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EXCELLENT SUMMER SEASON AHEAD

Bookings ahead promise a sunny 2006/2007 tourism season for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Hermanus is doing particularly well, and as early as August already, with the Southern Right whales having returned to the Whale Watching Capital of South Africa.

The bookings received appear to be coming in earlier than before, and many were made before the Rand exchange rate weakened to the benefit of overseas guests.

April ended off on a good note, with the long weekend at the end of the month being good for business. The Cape Epic cycle race took place over this weekend, and started in Knysna and ended at Spier outside Stellenbosch, benefiting tourism in smaller towns such as Greyton, Hermanus and Franschhoek in particular, with 1 000 participants and another 1 500 supporters visiting each stop. The Easter weekend earlier in April was a disappointing one for the accommodation industry, especially as it signalled the end of the summer season.

May has been a good month in Cape Town, but June and July look poor, given the world's focus on the World Cup 2006 taking place in Germany until 9 July. A drive announced by Cape Town Routes Unlimited to encourage more tourists in the 'cooler months' has not yet been visible. Earlier this year a conference discussed ways in which the seasonality problem to Cape Town and the Western Cape can be addressed, and shoppers from the African and Middle East countries were particularly highlighted as a target market, reported Hotel & Restaurant.

Knysna has taken the initiative to launch a two month 'Knysna on Sale" promotion, whereby tourists can enjoy the accommodation in the town at reduced rates via a booklet of discount vouchers.

Good news abounds for tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape, with the announcement that the V & A Waterfront will be building four new hotels before 2010. These include two 3-star hotels, a hotel in the old grain silo, as well as a luxury One & Only hotel to be developed by Kerzner International's Sol and Butch Kerzner.

In 2005 7,3 million tourists arrived in South Africa, close to 5 million being from neighbouring southern African countries, probably visiting for a short shopping weekend, mainly in Johannesburg. Travel News Now reports that visitors from the UK grew by only 3 % and those from Germany by 2 % in the past year. The Netherlands and France showed large tourist declines, while the USA increased by 11% and Indian visitors increased by 10 %. China's tourists declined by 9 %, despite being earmarked by S A Tourism as an important market. In the next five years the country is planning to attract 8,5 million international tourists, thereby creating 500 000 jobs and adding R 100 billion to the economy, says Business Report. Travel News Now quotes research that says South Africa's tourism industry is expected to grow by 6,5 % this year. The surrounding Southern African states are also reporting good tourism growth, albeit off a low basis, particularly in Angola, Zambia and Mozambique. January 2006 figures show good growth for South Africa compared to the same period last year, with 25 % of the international visitors in that month being from the UK, and 14 % from Germany. Tourist numbers from Sweden increased by 7 %.

SA Tourism has reported an increase in visitors to South Africa from other African countries, including Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania, but tourism numbers from Angola, one of the highest spending in Africa, have declined, reports the Sunday Times.

Business tourism remains a challenge for South Africa, ranking 28th as a business tourism destination. Hotel & Restaurant reports that the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is aiming at improving South Africa's rank to the top 20. As it is not seasonable, business tourism is an important focus, and generates R 20 billion per year. The first ever Cape Town Book Fair is to be held at the Convention Centre this weekend, with publishers and authors from around the world attending. The theme of the Book Fair is 'Celebrate Africa'. The Book Fair is a joint partnership between the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Publishers' Association of South Africa. The World Economic Forum, held in Cape Town at the end of last month, benefited city hotels, with 800 delegates generating about R 7 million for the local industry.

The 2005 Design Indaba, held in Cape Town, won the Best Conference award at EIBTM, the global meetings and incentive exhibition in London. Initiated by Ravi Naidoo, he describes the Design Indaba as the "Cannes of the design world".

It is a shame that Cape Town does not have the facility to host the annual tourism Indaba, which has been held in Durban since its inception. The bid to host Indaba from 2007 for the next three years has again gone to Durban, as Johannesburg withdrew its intention to bid. FEDHASA Cape has called on the Cape Town International Convention Centre to expand its exhibition space, so that the city can bid for 2010 - 2012, reports Travel News Now. The Durban tourism industry is estimated to have earned R 257 million from hosting Indaba last month, according to Business Report.

The Cape Town International Airport domestic parking garage has been completed at the cost of R 100 million, and new plans to upgrade the airport for the 2010 World Cup have been announced. A further R 900 million is to be spent, including the construction of a central terminal building which will seamlessly combine the Domestic and International terminals; a rail link between the airport and the city; and a further parking garage will add 2 500 bays to reach a total of 7 100 bays, according to the Cape Argus. The runways at both Johannesburg and Cape Town airports need to be upgraded to cater for the new 550-seat Airbus, and new parking stands, new and improved airbridges, and an extended fuel line must be provided. The airports in Johannesburg and Durban will both see additional parking bays by 2010, up to 11 400 in Johannesburg and 1 500 in Durban.

DERTOUR travel agents have demonstrated their goodwill towards South Africa by returning to the country and donating R 70 000 they raised for development projects in Khayelitsha. It is in this township that some of the DERTOUR colleagues had an unfortunate experience late last year, but they were so touched by the kindness shown to them by the local community that they collected the monies.

A number of awards have demonstrated that South Africa is a leading hospitality player. The Sante' Winelands Wellness Centre was named the Favourite Overseas Spa Retreat, and third best spa in the world by the UK Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Spa Award. At Indaba the first-time Welcome Awards were announced, winners including the Cape Grace Hotel in the accommodation category and Bill Harrop's 'Original' Balloon Safaris in the tour operator category, according to Travel News Now. Cape Town International Airport has been named the second friendliest airport in the world, and the top airport in Africa in the 2006 Skytrax World Airport Awards. SAA was named the best African Airline by the Official Airline Guide, which named Cathay Pacific as the Airline of the Year.

Conde Nast Traveler USA has included Le Franschhoek Hotel, and Hemingway Lodge in Cape Town, on their Hot List. The magazine's UK counterpart also chose Hemingway Lodge for its 'Hot List', in addition to Grande Provence in Franschhoek, Phinda Getty Lodge and Samara Private Game Reserve. Travel & Leisure included three South African establishments in its Top 50 Romantic Escapes, being Samara Private Game Reserve, Ntwala Island Lodge and Phinda Getty Lodge.

South Africa as a brand was chosen as one of the ten most memorable advertisements by the readers of 'The Economist' in Europe. Other ads in the top ten list of memorable ads in the publication include Renault, Rolex, Cartier, Lexus, HSBC, UBS and West LB.

The Western Cape provincial tourism budget tabled in May is R 44 million, of which R 22 million is to go to the funding of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, reports the Cape Argus. While the total provincial tourism budget has increased by 18 %, relative to last year, the monies going to Cape Town Routes Unlimited has remained at the same level as 2005. The destination marketing body is to spend its money on marketing the region as an all year-round destination, to address the seasonality problem; to enhance the area as a business tourism destination; and as a region suitable to host soccer matches. The province has also earmarked monies to enhance the safety of the region, and to develop a tourism route in the False Bay area, incorporating Simonstown, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Strand and Gordon's Bay.

It is of concern that Cape Town Routes Unlimited has lost its Marketing head Sue Piper and its Business Tourism Head Angeline Lue, and will lose its CEO Noki Dube in August, all of whom were with the company for about two years. The company's website also shows that the Marketing Services and Stakeholder Relations management positions are vacant. This leaves the destination marketing body, and with it tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape, vulnerable as far as marketing and leadership goes, especially as further pressure may be placed on Cape Town Routes Unlimited. It would appear that the province has been driving the management of tourism since the establishment of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and that the City of Cape Town has not been an active enough partner, despite contributing half the funding for the organisation. It is hoped that the change in the City management will result in a more active participation and interest in tourism by the City, as brand Cape Town has been compromised in the Cape Town Routes Unlimited marketing to date. Given that the start of the next summer season is only about ten weeks away, it is vital that a suitable replacement for Dube be found as soon as possible.


SOUTH AFRICAN SOCCER SHOWCASE!

SA Tourism is tactically marketing South Africa during the Soccer World Cup 2006, which kicked off in Germany last week. In Frankfurt shoppers at the Kaufhof Galleria department store are being entertained for two weeks by the Kaapse Klopse, a minstrel band flown in by SA Tourism to sing their well-known 'Welcome to Cape Town' and other favourites. Joined by a marimba band from Mafikeng, and performing in front of a 50 meter backdrop of Table Mountain, the South African display exhibits jewellery, food products, clothing, ostrich egg lamps, venison, wine and proteas. Annemarie Ferns, head of SA Tourism in Germany, says that 40 000 customers visit the Kaufhof every day, and that the current promotion is the biggest ever for South Africa. Ferns wants to double the number of German tourist to South Africa to 500 000. It is a shame that Ferns is leaving the Frankfurt office to head S A Tourism's Netherlands office from September, having done excellent work for South Africa in Germany.

One benefit to South Africans in hosting the World Cup Soccer in 2010 is that the football federation FIFA has specified that the TV broadcasts must include an high-definition (HD) video signal, says the Weekend Argus. HD offers vastly better picture and resolution quality. The SABC will be broadcasting in analogue for the current and the 2010 World Cup events, to accommodate the many local TV viewers who do not have TV sets with HD. Flat screen TV's are more likely but do not necessarily have HD. As the SABC wants to vie for the content rights in 2010, it is working on HD TV production, and has already ordered the first HD outside-broadcast facility in Africa. A viewership of 40 billion is expected for the 2010 World Cup.

The Western Cape is to set up a multi-government and private sector company to manage the building of the 70 000-seat stadium in Green Point in Cape Town for 2010. The company will be similar to the one that guided the establishment of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and will be independent of political party changes. The investment in the Green Point stadium will allow Cape Town to host matches up to semi-final level, thereby lengthening the stay of many of the 300 000 spectators expected to come to South Africa, in the Mother City in winter 2010. FIFA has announced that it already has 70 % of the TV rights signed up, and all sponsorship contracts have been signed for 2010. According to the Cape Times, FIFA has already received R 13 billion for the 2010 World Cup from its sponsors, its highest income ever generated.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has expressed his confidence in South Africa's ability to meet the expectations of his Federation, and expects the 2010 event to be a 'fiesta'. Blatter has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, reports the Cape Argus.

In a recent article in the Cape Argus the Premier of the Western Cape justified the choice of Green Point as the stadium for Cape Town, including that it best reflects the beauty of the city (Table Mountain, Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean are visible from the stadium, especially if the stadium is moved closer to the Metropolitan golf course!); it is close to 70% of the accommodation requirements already in place along the Atlantic seaboard and city centre; it is 2 km from the taxi, train and bus connections in the city centre; it will kick-start further developments in the city; and it will allow Cape Town to compete for international events, given its planned all-weather design. Resistance by the affected ratepayers' association has lessened after assurances were given that no housing development has been planned for the Green Point Common close to the stadium. Construction of the stadium is expected to commence in January 2007, and must be completed by the following year.

FIFA is encouraging a greater environmental focus, and this has already been introduced in the German World Cup event. Solar energy, recycling, the utilisation of environmentally sustainable materials, and the environmentally friendly transportation of VIP's, the teams and the media, are some of the elements of FIFA's 'Green Goal'. The electricity infrastructure on the Atlantic seaboard and in the city will have to be upgraded at the cost of R 200 million, to meet the electricity requirements in these areas during the World Cup. Pedestrian pathways, incorporating good lighting and pavement cafes, are being planned between the city centre and Green Point, to facilitate safe access to the stadium by foot.

Two days before the end of the German World Cup, South Africa will unveil its 2010 World Cup logo in Berlin. This is the fist time that the host country to come launches its logo at an existing World Cup event.

Good news is that in June 2009 South Africa will also host the Confederation Cup as a "warm-up" event to the World Cup 2010.

A very recent announcement in the Cape Argus is that a ground-based funicular between Strand Street and Signal Hill is to be completed for 2010 as well. Linked to the plan is the creation of a restaurant at Lion Battery, from which the Noon Gun is fired at midday and offering a lovely view over the city, as well as a concealed restaurant on Signal Hall.


WHALE COTTAGE WINTER WARMERS

The Whale Cottages have dropped their winter rates to close to half price, to offer their guests even better value for money in a period which is traditionally quieter.

Whale Cottage Franschhoek has partnered with Reubens in Franschhoek, Whale Cottage Camps Bay has partnered with Blues in Camps Bay, and Whale Cottage Hermanus has partnered with Meditterea in Hermanus, to offer guests a special winter Dinner Bed & Breakfast direct booking rate of R 400 per person per night, including a two-course meal at these restaurants.


NEW WINES WIN AWARDS

The hot summer of 2005/6, combined with the electricity outages during this period, do not appear to have impacted on the quality of the wines produced. Hotel & Restaurant reports that Distell, the country's largest marketer of wine brands, says that sauvignon blanc and shiraz varietals are outstanding this year. Chardonnays are also excellent, having benefited from the cold winter of 2005. The strong south-easter of last summer influenced berry and shoot growth, resulting in smaller berries but with more concentrated favour. White wines may be in short supply, due to the wind, and exceptional export levels, according to Henk Bruwer, chairman of the Wine Cellars of South Africa.

South African wines continue to do well in awards, and for the first time new and relatively unknown wineries are achieving well.

At the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles held in Spain last month, Fairview was the only estate to win two double gold medals, for its La Beryl Blanc 2005 and Viognier 2005. The Wine Enthusiasts' 'Top 100 Best Buys' listed The Winery of Good Hope's 2005 Chenin Blanc in sixth place, whilst Ken Forrester's 2004 Petit Chenin, Kanu's 2004 Chenin Blanc and KWV's 2005 Steen also made the top 100 list. The publication also named Vergelegen as 'New World Winery of the Year'.

The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show is described as one of the toughest competitions, and only 24 wines received gold medals, with less than a third of the 961 entries winning any awards in its latest competition, judged by an international panel. The Cape Argus reports that Vergelegen won the best unwooded white blend and best 'medium class' white blend. Boplaas was recognised for its Tawny Port and 2004 Vintage Reserve Port, while Raka's Biography Shiraz 2004 won the best Shiraz and best red wine trophies. Brampton won the best Cabernet award and was announced "Discovery of the Show'. Cape Point Vineyards won the best white wine award for its Isliedh 2005 Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend. Landau du Val Semillon 2004 won the best Semillon award while Chamonix's Troika 2003 was named the best red blend, both wines being from Franschhoek.

The Swiss International Airlines competition recognised many new vineyards, including Jagger's Peak, Lynx in Franschhoek (Shiraz 2004 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2004), Saronsberg in Tulbagh, Seven Oaks in Worcester and Blue Crane in Tulbagh, all winning gold medals. Half the gold medal winners' wineries were established in the last five years, and 20 % had first started making wine less than two years ago, says the Sunday Times.

In May the London International Wine Challenge awarded Fleur du Cap's unfiltered range and Zonnebloem Laureat 2004 gold medals.

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network, of which Cape Town is a member, launched a Best of Wine Tourism competition. Waterford won the Best Cellar Door Experience award, and was the only South African winner in the eight categories judged.

An area not normally known for its wines is KwaZulu-Natal. The Stables Wine Estate in the Natal Midlands was recently featured in the Sunday Times, and has similar wine growing conditions to those of Burgundy. A wine route is mooted for the area.

Parliamentarians have complained about the poor selection of wines they are offered in their restaurant in Cape Town, reports the Cape Argus. Only 18 red and 10 white wines are on offer out of the range of about 5 000 South African wines, and include Durbanville Hills Chardonnay, Oranjerivier Chenin Blanc, and Alto Cabernet Sauvignon. Almost half the wines come from one marketing company, and no BEE partnership wines feature on the winelist.


MOVIE MAGIC

South Africa's film industry is proud of its Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film 'Tsotsi', and the award appears to have boosted the film industry generally. Dion Beebe won the Cinematography Oscar for 'Memoirs of a Geisha", and is also from South Africa. Charlize Theron was nominated for Best Actress for her role in North Country, but did not win the award.

'Ongeriewe', a film made by four Capetonian film students, was short-listed out of 3 500 films from around the world, as one of ten finalists for the Cannes Best Short Film Award.

"A Long Walk to Freedom", a film based on Nelson Mandela's autobiography, is to be made by Anant Singh. It is likely to star Morgan Freeman as Mandela, and is estimated to cost R 200 million to produce, says the Weekend Argus. Another film which is to be shot is "Goodbye Bafana', telling the story of Mandela's imprisonment by a prison guard. Dennis Haysbert will portray Mandela, while Joseph Fiennes will play the role of James Gregory, the prison guard, and Diane Kruger will play his wife. Some of the scenes for the movie will be shot on Robben Island.

"Blood Diamonds' is being shot in South Africa, and Cape Town is included as a location. The movie stars Leonardo diCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, and South African model and 'Revlon Girl' Nicola Breytenbach, who makes her acting debut.

An Indian film company is to invest R 50 million in the production of 3 feature films and 13 TV movies in Cape Town.

The value of South Africa's film production industry is estimated to be in excess of R 2 billion, reports the Business Times. The Industrial Development Corporation has invested about R 300 million in film production over the past five years, and was one of the 'Tsotsi' backers.

Cape Town's film industry appears to have improved in the past year. Whilst no longer the cheapest destination in which to shoot, it still delivers on location quality. The utilisation of locations owned by the City of Cape Town for film productions increased by more than a quarter in the past year, with more than 4 000 film permits issued.

The City has decreased its location fees to boost the film industry. In future it may even scrap some location fees, to protect the local industry against a competitive bid for film shoots by Durban in particular. Location fees can amount to 10 % of production costs.


NATIONAL PARK UPGRADE

The news that the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is to allocate close to R 400 million to upgrade the national parks across the country is welcomed. Business Report quotes Minister van Schalkwyk as planning to spend the monies over the next three years to upgrade 520 accommodation units, to build 100 new accommodation units, to add five new camping sites, and to improve park entrances and roads leading to and inside the national parks. The first expenditure will go to buying more land, so that 8 % of the country's land is protected in national parks. The Blyde River National Park and the Wild Coast National Park in Pondoland will be the newest parks to be proclaimed later this year, bringing to 24 the number of national parks in the country. In 2005 Kruger Park received over 1 million visitors, closely followed by Table Mountain, also a national park.

Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape would be a strong candidate for some of the Minister's monies, its accommodation units having seen little improvement since their establishment in the 'Seventies. The two star graded accommodation in the park is an insult to the calibre of guests wishing to stay over, to enjoy the wonderful wildlife in the park, the closest such park for Western Cape tourists.

Shamwari has benefited from the poor quality accommodation offered at Addo Elephant Park, and has set itself up as an exclusive luxury game park close to Addo. Once highly regarded as the definitive private game reserve in South Africa, it has slipped in its quality and now lags behind the top award-winning game lodges, in particular Singita on the edge of the Kruger Park. A recent visit to Shamwari was most disappointing, with exceptionally poor quality meals and service, especially at its Bushman's River Lodge, which has a 5-star grading.

For the first time Shamwari is targeting South Africans with a special winter offer, inviting them to get away from their cellphones and their computers in their advertising campaign. However, there is almost no cellphone reception in the area, and there are no guest internet facilities at Shamwari anyway! Shamwari has some interesting management directives, including that its staff should not reveal the numbers of wildlife it has (a typical question which is asked by German tourists), nor that staff should discuss the recent tragic accident, in which three tourists died when the Shamwari Landrover they were using for game viewing rolled backwards and overturned.

The sudden departure of the Grande Roche Hotel GM Horst Frehse a year ago to join Singita has led to an exodus of Grande Roche management staff in Paarl to join their former boss at Singita. The previous GM of the Cape Grace Hotel, Tony Romer-Lee, has also just joined Singita.


NEW WHALE WALK

The whales returning to Hermanus have been honoured with the new IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Whale Walk, reports the Hermanus Tourism Bureau. The cliff paths along the Walker Bay coastline in Hermanus afford the town the honour of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world. Thanks to the sponsorship by the IFAW, eight information boards relating to whales and dolphins have been erected along the coastal walkway. The boards were developed by Oceans for Africa's Noel Ashton, a highly regarded whale illustrator. The IFAW protects wild and domestic animals, and also advocates the protection of whales at the International Whaling Commission.

Dr Peter Best of the Mammal Research Institute estimates that the number of Southern Right whales visiting South Africa from May to December is growing by 7 % per year, reports the Hermanus Times. In 2005 as many as 140 whales were counted in Walker Bay during a weekly whale count in the greater Hermanus area.

Zolile Baleni has been appointed to take over from Wilson Salukazana as Hermanus' Whale Crier, the only such person in the world to announce the sighting of whales with his kelp horn.

South Africa's previous International Whaling Commission representative and deputy chairman has joined the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Horst Kleinschmidt is highly regarded and has been appointed to Sea Shepherd's advisory board, and as a director of its South African branch. The Society has become known for its aggressive means of stopping Japanese boats from catching as many as 900 whales in the Antarctic every year. According to the Cape Argus, Kleinschmidt joined the Society because it is the only body to actively encourage anti-whaling. Sea Shepherd local spokesperson Dr Herbert Henrich lives in Franschhoek, and is often called on to defend the Society's aggressive actions when challenged by Dolphin Action Group's Nan Rice in local newspapers. Henrich serves on the Society's international Board of Scientific, Technical and Conservation Advisors.

Sea Shepherd's ship Farley Mowat, which has been detained in Cape Town harbour since the beginning of this year due to not having all the required safety, security and crew certificates, is about to leave Cape Town, reports the Cape Argus. A South African-licensed captain will take the ship out of South African international waters, to meet the crew specifications. Sea Shepherd argued that its ship is a yacht registered in Canada, and therefore does not require the certification.

Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 29 years ago, recently wrote an essay, in which he motivates why his Society enjoys being "...the most despised, hated and reviled conservation organisation in the world." Not wanting to be merely a conservation club, Watson wants to lead an "interventionist conservation organisation". He continues: "I wanted to create an organisation that would rock the boat, hell sink a few, if need be. I wanted a group that would say things that people did not want to hear, that would be politically incorrect, that would do things people did not like..."! You reports that Warner Brothers has bought the movie rights to the story of Watson's life, and the movie is to be shot in and around Cape Town.

Herman Oosthuizen has taken over Kleinschmidt's role as commissioner at the International Whaling Commission, representing South Africa.

The popular De Hoop walking trail is to be expanded. Called the Whale Trail due to the whale watching it offers close to Arniston, it is set to offer a luxury service including a catering, massage and porter service at the cost of R 1 200 per person for the three night trail, says the Cape Argus. The project is estimated to cost R 23 million to build three luxury lodges and to improve roads in the area.


RESTAURANT (F)RANK !

La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig in Cape Town has beaten Le Quartier Francais on the 2006 UK Restaurant Top 50 international restaurant list, and has also taken over the latter restaurant's Best Restaurant in Middle East and Africa honour, which it had won in 2005. La Colombe was listed for the first time this year, and Chef Franck Dangereux was delighted to be listed at 28th place. Le Quartier Francais lagged behind in 38th place.

Le Quartier Francais' listing is surprising, as it has not been recognised in South Africa in the past two years by the definitive Eat Out Restaurant Guide, which annually selects the Top Restaurant, the Top Chef, as well as the Top 10 restaurant list. Before 2005, Le Quartier Francais wore the Best Restaurant crown in Eat Out for many years. A closer analysis shows that Lannice Snyman was the editor of Eat Out until 2004, and also headed up the Southern African and Indian Ocean Islands region selection team for the Restaurant awards. La Colombe is also a current Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant.

Germany's popular Bunte magazine cynically described the Restaurant awards as emphasising 'avant garde' ahead of 'haute cuisine', clearly disappointed that the restaurants of Germany's top chefs Dieter Mueller and Harald Wohlfahrt achieved only 34th and 41st place, respectively.

El Bulli, near Roses on Spain's Costa Brava, was ranked first in the Restaurant awards list, followed by The Fat Duck, the winner in 2005. Third place went to Pierre Gagnaire in France, fourth place to the French Laundry in the USA, and fifth was Tetsuya in Australia. France retains its gastronomic reputation with ten restaurants in the Top 50 list, followed by the USA with eight restaurants, and Spain and the UK each have six Top 50 restaurants.

Actor Leonardo diCaprio entertained his mother and grandmother at well-known Franschhoek restaurant La Petite Ferme last week.

Cape Town has seen the opening of a number of new restaurants, including Forty Ate, a gallery and restaurant; The Showroom, the new restaurant owned by Bruce Robertson, previously of Cape Grace's one.waterfront; and Cafe Maxim, serving bread flown in from Poilane in Paris and offering Maxim fashion jewellery. Chef Graeme Shapiro, previously owner of The Restaurant in Green Point in Cape Town, and most recently running the Sonnenberg Hoffman Galombik in-house restaurant, has emigrated to Australia.

WhaleTales is a newsletter issued by the Whale Cottage Guest House Portfolio
and is edited by Chris von Ulmenstein. Past issues of WhaleTales can be read on the website
www.whalecottage.com



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