Sunday, January 13, 2008
Sir Elton Begins South African Tour Tonight!
BRITISH pop star Elton John has been pampering himself at an exclusive game reserve in Mpumalanga.
The 60-year-old singer relaxed in the bush ahead of his tour of South Africa, which kicks off in Cape Town tonight.
Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish arrived at Royal Malewane in the Thornybush Game Reserve, on the western fringe of the Kruger National Park, last week.
A ranger who works for another lodge in the reserve said Sir Elton was spotted on the back of a game vehicle on Monday, covered in sunscreen and looking rather hot in the African sunshine.
The ranger said they saw two lions and a waterbuck kill.
The colonial-style reserve’s Royal and Malewane suites are the largest in Africa at 210m². Complimentary services include a butler and chef, private game drives and daily massages — luxuries Sir Elton clearly appreciates as this was his third visit to the lodge.
The star, who jetted into Cape Town Airport yesterday afternoon from Hoedspruit Air Force Base in a Gulfstream V private jet, will stay at the newly built La Residence in Franschhoek, which, like Malewane, is owned by Liz and Phil Biden’s Royal Portfolio group. The couple are said to be friends with the singer.
A Franschhoek resident said about 30 security guards inspected the property, expected to be reserved for Sir Elton’ s exclusive use, on Tuesday.
Sources in the guesthouse industry said he would also be staying at a private cottage in Hermanus, managed by the Royal Portfolio group.
Sir Elton’s spokesman in the UK, Gary Furrow, confirmed on Tuesday that his client was in South Africa and would “arrive in Cape Town in a private plane on Saturday”.
“He won’t be giving any interviews while on tour,” Furrow told the Sunday Times.
The star, knighted in 1998 for his contribution to the British music industry, has been touring for more than 40 years. He will perform hits such as Candle In The Wind, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.
While he has been funding the Masibambisane Centre for orphans and vulnerable children in Johannesburg since 2003, assistant director of the establishment, Poppy Mashego, said no visit was scheduled.
“Elton has renewed his funding to us, but we have not heard anything about him visiting,” Mashego said.
He also has other causes in the country which benefit from the Elton John Aids Foundation.
He will perform in Durban on Wednesday, followed by two concerts in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday.
# It was announced this week that due to the Hollywood writers’ strike, the Golden Globe Awards had been cancelled, causing concern the Academy Awards might follow suit.
But PageSix.com reported that Sir Elton’s annual Oscar bash and fundraiser for his Aids Foundation would still go ahead if this was the case.