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."