Man Versus Superbug
cruise is designed to introduce its passengers to the very best of the South African shores. Port visits are typically two days, and feature superbly arranged excursions. Although they come at a supplementary rate, the real advantage of booking an excursion is that they can effortlessly be rescheduled when port arrival times are delayed.
In Port Elizabeth, and in Richard’s Bay, tours are offered which take guests to Big Five game lodges. An opportunity to explore the St Lucia wetlands, accessed from Richard’s Bay, is a must. We found it teeming with hippo, crocodile and wonderfully colourful birds.
While in Durban, it is worth exploring a little off the beaten track, something that Ponant does particularly well, and to visit the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens – a museum with excellent South African bird and animal displays – as well as to view the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The statue stands with its back turned away from the train station, where he was forcibly moved from First to Third Class because of his race. That experience was a foundation stone for his famous and heroic fight against oppression worldwide.
Yet another highlight of sailing with Ponant is the cuisine. Alain Ducasse, a force of nature in exceptional dining, is their consultant and every chef on board is trained in his quality proven methods. The quality of ingredients was particularly impressive and included butter and cheeses by the renowned Bordier and chocolate by Valrhona. Superb meats from France’s Aveyron region are served with the finest locally-sourced fresh fruit and vegetables.
Owned by luxury French conglomerate Groupe Artémis, but managed by Ponant founder Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, Ponant is exactly what you’d expect from a business with holdings in Christie’s, Gucci, Château Latour and Venice’s Palazzo Grassi galleries, to name but a few.
Every detail, from the Hermès bathroom amenities to the Veuve Clicquot cocktail and Ladurée macaroons, reflects the finest of France. And, as members of the Charte Bleue d’armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators), Ponant places the preservation of the natural environment at the heart of its priorities, so you can explore with a clean conscious.
Le Pontant is represented in South Africa by Development Promotions. For more info, visit www.devprom.co.za. Set sail and vive le France! For more information, visit www.ponant.com.