When we think of our dream honeymoon, we often picture a magical destination that embodies exclusivity and romance. A place where dreams come true and fantasies transform into reality. And when we leave? We’re left with shared memories that remain with us for eternity.As one of the world’s most enchanting and romantic cities, it’s no wonder Cape Town, South Africa has positioned itself as one of the best honeymoon destinations. Centrally located among exquisite neighboring regions, including the Garden Route and Cape Winelands, honeymooners to Cape Town can enjoy a chic urban atmosphere, a serine beach setting, and a lush countryside.
Wine tasting on horseback: Ashort drive from Cape Town, Cape Winelands can be experienced in one day or several days—the choice is up to you. But beware: the pungent, earthy aromas and picturesque landscape of this vivid countryside will capture your heart instantly and beckon you to stay longer. And as soon as you embark on a wine tasting tour on horseback, you’ll want to stay forever in this charming village-life setting.On this romantic and personalized horseback tour, you’ll pass through prestigious wine vineyards, sip sensational wines, and talk one-on-one with wine makers, all while century-old Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco architecture speckle the backdrop of your tour.

Explore the aphrodisiacs of Cape Town:A true lover’s retreat, Cape Town is full of aphrodisiacs that are sure to tickle the sense and satisfy your craving for romance. From freshly caught oysters to flavorful South Africa and international wines, to delectable chocolates to hot chilies and spices, Cape Town offers visitors some of the most delectable aphrodisiacs in the world.For honeymooners who are oyster lovers, consider visiting South Africa at the end of July when the annual Knysna Oyster Festival takes place. And for chocolate lovers, you’ll definitely want to take part in a private Lindt chocolate-making class where you and your spouse can create chocolates together and delight in their sweetness!

Kirstenbosch Gardens:Imagine walking among hundreds of thousands of vibrant flowers as you inhale the pungent aromas of the sweet flora. At Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, you’ll find the most romantic setting to explore South Africa’s indigenous and most renowned flora and cultivated gardens. Comprised of nearly 528 hectares of manicured estate, Kirstenbosch Gardens sits along the breathtaking slopes of Table Mountain, which adds a dramatic contrast to the colorful gardens.One of the best times to view the garden is during springtime–beginning in July–when bulbs and annuals burst to the surface. New life is present all around the garden–from busy insects to blooming proteas, and ericas to berry heath.

Spa treatments: Find inner balance on a couples retreat to one of Cape Town’s most luxurious and sensual spas. There is no better way to revitalize the mind, body, and soul after an African safari than with a signature spa treatment. You and your loved one can experience spa treatments that combine traditional healing powers of nature with revolutionary spa treatments—opportunities that allow you both to connect with the soothing nature of Africa. Many accommodations and spas also offer a bush bath treatment for you and your spouse, accompanied by soft rose petals, champagne, and soothing music.

Partake on the Peninsula Tour: Travel from Cape Point to the south-westerly point of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, on a private tour where you’ll explore towering sea cliffs, exotic flora, astonishing wildlife, quaint walking trails, powdery beaches, and South Africa’s vibrant culture.

During this customized tour, you’ll visit Boulders Beach—home to South Africa’s most renowned species, the African penguin—where you’ll learn about the history and behavior of these adorable little creatures. You’ll also witness a variety of magnificent wildlife including baboons, bontebok, ostriches, an abundance of bird life, and the southern right whales. On the peninsula tour, you’ll not only be able to observe these animals in the wild, but you’ll also learn quirky facts about them, and perhaps even get up-close-and-personal with some.

Romantic dinners: Arguably Africa’s culinary capitol, Cape Town is bursting with exotic flavors, trendy dining spots, and romantic backdrops that lure foodies, jet setters, and romantics from around the world to experience one of the most unique culinary sensations in the world. Whether you want to sip international wines at a quaint bistro, experience a traditional contemporary French dining scene, or enjoy a candlelit dinner for two overlooking the sparkling city and harbor, you’re options are truly endless.

Mother City Tours: Known as the Mother City, Cape Town is one of Africa’s most culturally and historically rich cities. And the best way to experience all that Cape Town has to offer is on a Mother City Tour. During this tour, you’ll enjoy a trip up Table Mountain via rotating cable car, followed by a tour through the majestic Castle of Good Hope, as well as tours of the gardens, Green Point Light House, The Cape Town Stadium, V & A Waterfront (a phenomenal shopping and restaurant hot spot!), Die Bo Kaap, and District Six.


Enjoy the rushing waters of the Kafue River in a remote, eco-friendly, traditional camp, set in Kafue National Park, largest park in Zambia. 2011 sees the opening of Lufupa Bush Camp, in Zambia’s Kafue National Park, a remote camp with the charm of traditional rondavels and home to a wide variety of ecosystems and their attendant wildlife. Set amongst shady ebony trees and wild date palms, this bush camp overlooks the musical Kafwala Rapids of the Kafue River.

The Camp
Lufupa Bush Camp consists of four traditional brick and thatch rondavels, which have been completely refurbished.These however still maintain the historic appeal of this
camp, built in the 1970s when the Kafue National Park was an unknown entity in the ecotourism world. Each rondavel has state-of-the-art solar lighting and solar
hot water heaters, keeping our environmental footprint at a minimum in compliance with Wilderness environmental standards. The thatch main area set on the river’s edge provides a perfect setting for meals and place to relax in the heat of the day. The surroundings – lush riverine vegetation, the sound of the river rushing past over the rapids – all ensure that guests can feel at one with nature.

The Wildlife
This is a true wilderness area and the traversing area comprised of a mosaic of broad-leafed
miombo woodland, open grassland in dambos and floodplains and riverine vegetation. The
diversity of habitat ensures excellent birding (nearly 500 species have been recorded) and
a wide range of antelope species: puku, oribi and warthog, buffalo, Defassa waterbuck,
wildebeest and impala are all resident. Uncommon species such as Lichtenstein’s
hartebeest are regularly seen here, while hippo constantly serenade from the river with
their deep grunting. Rarer species such as sable antelope are seen on occasion.
Predator-wise, the area is best known for wild dog (a large pack used the area over the
2010 season), while lion, leopard, and cheetah are also seen – indeed, the Lufupa area
together with the Busanga Plains has the highest density of lion in the northern Kafue.
Lufupa Activities Activities include fishing, day and night game drives with an expert guide who has been a
member of the Wilderness family for the last 15 years.
Guests can also explore the Kafue and Lufupa rivers by boat and on foot. Access
Transfers from the airstrip (at Lufupa) are dependent on weather and group size and are
either approximately 1hr 30min by road or boat.
A perfect camp to combine with Musanza Tented Camp and for the budget-conscious
traveller who is seeking an authentic safari experience in Kafue National Park.

For more information, please refer to us at www.viaadvantage.com

We returned home from our Africa Dream Safari just about one month ago, but the glow has been very slow to subside. Our expectations were exceeded in all regards; which should have been difficult to accomplish, because our expectations were raised as we had heard from you on a very regular basis with detailed suggestions as how to best experience the safari, along with notes from previous clients and their, much to be envied, photos.  Your e-mails were greatly appreciated and almost all  of your advice taken to heart and acted upon, all to our benefit.

 

The safari was truly a trip of a lifetime, a unique experience. We were most happy with all the tented camps and lodges where we stayed. However, our two day stay over Christmas at Buffalo Springs in the northern Serengeti  was most memorable. The management and staff there were especially kind  and provided us with genuine warmth as well as great service.
Perhaps the single most important factor in our enjoyment of the trip, was our interaction with our driver/guide, Wilfred Fue. He immediately grasped just what it was that we hoped to accomplish during the safari, including photographing at both dawn and dusk and made sure that it happened. He was patient, concerned as to our comfort and safety, and most knowledgeable as to the identity of all things animal and vegetable. He was also terrific at spotting flora and fauna. It gave us great personal satisfaction if one of our party spotted some animal or bird before he did. It did not happen often.
We were a party of five, two grandparents, two parents, and an eight year old  grandson.  From the perspective of the grandparents, seeing Tanzania through the eyes of our grandson was an experience to be treasured – forever.
As far as animal encounters, we were thrilled to experience a two week old lion cub who walked under our vehicle, a leopard finishing breakfast just adjacent to the vehicle, and a herd of cape buffalo chasing four lions away from a recent kill of one of the herd. Those were in addition to all the other thousands: probably tens of thousands of other animals including ,elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, cheetahs, kudu, and many others. I left out zebras, wildebeests, and impala although there were more of those than all other species combined. 

Attached are several photos taken on our trip and a book of photographs has been produced and is available on http://www.blurb.com/books/1941215 It can be viewed on that web site. If you do look at it be sure to open the full page view.
Yvonne Schalscha and Cheetah

Yvonne Schalscha and Cheetah

Yvonne ( our leisure specialist) at the De Wildt Cheetah Center, South Africa, this is a must see in South Africa especially for environmentalist, the adventure traveler and young children find it fascinating. The cheetah is built for speed. Although fast, the cheetah, a magnificent, graceful animal cannot run at full speed for long distances.

 At the foot of the Magaliesberg – near the Hartbeespoort Dam – lies the renowned De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Center, a research and breeding reserve for cheetahs, wild dogs and other endangered species. The center was founded in 1971 with the aim of breeding endangered species, through the private initiative of the conservationist Ann van Dyk on her 65 hectare farm. Before this center was founded the population of the cheetah was estimated at a mere 700 animals, and until then nobody had succeeded in breeding them in captivity.

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Dear friends of fine food and great wines,

Please join us for an exciting dining experience following my travels from Hong Kong through Vietnam to Bangkok, a region rich in culinary tradition and a touch of French influence.

As a professional chef, I have always admired Chinese chefs with their wok cooking and special seasonings.  My European colleagues require hundreds of pots, pans, molds, terrines, and different knives, not to mention a pot washer, to prepare their food.  In contrast an Asian chef can prepare an 18-course dinner with only a cleaver and a wok.

 After a long flight from Houston, my wife Connie and I landed in Hong Kong and checked in at the Park Lane Hotel.  We enjoyed the architectural wonders of this great city, and had a great dinner in the “Old World” classic style of China including dumplings and Peking duck before we boarded our ship “The Seven Seas Marine” the following day.  We sailed for two days through the South China Sea and arrived in Hong Gai, Vietnam, the gateway toHalong Bay with its 3000 mountainous islands.  A sailing trip on a picturesque Junk to visit the boat people with their ancient tradition in fishing and diving for pearls was another unique experience.  The next day we toured the countryside, and after a 3-hour bus trip we entered Hanoi to explore the culinary heritage of North Vietnam.  A very tasty welcome luncheon at the contemporary Wild Rice Restaurant was our first Vietnamese meal before touring this city with its horrendous motorcycle traffic.

The Port of Chan May was our next destination with a tour through Hue with its temples and Forbidden City of ancient dynasties.  Next, we embarked a traditional dragon boat in front of the Heavenly Pagoda for a cruise on the Perfume River to enjoy the wonderful scenery and colorful life along both sides of the river.  A short trip to Nha Trang dotted with green rice fields was another great adventure as we experienced the rural country life of Vietnam.

The highlight of our trip to Vietnam was the bustling Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with its long and often glamorous, but violent history.  The touches of the former French Colonial Empire are very visible in the upscale French Quarters, Notre Dame Cathedral, the colonial styled Post Office, botanical gardens and spacious boulevards.  The former Presidential Palace is now the Reunification Hall and the US Embassy has been rebuilt. 

Being a chef at heart, we also toured the outdoor food market of Cho Lon.  The streets are full of live, color, and exotic spices as well as numerous street stalls amidst hundreds of hidden temples, shrines and pagodas with an endless stream of bicycles, covered tricycles, and motorbikes.  A farewell six-course dinner hosted by our Vietnamese friends at the well-known Rex Hotel (the home of journalists during the Vietnam War) accompanied with a native musical floorshow was a memorable event.

On our last day at sea we arrived at the beautiful island of Ko Samui.  The highlight was an elephant ride during a tropical storm in a jungle of tall palm trees. We also attended a Thai cooking class and had our first taste of native Thai food.  After lunch we left all civilization behind and traveled in a prehistoric ox cart on a bumpy road and experienced the harvest of rubber trees, before returning to our comfortable ship, which sailed at sunset for Bangkok, our final destination.

Upon our arrival to Bangkok, we received a warm welcome by several of my former employees from the Rotisserie for Beef and Bird who returned to their homeland two decades ago and became very successful in their own businesses.  My friends drove us to the Shangri La Hotel where we had a comfortable suite overlooking the Bangkok River.  For the next 6 days we visited the many markets, museums, dozen of temples including the Emerald Buddha, soup kitchens, elegant restaurants, the most elaborate shopping center, and a spectacular royal boat show from King Rama.  Naturally we enjoyed the food served on sidewalks from chicken on the stick to sticky rice, in addition to family dinners with the next generation of my friends.  Bangkok, with a population of over 13 million, is one of the most amazing cities we have ever visited, and I only can say; it was an experience of a lifetime.

Connie & Joe