South African establishments took home three first prizes at the 2011 African Safari awards, which were held at Durban’s uShaka Marine World on 6 May 2011.
Karkloof Spa was awarded Best Safari Spa in Africa, South African Airways (SAA) got the award for Best International Airline in Africa, and Ants Nest Riding Safaris received the award for Best Riding Safari Operator on the Continent.
These first-class establishments were in competition with more than 315 nominees in 21 categories. The awards were judged by a panel of 14 safari experts from independent tour operators in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and South Africa.
“With over 3 000 safari lodges, camps and mobile safari operators in Africa, there is a need to differentiate between those that provide an average or bad safari experience, and the few who exceed expectations,” the judges said.
“It is not a question of luxury, but of the safari experience from your arrival on a remote airstrip to the revelation of the wilderness and how it works by the professional safari guide,” they said.
Karkloof Spa, located in KwaZulu-Natal, has a lavish boutique lodge with 16 villas, a first-class spa and 3 500ha of land teeming with wildlife.
No stranger to receiving awards, the spa has previously won a number of awards over the years. In 2010, it received The Good Safari Guide Gala Award for Best Safari Spa.
The year 2009 was a big year for the establishment – it received numerous awards, including the Tatler Spa Award for the Most Exciting New Discovery, the SA Tourism Welcome Award for overall winner for Best Accommodation Provider, the Professional Beauty Award for The Best Hotel/Resort Spa, and the Amarula Best Retreats in Africa Award for Leading Wellness Retreat.
The spa is recognised as the only property in South Africa to belong to Relais and Châteaux. It was officially inaugurated as a member at the 35th International Relais and Châteaux Congress held in Biarritz, France, in 2009.
Relais and Châteaux is an exclusive group of 480 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 56 countries.
SA safaris tops at 2011 awards