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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Edito 065 – Who’s the Best?

edito

Who’s the best…?

The tallest, the strongest, the most beautiful…? Magnificent, superb, exquisite splendid, unique, exhilarating, breathtaking. Exotic, authentic, dynamic, romantic, symbolic…

I opened the brochure of a Tour Operator…

I have indeed improved my vocabulary with new superlatives and adjectives that will prove useful when the inspiration runs low but I still don’t know if I was reading about a honeymoon in Bali or a weekend in Hungary…
Luckily the pictures of a Photoshopped Himba and of a Zebra in Etosha advised me that I actually was on the page of Namibia.

So yes, in this newsletter, we mock a little…

But how can we resist? Especially to this dazzling land of contrast, this succession of astonishing landscapes that also conceals an impressive mosaic of cultures? That offers unparalleled wonders? Mythical excursions, an exhilarating fauna and flora, spectacular sunsets, heavenly beaches???
Accommodations as luxurious as sumptuous… A fine and delicate gastronomy…

In short, how can we resist?

SC

The Funniest in South Africa

South Africa’s Route 62 is our very own equivalent to the American 66 and a popular and exciting way to discover the Western Cape. It offers a beautiful alternative road to the N2 highway from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and is treasured by locals and foreigners alike.

Route 62 Map

Road trip lovers will most certainly appreciate not only the scenic beauty, peace and quiet but also the beautiful little towns and landmarks nestled along the way which encompass also the world’s longest wine route.

You will pass through the Breede River Valley, the renowned Klein Karoo and Langkloof -areas famous for clear water streams, mountain passes with breathtaking views and a wealth of indigenous flora.

route-62

But there is one landmark whose name will get you curious as it is everything but what its name claims to be – Ronnie’s Sex Shop. Nestled along the Route 62 between Barrydale and Ladismith it can most certainly pride itself with being the funniest food and beverage offering South Africa has to present.

What started out as a prank by Ronnie’s friends eventually brought him not only business but fame as a must see landmark for travellers.

Ronnie's Sex Shop

Ronnie’s initial idea was a small stall to sell fruits & vegetables. When his friends then took over the paint brush as a joke and added the words ‘Sex Shop’ to his signage Ronnie decided to leave the words on the wall and eventually opened a pub.

Now boasting also an online shop and a restaurant – the Road Kill Cafe it has become a place of peculiar beauty offering a yummy menu and refreshing brew together with a remarkable history!

Ronnie, in his

Ronnie, in his “Sex Shop”

It is studded with interesting souvenirs and filled with the most peculiar items of decoration which give it its unique flair and cause you not to know where to look first.

It is a popular stop for families, couples and tourists and yet another reason for you to pack up your car and hit the road.

By Alessandra Klein

The Wildest of Botswana

Who has never wanted to play explorers, to cut all ties from daily routine to relax for a week in the middle of wild Africa?

My partner and I, real nature-lovers, decided to live this authentic experience! We went to the Explorers Camp Selinda, in Botswana, which is probably the wildest camp in southern Africa.

The camp, located in the heart of the Selinda Reserve, is made up of only four tents, each of which can accommodate up to two people, making the atmosphere even more intimate and authentic.

Selinda Explorers Camp

Upon our arrival at the camp our hosts welcomed us with a drink in the main tent, decorated with recycled wooden furniture, beautifully detailed Persian rugs and crystal decanters. Everything is designed to make us feel in harmony with the style of the early explorers.

Selinda Explorers Camp

We then headed to our tent which overlooked the canal of the Selinda Reserve.
I discovered that our bathroom, although closed on the sides, was open air. Of course, there’s no talk of having running water. The hot water and cold water for the bucket shower are brought to our tent on request, in copper pans. The philosophy of exploration is at its peak!

Selinda Explorers Camp

After settling in, we enjoyed the quiet of the bush on the roomy hammocks placed on our private veranda. The sun setted slowly, creating different colours over the breathtaking landscape.

Selinda Explorers Camp

Tonight we will dine under the stars. We enjoyed a cooked meal over an open fire and listened to our ranger telling us stories of the bush.
Selinda Reserve is home to immense herds of elephant and buffalo, but it is also a great place to see lion and antelope.

Selinda Explorers Camp

That is why tomorrow at sunrise we will continue our quest for exploration through a hike in the bush, followed by a canoe trip.

By Candice Chapel

The Strangest Namibia

It might be a mirage or a ghost ship. Laid down on the sand, where the desert meets the ocean, is a cargo boat that ended up on Namibia’s shore a few years ago. It has started its long desintegration by oxidation, like hundreds of others along the atlantic coast. Half immersed, or eaten by sand, run-aground shipwrecks lie strewn along the Namibian coastline.

Shipwreck - Skeleton Coast

This region is charmingly called ‘Skeleton Coast’ (it is, in fact, a National Park since 1971), but it wasn’t originally named for its shipwrecks, but for the whale and seal bones that once littered the shore as a result of the whaling industry. The Bushmen called it ‘The land God made in anger’ while portugueses sailors one referred to it as ‘The Gates of Hell’.

Unless you are cut out for adventure and decide to join an expedition, the northern part of Skeleton Coast is very difficult to access and can only be visited by plane.

Skeleton Coast

Further South, in the Damaraland, you can go through the desert with a four-wheel-drive vehicle to discover the fascinating wildlife.

In this country of extremes, strangeness is also in animal life. At first there are safaris. They take on a new dimension in this region because all the animals we are used to seeing in the bush live here in the desert: elephants, black rhino, lions, cheetah, giraffe, brown hyena, etc.

Antelopes

Besides these mammals, there are also all these curious beings that need to be approached gently. Small, camoflauged, furtive; yet they are incredibly captivating!

For example, take a look at the Palmato Gecko, the endemic gecko of theNamib Desert: with its cute face, pastel colors and habit to lick its eyes with its long tongue in order to keep them moist (they have no eyelids), they are adorable. Or the Namaqua Chameleon, who certainly hasn’t got the nicest physique, but possesses very interesting characteristics: they are lightning fast with extraordinary mobile eyes, skin that changes its color according to mood or temperature, and a tongue that reaches a length of up 30 centimetres !

Nambia - Desert Animals

Anyway ! This is just an overview of the peculiar fauna living in this land. But to find and approach them, you’ll need a guide.

Definitely the land of strangeness, Damaraland also houses a very rare plant: the Welwitschia Mirabilis, with remarkable longevity and constitution. It lives for up to 600 years on average but 2000 year-old specimens have been found. Concerning its appearance and its impressive size (the biggest Welwitschia is 1,40 metre in height and 4 metres diameter), it hides a disconcerting simplicity: it only possesses two leaves which grow constantly, making it look like a giant squid.

Welwitschia

Finally, when we talk about Damaraland, we can’t forget to mention the Spitzkoppe, the huge rock standing in the middle of the desert which offers an ashtonishing landscape.

Spitzkoppe

The 700 million year-old group of bald granite peaks with a highest outcrop of 1784 metres, extends as far as the eye can see. The list of uncommon and weird things you can find in Namibia doesn’t stop there. This is just an introduction for curious people. From there, it is time for you to discover this country and its hidden treasures by yourselves. We’ll be delighted to create a peculiar adventure for you.

Spitzkoppe

By Muriel Romero

The Furthest of Mozambique

What comes to your mind when I tell you “furthest”? Boring, farm, no network, no social media?

Then you think about it once again, some other words come to mind like silence, relaxation, intimacy and heaven on earth.

To put it in a nutshell, I would say: Anantara Medjumbe island Resort & Spa in Mozambique!

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa

This private island off the Northern Mozambique Coast forms part of the Turquoise-watered archipelago, Quirimbas. To get to this Island, a private charter flight is necessary. The coral reef is stretched out below your eyes during your entire journey.

What a delicious way to start your romantic escape or your honeymoon on the world’s end.

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa

This paradisiacal island, still unknown to the majority, is the “island in the sun”. Indeed, the warmth of the service and this location’s exclusivity brings the added value to this island that it is unlike any other. The staff spoils you, looks after you and is always ready with your favorite drinks when you are lolling beside the pool. Moreover, expert hands on the beachfront provide massages and relaxing therapies, and everyone makes sure that your stay is just perfect.

This individualized and tailor-made service, as well as the 14 bedrooms, completes the feelings of serenity and tranquility.

Medjumbe Island Twiin Room

There, everything is implemented in order to make you feel privileged and experience a radical change in a Robinson Crusoe kind of way. For instance, regarding your papilla, you will be given the opportunity to make a picnic lunch on a neighboring island to feel more alone, if you so wish.

And at the hotel’s restaurant, tasty fish, freshly plucked from the Indian Ocean, are served just-cooked.

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa

Finally, this isolated Island offers an oceanic playground that will amaze all diving and snorkeling amateurs. You will be able to explore the coral reef and discover some secrets of this mysterious place.

Maybe, if you are lucky, you will meet a humpback whale on the road and swim with it! This is, undeniably, one of the most beautiful and charming places in Mozambique and possibly even on earth.

By Florence Neret

The Highest Point of Lesotho

How about ending up at the highest point of Africa? I did it! Here are the details.

My travel log – Take the height!

In order to gain height, I headed to the Lesotho. This country, named “A Kingdom in the sky” and known for its mountainous landscapes, lies at more than 1400 meters above sea level. It’s the only country in the world to be as high at any point in its territory; I could only find what I was looking for. After doing some research, I started off in the direction of the highest bar in Africa.

Lesotho

First step: the highest bar in Africa, Sani Top Chalet.

Here I am in the process of entering one of the best kept spaces of Lesotho: Sani Top Chalet. The road has not been easy, in fact a 4×4 has been essential to get here but I now have an amazing view!

To get here, I had to climb the highest road in Africa, which is the third-highest in the world, with a passage which rises 3200 meters above sea level: Sani Pass Road, also known as the “Roof of Africa”.

Lesotho

I’m finally on the top of Sani Pass at 2874 meters above sea level, perched on the top of the spectacular Drakensberg mountain range and on the border between South Africa and Lesotho where I see the two owners of the bar, Jonathan and Sylvia Aldous, who are awaiting to welcome me warmly into their cottage.

Described by all tourist guides as one of the best-located cottages on earth, I can only agree with these comments through the warm welcoming of guests and the exceptional setting with this amazing landscape.

Lesotho

At nightfall, after enjoying my dinner, I immersed my eyes in the sea of ​​stars before staying overnight in one of the traditional rondavel cottages, thinking of tasting my breakfast tomorrow: the highest breakfast of my African trip!

When I awoke, the view was not the same, I found myself in the clouds, surrounded by snow and the descent of the col got complicated. Every turn seemed like an eternity but remarkably soon after, I ended up with a clear sky. This sky allowed me to have a splendid view of the Drakensberg Mountains and the Sani river that runs through the valley.

So I continued my journey to my second step: the mountain Thabana Ntlenyana. Thabana-Ntlenyana is the highest peak in Southern Africa situated 3482 meters above the sea and a few kilometers from the Sani Top Chalet.

Drakensberg

Second stage: the highest mountain in Africa, Thabana Ntlenyana.

So here I arrived to face this monster of nature and begin the climb. Throughout this tour, I met a rich array of animals: snakes that I avoided, vultures, hawks, eagles and ibis. But fortunately the vastness of this world heritage site made me forget the stiff ride…thanks to the breathtaking and relaxing scenery.

I think it will remain one of my favorite hikes, for sure!

Lesotho

By Marie Lesueur