• Kilima team

Off the beaten track.

Something new to see and experience.

A new adventure.

Different cultures and hidden secrets.

There to see but not explored - Route 71 – Limpopo, South Africa.

Magoebaskloof - Photo by Emmarose Eacher

From Polokwane to Phalaborwa – a different route from Gauteng through the countryside of the north-eastern corner of South Africa. On route to the iconic Kruger National Park. The R71 veers off the N1 at Polokwane to the town of Palaborwa that borders the Kruger National Park.

For the tourist the scenery changes drastically from the mostly Highveld climate of Polokwane through the sub-tropical “fruit basket” to the dry Bushveld surrounding Phalaborwa.


Visit the craft-rich festival town of Haenertsburg. It has its own brewery! It is often shrouded in mist and soft rain, lying on the slopes of the Wolkberg and Drakensberg Mountains, between Tzaneen and Polokwane. The arty, neat town is abuzz with activity during its festivals: berries in February, food and wine in May and the spring festival.

Take the Magoebaskloof pass that tempt travelers to stop at one of several outlets for a culinary treat or fruit or nuts from an informal road stall. This pass spirals down a dense sub-tropical forest, cool, moist and breath taking beautiful scenery. The Magoebaskloof Mountains mark the end of the Drakensberg in the north.

A few kilometers before turning onto the highway for the final stretch to the town of Tzaneen, is a turnoff to the wonderful Debegeni Waterfall, protected by a nature reserve with impressive plantations of exceptional trees. It is open to day-visitors who want to picnic, swim in icy rock pools or do some rock sliding at safe places.

Debegeni Waterfalls - Photo by Hougaard Malan

The valley of Tzaneen nestles in what is known as the "fruit basket" of South Africa. Bananas, various types of citrus, litchis, mangoes amongst others, make their bountiful appearance. The area also boasts the biggest concentration of game ranches in southern Africa. The Modjadji Cycad Reserve has the largest concentration of a single cycad species in the world. Tzaneen is ever-green, even when drought threatens. From here the route continues to Phalaborwa (104km’s), via the one-horse town of Gravelotte.

Just before reaching Gravelotte and after a long day the tourist will find Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa. Be surprised and relax for a day or two to be spoiled in 5 star luxury and enchanting cuisine while enjoying the splendor of the private game reserve. Visit Kukura Wellness Spa to reduce tension and induce relaxation. Spoil yourself. You’re worth it!

Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa

After a refreshing stay at Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa travel on to reach Phalaborwa and the gateway to the Kruger National Park on Route 71. This area has the highest winter temperatures in South Africa. Phalaborwa is also home to the famous Amarula cream liqueur.

Come on and enjoy Route 71!

By JJ Dekker

Welcome back to our Blog series focused on Year End functions, helping you to end your year with a massive success. The following tips will help you get there with swag and everyone tapping you on the back afterwards saying “wow… it was awesome!”

1. Anticipation and participation

Have you ever had a Year End Function for this company? How was it? Was everyone excited about it? Did they attend because it was mandatory or did they attend because they couldn’t stand missing out on the event?

Creating a buzz of excitement around your Year End is crucial for it to be successful. You need everyone to talk about it, get excited, get on board and ultimately, show up! If you can accomplish this, the battle is halfway won.

How do you do this? Firstly, you’ll have to come up with a kick-ass invitation. Don’t go the normal route of a boring email. Have someone dress up and hand out themed personalized invitations or make a small video of the CEO personally inviting everyone and just giving away enough information to make it clear but also mysterious. The whole idea is to get everyone interested. We’re creating a snowball, momentum (office chit-chat) will take care of the rest!

Have you ever seen a balloon invitation? We love it! For more ideas visit: https://www.brit.co/creative-invitations/

2. Basic elements

a. Location – The venue is probably the most important aspect to consider. Shop around for prices and availability, book early if you have a specific place in mind. There’s amazing specials around, like the one Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa is running. The location, size of the venue and ambiance are all points to ponder.

b. Food – It doesn’t have to be 6-course meal, but consider the time of day, weather and number of guests attending. Will it be a sit-down, or a canape – affair? Have options available for vegetarians and vegans, and if anyone has any allergies, convey this information well in advance to the caterers (make sure you have this on record).

c. Drinks – Variety is the spice of life, and with beverages this is also true! Make sure you have alcoholic and non-alcoholic welcoming drinks, and if you’re having a late night, a coffee station is always sought after.

d. Theme – oh yes, DO have a theme! Depending on the company culture, you can even request everyone dress according to the theme. This is lots of fun and you’ll be surprised by the energy it creates before and during the Year End Function! If you don’t want to dress up, fine, but at least have a theme throughout the decorations.

e. Entertainment – Our tip would be to intertwine entertainment with your theme. If you have a beach-party theme, hire a marimba band. If you’re doing a 007-theme, have a modern jazz band! Always have a DJ with all the favorites. Not only to keep the party going after dessert have been served, but also to assure that there’s no hiccups when it comes to speech-time.

Intimate Year End Function setting at one of Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa's Decks.

3. Take Basic to the BEST

The level of excitement over the event, will greatly depends on WHAT you do with the above mentioned basics. You need to think outside the box and go beyond what you usually do or what everyone will be expecting. I’ll demonstrate by using an example of a Miami-themed Year End Function. Would you rather walk towards the entrance on pavement, or with your sandals in your hand because there’s a beach of sand you have to cross to get inside?

The same principle goes for food and drink. Would you rather stand in a row to get served a beer at a bar, or would you rather stand in a circle around an energetic mixologist teaching you how to make the perfect fishbowl cocktail? Put some thought into how can you up the game at every turn? Have beautifully plated food that will make people take out their phones to take pictures of! Make sure the entertainment engages with your audience to make it more fun and memorable. It won’t hurt if you hire a photographer for the evening to capture all these moments.

Add an exciting surprise element like a fire dancer.

Emplyees receiving a neck and shoulder massage from Kukura Wellness Spa Therapists at a Year End Function held at Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa

4. Take care of formalities

The deeper meaning and reasoning for a Year End Function is to recognize the hard work and successes of employees, but also to define company values and leadership vision (read last weeks blog for more information). For this to happen, you have to identify the awards and rewards you want to bestow (we’ll discuss this subject in 2 week’s time) and get the CEO to have his speech ready. Make sure you have someone who will thank the CEO after he/ she has given their speech and don’t forget the ‘token of our appreciation’ – this will go a long way!

This is where you have to make sure you have a professional at hand to do the proper sound checks to assure the equipment works 100%! You don’t want to humiliate the boss!

Mr Schütte, CEO of numerous successful companies, conveying his gratitude and vision for the upcoming year.

5. Safety

Depending on the location of the venue an the time and duration of the function, you’ll have to consider transport to get everyone home safely. If it is a starry night event, the ideal is to have everyone sleep over so that no unfortunate accidents occur.

Send the location pin to everyone’s phones so that no one gets lost along the way. Have a designated person(or persons) everyone can call if they’re uncertain of the route, especially if the venue is a hidden gem!

Guests at Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa are being transported to and from the Star Gazing Deck.

All this said and done, it is important to remember the 5 P’s of Stephen Keague: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. The more effort that goes into the planning, the better the outcome will be. Good luck on planning your Year End Function!

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Oh yes, Christmas decorations have already made their appearance in all the shopping malls. 2020 is right around the corner. Some businesses are already setting a slower pace while other are rearing up for the busiest time of the year. No matter the industry you’re in, there’s one question everyone is asking this time of the year: “Ehmm, are we going to have a Year End Function this year?”

If you are still pondering the pro’s and con’s for a corporate bash, we are thrilled to enlighten you with our Top 5 series. Within the next 5 weeks we’ll supply you with insightful information, facts and testimonials on Year End Functions to enable you to make an educated decision on the matter. The 5 Weeks of Top 5 will explore the following aspects:

· TOP 5 REASONS why you should have a Year End Function;

· TOP 5 TIPS on executing the perfect Year End Function;

· TOP 5 IDEAS to make your Year End Function special;

· TOP 5 THEMES to make your Year End Function memorable;

· TOP 5 AWARDS you should consider for your Year End Function.

Every industry have a certain “way” of doing things. The ; agriculture; social groups; government; non-profit organisations etc. Each to his own, but one thing is certain, everyone likes a fun time. And that is what Year End Functions are mainly about. Rewarding the hard work and team effort throughout the year by having fun together.

Here’s our TOP 5 REASONS why you should have a Year End Function:

1. It is fun

Fun at the workplace is becoming more and more important all over the world. One could argue that a Year End isn’t having fun during work, so it doesn’t count, but the memories of the fun you had will stay with you long after the Year End Function is finished. As well as the connections you make with colleagues.

There are many studies about fun and the impact it can have on employees. Each year, the Great Place to Work Institute asks tens of thousands of employees to rate their experience of workplace factors such as “this is a fun place to work”. It might surprise you to know that the employees of 81% of renown great companies can confidently state that they are working in a fun environment. Amy Lyman, chair of the board and cofounder of the Institute, explained that fun and success go hand in hand. And, all companies should be wondering how to have more fun. “It’s absolutely a question companies should be asking themselves, because it is something that happens in great workplaces,” she said. (https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/fun-at-work-matters-levity-effect)

Having fun at your Year End Function should be the main goal!

2. Recognition and reward

If you value your employees, and don’t want to lose them to your competitor, recognition and reward will go a long way in the long run. Gallup’s State of the American Workshop research in 2017 found that a lack of recognition is one of the most common reasons why people leave.

Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Dr Ashley Whillans from the Harvard Business School states “Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.”

The Year End Function covers both bases with one go. It serves as an opportunity to publicly recognize individuals and divisions who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty by bestowing upon them awards, certificates or prizes. It also serves as a reward, as it is usually an exciting event with good food, beverages and entertainment. A real treat and something to look forward to each year.

The annual Year End Function is a great way to reward your employees!

3. TAX deductible For the penny pinchers, the best reason to opt for a Year End Function, is because it qualifies as a TAX deductible item. This can be seen as a staff welfare expense. All of the expenses you incur for the Year End Function is tax deductible. These could include drinks, meals and live entertainment. The only thing is you need to prove to SARS that the entertainment was provided in the pursuit of business.

Remember that Year End Functions are TAX-deductible.

4. Imprinting values and vision Your company values are deeply rooted and dearly held. They are the most important guiding principles about the way employees do their work. There’s not enough opportunities to emphasise the merits of clearly defined values. That said, it is up to management to create these opportunities, and the Year End Function can be a very successful tool used to define core values… again.

Values also set the tone for workplace culture and identity. When employees align their personal values to those of the company, it will positively influence work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction and creative potential, ultimately achieving goals and contributing to the leadership vision.

The leadership’s vision permeates the workplace and it manifests in the employees’ actions. Jack Welch said “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” A shared vision is a powerful dynamic factor driving employees to perform better and better. The Year End function serves as the perfect opportunity for leadership to inspire employees by expressing their passion for their great vision.

5. Focus

Every employee plays an important part in the bigger picture. It is easy to form tunnel vision during the hustle and bustle of everyday work because we only work to meet one deadline upon another. The truth is, it is leadership’s responsibility to realign the focus of the employees by making them see the bigger picture.

Mr Schütte of Frans Schütte and Mathews Phosa Inc, a reputable law firm in Mpumalaga, have a beautiful custom, where once a month every single person in the firm come together in the boardroom and they share the positive events that have happened, give praise where it is due, refocus on goals, emphasize the core values and vision and end the get-together with prayer for company and employees’ wellbeing.

If you have a similar custom, well done, if not, the Year End Function can be a wonderful event where employees of all standing get together, once again see the bigger picture they are part of, and refocus on the fact that as a team anything is possible. Never underestimate the power of building morale and team spirit!

Mr Frans Schütte at the FSMP Inc. Year End, congratulating staff on successes and explaining the leadership vision.

At Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa, we can accommodate Year End Functions for up to 300 guests. Contact us for more information about our 2019 Specials.

We support the fight against COVID 19

For more information visit: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

Farm Rubbervale, Sec 15

Limpopo Province

South Africa

T: +27 15 590 0975

C: +27 83 808 1046


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