Blue Flag Status for Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises Vessels

Marine Dynamics Shark Tours and sister company Dyer Island Cruises are excited to have represented the Overberg region at the South African Blue Flag launch for the 2016/2017 season.

Whale Whisperer was the pilot blue flag boat in South Africa and now we have both vessels, Dream Catcher and Whale Whisperer, Blue Flag certified. This year provided the first opportunity for shark cage diving vessels to apply for Blue Flag certification and Slashfin is now a proud representative as well.

Blue Flag in South Africa is managed by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa). Applications for the prestigious Blue Flag eco-label were reviewed by a rigorous approval process concerning national and international assessments. It was announced at the annual launch last week that a total of eight sustainable tourism boats, of which all are based in the Western Cape, received Blue Flag status.

Responsible Traveller Magazine owner, Tessa Buhrmann, accepted the Blue Flags on behalf of Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises in a dynamic event held in Kwazulu-Natal. “It was an honour to represent Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises as, not only are they committed to conservation and research, but as a Fair Trade Tourism certified business they operate with an ethos of having a positive impact on both people and the planet. This is summed up by their tag line – ‘Your choice makes a difference’,” said Tessa.

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom was at the Blue Flag Launch and commented on his shark cage diving experience with Marine Dynamics: “Seeing the sharks is not just something memorable that you enjoy, it’s done in a responsible way so that we don’t disturb our precious marine life. So yes, you can get close to the sharks but to find out more about sharks, what they mean to our ecology, to our environment and so in getting people out there which is a tourism experience which is great, we also are announcing an awareness of these marine resources that we need to protect together.”

Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises are instrumental in the Gansbaai area by investing and participating in these prestigious projects to ensure only the best service and quality excursions to our shared tourism clients in the Overberg region,” says marketing executive Cari du Preez.

“Today’s traveller is more discerning and very keen to have information about the businesses whom they spent their money with.  Information is also easy to verify and it is general practice to look for industry endorsements to assist with decision making.  The Blue Flag programme is known to cover pristine beaches but also includes marinas and boats.  As part of the infrastructure these are very necessary categories that are part of the tourism experience.  Marine Dynamics has been the recipient of many sustainable tourism awards and the Blue Flag endorsement is a further feather in their responsible cap.” Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Tourism Manager.

According to Gansbaai Tourism Manager, Glenda Kitley: “It comes to no surprise that Dyer Island Cruises’ two vessels have once again been awarded Blue Flag status, and that Marine Dynamics’s vessel has also been included this year. We are well aware that they meet a high standard of excellence in all of their business aspects. We are extremely pleased and proud that they have been awarded this status as a reward for all the hard work, care and passion that is put in to ensure that the tourist has a wonderful and safe experience. We extend hearty congratulations to Wilfred and his team!

The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 29 of the beaches, all eight boats and four of the five Blue Flag marinas falling in the province.

Further information:

Brenda du Toit,  Ph: 0760613114

Cari du Preez Ph: 0825280341

Additional information:

Marine Dynamics provides a five star shark cage diving experience while educating tourists on the importance of the Great White Shark as an apex predator crucial to our oceans ecosystem. Marine Dynamics together with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), which was established by company owner, Wilfred Chivell, provides logistical and onsite support for valuable scientific research on this species, to ultimately protect the species on which many people’s livelihood depends. Together with sister company Dyer Island Cruises, the companies contribute more than a R1 million to DICT per annum and actively fundraises from clients daily.  This level of research coming from Gansbaai attracts much international interest which further attracts scientists and tourists to the area. Educational efforts to the community are part of the strategy to further protect this valuable ecosystem. /


Africa Showcase UK

Ubuntu Experiences recently travelled to the the UK to connect with travel agents and tour operators looking for more inspiring places to stay and things to do in Africa.

This roadshow was organised by On Show Solutions and is proving a great format for Ubuntu Experiences to increase the number of B2B contacts in Europe. Earlier this year we attended a similar event in the Nordics. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to ensure your tourism product is top of mind.

Are you a South African tourism business and need some help opening new doors in Europe? Ubuntu Experiences is happy to welcome new responsible tourism businesses to the collective. Email Emilie for more details on how to join.


Fair Trade Tourism certification for IMV


Marine volunteering program International Marine Volunteers (IMV) recently became Fair Trade Tourism certified. This means IMV has now achieved the same level of responsible tourism best practise as sister companies Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises.

Fair Trade Tourism has strict criteria for responsible volunteering and has revised and added criteria for volunteer interactions with animals and vulnerable people. This comes at a time when the debate on what constitutes a responsible volunteering program is hotting up worldwide. South Africa is once again taking the lead in developing guidance for both travellers and travel companies.

Owner of the companies, Wilfred Chivell, is proud that his group of companies has received this recognition. “We have supported the Fair Trade Tourism philosophy since 2008 and we work hard towards meeting the strict criteria. We believe that Your Choice Makes a Difference and by choosing a Fair Trade Tourism certified company clients be assured that the company is having a positive impact on both people and planet.”

Read more on the Marine Dynamics blog.

Fancy volunteering in Gansbaai and help protect the Marine Big 5?



Meet Wilfred Chivell – bringing tourism and conservation together

Wilfred Chivell_1_214x274_crop_100

Big, bluff and burly, Chivell is someone who knows all about imminent extinction – he lost everything he had in 1998. A native of Gansbaai, the little fishing town on the other side of Hermanus in the Western Cape, Chivell had built up a successful little business empire after a chequered career that took him from a stint in the police to diamond diving on the West Coast and discovering that he had no taste for the bright lights of Cape Town.

Coming home with R2 000 in his pocket and assisted by one man, he mixed cement for builders. By 1998, he had five companies and employed 200 people.

Read more about how this tenacious visionary man brought tourism and conservation together in Gansbaai in this insightful article by IOL.

You can also read more about the Responsible Tourism Award he recently won at WTM Africa in Cape Town.


Taking it slow at Sefapane River Lodge

Sefapane Lodge & Safaris
Sefapane Lodge & Safaris

Ubuntu Experiences welcomes member Sefapane Lodge & Safaris.

“Well known for having built up the beautiful  Sefapane Lodge in Phalaborwa since taking it over in 1998, Joris Bertens has been a significant figure in the promotion of South Africa’s Limpopo province and is known as an astute businessman and energetic entrepreneur.

Sefapane River Lodge seems different to his other projects, though; it’s more personal, and as we talk over dinner on the deck, I sense it expresses something about this man and the things that are close to his heart.”

Read more here.


Wine award for Three Tree Hill Lodge

TTHL wins Platinum Diners Club List Award 2016

Three Trees at Spioenkop has been awarded a Platinum Diners Club Wine List Award for their excellent choice in the best of South African wines. Their list has a great variety & diversity of wines that compliment their product. Organic, Fair Trade and Bio-dynamic wines in each variety add to their unique list.

South Africa is a sensational destination for food and wine lovers. Ubuntu Experiences all offer delicious pan-African meals and pour the very best South African wines which is why we will be attending the Taste and Travel Fair in Rotterdam.

During presentations you will learn more about local food and wine sourcing, growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as using clever energy saving gadgets to prepare food for guests. Responsible tourism at its very best!


Sustainability steeped in history at Spioenkop


Three Tree Hill Lodge (also known as Three Trees at Spioenkop) is an homage to this bygone colonial era, with its original farmhouse now a stylish lounge and dining room, spilling out onto a shady stoep where breakfasts are eaten while Simon enchants guests with his seemingly bottomless knowledge of the history of the area.

A stroll around the lounge and dining room after breakfast adds to Simon’s period dramas, as the faces from those dark days stare out of hundreds of antique portraits, photographs and etchings from the newspapers of the age. Books on the war and its chief protagonists on both sides are everywhere, as are mementos and curiosities from this bygone era, from old field glasses to rifles.


Guest suites are dotted in amongst trees on the side of the hill, which overlooks Spioenkop and its adjacent game reserve where Simon takes guests on game walks. Near the crest of the hill is the lodge’s private villa, Churchill’s, built in 2012 to mimic the colonial style, while integrating a completely green energy and water system, keeping its footprint as environmentally friendly as possible.

Read more in Africa Geographic.


All smiles at Three Tree Hill Lodge


Ubuntu Experiences member Three Tree Hill Lodge in Kwa Zulu Natal is the perfect employer and confirms that happy staff means happy guests. The staff are proud to be working for a Fair Trade Tourism employer and know exactly what it means to them.

Empowerment is one of the many outstanding ethics at Three Trees, which is Fair Trade Tourism certified. “We take good care of our staff,” says Simon Blackburn who owns and runs the lodge with his wife Cheryl. “Our people are our biggest asset, and if they are happy, then our guests are happy, so we do everything we can to encourage staff to be entrepreneurial and further their careers with us,” he adds.

Read more in Africa Geographic.