Our 13 highlights of 2013

Today there are only 13 days left before 2013 is over. We reminisce about the year gone by by sharing our 13 highlights of 2013.

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1) NEW SOA LOGO

We launched the brand new logo of South of Africa, alongside its new slogan, at this year’s Indaba in Durban, May 2013. What a proud moment.

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2) OUR NEW WEBSITE

In July 2013, our entire portfolio was treated to a brand new website, which offered the world our services through a beautiful and user-friendly platform. Book online, view our establishments and more at www.southofafrica.com.

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3) REUBEN’S RESTAURANT

Abalone House in Paternoster opened the doors to Reuben Riffel’s fourth restaurant in October. Critics have already raved about the fantastic menu and the taste of the West Coast.

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4) HEALING EARTH SPA

Yet another new addition to Abalone House is the new Healing Earth Spa, which also opened in October. We converted the Pasella cottage into this unique offering that enhances the experience of our 5-star guest house.

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5) OWLS COTTAGES JOIN BIRDSONG’S COLLECTION

The two Owls Cottages joined Birdsong’s collection of self-catering cottages in April, with private pool and fantastic location. These cosy cabins are perfect for 2, 4 or 6.

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6) TRIP ADVISOR AWARDS

In May Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa both received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. It was Abalone House’s second consecutive award and Shangri-La’s first.

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7) NEW BOMA AT BIRDSONG

In August the Edwin Cameron Boma was opened at Birdsong Cottages. The venue seats 30 people and is perfect for friends and family gatherings, and also as a breakaway venue for conferences.

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8) ROTARY CHRISTMAS MARKET AT ELEPHANT SPRINGS

Elephant Springs was honoured to be chosen as the venue for the annual Rotary Christmas Market in Bela Bela (currently underway). Support this worthy cause!

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9) DECK AT ABALONE HOUSE

In December Abalone House’s new Reuben’s Restaurant was extended with a fantastic deck that also allows dining outside with a marvellous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Book your table now!

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10) LABYRINTH AT SHANGRI-LA

September saw the opening of the Labyrinth of Appreciation. Created as a living tribute in honour of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La for his continuous generous support and life-changing contribution to South of Africa.

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11) DINERS CLUB WINE LIST AWARDS 2013

Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa were awarded their third consecutive Diners Club 2013 Winelist Awards in July.

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12) TELEVISION BROADCASTS

Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa both appeared in television broadcasts in programmes such as Kollig, Bravo, Tuine & Tossels and much more. Be sure to catch us on these season re-runs.

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13) TRAINING PROGRAMME

South of Africa is proud of its training programme in association with Sondela, which begun in June this year. Intensive training in all areas is on going and will continue well into 2014. Just another example of investing in our staff’s future.

What a year! Thank you to all for their support this past year.

The “SOA” Road Trip – Part 2, Seaside Cottage

Seaside Cottages 14Following the recent publication of the “SOA” Road Trip by travel journalist Erik Brits, we are proud to publish the second extract.

PART 2 – SEASIDE COTTAGE

Having been spoilt rotten by our first night’s luxury at Abalone House, we felt that we needed to experience the seaside village feeling as well, and moved to Seaside Cottage (also owned and managed by South of Africa).

Seaside Cottage holds more true to the theme of a fisherman’s cottage, and being self catering you are also isolated from other guests. Although the couch was more than comfortable, the new ambiance inspired us to sample more of the area, so we checked out the Columbine lighthouse and the magnificent rock structures of Tietiesbaai.

That evening we snuggled up under all the provided blankets, but I must say that if it had been summer we might have spent the entire day in the pool – look at that view!

**  For more photographs, view Nightjar Travel’s Instagram feed here.

The “SOA” Road Trip – Part 1, Abalone House

During the next couple of weeks South of Africa will be publishing reviews by Capetonian travel journalist Erik Brits, who recently went on South of Africa’s first “Road Trip” to experience everything we have to offer.  Erik journeyed from the elite 5-star Abalone House in Paternoster, Western Cape, all the way to the unique Birdsong Cottages in Modimolle, Limpopo.

Photo Erik BritsThe journey started in Paternoster, and we are thrilled to share the experience with you as through the eyes of our guests.

PART 1 – ABALONE HOUSE

We decided to switch off from the buzz of the city for a bit – and there’s no better place than a little seaside village for that!

We were staying at Abalone House in Paternoster.  With the sunset we had on our first night away from the deck, it was clear that we were in for a treat.

Photo by Erik BritsMost of the guest rooms are in private enclaves on the upper level, and the deck outside the rooms has a gorgeous view.

Abalone House is the kind of place where you come to spend a weekend in your robe and slippers, enjoying the seaside atmosphere and your luxurious surroundings (5 stars well earned), with the occasional stroll down to the beach.

To top it all off, the cosy guest library and bar area has a hidden doorway – to the wine cellar!  We couldn’t resist the mystery!

* (Reuben’s at Abalone House and the Healing Earth Spa was still under construction at the time of the review)

**  For more photographs, view Nightjar Travel’s Instagram feed here.