Chris Hellinger, owner of Chamonix, the finest wine estate in Franschhoek by a country mile and one that unusually makes wines from Franschhoek grapes, has an unlikely successor. The first African in space, Mark Shuttleworth, is developing the piece of paradise in the armpit of Africa started by Chris: Bom Bom Island Resort. The island in question is Príncipe, a 20km long and 12km wide speck in the Atlantic off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. Who said the age of colonialism is dead?
Chris was asked to develop the tourist potential of the island by the government back in 1974. The shuttlecock of development has now passed to Mark. The Weekend Financial Times takes up the story. “Shuttleworth, whom locals call the Man in the Moon, liked Bom Bom so much he bought it. He has also either bought or acquired rights to three other beaches that are such perfect vistas you begin to wonder who’s been Photoshopping reality. On these sites, Shuttleworth envisages a series of resorts, one with beach huts, one with luxury tents, one as yet undetermined.”
Let’s hope Mark remembers his days as a student at UCT and stocks Bom Bom with SA brands that drink well in paradise. The FairTrade brand Earthbound of Cape Legends ticks all the boxes. The wines are organic and they taste great. Earthbound for a Starman. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?