Entries tagged with “Gordon’s Bay”.


imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The United Nations World Tourism Association (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer reflects that international tourism grew by 4 % in the period January – June 2015. However, tourism in Africa declined by 6% (sub-Saharan Africa declined by 4%). The growth rate of tourism in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Middle East was highest at 5% in the same period.

*.  The National Finalists for the SA Wine Tasting Championships have (more…)

Don Armando Logo and Chef Dan Whale CottageMy friend Whitney and I had not met for dinner for a while, after a very busy summer season, and chose the newish ‘Argentinian’ restaurant Don Armando.  It belongs to Il Leone Chef and owner Daniel Toledo, who named the new steak restaurant after his Argentinian father.  It opened in December, and is a ‘boutique restaurant’ seating about 50 patrons..

We had never heard of Cobern Street in Green Point, and had to call the restaurant for some landmarks to find it, as a Google Map let us down.  It is two buildings up a side road on which Il Leone is on the corner, the building once having been a night club.

We were shown to the small terrace right on top of the two storey building, withDon Armando interior uptairs Whale Cottage
space only for 2 small tables and a six seater, and we enjoyed the privacy and fresh air, despite hearing and smelling the extractor fan throughout the evening, and smelling burning fat at one stage.  Lighting is very low key, making it hard to photograph the dishes and interior, Whitney using her Torch App to light up the dishes for me. I went back the following day to photograph the decor, and found the daylight streaming into the rooms very bright.

The deck is clad in wooden slats, so that one cannot see the less glamorous (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Mayor Patricia de Lille has launched a Beach Safety campaign, handing out goody bags containing sunscreen, a frisbee, and beach safety pamphlets at Clifton 4th Beach, Camps Bay, Silwerstroom, Gordon’s Bay, Muizenberg, and Monwabisi.  The campaign includes a ‘I love my Beach’ promotion, aimed at keeping Cape Town’s 83 beaches clean, safe and free of alcohol.  The City has budgeted an additional R 22 million to keep the beaches, scenic routes, and business areas clean until February.

*   The Minister of Tourism is inviting tourism players to apply for a three-year position as Non-Executive directors on the board of SA Tourism.   Entries close on ‘23 January 2014′ (sic).

*   The Wall Street Journal has slated South African Pinotage as a wine variety to avoid buying as a gift over the festive (more…)

Chapman's PeakMother Nature hit the Mother City and Winelands with a vengeance on Friday evening, with torrents of rain causing flooding and massive damage to tourist areas, which are closed for repair. More than 100 mm of rain was measured in most affected towns.

Accompanied by thunderstorms, the heavy downpours went on for hours, and the accumulated waters caused flood damage to many homes and businesses. Somerset West was worst hit, as the Lourens River burst its banks, flooding nearby houses, and the town received 200 mm of rain.  The 125 patients in the Vergelegen Mediclinic had to be evacuated when water reached knee-height, the patients being sent to its Stellenbosch and Panorama branches.  The N2 highway in the Somerset West area was closed on Friday evening, but has since been re-opened.  In Strand Beach Road was closed due to flooding, and many home and apartment owners were stuck in Medi Clinic Somerset Westgarages during power outages.  The X-ray unit of Strand Hospital caught fire due to an electrical short.  The scenic coastal road between Gordon’s Bay and Betty’s Bay has been closed due to rockfalls.  In Hermanus the local supermarkets were all flooded due to the volumes of rain.  Whale Cottage Hermanus had water come in under the door, the volume of water not able to run off quickly enough.   The road between Hermanus and Stanford is closed, as is the road to Creation wine estate*.  Our Whale Cottage Franschhoek has a river running through it, and thankfully it did not break its banks (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The N1/N2 Winelands toll road project is unlikely to be implemented, despite the Supreme Court of Appeal giving the go-ahead for e-tolling, says Robin Carlisle, Western Cape Minister of Transport.

*   Praise for Chef Chris Erasmus of Pierneef à La Motte‘s old-world-meets-science cooking comes from America.

*   Will Kempinski Hotels’ announced expansion in Africa include South Africa, given that it has just opened two hotels in Kenya?  Five more Kempinski hotels are planned for Africa.  Hotel investments in Africa are likely to drive tourism to the continent.

*   Africa is the India and China of ten years ago, and will see an increasing investment from international companies, including hotel groups such as Hilton, Starwood, and Marriott International Inc. growing their hotel presence on the continent, especially in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, and Angola.

*   A Nelson Mandela Tour has been developed to show (more…)

A most unusual event on Thursday was the launch of the 2012 national tourism statistics – not by Marthinus van Schalkwyk, our Minister of Tourism, but by President Jacob Zuma – not in Johannesburg but in Cape Town! President Zuma was most gracious in his praise of our beautiful city!

In his talk held at the unusual venue and top fish restaurant Baia in the V&A Waterfront, President Zuma said that God lives in Cape Town, probably on top of Table Mountain, to great applause, reported iolnews. The President said that Capetonians should be aware of this, and especially demonstrate their friendliness when international delegations visit Cape Town for the World Economic Forum Africa meeting next week.

The tourism news shared by President Zuma is that tourism arrivals rose by 10% in 2012, more than double the average world tourism growth rate for the same period, as measured by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.  More than 9 million international tourists arrived in our country last year, of which 1.4 million were from Europe.  Despite experience to the contrary, the UK is still measured as the top source country, with under half a million visitors, followed by the USA (over 300000 tourists), with German tourists in third place with just under 300000 tourists. Tourism arrivals from the USA and Germany rose by 13% in the past year.  China has jumped into fourth position from eighth place, with 130000 visitors, a phenomenal growth rate of 56%, followed by France in fifth position with 120000, reported Business Day.

Quick to react to the President’s visit to Cape Town, Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde said that the contribution to the economy of the province by tourism was R 18 billion in 2011.  The 2012 SA Tourism statistics are not broken down by province or city, so that the Western Cape tourism performance may not have been as buoyant as that experienced in Durban and Johannesburg.  No equivalent statistics are available for the province.  The City of Cape Town has announced that it has commissioned research to be conducted over the next three years, to measure the value of tourism for Cape Town.

Minister Winde’s goal is to grow the contribution of tourism to the province’s GDP from 10% to 15% by 2015. This will be achieved by evaluating the introduction of direct travel routes to Cape Town from Angola, Nigeria, and Ghana.  In these three countries the province’s tourism promotion agency Wesgro is evaluating business opportunities for the Cape in the oil and gas, design, and ICT fields.  The Minister also announced in its media statement that tourism routes will be developed between Gordon’s Bay and Cape Agulhas, as well as in the West Coast tourism region.

Unfortunately Mr Winde’s media statement makes the fatal error of adding up all the visitor numbers for three (Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Point, and Kirstenbosch) of the ‘Big Six’ tourism attractions, a cumulative total of just under 300000 visitors, without deducting the duplicated visitors!

Once again we must question the SA Tourism statistics, having reported previously that tour operator Colin Bell had discovered that these statistics contain transit visitors in their ‘tourism statistics‘, especially those from China and Brazil!

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

The False Bay coastal region is set to receive a massive injection of marketing energy and funding to restore some neglected tourism areas to their former glory, and to develop new areas, to make the False Bay coastline attractive to tourists. The development plans may create a tourism conflict with existing tourism areas in the Western Cape.

Announced by Western Province Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism Minister Alan Winde earlier this week, the proposed False Bay Coastal Route is a masterplan his department has proposed, requiring a partnership agreement between the Department, the City of Cape Town, and the national Department of Tourism.

The Route is to stretch from Cape Point to Gordon’s Bay, and the Masterplan includes upgrading Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, and Fish Hoek, all once tourism meccas, which have become neglected over the past few years.   What is interesting, if not odd, is that the plan also includes the development of areas many would say are dangerous, including Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Retreat, Strandfontein, Ocean View, Vrygrond, and Macassar, associated with unemployment and poverty, reports the Cape Argus, and therefore the residents of these areas would benefit from the development plans in creating employment. The beach resort Monwabisi is already being upgraded.  A feasibility study is underway, to evaluate the potential of the following tourism products:

*   South Peninsula wine route (Cape Point Vineyards is the only known wine producer in this region)

*   Shark watching

*   Whale watching

*   Scuba diving

*   Pleasure cruises between Gordon’s Bay and Simon’s Town

*   Shops, restaurants, nightclubs and taverns

*   Crafts

*   Guided cultural tours

Concerns have been expressed about the environmental affect of the development plans. Environmental impact assessments are said to be considerate of the sensitive dune system in this region. The employment benefit of the developments should not be ‘oversold‘, said Philip Bam of the Steenberg Retreat Civic Association.  From a guest house perspective we would caution guests from travelling east of Muizenberg on Baden Powell Drive, especially at night, and one questions how Minister Winde can see notorious suburbs such as Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha having tourism potential, or perceive tourists to feel safe swimming at Monwabisi.  The Route to Gordon’s Bay cannot run along the coastline all the way, connecting to the N2 between the Stellenbosch and Strand turn-offs, making the ‘Coastal Route‘ name a misnomer.

“I am particularly excited about this project as it will bring in communities that were previously not given the opportunity to have a say in what becomes of their surroundings. The False Bay, Gordon’s Bay and Cape Point coastlines are among many other locations that we have earmarked for development. Similar projects are under way in the West Coast, Cape Aghulas, Lamberts Bay Bird Island and False Bay Ecology Park,” said the Minister.

From a provincial perspective it appears that the Minister’s plans for False Bay may impact on the whale watching industry in Hermanus and the shark industry in Gansbaai, and one must question how viable this is in these very tough tourism times.  One would hope that the Minister’s feasibility study will include an evaluation of the demand for tourists using the proposed developments east of Muizenberg – they may become another white elephant and a further burden for the Cape Town ratepayers, already lumbered with the unprofitable Cape Town Stadium.

While one understands the Minister’s concern for employment, the proposed False Bay Coastal Route falls within the Cape Town municipal boundaries, and therefore it is a surprise that the Minister is getting involved in what is a city issue, and not of benefit to his whole province.  The overall tourism benefit seems questionable. Focusing attention on the stimulation of tourism in the province in general, especially during the dreadful winter months, would be far more beneficial in creating employment for all in the Western Cape!

POSTSCRIPT 24/7: It was a shock to read in the Sunday Argus that Lynne Brown, ANC leader in the Western Cape legislature, and former Minister of Tourism before she became Premier, when the ANC ran the province, has accused Minister Winde of ‘stealing’ her plan of four years ago! She also accuses the Minister of plagiarising ‘almost word-for-word’ from her ‘Tourism 5-year Strategy’ document.  She said: ‘This is an ANC plan stolen from the ANC. Of course there is no acknowledgement at all and this is what makes it painful. I would personally like to see the DA carrying forward the ANC’s economic policy plan for the province because I believe that it was a good plan‘.  Ms Brown criticised Minister Winde for ‘nothing original‘ having been done for tourism by him, and for closing down Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

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

The U2 360° concert in Cape Town on Friday evening will have contributed largely to the R 4 billion the City of Cape Town estimates is generated annually for the local economy from live performances, with 72000 spectators having attended a visually stunning and extremely well organised concert at the Cape Town Stadium. 

Writing in the Sunday Argus, the City of Cape Town’s  Executive Director of Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, states that films and events  are the largest contributors to the Cape Town economy, the film industry generating R5 billion, and conferences and live events R4 billion each.  Mohamed writes that it is not only income that is generated, but jobs are created too.   The services and products required to host such events go into the pockets of mainly Cape Town-based businesses, which in turn will pay for rates and taxes, and thus share the burden of payment of these to generate income for the city, but they will also share the benefit of the use of these monies (an excellent example is the wonderful new Green Point Park).

Writing about the contribution of the film industry to Cape Town, Mohamed mentions the two movies currently being filmed in Cape Town – ‘Safe House’ wrapped up filming on Kloof Street over the weekend, and stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, who have been seen eating at Cape Town restaurants, and hanging around in Camps Bay, another location for the movie.  ‘Judge Dredd’ is another movie being filmed, and the two movies combined have a production budget of R400 million, going to two Cape Town companies (Moonlighting and Cape Town Film Studios, respectively), and their suppliers.  In addition, still productions, and print advertising and TV commercial shoots contribute to the economy.   Mohamed requests Cape Town residents to be tolerant of road closures and other inconveniences linked to these, in understanding that every R1 billion income allows 15000 jobs to be sustained in the city.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival generated R685 million to the local economy, and created 2000 jobs, mentioned by President Zuma in his Station of the Nation address ten days ago.   It attracts 35 000 attendees, and runs over ten days, incorporating local art, culture and heritage, and local musicians blended with international stars such as George Benson.   Some of the local musicians performing at the Jazz Festival have received  bookings on international stages as a result of their performances at the Festival.  

The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour contributes R650 million to the local economy. It has attracted the attention of international VIP’s such as Matt Damon and Lance Armstrong, who have participated, and this has been recorded in the world media, having a tourism benefit too.  This year executives from top companies such as RIM (manufacturers of Blackberry), Sainsbury in the UK and Vodafone Europe will participate in the event.   Some Cycle Tour lovers are said by Mohamed to have bought houses in Cape Town, and they pay their rates and taxes annually and in advance, he writes!  “They create tomorrow’s tourists and South Africa’s future foreign investment”.  He added that events such as the Cycle Tour, the Jazz Festival and the U2 concert play an important role to ‘start, facilitate or help to close deals’.

The recent Mining Indaba, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, filled up all surrounding hotels, created a taxi shortage in the city, and filled up restaurants in Cape Town on a scale not often experienced in the city.   Delegates attending were from Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China, amongst others.    Similarly, the Design Indaba taking place at the moment as a Conference, Expo and Film Festival, is staging top international designers, such as Alberto Alessi, Michael Wolff, billionaire Mark Shuttleworth and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, with about 37000 delegates attending, according to Cape Town Tourism.  The Design Indaba attracts them to Cape Town, the city enjoying the most glorious weather currently, and therefore making future tourists out of these delegates, one can confidently predict, and more business deals benefiting the city could flow from this event, contributing R 232 million per annum.   At the Design Indaba the latest updated Cape Town Design Route map  will be launched, marketing some of the city’s top design artists and their businesses.

In September the World Veterinary Congress takes place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and will be attended by 3000 delegates, and contributing R30 million to the economy.   Other conferences to be hosted this year include the 4th Pan African Pain Congress (500 delegates), the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health (800 delegates), the Global Forum for Health Research Forum 2011 Meeting (1500 delegates), World Conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (600 delegates), The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences Conference (500 delegates), and the World Economic Forum on Africa (2000 delegates).

The 20th Cape Town Pairs, the largest sponsored open bowls event in South Africa, was held at the Glen Country Club in Clifton last week, and attracted 36 teams from around the country, as well as from the United Kingdom, Namibia and Zimbabwe.   The gale force Southeaster almost forced a change in venue, blowing over 100 km/hr!   We congratulate our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests Phil Downs and Greg Bingham from Johannesburg for having won the hotly contested tournament.

The Cape leg of the Cell C Tour of SA 2011 takes place over the weekend, and covers Gordon’s Bay, Grabouw, along the Theewaterskloof Dam, Franschhoek, the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, and finishes in Paarl, 120 cyclists participating in the race, reports the Cape Argus.

The J&B Met and the Cape Epic have an economic impact of R 200 million each, and the Two Oceans Marathon R223 million.  Mohamed has estimated that the city’s events and the film industry jointly add more than R 15 billion to the local economy. 

The benefit of these events reaches the hospitality industry too.  Six out of our 20 guests staying at Whale Cottage Camps Bay this past weekend flew down from Durban, to attend the U2 concert, and they made a three-day ‘weekend’ out of it.   Three of the U2 band members ate at Pierneef á La Motte last week, each visit widely reported (Bono and The Edge’s visit at La Motte even made the Sunday Times), which will attract more business to this wonderful Winelands wine estate.  Cargo Carriers has booked out Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the Argus Cycle Tour weekend, to accommodate its team over three days.   Delegates attending the Mining Indaba stayed at Whale Cottage Camps Bay too.

And a final note on the U2 concert – it was a ‘must attend’ concert, with amazing lighting effects on The Claw and the 360° screen ensured that every attendee saw the band on the relatively small stage, no matter where they were sitting or standing.  Many did not know most of the U2 music performed, but the performances of Amazing Grace, Stand by Me with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Without You were real crowd pleasers.  I did not pick up sound distortion, but read complaints about this on Twitter.  The quick and easy in and out of the stadium was commendable, and the event was run by Big Concerts without any hiccups, it was reported.   Replacing the Stadium pitch for the concert cost Big Concerts R803000 alone.  Taxis were in good supply before and after the concert, and the R50 per trip between Green Point and Fresnaye was the best money I have spent in a long time!  The long sit, from 7.30 – 11.30 pm, was the only off-putting part, as the seats are not the most comfortable.   Neil Diamond is the next big name performer at the Cape Town Stadium, his concert taking place on 11 April.

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

Cape Town has the largest number of Blue Flag beaches of all cities in the country, six of its beaches receiving the prestigious accreditation.

Nine of the 19 Blue Flag beaches are in the Western Cape, and include Lappiesbaai Beach in Stilbaai, Grotto and Hawston beaches in Hermanus, Bikini Beach in Gordon’s Bay, Mnandi and Strandfontein beaches in Strandfontein, Muizenberg beach, and Clifton 4th and Camps Bay beaches on the Atlantic seaboard, reports the Cape Times.    Four Port Elizabeth beaches have also received Blue Flag accreditation, while all six Durban beaches have lost their Blue Flag status.

Blue Flag status is awarded to 2 585 beaches in 31 countries, and evaluates the safety, amenities, cleanliness, and environmental information and management of the beaches.  The programme is expected to be expanded to the Indian Ocean Islands.