Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Recent travels and some updates

I've been absent from Travelling without Moving for almost a month - I apologise for that. I got into a bit of tight spot at work for my travel writing on the Travelstart blog as apparently I was in breach of a clause in my contract, which led to a decent discussion with the bosses and an amicable way forward.

I have since decided not to pursue the travel writing for Travelstart and even though I'm a little bummed about it, I understand that work practices need to be upheld so instead I'll be using this blog for more than just travel updates.

From time to time, I'll share with you interesting events, travels, musings and new learnings that life has to offer - all in an effort to keep you interested and share my experience of the world with you.

Please do feel free to let me know what you'd most like to read about as I'd like to start offering you discussions that you would want to partake in. Remember blogs do more than entertain and inform and I'd like to really hone in on the social networking phenomenon that's taking place in SA by allowing, you my readers to also get involved.

Now for some travel news: My latest long weekend was spent with family in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. I love the fresh perspective a holiday can give you and I got just that along with honing my Guitar Hero 3 Xbox gaming skills.

I'm absolutely addicted to that game and have been flirting with the idea of buying a Nintendo Wii so I can play interactive games with friends and family to my hearts content. Off course I'd have to fight off the serious urge I have on going big for my 25th that's coming up in a month's time so woe is me, I've got some decision-making to do.

What did you get up to this long weekend? Tell me, I'd really love to know and get some ideas for lazy winter weekends indoors.

Btw- I've started reading again. A fantastic start before Winter huh? I thought so;-)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Pro20 Cricket Season begins!

I'm not much of a long term cricket fan but I remember the days my granddad would steal front row seats in the lounge in order to watch the game unrivaled by us kids. It was actually a great experience as my grandfather was very much into his cricket and he became quite boisterous when things weren't going his team's way.

I used to be enthralled just watching him jump up and down rumbling at the TV screen, but nowadays I'm sometimes caught reenacting those same movements that I found so funny about my granddad:-)

I like fast paced action and that's the reason why Pro20 cricket appeals to me. It's all about the action and chasing big scores which are built up by the 4's and 6's that are pummeled out by the fearless batsmen.

This year promises to be a super series and the excitement starts on 25 march 2008 and carries through for a month until the finals on 25 April 2008. For those of you who are not familiar with Pro20 cricket, it's a new formula of cricket that was founded by Standard Bank South Africa and is all about the action and the concept of 'sportainment'. The Pro20 series is a limited–overs tournament which has added another dimension to domestic cricket in SA and it involves 20 overs per innings where each match lasts approximately three hours.

See the Standard Bank website for more info.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Why Cape Town is wow!

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival takes place from the 28-30 March 2008. It is the most anticipated music festival for the astute jazz lover and has been rated as one of the best music festivals in South Africa.

The Dutch version of the North Sea Jazz Festival-Den Haag is regarded as one of the most prestigious Jazz festivals in the world, and the concept was initiated by jazz promoter, Paul Acket.

Unlike its Dutch counterpart, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has a unique programming line-up with a 50/50 talent split between Africa and the rest of the world. The musical event allows for "local musicians to take their rightful place alongside International musicians, to the benefit of a very dynamic art form". The A Passion for jazz website says it's no wonder the media has dubbed the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as "Africa's Grandest Gathering", as it is certainly regarded as the most prestigious on the continent.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival is hosted at Cape Town's International Convention Centre (CTICC). Did you know that more & more airlines have recognised the importance of Cape Town as a destination?

Emirates Airline has sought to launch their new non-stop Cape Town to Dubai service at the end of the month and Delta Airlines will commence their direct Cape Town to New York service on 4 June 2008.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Human Rights Day

South Africa is not a war torn country and unlike many other African countries, all South Africans are citizens of an independent state. It is with this in mind that I'd like to reflect on what Human Rights Day means in South Africa.

In a democratic South Africa, it means we all should share in the basic human right to life, first and foremost. It also means or rather symbolizes the right to freedom which was not afforded to non-white people during Apartheid rule of our country.

Now our Bill of Rights which is contained in the Constitution is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. The Constitution has provided for the establishment of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) of which the aim is to promote respect for human rights, promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights, and to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in SA. The SAHRC was launched on 21 March 1996, 35 years after the fateful events of 21 March 1960 when demonstrators were gunned down by police. In Apartheid South Africa, this day became known as "Sharpeville Day".

Even though South Africa has loosened its shackles of its past woes, the country is grappled with other difficulties like the current energy shortages, the crime statistics and our shaky political system. But as opposed to deflating a young person's positivity, I remain optimistic under the circumstance because life as we know it, is ever-changing, and South Africa's persistence to change and develop will only allow our country to grow for the better. That is what I choose to celebrate and commemorate on 21 March 2008 on Human Rights Day in SA.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

14th MTN SAMAs

I wrote a post on Deshanta's World about the South African Music Awards and think it's worth a read if you're a South African music fan. This year's nominees are a bunch of really talented super starts in their own right and they deserve all the support they get!

Check it out here

Friday, 14 March 2008

Launch of SA Fashion Week - Winter/Autumn '08

I attended the launch party of Samsung's involvement in this year's Sanlam SA Fashion Week! It was an exciting event with lots of glitz and glam! Here's a post I blogged live from the event:

"I'm in a crowd of the most gorgeous people in South Africa and we've just heard that Samsung mobile is looking for the next female and male Icone Modeles! These two lucky people will stand a chance of being the next face of Samsung Mobile!

They will be part of the 2008 above the line and below the line ad campaigns, which basically means they'll have their faces blasted on every billboard, poster and magazine cover in SA! Models will win themselves a $75k international modeling contract with Next modeling agency!

These two models will become the most sought after South African models abroad and get to don the most exclusive made-to-fit range of South African couture, which these models will showcase at SA's main Fashion Week in August 2008!

How awesome is that? Now to give you a little taste of this exclusive event check out the video and I just have to boast about who I bumped into - SA's hottest music star, Loyiso and ooh, I think Vanessa Carreira has just arrived. Toodles, have to go mingle ;-)"

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Inhaca Island Treasures

I haven't had much time to tell you about the great treasures we found on Inhaca island but nows the perfect opportunity because I was asked via comments on TravelStart blog for a little info on other aspects of Mozambique.

The biggest treasure you'll find is the beauty and kindness of the people on the island. I've told you about Fabio in a previous post so do check him out when you visit Inhaca.Then there was Albert, a crafts-maker on the island who has a charming stall in the middle of the village. He makes beautiful arts and crafts and can chat just about any buyer up so be aware of the sale and don't get ripped off because you don't know how to haggle down prices ;-)
If food is your favourite pastime then like me, you must check out Lucas Restaurant in Inhaca village. We met Joao, an intriguing and friendly waiter at the restaurant. If you're not sure of what to start out with, get Joao to suggest a few of the House favourites because that way you get to a little bit of everything when it comes to the seafood and just a hint, be sure to ask for the fish samoosas - they are absolutely divine!

Inhaca Lodge has incredible gastronomical offerings too so be sure to check out all their buffet-style breakfasts and dinners. The Lodge's activities are a real treat so be sure to don your cozzie, slap on some sunscreen and head for the Gone Fishing company office. There you can book any trips to nearby beaches or even a car ride around da island to explore all its nooks and crannies.

We did two trips, one to Portuguese island where we swam an endless amount of time in the warm Indian Ocean. And the second trip was to Santa Maria where we indulged in a close up of the beautiful coral gardens while we snorkeled for a good hour.

All in all it was a great experience and I'll definitely do it again.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

SA music releases 2.0

I read about an artist who was going to use new age technology to release his debut album in South Africa. I didn't really believe it until I saw an article on BizCommunity covering the subject.

It's amazing how innovative people can be when they put their minds to it and I guess the artist 'J' is laughing all the way to the bank with a big smile on his face because he was the artist that started a trend.

Nowadays people are not only buying musician's albums on CD, the new trend is to have multimedia with your album launch, for example, when the Parlotones, great South African band, recently released their new album. They had a DVD made of all their days in studio recording their album and also teamed up with Microsoft to present the Xbox 360 Summer Tour where they helped in promoting their new album as well as the Xbox around South Africa in December 2007.

Truly unbelievable what one can really do with music and technology, huh?

Monday, 10 March 2008

SA Artists doing it for themselves

Two major developments in the South African music industry have paved the wave for new and exciting methods of marketing an artist's album. I'm a geek and as part of the movement in SA, I follow the 27Dinner event which happens bi-monthly in JHB and Cape Town. Upon following the feedback from one of the dinners held in CT, I stumbled onto Verity's webpage.

Now this woman is really unique and she's a very talented musician, but instead of selling the rights to her skill to a record label, she has decided to take matters into her own hands..In an effort to make something of her musical abilities, she first started coaxing her friends and family to pay R150 towards your own copy of the future release of Verity's album, thereby contributing to the production of her upcoming album.

This marketing concept quickly spread online via her website and now she currently has 1,600 people all socially involved in the production of her album, which she is in studio producing at the moment. How clever is that?

Ordinary people have managed to be part of her creative process every step of the way and what's more interesting is that Verity can really call herself the 'people's artist' when she does drop her album.

You can check her site out to read more on her journey in the music biz and contribute to her album release if you want.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Lekgotla: 'Let's meet'

Merv and I at my bday dinnerLast year I celebrated my 24th birthday by graciously treating myself to an exciting night on the town with my partner. We've been together for ten years, but can you believe, we've never spent our birthdays alone. I've always tried to organise dinner for two on my bday, but when you're part of a very loving and close family, it's hard to say no to big, family meals together on your special day.

Alas as luck would have it, I did most of my birthday celebrations beforehand, as I jetted off to have a nice, relaxing holiday in the Garden Route as part of the celebrations.

Lekgotla: The African Dining RoomAnyway we ended up dining at Lekgotla at the Nelson Mandela Square. I have always been drawn to restaurants that serve up scrumptious, authentic cuisine, and it is my favour towards North, East, South and West African food that led to a booking at this exquisite restaurant. For more images of the nights flagrant affair, check my pics out on Flickr.

First off, I have to say the whole dining experience was fantastic and I would highly recommend it to those seeking a little adventure into culinary delight. I was overwhelmed by the variety on the menu and was definitely spoilt for choice from starters straight up to dessert.

I hadn't been in the mood for alcohol in a long while, but the 15 year old Glenfiddich appertif that I had before supper, warmed me up and was a great accompaniment to my meal. It's hard for me to drink wines these days because of the high sugar content so whiskies are nice once in a while to get the blood flowing.

If you are into Moroccan food then you must try the 'Baba Ganoush'. It's a dipping sauce which consists of smoked aubergine, fresh lemon juice and creme fraiche. Very delicious and extremely good with unleavened bread.

The cool decor at LekgotlaWhat makes you think I was in my element last night?

Tagines are another favourite in Moroccan dish and is quite a nice hearty meal for a cold winter's evening.

Well I had an awesome birthday and even though it's not a landmark one, I had to seize the moment. I have so many great things that I wanted to celebrate this year and I'm glad I got to celebrate them with the people I love and cherish the most. Afterall what is a person without family and friends?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

A Visit to Praia do Farol

Okay so its time now to dip in and give you some idea of what the locals are like on Inhaca Island. Well to say the least, if hospitality is what you're into then you'll get more than you bargained for in Mozambique. The people are friendly and all so welcoming that you'll never feel displaced even if you're not at all familiar with Portuguese culture or the language.

Dsc02528On our second day on Inhaca we decided to seek out "Fabio", a guy made famous by his natural ability to be the best tour guide on the island. I heard of Fabio from my aunt who had visited Inhaca about two years ago and was really touched by Fabio's entrepreneurial skills that she promoted them back in South Africa.

Eugenio Fabio is only 16 years old and owns his own Yahama buggy vehicle which he uses to take tourists around the island to visit many a splendid destination. He has been taking people on tours since the age of 8 and he is well-known to all on the island. I admire young entrepreneurs that are making the most of what they've got and Fabio is considering the opportunity to expand his business so he needs all the tourist encounters he can get ;-)Dsc02527

A trip around to the Lighthouse Beach with Fabio will cost roughly R260 and its well worth every penny as you not only get through the mangrove bush area is the zippy buggy, but the scenery up at the lighthouse is just amazing. Only Simoa, the lighthouse keeper seemed to be around when we visited and he was gracious enough to allow us a tour of the actual lighthouse, which is not for those scared of the dark as the steep, spiraling staircase up to the top of the structure is pitch black so be sure to keep your torch or cellphone handy.


The view from the top of the lighthouse was great as you could see the peripheral beaches on the island, and Simoa says sometimes in the summer months, one can spot dolphins and whales. There are no rapid currents and the waves on Farol beach looked idyllic and calm, just the perfect atmosphere to take a dip in ;-)

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Inhaca Island Heaven

During my weekend trip to Mozambique, it was my visit to the Inhaca Island, which is across the mainland of Maputo that really left an impression on me. We spent 2 and half days at Inhaca Lodge which is the only hotel type place on the island. It is well run by the Pestana Group and is the gateway for travelers visiting Inhaca from sea and sky. There are also other accommodation offerings on the island for budget travelers so you just have to inquire about camp sites or backpackers when you make a booking.Dsc02475

For those wanting to visit the island be sure to book your 15 min domestic flight at Mozambique International Airport with Transairways as they organize trips across the ocean to Inhaca island.

Now if an island getaway is just what you're after then you don't have to look further than your stay at Inhaca Lodge.

I'm not an extreme beach lover but this holiday definitely changed my mind about beach breaks.

The island is home to roughly a 2,500 population and in total, I must have only come across about 300 people on the island during my stay. The beach sand is so soft and the warmth of the Indian Ocean will definitely have one coming back for more ;-)

Dsc02535There are a few tourist attractions to visit during your trip to Inhaca. We checked out the Portuguese Island which is a divine destination if you're looking to just chill on the beach, suntan and swim in the sea as much as you want. Then there's the Lighthouse beach, which Mozambique Airlines' in-flight magazine, Indico, has named one of the 10 best beaches in Mozambique. If you Google, 'Praia do Farol', you'll get more info on this one.

In my next post, I'll let you in on the culture and the people of Inhaca.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Visiting Mozambique

Dsc02458Last weekend I got the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful yet war-torn country's in Africa. Mozambique, once a Portuguese colony, now a recovering victim of civil clashes is still as magnificent to eye as it is off a travel brochure.

Being from Johannesburg, South Africa, it isn't easy to let down one's guard when you're in foreign territory, but during my long weekend in Mozambique I thought best to let down my hair and just soak in the scenery.

I visited Mozambique as part of my 10th anniversary celebrations with my boyfriend, and we decided to treat ourselves to an tropical getaway. I've always wanted to visit Mozambique and the favorable exchange rate from South African currency to the new Mozambican meticais (MT) made it all the more irresistible.

Mozambique has kept its heavy Portuguese influence and really embraced it as their own. I got the feeling that colonization did not leave quite such a bad taste in one's mouth in this country as it has had in South Africa, for example. This was a refreshing and somewhat cathartic experience as being a South African visiting a country that is more Third World than ours, was a real eye opener as well as a good lesson learnt.

In South Africa, it is not so much that our youth want to take on and adopt every facet of Western culture as it is the fact that we,as a nation were conditioned to, and that is why there is a lot of resentment and hard feelings towards the changes that need to be made in order for our country to truly feel like "home" to all of us.

Most of the Mozambican population speak Portuguese or dialects of the language so European travelers will not have difficulty trying to communicate. Being an English speaker did mean that I had to listen carefully and carry along a translation book in order to correctly understand what people were saying, which also adds to the fun of traveling to a foreign destination.

Be sure to practice key phrases before your visit as it will help orient you better when you arrive. Just remember it is always nice to embrace some of the culture of the place you're visiting as it is a positive sign in the sharing that will happen on your trip. You're bound to pick up some new things just as the locals are bound to learn a lot of new habits from you too so enjoy it and embrace it ;-)

In my next posts, I'll go into more detail on the two places I visited on my trip, the Inhaca Island and the Polana Hotel in Maputo.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Vic Falls

Found this in a Travelstart email and thought I should share as there are some awesome specials and deals to Victoria Waterfalls right now so go check them out.

Mosi-oa-Tunya or the Smoke that Thunders.

Victoria Falls has been mesmerizing visitors for centuries. Dr. David Livingstone, during his journey from the upper Zambezi to the mouth of the river, was the first recorded European to see the Falls back in 1855. The Falls were so breathtakingly beautiful Livingstone felt compelled to name the Falls after his beloved Queen Victoria.

The region boosts a UNESCO World Heritage Site with abundant wildlife & exotic vegetation. The Falls also forms a border between Zambia & Zimbabwe, each having fantastic facilities & accommodation.

In recent years, the Falls have been a mecca for adrenaline junkies offering array of extreme sports, including bungie jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge.

The best time to view the falls is while they're in full flood, between November & April. During this time the Fall's spray can reach over 600 metres & can be seen over 50 kms away.

Info courtesy of Travelstart SA

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The economic jewel of SOWETO

The south western township of South Africa (SOWETO) has for a long time been entrenched in this South Africa's road to freedom. As you drive in to Soweto it is hard not to notice the past that our country has emerged from, tin shanties surrounded by emerging developments draped with reminders of South Africa’s political past still seen in some of the graffiti that line building walls.

Driving casually into Soweto taking in the scenery, I found myself thinking of how proud I am of being South African. As the road straightened, I saw in the emerging distance Maponya Mall for the first time.20_past_1

This shopping mall was opened in September 2007 by visionary, Richard Maponya who actually bought the land in the 1980's and awaited the African Renaissance to 'make his dream come true'.

You may ask if it’s just another shopping mall that caters for your retail pleasure and the answer would be yes. Maponya Mall comes into its own as a destination that must be seen. When you are here, you start to realise were this beautiful country has come from. You can still see the broken chains that once bound its progress. Now free, South Africa an emerging nation that welcomes visitors into what was once considered the political centre for South Africa’s uprising.

Maponya Mall has an expansive parking space and is well secured. As you enter you can’t help but notice the grand elephant outside, surrounded by the glass, stone and steel, this is the feeling you are presented with, a modernistic Africa but still Africa. The large amount of natural light that is seen, softens the interior that otherwise would normally have been like any other mall. However Maponya Mall shines as the central meeting place where Africa open up her arms to learn and even mingle with the West.

There are trendy coffee shops and at least one very popular cocktail lounge and if its retail therapy you are looking for then designer and fashionable couture is what you have to have, Maponya Mall delivers this with a twist of Africa. At the moment all you will get to for fill your gastronomical requests would be fast food stores and popular SA restaurateurs catering to your needs, do keep in mind that the scene has been set for some fine African dinning.

Post courtesy of Mervyn Sigamoney

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

A Virtual holiday

Have you ever thought of taking a virtual holiday?

Well I was looking through some fantastic travel blogs within the south African blogosphere and I came across 123listentome.com. This is a fantastic kids site by the way and also their latest podcast is what got me thinking about virtual holidays.

The podcast is narrated by kids between the ages of 4-10 years old and it is actually really great to listen to Sarah and Nina's trip to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa

So if you have kids and are looking for an affordable holiday, why not put out those feelers for great ideas on fantastic sites, like 123listentome! You could learn a lot from the gang as to what kids actually like doing on holiday and also get tips on how to spot wildlife when you're in Africa, for example ;-).

Also Note: The South African Blog Awards 2008 has currently opened for nominations and voting so the race is on to find the best Travel blog for 2007. If you want to nominate the Travelstart blog, please do so here.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Madiba's second home

A few years ago a huge six metre bronze statue graced the ground at the then Sandton Square, a tourist destination located in the Sandton CBD. Now called, the Nelson Mandela Square, the significant big brother to Sandton City has become a gateway to luxurious shopping and feasting for the ordinary consumer.21122007036

South Africans call the Square, Madiba's second home because it is Nelson Mandela's life-like statue that graces it. One can find just about any type of fine eatery at the Square, which makes the day- and nighttime settings reminiscent to that of European cities that have similar versions called plazas.

Regular updates on the entertainment listings ensures that one will not go bored on a starry Summer's night at Nelson Mandela Square. Be sure when you visit to stop off at the Hagen Daaz or Baglios stores for some delectable and mouthwatering ice cream flavours that will titillate your taste-buds.

If shopping is what you planning to do then one floor up from the main entrance to Square are some of the best clothing stores that you can pick up a bargain or two. Young Designers Emporium or Y.D.E. as it is known has an awesome selection of young, hip local designers that you should check it if you're hunting for a once-in-a-lifetime outfit that you can be sure no one else in the world will be able to own once you buy it.

If opulent accommodation is what you're in search of then look no further than the stunning Michaelangelo Hotel. I have not yet had the opportunity to stay at the hotel, but the raving reviews that I've heard, definitely puts the Michaelangelo up there with some of the best hotel chains in the world. Lastly, one has no choice but to try out the hotel's scrumptious Afternoon Tea so if you have a few hours to spare. be sure to relax and catch up on a good cup of tea and a scone ;-)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Pamper yourself with treatments

I'd heard about Wax in the City from friends long before I paid them a visit to receive my free pedicure worth R150 in December. Now don't be fooled Wax, as I fondly call it, is not like other beauty salons that you'll find in South Africa.

Dsc02390The salon which is based in the banking mall of Sandton City is an international company that has franchises in most European and Asian countries, which includes, Rome, Singapore, New York and even coming soon is their Cape Town salon.

The decor of the salon has a slight Baroque style about it with middle-sized chandeliers draping their retro ceilings where one can see the construct of the building's air conditioners, etc. You're treated to a warm welcome upon entry where upon you are placed in the cozy waiting area before your treatment commences.

Wax in the City is a members-only salon where you are treated like royalty from the get go. VIP member get their own exclusive lounging area and do not have to call in to book treatments as the company's motto is that they will VIPs without a doubt and within the 10 min waiting period that is used a grace period as a VIP steps into the salon.Dsc02395

All the lovely ladies that work at the pedicure, manicure and waxing stations are all trained to carry out whatever treatments are needed by the members. I absolutely love the concept and signed up after my delightful manicure experience. Their full body massages are heavenly, and they even offer threading and tanning options too.

For those of you who like the idea of the tan can, Wax in the City is the perfect option, as they have three tanning rooms with huge tans and are all elegantly named according to some of the best island settings in the world i.e. Copacabana, Miami, etc.

So go on treat yourself and indulge in some treatments at you local Wax in the City. It's sure to be the perfect gift to start the New Year off with ;-)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Sandton City: A shopping haven

Sandton_city_2Living in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg almost guarantees you a regular pass into Sandton City, one of SA's most popular shopping malls. Now I've been visiting the center ever since I could walk, and that's due to the fact that one is never spoilt for choice with all the stores that entice you to come in and shop.

You'll find an array of shops that will offer you anything from shoes, food to toys for your pets. Sandton City has also changed quite a bit over the years and is now recognised as an international shopping and entertainment destination for tourists visiting South Africa.

With stores like Mango, Cartier and Louis Vuitton popping up in the line-up, visitors will be made to feel right at home, but I'm sure you've heard of the phrase, 'local is lekker', which means guests must be sure to try out the excellent range of local design talent that is on offer as well.

If you're looking for a good dining experience, Sandton City will not disappoint with its interesting array of restaurants and take-out food outlets. If you're looking for an affordable seafood dinner, be sure to try out the Cape Town Fish Market, which has the most divine sushi and seafood menu. I'd personally put my stamp on their prawn dishes, as they have some of the best meals I've tasted outside of my own Mom's cooking ;-)

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Montecasino comes to Life

As I explained in my last post, I played tour guide to my cousins who visited me from sunny Durban and Pietermaritzburg during December. I wanted to truly show them some good entertainment spots in Jozi so we took a drive to Montecasino, one of Johannesburg's top entertainment spots.22122007048

'Monte' as I fondly call it, is a R1.4 million premier gaming, retail and leisure complex located near Fourways which is in the north of Johannesburg. It is run by the Tsogo Sun, a well-known international gaming company in South Africa.

Montecasino's design is aimed at replicating an old world Tuscan hilltop village, and the architecture does bring the spirit of Tuscany to life with its artistically rendered decor. Montecasino has a casino area with more than 1,700 slot machines and 70 gaming tables, as well as the 5-star InterContinental Palazzo Hotel, which boasts a first class conferencing venue.

The Pieter Toerien's Theatre and unique shopping and dining experiences make Montecasino a must-see and it has become a famous hang spot for many a celebrity. A local radio station, Jacaranda 94.2 fm even broadcasts its live radio shows from within Montecasino, which keeps the complex well within the trendy scene in Johannesburg.

There is something for the whole family at Montecasino, with the Magic Company family entertainment centre, the 15-screen Nu Metro cinema complex, Boogaloos skate park and the star attraction, the Montecasino Bird Gardens.

I've been to a show at the Bird Gardens and it was awesome, considering the great things the nature conservancies nearby are trying to do for the wild bird life in and around the area. "Nunsensations" is also an entertaining musical revue that you can catch at the theatre in Montecasino if you're looking for light-hearted entertainment.

The newly constructed Teatro was commissioned by Tsogo Sun at close to R100 million and is one of the 10 largest lyric theaters in the world. With this new construction came a host of famous eateries and the rugby field sized Piazza Hotel, and magical fountains, which is a real treat to watch in the evenings.

Montecasino is ideally located for everyone in Gauteng, situated only a few hundred metres from the off-ramps of major highways from Pretoria, the East Rand, the West Rand and O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Montecasino Teatro presents The Lion King

I hope you are well into the spirit of a new year upon us and are ready for some exciting new experiences in 2008! I spent part of my time over the holidays entertaining my cousins who were visiting from Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Apart from the usual movie-going activities, we decided to make the holidays a little more memorable so I managed to land us tickets to one of the hottest musicals in South Africa, The Lion King.

The show is currently on at the Montecasino Teatro in Fourways, JHB. Due to its ever-increasing popularity, it has been extended for a second time and will go on till 17 February 2008.

The Teatro was packed to capacity in a well- air conditioned theatre that very likely looked like it could seat close to 1,962 people. The newly constructed Teatro was commissioned by Tsogo Sun at close to R100 million and is one of the 10 largest lyric theaters in the world.

The performance of The Lion King is a feast for the eyes and ears and should you be visiting Johannesburg in the next month, you should definitely book your tickets to the show as soon as possible, as they are hot property and go pretty fast.