Tag Archives: safari

Ernest Hemingway: an earnest author as well as drinker, a man’s man, who has left his mark on Cuba!

I have a fascination with the late author Ernest Hemingway, referred to as ‘Papa’ in Cuba, but I have yet to read one of his books. In Havana I followed in the author’s footsteps yet again, after having been ‘introduced’ to him in Pamplona in Spain whilst walking the Camino in 2018. My interest in him is growing, and I will look to buy his books on my return. There is no doubt that Hemingway may be equally or better known for his drinking and hanging around in bars as he is for his books!
 

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WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 31 May/1 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

  Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, including Table Mountain! Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 13 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A new yacht race between Durban and the Seychelles has been organised, along the lines of the ‘Cape To Cairo’ (sic) race, The New Age obviously meaning the Cape to Rio yacht race!   The race will include Mozambique and Swaziland (land-locked), but how the latter country will be involved is uncertain.

*   ‘Restaurant Australia’ is a new marketing campaign for Australia, to promote eating at the country’s good restaurants and drinking its good wines whilst on holiday in the country, food for thought for a Western Cape campaign, which could equally have been shot locally.  Social Media is strongly incorporated in the campaign, with the hashtag #restaurantaustralia.

*   A new airline Fly Blue Crane is applying for an Air Services Licence, belonging to  a trio of owners previously working at SAA and SA Express, being Siza Mimela, Theuns Potgieter, and Jerome Simelane.  The airline plans to fly between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

*   TripAdvisor’s mobile app has been downloaded on Android and iOS 100 million times.  The free app is available in 21 Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 31 May/1 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 7/8/9 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   President Jacob Zuma has announced that the General Election will take place on 7 May. (via Twitter)

*   Wifi availability and its smooth operation is a ‘deal breaker’ for business as well as leisure travellers, in choosing their accommodation, being more important than any other criterion.  In an analysis of 53 million reviews written in English, 2 million mentioned wifi/wi-fi and internet, and found a correlation between non-availability and poor connectivity with lower scores for the establishment out of a total of 5.  However, a perfect wifi service is not rewarded with a 5/5 score, as it is taken for granted that it should be available and work perfectly.

*   A Safari in Africa ranks third on the 10Best Readers Choice Best Bucket List.   Top of the Bucket List is the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, followed by Alaska.  The South Pacific Islands, Italy, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, the Pyramids, and the Swiss Alps are also on the top 10 Bucket List.

*   A restaurant collection called bunnychow has opened in London, Bath, and Chester in the Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 13/14 January

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The theme song ‘Ordinary Love’ of  ‘Mandela; Long Walk to Freedom’ won a Golden Globe last night for Best Original Song, written and performed by Bono and U2, reports The New Age.

*   SA Tourism USA has launched a new website, with the theme ‘What’s Your Big 5?’, highlighting the top travel experiences our country offers in addition to safaris.  The focus now is on ‘Big 5 Ambassadors’, focusing on ‘celebrities, tastemakers and travel influencers’.   The website accessibility has been improved, making it easier to search, navigate, and book the next South African holiday.  The website also provides travel itineraries by theme: Adventure and Exploration;  Culture and Heritage;  Safari and Nature;  Entertainment and Lifestyle; and Luxury and Romance.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is delighted by two top accolades for Cape Town, being top listed by the New York Times and The Guardian.  He reacted as follows: ‘This is great news for our city’s tourism sector and excellent publicity for our destination.  These awards will no doubt help to elevate Cape Town to the top of Continue reading →

Wellington ‘Restaurant Route’: foraging fabulous fine food fare!

A weekend break at Grand Dedale on the Doolhof wine estate introduced me to the wealth of food produce available in Wellington.  With the help of Grand Dedale owner Angelo Casu, and feedback from the restaurants visited, we compiled the following list of suppliers:

· Vrugbaar is one of the oldest pork butchers in the Western Cape. Vrugbaar farm, Bovlei.  Tel (021) 864-1222.

· Foxenburg Estate supplies goat’s milk cheeses, including Chevre, Chabris, Cream cheese, Crottin, Foxtail, and Caprino Romano.  Agter Groenberg. Tel (021) 873-5617. www.foxenburg.co.za

· Bontebok Ridge Reserve has wild boar, which it is breeding in captivity, and supplies biltong, as well as venison (wildebeest, eland, springbok, and wild boar).   Tel 082 576 9657. www.bontebokridge.com

· Olive oils come from local farms Kleinfontein (Tel (021) 864-1202), Foxenburg Estate (Tel 021 873-5617), Upland Organic Estate (Tel (021) 873-5724), and Clarins

*  Olives come from Foxenburg Estate (Tel (021) 873-5617) and Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm (Tel (021) 873-3696)

· Rabbit is supplied on a small scale to Wellington and Paarl restaurants by Stephen Taylor,  Tel 083 4511 775

· Wild boar is also supplied by Schalk van Schalkwyk, Tel 082 829 7161

· Buffalo Ridge is the only Buffalo Mozzarella and yoghurt supplier in the country, having imported 30 Water buffalo from Campana in Italy.  Tel 082 375 0977.

*   Butter, Yoghurt, Peasant cheese, Cottage cheese, and Feta come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm.  Tel (021) 873-3696 www.bloublommetjieskloof.com

*   Compote, jams, and marmalade come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. Tel (021) 873-3696

*   Herbs come from Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. Tel (021 873-3696

· Cured meat comes from Walter Brink, the son of the Potjiekos king. 082 9224848

· Cordial comes from Wilde at Heart, and is available in amazing flavours: Victoria Rose, Lemon, Fresh Ginger, Indigenous Buchu. Wolvenhoek. Tel 084 734 2087

*   Organic asparagus in September and October, Wilde at Heart. Wolvenhoek. Tel 084 734 2087

· Honey comes from Ringrose

· Safari dried fruit and vinegar comes from S.A.D.

· Oyster mushrooms come from Foxenburg Estate. Tel (021) 873-5617

Wellington also has a number of restaurants, many of them using the Wellington produce. Some have opened recently, and are less well known than their counterparts in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.  I popped in at some last weekend:

· Vino’s is the newest restaurant, only about 2 weeks old, and is owned by Kobus and Yolande Fourie.  ‘With Vino’s we have decided to bring back the good old steakhouse’, says their menu, and they explained that they don’t encourage children nor students to eat there, to keep it a romantic and special ‘spoiling’ restaurant for couples.  They serve 250g  ‘grade A steak’ with chips and a salad, and one can order sides.  They have a small Café Prive too for special dinner parties.  They describe themselves as ‘salt and pepper chefs’, and guests praise their ‘eerlike kos’. Snails cost R42 as a starter, 250g Rump and Sirloin R89, Fillet R105, and beef schnitzel R65. 600g of pork ribs cost R85. Cordon Bleu costs R89, beef burgers R 45, and hake and chips R45. Can seat up to 60 inside and outside. Monday – Saturday dinner. 111 Main Road, Wellington.  Tel (021) 873-5075

· Kristies belongs to the same owners as Vino’s, and is a day-time coffee shop, catering for local pensioners and students, their dish of the day (e.g. bobotie, chicken pie, tomato bredie) priced at R35 being hugely popular, discounted to R30 per day for regulars. Menu changed every week.  Cooked Breakfasts from R20 – R45. Hamburgers and chips R40/R45.  Lasagne and Curry and rice R25. Platters and free fruit in back garden in summer. It recently relocated to its new location, from Church Street.  Monday – Saturday breakfast and lunch, 8h00 – 17h00. 111 Main Road, Wellington.  Tel (021) 873-5075

· The Stone Kitchen on Dunstone opened over a year ago, with Johan van Schalkwyk as chef, but he left to open his own restaurant three months ago.  Owner and Chef Alli Wallace is now in charge. Supplies from the Estate vegetable garden, and guavas, grapes and lemons too. Winelist only has Dunstone wines, including Shiraz, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.  Blackboard menu, with chicken pie (R85), venison casserole (R85), own-made thyme, marjoram and rosemary pork sausage (R65), fresh baked bread (baguette, ciabatta, rye, bagels and croissants) barrel boards at about R55, starters in two sizes/prices, desserts around R40. Special children’s menu.  Picnics to be offered in guava orchard, with live music, on weekends from November, with a childminder service. Spit braais once a month on family Sundays, starting on 14 October. Very friendly manager Rosanne.  Bovlei Road, Tel  (021) 873-6770. Twitter: @StoneKitchen10 @Dunstone Wednesday – Sunday 9h00 – 16h00

· Twist Some More is the interesting name of the new restaurant of charming Chef Johan van Schalkwyk, and he is proudly Wellington in sourcing his supplies of wild boar, rabbit, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, and more locally.  He is also slowly building up a Deli section to his restaurant, which will stock a cross-section of Wellington produce.  He is already stocking a granola mix, honey, olives and oils, charcuterie, cheeses, cordials, dried porcini mushrooms, nuts, dried fruit, cakes, cupcakes, scones, rusks, and muffins. Extensive innovative blackboard menu, with cooked breakfasts at about R55, starters at about R45, mains range from R65 for a wild boar burger to R115 for aged T-bone steak, desserts R45.  Winelist Proudly Wellington.  Hexberg Road, Bovlei.  Tel (021) 864-1467. Twitter @ChefTwist. Wednesday – Saturday dinner, Wednesday – Sunday open from 10h00.

· No 6 Restaurant at Welbedacht is a restaurant which opened in August in honour of Springbok Schalk Burger, who wears the number 6 rugby jersey, and who grew up on this wine estate.  Its table number 6 is for 6 guests, and is the best table in the house, closest to the fireplace.  A chef’s table will be set up soon.  The restaurant can seat about 80 guests  inside and outside, with more guests once they complete a pergola and deck all the way from the restaurant to the tasting room.  Tapas will be offered with winetasting.  Owned by Susanna and John Tecklenburg, who ran the Oude Wellington for six years.  Extensive menu of classics (e.g. Avocado Ritz, ox tongue, Coupe Denmark), Dutch specialities (e.g. Bitterballen), and local dishes such as waterblommetjie soup,  presented on black board.  Source supplies locally, from Goedehoop butchery in Paarl, and venison comes from Schalk Burger Snr’s farm in the Karoo. Picnics at the dam planned for summer, with an au pair service for the guests’ children.  High Tea at about R85 per person from October. Special private function rooms in the cellar.   Welbedacht wine estate.  Tel 082 836 8924/079 663 4039.  Wednesday – Sunday lunch, Wednesday – Saturday dinner.

· One of the best kept secrets of Wellington is the good restaurant at Grand Dedale, which caters for its accommodation guests, and accepts bookings from outsiders subject to demand. Its new chef is Daniel de Villiers, previously with Delaire Graff.  I spent a restful weekend there, using it as a base to ‘forage’ the Wellington ‘Restaurant Route’.  They serve a 5-course dinner which includes an amuse bouche and cheese selection for a reasonable R350.  The highlights I tasted over two dinners were a beef carpaccio with leeks and oyster mushrooms and a horse radish cream salad; Norwegian salmon with braised cabbage, baked crispy potato, mange tout, and a basil sauce, for which a fish knife was served.  The most interesting dish was a wild boar lasagne served with a brie sauce, the first time that I had tasted this.  I was expecting a wild taste, but it was not prominent. Grand Dedale owner Angelo Casu told me that they use wild boar for carpaccio, mince, and sausage.

Breakfasts are equally generous, with a range of cereals, a fresh fruit salad, two choices of yoghurt, a selection of nuts, honey, freshly squeezed juices, cappuccino, cold meats, cheeses, rolls, freshly baked bread, and a selection of wonderful cooked breakfasts, the Wellington Breakfast consisting of ingredients all sourced in Wellington, being free-range eggs from the Bovlei valley, back bacon from Vrugbaar butchery, sautéed oyster mushrooms from Foxenburg Estate, venison sausage from Bontebok Ridge Reserve, and fresh garden tomatoes.  Other options are scrambled free-range eggs, with smoked salmon roses, capers and crème fraiche; omelettes with venison sausage;  sautéed spinach, oyster mushrooms, Buffalo Ridge feta cheese; as well as crepes.  The salmon on rosti was a beautiful breakfast addition, and tasty too!

Grand Dedale, Doolhof wine estate.  Tel (021) 873-4089. www.granddedale.com Twitter: @GrandDedale

If there is anything to fault about all the Wellington restaurants, then it is that their portions are massive.  Their customers are not complaining!  It will be interesting to see how Wellington’s restaurants develop, with the excellent quality and variety of produce coming from this fertile town.

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

SA Tourism on a Mission to bring UK media personalities to Cape Town and South Africa!

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

Top German TUI travel agents visit Cape Town

Germany’s largest travel company, TUI Deutschland GmbH, is hosting 100 TUI travel agents in the Cape area for a week.

The agents were specially selected out of 2 500 applicants, and they will experience a safari in the Eastern Cape, and four days in Cape Town and surrounding areas.  A travel expo will be set up for them in Stellenbosch, at which local product owners can interact with the agents.  The Cape leg of their trip will end “at one of Camps Bay’s trendiest venues”, reports Cape Business News.

TUI Travel PLC, the parent company of the German TUI, is the largest tourism company in the world, and aggressively sells South African packages in the German market.  It has more than 20 % market share, and is represented in 180 countries, serving 30 million clients internationally

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

Ivanka Trump honeymoon a trump for SA

Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump, has been honeymooning in South Africa with her husband Jared Kushner.   Due to the power of social medium Twitter, her travels around Southern Africa are documented for all her 613 000 Twitter followers to read.  Fashion and celebrity blogs are following her trip too, creating exposure for South Africa which money could not buy.

Her first stop was in the Winelands :   “Wandering in the Paarl area of Cape Town.  Just visited the Backsberg vineyard.  A terrific afternoon…..”   She took a photograph of her  Winelands trip as well :   “A gorgeous view of the vineyard http://tweetphoto.com/7015625

She then went on a safari, and sent the following Tweet : “Our first day of safari and we’ve already spotted 2 lionesses, 10 hippos, 3 rhinos, 3 giraffes and a group of baboons! What an adventure!”   She also photographed a lioness: “A lioness as seen from our Jeep this morning. http://tweetphoto.com/7375944“.

Yesterday, she continued with her safari:  We were so close to this leopard on our morning game drive that I snapped this pic on my Blackberry camera! http://tweetphoto.com/7496963.  Her latest Tweet reflects that Ivanka and her husband are off to Mocambique. 

Ivanka Trump can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IvankaTrump

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