New business lounge at King Shaka

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The $500,000 Umphafa VIP lounge at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport is now open.

Lounge operator Menzies Aviation, which is also responsible for ground handling and safety at more than 16 airports in Africa, has upped the luxury stakes in creating its newest lounge.

The only lounge within the international terminal at King Shaka, this development was undertaken in partnership with the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and completed in 83 days.

The design takes many cues from Zulu culture and from the landscape and seascape of the surrounding KwaZulu-Natal province, with the centrepiece being a stylised Umphafa tree made of bamboo and suspended over a raised serving and bar area. The lounge entrance is reminiscent of the door of a traditional Zulu hut, and the lounge includes areas reminding passengers of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline as well as a mezzanine floor on top of an abstract of the uKhahlamba, or the Drakensberg Mountain range.

Umphafa is equipped with TVs, free Wi-Fi, washrooms and two self-contained shower suites, as well as an IT zone with the latest Apple iMacs.

The new King Shaka International Airport previously had no facilities for executive travellers despite the increasing number of local and international business travellers. Flights through the airport by international airlines, including Emirates, Air Mauritius and SAA, along with local flights by SA Express, Airlink, Mango, Interlink, Kulula and BA Comair, have seen a significant rise in demand for services catering to the discerning traveller.