Category Archives: African Honeymoon Safari

Eziko Cooking and Culinary School: Looking After the Future of Africa

Taken from the Eziko website

Serving as both a restaurant and a gourmet culinary school, Eziko in the Langa Township outside of Cape Town has been providing superior cuisine and cooking classes to locals and tourists alike for more than 10 years now.

Victor Mguqulwa, former Langa High School teacher, started the Eziko Cooking and Catering school in 1996 with a mission to decrease unemployment rates and increase optimism in the local communities. His vision for the school was born after he saw how much interest the students of Langa High School had in their cooking programs and competitions. Victor’s goal for the school is to educate students on gourmet cooking in hopes that they will start their own business or lend their developed cooking talents to an already established restaurant.

Victor believes that through education and skill teaching, individuals can take responsibility for the future of their communities and help to sustain their economy. Eziko was designed to provide students with the exceptional cooking and catering skills as well as the skills needed to operate in the business-world. This school doesn’t simply teach cooking skills to students, rather, it provides them with motivation to take on larger responsibilities such as providing for themselves, their families, and lending to the community.     

Taken from the Eziko website

Eziko Cooking and Catering School goes beyond ordinary cooking classes. They provide their handpicked students with a job at the Eziko restaurant and then after some basic training and experience in the restaurant they are placed into a sponsoring catering establishment for six months. Helping students to integrate themselves into the hospitality and restaurant industry, the school provides employee placement and teaches students business skills.

Recently, Eziko has been struggling due to the recession. As less people eat out and require catering services, the Eziko restaurant and catering business are receiving fewer customers than before. The restaurant and catering services were the main funding source behind the Eziko Cooking School and with many students coming from poverty stricken backgrounds it’s difficult for them to pay the full tuition. Because the restaurant and catering service are not generating enough money to completely fund the school, they’re looking for outside resources to lend a helping hand.  

Taken from the Eziko website

For 2010, Eziko is proposing a student sponsorship program in order to continue educating these students. For anyone who would like to donate money to this exceptional school, donations are accepted through Uthando. Simply specify that you would like the donation to be given to the Eziko Cooking and Catering School.

An example of what this school means to one student: “I have been here at Grand West Casino for about 3 months training to be a Chef. I can prepare for a function of at least 200 guests breakfast and hot foods and pastry. I really enjoy what I am doing here and feel so passionate about cooking.Thank you and may God be with you for your kindness.”
Yours Sincerely , Melford Mehluko

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Immerse Yourself in Gorongosa’s Natural Wonders on an Intimate Walking Safari

Comprised of diverse eco-systems, and a unique cultural and historical heritage, Gorongosa National Park has positioned itself as Mozambique’s ultimate walking safari destination. Situated among the Lower Zambezi and delta systems, Gorongosa is saturated with exotic wildlife that thrives thanks to these powerful, neighboring water sources.

Famous for its rainforest, roaring waterfalls, mysterious caverns, rivers, grassy floodplains, woodlands, Albida forests, and sprawling pans, the Gorongosa is the premier destination for those looking to gain a broad insight into some of the world’s most fascinating eco-systems. Since Gorongosa’s natural world is defined by its complex eco-systems, having the best guides on your walking safari through the National Park is an absolute must.

One such safari provider, Explore Gorongosa, is an eco-tourism company that prides itself on its expert guides and their ability to combine all the social, historical, cultural, and ecological elements of the region into their guided tours.  Because of the area’s deeply rooted history and its affect on Mozambique’s natural world, no other destination in Africa provides a more well-rounded insight into a specific region quite like Gorongosa National Park. This historical heritage is arguably the strongest element that sets Gorongosa apart from other popular walking safari destinations.

Incorporating the history of the land and its affects on the region’s fragile bio-diversity, the exceptional walking safaris offered by Explore Gorongosa provide an all-encompassing and highly educational experience for all visitors. On these walking safaris, you’ll learn how the region’s history of ancient civilizations, Arabs, and gold, ivory, and slave traders, tribal conflicts, and restoration projects, has shaped Gorongosa into the exciting place it is today. In addition, you’ll be able to see the direct affects this history had on the wildlife population and how conservation efforts over the past several years have transformed the area into one of Africa’s most stunning destinations.

In addition to employing the most knowledgeable locals in the area as certified guides, Explore Gorongosa accommodates guests in semi-mobile, luxury tents. Housing up to eight guests, Explore Gorongosa’s accommodations offers an intimate atmosphere and safari experience for all its visitors. Since each walking safari incorporates the minute details of nature, as well as larger details, Explore Gorongosa only provides private safari tours to ensure you experience the entire detective aspect of a walking safari.  

Since there are no set safari itineraries, you can choose to enjoy whichever aspect of Gorongosa National Park you wish. Whether you’re looking to experience a theme-based walking safari—such as a birding safari, or an all-encompassing walking safari, Explore Gorongosa will cater to your every individual preference. 

Exclusive walking safari excursions:

If you’re interested in a more niche-oriented safari excursion that combines your favorite interests, some detective work, surprise, excitement, and inspiration, Explore Gorongosa provides a series of special interest safari excursions throughout the year. In the coming year, choose from individual expeditions such as birding, species re-introduction, photography, artistic, anthropological, Gorongosa Mountain, and lion studying.

All encompassing walking safaris:

As you journey through the varying terrain of the Gorongosa on an Explore Gorongosa walking safari, you’ll learn to listen for the distinct callings of Mozambique’s wildlife, search for animal markings, and track paths of residential lions and elephants with the invaluable expertise of Gorongosa’s certified local guides. These highly knowledgeable guides introduce you to the hidden elements of Gorongosa’s indigenous wildlife that ranges from larger game to intricate wildlife hidden beneath rocks and inside crevasses.

Fascinating birdlife including the green-headed oriole, African fish eagle, Egyptian geese, a wide variety of crane species, and much more can be seen during your comprehensive tour through the Mozambique bush. Many of the larger species of animal spotted are Nile crocodiles, lions, hippos, antelopes, and elephants.

In contrast to ecological tours, community tours allow you to discover inspirational elements of the local culture and take a deeper look into how culture has been shaped by Mozambique’s history. You’ll also be able to tour the newly built school and hospital in the Vinho community and observe the positive effects it has had on the locals.

As you observe Mozambique’s bio-diversity, you’ll learn about the direct correlation between the region’s empowering history and its wildlife population, as well as the numerous conservation efforts that helped save this region’s species.

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Cape Town: Guided Tour vs. On Your Own

It’s truly amazing how your mind can open up and your point-of-view can change with a little background information and some guidance. Whether you’re touring through the internationally-renowned Sistine Chapel or through a historical region rich with deep cultural heritage and mystery, a guided tour is a must if you want to leave with a valuable lasting impression.

tablemtnTable Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa is one such region where participating in a guided tour is a must. The history behind its existence coupled with the impression it has on you as you observe it first hand, is what makes the strongest impact. It’s amazing how Cape Town can truly speak to you once you begin to understand the cultural heritage and historical background, and how its past has shaped the region into what you see today.

At the end of your tour you’ll leave with a wealth of knowledge you otherwise would have never had if you decided to view the area on your own without a knowledgeable guide. Although many city tours throughout Africa don’t necessarily require a guide, a Cape Town City and Table Mountain tour is highly-encouraged for visitors in the area who want to experience the authenticity of the region.

One of the most highly-acclaimed tour providers in Cape Town is Cape Fusion Tours. Their knowledgeable and friendly guides ensure you discover all the wonderful elements that make Cape Town and Table Mountain historical and cultural icons. On their off-the-beaten-path tours, you won’t be lectured with boring or popularly known facts found in dusty history text books. You’ll get a rare insight into the region’s profound history and its intricate wilderness.

Why take advantage of a guided tour through Cape Town City and Table Mountain? Simple.

 The rich cultural heritage you’ll become acquainted with. Home to some of the world’s most inspirational cultures, a guided tour through Cape Town provides you with the exceptional opportunity to learn about the indigenous people by interacting and observing them in their daily lives. You’ll also discover the stories and legends of past generations from their living relatives. During your tour, you’ll learn about various art forms and their historical and cultural significance, as well as the lifestyle of certain cultures and how those lifestyles came to be.
   
cablecar The opportunity to enjoy a guided view of Table Mountain as you journey up the rocky mountainside in a rotating cable car. Each cable car has the ability to fully rotate, giving you the opportunity to see 360 degrees around you. On your cable car trip you’ll see stunning gardens, death-defying cliffs, and playful dassies—furry brown creatures that live on the mountain whose closest relatives are elephants.

You’ll also learn about the history of the cable car and the grounds beneath you as you venture up the mountainside. And awaiting you at the summit is one of the most stunning and indescribable views in the entire world.  
 
• The safety and convenience factors. Because there are 350 routes up the mountain, having a guided tour is highly recommended, as it can be extremely difficult and sometimes dangerous to navigate the mountain on your own. And not to mention the headache of choosing which path to take, out of the 360 different ones! When you experience Table Mountain on a guided tour, you can rest assure that your family is safe. The elimination of the stresses of getting lost or hurt allows you to relax and truly enjoy your trip.

 The deep insight into Malay Quarter’s fascinating evolution into what it is today. You’ll discover how religious influences, changes of European power, and slavery all worked to shape this region into the place it is today.

• The exciting history of The Castle of Good Hope. This military fort relic, which was built between 1666 and 1669 by the Dutch East India Company, was the main protection for Cape Town and was constantly threatened by outside forces. Capturing the combination of the structure’s fascinating history with the sheer size and intricate architecture of the castle can only be experienced while on a guided tour.

• The beauty and captivating scent of the flower market. Over the past 100 years, flower selling has become a cultural tradition on Cape Town’s Adderley Street. On this walking tour you’ll discover the cultural heritage of Adderley Street and meet vendors known for their friendliness and humor, and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase their vibrantly colored flowers.

• The local crafts and works of art at the Green Market Square. Originally Cape Town’s first fruit and vegetable market, Green Market Square is a sensational place to go for cultural enlightenment. Today, it is a market offering African goods and art, and is surrounded by charming cafés that invite visitors to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and socialize. On your guided tour, you’ll uncover the large impact Green Market Square has on the local community, as well as the local economy.

Imagine the Perfect Trip to Africa . . . It Begins At Cape Grace

Cape graceNothing in the world can compare to Cape Town’s surreal atmosphere, inspirational spirit, world-famous accommodations, fascinating culture, and delectable food and wines. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a romantic honeymoon or an unforgettable family vacation, Cape Town, South Africa has everything to satisfy your every individual needs and desires.

Located in close proximity to a wealth of day trip destinations including Cape Winelands, Robben Island, Hout Bay, and Simon’s Town, Cape Town is the ideal place to get a taste of everything southern Africa has to offer. But, Cape Town is famous for more than its perfect location, stunning landscape, and exceptional amenities—a handful of award-winning accommodations simply add to Cape Town’s extraordinary characteristics. One accommodation in particular is Cape Grace . . .

Cape Grace:

• Ambiance and Location: If you’re looking for a hotel where intimacy and privacy are at an optimum, than Cape Grace is the perfect place for you. Radiating elegance from every intricate detail, Cape Grace is nothing short of exceptional. Its location in Cape Town’s famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront make it a close walk to some of Cape Town’s most celebrated shopping hubs, restaurants, and hot-spots.

cape grace bedroom• Rooms: Designed with elegant, comfortable, and sophisticated décor, each of Cape Grace’s 121 rooms is individually designed with subtle reflections of Cape Town’s bright spirit and accents of authentic Cape culture. Rooms to choose from include the penthouse, three bedroom suite, two bedroom suite, one bedroom suite, rooftop terrace, rooftop luxury, superior, and luxury.

• Exclusive Activities: Cape Grace prides itself on its personalized and exclusive services and amenities, including its private yacht charters and the Spa at Cape Grace. At the spa, you can choose from a variety of revolutionary treatments and massages that will completely refresh and rejuvenate your senses. And, if you want to experience luxury and relaxation at its best, then a yacht charter is the perfect activity for you. When you book a chartered cruise, you choose where you want to go on your private 56 foot Aicon fly-bridge luxury motor yacht. Whether you want to see Robben Island, Haut Bay, Langebaan Lagoon, or any other bay or island off the coast, the choice is yours. 

• Dining: If you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience rich with a fusion of both local and international flavors, than Cape Grace’s award-winning Signal Restaurant is where you want to be. Crafted from the freshest local product and some of South Africa’s best chef’s, Signal’s dishes are an absolute treat to taste.

 

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Things To Do and See In Africa: A – Z Part II

View Part I here.

leopardNight drive: Observe some of South Africa’s most interesting wildlife—at dark. During night drives, you’ll see Africa’s nocturnal wildlife and some of the Big Five at their most active. At night, lions and leopards are frequently spotted on the move or hunting.

Ostrich farm: Visit Western Cape’s Little Karoo for a unique tour through one of its many ostrich farms. During these tours, you’ll observe breeding behaviors and witness how ostrich eggs and feathers are crafted into decorative assortments for the home and stylish accessories.

Port Elizabeth: Filled with an array of stunning beaches, nearby golf courses, boardwalk shopping, a casino, water sport activities, and an aquarium, Port Elizabeth creatively combines relaxation with adventure. And at night, the city comes to life with exciting ghost, graveyard, and cell tours.

Quad Biking: South Africa’s rugged, bumpy terrain has made this country synonymous with quad biker’s paradise. Whether you want to ride through the Drakensberg Mountains or the beaches, the bushveld or the Valley of The Elephants, Mpumalanga wetlands or Kruger National Park, you’re guaranteed to find adventure in the varying terrains of South Africa.

Rust en Vrede: This exceptional estate exclusively produces only red wines and is located in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Their wines include 1694 Classification, Syrah 2006 (which has already sold out), Estate 2005, Shiraz 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, and Merlot 2008. Their bold, full-bodied reds are a treat to anyone’s itinerary and this estate should not be missed. In 2008, the Rust en Vrede estate’s 1694 Classification wine and the Syrah 2006 wine both received the double golden Veritas Award for excellence.

penguinSwim with the penguins: Not as traditional as swimming with the dolphins, swimming with the penguins offers a completely unique experience if you’re looking to get up-close-and-personal with these adorable little creatures. Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula is one of the only places in all of Africa where the African penguin lives and it is a highly-rewarding experience to interact with them in their natural environment.  

Tour Table Mountain: Enjoy a panoramic view of Table Mountain as you journey up the rocky mountainside in a rotating cable car. Each cable car has the ability to fully rotate, giving you the opportunity to see 360 degrees around you. On your cable car trip you’ll see stunning gardens, death-defying cliffs, and playful dassies—furry brown creatures that live on the mountain whose closest relatives are the elephants. Because there are 350 routes up the mountain, having a guided tour is highly recommended, as it can be extremely difficult and sometimes dangerous to navigate the mountain on your own.

uKhahlamba-Drakensberg: As the longest, tallest, and largest mountain range in all of South Africa, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg (meaning “Dragon Mountain”) is a must-see natural phenomena. This World Heritage site has one of the largest collections of Sans rock paintings in all of Africa. On the mountain you can also see a wide variety of plant, bird, mammal, and reptile species, and you can experience exciting activities such as hang gliding, hiking, and rock climbing. 

Victoria and Alford Waterfront in Cape Town:  This area is one of the most culturally enriching places to see in Cape Town. With a working harbor, unique seaside culture, five-star restaurants, historical monuments, and world-famous shopping hubs, Victoria and Alford Waterfront has it all.

Walking_SafarisWalking safari: If you’re looking for an African safari tour that combines an interactive experience with a rich cultural and learning environment, then you’ll want to take part in a walking safari through Kruger National Park, South Africa. On a walking safari, you’ll learn to listen for the distinct callings of South Africa’s wildlife, search for animal markings, and track paths of residential lions and elephants with the invaluable expertise of certified local guides. These highly knowledgeable guides introduce you to the hidden elements of indigenous wildlife that ranges from larger game to intricate wildlife hidden beneath rocks and inside crevasses.

Xhosa People: With a population of around 7 million individuals, the Xhosa people primarily live in the Eastern Cape and are the ancestors of the Nguni, a group that migrated from central and northern Africa to southern Africa. Keeping their traditional culture alive, the Xhosa people provide visitors to the region with a culturally enlightening experience. Watch as they craft exceptional beadwork, perform dance rituals, and speak in the Xhosa language (comprised of clicking sounds).

honeYmoon safari: South Africa is one of the most exceptional places to enjoy a romantic honeymoon safari. With a variety of intimate and luxurious accommodations that provide honeymooners with superior service and care, and a wide spectrum of activities for honeymooners, it’s no wonder South Africa has made a name for itself as the perfect honeymoon destination.

Zulu Traditions: Zulu culture has kept the same traditions passed down from their ancestors including ceremonies, rituals, and old traditions. With the belief that birth, marriage, and death are important times to interact with the ancestors, the Zulu people will sacrifice a variety of items to the ancestors during these moments in life such as home-brewed beer or a slaughtered animal.

View Part I of this post here.

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What To Do and See In South Africa: A – Z Part I

Antique Shopping: With history dating back to the 1600s, South Africa is filled with delightful antiques and artifacts from the home, and from times of apartheid, imprisonment, and war. Whether you’re looking to purchase an antique chair or an ancient relic, South Africa’s antique shops are full of spectacular cultural and historical heritage.

Sugardbd_C-Mvert1-Jy05-wwBirding Safari: Bird lovers find South Africa to be one of the greatest countries in all of Africa to observe an abundance of unique birdlife. Currently, South Africa has over 850 different species of bird, and many of those species are endemic to the area. The best time to enjoy South Africa’s birdlife is during the spring and summer time (September – March). From ostriches to bateleur eagles, and African penguins to Cape parrots, you’ll observe some of the most exotic birds in the entire world on a South African birding safari.

Cape Town: Home to some of Africa’s best restaurants, shopping, and tours, Cape Town, South Africa is a must-visit destination for travelers. Some of the many attractions throughout Cape Town include, Table Mountain, Port Elizabeth, museums, art exhibits, and Cavendish Square—to name a few.

Dive with the Sharks: In Gansbaai, an island off the coast of South Africa, there are a variety of shark dive safari providers and excursions to choose from—some including cages, photography opportunities, manta rays, hammerheads, tiger sharks, Great Whites, and more. If you’re not feeling as adventurous as those going into the water, a shark viewing safari from the comfort of a boat is also highly rewarding and adventurous.  

Elephant and Horseback Riding: Take a ride on the back an elephant and experience stunning views of Africa and wild game from 13 feet above ground, or enjoy a horseback safari through indescribably landscapes. A horseback riding safari and elephant safari are two of the greatest ways to get up-close to nature and run with herds. 

Franschhoek: Informally dubbed the “Food & Wine” capital of South Africa, Franschhoek’s historic French Huguenot Village is one of the most exceptional places in all of Africa to enjoy stunning countryside landscapes, experience exciting cultural affairs, dabble in wine tasting, explore charming bistros and boutiques, and observe classic Cape-Dutch architecture. 

the-garden-routeGarden Route: With a chain of sprawling mountains, valleys of wildflowers, lakes, forests, and majestic beaches, Garden Route is the perfect destination for honeymooners and families alike. Whether you enjoy fishing, sun-bathing, water sports, birding, hiking, scenic tours, or cultural tours, Garden Route has it all. 

Hot Air Balloon Ride: Take a relaxing trip past jagged mountains and above plump treetops on a hot air balloon safari. Get a new perspective on South Africa’s diverse terrain as you glide through the air on this tranquil safari and enjoy fantastic photography opportunities.

Inkaba Body Balance: Experience this revolutionary and completely rejuvenating Inkaba massage therapy at the Serenite spa at L’Ermitage Franschhoek Chateau & Villas. This hands-on therapy is used to connect the body’s energy and create balance within. During this treatment, the entire body is stimulated—from the toes to the face.

Jardine: The contemporary and hip ambiance of the Jardine restaurant in Cape Town is one of the many reasons why the restaurant has landed a spot on South Africa’s prestigious Eat Out award list. Jardine boasts a delightful selection of fine African and Contemporary cuisine, such as tender duck confit, Chalmar beef fillet, and tantalizing desserts.

HOA_Kruger1Kruger National Park: As the first wildlife reserve in southern Africa, Kruger National Park has made a name for itself as the premier place to observe the Big 5 on a South African family safari or honeymoon safari. Kruger and its adjacent private reserves are home to some of the most luxurious and exclusive lodges and camps in all of Africa, including Singita, Londolozi, and Mala Mala. 

Local Village Tours: Take a tour through one of South Africa’s many quaint and charming villages and discover interesting facts and stories about local cultures and history. During these tours, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their lifestyle and cultural heritage.

Mpumalanga: Breaking free from traditional African safari tours, Mpumalanga, South Africa is a haven for people who love the outdoors. Whether you enjoy hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, historic site seeing, or water sports, Mpumalanga can accommodate your every desire.

 

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Animal Spotlight: The Ostrich

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Photo provided by Dave and Naomi Estment

Can an ostrich fly if it weighs 350 lbs and is 9 ft. tall? The answer is no—not unless it has jet engines strapped to its wings. But, the ostrich does have one airplane capability working for it—the ostrich can use its wings to direct its course when running and help the animal to keep balance.

What ostriches can’t do in the air they make up for in their great running speed. Running in sudden bursts at speeds slightly more than 40 miles per hour (70 kilometers per hour), the ostrich can move across large distances without tiring. The ostrich cannot maintain this speed for long periods of time though, so, on average, it runs 30 mph (50 kph) and has the ability take 10 – 15 ft. (3 – 5 meter) strides. 

What else makes the ostrich one of the most unique birds in the world?

• Built for running, the ostrich’s legs are long and each foot has two toes. These toes enable the creature to run faster.  

• Ostriches can be life-threatening if they feel they are being attacked. If the force of their powerful kick doesn’t kill a large animal, its 4 inch (10 centimeter) claw on each foot will probably do the trick. 

Ostriches-at-sunsetwtmk

Photo provided by Dave and Naomi Estment

• On average, the ostrich can live up to 30 – 40 years of age and is only found in select areas of central Africa and southern Africa.

• Not only is the ostrich the biggest and heaviest bird, it also has the largest eye out of any other land animal. Ostriches also have excellent vision, which makes it easier for them to see predators in the distance. 

• On average, herds of ostriches reach up to 10 members and consist of an alpha male and a dominant hen, as well as several other hens. During breeding season, the alpha male will mate with the dominant female and sometimes with other hens in the group. All other hens in the group must place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest. The dominant hen’s eggs get the most attention and are in the center of the nest.  

Ostrich-inquisitivewtmk

Photo provided by Dave and Naomi Estment

• Ostriches’ main diet consists of plants, roots, and seeds, but also includes insects, lizards, and other small creatures found throughout their territory. Because ostriches eat so much vegetation, their main source of hydration comes from plants and not from large sources of water. When an ostrich eats, it collects food in the back of its throat until there is a substantial chunk of food, at which time they will swallow.

The beautiful photographs in this post are provided by Dave Estment a well-known South African photographer and are copyrighted by Dave Estment.  To see more of Dave’s gorgeous work, please visit http://www.naomiestment.wordpress.com.  Thank you very much Dave & Naomi for sharing your work with us and everyone wanting to Live the Magic of Africa.