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Press Release

18 July 2005

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Grand Safari Weddings Under an African Sky


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By Andrea Vinassa

The venue for the safari wedding of TV personality Arnold Geerdts and his wife Lily was a luxury Hayward’s Safari Camp pitched on a rhino stamping ground in the Cradle of Humankind, just outside Johannesburg.

Judging from the expressions of bliss on the faces of the wedding couple, TV personality Arnold Geerdts and his bride Lily, they are oblivious of the logistics, hard work, creativity and extreme effort that went into making this one of the most memorable days of their lives.

Peter Hayward has created the wedding gift of a lifetime – a grand safari-wedding event beyond imagination. Peter is head honcho of Hayward’s, a unique “under canvass” mobile safari camp that caters for special events and launches. Peter and Vicci (his wife and partner in the safari business) are recreating the mystique of bygone African explorations - and their mission is to create awareness of the splendors of the African bush and its people.

As the guests make their way from their boma chapel (A makeshift grass roofed structure) over gorgeously un spoilt Serengeti look-alike grassland, abounding with various species of antelope under a golden sunlight and sparkling blue sky, the Hayward’s chef crew are hard at work preparing canapés that you might come across in a five-star hotel.

The guest list includes Springbok rugby legends and internationally acclaimed television personalities, which means the menu has biltong and steak for those with a healthy South African appetite, and sushi and tikka prawns for those with a more gourmet outlook on dining.

Hayward’s gives clients the opportunity to experience wild and dangerous places and to leave them wild and dangerous. They fill a unique gap in the eco-tourism industry – a mobile hotel of up to 240 beds which can be set up anywhere in Africa, on top of mountains, under a baobab tree, in a desert, in a wetland area. The point is to introduce guests to the most eco-sensitive parts of Africa without making an impact on the landscape. “We have hosted grand safaris in areas that have never been camped before,” he maintains. “It is our aim to give guests an experience of Africa that they wouldn’t otherwise never have access to on a personal basis.”

The wedding facility is the infamous Hayward’s Gin Tent and the guests have been asked to dress in white and khaki. This gives the impression of a wonderfully decadent safari event straight out of White Mischief and beyond Out of Africa.

Speeches are informal and said under the shade of the cool Indian cotton canvas tent (no plastic here), decorated with Persian carpets, North African lanterns, silver candlesticks, folding safari chairs and tables and a few massive couches from Zanzibar.

To make the event a reality, thousands of items were carted in huge trucks to a game reserve near the Cradle of Humankind, close proximity to Johannesburg and ideal for guests.

The ambience is relaxed and comfortable. People start plopping down on the cushions and carrying the chairs out into the veld. When it comes to food, the word “abundance” comes to mind. Out come the platters of tikka prawns served with a minted dip; julienne of rare roast fillet tossed in a parmesan cheese and walnut mayonnaise served in corn cups; and health bread topped with smoked salmon twists, cream cheese and lemon wedges.

By this time the sun has set and the campfires are roaring. The guys are not satisfied until a juicy pepper fillet is sizzling on the barbecue. Served on rolls with mustard, this was a five-star presentation few will forget. Guests end up sitting around fires and chatting till the moon and the stars start slipping beyond the silvery horizon.

Besides the food, the best part of going on a Hayward’s safari is the cloakroom facilities. No heading out into the bush with toilet roll in hand! Individual eco friendly portable toilets and fold-up canvas hand basins all butler serviced with hand washing, warm towels and big African white smiles. What a pleasure.

The Hayward’s option allows for the safari wedding to spill over into a full three or four day safari event. With over one hundred and twenty beds (60 en-suite tents) camp, there is more than enough space for all guests to sleep over and enjoy the prolonged safari wedding festivities and at the same time enjoy a safari of the senses. And why not….this is after all one of the worlds most exclusive safari experiences ever!

Accommodation is in 19th century expedition safari tents – just like Livingston’s - each tent kitted out with camp beds with soft, thick mattresses, crisp white linen, fat pillows and lots of bottled water. Each safari bedroom has an en suite bathroom with hot running water and a toilet.

Guests can rest assured that the whole camp is surrounded by an electric fence and guarded night and day. Personal Attendants and Butlers are on call around the clock.

Include the full spa treatments in the Hayward’s Revitalization Centre, theme evenings each night to the rhythmic sounds of Africa, and safari activities such as elephant back rides, horse-trailing, guided walks and lots, lots more and it is easy to forget that we are in the Africa wilderness.

This is a rare opportunity to utilize the services of one of the world’s greatest safari event & expedition organizations – but be aware, it is not their mainstream operation – no endless conveyor belt wedding events here…this is for the well heeled looking for absolute exclusivity, privacy and pure indulgence.

Contact Safari Doctor on +27 (0)861 732 583 in Johannesburg South Africa or email them on reservations@secluded.co.za.

Secluded Country Lodges Group
Hayward's Luxury Safari Events
Power of One Team Building
TEL: +27 (0)861 732 583 Johannesburg 
South Africa
Tel +27 (0)861 732 583
Fax +27 (0)86 600 6583
Email : secluded@iafrica.com 




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