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They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This year, March has come in like a lion and gone out like some kind of lion-velociraptor hybrid. With a bunch of late-season storms walloping parts of the U.S. and others shivering through an extended cold spell, it’s easy to forget that spring has officially arrived. While you’re waiting for the weather to catch up with the season, close out March in Africa, where more manageable climates, majestic beasts, arid deserts, and stunning architecture await those with an adventurous spirit.
Spring hasn’t sprung just yet, but we’re already anxious for it’s arrival. After the slew of bad weather that’s ransacked the country, we’re ready for sunshine and the scent of blooming buds. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for warm weather to stop and smell the roses – or any other type of flower, for that matter. We put together a list of some of the most spectacular botanical gardens in the world. Plus, many of them have greenhouses and indoor facilities – perfect to perk up a somber rainy day.
With this edition of our Monday Deal Alert, we’ve compiled some of the best airfare currently in the market, from West Coast escapes to journeys to Eastern Europe. Rates start from as little as $69, so whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a long vacation, we’ve got plenty of ways for you to fly away this fall.
Virgin America’s current fall sale features amazing one-way rates between West Coast cities, like $69 between San Francisco and Las Vegas, $89 between Los Angeles and Portland, and $109 between Seattle and San Francisco. The sale doesn’t only apply to West Coasters, though: you can also fly one-way to Los Angeles from Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia for $139, or from Orlando, New York City, or Boston for $159. Just book your getaway fast – this sale ends at midnight tonight. Read more
If seeing Africa’s Big Five has been on your bucket list (as it should be), start the new year off on an adventurous foot with Extraordinary Journeys Africa, a mother-daughter team whose custom-crafted safaris earned them a nod earlier this year in Smart Luxury Travel magazine’s Luxe List. Now, the forward-thinking, socially-responsible pair is offering an exciting 7-night journey to South Africa (kicking off on February 27, 2012), with three nights spent amongst the wildebeests at the Madikwe Game Reserve in Sabi Sands followed up by four nights during Cape Town’s Gay Pride event, where you can be sure there will be plenty of wild life all its own. Best of all, all accommodations are gay-owned and run, ensuring a Pride vacation to be proud of. Prices start at $4,200 per person (based on double occupancy), which represent roughly a 15 percent savings off their typical itineraries covering the same territory.
The basic itinerary is as follows, but with over 500 trips under their belt and no two of them the same, modifications are possible (Want to tack on additional camps? Travel by 4×4, hot air balloons, elephant, or horse?): Read more
Though votes are still being counted and the results are provisional, the New7Wonders Foundation announced a new list of wonders on Friday. In alphabetical order, the winners are: the Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Table Mountain (pictured). 440 locations were in the running, narrowed down to 28 prior to the final vote.
The poll has created a bit of a stir, however, when, following paying a registration fee of $199, the Maldives and Indonesia were asked for $500,000 and $57 million, respectively. The New7Wonders Foundation allegedly asked Indonesia for $10 million in licensing fees and $47 million to host the closing ceremony. The Maldives and the Indonesian government did not pony up the cash, but did remain in the running. The foundation has denied these claims.
Chances are, if you’re reading this from outside the U.S. and have even a smidgen of a Y chromosome, you’ve already got South Africa on the mind. After all, the FIFA World Cup 2010 is only 126 days away (and counting)! But even if soccer mania, née football, doesn’t course through your veins, the Rainbow Nation is gussying itself up for its grand debut, with adjacent events reaping the benefits, such as Cape Town‘s 8th annual Pride Festival, “Uniting the Cultures of Cape Town,” from February 26–March 7. Expect smoother infrastructure and more restaurants, nightlife,and shopping, such as the gorgeous recent expansion to the De Waterkant Cape Quarter, to compliment its thriving, constitutionally enshrined, and perpetually evolving slice of gay life. Read more
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