Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Classic safari

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Photography Wilderness Safaris & Caroline Culbert

On safari in NamibiaIt is hard these days to see and experience the Africa of old, as described by the likes of Ernest Hemingway in the days of the classic safari, when wildlife roamed the open African savannah and tom-toms sounded from within hidden villages. Fortunately there are still pockets where Africa lives on in all its glory.

One such pocket, indeed a sizeable one, is Namibia. Situated to the northwest of South Africa, this is a country that stands out for its peace, stability and relative prosperity. Quite in contrast to most of the continent, it is not plagued by coups d’etat, unrest and famine, but has enjoyed many years of growth, building on natural resources such as minerals, its wildlife and scenic beauty, and a population that is small enough in relation to resources to allow a good standard of living. (more…)

Hotel Hermitage, A little palace in the mountains

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Marbella is best known for its luxurious seaside resorts, but travel just a little inland, into the foothills of the mighty mountain ranges that run parallel to the coast, and you will find some truly gorgeous boutique hotels set amid the beauty of Andalusian nature.
Hotel Hermitage, Casares, Costa del Sol
One of the finest of these is Hotel Hermitage, a gem of a rural hotel surrounded by lush green countryside just a short distance from the pretty white village of Casares. From this vantage point the land sweeps gently towards the sea in a carpet of undulating green that turns to hues of ever-changing blue at the coastline. You feel like you’re surveying the world, and indeed on clear days Gibraltar and North Africa come into broad view, yet in reality this peaceful spot is no more than a quarter of an hour from the coastal resort town of Estepona, itself just a short distance from Marbella.

In search of peace, nature and unspoiled charm?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Well, we were. After a good but long, hot summer we were ready for a little break – one that would take us away from crowds, traffic jams and the stresses of work. A lot of people, including those that fly down to Spain for their holidays, say they want to get away from the rat-race, only to end up in a different kind of one. Perhaps it’s the advantage we have in living here that we can firstly call Marbella crowded and stressful, and secondly find our way to beautiful out-of-the-way spots within a few hours of our own doorstep.

Hotel Fuerte Rompido Suites

Normally, beach holidays are not our thing. In fact, most holidays will see us soaking up a little culture and excitement in a major city or alternatively heading into the mountains for a weekend retreat from modern life. After a summer of dodging the heat, however, the idea of lazing on the beach sounded just right, and where better to do it than the sandy shores of Spain’s southern Atlantic coastline. (more…)

Sustainable development

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Costa del Sol DevelopmentThe Costa del Sol has come a long way from the sleepy collection of fishing villages and mountain settlements that it once was. Back then, age-old practices still applied and those who wanted to settle down here, build a home and conduct business had to adjust to an altogether new set of rules and realities. Today, many of the old limitations have disappeared along with the craftsmen who built homes in the traditional Andalusian way. Not only have the construction process and the appearance of homes changed greatly, but as the scale of operations increased, property developers have had an increasingly dramatic effect on the physical landscape that we live in. At this stage of the region’s development, and with its long-term interests in mind, it might be good to look into the prospects for sustainable development.

Cork vs. Plastic

Monday, July 7th, 2008

by Michel Cruz

Cork vs. Plastic

Cork vs. PlasticHave you noticed how many wine bottles have plastic corks these days? I couldn’t help wondering why. After all, aren’t we meant to be replacing synthetic products with natural ones where possible, to help clean up our planet—not the other way round? Intrigued, I did a little research, and found the wine industry is in the midst of turmoil.

For centuries, in fact for about as long as people can remember, wine has been sealed with cork stoppers. So close is this link that you can’t really think of the one without the other, and indeed, the humble cork is a wondrous thing. Wholly natural, it is flexible and durable, forming an excellent seal to a bottle, yet one that allows itself to be extracted with relative ease. What’s more, it forms the basis of a noble, age-old industry that has become a part of the physical landscape and human fabric of countries like Spain and Portugal.

This industry is also eco-friendly and sustainable, as the cork is harvested by removing the barks of the region’s cork oaks in a seven-year cycle, and the cork stoppers themselves are biodegradable natural products. Why then, is this industry in peril as the market has suddenly become flooded with plastic substitutes? Although plastics manufacturers have clearly put a lot of effort into making their creations look like the real thing, they cannot hide the tactile proof that they’re plastic—and far from beneficial to the environment.