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Hermanus - Update 17 - June to Sept. 2007

Nelson Mandela's 89th Birthday.

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 89th birthday in Jo’burg, on 18th July, 2007, which was attended by the group now being called “The Elders”.

This fine, upstanding group of elderly statesmen and women is the brain child of Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel, who approached Mandela afew years ago with the idea of bringing together a group of elder world prominent figures. This group, have no active political affiliations or ties to big business (as they are funded completely independently), are able to speak freely and openly about many issues facing the world and will work publicly and behind the scenes to address many world problems. This group now includes – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president Jimmy Carter, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, former Irish president Mary Robinson and former Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing. The group is chaired by Tutu, with Mandela only taking a consultancy role.

A football game to celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday was also attended by past and present world soccer stars, including Pele, Ruud Gullit and former Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe. 52,000 fans crowded into Newlands in Cape Town to watch the match, dubbed “90 minutes for Mandela”. Earlier in the day the football greats, with past political prisoners, kicked 89 goals against racism into the nets set up on Robben Island, to celebrate Mandela’s birthday.

Western Cape Film industry.

Following on from last years report stating that the Cape Town city council issued over 48,000 Filming Licences in 2005, this years official report issued recently states that the film industry in the Western Cape generated a whopping R3.5 billion to South Africa’s GDP in 2006, while also employing over 8500 local people. This important industry also helps to generate jobs in many other spin-off industries, such as catering, accommodation, machinery & equipment hire, financial & insurance and transportation.

Recent movies filmed here have been “Blood Diamond” with Leonardo DiCaprio, who shot scenes in wineries near Stellenbosch (and enjoyed a day of Great White Shark cage diving near Hermanus between filming days); a Bollywood movie and only last month James Bond Daniel Craig was here filming a new movie called “Flashbacks of a Fool”, which includes Helen McCrory, who played Cherie Blair in “The Queen” and Miriam Karlin who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s notorious 1971 movie “A Clockwork Orange”. Daniel Craig braved the cold Atlantic Ocean while fully dressed in a suit for one scene. Other locations for this movie included Camps Bay, Llandudno (a seaside suburb of Cape Town) and Bantry Bay. The entire cast and crew stayed at the luxury 5 star Mount Nelson Hotel in the Gardens suburb of the city bowl.

Percy Tours gets published in the London press.

For those of you in London, check out a brand new magazine called SQUARE. Percy Tours will be writing articles in every publication about all aspects of South Africa, Cape Town and Hermanus. Square is a FREE magazine with a 50,000 print run and i would guess that your tube journey to work will now be much more entertaining, now that you will have a copy of this fine magazine under your arm. :-))))

Music and Entertainment news.

Altho’ we at Percy Tours are not the greatest of fans of her music, it was recently publicised that Celine Dion will be gracing us with her presence at Vergelegen Winery in Somerset West (40 minutes from Cape Town) on Feb 23rd and 24th 2008. Slightly more-rock’n’roll, it was also confirmed that Sir Elton John will be performing here on 13th Jan 2008.

The spectacular stage show of The Lion King is being performed in Jo’burg, in a purpose built theatre and has attracting loads of press interest and big crowds, including Oprah Winfrey who spoilt all 149 students of her new school she started in South Africa to see the show recently. Many of the shows songs have been adapted to feature African languages, like Zulu and Xhosa.

The Soweto Gospel Choir, which was only formed 4 ½ years ago, continue to tour the globe to sell-out crowds, with their outstanding vocal harmonies, while collecting many music awards along the way, including a recent Grammy. This inspirational 25 piece choir have performed at the Edinburgh Festival and many concerts in USA, New Zealand, Australia and across Europe. They also sang Happy Birthday at Nelson Mandela birthday celebrations in 2005 and have performed with Diana Ross and Christina Aguielera. Their first album topped the USA gospel charts for many weeks. Check them out because they are amazing.

World Cup 2010 and Football update.

An incredible R1 billion was paid in late June 2007, by Supersport to PSL (Premier Soccer League) in South Africa, so that Supersport will be able to exclusively televise South African league matches on satellite tv for the next 5 years. This has led some local critics to say that this predominantly black watched sport, will have now completely marginalise the poor of the country from watching their favourite sport, as it will be outside the affordability levels of the lower working classes of the country.

The proposed Jo’burg to Sowato mono-rail link is set to cost R12.5billion and aims to be completed by 2009, in time for the World Cup.

Recent press reports have suggested that some 2010 World Cup tickets could be as cheap as R150 (£12), so that local South Africans will be able to afford tickets to see the matches. Allowing some in the media to comment that this could easily lead to ticket-touts buying loads of cheap tickets in one go, but the authorities have afew plans for limiting the amount of tickets purchased, either by - cross-referencing peoples ID numbers and passport numbers to each ticket bought, or by a Lottery system, which would require the public to apply for tickets and if they are drawn out-of-the-hat, then they are eligible to buy tickets, or by issuing Named vouchers which are then redeemed for a ticket. Only time will tell as to which system will be implemented. The cheapest German 2006 World Cup tickets were R450.

The highest price for premium tickets for 2010, could be approximately R3000 (£220).

Also announced was that the World Cup tickets will be on sale from late 2008. 3 million will be issued – 1 million internationally, 1 million for the teams, officials and corporate sponsors and 1 million for South African fans. So watch this space for much more 2010 World Cup info.

The photo below, taken on 1st Sept, 2007, shows the continuing building work of the Cape Town Green Point stadium for the 2010 World Cup, with foundation work well under way and many cranes now in place.

Tottenham Hotspurs won the Vodacom Challenge at the end of July, which was a 3 team event featuring South African sides the Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs - the football team, not the music band obviously :-))).

South Africa & Western Cape -Nature update.

Africa’s stock-piled ivory, which police and security forces have confiscated from illegal smugglers over the last few decades, is being considered for re-sale onto the international markets. Currently valued at $850/ton, the held 60 million tons, has a total value of $51,000 million.

If this sale goes ahead it would obviously stop the illegal slaughter of elephants in Africa, as this amount of ivory would flood the international markets for many years.

Fish Eagles are being breed and released back into areas where they are a very rare sight. These majestically large eagles have a wing span of 2 metres and The Breede River valley in the west of the Western Cape is one such region where their re-introduction back into the wild, is being seriously considered by the conservation teams. While in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve (only 20kms from Hermanus) there has just started a Black Eagle conservation project. With only afew breeding pairs left in this area, these large eagles need all the help they can get.

The Whales are here in Hermanus – the weekly aerial surveys have recorded numbers of 3 times that of the same time last year, with 50 or 60 whales being spotted in mid July, compared to only 20 or so Whales being spotted in July 2006.

And even better news today (10th Sept, 2007) was that Iceland has announced that it will be stopping whaling very soon. About time too we all shout.

South Africa Tourism figures continue to grow.

Following on from our last report about South Africa’s tourism, a new industry report has mentioned that, incredibly tourism here generated nearly twice the income generated by the country’s big gold industry, allowing some to call tourism the “New Gold” of South Africa. Also the total year-on-year increase of tourists holidaying in South Africa is up 13.9%, which is an incredible growth rate, when you consider that the global average increase is only 4.5%.
Long may that continue we say :-))

Check out our new photos.

Percy Tours loves to snap-its-camera of the local wonders, so please check out our new pictorial collection, including Great White Sharks, Southern Right Whales, Safaris and much more, at our online gallery of over 200 photos at Flickr –

Over 200 amazing Percy Tours Photos

Hermanus Festival season is underway.

Hermanus sure does know how to celebrate, with the August and September months being Festival time.

First up, in early August, was the highly successful Wine and Food Festival, now in its 11th year, which attracted over 4000 people to the 45 local wine producers stands. The show has now grown so large that a huge marquee, next to the main building, had to be erected to house the Food and Beer stalls, with a local Marumba band performing their catchy tunes. Percy Tours was proud to be the organisers designated transfer company for the weekend.

Then the following weekend we had the brand new - Great White Shark Festival. This is not only a first for Hermanus but is the only Great White Shark Festival in the world.

All 7 shark diving operators offered the public cut-price journeys to swim with these fabulous creatures. There were many international Researchers and Scientists conducting educational talks and film shows on this much mis-understood species; a large marquee housed the stage for local bands to perform; the market stalls did a roaring trade, as did the bar; the kiddies had bouncy castles to entertain them; and all-in-all over 6000 people attended, with the press, radio stations and TV film crews reporting on this celebration. After such a successful event, you can guarantee this will be an annual feature in the local calendar.

Percy Tours was equally as proud to be the organisers designated transfer company for the whole event and we also sponsored the transfer of 2 of the Township bands which performed at the event. With a mention of thanks to us, from the organisers, in the local newspaper a week later.

This coming weekend we have the colourful Flower Festival, which show-cases our multitude of amazing floral plant species. The next weekend Hermanus hosts the very hugely successful Whale Festival which attracts over 10,000 people to our picturesque seaside town and the following weekend there is the annual Stanford Birding Festival which also coincides with the 150th birthday of this small neighbouring town.

Ok I appreciate that it’s not quiet the Glastonbury Festival, but at least our local people get off their back-sides and love to put on a show (or 5) to celebrate our town and it’s many natural treasures.

Recent Percy Tours fun and adventures.

With the tourism season now in full-swing, Percy Tours loves to equally explore this marvelous region. A light-airplane flight over Walker Bay was a first for us, so that we could enjoy the outstanding beauty of the coast and farmlands, which was made even more brilliant by us flying over Dyer Island, Shark Alley and Geyser Rock, all the Shark Diving boats and to see over 30 Southern Right Whales frolicking in the sea. We even saw 2 rare grey Southern Right Whales which our pilot said he had not witnessed before.

Afew weeks before we ventured up to the spring Flower region of Namaqualand on the West Coast, which did not disappoint, as this winter it has rained quiet abit and therefore this has produced huge carpets of multi-coloured flowers. Infact it has rained so much over our short winter period that Cape Towns reservoirs, are for the first time in 6 years, now 100% full. The farmers will be jumping-for-joy I am sure of that. :-))

While we conducted a fun-filled 2 week tour with 2 fabulous clients (Dave & Tessa, from Cornwall) "Action-Lady" Ronel enjoyed with them, some exciting Horse Riding trips into our magnificent mountain ranges and along our huge deserted white sandy beach. As well as enjoying a Shark diving trip, a Whale watching boat trip and an African Safari at a fabulous 4 star Safari park in the remote Little Karoo region; while Percy enjoyed our airplane flight over the whales :-))

Many thanks all, chat soon,

Percy and Ronel :-)))

Designer Tours of Hermanus, Cape Town and the whole Western Cape region.

This post first appeared on Percy Tours Blog - Percy Tours Adventure Reports |, please read the originial post: here

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Hermanus - Update 17 - June to Sept. 2007


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