Best Canada Resort Travel Vacations For Summer And Winter

Top 10 Vacation Spots in British Columbia

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia were brought to us by the Vancouver and for the first time, the Four Host First Nations as equal partners. The events of the Olympics: Olympic Festivals held before the Games, the two weeks of the Games and Cultural Events, the Paralympics, and the Four Host First Nations Pavilions introduced first-time visitors to the area who will plan to come back many times to such a wondrous natural beauty in the Pacific Northwest.

Now that we know our friends – Vancouver and Whistler BC – a little better, since the wonder of Winter 2010, we can travel back and experience memories and new adventures. The Four Host First Nations will welcome us as old friends.
Image result for Royal BC Museum Royal British Columbia Museum, Downtown Victoria
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First Nations; Native North Americans
First Nations; Native North Americans
First Nations; Native North Americans | Source
1) Aboriginal Pavilion and Chiefs’ House? – Visit Royal BC Museum

Elements of the Aboriginal Pavilion have been dispersed into British Columbia and other places in Canada, but continue in various exhibits, including in the Royal BC Museum, and around up island sites on Vancouver Island.

First Nations received a new status in Canada, thanks to the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics, with their full partnership as sponsors and hosts of the Games. The Aboriginal Pavilion was so successful, that it could have been made a permanent installation, had commercial space been available long-term in Downtown Vancouver.

The Royal BC Museum in downtown Victoria BC, across the water by ferry on Vancouver Island, is a well maintained venue I have visited. It continues its ongoing improvements and additions of new exhibits, particularly of First Nations and tableau of indigenous animals of BC. Visit online with the First Peoples Gallery. Artist Bill Reid has several items in the museum.

The Four Host First Nations, including the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations are indigenous to Vancouver and Whistler and welcome both visitors to their historic sites and customers to their businesses. Their companies include upscale restaurants and chefs, book publishing houses, artists, fashion design companies, traditional arts and crafting, and several other lines of commerce.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups still present their cultures and entertain with music, dance, drumming, stories, and friendship. The Pavilion strengthened the respect and friendship of others for these Indigenous peoples and now visitors look for them every day.
More Travel Information For BC

A Totem Pole is a Person – The Legacy of Native North American Carvers, Customs and History in the
Carved cedar poles have often been misunderstood and misrepresented globally. Such a pole is traditionally a person – a respected story teller. Here is part of the story.
Totem Poles: Culture and Meaning Among First Nations, With Kwakiutl Lineages
Even though the carved cedar pole and potlatch were illegal for many years until 1951, their meanings in a cultural context were never lost. The lineage of the Master Carvers preserved them.
Totem Poles Before 1700 AD – Pacific Northwest, Vancouver, Alaska, Siberia, Korea, New Zealand, Papu
The history of totem poles around the Pacific Rim and the Cub-Polar regions is many centuries old. In-depth research and interviewing from 1700 to the 21st Century have revealed a history of totem poles globally that was previously unknown.

Bear N Mom – Travel – Orlando, FL – Rosen Shingle Creek Resort

Arrival and First Impressions

Rosen Shingle Creek is a beautifully laid out resort off Exit 2 in Orlando, Florida. The entrance has a gated entrance for security. The main entrance of the hotel which appears to be pale orange stucco with darker orange tiled roof is approximately an eighth of a mile up a driveway boasting lush green lawns and beautiful palm trees and bushes. The beauty of the resort cannot be mistaken and the entire setting is in itself relaxing.

Upon arrival early in the evening I descended from my shuttle with 2 suitcases and 2 carry-on pieces of luggage. This was my first encounter with disappointment at the hotel. Not one bellman appeared to help with my luggage. After dragging all my luggage into the hotel, I found the registration desk off to my right.

I was greeted with warm smiles and my registration went smoothly. They acknowledged that I had handicapped type accommodations and asked for a credit card for incidentals which is common practice and all hotels. I prefer to prepay my hotel bill so that I can express checkout at the end of my stay and the whole process took me less than 5 minutes and I was handed my room key.

Second disappointment, again I was not offered bellman help. Upon asking for help the registration clerk called the bell desk for a helper.

This started what seemed like a mile long hike to my HANDICAPPED accommodations. I had stated that I had a walking disability and when we got off the elevator on my floor the bellman proceeded to lead me down not 1, not 2, but 3 long hallways to my room. I told the bellman that this would not do since I could not walk this distance approximately 6 times a day just to get to other rooms and dining. He advised me to call the front desk and left me with my bags in the room.

The room was beautiful and the bathroom boasted a walk in shower with no door supplied with seating for a person who would need to be assisted with entrance to their daily shower needs. It was beautifully laid out and was luxurious to say the least.

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Double Queen Bed RoomVanity Area
Double Queen Bed Room
Double Queen Bed Room
Room No. 2

After the bellman left me with my bags I called the registration desk and asked to be moved to a room closer to the elevators. They voice at the other end was very nice but said they had no more handicapped rooms that were closer and did I actually need a handicapped room. When I answered in the affirmative, I was informed there would be over 500 checking out the next day and that they would move me then. After I hung up, I called them back and said I could step into a tub as long as there were rails in the tub and they moved me to a room that was only four doors away from the elevators.

This room was exactly laid out like the first room except it had a tub in the bathroom area with the hand sink in an anteroom. There were no rails either at the commode or in the tub. At this point, I decided to cut my losses and just stay in this room that had easy access to the elevators.

The bedroom was luxuriously linened with 4 pillows and a bolster on each queen-sized bed. I’m guessing that because we were in Florida, the hotel assumed we did not need any blankets on the bed. Instead there was a decorative blanket across the bottom portion of the bed that when used to lay on top of the bed could be moved to cover the shoulders. It reminded me of a lap rug that went from one side of the queen bed to the other instead of having a bedspread.

We had daily maid service and the bedding and towels were changed daily. This is something that ecologically is not the case in a lot of hotels. Some other hotels expect you to put the towels on the floor if you want them changed. If the towels are hung up, you will use them again the next day. The maid service was never at the same time of the day. If they had a lot of check outs, the people who were staying did not get their rooms done until late in the afternoon. Otherwise, the rooms were done mid morning.


There were amenities available for an extra fee.

Internet access cost $9.95 per day. As a result I only used my laptop on two occasions to read my email and take care of banking needs.

As in any other hotel, you need to give them a credit card in order to have any of the extra fees billed to your room such as Internet access, room service and dining at the restaurants and cafes or shopping at one of the various in house shops.

There are shops for every kind of luxury item you wish to purchase from candy to clothing and gifts to be taken home.

There is a golf course on the property and a walking path for those who like to exercise. There is also a spa and exercise equipment room which is pretty standard for most hotels.

What was outstanding was their pool facilities. There are 4 gated pools none of which has a life guard. On the left is an Olympic pool with 4 lanes. In the center there is a pool that goes from 0 feet to 5 feet in depth. Along the side is a hot tub and an additional gated children’s pool. In the center of this area is a changing room facility. The fourth pool is a luxurious pool in the shape of a double kidney which also has a hot tub at one end of the pool. The only bad feature of the pool area is that there are no shaded areas during the day to protect you from the brutal Florida sun.

I used the hot tub for 10 minutes at a time in order to not get sunburned. I prefer to swim at night but unfortunately for me I didn’t have time to do that in the evenings when the sun was down.

Bear N Mom – Travel – 7Springs Mountain Resort

Welcome Sign at 7Springs
Welcome Sign at 7Springs
Resort from Slopes
Resort from Slopes
Main Lodge in Spring
Main Lodge in Spring

It has been many years now since the Elks have had their conventions at 7Springs. I believe that it was the intent of the newest owners to discourage our group from entertaining there since they put so many big hotel restrictions on our hospitality and increased the prices out of the range of most of our members.

It is my impression that the management is intent on attracting a different type of clientele. This can only be demonstrated by one of my stepdaughters and her friends spending so much of their time at the Springs. They started going in October and practically lived there except for time out to go to work during the weekdays.

While these younger members of society attend all kinds of attractions put on by the hotel, I also see a lot of upper class families taking weekenders at the resort.

You might say the split up of our twice a year convention at the Springs was a mutual decision. Theirs to price us out, ours to look for more affordable housing. It is a shame though because some of my fondest memories as an Elk are the conventions at 7Springs.
Final Stay Overview

7Springs deserves a recommendation for their clean and inviting decor and rooms. Their employees extend a gracious and welcoming atmosphere. The only area that needs improvement is their banquet and buffet menu. The breakfast buffet does not require any changes. Since I have never had any reason to be dissatisfied in the past, I intend to revisit the resort and get another feeling for their cuisine.
Arrival and Breakfast Buffet

For many years, I have traveled to what was one of my favorite buffet eating resorts. Yes, it was primarily a ski resort in the winter and convention meeting rooms throughout the year; but, for me it was a culinary pleasure trip. The resort was built and owned by the Dupre family and there was no finer resort in the area where you could enjoy Creme Bulie, home baked breads and other culinary delights. They originally raised their own cattle and farmed the farm to be used in some of their recipes. Their chefs were skilled artisans that made you daydream on the entire trip across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Donegal exit. No matter in what direction you traveled to one of our conventions the end result was the same, three days and evenings of excellent dining.

The resort was sold recently after being owned by generations of Dupre decendents and my latest trip to 7Springs resulted in the following experiences.

I arrived early Friday morning which is my normal arrival time to the inability of getting situated in my room for the first time in about 20 years. I understand that hotels do not hold rooms for early arrival only late arrivals and was not put out because the check in clerk was ever so apologetic and friendly to deal with. She took care of my dining needs and parking passes with the promise that the Bell Staff would handle my luggage for me until the rooms were available. The man at the Bell Desk did exactly that he took my bags and put them away for me. OOPS! I forgot to get my credentials out of my briefcase and when I returned not 15 minutes after he had housed my luggage he retrieve my briefcase for me with a twinkling smile that told me I was not the first person to forget something in their luggage.

Off I went to breakfast and even though the standard griddles for eggs any way and omelettes was removed there was a breakfast chef ready to do the same in four individual frying pans. My omelette was excellent and there was nothing I could complain about with this change in venue.

The last time I had attended a breakfast buffet I was disappointed that one of the standards had been removed from the serving line. They no longer had Apple Bread Pudding as a selection on their Buffet. Of course, you know I’m not backward about voicing my opinions and at that time I let everyone I saw know of my displeasure. Lo and behold, in my investigation of the various tables of culinary delights there was my favorite Apple Bread Pudding and I didn’t pass it up any of the mornings that I dined at the buffet.

There were many of my favorites that I had to pass up because I’m now a diabetic so the danish and other doughnuts I sampled by begging pieces from the people that I shared tables with. No, I didn’t totally give up sweets and I allowed myself a couple of pieces of their cinnamon bread with creamy butter that you cut from the butter balls near the bread selections. When I say butter balls I mean that they have flavored balls of butter such as cinnamon butter and chocolate butter balls available. I didn’t sample these because I prefer my creamy butter.
Room decore
Room decore
Balcony in Main Lodge
Balcony in Main Lodge
Auditorium Meeting Room
Auditorium Meeting Room
Rooms and Service

The hallways at 7Springs are long and because of my disability I always ask for a room on the Fourth Floor as close to Center Lobby as possible. That puts me right in the center of everything that I need at the resort, meeting rooms, convention dining rooms and, of course, hospitality rooms.

After the first business session, I went back to registration and was checked into my room which was slopeside and only 4 doors away from Center Lobby. I couldn’t ask for a better location. These rooms unfortunately do not have balconies but they are close to the action and you can see the slopes and any activity that is in play at the pool. The Bellman brought my bags and met me at my room which was very bright with a window that went wall to wall on the outside wall. Newly remodeled, the ceiling is still decorated with beautifully stained tree trunks that support the upper levels. The trappings of the rooms have always been very nice but the bedding and furniture have all been upgraded. The orange bedspreads are very festive looking and whole room is inviting. I would expect any hotel to remodel from time to time but I must say the new owner has made some very nice selections for the comfort of his guests.

As far as the staff is concerned they could not have picked friendlier more helpful people. If there are some that do not fit this bill, I never ran into any of them. As a matter of fact, I had to take a carton to my car which was parked 2 spaces outside the Center Lobby door. I was carrying it with some difficulty when an employee who was just coming on duty stopped and carried it to my car for me. I’m not even sure if he wasn’t a maintenance person or if that was one of his regular duties because his shirt was a different color than the regular service people.

The only mishap for me was that the original elevator in the old section of the hotel went out of service. This made it necessary for me to walk to the new elevators in order to get from floor to floor. That may not sound like a big deal to most people but for me with my disability it hurt. I managed though and was back and forth to our hospitality room one floor below by using the stairs to go down and the center elevators to come back.

Talking about Hospitality Rooms, our district had always had our room on the 9th Floor right off the center elevators. This was a very large room with a bar, soft furniture and a bedroom separated by a doorway. This year we couldnot get our normal room because it is not being remodeled into an executive suite which will be too expensive for our group to rent in future years. As an accommodation to our group they provided one of the connecting bedroom groups and removed all of the furnishings. This worked very well with the portable bar that they provided at a reduced rate. At least 3 times a day their service staff provided the room with ice and anything else that was needed. As I said the staff could not be friendlier or more helpful.

Banquet Dining
Banquet Dining
Western Buffet and Saturday Banquet

This part of the review is not easy for me to prepare. I ate Steamboat Round Steak and Filet Mignon at my main evening meals. Friday night I asked for medium rare and the slices I ate were done to perfection. The taste was wonderful and I did not need any steak sauces to achieve that sensational taste. Saturday night, I had the Filet and again the piece I was served was superb. Obviously, their entree chef is of top quality.

The breads were done to perfection and had a great crusty taste. There was no hint of too much yeast and the as I stated earlier the cinnamon bread is to die for.

I’ve put this off as long as I could but I heard several moanings that the salad bar offerings were not as good as they had been in the past. I didn’t eat salads on Friday but if Saturday night’s offering was proof of the taste I have to agree that the salads are not the same quality they have been in the past.

I sampled their ices, cheesecake and apple pie over my stay at the resort. I must say that none of these came up to standard. The ice served at the banquet was bitter and I’m not sure what the flavor was supposed to be. The cheesecake with berries lacked flavor also. It almost tasted like vanilla pudding that had been solidified somehow. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know my feelings on pie. A good pie is only good if the crust is flaky. The apple pie I ate at 7Springs did not have a flaky crust and the apples were so tart that I could have been eating lemons. I noticed that they still make the creme brule and the people with whom I sat tried it remembering the brules of yesteryears. The presentation lacked the carmelized coloring and I was told by my friends that the brule also lacked flavor. My recomendation is for the resort to send their chefs for scholling or look for new salad and pastry chefs.

Adventurous Travel Packages To Dibang Valley

Dibang valley is a small district in the north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The district is situated on the borders of China. The panoramic valleys and the scenic Dibang River offer some spectacular views for the tourists visiting here. The Government itself offers some nice travel packages to Dibang valley. Apart from that, many private tour operators arrange for special travel packages to this valley district. The package will have some adventurous activities filled with fun. Read on to know more about the packages and their highlights.

Eastern Meadows is a tourist operator in India which offers some exciting trekking cum travel packages to Dibang valley and also its neighboring districts. The package duration is for 11 days and 10 nights. Trekking includes a visit to the last Indian tribal village in this whole region. The itinerary is designed to have a close encounter with the tribal inhabitants of the place. The cost is provide on request. You will be accommodated at tourist and inspection bungalows built by the Government which has adequate facilities. At some places tents are erected for the night for an adventurous stay.

Indian Travel Agent is a tourist operator in India who offers exclusive travel packages to Dibang valley and to the Forest parks and the wildlife sanctuaries at this place. The package is flexible according to your needs. The package has some special features like trekking at mountain ranges and water rafting in the Dibang River. Accommodation at traditional guest houses is arranged for in and around Dibang. The package also includes a stay at the Mayudia, a unique hill resort located at a distance of 56 km from Roing.

North East India Tourism arranges for some exclusive travel packages to Dibang wildlife sanctuary. The best time to avail this package is in the months of November to February. The package duration can be specified by you. You will be picked up from the Dibrugarh airport and escorted to the Circuit Houses and Inspection Bungalows near the sanctuary. The bungalows are equipped with adequate facilities. Apart from the lush green landscapes, the sanctuary is prominent for some wildlife species like the musk deer, goral and black bear. You will be taken to have a close look at these animals and that makes for an exhilarating experience. The tour operators take adequate measures to ensure your safety at the sanctuary.

“guaranteed Getaway” Hurricane Policy For Tourists Booking Caribbean Holidays At Breezes And Hedonis

After Hurricane Isaac stormed its way through the Caribbean and southern states in America last week, tourists staying at Breezes and Hedonism resorts in Jamaica and the Bahamas are being offered “Guaranteed Getaway” policies.

If a hurricane strikes while travellers are enjoying holidays in Jamaica or the Bahamas at any of the resorts, they will receive reimbursement for the value of disrupted nights as well as a voucher that can be spent in the same month, the following year.

If tourists are disrupted by a storm or hurricane as they travel to their holidays in the Caribbean, Breezes and Hedonism Resorts will provide complimentary extensions to make up the number of nights missed. Guests who have to reschedule their Caribbean holidays due to a hurricane will receive vouchers that can be used at a later date.

Holidaymakers are provided with a “sunshine guarantee” where for every day the sun is not shining, the resorts will offer a credit voucher to the value of their room. The vouchers must be used within a year and can go towards future holidays to the Caribbean.

The Breezes and Hedonism brands are operated by SuperClub Resorts and the Caribbean hotels and resorts include Hedonism II in Jamaica, Breezes Grand resort & Spa in Negril Jamaica, and Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas.

The Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas is situated in Nassau on the white sands of Cable Beach and tourists taking Bahamas holidays can enjoy facilities including four gourmet restaurants and four bars, swimming pools and Jacuzzis, tennis courts, and a variety of fun watersports.

Travellers planning Jamaica holidays can choose from Hedonism II, the adults-only resort, and Breezes Grand Resort & Spa; both of which are located on the famous seven-mile beach in Negril.

Hedonism II is an all-inclusive resort with 280 guest rooms and suites, and facilities include four restaurants, five bars, tennis courts, a disco, fitness centre, a nude spa, nude swimming pools and a nudist beach.

Breezes Grand Resort & Spa Negril is open to tourists over the age of 16 and features several exquisite restaurants and stylish bars, a freshwater swimming pool, Jacuzzis, disco, spa, fitness centre, and access to a pristine stretch of white sand beach.

Top Ten Resort Wear

Increasing travel options and access to exotic, tropical destinations has resulted in a niche market of casual, yet fashionable, resort wear apparels that invoke relaxation whilst also offering style.

Designers have been rising to the occasion by broadening their collections to include glamorous beach wear options, casual summer cover ups and chic lounge looks, even during autumn and winter seasons. The result has been an explosion of beaded kaftans, embroidered tunics, glitzy metallic bikini�s, jeweled sandals, elegant tropical prints in natural, breathable fabrics, all depicting a lifestyle of relaxation, classic luxury and elegance.

This is the essence of resort wear. Clothing that is easy, yet glamorous, sexy whilst being understated, casual yet elegant, fun and flirty.

Organizing your vacation wardrobe can be trickier than you think. Limited by luggage size and weight, you have to be economic with your vacation clothing choices. We�ve tried to make it easy for you with our 2007 top 10 list of resort wear must-have�s to ensure that your vacation packing is a breeze.

1. A pair of lightweight, neutral tone, linen pants are essential to every vacation wardrobe and can be easily paired with a variety of tops for different looks time and again. Matched up with a brightly printed T or Kaftan they can give a sophisticated look to the most casual traveler out there.

2. A tunic cover-up for beach days, afternoons around the pool, or sun-downer cocktails at the bar.

3. A large, canvas tote handbag in a bold, tropical print will save the day when your toting beach accessories, or just mulling around local markets for a bargain or two. This season is showcasing even larger bags than last year which are just perfect for holiday shopping.

4. One well fitting bikini! Go the extra mile to find a bikini that fits to make you feel fabulous and ditch all of last year�s left-over’s.

5. A selection of v neck, cotton t�s in tropical shades are handy to throw on for coffee runs, lunch outings, or even sporting activities.

6. A flatteringly feminine skirt in a floral or botanical print that speaks to the eco consciousness of 2007 will update your wardrobe this year.

7. A pair of Bermuda shorts are easy, comfortable and a hip choice for summer casuals.

8. A pair of jeweled sandals/flip flops are casual enough for beach wear, but dressy enough to liven up casual bermuda�s or linens for a city outing.

9. A baby doll sundress can double up for day, or slinky evening wear if dressed up with accessories.

10. A pair of metallic, strappy heels will have you looking edgy for night time entertainment. Metallic is definitely the �new black� for 2007.

Resort wear is all about the fun of life. Enjoy your vacation wardrobe choices all year round and bring the sunshine into your life.

All About Golf Travel and Resorts

Golf is a popular sport, but it is also one of the most interesting activities. There’s no wonder why golf travel and resorts are getting more and more popular nowadays. Golfing helps you interact with others socially. It gives you an opportunity to strengthen your friendships and meet new people. In fact, golfing is a well-known networking technique that many businessmen use.

Golf also increases your exposure to nature. Golf travel and resorts are amazing because they expose you to the trees, sunlight, and the natural beauty of nature. Golf also has a lot of health benefits. It strengthens your bladder and increases your heart rate. It helps you stay fit and it enhances your muscle tone and endurance. It also helps you lose weight and improve the quality of your sleep.

So, if you’re planning to go on a golf trip, here are the best golf resorts that you should try:

1. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (Fife, Scotland)

This golf resort is located in the charming town of St. Andrews. This was founded in 1754. This golf course has a breathtaking view. It is also filled with charming Scottish buildings such as the Old Course Luxury Hotel. So, if you have money to burn and you want to feel like a royal, you should visit this resort.

2. Rosewood Tucker Point (Bermuda)

This amazing golf resort is located on the edge of the panoramic and beautiful Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. This resort is secluded and it has a wonderful view of the hills and the sea. So, if you want a little private time, you should definitely visit this place.

3. The American Club (Wisconsin, United States)

This is probably one of the most popular golf resorts in the whole world. It is frequented by professional golfers and die hard golf enthusiasts. This beautiful resort is located in Kohler, Wisconsin. The golf course is located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. This resort is filled with gardens and luxury cabins. It definitely gives you an experience that will last a lifetime.

4. K Club Resort (Kildare, Ireland)

This resort is just thirty minutes away from downtown Ireland. The lodging building in the resort was established in 1830 and it looks a lot like a French chateau. This post-card perfect resort has two golf courses that guests can enjoy.

5. The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

This golf resort is located about 6,200 feet above sea level and up against the Rocky Mountains. It is mainly known as a tennis destination, but this highland resort also has three golf courses that guests can enjoy.

6. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Bandon, Oregon)

This golf resort was established in 1999 and it is one of the favourite destinations of seasoned golfers and golf enthusiasts. Many golf magazines consider this resort as one of the best in the world. This resort does not have the luxury accommodations that most of the resorts in this list offer. But, its modest and cozy rooms are pleasant and comfortable.

Golf travel and resorts are now becoming a trend. So, if you want to bring your golf game to the next level, you should book your trip now.

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Simple Tips in the Selection of Golf Travel and Resorts

Whether you are a novice or professional golfer, you also deserve a break or vacation. Like employees, executives, students and homemakers, golfers too experienced stress. They need a diversion to energize and to relieve the stress they experienced especially after participating in a golf tournament. However, golf travel is not only limited to golfers because ordinary individuals like you can avail and can enjoy is type of vacation.

Playing golf is not only a type of sport or entertainment, but it can be beneficial to your health as well. It is a form of cardiovascular workout that lowers harmful cholesterol in your body and speeds up your metabolism. It also relieves stress and prevents bone degeneration. Aside from its therapeutic benefits, you can also build friendships and gain new friends by playing golf.

Because of its benefits, several individuals, both young and old alike, plan to travel and book in golf resorts, but due to the limited knowledge they have, they have trouble selecting the right golf travel and resorts.

Because of the numerous golf travel and resorts in the market, some encountered trouble in choosing one that suits their budget, preferences and needs. If you are one of these individuals, then this article is for you. Read on and follow steps on choosing suitable golf travel and resorts.

Before deciding or booking to a particular golf travel and resort, you should ask referrals from colleagues, co-players, relatives and family members. You can also surf the Internet to find renowned but cheap golf travel and resort in the market. Take into consideration several facilities and compare their prices, amenities, quality of service and packages offered.

Factors to consider in the selection of golf travel and resort:

* Golf Resort. Before you decide to make reservations, you should examine the vicinity first. Since golf is you main focus, you should evaluate the sports facilities offered by several golf resorts.
* Amenities. Also examine the amenities offered by the resort, like bedroom, living room and entertainment area. Also check adjacent tourist attractions and destinations, including shopping malls, amusement parks, beaches and spas.
* Cost. Before making your final decision, you should examine all the costs associated with your stay in the resort, including, meals, on-site games and activities. If you travel with your family, friends and non-golfers, you should search and consider facilities that offer discounts to non-golfers. Assess if they also offer complimentary transportation service to other attractions.

* Discounts. If you are on a budget, you can search online for golf resort promotions and discount coupons. Some travel agencies also offer travelers like you exclusive discounts on air travel and transfers.
* Golf equipment. As soon as you prepared the reservations and you are ready to go, double check your golf equipment and ensure all your paraphernalia are packed.
* Activities. Before you arrive in the facility, you should plan all your activities beforehand, like participating in golf tournaments, guided tours, shopping, relaxing on beautiful beaches, biking, hiking, mountaineering, kayaking and swimming along the beautiful beaches.

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New $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport officially opens

On 18 November 2016, the new $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport officially opens its new and upgraded facilities to the world. The new airport has the capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per annum – triple its previous volume – and is capable of landing some of the world’s largest aircraft.

The new Victoria Falls International Airport from the runway. Photo – Tami Walker
The new Victoria Falls International Airport from the runway. Photo – Tami Walker

Zimbabwean hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) welcomes the major development, which is set to usher in a new era of tourism to the region.

“The positive impact of the new Victoria Falls International Airport will be very significant and should take the destination and region to a new level in terms of arrivals,” says AAT’s chief executive, Ross Kennedy. “The socio-economic benefits will be widespread as increased and new access drives the tourism sector’s growth with arrivals from additional source markets.”

Kennedy added that increased interest was shown in the new Victoria Falls International Airport at the World Travel Market – a major global travel trade show – held in London last week. “I met with many tour operators, media, and airlines at the show, and I can confirm that interest is very high and the travel industry is excited by the opening.

“Zimbabwe remains a ‘hot destination’ on the schedules of many tour operators across the globe,” Kennedy said.

The airport

Annajulia Hungwe, PR and communications manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, said the new airport could accommodate more than three times as many passengers as before, and had been built to accommodate further expansion should rising tourist numbers in the future deem it necessary.

The new airport in Zimbabwe’s leading resort town has been fully operational since September. The development included the construction of a new international terminal building and the rehabilitation of the existing one into a domestic terminal.

The airport features a four-kilometre runway, a state-of-the-art control tower – which is one of the most advanced in Africa – and a fire station, equipped to respond to fire and medical emergencies.

Inside the international terminal at Victoria Falls International Airport. Photo – Tami Walker
Inside the international terminal at Victoria Falls International Airport. Photo – Tami Walker

Facilities at the international terminal include 14 check-in counters, nine boarding gates, three baggage carousels, a dozen shops, two restaurants, 28 aircraft parking bays and parking facilities for 400 vehicles.

Check-in at Victoria Falls International Airport’s rehabilitated domestic terminal. Photo – Tami Walker.
Check-in at Victoria Falls International Airport’s rehabilitated domestic terminal. Photo – Tami Walker.

The domestic terminal features six check-in counters, two passenger security-screening facilities, one restaurant and three coffee shops, eight other retail outlets and a business-class lounge.

The airport, funded by a China Exim Bank loan to the Zimbabwean Government, was constructed by the China Jiangsu International Group.

Investment in residential property in SA continues to shine

To say that it’s been a tumultuous year for the planet is definitely an understatement, and yet in the face of a sluggish and uncertain domestic and global growth environment and ongoing socio-political challenges, the residential property market in South Africa continues to exhibit extraordinary resilience and remains one of the few bright spots in an otherwise relatively lacklustre economy.
This is despite five consecutive years of subdued economic growth, a severe drought and repeated bouts of rand weakness, which have ignited renewed price pressures and prompted the Reserve Bank to gradually, but repeatedly, raise interest rates before stabilising them.

Investment in residential property in SA continues to shine
The strength of the housing market is attributable to the continued vibrancy of the country’s major metro areas coupled with an ever growing preference for property as an asset class at a time of extreme financial market volatility.

However, signs are now emerging that the national housing market is beginning to lose some momentum in the face of these persistent economic headwinds.

After registering an average house price inflation rate of 5.5% last year, the Pam Golding Residential Property Index (PGP Index) reached a cyclical peak of 5.7% in March this year and now appears to be slowing.

The gradual slowdown in national house price inflation is occurring at a time when rand weakness and higher food prices have driven the consumer price index above the Reserve Bank’s 6% upper inflation target limit.

While the PGP Index has averaged 5.6% during the year to date, the consumer inflation rate has averaged 6.2% during the same period. This would suggest that, after adjusting for inflation, real South African house prices have fallen by an average of 0.6% compared to the same period last year.

However, this picture is actually misleading since the national house price index is a weighted average of house prices across the country. As a result, this national average includes a wide range of divergent performances evident in the different regions, metros, price bands and unit types – all of which make up the national housing market.

When one begins to examine the overall housing market in greater detail it becomes clear that – even though national house price inflation is beginning to slow – there are still several sectors within the local housing market which continue to flourish and register positive real growth rates.

For example, during the year to date, house price inflation in the Western Cape has risen by 10.35%. Adjusting for inflation, this translates into a real increase in house prices of 4.2% during the first nine months of the year.

Location, not economy, a key determinant of time to sell

Furthermore, the importance of location when selecting a property to purchase was highlighted by recent research released by Lightstone that revealed that the suburb in which a property is located is a relatively more important factor in determining how long a property takes to sell than the state of the economy.

To illustrate this, the Western Cape may have experienced the highest overall growth in homeowners due to the well described and most significant semigration trend, but the suburb at the top of the pile from an activity perspective is not in the Cape but in Pretoria – with homes in Garsfontein selling within 2.8-months of listing. In contrast, a property in Parkhurst typically stays on the market for 7.4-months.

Generally speaking, however, the other the major trends in the national housing market during the past nine months remain unchanged:

Western Cape property market stays on top

The outperformance of the Western Cape housing market relative to both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal began in mid-2013 – which more or less coincides with the start of the semigration of buyers to the Cape. Factors fuelling movement to the Cape – the appeal of a proven record of service delivery, access to excellent schooling and the attractive lifestyle – are showing no signs of slowing down. There is still real growth in the property market.

Investment in residential property in SA continues to shine
© Stephen Griffith –

A significant proportion of buyers relocating to the Western Cape are choosing to settle in the greater Cape Town area – which remains the top performing major metro housing market in South Africa. House price inflation in the Cape metro averaged 11.9% during the first half of the year (latest available data) nearly 5% ahead of the second strongest metro housing market of Durban.

Cape Town remains a niche property market, robust despite economic pressures. With more investment on the cards for the city of Cape Town, with projects totalling R16bn anticipated during the next few years and at least R1bn earmarked for example just for Claremont, one of the city’s commercial nodes beyond the CBD, the demand for high-end properties remains strong and above average house price inflation is likely to prevail.

The buoyant house price inflation on the Atlantic Seaboard shows no signs of abating, with top-end sectional title units being snapped up. The severely constrained supply caused by the unique geography of this market, which adds to its desirability, has resulted in unprecedented demand, which in turn continues to push up sales prices. It’s not uncommon for apartments to attract multiple offers on the day of listing and for buyers to compete for property.

The result of this pent-up demand is that, whereas in the past a sale in excess of R100,000 per square metre was a rarity, we now regularly see prices exceeding this benchmark in Clifton and the V&A Waterfront, and as a further example in the landmark Aurum luxury development in Bantry Bay sea-facing presidential apartments are selling at prices from R110,000 to an eye-watering R140,000 per square metre.

Several new upmarket residential developments in the city centre will in some part deal with the demand from people wanting to live close to the bustle of the CBD and the amenities of the nearby V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Stadium and natural attractions such as Table Mountain and beaches.

Many of these buyers are from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and actively compete for the limited residential homes, which has resulted in the average selling price on the Atlantic Seaboard, for a free standing house, escalating to R14.4m for the calendar year to 31 October 2016.

With more than 7,000 people living in the city centre, the demand for inner city residential units remains high. The mixed-use 117 on Strand development is sold out, with a 40m2 studio apartment in this block selling from R2.255m, and there’s little doubt that other residential developments planned for the CBD will be as popular. People are paying up to R55,000 per square metre for an apartment in a well-positioned, sophisticated development.

Moving across Table Bay the Western Seaboard property market remains steady, with a strong demand for stock. Agents are finding the ‘push down’ effect is having a positive impact on their sales, as buyers who can’t afford property on the Atlantic Seaboard look to Blouberg and the West Coast for similar coastal living options. Three new developments, all no more than 300m from the beach, are being launched in the next six months. Sales are also robust in the South Peninsula, especially in the higher price band.

Sales trends in the Southern Suburbs remain firm as families move to the area to be close to schools and the university. Upper Constantia is performing well, especially with buyers coming from upcountry, and agents have recorded sales of R56m and upwards.

Suburbs such as Woodstock and Walmer Estate are also benefiting from the ‘push down’ effect as investors who can’t afford the Atlantic Seaboard or CBD opt for these areas where they can still enjoy the benefits of living close to the city.

In addition, Hout Bay’s residential property market has been buoyant in 2016, with the area’s total sales during the calendar year expected to near the R1bn mark.

Over and above this Cape Town metro trend, buyers relocating to the Western Cape are also settling in other urban areas such as Paarl, Somerset West and Stellenbosch, and along the coastline. This was highlighted by the recent New World Wealth report, which identified both the Garden Route and the Winelands – notably Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl – as emerging wealth towns, each with an estimated dollar millionaire population of 2,500.

The most popular towns along the Garden Route for South Africa’s ultra-wealthy, according to New World Wealth, are George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness, and we are seeing this in sales results.

Pam Golding Properties Boland and Overberg regions have also performed exceptionally well over the past year, with the most notable increase in sales in Paarl and the estates of Val de Vie, Pearl Valley (now part of Val de Vie) and Boschenmeer.

There is extraordinary high demand for secure estate living with its all-inclusive lifestyle offered, from schooling to restaurants, gyms and various outdoor activities like running and cycling trails to horse riding and game viewing, all in the heart of the Winelands.

A further noteworthy trend is an ongoing increased demand for agricultural property for lifestyle as well as for commercial use. Most sought after among lifestyle buyers are small scale (8-20ha) farms in the Elgin and Grabouw valley priced between R7m and R20m, while we recently sold two commercial citrus farms just outside Paarl to the total value of R118m, and an exceptional lifestyle property in Franschhoek for R23.5m.

In Hermanus, Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate offers a rare commodity along the Whale Coast – north-facing waterfront properties and luxury homes in a secure eco and wine estate with properties ranging from R2.75m to R17m.

Seafront vacant land is like hen’s teeth, compelling buyers to purchase older seafront properties and either demolish or substantially renovate, which also makes Benguela Cove even more attractive and cost effective as an option to live along the coast, between the vineyards, in a secure lifestyle estate that offers residence access to the second largest lagoon in the country for kayaking, skiing and kite surfing. This is over and above the breathtaking views, mountain biking and trail running options.

Indicative of the desirability of top end property in Hermanus PGP recently sold two luxury homes for R26m and R19m respectively.

Apart from also experiencing an ongoing trend as a result of semigration to the Western Cape, the Whale Coast towns of Hermanus, Onrus and Kleinmond are seeing an ongoing trend from buyers looking to acquire holiday homes with a view to retirement in the future.

From a greater Cape Province perspective, in Cape Town’s ever-popular Northern Suburbs demand for smaller gated community remains high. As a result of the shortage of stock in the Cape Metropole and therefore access to good schools, we have seen a higher demand for property from buyers previously looking in the Cape Metropole in the city’s Northern Suburbs such as Plattekloof, Welgemoed and Durbanville.

Massive investment underpins Gauteng housing market

But the story of the residential market this year is certainly not only about the Cape.

House price inflation in Gauteng has underperformed the national index in recent years, as the subdued economic environment takes its toll on South Africa’s industrial heartland.

But despite the relative underperformance of the overall Gauteng housing market, this region is still South Africa’s economic power-house and remains home to half of the country’s high net worth individuals.

According to the recent New World Wealth report, Johannesburg has a high net worth population – dollar millionaire population of 17,600, while Pretoria has a wealthy population of 2,600. As a result, Gauteng is home to exactly half of South Africa’s 40,400 ultra-wealthy individuals (US dollar millionaires).

In addition to being home to the largest ultra-wealthy population, Gauteng also attracts the majority of South Africa’s first-time buyers – many of whom move to the region in search of economic opportunities at the early stages of their careers.

This provides a solid underpinning for the Gauteng housing market since, even though the tough economic climate is taking its toll on household finances, first time buyers remain a significant presence in the South African housing market. According to ooba, first-time buyers remain the most significant con­tributor to home loan volumes, accounting for 53% of all ooba’s bond applica­tions in the third quarter.

Given South Africa’s relatively young population profile – with the majority of South Africans still under the average age of the typical first time buyer (34 years according to ooba) – demand from the growing number of first-time buyers will continue to provide a positive fundamental underpinning for the South African housing market for the foreseeable future.

It is this robust demand from first-time buyers which helps to explain the continued strong price performance of the lower price band (below R1m) housing market in all three major regional markets.

The dominant role of first-time buyers is also providing a key driver in the rapid transformation of South Africa’s housing market. During the third quarter of 2016, 61% of all ooba’s applications were from Black home buyers, while among first-time buyers this rose to 73% of all applications received by the bond originator.

Sectional title properties continue to outperform freehold homes

One possible explanation for Gauteng’s relative price underperformance is the fact that the region is better able to meet growing demand for new housing. Unlike Cape Town, where the geographic limits created by the coastline and mountains hamper the creation of new housing stock, creating a persistent shortage of stock in prime areas, Gauteng has been able to expand outwards in order to meet housing demand.

There are currently several major infrastructural, commercial and residential developments in numerous growth nodes such as Fourways, Midrand and Menlyn in Pretoria East, while we continue to see high levels of investment and growth in Sandton.

Secure estates such as Steyn City and Dainfern remain resilient and popular even in tougher trading conditions, while we are noting an increase in the number of renovations and rebuilds in some of the more established estates. With its convenient airport access, avoiding considerable traffic congestion, Lanseria is experiencing significant land sales.

Rapid development across Tshwane

Although house price inflation in Pretoria has slowed in the past few months, development across the Tshwane municipal region continues at a rapid pace, and many residential areas retain highly active property markets.

Easy access to amenities and a secure lifestyle are of prime importance to residents, which helps explain why townhouse complexes, apartments and homes within security and golf estates are in particularly high demand in much of the region. The rental market has continued to do well and has benefitted from an ongoing demand from corporate, embassy and foreign mission staff.

Pam Golding Properties in the Pretoria region has had a record year enjoying a 49% increase in turnover and a 42% increase in unit sales over 2015.

To meet the expected future demand for accommodation within Menlyn, one of the fastest growing regions in Gauteng, new luxury high-rise apartment developments such as Menlyn Maine Towers, the impressive residential component of the ground-breaking Menlyn Maine mixed-use development, and The Regency, are proving popular and units have been rapidly sold off-plan. Investors are being attracted by the cosmopolitan ‘work-play’ urban lifestyle that is now on offer at these developments.

Gautrain extension to spark new growth nodes

One major infrastructural investment which is likely to have a significant impact on the housing market in several Gauteng suburbs in the year ahead is the planned extension of the Gautrain.

The Sandton and Rosebank Gautrain stations have very clearly boosted the development impetus in these suburbs. Companies are often willing to pay a premium for premises near a Gautrain station, while residents are attracted by the transport alternative the service offers to Gauteng’s congested highways.

The Gautrain Management Agency is planning to extend the rail route by 150km and the Gautrain could soon extend its travelling routes to Soweto, Mamelodi and the West of Johannesburg. It is anticipated that the extension to the west of Johannesburg will have a similar impact on the local property market as was experienced in Sandton and Rosebank, with some big corporates opting to relocate there.

Construction on the new lines could start in five years’ time. In the meantime, it is estimated that 45 new train coaches are needed to keep up with growing passenger demand.

Robust activity on KwaZulu-Natal North Coast prompts housing rebound

In contrast to the cooling house price inflation in both the Western Cape and Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is experiencing a modest rebound – with growth in prices rallying from 5.4% in late-2015 to a level of 7.5% in September 2016. There is no sign as yet that the rebound in prices is losing momentum.

Housing demand appears to be particularly buoyant along the northern KZN coastline, with buyers showing a strong preference for properties within secure estates. With its prime location and beautiful beaches, there is significant demand in uMhlanga – with numerous new secure estates and beachfront complexes proving to be extremely popular, with new estates like Izinga, Hawaan Forest and beachfront complexes such as the Oceans and the Pearls experiencing high demand.

Further north towards Umdloti, the new Sibaya precinct is the hotspot in KZN. Sibaya will be a controlled precinct with security, well-run retail and office components and prime residential nodes that rest above forest and sea.

The new Signature Estate promises to be the best address in KZN, with only 45 exclusive stands in a prime residential security estate with panoramic sea views and direct beach access.

The stands are selling from R4.95m up to R10.5m and people are buying from across the country, most notably Johannesburg and KZN, and we have also had foreign interest in this estate.

Major investments behind soaring North Coast housing market

Further fuelling interest from property investors on the North Coast is the in­crease in economic activity at the Dube TradePort which, together with King Shaka International Airport, forms part of the regional aerotropolis.

International travel was significantly bolstered last year by the addition to Durban’s network of four new international airlines, in addition to the daily Emirates flights and regional services to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Mauritius.

Official statistics show that total international arrivals have risen by 60% since King Shaka opened in 2010 due to direct international flights.

To extend the transport network with the TradePort, local authorities are planning a rapid rail system which will connect King Shaka with Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay. The increase in economic activity and improved employment opportunities generated by developments at King Shaka and Dube TradePort are undoubtedly contributing to the revival in the property market in the region.

Eastern Cape rallies as buyers relocate to South Africa’s coastline

Moving down the coast the Eastern Cape housing market has lagged behind the other major regional markets in recent years. However, much like KZN, house price inflation in the province is currently gaining momentum as massive infrastructural and property investments in the region bolster activity in the local housing market.

Nelson Mandela Bay has registered average house price inflation of 5.4% during the first half of the year, making it the third highest performing metro area in South Africa.

During the past five years, freehold properties have risen by an average of 22.1% in Port Elizabeth and 29.2% in East London.

A variety of major infrastructural and property developments are currently underway in the Eastern Cape. These include the recent announcement by the Department of Energy (DoE) that the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) would be one of the locations for a R25bn gas-to-power programme, along with the record-breaking R11bn investment by the Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) in a vehicle manufacturing plant and the ongoing development in the Bay West area. These investments, along with several other property developments in the region, are likely to significantly bolster economic activity and employment creation in the province.

The massive new wave of economic investment, coupled with a new local government, suggests that the Eastern Cape housing market will experience a renewed bout of growth in the months ahead.

As one of the least congested cities in the country and with an offering of its own version of the high quality lifestyles found in other coastal destinations, Port Elizabeth is increasingly well positioned to attract wealthy buyers from across South Africa.

Potential buyers are likely to be attracted by the opportunity to participate in the region’s economic revival and to take advantage of its relatively affordable real estate, international airport and coastal lifestyle. Local agents are already experiencing increased interest in prime properties (above R3m) as professionals relocate from other provinces.

A little further down the coast the Garden Route enjoys a steady demand which should continue into 2017 with a wide selection of homes, improved hospital and shopping facilities which makes it a perfect work-from-home lifestyle choice.

Knynsa and Plettenberg Bay and the areas through to Mossel Bay are benefiting from the push down to the coast and a sense of movement to secure locations which offer an attractive lifestyle and sense of community as well as still being reasonably priced.

In the inland regions of the country the interest in farms continues, for both lifestyle as well as commercial, while second home buys, particularly inland for weekend getaways, enjoy a slow but constant demand.

We suggest the economic drivers will emanate from the mining sectors such as coal, gold and platinum, as the job creation would bring stability and property growth to many towns inland which have been struggling.