Worldwide Travel Adventure Summit

According to Wikipedia, the sage on all facts either alternative or actual, a cult can be defined as follows:

1. A system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. “the cult of St Olaf”

2. A person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.

The definition, therefore, is broadly applicable to the lovefest masquerading as a travel conference that is the Worldwide Travel Adventure Summit, held in Salta Argentina in October of 2017. 

Take a community of  a 1000 worldwide tourism business owners, marketing people, adventure travel writers and techies. Place them in conditions imminently suitable for revelry, networking, learning and sharing. Ply them with Argentinian red wine, sweeten them up with Dulce de Lece and placate them with Empanadas. Assault their senses with music from all over the world, inspiring tales of courage, perseverance and extraordinary charity from famous adventurers, global misfits and incessant do-gooders.


Educate them on industry trends, environmental impact, technology accellerators, new destinations, old destinations with sexy new outfits.

 
Finally, infuse them with a persistent and urelenting sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and inspire them to travel more, do more, see more, grow more and share more.

 
The South African contingent that participated in this year's summit included delegates from all over the country, offering itineraries that included bike tours, river rafting, hiking, wildlife viewing, shark cage diving, whale watching, volunteering, surfing, running, ziplining and team building. And then there was me. The guy that likes to go fine dining.


We were a lucky bunch to be able to attend. Our participation also included a pre-summit adventure, as well as a day of adventure.


But THAT. That is a whole different blog.

 
Suffice it to say, I am inspired that Africa generally, and South Africa particularly, will stay on the wishlist of global travelers, and we are well placed to ride a boom of visitors and the associated employment and economic opportunities.  We are luck to work in the industry, and I am inspired to persist with our social initiatives through Boot Camp, to expand our product portfolio to take advantage of the networks build and to help attract even more interest to our fine shores.

 
Religious veneration of travel? You betcha!

PG YEAR 1: 2009 – The Year of the Rugby

There has been a bit of a revival in the fortunes of the Springboks this year – the proof will be in the pudding, of course, as we head into the Australisian leg of the Tri-Nations, but so far so good. 2009 was a similiar sort of year – Snorre was in his second year in charge, his first year was less than stellar but the next year he dominated by winning both the Tri-Nations and the Lions Tour. That year, Province narrowly lost a home semi-final in the Currie Cup to the Bulls, who were also Super Rugby champions that year.

I remember it fondly, as I watched a number of Currie Cup, Super Rugby and Springbok games that year – PROFESSIONALLY.

Now you might ask, how does one become a professional rugby watcher? Well, let me break it down for you.

I started doing my marketing to the youth travel sector in December of 2008… it was rough going, as people were generally suspicious of a newcomer, even one as obviously charming and trustworthy as myself. I realized that for wine tours, peninsula tours, even city tours everyone already had a trusted supplier and it was tough to break in. So I had to come up with a new plan.

Concurrently, I was once again single on Valentines Day, and as it happened there was a Stormers Sharks game at Newlands -and hey presto. I arranged an event including boerewors on a gas braai, beers and brandewyn for about 30 of my closest friends. What a party. We lost the game, but it occurred to me that was incidental to the fun we had. I had rediscovered my childhood favourite spot at the Groote Schuur primary school rugby fields, where fans from all ages, creeds and colours gathered to braai, talk and have fun.

So the next week the Stormers played the Reds on a Friday night. I bought a few tickets and said maybe I could market this as an event. “You are not a thought leader, and it is a Friday night – people don’t go to rugby on a Friday night,” hissed my sister, betting me I could not sell the tickets. I took up the challenge, which ended in a draw. I did sell half the tickets, but the other half I gave away to industry colleagues and potential agents. A fun time was had regardless, and we were on our way.

Over the following two months I would attend a couple more games in the same fashion – and found a rich vein of support from backpackers in Long Street, Dutch volunteers and American students. We watched rugby, we listened to Kurt Darren, we had a blast.

Around this time, the British and Irish Lions cruised into town. This 12 match tour came with about 20,000 touring supporters, and all hell broke loose. I looked after the KUDUS, and they were in my charge for more than 3.5 weeks. Over the course of that time we traveled up and down the country, watched 9 games of rugby in four different stadiums including three tests, and built memories and friendships to last a lifetime. Among the highlights were meeting Danie Gerber at the Port Elizabeth police rugby club, winning the series at Loftus and misadventures with lost luggage. What a great group, and I look forward to seeing them again in four years!

After the euphoric Lions Tour and some liver recovery time, it was back to the business of hosting rugby braais. It was the turn of the Currie Cup, and the Western Province did not disappoint – making it all the way to the semi-final where a moment of madness from that Fijian winger cost us our spot in the final. As was often the theme of those years, it was the Bulls that did us in. They were a champion team and went on to add the Currie Cup to the Super Rugby trophy.

It was a brilliant time for me. We watched another six games of Currie Cup rugby at Newlands including the semis, I hosted some brilliant people and had a lot of fun in the process.

This year, there were not braais at Newlands. The authorities shut down the environment to beers and braais, so what was a glorious time in the early days is now officially over. I still go to the games, I still host guests (at my house these days) but I no longer troll Long Street for takers or entertain mates at the games. The Bulls are absolutely terrible, the Stormers/Province still do ok without being amazing, and the Springboks… well, they were glorious in 2009, lets see what 2017 brings.

In the meantime,  I will be celebrating national braai day with some friends, a few dogs and the missus. Probably watching the rugger on telly. Braai day in a different guise, but still one of our best traditions!

Cape Town December buzz

 

caprice

Cocktails & Burgers at Cafe Caprice
Deciding on witch restaurant to eat at this weekend? Well decide no longer. Cafe Caprice is the place to be, it’s one of Cape Town’s most sought after beach bar.
Located in the vibey Camps Bay, Café Caprice combines retro cocktails were the latest trends in mixology are discovered. It has a unique café style menu and a buzzing atmosphere all year long.

Restaurant Review-Sundowners and Dinner at Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

caprice
First, the location does not get better than this. For me the view is a big bonus in the pocket when eating out and boy is it a score to eat while watching the sun sets and getting to see the golden tan the sun provides for the beach nearby.

burger

Whether it be for  artisan cocktails in the summer months or for a great burger special, Café Caprice never disappoints. I had their Gelato 155. It’s a fat man’s dream I’d say, this grown up deluxe burger is topped with a bacon, feta cheese, avocado and caramelized onions. A real eye and tummy pleaser.

Fact: Burgers taste better with  milkshake. Throw in some alcohol to that Ron Zacapa rum which includes vanilla ice cream, condensed milk and fresh orange zest. you’ll have this cocktail calling your name all year round

 

Bartending talent and the latest trends in mixology are discovered.

mixology

 

Caprice sure is a great ambient venue for people to  wash down  a glass or bottle of wine, it’s a fascinating watch when the bartenders get there game on. Discover new flavors mixed in to your drink and learn a thing or two watching the bartenders mix up your jazzy drink.

As the suns set the place gets more and more packed and the cafe filled with the sounds of laid back music from a live DJ, I loved the diverse group of people. My suggestion is to start off with a bottle of their Jordan Chardonnay wine, it’s a real win.

One thing I loved about Cafe Caprice is that no matter how full the place got, the staff were quick, friendly and efficient. Good Service you won’t just get at any hustle bustle restaurant

I definitely enjoyed my little night out!

 

Tel: 021 438 8315
Admin Tel: 021 438 8321
Email: info@cafecaprice.co.za
Address: 37 Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Open 7 days a week, house DJ playing from Thursday to Sunday.

Pierneef a La Motte – A foodie’s delight!

La Motte Blog1

Have I mentioned before how much I love the tourism industry and my job? If not, you will soon understand why.  I had my first large group transfer to the winelands on a beautiful toasty summers evening.  A group of 30 OLX professionals from around the globe were taking an outing to La Motte in Franschhoek for dinner.  Kenny from Future Coaches was our very professional bus driver and I had the privilege to be the hop-on guide.

After navigating through traffic and introducing the guests to the history of South Africa and the winelands, we arrived at La Motte.  The guests had an amazing evening lined up including canapés and MCC under the trees in the garden, a wander through the museum where a large collection of the famous SA artist Pierneef’s works are kept, a wine tasting hosted by the winemaker himself and an amazing dinner and wine pairing.

I wondered whether I was not going to be bored being there for such a long time, but I soon realized that this would not be the case!! The friendly coordinator, Inge Hugo, welcomed me and Kenny as warmly as their VIP guests, which made me feel quite special. 🙂

I was really impressed by the restaurant manager Pierre Theron, who welcomed us at Pierneef a La Motte Restaurant.  He exudes a perfect balance of professionalism and warmth, and really knows his wine! I had the heavenly pleasure of enjoying a glass of 2013 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier – there was not an inch of free space on the bottle due to all the stickers from awards it has won.  Upon tasting the wine, I also understood exactly why.  Not being a red wine drinker, I was very surprised by the how much I enjoyed it, pure seamless silk in my mouth.  This is definitely a must for any wine tasting at La Motte.

La Motte Blog2

Come dinner time, Chef Michelle Theron (not related to Pierre by the way) started us off with a selection of breads and spreads, all done with excellent artisanal skill.  Kenny and I chatted away while nibbling on the delicious offering.  Next up was a seasonal grilled salad with quinoa and heaps of flavour.  No offence Mom, maybe if my veggies had tasted like this, I would have had more as a child!

The main event (yes, this is not ordinary dining folks, each course is a celebrated event of its own) was roast free range pork belly, fynbos honey carrot, grilled potato and chorizo salad, soft steamed chicken egg, mustard and malt emulsion.  Keywords here – rich and fabulous!  I never thought I would get lyrical about potatoes, but wow – insert Beethoven’s 9th symphony here.

Dessert was all about chocolate: Hazelnut dacqoise, chocolate marquise, chocolate chip parfait and coffee ice cream, but alas – I had accidentally eaten into my “dessert stomach” and had no space left to my own dismay.  May the gourmet gods forgive me!

Back at the bus, Kenny and I welcomed a group of very happy wine infused clients that were all suffering from a severe case of puppy syndrome – tummies full and eyes about to close!  Satisfaction all round indeed.

Thank you so much to all the staff at La Motte, we all had a very memorable and special evening and you definitely made an advocate out of me!

PG TOPS XMAS CHEER

A P-P-POEM….
P is for PG that begins a good read
It’s been a big year for PG and TOPS, to 2016 we lead.
P is the letter that promotes what we do
Private Tours to the Point and the Penguins, that’s us through and through.
P is the concept that brings us great joy
Pictures of Cape Town sunsets, Petting cheetahs or baboons playing coy.
P is the reach of our touring range
Port Elizabeth, Pretoria or Prisons on Islands ain’t strange.
P is the wine that we like to drink
Pinotage is a blend from Africa –  like us Afrikaners – won’t that make you think?
P is the Parks for safari where we like to go
Sabi Sands, the Kruger, Sanbona, you know?
P is the People of this great little team
The consultants the guides the support staff I mean.
P is a thank you, to the Person that supports us so well
The agent, the partner, the contractors are swell.
P is for Pride in this, our great land
We keep being POSITIVE even when the news ain’t that grand.
P is for Pleasure, in this wonderful city of mine
For Cape Town brings mountain-and sea-and food-and sights-and culture… and of course the sunshine.
P is for Playtime, and that you can see
As long as work is still fun – life is just grand – I’m sure you agree!
P is for Panic, a feeling no fun
There is no P for bye, but my poem is now done.

Too cute

Newsletter

Hi sports fans

It has literally been six months since my last confession.  I actually needed to go have a look at when exactly I last wrote a newsletter. November 2014.

Man. So I better have a good excuse for going so quiet.

I actually have several, listed to an old favourite melody:

Doe, a deer, a female deer

The office is predominantly female. And the guides are predominantly male. My theory is that men mostly like the women to tell them what to do. There has been a shift, an expansion, I daresay an evolution in the PG TOPS/Luxury Safaris team. While we were sad to say goodbye to Barbara, our plucky German intern, Sofie has rejoined the team after an extended holiday, and we welcome Thami and Nela as our junior consultants. Necesssary, as Bianca has left the office to focus on guiding for us full time, to rave Tripadvisor reviews. Jarred has also joined the guiding team, and doing some sterling work for us, especially as we do some brisk business with his old employers Sanbona.

Ray, a drop of golden sun

Some golden stats to light up the day for the PG fan club:

  1. March was our biggest month ever. April would have been, if it wasn’t for March. For the year to date, our numbers are up by a whopping 35%.
  2. Easter Friday was our busiest day ever. Easter was bumper, overall, but Easter Friday saw:
    1. 3 groups on safari
    2. 3 groups on the peninsula
    3. 3 groups in the winelands
    4. 2 groups on Table Mountain and City Centre
  3. The only reason we can sustain our service quality but do these increased volumes, is the quality of our guide contractors (and the ace office team, of course). Take a bow contract guides, our Tripadvisor page is littered with great reviews for Erica, Jamie, Deon et al!

Me, a name I call myself

PG TOPS continues to deliver the best quality day trips in the Cape Town, winelands and Peninsula areas.  In addition, our decision to name the new business Luxury Safaris has also been a good one.  Our luxury partners Sanbona, Botlierskop, Romney Park and Sabi Sands Reserves have been the main beneficiaries of increased support for this full service business. Caren, our safari specialist, has been booking everything from flights to hiring camera lenses for clients to safaris for 3 year olds. With Nela in support, this journey is also only starting!

Far, a long long way to run

Well, actually, it’s only about 200 metres. The PG TOPS operation has shifted location. The office is now located at 14A Avenue Montagne, and we had a lovely launch party in March.  This has enabled me to claim back my personal space (although there has been scant time to redecorate) and we have had a lot of fun choosing pictures, plants and paint jobs.  We’re all pretty happy with the move, I think my neighbours appreciate it as well!

Sew, a needle pulling thread

Like any favourite piece of clothing, the PG TOPS suit still looks good but needs some patching up, and we are having to let out the seams a bit to allow for an expanding waistline as we cruise into the middle of year 7. We tired of having to keep stitching up the oldest vehicle in the fleet, so the Vito has been sold, to be replaced by a newer model (arriving this week). I also added the Avanza to the fleet (once in a while I actually want to take my Beemer for a personal drive, so the extra set of wheels come in handy). We are also going to do some much needed maintenance on the website, and the quiet winter months afford the ideal opportunity to do some constructive tweaking to our business processes . The squeaky wheel, as they say…

La, a note to follow Sew

La, as in Ebo-LA. I want to reiterate: South Africa has no Ebola. We are five zillion km’s away from the affected zone. But it is worth congratulating Trevor Noah on his epic appointment as new host of the daily show. Check out his schpiel on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHO1a1kvZGo

Also, even though we sometimes feel that we live in LA-LA land here in South Africa, what with Xenophobia, ridiculous governmental decisions and a cricket team that builds me up and breaks me down like clockwork every four years… There’s a lot to be happy and hopeful about.

Specifically, our LAnga township tour remains one of our most popular experiences. With the wonderful local Xhosa guides Godfrey, Richard and Odwa, we have a team that engages with our clients in a constructive and socially sensitive way that beats expectations every time. It’s hard to see the social divides that still hold us back as a nation, but equally encouraging to see a community hard at work changing things day by day. Proud.

Oh, and it’s not to early to start punting the Santa Shoebox Project, as always championed by YoLAnda. We have started to receive our first R200 donations! http://pgtops.com/santa-shoebox/

Tea, a drink with jam and bread

Company slogan (check my logo) has always been TOUR-TRAVEL-TASTE. That’s why I crossfit. To balance out the excessive calamari lunches or the cookies the Mercedes dealership delivered.  In terms of our evolution as a business, one of our key success factors is our understanding of which restaurants deliver on client expectations, anticipating on behalf of our visitors where they would like to eat and booking them the best spots before the fill up. Perennial favourites Two Oceans, La Petite Ferme, the Pot Luck Club, the Test Kitchen, La Colombe,  Baia and the Codfather are among the restaurants that have made Cape Town the culinary capital of Africa.  We list our favourites on the website http://pgtops.com/pg-recommends/

That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)

And full circle.

DO recommend South Africa, Cape Town, the Garden Route, PG TOPS and Luxury Safaris to all your friends. We specialize in creating the trips of a lifetime!

Don’t pay too much attention to the bad press. If good news sold papers, we would have much more of it.

DO give me some feedback if you spot something that needs to be improved on our website(s), or if there is tour specific feedback that I need to be aware of.

Don’t hesitate to go out and rent Sound of Music and watch it again. I know I will.

 

Take care of yourselves… and each other! For graphics version click HERE.

 

PGThami Mokoena

 

Santa Shoe Box

The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 and has grown in leaps and bounds, starting with only 180 boxes and within 8 years reached a whopping 118 274 boxes. These are distributed to more than 1000 recipient facilities, through more than 60 satellites around South Africa and Namibia.

PG TOPS got involved in 2011 and has ‘adopted’ this initiative as a yearly affair. This is the 4th year we will be involved and need all the help our friends, family and clients are willing to give.

You can assist by:

  • Donating. R170 or $20 will buy you a Shoebox, which we will allocate on your behalf, pack and send to the depot end of October.
  • Helping to pack: The Santa Shoebox Party 26 October 2014.
  • Spreading the word, packing your own boxes and dropping them off, or supporting the packers (braaiers, drink pourers, cheerleaders needed).
Check out this amazing initiative on www.santashoebox.co.za

Two Oceans named one of the world’s best aquariums

TripAdvisor has named the Two Oceans Aquarium (Cape Town, South Africa) as the 10th best in the world and with more than 3000 marine animals to view, this is not a surprise at all!!!

The popular travel review site awarded the aquarium this honour on the list as part of the 2014 Travelers’ Choice Zoo and Aquarium Awards, which is based on the reviews and opinions of millions around the world. To top it all… they are the only aquarium in the southern hemisphere to have made it on this list!

Comments from travelers include: “Best aquarium I have ever been to” and “I really liked the variety of animals here. You see animals that you do not normally see. The animals are also quite large. It is very affordable”.

Some MUST DO’s at the Two Oceans Aquarium includes: diving with the sharks, feeding of African penguins, watching the antics of Yoshi, the loggerhead turtle, feeding of ragged-tooth sharks on Sunday afternoons and experiencing the interactive ‘Nemo’ exhibit.

First place in the Travellers’ Choice Awards went to Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, USA. Other aquariums in the top 10 include Oceanario de Lisboa (Portugal), Georgia Aquarium (USA), Tennessee Aquarium (USA), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (USA), Aquaworld Aquarium (Greece), Dallas World Aquarium (USA), Vancouver Aquarium (Canada) and Mundomar (Spain)

Head to the Two Oceans Aquarium website for more details.

 

 

The annual Agri Cheese Festival is here again. The festival runs from 26 – 29 April and we will be providing daily transport from Cape Town CBD and Durbanville (Toys R Us) to the festival at R200.00 per person return.

We will depart for cheese festivities at 09:00am from Heritage Square in the city and 09:30am from Toys R Us in Durbanville we will return from the Cheese festival the afternoon at 16:30pm.

To book call Pieter on +27 (0)83 288 4944 or email info@pgtops.com

We also have private transfers available, for rates please contact us.

For more information on the festival click here or Contact us!

http://pgtops.com/blog/3283/

Kirstenbosh Summer Concerts

PG Tops does Kirstenbosch summer concerts

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the slopes of Table Mountain has a host of amazing performances by local and international artists every year throughout the Summer season!

Here is the 2013/2014 schedule!

Date Event
24-Nov-13 Prime Circle
01-Dec-13 Jack Parrow, Francois van Coke
08-Dec-13 Tailer, Matthew Mole, Nakhane Toure
12 to 15-Dec-2013 Rotary Christmas Carols
22-Dec-13 Mango Groove
29-Dec-13 Oliver Mtukudzi
31-Dec-13 Goldfish, Yaov and Tailor
05-Jan-14 The Parlotones
12-Jan-14 MACSTANLEY, Craig Hinds, Ard Matthews
19-Jan-14 Johnny Clegg
26-Jan-14 Jimmy Nevis
02-Feb-14 Fokofpolisikar (PG)
09-Feb-14 Civil Twilight
16-Feb-14 Freshlyground
23-Feb-14 The Cape Philharmonic Orcgestra
02-Mar-14 Mi Casa
09-Mar-14 Hugh Masekela
16-Mar-14 Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival
23-Mar-14 Desmond and the Tutus with Shortstraw
30-Mar-14 Lira
06-Apr-14 Jeremy Loops

Keep The Kirstenbosch Summer concerts in mind when planning your holiday – they really are a unique South African activity!