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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lion House Lodge in Johannesburg, South Africa by Kenneth Walker

Images of Lion House Lodge courtesy of Kenneth Walker.
Images of wildlife courtesy of Picapp.com.

Editor's Note

I would like to thank Mr. Walker for his kind contribution to the readers of World Football Commentaries.

There are five cottages on the property. They come equipped with
televisions, kitchens, lounges and comfortable bedrooms and private,
ensuite bath and/or showers. One of the cottages, an open-plan
studio next to the pool, is available as an edit suite or other work place.
Each cottage comes equipped with queen sized bed in the bedroom
and a sleeper sofa in the lounges.

Kenneth Walker

Just before I moved to South Africa 10 years ago to become the Africa Bureau chief for National Public Radio, I got a call from my mother in Oakland. "Son," she asked, "I've been reading about all this crime in South Africa. Are you gonna be okay."

I responded, "Mom," I live in Trinidad, a neighborhood with the highest murder rate in D.C., at a time when Washington had the highest murder rate in the country, which meant it had the highest murder rate in the world. A good day, Mom," I continued, "is when there is no automatic gunfire. Those guys in South Africa have nothing I haven't seen."

South Africa's crime has worsened since then, but I'm still convinced it's substantially safer here than in many American cities.

That's why I decided to live here and, seven years ago, opened a Guest Lodge, Lion House Lodge, which can be viewed at www.lionhouselodge.com.

As I prepare for the World Cup, I get a lot of questions about crime. While none of our guests has ever been a victim, I have responded by agreeing to post on-site 24/7 security on the property to augment the state of the art electronic measures. We are located in a very stylish and upscale neighborhood called Rosebank, which, along with Sandton, is one of the two best neighborhoods in town.

All of the fancy shops, restaurants, clubs, theaters, museums, gold courses, health clubs, are within shouting distance.

Sabie Sands Reserve Kruger National Park 08/02/2009 Moon over the Lowveldt Photo Roger Parker Photo via Newscom

Lion House is maybe the only Guest Lodge in this area that's still available, and that's because I have a unique marketing strategy. Rather than take one guest at a time, I decided to make the entire facility available to one self-selected group. I figured that soccer fans want to be with their buddies -- people they know and like. I have targeted international media companies in the knowledge that journalists have a reason to come early and stay late. Pretty quickly after the World Cup Draw in Cape Town on Dec. 4th, I'm fairly certain Lion House Lodge will go off the World Cup market. While I have yen for reporters, I don't care if the guests are hot dog vendors -- so long as folks meet my four week minimum booking requirement.

Darted fallow deer await relocation from Robben Island, off Cape Town, April 24, 2010. About 75 of the non-indigenous deer are being relocated to the Lions Rock sanctuary by the Four Paws (Vier-Pfoten) conservation group. In recent years rabbits, cats and deer have been culled to lessen the negative environmental effects to the island, a World Heritage site where former President Nelson Mandela spent much of his 27 year incarceration. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

Most folks don’t realize just how much there is to do in South Africa. In addition to having international standard shopping, it sits on two oceans and has some of the finest beaches on the planet. If wildlife is your thing, there’s no other country where you can see whales, sharks, dolphins, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetas, giraffes, cape buffalo, wild dogs, etc. And you’re just a puddle hopper away from one of the eight wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls.

A group of lions are seen at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary near Bethlehem April 26, 2010. Lionsrock is run by Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization whose vision is a world without animal suffering. Four Paws also raises awareness regarding the plight of lions in South Africa being bred in captivity for a multi-million rand hunting and tourism industry. REUTERS/Peter Andrews (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT IMAGES OF THE DAY)

So even if you come for the soccer, there still enough time to have a holiday of a lifetime.

So if you and your crew haven't nailed down your accommodations, be in touch while there's still time.

Sabie Sands Reserve Kruger National Park 08/02/2009 Zebra Photo Roger Parker Photo via Newscom

About the Author

Prior to opening Lions House in Johannesburg, Kenneth Walker served as the Africa Bureau Chief for National Public Radio, USA, the largest radio news network in the United States. In 1985, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Mr. Walker an Emmy for "Outstanding Analysis of a Current News Story," for his reports as the correspondent for ABC news' Nightline's historic broadcasts originating in South Africa.

The Nightline series went on to become one of the most honored series of news reports in the history of broadcast journalism; earning, among others, the first Gold Baton from Columbia University's DuPont Columbia Awards and the George Foster Peabody Award. In the same year, the National Association of Black Journalists also named Mr. Walker Journalist of The Year.


Here is a link by the BBC that lists where several national teams will stay in South Africa:

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