Awards Report, of all local wine Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 1/2 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Despite the disaster in Cape Town harbour earlier this week, our country has a lucrative future as far as cruise tourism goes.  Nine cruise ships have scheduled stops off our coast for 2015, in Cape Town, Durban, Richard’s Bay, Port Elizabeth, and East London, a 70% increase in cruise liner passengers.   A number of the cruise ships are returning to the country, after previous visits.  The Queen Mary 2 will return for a second visit next year, and the Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will visit in 2016.  Vital to the expansion of cruise tourism is world-class terminals in ports, and Cape Town’s inefficiency as far as Customs staff goes was in the spotlight this week.  Cape Town is one of the most popular stops in the region, for American tourists in particular.

*   National Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom will lead a local delegation representing our tourism industry to World Travel Market (WTM) in London this coming week, one of the largest (after ITB in Berlin) tourism trade exhibitions in the world.  More than 50000 tourism players are likely to attend WTM.  The Minister said: ‘The WTM is one of the premier events where South Africa engages with the global travel trade. Besides maintaining excitement about our destination, and all that we have to offer, this platform is about doing business and growing international tourist arrivals to our country.  We will be promoting the variety of experiences we offer in South Africa, and build on our reputation as a unique, diverse, friendly and accessible destination‘.  The Minister will address a summit relating to mega-events and tourism at WTM, based on our country’s FIFA 2010 World Cup experience.

*   Due to a cracked silo storing 10000 tons of coal, Eskom has announced load-shedding from today onwards, which is Continue reading →

FitChef: healthy, clean, and fresh meals and smoothies delivered to one’s home!

FitChef Mediterranean fresh veg Whale CottageLast night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan.  A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.

Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit fitness fanatic sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight.  He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore.  He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook.  He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago.  Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared.  He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 17 December

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Tourist arrivals grew by 5 % in the first six months of this year relative to the same period a year ago, with close to 5 million international tourist arrivals from January – June 2013.  Tourist arrivals from France, Germany, Italy, Asia, India, the USA, and Africa grew, while those from the Netherlands and the UK declined.

*   The Spur Corporation has bought the Hussar Grill chain of six steak restaurants for R35 million, and will develop the brand, taking it national.

*   Tour operator Francoise Armour has written a hard-hitting letter to Southern African Tourism Update, feeding back the poor experience of her clients when they go on a Robben Island tour.  Given that the number of bookings for the tour will now increase, she asks whether the iconic destination is worthy of the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela. Even more shocking than her detailed list of negatives about the Robben Island tours is the comments to her letter, in which many tour operators write that they no longer build Robben Island into their clients’ Cape Town tour itinerary!

*   Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday announced at a Day of Reconciliation event the renaming of the Fan Mile to Continue reading →

Chile ash cloud leads to cancellation of flights from Cape Town

In a surprise development, with no advance warning, flights from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London have been cancelled since this afternoon due to the ash cloud, caused by the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile, having reached the Cape. A strong cold front, driven by strong west winds ahead of a bad weather system, is heading to the Cape.

Most impressive is the media release sent by Cape Town Routes Unlimited, at 21h14 this evening!   This is what Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of the company, wrote:

Western Cape tourism and travel industry monitors impacts of ash cloud closely  

Tourism stakeholders, led by the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism will visit the Cape Town International Airport tomorrow to assess the impact of an ash cloud over Cape Town airspace. The group will also talk to affected passengers to find it if they are comfortable and if their needs are being met. 

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the ash cloud originated from a volcano in Chile. Flights in and out of Cape Town International, Port Elizabeth and East London airports were cancelled.  

Alan Winde, Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC, says that both South African Airways and British Airways delayed some of their flights today: “I want to assure travellers that all tourism and travel industry role-players are attending to the situation and putting measures in place that will minimise the impact on travellers and the Western Cape tourism industry and we are monitoring the situation closely.” 

Calvyn Gilfellan, Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO, echoes these sentiments: “Airports Company South Africa and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company are monitoring the situation very closely and will update travellers as and when new information becomes available.  All indications are that the cloud will move past very swiftly and air traffic will return to normality.” 

Airports Company South Africa has advised all passengers travelling within the next few days to contact their airlines in order to confirm their flight details”. 

POSTSCRIPT 19/6: The flight ban over the Cape, including Cape Town, has been lifted.  Some flights have been delayed, due to the flight cancellations since yesterday afternoon.   

POSTSCRIPT 20/6:  The following media release was sent by Cape Town Routes Unlimited today: 


Flights in and out of Cape Town International Airport [CTIA] returned to schedule today as the ash cloud created by a recent volcanic eruption in Chile passed over.  The ash cloud forced several operators to either cancel or delay flights over the weekend.  Western Cape Tourism Minister, Alan Winde, was informed of the possible disruption to flight schedules in the southern hemisphere two weeks ago: “Shortly after the Puyehue volcano erupted, the General Manager of the CTIA informed me that the ash cloud may affect flights in and out of Cape Town.  It passed south of us the first time around, circled the globe, and entered our airspace the second time around after being pushed north by the cold front.”  The General Manager of CTIA, Deon Cloete, said: “In total, around 13 departing and 12 arriving flights were affected.  We immediately deployed additional ground staff to assist passengers with information and to provide support to the airlines. We also increased staff at the security check point in order to make sure people pass through quickly once the flights were back up and running.  Through our Airport Management Centre’s at the three main international airports, we ensured that all parties took decisions in a collaborative manner and were able to quickly respond as and when required.”  The airlines made every effort to alert passengers about cancelled or delayed flights, and arranged hotel accommodation for affected passengers where necessary.  Currently there are no active warnings relating to the ash cloud, however the relevant authorities are monitoring the situation closely in the event of any alerts. Minister Winde said: “Our first priority is for the safety of travellers.  Because it passed so quickly, and was excellently handled by the staff at the CTIA, the ash cloud will have a minimal impact on our tourism economy.  I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Deon Cloete and all his ground staff for working around the clock this weekend to make sure that affected passengers were accommodated and comfortable – the airport operates as well during incidents as it does during major events. Operations at the airport have returned to normal and we look forward to welcoming travellers and tourists to the Western Cape.” 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  twitter: @WhaleCottage

World Cup teams give Cape Town a red card

The tourism industry in Cape Town will be disappointed that none of the 32 World Cup teams have chosen a base camp in or near Cape Town.   The base camp location has an important attraction for fans, who want to stay in the same towns and cities as their home team. 

Despite a deadline of the end of last month, FIFA has given the teams one more week to finalise their choice.  Six teams have not yet announced their final base camp choice.

The Western Cape has 2 teams (France and Denmark) staying in Knysna at Pezula and Simola, respectively, and Japan will be based in George at the Fancourt Hotel. 

Gauteng has the most teams to date, who chose the province for the altitude for their practice sessions, the top quality sport facilities and top quality accommodation : The Netherlands, South Africa, Portugal, Serbia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Brazil, Australia, Honduras, Switzerland, North Korea, and Mexico. 

Pretoria has attracted USA, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, and Argentina.   KwaZulu-Natal has secured Algeria, Ivory Coast, Greece, and Paraguay.   Uruguay is staying in Kimberley.   Ghana  is staying in White River. England and South Korea are staying in Rustenberg.  Chile is staying in Mapumalanga.   Spain has not chosen between Rustenburg and Potchefstroom yet.

Many municipalities spent big money trying to encourage teams to set up base camps in their towns.  Mossel Bay was sure that it had bagged Paraguay, and both Val du Vie and Pearl Valley outside Franschhoek were rumoured to have signed up a team.  The Sunday Times reports that the Mossel Bay municipality spent R 200 million on its bid, and had launched an extensive Spanish language campaign for tourism players in the town.   Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and East London also did not attract any base camps.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

“Traumschiff” in Cape Town

Germany’s best known cruise liner, the MS Deutschland, is visiting Cape Town for the next three days.   Cruise liner business is excellent for Cape Town, especially for the V & A Waterfront.

A popular TV series called “Traumschiff” has been filmed on the cruise liner for the past five years, and takes ZDF viewers to exotic locations.

The cheapest suite on the cruise liner costs $ 8 117 per person, including the return flight from Frankfurt, for the 15-day cruise from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, Luederitz, East London, Durban, Port Elizabeth and back to Cape Town, which finished yesterday.  Another started from Cape Town on the same day, with stops in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Richard’s Bay, Zanzibar, and Mombasa. 

The cruise liner is small by luxury liner standards, with 490 high-value clients on board.   The decor theme is 1920’s Art Deco.   It has two bars and three restaurants on board.