Sunday, March 18, 2007

Leopard Hills

Here's a bunch of info on our wedding and honeymoon. Here's the order of the 3 week stint -

week 1: wedding in Grand Cayman
week 2: Safari in South Africa
week 3: Island getwaway in Mauritius

Here's some info on the three spots...

Perched on the top of a hill overlooking a natural waterhole and in close proximity to the Sand River, Leopard Hills is a sanctuary exuding luxury and privacy and the perfect location from which to view the leopard on hunt amongst the other numerous big game which abound. In the western sector of Sabi Sand, part of the greater Kruger National Park system, Leopard Hills is one of the most sought after game lodges in South Africa.

Eight beautifully appointed suites, each with private sundeck and rock plunge pool, offer as much as you could wish for, glass-fronted to permit superb views of the bushveld beyond and airconditioned as comfort against the African heat. The romantic bathrooms include a Victorian bath, and double indoor and outdoor showers. This is the perfect setting in which to sit on your terrace and admire the show of the passing cavalcade below. Laze around the pool on the wooden deck and marvel at your prime elevated position.

8 Suites each with air-conditioning, Victorian bath, double indoor & outdoor showers, fire place, mini-bar. Complete with their own sundeck and private rock plunge pool.

Grand Cayman Info

More research....

Here's some info on Grand Cayman. We'll be arriving on Wednesday and leaving Monday. The big day is on 5.5.2007. Here's some info and some pictures of the island -

Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands at about 196 km² and contains the capital George Town. Towns on the island are referred to as "districts". It is located at 19°20′N 81°13′W. The island is a high-lying cow reef, with a highest elevation of roughly 24 meters above sea level. There is no natural fresh water (lakes, rivers, etc) on the island, so any fresh water needs must be met by catchments or desalination of seawater. The lack of rivers does however account for the exceptional clarity of the sea. The island was devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 from September 11 to September 12. With Category 5 strength, Ivan passed within 30 miles of Grand Cayman, hitting it with winds over 180 mph (290 km/h) and gusts up to 200mph. The island reported no more than a few deaths - none directly caused by the hurricane - but over 80% of the buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed. Ivan was the worst hurricane to hit the island in 86 years. The eastern side of the island is somewhat undeveloped, while the western side of the island, which holds George Town and the airport, Owen Roberts International Airport, is more developed. Fast food restaurants, night clubs and resorts can be found on the western side of the island. The eastern districts offer more restaurants specializing in native Caymanian cuisine.

The island economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with as much of 75% of the island's GDP being tourist generated. Aside from numerous beaches, including the famous Seven Mile Beach, there are many attractions on the island.
Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands in general are very well known for their diving and snorkelling. The island features many reefs and walls, some of which can be accessed by swimming from shore.

1-2 year old Green Sea Turtles in a petting tank at the Turtle farm. The district of West Bay features a turtle farm. The farm re-opened in November 2004 as a larger attraction after being damaged from Hurricane Ivan. The majority of Green Sea Turtles are raised for their meat, the theory being that this eliminates consumption of wild animals. Some of the farmed turtles are released, and have good survival rates in the wild. The turtle farm also has several rare iguanas and a caiman on display. West Bay district is also home to a formation of limestone affectionately known to islanders as Hell. Merchandise "from Hell" can be purchased nearby.

Stingray City in Grand Cayman allows swimmers, snorkelers, and divers to swim and feed stingrays. Stingray City, located a short boat ride from the northern end of Grand Cayman, is a series of shallow sand bars where sting rays are found in abundance and visitors can feed, pet, and interact with the animals. The southern stingrays can grow to large sizes (100 cm or more in span) and are quite accustomed to being handled and fed. A trip from a local tour operator will usually include snorkelling in coral gardens before arriving at Stingray City. In the southern district of Bodden Town is the historic house of Pedro St. James, considered the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands. It is also the oldest known existing stone structure on Grand Cayman.

In the Eastern Districts of the island are the districts of Bodden Town, East End and North Side. In the centre of the island (in North Side district) is the Mastic Trail, a hiking trail through old growth dry forests that used to cover the entire island. Plants and animals native to Grand Cayman, such as the Mastic Tree, green parrot, and agouti, can be seen.

Learning a little more about Mauritius

Just over one month until the big wedding in Grand Cayman. I'm starting to get really excited about everything... mostly because all of the planning will finally be over. I'm amazed at how many details and logistics can be crammed into one day. I did a little research on wikipedia about Mauritius which is where we're going to go after our safari in south africa. Here's some info on wikipedia -

Mauritius (pronounced: IPA: [məˈɹɪʃəs]; French: Maurice /mɔʀis/; Mauritian Creole: Moris), is an island nation off the coast of Africa in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 kilometers (560 mi) east of Madagascar and about 3,943 kilometers (2,450 mi) southwest of India. In addition to the island of Mauritius, the republic includes the islands of St. Brandon, Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands. Mauritius is part of the Mascarene Islands, with the French island of Réunion 200 kilometers (125 mi) to the southwest. The flag of Mauritius has red, blue, yellow and green stripes. The red stripe represents the struggle for independence. The blue stripe represents the ocean around the island. The yellow stripe represents the sun and golden light of independence. The green stripe represents fruitful soil and vegetation.

Mauritian society is highly multi-ethnic. Island residents are the descendants of people from the Indian subcontinent, continental Africa, Madagascar, France, Great Britain, and China, among other places. The official language of Mauritius is English. All administrative documents are drawn up in English, which is also the principal language of instruction in the educational system. French, however, predominates in the media, both broadcast and printed. The French-derived Mauritian Creole, with influences from the other dialects, is widely spoken on the island and is considered the native tongue of the country. Creole was the language used by the African slaves to communicate with the French landlords. Nowadays, Creole is used in everyday life by all Mauritians. Hindi is also widely spoken, though restrained to the Indian community. Several other languages, including Arabic, Indian languages such as Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi or dialects of Chinese like Cantonese, Hakka and Mandarin are also spoken. The latter South Asian languages are spoken by descendants of the labourers brought from British India during the British rule. The Indo-Mauritians (when the ethnic groups are combined) form approximately 70% of the total population, the remaining 30% being mostly Creoles. The French and Chinese make up the smaller minorities. There are approximately 30,000 Mauritians of Chinese descent, from the Hakka, Mandarin, and Cantonese language groups. More than 90% of the Sino-Mauritian community are Roman Catholic; the remainder are largely Buddhist. Small groups of foreign students from Europe or the Indian Ocean region are present. The recent years have seen a constant flow of foreign workers mostly Chinese women in the textile industry, Indian workers in the construction industry and Taiwanese men in the harbour-related activities. Though immigration is not a debate at all in Mauritius, the relative economic stability of the island is attracting more foreign workers. Of all religiously affiliated Mauritians, Hindus constitute 52%, Catholic Christians 28%, Muslims (16.6%), Buddhists (2.5%), Adventist Protestants (2%), Sikhs (0.3%) and other religions are also followed[6].