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Kate Webster

Kate Webster

Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause. Born out of a life-long love of travel, the ocean, wildlife and conservation and fascination with the world around her, is Kate’s inspiration behind her writing and photography.

Just Joburg

DESTINATION REVIEW: Johannesburg 

The bustling city of Johannesburg, which is also known as Jozi, Joberg and eGoli is the largest city in South Africa. Although the city is the seat of the Constitutional Court, it is not one of the country’s three capitals, a common mistake made. Known as the City of Gold, Johannesburg was quite literally built on   gold, and saw a gold rush in 1886 that led to the establishment of   Johannesburg, South Africa. It was part of the Mineral Revolution.   Johannesburg today is still the source of large scale gold and diamond   mining. Johannesburg is the gateway to the rest of Africa, served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, and is the largest and busiest airport in Africa.

HOTEL REVIEW: Sandton Towers – Sandton

The Sandton Towers is conveniently located in the city’s most exclusive   business and residential districts, Sandton. It is connected to the   Convention Centre by a sky bridge as well as Sandton City Shopping Centre.   The hotel is just a few minutes from Johannesburg’s local attractions   including the Apartheid Museum, the Hector Pietersen Museum and The Cradle of Humankind is well worth the short drive to visit. Mainly used for business travellers, the ease of access to shopping and attractions also attracts the leisure market.

ATTRACTION REVIEW: Soweto City Tour

Beginning with a drive through Soweto to Vilakazi street and the home to 2   Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Next stop was   Wandi’s Shabeen, a local bar and restaurant to fill the stomach before   heading to a shanty township. With a bag of excitement including lollipops,   stickers, shiny beaded necklaces and bubble blowers we came prepared to share   some sunshine with the children at the local kindergarden. Seeing the group   arrive, children of all ages came running to claim their treasures. We were   surrounded by a sea of smiles, giggling and laughter filled the air with the   occasionally shrill scream of excitement. In appreciation the children began   singing and were excited to offer photo opportunities with plenty as cuddles   and smiles. The interaction with the cameras and seeing their own photos was   quite the humbling experience.

Lost in The Palace in South Africa


DESTINATION REVIEW: Sun City

Sun City is a luxury casino and resort, near the city of Rustenburg in the North West Province of South Africa. It is situated about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg and borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Developed by Sol Kerzner, the hotel magnate, it opened in 1979 in an area that was then an independent state of South Africa and therefore allowing the entertainment such as gambling which was at the time banned in the country.

It is today a popular holiday and weekend getaway destination, and attracts many famous performers and international acts.

HOTEL REVIEW: The Palace of the Lost City

A destination in itself, The Palace of the Lost City is part of the internationally recognized The Leading Hotels of the World.

With lavish with 5-star service mixed with exquisite detail, The Palace has 338 rooms inclusive of four breathtakingly opulent deluxe suites. From the distinctive grandeur of the African Suite to the unforgettable King Suite, each exquisite suite revels in the magic of this remarkable place.

ATTRACTION REVIEW: Pilanesberg National Park

Just on Sun City’s doorstep is Pilanesberg National Park, covering an area of 572 km², and is where we will get our first glimpse of South Africa’s famous Big Five. Sat in an open air vehicle we set off down a bush track listening to our driver explaining that a group of Zebra’s are called a ‘Dazzle’, group of giraffes a ‘Tower’, group of Rhinos a ‘Crash’ and many other interesting facts. It’s hard to search for the animals as the vegetation is thick and high due to recent heavy rains in the area. Before long, the eagle eyes of the passengers in the game view truck spot out numerous antelope species, rhino, elephants, zebra, giraffe and warthog. It was the beginning of our taste of the South African bush.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W

FLIGHT REVIEW: Virgin Australia – Sydney to Adelaide

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 cabin

Flight number:  VA402

Date:  08 March 2013

Depart:  0645 am from Sydney

Arrive:  0825 am in Adelaide

Aircraft:  Boeing 737-800

Seat:  14C – exit row

On time:  Departure was on time

Check in

Having checked in online with the easy to use process, the boarding pass was sent to my iPhone.  However, as I had to connect to a REX airlines flight in Adelaide and time was tight, I asked the check in staff at the airport if I could move seats further forward to allow a quicker time to get off the plane on arrival.  She moved me to an exit row seat with no extra charge.

Cabin

The new planes have a clean and efficient cabin with each seat having its own personal TV.  This is free to watch most channels (with movies an additional charge by credit card) and headphones are supplied on the flight.  Toilets are clean and located at the front and rear of the plane.

Staff

Considering the early morning flight, staff and crew are friendly and helpful and well presented as always.

Experience

Boarding was quick and efficient.  Tea, Coffee and water is supplied free of charge on board, with a select menu of food and drinks available for purchase.  Credit Card payment is preferred for this, or close to the correct amount of cash.

Handy Hints

Check in online to avoid waiting in queues at the airport.  It is easy to do and boarding pass can be sent to your phone to avoid printing a boarding pass.  Join the frequent flyer program – Velocity – for free to accrue points for your flights.

FLIGHT REVIEW: South African Airways – Johannesburg to Cape Town

Carrier: South African Airways

Flight Number: SA357 – Departing 5:00pm

Duration: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Class: D – Business

Configuration: 3-3 in business class

Check in experience:
We had a group check in that assisted with overweight luggage as bags were weighed before reaching the check in counter. The process was quick, and once again my suitcase was tagged as fragile with extra care taken while loading.

On time performance:
The flight took off on time and arrived on time.

Seat/Cabin conditions:
With a total of 32 seats in business class, the seats were spacious and comfortable. Newspapers were offered on arrival, with a glass of wine. The cabin was spacious and toilets were clean.

Service:
From the moment I got on the flight the staff were more than happy to assist, and were friendly and engaging. Drinks were served throughout the flight in a timely manner.

Entertainment:
There was no on board entertainment systems as it was a short domestic flight. There was however plenty of entertainment from other passengers, and the staff were just as entertaining while dealing with them

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: Kate Webster

FLIGHT REVIEW: South African Airways – Perth to Johannesburg

Carrier: South African Airways

Flight Number: SA283 – Departing 10:15am

Duration: 13 hours and 30 minutes

Class: D – Business

Configuration: 2-2-2 in business class

Check in experience:
With the business class check-in line, I walked straight through. After having a damaged case from a previous domestic flight to Perth, SAA check-in staff tagged my luggage as fragile and took extra care with it.

On time performance:
The flight took off on time. During the flight, the captain advised we would be arriving 5 minutes late due to weather on route, however the arrival time was on time.

Seat/Cabin conditions:
With a total of 38 seats in business Class that have a pitch of 185cm and width of 60cm, the comfort of a lie-flat seat recline makes comfort a big factor on the flight. This is accompanied with a soft duvet and full size pillow, comfort bag with moisturiser, lip balm, fragrance, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. Each seat has a personal touchscreen monitor with video/audio on demand.

Meals & Snacks:
An international menu of culinary delights created by a team of celebrity chefs was complemented with signature wines and choice beverages. Dinner and a light meal were served on board with a selection of wines and beverages with some specific to South Africa

Service:
The staff were extremely professional and friendly, courteous and engaging which was pleasantly welcomed. All cabin crew encountered were more than happy to assist, and even managed to supply extra blankets and pillows.

Entertainment:
Each seat has a personal touchscreen monitor with video/audio on demand. The movies included latest releases as well as some golden oldies. A fantastic program for children including games and interactive programs was also included.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: Kate Webster

Hermitage Lodge – Hunter Valley

609 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin

NSW 2320, AUSTRALIA

www.hermitagelodge.com.au

It’s been  just a short few hours’ drive from Sydney, the last of the sun has slipped away  and the still of the night engulfs the Hunter Valley.  I have arrived at Hermitage Lodge, nestled  amongst 25 acres in the heart of Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley vineyards.

Arriving  so late at night after such a long day, I was more than impressed by the staff  and their quick attention to my arrival.   Within minutes I was relaxing on the back deck of the Premier Suite  overlooking part of Hermitage Lodge’s Shiraz vineyard, with a glass of their  own Partner’s Pick wine.

The  Premier Suite gives the feeling of home away from home with its self contained  two storey suite and multiple  private decks overlooking vineyards.  It has a fully equipped deluxe kitchen, a spacious living room with polished  hardwood floor complete with a gas fireplace, double sofa bed and large LCD TV.  Downstairs is a full bathroom. Upstairs from the lounge area is the main  bedroom complete with king size bed, a walk-through wardrobe and a large  luxurious bathroom.   However, the  highlight for me was the jetted tub (for 2) on the upstairs deck overlooking vineyards.  I truly was in heaven.

Hermitage Lodge has a total of twenty studios  and suites offering four star boutique accommodation combined with personal,  attentive service rarely found today. The rooms are large, comfortable and  tastefully decorated with a great deal of attention to detail, and all have  beautiful decks or verandas overlooking the property’s own Shiraz vineyard.

If you don’t feel like  organising your own meal, you can stroll over to the award-winning restaurant Il Cacciatore,  voted Best Italian Restaurant, Hunter Region from 2001-2011. Located at  Hermitage Lodge, Il Cacciatore offers Northern Italian- inspired cuisine in a  relaxed, casual atmosphere with exceptional friendly service.  The restaurant has long been a favourite with  visitors and locals alike.

The unique settings of the  lodge make for the perfect place for your next corporate or executive event. It  is an ideal venue for small meetings, conferences, strategy and planning  sessions.

The  Vineyard View Room is a fully equipped meeting room filled with natural light.

If a relaxing stay at the  lodge enjoying its surroundings is just too quiet for you, then activities such  as team building, wine tasting, cooking lessons, golf, hot air ballooning and  winery tours are all available either at Hermitage Lodge or just a short drive  away.

Winner of regional, state and  national awards, Hermitage Lodge’s luxury rooms and suites will suit even the  most discerning guests. One suite has been specifically designed for wheelchair  accessibility.

Hotel Review: Waka Maya – Sanur, BALI

Hotel: WakaMaya

Jl. Tanjung 41, Sanur Bali – Indonesia

www.wakamaya.com

Location: Located  20 minutes drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport and just 5 minutes drive  to Sanur centre. Ubud is 35 minutes  drive and Kuta a 15 minute drive.

Service: Arriving into  a hot, sticky and humid Bali late at night, to be greeted with a cold drink and  refreshing mint scented face towel was pure bliss. The standard was set by the staff at Waka  Maya, and throughout the stay, was exceeded time and time again. From organising transfers to and from other  parts of Bali, to even supplying a local sim card for my mobile phone, there  was no request that couldn’t be met. The  staff were friendly and eager to assist, and I was always greeted with a smile.

Rooms: The resort  has Lanai, Lanai with plunge pool, Villa with garden, Villa with pool.

Lanai – Bungalow size 5 X 5 square meters has queen size bed room with  separate private bathroom (Sunken bathtub), Air Conditioning, bathrobe,  telephone, sandals, outside, terrace, and garden for breakfast, mini bar, and  hairdryer on request, ideally occupied by 2 persons. Also available is the Lanai with private  plunge pool.

Villa with Garden Villa Sekar – has 1  queen size bed, bathroom facilities, bathtub, separate outdoor shower,  bathrobe, sandals, mini studio, ceiling fan, mini bar, telephone, and hairdryer  and telephone, ideally occupied for 3 persons.

Villa Bija – has 1  queen size bed, private bathroom facilities, bathtub, bathrobe, sandals,  shower, day bed, air conditioning, mini bar, hair dryer and telephone, ideally  occupied for 2 or 3 persons

Villa with Pool Villa Bale Maja – has 2  bedrooms with private bathroom, air conditioning, bathrobe, sandals, mini  library, telephone, hairdryer, a breakfast Bale (Gazebo), kitchen, and dining  area with ceiling fan, huge garden terrace and private swimming pool ideally  for 4 persons.

Villa Tirta – has 2 stories, upstairs bedroom with air conditioning, ceiling fan, lounge,  sandals, bathrobe, telephone and private bathroom facilities, down stairs bedroom with air conditioning, hairdryer, bathrobe, sandals, kitchen, private  swimming pool, large garden ideally occupied by 4 persons.

Villa Anya – Has 2  stories, down stairs 1 double bedroom with air conditioning, hairdryer,  bathrobe, sandals, telephone and private bathroom, connecting rooms sleep 4  persons (2 double bed) with single bathroom (shared), kitchen, private dining  with ceiling fan in front of private swimming pool ideally occupied by 6  persons .

Added Extras: A fully  serviced kitchen allows staff to cook you anything you desire, from a quick  snack to a banquet. These meals can be  served in the garden by your pool or in your bungalows courtyard. There is no skimping on service and attention  to detail.

Spa: Waka Maya  offers guests the ultimate in spa treatments, with a combination of Balinese  and Indonesian herbs and spices and a selection of treatments featuring aromatic  of natural oil and an exotic blend of treatment. In the hands of well trained  and experienced therapist, the SPA offers the ultimate in relaxation.

Ambience: Secluded  and hidden within a walled compound, amongst a lush garden and flowing water features  are the villas and rooms that make up Waka Maya. Each room and villa is exquisite in design,  stylishly mixed with the feeling of a traditional Balinese family  compound. The space between the rooms  makes you feel as though you are the only person at the property, even when at  full capacity. A swimming pool with a  resemblance to the ancient Balinese temple bathing place adds to Waka Maya’s  unique feel of pure relaxation and serenity.  Waka Maya is a sanctuary from the modern world.

Facilities: • Swimming  pool • 24 hours Guest service • Spa beauty treatment • Laundry and Dry Cleaning service on request • Beach club in Semawang beach-Sanur • Mini Library • Restaurant • 24 hours doctor on call • 16 hours room service • Safety box at front desk • Baby cot on request • Parking • Taxi Service • Iron & ironing board

Activities: The Beach, Rindik  performance, Lumbung Dining Garden with Balinese Children ‘Legong’ dance, day  trips to meet your specific needs to anywhere in Bali.

Rates: Published Rate: valid until Mar 31, 2012

              Room Type DBL/TWN B’fast
Villa with Garden USD 235.00 Not Incl
Villa USD 290.00 Incl
Deluxe Villa (2 bedrooms) USD 410.00 Incl
Lanai USD 185.00 Not Incl
Deluxe Lanai USD 235.00 Not Incl

Restaurants/Bars: Although there is the Waka Maya Restaurant,  staff can cater for your needs to suit your dining requirements. If you want a pool side relaxing breakfast,  or a romantic candle lit dinner set up in the gardens, it can be arranged. Pricing on meals are reasonable. Each morning I had breakfast delivered to my  villa, a choice of traditional Balinese breads and sweets mixed with fresh  fruit and a hot cooked breakfast.

Type of Clientele: With room size ranging from 2 adults  to 6 adults, Waka Maya will suit honeymooning couples to families. The individual plunge pools provide privacy  for an intimate retreat, and close vicinity to Kuta, Ubud and Sanur make it  appealing for families that don’t want to stay in the town centres, but can  access them easily.

Check In /  out times: 1400hrs /  1100hrs with late checkout available on request.