For the first time in many years, bookings for the summer season ahead appear cautious and less good than in previous summers. The Rugby World Cup, the international financial market jitters of the past month, and the interest rate hikes in the United Kingdom may all be influencing bookings. Hermanus is an exception, and is doing well, with record occupancies since August, and excellent bookings ahead.

The Whale Cottage Portfolio believes in giving new entrants to the industry the opportunity to do their practical training at its guest houses. Currently Rachel Li from China is completing her tourism training, while Steffi Pawlak and Katharina Schneider from Germany will join Whale Cottage for the summer season in October. We extend a warm Whale Cottage welcome to them.

We wish our tourism colleagues a successful summer season, and our tourists a super summer holiday.

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio

IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER
Cape Town Top Ten City
Cape Town Routes Unlimited remains grounded

Soccer World Cup
1000 days away!

Platter’s Port Pick

Dreamworld not yet
come true

Whale Celebration

Cape Town Top Ten City
 

CAPE TOWN TOP TEN CITY

 
 

The UK Conde Nast has ranked Cape Town as the eighth Best City, a dramatic increase from its 17th position last year, in its 2007 Readers’ Travel Awards, according to the Cape Times. Sydney was voted the top city in the world, and other top cities include New York, Paris, Rome and Venice. By contrast, South Africa as a country has slipped nine places to 21st in the world. Singita Private Game Reserve was the highest rated South African destination, while The Cape Grace Hotel and Londolozi Private Game Reserve also made it to the top 100 destinations list. The Cape Grace was the only South African establishment to make the top list of business hotels. In the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Islands Leisure Top 20 hotel list, Singita was ranked 3rd, Cape Grace 7th, Londolozi 9th, Ellerman House 11th, Kwande Private Game Reserve 13th and Lion Sands Private Game Reserve 18th. The Cape Grace was ranked top for its staff and service. Pezula was the only spa to make it on the top spa list. SAA was voted as 9th best long haul leisure travel airline, in which category Virgin was voted as best in the world.


 
Cape Grace on Cape Town's Waterfront

South Africa has a new permanent representative in London, in the form of a new statue of its icon Nelson Mandela. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled the statue in Parliament Square last month. The USA was the lead international tourism source in June, and tourists from this country increased by 11 %, followed by the UK, Germany Australia and France. Overall, the international arrivals in June were 11 % higher than the year before, reports TravelHub. Cape Town music fans are set to enjoy a summer musical feast, in the form of performances by Enrique Iglesias in October, Michael Bubble in December, Elton John in January, and Celine Dion in February. Locals are to be encouraged to travel in their own country, in a new Domestic Tourism campaign developed by SA Tourism. The campaign will focus on the affordability of local tourism products. The tour operator association SATSA has called on the government to liberalise its air access strategy, in order to encourage more tourist arrivals from key source markets, reports TravelHub. Addressing the parliamentary committee on tourism SATSA CEO Michael Tatalias said that only six of the 25 international tourism source markets identified by SA Tourism are serviced by SAA. Tourists from Scandinavia are set to travel to Cape Town and the Garden Route in greater numbers this summer, with the arrival of MyTravel charter flights from Sweden and Denmark from November. George Airport has opened a new terminal, and is expected to see one million passengers by 2012, almost double the current passenger numbers. A name change that will be hard to come to grips with is that of the landmark Arabella Sheraton Hotel adjacent to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which is now called The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays. The name change results from a joint-venture agreement with Starwood, giving Arabella exclusive rights to the Westin brand in South Africa and Namibia.

Chapman’s Peak has been an unfortunate victim of the heavy rainfalls experienced in the past winter, and is indefinitely closed to traffic so that potential rockslides can be avoided. Since opening in 2003, the pass has been closed for 132 days, reports the Weekend Argus. Cape Town residents travelling between Hout Bay and Noordhoek believe that there are more road closures since the rock catch fences were installed than before.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited remains grounded

 

CAPE TOWN ROUTES UNLIMITED REMAINS GROUNDED

 
 

Cape Town Routes Unlimitedís annual industry PR exercise is the “Access the Destination Workshop”, which it has hosted for the past five years in conjunction with airport company ACSA and the Western Cape provincial government. Whilst well attended, the programme feels to be the same year on year, with the same speakers. It was noticeable that the City of Cape Town was largely uninvolved in the speaker line-up and presence, even though it is still a 50 % funder of Cape Town Routes Unlimited until June next year. Many speakers were provincial government employees. Only two speakers were from the country’s private sector. A welcome addition this year was the topic of the 2010 World Cup, and the greatest value of the Workshop lay in this session.

Given the financial sword hanging over Cape Town Routes Unlimited due to the planned withdrawal of funding by the City of Cape Town from July 2008, the free attendance of the Workshop offered to the industry does not make business sense, given that the Workshop was run over one and half days, and lunches and teas had to be provided for more than 300 delegates, paid for by rate- and tax payers’ monies. In addition, each delegate received a carry bag and a hat with Cape Town Routes Unlimited branding. One feels that Cape Town Routes Unlimited could have spent the monies more efficiently on marketing Cape Town, especially in the light of the quieter September/early October due to the Rugby World Cup.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s funding remains in the news. A
TravelHub report quoted Calvyn Gilfillan, Acting CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, proudly but prematurely announcing that the City of Cape Town had reversed its decision on the withdrawal of its funding of Cape Town Routes Unlimited. The reversal of the funding was to be subject to a “greater say on the CTRU Board by way of legislative review” for the City. Two days later, the media conference to announce this reversal was held, but communicated a very different message. Cape Town Routes Unlimited Chairman George Uriesi announced that due to the uncertainty created by the City’s withdrawal of its funding, it will be going it alone with provincial and any other funding it can raise. Given the importance of the announcement, and its impact on tourism, the full Cape Town Routes Unlimited media release of 19 September follows below:

“The new Board of Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) at its inception on 20 June 2007 was faced with a notice of withdrawal by the City of Cape Town. Since then the Board has done everything in its power, not only to address the concerns raised by the City, but all of the other issues that the Board felt required to be addressed in CTRU.

Alongside these efforts the Board has kept in touch with key officials of the City including Executive Mayor Helen Zille and Councillor Simon Grindrod with the view to getting them to show confidence in the Board and withdraw the notice.

Following these efforts the Board was advised that the Mayoral Committee took a decision earlier today to “suspend” the notice it had given CTRU on 29 June 2007. According to the original notice the City was to discontinue its funding of the organisation by July 2008.

While the Board of CTRU appreciates this gesture of the City, it is of the view that it does not materially change the current status. A mere suspension of the notice does not provide the certainty and stability that the Board requires in order to strengthen this institution. CTRU needs to be a “going concern” if it is to attract and retain the calibre of human resources needed to deliver on its mandate as well as to win the confidence of stakeholders and suppliers both locally and internationally.

As a result the Board of CTRU is left with no other option at this stage but to seek a sustainable model for Cape Town Routes Unlimited to continue without the funding of the City of Cape Town. To this end the Board will be considering all possible options urgently.

“The Board and several stakeholders maintain that the tourism interests of Cape Town and the Western Cape are and will be best served by a single, effective destination marketer, which is also the model of global best practice. Thus CTRU will continue to market Cape Town and the Western Cape as a choice destination in an extremely competitive global market. It will remain one of our main efforts to continue working at bringing the City back on board,” George Uriesi, Chairperson of the CTRU Board, said.

“Our immediate priority now is the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. With less than 1 000 days to go, the CTRU team is 100% focused on ensuring that this golden opportunity is fully exploited for the benefit of Cape Town and the Western Cape before, during and after the tournament,” Uriesi said.”

Last month Cape Town Routes Unlimited Chairman George Uriesi wrote to the industry for the first time, after a three month silence since the City’s funding withdrawal was announced, to communicate that the administrative and financial management problems identified in the review of Cape Town Routes Unlimited by the City’s consultants were being addressed as a matter of urgency. He also announced that more input will be sought from the private sector, and therefore the Advisory Committees on Marketing, Destination Development, and Visitors and Memberships will be re-instated.

Provincial Minister of Tourism Lynne Brown is reported in TravelHub to have said that the names of Cape Town Routes Unlimited and of the destination brand ‘Cape Town and Western Cape’ may change. The organisation is currently selecting a new CEO.

Soccer World Cup 1000 days away

 

SOCCER WORLD CUP 1000 DAYS AWAY

 
   

The milestone 1000 days to the World Cup 2010 was reached two weeks ago. FIFA appears to be satisfied with South Africa’s planning for and progress with the event, and a visit by Franz Beckenbauer, executive FIFA member, and head of Germany’s World Cup, has reinforced this. Beckenbauer was in the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Confederation of African Football. He was quoted in the Cape Argus as saying that:” I am very, very impressed. There is a lot of work facing the people, but everyone is doing an excellent job”. He likened the new Green Point stadium to a mixture of the Berlin and Munich stadia

The preliminary 2010 draw will be hosted in Durban on 23 November, and 3 000 FIFA, soccer and 2010 Local Organising Committee delegates are expected to attend.

2010 match tickets can be obtained from as little as R 150 to a maximum of R 3 000 per ticket. An allocation of 15 % of the total number of tickets will be lower priced tickets, for which eligibility will be determined by a lottery.

TELKOM has signed with FIFA as a National Supporter for the World Cup.


 
Green Point Stadium construction site                              

Airlines flying in to South Africa for the World Cup will be allocated specific airports at which they must land, depending on where they are coming from. All flights from South American countries and the USA will land at Cape Town International; flights from Europe, the Middle East and the rest of Africa will land at OR Thambo airport in Johannesburg; and flights from Asia and Australia are to land at the new King Shaka International Airport in Durban, says TravelHub. The allocation is to help reduce congestion at OR Thambo airport. Private planes may have to use Lanseria, Grand Central and Rand airport in Johannesburg.

The construction of the new King Shaka airport was approved last month, subject to 80 environmental conditions, reports Business Report. The airport is expected to handle 7,5 million passengers annually on its completion, in time for the World Cup. One of the environmental conditions is that “flight schedules must be planned around the flight times of the swallows.” More than 1,3 million birds are in the area in summer. Chameleons are also to be taken out of bushes before they are cleared for construction.

Project 2010 reports that a recent survey shows that three-quarters of South Africans believe that the World Cup will be good for South Africa in terms of job creation, tourism and the impact on the economy.

Conrad Mayer, Chairman of the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, addressed the ‘Access the Destination’ Workshop on the lessons Munich had learnt as a Host City for the 2006 World Cup. “Even if the high turnover speculations were not fulfilled in some regions of Germany, the World Cup was, above all, a priceless Public Relations success.” he told the tourism industry delegates. More than 2,5 million bednights were sold in Germany at that time, with a 3,4 % average increase in rates. Germany’s GDP rose by 2,4 % over the previous year. The accommodation sector recorded a growth of 8% and the catering industry a 4 % growth. Prices for the World Cup period were set moderately, yet peaked on, during and after matches played in Munich. The ‘right’ pricing level was a large talking point for Munich hoteliers. In preparation for the World Cup hosting in Munich, four tourism conferences, involving the entire tourism industry, were held to create networking between all service providers. The Munich industry commissioned a survey to define what Bavarian “Gastlichkeit” meant, and then implemented ‘Friendliness Seminars’, to which taxi drivers, policemen and retailers were also invited, briefing participants on dealing with international guests and the media. Mayer’s association compiled an intercultural communications guideline, to assist the industry in understanding, respecting and reflecting specific international guests’ cultures. The association educated its restaurant and bar members about licenses that were needed for public viewing of the matches on their big screens if an entrance fee was charged at such establishments.

During the World Cup 2006 Munich hoteliers found that many of their regular guests stayed away from the city, changing their business and conference visits to before and after the event. In June 2006 the overnight stays decreased by 4 % due to this, despite the World Cup. Direct accommodation bookings for the event were only received six months in advance of the World Cup, for those establishments that had not offered the bulk of their accommodation to FIFA via MATCH. MATCH cancelled 60 % of the rooms it was holding five weeks before the start of the World Cup for the days that were not match days. Variations were experienced in hotel occupancies during the month-long World Cup, falling to as low as 19 %, depending on the scheduling of matches in Munich. Given an excellent June 2005, some Munich hotels experienced a decline in turnover in June 2006 relative to the year before. However, many hotels made this up with improved turnovers in May and July, with displaced business.

Munich welcomed more visitors from the USA than from any other country during World Cup 2006, followed by Italy and the UK. Visitor numbers from South American countries, Central America and the USA increased considerably in Munich, and this is seen to have long-term tourism benefits.

A German branding expert and author of “Brand Ovation”, visiting the country this month, was Nikolaus Ebert, who said that Germany won the World Cup 2006 in terms of the improvement of its brand value, now ranking second on the Nation Brand Index. The event turned around Germany’s sagging economy, changed the mood of Germans and made Germany an attractive tourism destination. He advised South Africa to have an objective of how it wanted the world to perceive the county, particularly given that South Africa has slipped from 22nd to 33rd position on the same Index, reports the Cape Argus. He attributed the slide in the country’s standing to perceptions about crime and HIV/AIDS.

Dr Laurine Platzky, Deputy Director-General in the Western Cape provincial government, warned the industry at the ‘Access the Destination’ workshop that Cape Town would lose some special FIFA privileges if it did not get enough rooms signed up by MATCH. A Fan Park is planned for the Grand Parade in the Cape Town city centre, and a Fan Mile will stretch from the Grand Parade to the stadium in Green Point. Third Party Public Viewing is planned for Philippi, Athlone and the V & A Waterfront. Platzky estimated that up to 40 000 British supporters, and about 30 000 Italian and 30 000 German supporters can be expected. She encouraged businesses to get involved in the World Cup, and opportunities for such involvement are listed on the website www.greenpointstadium2010.co.za.

The tourism sector is professional and well-prepared, and leading 2010 preparations, Moeketsi Mosola, CEO of South African Tourism, told the ‘Access the Destination’ workshop. He said that the event is opening the skies to airlines increasing their flights to South Africa. Emirates is starting a direct flight to Cape Town from January 2008. SA Tourism has a detailed Tourism Plan for 2010, the objective of which is a world-class 2010 African event to be staged, which will lead to job creation, GDP growth and is to transform the nation, Mosola said.. While ‘Brand South Africa” is set to benefit from the event, Mosola said that other African countries will be incorporated into the event. Programmes that S A Tourism is working on for 2010 include marketing the country via packages linked to MATCH, increasing the number of graded establishments, addressing service levels, creating an event and attractions database, clean Host Cities, hygiene standards of restaurants, public transport, and a national safety plan. Close to 450 000 international visitors are expected for World Cup 2010, while the tourism industry income is estimated at R 11 billion.

The MATCH contract for Smaller non-Hotel Accommodation for World Cup 2010 has been amended, in order to attract more Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfasts and Self-Catering establishments to provide accommodation for 2010. It is the first time in FIFA’s history that a separate contract has been drawn up for smaller accommodation establishments. The biggest change is that MATCH will add its booking fee on top of the establishment’s net 2010 rate, the latter rate calculated by a prescribed 16% of the 2007 rate. The original 30 % commission MATCH wished to take out of the establishments’ net rate was a major deterrent to the smaller accommodation segment signing with MATCH. The cancellation terms have also become a little more palatable. However, the amended MATCH contract still has problems, in that it specifies that the basis for the calculation of the 2010 rate must be the June/July 2007 rate. This rate base has now been altered, to allow establishments to use the summer 2007 rate, but the contract has not been altered to reflect this change. Whilst stating that it is adding 30 % to the establishment’s 2010 rate to calculate the rate it will charge soccer guests, MATCH in fact is adding a 43 % booking fee to the rate of each establishment, which could create perceptions that the South African accommodation industry is opportunistically priced, when it is in fact the hefty MATCH fee that will create this perception. The contract also states that MATCH will not have to refund the “taxes” when it pays cancellation fees, meaning that establishments lose a further 14 % to VAT. This is felt to be illegal, and MATCH will have to communicate to the industry what exactly it means by “taxes” it plans to withhold. Overall the MATCH contract places all rights and benefits with MATCH, and very little other than rates with the accommodation establishments.

In a MATCH “Frequently Asked Questions” booklet, it states that MATCH is looking for 55 000 rooms for World Cup 2010. These will be used to accommodate FIFA delegates, VIP’s, Local Organising Committee delegates, referees, sponsors, the media, and soccer fans buying match ticket and accommodation packages via MATCH. The booklet also prescribes the accommodation requirements of each of these MATCH client categories, and the fact that most of them require 24 hour service means that the bulk of the MATCH accommodation will go to 5-star establishments. Only the individual soccer fans do not have the service specification, and therefore can be accommodated by smaller establishments. Interestingly, the service requirements are not written into the MATCH contract.

The South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has called for “proper public transport” for 2010. Its Western Cape chairman Vernon Kirsten is looking for “effective transport between the airport and the central business district.” “We must think innovatively and find a solution,” he said. He was also critical of ACSA, in that it does not consult with the tourism industry when it plans extensions and improvements to the airport, “as it is in everyone’s interest that these are the best possible” he added. The long lead times of issuing transport operators with permits, in some instances up to two years, should also be addressed, he said.

At least eight new hotels are being built in Cape Town to capitalise on 2010, and include the Taj hotel on St George’s Mall; 15 on Orange; Express by Holiday Inn, also on St George’s Mall; One & Only in the V & A Waterfront; two further hotels in the Waterfront; and another alongside the Convention Centre. Cape Town is estimated to have 1 500 accommodation establishments already, with about 50 000 rooms in total, reports the Weekend Argus. The number of rooms in Cape Town is expected to more than double to 120 000 by 2010.

Platter’s Port Pick
 

PLATTER’S PORT PICK

 
 

The wine bible John Platter Wine Guide will publish its 2008 edition in November, but has given a sneak preview of its five star wine list.

The twenty-one highly sought after five-star wines include five ports, of which two are the Boplaas 2005 Vintage Reserve and NV Cape Tawny. Cape Point Vineyards (Woolworths) Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2007 as well as two further Cape Point Vineyards wines, Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2005, and De Trafford Shiraz 2005 are also on the five-star list.

For the first time, Platter will pick a Winery of the Year, reports Bolander.

The Diner’s Club International Wine awards have been announced, and the Western Cape won by far the most awards in the annual competition. Judging criteria included pricing, food and wine matching, the range of varietals, corkage policy, wine-by-the-glass availability, description of the wines, and legibility of the winelist. Award Convenor Michael Olivier observed that restaurants are sourcing a greater number of unusual wines, including organic and garagiste wines, reports the Cape Times. He also found that waiters are becoming better trained and that the quality of wine glassware has improved. The ‘Award of Excellence’ winners are 96 Winery Road, Au Jardin, Aubergine, Azure, Belthazar, Bosman’s, Bushman’s Kloof, Cape Colony, Catharina’s, De Oude Welgemoed, De Volkskombuis, Diaz Strand Hotel, Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, Harvey’s at the Mansions, JJ’s, La Colombe, Marc’s Mediterranean Cuisine and Garden, onewaterfront, Plettenberg Hotel, Poplars, Riboville, Rodwell House, Smokey Swallows, Vault Wine Cellar and Restaurant, Villa Belmonte and Zachary’s.

Bosman’s restaurant at the Grand Roche hotel in Paarl has won the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Restaurant Award.

Hamilton Russell wines from the Hemel and Aarde valley in Hermanus were served in Monaco when Prince Albert hosted Nelson Mandela at the fundraiser ‘United for a Better World’ earlier this month. The Hamilton Russell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are sold at El Bulli and The Fat Duck, the two best restaurants in the world. The Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir won the Wine Spectator Critics’ Choice award last month, reports The Times.

Jancis Robinson, well-known UK wine personality, wrote a very complimentary article about her visit to Franschhoek in May, when she was a speaker at the first Franschhoek Literary Festival. In her Financial Times article, reprinted in the Franschhoek Tatler, Robinson described Franschhoek as “so damned beautiful that only the most blinkered, tiresomely obsessive wine lover could go there and ignore the scenery”. In the article she praises South African white wines in general, describing them as “some of the world’s great wine bargains”, and also states that “more and more exciting reds are made every year.” Robinson writes in sparkling terms about the leading Franschhoek wine estates Boekenhoutskloof, Chamonix, L’Omarins and Solms Delta.

Earlier this month, Franschhoek held its first Franschhoek Uncorked wine festival, encouraging winelovers to visit the 25 participating wine estates. The weather gods were unkind to the weekend event, and too little marketing impacted on attendance. However, the Festival is set to become a popular event in future. Each estate served food at very reasonable prices, e.g. prawns at Glenwood, a Reubens braai at Boekenhoutskloof, curry at Rickety Bridge, crepes at Plaisir de Merle, sushi at Chamonix, tapas at Lynx and cheeses at Dieu Donne. The second Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival takes place on 1 and 2 December.

A Whitehouse & Associates wine consultant has advised South Africa to focus on the lucrative African market. Chile already is successfully targeting Africa as one if its markets. South African wines are generally well received in Africa. Wines of South Africa research has shown that Angola and Nigeria are two important African markets. South African payment terms and promotional support hamper the success of South Africa’s performance on the continent, the research concluded, reports Business Report.

Thirty double gold awards were presented at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards this month, trophies being awarded to Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2003, La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Organic Trophy), Leon Engelke’s Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Garagiste Trophy) and Southern Cape Barry Nephews Potstill Brandy 2003. Hartenberg The Stork Shiraz 2003 won the Grand Prix Trophy.

Wamakersvallei Winery in Wellington has won the 2007 SA Young Wine Awards for its Pinotage.

Dreamworld not yet come true

 

DREAMWORLD NOT YET COME TRUE

 
 

Simon Grindrod, Cape Town Mayco member and responsible for economic development of the City, including tourism and film, is now focusing his attention on the DreamWorld film studio project to be built at Faure near Somerset West. Film maker Anant Singh was declared the successful bidder for the film studio two years ago, but building work has not yet commenced. According to news reports, the City would spend the close to R 20 million elsewhere if the Film Studio development does not commence soon, Grindrod is reported to have threatened. In what sounds like a political power play, Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool defended DreamWorld, saying that it was not the bidder’s fault that no building work had commenced, but rather that of the City, which had not yet provided the infrastructure for building work to commence on the site. The City has blamed the Western Cape province for the delay, which has responded that the legal agreements have taken so long to prepare. The Film Studio construction cost is estimated at R 400 million, and is expected to create 8 000 construction jobs.

DreamWorld is to have a film school, and Western Cape Premier Rasool has signed an agreement with the Indian Whistling Woods International Institute, a top Bollywood film and television training facility. More Bollywood film productions are expected to be shot in Cape Town as a result of the agreement.

A movie about Hansie Cronje, South Africa’s infamous cricket captain, is currently being shot. Cronje’s brother Frans wrote the screenplay. Frank Rautenbach will play the disgraced match-fixing cricketer while American actress Sarah Thompson will play his wife Bertha.

Whale Celebration
 
WHALE CELEBRATION
 
   

Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay both have celebrated the splendour of the visiting whales. The Hermanus Whale Festival has become an institution, and this year appears to be the most successful ever, judging by the number of calls received for accommodation bookings. Whale Cottage Hermanus is fully booked for most days of the Festival, which runs until the end of the month, co-inciding with the school holiday. The Whale Welcome Wave is a recent introduction, and encourages as many locals and visitors as possible to gather around the Hermanus cliff paths and create a human chain to welcome the whales. This year the Wave was affected by the rain, which seems to have dampened the wavering spirits almost every year since its inception.

It is a shame that the upgrade of the popular whale watching spot at Gearing’s Point in Hermanus was not completed in time for the Whale Festival. The parking area is being brick-paved, and the town’s municipality left the project far too late, given that the huge influx of visitors to Hermanus for the Whale Festival was predictable.

Plettenberg Bay’s ‘Whiskey, Whales and all that Jazz’ is a more recent event and not yet known on the scale of the Hermanus Whale Festival. Freshlyground performed at a beach concert, attendance unfortunately also affected by rain. Francois le Roux, an outstanding jazz cellist, performed at Fu.shi during the Festival.

Hermanus has introduced an alternative to whale watching for the days when the whales go under due to bad weather, and for tourists who wish to learn more about whales. Marine artist Noel Ashton has compiled an informative audio-visual presentation, using his paintings as well as scientific illustrations to educate audiences about the different species of whales. Ashton is the illustrator of whale information boards at the whale watching spots along the Hermanus cliff paths. ‘The Whale Show’, which is sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, runs daily at 10h00, 12h00 and 15h00, and can be seen at The Whale House. No prior booking is required. More information about and examples of Ashton’s work is a-whale-able on www.oceansofafrica.co.za.


 
One of Noel Ashton's paintings of a Southern Right whale        

Recent NATO naval exercises off the Cape Peninsula were criticised for being scheduled at a time when whales visit the area in great numbers. The SA Navy and NATO representatives confirmed that they would not use sonars, for environmental reasons, reports the Cape Argus.

 
WHALE COTTAGE
FRANSCHHOEK

  
WHALE COTTAGE
HERMANUS

  
WHALE COTTAGE
PLETTENBERG BAY
      

   
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