SURE WAYS OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE LOWVELD

Is the open road calling you? The peace and tranquillity at Umbhaba Lodge, along with the seclusion of the Lowveld provides a much-loved venue for short breakaways, especially as we head into winter, which is prime game viewing time in the Kruger Park.  With thirty suites each in individual style, many with open log fireplaces, ideal for those chilly winter evenings, Umbhaba Lodge should be tops of your stay-over list while in the Hazyview area.

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While the major tourist attractions such as the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes and game watching in the Kruger Park, seems to steal the limelight while staying at Umbhaba Lodge, it’s worth noting that several waterfalls within the area, makes this hiker’s heaven.   The Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Sabie Falls and Mac Mac Falls are all within 30 minutes drive from Umbhaba Lodge. Start your day with a hearty breakfast on the lodge stoep, strap on those hiking boots, pack a picnic lunch and head off in the general direction of Graskop for a day of scenic beauty.

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The Kruger Park is well-known for game viewing, but did you know that South Africa’s best loved Staffie, Jock of the Bushveld, was born on Voortrekker Road in 1885, which runs south of Pretoriuskop in the Kruger National Park, and is a short distance from the lodge?

A commemorative plaque has been erected to remind us of the bravery of Jock, which has captured the imagination of people for hundreds of year.  The 475-pager “Jock of the Bushveld” was first published in 1907 when it became an instant best seller and a local classic. Since then it has never been out of print and captured the hearts of a new audience with a 3D animation film. Heavyweights such as Bryan Adams and Johny Clegg have thrown their weight behind the ultimate story of a man’s best friend and the intense humanity of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.

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School holidays are the best time to introduce your kids to the tales of Jock of the Bushveld and reading these stories at night around a fire in the Umbhaba Lodge lounge, your own African Tribal Suites or perhaps while traveling in the car following Jock’s trail, is a wonderful way of spending a few days in the Lowveld and bonding with the kids. (Click here for some great advice on traveling with kids.)

Sight-seeing and game viewing is hard work and enjoying a cocktail, glass of port or ice cold beer in the Burn Out Bar after a day of game viewing in the Kruger National Park comes highly recommended.  With an inviting fireplace, comfortable lounge and a wooden deck with great views, this is the perfect venue to reminisce about the day’s excitement.

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Umbhaba Lodge forms part of the Guvon Hotels & Spa’s group – a leading hospitality group offering a collection of hotels in Gauteng, Northwest and Mpumalanga. All properties offer excellent accommodation, conference, team building and wedding facilities. Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Glenburn Lodge & Spa and Bush Willow Tented Camp are in Muldersdrift, in the Cradle of Humankind. Askari Game Lodge & Spa, a Big 5 game reserve, and Warthogs Bush Camp are in Magaliesberg, while Umbhaba Lodge is situated in Hazyview. The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort (Randpark Golf Club), and All Suite On 14th (Fairlands) add city retreats to our country collection of properties.

reservations@umbhaba.co.za | Tel 013 737 7636 | Central Res: 08611 48866 | www.umbhaba.co.za

 

 

 

FAIRWAY HOTEL UNDER TOP 25 BEST IN SA, SAYS TRIPADVISOR

We’ve always known that Fairway Hotel is definitely worth bragging about, but now we have confirmation from the rest of the world.  TripAdvisor has released the hotel category winners in their 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards.  The top 25 hotels in South Africa are determined based on reviews from TripAdvisor users  (both local and international) and The Fairway Hotel, Spa and Golf resort ranks 19th on a very competitive list of hotels.

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As the only golf resort hotel in Gauteng, the Fairway Hotel has been offering stylish accommodation, excellent cuisine and golf views to die for since its inception in 2010, when the Brazilian Soccer World cup team was the first guests in the hotel.

The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is situated on the Randpark Golf Course, 2km from Cresta Shopping Centre in Johannesburg and 15 minutes from Sandton City centre. This business hotel provides the ultimate destination for conferences, functions, corporate golf days, weddings and leisure guests in a safe residential area with tree-lined streets. The luxury development, open 24 hours a day and staffed with our friendly receptionists, overlooks the famous Randpark Golf Course and is situated just north east of the clubhouse, on the 1st hole.

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The 8, 200m² hotel comprises a multi-volume foyer and private internal pool courtyard, a conference centre, boardrooms, breakaway rooms, lounge and deck with stunning views. Brides can look forward to a magnificent chapel and the Windsor Ballroom for hosting their function. Being the meeting venue in Johannesburg, Bar Verve is renowned for after work cocktails which may well extend into unparalleled late night Fine Dining in Balata Restaurant. (Click here for the menu)

The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort is a member of the Guvon Hotels Group and was awarded ‘Best New Hotel Africa and Indian Ocean’ at the World Travel Awards 2010. Balata Restaurant is accredited with the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

www.thefairway.co.za | Tel 011 478 8000 |www.thefairwayspa.co.za

Article by:  http://travel.iafrica.com/searchsa/1043696.html

 

 

 

 

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

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:

 

 

 

 

 

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

25+ Tips and Car Activities for Traveling with Kids.

School holidays are around the corner – moms are you ready for this? Pack the kids and the hubby and take a few days to visit Umbhaba Lodge next to the Kruger National Park. Great winter specials are available – Ask for our best rate and last minute specials on Tel 013 737 7636 | http://www.umbhaba.co.za

Enjoy this wonderful blog packed with 25 tips from a mom who has obviously done this before (apparently with three kids and two cats in tow – respect!)

Our favourite tips is no 25: “My favorite trick for long road trips is a stash of small novelty gifts. They are exciting for kids, break up the monotony, and don’t break the bank! Learn how to make your own Travel Tray and read more tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler.”

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25+ Tips and Car Activities for Traveling with Kids

  1. Have a nighttime dance party in the car with music and glow sticks. That and 9 more tips for traveling with high energy kids. – Creekside Learning
  2. Think about everything you might need at an overnight stop or for our overnight stays and then pack it all in one suitcase. Put that suitcase in LAST when you pack the car and it will be easy to grab. Read more about Road Trip packing here. – KC Edventures
  3. 25+ Tips for Traveling with Kids: Family road trip activitiesFor more confident, cooperative little travelers, you can start preparing kids for long journeys by chatting about what to expect in the weeks beforehand as well as during the trip itself, with this Toddler Travel Timetable from Kids Play Space.
  4. When traveling with kids, be sure to carryboredom busters! Printables make great quiet activities without taking tons of room. – 3 Boys and a Dog
  5. Pack an activity bag for each child, with a few wrapped new items in each. The thrill of opening a new item (even if its just a dollar store sticker book and a pack of stickers) every half hour or so will make the time fly by. –Study-at-Home Mama
  6. On “shorter” trips of 6 hours or less, plan for the child’s nap to land in the middle of the trip, and get gas (change diapers, take a potty break) just while they are getting sleepy so you don’t wake them up too soon. It takes us about 4 hours of highway driving in our minivan before we start to get low on gas, so we plan accordingly. – Kid World Citizen
  7. When traveling on long car rides, make simple magnetic lap boards and glue magnet strips onto markers and crayons so they don’t fall out of reach. Then print a variety of free games and coloring pages to keep the kids busy. Find additional road trip activities for kids ages 2-8 here. – The Measured Mom
  8. An ice cream container can be filled with things you don’t want smushed or smashed (like crumbly crackers) and then packed in your suitcase. Once you get to the beach, it makes a great sand bucket! For more unexpected ideas on what to pack for the ultimate family beach vacation, check out this post (and the free printable list). – Nate & Rachel
  9. For long car trips, pre-pack snacks in individual servings. Bring a small cooler for drinks or anything else that needs to stay cool. That way, when hunger hits, you’re ready. Plus, the snacks are much healthier than what you’d find in a convenience store! – Creative Family Fun
  10. Don’t leave dirty nappies on the roof. After a side of the road quick nappy change, I may or may not have left the nappy on the roof of the car. – Canberra Mummy
  11. Bring lots of travel activities, books, and DVDs. The key to traveling with kids is to change it up. For an hour, let them look at books. Next hour, have them play with a travel game. And next, let them watch a DVD. Read seven more great tips for traveling with kids. – I Can Teach My Child
  12. Pack just the most necessary things you and your children absolutely can’t do without. Your children only need that many outfits and toys! – Little Artists
  13. If you’re travelling with babies, try to work around their routine. E.g. leave for a car journey just before nap time if they’re able to sleep in the car (most babies will.) – Snotty Noses
  14. Busy bags” and what I like to call “the stranger effect” are golden! Learn more about both of these tactics for traveling with young kids. – Montessori en Casa
  15. Bringing along easy to pack, play anywhere activities is a must. Two of our favorites are the preschool rhyming game called “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” and our free printable Road Trip Activity Pack. -Playdough to Plato
  16. When you see a fun opportunity at a road stop… fight the urge to rush forward and instead say YES. – Let’s Lasso the Moon
  17. When traveling with toddlers and preschoolers in the car, bring toy cars, a cookie sheet and an Are We There Yet? Map. Read all about it and see photos here. – Growing Book by Book
  18. Always bring a variety of activities for the kids! Busy bags are awesome. Before we head out on a road trip, I assemble a collection of five or six busy bags for Yaya. If she doesn’t whine for the hour, she earns a new busy bag. Read more great suggestions here. – Africa to America
  19. Always have a shoe spot in the car (makes bathroom stops so much easier!) Read more road trip tips and tricks here. – Peace But Not Quiet
  20. To keep kids occupied in the car, make them a travel binder filled with fun activities. – The Sunny Patch
  21. Check out this free Road Trip Journal printable – Peace But Not Quiet
  22. 15 wonderful sing-a-long CDs to make the time FLY past with the kids during a car trip.- JDaniel4’s Mom
  23. Check out these 3 ways to turn a travel experience into a learning experience. – iGame Mom
  24. We make sure to stay flexible and have emergency funds when traveling with 4 kids and 2 cats. The Air Force sends us to the neatest places every few years! – Royal Little Lambs
  25. My favorite trick for long road trips is a stash of small novelty gifts. They are exciting for kids, break up the monotony, and don’t break the bank! Learn how to make your own Travel Tray and read more tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler. -It’s A Long Story
  26. I chuckle when I think about how my perspective of “normal” and “safe” have changed since my two littles have joined in on our adventures. Traveling with kids can be stressful, or it can be fun. Most likely it will be both, but I like to do everything in my power to aim for fun. Read more tips on fun travel with kids here. – BonBon Break
  27. Pack plenty of things to keep them entertained, both while travelling and while on holiday. My kid wake up very early as they are excited so something quiet to keep them amused in the early mornings is a real necessity! Colouring books or even a small set of Duplo work really well for this. Check out some of my favorite products for travelling with kids. – In the Playroom

AND if you’re traveling with a toddler or a little baby, rest assured… it gets easier. My top piece of advice for you? Take a breath and repeat that, “It will get easier.”

For ongoing family-friendly tips be sure to follow my Traveling Mama Pinterest board.

UMBHABA LODGE (HAZYVIEW) | TEL 013 737 7636 | www.umbhaba.co.za