Tuningi Newsletter August 2009

By gavintonkinson on August 1, 2009

news01_lgWarmest greetings to you all once again!

We are so sorry that our August newsletter is coming to you a bit later than usual, but we were waiting for some very special photo’s we wanted to share with you.

You will find that this letter is completely different than those you have become used to by now, as we just could not resist showing off all the romance we were consumed with during August!

Where it all began?
A year ago, a lovely couple came to stay with us for a few days. Jeff asked us to please set up a truly romantic dinner for them one evening, and promptly asked Rika to marry him! It all turned out so beautifully that they decided to come back to Tuningi exactly one year later for the wedding!

Having travelled so far and brought with them all their family and best friends, we obviously had to go all out to make it completely unforgettable!

This is why we decided to stretch the whole wedding out over three days and to stage five events during the three days.

On the first night we had a full on Bush Dinner in the middle of the Game Reserve with traditional dancers to enhance the atmosphere.

The whole 5 star meal was cooked right there on the open fires and although it was very cold out in the bush, each chair had a blanket the guests could wrap themselves in, and fires were burning everywhere to create some warmth.

The bride’s dad commented that it felt as if they all landed in the middle of a National Geographic programme.

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The next day was the BIG one!

We chose yet another spot in the middle of nowhere, only this time, with a beautiful view, for the exchanging of the wedding vows.

Chairs were set up and a proper isle formed for the bride to walk down with her dad towards her waiting husband to be.
They even had three bridesmaids and four best men to join them at the altar!
The comfortable winter sun was shining brightly all afternoon, after a really cold morning, and things just could not be more romantic….

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After the formalities, we did pre dinner drinks around the fire in the boma at the Lodge, and the guests, who gathered from over 7 continents, had time to stand around and catch up a bit. By this time the temperature had dropped significantly and warm glasses of gluwein and a couple of snacks to whet appetites went down fabulously in between the flowing champagne.


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Dinner was served inside the Tuningi dining room while the lounge area was turned into a stage for a full on Marimba band with more traditional dancers to get the party going.

Fabulous food, beautiful speeches, lots of friendship and love, rhythmic music and lots of dancing, created a perfect and unforgettable evening!

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The next morning we all had breakfast on the deck at our sister lodge, Buffalo Ridge, before everyone departed to Johannesburg.



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To end off our August newsletter, we thought we would share with you, the thank you letter we received from the gorgeous, happy couple who have since become our friends.

From: Rika Yano []
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 11:11 AM
Subject: Thank you from Jeff and Rika

Dear Heidi, Peter, Claudia, everyone at Tuningi Lodge and the Madikwe Collection staff:

We have safely returned to Japan after a fabulous time in Africa and are now suffering a case of the “post-wedding blues”.

We would like to once again thank each and every one of you for making our wedding celebration so wonderful and special. We really could not have asked for a more perfect wedding. What you put together for us far exceeded any of our expectations. What truly impressed us was how seamlessly everything operated. On the day of the wedding, when we all thought that the weather might be too cold, you already had Plans B and C in mind and ready to go. You were flexible regarding our requests and attended to each and every one of our needs. We really appreciated the fact that when we asked for something, we only had to ask once and it was done.

We want to especially thank all the people who worked behind the scenes to help set up all the events, the housekeeping staff who was so careful with our wedding outfits, everyone who stood out there in the freezing bush serving us dinner, and all the dancers and singers who made our events so much fun.

A round of applause also goes to the chef & kitchen team. Every single meal was amazing and all the guests commented repeatedly on how delicious the food was. We felt like we were dining at a fancy New York City restaurant! Rika still cannot forget how tasty the beef was at the Bush Dinner.

And of course, how can we forget the many amazing game drives we had: the lions eating the eland; the wild dog pups playing around the den; the rhinos sparring for over an hour; a lucky sighting of a leopard two days in a row (three for some…); and the elephants at the waterhole. Grant and Harry managed to find every animal we asked for (including the giraffes on the last drive!) – they were the super ‘rangers on demand’.

At one point Heidi said to us, “you mustn’t worry about a thing”, and she was exactly right. What Tuningi did for us established a whole new meaning to the word ‘service’ that will truly be hard to beat. You all should be very proud of what you put together for us and our guests.

Once again, thank you so much for everything you did. You made our wedding absolutely fabulous!

Best regards,
Rika & Jeff

We are sure that all of you who are still planning your wedding day, have now gathered some new ideas.

Please contact us if you want to do anything remotely similar to Rika and Jeff.
We would love to help you plan your MOST special day, as well!

Next month we will get you updated with all the goings ons in the bush again!
We hope you have a lovely month of September and that we will see you all again soon!
Kindest regards
The romantic T-team



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