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Monthly Archives: February 2013

”Unexpected but truly beautiful”

I was on a trip in Namibia, which is already the most scenic country I’ve crossed, spending a night at a lodge called Klein-Aus Vista, on my way to Sossusvlei.

The plan was to go to see the wild horses of the desert, before taking the main road to the Namib Desert, when my hosts mentioned an alternative road, the D707… And I’m still grateful for that !

I left Klein-Aus after a big Namibian breakfast and followed the more of less straight C13 road northwards. The road crosses the vast Nelsip plain, with the red Koichab dunes to the West and the Rooirand mountains to the East.

Tiras-mountains-road-Namibia

The D707 turns west shortly after, first over a little pass with quiver trees, to then follow the half circle formed between the Koichab dunes and Tiras mountains. There was quite some game to be seen, mainly springbok, oryx and ostrich, as well as the occasional flower. But it’s the landscape with the folly of earth colours that really struck me.

The rugged Tiras mountains are of a very dark plum colour: most Koichab dunes feature the same too-orange-to-be-true ochre as Sossuvlei, whereas other dunes are beige.

The plains in between are covered in yellow grass, dotted with the occasional green camel thorn tree. And all this under a steel blue sky.

Just mountains, grass and dunes may sound monotonous, but I believe I stopped every 500 m because the view was ever more breath-taking than before…

The pictures I took are meaningless compared to my memories of the places depicted. My favourite place is a big plain I called «the arena», close to the border of Karas and Hardap regions. To the left, bordering the road is a sea of red dunes and to the right an arena – like plain with round anthill – like mountains in a semi-cercle.

The mountains seemed to hover the plain, in the heat, and a few trees to their feet flickered like mirage.

Was it my mind playing some game on me ?

Could be, all I do know is that, the D707 is truly beautiful!

By Cécile Castoldi

The Quirimbas seen from the sky

For those looking for colour burst, unspoiled spaces and immense oceans, one of the best scenic flights is above the Quirimbas islands in Mozambique.

This archipelago is up North at the border with Tanzania. You will start in Pemba, a typical Mozambique village set between coconut trees and the ocean. You will take off and immediately be surprised to see how natural this area is with only very few villages and some quiet dhows spread in the clean waters. This is a true «deep down Africa» feeling.

Quirimbas from the air

From the sky you can really follow the different currents and the scenery offers the most amazing range of blues dotted with pure white sand beaches and bright greens from the mango trees and mangroves. It simply dazzles the eyes.

You will fly over these islands deserted or not. But what is impressive is to see that each island is spectacular and has its own charm from Ibo and its interesting and rich culture to the private and secluded Medjumbe or the brand new Azura Quilalea and its intimate luxury.

The cherry on the cake : you can play whale and dolphin spotting. A flying safari is indeed very exciting and for big animals it is an excellent way of looking at them.

You finally land on one of those magnificent islands, the one you have spotted and you already dream about. It’s all yours now and you can just enjoy !

By Hélène Soragna

Our day trip to the Blyde River Canyon

Car, Check. Picnic Basket, Check. Camera, Check. Sense of Adventure. Check. Fresh air, Check. Ready for a scenic day trip on the Panorama route along South Africa’s largest canyon : the Blyde River Canyon ?

Let’s drive through the well known south african panoramic route which stretches along the Blyde River Canyon, filled with mists. Its beautiful sunrays, grasslands, riverine forest and the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve are only the tip of the iceberg of the visual delights that you experience on this road trip. Most of the road meanders amongst lush green vegetation with breathtaking views.

Blyde-River-Canyon-South-Africa-Day-Trip

The first stop once you drive to the north from Graskop is the Pinnacle — a thin, tree-topped, 30m-tall. And its quartzite rock  just below the view point. God’s Window, 4km further, offers the first view over the opened Lowveld and one of the most spectacular viewpoints in South Africa. At an altitude of 1730m, it is the highest viewpoint in the area and very well named. It is no wonder that Mpumalanga is nicknamed the Paradise of the Country !

Then we followed  the winding road until it leads us to the Lisbon Falls, the highest waterfall in the area with a drop of 37 m. This area is filled with many waterfalls. Nearby you can visit Berlin falls, just to name a few ! Just North, the «Bourke’s Luck Potholes» are a geological phenomen which have taken thousands of years to form strange cylindrical scultures carved by swirling water.

To follow…  End of part 1

By Erika Costa

”My children’s favorite vacation”

A colleague recently told me that after travelling around Southern Africa with his family, Sun City remained his children’s favorite vacation destination.

Not surprising !

Sun City is internationally known as the fun «Mecca» for children and adults.

Sun City South Africa Aerial View

Enjoy the water park and let yourself be tempted by skydiving, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing, and other amazing activities ! The youngest ones can splash in the many pools with giants slides, waterfalls and waves.

Once out of the water, the fun continues with mini cars, Putt-Putt, trampolines, scenic train Bumper Boats, Play Ground, arcade games and so many other activities to discover.

Finally with baby-sitting on site, kids clubs and teen clubs, you are guaranteed that your children will benefit of the best services.

Sun City is a huge entertainment complex boasting world-class casinos, extensive sporting facilities including two world-class golf courses, cinemas, concert and conference facilities and a wide range of hotels, restaurants and venues for hire.

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Pilanesberg, Sun City is definitely a world unto itself.

Falko, grafitti artist, Well done !

…it’s about a man that can paint pretty pictures with a spray can (and a ladder).

After twenty-two years as a graffiti artist, Falko is widely regarded as an integral part of the foundation and development of South Africa’s graffiti scene.

XO Africa is supporting, promoting and… enjoying Street Artists. Because Street Art is just and only an… Art.

Because behind the Art, there is an Artist.

Because they carry a message of tolerance, of social inclusion, of respect…

Keep your eyes wide opened in 2013… This is just the beginning…

Falko… Thank you Man!

Falko Starr - Artwork - South Africa

Top 10 Intense Temptations (Part 2)

6 Discover the Cape of good hope in a Helicopter

Depart the Cape of Good Hope on board a helicopter and have a bird’s eye view on the most southern point of Africa.

Final destination: Arrival at your hotel after a flight past the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean.

7 Train Ride over the victoria Falls

Let’s go back to the colonial century where a steam train will take you over the Victoria Falls, where you will enjoy a cocktail on top to capture the spectacular views!

Winelands in a Vintage Car

8 Discover the Winelands in a Vintage Car

A Cadillac or 1969 Porsche will pick you up in style to take you on a journey through the Winelands.
Discover how they make their wines by a cellar tour and judge for yourself afterwards with a proper wine tasting!

9 Traditional Massage in a Gazebo

Spoil yourself by having a massage outside, with nature as your only surroundings. Let yourself relax and become one with nature.

10 Sundowners in the dunes of Namibia

Discover one of the oldest deserts in the world while sipping on a glass of Champagne. Let yourself be surrounded by the silence and breathtaking views of this unique spot.

sunset desert namib

Please read our first part also : Top Intense temptations in Southern Africa (part 1)

Stunning Cape Town Time lapse

Watch this stunning Cape Town Timescape made by kevin kok_hwcls. This video is an exceptional piece of work collected over a week holiday in the Western Cape, South Africa.


Kevin’s great video features beautiful images of Cape Town’s harbour and waterfront activity as well as trip down the Cape and into Table Mountain National Park visiting Simon’s Town ( where the train tracks come right up the shoreline ), Cape Point and its lighthouse as well as the Cape of Good Hope itself.

The stunning beach shots set amongst the cliffs and blue water at the Cape of Good Hope are of Diaz Beach. Later shots show a visit to the wine lands a short drive north of Cape Town.

Edito42 – Love is in the air…

No month other than this one, could be less conventional, legal and publicized than that attached to Union & Love.

I hope it could be by passion too…

valentines-day-wallpaper

We would like to defer from these 3 adverbs that don’t give credit to the value of True Love. But with Valentines Day around the corner (arghhhh), the Gay marriage voted in the UK and the coming one in France, one thing is for sure, there is cause for celebration…  Love is definitely in the Air…

It might be wise to remember that South Africa legalized civil Gay marriages in 2006.  Needless to say our team organises weddings, anniversaries and honeymoons for all…..

This month of Love, XO’s team is attracting you with articles about intimate, secret, unique and tailor made places to suit your romantic needs…

Experience pleasure under the smooth heat of Mozambique sailing around the Quirimbas…  Put your senses in action under the gazing sky of the Kalahari…   unlock your body under expert hands, with a full body massage in Namibia. For the more adventurous ones, become fizzy with a bubbly glass on the top of Table Mountain while watching the sunset…

Anyway, before enthralling you with the inspirations of my team, I leave you here in another connoisseurs arm, those of Anaïs Nin: “in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions”.

Sébastien Charrièras

Exclusive Lodge to blow your mind

If you dream of spending your honeymoon in a place as luxurious as beautiful, Chitwa Chitwa Lodge will blow your mind.

Located in the heart of the most famous private game reserve in the Sabi-Sand region, near the Kruger Park, the reference for safaris.

Chitwa Chitwa Lodge

This little corner of paradise will enchant you if you are nature lovers.

With its abundant wildlife, you will have unforgettable  memories of the very best of the African bush and its famous ‘Big Five’.

The Chitwa experience will also offer you an Art travel with the exhibition of original contemporary art pieces and sculptures. Chitwa’s art displays both a masculine and feminine feel and associates a taste of European style with traditional African wilderness.

Thanks to their luxurious “Chitwa Suites” and exclusive hospitality, you’ll live hidden, therefore happy, and enjoy the serenity of the place to savor the start of your new life.

Calm, luxury and Milky Way

Calm, luxury and Milky Way, for you and only for you. Where ? It is normal that you feel impatient…

At the heart of southern Kalahari, the “Malori Sleep Out Deck” of the luxurious Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve offers you the unique experience of a night safari.

Tswalu Private Game Reserve

The natural beauty of the landscape associated with the wild night view makes this place idyllic for lovers.

Depending on your taste for adventure, a luxurious bed will be set up under the thatched roof of the lodge or on the completely open deck.

You will enjoy a candlelit dinner prepared in front of your eyes by a chef of exception before admiring the Milky Way of this romantic and magic setting that will bring sweetness and serenity