The Classic South African tour offers a blend of cities, countryside, and varied
wilderness eco-systems showcasing a land of many splendors. South Africa has seldom been out of the headlines in our lifetime.
This complex country has 11 official languages and is a first, second and third-world country rolled into one. It has a mix of races, tribes, religions and cultures matched by few other countries. The arrival of the dominating European culture with The Dutch East India Company in 1652, followed by the English and the French Huguenots set the stage for cultural conflict for the following 350 years......not all of it based on colour, however. The Boer/Brit struggles were as significant to the history as was the Zulu domination of large numbers of black tribes. The White/Black cultural clash was more notable primarily because the numbers involved were greater, and the cultural gap was wider.
The absurdity of the apartheid policy was a desperate reflection of the agony felt by the dominant white culture in attempting to find a solution that did not involve their domination by the culture of the majority black population. Extraordinarily, cometh the hour, cometh the men. The change in political control required not only a generosity of spirit, exemplified by Nelson Mandela, but a courageous repudiation of pseudo-religious dogma among the Afrikaner people by Frederick de Klerk. South Africa today faces enormous problems, but there is a spirit in the land that reflects that the people have been to the precipice, and have turned back from it to the broad uplands of hope. We want you to experience this ambiance, but above all we want you to understand this land better, so that your brief sojourn in it will in turn make the country better understood in the world.
There is a spirit in the land that reflects that the people have been to the precipice, and have turned back from it to the broad uplands of hope. We want you to experience this ambiance, but above all we want you to understand this land better, so that your brief sojourn in it will in turn make the country better understood in the world.
The natural landscape around Johannesburg gives no hint as to why the most important business centre on the African continent should be here. It is only the "mine dumps", the residue of deep underground mining, that gives the game away.The richest gold deposits in the world were the reason for the existence of Johannesburg, and while today gold is relatively unimportant in the economic life of South Africa, its legacy lives on in this thriving metropolis that remains the commercial capital of the country. As an essential element to understanding the foundation and the challenges of today’s South Africa, we have a organized a two night and one day program. First arrivals, and first event, a casual dinner with local friends. We will be staying at the Westcliff Hotel,a 5 star-hotel set in gardens on a hillside
Our activities the the first full day will include a visit to some of the Apartheid Museum, to the Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto, to the Constitutional Court and Exhibit Hall, some Art Galleries, and maybe friends’ famous private garden....Read More
We travel together on a mid-morning plane from Johannesburg to Durban. We arrive in Durban and are off to discover the varied facets of beautiful Kwa Zulu-Natal, from the rugged mountains of the Drakensberg to the unspoiled coastal dunes, both World Heritage Sites.You will be exposed to the history and culture of the Zulus, the largest of South Africa’s varied tribes. World class game viewing with all the "Big Five" is also on the agenda. We will include some great hikes, a bit of horse-riding, some swimming and beach-combing, some historical sights; and Adrian has agreed to allow a small amount of time for shopping for lovely local crafts. We will again arrange for you to meet some interesting South Africans, here too.
Durban is set in lush sub-tropical hills on the coast. It is the third largest city in the country and its port is the busiest on the continent. We will take time for a light lunch adjacent to an African Art Gallery with unique Zulu works before heading inland in a chauffeured minibus to the beautiful “Midlands”. This is an agriculturally rich area set in rolling hills. We will continue to climb in elevation into the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains and to our destination, Cleopatra Mountain House, owned by Richard & “Mouse” Poynton....Read More
We will depart Cleopatra after breakfast on Tuesday and maybe stop in Durban for a visit to its colourful Indian Market. and a recommended Zulu Art Gallery with excellent Zulu baskets. There are over a million people of Indian extraction in Durban, adding yet another dimension to the ethnic patchwork quilt that is South Africa. Many in this now thriving community trace back their origins to the indentured labour brought in by the British to work the newlyestablished sugar farms.
Our destination, after Durban, is to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, an UNESCO World Heritage Area, where we will head to the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve; we fly over the beautiful coast and over the sugar cane plantations that are one of the important agricultural activities in the province. The unspoiled Kosi Bay Nature Reserve surrounds the rare and beautiful Kosi Bay lake system. It is a tropical paradise of crystal clear water, marshland, swamp...Read More
Once inside Phinda reserve all movementt is by Land Rover, or on foot accompanied by an armed ranger. Award-winning Phinda comprises 23 000 hectares (57 000 acres) of prime conservation land. Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard,elephant, black and white rhino,buffalo) and over 380 bird species,while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
We will be staying at the Rock Lodge, a stunning lodge nestled into a hillside. The first Phinda “Game Drive” will start around 5h30 p.m. and will last approximately 3 hours, and including “Sundowners” in the bush as the sun is setting. Returning to the lodge, dinner is taken either at the lodge or in the “Boma”, the traditional outdoor dining around a camp fire in a structure protected from wild animals...Read More
We depart Phinda after breakfast on Sunday and drive back to Durban, past sugar cane fields and sub-tropical vegetation. We will stop en-route for a lunch and then see a bit more of Durban before boarding our afternoon plane for the two hour flight to Cape Town. From The Cape Town airport, we will be taken by our chauffeured minibus to our Cape Town accommodation, the beautiful Constantia Uitsig Hotel and have a relaxing but delicious dinner there.
We will have three nights at the Constantia Uitsig, set in the vineyards of Constantia, but minutes from the city. “Uitsig” is known for not one, but two excellent restaurants and we will dine the second night at “La Colombe” in a private gazebo...Read More
We depart Cape Town by private plane in late morning, arrive at the Oppenheimer family’s Tswalu Kalahari Game Lodge, where we will be staying at Tarkuni or Motse Lodge. When Nicky Oppenheimer acquired Tswalu, his overall goal was "to restore the Kalahari to itself" and to make Tswalu one of the premier wildlife destinations in Africa as well as a premier South Africa game reserve. The area had previously been farmed with little regard for the environment, and as a result the very essence of the authentic Africa it once was had been almost completely destroyed. However, thanks to the destruction of dams, removal of houses and fences and reestablishment of indigenous game such as cheetah and lion, it is now on the road to resembling the real Africa that nature intended.
Activities here include serious game drives in our private Land-rover with tracker and guide, guided bush walks, game viewing on horse, archery, star gazing, sun downers, Meerkat viewing and fantastically soothing massages and spa. The schedule will be similar to that at Phinda, but here, horses are an alternative...Read More
For the first time we are adding a trip to Namibia to the South African trips that have now become annual events.
History and geography have combined to ensure that Namibia is less populated and less developed economically than South Africa. It is a rugged land where both animals and humans have had to adapt to the environment, and not vice versa. South Africa's influence on the country has been considerable, given League of Nations' Mandate originating after World War I, and ending in 1966. Today, Namibia's currency, the Namibian dollar, is tied to the South Africa Rand. The objective of the trip is to learn about this extraordinary land, its people, its flora and fauna.
It will be as comfortable as desert conditions allow, and above all should be fun, as we hope all of our trips are.
The trip starts and ends in Johannesburg, South Africa, international gateway to Southern Africa and the country that ruled Namibia under the League of Nations’ Mandate for much of the last century. Our first event is a Welcome dinner followed by a good night’s sleep in preparation for the trip to come. The following morning, we fly to Namibia, where we will begin by exploring Windhoek, the capital city, followed by 1) the major wildlife area at Etosha National Park, 2) the dramatic Fish River Canyon in the south, 3) the NamibRand desert area with its amazing Dunes, also in the south, and 4) the extraordinary Skeleton Coast area in the North West.
For the first time we are adding a trip to Namibia to the South African trips that have now become annual events. History and geography have combined to ensure that Namibia is less populated and less developed economically than South Africa. It is a rugged land where both animals and humans have had to adapt to the environment, and not vice versa. South Africa's influence on the country has been considerable, given League of Nations' Mandate originating after World War I, and ending in 1966. Today, Namibia's currency, the Namibian dollar, is tied to the South Africa Rand. The objective of the trip is to learn about this extraordinary land, its people, its flora and fauna. It will be as comfortable as desert conditions allow, and above all should be fun, as we hope all of our trips are The trip starts and ends in Johannesburg, South Africa, international gateway to Southern Africa and the country that ruled Namibia under the League of Nations’ Mandate for much of the last century. Our first event is a Welcome dinner followed by a good night’s sleep in preparation for the trip to come. The following morning, we fly to Namibia...Read More
On Tuesday morning, 1 March, we will depart from the Westcliff for Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo Airport and our two hour flight to Windhoek. With 250,000 inhabitants, Namibia's capital is the largest city in the country. The town is set at an altitude of 1650 meters in a beautiful valley. Once there, we will be staying at the Olive Grove, a small boutique hotel Everyone will be free to stroll and visit the not numerous sights of Windhoek before dinner. Much of the town’s interesting architecture dates back to German colonial rule. Places to visit include the "Tintenpalast" ("Ink Palace"), which houses Namibia's parliament, the Christuskirche (Christ Church) of the Lutheran parish from the year 1896, the "Reiterdenkmal" from 1912 and the "Alte Feste" (Old Fort); former headquarters of the Schutztruppe and today, Namibia's National Museum. Since 1997, the monumental Supreme Court building has overshadowed the historical buildings of Windhoek. On Wednesday 2 March we will board a private aircraft for a 1½ hour flight to the area of the Etosha National Park, one of Southern Africa's finest and most important Game Reserves. Etosha Game Park, covering an area of 22 270 square km, was declared a National Park in 1907. If you like either statistics or animals, it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, as is much quoted "only one species of fish", which no one seems to be able to identify... Read More
We will fly out from northern Namibia and head southwards. After brief stops at Swakopmund and Luderitz, two coastal towns, we will arrive near the Fish River Canyon, to stay at the Canon Lodge. The Fish River is, at 650 kilometers, the longest river in Namibia. The canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in the southern part of Namibia. It developed predominantly during the pluvial times - a rainy, climatic epoch about 500 million years ago. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, before the Grand Canyon in America. The enormous gorge meanders along a distance of approximately 160 kilometers through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to Ai-Ais. The gorge was created both by water erosion, and by the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth's crust. In winter, during the dry season, the river bed is often completely dry or reduced to only the occasional puddle. However, after rainfalls in summer the river can become a raging torrent. The canyon is part of a Nature Conservation Park, the Gondwana Cañon Park at the Fish River Canyon, which now covers an area of 1,120 square kilometers, this concept has been implemented successfully since 1996 by private enterprise....Read More
Namibia is an awesome land, arid, rough, desolate, but incredibly beautiful, in its vast, moon-like landscapes and endless horizons. It is a photographer's dreamland, a land of contrasts and earthy colours. It is not the place for those who like busy beaches and the social whirlwind, but for those who are drawn to nature, stillness, the romance of the grandiose landscape, desert and expanses. Namibia, is one of the least populated countries on earth for good reason. Survival is difficult for plants and animals; for man and beast. Survival is for the fittest and depends on adaptation to this arid environment, to all the tricks that nature can throw. A Bit of History: Because of its barren coastline, Namibia was one of the last parts of Africa to be colonized by Europeans. In 1883 a German merchant and adventurer, Adolf Luederitz from Bremen, bought the Bay of Angra Pequeña from Nama Chief Joseph Fredericks from Bethanien. He also bought the area in a 20 mile radius around the bay...Read More
We will fly over the Canyon before heading off northwards to the remarkable Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, owned and operated by the “&Beyond” Group that some of you will know from your experience at the Phinda Reserve in Kwa Zulu-Natal. Here we will experience the haunting beauty of the Namib Desert situated in the foothills of the private NamibRand Nature Reserve. Thanks to conservation efforts, the NamibRand spans 180 000 hectares (445000 acres) of pristine desert wilderness, and is the largest private nature reserve in Southern Africa. In the language of the Nama people of Namibia, the word 'Sossus' means a place where water collects. The word 'vlei' is an Afrikaans word meaning a depression where water collects. Loosely translated, Sossusvlei means 'the place where water collects'. The Namib – known as ‘The Living Desert’ – is a world of vast space, endless horizons, dramatic desert-scapes and jagged mountain heights. Led by Sossusvlei’s expert rangers and naturalists, explore the desert by quadbikes (allterrain four-wheeled motorcycles) or open 4x4 vehicles. An all day excursion to the famous Sossusvlei sand dunes, the highest in the world, and Sesriem Canyon will add to this unforgettable desert-safari experience....Read More
The highlight of this trip is just beginning. Now we embark on the thrilling Skeleton Coast Safari. Much of the area we will cover is National Park to which there is limited access. Louw Schoeman, a lawyer by profession and pioneer of eco-tourism in Namibia, came to know and love the Skeleton Coast and surrounding areas. This led him to take a leading role in its conservation and in the proclamation of the Skeleton Coast National Park in 1971. He then started the well known Skeleton Coast Safaris, the enterprise that his four sons continued and expanded upon. Today, middleaged and wiser for it, the Schoeman brothers are rated as the top experts on the Skeleton Coast and semi-desert areas of Namibia, and have privileged access to the Park. Everything is planned to surprise and delight adventurous souls. The Schoemans use their own aircraft as safari vehicles to transport you from one place of special interest to another, flying at "see" level to give you a breathtaking view before we land and explore by Land Rover or on foot, and later even by boat. You will experience fascinating bird's-eye views of shipwreck remains along the coast, diverse and ever-changing geological formations and the refuges of desert-dwelling animals such as the endangered black rhino and desert-adapted elephant...Read More
Susan Doull, Commendable Rentals’ founder, is to speak at the inaugural European Holiday Rental Professionals Seminar hosted by the Vacation Rental Managers Association
Susan has been selected to speak at the upcoming inaugural Holiday Rental Professionals Seminar hosted by the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), 4-5 December 2012 at the Barceló Atenea Mar Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. “The holiday rental industry is evolving, and this event will bring together, for the first time, holiday rental professionals from across Europe and beyond who are at the leading edge of the industry,” Susan said. “It is an honour to have been selected to speak at this event, and I look forward to sharing the experiences that we’ve had at Commendable Rentals ".
There will also be sessions by noted industry figures, Javier Delgado Muerza of Google Travel on “Internet & the Digital Era” and by Jordi Schoenenberger of Deloitte on the outlook of the European travel industry. Concurrent session speakers from a half-dozen countries will cover a variety of other subjects. The event promises to offer un-matched business and educational tools to help vacation rental managers deliver superior guest and homeowner experienceA committee of industry leaders from around the globe selected her because of her expertise in the vacation rentals industry. Susan, who has been in the tourism, hospitality, and the holiday rental industry for 25 years, will present a session entitled, “Dealing with Complaints in the Age of Internet Reviews”. This session will focus on the practical issues involved in both avoiding, and responding to, complaints.
About Susan Doull
ABOUT Commendable Rentals : Created in 2005 to market internationally, privately-owned attractive properties in Italy, Commendable Rentals’ has grown consistently ever since. That growth has been almost entirely due to word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied owners and from happy travellers. In 2010, the company began to include a limited number of boutique hotels and lodges which it considers complimentary to its rental properties. Today, Commendable Rentals markets some 50 properties in Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the USA and South Africa, all of which have been visited. Commendable Rentals only deals with properties of character in both major cities and rural areas, provides a up to date marketing effort for the owners of the properties, and seeks to develop long term relationships with the renters of the properties.
ABOUT VRMA: Founded in 1985, the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) is an international, professional trade association of the vacation rental property management and hospitality industries. Membership includes hundreds of professional holiday rental manager and supplier members representing tens of thousands of holiday rentals.
For more information on the conference visit www.vrma.com or contact Jill Curtis, Director of Membership in the U.S. by phone at +1 (317) 454-8315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hands up for South Africa 2013! We are excited to show you a collection of new places and new South African experiences; half of the 2013 trip will be in new territory for our travellers. This means if you came with us before, and have thought of returning, you will experience much that is completely new. If this is your first trip to South Africa, you will get a wonderful survey of the country. South Africa, of course, is an important country, both historically and prospectively. It's political experience is unique in the world, and its move from apartheid to a free democracy, though exhilarating, has not been without problems.
We endeavour to ensure that you, as our guest, will learn almost everyday, not just about the country's nature and its animals, but also about its history, its peoples, its politics, its opportunities and its problems, and that you will leave with an in-depth understanding of the "Rainbow Nation". As always, we will offer you the opportunity to meet and talk with knowledgeable South Africans deeply involved in the fabric of the nation, as we invite them to join us at various moments during the trip. This is what sets our trips apart from even the best of other tours, and has been so lauded by past guests.
We start as usual in Johannesburg, where International flights arrive. We stay a couple of nights at a new architect-designed and owned boutique hotel, The Residence. We loved The Residence when we visited in May, and think it will offer the perfect blend of exclusivity, relaxation and sophistication for our stay there. There is a pool, of course, tennis courts, a spa, and dining both indoors and out. In Johannesburg, we will visit the Apartheid Museum, the Constitutional Court, a famed private garden, Art Galleries, and Craft Markets, attend a theatrical performance, and meet some interesting (and even famous) South Africans over meals.
From Jo'burg, we fly to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, and take a charter aircraft for the short flight to Samara where we will stay for three days. Home will be the Mountain Retreat at Samara, where we can savour a life in the African "bush country" while seeing wildlife in stunning landscapes. Our viewing will combine walks and game drives.
Next, we will take another charter flight to the chic Plettenberg Bay and Knysna area on the Indian Ocean coast for a couple of days, staying at the Kurland Hotel, a 12 room "Relais & Chateaux" country hotel set among polo grounds outside of Plettenberg Bay. For those who ride, horseriding is an option, in addition to exploring the coastal Fynbos, and some of the myriad beautiful sites of the famous “Garden Route” (including an Elephant Park).
We then continue westwards, to stop at The Views Hotel at Wilderness, with its spectacular beach. That afternoon, the choice will be the beach or a one hour drive to Oudtshoorn in the Karoo, the "Ostrich Capital" of the World ! The following day we will drive toSwellendam for lunch, before heading to the Grootbos Nature Reserve, near to the favourite coastal resort of Capetonians, Hermanus. The reserve boasts some of the world’s most distinct and unique plant, bird and animal species, in a glorious setting.
After two nights at Grootbos, we head to the wonderfully scenic wine area of Franschhoek. On the way, we will visit the early 18th century national heritage site of Vergelegen, with its Manor House, Gardens and winery. Vergelegen was created by the second Dutch East India company Governor of the Cape Colony. We will also have lunch and a wine-tasting of it's award-winning wines. In addition to being the place where French Huguenots settled and brought their wine-making skills, Franschhoek is considered the "gastronomic capital" of South Africa. Its location in a spectacular valley, with the notable "Cape Dutch" style architecture and the eminently consumable wines, make it an unforgettable experience. We will stay at Le Quartier Francais, a long-established "Relais & Chateaux" right in the town, and thus convenient for strolling to shops and sights.
Then on to the “Mother City” of South Africa, glorious Cape Town, certainly one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world, where we stay at the The Vineyard Hotel under the slopes of Table Mountain. We will choose among visits to the spectacular Cape Peninsular all the way down to Cape Point, the top of Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela spent many of his 27 years in prison), and various sites and museums in the city. Excellent dining will be on offer.
The trip culminates with three days at the Openheimer family-owned “Tswalu Kalahari Reserve”, in the semi-desert Kalahari, arguably the best Game Lodge experience in the country. This is a truly African experience, albeit in a "Relais & Chateaux". Tswalu offers a private lodge where you will feel truly spoiled, the entire big-five, brilliant rangers, horse-riding, and some surprise experiences. From there, we fly directly to Johannesburg to enable our guests to catch their international flights.
We have been able to keep the costs at a reasonable level. The cost of this 18 night trip is Rand 68,200 per person, sharing, (currently about U.S.$8,500, CDN $ 8,400, €6,750) payable by bank transfer to our U.S.$ account. Ask us for single rates. Accommodation at hotels is included on a bed and breakfast basis, while the lodges of Samara, Grootbos and Tswalu are all-inclusive, i.e. with all meals, wine, and activities. All commercial and charter air travel is included, as is road transportation via minibus (except road travel in Johannesburg). Thus the only additional expenditures will be for lunches and dinners at some hotels and restaurants, the shared costs of vehicles in Johannesburg, and discretionary expenditures for shopping, taxis, drinks, etc. International flights are not included. A deposit of 25% is due by 15 October 2012, and the balance is due by 15 December 2012.
We need confirmation of participation by the end of September 2012. There is a minimum group size of 8 people, so if you would like to come with some friends, just let us know. For those committing to this trip, we will provide a detailed itinerary, along with information about visas, climate, clothing etc.
Any questions? Call Adrian at the numbers below on the dates indicated, or email to email@example.com.
We'd love to have you along!
Adrian and Susan Doull
Tel: +33 6524 999 22 (from 11/9/12 to 13/9/12, and 19/9/12 to 13/11/12)
Tel: +39 338 453 7665 (from 14/9/2012 to 18/9/2012)
Tel: + 1 347-257-6674 or +1 843 545 7553 (from 13/11/12 to 2/12/2012)
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