In what appears to be unusual, killer whales (also known as Orcas) have been found to be on the attack of Great White sharks in local waters. Even more unusual is that the organs of the Great White sharks have been targeted, and removed by the Orcas. The Orca attacks are making international headlines, this being such a rare phenomenon. Continue reading →
* The Garden Route is one of nine Best Coastal Drives in the world, selected by CNN Traveler, and described as follows: ‘Drive along the #GardenRoute @GoToSouthAfrica absolutely stunning!” —@SuryaSadisivan’ . Other coastal drives on the list includes the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway, the Amalfi Drive in Italy, the Road to Key West in Florida, and Sea-to-Sky Highway in Vancouver.
* Horst Frehse, Executive Director of the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Red Carnation Hotel Collection Staff Appreciation Awards held in London. Continue reading →
Last night I attended an interesting talk on ‘The Great White Shark: a Global Perspective’, given by shark expert and Apex eco-tour operator Chris Fallows at the One&Only Cape Town. Chris’ talk covered the three key seal areas attracting Great White Sharks in South Africa, as well as other well-known shark areas in the world.
I was invited by Ian Manley, the hotel’s PR consultant, to Chris’ talk, one of two (the second will focus on the relationship between Orca killer whales and Great White Sharks tonight), in a series of Guest Speaker Talks, which include Joanne Lifson on 18 June on ‘Lights Canine Action’, Colin Bell speaking on rhino extinction on 3 July, ‘Africa’s Three Big Cats‘ by Lorne Sulcas on 15 July, and more. One&Only Cape Town ambassador Aubrey Ngcungama introduced Chris, who has documented his shark adventures in his book ‘Great White: The Majesty of Sharks‘, and who has filmed documentaries about the Great White Shark with Discovery Channel, the BBC’s Planet Earth, and National Geographic. In the hotel reception area, a shark cage with diver, as well as a model of a small shark, were set up to attract attention to the talks programme.
Prior to the start of the talk Chris and I chatted, and he explained that Orcas, known as ‘killer whales‘, are not whales at all, but are members of the dolphin family. Orcas are known to kill whales, by pushing them under water and making them drown. In South Africa Great White Sharks can be found where there are concentrations of seals, in three regions: Continue reading →
Described as cool and aloof by viewers, Kamini Pather showed some emotion and her first tears in the 25th episode of MasterChef SA last night, frustrated in her efforts to bake a Lemon Meringue Gâteau, the focus of much of the episode. Being the darling of viewers and tipped to win Season 2 of MasterChef SA, it was a surprise that viewers reacted with such vitriol against her performance at the end of the episode last night.
While Ozzy Osman was on his way to Gansbaai as a guest of Dyer Island Conservation Trust for having created the best month-end dish, the three Finalists who had to go into the Pressure Test as a result of their poor month-end ‘cuisine’ in episode 24 were only supported by Leandri van der Wat, watching her sister Seline, Kamini, and Jason Steel bake up a sweat in what was billed as the ‘most daunting Pressure Test‘ in the series. Chef Benny Masekwameng warned. It would test their limits, in replicating the ‘work of art and masterpiece‘ of invited guest Chef Kelvin Continue reading →
The Guardian has accepted a SA Tourism-sponsored series of ‘My Mission’ articles, written as ‘celebrity blogposts’ by four UK media personalities, each of them reporting back on their visits to experience their ‘mission’ of interest, creating good exposure for Cape Town, the Western Cape and other parts of the country.
The first to visit the country, in September, and to write about his experience was TV presenter, wildlife expert, photographer and author, Chris Packham, whose Mission was Wildlife and Safari. His journey started at Klaserie Nature Reserve, on the border of the Kruger National Park, doing game-viewing on foot in a guided walking safari, and a game drive. He also experienced the highly regarded Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, with further games drives, guided walks, and night drives. Packham writes about the ‘diary written in the sand’, being the spoor left by animals and telling a story. He has visited the country before, and praises the friendly locals and good roads. Packham saw white rhino, saddle-billed stork, giraffe, a pack of wild dogs, and a herd of elephants. He concludes positively: “Back then, safari meant Kenya. Today, for me, South Africa is by far the best place to come on safari. There is incredible biodiversity – everything from savannah to tropical forest, as well as a huge surfeit of animal life from great white sharks to lions to raptors, all within a couple of hours’ drive of each other”. Packham also praised the accessibility of the country, its good roads and flights, and well-trained guides. Despite his mission having been accomplished, Packham writes that he will be back, as there is more to see and learn in the bush.
TV presenter Jamie Theakston is a sport- and music-orientated TV and radio presenter, whose Mission was Adventure and Sport, which he experienced in KwaZulu-Natal. He started off with a walk in the UNESCO World Heritage site iSimangaliso wetland park, seeing a Red duiker, and a family of vervet monkeys. He went out to sea, and the boat was surrounded by eight humpback whales: ‘..the actual experience exceeds my anticipation in thousands of ways. It is a a few minutes of rare and special wonder‘, he wrote. His next adventure was game viewing in Phinda game reserve, and he was excited to see a young cheetah. Dinner was in a clearing in the bush, a surprise venue, ‘creating the prettiest restaurant I have ever dined in’. Tracking white rhino on foot at Phinda concluded his visit to South Africa, his heart beating: ‘…I realise just how lucky I am to be given the chance to view these animals – one of South Africa’s famous Big Five – up that close and that personal’.
Last month we wrote about TV presenter Gloria Hunniford’s visit to Cape Town and the Winelands. She visited Camps Bay, Bo-Kaap, Chapman’s Peak, and New7Wonders of Nature Table Mountain in Cape Town, and Delaire Graff, Warwick, and Spier, where she stroked a cheetah. Her Mission was ‘Affordable Luxury’. Hunniford visited the Western Cape stand at World Travel Market in London this week, said Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, in a media release. She is quoted as saying: “I had a most amazing time. The weather was perfect! I was amazed at the flowering landscape on one of the wine estates, it was like a piece of heaven”. She must have been referring to Delaire Graff in the Helshoogte Pass, whose garden was created by Keith Kirsten.
Monty Don is also a TV presenter, and a writer and speaker on Horticulture. He is yet to visit the Cape, and to write his blog posts for The Guardian. His mission is Flora, Fauna and Culture. Don will start his visit at Babylonstoren outside Franschhoek, to see its fruit and vegetable garden, inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape when Cape Town was a halfway station between the East and Holland for the Dutch East India Company. Then he will visit Grootbos, between Hermanus and Gansbaai, close to shark cage-diving, and Southern Right whale watching. He will be taken to the Harald Porter National Botanical Park in Kleinmond, to see its wealth of fynbos, and will conclude his tour with a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical garden.
The UK celebrity endorsements of the tourism highlights of our country are powerful, and do not appear to have lost credibility in that they have been sponsored by SA Tourism. It seems a shame that so much energy and money will be spent on this campaign, when so few British tourists will be travelling this summer.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage