Monthly Archives: April 2014

The 100% Design South Africa Show

Set to run in Cape Town from the 25th to the 28th of April and in Johannesburg from the 6th to the 10th of August 2014, 100% Design South Africa will be the largest showcase in Africa of contemporary furniture, lighting, interiors, fabrics and product design for the residential, hospitality and office sectors.

100% Design South Africa is a recognised World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town 2014 project for its potential transformative impact on people through the promotion of the local design industry to key local and international trade buyers and provision of a promotional platform for businesses in design to showcase their products to the public.

100 Design South Africa  2014

Furthermore, the exhibition’s 100 Beautiful Things element takes to heart the WDC Cape Town 2014 theme of ‘Beautiful Spaces, Beautiful Things’ with a showcase of objects that have been designed and made in South Africa, many of them in Cape Town itself.

Expect to see the work of known South African designers and crafters, including Porky Hefer, Haldane Martin, Dokter & Misses, Laurie Wiid, Bronze Age, Anatomy Design, Tonic, John Vogel, Ardmore, Monkey Biz, Astrid Dahl, Shine Shine, Heath Nash, Zen Zulu and many more. Many internationally recognized creatives and designers live in Cape Town.

The 100% Design South Africa Pavilion at Decorex Cape Town offers Capetonians a teaser as to what to expect from the main show which will be held in Joburg from the 6th to the 10th of August.

More information :

Edito 054 – Travel For Kids

By now, you should have guessed that I work in the Travel & Events organisation business… and this for a good fifteen years now.

Events, incentives, VIP’s… I’ve stopped counting them a long time ago. But I must tell you there’s something that still remains complicated for me: the organisation and logistic of the annual family holidays.

Do you have kids? On my side, I have 3… And only girls to be precise.

Needless to say that we have travelled. Not in some “all-inclusive” resorts but more by 4×4 in some remote areas. This, I presume, makes me the expert to talk about the different children services we can propose.

First of all, choose the destination. Avoid disease areas otherwise your little ones might take you home in no time.

edito newsletter travel for kids in south africa

A sunny destination, easy to access, where transfers are neither too long nor too complicated and where you can easily stop.

A destination where one can rest, discover and share, see animals, spread out on a beach or even go to a museum…

A destination where you’ll find supermarkets equipped with nappies and where the iPad can easily be recharged…

And, of course, a destination where one eats well…

Well, sometimes it’s easier to stay home…

The adventure goes on with choosing the accommodations. Interleading rooms, a garden, a swimming pool, room service, a baby cot, board games, a friendly staff and well thought-out meals.

I hope I’ll convince you when I say that my daughters have tested EVERYTHING!

They’ve emptied all the shower gels in every hotel room we’ve been to; tasted like “Michelin Guide” reviewers a wide range of buffets; put to the test the resilience and knowledge of many rangers; and assessed the reactivity of certain maids.

And I only can be thankful to them for this.

We, at XO, have developed a complete range of services, itineraries and products specially tailored for this demanding clientele: Travel, for the whole family.

This is what you’ll find in this newsletter. We reveal why South Africa isn’t only a grown-up destination.


PS: Happy birthday Lola…

10 best kid’s activities in South Africa

It’s never easy to find kids activity while you are travelling.

XO Africa has done the job for you. Here is our  bucket list :

The Two Oceans Aquarium
The southern tip of the African continent is the meeting place of two mighty and bountiful oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic. The Two Oceans Aquarium on the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town is ideally positioned to showcase the incredible diversity of marine life found in these two oceans. The Aquarium is one of the top tourist attractions in Cape Town and welcomes over 3000 living sea animals, including sharks, turtles and penguins can be seen in this spectacular underwater nature reserve.
Where ? Cape Town – Waterfront
The Two Oceans Aquarium blogArt Jamming
Artjamming™, based in Cape Town, entertain your kids in a creative and safe environment.through painting workshops that will make your kids real budding artists! A very affordable activity that will allow them to release their inner artist in a fun way. The young artists will be supervised by a dynamic and inspired team who will provide all the necessary materials (canvas, acrylic paints, etc..) to carry out their own work of art!
Where ? Cape Town

Predator World
Just 5 km from Sun City and the Pilanesberg National Park, Predator World is a zoo which emphasizes on all kinds of predators. Your children will be welcomed by experienced guides who will take them to encounter the most majestic animals of the African savanna and who have inspired Walt Disney so much. After such a fascinating day, your children may start thinking of being a ranger later.
Where ? Pretoria

Cap Penguin Interaction
Simon’s Town is a charming seaside town occupied by strange settlers. This is not the” Planet of the Apes” but the oldest cannot help making the connection at the time of their discovery. Indeed, the beaches of Simon’s Town have been invaded by an endemic species of thousands of representatives: the penguins of Cape Town. They are here at home and they claim it by their shrill cries. A unique encounter that will leave your children unforgettable memories. And once back home, you will have great bed time stories to tell…
Where ? Simon’s Town, Cape Peninsula.

Valley of the waves
“Waterworld”, we are not talking about the movie starring Kevin Costner, but about this humongous water park built at the doorstep of Pilanesberg, two hours drive from Johannesburg. The Valley of the Waves is one of its flagship attractions that will allow the family to have fun together and meet other adventurous souls of all ages. A day for the greatest pleasure of all.
Where ? Sun City (2 hours drive from Johannesburg)

Valley of the Waves blog

CrazyKidz Farm
It is said that children today are losing touch with the countryside, and are unable, for most of them, to recognize farm animals because they actually live in a 100% urbanized world. CrazyKidz Farmyard is the ideal place for your children to rediscover the farm world and its wonders! Thanks to all kinds of games, they give the kids some outdoor time with animals they wouldn’t normally see, and propose a picnic your kids will remember! A busy day filled with emotions.
Where ? Johannesburg

Littlecook Club
Here’s an opportunity for kids to be in the shoes of a real chef thanks to the club’s cooking classes. Beyond developing cooking skills, your children will practice and try to surprise you with their kitchen talents. And when dinner is ready, they will be delighted to hear from their parents a grateful “Very Good Chef”. This cooking club is based on the work of a qualified chef and author of “Timeless Family Food Journal”, namely Christine Phillips. It also aims to teach children how to eat healthy and in a more balanced way.
Where ? Johannesburg
Littlecook blog

Tsitsikama Tree Canopy Tour
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour is a unique eco-wilderness adventure that takes place in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. The first of its kind in Africa, the canopy tour involves traversing from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor…
Where ? Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route – Western Cape)
Tsitsikamma Tree Canopy Tour blog

The Zoo of Johannesburg
Why would we visit a zoo while we are in the most emblematic country in terms of safari? That’s what you might think! The Johannesburg Zoo, located in the northern leafy suburbs of the city, has the particularity to offer a wide range of animals beyond African wildlife. Furthermore, educational activities allow children to recognize animals and to learn everything about their behavior and thus to impress the ranger while on safari! Do not miss the guided walks at night for a magical atmosphere!
Where ? Johannesburg

uShaka Marine World
uShaka Kids World is a paradise for children from the age of 2 to 12 years. Emotions and entertainment are at hand thanks to many attractions specially made for them such as: The Treasure Island, The Cave of The Black Cranes, The Water Cannon and a river full of water ambushes and explosions. In other words, lots of excitement throughout the day at uShaka Marine World park located in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal !
Where ? Durban (Kwazulu-Natal)

Damien Vespertini

Discover the Big 5 with your mini-rangers

At the border of the Kruger National Park, Sir Richard Branson’s private reserve takes very special care of the mini-rangers and their parents.

On arrival at Rock Lodge, cubs of all ages (up to 11 years old) will get their explorer backpack full of little goodies to entertain and educate them about the African bush. While the parents are enjoying a relaxed and carefree safari, the children will have fun at the “Ulusaba Cub’s Club”.

Ulusaba cubs club - xo africa - newsletter - 54

The day starts with a treasure hunt followed by a waling safari around the lodge to spot birds, insects and lizards. The rangers will be more than happy to tell them about the bush and to teach them how to identify animals.

The club also includes a reading and a TV room with the latest video games for your computer addicts. For your little princess, the Cub’s Spa offers special children treatments like “Melman the Giraffe massage” and “Gloria the hippo’s manicure”.

Ulusaba cubs club - lions - xo africa - newsletter - 54

On those hot afternoons, your cubs will be invited to the swimming pool for games and ice cream. Share your discoveries around a Boma dinner.

Bedtime stories can be arranged in the lounge complete with milk and cookies to help your children get ready for bed.

Véronique Dausse

Malaria, how to protect your children

“Awesome, we’re going on safari”, that was the first and logical reaction of our kids when we announced the good news…

“No, I do NOT want your pills!!!” That, was the second reaction.

Which parents have never been confronted to the stubborn rejection of their children when trying to convince them to take pills for their own good?

What could we possibly do to have them taking that damn pill?

Should we be harder and force them? Hmm, we might end up having them even more against us. We have to be more cunning.

Should we lie to them? Not very moral and that’s definitely not how we deal with things…

malaria guide what to know in south africa

Anyway, at the end of the day, “no pill no safari”… we cannot play around any longer…

But what are these pills we’re talking about? These are antimalarial tablets to be taken for our coming safari in the Kruger National Park. It’s even more important to take these during the rainy season, when mosquitoes are the most active. Children under 5 are even more concerned and should take extra precautions to prevent any mosquito bites.

Malaria can have rather serious consequences in the absence of preventive treatment.
But that’s an argument that kids wouldn’t really consider wouldn’t they…?
But do not panic!

An antimalarial treatment is amazingly simple to follow since it is just a matter of taking the prescribed tablets before, during and after the trip. Just make sure the treatment is approved by your general practitioner to avoid any potential allergies or unwanted side effects.

Furthermore, once in the bush, there are a few additional tricks you might want to adopt: like wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, sleeping under a mosquito net and applying mosquito-repellent on the skin. Also note that these parasites are mostly in action at dawn and dusk.
Nothing new under the sun.

malaria maap south africa

By following these simple tips and advices, we guarantee you to enjoy a safe safari holiday.

Oh, do you want to know how the “pill taking battle” ended up?

We simply told them that if they do not take these pills, they wouldn’t see the Lion King, Dumbo the elephant, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo because they would all be upset and angry with children who do not obey their parents…

An argument featherweight for parents but with a deep impact on children… Believe us!

Famille Avenant, February 2014.

Checklist for a safe travel for your kids

Travelling in Southern Africa with your kids can be a truly rewarding adventure for building lifelong memories. But it also requires a much more elaborate preparation.

That’s why our team of experts (and parents) have decided to put this article together to optimize the chances of living a unique and worry-free experience.

In this article, you’ll find ideas and advises answering any doubts or questions that the organization of such an adventure might raise.

elephant staring at kids - South Africa - XO Africa -

Here is our check-list to ensure a safe travel with your kids :

– Check the passport validity
– Be aware of any “food and drink” safety recommendations
– Be informed about local climate (day and night)
– Choose your accommodation wisely. Consider a swimming pool and fun activities for your children. Also, some lodges in private game reserves provide baby-sitting and childcare services.
– For parents travelling with toddlers, it is advisable to bring some of your own equipment like a noise machine, a nightlight or even a childproofing kit (power plug covers, foam corner guards …)
– Check that all planned activities are accessible to the whole family (age limit, height limit, specific license required, etc.)
– Make sure to introduce the itinerary to the children before travelling. That will reassure motivate them while giving them instructions to follow and rules to respect (attitude during visits, behaviour towards animals, etc.)
– If you intend to drive a lot, make sure the travel distances remain acceptable and bearable for children (2h30-3h maximum travel)
– Plan lots of occupations such as reading, holiday notebooks, travel journal, or music to make sure they’re always busy
– Think about buying snacks in advance that meet your and their occasional cravings

Xavier Lopes

When children tell their trip

I went to the Kruger National Park with my best friend and her family in December 2013.

We travelled by car for 2 days from Cape Town all the way to Avoca. It took quite a long time but it was a beautiful trip. We stayed on this farm close to the Kruger.

We went on lots of game drives in the park and that’s how we saw the animals. I saw lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhino’s and one honey badger.

We went to the Blyde River Canyon and swung off a swing into a dam and it was lots of fun. It was very hot and we swam often in the farm’s pool.

I really enjoyed my holidays and had a great time.




South Africa displays many examples of diversity, one of which being the contrast between bustling cities and the quiet hum of nature. Luckily, exploring both spheres require little travelling and though they’re so different, both are wonderful; enlightening and beautiful.

The bush is a place where one can escape and leave the ordinary behind, it can be relaxing and thrilling at the same time. I believe everyone should have the privilege of immersing themselves in the wilderness, it is something unforgettable.


Meet and interact with young South Africans

It always seems impossible until it’s done” is one of the most famous quotes from Nelson Mandela.

Many South Africans are the living incarnation of this adage through their passion, their empathy and their determination devoted to a cause or an organization.

One of the best examples around us is Alison Alexander, founder and project manager of the Rainbow House of Hope.

In an interview, she explained to us “I started the adventure in 2003, the house had just been given for the children of the ministry (at first it was a safe house for refugees). My dream of managing a safe house for children started to take shape’’.

rainbow house goodwood cape town

Children here benefit from therapies and medical care to psychological support given by professional practitioners. Musical stimulation exercises and art therapy are part of a wide range of support and activities to help them moving forward.

If you are lucky, you might even take part to a face painting animation or enjoy some scones and muffins, home-baked by the children of the Rainbow House themselves.

Visiting the orphanage and meeting these young people can truly be a fun and rewarding family experience leading to a better understanding of the young South Africans daily challenges. Not to mention the great support you’ll have shown to Rainbow House, whose main goal is to give these children the best chances for their future lives.

Rainbow of Hope (Rainbow House) operates as a place of safety for abused and abandoned children. The home was established in October 2007, and since then has obtained its NPO (Non-Profit Organisation) status. Since its inception, Rainbow House has cared for and facilitated the successful placement of 56 children.