Hayward’s Grand Safari Company wins big at the Sanlam Top Destination Awards 2017

Hayward’s Grand Safari Company wins big at the Sanlam Top Destination Awards 2017

Caption: mage: (L-R) Representing Hayward’s Grand Safari Company on the night and seen here receiving the award is publicist Mercédes Westbrook of Firehorse Media with Michela Balpiaz, owner of Ayama Wines and wine sponsor of the evening, together with celebrity emcees Josie Eveleigh and Tracey Lange.
Cape Town – At the 3rd Sanlam Top Destination Awards 2017 which honours key players in SA Tourism and Hospitality, Hayward’s Grand Safari Company has been named the Winner in the Five-star Lodge category across southern Africa.

 The Sanlam Top Destination Awards was hosted at the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town. 35 winners from 9600 nominees walked away with the sought after title of ‘Top Destination’ in their respective categories and star grading.

Hayward’s Grand Safari Company provides private groups of 40 to 200 VIP guests with an authentic 5-star mobile tented safari camp experience in pristine wilderness reserves across the African continent. Each luxury camp guarantees corporate and celebrity clients’ total event exclusivity and superior guest comfort.
Rated as the only 5-star mobile Safari in Africa, hosts Peter Hayward and Celia du Preez, are appointed by leading multinational blue-chip companies, royal contingents, presidents and renown celebrities alike. Owner Peter Hayward said, “I am absolutely delighted to have received such high accolades from the Sanlam Top Destination Awards.
Image: Peter Hayward, Adventure Extraordinaire and owner of Hayward’s Grand Safari Company in camp with Celia du Preez on a mobile 5-star expedition in Africa

“As custodians of global Sanlam Wealthsmith investments, what better establishment to represent how to turn money into meaning and set the standard for a future vision of tourism and hospitality in South Africa and for the continent. “Together with Discount Traveler, this award is a testament to the skill and vision of its creators and sponsors.”

“Hospitality and tourism is a large driving force in our economy and we want to continue to recognise and reward one of our country’s most influential industries,” commented Jonathan Pepler, managing director of Discount Traveler and founder of the Sanlam Top Destination Awards.


The Productivity to Just Be

The Productivity to Just Be

The Year 2021 started with a whimper for most… It was out of pure habit that I visited my local stationer and bought my new calendar diary to transfer my most important dates. I use the blank white pages of my still shiny 2020 diary to take notes while on the phone; okay I also doodle in it quite a bit.

Behind all the angst of the unknown in terms of both the virus and the global economy, January 2021 has been a very different month to that of the previous year – for those of us in South Africa, we couldn’t even celebrate the turning of time with a glass of champagne due to the country’s alcohol ban.

.For those lucky enough to still be employed or able to manage their businesses under #lockdown restrictions there is none of the energy usually associated with the start of a new year. For the many forced to swivel industries, the stress of trying to maintain one’s head above water while still coming up with new business ideas and marketing strategies under a whole new set of operating rules, these new landscapes make no promises and only offer a cool outlook.

I personally have had to reassess my idea of productivity.

Stress and angst are debilitating. Friends and family talk of the mind fugue and the exhaustion being experienced – for me, it feels a little like trying to run underwater, its awfully clumsy, slow and I can’t seem to hear or see ahead too well. While some in my circle try to attribute it to either old age, menopause or a doubling down on bad habits, there is no denying the mass consciousness of fear which grips the world and its a pretty heavy energy right now.

Online marketers are quick to respond to the lag with a million different hacks of how to motivate ourselves, usually accompanied by some slick copy writing which ends with a call to action to pay for your place in their race.


As the head of my family, I have to admit, I am a Do-er.

Pre-pandemic, I was an early riser who stuck to a strict timetable of chores and activities – none scheduled in for my own personal growth as I now recall – but pivotal in bootstrapping my business and ensuring my children would succeed at whatever they set out to do.

I have always believed that if you work hard you will get somewhere. This has proven true for me over the years too. I have had to pull me and my young family out of some pretty desperate places while relocating, job searching and finding a safe abode. And indeed, hard work and personal endeavour saw that I found my feet, set my course and like many, felt ready that finally 2020 was going to be the year it was all going to come together in a glorious succession of work-life-money balance.


The impact of Covid-19 has cut deep on our mental health – but more perhaps more silently. We know what to do if we get the virus but what does one do when you want to run screaming for the hills and you can’t because its lock down. Its a personal battle that we grapple with in the privacy of our four walls.

Faced with the devastation either of our own lives or those around us, finding the meaning of life each morning can become one’s greatest and something only challenge for the day. My biggest battle has been trying to find the balance between self-care, stress and the motivation to keep putting on my battle gear and heading out to the battlefield.

Difficult economic circumstances make us automatically feel we must become more productive in order to compensate for the gaps. But, for many of us, we are finding instead, the need to take mental health days as a form of self-assigned sick leave… the one’s where in early lock down, it was easier to avoid having to face the worries of the world or our personal lives by sticking our heads under the duvet, especially since we couldn’t move further than our own front door.

Yes, the New Year has been announced, the first pay day of the year has either arrived for you or it was a no show. Instead of beating yourself up about what you should be doing to engender new business, motivate yourself to get out there or do something radically different and amazing, please take a few more moments for self-care.


Our well being must be our first priority. A stressed mind can’t think clearly and no one is sure of the future agenda at this stage. Stop beating yourself up that you should be working and instead do the most self-indulgent thing you can for you. Join that hiking group, the one you’ve been meaning to for the last five years. Sit and watch the Food Channel all day, there in may lie your latent passion. Study the butterflies that come to your garden. Set up a mental self-help support group on Zoom. Find your own personal sweet spot and keep dipping back in there.

Now more than ever we are being challenged by the expectation of always having to be ‘switched on’ in our work-from-home living spaces. Its counterproductive to think you can make any Goliath changes right now.

Instead, take a breath or two, sit quietly by yourself (for at least 1 hour per day or better yet 1 hour in the morning and the afternoon) and really feel your way into this new year.

The world needs you in all your authentic self… not that old office manager persona, as an entrepreneur hotshot, or as a super earning Mom or Dad. No, the world needs real people who can watch the dawn rising from a quiet space in themselves, in order to hear the true voice inside of us. Wait patiently, we have to give this voice the space to emerge, to grow and to flow so that we can reach deep into this new place and replenish in order to go out into this Brave New World.

We shift only when we observe the chasm. Spend time learning your new landscape. This is how we learn to build bridges and roads, the one’s that lead to our future, spoken with the words of our heart.

Mercedes Westbrook is a Momtrepreneur, raising her three children in Cape Town, South Africa. Firehorse Media is her homegrown business of 6 years, offering online support with #contentcreation, #communicationsstrategy, #socialmediamanagement, #publicity, and affordable #Wordpress #websites. Visit www.firehorsemedia.co.za for more.

Hayward’s Grand Safari Company commends Mercedes Westbrook

Hayward’s Grand Safari Company commends Mercedes Westbrook

It is indeed a pleasure to commend Mercedes Westbrook for the outstanding PR and publicity expertise she has accomplished for our safari company this past year.

We have seen a significant increase across all social media and print articles and editorials, all going a long way to get Hayward’s Grand Safaris into the limelight where due.

Without a constant and dedicated outflow of industry updates and news from in-front and behind the scenes, our potential clients may not get the true story of who we are and what our safari lineage entails.

Having a professional on board such as Mercedes, who is able to encapsulate what makes us stand apart and what unique safari services we offer to our illustrious client base worldwide, is imperative to our future growth and success.

We look forward to continuing this process with Mercedes and building our brand exponentially into the future.

Peter Hayward
Founder and Chief Expeditions Officer
Tel:  086 173 2583 or +27 12 808 0442 or Cell: +27 82 606 1003
E-mail:  peterhayward@ haywardsafaris.com
Web:  www.haywardsafaris.com

What is a press embargo and is it still significant?

What is a press embargo and is it still significant?

With information on social media able to travel around the globe at near speed of light, media ‘rules’ such as news embargoes are a little retro in what is now a disrupted information space.

Traditionally, a press release or information regarding a newsworthy event might be embargoed, meaning that while the information has been shared with a specific audience, it is prohibited from being released to the public or widely disseminated in any way until the specified date.

Hear something juicy by word of mouth these days and its almost guarantee that everyone and their Auntie Dorothy has already shared it across at least one media channel.  Rapid information sharing has never been so easy by so many people, which raises the stakes for embargoed news.

When old news is good news

An example of embargoed news might be as follows; imagine John Lennon was still alive and after much negotiation with the promoters, a large venue had secured a booking for the musician to perform a concert.

Once the deal had been confirmed, both the promoter and the venue would share the news to a group of contractors, suppliers and local media in order to co-ordinate plans in preparation for the public announcement of the imminent event.

Marketing materials would have to be written, approved, signed off and printed according to strict marketing protocols. Box offices would need to prepare their ticket booking calendars and have the listing uploaded. Hotel accommodation would need to be booked. Advertising space across a variety of daily, weekly and monthly publications would need to be secured and key media informed so they could schedule the news into their publishing calendars and have adequate time to gather additional background news about the artist to prepare accurate or in-depth news features and interviews.

This would be when a press release would be sent with an embargo informing the recipients of the event but stating upfront that they would only be able to share the news on a specified date.

An embargo is usually agreed between both parties – the side announcing the news and the side receiving it. Should the embargo be breached – perhaps by a gossip columnist looking for a scoop or an editorial intern unaware of the meaning of an embargo, it can have serious repercussions for all involved but especially regarding the legal agreements between the promoter and the venue, as well as the reputation of the publication or media title.

Additional industries such as government communications, the health industry and scientific news sources may also make use of embargoed news.

Quoting ‘Off the Record’ does not guarantee anonymity

Just as there is a source to every river that flows to the sea, shared information has a way of finding itself back to the creator and it pays to only ever share information that is accurate, factual and which represents integrity of knowledge.

It still amazes me how often I hear client revealing information about their company or personal life with a throw-away line about ‘this part being off the record’ when being interviewed by the press.

You are never off the record whether you are speaking to an editor or journalist – or your best friend – and should only share information with the knowledge that it immediately becomes public knowledge the minute it leaves your mouth.

In the same way, unless a publicist has a firm business agreement in place with the media outlet, sending out a media release with an embargoed date does not ensure your request will be followed.




How to Survive your First Radio Interview

How to Survive your First Radio Interview

Your marketing has paid off. The phone rings and you are invited for an interview on a popular radio show to discuss your field of industry expertise. After your initial excitement, it is natural that you might start to feel anxious, especially if you have never had an opportunity to speak live ‘on the air’ before.

Be aware that anxiety can quickly magnify into paralysing fear. This usually occurs in direct proportion to the degree of experience and understanding you may or may not have regarding public speaking and the immediacy of the radio interview environment.

Before your anxiety builds, arm yourself with the following tips so you can handle your interview with confidence and panache.

Tip #1
Research the station and the interviewer. Each radio station broadcasts to its own unique demographic of listener. Tune into the station and listen to the specific time slot you will be invited to participate in. How does the station ‘talk’ to its audience? Is it very formal in its style of broadcast or does it have a light-hearted and entertaining approach.  If you don’t have time to listen in to the show beforehand, visit the station’s website. You are likely to find links to recordings of previous interviews that have taken place. Understanding the personality of the talk show host and the type of questioning techniques they like to use will also forearm you with how you can best respond.

Tip #2
Research the audience. While listeners may vary to a slight degree in age and lifestyle, there will be a core audience which will participate in listener call-ins and questions. Understanding the listener’s goals, expectations and assumptions will assist in your delivery of information and how you respond to listener engagement and enquiries. Remember that each and every listener may well be your next customer.

Tip #3
You are not going to have time to cover every point on the topic during the interview. Armed with the knowledge of your audience and the tone of the show, make a bulleted list of the main points you would like to communicate. Stay focussed on these main aspects of the topic throughout the discussion and keep referring to them with examples and personal anecdotes. Make sure you have at least one example that illustrates both a problem and its solution.

Tip #4
Establish your credibility with the audience upfront. Open with a strong story or perspective regarding the topic. Use rhetorical questions to match the type of questions the audience might be thinking. Make sure you cover the top five most frequently asked questions from your own customer base. Refer to the audience regularly and keep your information relevant to how it applies to their world.

Tip #5
Your voice is the only thing the audience has to refer to you as an expert. Keep your pace deliberate and your voice deep. Use pauses for effect and to guide your thought processes, so you don’t fall into the trap of the umhs and ahs. If the line of questioning momentarily stumps you, or you lose your train of thought, transition the conversation back to one of the topic’s main bullet points you jotted down at the beginning. Be forearmed and anticipate what might be tough questions regarding the subject.

Congratulations on securing your first radio interview. Be confident that you have all the information and answers to any awkward questions that may arise and approach your interview with focus and clarity.

Mercédes Westbrook is a journalist and editor with an extensive career in the media publishing arena working with top South African brand marketing and management teams over a variety of publications within their aligned industries.

As owner of www.firehorsemedia.co.za she has adapted her communication skills for the digital platform to include content creation, website design, content marketing, social media management, and public relations. She can be reached on mercedes@firehorsemedia.co.za