You may know their names, you may have visited them already… and still be unaware of the secrets they hold. The Cape of Good Hope, Buenos Aires, Osaka, Hamburg and Vancouver all plentifully abound with culture and historical richness that make them very popular for tourists and visitors alike. But there may also be another reason to explain that fact... Two steps away from the busy urban areas, the wildest of natural environments await you, elegant and pure. Let us guide you through five destinations that perfectly combine these two dimensions. When culture makes the man, nature recharges his batteries.
Heightened sense of reality at the Cape of Good Hope
Between oceans and mountains, Cape Town offers visitors an exceptional natural environment. Southwest of the South African tip, discover a region famous on several accounts: Nelson Mandela spent eighteen years locked in Robben Island. Just like this small island is part of the country's history, the region's biodiversity is a designated UNESCO World Heritage.
South of the city, the natural reserve of the Cape of Good Hope park will plunge you in the heart of fabulous fauna and flora. Flower enthusiast or animal lover, you'll see zebras, turtles, antelopes, baboons and African penguins on an inimitable exploration ground. Also nicknamed the Cape of Storms, it is a promise of lifelong memories at the other end of the world.
Cape of Good Hope natural reserve
Cape Point Road
8001 Cape Town
Environmental blast in Buenos Aires
It has been occupied by the British, struggled for Independence and suffered a civil war... Buenos Aires' history was forged during the 19th century and its cultural richness made it one of the most popular destinations of the South American continent.
Take a breath. You are now standing in the sublime Costanera Sur ecological reserve, a patchwork of aquatic and land-based biotopes by the Rio de la Plata. Namely 353 hectares of man-made land, preserved from the city's bustle, inviting you to gently relax. Embrace the full breadth of this paradise, packed with multiple species of birds and butterflies.
Costanera Sur ecological reserve
Avenida Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550
Discover the chinese soul of the Japanese garden in Keitaku-in
Relatively unknown to Westerners, Keitaku-in is an emerald in the heart of Tennōji Park, in the south of Osaka. This garden, which took ten years to emerge from the ground in the late 19th entury, was designed by master gardener Ogawa Jihei VII, called ‘Ueji', who is the precursor of the modern Japanese garden. A place of entertainment for the new ruling class, the garden was used for receiving guests and organising tea ceremonies to maintain social relationships. These scholars did not use the traditional tea powder (matcha), preferring sencha, which comes from China. The gardens and tea pavilions were therefore transformed to fit the shapes and patterns that belonged to this new way of preparing the aromatic beverage. Find out how the Japanese were inspired by the traditional Chinese aesthetics and vision of nature to create the ‘Japanese' architecture and gardens. This is the thesis defended by Yagasaki Zentaro, a lecturer in architectural history of Japanese gardens at the Kyoto Institute of Technology.
Osaka Prefecture 543-0063
An island of green in the heart of Hamburg
As a member of the Hanseatic League, Hamburg shelters one of the most important harbours in Europe. Largely destroyed during World War II, the city was rebuilt and now offers a vibrant and varied cultural scene. Numerous tourists stay and enjoy its many theatres, music venues, cabarets and museums. In the heart of Hamburg, a 47-hectare space will baffle even the more attentive visitors. Conceived in 1930, this public park gathers an ensemble of listed tropical greenhouses, a Japanese-style garden and a tea house, a huge ice-rink which is a children favourite, waterfalls and brooks, a apothecary garden and associated medicinal herbs as well as a museum telling the story of the city from the year 800 until now... This haven of rest is also ideal to listen to classical concerts performed every single day during summer.
Planten un Blomen
Vancouver and the green rush
The Salish Tribe's traditions have always been based on a deep respect of both nature and mankind. They made Vancouver a port city both culturally rich and naturally beautiful. If pioneers and gold diggers dashed to the Fraser River region during the 19th century, the rush has now moved towards the many natural beauties surrounding Vancouver. On the outskirts of the city, mountains and lakes spread as far as the eye can see amid greenery barely cooled off by winter. Mount Grouse, the forests of the Pinecone Burke Provincial Park and the Judge Howay mountain all welcome you with open arms. As for Mount Garibaldi, it proudly reaches an altitude of 8,786 feet (and it is only one of the dozens of summits it counts). Between the Table Mountain volcano, the Atwell Peak and the Dalton Dome, the Garibaldi Lake scintillates and captivates the eye. Feeding on that regal composure, you'll follow the trekking path and reach Panorama Ridge, after a brief stop in the periwinkle waters of Lake Wedgemount.
Garibaldi Provincial Park
Fraser Valley C