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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Get relaxed at Bongani Mountain Lodge

Bongani Mountain Lodge stands at the foot of the Malelane Mountain at the heart of the Mthethomusa Game Reserve which is located in the southern side of the well-known Kruger National Park in South Africa.

In such a privileged context, visitors enjoy discovering gorgeous landscapes through the game-drives and seeking after animals, in particular the famous ‘Big 5’ which live in these areas.

It is also a piece of land full of history as over 250 Rock Art paintings created by the Sans, first inhabitants of the region, have been identified in the area. Some of them are estimated to be 1 500 years old. They have been found in this Game reserve, making it the largest concentration of Rock Art per square meter of the world.

bongani mountain lodge entrance

Thanks to its chic, wooden and natural decoration, this 4 stars Lodge with 39 rooms is in perfect harmony with the surrounding natural environment. This ambiance truly floods the place with a comfortable and luxurious atmosphere.

Each room features an en-suite bathroom, a room- safe, a mini-bar, mosquito nets as well as a tea and a coffee-making facilities. In addition of the accommodation possibilities the Bongani Mountain Lodge offers a fully equipped air-conditioned conference room accommodating up to 60 delegates.

Visitors are also invited to enjoy the best of the “Africology” Spa of the lodge. It offers cares and treatments using products made from natural ingredients which are bio-ethical and renowned for skin treatment.

bongani mountain lodge pool

Imagine a charming, traditional Boma dinner served around the fire and you can be insured that nothing is missing to make your stay in couple, with family or among friends a unique experience of what Africa has the best to offer.

Open Streets, join the party !

Open Streets is a citizen-driven initiative, working to change how streets are used, perceived and experienced.

Inspired by Bogota’s Ciclovia (a temporary network of car-free areas and routes throughout the City), Open Streets Cape Town was founded in 2012 by a group of volunteers committed to a more equitable, integrated, safer and vibrant city.

After the success of May’s Open Streets event in Observatory and the recent Open Streets event in Langa, the residents of Cape Town will have another chance to enjoy car-free streets that are open for everyone to enjoy this Saturday.

Open Streets_Obs_25 May 2013

Saturday’s event will offer Capetonians the opportunity to enjoy soccer, dancing, cycling, cricket and other activities on lower Main Road in Observatory from 1pm to 6pm. People are encouraged to avoid driving into the area and take public transportation to the event.

The aim of Open Streets is to enable all citizens to move and use streets freely and safely. The concept has been implemented in approximately one hundred cities around the world and it entails the creation of a temporary network of car-free areas and routes.

The event is being funded by the efforts of the Observatory Improvement District, local businesses as well as individuals from across South Africa and the world that contributed via a crowd-source funding effort led by Open Streets.

“Through the leadership of the Obs Improvement District and the citizens of Obs, Open Streets is returning to the area,” said Marcela Guerrero Casas of Open Streets. “The residents of the area wanted to build on our event from May and we were thrilled to join them in doing this. We are looking forward to having more events like this throughout the city as communities join the call to open the streets of their communities.”

“Businesses reported from 30 to 50% increase on their profits during the first Open Streets…clearly more feet on the streets –and fewer cars, is good for business on a Saturday afternoon. Local businesses owners have contributed to making this Saturday possible” said Justin Ashley from the Observatory Improvement District.

More information : http://www.openstreets.co.za

Urban Safari

One only needs to start the subject, to mention its name, to arouse one of its icons for suddenly triggering a blast of multi-coloured images in the mind of the most enlightened or the most neophyte travellers.

“South Africa”

Kruger National Park, Safari, Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, Winelands, Table Mountain, Rugby, Whales and Sharks… in everyone’s consciousness, the depiction of Clegg and Mandela’s homeland is already well sketched.

But there are however images, stereotypes, consequences that like one Dali’s outline, will drive you away from reality.

This month, we take off for an urban safari amongst the streets of Cape Town and Johannesburg, using Art and Culture as a guideline. As a revealer of our daily life’s reality in South Africa.

Contemporary galleries, graffiti tours, neighbourhood markets, trendy designers, theatres and shows, we’ll use here the talent spectrum of our cities to drive you through a South African exploration, with no trompe-l’oeil. A current and cultural approach, far from the blurred clichés inherited from the past.

Life, as you will find it here…

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Street Art Tour, Cape Town

Just think out of the box… Walk the art trails, or should we say, the graffiti trails. An indecent or sneaky proposal ? Absolutely not!

Leaving behind its “rebel” condition, the street Graffiti is winning, slowly but surely, its pedigree and recognition among its peers.

For South Africa, Graffiti Art has a historical meaning because during the Apartheid, it was one of the only way people had to express their anger. A visual act of defiance and rebellion.

Street Art Tour Bansky Woodstock

But, nowadays, it’s definitely playing a growing part in the South African urban life…

This Graffiti Tour is, above all, an encounter with history and the unusual discovery of one of Cape Town’s area: Woodstock. You’ll walk through the streets of Woodstock, admiring pieces of art, called Street Art, painted or drawn on the walls of houses and buildings.

On this cultural expedition, you’ll be accompanied by a local guide, who has lived for more than forty years in Woodstock. It all started with the idea of sharing this amazing cultural heritage with tourists and the fear that one day it could all fall apart due to a lack of maintenance.

During one hour and a half, your guide will explain you the meanings and relevance of graffiti in South Africa’s history and culture.

Street Art Tour Heads Woodstock

This neighborhood contains an unexpectedly wide range of art that will tease your eyes which, we guarantee, are not used to look at such urban treasures.

These Graffiti’s have been designed by famous South African artists like Falko One but also international artists from England (Bansky one of the leader and very well known), France, Australia or even Ukraine.

Woodstock is a district at the confluence of communities that live together by setting their differences apart, reflecting what is the “new South Africa” with its dynamism, its trendy markets and new building developments.

Street Art, you’d better get used to it as you’ll hear from it again very soon… In 2014, guess what… Cape Town is the World Design Capital.

Stephane

Street Art Tour Woodstock wall

Maboneng Arts Walk, Jobourg

Maboneng, the place of lights – an area in the inner City of Johannesburg – becomes a vibrant urban district where artist and art co-exist.

A hub of Johannesburg‘s contemporary urban artists, this mixed urban-space hosts art galleries, private artist studios, theatre, an independent cinema, fashion shops, characterful cafes, bars and restaurants.

Straight down on the almost endless Commissionar street of Johannesburg CBD, ask your taxi driver to turn left when the indication « Welcome to Arts on Main here » appears. Get out of your cab in front of the 12 Decades Hotel on the Fox Street and start your Maboneng walk.

Maboneng Johannesbourg Newsletter Oct 2013

The 12 Decades Art Hotel is already a piece being one of the refurbished buildings of the area. Each of the Arthotel’s12 rooms was designed by a contemporary South African artists reflecting the history of Johannesburg from the past decades.

The room of the « Perpetual Liberty » designed by Enricco Daffonchio, features a transition from the darkside of South African History and progressively achieving the light as you move closer to the giant window of the room. The amazing view of the layered city inspires a kind of step out from the present and a jump to the future.

All this creativity started with the arrival of William Kentridge in Maboneng, a world-known, South African contemporary artist, followed by the investor of the Goodman Gallery and the Goethe Institute.

This cultural oasis seats from October. Africa’s first design museum, the MOAD – The Museum of African Design, transformed from a factory warehouse to a museum, the building has already hosted couple of events, such as Michel Gondry’s Home Movie Factory, the MOAD fashion show. The inaugural exhibition « Native Nostalgia » will reflect a selection of mix media from around Africa and artists inspired by their histories, offering news views and approaches on the past.

Maboneng Johannesburg 12 Art Decade Hotel Newsletter Oct 2013

One of the artists, Hannelie Coetzee has moved to the area 2 years ago. Her work goes beyond  her studio as she uses the surrounding streets for canvas. I remained fascinated in front of the building of Kruger Street as her 5-strorey high mosaic eye looked down at me. The piece called «The Change Agent» looks symbolically on Main street and interprets visionaries of the area as observing the city’s mining and financial heart.

No big walls, no gates, you are free to walk around to enjoy more than 30 public art pieces that exist in the close area of the precinct. South African and international artists get inspired and make their marks in this creative destination where art is used as a vehicle of the freedom of expression.

Maboneng Johannesbourg Fresque Newsletter Oct 2013

Check out The Revolution House Roof top decorated by Roa and by Falco, as part of the Adidas/Area Joburg Art project or the «ProtecticMagic» graffiti created by the Ukrainian artist Interesni Kazki…

Hope you’re feeling the «Jozi Lifestyle» as the Maboneng area has a lot of potential and much to explore if you’re looking for diversity transporting you from a formally «no-go area» to a vibe and a well-designed mixup.

Anna Balkova

Maboneng-Johannesburg-Magic-Protectic-Newsletter-Oct-2013

Fashion Route Cape Town

Cape Town has a lot to offer to the fashion industry. The number of designers working in the Mother City nowadays is simply surprising. Cape Town has evolved from a city where fashion was almost nameless, to a city where local designers are competing on the international stage.

The best way to discover Cape Town’s fashion is with the 4-hours Fashion Tour. This tour takes you inside the city’s fashion world by meeting designers in their own studios and boutiques. Don’t miss this chance to go behind the scenes of Cape Town’s fashion arena!

Fashion-Designer-Route-Cape-Town

First you will meet your guide for a welcome drink, and then you’ll jump in a minibus heading to the city. You’ll get the chance to meet lots of designers and learn about the local trends and styles.
The itinerary will be decided on the day itself, but you will visit at least four design studios or boutiques.

One of the places you will visit is “The Thulare Monareng’s Fashion Deli”. Here you can browse for clothes the same way you would shop for groceries. The clothes are displayed in fruit racks. This street’s fashion is very eye-catching.

Another highlight of this tour is walking down Long Street and checking out the “Merchant on Long” shop, owned by Hanelli Rupert. Here you will find avant-guard African style. It is a place for the discerning shopper. All the top luxury brands from different continents can be found here.

It is a very eclectic tour, so anyone with interest in fashion qualifies for it, from street fashion to haute couture.

Tessa van der Zanden

Fashion-Designer-Route-Cape-Town-atelier

My little Biscuit Mill Market

In the heart of Woodstock, The Old Biscuit Mill is open every day of the week. Do not hesitate to come and enjoy this warm place. Well…rather than place I should say little village. In this old fashioned biscuit factory, you can only have a good time in a young and relaxed atmosphere.

Once through the gates, you will discover a new world. Hundreds of people walking around the stores and the market. Not stores but stalls. You will find clothes, shoes, handbags but also photos and paintings.

Old Biscuit Mills Cape Town

All is happening in a vintage urban setting created by designers, photographers, artists and connoisseurs of fine taste who come together to share their passion.

For gourmets, go for a wander in the butcheries, cheese factories (we can find Camembert), cellars or the Chocolate Factory.

And, on Saturdays do not miss the Neighborhood market. Under the big marquee, spoil yourself with home made smoothies, sandwiches prepared right in front of you eyes, grilled mushrooms skewers and all kind of pastries each of them more original (and tastier) than the other. All of this is cooked by more than one hundred producers, artisan bakers and local talented chefs..

Day and night, do not hesitate, go!

Arsene Lefevre

Old Biscuit Mills Food Cape Town

First Thursdays Cape Town

On the first Thursday of every month, the streets of Cape Town’s central city become a museum like no other.

Walk between galleries until 9.00 PM for a night of art, entertainment, and culture.

Started in London to make art galleries and museums more accessible to the public, the event encourages exhibition spaces to stay open until 9.00 PM, with no entrance fee, on the first Thursday of every month. Needless to say that the concept has propagated across the globe rapidly.

Thanks to Gareth Pearson’s city-loving street smarts, Cape Town has been part of this legion of participating cities since November 2012, giving citizens a chance to bounce from venue to venue and to enjoy Cape Town’s nightlife which doesn’t necessarily have to take you to upper Long Street.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/FirstThursdaysCT

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Do you like Books?

There is a vibrant place, in the heart of Cape Town that can enlighten your trip. The Book Lounge. It’s not a simple bookshop entertained by a passionate staff. It’s also a coffee shop.

And a lounge you can relax in while discovering an eclectic selection of local and international writers.

But even more, up to 15 events per months allowing your browsing to take a more interactional perspective. Sometimes with a glass of wine in hands…

71 Roeland St, Cape Town 8001 – Tel 021 462 2425 – Fax 021 462 2424 – email booklounge@gmail.com

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Top 7 things to do in Mozambique

1 – Discover the Bazaruto Archipelago

Group of five islands in the Mozambique Canal, the archipelago is protected as part of the national park. Created in 1971 it includes the coral reefs surrounding the islands, making it the only protected marine area in Mozambique. The park is one of the largest in the Indian Ocean. The major attractions are dolphins, humpback whales, dugongs which are the last population of the African coast and of course hundreds of colorful fishes. In land, you meet breed monkeys tiara, antelopes, otters, pelicans, flamingos and in the lakes of the two main islands (Bazaruto and Benguerra) crocodiles as well. For lovers of beaches the proposed activities are diving and fishing but for hiking or for horse riding this is also the place to visit.

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2 – Visit Maputo

Located in the extreme south of Mozambique, Maputo is the capital of the country. Known for its colorful markets and a thriving nightlife, this harbor city was founded by the Portuguese and became a diverse and vibrant metropolis. On the list of the places to visit in Maputo include Baixa (port and market), the Tunduru Botanical Gardens, the Eiffel House, Notre Dame Cathedral of the Concession or the National Museum of Arts. From the culinary point of view, we recommend to taste local seafood, especially the prawns with a peri-peri sauce which are the specialty of the region. When prawns tasting is over move to the vibrant nightlife area of Fere Popolare, and enjoy the local beer in one of the bars or nightclubs.

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3 – Explore Inhaca Island

Only a few minutes by boat from Maputo, this little peaceful land is reputed as a home of the rarest fauna and flora species of the world. If you dream about sumptuous, deserted beaches, you wish to lose yourself in a tropical environment, swim with sea turtles in a mild and crystal clear water, do not forget to have a stop on Inhaca island for few days. Here coral reefs and exotic marine species live in harmony. The island has only a few hundred inhabitants who are entirely involved in the preservation of the island`s wilderness and biodiversity. Remember also that at low tide you can easily walk to the Portuguese island which is a rise of white sandy beaches surrounded by azure blue seas.

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4 – Dhow Cruise in the Quirimbas Archipelago

This wonderful journey will offer a breathtaking landscape waiting for you to be discovered. Jump aboard of a traditional sailing boat locally called “Dhow” and navigate peacefully with the wind in the Quirimbas Archipelago, which counts of 27 coral islands string along the northern coast of Mozambique. You will discover secluded and privileged places in the north of the country: river mouths, pristine mangrove forests and rare species of birds and the marine biodiversity.

Dhow Cruise in the Quirimbas Archipelago:

5 – Diving with whale sharks

Considered as the “official” capital of diving, Tofo is one of the hot spots in Mozambique. You feel the diving culture everywhere in the city. The beach is beautiful however the coral reef is less spectacular then in other regions of the country. The presence of manta rays, whale sharks and humpback whales in the season are a real compensation. Nothing like swimming with a whale shark, the largest fish in the world! You can find humpback whales throughout the year in the popular diving resorts of Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane, but the best time to observe them is during the summer. As for manta rays, they occur in Tofo Bay the whole year.

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6 – Break at the Polana Serena Hotel

When you are at the very heart of Maputo, on one of the most prestigious avenues of the city, have a break at the magnificent Polona Serena Hotel. The historical building has a classic charm, elegance and was built in a colonial style. Take a time to enjoy an afternoon tea here, even if you do not overnight. Taste teas, savor pastries or the delicious short eats in a relaxing and quite atmosphere of the Polona Bar or on its outside terrace overlooking the pool. You can also relax in the hotel spa which offers a wide range of massage treatments such as: steam, sauna… exactly what you need after a day of diving or sightseeing…

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7 – Cultural visite of the Island of Mozambique

Old Portuguese trading counter on the road to India, this island was fortified by the Portuguese. Till nowadays you can observe the remarkable architectural unity of the fort due to the technique, materials (stone or macuti) and decorative elements used which remain the same since the 16th century. The Island of Mozambique was declared as a world heritage by Unesco in the early 90s. In addition of the beautiful beaches there are other historical buildings to visit such as the Palace St Paul, the interesting Museum of Sacred Art and the Fort of San Sebastian which is the oldest fort still standing in sub-Saharan Africa.

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