Entries tagged with “penguins”.


Rihanna AquariumCape Town is receiving world coverage for and from its VIP visitors, placing it on the map, having just been voted 11th Best City in the World of 25 cities by Conde Nast Traveler in its Readers’ Choice Awards.

The biggest coverage is from Rihanna, who is in town for her concert at the Cape Town Stadium this evening, having more than 32 million Twitter Followers, and being a very frequent Tweeter.  She has already Tweeted her yacht trip, a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium posing with the penguins, and Cape Town Stadium with Table Mountain in the background.  In Johannesburg Rihanna was filmed at the Johannesburg Zoo, which was shown on German TV station ZDF‘s ‘Leute Heute’ show on Monday.  The Times has speculated where in Cape Town RiRi is likely to dine (more…)

Last night the largest German TV station ZDF re-flighted ‘Ein Sommer in Kapstadt’ (A Summer in Cape Town), a beautiful movie reflecting the beauty of Cape Town, which was shot in 2009, and was first released in 2010.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, when Germans are planning their holidays for the coming European winter.

‘Ein Sommer in Kapstadt’ tells the story of a scorned wife, whose husband comes to Cape Town on a business trip.  She follows her husband to Cape Town when she finds him having an affair with a young Capetonian.  While the drama evolves, the characters drive across the city, and its magnificent beauty is captured through the filming: an opening shot from Bakoven in Camps Bay, onto the Twelve Apostles mountain range; Lion’s Head; some cute penguins running from the beach into the ocean; two lunches from a Blouberg restaurant right alongside the sea with the waves crashing while they eat; lots of driving in an exotic blue sports car along what could be Scarborough and Kommetjie; in Bo-Kaap on Rose Street opposite Haas; the promenade in Bantry Bay; lovely shots over the city from Signal Hill; lunch at the V&A Waterfront with Den Anker and the Clocktower in the background; Greenmarket Square; a Cape Dutch wine estate; Long Street; the winelands; and going up Table Mountain with the cableway.   An AIDS angle is introduced too, penguins being used to teach children the symbol of loyal love by one of the characters in the movie.

The movie is dated only by the main character staying in the Hotel Le Vendome in Sea Point when she first arrives in Cape Town (the hotel closed down last year), and the storyline including the magazine Cape Style, which no longer exists.

One hopes that the movie will encourage German TV viewers to book their next holiday in Cape Town, given the beautiful impression which the city must have made on them.  One of the characters in the movie refers to ‘Kapstadt: Das Paradis der Erde’ (Cape Town, the paradise of the world), a wonderful accolade for the city. Given some more damaging German movies shot in Cape Town and shown on ZDF earlier this year, ‘Ein Sommer in Kapstadt’ is a welcome positive showcase of Cape Town.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The most incredible photographs taken by Simon’s Town Boat Company whale-watching tour operator Dave Hurwitz last Tuesday, of four Orca whales feasting on dolphins in False Bay, have captured the imagination of locals.

Orcas are the largest dolphin size, and also called killer whales, and were observed hunting a school of hundreds of dolphins between Kalk Bay, Seal Island, and Strandfontein. Hurwitz saw four dolphins caught by the Orcas.  His photographs were published in the Cape Argus, Cape Times, and spread like wild-fire on the internet.  Hurwitz observed a similar group catching a dolphin three years ago, and believes that they may be the same group of Orcas.  He said that Orca sightings have been rare in the past, but he had seen the group of four predators every day in the previous two weeks.   He added that there is plenty of action in False Bay at the moment, with four Bryde’s whales too, and up to 600 penguins feeding, a rare sight.

Orca whales are thought to be the most plentiful of all whale species, and occur in all the oceans of the world.  They are 7 – 8 meters long, weigh up to 8 tons, swim in pods of up to 50, can reach a speed of 50 km per hour, and feast on birds, fish, squid, seals, and dolphins, and are also known to attack whales, hunting in large packs, reports the Cape Argus.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

For the 20th year the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival will be paying tribute to the Southern Right whales, who visit Walker Bay in Hermanus from May – December to mate and give birth, giving Hermanus the enviable reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world.  Food and wine pairing forms a strong foundation of the Festival this year, sponsored by Two Oceans for the first time, the brand also supporting the SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) responsible eating of fish.

Billed as an ‘enviro-arts’ festival, the Two Oceans Whale Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Tuesday 4 October. On the environmental side, the focus will be educational, incorporating whales, sharks, dolphins, penguins and seals, the ‘Big 5′ for the Cape Whale Coast.  A strong focus is on education for children.  Saving the endangered rhinos has been incorporated into the Festival too.

On the arts side, the Festival is mainly music-focused, with concerts by well-known performers such as Chris Chameleon, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, Steve Hofmeyer, and Prime Circle spread over six music venues. Many concerts are free of charge.  A Classical concert by the Odeion Quartet takes place at Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel en Aarde Valley on Friday evening, while the Fidelio Trio will perform in the Municipal Auditorium on Saturday evening.  A Quilters’ exhibition can be viewed at the Dutch Reformed Church, and there is a craft marquee too.   In addition, a vintage car show, a Mardi Gras, as well as a number of sport activities such as a mountain bike race, a half marathon, and a Harbour to Harbour swim will take place.  The sport events run from 4 – 9 October.  Kfm will be broadcasting live from Hermanus.

It is the food and wine pairing that is of particular interest, and has far more focus than in past years.  At the Two Oceans Food Court at Market Square, a number of food vendors will focus on seafood, and other marine-themed and speciality dishes. In addition, local produce, artisanal cheeses, bakery items, charcuterie, as well as chocolates will be available to taste and buy.  Two Oceans’ wines will be sold at R45 a bottle. Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris, entertainer and Checkers cheese spokesperson Nataniel, and actresses Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Brumilda van Rensburg will be doing cooking demonstrations, and allowing visitors to taste their food as well as wine for free at the Checkers’ Living Table, at different time slots.  A new Mountie Fisherman’s Market will be held in Mount Pleasant, offering fresh fish, snoek, fishcakes, and Cape Malay delicacies for sale. Throughout September twenty members of the Hermanus Restaurant Owners’ Forum, under the chairmanship of restaurateur Fabio Lenci, have been offering a special on Two Ocean’s wines, at R55 per bottle and R15 per glass, and this will continue throughout the Festival. Each of the participants will offer a combination food item with a bottle of Two Oceans’ wine at a special price.

Festival visitors are advised to leave home early, and to expect a traffic build-up coming into Hermanus. Last year 133000 whale lovers visited Hermanus, and this year 150000 are expected to attend the Whale Festival. Tomorrow Tourism Month will be officially concluded with the opening of the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, with Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde also attending.  The Whale Festival, and the Southern Right whales with it, have received fantastic coverage, on the front page of the Sunday Times last week, and daily on Kfm this week.   SABC2 is broadcasting about Hermanus and the Whale Festival from 6h00 – 8h00 tomorrow morning, and its camera crews have been in Hermanus, filming the beautiful assets of the region, including whales and the Hermanus Wine Route, for most of September.

Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival, 30 September – 4 October.  Tel (028) 313-0928.  www.whalefestival.co.za. Music tickets can be booked via www.computicket.com

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Cape Town Tourism has been conducting a series of ‘Brand Cape Town’ workshops since late last year, to share with its members as well as bloggers and other stakeholders what the outcome has been of a brainstorming session to find a positioning for Cape Town and what it can/should be, and to focus its marketing activities, not only from a Tourism perspective, but also from a general Business approach. 

Scanning the external environment, it identified threats such as the economic crisis, global urbanisation, and a greater consciousness about the impact of flying on the environment and climate change.  It also faced the reality that the seasonality in Cape Town’s tourism industry, unique to our city compared to others in the country, reflects that Cape Town does not have enough business tourism, being the result perhaps of too large a focus on Leisure Tourism in the past, and too little on attracting businesspersons to have their meetings, events and conferences in Cape Town.  Comparing the positioning of major world cities, e.g. Paris is Romance, New York is Energy, London is Tradition, it has historically been Beauty for Cape Town. Through its analysis, it was identified that the positioning of Inspiration is an overarching one that can position Cape Town beyond its more narrow tourism focus, to a broader one, reflecting the strengths of the City in respect of beauty, freedom, innovation, hope, creativity, diversity, dreams, ideas, and solutions to problems.

We have been critical about what we have seen in print about the Brand Cape Town workshops, but a completely different picture emerged in the presentation, which I was invited to attend last week, the last in the process of sharing the outcome of the brainstorm, and in obtaining input to the content of the branding and marketing debate.  To justify the positioning of Inspiration, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold took the attendees through the various ways in which Cape Town inspires its citizens, its local visitors, and its international tourists.  It was an inspiring presentation, and afterwards I felt proudly Capetonian in having learnt a lot more about the achievements of our city and its people.  The following were some of the Inspiration highlights identified for Cape Town in the presentation:

*   Nelson Mandela took his first steps of freedom in Cape Town, and Cape Town should own this historic moment

*   quality education facilities, with four top class universities in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.  Stanford has set up a satellite campus in the city, and Harvard is said to follow suit.   UCT had been voted top university in Africa, and best value for Money MBA in world in a Financial Times survey

*   safe CBD

*   excellent and modern infrastructure, including the airport, the IRT bus system, the station, highways, and the Cape Town Stadium

*   ‘cosmopolitan entry point into South Africa and Africa’

*   Focus on Biodiversity, with the smallest but most bountiful floral kingdom.  Kirstenbosch has won gold or silver for the past 33 years at the Chelsea Flower Show in London

*   Excellent healthcare facilities, with pioneering medical leadership, including Dr Christiaan Barnard’s heart transplant world first

*   One of best value guest house and B&B cities, offering not only 5-star accommodation

*   An historic port city

*   The V&A is South Africa’s leading tourist destination, and has further development plans

*   The Green Point Urban Park

*   A living heritage in the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa

*   A historic showcase of creativity at the Iziko museums and galleries

*   Living contemporary culture with African and European roots, which is not gumboot dancing!

*   Rich music tradition, in goema and Cape Minstrel music, but also current, with Goldfish, Jack Parow, Freshly Ground, Kyle Shepherd, Locnville, Die Antwoord, and Abdullah Ibrahim.  The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has become a world event.

*   Sporting tradition, in hosting the world’s largest timed Argus Cycle race, and the Volvo Ocean Race includes Cape Town, and sportspersons such as Para-Olympic star Natalie du Toit, and the development of the paddleyak

*   A theatre tradition, with Athol Fugard receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the Tony’s for his plays

*   Africa’s first billionaire and space traveller Mark Shuttleworth, and his Shuttleworth Foundation, supporting IT development.  Development of Silicon Cape.

*   Sustainability Institute of the University of Stellenbosch

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre is the leading convention centre in Africa

*   The leading builder of twin-hull catamarans

*  The favourite film and photography location, because of the beauty of and good light in the city, and the potential of a James Bond movie being shot in the city

*  Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Past President FW de Klerk

*   Table Mountain, which is a finalist for the New7Wonders of the World

*   Visits by magnificent Southern Right whales, home to penguins

*   Environmentally-friendly Green Cabs, and the opening up of cycle and pedestrian routes in the city 

*   Leading environmental and sustainable city, with all new low-cost housing built with solar geyser panels, and wind-farming in Darling.  ‘Smart Living Handbook’ for sustainability written by City of Cape Town 

*   Three wine routes within Cape Town and 16 on the city’s doorstep, with many boutique wine farms

*   Beer tourism is a new segment, with 40 micro breweries within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town.  Inspiring new BOS ice-tea 

*   Fresh produce markets, with organic foods, outstanding restaurants such as The Test Kitchen and Mzoli’s Meat define Cape Town, and the plan is to develop a Master Chefs Cape Town series.   Having Justin Bonello showcase South African food is a boost for the city.  Charly’s Bakery is a passionate, all-women team, who baked a cake representing Cape Town for the Design Indaba.

*   Cape Town is one of three finalists for World Design Capital 2014, with Bilbao and Dublin, spearheaded by the Cape Town Partnership.  The judges will be in Cape Town from 24 – 27 July, and the winning city will be announced on 26 October. The Design Indaba is a design highlight for the country, with its annual conference and exhibition.  At the last exhibition, attendees were asked to write in support of the city’s bid – this comment summarised what Cape Town stands for: “Cape Town’s people are her most beautiful landscape”.

*    Cape Town has a vibrant fashion scene, designer Dion Chang saying that “The tip of Africa is the tipping point”.

*   Cape Town is at the center of the magazine publishing industry.

*   The city has excellent furniture designers

*   The Joule electric car is being built in Cape Town, the first in Africa.

*   Cape Town has more Social Media users than any other part of the country 

 During her presentation, Mrs Helmbold made a number of statements about our city:

*   Economy based on tourism, finance, infrastructure, food and wine, logistics, and creative industries.

*   Cape Town is at the tipping point, either sinking into oblivion, or living up to the accolades it is reaping

*   Cape Town has been in a brand vacuum since the World Cup – not spending money on marketing the city will lead us to the example of Sydney, which is seeing a steady decline in visitors as it decided to not market the city after the 2000 Olympics

*   A destination is not just a slogan or a logo

*   Cape Town is a city of contrasts, of haves and have-nots

*   Brand Cape Town’s strength is Tourism (Visit), it is neutral on its education and residential facilities (Live and Learn), and weak on its potential as a centre of employment and investment (Work and Invest).

*   Cape Town underperforms in domestic tourism, mainly relative to Durban

*   Conversion of holidaymakers into business tourists is needed for Cape Town, and business visitors must be encouraged to return as holidaymakers, as Cape Town is weak as a Business Brand

*   Cape Town is a ‘challenger brand’ which does not have a long-established history, and stands for freedom, freshness and transformation, attractive to a world that has got tired of visiting boring places. “Challenger brands harness the power of authenticity, locals first, emotional pull, storytelling (Word of Mouse)”.

*   The pillars of Cape Town are Robben Island; its cultural diversity; the food and wine industry; Biodiversity; Table Mountain; Cape of Good Hope; hubs of innovation, creativity, enterprise and government; higher education and skills training; Sports and MICE; and Colour and Light.  

Cape Town Tourism is to assist business-related bodies in the city to market the city with a ‘brand box’.   It has worked with Accelerate, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Wesgro, Cape Town Partnership, and the City of Cape Town in developing the new positioning for Cape Town, to establish it as ‘one of the top world cities to live, work, invest, learn and visit, in order to drive inclusive economic growth and social transformation in Cape Town’.  The presentation we attended was the last, and the implementation phase will now commence, Mrs Helmbold said.  In question time, FEDHASA Cape chairman Dirk Elzinga stated that great things are happening in Cape Town, but ‘we are not telling the world’, he said.

Mel Miller, former ad agency owner and creative director, and ex Cape Town Tourism Board member, is very critical of Cape Town’s new ‘Inspirational’ positioning, saying that it has been used by Edinburgh (‘Inspiring Capital’) already.  Miller points out that a previous tourism strategy consultant to Cape Town Tourism comes from Edinburgh! 

Mrs Helmbold showed a video presentation by Silver Bullet meant to represent Cape Town.  It was certainly not one of a beautiful Cape Town, but one of a very cloudy looking Cape Town, with a lot of focus on clouds billowing over Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, and what appeared as a fast-speed race through Cape Town.  I was NOT inspired by it, and it did not represent any of the Inspiration that Mrs Helmbold had presented to the audience.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Two local Cape hotels have made it onto The Telegraph ”50 best hotels in the world” list, which the paper published on 31 December.  Writers of the Telegraph  Travel section selected the top 50 hotels, and divided them into three rates brackets.  The two Cape hotels both featured in the £150 – £300 per room per night price range, the mid price range.

La Residence  in Franschhoek is a very low key property locally, with little visible advertising.  Its business comes from international advertising and word of mouth.  Its biggest claim to fame is Elton John, the famous guest who comes to stay whenever he performs in Cape Town, and he always thanks the owners, Liz and Phil Biden, during his concerts.   When La Residence moved to its new site in Franschhoek, John was consulted as to what he wanted in terms of decor for “his” room.   Surprisingly, “his” room is not any larger than the other rooms that face the dam outside.  “His” room has an Indian decor style.   Every room is unique in its decor, created by interior decorator Ralph Krall.

The article describes La Residence as follows: “An 11-suite extravagance on the slope of Franschhoek, the Cape Village that is probably South Africa’s prettiest.  No expense has been spared.   Each of the suites has its own decor theme, from Buddhist retreat to French decadent, while the public areas are a riotous collection of Louis XIV furniture.   Persian carpets, plus objets, art and fabrics from India, Indo-China, France and Italy and everywhere else.  And it works thanks to the impeccable taste of Liz Biden, the proprietor”.

Grootbos  is located outside Hermanus, just beyond Stanford, before one gets to Gansbaai, and is known for its focus on conservation, not only of fynbos, but also of whales at De Kelders close by and other sealife, such as penguins, on Dyer Island.  The article writes as follows about Grootbos: “Found on one of the finest whale-watching coastlines, this five-star retreat offers unadulterated luxury without the guilt.  Every effort has been made to assimilate these fabulous private lodges – complete with all mod cons, state-of-the-art bathrooms, four-poster beds and unsurpassable views – into the environment.  And what an environment: a 1750-hectare reserve that is home to more than 740 different species of plants and the impossibly white sands of Walker Bay”.

Some of the other hotels that made the Telegraph Top 50 list include Mama Shelter in Paris, Mykonos Grace Hotel in Mykonos, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Place in Budapest, Villa Marie in Saint Tropez, The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai,  Four Seasons George V in Paris, Four Seasons New York, Four Seasons Istanbul, The Dorchester in London and The Carlyle in New York.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

 

The Chairman of the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), and also Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, Clinton Lerm, has done an about-turn in his support of an anti-nuclear power plant campaign in the area of his jurisdiction, reports the Cape Times.  

The two proposed ESKOM nuclear power stations are to be built at Bantamsklip, 4 km from Buffelsjagsbaai and 6 km from Pearly Beach, on the Cape Whale Coast beyond Gansbaai.  The “site lies within the hottest internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot”, the Save Bantamsklip website says, and is regarded as a SA Natural Heritage Site and is a Historic Monument.  It is adjacent to Dyer Island Nature Reserve, breeding ground of the penguins, and to the Great White Shark Marine Sanctuary.

Tourism and marine life conservation bodies have been up in arms about the proposed nuclear plant, and Lerm in November expressed his support on behalf of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau to the Save Bantamsklip awareness campaign.  Furthermore he pledged R 1 000 to the campaign, and offered his services and those of his members to participate in a march against the proposed power plant in December, at which time a petition opposing the construction of the power plants was delivered to the Overstrand Municipality in Hermanus.   The petition was signed by the Managers of the Hermanus and Gansbaai tourism bureaus, which report to the DMO.

Now Lerm has withdrawn his support of the campaign, after he was called to a meeting with the Mayor of the Overstrand Municipality, the R 2,5 million funder of the Cape Whale Coast DMO.   

Last week the Mayor of the Overstrand, Theo Beyleveldt, released a statement to state that “his inquiries had found Save Bantamsklip had been “dishonest” in claiming that several organisations had supported its views.    Beyleveldt claimed that Dyer Island Cruises had also turned against the Save Bantamsklip campaign, but its head Wilfred Chivell angrily negated this, saying :”There is no way I will back off from supporting Save Bantamsklip.  This nuclear power station will be horrible for tourism and I will fight this menace”!  Chivell is a founder member of Save Bantamsklip. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

The penguin population on Marion Island, a South African island in the Antarctic, is declining fast, reports the Sunday Times.   A similar trend has been picked up on Gough Island, a British-owned island on which South Africa has a research station.   The Rockhopper and Gentoo penguin species have declined the most.    

Rising temperatures of the water in the Antarctic has led to decreases in squid and krill, which are important food sources for penguins.   The average temperature of Marion Island has increased from 5,3 C sixty years ago to 6,8 C currently, while the average rainfall has dropped from 2 800 mm to 1 900 mm per annum.

The South African government is investing in climate change research and has signed a deal to replace the S A Agulhas, the ship used to travel to the Antarctic, due to its age, at the cost of R 1,3 billion.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

To celebrate the success of the Whale Cottage Portfolio, it has bought a penguin house on Dyer Island, to provide a safe haven for the penguins to breed in.   This project is run by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust from Gansbaai (www.dict.org.za).   The African penguins on Dyer Island are vulnerable to extinction, as the guano they used in the past to make their nests has been removed for the production of fertilizer. In 30 years the number of breeding pairs on Dyer island has decreased by 90 %, to about 1 600 pairs.   The fibreglass nests have been designed to mimic guano burrows,  to protect the penguins against predators and the elements, and to assist the Trust in research and monitoring.

 

Last month Whale Cottage Hermanus celebrated its 13th anniversary.  It was the first Whale Cottage to open. 

 

The Whale Cottage Portfolio is in celebratory mode again, with Whale Cottage Camps Bay celebrating its 11thbirthday this month, and Whale Cottage Franschhoek celebrating its 5th birthday.  

  

It is also the first anniversary of the WhaleTales  blog, the first step of the Whale Cottage Portfolio into social media marketing.   Blogging, Twittering and Facebooking are very important parts of the daily Whale Cottage marketing communication activities.  

 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

The 18 th annual Whale Festival in Hermanus starts today, and runs until the weekend.   Over the years the Whale Festival has been good for tourism, and accommodation establishments, restaurants and retail outlets all benefit from the event.

The focus of the Whale Festival is to celebrate the marine richness of the region, with talks by local experts on marine topics.   Wally the Whale (?!) will be present as well.  Classical music treats, an ABBA-style concert, a boxing tournament, a half marathon, kid’s morning market, winetastings, car show, lifestyle expo, as well as the Southern Right whales, are on the menu for the weekend.

The Hermanus Whale Festival is using the same logo and slogan as it did last year.  The slogan is inane: “Hermanus, the place to be”!   In a special advertising supplement in Die Burger last week, the “Cape Whale Coast” had a three-quarter page full colour advertisement, which is very poorly designed, trying to depict what the area offers – whales, penguins, wines, sharks, fynbos, golf, beaches etc.

A disturbing report in the Hermanus Times is that there are fewer whales in Walker Bay this year.    So far only 45 whales have been counted.  The norm is to count over 100 whales in October and November.   Local whale experts believe that the whales have been delayed in coming to Hermanus, and are on their way.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com