Welcoming ‘Year of the Goat’ in Asia

You might have noticed that it was recently the Chinese New Year, and 2015 is ‘Year of the Goat’. We wondered about some of the traditions surrounding this major celebration in Asia, so we asked our colleagues at Destination Asia China to explain some of the typical things that happen during the lunar new year. Ms. Kaci McAllister, the Product Manager of DA China, shared some insight that we hope you all find interesting! You can learn more traditions and festivals in Asia at Destination Asia’s new website, www.destination-asia.com

Every Chinese New Year performance will include a traditional Lion Dance. In Chinese culture, lions are protectors of the family, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. These performances take place at “Miaohui” (pictured below) all over China.”

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From the first day of the lunar year to the sixth day, ‘Miaohui’ celebrations take place in parks all over China’s cities. Families go to the parks to celebrate the New Year and buy toys and snacks, somewhat reminiscent of a country fair in the USA. Lanterns are a symbol of good luck and happiness in China. Before the Lunar New Year, families hang red lanterns at their main gates and light them at night.

For the Chinese, food is the most important part of these parties! Local foods from all over the country are represented at the ‘Miaohui’, including the sweet, sticky pineapple rice pictured in this photo below. Other typical Chinese New Year foods include dumplings (especially on the first and fifth days of the new year), and “yuanxiao” or “tangyuan,” which are glutinous rice dumplings filled with sweet sesame paste.


Hapag-Lloyd’s Exciting Africa Explorations
The highest rated cruise ship in the world, the MS EUROPA 2, is going to Africa! The new sailings for 2015-16 include port calls in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises‘ new Africa flyer can be ordered directly from our sales & reservations office by calling 1-877-445-7447.

In other news, Hapag-Lloyd is proud to announce that they have increased English speaking guests aboard the MS EUROPA 2 by 230% in 2014 over 2013. Across the award-winning four ship fleet, the liner has welcomed 52% more international guests onboard in 2014 than in the previous year.


Yellow Fever Requirements Lifted

Yellow Fever inoculations are no longer required for travel between Zambia and South Africa or Tanzania and South Africa. This is welcome news and is expected to boost numbers of travelers to both destinations. KAI clients, Wild Frontiers in Tanzania and Royal Zambezi Lodge in Zambia are optimistic about the eased restrictions and hope it spurs more travelers to consider these destinations. Wild Frontiers operates full service safaris and several camps in Tanzania. Royal Zambezi Lodge is a 5-star property perched on the Zambezi River adjacent to Lower Zambezi National Park.


Grande Provence Happenings
Our newest KAI Collection member, Grande Provence Wine Estate in Franschhoek, South Africa, has more to offer guests than just beautiful accommodation and outstanding food and wine! The estate recently held a Harvest Fest to celebrate the grape harvest. Locals and guests alike enjoyed breakfast, a tractor ride to the vineyards to pick grapes, live entertainment, a buffet lunch expertly prepared by the Executive Chef, wine tastings, and the traditional grape stomping. The festivities were enjoyed by all!
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The next big event at Grande Provence will be the Max Mara Fashion Show in late March–featuring the Winter Collection of the famed Italian fashion house. The tranquil sculpture garden at Grande Provence is the perfect setting for the modern and timeless design of Max Mara. Fashionistas will bask in the autumn sunshine, sip our finest vintages, and have wardrobe consultations with a stylist from the Max Mara team.


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