Entries tagged with “Durban”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index shows Johannesburg as being the most popular ‘destination city in Africa’, the second time that the city has won the accolade two years running.  The city is expecting 4,3 million visitors this year, a 5% increase on last year, with an estimated expenditure of $3,2 billion.  Cape Town follows in second place, Durban in 3rd place, Cairo in 4th, and Casablanca in 5th place.  Cape Town is expected to receive 1,6 million international visitors this year, with a spend of $2,2 billion.

*   It is ironic that SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima could not attend World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week, to represent our country at the second largest travel and tourism exhibition in the world, because he did not have a valid visa for the UK 

*   Cape Town will host the 2015 Responsible Tourism in Destination Conference, the City of Cape Town has announced, forming (more…)

Rossouw's by Diner's Club South African Restaurant GuideAfter a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants.  Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!

Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide.  Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw.  The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide.  A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’!  To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example.  Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored.  All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Despite the disaster in Cape Town harbour earlier this week, our country has a lucrative future as far as cruise tourism goes.  Nine cruise ships have scheduled stops off our coast for 2015, in Cape Town, Durban, Richard’s Bay, Port Elizabeth, and East London, a 70% increase in cruise liner passengers.   A number of the cruise ships are returning to the country, after previous visits.  The Queen Mary 2 will return for a second visit next year, and the Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will visit in 2016.  Vital to the expansion of cruise tourism is world-class terminals in ports, and Cape Town’s inefficiency as far as Customs staff goes was in the spotlight this week.  Cape Town is one of the most popular stops in the region, for American tourists in particular.

*   National Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom will lead a local delegation representing our tourism industry to World Travel Market (WTM) in London this coming week, one of the largest (after ITB in Berlin) tourism trade exhibitions in the world.  More than 50000 tourism players are likely to attend WTM.  The Minister said: ‘The WTM is one of the premier events where South Africa engages with the global travel trade. Besides maintaining excitement about our destination, and all that we have to offer, this platform is about doing business and growing international tourist arrivals to our country.  We will be promoting the variety of experiences we offer in South Africa, and build on our reputation as a unique, diverse, friendly and accessible destination‘.  The Minister will address a summit relating to mega-events and tourism at WTM, based on our country’s FIFA 2010 World Cup experience.

*   Due to a cracked silo storing 10000 tons of coal, Eskom has announced load-shedding from today onwards, which is (more…)

Masterchef 3 11 Immunity Pin, Whale CottageThe eleventh episode of MasterChef SA Season 3 was a close contest between Ian Young and Sipho Mdlankomo for the Immunity Pin, and between Penny Fitchet and Francois Zietsman in the Elimination Test.  The episode ended off on a high for the seven remaining contestants.

Having won the paired Team Challenge last week, Ian and Sipho had been promised a surprise, and we recognised the Old Biscuit Mill, and the building in which The Pot Luck Club is housed.  Chef Luke Dale-Roberts was introduced, and a video link showed him speaking to the camera, being at least a year old in that it was incorrect about when The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club had opened.  Chef Luke’s The Test Kitchen is in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, but this was misrepresented by M-Net, as the contestants were at The Pot Luck Club, which is not on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, MasterChef 3 11 Luke Dale-Roberts Whale Cottagebut was made to appear as if it is!  Instead of being served a lunch by Chef Luke, the two contestants were presented with a cloche by Reuben Robertsons Riffel, which when opened, contained an Immunity Pin. Sipho and Ian had to cook a dish created by Chef Luke, and the one replicating it most closely would win the Pin. The two contestants were given a recipe for Chef Luke’s braised pork belly served with apple, a miso and soy glaze, julienne vegetables, and a steamed Chinese bun, and they tasted a sample dish.  They were given 90 minutes to complete the dish, cooking in the kitchen of The Pot Luck Club. It was a delight to see Chef Luke smile, (more…)

CapeTownTourism AGM Cake Whale CottageLast night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town  Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.

I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking.  He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost.  His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense.  Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up theCapeTownTourism AGM Anton Groenewald Whale Cottage Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion.  He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years.   Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two (more…)

MasterChef 3 9 9 Finalits Whale CottageLast night MasterChef SA continued with more boring viewing, the simple task of the Invention Test being to make a MasterChef Chicken MasterPiece, using the whole chicken, including the giblets! It was surprising how poorly this challenge was executed.  Penny Fitchet won the Invention Test with her Coq au Vin, while Claire Allen was sent home.  It was shocking to see how casually Reuben Robertsons Riffel was dressed, with a crumpled pair of slacks and a round neck jersey, while his colleague judges Pete Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng looked smartly dressed and professional!  Riffel was filmed with his hands in his pants MasterChef 3 9 Judgespockets too!  Shocking was the spelling errors in the M-Net media release!

Having returned back to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg, after having spent some time (and two episodes in Durban, Umhlanga, and Ixopo), the Finalists appeared happy to be back ‘home’ in their kitchen. On each cooking station was a black apron, with each contestant’s name embroidered on it.  The contestants had 90 minutes to prepare their chicken dishes, transforming the ‘common chicken‘ to a MasterChef chicken MasterPiece, Riffel said.  They enjoyed (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The second Cape Wine Auction will be held at Boschendal on 14 February 2015.  Last year the inaugural Auction raised R 7 million.

*   Uber launched UberCHOPPER today, partnering with Cape Town Helicopters, bookable on the Uber App.  An UberBLACK vehicle will collect one from one’s destination, and drive one to the V&A Helipad.  Three flight options are available:  Two Oceans, covering both the Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay; Cape Peninsula, covering the V&A down to the Cape of Good Hope; and customised tours such as to the Winelands, whale-watching, and shark-cage diving.  There is a maximum of three passengers per ride. (received via media release from Uber Cape Town)

*   The 2014 Sport and Events Tourism Exchange commences in Durban in two weeks. Large events are vital for the tourism (more…)

MasterChef 3 8 Three Judges and RobertsonsCan Robertsons be any more dominant in MasterChef SA than in last night’s episode 8?  We have renamed MasterChef SA MasterRobertsons, as the hard sell of the spice brand in this Season 3 is becoming laughable!  One wonders how judges Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood (note his grumpy look in the M-Net publicity shot) must feel to have to push the brand, not an issue which Reuben Robertsons Riffel loses any sleep about, having cashed in on the spice brand for the past three years, thereby losing any credibility he may have previously had as a chef!

The episode started with the Blue Team, which lost the Team Challenge in episode 7.  Filmed on an interesting looking bridge in Umhlanga, directly at the ocean, the five Finalists Penny Fitchet, Refilwe Tselanyane, Roxi Wardman, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo watching as Chef Benny was wheeled onto the bridge in a rickshaw, clutching a cloche, which he ceremoniously opened to reveal a Bean Curry Bunny Chow.  On the table surrounding the typical Durban dish was a collection of about 20 Robertsons spices and herbs, each MasterChef 3 8 Bean curry Bunny Chow MasterChefcovering a board with a black or a white sticker.  The task of the five Finalists was to each identify one of 15 spices and herbs in the BunnyMasterChef 3 8 Blue Team Whale Cottage Chow, just from tasting it.  The Finalists each drew a wooden cooking spoon with a number on it, to determine the order in which they had to identify the ingredients.  The Robertsons collection stood on a table with the ultimate kitsch tablecloth, in a bright orange, looking like rosettes.  Riffel clearly did not take History at school, confusing the role of Durban and Cape Town in linking our country to the East!

It was said by Riffel that the pressure would be on Roxi to identify the spices (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Air France and kulula.com have created a codeshare agreement, allowing passengers to connect with Air France from a number of domestic airports in checking in their luggage, and doing their own one-stop check-ins.  Premium Air France passengers will be able to use the SLOW Lounges at Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg airports.

*   In a bid to protect the rhinos in the Kruger National Park from poaching, it is offering for sale groups of 20 white rhinos or more.   In the past year 1000 rhinos were poached, the rhinos in the Kruger Park being the main target.

*   Michael Bublè is coming back to Cape Town on 19 March, but his concert will be held one night only, and at the Cape (more…)

Hayden Quinn Durben Joe's shop curry Whale CottageIt was the last episode of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night, going full circle in Hayden having surfed off Muizenberg in episode 1, and doing so as well in Umhlanga in episode 13 last night.   It was a shame that Hayden chose to end off his endorsement for Woolworths’ sustainability program by playing silly games with two pieces of Naan bread and stick out his tongue, a photograph placed on the programme series’ Facebook page.

Hayden visited a hydroponic cucumber farm Qutom Farms outside Durban, which supplies Woolworths. They catch rain water, and therefore they have not had to use external water for more than two years.  The plants are grown in glasshouses with covering over the roofs to allow the staff to adapt the amount of light shining ontoHayden Quinn 13 Durban Derek Cucumbers Whale Cottage the cucumber plants.  Derrick Baird, Director of Qutam Farms, said that the hydroponic farm ‘is a little bit of Europe here in South Africa’.  They also use solar heating for the plant, generating about 220 kw per day.  The plants are grown in cocopeat instead of in soil.   A fine mist is sprayed if it gets too hot. No pesticides are used, allowing Hayden to eat a crunchy cucumber without having to wash it.

The Victoria Spice Market in Durban is known as the best place in which to buy curry spices.  Viewers were (more…)