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Archive | March, 2012

Best Laid Beach Plans…

22 Mar

Just as I sit here in our apartment, looking out onto the pollution filled Beijing skyline – I am supposed to be sitting next to my marvelous man with a glass of something sparkling in hand, aboard a plane bound for Sanya.  Specifically, Haitang Bay.  Specifically, see below.

But as it has a way of doing from time to time…life got in our way.  So, I decided to distract myself (from the cold…the smog…and our annoying neighbors’ cigarette smoke that permeates the hallway and seeps under our door – sorry for the bitterness of this beach deprived blonde) by writing about glory days of beaches past.

So onto to something much more marvelous…like Mozambique!

The Bazaruto Archipelago of Mozambique was the perfect way to end our 3 week stay in Africa.  It was all sand, sailing, seafood, and fun in the sun.  Even my third degree burns (see: A Burnt Bride) couldn’t put a damper on this to-die-for island.

Brett enjoying a local brew while taking in the sites of the island via an open air jeep.

Our home for the week in Mozambique was one of the 16  lovely villas at Azura on Benguerra.  From the service to the activities to the natural beauty of these undiscovered beaches, Azura lived up to all of our expectations.  Which – as my husband (I am sure will agree) are quite high…

TRAVEL TIP:  For other South Africa bound honeymooners…there are many travel companies that will push the Seychelles for “end of the trip beach time” – BUT the islands of Mozambique will provide all the luxury with half the cost.  Although…that will probably change as their popularity grows – so book fast!

Our Villa

Sailing around the archipelago.

Footloose and Fancy Free

Deep Sea Fishing Success!

Our Catch of the Day!

Enjoying our catch of the day by candlelight at a romantic table for two on the private beach. Perfection.

On a positive note…we are in the process of rescheduling our beach time trip.  For now – the departure date is set for two weeks with an alternative destination: The Maldives (thanks to the recent non-stop flight offered by Mega Maldives Airlines).  Fingers crossed.

 

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Blyde River Canyon…A Bit Belated

19 Mar

The Beautiful Blyde River Canyon

As it always does…time has slipped through my fingers once again.  Not only have I not posted anything in regards to China lately, I haven’t posted  – well…anything at all!  So, I thought I would step back in time for a moment and finish sharing the tales our adventures in Africa this past October.  It was brought to my attention that I never wrote about the Blyde River Canyon or Mozambique.  Two places that definitely deserve recognition (and high praise…Nick Cage style).

Stealing a kiss at the top of God's Window on top of the Blyde River Canyon

From Camp Jabulani (where I left off…see the following link for details:  https://ablondeinbeijing.com/2011/12/27/its-all-about-the-elephants/) we traveled to the Cybele Forest Lodge and Spa – a Relais & Chateaux property nestled in the woods of northern South Africa.  The lodge is perched 3,000-feet above sea level amidst Mpumalanga’s forests, mountains and meadows between White River and Hazyview. Owners Rupert and Barbara Jeffries have transformed the original hunting lodge they bought in 1979 to a cosy, yet stylish retreat. There are twelve quaint cottages and ours had  the added advantage of our own heated swimming pool!  It was divine!

Brett standing in God's Window at Blyde River Canyon

During our two nights stay, we took all of our meals in our room at the dining table or poolside on the patio.  It was the ultimate in privacy.  We did leave the room…twice.  Once for a couple’s massage and once for a helicopter ride through the canyon, complete with a stop at God’s Window for a champagne picnic.  Needless to say, it was a very strenuous 48 hours.

Champagne picnic at the top of God's Window

Heli Silhouette

I honestly had never heard of the Blyde River Canyon (the 3rd largest in the world – not to mention that it is a GREEN canyon) until we began our research for the trip.  I am so glad that we made the decision to venture off the beat and path to see this side of South Africa.  It was completely unexpected, and is mostly highly recommended.  I don’t think it is possible to truly capture the beauty of this magical place with unprofessional photographer hands (like ours), but I  hope that our pictures capture enough of its essence to encourage you to visit.

One of many waterfalls falling through the Blyde River Canyon

Our fantastic pool. We did have to watch out for the monkeys though! Little thieves that they are...

Thank you Cybele Forest Lodge & Spa for such a rejuvenating stay!  Just writing and remembering has relaxed me…and well, distracted me from the hazardous pollution of Beijing.  Literally.  The “pollution-o-meter” recommends staying in today.  So – Blyde Blogging it is!

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