The earth is beautiful. With it’s over 8 billion human inhabitants and millions of species of flora and fauna there is no other place like the earth in the universe.
On this year’s Earth Day, we have selected – to highlight their allure – three places that are beautiful and whose inhabitants are working round the clock to keep it that way.
With its porcelain white sandy beaches, baked sun with colours, spectacular boulders combined with hospitable inhabitants that are just open to the world, you need not ask further why you should be in Seychelles.
The island country offers “one of the most spectacular sceneries in the world” as its coastlines and landscapes stretch to impressive formations.
Spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, the country is home to no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms, and fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D.
For over two centuries, the islands with an estimated population of 86,525 (the smallest population of any African State) have remained a melting pot of different races, traditions and religions from the four corners of the earth. There is a high level tolerance, and most visitors come to worship nature that is more beautiful on the island than any other place on the African continent.
Besides the sprawling beaches and sand domes, Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. With almost 50 percent of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far-sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports.
However, Seychelles’ enviable climate that is always warm and without extremes is one unique feature that encourages all-year-round fun on the island. In this tropical haven, the temperature seldom drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie comfortably outside the cyclone belt, making Seychelles’ a year-round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
But besides the stunningly beautiful landscape with topaz water, white sand beaches, best of flora and fauna, Seychelles is attracting the world because “it is one of the safest countries in the world and its welcoming tourism policy allowing visa-free travel for every nationality.
Cape Town: Africa’s enchanting destination
Exclusively set in the southmost point of Africa, Cape Town is an alluring city.
Modern and cosmopolitan city surrounded by nature, Cape Town centers around Table Mountain, one of the New 7 Wonders of the world, amid beautiful beaches, stunning biodiversity, award-winning food and wine, and sheer variety of experiences on offer.
All these leisure, tourism and nature’s trappings combine to make Cape Town a city like no other in the world; hence it is popularly known as the Mother City.
Again, the city’s Cape Agulhas; the southernmost tip of Africa, is the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Apart from its iconic Table Mountain, there other mountains, deep blue oceans, surrounding natural beauties and mesmerizing African sunset.
The city’s vibe can be felt from the moment you arrive. You will experience a kaleidoscope of cultures, friendly people, local and international cuisines, architecture, scents, sounds and much more.
From the refined luxury and superlative indulgence onboard Qatar Airway business-class, to a lavish arrival at the ultramodern Hamad International Airport dotted with some of the most breathtaking artworks, trendy travel aids, exclusive atmosphere and to chauffeur-driven classy cars and finally to your hotels or destinations, Qatar is the address for the well-groomed traveller, business executive or budding tourist.
The magic of Qatar is in its beguiling blend of ultra-modern and old-world ways. Imagine unwinding in a cool evening after a long day’s meeting in a Mediterranean-style yacht or having same experience in the traditional wooden dhows, that is the blend Qatar brings to bear in its bouquet of world-class offerings.
The Middle Eastern country offers sophisticated cosmopolitan lifestyle combined with old world courtesy and hospitality. There is generous of such sophistication in Doha, its capital city and beyond, hence notable global brands are serving the world from their regional offices in Doha.
If you are an aficionado of luxury lifestyle, of course, glamorous and elegant living abound. At the Pearl-Qatar, which is unarguably ‘the most glamorous address in the Middle East’, it is all about upscale living for everyone who works so hard and wants to enjoy elegantly.
All you need to do at this man-made island, off the West Bay Coast, is to release yourself to an unending indulgence in any of the numerous Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas. As well, you can enjoy lunch or dinner at the world-class restaurants that cater to all palates or go for a full-fledged unwinding on the island’s internationally branded hotels where Michelin-starred chefs take you to a wonderful culinary journey with their innovative dining concepts.
If you are truly a well-groomed traveller, the Pearl-Qatar will lure you with its chic elegance, outdoor atmosphere and al fresco dining.
But, no matter how engrossing and tight the business trip is, the trills of Qatar will always lure you to squeeze-out time to see the downtown, mix with the locals and appreciate their culture. So, the heartbeat of the city is better felt at the Souq Waqif, a lively traditional market.
Rendered in the traditional Qatari architectural style, Souq Waqif holds a lot of tourism trappings; but the Shisha lounges are worth a tryout if you care to indulge, as well as, dozens of restaurants that serve traditional Qatari delicacies.
Moreover, do not forget to get some Qatari-themed souvenirs and handicrafts at Souq Waqif for your colleagues, business associates or loved ones.
You can also delve into the rich cultural camel and horse-racing heritage of Qatar at the very exclusive Equestrian Club. At the club, you will meet and network with some Qatari royalties and some billionaires from across the world who generously unwind after signing huge investment deals.
While networking, you will definitely view some of its priceless royal and internationally owned thoroughbreds and glossy Arabian steeds in training.
Now that art collecting is a becoming popular among world billionaire, you can join them to explore the historical Qatari artifacts at the Sheikh Faisal Museum, including Islamic art, coinage and vintage cars; and visit Doha’s camel race track to watch the extraordinary robotic jockeys as they put the steeds through their paces.
One experience visitors do not always forget in a hurry is the grandeur of their hotel accommodation, as 4 and 5-star hotels currently account for some three-quarters of Qatar’s 20,000 available rooms.
The energy and wild ideas of the designers punctuate every aspect of the hotels, aside wild options such as having your own private waterfall pool.
Qatar proved itself with the hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Beyond hosting the world, the magic lies in seeing the state-of-the-art, zero-carbon emitting and climate controlled stadiums; the first in the world.
There are many thrills on offer in the Gulf state, from the ‘Arabian Riviera, the dune bashing in the desert, Al Zubarah Fort comprising restored fort, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid to engaging city and nightlife.
As a business executive, who is flying out of Qatar for your next overseas meeting and you do not want to look more James Bond than Mr Bean, then an experience at the Al Mourjan Lounge, at the Hamad International Airport, will do the magic. Due to the convivial setting of the lounge, some weary travelers will probably have to be dragged out of the lounge in order to make their flight.
Going by the grandeur hosting and celebrated departure, Qatar awaits your return visit for more indulgence