Tag Archives: African safari honeymoon

Eziko Cooking and Culinary School: Looking After the Future of Africa

Taken from the Eziko website

Serving as both a restaurant and a gourmet culinary school, Eziko in the Langa Township outside of Cape Town has been providing superior cuisine and cooking classes to locals and tourists alike for more than 10 years now.

Victor Mguqulwa, former Langa High School teacher, started the Eziko Cooking and Catering school in 1996 with a mission to decrease unemployment rates and increase optimism in the local communities. His vision for the school was born after he saw how much interest the students of Langa High School had in their cooking programs and competitions. Victor’s goal for the school is to educate students on gourmet cooking in hopes that they will start their own business or lend their developed cooking talents to an already established restaurant.

Victor believes that through education and skill teaching, individuals can take responsibility for the future of their communities and help to sustain their economy. Eziko was designed to provide students with the exceptional cooking and catering skills as well as the skills needed to operate in the business-world. This school doesn’t simply teach cooking skills to students, rather, it provides them with motivation to take on larger responsibilities such as providing for themselves, their families, and lending to the community.     

Taken from the Eziko website

Eziko Cooking and Catering School goes beyond ordinary cooking classes. They provide their handpicked students with a job at the Eziko restaurant and then after some basic training and experience in the restaurant they are placed into a sponsoring catering establishment for six months. Helping students to integrate themselves into the hospitality and restaurant industry, the school provides employee placement and teaches students business skills.

Recently, Eziko has been struggling due to the recession. As less people eat out and require catering services, the Eziko restaurant and catering business are receiving fewer customers than before. The restaurant and catering services were the main funding source behind the Eziko Cooking School and with many students coming from poverty stricken backgrounds it’s difficult for them to pay the full tuition. Because the restaurant and catering service are not generating enough money to completely fund the school, they’re looking for outside resources to lend a helping hand.  

Taken from the Eziko website

For 2010, Eziko is proposing a student sponsorship program in order to continue educating these students. For anyone who would like to donate money to this exceptional school, donations are accepted through Uthando. Simply specify that you would like the donation to be given to the Eziko Cooking and Catering School.

An example of what this school means to one student: “I have been here at Grand West Casino for about 3 months training to be a Chef. I can prepare for a function of at least 200 guests breakfast and hot foods and pastry. I really enjoy what I am doing here and feel so passionate about cooking.Thank you and may God be with you for your kindness.”
Yours Sincerely , Melford Mehluko



Client Testimonial from South Africa Family Vacation

My clients, the Sirois family, just returned from their African safari vacation to South Africa, where they traveled to Cape Town, the Garden Route and went on safari.  Here’s what they had to say:

The Sirois family having a Cape Malay cooking lesson

The Sirois family having a Cape Malay cooking lesson

Thanks to Hills of Africa we had a very unique and personalized experience on our visit to South Africa. We would never have been able to find all the wonderful places we visited without their invaluable advice. We even learned to cook a traditional Cape Malay meal in a home in the Bo Kaap District of Cape Town! Tour books don’t come close to what they did.
We had a fairly rigid time line and lots of things we wanted to do. They put together a fabulous itinerary that not only allowed us to fit in all the things we wanted (touring, shopping, wineries, safari, etc…) but also gave us some flexibility to add things along the way. They booked us with hotels, game reserves and tour guides that they KNEW would be top notch. Hills of Africa met all our expectations and more. We can’t wait to go back.

The Sirois family having lunch in Kalk Bay, Cape Town

The Sirois family having lunch in Kalk Bay, Cape Town

I love Africa, I love planning vacations to Africa, and I think it really shows.

Have you been to Africa?  What were your lasting impressions of your trip to Africa?


Why is an Africa Safari Vacation to Botswana so expensive?

Jacana_flowerBotswana is possibly one of the best safari destinations in the world, but our clients often get sticker shock when we share the price of several days on safari in this country. They often ask “Is Botswana that much more luxurious than any other safari destination?” The answer is yes and no and requires much more understanding of the total experience.

Botswana’s Economy is the Shining Gem of Africa
Botswana emerged as a sovereign nation in 1966. At the time, it was ranked as one of the 10 poorest nations in the world. It had no infrastructure – with only 7 miles of tarmac on its limited roads and no schooling system whatsoever – it relied heavily on missionary work.

diamond_miningToday, Botswana is one of the most successful countries in Africa. Its economy has grown by 8% per annum, consistently, year after year, for more than 4 decades. The reason? Diamonds. Botswana is so rich that the second largest contributor to its GDP is interest earned on its foreign investments. Tourism, comes in third.

A strong economy results in benefits for its locals, relative to its neighboring countries. A local Botswanan drives on state of the art roads, has a modern telephone system, broadband internet access, free health clinics with nearly 100,000 citizens receiving free anti-retroviral drugs in treatment for HIV aids, piped drinking water to every village and free primary schooling for more than 300,000 pupils.

Botswana’s Entrance into Tourism Was Slow and Calculated
Tourism may seem like an obvious choice for economic growth for most southern African nations, however, Botswana was not focused on tourism for many years. It was not until they took notice of their heavy reliance on the diamond industry, that they considered tourism as a strategic move to diversify its economy.

However, they didn’t just jump into tourism. Rather, they did it in a very calculated way, which has lead to a successful tourism industry that appeals to the high end of the market. Realizing they didn’t want Botswana to end up over-run with tourists and let things get out of hand with respect to the environment and the wildlife, the first step the Botswana government did was to control the amount of tourists arriving.

botswana_jao_roomConcessions Control the Number of Travelers – The Supply
If you want to open a safari lodge in Botswana, you must first get a “concession” which is a right to build and operate a tourism business on their land. You cannot buy the land. You can only get a lease and the term of the lease is quite limited, often as short as 3 to 5 years long. In essence, the government is controlling the number of beds available to tourists – the supply. Fewer beds in the wildlife areas result in far greater demand.

Demand Exceeds Supply – Driving up the Price
For example, a geographic area in Botswana might have a total of 40 beds, where in South Africa, the same size area would have 400 beds. Having so few people out there with you, experiencing the wildlife, makes it feel as authentic as possible. This type of experience certainly drives up demand and with a limited supply, prices get driven up too.

So, this is why Botswana is one of the most expensive safari options in all of Africa. The higher cost of a safari does not translate directly into a more luxurious experience. The safari experience in Botswana is more expensive because of the exclusivity, the awesome wildlife, and the tremendous variety available in one location.

lioness_cubOutstanding Wildlife, Tremendous Variety and Very Few Visitors
This is a country where the vast, dry Kalahari Desert, meets the calm, quiet waters of the Okavango Delta. Chobe National Park is your quintessential national park and is home to over 300,000 elephants. Then there is the Moremi Game Reserve where, you will find the big predators like lion, leopard, cheetah, and wild dog, but also all the herbivores like zebra, giraffe, and antelope.

Perfectly complimenting this experience is the Okavango Delta. This authentic safari experience appeals to lots and lots of people. It is still less expensive than an exclusive, private camp experience in Tanzania. So, Botswana offers the traveler a stable country and stable politics, no safety issues whatsoever, great access, incredible wildlife. All around a fantastic experience.

The most expensive camps are definitely luxurious, but the separation between your bed and the bush is less than what you would find in South Africa. Most accommodation is tented due to strict building guidelines from the Botswana government. In addition, as a safari camp owner, if you have 3 to 5 years to make your money back, you are not going to invest heavily in permanent structures.

Botswana appeals to people looking for a truly authentic safari experience and embrace the idea of being close to nature. If you like the sound of Botswana, but are having trouble with availability, Zambia is a good alternative. If you don’t have the budget for Botswana or have been there, then Zimbabwe is a great alternative.

An extravagant world of mystery and enchantment awaits you in Botswana. Allow Hills of Africa Travel to take care of all your travel needs with their expert private guides, detailed destination planning and advice, dedicated customer service, and personalized travel itineraries, guaranteed to provide you with memories that will last forever.


Cape Winelands Award-Winning Restaurant: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Franҫais

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais

At the end of each year, Eat Out magazine presents ten highly-acclaimed Cape Town restaurants with a Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Award. The award ceremony is “known as the Oscars of the restaurant industry in South Africa,” according to Eat Out’s website. This past year, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Franҫais, located in Cape Winelands, South Africa, was one of the ten restaurants to be honored with this prestigious award.

Chef Margot Janse is a true mastermind behind the scenes at the world-famous Tasting Room at Le Quartier Franҫais. Her dishes are created from a true talent, and each dish dazzles every palette it touches.

Unlike most restaurants, The Tasting Room likes to keep diners on their toes with a frequently changing menu that adds a sense of mystery and delight to the dining experience. Choose from the four-, six-, or eight-course menu and relish in the vibrant flavors.

The fusion of an elegant, simple, and classy atmosphere, with the rich flavors of local produce and ingredients makes this restaurant one of Africa’s finest. The deep crimson chairs, dim lighting, contemporary art, and soft, orange colored walls makes dining at The Tasting Room a joyful experience for all. Find scrumptious wild-game, delectable seafood, precise wine pairings, and heaven-on-earth desserts on The Tasting Room’s menus.

A little “taste” of what’s on the four- to six-course menu:

• Norwegian salmon tartare, avocado, beetroot, pineapple and ginger air. Pair with a Porcupine Ridge viognier grenache blanc 2007.

• Bacon mousse and banana beignet, maple dressing, rocket. Pair with a Môreson pinotage 2007.

• Magret duck breast, cherry quinoa, prawn, goats cheese, black pepper jus. Pair with a Rupert & Rothschild classique 2006.

A little “taste” of what’s on the eight-course menu:

• Lemon Poached Crayfish tail, prawn wafer, marshmallow. Pair with a Graham Beck brut.

• Roasted wildebeest loin, aubergine soufflé, butternut, tomato. Pair with Waterford cabernet sauvignon 2006.

• Lime brûlée, blueberry cheesecake ice cream, sesame praline, granadilla. Pair with a Rickety Bridge natural sweet chenin blanc 2007.
The wine list is extremely extensive, boasting internationally acclaimed wines, local wines, sparkling wines, cider, beer, and so much more. The wide spectrum of alcoholic drinks alone will have you coming back for more!

Fine dining is one of Cape Winelands’ greatest offerings and is one of the best places in Africa to enjoy spectacular wine with savory dishes. Let Hills of Africa Travel create for you a personalized itinerary tailored around your every preference. Whether on an African safari honeymoon or family safari, we promise you the trip of a lifetime. Contact us today at (877) 845-4802.  We’re looking forward to making your dreams come true . . .

Marriage is an adventure – why not begin with one?

An African safari honeymoon is an exciting yet tranquil exotic adventure, perfect for the first trip you take as newlyweds. Only in Africa can you sleep in a bush camp surrounded by elephants and leopards one night and in a private villa on a pristine beach the next.

Create moments you’ll treasure for life . . .

• Unwind together in a bush bath under the African sky

• Enjoy a candle-lit dinner for two at sunset on a riverbank

• Sip morning coffee while watching an elephant herd graze

A romantic African honeymoon safari is the trip of a lifetime, and Hills of Africa Travel can make it happen for you. We like to surprise honeymooners with elegant touches that make their romantic African honeymoon safari even more exceptional:

• Rose petals leading from the game-drive vehicle to your room and into the bathroom
• Bubble-filled bath and bottle of champagne
Private bush dinner
• Picnic with champagne on the beach

We will work closely with you to carefully plan the African honeymoon safari you’ve always dreamed of. Get started planning your honeymoon getaway, and contact us today.

Hills of Africa Travel specializes in customized honeymoons that will give you the perfect beginning to the rest of your life. Contact us today to plan the most amazing start to your married life.