Saturday, 29 September 2007

Mfuwe, Malawi and Mozambique

Graham Simmons travelled to South Luangwa National Park near Mfuwe in northern Zambia. Here, at “Mushroom House” (just re-opened as a luxury safari lodge), he talked with Kaweche Kaunda, son of Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda.

African history was made at “Mushroom House”, meeting place for Kaunda Snr and his Cabinet. This was also the site of the secret meeting in 1976 between the ANC’s Oliver Tambo and South Africa’s Oppenheimer team of white industrialists – a meeting that drove the very first wedge through the wall of apartheid.

After sinking a beer or three at Mfuwe’s Flatdogs Safari Camp, Simmons headed overland to Malawi and thence Mozambique, riding precariously on the back of pickup trucks. His first sojourn in Mozambique lasted about ten minutes before he was deported for lack of a visa. He retraced his steps and re-entered Mozambique at the visa-issuing border post of Mandimba, some 150 km to the north.

The far west of Mozambique is the jumping-off point for one of Africa’s great train rides – the Cuamba to Nampula non-express. The main raison d’ĂȘtre of the train line is to allow trackside vendors and passengers to exchange their wares. Many merchants ride the train just to buy produce along the way and then sell it at a profit on the coast.

The super-atmospheric island of Ilha de Mozambique – home to Africa’s oldest European buildings and an amalgam of Portuguese, Arab and African cultures – came as a must-visit stop. When decent infrastructure is in place, Ilha will become the hottest place on the international tourist circuit – until it overheats and travellers move yet elsewhere.

Simmons wound up this trip in the Mozambican capital Maputo. Imagine Longa tribal culture overlaid with Portuguese colonialism, again overlaid with Marxist-era buildings now crumbling and now with modern condo development. There is no holding Maputo back!

For the time being, Mozambique comes as a series of sensory sensations – vibrant colours, great food (what else would you expect in an ex-Portuguese colony where the original piri-piri sauce was invented?) and lively, pulsating music. This country is a destination about to realise its destiny.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Destination Focus: Southern Africa

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The many and varied lands of southern Africa are never far from the headlines, yet continue to deliver some of the most rewarding travel experiences anywhere on the planet. The Global Travel Writers offer your readers their own unique perspectives.

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Sunday, 9 September 2007

Latest from Global Travel Writers for September 2007

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Our Destination Focus: India mailout last month provoked a good deal of interest.


Saturday, 1 September 2007

You spa what you eat - Spa & Resorts - Activities & Interests - SMH Travel

Sheriden Rhodes gets covered in herbal treatments, then finds the same ingredients in her lunch.

A heady waft of coconut and lemongrass fills the air. Birds flit to and fro among the thick, jungle-like foliage. I've arrived at the Earth Spa by Six Senses at the luxurious Evason Hideaway in Hua Hin, Thailand. Here, the mud-brick domed treatment rooms appear to float in a lily pond while softly spoken Thai therapists pad silently about the tranquil tropical setting.