Author Archives: Shannon Connolly

Shannon is a former journalist & all-round lover of words. She has been the web editor of Safindit for almost two years, based in Durban and is passionate about technology, travel, music, food & wine. But mostly wine...

Mi-Vami’s mobi gets grilled

Mi-Vami is Hebrew for the “who’s who” and this is the ethos that this shuvarma grill stands to embody.It’s a pity they couldn’t use their connections to create a mobi site that doesn’t entirely fall short of why mobi sites exist; namely convenience and usability.

That’s not to say that the site fails entirely, there are some strips of awesome goodness amidst the wash of terrible sauce. Firstly their mobi is basically a phone-compatible version of their web page, this is helpful in that there’s only one address you need to remember, but it’s also kind of lazy and isn’t exactly friendly to users who have data restrictions. Higher end phone users can make use of the high resolution and zoom right into their pictures, but why not have simple iconography instead of large clumsy photos?

By keeping the web and mobi sites the same, it’s also a lot easier to keep everything on the site up to date. You don’t want to feel like you’re missing out by using one platform over another, so by sharing the same site Mi-Vami can ensure that their specials, products, pricing and contact information are all current.

When it comes to actually viewing what Mi-Vami has to offer, they do both good and bad. All their information is available, but to the point where it becomes more of a burden than a pleasure to look through. I don’t believe that a mobi is there to be ogled over, but more for quick and simple information and purchasing. It’s awesome that they include a history of their business and what they stand for, but I don’t want to scroll through a brief history of the shuvarma industry just to order some lunch.
The home page is far too text heavy and should rather have a brief intro that leads into some simple collapsible menus, unlike the current ‘more’ button which gets lost in the rest of the site. The information is all there. It should just have big and simple buttons that take you to where you want to go, rather than having to search for tiny links buried in the rest of the site.

What’s the point of having a mobi-site for a restaurant if you’re unable to order food from it? Again I think this links to the mobi just being a phone compatible version of their web existence, rather than being a stand-alone that can receive orders and store user profiles and their shopping carts. It would be cool if there was a button that automatically connected you to their landline (considering it’s a mobile site) and the need to authenticate an email is silly, you should just be able to email them through your phones email programme or via a built-in contact system.

The map doesn’t seem to work either. Being able to find which branches are closest to you would been better. As far as the design elements of the site goes, I feel it could have been more visually appealing by tying into the theme more rather than having red banners and bland white backgrounds. Obviously readability is an important but it needs to be more visually exciting.

Considering the relatively small stature of Mi-Vami compared to other food retail giants, their mobi has all the basics required yet leaves a lot to be desired. Their efforts to be involved on a mobile platform are not in vain but there are a few small tweaks they could make to ensure an as efficient and enjoyable experience as possible.

Why it’s important to Save the Drome

Rumours have abounded for some time now that the city of Cape Town was considering demolishing the Bellville Velodrome but a document published recently has now confirmed their intent.

In the “Draft Broader Tygervalley Urban Design Framework” the city provide details of what the plans are for the area, which indicate that the Tygervalley Precinct will be upgraded to a “secondary CBD”, including high-rise office space, shopping centres, public transport initiatives etc. A multi-storey shopping centre called “Galleria” is to built on the site of the current Velodrome – though there is no direct mention of what exactly will happen to the Velodrome.

Upon hearing the news, and after chatting with Jeanne Nell, (South Africa’s National 1km Time Trial & Keirin Track Cycling champion) Cape Town cycling enthusiast Ridaa Ismail felt strongly that the plans should not go ahead and started the Save the Drome campaign to try and give the facility and those who use it a voice.

X: What makes the Drome so valuable to the Cape Town cycling community?

R: The Velodrome is not only valuable to the Cape Town cycling community but the entire South African track cycling community. Bellville Velodrome is the only Olympic standard velodrome on the African continent and is the training base for all our Olympic and Paralympic track cyclists.

There are plans for a velodrome to be established in Potchefstroom but that will take a while to be constructed. If the Bellville Velodrome is demolished it would mean that there is no training base for our Olympic and Paralympic track cyclists training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio Olympics. These sportsmen and women have sacrificed their lives to fulfil the dream of winning Gold, and if the Velodrome is demolished, their dream of representing South Africa on the biggest stage will be gone. Continue reading

A festival where the family’s welcome

It’s been six consecutive years that I haven’t missed the White Mountain Festival. From the very first year this small but fabulous festival grew on my heart like a woolly moss you might find growing in the mountainous area.

Originally started in 2006 as an alternative for the more sedate Splashy Fen fans, and organised by the same group, C-Weed Productions, White Mountain, situated at White Mountain Lodge just outside Estcourt, was intended to cater for families and folk fans.

Word spread almost immediately after the first festival and soon it was attracting a healthy crowd of around 2000 music-lovers, which is about as big as it will get. I couldn’t help but compare my latest visit to my recent trek to Oppikoppi. Though White Mountain may involve music and camping, it couldn’t be further removed from its’ northern counterpart.

For one thing, you can replace the hard, red dust with green verdant pastures and picturesque mountains. The setting is truly stunning. You get a feeling of peace as soon as you drive into the main camping area, which is equipped with basic ablution facilities – also unlike Oppikoppi. (If you’re lucky you may even score a hot shower!)

With a single main stage where the majority of the action takes place, the pace is leisurely. There’s no need to rush around to see your favourites. It’s best to grab you gear and get comfy in front of the stage for the day.

Around you you’ll find people napping, sipping on cold Craft beer from Notties Brewery or coffee to keep off the mountain chill. You’ll see toddlers shaking their nappied tushes to the tunes. You’ll see old friends laughing in camping chairs and new friends being made around the bonfire. The food selection isn’t huge but what’s there is hearty – homemade potjikos, delicious shwarmas, vegetarian curry, pizza and giant burgers! Continue reading

Daily Collection

Meet for High Tea – a decadent afternoon affair!

The time-honoured tradition of high tea may be long gone in most homes and establishments but there are still a select group of hotels and venues that indulge their visitors!

Guests at some of the country’s top hotels can enjoy a mouth-watering selection of decadent sweets and treats lovingly created by celebrity chefs. Then wash it down with a dazzling array of teas and coffees.

It’s not just the culinary experience, but the act of stopping your day to take time out with friends and maybe put on a special outfit – all in luxurious comfort.

Whether you’re a regular tea aficionado or an occasional crumpet-lover, High Tea is something you should experience at least once!

“The colour of adventure”

Anyone who’s ever felt the desire to hop into the basket of a hot air balloon will find this picture by Jayme Vasconcellos, taken at the Kruger Adventure Lodge, particularly inspiring! Nothing says adventure quite like a colourful hot air balloon taking off into the sky! See more Instagrams under “Photos” here: http://safindit.co.za/kruger-adventure-lodge

Top 5 Private Game Reserves in South Africa

South Africa is beyond famous for its’ incredible game reserves and lodges. People flock from all around the world to experience Africa in one of our top class facilities. Some just back a tent and trundle off but others seek out SA’s most luxurious and exclusive wildlife experiences. As far as we’re concerned, we’d be more than happy to stay at ANY of these reserves, but here are our Top 5!

1. Singita – Sabi Sand

It’s no secret Singita has been winning awards for some time now and although all of their private reserves are spectacular, Sabi Sand is regarded as uniquely special. With three magnificent but warm lodges set on a massive plot of Big 5 rich land, it’s easy to see why Singita Sabi Sand was recently ranked number 9 in the Condé Nast travellers awards in the Middle East, Africa and India Ocean.

2. Londolozi

One of the original pioneering Private Game Reserves of the ecotourism industry in South Africa and an unashamedly family run, stand alone operation, conservation is at the core of their ethics. World renowned as one of Africas finest game lodges, Londolozi was the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Chateaux status, with each of its’ 5 lodges committed to luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and exceptional service.

3. Thanda

Wildlife, romance and exclusivity meet at Thanda Private Game Reserve – an award-winning safari destination in northern Zululand.Originally purchased as degraded cattle farms, Thanda’s wildlife management has concentrated on an extensive rehabilitation project, which included reintroducing the Big Five. The newly added Luxury Tented Camp is the epitome of oppulent colonial safari-style, perfect for guests who are searching for an authentic safari experience!

4. Shamwari

Home to Africas Big 5 and is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa Shamwari has received numerous international awards, including the Worlds Leading Conservation Company and Game Reserve for many consecutive years.Luxury safari accommodation is offered in 7 different 5-star lodges on the 25 000 hectare reserve. From rustic treetop hideaways to colonial bush mansions, Shamwari will make your safari dreams come true.

5. Phinda

Phinda is unique in that is includes seven distinct habitats – a magnificent tapestry of woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, river courses, marshes and pans. At Phinda intimate encounters and rare discoveries can be experienced firsthand. With unspoiled beaches and spectacular reefs nearby, and an abundance of wildlife, Phinda offers the perfect bush and beach adventure. Six luxury lodges, each set in varying environments, provide exclusivity and privacy deeply set in the natural environment.