Mpingo Ridge - July Property of the Month

Mpingo Ridge – July Property of the Month

Mpingo Ridge sits on  top of an escarpment with sweeping views across the perennial Tarangire River and valley below.

Being the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, Tarangire remains slightly off the main safari circuit but is a terrifically scenic park featuring classic African savannah, green hills, woodlands and rivers and is especially famous for its large herds of elephants, superb birdlife and giant baobab trees. Guests at Mpingo Ridge will enjoy a real sense of wilderness and excellent game viewing, and it’s both a relaxing standalone destination and a great place to start a safari.

Each of the 15 spacious tented suites have been carefully positioned to maximize not only the sensational views over Tarangire but to also take advantage of cooling breezes during hot weather. They feature en‐suite bathrooms, private decks, sunken outside lounges that convert to afternoon siesta beds and one of the suites has two bedrooms.

A special feature is the private outside bathtub—perfect for soothing the soul and washing away the African dust after a day on safari.

The elevated main lodge has a large lounge and bar, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a spa and swimming pool.

Sundowners, early morning walks and game drives in new custom–‐ designed vehicles accompanied by highly-knowledgeable and experienced guides are some of the activities guests can look forward to during their stay.

Season: The property is open year round and the nearest airstrip is a 1hr game drive from the lodge.

Families:

  • The lodge caters for families with interactive programmes designed for kids up to the age of 11yrs old
  • For families there is a 2 bedroom tent with shared lounge or a maximum of 3 beds in one tent.

Keeping the community and environment front of mind:

  • All power is provided by a combination of Solar and an Inverter system
  • Menus are created with locally sourced produce
  • Minimal environmental footprint
  • No plastic water bottles on site

Activites:

  • Game drive vehicles seat 6 guests in 3 rows of 2 seats, each row guaranteeing all guests to have a window seat.
  • Game drive vehicles are shared, but can be booked exclusively at an extra charge

Dining Experience:

  • Game package and full board available
  • Campfire sundowners
  • Private and intimate dining options on request
  • Bush dinner within the footprint of our camp (additional cost)
  • Picnic style bush break fast and lunches
  • House drinks including beers, wines, spirits, softdrinks, water and juices included
  • Premimum drinks available (additional cost)
  • Dietary requirements can be accommodated if notified in advance

Services:

  • 15 guest tented suites
  • Spa
  • Shop
  • Private Dining
  • Complementary laundry service
  • Wifi in all suites

Sweeping views of the perennial Tarangire River and valley below

En-suite bathrooms, private decks, sunken outside lounges that convert to afternoon siesta beds and one of the suites has two bedrooms

Tented suites have been carefully positioned to maximize not only the sensational views over Tarangire but to also take advantage of cooling breezes during hot weather.

Family friendly with an interactive programme for kids up to the age of 11 years

Separate dining area offering inside and outside dining outside dining

Large lounge and bar area with fireplaces offering an array of seating arrangements and amenities

The Stars and the Stars’ Road – South African Folktale

Outa Karel’s Stories
South African Folk-Lore Tales
Author: Sanni Metelerkamp
Published: 1914

Source: https://www.worldoftales.com/South_African_folklore_tales.html

Click on the image to listen to a recording of the story. (10min)

Darkly-blue and illimitable, the arc of the sky hung over the great Karroo like a canopy of softest velvet, making a deep, mysterious background for the myriad stars, which twinkled brightly at a frosty world.

The three little boys, gathered at the window, pointed out to each other the constellations with which Cousin Minnie had made them familiar, and were deep in a discussion as to the nature and number of the stars composing the Milky Way when Outa shuffled in.

“Outa, do you think there are a billion stars up there in the Milky Way?” asked Willem.

“A billion, you know,” explained Pietie, “is a thousand million, and it would take months to count even one million.”

“Aja, baasje,” said the old man readily, seizing, with native adroitness, the unknown word and making it his own, “then there will surely be a billion stars up there. Perhaps,” he added, judicially considering the matter, “two billion, but no one knows, because no one can ever count them. They are too many. And to think that that bright road in the sky is made of wood ashes, after all.”

He settled himself on his stool, and his little audience came to attention.

“Yes, my baasjes,” he went on, “long, long ago, the sky was dark at night when the Old Man with the bright armpits lay down to sleep, but people learned in time to make fires to light up the darkness; and one night a girl, who sat warming herself by a wood fire, played with the ashes. She took the ashes in her hands and threw them up to see how pretty they were when they floated in the air. And as they floated away she put green bushes on the fire and stirred it with a stick. Bright sparks flew out and went high, high, mixing with the silver ashes, and they all hung in the air and made a bright road across the sky. And there it is to this day. Baasjes call it the Milky Way, but Outa calls it the Stars’ Road.

“Ai! but the girl was pleased! She clapped her hands and danced, shaking herself like Outa’s people do when they are happy, and singing:—

‘The little stars! The tiny stars!

They make a road for other stars.

Ash of wood-fire! Dust of the Sun!

They call the Dawn when Night is done!’

“Then she took some of the roots she had been eating and threw them into the sky, and there they hung and turned into large stars. The old roots turned into stars that gave a red light, and the young roots turned into stars that gave a golden light. There they all hung, winking and twinkling and singing. Yes, singing, my baasjes, and this is what they sang:—

‘We are children of the Sun!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!

Him we call when Night is done!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!

Bright we sail across the sky

By the Stars’ Road, high, so high;

And we, twinkling, smile at you,

As we sail across the blue!

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’

“Baasjes know, when the stars twinkle up there in the sky they are like little children nodding their heads and saying, ‘It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’” At each repetition Outa nodded and winked, and the children, with antics of approval, followed suit.

“Baasjes have sometimes seen a star fall?” Three little heads nodded in concert.

“When a star falls,” said the old man impressively, “it tells us someone has died. For the star knows when a person’s heart fails and the person dies, and it falls from the sky to tell those at a distance that someone they know has died.

“One star grew and grew till he was much larger than the others. He was the Great Star, and, singing, he named the other stars. He called each one by name, till they all had their names, and in this way they knew that he was the Great Star. No other could have done so. Then when he had finished, they all sang together and praised the Great Star, who had named them.

“Now, when the day is done, they walk across the sky on each side of the Stars’ Road. It shows them the way. And when Night is over, they turn back and sail again by the Stars’ Road to call the Daybreak, that goes before the Sun. The Star that leads the way is a big bright star. He is called the Dawn’s-Heart Star, and in the dark, dark hour, before the Stars have called the Dawn, he shines—ach! baasjes, he is beautiful to behold! The wife and the child of the Dawn’s-Heart Star are pretty, too, but not so big and bright as he. They sail on in front, and then they wait—wait for the other Stars to turn back and sail along the Stars’ Road, calling, calling the Dawn, and for the Sun to come up from under the world, where he has been lying asleep.

“They call and sing, twinkling as they sing:—

‘We call across the sky,

Dawn! Come, Dawn!

You, that are like a young maid newly risen,

Rubbing the sleep from your eyes!

You, that come stretching bright hands to the sky,

Pointing the way for the Sun!

Before whose smile the Stars faint and grow pale,

And the Stars’ Road melts away.

Dawn! Come Dawn!

We call across the sky,

And the Dawn’s-Heart Star is waiting.

It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’

“So they sing, baasjes, because they know they are soon going out.

“Then slowly the Dawn comes, rubbing her eyes, smiling, stretching out bright fingers, chasing the darkness away. The Stars grow faint and the Stars’ Road fades, while the Dawn makes a bright pathway for the Sun. At last he comes with both arms lifted high, and the brightness, streaming from under them, makes day for the world, and wakes people to their work and play.

“But the little Stars wait till he sleeps again before they begin their singing. Summer is the time when they sing best, but even now, if baasjes look out of the window they will see the Stars, twinkling and singing.”

The children ran to the window and gazed out into the starlit heavens. The last sight Outa had, as he drained the soopje glass the Baas was just in time to hand him, was of three little heads bobbing up and down in time to the immemorial music of the Stars, while little Jan’s excited treble rang out: “Yes, it’s quite true, Outa. They do say, ‘It’s so! It’s so! It’s so!’”

Sanni Metelerkamp, born 1867, was an author and playwright. She was the great-granddaughter of George Rex, who founded the town of Knysna, South Africa, and even wrote his biography, George Rex of Knysna: The Authentic Story.

Quick and easy home-made rusks

A holiday in Southern Africa wouldn’t be complete without rusks!

This easy rusk recipe goes well with with a delicious cup of coffee or the perfect cup of tea.  It’s the ideal mid morning or late afternoon snack.

What a great local treat to make for your friends and share your love of South Africa with them through food.

Here’s how to make South African rusks or as the Afrikaans speaking like to say: “Beskuit” recipe.

Rusk Ingredients:

• 1kg Self-rising Flour
• 250g Butter
• 200ml Sugar
• 320ml Buttermilk
• 10ml Baking Powder
• 2 Eggs
• 5ml Salt
• 25ml Oil.

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients together then start rubbing in the butter. Afterwards add your eggs and oil, now mix well. Once you are happy with your dough, make a hole in the centre and add the buttermilk. Knead your dough well and roll them into balls in the size of your choice. Start packing them tightly into a baking dish by pressing the dough evenly into a baking sheet.

Let it bake in 180C / 350F for about 45minutes and you’re good to go!

You can make use of any of the cutting methods for rusks. If you rolled them into balls before baking you can break those up instead of cutting them. Remember to Dry out in a low oven after cutting.

Now you get to enjoy your homemade rusks whenever you want without breaking your pockets every month. This recipe is affordable, easy and delicious; there is no reason for you not to try it!

Special Tips:

1. Be very careful with the amount of baking powder.

2. The recipe should be seen as complete but not an ultimate blueprint. You can add things like muesli, bran, raisins etc. They’re your rusks, you can do as you please

3. It makes like a whole lot easier if you prepare everything before attempting this easy rusk recipe.

 

Source: https://www.inspiringwomen.co.za/quick-easy-home-made-rusks/

Gomoti Plains – June Property of the Month

Gomoti Plains is a classic luxury tented camp situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta.

The area is known for its large concentrations of wildlife which thrive on the Gomoti plains and waterways. This exclusive area has been a well-kept secret for many years.

Ideally set in a cool sheltered spot beneath a canopy of mature acacia trees, Gomoti Plains Camp is situated on the edge of the Gomoti River system and floodplains in the center of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The main camp area is nestled in evergreen riparian woodland, perfect for relaxing between morning and afternoon activities. By night, the camp is gently illuminated by solar power lighting and paraffin lamps.

The Tents

What can you expect ?

  • 8 classic luxury safari tents
  • 2 family tents
  • All tents are raised on wooden decks, boasting great views of the floodplains and each room has a shaded veranda.
  • the two family units comprise two spacious bedrooms with an adjoining living room in between.
  • indoor and outdoor shower with hot and cold running water, flush loos and twin basins.
  • tents are tastefully furnished in classic safari style incorporating the land and water of the Okavango delta

The Facilities

  • Swimming Pool, with loungers
  • Tented Main Area
  • Library
  • Picturesque views over the tributaries of the Gomoti river
  • Spa Therapist – treatments include massages and facials done in guests rooms.
  • Curio shop

The Activities

  • Walking safaris (Guided walks) – Walking safaris are also conducted generally in the morning with armed guides. The walks are leisurely and time is taken to observe the smaller things in the bush that one normally misses when driving. Walking is weather dependent, or dependent on the condition of the terrain.
  • Game Drives – Game drives – Game drives are conducted in the mornings and afternoon/evenings at camp. They usually last about three hours each and are conducted along the river systems and flood plains around the camp. The wildlife in the area is prolific and chances are good to see some of the larger predators, herds of elephant and buffalo and all the plains animals that occur here. Night drives are conducted in the early evening offering one a chance to see the smaller more nocturnal animals with spotlights.
  • Mekoro Safaris – This is a dug out canoe poled by an experienced poler in the shallower waters of the Okavango. It is a great way to see the waterways and is tranquil and quiet. These excursions take place in the mornings or longer day trips can be arranged. Explore the islands around camp and come back rested and rejuvenated.

THE BABOON AND THE TORTOISE – African Stories

There was a time when the baboon and the tortoise were friends, stealing figs from the farmers tree, braving the terrors of the farmer’s gun and his fierce snarling dogs.

This exciting way of life did not appeal to the tortoise who suggested to the baboon one day that they would plant their own fig trees, far away from the farmer, his gun, and his fierce snarling dogs. The baboon agreed that this was a splendid idea but being a lazy animal he neglected his tree once he had planted it, while the tortoise watered his every day.

It is not surprising that while the tortoise’s tree was sprouting branches and leaves, the tree belonging to the baboon seemed to be dying. Finally it wilted, withered and was no more than a dry stick in the ground.

When the figs appeared on the tortoise’s tree, his mouth watered at the thought of eating them, and because he could not climb the tree himself he asked the baboon to help him. “Certainly,” said the baboon, climbing up the tree, picking the ripest figs and munching them till the juice was running out of his mouth.

“But you are eating my figs,” cried the tortoise, looking up. “Throw some down for me.”

“I’m seeking the ripest ones for you,” shouted back the baboon. “I’m testing them by tasting them. You’ll get your share by and by.” And he went on eating.

Finally, he came down. “I couldn’t find any really ripe ones so I didn’t bring any down for you.” And turning three somersaults while he laughed and laughed, he ran off.

The tortoise was looking very sad indeed when a robin redbreast came a hop-hop-hopping along the sand towards him, asking, “Why so sad, tortoise? You look as if you’ve lost something.”

“I have. All the figs are ripe on my tree but I can’t climb up to get them. I asked baboon to help me but he clambered up and guzzled himself and didn’t even give me the skin of one fig. Be a good citizen, robin redbreast, and help me now.”

The robin winged his way up to the topmost branches and started pecking holes in the ripe figs. “Do you like ripe figs, tortoise?”

“Yes, indeed, the riper the better.”

“Well, only unripe ones are left now, Do you like unripe figs, tortoise?”

“Yes, please, I like unripe figs as well.”

“Sorry, there are no unripe figs left now.”

And chirping merrily, the well-fed bird fluttered away, leaving the hungry tortoise with the corners of his mouth dropping farther down in his sadness and hunger. Since that day, it is said, tortoises have never lost their sad look, and nobody has ever seen a tortoise smiling or heard him laughing.

Next day the baboon was there again, eating his fill and mocking the tortoise who by now was hungry, miserable, and very very angry.

The day after that the shepherd came along, heard the tortoise’s sad story, and offered to help him to get his own back on the crafty baboon. After he had plucked some figs for the tortoise he loaded his gun and placed it high in the tree. To the trigger he tied a long string that hung down to the ground.

In no time at all the baboon came to the tree and seeing the string asked the tortoise what it was for. “Well,” said the tortoise, pointing to the gun in the tree, “do you see that stick up there? If I pull the string one way, it causes the stick to bring ripe figs falling down. If I pull it another way, it causes thunder and lightning and clouds.”

“Thunder and lightning and clouds!” roared the baboon, “Ha! Ha! You must think me as foolish as the owl who let the swallow escape.” And he pulled the string.

“Bang! Bang!” both barrels of the gun went off, and the baboon saw lightning and thunder and clouds and in his fright ran screaming across the sands. Since that time, baboons have always been frightened of guns. They can’t stand the sight of them.

Deep down inside, the tortoise was laughing, but his face itself looked as sad as it will always. His revenge, he felt, was not complete, and he wanted to punish the baboon still further.

Next time they met, the tortoise was standing next to a bees-nest, listening.

“What are you listening to?” inquired the baboon.

“To the music that’s coming from this hole.”

“But it’s so soft, no more than a gentle humming.”

“Of course it’s soft. That’s a church.”

“It’s so soft you can hardly hear it.”

“Well, if you like them to hum more loudly, take this stick, shove it through the door, move it up and down, and bang on the church with your fist.”

The baboon did so. The humming grew suddenly louder, anger came in the sound, and the bees came swarming out of their nest, a cloud of angry bees who attacked the baboon, stinging him all over his head and body.

Screaming with pain, he staggered down to the river, the swarm buzzing after him. Splash! He dived into the water to escape from his pursuers, but every time his head came out of the water so that he could breathe, the hovering swarm was on him again, stinging, stinging, until their anger had died and they droned back to their nest.

Back on dry land, the baboon – who now had bumps all over his face and body – started to pull out the stings (for a bee always leaves a sting behind) and began scratching himself all over as the pain grew. And baboons, as you may have noticed, have been scratching themselves ever since.

By the time he returned to the tortoise, wishing to bite him for what he had done, the little fellow was gazing up at a mango tree. “You’ll wish you’d never been born when I’ve finished with you,” he shouted; but the tortoise said – calmly, though he was really trembling – “Just a moment, my friend. I did not tell you to move that stick up and down with such force, nor did I tell you to bang on the church so hard that you almost punched a hole through it. You cannot really blame me for what happened.” And he went on gazing at the mango tree while the baboon’s anger calmed down and he became inquisitive.

“What are you gazing at so intently, tortoise?”

“I’m looking up at the nice juicy mangoes hanging up there, almost crying to be eaten.”

Now the baboon’s eyelids were all swollen from the stinging so he couldn’t see well enough to realize that what the tortoise said were mangoes were actually the nests of wasps hanging from the branches of the tree. His mouth watered and he forgot his pain and climbed into the tree, grabbing at the ‘mangoes’. When the wasps attacked him, the pain was even greater than the stinging of the bees, and with cries of pain he fell to the ground and shouted at the tortoise, “You’ll suffer for this. I’ll bite off your head before I’m through with you.”

“Please,” said the tortoise, “again you are blaming me for something I haven’t done. I pointed out the mangoes to you, and you go and grab the wasps’ nests. No wonder they turned on you. Wouldn’t you have done the same in their position?”

Before the baboon could reply, a cricket came hopping and chirping by. Now, as you know, baboons are fond of eating crickets, so the baboon chased the insect who went hop-hop into the hole in a hollow tree.

“Watch me catch him,” said the baboon, putting his hand into the hole and groping around to find the cricket.

A big snake came out of the hole, bit the baboon and flung his long body around him and squeezed tight, saying while the baboon screamed for mercy, “Why are you baboons such busybodies, always disturbing other animals? Let me teach you a lesson that might help you to mend your ways.” And he squeezed again while the poor baboon roared with pain. The tortoise felt that his revenge was now complete.

From that day on, bees, wasps, snakes and tortoises have all been friends together. And the bees, who ate of the sweetness of the tortoise’s figs, have ever since then been mad about fruit and anything that is sweet. The snake who lived in the hole in the tree never went back there after being disturbed by the baboon, but decided to live instead in the branches of the tree so that he could always observe his enemies approaching. The baboon is much less of a busybody than he used to be. And, as I said before, he never stops scratching himself.

Rockfig Safari Lodge – May Property of the Month

About Rockfig Safari Lodge

 

Rockfig Safari Lodge is a new luxury lodge situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.  The famous nature reserve is made up of 30 000 acre of natural lowveld bushveld and is adjoined to the iconic Kruger National Park.  This exclusive and luxury South African safari lodge has only 6 private chalets anda relaxed ambience with indoor and outdoor guest spaces that segue into each other that enable both communal and private moments suffused with an authentic bush feel.

“We have only 4 guests per safari vehicle. This lets us provide a better interpretive experience, and greater comfort out on safari.” – Bruce Jenkins

The Suites

Only 6 suites makes the lodge ideal for exclusive-use bookings for families or groups of friends. each suite featuring both indoor and outdoor showers, a private verandah ideal for romantic candlelit dinners, a minibar and a bath.

  • aircon
  • fans
  • mosquito net
  • bath
  • indoor shower
  • outdoor shower
  • hairdryer
  • mini bar
  • wifi
  • in room safe
  • laundry

Experiences

  • Morning and afternoon/evening game drives
  • Bush walks
  • Sundowners
  • Bush dining, including breakfasts, picnics and dinners
  • Private dining

The Location

Set in the heart of Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, adjacent to the famous Kruger National Park, RockFig Safari Lodge is well situated for forays into the African wilds. Game drives let you cover some ground in the comfort of a vehicle, while walking safaris put you right on the ground, exploring the area under your own steam.

“the natural beauty of the timbavati bushveld is the true hero”

 

Service

Boutique and individually tailored

The Lodge

  • children welcome
  • swimming pool
  • spa treatments
  • perimeter fence
  • electricity 220v
  • wifi

Spending time on foot on the details of the ecosystem can be immensely rewarding, and surprising. Learn how every living creature, no matter how small, has its part to play in this intricate, interlinked web of life

Tanzania bans single-use plastic bags as of 01 June 2019

On 10 April 2019, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa declared a total ban on all single-use plastic carrier bags with effect from 01 June 2019. The ban includes the production, importation, sale and use of all single-use plastic carrier bags to help control pollution from non-biodegradable waste.

Tanzania joins about 13 countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop its use. In East Africa, Rwanda banned all use of single-use plastic in 2008 and Kenya implemented their ban in 2017.

We urge you to please urgently communicate the new ban with all travelers to Tanzania (Rwanda and Kenya).

The below excerpt is take from the “Notice to Travelers Planning To Visit Tanzania” issued by the Tanzania Vice President’s Office.

“Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic carrier bags, or packing plastic carrier bags or items in plastic carrier bags in the suitcase or hand luggage before embarking on visiting Tanzania.”

Please note:

  • this ban does include bags used to carry duty free items.  Please advise clients to remove items from the duty free plastic bags and leave the bags on the plane.
  • this ban does not include “ziplock” or multi-use resealable plastic bags that are generally required to carry toiletries in international travel. We would however please ask that you recommend that your clients do not dispose of any multi-use plastic bags in country, but rather take them home with them.

“The Government does not intent for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the Government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic bags ban.”

Rovos Rail Celebrates 30 Years

ON THE 29th OFAPRIL 2019, PRIVATELY OWNED ROVOS RAIL CELEBRATES THREE DECADES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Download the Rovos Rail Tribune

The below Milestones is in the Rovos Rail Tribune.

Since its first overnight journey with a seven-coach train to what was then the Eastern Transvaal, Rovos Rail has expanded exponentially and now offers eight trips around Southern Africa with more trains that can accommodate 72 passengers. Journeys range from 48 hours to 15 days with the newest route, Trail of Two Oceans, departing for its maiden voyage in July this year from Dar es Salaam to Lobito in Angola. It will be the first time in history that a passenger train will travel the east-to-west copper trail.

“Our new route coincides nicely with our 30th birthday. I’d like to say it was planned but I can’t take credit for the serendipitous timing,” says Rohan Vos, owner and CEO of Rovos Rail Tours.

Also in the Rovos fleet is the Shongololo Express that was purchased and renovated in 2016. Three journeys are on offer ranging from 12 to 15 days with the train travelling for over 300 days of the year. “That train just goes and goes with very few issues – mostly I think due to the relaxed itineraries. It’s quite amazing,” comments Vos.

Asked if he ever thought Rovos Rail would progress this far, Vos responds: “Not at all. We lost so much money in the early days and we knew nothing about hospitality. In my naivety I believed what we were offering was so unique that tickets would sell easily. Boy, was I mistaken.”

With his wife Anthea at his side, Vos travelled the world attending travel shows and calling on leading travel agents and tour operators. “It was both invigorating and exhausting,” says Anthea. “We were starting out at the same time as the Vartys from Londolozi and the late Liz McGrath as well as a few others. We all used to lose our voices from punting our offerings so vigorously!”

It took a decade for the company to break-even. “We managed to side-step bankruptcy more than once,” says Vos. “I was inexperienced and had no idea just how expensive trains would be to operate.”

An auspicious moment arrived in 1993 when Vos formed a relationship with Phillip Morrell from Jules Verne in the United Kingdom. Together they plotted a route from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. “We had no money at the time for any advertising but we placed an ad in the Sunday Telegraph nonetheless. It was December and I didn’t hold much hope.” However, much to his surprise, the advertisement worked and the maiden voyage sold out. When Phillip called to share the good news, Vos’s words to him were: “Send cash!” The new Victoria Falls journey proved successful.

When Rovos Rail did eventually start making some headway, the company – like many others – was impacted by events such as a volcanic ash cloud, airline strikes, the Ebola outbreak and a crippling global recession.“It’s certainly been a challenging and interesting ride but one has to play to one’s strengths and luckily I thrive under pressure and I’m a good crisis manager. I also don’t like being told I can’t do something,” he smiles.

There is a great deal that Vos would like to say about local politics and how it affects his business on a weekly basis but, in short: “The railway infrastructure on which we are 100% reliant needs attention to enable our services to run efficiently. We have procured our own electric and diesel locomotives so that one day we may become independent of Transnet in this department. Our goal is to be as self-reliant as possible,” says Vos.

The business now employs 440 staff members at Rovos Rail Station, the impressive private railway station and headquarters in Pretoria. In 1999, the derelict 60-acre property was rehabilitated and renovated to become the home of everything from the on-site laundry and kitchen to the locomotive and coach maintenance workshops, reservations and the finance department. “We also have our own little museum that pays homage to our 30 years of operation and also South Africa’s railway history,” says Vos.A sixth train set is in production with completion aimed for December 2019. This means that the company will be able to have five Rovos Rail trains out at once on any of the eight journeys it offers along with Shongololo Express running on one of its three trips.

What’s next for Rovos Rail? “Consolidation,” says Vos. “Once we’ve launched our sixth train we need to focus on maintaining all the coaches, training staff and persevering in our pursuit to be independent,” he adds. “Our daughters are also actively involved in the business and I imagine there will be significant change over the next few years as they work with me to propel us forward.”

The company also has long-standing, amicable and prosperous relationships with many travel agents and tour operators around the world. “Without them we would not be here so I feel this is as much their celebration as it is ours,” says Vos.

Like many in the hospitality industry, Rovos Rail has had to weather its fair share of turbulence and even though the company has grown substantially, the determined and family-orientated spirit that started the business 30 years ago is still very much at its core. “We have staff members here who have been with us since the beginning and over 100 employees who’ve been here for over 20 years,” says Vos. “It’s quite incredible and unheard of these days so for this I am truly thankful,” he smiles.

IL Moran, April Property of the Month

This April, our Property of the Month takes us up to the Masai Mara, Kenya.

Situated on the winding banks of the Mara River, in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Il Moran is an ideally located a luxury, under canvas tented camp.  We love the newly refurbished camp which has 10 spacious and private luxury tents hidden under ancient trees, deep in the forest. Each tent has with private verandah, ensuite bathrooms with bath, large shower, twin basins, flush toilet, running cold and hot water.

The camp is small and intimate, with attention to detail, a prime location and abundant wildlife.    Il Moran also boasts a Silver Eco Rating by Eco Tourism Kenya for their environmental practices both in camp and with their neighbouring community.

The camp also offers guests a wide variety of activities during their stay, giving guests authentic and again, intimate, experiences with both nature and people.

Activities that can be enjoyed:

  • Game Drives
  • Walking safaris
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Wildebeest Migration
  • Cultural Visits
  • Birding

Other facilities:

Wifi is available in the main camp, electricity in the tents with USB charging point, children 8yrs and older welcome and the camp is open all year round.

Tengile River Lodge – Property of the Month

Dylan and Bernadette recently visited Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s newest lodge, Tengile River Lodge and they were not disappointed.

The word unique is all too oft used, but it truly is the right description for this property.  You have a sense of destination at Tengile.  The atmosphere is calm and tranquil with a feeling of home-away-from-home.  The rooms and lodge are so comfortable you could enjoy a slow safari without hesitation.  You have all of the activities available to you, but could also quite simply sit back and absorb nature from the comfort of your private lounge and pool set in riverine forest.

The décor and structure of the lodge is beautifully executed, and the smallest of details have been thought through.  Tones of green, wood and rusted metal mould together seamlessly making the décor and design both strikingly beautiful and complimentary to its inspiration which is clearly the location.  No detail has been overlooked, a simple gesture of putting plug points in the outdoor lounge is enormously beneficial for guests, as they can charge their electronics while taking in the grand old trees and sand river.

The lodge is everything you need to take a step back and relax, whether it be at the beginning of your safari or the end.

And, as is expected from a lodge of this quality, the service and food were exemplary and it is an exciting new addition to the lodges available to us.