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Sherwin Banda, President

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Sherwin Banda, the quintessential hotelier, has spent more than 17 years in the international hospitality industry and is renowned for his highly personalized approach to customer care, empowering managerial style, and passionate devotion to all things Africa. Born and raised in Cape Town, Banda’s impressive resume includes various positions in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and United States. Most recently, Banda’s role as General Manager of the Table Bay Hotel allowed him to subtly reposition the hotel’s product and service offerings, resulting in a substantial revenue growth.

Top 8 Culinary Experiences in South Africa

December 4th, 2017, by Sherwin Banda

Top 8 Culinary Experiences in South Africa

African Travel, Inc. asked their wonderful safari specialists for their favorite culinary experiences in South Africa and a below is a list of their top 8.

Photo: The Test Kitchen

1. The Test Kitchen
The Test Kitchen, which opened in November 2010, has the celebrated Luke Dale-Roberts cooking at his most creative in a distinctive contemporary space. The Test Kitchen, as its name implies, affords Luke the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef and the dishes are a pure reflection of his creativity with flavors and ingredients.

2. Constantia Valley
The Constantia Valley is the oldest wine producing region in South Africa, with a history of wine making that spans over 300 years. Some of the finest vineyards can be found in the valley, including Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, Klein Constantia, Steenberg to name a few. It is also home to some of Cape Town’s finest eateries, ranging from established favorites to hot, new restaurants. There is something for everyone. La Colombe on Silvermist Wine Estate is positioned among the top restaurants in the world. The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenhort consistently elevates the benchmark of modern South African cuisine. Foxcroft offers a laidback fine dining experience, while Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, offers cutting edge cuisine. Bistro Sixteen 82 at Steenberg is another stalwart on the Cape Town dining scene, known for its innovative tapas and bistro-style dining.

3. Stellenbosch
Established in 1679, Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa and is arguably one of the loveliest. Taking the “Bites & Sites Classic Cape Cuisine Walk” is a fascinating (and tasty!) introduction to this vibrant university town. Enjoy a tea and rusk tasting, sample a variety of white and red wines from various award-winning estates, savor a trilogy of fragrant Cape dishes, and experience the legendary local sweet treats like koeksister, milktart and malva pudding – all while touring the town’s romantic oak-lined streets and outdoor art exhibitions.

4. Farmers’ Markets
Capetonians love a great outdoor market, and the pop up markets are a celebration of local foods, culture and community. Spend a relaxing morning or afternoon, mingling with the locals, at one of the city's most popular weekly affairs. The markets have something for everyone, with specialty traders ranging from local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, to celebrated local chefs. Taste your way through freshly baked breads, organic vegetables, handcrafted cheese, sausage, wine, chocolate, craft beer and more.

Lucille Sive cooking during a class at Cass Abrahams

 5. Cooking with Cass Abrahams
A half day Cape Malay cooking experience with Cass Abrahams. Cass is a local chef and authority on Cape Malay cuisine. During her career she has travelled the world showcasing South African fare, ran restaurants and written cookbooks. She has made it her mission to rescue the traditional recipes and share her passion and pride with those seeking a deeper understanding of the local food culture. During a “hands-on” experience in her home you will have an introductory talk on the history of the cuisine and the many spices used, followed by the preparation of several dishes. Then it’s time to sit back, relax, and appreciate your handiwork as you enjoy lunch.

6. Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. The garden is at the heart of the farm, and is laid out over 8 acres, and divided into sections of fruit, vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, ducks and chickens, and more. Every aspect of Babylonstoren is led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden. With a farm-to-fork philosophy, the menus are guided by what is available in the garden, and always reflects the season.

7. Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant
Set in the Moreson Winery, Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant is a staff favorite due to its rustic charm and laid-back atmosphere. Gorgeous trees provide a shaded retreat to enjoy the exquisite food, including the best charcuterie in South Africa hands down. 

Photo: Azure Restaurant

 8. The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa Azure Restaurant
The Twelve Apostles is home to the award-winning Azure Restaurant and its magical international and indigenous cuisine. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the incredible views are some of the Mother City’s best and it is an overwhelming staff favorite for sundowners and sunsets. Whales can often be spotted in the mornings and afternoons, breaching right off the coast. Azure offers a high-end selection of entrees, including seafood, meats, and local African cuisine. From the delicate fresh oysters to the massive seafood platter, guests’ taste buds are infused by the finest organic ingredients and brilliant flavor combinations.



Julie Topflighttravels

August 22nd, 2016

Sherwin - It was great meeting you at Virtuoso Travel Week!  Just yesterday a friend told me about the wonderful experience her client had with you in South Africa this summer.  It reminded me of meeting you at VAST,  I look forward to contacting you with future business…3 people this summer recommended your company for clients traveling to Africa!

My Interview With Renowned Filmmaker & TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau

July 20th, 2016, by Sherwin Banda

African Travel, Inc. President, Sherwin Banda's Interview with TreadRight Ambassador Celine Cousteau

At African Travel, Inc. we are passionate about conservation and supporting the local communities that we visit. As part of the TTC family of brands, we believe that giving back to communities is as important as showcasing the beauty of Africa to our clients. Our commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism has only been further cemented after my recent visit to the Shamwari Game Reserve. The Shamwar Game Reserve is an example of successful sustainable tourism that is nothing short of inspiring.

This month Céline Cousteau and myself sat down to talk about her passion for the environment, along with her work as an ambassador for The TreadRight Foundation. The TreadRight Foundation, established by The Travel Corporation in 2008, is a not-for-profit working to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come. 


Sherwin Banda: What inspires you to keep exploring this planet? 

Céline Cousteau: There is so much to be inspired by on this planet. I feel that being able to explore and gather stories, find their relevance for other people, and bring those stories back will always be the inspiration behind my travels. Travelling has the amazing ability to create a deeper appreciation of the interconnectedness of places and people. It also creates a better understanding of the impact that we have on the planet, not just as travelers but as global citizens.

Sherwin Banda: You are a renowned filmmaker and possess a beautiful gift for storytelling. How do you decide what stories are important to communicate with the world? 

Céline Cousteau: There are three big messages that give me the inspiration and energy to keep storytelling, and help me decide which stories I will tell through my films. The first is that I strive to live a life with purpose, and even at the hardest times, believing in what I am doing and be passionate about it keeps me going. If the story is something that I believe in, I want to pursue it and share it with the world. Secondly, I strive to inspire other people by being an example, which means finding the stories and people that are doing amazing things to make a difference on this planet, and bring attention to them, creating local ambassadors of travelers and guests alike. Even if the story I tell changes the life and actions of a single person, it matters. That is the third and probably most important message - every little bit matters. When I see the efforts of people around the world improving humanitarian or environmental situations, it gives me hope which is something I anticipate will resonate with people through my films and stories. 

Sherwin Banda: What’s your next adventure?

Céline Cousteau: This summer, we officially begin the inaugural session of The Céline Cousteau Film Fellowship, an academic leadership program I’ve created currently in partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara. We’ll be traveling with four fellows on a documentary field expedition to Namibia and will be focusing on the human elements that impact wildlife conservation.

I’ll be following that up with time in South Africa visiting with some of our TreadRight Wildlife Initiative partners, looking to share their stories. This includes a visit to Bushmans Kloof, an important wilderness reserve that is also home to more than 130 sites of bush art paintings, some dating back as far as 10,000 years.

Sherwin Banda: What about the TreadRight Foundation resonated with you and convinced you to become its Ambassador? 

Céline Cousteau: I became a member of the TreadRight Steering Committee in 2012, helping to source and select the projects that TreadRight supports. From there, it was a very natural and organic next step to becoming the TreadRight Ambassador, as it allowed me to further support TreadRight by taking my storytelling abilities to help share the message about the foundation and their project partners’ work to travelers. This role really gives me an incredible outreach opportunity to tell stories to anyone that is paying attention to what travel companies are doing when it comes to local and sustainable initiatives.

Sherwin Banda: Having traveled the globe extensively, in your view what is the greatest environmental challenge of our time? 

Céline Cousteau: The greatest environmental challenge we are facing right now is the future of human behavior and consciousness. My fear is that we aren’t going to react and act in time. We need to listen as a global community, be conscious that every choice matters, and understand that whatever happens to the environment will happen to us. We all have a common stake in the health of our planet. Hopefully, the work of humanitarians and non-profits will inspire more people to think and believe they are an integral part of the environment, and work towards sustaining our planet for generations to come.

Sherwin Banda: Africa offers a plethora of exciting experiences for environmental enthusiasts. What is your favorite African destination? 

Céline Cousteau: I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to see much of the world, but explorers are never done exploring and I’m excited that I still have so much of Africa to experience, beginning with Namibia and South Africa this summer, for a pair of projects, the first of which is for The Céline Cousteau Film Fellowship, and the second for TreadRight. 


Mandela Day

July 18th, 2016, by Sherwin Banda

Mandela Day 2016

In honor of Mandela day, it’s the time of the year that we remember how important it is to give to give back. The principle of Mandela day is taking just 67 minutes of your time to give back in whatever way you can. 

The story of Nelson Mandela’s struggle has been long documented and been an inspiration to so many people all over the world. He spent 67 years working to make the world a better place, by devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.


As someone who grew up in South Africa during apartheid, Mandela day is something that is very close to my heart, as I know first hand the difference that lending a helping hand can make in the lives of the people of Africa. At African Travel we are very proud supporters of The Amy Foundation who aims to empower and uplift the youth of the communities around Cape Town, through providing after-school programs in dance, drama, sports, music and cooking. African Travel is also the co-founder and strong supporter of TreadRight a non-profit organization dedicated to ensure the communities and environments we visit remain vibrant for generations to come.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a wonderful Mandela day and working together we can continue to spread his message of hope and kindness. If you would like to learn more about Nelson Mandela’s journey, why not make your next Safari “In The Footsteps Of Mandela”.  This provocative journey of inspiration through the vibrant and culturally diverse "Rainbow Nation." The fascinating history of Nelson Mandela’s South Africa is brought to life through a collection of soulful encounters with the people and places he touched in his efforts to end apartheid. Round out your South African sojourn with a safari revealing the country’s natural beauty and wildlife."


My Return To South Africa

May 6th, 2016, by Sherwin Banda

African Travel, Inc. President, Sherwin Banda's Return to South Africa

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting my homeland South Africa. This visit was special for so many reasons – one of the main ones was getting to experience the wonderful work being done by The Amy Foundation. The Amy Biehl Foundations story is remarkable, and continues to attract volunteers from all over the world. As I grew up on the cape flats of Cape Town during apartheid, I know first hand the hardships that face the communities in this area.

The Amy Foundation aims to empower and uplift the youth of the communities by providing after-school programs in dance, drama, sports, music, cooking and more to children living in vulnerable communities around Cape Town. The programs help to keep kids off the street and engaged in an environment where they can learn life skills and most importantly, have fun!


 I also experienced a safari at Shamwari Game Reserve, which was truly breathtaking.  

Returning to the bush and experiencing the sights and sounds of Africa while on safari is truly one of my favorite things in the world. I am in a constant state of euphoria as I listen and see the magic unfold in the bush. Watching the sky change from day to night is like witnessing a beautiful masterpiece being painted before your eyes. Being in nature and completely surrounded by Africa’s wildlife is an experience everyone should have. One of my favorite moments on safari was being encircled by elephants. Being so close to the gentle giants is a moment I will cherish forever.  

Being amongst the wildlife also made me more passionate than ever about the need to protect and preserve this magical landscape for decades to come. Shamwari Game Reserve is home to some of the most advanced anti poaching units in the country. It is also home to The TreadRight Bat Hawk which works to aid Shamwari’s mission to stop poaching and protect the Africa’s wildlife.


The sustainable development and conservation philosophies of the Amy Biehl Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve supports African Travel, Inc’s. vision to make a meaningful difference in the communities where we do business and reaffirms our pledge to the TreadRight Foundation. Our parent company, The Travel Corporation founded The TreadRight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps to ensure the communities and environments we visit remain vibrant for generations to come.

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