HOW TO BE THE BEST FATHER XMAS EVER.

In an age of less is more, I am still astounded by the number of friends who rent storage for the one-half of their possessions that don’t fit into their house. I bow deeply to the Millennials who have a pack-up-and-go lifestyle, and I get really grumpy at old school corporates who do not understand that most businesses can run on a bit of trust, Skype and WIFI.

Gearing up towards Christmas Day the question of Christmas gifts rears its ugly head.

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Wall Street Journal recently reported that “more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season—about $60 billion in merchandise, according to Optoro, a logistics provider. The U.S. Postal Service handled 3.2 million returns in the two weeks that followed last Christmas and said there will be even more this year. United Parcel Service Inc. expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago as online sales continue to grow.”  Although these are American stats, South Africa is surely short on the heels of its international counterparts.

With so many unwanted or unfit gifts being returned, we surely need to reassess what and why we are giving gifts?

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists” to their 4 million readers, help people live more meaningful lives with less. They share some valuable tips on minimalist gift-giving:

Joshua explains: “I tend to avoid physical gifts, but I still enjoy participating in the holidays. I now give gifts of experiences, charitable donations, or, if I give material goods, I give consumables, such as a bottle of wine or a bag of coffee from a local roaster. It must be something someone can use, or, if it’s an experience, it’s a memory that can be shared, from concert tickets to an evening of watching the sunset together. It sounds cliche until you actually do it, and then you realize it’s great.”

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Being part of the hotel and spa industry certainly has its perks. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than enjoying a chilled glass of Chardonnay overlooking the mountains and dams, relaxing into a Spa treat, or just nibbling on something as simple as a snacky Ploughman’s Platter with the sounds of a waterfall close by. Would I choose any of the above instead of another set of wine glasses? Or another photo frame? Hell, yes.

So before you test your road rage levels and parking warfare skills, ask yourself if an online Spa/hotel voucher (or even a movie ticket, for goodness sake) would not be better for your own sanity and those around you. I hear a resounding yes all around.

Happy holidays and may the experience-gifting bring you much joy.

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http://www.guvonhotels.co.za | http://www.guvonspas.co.za

Click here to buy your Spa vouchers  | Click here to book now at one of eight Guvon Hotel properties.

 

Words: Christa Badenhorst | Group Marketing & PR |Guvon Hotels & Spas | Photo credits: @Four_cousins

Three luxury bush camp estates planned for Askari Lodge in Magalies.

Located on the magnificent Plumari Private Game Reserve at Askari Game Lodge & Spa, and ringed by the breathtaking mountains of the Magaliesberg, Ukuphila is set to become a leading destination for Gauteng investors and bush enthusiasts alike.

Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties and owner of Plumari Private Game Reserve has a dream: to create and share a space where families can take time out from the bustle of Johannesburg and experience the glory of nature together. It’s a dream based on his own experience as a young father, when he would bring his children to his farm, the Plumari Private Game Reserve to have a break from city life.

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The establishment of Ukuphila, a development presenting 75 luxury homes in three well- appointed  camps, has brought that dream to fruition. “This is a first,” says Plumari, noting that the 4 000ha reserve is one of the only Big Five game farms in Gauteng. What’s more, at only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, Ukuphila is easily accessible, even for those who can snatch only a day away – holidaymakers would have to drive for at least three hours to experience a game viewing destination offering an experience of the same quality. “What makes this place truly special, however, is the fact that most Big Five reserves in the area don’t allow children. In contrast, Ukuphila is all about family. We love the fact that children will learn about nature here; hopefully, we will play a role in nurturing a passion for conservation amongst the next generation of South Africans,” says Plumari.

He reports that careful thought has been given to the planning and construction of the new private bush camps at the game reserve so that it has minimal impact on the land. This pertains to the aesthetic of the homes, too: DBM Architects, who were charged with creating a look and feel for the homes, have applied their ample experience in lodge design to come up with an organic, earthy style which sits softly on the soil.

DBM Architects’ Wynand du Plessis explains that the design takes inspiration from the Transvaal farmhouses of old, which have been reinterpreted in a more contemporary manner. “Ukuphila’s homes aren’t drastically different from the charming old houses in surrounding towns like Hekpoort – think thick stone walls, corrugated iron roofs and wraparound stoeps,” he comments, “but the use of modern materials, like exposed timber trusses and rough-hewn wooden beams, freshens the look.” The design is not only ideal for the environment; it’s also particularly well suited for the climate.

The homes have been positioned to ensure prime views and privacy and may be configured to suit each homeowner’s specific taste. Thus, although architectural guidelines are in place to protect the integrity of the estate and the environment, certain elements may be adjusted; homeowners may select their own colour schemes, for example, and may specify the number of rooms.

The homes – which measure up to 360m² on erven of up to 1 125m² – are designed around a central entertainment hub with open plan kitchen, dining room, lounge and bar. “This forms the core of the house, making for special family moments,” Du Plessis says. The hub opens out onto a wide veranda which is literally part of the bush, thanks to the absence of fences and gates. Again, homeowners can customise this space with the addition of a fire pit or infinity pool.

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The bedroom pods, separated from each other by courtyards, lead off the entertainment hub. Each boasts its own separate entrance, outdoor shower, en suite bathroom and wooden deck. The modular design of the hubs is a special feature, making it possible to isolate part of the home – perhaps to be used by different families holidaying together, or maybe to be rented out to other holidaymakers, creating a passive income stream for homeowners.

The homes are found in three groups of 25, in small nodes especially chosen for their sweeping views. The sites – Kudu Creek, Thorntree Hill and Magaliesview – have their own singular character and atmosphere, since the sheer size and diversity of the Plumari Private Game Reserve means that it is possible to experience many different types of vegetation and scenery during one game drive.

Although game drives are one of the major attractions at this one-of-a-kind reserve, other pastimes are available. Outdoor activities such as target and clay pigeon shooting are on offer. A world class equestrian centre is planned, while Poplar Country Village – another future attraction – will feature a microbrewery and artisanal food market. A breeding programme, established for such rare species as golden wildebeest, adds an extra dimension to an already special destination.

Guests will, moreover, be able to enjoy the four-star facilities of the luxurious Askari Game Lodge, located on site. These include a restaurant, pool and spa facility and, for those who have to mix pleasure with business, a fully equipped conference centre. The property also has its own chapel, making it ideal for weddings. Another highlight is the Plumari Museum, with exhibits tracking the history of the area, from the earliest inhabitants of the Magaliesberg to the brave Voortrekker Boers who established the first farms in the region.

The presence of Askari Game Lodge is significant for another reason, too: it is possible for homeowners to add their bush homes to the lodge’s pool of accommodation, providing yet another avenue for revenue.

“This place has always been a haven for my family, and we are looking forward to sharing its peace and the wonders of nature with others who love the bush as we do,” Plumari concludes.

 

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Press release issued  November 2016 on behalf of the Plumari Group by Marie Yossava | Grapevine Communications | http://www.grapevinecommunications.co.za

For further information, contact Daniela McCormick on 011 431 4092.

For images, contact Christa Badenhorst on christa@guvon.co.za

BENEFITS OF DATE NIGHTS. AND DO WE HAVE MANY OPTIONS FOR YOU!

On this sultry,  I’d-rather-stay-in-bed- with hot-chocolate Friday morning, we share a blog from Date Night SA who has single-handedly changed the face of date nights all over South Africa. As you sip on your morning coffee and read through all the brilliant reasons for a date night below, picture the myriad of options within the Guvon Hotel group – ranging from the Big 5 in Magalies, to riverbanks and dams at Glenburn Lodge & Spa  and hot-air ballooning over Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa. If you have the inclination or desperate need for a date night like I do at the moment, then we have the venue.

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Happy reading, with thanks to Leilanie Kuter and DateNightSA:

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BENEFITS OF DATE NIGHTS

1) A date night is an opportunity to communicate, and this communication may help couples “deepen their understanding of one another and the relationship.” Communication is important because “individuals continue to change,” and over time, “as they and their relationship develop, they experience new challenges and problems,” Wilcox and Dew point out.

2) Date nights are valuable for their novelty. Researchers are discovering that “couples who engage in novel activities that are fun, active or otherwise arousing – from hiking to dancing to travel to card games – enjoy higher levels of relationship quality,” the report notes. In this way, couples counteract a tendency to take each other for granted. Couples, it says, “may be particularly likely to benefit from a regular date night if they use it as an opportunity to do more than that old standby: dinner and a movie.” And couples are encouraged to choose activities that represent “a balance of each partner’s interests, rather than tending to do things (novel or not)” that reflect the same partner’s preferences each time.

 3) The report says “date nights may strengthen or rekindle that romantic spark that can be helpful in sustaining the fires of love over the long haul.”
4) Date nights may strengthen a couple’s sense of commitment to one another. The report says, “Partners who put one another first, who steer clear of other romantic opportunities and who cultivate a strong sense of ‘we-ness’ or togetherness are markedly happier than are less-committed couples.”
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5) Date nights are a way to relieve stress. They allow a couple “to enjoy time with one another apart from the pressing concerns of their ordinary life.” Date nights also may serve couples as an opportunity “to extend emotional support to one another in times of trial.”
Wilcox and Dew wonder if date nights are most beneficial when they focus on fun and engaging activities, and “steer clear of marital challenges or other stressful topics” such as family finances. The authors hope future research addresses this point.
Reference: For Your Marriage. Visit www.foryourmarriage.org for more interesting articles on marriage and date nights.  (Credit: original post :October 20, 2016, updated with Guvon Hotels images)
See our specials page for wonderful Spa and overnight specials, perfect for that date nights out or call Central Reservations to make your Last Minute Special booking:  08611 48866

 

 

 

IF YOU KNOW WHAT CLEATS ARE, READ ON. THIS IS FOR YOU…

I have just bought a mountain bike. Its black and green and very pretty. Don’t get excited, my intentions don’t stretch much further than 5km in and around the Cradle of Humankind. My husband suggested that I get a wicker basket and bell for my bicycle…I can see a French loaf and bottle of champagne fitting nicely and the sarcasm was totally lost on me.

So while I am clearly not part of the Argus Cycling brigade, I do recognise a good outing when I see one. And being in the Cradle of Humankind on a mountain bike is right up there with great things to do on a weekend.

I tend to work on a rewards system and therefore clearly planned my cycling route from bistro to restaurant to spa and perhaps back. Cycling is hard work after all.

So my suggested route includes:

  • A cappuccino with Garth Mes and his team at Bidon Bistro in Muldersdrift where there is ample parking for cars and a shower for cyclists. A caffeine kick start may be necessary.

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  • You could then take the long way around (for the serious riders, off course) which totals about 43km on the Cradle cycle route.
  • Or my version would be to  turn left coming out of Bidon Bistro and cycle about 2km down the road, past Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa where they do lovely Sunday lunches,  to Glenburn Lodge and Spa.

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  • Take a left and carry on for another kilometer to the main Glenburn Lodge gate. The lodge has two tracks on the property: the circular routes start and end at the universal sports field close the Glenburn Lodge’s entrance. Both scenic routes are just under 5km and takes the rider along the grass fields, mountain and riverside.
  • Then, move on to Glenburn Spa where Spa manager Geradline Veldman and her team have the most divine Spa package especially made for cyclists: 30 min steam room session | 30 min Swedish back massage | 50 minute CirculaeVine leg treatment

Spa Manager Geraldine Veldman explains the  leg treatment in more detail: “The specialised CirculaeVine invigorating foot and leg treatment uses manual lymphatic drainage techniques: The feet and legs are wrapped in a circulation-booster gel, followed by a hydrating body lotion. A perfect treatment to help relax and relieve tired or aching legs and a definite for anyone who participated in the 947 cycle challenge or does weekend races or leisure rides.”

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Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect training session? I will be on the lookout for kindred spirits on the route – especially those with wicker baskets  and who still have no idea what cleats are…

Book your Spa Cyclist Treat by calling the Spa directly on Tel 011 668 1620 | www.glenburnspa.co.za | www.glenburn.co.za

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT CLEATS – Michael O’Reilly

 http://www.executivestyle.com.au/why-do-cyclists-wear-cleated-shoes-11lm64

NOT TO BE MISSED. THERAVINE PRODUCT DAY AT GLENBURN SPA.

What do you get when you combine the magic of the vineyards and the peaceful surrounds of a Muldersdrift countryside venue – the Theravine Spa product day at Glenburn Spa, off course.

Join Glenburn Spa & TheraVine on 8 September for a great day out with the added bonus of winning some super prizes.

R350 per person includes :
Skin Analysis & Consultation with a TheraVine brand representative
30 min High Impact Flash Facial | Light snacks, coffee, juice and tea

RECEIVE A FREE 30MIN BACK, NECK & SHOULDER MASSAGE VOUCHER
when you bring a friend to the TheraVine Product Day!

WIN: Buy any two Theravine products on the day and stand a chance to win
a midweek couple’s escape package valued at R1900 (stay-over package),
a luxury Matsimela hamper or a special lucky draw prize from Theravine.

Booking is essential due to the limited space available: Ask for Spa Manager Geraldine on Tel 011  668 1615 | Email: health@glenburn.co.za

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WHEN A WEDDING TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY.

Every now and then I receive wedding images from photographers who’ve done work at one of our lodges. All weddings are beautiful, but some just take your breath away, like the wedding of Natalie and Jako. The lovely couple got married at Askari Game Lodge & Spa in Magaliesburg and spared no effort in the detail and planning of the day.

To view the wedding photos and some insider secrets to the wedding, have a look at the article which appeared on the SAweddings.co.za website:  http://www.saweddings.co.za/articles/inspiration-51/real-weddings-53/natalie-jako-216

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The photos are courtesy of: www.trompievanderberg.co.za

For info on our wedding specials, Bush boma weddings or forest weddings, contact the Lodge on Tel 014 577 2658 | www.askarilodge.co.za

11 OLIFANT FOTOS

GIVE THAT MAN A BELLS!

Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate reward on day two of your conference or corporate teambuilding day?

At Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa this is not unheard of. Conference packages at this luxury lodge in The Cradle of Humankind goes hand in hand with the fly-fishing season. With six fly fishing dams on the property, one would be crazy not to make the most of this opportunity which only lasts until August when winter hopefully departs.

Under the expert guidance of Wayne Sinclair from Sundown Adventures, conference delegates learn the art of tying flies while a whiskey ambassador presents a variety of quality whiskies. He will further teach you to cast just far enough  to reel in the perfect catch for your participation in the trout cook off and wine pairing event.

CLASSIC FLY FISHING EXPERIENCE

Fly-fishing activities can be custom-made to your group size and requirements, but find below some guidelines to a brilliant day out. Spa treatments can be added to this life style package. A fly-fishing guide will instruct guests on the techniques required for fly-fishing.

These include how to:

1) cast and retrieve a fly 2) select a fly by understanding the life cycle of aquatic insects. Teams will then put their new skills to the test when they compete against each other in the “casting challenges”. Teams then have an opportunity to try catch a fish.

Duration 2.5 hours

TROUT COOK OFF AND WINE PAIRING

Enjoy a demonstration on how to prepare and cook a trout. A presentation during which fine wines should ideally be paired with the fish (based on the way it has been prepared). The teams then compete against each other by trying to prepare and cook the best fish.

Duration 1 hour

INTERACTIVE FLY TYING AND WHISKEY TASTING

Experienced fly-fishing guides demonstrate how to tie a fishing-fly while a whisky ambassador presents varies quality whiskies. Guests then have an opportunity to tie their own fly.

Duration: 1.5 hours

Sounds like fun? We think so.

 

For bookings or more info:  Wayne Sinclair | Sundowner Adventures | Cell: 0834140391 | Email: info@sundowneradventures.co.zawww.sundowneradventures.co.za

www.kloofzicht.co.za | conference@kloofzicht.co.za |Tel 011 317 0600

 

 

JINGLE BELLS IN JULY? GLENBURN LODGE CELEBRATES WITH A WINTER WONDERLAND.

We may not be quite ready for Jingle Bells in July, but Glenburn Lodge is celebrating the traditional Xmas in July celebrations with a new-look Winter Wonderland Evening in the stunning riverfront Glenkyle venue.

Belgian Chef Vincent will be wooing guests with item such as  Lamb, potato and pea korma with roti, Glazed gammon accompanied with crispy polenta,  Grilled Kingklip wrapped in smoked salmon infused with dill crème fraiche, Rolled turkey on a bed of spicy couscous with an orange and tarragon sauce and Gnocchi with a wild mushroom and truffle oil sauce, just to mention a few. For the full menu click here.

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Our Winter Wonderland Dinner & Accommodation Package includes the following:
– Winter Wonderland themed dinner on Saturday 16 July 2016  |  VIEW DINNER MENU
– Accommodation of your choice as listed below
– Breakfast the next morning

Winter Wonderland Accommodation options:
Hotel      |  Single: R 947.50 pp  |  Sharing: R1 490 per couple
Suites    |  Single: R1 325 pp      |  Sharing: R1 860 per couple
Chalets  |  Single: R 885 pp        |  Sharing: R1 415 per couple

Make a weekend of it:
Stay with us on 15 July 2016 and receive 50% discount on accommodation B&B
Dinner can be added at R210 per person

Bookings and enquiries:  (011) 668 1600 | reservations@glenburn.co.za

Terms & conditions apply
Winter wonderland accommodation package only available on 16 July 2016
50% discount on accommodation only applicable when staying for both evenings (15 and 16 July)

FOODIE ALERT! CHEF CHRIS TUSTIAN IS NOW ON BOARD AT KLOOFZICHT LODGE IN THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND.

Foodies will be familiar with the name Chris Tustian who  has head up the likes of roots and Budmarsh locally, and Michelin star restaurants such as Chateu de Montcaud in France, Gravety Manor & Bovey Castle in the United Kingdom. More recently in South Africa  Dish at Le Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands was added to the list of restaurants to benefit from his flair.

“We are so pleased to welcome Chef Chris to our culinary team. His track record speaks for itself and we look forward to  experience his  creative twist. He always aims to please the palates of  guests and will add  a lot of enthusiasm and inspiration to our team,” commented Mano Sequira, General Manager of Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa.

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Chef Chris was born into a family of chefs and restaurateurs and from a very young age was fascinated  with the way in which food reaches the cutting board and how it is reflected on the plate and palette. Chris completed his formal training at North Oxfordshire College.

With over 18 years’ experience in the hospitality  industry, Chef Chris brings expertise together with a true passion for the culinary arts.  Chris has a love for producing food from raw and local produce, using nothing but the finest ingredients. His favorite ingredient remains fresh herbs.  In his new capacity, he will be overseeing all of the culinary operations and will showcase his extensive knowledge of food preparation with the best quality ingredients and contemporary cuisines to express his talent and passion.

With plans afoot for the opening of a Bistro overlooking the flyfishing dams and mountains at Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa this summer, this hotel within the Cradle of Humankind is heading for some great times in the company of an outstanding chef.

www.kloofzicht.co.za

GUVON HOTELS APP-SOLUTELY LOVES THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND TOURISM ASSOCIATION

Its always fun when tourism companies light up and make their products entertaining, and easily accessible for the man in the street. The Cradle of Humankind Tourism Company has done just that by introducing a very snazzy App. Wondering what to do in the Cradle of Humankind? Or where it actually is geographically? (No silly, it’s not only Maropeng). Then just download the App which is found on www.thecradleofhumankind.net

Craft and culture

With three hotels and Spas in the Cradle of Humankind catchment area, it is only fit for Guvon Hotels to be amongst the leaders in signing up Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Glenburn Lodge & Spa as well as Askari Lodge & Spa with the brand new local tourism association.

The Cradle Tourism Company (TCTC), was officially launched on Thursday 31 March 2016 at EnGedi Lodge, which also falls in the Cradle area.

“While we are around 400 plus competing tourism options in the wider Cradle area, we must not lose track of the fact that our main focus as hoteliers within The Cradle is to attract visitors to our destination”, says Group Marketing Manager of Guvon Hotels & Spas Christa Badenhorst. “From a marketing perspective, I am very excited about the packaging of the Cradle experience, which makes it fun and accessible for those who want to visit the area. The Cradle App which contains the Cradle attractions is also a first for our area and will come in very handy for guests who want to explore the multitude of offerings”.

The experiences include:

  • Adrenalin pumping (Adventure)
  • Craft and culture
  • Meet & Greet (Conferencing, Meetings and Events)
  • Spend the Night
  • Stones and Bones (Human Origins and the Evolution of Humankind)
  • Wedding Bells
  • Wildlife Wonders
  • Wine and Dine

The three Guvon Hotels will be sporting experience badges out of several categories in due course as  Guvon Hotels offer a number of the experiences promoted by the TCTC.

Glenburn Lodge & Spa, Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa and Bush Willow Tented Camp are all within easy access (approx. 10km) from Maropeng  where Homo Naledi, was discovered in a cave in The Cradle of Humankind.

Some fun promotional items which were visible at the launch event at EnGedi, portraying the different activities and elements in The Cradle:

Guvon Hotels Central Reservations: 08611 48866