Tag Archives: Grand Parade

Colourful Cape Town day, with two long-standing events: Cape Minstrels and Cape2Rio yacht race!


It’s an exciting day in Cape Town today, being the second New Year’s Day and proclaimed as a public holiday, the city showing its colourful side with two events.

The traditional Tweede Nuwe Jaar Cape Minstrel Carnival takes to the streets between Bo-Kaap and the Grand Parade this afternoon, with thousands of minstrels expected to participate in the procession. Continue reading →

Cape Minstrels march colourful yet disruptive start to New Year in Cape Town!

Minstrels 2014I did not venture near the city centre on Saturday to see the annual Cape Minstrels march, held on 4 January this year for the first time, to allow more participants than would be the case on the traditional Tweede Nuwe Jaar (2 January), when some of the troupe members would have to be back at work.   It is a shame that a tradition with so much heritage should be marred with political posturing by the City of Cape Town and the ANC, and that the Cape Town city centre streets were gridlocked yet again.  More than 40000 minstrels were reported by The New Age to have participated.

The city centre was largely closed off for parking for the day, Wale Street being on the route and having metal stands to prevent any parking.  We read that some Minstrel march enthusiasts camped on the city’s pavements from the night before, to get the best view of the march.  The day started off badly, the troupes leaving Bo Kaap later than announced.

As the 75 troupes marched down from Bo Kaap via Wale Street to the Grand Parade, it caused traffic mayhem on Buitengracht Street in both directions, this street being an important road in and out of Cape Town, as well as on Long Street, as one could not cross Wale Street.  We were told that despite horrific parking Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 30/31 December

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   For the first time ever Long Street (between Wale and Buitensingel Streets) will be closed to traffic from 20h00 on 31 December until 4h00 on 1 January, creating one of the biggest street parties Cape Town will have ever seen!

*   Four low cost domestic airlines may take off in 2014, in competition to Mango and kulula, reducing the cost of domestic air tickets, it is speculated.  Skywise, 1Time, FlySafair, and Fastjet are likely to begin operating next year.

*  Tonight the City of Cape Town is hosting what has been billed as ‘Africa’s largest free’ New Years Eve party on the Grand Parade, not only to celebrate the start of 2014, but also to inaugurate Cape Town’s status as World Design Capital 2014.

*   The Cape minstrel marches should be given ‘national heritage status’, reports the Cape Argus, to prevent the annual wrangle between the minstrel associations and the City of Cape Town, which has to offer permits, financial,  and traffic service support.  Tonight the Malay Choir Nagtroupe will march at midnight, while the daytime march in the streets of Cape Town will take place on Friday 4 January, two days later than the usual date.

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

City of Cape Town’s T.E.A.M. is ‘keyholder that can unlock tourism to Cape Town’!

Yesterday afternoon Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town’s new TEAM (Tourism, Events, Arts, Marketing) Directorate, addressed the French networking group CAP40 at the Alliance Française on the topic ‘Perspective on strategic and policy intiatives to grow the Tourism business in Cape Town‘.  He was described as the ‘keyholder that can unlock tourism to the Cape’. Groenewald has become the most powerful person in Tourism in Cape Town, and has a considerable budget.

Groenewald is an interesting man, very honest (often at his own expense) and direct, very goal-orientated, non-political in his actions, and charming even though he may be ruthlessly honest.  He is not always ‘media-correct’ in his honesty, yet he does not seem to mind being quoted, no matter how sensitive his response may be to the parties he may be commenting about, as we discovered last year when Cape Town Tourism was blowing its own horn about the number of Twitter impressions it had created by inviting four international bloggers to the city. For Groenewald it is all about the bottom line, his mantra being ‘commercialisation’ to achieve revenue targets. His department has promised Cape Town Tourism R117 million for the three year period from 1 July 2013 onwards, but with demanding revenue and commercialisation targets to be achieved. He certainly means business, and was honest in admitting that a head of Cape Town Tourism who has been in the position for nine years no longer is fresh enough to be on top of her game.  He confirmed that its outgoing-CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold did not need any encouragement to not renew her contract.  They will shortly start recruiting a replacement CEO nationally as well as internationally.  His no-nonsense attitude shows when he stopped Cape Town Tourism PR Continue reading →