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South Africa

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THE BLUE TRAIN- South Africa
Dine, laze, gaze, sip, be spoiled, be pampered, relax, repeat. If this sounds like something you can handle, then a luxury rail journey is just the thing for you. There's something that is just so splendidly chic about train travel, especially when the train involved happens to be one of the most luxurious in the world. There is perhaps no finer example of opulent traveling five-star (plus) accommodations than the world-famous Blue Train, which travels across the magically scenic landscape of South Africa.

Guests aboard the train are spoiled from the time of arrival in the exclusive departure lounges in either Pretoria or Cape Town, where they're met with a libation and introduction to their personal butler who will be looking after them for the duration of their stay aboard.

Each of the lavish suites are beautifully decorated with rich mahogany wood, luxe linen atop supremely comfortable beds, TVs with movie channels and even a GPS channel so you know exactly where you are at any time of the day. Best of all, each suite has it's own gorgeous bathroom- no queuing in the corridor to brush your teeth at night. The train travels at a comfortable speed, allowing for hours of tremendous, ever-changing vistas as you traverse from one end of the country to another, stopping briefly along the way for an excursion. After that, it’s back on board for traditional high tea followed by a lavish, elegant dinner experience.

Feeling hungry? Not to worry, the train is equipped with a team of traveling chefs that produce gourmet meals morning, noon and night...and beyond. The staff is tremendously hospitable and truly makes you feel like royalty. Best of all, the overnight journey easily fits in to almost any South Africa itinerary. It truly is an experience of a lifetime, not to be missed whilst in this wondrous land.

SPECIAL OFFERS- Travel before 31 Mar 2012 and one person travels at 50% off, double occupancy. Or, opt for 2 FREE hotel nights in either Cape Town or Pretoria any time in 2012 at your choice of Westin Cape Town, 131 Herbert Baker in Pretoria, or Sheraton Pretoria. Contact info@theexplorateurportfolio.com for more information and as always, be sure & tell 'em The Explorateur sent you!

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SOUTH AFRICA AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT
There are a million ways to see a country as magical as South Africa, but we happen to think our new Explorateur Exclusive Culture Noir itinerary is certainly the most fabulous. Begin your journey in Cape Town, one of the world’s most gorgeous cities framed by majestic mountains and vibrant with color, culture and a wealth of activities. You’ll not soon forget your days in this city as you’ll be taken on some incredible adventures beginning with a full day tour of Cape Point, where you’ll ride a funicular up to an incredible vantage point to see the tumultuous meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, all the while en route being witness to some of the region’s most amazing panoramic views and a return via famous Boulders Beach, home to penguins, not people. Rest up, for in the evening you’re being escorted to the homes of 2 Cape Town cultural characters, who have fascinating stories to regale you with while you dine and retire for coffee or a nightcap during this tremendous evening of local hospitality. Feeling hungry? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered, for the next day you’ll be taken on a fabulous Cape Malay cooking safari where you’ll get hands-on training in a Bo-Kaap family home where they’ll teach you how to mix Masala, fold Samosas and balance the delicate flavors of Cape Malay curry. And yes, you get to partake in all of the deliciousness capped by mug of faloodah while your hosts tell you more about the rich history of the Bo-Kaap culture. To work off your gorgeous meal, you’ll head to famed Table Mountain for some awe-inspiring views and some brisk walks. All the while spending your evenings at African Pride 15 On Orange Hotel, an absolutely unique icon of style that begins with an elegant engineered stone red carpet reception and ends with you feeling as though you’ve spent 3 nights being pampered in eclectic fashion. Oh, did we mention, breakfast is included and the 3rd night is FREE?

And then, it’s time for safari….you’ll head to Kruger National Park for three days of overwhelming sightings and experiences on your included game drives, where you’ll be accompanied by professional rangers that will show you the wonders of the wild where you’ll likely encounter everything from elephants to lions, giraffes to zebras and with a little luck, the elusive leopard. Your 3rd night is free here as well at Shumbalala Game Lodge and you’ll even be treated to an exquisite private dining experience in their lovely wine cellar with a view of the waterhole where animals often return to take a drink.

From the bush to a bustling city, you’ll head to Johannesburg next which is a city full of wonders. Begin with an interesting visit to the insightful and interactive Liliesleaf Museum which honors South Africa’s remarkable heritage. Once the headquarters of the military wing of one of South Africa’s primary political parties, it holds a position of esteem among struggle landmarks in the country. The next day will be one of wonder and emotion, where you’ll spend time in some of Johannesburg’s most significant and fascinating places that will help you gain a much more detailed perspective of this complex land. You’ll be taken to the famed township of Soweto, bustling with life and rife with history, and birthplace of two Nobel Prize winners (and yes, you’ll even get to see one of Nelson Mandela’s previous homes). First stop, a guided tour of the Hector Pieterson museum where you’ll embark on a journey of discovery of the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans not too far in the past. After lunch the emotional history lessons continue with a visit to the Apartheid Museum, an overwhelming story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Your host in Johannesburg? The luxurious African Pride Melrose Arch, an opulent blend of modern décor and sleek design. They’ll treat you breakfast, a room upgrade, early check-in and check-out and 25% off of meals.

Want to go? Click HERE to find out how…

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EXPLORATEUR INSPIRED JOURNEYS SERIES- South Africa
We’re delighted to launch the first itinerary in our series of inspired journeys. These are interactive experiences that go beyond the norm, that delve into the true soul of a destination and allow you to taste, touch, see, feel and become part of the fabric of these intriguing locales around the world- with a group of like-minded jet-setters who share the same thirst and passion for travel. The South Africa experience takes place 03-10 December, 2010


Johannesburg is where your journey begins, for an eye-opening look at some of the most intriguing sides of this complex, eclectic city- with personally guided tours through Soweto’s most famous memorials on a journey of discovery through South Africa’s diverse history including museums, the world’s largest academic hospital and local outdoor markets as well. You’ll enjoy traditional lunches at local establishments for indigenous cuisine and opportunities to mix with the local community, and chic, stylish hotspots in Johannesburg’s most fashionable district.


Continue on to a brilliant safari experience at an upscale lodge in Pilanesberg National Park, where you’ll be treated to 55,000 hectares of open road to seek out the Big 5 and beyond. This scenic terrain, home to virtually all of the animal species in southern Africa, delivers amazing game while the lodge provides an authentic bush experience.


No trip to South Africa would be complete without a jaunt to Cape Town, the stunning southern coastal jewel where another luxury hotel experience awaits. Your stay here will be everything you’d never expect…. Eclectic Pan-African dining in a mystical setting of trees and tents, interactive drumming demos, an African cooking safari, city tour of the top sights, breadmaking demos, chocolate experiences, and wine tastings a-plenty in the magical Cape Winelands.

Click HERE for more information on this exceptional experience.

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Grand Dédale Country House- Wellington, South Africa
There are so many vineyards around the world, so many wines, so many varieties. Perhaps you’ve read about them, traveled lazily through a wine route on a sunny day, sampling as you go. But we feel no real wine itinerary checklist is complete unless you’ve had the divine pleasure of experiencing the South African Cape Winelands. And no stay in the South African Cape Winelands is complete without an experience at a boutique estate.

Grand Dédale fits the bill beautifully, elegant, privately owned, nestled at the foot of a stunning mountain pass in the region of Wellington and extremely private. Perfection flows freely throughout their 6 special guest rooms, outfitted with luxurious goodies, mouth-watering homemade breakfasts and delicacies with high-tea service are presented daily and imaginative dishes are created for dinner, which you can carefully pair with your selection of gorgeous local wines.



Wellington is a wine area not to be missed. Remaining somewhat off the beaten path, it’s blessed with every ingredient the perfect wine valley should have- in fact, here’s what locals refer to as their “Top 10”!



-Bontebok Ridge Game Reserve- providing a unique wildlife & nature experience not commonly found in this part of the country


-Foxenburg Organic Cheese & Olive Estate- honoring traditional recipes with an organic twist


-Upland Organic Wine & Brandy Estate- employing sustainable farming practices and sending you home with cheerful African cards and a bag of Porcini mushrooms farmed on premises!


-Buffalo Ridge Mozzrella farm- learn the process from start to delicious finish


-Wellington Wine Walk & Horseback Riding- Walk with enthusiastic guides full of local knowledge, while you’re introduced to local personalities and products within the area.


-Hildenbrand Wine & Olive Estate- Meet the owner and learn the beautiful art of creating oil


-Bainskloof Pass- Take a hike through mystical fynbos-covered mountain slopes


-Bovlei Wine & Nature Valley- The area itself is just filled with award-winningwineries, restaurants, shops, outdoor activities, rivers, natural rock pools and gardens.


-Shopping- From organic products to leather factories, locally-produced glassware to art


-Wellington Wine & Brandy Route- small, compact and easily conquerable on foot


EXPLORATEUR EXCLUSIVE- Stay 3 nights at Grand Dédale and receive
-Daily breakfast, afternoon teas & beverages from resident bar
-Complimentary wine tasting at Doolhof Wine Estate
-Complimentary Brandy & Grappa tasting at Nabygelegen Cellar
-Complimentary cheese & olive tasting at Foxenburg organic farm
-Game drive at Bontebok Ridge Game Farm followed by drinks
And, if you can travel between 01 May – 08 Jun, you can save an additional 20%! Click HERE for more information and as always, be sure & tell ‘em The Explorateur sent you!

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THE BLUE TRAIN, SOUTH AFRICA
There's something that is just so splendidly chic about taking a journey by rail, especially when the train involved happens to be one of the most luxurious in the world. There is perhaps no finer example of opulent traveling five-star (plus) accommodations than the world-famous Blue Train, which travels across the magically scenic landscape of South Africa. Guests aboard the train are spoiled from the time of arrival in the exclusive departure lounges in either Pretoria or Cape Town, where they're met with a libation and introduction to their personal butler who will be looking after them for the duration of their stay aboard. Each of the lavish suites are beautifully decorated with rich mahogany wood, high thread count linens, TVs with movie channels and even a GPS channel so you know exactly where you are at any time of the day. Best of all, each suite has it's own marble bathroom- no queuing in the corridor to brush your teeth at night as is the case with some others (we won't name names!). Feeling peckish? Not to worry, the train is equipped with a team of traveling chefs that produce gourmet meals morning, noon and night...and beyond. The staff is tremendously hospitable and truly makes you feel like royalty. Best of all, the overnight journey easily fits in to almost any South Africa itinerary. It truly is an experience of a lifetime, not to be missed whilst in this wondrous land.


NB- There is a fabulous offer right now that's too good to pass up. 3 FREE nights at the beautiful Constantia hotel in Cape Town, 1 night aboard the Blue Train, and 2 nights on safari at Jock Safari Lodge. If you can travel before September 30, 2009, then this is the deal for you. Email info@trumarketing.com for more information! Visit http://www.bluetrain.co.za for more information on the train.

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STEENBERG HOTEL, SOUTH AFRICA
What do you call a hotel that looks more picturesque than the most beautiful painting, anticipates your needs and requests before you even do, and makes you feel as though you're living in a dream? The Steenberg, that's what you call it. This delightful slice of heaven in the heart of the Constantia wine valley in South Africa overwhelmes you upon arrival, with just the greenery and brilliance of their perfectly manicured grounds. As you amble slowly down the pathways, you discover vineyards, a golf course, friendly faces walking the grounds, and the most charming milk-white Cape Colonial-style structures whose exteriors have been painstakingly and carefully maintained in original fashion dating back to the 1600's. The Steenberg's serene atmosphere makes it impossible not to feel as though you are truly relaxed, with time on your hands. Time to walk the grounds, time to indulge in the luxurious spa or enjoy a complimentary wine tasting, time to laze by the quizzically modern yet comfortable pool area- and the supremely helpful staff make you feel completely at home. What's most special about this property are their 3 Heritage Suites- incredibly grand, individually styled villa homes that you can opt for. Ideal for a small group or those that just want to feel completely secluded, these suites come with the services of a butler, have impossibly equipped kitchens, spacious rooms and their own unique touches. Our choice is the Khoi Khoi suite, where you'll find things like a stream-like fountain running through your room, or a plasma TV that doubles as a mirror and curious yet cool artwork. Plus, it's just a short 20 minute drive to Cape Town so you've really got the best of all worlds, in one world- the Steenberg world. Trust us, this one is not to be missed...
Exclusive Hotels Recommendation by thExplorateur in South Africa.
 

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MOYO, SOUTH AFRICA

Moyo is so much more than a restaurant, each visit is an experience. This magnificently unique venue draws you in to a curious intriguing blend of authentic African adventure, innovative yet traditional cuisine, and a vibe all its own. As you wander up the stairs through all of the levels, each of them unique wtih a different drumbeat and decor, you almost don't want to commit to a location to base yourself becuase there's too much to take in. Begin with a traditional African handwashing ceremony before dinner... and be forewarned, this will not be a relaxing dinner! During your stay you will likely be invited to take part in a vigorous drum lesson which is fantastic...your face will most likely be painted by a skillful artist who somehow channels your spirit and finds the decorative pattern that most suits you...and of course, no visit is complete without the tableside serenade by Moyo's famous Wishy Washy ladies, straight out of the 70's and raring to go with beautiful rhythmic tunes and an energy all their own. Moyo allows you to indulge in the intoxicating spirit that is South Africa, it is a celebration of life, art, culture and fortune. Don't miss it!

Multiple locations in South Africa - Melrose Arch & Parkview (Johannesburg), Stellenbosch, Durban
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