Dear Reader

The Year of the Rabbit - 2011
According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. I think after a hectic 2010 filled with many ups and downs we can all agree that this is a good idea.

Post season update
It is a favourite question of anyone who stays in or visits Plett often – was the season more or less busy than previous years. The answer my friends lies in the numbers and…….the weather.
Our own experience was that the numbers were flat compared to previous seasons. This is based on two businesses in different industries both dependant on seasonal trade.
The weather, which was terrible during December, probably benefited shops and restaurants the most as visitors could only spend limited time on the beach.
So the answer to the question is most likely the same as always – it depends who you are talking to.

I can however report that the weather has been fantastic since mid January, with humidity levels reaching uncomfortable heights at times. We will try our best to keep this going for next season.

Tragic Plane Crash
The has been no real progress on establishing the cause of the light plane crash that resulted in the death of several Italtile executives in February.

An eye witness who lives near Robberg saw the aircraft flying low in front of Robberg and said the engine sounded as if it was struggling to climb.
 
It is not known whether the aircraft veered from its original flight plan after trying to land at Plettenberg Bay in thick mist. Most of the wreckage was lying about two kilometers offshore, south of the Robberg Nature Reserve.

We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to all those who lost relatives and friends in the Italtile crash.
 
What now for Plett airport?
Despite calls from the Transport Ministry for the Plettenberg Bay airport to be closed in the wake of the plane crash off the coast of the town, the airport will not be upgraded or shut down any time soon. The airport which is operated by the Bitou municipality, has a grade two licence. This means that private aircraft are able to land and depart from the airstrip.
 
The Bitou Municipal Manager, Lonwabo Ngoqo, said: “Our ideal aim is to have scheduled flights from the airport. As a municipality we are not going to upgrade the airport but we are putting it out on tender for a long-term service provider.”
 
Plettenberg Bay is a tough airport to land at because the coastal mist coming in is often a problem. The airport is probably no more than one and a half kilometres from the ocean edge. With the absence of sophisticated equipment on the ground (the airport has an old-fashioned non-directional radio beacon which simply informs pilots that the airport is below them but won’t help them with auto landing or the direction of the runway) aircraft often divert to George or Oudtshoorn rather than attempt a landing in Plett in poor visibility.
 
Hi-tech Aid
An interesting detail concerning this tragic crash is that hi-tech anti-terrorism equipment used during the World Cup was used to scour the ocean bed for pieces of the aircraft. 
 
The SAS Protea was positioned not too far west of the crash site. The vessel is the SA Navy’s hydrographic and oceanographic survey vessel and has on board the “Shallow Water Route System” which was bought to safeguard SA’s ports during the World Cup. The system uses high frequency classification sonar, detection sonar and positioning systems mounted aboard survey motorboats and is a South African integrated system. Once the sonar had pinpointed the underwater position of the craft, divers recovered the engine, propellers, parts of the fuselage, one wing and the tail section.
 
Hunter’s Hotel
The five-star Hunter’s Country House in Plettenberg Bay, part of the Hunter Hotels Group and a member of the Relais & Chateaux Association has been ranked as one of the “Top Ten Luxury Hotels in Africa” by TripAdvisor, a travel review website in its ninth Annual Travellers’ Choice Awards. These awards recognize hotels worldwide that consistently strive for outstanding service, great value and top quality. Ian Hunter, CEO of Hunter Hotels Group says:” Our ethos has always been to ensure that every guest, adult or child, has a truly unique experience.”

Easter is just around the corner and we look forward to seeing you all soon.
Until then, travel safely and God bless.

 

 
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