A Manifesto For Making The World A Better Place


 The Spirit of Relais & Châteaux

 “If we do not live as we think, we soon begin to think as we live.”
– Fulton J. Sheen

On the entrance to each of our hotels and lodges around Africa sits a gold Fleur de Lys, that distinctive mark of the Relais & Châteaux family. It is our family crest, a symbol of the principles that have united us for our 60 years of history, the principles that we hold ourselves to to this day.

The 20 Commitments of Relais & Châteaux are more than a code of guidelines for our properties and the experiences they offer. They are part of the greater vision that we have for the world, a vision to create positive change. More than just words, they are unflinching values our innkeepers embody and live. They are the spirit of Relais & Châteaux.

To give you a hint of what to expect from your travels in Africa with us, take a look at our manifesto below and here, through the eyes of the President himself.

R&C Vision

Image taken at Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg

1. Offer a “cuisine” that is representative of local traditions and environments and reflects their global diversity.
2. Receive guests in a way that respects the individuality of each Relais & Châteaux property location, landscape, decor, and its unique way of good living and fine dining.
3. Welcome guests as friends, in an atmosphere where the host Relais & Châteaux property share its passion for “living well”.
4. Initiate strong relationships with local farmers and fishermen and develop a Conservatory that protects and promotes biodiversity.
5. Encourage responsible fishing to protect the biodiversity of the oceans.

Fishing on the Zambezi

6. Contribute to renew natural resources by reducing food waste and using seasonal products locally sourced.
7. Limit the environmental impact of Relais & Châteaux properties with regards to energy, water and waste by employing the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) system of checks.
8. Associate the finest tastes with nutrition and health to show our guests how fine “cuisine” and well-being go hand in hand.
9. Develop a system for training young people in each region in the art of good taste, food preparation and service.
10. Be part of the regional culinary culture and share our knowledge to teach and enrich the Food Arts as part of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity and as the 10th Art Form.

R&C Vision

Image taken at Anjajavy L’Hotel in Madagascar

11. Sign contracts with small local producers who supply our restaurants, offering them an appropriate price allowing them to grow their products without chemicals or GMO, avoid overproduction and the depletion of natural resources.
12. Set up a plan to train the young in the spirit of the “artisan journeymen” where they can learn the skills our professionals use daily throughout the world.
13. Give our personnel good working conditions and salaries that allow them to achieve the level of excellence of Relais & Châteaux so they become our ambassadors everywhere they go.
14. Develop “the art of taking care and being attentive to someone’s needs and desires” by conveying, in a personal way, our pleasure to serve, making the experience at Relais & Châteaux a unique, fulfilling and inspiring moment.
15. Create relationships with local authorities to participate in the planning and initiation of programs for local development.

R&C Vision

Image taken at Morukuru in Madikwe

16. Participate in the promotion of manual jobs, which stress the importance and value of working with one’s hands, allowing young people to realize professional goals.
17. Explain these 20 principles to our clients so that they can improve the way they plan their holidays, in a responsible manner.
18. Invest locally to help communities unite the cultural and practical links between the city and the countryside.
19. Create global alliances, starting at the local level, between people working with different means but sharing the same objectives (to diminish food waste, develop local and sustainable food production, maintain biodiversity).
20. Share the Vision among the owners of Relais & Châteaux, chefs, dining, hotel staff and wine experts, and ensure through local and international events, that our actions and our words contribute to “make the world a better place through cuisine and hospitality” and to recognize the “Arts of Living” as the 10th Art.

This is our vision of Africa…

The Mind of a Chef – Meet Delaire Graff’s Michael Deg

Head Chef of Delaire Graff Restaurant - Michael Deg

It is our vision at Relais & Châteaux Africa to inspire positive change in the world through cuisine, hospitality and our relentless pursuit of “l’art de vivre”…

It’s a philosophy shared by the people behind the Delaire Graff Estate in the Cape Winelands of South Africa, and a passion upheld, in particular, by the Delaire Graff Restaurant’s head chef, Michael Deg. 

Head Chef of Delaire Graff Restaurant Michael Deg in the estate greenhouse

We invite you behind the scenes of the Delaire Graff Restaurant, into the mind of one of the country’s top chefs, with the help of foodie photographer, Sam Linsell of Drizzel And Dip’s beautiful photographs of the estate.

Q&A with Michael Deg



“Working with my wonderful team of 20 chefs, who all give their best and work hard, long hours. It really is special to see our brigade working during a busy service to one common goal.”


“Our custard slice infused with toast, served with banana sorbet, praline mousse, caramelised popcorn and coconut crème. Our head pastry chef, Ándre Steyn, is a master of his craft and really comes up with magical desserts. It is a pleasure having someone of that calibre working with us.”


“Padraig Hayden, whom I worked for as Sous Chef in Dublin, Ireland. He not only taught me how to cook properly, he taught me how to work hard. As a head chef, he would never miss a service. He was always the first chef in the door and the last to leave. He also taught me that no job is too small. I try every day to bring this work ethic to my kitchen.”


“Foraging is a trendy word these days: during mushroom season, my chefs love picking wild mushrooms and return with buckets full of them. I love nothing more than when one of the chefs comes to work with a big bag of freshly foraged nasturtium, a firm favourite of mine. Chefs will continue to strive for fresh and healthy cuisine, because at the end of the day, customers want natural products.”


“Durban lamb curry with basmati rice, and poppadums with Mrs Ball’s chutney takes me home every time.”






Michael Says…

“Like everything at Delaire Graff Estate, when I travel up the Estate driveway, I appreciate how green it looks. It flows throughout the Estate, from different scenery to different colours, everywhere you look. I take this inspiration onto the plates. There is nothing more relaxing than walking through the garden and picking herbs for the dinner guests after a long lunch service.

“Every morning, Jerry Gumunyu, our vegetable gardener extraordinaire, comes to us with a list of produce ready to be harvested: from tomatoes, green beans, artichokes, peppadews and courgettes, to a huge variety of salads and herbs. I like to use our estate vegetable garden and greenhouse as a reference for what is in season for the menu. In winter we have an entirely different crop to look forward to than in spring. When we see the first sign of broad beans, we know summer is around the corner. It’s so exciting to live with the seasons; to have such variety just outside the kitchen is a chef ’s dream.

“Beautifully presented dishes are very important. I like my plates to look as if they are flowing with natural colours; I always plate from left to right to represent the flowing motion of the garden. We use a lot of edible flowers from the Estate, which pop with colour and bring the dishes to life. We support local farmers. For example, most of our mushrooms come from Nouvelle Mushrooms located less than 10 kilometres away; our trout is farmed just outside Franschhoek; Ryan Boons from Paarl supplies our free-range meat; and we use Farmer Angus from Spier for our grass-fed beef sirloins. We use only South African produce. It wouldn’t make sense to buy scallops flown halfway round the world. We have wonderful produce on our doorstep, so we make use of it.”













Visit Delaire Graff and experience the art of gastronomy at the hands of Michael Deg for yourself. Thank you to Sam Linsell of Drizzle And Dip for letting us share these beautiful images.

Have you dined at the Delaire Graff Restaurant? We’d love to know your thoughts…

The First Footsteps of a Newborn Elephant

This Friday we bring you a little inspiration from the bush – from Londolozi Private Game Reserve‘s Amy Attenborough, as one newborn bushling attempts the delicate art of walking for the first time. This is…

Attenborough’s Africa


Young royalty is protected behind pillars and trunks. Its world is guarded and small, but its future is huge”- Heinrich van den Berg

For me there are no better words than Heinrich van den Berg’s to describe the scene we witnessed recently of a newborn elephant attempting to take its first steps amidst the melee of its herd. We watched the elephants perform the dance of birth where they pirouetted in tight circles around themselves and waltzed around each other to the music of their rumbling.

As is typical of elephants, there was great ceremony to the occasion and the herd were there to support the mother after her 22 month long pregnancy. As they jostled around the baby I kept stressing that it was about to be trampled, but their movements were gentle and controlled, and the baby bounced amongst them on new-found feet. They helped the mother to bury the afterbirth and spent a large amount of time dust bathing themselves and the baby, possibly to rid it of scent and thus prevent predators from smelling this vulnerable new creature. They also touched their trunks to it tenderly, taking turns to greet the new member of the family, all the while rumbling in the deeply comforting way that speaks to elephants and humans alike.

The video below shows how the elephants help to lift the baby to its feet, whilst barricading it from the dangers of the outside world. It is amazing to think that this tiny, defenceless creature will one day be one of Africa’s giants- roaming this beautiful wilderness. It was an incredibly touching scene to witness and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Due to the relaxed nature of the elephants we see here on Londolozi, this is not the first time something like this has been seen. A few years ago, one of our rangers managed to get video footage of a female elephant actually giving birth, whilst others have even been privileged enough to watch a birth from the comfort of their room in camp.

We have also seen strange herd make ups that suggests the female could have given birth to twins. This is incredibly rare and only been recorded a few times in the wild. Have you ever seen an elephant birth or known of an elephant that gave birth to twins? We’d love to hear about your thoughts or experiences.


Discover more great reads on Londolozi’s Blog or experience these incredible creatures, big and small, on your own elephant safari, whether at Londolozi or our other recommended destinations for elephant encounters in South Africa – Camp Jabulani and Gorah Elephant Camp.