Natalie Odenbreit, International Sales Manager hosted a Tour Operator, incentive winner's familiarisation to Ulusaba Private Game Reserve. Natalie gives us the gossip on the group's non-stop surprise filled South African adventure...
"A wonderful group of UK tour operators joined us on the incredible journey to experience Ulusaba first hand and see all the magnificent refurbishments made to both Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge in 2011. We arrived at Ulusaba's airstrip, to be greeted by Philip our endlessly knowledgeable ranger. We settled in, before embarking on our first game drive. It certainly didn't disappoint! We tracked down two female lions with their gorgeous playful cubs jumping all over each other and their mother and aunty. Later at dusk a male leopard was walking along the road marking out his territory, jumping up at trees, we left him to it to enjoy our sundowners and delicious dinner. Our evenings were hosted in different locations every night, and had a wonderful surprise stargazing evening with dancing and the Ulusaba choir. We all took our turns at dancing in the circle and learning some new Shangaan moves. Armed with books and toys, we also visited a school with Pride n' Purpose to help paint the alphabet around the classroom it was a real eye opener of how much we take for granted in the UK. Ulusaba touched my heart, again, it truly is a special place and I am incredibly proud to be part of it. We all agreed that it was "the best fam trip ever" having shared amazing experiences, witnessing the big-5 in their natural environment and made new friends! Thank you to all the Ulusaba team for inviting us into your family! We love you!"
Things we learned from Ulusaba General Manager Karl's recent trip to the USA to meet our trade partners: you can take the man out of the African bush, but you certainly can't take the bush out of the man. Karl's tales of life at Ulusaba and daily sightings of all the game had him missing home as much as it had all the presentation attendees longing to visit! Virgin Limited Edition's USA sales team organised a whirlwind tour in September 2011 that took in the sun-drenched cities of southern California and the concrete jungle that is New York City, and at each location Karl charmed and captivated his audience with some fascinating stories and some amazing photos. He left everyone wanting more and eager to spread the Ulusaba message. Thanks to Karl and everyone who came along!
The itinerary: After a marathon journey from the bush to Los Angeles, Karl also visited Seattle, San Francisco and New York before returning to Ulusaba.Click here to view images
Our Sales Executive, Cindy Kam and a hand picked group of six lucky travel agents and operators had the pleasure of experiencing the pure beauty of the Swiss Alps in summer.
Some may think of Verbier as a destination purely for snow and skiing, but don't be fooled...Cindy gives the lowdown on the group's action packed mountain adventure.
"There was certainly no shortage of activities for this trip. The day started with a revitalising early morning yoga session followed by a gourmet breakfast and a bit of stress busting mountain biking in the fresh mountain air.
Head Chef Gerwin Brand treated the group to a delicious cooking demonstration, then after sampling a few Swiss wines it was time for some pampering spa treatments and an afternoon of leisure, relaxing in the pool, hot tub and steam room. The evening was spent perfecting their karaoke and guitar hero skills, the next morning ensured the trip ended on an absolute high... soaring over the Swiss Alps with a spot of adrenaline pumping tandem paragliding."
Peter Evans, Travel Designers, Jackie McKay, Sovereign Travel, Helen Sinnott, Symphony World Travel, Dominic Rossi, Kirker Holidays, Becky Head, VHIP Hotels, Claire Meredith, Elegant Resorts.
ULUSABA Leisure Sales Familiarisation Trip JUNE, 2009
Natalie Odenbreit, Virgin Limited Edition’s International Sales Manager hosted a travel trade familiarisation 'trip of a lifetime' to Ulusaba Private Game Reserve. Natalie gives us the lowdown on the group’s action-packed South African adventure...
“A great group of UK tour operators joined us on the incredible journey which started at Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic (upper class!). After a short and smooth internal flight, we arrived at Ulusaba’s airstrip, greeted by Trevor and Steve our knowledgeable rangers. Our first game drive was outstanding! We caught a glimpse of lions chasing an impala. With our eyes glued, we watched the cloud of dust settle then saw five females feasting... within minutes the impala was no more. Our evenings were hosted in different locations every night where we tried South African wines and feasted on typical African dishes. But a real highlight which touched everybody’s hearts was the morning spent with Pride ‘n Purpose at Dumphries crèche where we had a 'bubble blowing party'. Ulusaba is truly is a special place and I am incredibly proud to be part of it. Our catchphrase for the trip was “it just doesn’t get better than this!”
ULUSABA Virtuoso Familiarisation Trip MARCH, 2009
Katrina Gomez, Virgin Limited Edition’s USA Sales Manager hosted an action-packed fam trip at Ulusaba Private Game Reserve. Katrina gives us the lowdown on the group’s South African adventure…
“I was excited to host our first Virtuoso familiarisation trip to Ulusaba. A great group of partners signed on and the journey and magic began onboard Virgin Atlantic (upper class I might add!). We arrived safely at Ulusaba’s private airstrip, greeted by our handsome GM and ranger. Our first morning game drive was immediately magical. We spotted rhinos which were a foot away from our jeep and were surrounded by 17 elephants… it was awe-inspiring! The highlight was the sighting of the wild dogs which have been missing in action from the Sabi Sand for eight years. We also visited Dumphries, a village that Pride ´n Purpose support to improve the lives of those in the community. The smile and time with the kids was inspiring and will forever linger in our hearts. A truly magical trip all will treasure forever!”
- Lesley Carter of Ovations Travel and Amanda Klimak of Largay Travel spotting the 'Big 5'
- Enjoying a divine Treehouse meal
- African dance following a candlelit dinner in the bush
- Eyeing up the prey... us!
- Katrina with the adorable Pride 'n Purpose kids
- Rhino triplets at play!
- Ann St Hillaire of Protravel NY, Vanessa Hartman and Katrina adventuring the swing bridge
- Stuck in the mud.. oops!
THE LODGE Leisure Sales Familiarisation Trip 1st - 3rd September, 2008
When you think of Verbier you firstly think of snow and skiing but the summer is equally appealing and with that in mind our International Sales Manager Natalie Odenbreit invited a few tour operators to experience this first hand, staying at The Lodge.
If they thought they were going to have a restful time, they were soon proved wrong. Verbier in summer is amazing with a plethora of activities to enjoy, and the group certainly experienced their fair share of them.
This included horse riding or mountain biking in the mountains, a cookery demonstration by The Lodge Head Chef Gerwin who taught everyone to make a perfect chocolate fondant. This was followed by a deep tissue massage and Hydralesence Visage facial, tandem paragliding then a leisurely walk through Verbier under the watchful eye of Bam Bam, the chalet's dog. Following a dip in the indoor pool and Jacuzzi they even had time to practise for the 'X factor'!Click here to view images
- Paragliding: Michelle Wainwright, Kristy Richardson, Sue Saunders, Caroline Egerton.
- Morning walk: Daisy from The Lodge with Bam Bam, Sue Saunders, Sarah Lomas,
- Karaoke: Marina Voak, Kristy Richardson, Sue Saunders, Caroline Egerton.
- Ski lift for mountain biking: Michelle Wainwright and Sarah Lomas. There was an amazing view from here
- Mountain Biking (downhill): Natalie Odenbreit, Michelle Wainwright and Sarah Lomas. Off we go!
- Cooking demonstration, this was the best part of the day... yum!
- Group photo outside The Lodge. So sad to say goodbye
- Caroline Egerton (out of shot), Marina Voak, Michelle Wainwright. It was such a lovely day...
Virtuoso Familiarisation Trip - Necker Island April 2008
Dates when Necker Island is free are extremely rare so we were delighted to host a group of VIP Virtuoso Agents together with Matthew Upchurch and Albert Herrera from Virtuoso itself to stay on Necker Island in April 2008.
Necker proved itself the perfect party island as the group were entertained by a Fire dancer, our Executive Chef Craig, and a 1980's disco DJ, our General Manager Gordo Overing!
Matthew and Jessica Upchurch - Virtuoso, Joshua and Jennifer Bush - Park Avenue Travel, Daniel Schwartz Dynamica/Ovations Travel, Janet and Michael Goodall Betty Maclean Travel, Debbie and Nicole Carstensen - Sue Brown Travel, Valerie Ann Wilson - Valerie Wilson Travel, Albert Herrera - VirtuosoClick here to view images
A Different Kind of Trip - Kasbah Tamadot August 2007
Whilst traditional familiarisation trips provide a fantastic opportunity to experience our properties first hand we decided to add a twist to a Kasbah Tamadot 'Wake-Up Trip' itinerary.
When we say 'wake up' we don't mean we asked everyone to set their alarms for an early call...the purpose of the 3 day visit was to enjoy the beautiful setting and service Kasbah Tamadot has to offer whilst learning about the local community from which most of our staff are employed and helping us 'give something back'
Five very enthusiastic participants; Julie Barker from Carrier, Charlene Brown from Cadogan Holidays, Claire Carnell from Simpson's Travel were accompanied by Natalie Odenbreit and Robert Speirs from Virgin Limited Edition and spent two awesome days playing 'bob the builder' at the local school. They sanded down and painted desks, doors and window frames assisted by local tradesmen appointed by Kasbah Tamadot to upgrade the lighting, repair the windows and replaster the walls.Click here to view images