Lifestyle contributors - Shingai Dirangwa, Oluthando Keteyi, Nneka Jonas
For years, the Durban July has been one of South Africa’s most revered sporting events.
These days it’s a highlight for South Africans and overseas visitors, who flock to the Greyville Racecourse to witness what has become known as ‘Africa's greatest-horse racing event’.
Every year, the race attracts thousands to the racecourse - although the horses are somewhat overshadowed by extravagant outfits and luxurious marquees.
Each year, companies go all out to lavish their guests in all things luxury. Here’s a sneak peek of what guests experienced this year at some of the marquees at the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
Halisi Afrique Marquee
A partnership between Ntokozo Langa, Ndumiso Mncwabe, Phindile Zulu and Noluthando Maselana, brought about a new marquee at this year’s Durban July - the Halisi Afrique Marquee.
Co-founder Phindile Zulu said they decided to host the marquee because they saw a gap.
“The Durban July has been out for two years so we wanted to offer people something different, exclusive, comfortable and something that they can relate to, but in an upper class sort of fashion,” said Zulu.
Furnished with green couches, beautiful white chairs, hanging chandeliers and bright yellow flowers, this marquee was giving tropical vibes.
Guests were treated to an all-day entertainment, curated light lunch, three-course exclusive dinner, late-night nibbles, and full-day premium bar service.
Menu: Samoosas, burgers, chicken, sushi served with gin, whisky, bubbly and beer.
Durban Tourism Marquee
The double-decker glass marquee was cleverly designed to show off a sleek, chic and clean look.
Each table boasted a beautiful flower bouquet with a few overhead bouquets hanging from the ceiling which represented 'beehives'.
Event organiser from Innovative Technologies, Siphesihle Gumbi, said they interpreted the “Show Me The Honey” theme as an ecosystem that bees live in.
“We wanted it to look like an ecosystem. So we went with a lot of greenery and we added bee cut-outs to the decor. It took months of planning.”
Menu: On the menu, chef Clinton Bonhomme was hard at work, making sure that he and his team were ahead of feeding more than 1 000 guests that were expected to visit the marque throughout the day.
Meals included deboned short rib with chimichurri sauce, sweet and sour pork ribs, cheesey buster’s bites, sticky chicken wings and fish goujons with garlic aioli.
Signature Soiree Marquee
The Signature Soiree Marquee was another new marquee that event goers had to check out this year.
The managing directors for Signature Soiree, Sizwe Mchunu and Lunga Sokhela, partnered with Radisson Blu Hotel in uMhlanga for an unforgettable weekend at the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
On arrival at the marquee, guests stepped into an experience like no other as they enjoyed the famous “day at the races” in style.
From the finest cuisine to some of the finest tipples at the bespoke bar, no detail was spared in the stand-out glass-front marquee.
Menu: At the harvest table, cheese crackers, nuts, fruits, biltong, bread sticks and sweets were served.
For lunch, grilled line fish, braised oxtail with veggies, creamy mushroom risotto, butternut and spinach lasagne were served.
For the dinner buffet, grilled wafer lamb chops, beef steaks, butter chicken curry and basmati rice were served.
Perere by Gushima Marquee
Upon discovering the Perere by Gushima Marquee, my expectations were high.
Having previously experienced their establishment in Midrand, Johannesburg, I was eager to see what they had cooked up for the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
I visited the marquee while they were doing the finishing touches to their set-up and it already gave a chilled vibe.
Later on when things were already kicking off, I visited the marquee and attendees were vibing to the good music that was being played.
MCC was flowing and the house MCC, Dess By Gushima, was being served for guests to enjoy.
During all the fun, we chatted to chef Ayanda who explained they had opted for a simple menu that was a buffet that offered snacks for patrons to enjoy.
She explained that for the VIP guest there is a buffet and snacks for lunch and supper.
“Our menu is quite simple but out of the ordinary,” Ayanda said. There are chicken lollipops, sticky wings, a Thai salad and pap and wors.
Being Ayanda’s first time at a marquee at the Hollywoodbets Durban July, she does admit to me that things are a bit overwhelming.