This is a unique opportunity to indulge your passions and reawaken your senses. Join a small group and recharge on this exclusive getaway. Explore the African bush on foot, taste great wines of the world . . . and learn about both from erudite professionals.
A long-weekend in the bush facilitated by two of South Africa’s leaders in their respective fields – distinguished Safari Guide; Steve Bolnick and Wine Maker extraordinaire; Peter Finlayson.
Each day Steve will facilitate an exciting and educational walk in the bush, tracking and stalking game and elaborating about all facets of the ecology, from trees to insects and birds to big game. Every evening Peter will introduce you to an exceptional mystery white and mystery red wine from somewhere in the world, while you try and identify each. Thereafter Peter will present an outstanding wine of the evening, with an accompanying story and a comparative wine.
Winemaker Peter Finlayson
Winemaker Peter Finlayson is renowned for being the South African Pinot Pioneer. His years of experience and vast knowledge of wine and the wine industry are also recognised, as is his pivotal role in putting the Walker Bay wine region on the map. But what is not known by many is that Peter is just as passionate about wildlife, conservation and the African Bush!
Peter’s CV is intimidating in its comprehensiveness. Suffice it to say that he studied at Stellenbosch University as well as at Geisenheim in the Rheingau. He was involved with the fledgling Boschendal winery and setting-up and running the first winery in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, where his success was recognised globally with a string of awards including the 1989 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year. Of course he also established the inimitable Bouchard Finlayson wine farm.
Accolades and tributes aside, the greatest testament to Peter’s winemaking abilities are his wines. Anyone who has not sampled his famous Pinot noir, his exceptional Chardonnay, his masterful Sauvignon blanc or his personally favoured blend “Hannibal” is missing-out on one of the delights of life.
Peter Finlayson’s passion for wine and his humour are best appreciated through his own words.
“Each new wine is like a new child displaying uniqueness, offering promise, evoking a range of emotions, without any guarantees. I get to be involved in the initial development, giving my all – but once bottled, and released into the world, I have to stand back and let go, quickly watching it develop and make its mark or accept criticism in the face of its exposure.”
‘Winemaking is a sport. Intermingled with a bit of instinct and art. Poetry is also required. All these facets are strongly influenced by the paradoxes of climate and weather… This is my general philosophy, but when I narrow it to test match cricket – the game in its most classic, serious, most stamina-sapping form – the allusion is surely to the most demanding, and yes, testing, grape of all, pinot noir, and to my battle with it here in the hills and vales behind Hermanus. I pace myself like an opening batsman during the harvest. I guard against exhaustion… fatigue leads to mistakes… The flashy, reverse-sweep sort of wine is not me. But I equally believe that a passionate and c
ompetitive spirit is essential in the making of great wines.’
On this unique safari, Peter will introduce you to some of the great wines of Europe as well as the best that South Africa has to offer. He will educate you through blind wine-tastings and share anecdotes collected from the cellar over many years of refining his art.
Safari Guide Steve Bolnick
Steve Bolnick is recognized as one of southern Africa’s great safari guides. He grew-up with a deep love for the African bush and has spent the past 29 years living and guiding in southern Africa. Steve has trained aspiring guides in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and has led research safaris for the WWF and Washington University. He has trained game scouts for the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Between guiding he has acquired three university degrees in related subjects. Steve is the only guide to be licensed to operate professionally in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. His passion is foot-safaris in big game country and he is certified as a specialist guide (and raconteur).
Steve is deeply involved in conservation and believes that the future of Africa’s exceptional wildlife heritage depends upon the involvement of the poor rural people who live in close contact with it. He therefore works with rural communities to try and ensure that they benefit from the sustainable management of their natural resources.
“On a game safari there is no better way to experience the bush than by walking. Being on foot in big game country has an incomparable primal appeal. It is visceral. It breaks down the barriers that we have imposed between our environment and ourselves. It resonates with echoes of our undeniable past oneness with our environment and the animals in it. It allows us to experience and understand the intensity of the bush in a very immediate way. Walking in the bush awakens our senses and rather than being a passive voyeur we starts to smell, taste, feel and experience the bush. It is only on foot that we really begin to appreciate the complexity of the ecological web of life.”
Of course walking also allows us to slow down to a more complementary pace and to appreciate the smaller and subtler features such as insects, plants and tracks, which are such vital ingredients in the ecology.”
Steve will lead you on a foot safari facilitating a journey of personal discovery and immersion in The Bush. Throughout this intense exploration he will ensure your safety while sharing his substantial knowledge with you and proffering new insights into the ecology of the African bush. Over a campfire and some of Peter’s wines he will recall close encounters and bush incidents that span thirty years in different parts of Africa.
Umlani Bushcamp is a classic African safari camp located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.
This small and intimate camp is the ultimate experience of true wilderness and seclusion, accommodating only 16 guests in traditional African reed and thatch huts. Umlani's philosophy of simplistic luxury and 'getting back to nature' is enhanced by the romance of operating without electricity. Enjoy the warm atmosphere of candlelight and oil lamps as well as open-air bush showers fuelled by wood fires. The accommodation offers you all the privacy and superior comfort you need for uninterrupted relaxation. Umlani's award winning cuisine will take you on a gastronomic tour of African styled food.
Umlani Bushcamp offers an authentic wildlife experience in Big Five territory. Here you can view lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino, in over 10 000 hectares (24 000 acres) of traversing area, also home to over 40 mammal species and 350 bird species.
Each hut has en-suite facilities including an open-air bush shower fuelled by wood fires. The hut is comfortably fitted with white mosquito nets, crisp white linen and towels as well as with standard bathroom amenities, bottled water (although the tap water is perfectly safe to drink) and insect repellent