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An international boutique tour operating company passionate about crafting travel programmes that are as individual as the travelers.

The Blazing Majestic Cheetah

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 The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), member of the cat family (filidae), is the fastest land animal on earth, capable of running about 70 miles per hour. It can accelerate from zero to 40 miles per hour in three strides! 
 

It was one of the many exciting creatures I saw on a three-day photo safari to Kruger Park in South Africa in 2015. The cheetah is one of Kruger Park’s Super Seven (elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, cape buffalo, cheetah, wild dog), and we saw six of the seven each of the three days, something almost unheard of! 

“Once abundant all over African and Indian savannas and grasslands, this magnificent animal is now rare and only found in Africa and the Middle East” (“Cheetah,” animalcorner.co.uk).

Hunted almost to extinction for its beautiful skin, the cheetah was put on the Critically Endangered Species by the IUCN. There are an estimated 10,000-12,000 cheetahs left in the wild today, mostly in Africa. In Asia, there are only about 100 cheetahs remaining. There are 680 cheetahs in zoos worldwide, 227 of them in the U.S.

It is a beautiful creature with a tawny, buff, or golden coat sprinkled with evenly spaced black spots. Its handsome head is set off with black stripes running from below each eye to the corners of its mouth. (In contrast, the leopard is lighter colored and lacks the black stripes on its face.) The spots on the cheetah’s tail merge to form four to five rings at the end. 

From its head to its tail, it is built for speed. It has a long, lean body (five and a half to seven feet long, weighing 85-145 pounds, and standing about 32 inches tall), large chest and narrow waist, a small, streamlined head, a lightweight skeleton, large muscles, a springlike spine that flexes and straightens to allow its hind legs to achieve huge strides, large nasal passages to take in huge amounts of air, long legs, and large, powerful lungs, liver, and heart. It can produce four strides per second, and each stride can reach an amazing seven to eight meters. After a chase, the cheetah’s heart rate is 200-250 beats per minute and its breaths are 150-200 per minute (as contrasted to its resting breath rate, which is 20-30 per minute).

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Its long tail (28 inches) acts as a counterweight and rudder, enabling the cat to keep its balance and to make sudden, sharp turns at high speed. 

The cheetah is largely a day hunter that uses its sight to find prey. Unlike other large cats, such as lions, the cheetah does not have good night vision, but its large, forward-looking eyes provide binocular vision so that it can see details at a distance of five kilometers. “The retinal fovea of the eye is of an elongated shape, giving a sharp wide-angle view” (“Cheetah Facts,” bigcatrescue.org).

The cheetah’s hearing is also excellent, and it can pick up higher frequencies than humans.

The black marks beneath its eyes shield them from daylight glare. Some sports players imitate this with black eyeliner. The cheetah’s eyes have a stabilization feature to keep them in sharp focus while the creature is running at high speeds (“Cheetah,” animalcorner.co.uk).

Though the cheetah is blazing fast, it is limited to a high speed run of about 300 yards. Thus, it creeps as close to its prey as possible to begin the chase. 

It trips its prey by hooking the back legs with a swipe of its front paw. “There is a large curved dewclaw on this paw, which helps to trip prey up” (Charlette Guillain, Cheetahs, p. 18). It kills its prey by gripping the throat with its teeth and jaws and strangling it.

The cheetah’s claws are semi-retractable (not fully as some other cats). This assists in taking off quickly and maintaining traction.  

The cheetah needs to drink infrequently (every three or four days), as it gets most of its water from its prey.

The cheetah is not an aggressive animal like a lion, leopard, or tiger and is rarely dangerous to humans. 

In fact, cheetahs are smart animals that respond well to human training. They have been used as hunting animals by Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Chinese, Indians, and others.  For example, cheetahs were used by Akbar the Great, third ruler of the Mughal dynasty in India. He moved around his empire with a large army, “holding court in a splendid camp laid out like a capital city but composed entirely of tents.” On these journeys he engaged in hunting, using cheetahs to pursue deer and other prey.

Unlike a lion or tiger, the cheetah doesn’t roar (lacking a floating hyoid bone in its neck). For this reason it is labeled a Lesser Cat rather than a Great Cat. It purrs, hisses, chirps, and growls. The chirps are used to communicate with other cheetahs. 

It can even mimic some bird calls, an ability it uses to attract unsuspecting birds. 

The baby cheetah grows a mantle on its back that acts as protection against the weather. It disappears after three months. The cubs are constantly in danger to predators such as lions, jackals, hyenas, even large birds. The baby cheetah learns to hunt from its mother for about two years and doesn’t become fully proficient until about three years.

Courtesy:

David Cloud, Way of Life Literature

 http://www.thevioletgrace.ventures/features/nature.htmls 

Phone: +91 80 65651237, +91 81230 62157

e-Mail: travel.query@thevioletgrace.ventures

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Dubai Shopping Festival

Global campaign titled “Unwrap The Exceptional” launched for the 21st edition of the 32 day festival that kicks off from January 01st, 2016.

shoppers and visitors to Dubai are are in for a series of extraordinary experiences during the 21st edition of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), the festival’s organisers announced on Saturday, launching it’s international marketing campaign a tagline, “Unwrap The Exeptional.”

The 32 day annual extravaganza will begin on January 01st, 2016, and the campaign aims to reflect on what is in store in terms of experiences for the residents and visitors from around the world.  The global marketing campaign of Dubai Shopping Festival 2016, organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), is targeting the key markets of GCC – China, Russia, and India,and will also reach new markets in the Commonwealth of Independent Staes (CIS), South East Asia,and Africa, in addition to promoting Dubai Shopping Festival to the local audience in the United Arab Emirates.

“Unwrap The Exceptional” will revel the many layers of the annual city wide festival with everything at the Dubai Shopping Festival being defined as a gift that is waiting to be uncovered and cherished.

The tagline also affirms the fact that Dubai is at it’s best at this time of the year with an inspirational celebration that rewards by delivering exeptional experiences.  the success of Dubai shopping Festival year after year is based on the three pillars of shopping, winning, and entertainment and this year the marketing campaign will also highlight the unique themed concepts that have been created to elevate the offerings of the Dubai Shoppoing Festival in 2016.

The Dubai Frame – World’s Newest & Top Attractions

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Dubai Frame has been listed among the world’s best new attractions of 2015, according to a UK-based newspaper.

The location of the giant rectangular frame is near the Star Gate games and rides area of Zabeel Park and was carefully chosen to give visitors the best view of both old and new Dubai, says The Telegraph newspaper, which has listed 13 new attractions to watch out for this year.

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The project comprises a 150-metre-high, 93-metre-wide structure being built to resemble a huge picture frame, through which landmarks representing modern Dubai such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa can be seen on one side, while from the other side, visitors can view older parts of the city such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama.

Dubai Municipality has said the frame, a $43.5 million dollars project, is likely to be completed in the second half of 2015.

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The oversized rectangle will serve as a giant 150 metre by 93 metre viewfinder.

There will also be a viewing gallery on the top side of the frame — the sky bridge — offering panoramic views. An elevator made of glass will offer unobstructed views as visitors travel up and down the sides of the frame.

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The site for the landmark tourist and leisure attraction was chosen after extensive surveys of what location would offer the best views of new Dubai and old Dubai through the frame.

The municipality has said the frame is “unique” both in terms of its objectives and design. Officials hope it will draw 2,000,000 visitors a year, joining a long list of iconic Dubai landmarks recognised internationally, such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower; and the Burj Al Arab, a seven-star hotel built like a ship’s sail.

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Those two attractions, as well as other skyscrapers, major maritime projects and coastal features, will be captured in the frame of view when the Dubai Frame is complete. From the other side, visitors will be able to see Old Dubai areas such as Al Karama, Umm Hurair, Bur Dubai and Deira.

At ground level, there will be multimedia presentations telling the story of Dubai’s rapid transformation from a small fishing and trading town by the sea to a modern metropolis with all its trappings. A museum of sorts for old and new Dubai will showcase relics and objects representing the past and present of the city.

There will also be a cafe at the top, offering stunning views while guests have refreshments.

Emirates 24|7 has reported that the municipality is planning to launch new projects, aimed at attracting 20 million tourists per year to the emirate in the run-up to the World Expo 2020.

Women traveller Glee

Chic Trot

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Chic Trot defines the trotting trend that chic women folks are setting in their travelling patterns – both for leisure and business.  Their love to travel on their own recipe for satisfaction and excitement is increasing in galloping strides.

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At The Violet Grace we respond heartily to the individuality of our guests, reflecting which is the Chic Trot.   We celebrate the spirit of individuality.

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It is well known that 70% of travel decisions are made by women, regardless of with whom they travel, who is paying for it, and where do they want to go.  Their tastes are distinct.  As much as 75% of the travellers who opt for nature, adventure, or culture trips are women.  This 75% is a whooping number of 67 million travellers, and about 28 million of them are above 35 years of age.  It is very impressive the figure the women folks have niched out, that is: 64% of global travellers are women!.

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It is an encouraging thought that women are more and more confident and comfortable to travel the world on their terms than in the past years.  The constant increase in the single women travelling to new terrains is an attestation to this trend.  Looking from the other side of the line, the world is getting more used to welcoming women travellers travelling on their own.

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This does not preclude the attention and care the travel organisers invest to reinforce the comfortable sentiments of lady travellers.  While a chunk, as large as 24%, travel with lady partners, an increasing numbers chose to travel solo.   39% of the women travellers are within the age group of 26 to 40 years.  The adventurous lot are average at  47 years .

Women Traveler

The single most dominating factor when women chose a holiday is beauty and tranquillity at the destination. This explains the 75% travellers to nature destinations are ladies.  Nature does not draw them just to see and enjoy, but also to get into action with nature.  Women love trekking, mountaineering, river rafting, jungle stays, etc.  Cruising is catching up fast too.

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The Violet Grace recognizes women travellers as the setting trend in the tourism industry, and responds with specialised itineraries with local assistance extended at the destinations.  As we always say, our passion is to add experience to holidays.

Women traveller Glee

Watching Blue Whales in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka is within the International Whale Commission’s zone in the Indian Ocean. Researches have confirmed that the deep southern waters off Sri Lanka (off Dondra point in Mirissa) is the best location in the world for sighting blue and sperm whales. The other known places are Kalpitiya in Puttalam, Province and Trincomalee in the Eastern Province.

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The best months to take the chance to find the blue whale off Dondra are December – January period and April. This should not exclude the possibility of finding them in February and March months. This year has not been much different, and they were seen in good numbers a few days ago.

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Kalpitiya in the Puttalam province in the western part of the country is not frequented by the Blue whales as they would Dondra, yet Kalpitiya does come under the visitation area of the Blue whales and spinner dolphins. Best months to watch them in action are from November to April.

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Not much known to the tourists, Kalpitiya remains largely untouched by the tourism industry. But those who visit are showered with some of the nicest things to see and experience. The area is occupied by close knit fishing communities, which means fresh sea food for the visitors. Also populor here are the Dutch Fort, and St Peter’s Kirk Church

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Photograph Tour – Nature’s Glory in Colours

Follow our trail to spot Northern Lights till March
AURORA BOREALIS (NORTHERN LIGHTS)
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The sky can change colours! Hard to believe, well then head to one of nature’s magic show, Aurora Borealis also known as Northern Lights. How does it occur? It’s simple actually, when solar particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere and on impact emit burning gases that produce different coloured lights (oxygen produces green and yellow; nitrogen blue). The months of February and March are the best time to witness this beautiful wizardry . However, the only problem is that you will have to brave the harsh snow. But then again, no pain no gain.

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Take a look at some of the best places to spot the Aurora Borealis At the Saariselkä in Finland, you can gaze from the comfort of your own glass igloo, and stay in a traditional log cabin complete with sauna and open fire.

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In Lapland, Sweden’s Abisko National Park, a village called Jukkasjärvi and the Torne Valley Porjus and Laponia can make for best viewing.

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The cloudless sky in Reykjavik in Iceland can promise a display .

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The Aurora Oval covers majority of the country, including the states of Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia in Canada. With the right conditions, you’re highly likely to see the lights here, and you can fill the rest of your holiday with skiing and other snowy activities.

Festival Kreol – Seychelles Celebrating It’s Heritage

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Celebrating their origin Seychelles is now all set to stage their biggest manifestation of all, which will see the Indian Ocean archipelago’s population of around 90,000 people join together to celebrate their Creole identity.

2014 marks the 29th edition of the Festival Kreol (Creole Festival) that will be launched on Friday October 24 in the island nation’s capital of Victoria giving way to a week filled with musical entertainment, traditional folk dancing, arts exhibitions, food fairs and conferences showcasing Seychelles’ Creole heritage.

The event will also be welcoming the participation of other creole nations like the neighbouring Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Reunion and even those further away from the Caribbean like the famous Zouk Band “Kassav” that will be returning to Seychelles after 23 years.

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Kassav’s presence at this year’s Festival Kreol is aimed at giving a new impetus to the event which has grown a bit stale over the years, since it was first organised in 1981.

The group will be wowing the Seychellois public right after the opening ceremony with a free musical concert on Friday at ‘Stad Popiler’ in Victoria that will also feature popular local artists as well as others from neighbouring Mauritius and Reunion islands.

To revamp the festival, this year Seychelles is giving it a new élan by bringing in the highly popular Creole groups like “Kassav” to re-launch the event. This year’s festival will make it a stepping stone for the Festival Kreol 2015, which will be a milestone for this country as they will be celebrating the 30th edition of this annual festival, St Ange told journalists during a press conference this morning while unveiling the various activities that will be taking place-

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On top of the entertainment side of the festival some new elements have been introduced this year including a symposium on traditional dances bringing together member countries of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). The aim is for the possible inscription on UNESCO’s representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

A similar Symposium will also be organized on the traditional creole architecture.

There will also be exhibitions as well as seminars on the Creole language, herbal medicine, some of which will be attended by researchers from Mauritius, Reunion and Cabo Verde.

As is customary the different schools, work places and other groups will be choosing a theme that depicts an aspect of the creole culture to participate in the much anticipated “Laserenad” a display of music and dance in the capital of Victoria.

Three Creole plays based on Seychelles’ history and day-to-day realities will also be staged next week. One of them “Bon Aniverser Kaptenn” (Happy Birthday Captain) is based on a chilling story of Somali pirates, who have plagued the Seychelles since 2009 and taken Seychellois seafarers and fishermen hostage in Somalia on three occasions.

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While the majority of the manifestations including musical performances, art exhibition and fashion show amongst others will be held on the main Seychelles island of Mahe, the second and third most populated islands of Praslin and La Digue will also be organizing their fair share of activities.

Following complaints from the public in the past that many of the event during Festival Kreol are by invitation only, this year nearly all events will be accessible to the public.

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This year’s Creole Festival shall also see the opening of The National Art Gallery in the National Library building in Victoria which shall be a permanent feature in the National Library.

The contribution of Seychellois singers towards the promotion of the Creole music will also be recognized.

Four more singers and musicians have been selected by the Seychelles Musicians Association (SEMAS) to join David Philoe and Francois Havelock in the “Walk of Fame” to have their names printed on the floor at the entrance of the National Library, St Ange during the press conference but did not reveal their names.

The week-long of festivities will end with the traditional closing ball (Bal Asosye) where typical creole drinks and dishes will be served while the sounds of traditional musical instruments will resonate keeping people on their toes from 8pm till 6 in the morning the next day.

This year the ball will be held at the former Reef Hotel instead of the Creole Institute at Au Cap on the eastern coast of Mahe to be able to cater for more people as this is one of the activities that the tickets gets sold out quickly each year. A similar ball will be taking place at the International Conference Centre’s Sea Front Restaurant in Victoria.

– Creole is one of the three official languages of the Indian Ocean archipelago alongside English and French. –

Reference: http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com