Duration: 1 Day.
Destination: Follow the journey of an ocean diamond from its humble origin beneath the surface of the sea into a symbol of love.
Ellerman House, located in Cape Town in partnership with Benguela Diamonds, offers guests an exclusive opportunity to embark on a ‘diamond safari’ to the mineral-rich west coast of South Africa and pick out their own rough diamond to be cut, polished and set into a piece of jewellery at the design studio in Stellenbosch.
The Diamond Safari will be available from 1 September 2016, and is strictly dependent on prevailing weather conditions. Available for a maximum of 6 guests, the trip includes the road transfers, return air transfer on a private jet, and all food and beverages including the Dom Pérignon Experience at Ellerman House. The price remains the same, regardless whether 2, 4 or 6 guests travel together. The rate excludes the cost of any diamonds purchased from Benguela Diamonds and also excludes the cost of designing and manufacturing a piece of jewellery.
The adventure begins the moment you are collected from Ellerman House by chauffeured limousine and transferred to Cape Town International Airport. Your private pilots for the day will welcome you on board the luxurious Pilatus PC12 jet or Kingair 200 aircraft, before taking off from the beautiful city of Cape Town towards the diamond fields on the west coast of South Africa. The scenic flight, which takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes, follows the Atlantic coastline to Port Nolloth.
There’s time to drink a toast to the journey before landing and being welcomed by your host from Benguela Diamonds. Your private home away-from-home base for the day is a luxurious, contemporary villa on the coast, directly in front of Benguela Diamonds private diamond mining concession. Equipped with a high level of luxury and comfort to ensure that every aspect of your day is both relaxed and pleasurable, the villa has uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean. The morning at your private villa begins with a cup of coffee or a glass of freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice, followed by breakfast. Fresh and healthy or decidedly decadent, choose from a tempting selection of breakfast dishes while your Benguela Diamonds host outlines the day’s activities.
It is then time to head out on your diamond safari. Once the boats are moored beyond the treacherous breakers, guests are invited to join the Benguela Diamonds dive masters beneath the ocean. The only requirements are a current PADI Open Water 1 certificate and a sense of adventure. The dive is an entry level one, in fairly shallow water. Divers are kitted out with all the diving equipment required to ensure a warm, comfortable and safe experience. For those who choose to stay on the boat, there is the excitement and anticipation of waiting for the precious seabed gravel to be brought up to the surface. Trained master divers operate giant suction pipes to pump the seabed gravel into a classifier that separates the larger stones from the gravel. The remaining gravel is then ‘jigged’ which means that the diamonds are sorted from the gravel using a vibrating pan system. The heavier stones, such as garnets, olivines and diamonds, fall into the pan.
After the boat trip a gourmet lunch awaits you on the terrace of the villa. Ellerman House sends a private chef with you for the day to take care of all your culinary needs. Ellerman House villa guests will be accompanied by their personal in villa chef. In keeping with the coastal setting, we suggest a delicious seafood lunch of fresh line-caught fish or west coast crayfish, depending on the season. The gourmet lunch of your choosing is paired with award-winning South African wines, handpicked from Ellerman House’s exceptional wine collection. It is then time to take a closer look at the morning’s rich pickings. While examining a selection of rough, uncut diamonds with a sorting expert from the company, you will learn more about the meticulous grading of diamonds.
This is your moment to select a rough diamond to be cut, polished and set into a piece of jewellery to cherish forever. It only takes three consecutive working days to get a diamond cut and polished and a piece of jewellery designed, made and certified. By late afternoon, guests are on their way back to Cape Town aboard their private aircraft. Safely back at Ellerman House, guests round off the day by indulging in the hotel’s signature Dom Pérignon Experience. As the sun sinks into the ocean, pop the cork on a bottle of vintage Dom Pérignon paired to a delicious bento box-style dinner prepared by the executive chef.