I AM A VOUCHER KIND OF GIRL. ESPECIALLY FOR VALENTINES.

Groupon may have left the country, but I have definitely become a voucher kind of girl.

While Groupon made friends with bargain-seeking clients (who mostly stuck around for the one promotion) and made enemies of suppliers who were hung out to dry after massive discounts, there is another voucher scheme going. The old-school honest kind where you pay a specified amount and receive a great experience in return. Simple always win.

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5 TIPS FOR VALENTINES DAY

  • DONT, I repeat DO NOT, buy roses. Any florist out there will tell you (or maybe they won’t) that roses are heavily marked up for Valentine’s day, because of demand and supply issues.
  • Instead of buying cut flowers, why not invest in a  flower or other plant – plant it together, say a blessing and watch it grow as you shower it with water and love throughout the year. Married couples, we know you are in for the long run, so invest in a beautiful fruit tree. If married life gets tough you will always have lemons to go with the Tequila.  Click here for 24 Glorious Ways To Drink More Tequila.
  • Home-cooked breakfast in bed is always a good idea. Same goes for lunch or dinner.
  • Buy each other vouchers – it may seem less romantic but hey, what if she really needs a pair of Woollies knickers more than a box of imported chocolates?
  • Gents, I have three words for you: Massage, massage, massage. If food is the way to a man’s heart, so do the words massage and Spa light the flicker of love in any girls eye. Stress not if this is not your area of expertise because once again the lovely voucher comes to mind. For great Valentines Spa ideas, click here, and yes,  vouchers are available. Always.

Happy Valentine’s to all, and let the secretive planning be part of the fun.

Want to feel the love with us @guvonhotels? See our Pinterest board for inspiration:

www.guvonhotels.co.za | www.guvonspas.co.za

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

HOW A SPA HIGH TEA CAN SOLVE YOUR YEAR END PARTY DILEMMA.

Askari Spa, a little hidden gem on the outskirts of Magaliesburg has just launched a High Tea menu. Call me crazy, but I can’t think of a nicer way to spend and afternoon with girl friends nibbling on mini doughnuts, chocolate fudge brownies (my all time favourite way of kilojoule intake) , mini milk tarts and chocolate dipped strawberries. And did I mention the selection of cupcakes – think: red velvet, vanilla and chocolate. Sounds seriously yum to me.

Feeling that you need to go the healthy route – then the cucumber sandwiches and Spinach and feta quiche will work for you. There is also a Tika Pizzamoosa on the menu which I have  absolutely no idea what it is, but my guess would be a cross between a dainty samoosa and pizza? (Mental note to self – have to ask the Spa a photo of what this looks like!)

At R150 a person its a steal – keep in mind that if you plan your day well, you could lay down your sorrows in the capable hands of a miracle-working massage therapist and still see the elephants drinking water in front of the main restaurant  during lunch.

Women rule the world and also the diary, so keep in mind that this also makes an incredible alternative for a year end function for the girls in the office. Send the men for some bush-whacking or a Big 5 game drive at Askari Game Lodge to keep them busy while you drink, pinky in the air, yet another cup of glorious tea.

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Still thinking about the chocolate fudge brownies like I am right now? Thought I should share my easy-peasy recipe with you (courtesy of Food24.com)

Ingredients: 250 g butter | 500 g icing sugar |250 ml good quality cocoa powder |1 egg, slightly beaten |1 tsp vanilla essence | 1 packet Marie biscuits broken into pieces (bash in a packet or use a food processor)

Method: Melt the butter in a large pot until melted. Remove from the heat and add the icing sugar and cocoa. Mix well until well combined and there are no dry bits.
Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add the broken biscuit bits and stir until well combined and evenly coated with chocolate.
Spoon the mixture into a greased 24 x 24 cm and smooth out with a spatula.
Once cooled and firm (pop into the fridge to speed up the process), cut into 16 squares and keep in an airtight container.

I told you it was easy !

BOOKINGS AND  ENQUIRIES: spa@askarilodge.co.za | Tel 014 577 2658 | http://www.askarispa.co.za  |Valid 2016

 

52 PLACES IN 52 WEEKS. A BMW-ER TEST DRIVES ASKARI LODGE.

Starting this fresh Monday morning with a lovely guest blog by BMW biker Stuart Crous: onmybmw1200gs.  It is his mission to visit 52 places in 52 weeks and share his experiences with us about  food, accommodation and general comments. 

 

“We found this gem by absolute chance. We were just out riding through Muldersdrift and Hekpoort when we came to a t-junction in the road. Left to Magaliesburg or right to Hartebeespoort, we decided to go left. About 3 kms down the road we came across a large Askari Game Lodge signboard and decided to take a look, we have never been allowed in at game lodges before as the bike is either dangerous or noisy. We got to the main gate and asked if we could go in as we wanted to go for breakfast at the lodge. To our surprise they allowed us in.

imageSo we took the ride up to the main lodge, on the way we were able to see many buck, zebra, giraffe and we even saw 2 elephants drinking at the watering hole. WOW what an experience our first viewing on the BMW GS. We got up to the lodge very excited and talking about this unique experience not knowing what else Askari has to offer.

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We were then shown where the restaurant and spa was situated. We were taken back in time to the Voortrekkers with the Ox wagons surrounding the restaurant. They also have an old museum in a barn with numerous old wagons and carts.

The breakfast was a delight at R225 per person for a full buffet and we sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the view. We only realized afterwards that this was a very popular wedding venue and couples select Askari to get married at because you can have your photos taken with these beautiful huge elephants. They also have a nice selection of accommodation available from self catering, to garden cottages and deluxe suites. Check out the Askari website for details.”

 

Blog and photo credit: https://onmybmw1200gs.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/askari/

WIN A 5 DAY HONEYMOON ON THE KRUGER PARK’S DOORSTEP WHEN BOOKING A WINTER WEDDING AT GLENBURN LODGE.

Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift and Umbhaba Lodge in Hazyview, Mpumalanga have teamed up to offer three romantic five night honeymoon prizes to brides and grooms who book their wedding during May, June or July 2017 at Glenburn Lodge & Spa in the Cradle of Humankind.  A winner will be chosen each month.

With three spectacular wedding venues to choose from, brides are spoilt for choice for weddings from 60 to 250 guests.

Glenkyle overlooks an impressive waterfall, and is situated on the Blaauwbank River, while Glencove is nestled on the Crocodile River in a beautiful country garden setting. Glenwillow is situated at the foot of the majestic Zwartkops Mountain in the Bush Willow Tented Camp. (click here for our image gallery)

Winter wedding savings include: 

  • No venue hire  in June & July
  • 50% venue hire discount in May and August (Glenkyle & Glencove only)
  • One complimentary night’s bed and breakfast accommodation for the parents of the bride and groom (max 2 rooms) the night before the wedding,
  • Complimentary toasting bubbly
  • Complimentary lit fire in the venue

( and the chance to win a honeymoon)

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The Honeybee wedding package  (valid 2016 and 2017) is ideal for couples who prefer the no-fuss route when it comes to décor, as the R390pp includes the menu as well as décor items.

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After tying the knot at Glenburn Lodge & Spa, it is off to Umbhaba Lodge for five days of rest and relaxation in the beautiful town of Hazyview, a small farming town in Mpumalanga, South Africa which has been named after the shimmering haze that occurs during the heat of summer.

Just 5 minutes from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger National Park,  this is the ideal departure point for Big 5 excursions, sightseeing at the majestic Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes. The Kruger National Airport is minutes away. This venue is very popular as an expat destination wedding for families who want to celebrate both their wedding and honeymoon with friends and family who traveled from far.  (click here for our image gallery) 

Please contact our banqueting department on 011 668 1600 / banquet@glenburn.co.za for a wedding site inspection.

Terms and conditions:

  1. Competition only applicable to weddings booked over May, June and July 2017
  2. Prize must be taken up within the week after the wedding Sunday to Friday
  3. Wedding must be paid in full prior to the competition draw date
  4. Competition draw; 1 April for May wedding / 1 may for June wedding / 1 June for July wedding
  5. Excludes long weekends, public holidays, peak holiday periods
  6. Alternative dates may be granted by the general Manager upon request
  7. Please note that this prize has no cash value and is not transferrable between Guvon Hotels
  8. Beverages, travel expenses and sundries are for winners own account
  9. Excursions such as Game Drives at neighbouring properties are for the winners own account
  10. Winners have to make their own arrangements getting to and from Umbhaba Lodge
  11. Photographs and guest feedback may be used by Guvon Hotels for promotional purposes

http://www.glenburn.co.za | http://www.umbhaba.co.za

 

 

WARTHOGS PET-FRIENDLY BUSH CAMP – A SHOWSTOPPER AT THE WEDDING EXPO.

“We were not prepared for the tremendous response we received this past weekend at The Wedding Expo”, says Christa Badenhorst, Group Marketing Manager of the Guvon Hotels and Spa group. “Collaborating with the SA Guide Dogs Association, we created a genuine showstopper of frolicking puppies and gorgeous Golden Retrievers who guided their owners along the Wedding Expo isles, with cute wedding signs around their necks”.

Warthogs Bush Camp just outside of Magaliesburg recently opened its doors after a refurbishment and the announcement that this small bush camp will be pet-friendly, has been received with huge excitement from the general public.

Wedding Expo guests were delighted to know that their much-loved pets can now be part of their wedding ceremony as a ring bearer. Excitement mounted as brides starting to realize that  ”Save the date” photos and engagement shoots with their pets in tow, now is a real possibility.

Warthogs Bush Camp just outside of Magaliesburg lends itself to family gatherings, weddings, and action-packed weekends filled with nature-themed activities such as trail runs or mountain biking. Tucked away in the Magalies meander, an hour’s drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, Warthogs Bush Camp has 10 chalets accommodating 20 people sharing. The ambiance of the dining area, outside lapa and rock pool allows you to escape the buzz of city life and enter the tranquil African bushveld.

Big 5 game drives and Spa treatments are available from our sister property, Askari Game Lodge & Spa just 2km down the road. Warthogs itself has a selection of Kudu, Blesbok, Rooihartebees and off course warthogs. Bird clubs love this venue with its dedicated walking routes and often book the entire lodge for birding weekends.

Guest staying at Warthogs Bush camp are welcome to enjoy Askari Lodge’s Big 5 game drives and Spa facilities although pets will not be allowed on the property as it is a fully fledged Big 5 game lodge.

“We recommend that camp exclusivity is taken by guests which opens up a world of possibilities for your weekend, as the dog breeders clubs and dog trainers can vouch for”, Badenhorst noted. She further urged dog owners to keep an eye on their pets as on any farm or bush camp, there are snakes at the lodge.

Badenhorst hinted at a future collaboration between themselves, the Wedding Expo, The SA Guide Dogs Association and suppliers in order to offer an all paid for wedding for sight-impaired person in the coming year. More info about this exciting initiative will be released once plans have been finalised.

For fun pet posts and Pins, do join the Warthogs Facebook page and visit our “The pleasure of Pets” Pinterest board!

All Guvon Hotels properties were present at the Wedding Expo offering their excellent wedding services to prospective brides and grooms:

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG. OR HAS IT?

The tree outside my bedroom window is pushing out hopeful little green leaves and I don’t have to wear my puffer jacket to survive the 100 meter dash between the parking lot and the office front door anymore.

If you are feeling the start of Spring, which is only two weeks away, we have a few Spa suggestions for you. A little bit of forward Spa planning has never hurt anyone…

Spring Signature 2016 - Guvon Spas

FAIRWAY SPA

Enjoy your Spring Spa special while hubby plays a round of golf: 45 minute Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage | 60 minute Facial | 45 minute Classic Pedicure | Spring Mocktail | R850pp

 ASKARI SPA

Spring Indulgent Package

Combine your Spa treats with a Big 5 game drive or relaxed Sunday lunch – book this in addition to the Spa treat: 60 min Body brushing with Aloe Glaze Skin Soothing Body Wrap  | 60 min Massage of your choice | 30 min Spalicious Express Manicure | 30 min Spalicious Express Pedicure |Complimentary tea & coffee with rusks. Durations 3 hours

Price : R850.00 per person OR R1650.00 per couple | Valid from Sundays to Fridays only

 

GLENBURN SPA

Spring Fresh –  Ginger & Lime package 

Swedish Full Body Massage 50 minutes | Jacuzzi Session | Hand Experience 30 minutes | Foot Experience 30 minutes | Spa Lunch | Matisimela Body Butter  gift to take home.

Package Duration:  3,5 hours | R 1100 per person OR R 2200 per couple

KLOOFZICHT SPA

Enjoy your Spring Spa special while hubby tries his hand at fly-fishing:60min Aroma Massage | 75min Deluxe Pedicure | Spa Café Lunch | Spring Gift

Enjoy Spa facilities at leisure | R900pp

All the Spa Spring packages are valid from September to End November.

 

For more info or to view individual Spa treatments, visit our website: www.guvonspas.co.za

 

 

WHEN CUPID STRIKES AT ASKARI LODGE. ELOISE CUPIDO TIES THE KNOT.

Tune into Top Billing on SABC 3 on Sunday at 12h30 for Eloise Cupido’s wedding that took place at Askari Lodge & Spa in June.

We share the sweet love story of South African actress Eloise Cupido and her man, Chris Wilkinson:
When you are on a plane, you’re mostly hoping the person next to you respects your elbow room and doesn’t step over you seven times to visit the bathroom. What you don’t count on, like actress Eloise Cupido, is that you’ll end up marrying your fellow passenger.
The couple decided to tie the knot at this Magaliesburg game lodge, half a world away from Auckland, New Zealand where groom Chris Wilkinson is from and a far way from the Klein Karoo where the bride grew up.
Elouise Cupido

Making her television debut years ago on SABC’s Vetkoekpaleis, today Eloise is a presenter, MC and voice artist who’s written and produced her own album. Chris is a mineral exploration consultant who struck gold in his fiancé. Eloise had never been up Table Mountain so that’s where Chris proposed.

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When Chris first Googled Eloise, he hit the jackpot while his online presence was non-existent. So it has stayed – and their differences work! When it came to a venue, the             Big 5 Askari Game Lodge & Spa offered to host the wedding and did a top job.

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To view more real life weddings at Askari Lodge and other Guvon Hotel venues, visit our amazing Pinterestboard:  https://za.pinterest.com/guvonhotels/real-life-weddings/

For more info on weddings at Askari Game Lodge & Spa – click here

Tel 014 577 2658 | http://www.askarilodge.co.za

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

FRIDAY IS BRAAI DAY!

I have this little jingle running amok in my head. It may have something to do with the fact that its a Friday, almost lunch time and that I am looking at pics of the new Bush Braai venue at Askari Game Lodge in Magalies where we spent a gorgeous lazy lunch last week this time.

After an eventful game drive where I almost landed on our MD’s lap after misjudging the game drive vehicle’s force going downhill, we ended at a breathtaking clearing a few kilometres from the main lodge. The Bush Boma is in  forest and  red rocks from the farm have been used to demarcate the area with a hip-height wall all around. The fire pit is surrounded by cut tree trunks and benches – a lovely rustic set up inviting you to sit down and immerse yourself in the stillness.

Our lunch consisted of a simple gourmet burger selection, fresh from the grid, and the most delicious pancakes, berry coulis and cream dessert. (Confession time: I had two. So did the GM from Fairway Hotel).

The Bush Boma area will be the venue of choice with year end functions coming up and GM Graham Shipway explained that braai and spitbraai menus would be more suitable for this venue. When booking the Bush Braai for a year end function, a portion of the menu price will go toward the Askari Rhino Fund.

The Bush Braai and game drive package is available for overnight as well as day guests and pre-booking is essential due to the limited number of people the  area can accommodate.

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Before you light your braai fires at home tonight, have a look at our Proudly SA Braai Pinterest Board for some great ideas. The Bacon wrapped corn is on my wishlist – what a delicious treat for braai!: https://za.pinterest.com/guvonhotels/braai-proudly-south-africa/

 

Enquiries:  www.askarilodge.co.za | Tel 014 577 2658 | reservations@askarilodge.co.za