Vacant land around the refuge where Nelson Mandela spent his last days of freedom is to be used to build a luxury boutique hotel.
As apartheid raged in South Africa in 1961, Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, north of Johannesburg, was bought on behalf of the South African Communist Party and used as the headquarters of the military arm of the African National Congress.
Mandela sought refuge there in the days before his arrest in 1963 and subsequent 27-year imprisonment on political charges, which ended on February 11.
The hotel will complement an historical museum that already exists at the farm. Nicholas Wolpe, of the Liliesleaf Trust, said:
“This is not a commercial venture, it’s more about making Liliesleaf self-sustaining. We thought about the best way to do this and a hotel seemed to fit.”
“Liliesleaf played a crucial, seminal role in the liberation struggle and it’s important for the world to understand that role.”
There will be historic exhibits in the 48-room hotel, and suites will be named after key players in South Africa’s struggle for racial equality. Construction is likely to begin in June and the property is scheduled to open in September 2011.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re travelling to South Africa, take a look at Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in Cape Town, Johannesburg and other many other parts of this stunning country.
The ‘Obama effect’ of a US President with African heritage, and the 2010 soccer World Cup have been credited with creating a surge of interest in Africa as a tourist destination.
The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says Africa bucked the global trend in 2009 – it was the only continent to see a rise in the number of international tourist arrivals: up by 5 per cent.
That compared to a slump of 4 per cent in travel worldwide amid the economic crisis and the swine flu pandemic.
The head of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, told a tourism conference in Madrid:
“There has been a shift in the way people look at Africa. It’s now considered a serious destination for travellers from the major generating markets.”
Kenya’s tourist board says the fact that President Obama’s father was from Kenya has led to an increase in Americans visiting the country. And the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) says this year’s World Cup in South Africa will have an enormous effect.
“The World Cup is certainly the most exciting thing to happen to Africa, not just southern Africa,” said the ATTA’s head, Nigel Vere Nicoll. “All Africans are very proud that it’s going to be there.”
by Andy Moreton
Check out Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in South Africa, as well as in Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and other parts of the continent.
Tourism and soccer officials in South Africa have warned airlines, hotels and restaurants not to charge exorbitant prices during next year’s World Cup tournament.
Tourism official Calvyn Gilfellan said he was worried that if businesses viewed the month-long event as a cash cow it would harm South Africa’s tourism industry.
Kevin Miles, who coordinates international travel for England soccer supporters, said:
“It’s far better to create an impression that will encourage people to return to the country in years to come. That’s what happened with Germany – there was a big hike in tourism after 2006.”
South Africa is expecting a tourism boom during the tournament, with some 500,000 visitors spending about $850 million (£520 million). Twenty-five new hotels have been built and other types of accommodation will also be available, including university halls of residence, safari park lodges and even cruise liners.
One concern is transport. Teams up will have to travel vast distances to play their matches. In Group G, one of the teams faces having to play a game in Johannesburg, followed by one in Cape Town - a distance of 880 miles.
At the draw for the opening stages of the tournament, the United States and England found themselves in the same group. The toughest group is probably the once consisting of Portugal, Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re looking for a bit of pampering to go with the soccer, check out Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in South Africa.
The Lonely Planet travel guide’s annual list of the top ten best value destinations for 2010 contains a surprising entry – London.
Long scorned for being one of the most expensive cities on earth, London is now seen as good value for a number of reasons, including the falling value of the pound, hotel bargains and free museums. The recession has also encouraged many restaurants and shops to cut their prices and offer special deals.
Tom Hall, the publisher’s travel editor, said: “The tables have turned and London’s reputation as one of the world’s most expensive cities is over. It is far easier to do London on the cheap than it was five years ago.”
Other best-value destinations in the top ten include Iceland, South Africa, Las Vegas and Kenya.
There’s considerable satisfaction in the Irish Republic that Cork has been named in another Lonely Planet top ten – the best cities to visit in 2010. The guide says: “Cork has been in Dublin’s shadows for far too long. It has emerged as a fantastic destination in its own right with great restaurants, galleries, bars and shops as well as stunning scenery on its doorstep.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2010 is now available in the US and Europe.
by Andy Moreton
Many of Luxique’s carefully selected luxury hotels in London will have special deals at this time. And if you want to experience a city that Lonely Planet says is ‘at the top of its game’ right now, Luxique offers the convivial Hayfield Manor in Cork, Irish Republic.