Accommodation News for June 2008 in Kwazulu Natal

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The Roxy Escape-Presented by Virgin Mobile

From: Surfersvillage Global Surf New  24 June 2008

The Roxy Escape prepares to invade the Kwa-Zulu Natal

Durban – The Roxy Escape 2008 is upon us, and 10 lucky winners are getting set for a four-day weekend on the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast and experiencing the Roxy life. Roxy have teamed up with Seventeen Magazine and have lined up a fun-filled weekend for the girls, with all sorts of the beach and surf life to be explored.

The weekend is going to be captured on the Roxy website, so if you want to keep in touch with the girls and all the goings-on, then log onto Five lucky girls were selected out of hundreds of hopefuls, and all five of them have selected a friend to attend with them, making up the party of ten.

The five winners are Hleziphi Hadebe (Westville), Christine Robinson (Durban), Aimee Rawlings (Gauteng), Cheryl-Anne Smallbones (Cape Town) and Asheeqah Kamish from Cape Town.

Roxy Marketing Manager Candice Mac Nicol was really happy with the selection of girls, and enthusiastic about the upcoming event. “The Roxy Escape is a fantastic opportunity to get girls from all walks of life into the Roxy lifestyle,” said Mac Nicol. “We’ll not only teach them how to surf, but we’ll introduce them to the core values of our industry. It’s great the diversity of ladies that entered and how stoked they are to be a part of this amazing event.”

The girls are going to be accommodated at the luxurious Bazley Beach Resort on the KZN coast. Highlights of the Roxy Escape include meeting legend big wave surfer Jason Ribbink, as well as getting a walk-through and an introductory tutorial on the processes of surfboard manufacturing in his factory.

There will also be a tour of the Natal Sharks Board, as well as a shark dissection. Not for the faint-hearted, a dissection is a fascinating look at how a shark lives and feeds. Surf coach, Kenny Matthews, will be teaching all the girls to surf in not one, but two private surf lessons. Kenny is the best in the country and hopefully all the lucky winners will all be up-and-riding after their first session.

The girls are also going to be absolutely treated to a live and unplugged performance by one of South Africa’s top bands of the moment, Stealing Love Jones. This performance is going to go down around the hamburger braai and bonfire on the beach and is bound to make some SLJ fans quite envious. The Roxy Escape is presented by Virgin Mobile in association with Resolution.

The Roxy Escape is brought to you by Mxit, Supersport, Seventeen Magazine, Stealing Love Jones and Clean ‘n Clear.

Annual KZN sardine run sparks tourism frenzy

From: Travel Wires, South Africa - 12 Jun 2008

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal has earned a reputation nationally and internationally as a marine tourism destination bolstered by the Sardine Run - one of the world's most amazing annual marine spectacles that takes place on the South Coast in June and July.Tourism KwaZulu-Natal chief executive Ndabo Khoza acknowledged this at a high-profile launch of Sardine Festival 2008 together with the premier of the Imax documentary Wild Ocean at Gateway's Imax theatre last week.

He said research showed that 400 000 tourists visited the South Coast over the Sardine Festival period.

"The Sardine Festival is a large tourism income generator for KwaZulu-Natal, boosting the provincial economy through revenue earned from the provision of accommodation and food as well as the hiring of boats, small planes and helicopters to maximise the sighting of the sardine run.

"It has also created a great deal of interest from the media and international marine and environmental experts, and now with Wild Ocean we also have the first Imax film on the 'greatest shoal on Earth'. All this reinforces the fact that the South Coast is just one of the many areas that make KwaZulu-Natal a prime eco-tourism destination," said Khoza.

"At least half of the South Coast visitors are from Gauteng, 15% are from the Free State and a further 15% from other parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

"A large proportion of the visitors are repeat visitors, who come to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches, and as many as 40% stay for four days to one week."

Khoza said the sardine run had been the province's biggest and best known natural phenomenon for generations, but until recently, all the excitement was reserved for the lucky few who just happened to be on the beach when thousands of small silvery fish washed up.

Last year Tourism KwaZulu- Natal, the Ugu District Municipality and the Natal Sharks Board launched the Sardine Festival to encourage visitors to enjoy all the attractions of "the country's best winter beach holiday destination" while waiting for the first sardine sightings.

The Sardine Festival 2008 runs until the middle of July, and some of the highlights include the Spear Fishing Open on June 14, the Mercury Mallards Ski Boat festivaland the popular Ugu Jazz Festival on June 21.

The Mercury Mallards Ski Boat Festival, which takes place at Shelly Beach from July 2-5, is the biggest event of its kind in South Africa. It is set to attract about 400 anglers from across the country as well as a host of tourists to the huge marquee at St Michael's beach for the weigh-in.

Michael Bertram, of Ugu South Coast Tourism, said the Sardine Festival's extensive programme was not so much about fishing as it was about a fun-filled and truly African beach experiences.

"The Sardine Festival offers something for the whole family - marathons, mountain biking, a garden fair, sardine tasting, a colourful jazz festival and a host of other magnificent beach entertainment. If you have not experienced the fever of the Sardine migration, you have not experienced one of life's truly unforgettable experiences," he said.

Bertram said this year's Umtamvuna Portuguese Carnival, held at Port Edward, would see 1 000 people seated at a "Table of Unity" where a world record attempt would be made for the world's biggest open-air fish braai.

Khoza said the Sardine Festival, well timed with the winter school holidays, was a perfect catalyst for unlocking the value offered by a multifaceted destination such as the South Coast.

In addition to some of the country's premier swimming beaches, there are several vantage points along the 120km long Hibiscus coastline for visitors to view the sardines as they migrate northwards. Those wanting to take an even closer look can take advantage of marine charters that operate out of Port Edward, Ramsgate and Shelly Beach or even charter a plane from Margate Airport. The more adventurous can even dive with the sardines - including the reefs, wrecks and sharks - at Aliwal Shoal, Protea Banks and Rocky Bay.

The Natal Sharks Board monitors the progress of the sardines so it can remove and replace the shark nets that protect bathers at swimming beaches and allow the sardine run to pass by unhindered.

KZN floods cause chaos

Independent Online, South Africa - 18 Jun 2008

Tourists and residents were evacuated from resorts, and roads and bridges have been closed as drenching rain led to flooding in many areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

Heavy rains caused havoc in parts of the province overnight, washing away bridges, flooding roads and causing damage to homes and property.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute's Craig Lambinon, residents of Club Marina at Ifafa were rescued at midnight after all but three homes in the area were submerged.

"Emergency services had to use jet skis to rescue people because there was too much debris in the water to use a rubber duck boat," he said, adding that he was not aware of any casualties.

Lambinon also reported that a rescue boat was used to rescue 20 people at the Pont Holiday Resort at Port Edward, "which is pretty much under water".

Lambinon said the NSRI's Durban and Shelley Beach stations are on high alert because of widespread flooding on the South Coast.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu, said the Umzinto bridge (P197) has been completely washed away.

No injuries have been reported in the area and traffic is being diverted. Both lanes of the N2 near the Umzinto off-ramp have been closed and traffic has been diverted to the R102.

Head of the Hibiscus Coast Protection Services , Victor Chetty, said at least 200 people had been taken to local community halls for shelter in the Ugu district.

Other areas that have suffered flooding include Amanzimtoti, Port Shepstone and Merebank.

An upset Cecelia Terblanche, who lives in Aralia Crescent, Merewent, phoned the Daily News this morning and said she feared her home would be flooded. "No one is going to work or school …."

Terblanche said her neighbour's house was partially submerged and the rising water was lapping at her doorstep. "We need sandbags desperately," she said.

Weather forecaster Anton Schutte, who lives in Amanzimtoti, said: "The streets in the CBD are filling up with water and some people could not leave their driveways."

Schutte said the heavy rain was expected to continue for the next two or three days.

"Durban and Amanzimtoti can expect between 150 and 200mm of rain and the temperatures will range between a minimum of 10°C maximum of 20°C."

The heaviest rainfall was recorded in the Doonside area.

Residents in Merebank reported flooding near the racecourse and traffic heading south on the Inkosi Albert Luthuli freeway had slowed to a crawl.

A fire department spokesperson said the Quality Street off-ramp had been closed to traffic.

In Durban, hundreds of motorists were caught in heavy traffic as mudslides and standing water covered the roads

Tourism Reaps Benefit of Open Skies

Business Day (Johannesburg)-23 June 2008

SA's decision to open its skies to increased competition from foreign airlines in the run-up to 2010 is finally beginning to pay dividends, says SA Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosola.

The recently concluded UK-SA agreement on air transport, which added 28 new flights a week between the two countries over the next three years, was evidence of this, Mosola said last week.

SA Tourism and other leaders in the tourism sector have long called for more flights to the country to meet burgeoning demand but the government has been slow to respond.

"I have been involved in these discussions for the past seven years as CEO of SA Tourism and it is the first time that I am completely satisfied with the agreement. There is no longer this eye for an eye approach to talks and this agreement offers the airlines much more flexibility in how the frequencies (flights) are used," Mosola said.

Under the agreement, airlines in both the UK and SA have been given 14 additional flights between the two countries this year, seven next year, and a further seven between London and Durban in 2010.

British Airways was first to take up the flight, adding a third daily flight between London's Heathrow and Johannesburg from April next year. Virgin and South African Airways are still weighing up their options.

Among the changes in this agreement is a clause allowing UK airlines to take up South African flights if South African airlines did not take up their frequencies within a specified time. "That has never been the case in the past," said Mosola. The airlines would now have more choice about what aircraft they used, which airports they used and when they fly. It also allows airlines to add extra capacity in peak season periods.

"The government has become more sophisticated and clever in their negotiations. They are not strictly adhering to the principle of reciprocity but looking at what is needed for the country, particular the tourism sector, to grow."

The government first outlined a more liberalised approach to bilateral negotiations in its airlift strategy document which was approved by the cabinet in 2006. The document presents a five-year plan for the regulation of air transport in support of the tourism sector with the express aim of ensuring that capacity is created (airline frequencies) ahead of demand.

However, that policy has only now begun to translate into positive results

The transport department said yesterday that discussions regarding added capacity were taking place with other governments. So far the department has negotiated with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UK, South Korea, Gambia, New Zealand and is in negotiations with Australia.

Further discussions were planned between SA and the Netherlands within the next two months, but SA was also in discussion with India on further liberalising the existing bilateral agreement, the department said.

Talks in December with the UAE resulted in Emirates adding daily flights between Dubai and Cape Town in March.

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