Entries tagged with “Clifton”.
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Wednesday 10th July 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Last night’s episode 9 was interesting, in that it was shot away from the MasterChef SA kitchen, and that ten ‘Food Bloggers’ were invited to judge the pizzas made by two teams of Finalists, the first team challenge of Season 2. The South Easter created havoc for the Finalists as well as for the bloggers. The ‘Blogger’ participation was a huge let down, and serving the guests pizza to judge was an insult.
The episode began with the Finalists descending on the kitchen of their house, to be confronted with a box of aprons and the instruction to divide themselves into two groups of seven. The names were written on pieces of paper, and a Le Creuset pot served as the vessel from which the names for the two teams were drawn. They were then driven to Maiden’s Cove, between Camps Bay and Clifton, a parking space with a beautiful view of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood saying that Camps Bay ‘is one of the iconic locations in Cape Town‘. The challenge sounded simple – Limoncello and The Good Life Food Trucks arrived, and the two teams were randomly allocated a truck each as their home base to prepare 12 savoury and 12 dessert pizzas each within 90 minutes. Pizza ovens had been erected, one per team, and a small pantry was set up, the two team representatives having 3 minutes in which to grab their ingredients. Chef Andrew Atkinson reminded the Finalists that team work is the hallmark of a quality kitchen. They were also told (misleadingly) that the guests were ’10 of South Africa’s top food bloggers‘, and ‘are discerning customers‘! Chef Pete won the dessert pizza section of an international pizza competition in Australia last year, the Finalists were told. (more…)
Monday 10th June 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The publicity for the start of Season 2 of MasterChef SA is still surprisingly low key, with little PR for the new series having been seen to date. A number of changes relative to last year’s Season 1 can be expected when Season 2 kicks off on M-Net tomorrow at 19h30, the biggest being that the value of the winner’s prize package has dropped dramatically to about R1 million, from R8 million in Season 1:
1. There will be two shows a week, for 13 weeks on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at 19h30, with 26 episodes in total.
2. The show content will be less focused on cooking, and more on the human drama, with in-depth interviews with the contestants, video diaries, fun moments and ‘extended storylines’. Interviews with experts, guest chefs, and the judges will also feature. There will be more masterclasses, and more rewards, M-Net Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht has told the Sunday Times.
3. There is a ‘significantly higher’ standard of cooking than in Season 1, according to Ms Engelbrecht, as the Season 2 participants had a better understanding of what was expected of them from having watched Season 1, reports the Sunday Times.
4. There are fewer Finalists, now called ‘contestants’: 16 instead of 18.
5. Season 2 was filmed at Nederburg at the beginning of this year.
6. The same judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Andrew Atkinson, and Benny Masekwameng are involved, and Chef Arnold Tanzer is the Culinary Producer once again.
7. One episode (9 July) will feature food bloggers, including Andrew Lieber from Gourmet Guys, Ishay Govender from Food and the Fabulous, Candice Bresler from The Gorgeous Gourmet Blog, and Sam Linsell from Drizzle and Drip. We have been told that Jane-Anne Hobbs, Anel Potgieter, Nina Timm,and Andy Fenner were also invited to participate in the episode filmed at Maiden’s Cove, between Camps Bay and Clifton, but were cancelled in the last minute, as were we.
8. Gordon Ramsay is a guest chef and judge, a Tweet by Chris Whelan has indicated.
9. Nederburg is the wine sponsor again, and is offering eight ‘online master classes in food and wine pairing’, conducted by its cellar master Razvan Macici, a new clip posted on the Nederburg website every two weeks, its PR consultancy De Kock Communications has announced.
10. Fledgling Bakoven restaurateur Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro auditioned for MasterChef Season 1 and 2, and he features in the first fifteen minutes of the first episode tomorrow, an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times has revealed. Mohamed is the son of Shawn MacLachlan, who owns a catering company looking after Manchester United and its fans. Other contestants are Cape Town based Zane Jacobs, Tiron Eloff from Randburg, Alta Wasson from Stilbaai, and Khumo Twala from Johannesburg, according to the Sunday Times.
11. The winner’s prizes offered by the official sponsors have been announced by M-Net: R400000 cash from Robertsons, a VW Golf 7 (new sponsor replacing Hyundai), five nights at the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa in the Seychelles from Tsogo Sun, one year’s free shopping to the value of R100000 at Woolworths, and a year’s supply of Nederburg wines plus a sommelier course. The modest Tsogo Sun prize is a surprise, given the generous two year restaurant contract which Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo received at Montecasino! We have been told that the hotel group does not expect as high a viewership of Season 2, and that the controversy surrounding the Montecasino restaurant prize led Tsogo Sun to drastically downscale its contribution to the winner’s prize package.
12. The bar has been raised for MasterChef SA Season 2, relative to MasterChef Australia, the producers wishing to exceed the standard of the latter. Lani Lombard, M-Net’s Head of Communication, has said about Season 2: ‘The first Season of MasterChef South Africa definitely inspired amateur chefs to get more creative. We noticed very early on during the Audition phase that the contestants’ standard of cooking was significantly higher this year and because of that, the show provides pressure-cooker entertainment right from the start’.
12. MasterChef SA Season 3 is likely to follow.
In January I was the only blogger to be be invited to a Media Day on set at MasterChef SA at Nederburg. Our blogpost (edited by M-Net) of the Media Day provides more background information.
MasterChef SA Season 2 starts cooking on Tuesday 11 June at 19h30, after the last episode of MasterChef Australia.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @Whale Cottage
Sunday 14th October 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The Western Cape has 21 Blue Flag beaches out of 36 nationally, with eight of these in Cape Town alone and three each in Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, excellent news for tourism to our city and province, as they are a confirmation of international standards of cleanliness, environmental management, and safety. ‘..the Blue Flag programme has impacts in terms of economic benefits, job creation and improved environmental management’, said Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the ceremony to award the latest Blue Flag beaches.
The list of beaches is as follows:
Cape Town : Camps Bay, Clifton 4th beach, Bikini Beach (Gordon’s Bay), Mnandi Beach (False Bay), Muizenberg, Strandfontein, Llandudno, Silwerstroomstrand (near Melkbos).
Mossel Bay: Santos Beach, Hartenbos, De Bakke
Plettenberg Bay: Robberg, Keurboomstrand, Nature’s Valley
Overstrand: Grotto Beach, Kleinmond
Other: Wilderness, Brenton on Sea, Strandfontein (near Vredenburg), Lappiesbaai (Stilbaai), Witsand
A list of 32 criteria is evaluated for a beach to be awarded Blue Flag status, focusing on water quality, environmental focus (education, information, and management), and safety and services (including parking availability, ablution facilities, and life-saving). Minister van Schalkwyk added that “…tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and one that is heavily dependent on the natural resource base. Attractive coastal landscapes such sandy beaches, dune areas, estuaries, and coastal lakes are also preferred sites for tourism development. Hence, uncontrolled and ill-planned tourism significantly degrades the environment. Our environment is one of our greatest tourism resources. As the global sector grows, its impact on natural resources also grows, and therefore the need for sustainable planning and management become imperative for this industry.”
The Minister said that currently our country is promoted largely around its safari-type experiences and its beaches: “We have the capability and the means, the welcoming culture, and the varied, textured, beautiful destination that the world’s travellers – ever more demanding and discerning – want when they choose a destination. As the number of Blue Flag beaches increases in South African, domestic visitors are increasingly exercising their choices in which beaches they visit and, as with international trends, our Blue Flag beaches are becoming the “beach of choice”.
The Blue Flag beach quality evaluation was introduced in Europe 25 years ago, awarding beaches that met the European Union Bathing Water Directive. It is awarded in 40 countries, close to 4000 beaches being evaluated. In South Africa beaches have been evaluated for Blue Flag status in the past twelve years. In its year of inception there were only three Blue Flag beaches; now there are 36. Four marinas received Blue Flag status for the first time, including Yachtport in Saldanha, and the Granger Bay Water Club and False Bay Yacht Club in Cape Town.
Blue Flag beach status is not well communicated, and one would encourage the municipalities with such beaches to erect educational signage on the award-winning beaches, to enhance their tourism benefit.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Wednesday 22nd August 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Last night the new 13-series reality TV show ‘Clifton Shores‘ premiered on Vuzu to mixed reaction, locals slamming the production on Twitter, yet the beautiful shots of Clifton were praised from a tourism perspective.
‘Clifton Shores’ documents the ability of a bevy of beautiful American lasses to adapt to ‘survive’ in Cape Town, said executive producer Quinton van der Burgh, reports the Cape Argus. He explained that they cast the girls in America, on the basis of not only their beauty but also their brains. Katy, Kathy, Destiny, and Jamillette were selected and came to Cape Town last year for the filming, being joined by local lasses Raquel, Rikki, and Claire, as well as local lads Quinton, Brett, Toby, and Steven. The unique idea for the series came when Van den Burgh, billed as a ‘coal mining magnate’, was driving between Johannesburg and the coal mines, looking to get away from the ‘black’ in his life, he explained!
They were accommodated in a Clifton mansion, and had to work for Van den Burgh, playing the role of a billionaire businessman. They had to use their social skills to raise funds for a charity, and to host parties. No script was used. ‘We just started rolling and the drama comes as we go along. It is as real as we get’. For example, one of the girls is fired. He said about filming locally in Cape Town: “It is a brilliant idea because everything happens in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. So we see them work and play in a city that allows both all year round” .
Van den Burgh explained that he has made the series to be successful amongst American viewers first and foremost, to make it financially viable, having had to make this choice early on in his production. Two American networks have expressed interest in the show. He proudly praised the marketing role of the series: “Also, there is a need to show Cape Town as a tourist destination and, judging by the way the ladies have fun, we are doing a good job in marketing the place” . The stars of the series were filmed around Cape Town, at the beaches, and even attending the J&B Met earlier this year. The video for the series shows some clips, including lots of footage of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay in the background to Clifton Beach, abseiling down Table Mountain, paragliding down Lion’s Head, flying over the Cape Town Stadium and V&A Waterfront, and also moves to the Palace of the Lost City, where they do game viewing, and ride elephants.
The Cape Town tourism industry should be grateful for Van den Burgh’s decision to shoot the series in Cape Town, and choosing Clifton (one of the top ten beaches in the world, he motivated). One hopes that it will be sold to American networks with good audiences, to encourage them to visit Cape Town and its ‘Clifton Shores‘! The reality TV series (see trailer) comes one month after the Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’ was released internationally, having been predominantly shot in Cape Town too.
POSTSCRIPT 4/9: Last night we watched the series for the first time, being the third episode. It showed the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, at which a meeting was held, paragliding down Lion’s Head, beautiful Table Mountain, a township, and a show at the now ex-Vaudeville. A surprise was that the episode was only 30 minutes long.
‘Clifton Shores’, Vuzu (DStv channel 123), Tuesdays at 21h00. www.cliftonshores.com
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Saturday 19th May 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Two weeks ago Mayor Patricia de Lille hinted at a ‘high profile’ event that was still under wraps then, that could make up for Cape Town not having been made it as host city for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in January/February next year. A surprise is that the announcement of an ’8 Nations Under 20 international Football Challenge 2012′, which will be held in Cape Town from next Friday until 3 June, was only made two days ago! With such a short lead time, and virtually no information to be found about the event, the soccer tournament is unlikely to be beneficial to tourism in Cape Town, and will not compensate for the failed bid in hosting Afcon next year. The soccer tournament next week is a sad attempt by the City of Cape Town to save face!
We wrote last week that losing the bid to be a host city for Afcon 2013 is a major tourism blow for Cape Town, and is a further disaster created by our City’s Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe, also having cost our city the Heineken Cup final earlier this year.
The City of Cape Town media release, issued yesterday, announces the tournament, organised by the City of Cape Town in conjunction with the Cape Town branch of the South African Football Association (SAFA) with a financial contribution by the Western Cape government, is to be played both at Cape Town Stadium and at Athlone Stadium in eight matches. Teams from South Africa, Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Japan, Cameroon, and Kenya are participating in the soccer tournament, seen as preparation for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup to be held in Turkey next year.
According to the release, Cape Town is hosting the ‘renowned bi-annual tournament for the second time, after a successful inauguration tournament in 2010, prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup’. No reference about the 2010 event could be found via a Google search, making the claim of it being ‘renowned’ untruthful and an overclaim! Even worse, the release positions the event in the league of the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour and the ‘Old Mutual Town (sic) Oceans marathon’, and says that it helps to achieve its goal of positioning Cape Town as the Events Capital of Africa! Magnifying its exaggeration, the release states that the soccer tournament will launch the future local and international careers of soccer players. Ivan Meyer, the MEC for Sport and Cultural Affairs in the province, said the the soccer tournament would position Cape Town as a ‘soccer-friendly city’, reports The New Age, ironic given that Councillor Pascoe was argumentative with the SAFA when bidding for host city of Afcon, and so lost the bid!
Interesting is that Cape Town Tourism, funded by the City of Cape Town, has not yet Tweeted about the event, preferring to focus on the floating of the beached Japanese trawler on Clifton’s First Beach yesterday. No media release has been issued by the tourism body either, proving that it does not see the tourism benefit of the soccer tournament!
The City will be using the services of 150 volunteers to run the event. Tickets cost R50 for ‘grand stand’ tickets and R20 for ‘open stand’ seats, and are for sale at Computicket. The match schedule is as follows:
|25 May 2012
||South Africa v/s Argentina
||Ghana v/s Nigeria
|29 May 2012
||South Africa v/s Nigeria
||Argentina v/s Ghana
|30 May 2012
||Brazil v/s Japan
||Cameroon v/s Kenya
|1 June 2012
||Semi Final 1
||Semi Final 2
Cape Town Stadium:
|26 May 2012
||Kenya v/s Japan
||Brazil v/s Cameroon
|27 May 2012
||South Africa v/s Ghana
||Argentina v/s Nigeria
|28 May 2012
||Brazil v/s Kenya
||Cameroon v/s Japan
|3 June 2012
||3rd v/s 4th
POSTSCRIPT 23/5: Cape Town Tourism has only written about the soccer tournament on its website today, two days before its start. There is no publicity about this non-event! The Twitter page (@8Nations) only has 72 followers!
POSTSCRIPT 24/5: The Cape Times has reported that the Fan Walk will be opened for the Final on 3 June. To date there has been no publicity to encourage locals to participate. The article also states that the City of Cape Town is paying the South African Football Association R1,5 million as a ‘grant in aid’, while the Western Cape government has ‘in principle committed’ the same amount.
POSTSCRIPT 27/5: The Weekend Argus yesterday billed the effect of the soccer tournament on Cape Town’s hospitality industry as a ‘mid-winter tourist boost’, a dishonest report – Cape Town has never been quieter! Ivan Meyer, the province’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation, who does not handle the tourism portfolio, stated that the tournament would impact on the economy of the province, through ‘ticket sales, accommodation, flights, etc’. Cape Town Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim, known for his media gaffes, reinforced the exaggerated benefit of the tournament: ‘Bagraim added that a major event such as this was similar to the festive season. bringing a great deal of money into the city’! One wonders why these two personalities, and the Weekend Argus with it, are misleading the tourism industry and the Cape Town public in this report. SAFA Cape Town President Norman Arendse pointed out that the 8 Nations Under-20 soccer challenge should not be seen as a ‘replacement’ for losing out on being an AFCON host city next year.
POSTSCRIPT 27/5: Cape Town Tourism, the city’s tourism marketing body funded by the Councillor Pascoe’s department, has only Tweeted once about the soccer tournament, signalling its lack of tourism interest in the event!
POSTSCRIPT 28/5: We received the following e-mail from Wadia Sinclair, with some valid questions:
“Good day, After reading some of the comments I would like to give version:
This tournament was poorly advertised.
Parking a major problem @ CT Stadium, all parking around the stadium was cordoned off. WHY??????
Why do we have to buy eats inside the stadium at RIDICULOUS prices? I would rather bring my own eats than have all these vendors walking up & down pass me. Is this stadium not for the PEOPLE….
We as a family enjoy soccer but please why all the inconvenience”.
POSTSCRIPT 28/5: The 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament ticket sales must be so poor that they are offering a free ticket for every ticket bought for the Semi Final or Final, Councillor Pascoe Tweeted today!
POSTSCRIPT 28/5: Councillor Pascoe appears to be getting annoyed about the feedback in this blogpost, making the following statement on Twitter this evening: “you don’t have a mandate to speak on behalf of anybody”!
POSTSCRIPT 29/5: The Cape Times reported today that the support of the soccer tournament has been so poor in terms of attendance that Cape Town faces the danger of not hosting the 2014 Eight Nation Under 20 soccer tournament. There is an admission that the free ticket give-away is to attract a greater attendance.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Monday 24th October 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Cape Town received wonderful coverage in a three-part article in the UK The Guardian on Saturday, praising in particular the beauty of the city, and the gourmet and wine wealth of the near-by towns in the Winelands, which should be good for attracting visitors from the UK to our city, given the weaker Rand.
The writer of the trio of articles is Gloria Hunniford, a highly regarded mature Northern Ireland radio and TV presenter, writer (including ‘Gloria Hunniford’s Family Cookbook’,) a travel writer for The Guardian and The Telegraph, and presenter of travel guides for National Geographic. In the fineprint it is clear that the articles were sponsored by SA Tourism.
Gloria reports about her first ever visit to Cape Town, a city that she says she has never heard a bad word spoken about, and about which she had heard ‘glorious stories about the weather, the food, the wine, the people and, of course, Table Mountain’. Worried that her high expectations could be disappointed, she writes that ‘it is more beautiful, more dramatic, and more extraordinary than anything I had imagined’. She writes that she was at a loss of words on top of Table Mountain, and fell in love with a dassie.
During her visit to the Cape, Gloria saw the Twelve Apostles, Cape Point, Lion’s Head, the city centre, the floral diversity of 2000 species on Table Mountain, Chapman’s Peak (exhilaratingly experienced on the back of a Harley Davidson), and stayed at the Camps Bay Retreat. She enjoyed the Camps Bay restaurants and its strip and beach, about which she wrote: “…you would be forgiven for thinking you were on a remote, palm-fringed island, not in South Africa’s second most populous city“! She refers to Cape Town being ranked second in the Lonely Planet’s world 10 best beach cities (after Barcelona and ahead of Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Miami), an accolade for Cape Town I had not heard about nor seen publicised by our tourism authorities. She mentions the surfing beaches of False Bay, the ‘remote beaches’ of the South Peninsula, ‘fashionable Clifton’, and the ‘sundowner-haven of Llandudno’. She was taken to Bo-Kaap, to eat Cape Malay food at the home of Zainie. She also ate at the Cape Grace, and was served fresh fish in Camps Bay. She highlights Kirstenbosch as the perfect picnic venue, having recently been named by National Geographic as one of the top 10 places in the world to have a picnic.
In the Winelands, Gloria visited L’Omarins in Franschhoek, enjoying its Cape Dutch architecture, flower paradise, and a wine-tasting. Gloria saw a chocolate-making demonstration at Huguenot Fine Chocolates, raving generally about Franschhoek, with its ‘atmospheric shops and sampling the great food and wine on offer is a must for every visitor’s itinerary‘. She had lunch at Delaire Graff, praising it highly for its setting in the Helshoogte Pass: ‘It’s sheer bliss. To be embraced by the sheer luxury of this elegant, beautiful crafted estate, sipping on fabulous wine and indulging in the tastiest food around, is what dream holidays are made off (sic).” Then she tastes wines at Spier, calling it one of ‘South Africa’s oldest, biggest and most tourist friendly estates’, and its wines as being affordably priced and winning awards. A highlight for Gloria was stroking Hemingway, the cheetah, at Spier. She enjoyed her gourmet picnic at Warwick, writing about it: ‘Our picnic basket is filled to the brim with delicious salads, cold meats, bread, smoked salmon, and sweet treats, a far cry from the picnics I am used to…. It introduced us to more South African culinary treats, from snoek pate to biltong’.
Despite being sponsored articles, it is Gloria’s concluding paragraph that is sure to connect with potential visitors to our city, and her valuable endorsement should be of benefit to tourism to Cape Town and the Winelands: “The last few days have been happy, happy days, thanks in no small part to the people of South Africa who have been so open and friendly and made us feel so welcome. It is the people of a country who can really make an experience memorable. They are so proud of their country and it is this enthusiasm and South Africa’s sheer beauty that I will take away with me”.
POSTSCRIPT 25/10: Today Cape Town and the Winelands received further favourable coverage, this time in the Mail Online, in an interview with Suzi Perry, BBC motor sports correspondent and presenter of the Channel 5 ‘The Gadget Show’. She described her honeymoon in South Africa last year as her ‘most memorable holiday’, having stayed in Camps Bay (staying at Cape View Villa), went on Safari at Richard Branson’s lodge Ulusaba in Sabi Sands, and went winetasting in Franschhoek, staying at Rickety Bridge. She loved going up Table Mountain, recommending abseiling down it, hiked up Lion’s Head at full moon, raved about the vineyard picnics, she saw whales in Hermanus, and ‘baboons on the cape (sic)’.
POSTSCRIPT 27/10: Cape Town has been selected as runner-up as ‘Favorite City World-wide’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards announced yesterday, won by New York, and alongside Venice. La Residence in Franschhoek was a runner-up with Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah in Oman for ‘Favorite Hotel World-Wide’, a category won by Villa d’Este at Lake Como in Italy.
POSTSCRIPT 27/10: Cape Town is basking in the spotlight, and now the New York Times has written an article “36 hours in Cape Town’, published on-line today, and to appear in print on Sunday. It opens as follows: “Cape Town overwhelms the senses. Its cultivated side, the bright lights and big buildings of the city centre, collides with its geography – the dazzle and danger of the wind-whipped mountains and the two oceans that embrace it.” Writer Elaine Sciolino writes that prices soared in the city during the World Cup, and that the ‘tourist trade since then has disappointed‘, that some businesses have closed down, and some constructions sites stand unfinished. ‘Despite the grinding poverty in the townships on the city’s outskirts, this is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world’, she writes. Sciolino’s 36 hours in Cape Town were action-packed, and included a visit to the District Six Museum, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain (stating that it is to Cape Town what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, defining and dominating the ‘cityscape’), dinner at Marco’s African Place, followed by drinks at Café Caprice and clubbing at St Yves in Camps Bay, which has just re-opened. On Saturday it’s an ostrich burger for brunch at the Biscuit Mill, shopping at Greenmarket Square, and then off to ‘wine sipping’ at Groot Constantia, eating sushi at Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront, and then to Asoka on Kloof Street for cocktails, followed by Fiction DJ Bar and Zula Sound Bar. On Sunday morning it’s a drive to Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope), stopping at Simonstown and Boulders’ Beach on the way, returning via Chapman’s Peak. The article links to a travel guide, with accommodation (Mount Nelson and V&A Hotels strongly recommended) and restaurants (Africa Café recommended of all the 27 restaurants listed, but sadly out of date, with Jardine still listed) recommended.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Sunday 23rd October 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The just-released (in South African cinemas) internationally-produced movie ‘Black Butterflies’, about the life and death of South Africa’s Sestiger poet Ingrid Jonker, is a contrast between the most beautiful Cape Town scenery, and the dark days of our political past and the unhappy life of this talented writer. The movie location is identified as Cape Town, and should attract international movie-goers to our beautiful city.
Dutch actress Carice van Houten and actor Rutger Hauer, who both don’t get the South African English pronunciation perfectly correct, play Jonker and her father, respectively. The movie tells the unhappy story of how Jonker’s mother died when she and her sister were young children, were sent to stay with their grandmother, and sent back to their ‘Pa’ when she passed away. He was a severe and critical father, and Member of Parliament, heading up the Publications Control Board, and ironically even her book of poems had to be vetted by him and his Board. They were never close, and it was his rejection of her that probably led to the sad end to her life. Desperate to find love, she had relationships with great writers such as Jack Cope, Uys Krige, Jan Rabie, and André Brink. The movie weaves the political history of the country in the ‘Sixties into the story, and ends with the reading of her poem “Die Kind wat Doodgeskiet is deur Soldate in Nyanga” in English by the then newly inaugurated President Nelson Mandela at the opening of Parliament in 1994. He called her ‘one of the finest poets of our country’. Ex-President Thabo Mbeki awarded the Silver Order of Ikhamanga to Jonker posthumously, for her contribution to literature and human rights.
The movie was shot in March and April last year, and contains the most beautiful beach and sea shots at Llandudno, and Cape Town generally is the location for the movie, with the exception of a few scenes shot in Amsterdam. Other Cape Town locations are the playgrounds and the Promenade in Sea Point, Clifton’s Second Beach (where Cope and Krige shared a bungalow), Bo-Kaap, Table Mountain, Chapman’s Peak, Strandfontein, and Noordhoek Beach. The movie ends with Jonker walking into the sea at Three Anchor Bay in July 1965, becoming our country’s Sylvia Plath.
The movie is a co-production between the German Comet Film GmbH and South African Spier Productions (Pty) Limited, with post-production done by Bavaria Films in Germany. The name of the movie comes from the line in one of Jonker’s poems: “For the sun that I now cover forever with black butterflies”. While Jonker wrote her precious poetry in Afrikaans, the movie has the English translations, for practical purposes. Paula van der Oest is an Oscar-nominated director from Holland, reports the Cape Argus. She loved the work of Jonker, and wanted to expose it to a larger audience. South African actor Graham Clarke, playing Krige, does not do a believable Afrikaans-speaking-English accent. Irish actor Liam Cunningham is a most sympathetic Cope, whose relationship with Jonker dominates the movie. Oddly, André Brink is not mentioned by name in the movie, even though the movie notes outside the cinema refer to his name. Brink is called ‘Eugene Maritz’ in the movie, played by local Nicholas Pauling. Brink’s book A Fork in the Road contains an overview of Jonker’s life, and her effect on his life.
‘Black Butterflies’, Cinema Nouveau, Cavendish Square. See the movie trailer here.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Saturday 27th August 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
After writing about the disastrous error-filled and outdated Conde Nast Traveller Guide to Cape Town earlier this week, it was refreshing to see a link on Twitter about the Telegraph Travel’s ’Cape Town City Break Guide’, written by local travel writer and ‘destination expert’ Pippa de Bruyn (author of a ‘Frommer’s Guide’ to South Africa and to India, and of ‘A Hedonist’s Guide to Cape Town’), resulting in a far more accurate guide for the tourist visiting Cape Town.
The Guide kicks off with the Beauty positioning for Cape Town (the one that Cape Town Tourism has just thrown away by using ‘Inspirational’, as the new positioning for Cape Town, even though it is not unique for Cape Town and has been used by others, including Pick ‘n Pay!), in stating that “Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world”. It is accompanied by a beautiful shot of Clifton, with the Twelve Apostles as backdrop. The reasons for travelling to Cape Town are motivated as its ‘in-your-face beauty’; the pristine white beaches; the proximity of nature; spotting zebra and wildebeest on the slopes of Table Mountain; watching whales breaching in False Bay; being ‘halted by cavorting baboons near Cape Point’; being a contender for World Design Capital 2014 with its art galleries, ‘hip bars’, opera, and design-savvy shops; the unique marriage of Dutch-origin vegetable gardening, winemaking introduced by the French (this fact must be challenged, as it was the Dutch who established the first wine farms), Malay slaves’ spices, and English ‘Georgian mansions and Victorian terraced homes’; its contrasts of pleasure and poverty, of ‘pounding seas and vine-carpeted valleys’, and its award-winning wines and produce offer ‘some of the best (and most affordable) fine dining in the world’.
The ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ includes the following recommendations:
* travel time is suggested as ‘pretty much any time of the year’, and a warning of wet Julys and Augusts now is inaccurate, given the wonderful non-winter weather experienced in Cape Town during both these months this year!
* misleading is the claim that Cape Town offers the best land-based whale watching in the world – this positioning belongs to Hermanus, and is corrected a few pages further into the guide. Also misleading is the claim that the best ‘summer deals’ are available in October and November - most accommodation establishments have the same rate for the whole summer, and do not drop rates at the start of summer.
* it is up-to-date in that use of the MyCiti Bus is recommended to travel between the airport and the Civic Centre, as well as to the Waterfront. Train travel between Cape Town and Simonstown is not recommended, due to dirty windows and lack of safety, one of the few negatives contained in the Guide. The red City Sightseeing bus is recommended, as are bus tours, taxis, Rikkis, and car hire.
* The ‘Local laws and etiquette’ section does not address either of these two points. Instead, it warns against crime when walking or driving, and recommends that tourists should not ‘flash their wealth’. Potential card-skimming in the Waterfront and at the airport is also a potential danger, travellers to Cape Town are told, not accurate, and unfair to these two Cape Town locations.
* Tourist attractions recommended are Cape Point, driving via the Atlantic Seaboard and Chapman’s Peak; wine-tasting in Constantia; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; exploring the city centre on foot, walking from the city centre to Green Point; taking a water taxi from the Convention Centre to the Waterfront; the Footsteps to Freedom Tour; the Company Gardens; the National Gallery; summer concerts at Kirstenbosch; tanning at Clifton beaches; shopping for wines or going on a wine tour; High Tea at the Mount Nelson hotel; going on tours which allow one to meet the ‘other half’ locals; walking through the Waterfront or taking a sunset cruise; the Two Oceans Aquarium; eating fish and chips in Kalk Bay; going up Table Mountain by foot or cable car; day trips to Cape Point, the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers, and the Winelands (referring to Franschhoek as the now out-of-date ‘Gourmet Capital of the Cape’, by stating that ‘it is the only place where you have award-winning restaurants within walking distance of each other’, not correct either).
* in the ‘Cape Town Hotels’ section, it states disturbingly (and information out of date) that ‘Cape Town isn’t cheap’, and therefore suggests that clients stay in Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, Higgovale, and Bo-Kaap (but none of these suburbs have restaurants, something guests would like to walk to by foot from their accommodation), as well as De Waterkant, the V&A Waterfront (probably one of the most expensive accommodation areas!), and ‘Greenpoint’ (sic). Self-catering and ‘B&b’ (sic) accommodation is recommended. Hotels previously reviewed by The Telegraph are listed: the Mount Nelson, Ellerman House, the Cape Grace, Cascades on the Promenade, Four Rosmead, An African Villa, Rouge on Rose, Fritz Hotel, and The Backpack hostel, an interesting mix of hotels, and not all highly-rated in its reviews. No newer ‘World Cup hotels’ are recommended.
* For nightlife, Camps Bay’s Victoria Road, Long Street and Cape Quarter are recommended. Vaudeville is strongly recommended, but has lost a lot of its appeal. Other specific recommendations are Asoka on Kloof Street, Fiction DJ Bar & Lounge, Crew Bar in De Waterkant, Julep off Long Street, and the Bascule bar at the Cape Grace. The list seems out of date, with more trendy night-time spots being popular amongst locals.
* The Restaurant section is most disappointing, given the great accolade given to the Cape Town fine-dining scene early in the guide. Four restaurants only are recommended, and many would disagree that these are Cape Town’s best, or those that tourists should visit: The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Willoughby & Co in the Waterfront, 95 Keerom Street, and ‘Colcaccio (sic) Camps Bay’! A special note advises ‘gourmet diners’ to check Eat Out and Rossouw’s Restaurants for restaurants close to one’s accommodation. Stellenbosch restaurants Overture, Rust en Vrede and Terroir are recommended, as are Le Quartier and Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek, and La Colombe in Constantia.
* Shopping suggestions include the city centre, Green Point, Woodstock, De Waterkant, and Kloof Street, the latter street not having any particularly special shops. The Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill is recommended as the ‘best food market in the country’ (locals may disagree, with the squash of undecided shoppers, and increasingly more expensive), and may recommend the City Bowl Market instead). Art galleries are also recommended.
While the Telegraph Travel ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ is a massive improvement on the Condé Nast Traveller Cape Town guide, even this guide contains unforgivable errors, which a local writer should not be making. One would hope that Cape Town Tourism will get the errors fixed. We also suggest that they recommend the addition of Cape Town’s many special city centre eateries, and that the accommodation list be updated. The exclusion of Robben Island on the attraction list is a deficiency. The delineation between recommendations for things to do in Cape Town is blurred in some instances with recommendations in towns and villages outside Cape Town, which may confuse tourists to the Mother City. Overall, the Guide appears superficial and touristy, and does not reveal all the special gems that Cape Town has to offer.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Thursday 25th August 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
A ‘Cape Town’ Google Alert two days ago alerted me to an(undated) Condé Nast Traveller ‘Guide To Cape Town’, a twelve page listing of accommodation and restaurant recommendations, as well as containing suggestions for shopping, what to do, and what to see in Cape Town. While all publicity is good for our city, it is interesting to read one of the world’s most highly regarded travel magazine’s tourist suggestions, and to note how out of date the guide is, and what blatant errors it contains. One would have thought that Cape Town Tourism would work with the publisher of such a Guide, to check the accuracy of the content before it is published!
The introduction to the Guide is short and sweet: “With the striking Table Mountain as a backdrop, beautiful beaches and a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is no wonder Cape Town is attracting more visitors than ever. Fortunately, there are enough stylish and affordable places for every visitor to stay in, ranging from chic boutique hotels in the city centre to out-of-town mansion houses. The city also boasts historical buildings, interesting museums, shopping malls, restaurants, jazz cafés, theatres and nightclubs. On top of this, there are excellent surfing beaches and charming vineyards along the pristine coastline, and the spectacular Cape of Good Hope 70 km south of the city”. Two observations: This description of Cape Town says “beauty”, long the positioning for Cape Town, but one that Cape Town Tourism has thrown away for the city, now focusing on ‘Inspiration’ for the city! Second, the first glaring error is made, in writing about the inaccurate distance of the Cape of Good Hope from the city!
* Accommodation establishments are recommended across various price levels, denoted with £ symbols, up to 5 for the most expensive. Interestingly Newmark Hotels’ Dock House, the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, and the One&Only Cape Town are denoted at £££££, but the exact rate range is not defined. However, Dock House dropped its rates by about 28 % recently, which is not reflected. The Cape Grace Hotel was the city’s second most expensive hotel in the Cape Town hotel rate survey we conducted earlier this month, but was given a ££££ rate rating by Condé Nast Traveller, as are No 7 Glen Beach, and the Table Bay Hotel. Even more oddly, Ellerman House was the most expensive hotel in our survey, yet is indicated at only a £££ rate level, together with Ezard House, The Mount Nelson, the Grand Daddy (clearly not in the same price league), the Twelve Apostles Hotel, and POD in Camps Bay. The Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel is rated at a ££ rate, odd for this very upmarket 5-star hotel, with the Hout Bay Manor, and the Bishop’s Court. The most affordable rate recommendations are Head South Lodge, Hemingway House, Ikhaya Guest Lodge, Kensington Place, La Splendida, Les Cascades de Bantry Bay, Rosedene Lodge, The Walden House, and Welgelegen Guest House, with vastly varying rates in this most ‘affordable’ category. We miss the über-trendy new Queen Victoria Hotel in this list. No ‘World Cup hotels’ are listed at all.
* Restaurant recommendations are even more interesting, being Beluga, Blues (‘one of Cape Town’s best-known eateries’, says the Guide!), The Codfather, La Colombe (‘considered by many to be South Africa’s finest‘), Den Anker, Haiku, Giovanni’s Deli, La Perla, Mano’s, Noon Gun Tea Room & Restaurant, and Tokara (‘lots of springbok and ostrich, but also pasta and seafood’, probably describing the Tokara under the chefmanship of Etienne Bonthuys, who left almost a year ago. Also, the restaurant is not in Cape Town!). The list seems old as well as old-fashioned, and does not capture the exciting new city restaurant openings such as The Test Kitchen, Dash, Hemelhuijs, Caffe Milano, What’s On Eatery, La Mouette, and Dear Me, and clearly is dated, based on the Tokara description. Some of the restaurant recommendations included in the list are odd!
* Nightlife recommendations are Marco’s African Place (for its jazz, and ‘indigenous and international cuisine with a smile’), and Marimba’s Cigar Bar in the Convention Centre.
* Recommended attractions to see are Robben Island, the Two Oceans Aquarium, and Jazz at the Winchester Mansions, the latter hardly being a tourist attraction!
* Recommended things to do are Camps Bay beach (except when the south-easter blows, the Guide qualifies), Clifton, walking, the City Bowl (‘a 15-minute drive from Cape Town city centre’!), Fourth Beach (mentioned again, even though mentioned under ‘Clifton’ already), Green Point, and Sea Point. Oddly, there is no mention of going to Cape Point or up Table Mountain, or even to Signal Hill, nor take the popular Hop On Hop Off bus!
* Shopping recommendations are Belafonte (men’s clothing), Billie Boutique, African Image, Okha, The Plush Bazaar, Dolce and Banana, Olga Jewellery Design Studio, Peter Gilder, Greenmarket Square, the Waterfront Craft Market, and the ‘Victoria & Albert (sic) Waterfront’ (after 20 years of being in existence, this error is unforgivable)! One wonders if the outlets mentioned are Cape Town’s finest. A pity is that none of the lovely design outlets on the Cape Town Design Route are mentioned.
* In the section of how to get to Cape Town, the Guide does not even get the name of Cape Town Tourism correct, calling it ‘Tourism Cape Town’, on the basis of its web address! It encourages visitors to visit the Pinnacle Building and other branches. We urge Cape Town Tourism to provide correct details of its name to Condé Nast Traveller! The Guide adds in this section: “avoid the tourist influx during December and January, when accommodation is expensive and hard to find, and stay clear of the gales from September – November”! This is a very scary sentence, and is enough to wipe out the mainstay of the Cape Town international tourist support, with the inaccurate information about the ‘tourist influx’ (a window of 26 December – 3 January only), and the description of the south-easter is exaggerated and the time period mentioned not accurate!
* A gross error in the Travel Information section is the reference to the languages ‘most commonly spoken’ in Cape Town are English, Afrikaans, Sesotho (!), isiXhosa and isiZulu(!). It also lists Ascension Day as a public holiday (long been abolished). Food that is popular is described as meat, especially sosaties (incorrectly described as ‘curried lamb chops’), ‘boerwors sausage’ (sic), and cuts of ‘springbok, kudu, bush-pig and eland cooked over wood coals’, a joke! Fish, especially crayfish, is also on the menu, and ‘South Africa produces excellent wines, too’, says the Guide An ‘interesting fact’ listed is that the country used to have two official languages, and now there are 11, it writes! ‘Compulsory reading’ for future visitors to Cape Town is “Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Road (sic) to Freedom”!
The numerous errors and out-of-date information contained in the Condé Nast Traveller Cape Town Guide are not only unforgivable for such a prestigious and influential travel publication, but are also damaging in their reference to the wind and New Year season. One wonders whether the compiler of this Cape Town guide ever came to Cape Town, based on the geographical inaccuracies it contains! Cape Town Tourism’s PR department should urgently address the inaccuracies in the Guide, when it has time in-between its incessant Tweeting!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Tuesday 22nd February 2011 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The U2 360° concert in Cape Town on Friday evening will have contributed largely to the R 4 billion the City of Cape Town estimates is generated annually for the local economy from live performances, with 72000 spectators having attended a visually stunning and extremely well organised concert at the Cape Town Stadium.
Writing in the Sunday Argus, the City of Cape Town’s Executive Director of Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, states that films and events are the largest contributors to the Cape Town economy, the film industry generating R5 billion, and conferences and live events R4 billion each. Mohamed writes that it is not only income that is generated, but jobs are created too. The services and products required to host such events go into the pockets of mainly Cape Town-based businesses, which in turn will pay for rates and taxes, and thus share the burden of payment of these to generate income for the city, but they will also share the benefit of the use of these monies (an excellent example is the wonderful new Green Point Park).
Writing about the contribution of the film industry to Cape Town, Mohamed mentions the two movies currently being filmed in Cape Town – ‘Safe House’ wrapped up filming on Kloof Street over the weekend, and stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, who have been seen eating at Cape Town restaurants, and hanging around in Camps Bay, another location for the movie. ‘Judge Dredd’ is another movie being filmed, and the two movies combined have a production budget of R400 million, going to two Cape Town companies (Moonlighting and Cape Town Film Studios, respectively), and their suppliers. In addition, still productions, and print advertising and TV commercial shoots contribute to the economy. Mohamed requests Cape Town residents to be tolerant of road closures and other inconveniences linked to these, in understanding that every R1 billion income allows 15000 jobs to be sustained in the city.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival generated R685 million to the local economy, and created 2000 jobs, mentioned by President Zuma in his Station of the Nation address ten days ago. It attracts 35 000 attendees, and runs over ten days, incorporating local art, culture and heritage, and local musicians blended with international stars such as George Benson. Some of the local musicians performing at the Jazz Festival have received bookings on international stages as a result of their performances at the Festival.
The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour contributes R650 million to the local economy. It has attracted the attention of international VIP’s such as Matt Damon and Lance Armstrong, who have participated, and this has been recorded in the world media, having a tourism benefit too. This year executives from top companies such as RIM (manufacturers of Blackberry), Sainsbury in the UK and Vodafone Europe will participate in the event. Some Cycle Tour lovers are said by Mohamed to have bought houses in Cape Town, and they pay their rates and taxes annually and in advance, he writes! “They create tomorrow’s tourists and South Africa’s future foreign investment”. He added that events such as the Cycle Tour, the Jazz Festival and the U2 concert play an important role to ‘start, facilitate or help to close deals’.
The recent Mining Indaba, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, filled up all surrounding hotels, created a taxi shortage in the city, and filled up restaurants in Cape Town on a scale not often experienced in the city. Delegates attending were from Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China, amongst others. Similarly, the Design Indaba taking place at the moment as a Conference, Expo and Film Festival, is staging top international designers, such as Alberto Alessi, Michael Wolff, billionaire Mark Shuttleworth and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, with about 37000 delegates attending, according to Cape Town Tourism. The Design Indaba attracts them to Cape Town, the city enjoying the most glorious weather currently, and therefore making future tourists out of these delegates, one can confidently predict, and more business deals benefiting the city could flow from this event, contributing R 232 million per annum. At the Design Indaba the latest updated Cape Town Design Route map will be launched, marketing some of the city’s top design artists and their businesses.
In September the World Veterinary Congress takes place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and will be attended by 3000 delegates, and contributing R30 million to the economy. Other conferences to be hosted this year include the 4th Pan African Pain Congress (500 delegates), the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health (800 delegates), the Global Forum for Health Research Forum 2011 Meeting (1500 delegates), World Conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (600 delegates), The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences Conference (500 delegates), and the World Economic Forum on Africa (2000 delegates).
The 20th Cape Town Pairs, the largest sponsored open bowls event in South Africa, was held at the Glen Country Club in Clifton last week, and attracted 36 teams from around the country, as well as from the United Kingdom, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The gale force Southeaster almost forced a change in venue, blowing over 100 km/hr! We congratulate our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests Phil Downs and Greg Bingham from Johannesburg for having won the hotly contested tournament.
The Cape leg of the Cell C Tour of SA 2011 takes place over the weekend, and covers Gordon’s Bay, Grabouw, along the Theewaterskloof Dam, Franschhoek, the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, and finishes in Paarl, 120 cyclists participating in the race, reports the Cape Argus.
The J&B Met and the Cape Epic have an economic impact of R 200 million each, and the Two Oceans Marathon R223 million. Mohamed has estimated that the city’s events and the film industry jointly add more than R 15 billion to the local economy.
The benefit of these events reaches the hospitality industry too. Six out of our 20 guests staying at Whale Cottage Camps Bay this past weekend flew down from Durban, to attend the U2 concert, and they made a three-day ‘weekend’ out of it. Three of the U2 band members ate at Pierneef á La Motte last week, each visit widely reported (Bono and The Edge’s visit at La Motte even made the Sunday Times), which will attract more business to this wonderful Winelands wine estate. Cargo Carriers has booked out Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the Argus Cycle Tour weekend, to accommodate its team over three days. Delegates attending the Mining Indaba stayed at Whale Cottage Camps Bay too.
And a final note on the U2 concert – it was a ‘must attend’ concert, with amazing lighting effects on The Claw and the 360° screen ensured that every attendee saw the band on the relatively small stage, no matter where they were sitting or standing. Many did not know most of the U2 music performed, but the performances of Amazing Grace, Stand by Me with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Without You were real crowd pleasers. I did not pick up sound distortion, but read complaints about this on Twitter. The quick and easy in and out of the stadium was commendable, and the event was run by Big Concerts without any hiccups, it was reported. Replacing the Stadium pitch for the concert cost Big Concerts R803000 alone. Taxis were in good supply before and after the concert, and the R50 per trip between Green Point and Fresnaye was the best money I have spent in a long time! The long sit, from 7.30 – 11.30 pm, was the only off-putting part, as the seats are not the most comfortable. Neil Diamond is the next big name performer at the Cape Town Stadium, his concert taking place on 11 April.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage