Entries tagged with “whale watching”.


CapeTownSA Tourism must be delighted that Telegraph Travel is doing its marketing at no charge! What better publicity than to get an article with ’25 reasons to visit South Africa right now’ written for free!

Obviously the benefit of the weak Rand relative to the pound sterling (more…)

Camps Bay beach Blue FlagThe Western Cape has 27 Blue Flag beaches, the largest percentage of the 45 Blue Flag beaches awarded in our country in total this year. More than 4000 Blue Flag beaches have been accredited world-wide.  In addition, five marinas and six whale-watching boats were accredited, and some pilot Blue Flag beaches have been announced.  All the beaches in the Hessequa Municipality (Stilbaai, Witsand, Gouritzmond, and more) have achieved Blue Flag status.

The Blue Flag status of each beach is done by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, based on international standards for water and beach cleanliness, water and sand quality, and environmental education and management, set by the Foundation for Environmental Education.  The number of Blue Flag beaches awarded locally is growing year on year since the beach accreditation system was introduced in our country 13 years ago.

The Blue Flag Beaches, and accredited marina and whale-watching boats, in the Western Cape are the following: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The second Cape Wine Auction will be held at Boschendal on 14 February 2015.  Last year the inaugural Auction raised R 7 million.

*   Uber launched UberCHOPPER today, partnering with Cape Town Helicopters, bookable on the Uber App.  An UberBLACK vehicle will collect one from one’s destination, and drive one to the V&A Helipad.  Three flight options are available:  Two Oceans, covering both the Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay; Cape Peninsula, covering the V&A down to the Cape of Good Hope; and customised tours such as to the Winelands, whale-watching, and shark-cage diving.  There is a maximum of three passengers per ride. (received via media release from Uber Cape Town)

*   The 2014 Sport and Events Tourism Exchange commences in Durban in two weeks. Large events are vital for the tourism (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   After having focused on Cape Town earlier this week, Huffington Post has included Hermanus in an article entitled ‘5 Lesser-known African wonders you have to see’.  Whale-watching is recommended, from July – November, with twenty to thirty whales being seen in Hermanus on average per day in that period, announced by the whale crier on his kelp horn.  The other wonders are the lunar rainbow in Zambia, the South Carmine Bee-eater migration in Zambia, wildebeest calving in Tanzania, and the Fruit-bat migration in Zambia.

*   South Africa’s premium wines over £10 a bottle were praised at a blind tasting held in London on Tuesday, offering quality and value for money.  The tasting was organised by the drinks business and the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa, a collective of 15 local wine producers, promoting premium wines costing £10 or more.  Only 4% of wines are bought at that price-point, warned Tesco’s South African wine buyer, but he praised the quality of our wines, saying that they are ‘fantastic‘.  He said that our country’s premium wines need to promote their credentials.    Local wines tasted were Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2000, Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2009, Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2012, Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010, Radford Dale ‘Nudity’ Syrah 2013, Mullineux Syrah 2012, Mvemve Raats de Compostella 2012, Jordan Cobblers Hill, South Africa 2011, Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012, The Drift ‘There are still mysteries’ Pinot Noir 2012, and Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2012.

*   Italian anti-trust and competition authorities are investigating TripAdvisor for its (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SA Tourism is representing our country on two platforms at World Travel Market in London this week: the 20th anniversary of the ‘new’ South Africa as well as Cape Town’s role as World Design Capital, both in 2014. Today Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the Minister of Tourism, will address visitors to the SA Tourism stand, and a fashion show will represent our country’s eight World Heritage sites, interpreted by top local designers  David Tlale, Marianne Fassler, Thula Sindi, and Nkhensani Nkosi.

*   2014 is also an important year in celebrating the 80th anniversary of the SA Rugby Union and the Springboks.  SAA will participate in the celebration in February, and commuters can expect to rub shoulders with members of the Springbok team at airport lounges.  In November next year the team members will be seen at OR Thambo and Heathrow airports, when the Springboks travel to Europe for the Castle Lager Outbound Tour Series. (received via SAA newsletter)

*   SAA is cutting its Buenos Aires route, being one of its loss-making destinations.  Its Beijing route is also making a loss, but will be retained currently as China and South Africa are both BRICS countries.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is seeking an urgent meeting with SAA to discuss the cancellation of its Buenos Aires route, having seen good growth in the past few years, and benefitting the Western and Eastern Cape in particular. (received via media release frorm Minister Winde’s office)

*   The Hotel Le Vendome in Sea Point will be operated by Radisson

(more…)

Bob Skinstad - Overstrand tourism ambassadorFor the first time in the Western Cape a Tourism Ambassador has been appointed.  Bob Skinstad, South African rugby hero and commentator, is the new Tourism Ambassador for the Overstrand, encompassing the municipal region stretching from Kleinmond-Hangklip to Gansbaai, via Hermanus and Stanford.  The area is also known as the Cape Whale Coast.

The concept of a Tourism Ambassador was the idea of Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten, who felt that Bob’s interaction with top rugby fans locally, as well as internationally would stand the Overstrand region in good stead if it was recommended by him as a holiday destination on his travels.  Bob grew up in ‘Southern Rhodesia‘, but loved coming on holidays to Hermanus with his parents, and they now live in the seaside town (with his parents-in-law too), giving Bob’s endorsement even greater credibility.  A Memorandum of Agreement has been signed for 12 months between Bob and the Overstrand municipality, confirming which services he will render, and how many packages of products from the area he can use for marketing purposes.   He wants the region to become more Social Media savvy, and recommended ‘We Chat’ as a huge free (more…)

Whale Cottage LogoWe are delighted to have been included in the ‘100 Great SA Travel Twitter Feeds‘ list, which was compiled by travelstartblog.  The list of 100 top Travel Twitter feeds follows below, in no particular order the blog states, based on the following selection process: ‘To formulate our list, we first had to decide on a few criteria we feel make a travel focused Twitter feed exciting. This isn’t an exact science, but with the help of a few online tools such as Twitter search and our own observations, we’ve been able to arrive at a fairly inclusive list. Active participation on Twitter was a significant part of the selection criteria, as was location (South Africa), number of followers as well as social authority’.

1. Meruschka Govender, @MzansiGirl
2. Cape Town, @CapeTown
3. Gautrain, @TheGautrain
4. South African Tourism, @GoToSouthAfrica
5. Ryan van Zyl, @concierge_ryan
6. Cape Town Tourism, @CapeTownTourism
7. Ben, @sa_tourguide
8. SA Weather Service, @SAWeatherServic
9. CapeTownMagazine.com, @CapeTownMag
10. Table Mountain Cable Way, @TableMountainCa
11. US Embassy Pretoria, @USEmbPretoria
12. Ryan Sandes, @ryansandes
13. Black Coffee, @RealBlackCoffee
14. James Costello, @jamescapetown
15. Ryan Mackie,‏ @SATourismCo
16. SATravelTrade, @SATravelTrade
17. Clare Appleyard, @clareappleyard
18. Clare Townsend, @BloodyClarey
19. William Price, @william_price
20. Jonker Fourie, @FireflyAfrica
21. Mariette dT-Helmbold, @MariettedTH
22. Sarah Duff, @SarahDuff
23. Dawn Jorgensen, @DawnJorgensen
24. Getaway Magazine, @GetawayMagazine
25. Jan Hutton, ‏@janinehutton
26. Narina Exelby, @NarinaExelby
27. Peregrine Magazine, @PeregrineMag
28. Skye Grove, @SkyeGrove
29. Sarah Khan, @BySarahKhan
30. Thando Moleketi, @JoziFoodieFix
31. eTNW,‏ @eTNW_SA
32. Chris Von Ulmenstein, @whalecottage (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Woolworths, and its new Manager Cliford Sibanda, who has just joined the Da Luz branch on Regent Road in Sea Point as a manager, having relocated from Johannesburg.  He came to my assistance when the staff member at the till was not responding to my questions, saying that she was ill. He apologised profusely, and was keen to hear what the problems are at the branch, having just started there.  He organised for some cheese puffs to be prepared, a favourite, which are always out of stock, and for a store assistant to push my trolley, demonstrating beyond expectation how important customer satisfaction is to him and the brand Woolworths! He will go far in the company with this service orientation. (more…)

Excellent news for the marketing of Cape Town is that the new Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’, which was largely shot in Cape Town, has seen the launch of a new TV commercial by SA Tourism to promote tourism to South Africa among Indian tourists, to co-incide with the release of the movie, reports Best Media Info.

The 30 second TV commercial has been released on international TV channels such as HBO and MTV, and communicates that Cape Town offers travellers ‘a truly unique fusion of fun, exciting, adventurous and memorable holiday experience to take home and treasure‘.

Beautiful scenes have been shot in Camps Bay in particular, the V&A Waterfront, and the Trinity night club are also featured in the TV commercial.

‘Cocktail‘ features three friends who visit Cape Town for a holiday, leading to a romance between two of them. The movie filming commenced in London last year, including locations such as Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Portobello Road, and Notting Hill.  Then the action moved to Cape Town, and an upbeat dance number for one of the main songs in the movie was shot at a set specially created at Maiden’s Cove in Camps Bay. The perfect weather in Cape Town at the time of the shoot allowed Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay, as well as in the V&A Waterfront to be featured in the filming.

The director of the movie, Homi Adajania, said that shooting the movie in Cape Town was a ‘dream holiday’ for the film crew too, being ‘as delightful an experience‘. Whilst they had the opportunity, the main actors went whale watching and shark cage diving.  The actresses loved the local food, and they discovered our wonderful fish, and they ‘feasted on the South African delicacy – the Kingklip fish’.  The cast enjoyed eating on Long Street, in the V&A Waterfront (including Belthazar), and at Beluga. Adajania said about Capetonians: ‘all South Africans are outdoorsy, fun-loving people who prefer to sprint on the roads at night, while weekends to them mean adventure sports‘!

The ‘Cocktail’ movie trailer was a huge hit when it was released two months ago, and had 1 million hits on YouTube within three days.  The movie went on circuit two weeks ago.

SA Tourism’s dynamic Country Manager in India, Hanneli Slabber, said that ‘we are really excited to be associated with ‘Cocktail’ on this TVC (television commercial) campaign and we want to showcase the best that Cape Town has to offer to Indian Travelers.  The movie showcases the star cast having a fun-filled holiday in South Africa and it blends perfectly with our positioning as being an exhilarating, fun and memorable holiday destination. This association gives us an unprecedented opportunity to showcase South Africa on the Bollywood stage and reach out to the vast section of movie going audience’. Growth in tourists from India in the first three months of this year was up 23 % compared to a year ago, and reflects that the country is becoming one of the favourite travel destinations amongst Indian tourists.

In recognition of the tourism growth from India, SA Tourism produced a cookbook for the hospitality industry, ‘Guide to Vegetarian, Vegan and Jain Dining in South Africa’, in conjunction with the SA Chefs Association, detailing the specific dietary requirements of vegetarians, vegans and Jains in India; gives lists of food items that each group may (and may not) eat; gives a brief explanation of the culture that informs the dietary needs of these tourists; and gives a broad selection of recipes that will keep vegetarian, vegan and Jain visitors happy and well-fed as they explore South Africa.

The Cape Town tourism industry would be very happy to see the new ‘Cocktail’ movie, as well as the SA Tourism TV advertising campaign, resulting in a growth in the number of tourists from India in Cape Town.

POSTSCRIPT 30/7: SAA has announced that it is increasing its Mumbai-Johannesburg flight frequency to daily from 3 October onwards, reports The Times.

POSTSCRIPT 5/8: The Times of India reports that the number of enquiries for travel to South Africa has increased by 10% just one month after the release of the ‘Cocktail’ movie.  It writes that S A Tourism has ‘tied up with 7 Hindi film production houses‘.  ‘South Africa Tourism sees Bollywood as an effective way to compensate for the lack of a high budget to promote tourism‘. The newspaper quotes SA Tourism Country Manager Hanneli Slabber in saying: “We are lucky Bollywood fell in love with Cape Town. Bollywood has been very kind and will be a cost-effective way to showcase South Africa as a great tourism destination”.

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