Pezula in Knysna joins Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide has announced Pezula Resort & Spa, one of South Africa’s leading resorts, is set to join the luxury portfolio of Conrad Hotels & Resorts.  Hilton Worldwide owns three other hotels in South Africa: the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg, the Hilton Durban and the Hilton Cape Town.  John T A Vanderslice, global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands for Hilton Worldwide said: “By combining Conrad’s signature style and service standards with such a superior Resort property and location, we will create an exceptional and memorable guest experience.  For 25 years Conrad has epitomized the definition of smart luxury and our arrival in South Africa represents a key milestone in the brand’s ongoing global expansion.”

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, Development, Hilton Worldwide, Europe & Africa said: “I’m very excited at the prospect of our luxury Conrad brand making its debut in South Africa with such an outstanding and well known resort property.  Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa will be a valuable addition to our growing international hotel portfolio and helps to underline our position as one of the leading hospitality providers in the continent.”

Located on the Eastern Head of Knysna on the exquisite Garden Route coast, Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa is surrounded by rugged cliffs, ancient forests and sheltered beaches.  With sweeping views of the Pezula Championship Golf Course, the Indian Ocean and the Knysna Lagoon, it is a haven of privacy and luxury.

Seventy-eight stylish suites, four to a villa, each with its balcony, well-stocked pantry and spacious bathroom, deliver a whole new world of luxury in an elegant African style.  Designed to maximize the views, the suites exude the warmth of stone and wooden textures, while welcoming earth tones create an unexpected contrast to the blues and greens of the landscape and ocean.  The suites have individual climate control, satellite television, a DVD player, electronic safe and direct telephone. Each has a pantry kitchen with delicious deli snacks prepared by the pastry chef of the hotel’s restaurant, and a well stocked drinks cabinet.  Real log fireplaces are lit on request.  The bathrooms are huge with oval-shaped calabash baths and wet rooms big enough for two.  Beds are beautifully dressed with Egyptian cotton linen and guests are supplied with luxurious toweling gowns and slippers.

The core building houses a sumptuous cigar lounge, champagne and whisky bar, library, wine cellar and gourmet restaurant, Zachary’s.  Intimate and romantic at night, the setting of the restaurant is spectacular during the day, with magnificent views over the Knysna Lagoon against the backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains, tempting you to dine al fresco.  Executive chef Geoffrey Murray delights in serving up the freshest local ingredients in his inimitable style.  His menu offers a variety of ‘modern ethnic’ dishes inspired by his worldwide experiences which include owning his own restaurants in New York and Miami and his role as executive chef at the exclusive Seychelles resort, North Island.

Situated on the lower level of the hotel, the Spa is a calm sanctuary that reflects the soul of Africa and provides world-class professionalism in the delivery of a superior health and wellness experience.  Named Best Spa in South Africa in the 2005 Professional Beauty Awards, it includes a 12m heated indoor pool, state-of-the-art gymnasium, outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, rain shower, nail bar, hair salon and nine therapy rooms, as well as a post-treatment room with heated water beds.  It offers a comprehensive range of treatments, which combine natural therapies with the most technologically, advanced equipment available.  A number of packages have been designed to revive body and spirit.

Guests have access to the secluded Noetzie Beach and River and activities including canoeing, fishing, hiking, birding and nature trails.  The estate’s Field of Dreams sporting complex offers an equestrian center, four world-class tennis courts, a multi-purpose sports oval and golf driving range.  The Championship Golf Course lies high above the Indian Ocean and the vast Knysna lagoon – a sweeping spectacle of fairways and greens rolling through the pristine indigenous landscape.  The Championship Course is primarily for member play, offering referred access to visitors on a space-available basis.

The stylishly appointed Pezula Clubhouse includes a gourmet restaurant, bar, plush private lounge with library, and a boutique pro shop.  A heated pool, short game practice area, tennis and leisure facility are also available to members and guests.  Contact Road Travel Africa to book your stay at this incredible resort at even more incredible rates.

Superb South African Travel Itinerary

Day 1
On arrival at Cape Town International Airport you will be met by your Tour Guide who will transfer you in a private luxury vehicle to your hotel, enjoying a short orientation tour of the city en-route.  Ellerman House is the spectacular landmark in the premier Cape Town suburb of Bantry Bay.  This superb 5 star “luxury home from home” boutique hotel is the quintessential location for discerning guests accustomed to the finer pleasures of life.  The true splendor of Ellerman House rests in faithful preservation of its historical architecture, combined with discreet hospitality and efficient service reflecting the ambience experienced only in the comfort and familiarity of home.  Unsurpassed, sweeping views from Bantry Bay across the Atlantic Ocean to Robben Island are a privileged pleasure from the private balconies and the unrivalled lawned terraces surrounding the large, heated swimming pool.

Day 2
After breakfast this morning you will be met by your Tour Guide, and depart on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, one of the world’s most scenic areas.  Travel along the Atlantic Seaboard, stopping at a Llandudno look out point before continuing to Hout Bay, a quaint village and fishing harbour with magnificent mountain views and beach.  Enjoy a cruise to Seal Island (weather permitting).  Continue on through Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives, to Cape Point and the Good Hope Nature Reserve, which has magnificent fynbos vegetation, birdlife, endemic antelope species and zebra, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks.  After a delicious seafood lunch, you will depart with your Tour Guide to historic Simon’s Town, a village with charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large penguin colony at the beautiful Boulders Beach.  A visit to the well-known Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens will end off this unforgettable day.

Day 3
This morning you will be met at your hotel after a leisurely breakfast and depart on a tour of the Cape Winelands.  The first stop is Spier – a 300 year old wine farm near Stellenbosch, home to one of South Africa’s oldest wine cellars. Taste and compare the best of South Africa’s wines under one roof at the Spier Wine Centre.  The journey continues into Stellenbosch.  Founded in 1679, Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa, renowned for its historical Cape Dutch buildings, university and wines.  It is also known as “town of oaks” because of its many oak trees.  Stellenbosch lies in a fertile valley, surrounded by majestic “blue” mountains, vineyards and orchards.  Cross over Helshoogte Pass into Franschhoek. In 1688 some 200 French Huguenots settled in this valley and had a profound influence on Cape culture.  They brought their expertise in agriculture and wine making.  Lunch can be enjoyed in the valley, at one of the country’s best restaurants.  In the afternoon, a short drive to Paarl.  Paarl is named after the huge granite rock that towers above it.  According to the first settlers, the rock shines like a pearl in the sun.  Around the centre of town, the diverse architecture, including Cape Dutch, Victorian, Georgian and Art Deco can be seen.  Enjoy one last wine and cheese tasting, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 4
This morning after breakfast you will be met by your Tour Guide and depart on your journey into the “gem” of South Africa – the famous Garden Route.  Travel over the Klein Drakenstein mountains to Worcester, a lush fruit and wine growing region.  Visit Kleinplasie, a living open air museum that depicts the lifestyle and farming methods of the early pioneers.  Travel along the Breede River Valley, where you can enjoy wonderful scenery changing from lush orchards to dramatic mountain views.  Continue towards the Little Karoo, passing through Barrydale and Calitzdorp, well known for the top quality Port it produces.  You will arrive in Oudtshoorn in the early afternoon.  Enjoy an exquisite dinner served in the elegant dining room famous for its ostrich fare and fine wine.

Day 5
This morning, after breakfast, you will enjoy a morning tour of the Cango Caves at Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Cheetah and Crocodile Ranch before lunch at Highgate Ostrich Farm.  Travel over the Outeniqua Pass, named by the Koi people meaning ‘land of honey’ via George to South Africa’s oyster capital, Knysna.  Late afternoon arrival at Phantom Forest, a private nature reserve situated outside Knysna.  Enjoy an unforgettable dinner that is a unique celebration of African spirit.

Day 6
After breakfast this morning, drive to Plettenberg Bay for an ocean safari (seafari) to view seals, dolphins and whales (in season).  In Plettenberg Bay they have an unusual launch method known as the dolly trailer system, where you remain on the boat while it is pushed into the sea.  Once you are on board, your skipper and tour guide provide you with invaluable information about the marine life and the environment.  You then take a short drive to Knysna, where you board the ferry to Featherbed Nature Reserve and a seafood lunch at the famed Knysna Heads.  The spectacular Knysna heads are two giant sandstone cliffs, which mark the Knysna River’s entrance.  Featherbed Nature Reserve, a unique 150 ha private Nature Reserve, encompasses the whole of the Western Head of Knysna and is one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites.  It is home to two of the Garden Route’s icons, namely the Knysna Loerie and the Blue Duiker, one of Africa’s smallest antelope species.  Enjoy lunch under the Milkwood Trees with the elusive, majestic and brightly coloured Knysna Loeries, before returning in the late afternoon to your lodge for a relaxing sunset and evening.

Day 7
After breakfast enjoy a visit to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary.  This unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route and for very sound and sunny reasons.  Monkeyland has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates.  The sanctuary is exceptional as it caters for several species of primates, and they are not caged.  They are free to move about the forest, and this they do most harmoniously.  The emphasis is to search for the primates, and the reward is to see the various species as they are meant to be, free and in a natural habitat.  The safaris are conducted by multi-lingual game rangers and are fun, exciting and educational.  Drive through Nature’s Valley and cross the Storms River at Storms River Bridge where photographic opportunities abound.  Travel via Port Elizabeth to the malaria free Shamwari Private Game Reserve, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 8
Morning and afternoon game activities are on offer.  Shamwari Game Reserve is a 20 000 hectares (49000 acres) malaria free, private game reserve situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  Steeped in Settler history, and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed wild and free, this reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.  Game viewing is carried out morning and evening on game drives, when you are driven in your open vehicle (which seats up to 6) over the rolling hills and valleys.  If you have a particular species you would like to see, please mention it to your ranger; he will be happy to merge your plans into the group.  In the early morning (if you are keen) you will leave before dawn, spending up to 3-4 hours spotting before returning to your lodge for a hearty breakfast.  The heat of the day is usually spent in the shade, playing tennis, swimming, reading and, of course, enjoying a delicious lunch.  Between 4:00 – 5:00pm, you assemble again for the evening drive.  As the animals emerge from their midday cover, you may see elephants browsing, rhino drinking at a waterhole, or perhaps the shy bushbuck motionless in the dense bushveld.  At dusk, the Land Rover stops at some panoramic spot for a sundowner and snacks.  Then, as the light fades, your ranger will plug in a powerful hand-held light.  With its help, you can sweep the veld, seeing first the eyes and then the forms of a variety of nocturnal animals.  By 8:00pm you are back at your lodge where a drink in the bar with your ranger, amid cheerful recollections of the day’s discoveries is followed either by another great meal expertly prepared by the chefs, or a barbecue next to a roaring fire.  Finally, a hot shower and a well-earned sleep.

Day 9
After an early morning game activity and bush breakfast, travel to Port Elizabeth Airport for your short direct flight to Durban.  On arrival in Durban, you will be met and transferred to your lodge and country club.  Zimbali Lodge is one of Southern Africa’s most exclusive hideaways, set within the serene confines of a coastal forest reserve on the north coast of Kwa Zulu Natal – a natural sub-tropical paradise and home to mischievous dolphins and a myriad of sea and bird life.

Day 10
Enjoy a full day at leisure.  This jewel in the crown of KwaZulu Natal’s coastline offers its guests the opportunity to relax and explore.  The lodge is a 5-Star boutique hotel and all the guest rooms offer five-star luxury accommodation, designed to complement the natural surrounding forest and to reinforce the charm of African Classical architecture.  The service emphasis is personal care and attention – Butlers are on hand to attend to the guest’s every need.  The cuisine is sublime and only the freshest ingredients are used.  The exclusive Health Spa offers a refreshing therapy of its own kind with its range of holistic treatments.  The Zimbali Country Club Golf Course is a par 72 championship course, designed by former British and South African Open Golf Champion, Tom Weiskopf.  This course is both challenging and superbly beautiful, offering world-class standards for top players and higher handicap players alike.

Day 11
Depart after a leisurely breakfast, and travel through sugar cane plantations along the Indian Ocean seaboard toward Phinda Private Game Reserve.  Enjoy a leisurely safari on the Mzinene River where late afternoon sundowners and snacks are served as the boat winds its way along the reed-lined river.  Here an abundance of wildlife and birds can be seen.  Return to your lodge, situated in the lush Maputaland region in northern KwaZulu-Natal.  Bordering the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site – Phinda comprises 17 500 hectares (43 240 acres) of prime conservation land.  Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Day 12
Phinda offers exceptional Big Five game-viewing on twice-daily game-drives, bush walks, riverboat cruises and canoeing.  Due to its proximity to the Indian Ocean, a range of Phinda Adventures are offered, including exhilarating air safaris, scuba diving, horse-riding and deep-sea fishing, allowing guests the opportunity to get face-to-face with lions in the morning and up close to a whale shark or battling sailfish after lunch.

Day 13
You will be met at your lodge after one last exciting game drive and bush breakfast and transferred to King Shaka International Airport for your flight to Johannesburg.  On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport you will be met and transferred to Sun City, the famous African Kingdom of Pleasure.

Day 14
A stay at The Palace of the Lost City promises world class hospitality and accommodation.  There is nowhere else in Sun City where you may enjoy such magnificent settings, architectural splendor and superb facilities.  The Palace lavishes its guests with luxurious surrounds and impeccable service.  From its fabulous architecture to its custom made furnishings and its richly accented decor every corner of the hotel will surprise and amaze you.  Take time to study the detail of the impressive and huge salons and public spaces and you will find a collection of paintings, sculptures, mosaics and other pieces of art, each a treasure in its own right.  The magnificence of The Palace overlooks 25 hectares of jungle, regal stairways, gardens, amphitheatres, royal baths, and the popular ‘Valley of the Waves’ theme park.

Day 15
Day at Leisure to enjoy all the activities on offer.  Resident guests at The Palace can bathe in the grand pool or stroll down to the royal baths in the Valley of the Waves, sip a cocktail at the poolside or in the gracious Tusk Bar and dine in splendour in the Crystal Court or Villa del Palazzo, where fine cuisine is a treasured art.

Day 16
Enjoy one last truly memorable South African breakfast before you will be met at your hotel and transferred to OR Tambo International Airport for your international homebound flight.  If this program tickles your fancy, just get in touch with us at Road Travel and we will arrange the best holiday for you.