Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Gibela Backpackers Durban South Africa - Guest Comments

It was the first backpacker in our life and now, after beeing in some others I can say, it was really the best! The rooms are very nice and useful decorated with ethnic décor throughout an there were really good beds! The "dining room" outside was very beautyful and there was all, what you need for a good breakfast. The bathroom was wonderful and just beside our room, so it was good even for (a little bit) old Ladies. The whole house was very clean! There were nice people, we met and I was glad over the internet possibility, where you can baz-bus things arrange and look for your e-mails. Elmar was very kind and told us all, we need, to go to different nice places, without any danger. We felt ourselves very safe in this backpacker. So we spend wonderful 3 days in Durban. - Bonn, Germany
I had the pleasure to stop at the Gibela Backpackers Lodge during my solo backpacking trip to South Africa, and I have to admit it was one of the best places I stayed at. Clean, quiet, friendly and perfectly located to grab a bite or catch a bus. I have already recommended it! Vancouver, Canada
GIBELA Backpackers - A great place to stayI've been traveling the world off and on for a great many years. I can honestly say this is one of the best places i've ever stayed, in any country. It was like staying in a comfortable, clean home, with all the facilities you'd expect being in top condition. Has a good kitchen and the included breakfast has lots of variety to choose from. Good restaurants and bars are very close. The owner was exceptionally helpful too. New Zealand
What a clean, spacious, and neat place! We were so happy to get all the helpful information where to go shopping, where to have dinner, where to have a drink, and where to stop over next down the coast. Dankeschoen, Elmar! Switzerland
Best Hostel in South Africa, hands down. This place is clean, hip, and tastefully decorated. There are enough bathrooms (and they are clean!) so that you never have to wait! I spent three nights here. The hostel was so comfortable/beautiful that I preferred to be inside the hostel than outside in Durban. Weird, I know! USA

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Durban Golf Driving Range

The University Club Durban Golf Driving Range is definitely worth a visit. The Durban Golf Driving Range has floodlights ensuring that players can still practice their swings at night. It is open to the public every day of the week from 7:00 am until 8:30 pm and during the weekends as well as public holidays from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening.
The immaculate University Durban Golf Driving Range is a whopping 330 meters in length and offers numerous target greens to aim at. It is the ideal range to practice distance and direction.
It is not only the swing that can get attention, but also putting as a nine hole putting green is available. The bunker greens and chipping areas allow for practice of every aspect of your golf. Even long bunker shots can be practiced on the far hole at the University Durban Golf Driving Range.
Contact details:331 Francois RoadGlenwoodDurban
Tel: +27 31 261 8062Web:

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Anne Frank exhibition opened in Durban

The Durban Holocaust Centre has opened the first ever permanent exhibition of Anne Frank’s room.
With exactly the same wallpaper, table and pictures, the room is a replica of the room that Anne slept in while in hiding in Amsterdam during World War Two.
It opened last night and it’s housed at the Durban Holocaust Centre in Old Fort Road.
The Director of the International Department at the Anne Frank House Jan-Eric Dubbelman says the room will not just be a tourist attraction, but will serve an educational purpose too.
“You can learn about the Holocaust; you can learn the facts; you can reconstruct a history on how it went about and you need to know those facts to understand the story of Anne Frank.
“But then when you learn about the story of one individual family and you go into the room, you also learn with the heart. You feel what it must have been like. So for us it’s a way to communicate the experience of being in hiding by creating that room.”Mary Kluk, President of The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry, explains, “Eighteen months ago we began to correspond with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam to discuss the possibility of creating our own small Anne Frank area. After much communication and with a great deal of help from Jan-Eric Dubbelman… we have achieved something very special.”
“Anne Frank represents one of the one and a half million children who died during the Holocaust. Many learners across the world know of Anne and her amazing story and we at the Durban Holocaust Centre chose to feature this story in the hope that her amazing outlook on life, told through her diary, will be an inspiration to learners throughout our province,” said Kluk.
The Durban Holocaust Centre, which opened in March this year, focuses on educating learners and the general public about the Holocaust, other human rights abuses and contemporary genocide.
With the inclusion of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in the National Schools Curriculum of South Africa for the first time in 2007, it meant that there was a great need for information and resources.
The Centre therefore provides curriculum support material and daily school group tours for learners in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Dinuzulu Sees Light Of Day

Long under wraps, the statue of King Dinuzulu in Durban’s Botha Gardens was finally unveiled as part of Heritage Month celebrations. Berea Road, which runs alongside the park was also officially renamed King Dinuzulu Road at the September event. And just as Mayor Obed Mlaba completed the renaming ceremony, the heavens opened – a sign of good luck – putting a sheen on the likeness of Dinizulu, standing proud in military uniform.
Dignitaries who attended included King Goodwill Zwelithini, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele, IFP Leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Sport and Recreation MEC Amichand Rajbansi. Ndebele gave a brief history of King Dinuzulu and explained why his statue has been erected near Gen Louis Botha’s in the park. “The statue is next to Gen Louis Botha, the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa in 1910. “Botha had befriended Dinuzulu during the 1880s and released him from prison in 1910.
The two giants of our history are symbols of the beginning of the journey towards reconciliation in this country.” Ndebele said it was important for all South Africans to acknowledge and celebrate our heritage. “Heritage is at the core of our identity, and plays a pivotal role in reconciliation. To reconcile is to come to peace with the past. You cannot reconcile unless you know what happened. “This statue is a part of continuous recognition of traditional leadership by the democratic government, and in particular, recognition of a king who saw and experienced it all, but kept on fighting for the dignity of his people, their land and the royal house of Shaka.”

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Lets get a top 10 list going for Durban see topics below and add your "top-ones"
Adventure Activities
Attractions - Museums, gardens, etc.
Breakfast Venues
Coffee Shops
Designer shops - Clothing
Designer shops - Decor
Music Venues
Night Clubs Restaurants

Durban, South Africa - Another side of South Africa

Situated on South Africa’s East Coast, Durban is a precious cornerstone of the KwaZulu-Natal region. In Zulu, Durban is aptly known as ‘Thekweni,’ meaning “where the earth and ocean meet”. But don’t be fooled by the simple designation, neither Durban’s landscape nor its beaches are commonplace.
For any traveler seeking the indulgence of gorgeous topography paired with the elegance of the Indian Ocean’s sub-tropic aquamarine swells, Durban is for you. In the west of the city, art deco and modern architecture combine, spreading in the form of apartment buildings and hotels along the fine sands of an unspoiled shoreline, and comprising what is referred to by locals and vacationers alike as the “Golden Mile”. Interspersed among the hotels and apartment buildings are a handful of popular restaurants and nightclubs.
On the Golden Mile, a promenade runs from the surfing haven, South Beach, where uShaka Marine World is also located, to the newly constructed Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in the north. Most of the beaches along this band are protected year-round by lifeguards and shark nets. Even so, with all the fuss over keeping sharks away and swimmers looked-after, don’t be surprised to find neither the sand nor the water overrun with bathers.
A Rich History
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa, and the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal. Well known as a surfer’s paradise, it is also among the busiest ports in Africa. After British annexation of the territory from the Dutch in the 1840’s, a vast sugar cane industry was established and thousands of indentured laborers were brought over from India. As a result of the importation of Indians, Durban became the largest Asian community in South Africa.
Although English is generally spoken on the street, many South Africans speak at least one language other than English (oftentimes several), and Durbanites are no exception. The end of apartheid in 1994 named eleven official languages in South Africa. Among them are the clicking consonants characteristic of Zulu and Xhosa words.
Although he no longer holds any direct political power, KwaZulu-Natal is the home to the Zulu Monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu, who is paid a stipend by the South African government and holds sway over the more traditionalist Zulu people in the province.
An Ideal Setting
Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal region offer something for everyone.
Durban’s metropolitan area has benefited in recent years by urban renewal programs. As a result of community efforts—or perhaps in addition to them—a fascinating street art scene is sprouting up citywide.
To glimpse part of this art scene, head over to the BAT Centre, an arts and crafts community center located in the small craft harbor off of Durban’s Victoria Embankment. Eat lunch in the café or enjoy an iced tea on the deck, from where you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Durban’s working harbor. Afterward, browse the center’s many art studios, galleries, and music rooms, and purchase art and mementos from the artists themselves. On any given night of the week, live music, dancing, poetry readings and other events go on at the BAT Center, always attracting a lively crowd. Be sure to pick up a schedule of evening events from one of the galleries.
Another must is a trip to the muthi, or the ‘witches’ market for a glimpse of African traditional healing. This extensive, tumbledown marketplace is the spot to see ‘muthi,’ or traditional medicine, being made and prepared for sale. Stalls are covered with ingredients that range from such things as snake skins, crocodile teeth and birds claws to mysterious, brightly colored powders. The potions are concocted right there as you browse vendors for decorative walking sticks, African incense and car-tire sandals. Stop in at the sangoma for a quick “throw the bones,” a collection of bones and shells that are thrown on a mat to communicate with the ancestors and spirit guides. Be sure not to miss Davenport District in the suburb of Glenwood. Independent shops have sprung up around the Davenport Mall and can make for a cheerful afternoon of browsing and picking up yet more African art. Check out KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts. All along the same road are antique shops, home décor shops, second-hand stores, and Breathing Space Yoga Center, which offers beauty treatments as well as a wide range of organic cosmetics.
The western suburbs of Hillcrest and Kloof, formerly sleepy villages, have now become booming suburbs incorporated in the greater Durban area known as the eThekwini Municipal Area. Kloof, which means ‘gorge’ in Afrikaans, is known as a mist-belt with winding roads and mansions surrounded by trees. Kloof is predominantly English-speaking and features many high-end shopping centers as well as the Kloof Country Club.
Just outside of Durban, the breathtaking peaks of Drakensberg Mountains stretch more than 600 miles along the whole of KwaZulu-Natal’s western boundary. As a respite from city life, take a trip to Drakensberg. There you can enjoy hiking, white water rafting, game and bird watching, golfing, or fishing for trout.
The remarkable cave paintings of Drakensberg’s original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, can still be seen in caves throughout the Drakensberg region, and Kamberg National Park claims to have one of the best selections of Bushmen art in South Africa. Walking tours are operated daily, and the newly opened Kamberg Rock Art Center is a tool for helping visitors who wish to understand and interpret the more than 20,000 Sans Bushmen images to be found in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
Where to Stay:
Note: It is best to take cabs, rather than walking at night, and be sure to leave any irreplaceable items you are traveling with in your hotel safety deposit box. Country and City Code for Durban is (+27 - 31)
Gibela Backpackers Lodge-A jewel of a hostel; clean, chic and inexpensive. The rooms are named after the Zulu Kings dating back to 1667. Choose dorm-style rooms, singles or doubles. Praised as having the friendliest staff in South Africa and amazing breakfasts. 119 Ninth Ave, Morningside; 031/303-6291 ,
The Riverside Hotel & Spa-High on the banks of the Umgeni River mouth. Enjoy stunning river views and abundant relaxation. 267 Smith Street, Durban; 021/794-9050 ; 082/78... Restaurants and Night Life:Florida Road-A happening street with more than 30 restaurants, Florida Road is an ideal neighborhood to spend an evening out.
Joe Cools-For an experience that is both “vibrant and elegant,” try this restaurant oasis. Joe Cools is not only the place where Durban’s most beautiful and stylish hang out, it also serves up exquisitely delicious cocktails and very good food. North Beach, on the beach, Durban; 031/332-9697 ,
Café Vacca Matta-This rustically chic restaurant offers a Mediterranean menu, gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean, an extensive cocktail list and live music. Shop U4, Suncoast Casino, Entertainment World, 20 Battery Beach Road, 031/368/6535;
Billy the BUMS (Basic Up Market Socialite)-More than 50 exotic cocktails to choose from and good American-style food, including mouth watering homemade burgers. Enjoy a cocktail while enjoying a stunning sunset from the large patio. 504 Windermere Road, Morningside, Durban; 031/303 1988 ;
Panamaroom Night Club-A stylish, all white décor cools things down just as the music starts to burn it up. 178 Stamford Hill, Durban; 083/799-1899 The BAT Centre-From poetry readings, to dance parties, to live music, something is going down every night of the week. 45 Maritime Place; 031/ 332-0451;
Where to Shop:Muthi Market-African traditional healing. Extends around the Victoria Street Indian market, over the footbridges to the taxi ranks at Warwick Triangle.
KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts-Contemporary artists exhibited in three exhibition spaces. 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood; 031/202-3686 ;;
Breathing Space Yoga Center-Beauty treatments and organic cosmetics. Corner of Bulwer and Ferguson Road, Glenwood; 031/201-7282 What to Do:Drakensberg Mountains-Hiking, fishing, white water rafting, exploring.
Kamberg Nature Reserve-Situated within the Natal Drakensberg Park and located centrally in the foothills of the mountains. Access to the reserve is along a partly tarred road, off the main N3 highway; kamberg
uShaka Marine World-This extensive theme park centers around the recreation and site of the wreck of a 1920s cargo ship, making a strong connection with the symbolism of the interaction between land, sea and sky; it is a complete marine land, and a place to enjoy an entire day of fun. 1 Bell Street, Durban; 031/328-8000 ;;
Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World-Along the beachfront of the “Golden Mile,” Suncoast boasts of its Miami South Beach Art Deco style architecture, and offers gaming, shopping and entertainment. Suncoast Blvd. Marine Parade, Durban; 031/328-3000 ;;
Phezulu Safari Park-Located between Botha’s Hill and Drummond, the safari park overlooks the Valley of 1,000 hills. Don’t miss the Zulu village and dancing show. Old Main Road, Durban; 031/777-1000 ;
Umgeni River Bird Park- Boasts a collection of over 3,000 exotic and indigenous birds. 490 Riverside Road, Durban; 031/579-4600 ;;
Durban Botanic Gardens-Specialties include The Ernest Thorp Orchid House, an herb garden, a sunken garden, and a garden for the blind. 70 St. Thomas Road, Durban; 031/201-1303 ;;
Shongweni Resource Reserve-A large nature reserve just 23 miles north of Durban. Shongweni Dam, Durban; 031/769-1283 ;;
Must See: The red African sun slipping pink into the Indian Ocean.
Text and Photos 5 & 6 by Sabrina Canfield

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

25 years of music excellence

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 25 years of music excellence
A right royal ending for the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 25th anniversary season.
The expansive music epic cantata, uShaka KaSenzangakhona, which is based on the dramatic story of the Zulu King uShaka KaSenzangakhona has been chosen as the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s World Symphony Spring Season finale to take place with a host of soloists and choirs, in the Durban City Hall at 7:30pm on Thursday 13 November 2008.
“Ending the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 25th birthday season with uShaka KaSenzangakhona - a rousing and watershed South African work feels entirely appropriate, particularly as we are utilising this concert to also recognise many distinguished South Africans who have also celebrated their birthday milestones recently: These include former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu who turned 90, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who turned 80 and His Majesty King Goodwill Zweletini who turned 60.” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KZNPO.
Composed by respected South African composer, arranger and choral director Professor Emeritus of African Languages, Prof J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo, the concert is conducted by US born and SA-based conductor, Robert Maxym, who did the orchestration of this majestic piece. The narrator is Prof. Themba Msimang, a Professor of African Languages at the University of South Africa. Fellow academics, Msimang and Khumalo, found they shared an interest in the history of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu Empire. Their separate research into the life and times of King Shaka resulted in an unlikely product - a musical collaboration between the two. Ultimately librettist Themba Msimang wrote an epic narrative on King Shaka from the Zulu perspective, which composer Mzilikazi Khumalo set to music.
Soloists featured are the distinguished South African and Juilliard trained soprano Linda Bukhosini who has performed at prestigious concert halls around the world; Tina Mene - the accomplished mezzo-soprano who appeared recently at the International Society for the Performing Arts Congress at the Playhouse in Durban; Themba Mkhwani - the charismatic tenor who is a T V personality and Musa Ngquwana - the highly gifted bass baritone who is currently finishing his studies at the University of Cape Town Opera School. Three powerful choirs comprising of 150 voices will also be on stage: the national choral competition champions - the African Chorus and SA Singers who will be joined by the Durban Symphonic Choir - the mainstay of Durban choirs.
Ushaka KaSenzangakhona: An epic in music and poetry on Shaka, son of Senzangakhona is a delicate blend of Zulu and European elements and it is sung in isiZulu. This work looks at the life of King Shaka in four distinct parts: his birth; his youth; his reign and victories and finally, his death.
Tickets for the concert range from R60 to R173 and are available through Computicket. Patrons are invited to book early to avoid disappointment. Contact Computicket on 083 915 8000 or visit Patrons are reminded that parking is available at the Royal Hotel Parking Garage and security guards are stationed between the garage and the City Hall.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Move to the right for BOK emblem

The Springbok emblem is set to be culled in its current form, but the leaping antelope will stay on future national rugby team jerseys.
That was the decision taken at an SA Rugby Union Presidents’ Council meeting in Johannesburg last week.
The union will duly place the flower on the left breast of the bottle-green jersey, following calls to scrap the Springbok emblem during a national sports indaba in Durban last month.
The Springbok will move to the right breast, and the team will still be known as the Springboks.
The union will discuss its decision with sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile on November 18 .
Stofile claimed that the government “owned” the Springbok emblem. But yesterday the union confirmed that it owned the emblem.
“The council noted legal advice that Saru is the sole proprietor and legal owner of the Springbok badge, emblem and trademark and would continue to wear the emblem alongside the King Protea on the national playing jersey,” the union said in a statement.

Monday, 3 November 2008

MR BONES 2 Premiere in Durban

Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past - the follow-up to the phenomenally successful Leon Schuster comedy, Mr Bones - will have its world premiere screening at a glittering invitation-only gala event at the International Convention Centre in Durban on November 13.
The city of Durban is proud to host the world premiere event, in association with film producers Videovison Entertainment. The majority of the film was shot in and around Durban earlier this year in what the city hopes will be the first of many such major collaborations with South African and international film-makers.
Mr Bones 2: Back From The Past was initially planned to have been shot in Mumbai, but after visiting locations in and around Durban, Schuster and director Gray Hofmeyr (who also directed the original 2001 film) re-considered the location and ultimately transferred the shoot of the movie to Durban.
Durban features strongly in the movie. It was chosen as the film has a strong Indian flavour. The film was shot in and around the city with major locations being the Dakota informal settlement in Isipingo Beach; Umhlanga; La Mercy and Blue Lagoon.
It is the first time Schuster has done any major filming in Durban and, judging from the praise from director, producer and crew, he may well be back. “Everybody had a great time in Durban,” confirms producer Anant Singh of Durban-based Videovision Entertainment. "Leon was keen to do a movie in Durban and this one will help put our city as a major film location in South Africa." Singh said that the majority of the budget of the film was spent in Durban and this would have a positive economic impact on the city.
The benefits are substantial from a tourist standpoint, because you can assume that almost every South African will at some point see the movie,” said Singh.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

KwaZulu-Natal Spa's

KwaZulu-Natal has developed a number of top-notch ‘spafari’ venues, offering packages that combine accommodation with game drives and spa treatments, or day spas near wildlife resorts.

Spa holidays are firmly established in Europe and the US, but South Africa has come up with a new spin – the ‘spafari’ – a bush spa where game viewing is interspersed with pampering and pummelling.

To add an even more exotic flavour, the spas use indigenous African treatments. Open-air massages take place with sweeping views of bushveld or coastal forest, and the only sounds are the call of the wild. An ever-increasing number of luxury safari lodges offer spa facilities and treatments to fill the quiet time between morning and evening game drives.

The safari-style spa experience appeals to couples and honeymooners. The trend at the moment is very much towards wellness in general and a spa and safari combination delivers this.”

KZN’s superlative ‘spafari’ experiences
Falaza Game Park - a private game reserve on the borders of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. It offers game drives, bush walks, boat cruises and horse trails. The reserve, in the heart of the Zululand bushveld, promises a rejuvenating experience of up-close-and-personal animal encounters and a wide range of specialised spa treatments.

AmaKhozi - means ‘the Place of Kings’ and the spa regimes that intersperse the wildlife excursions promise to treat you like royalty. The lodge is situated on a river, so treatments can take place on guests’ private deck overlooking the water. The lodge offers night-time frog safaris here guests can marvel at the spectrum of colours and the loud calling of mating frogs.

Wetlands Earth Spa - in the town of St Lucia on the doorstep of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Activities on offer vary from estuary cruises to game drives and turtle tours. The spa bases its treatments on traditional South African products.

Thanda Private Game Reserve - there are few experiences more rewarding than Thanda Private Game Reserve. The Wellness Centre combines the romance of the African bush with unbelievable pampering. The reserve was rehabilitated from degraded farmland in Zululand to make it the top lodge in the country, and to this end it has won several international awards.

Monday, 25 August 2008

City of Durban Exhibit at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

eThekwini Municipality has for the second year in a row won a Silver Gilt Medal for it's exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in London of which it can be very proud. The theme of the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show was Gardening for Climate Change. Members of the eThekwini Municipality Parks, Leisure & Cemeteries Department went over to London to build the stand. Francois Lenferna, horticulturist with the Department, who was responsible for the design of the exhibit came up with a very innovative design.A modern gazebo, consisting of three tiers on a veranda area. Structures captured water that ran down living pillars, watering flower pots on the way down. This water then seeped into other flower beds, thus making full use of the trapped rain water, which finally drained down the pillars The deck of the gazebo was made out of recycled plastic and two chairs were created out of old car tyres. Both dry and tropical plants were used in the display, demonstrating the movement of plants from desert and dry areas to areas with lots of rain. All plants in the display were indigenous, which included five species of cycads, many aloe varieties from around KwaZulu-Natal with the main feature plant being Euphorbia Ingens. Raised beds created height within the design and allowed for isolated watering of specialised plants. The use of ferns, intertwined with Gloriosa Rothchildiana dripping down the pillars, softened the feature. Said Christo Swart, Deputy Head, Parks, Leisure & Cemeteries, "Once again our stand created tremendous interest amongst the exhibitors, with particular attention given to our selection of plants and the innovative design of the gazebo. We were honoured to have Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visit our stand for the second year running. Durban can be very proud of it's achievements at this year's show."
The Durban Botanic Garden is a 15 minute walk from Gibela Backpackers Lodge. Leaving Gibela Backpackers Lodge, you will walk along Cowey Road, where you will pass L'Espresso Coffee shop, Woolworths Food Store, Fruit and Vegetable Market and Bread Ahead Bakery - all you need to stock up on some nice goodies to sit back relax and enjoy a picnic at the bird pond in the gardens. SEE YOU SOON !!!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Cape coast shark warnings.

VISITORS intending to use the ocean for recreational purposes are urged to exercise caution as the first Great White sharks of the season have been spotted off the False Bay coast(Cape Peninsuala). Although Great Whites are present in the coastal waters throughout the year and always pose a small threat, the period between mid-August and the end of November has seen the highest number of recorded shark-human interactions over the past five years, according the City of Cape Town.

The city urges recreational sea users to be extra vigilant over the next few months and take note of shark sightings. Kayakers and surf-skiers should keep a watchful eye in the area between Sunnycove and Glencairn Beach, while surfers and swimmers should take extra care in the area between Sunrise Beach and Strandfontein and in the Macassar Beach area. Shark spotters are on duty along the coast and people are urged to make use of them when visiting beaches where they are on duty. Shark-spotting programmes are currently in operation on the following beaches: St James, Muizenberg Corner, Fish Hoek and Noordhoek. Spotters are on duty seven days a week from 08h00 to 18h00, and until 19h00 from October.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

DURBAN - Tourism Career Expo

THE Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) will be hosting the first National Tourism Careers Expo at the Durban Exhibition Centre from October 14-16.

The expo will serve as a platform to encourage school learners, students and unemployed youths to pursue a career in tourism. Deputy Minister of DEAT, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, says: “Even though the tourism sector is one of the largest and most diverse industries in the world, it remains a largely untapped sector when it comes to attracting young individuals to choose it as a career. A key focus of the expo is to showcase to young people the vast potential, great opportunities and rewarding jobs within the tourism sector.”

The DEAT will undertake a range of activities to address skills development within the industry, which will be unveiled during the expo. These include the launch of a survey on the intake of tourism in schools, the launch of the Social Tourism Policy pilot project for South Africa, the introduction of opportunities for international placement, and awards and rewards for excellence in tourism education and training.

The expo will present employers with the opportunity to meet their future employees. Mabudafhasi stated: “An opportunity will be presented to industry players wishing to allocate bursaries and learnership opportunities to students.”

Cape Town water warning

The Cape Town City Council has warned residents to avoid contact with water that has flowed through residential areas, particularly informal settlements. An increase in E. coli and faecal coliform counts has been detected in 14 rivers and 10 wetlands in the Cape Town area. Warning notices had been erected in areas where stream water was deemed unsafe, city spokesperson Clive Justus said on Sunday. He said a clean-up plan and budget had been approved to address the problem, but for now residents and visitors have been urged to heed the warnings.

South African Airways

SAA’s new online facility has been well received by travellers as it further eases the travel experience, allowing customers to check in by using the airline’s website.

The facility, introduced earlier this year, allows customers to change the seat assigned to them or to select a seat.

Some destinations serviced by SAA, such as London and Germany, will further allow customers to print a boarding pass on a standard A4 page that will include a two-dimensional bar code that can be recognised through computer scanning facilities.

For destinations such as Johannesburg, where two-dimensional scanning is currently not allowed, customers can check themselves in online and then use the self-service kiosks at the airport to print a boarding pass.

Customers who travel with bags can now also use the self-service kiosks, and they can drop their bags at specially provided baggage drop-off facilities or counters at the airport.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Intresting Questions by soon to be visitors to South Africa (No 1)

THE following questions have been posed to tourism offices across South Africa.

Q: Does it ever get windy in South Africa? I have never seen it raining on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA) A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Durban to Cape Town - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden) A: Sure, it's only two thousand kilometres, take lots of water...

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in South Africa? (Sweden) A: So it's true what they say about Swedes...?

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in South Africa? Can you send me a list of them in JHB, Cape Town, Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? (UK) A: ....and what did your last slave die of?

Welcome Awards 2008

THE third annual Welcome Awards, held in May at Indaba in Durban, recognised and honoured service excellence in the tourism and hospitality industry.

The awards, an South African Tourism initiative sponsored by, among others, First National Bank, Satsa, Deat, and the TGCSA, have become catalysts for promoting service excellence and product innovation, said SA Tourism ceo, Moeketsi Mosola, at the awards ceremony.

"The various category winners represent the cream of what our destination offers visitors in terms of outstanding service, luxurious experiences, efficiency and professionalism," said Moeketsi.

This year's 156% increase in entries, he added, bears testimony to the "growing significance of these awards to the South African tourism industry.

The award winners for 2008 Backpackers Category was Gibela Backpackers Lodge - Durban.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

iSimangaliso (St.Lucia) Wetlands Park

Since the 1999 listing of iSimangaliso as South Africa's First World Heritage Site, alongside Robben Island and the Cradle of Humankind, significant progress has been made relating to Park conservation and community benefits. The enlarged Park, consolidated under the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority now stretches along one third of KwaZulu-Natal's coastline. There has been a 59% increase in the number of tourism establishments in and around the Park, with a 18% increase in the number of beds since 2000. During this period, average bed occupancies have gone from below the national average to above. Community equity of between 20 - 61% has been achieved in new tourism developments. The iSimangaliso Authority has created approximately 4500 jobs year on year since its establishment. Over 15 000ha of pine plantations have been removed. Working with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, iSimangaliso has reintroduced thousands of head of game into the Park including oribi, wild dog, buffalo, elephant, black and white rhino and cheetah. iSimangaliso has also played a significant role in the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative (LSDI) which implemented a malaria programme. Lake St Lucia is now malaria free.
The word iSimangaliso has rich historical context. Ujeqe was King Shaka's insila (aide who keeps all the King's secrets and gets buried with the King when the King dies). He fled after uShaka's death to avoid the customary burial with his master. He wandered into Thongaland, present-day Maputaland, and came back, saying: I saw wonders and miracles in the flat land and lakes of Thonga. From that follows an isiZulu saying that if you have seen miracles, you have seen what uJeqe saw: Ubone isimanga esabonwa uJeqe kwelama Thonga." Ujeqe might just have been one of the first tourists to visit what is now the iSimangaliso Wetland Park."