Tsarabanjina – a special garden in the Indian Ocean

Madagascar has always been a land of promise to travellers attracted by the island’s unique natural environment. The lush tropical forests of Tsarabanjina hold many magnificent prizes for nature lovers.

Traveller's Palm, Madagascar

Traveller’s Palm, photo taken by Fabrice Rose

Highlights amongst its exotic flora include:

The Traveller’s Palm – No-one is quite sure of the origin of this nickname for the ravenala madagascariensis. One theory says that it was considered a gift for thirsty travellers because of the rainwater held in its stems. Another theory says its name came from the fact that its fans tends to grow in an east-west direction making it a crude compass for lost travellers. In fact the plant is not even a true palm but a member of the bird-of-paradise family with similar white flowers.

Vanilla – Not indigenous to the island, vanilla has become one of the island’s most important exports, its lush, tropical climate making it ideal for growing the beautiful, fragrant plant. In order to harvest the prized pods growers can wait up to 5 years for the vine to mature and flower.

Pachypodium – this thick green spiny tree is related to group of succulent spine-bearing trees and shrubs native to Africa and belongs to the dogbane family.

Come and stay with us on Tsarabanjina and let our expert guides show you around this beautiful island and introduce you to these and other fascinating species on a series of guided walks.

Find out more

 

Something for everyone at Lémuria

We’d agree with Richard Green of The Sunday Times Travel Clinic who advised a reader looking for a resort to cater for her love of diving and her husband’s love of golf to visit Constance Lémuria.

Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Green wrote, ‘The mountainous Seychelles aren’t golf country, but there is an extraordinary course on Praslin island, at the Constance Lémuria Resort. It features remarkable perched greens, and guests can play free. The hotel’s dive centre runs trips to granite reefs and wreck sites.’

Subscribers to The Sunday Times online can read the full article on The Sunday Times website, Your travel section or visit our Constance Lémuria website.

The best apps of 2012

From providing entertainment to sourcing information that helps us manage our day, tablets and smartphones are a central part of modern life.

iPhone user,

iPhone user, photo taken by Yago Veith

Here we round up our favourite apps from 2012:

1. Barclays Pingit – iPhone/iPad/Android/Blackberry (Free)

All the signs seem to point to the fact that in the future we will move away from cash and cards to using mobile devices to transfer cash. This innovative app gets the ball rolling, allowing users to send money to friends simply and electronically.

2. Airbnb – iPhone/iPad/Android/Blackberry (Free)

Are you looking for an apartment to rent for a couple of nights in Paris or a loft in New York? This clever app puts you in touch with people with properties to rent all over the world. With reviews, maps and guides this travel app proved so popular it was voted iPhone App of the Year by Apple.

3. Radioplayer – iPhone/Android (Free)

Home or abroad now you never need miss the sounds of your favourite radio station with this free app. Radioplayer streams hundreds of UK radio stations including all of the BBC’s.

4. Barefoot World Atlas – iPhone/iPad (£2.99)

Forget the printed atlases of your childhood this is the very best in new interactive, digital information with an illustrated globe you can spin and tap zooming in and out. With a tap of your finger you can access facts and photos of any region you’re interested in. A treat for children and parents alike.

5. The Room– iPhone (Free) iPad (£1.49) Voted Apple’s Best Game

of the Year for the iPad this intricate puzzle with stunning graphics and challenging mysteries will keep you enthralled for hours.

Read more reviews about the best apps for 2012

Condé Nast Traveller recommends Le Prince Maurice spa

In the January edition of Condé Nast Traveller, retail editor Thea Darricotte features the spa at Le Prince Maurice in her ‘Most wanted’ column.

Suite on stilts at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Suite on stilts Le Prince Maurice

Of the recently refurbished spa, Darricotte gives it her ‘Thea loves’ seal of approval:

‘We recommend Sisleya Face & Body Exceptional Ritual which involves two and a half hours of pampering to remove signs of fatigue and leave you looking younger, healthier and ready for the sun’.

Find out more:

 

Laid back dining on the beach at Lémuria’s Takamaka

This month we’ve created a new and exciting menu for our Lémuria beach restaurant Takamaka.

Tiger prawn ceviche, Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Tiger prawn ceviche and sweet potato crisps

An elegant take on beach dining the new menu includes dishes such as this sumptuous tiger prawns ceviche with citrus dressing and sweet potato crisps.

Nestled on the white sand of Petit Anse Kerlan with the turquoise ocean lapping at the shore, Takamaka is named after the lush Takamaka trees which offer this secluded spot their shade. A perfect place to watch the sun go down as you enjoy good food amongst friends.

Find out more about Constance Lémuria and check booking availability on our website.

Wine and dine with two of France’s best vineyards at Ephélia and Lémuria

Guests at Ephélia and Lémuria resort can enjoy the unique opportunity to celebrate two of France’s leading vineyards this Christmas with a specially created vineyard menu.

Constance Ephélia

Gonet-Medeville at Constance Ephelia

Gonet-Medeville at Ephelia and Lemuria

Nicolas Rossignol and a representative of the Gonet-Médeville vineyard will join guests at Ephelia on the 25-27 December to introduce them to some of their famous wines and champagnes. A menu has been specifically designed to compliment the famous French wines and to create a dining event not to be missed.

From a family of winemakers Nicolas Rossignol established his own estate back in 1997 in the region of Volnay using ancient winemaking techniques.

Gonet-Médeville has also stayed true to traditional growing methods in the creation of its grand cru and premier cru champagne.

Come and taste the best of the wines they have to offer at Ephélia this Christmas.

Constance Lémuria

Guests at Lémuria resort will get a sneak preview this week when they too are visited by the Family Gonet-Médeville and Nicolas Rossignol for an exclusive wine and dine event.

Highlights of the menu will include:

  • Pan fried foie gras with semi-ripe papaya chutney served with ginger bread puree, salty nut crunch and balsamic jus to be accompanied by a Champagne Gonet Médeville Blanc de Noirs 1er cru
  • Roasted red snapper fillet in a red wine sauce, crispy leeks and sautéed ‘patole’ accompanied by a Volnay 2011
  • Roasted duck breast with sweet spices and honey crust pumpkin gratin and wilted local spinach with tamarind jus accompanied by a Volnay 1er cru Santenots 2009
  • Duo pineapple-vanilla with red berries coulis accompanied by a Château Gilette ‘Crème de tête’

Find out more about Nicolas Rossignol and Gonet-Médeville or visit the Constance Ephélia website to check availability.