It has been a truly incredible year for us here at Rare Earth, with the opening of our exclusive-use bush property, Pel’s Post, in the far north of the Kruger National Park and our brand new boutique hotel in Plettenberg Bay, The Old Rectory. Here we reflect on some of the highlights across our portfolio but, most of all, we thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support - we appreciate it so very much.

2017 has been a year of great growth for us here at Rare Earth. Our mission has always been to find the most rare and beautiful places in South Africa and to allow our guests the opportunity of experiencing them in all their glory. In this fast-paced world,  it is our aim to bring peace, joy and out-of-this-world experiences to all those who stay with us, whilst we do everything we can to preserve the environment and protect it for this generation and the next.

The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa in Plettenberg Bay opened

For years we have been planning the restoration of the oldest surviving building in Plett, The Old Rectory, and in August this year we opened its doors. No stone was left unturned by all those who poured their love into the build and what we have today  is a rather special boutique hotel that honours the past (think original yellowwood floors and trusses, stone walls and majestic milkwood trees) and offers our guests a luxurious place to base themselves whilst exploring the Garden Route.

One of the highlights of the year for us and the team at The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa especially, was the opportunity to welcome many of our neighbours to the restaurant and spa. The community of Plettenberg Bay is something we hold very dear to our hearts.

Direct flights to The Outpost launched

Earlier this year, in partnership with Federal Airlines, we launched direct flights to The Outpost and Pel’s Post. It has been a ground-breaking development for us, ensuring that our guests now have access to the remote northern Kruger in under two hours from Johannesburg International Airport. There’s really not much that can beat coming down to the land on the air-strip and beginning your safari-of-a-lifetime right then and there, with a G&T in hand.

Pel’s Post wins a prestigious architecture award

We opened the doors of Pel’s Post at the very end of last year and so it was with delight that we welcomed our first guests. Our vision for Pel’s Post was for it to be the epitome of luxury - a place where a whole family or a group of friends can come and stay together in one of the most spectacular locations on earth.

We also wanted to set the bar high when it came to the environmental credentials of Pel’s Post and so we are exceptionally proud to announce that Pel's Post recently won the regional South African Institute of Architects Award of Merit for being an outstanding example of architecture. Congratulations to Erasmus Fairbairn Architects for bringing this masterpiece to life, and to our founders and the visionaries behind this special property (you can read more about Pel’s Post and its eco-construction here).

Onwards and upwards for our Welgevonden lodges

Next time you visit us at either Tshwene or Ekuthuleni Lodge in the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, you’ll be able to enjoy our brand new spa at Tshwene and you'll notice a beautiful interior refurb at Ekuthuleni.

We have also been very lucky to host two wonderful and respected travel bloggers at Ekuthuleni this year, namely,  Natalie Roos, of Tails of a Mermaid, and Melissa Delport, of Truffle Journal. It’s been an absolute pleasure seeing our special part of the world through their eyes

Kay and Monty magic

Kay and Monty Vineyards has given us many reasons  to celebrate in 2017. We had a successful harvest despite challenging conditions and have also been hard at work planting new vines. Good things come to those who wait and we can’t wait for 2022 when we will be seeing the fruits of our labour and producing our first red wine at Kay and Monty!

In 2017, we have also had the privilege of hosting some amazing weddings at Kay and Monty and Country House. From the laid back elegance of Raine and Cameron’s wedding to Terri and Anton's sophisticated Plett winelands celebration, and Ash and Devan’s magical extravaganza - to name but a few, it has been magical to share in these special occasions.

#KnysnaRises

It feels like a bad dream now but in the middle of the year,  the greater Plett and Knysna area was ravaged by fire. It was terrifying and overwhelming and yet the strength of our community and the support that came flooding in from all over South Africa and the world, was something that will live on in our memories forever.

A huge thank you to our team

We have a team of 150 people in the Rare Earth family and we can honestly say that each member has contributed enormously to our success.

The Outpost Lodge, Tshwene Lodge and Ekuthuleni Lodge were recognised with a 2017 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor based on our consistently great reviews.

We were also so proud of our resident bird-watching expert at The Outpost, Samuel Japane. He is one of the best birding specialists in South Africa and this year he released his first book, ‘The Unlikely Birdman’. You can read more about Samuel’s incredible story here.

From our field guides who share their remarkable knowledge daily and always seek to give our guests the very best safari experience to our staff who do everything they can to ensure a world-class stay - we salute you.

… and most of all thank you to you…

Without your support we would not be where we are today. We’re looking forward to 2018 (there may well be a few surprises in store) and can’t wait to welcome you back.