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Issue 3
Africa Travel> Issue 3
UPDATED: August 27, 2014
From the Travel Editor - May

Welcome Chinese travelers to the third instalment of ChinAfrica Travel. During May the leaves on the trees are fast turning from green to red to yellow in southern Africa as we approach winter. It is, however, one of the best times of year to travel to this beautiful region of the world.

In this issue we travel all over South Africa, from the town of George situated in the awe-inspiring Garden Route of the Western and Eastern Cape to the Tugela River, the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The river originates in the Drakensberg Mountains, Mont-aux-Sources, (itself the source of tributaries of two other major South African rivers, the Orange River and the Vaal River) and plunges 947 meters down the Tugela Falls. We also visit Monate Lodge, barely two hours' drive from Pretoria in Gauteng.Further afield in Mozambique, we spend time at Villa Santorini, a simply breath-taking intimate villa on the coast of Vilanculous.

The Garden Route is a popular and scenic stretch of the southeastern coast of South Africa. It stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River, which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighboring Eastern Cape. The town of George is one of the jewels on this stretch of coastline and we visited here during one of the coldest winters in living memory. Weather aside, a unique experience awaits you when you travel on the Outeniqua Power Van into the surrounding mountains. We also visited a cheese and strawberry farm as well as the fascinating George Museum. There are a million things to do here and you will never be bored.

Monate Lodge, ke-monate being a Sotho word which, loosely translated, means "delightful" and the lodge is situated in the lowveld, painted jade by abundant January rain. Monate is nestled in manicured gardens on an almost 2,000-hectare private reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This malaria-free area is beautiful in its diversity, ranging from open plains to typical bushveld and interesting rocky outcrops, caves and "koppies" (hills) and the lodge itself is built in an enclave among the beautiful and ancient rock formations.

About 700 km away, Zingela offers a different experience entirely. The Lodge is set deep in the Kingdom of the Zulus on the banks of the Tugela River. Established in 1983, the camp has been lovingly created from the natural materials that occur in the area. From simple beginnings, it has evolved slowly over the years and has stretched the concept of outdoor living to its limits.

The adventure activities are largely dictated by the seasons and nature has provided a wonderful playground here: the river for rafting, kayaking, fishing and zip sliding; the cliffs for abseiling; spectacular terrain for 4x4s, quad and mountain biking and then of course the variety of birds, trees and game that makes every walk an adventure.

Last but not least, we experience neighboring country Mozambique in all its splendor in the form of Villa Santorini. In all my travels I have never seen such a place. As a travel writer one can get jaded, but every once in a while - if you are lucky – you find a place so inspiring that prose flows out of you like golden, wanton molasses. I elaborate on this in the article...

So until next month when we explore more of the wonderful continent of Africa, bon voyage!

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