Shire Highlands, Malawi
Although she was born in Côte d’Ivoire, extensive travelling from early childhood has led Swaady Martin to call herself a Pan-Afropolitan or child of the world. The businesswoman, who was featured in the July issue of HL, founded The Swaady Group, whose brands – Yswara and Akrafo – are promoting African luxury in the form of artisanal teas, aromatherapy candles and gourmet goods around the world.
Here are 10 of her favourite destinations in Africa.
Shire Highlands, Malawi
‘I’m a tree-lover and Shire Highlands is full of vegetation. It’s at a high altitude and is very peaceful and silent, with only a few animals – insects, birds and a lot of butterflies. The area is humid and rainy, and its green surroundings create a beautiful contrast with the blue sky. There aren’t many people there either, just pickers.’
‘The agriculture isn’t aggressive and there are acres of fluorescent leaves. I love Kinihira for its humble nature and crops.’
‘It has such a rich historical background. Lalibela is known as the holy city and when you’re there, the spiritual atmosphere is undeniable. It’s a quiet town with Ethiopian art everywhere.’
‘One of my best friends is from Morocco, as well as one of our suppliers, so each time I go to Marrakech, I get to experience the refined hospitality culture. I love the artisanship there too. It’s an imperial city and the buildings all look the same in height (no higher than two storeys) and colour – there’s a consistent pink and ochre that makes everything visually cohesive. A standout hotel building for me is the Royal Mansour.’
Cape Town, South Africa
‘The landscape is so beautiful – it feels like living in a painting. I love the dramatic contrast of the city, from the deep-blue sea to the high mountains.’
Grand Inga Dam, Democratic Republic of Congo
‘To see this dam in all its glory, you need to go over it by plane. I’ve never seen anything that mind-blowing. When you look down from above, you can see the power of the water coursing through.’
islands and beaches
Gorée Island, Senegal
‘When you’re on this island, you can feel the suffering spirits of the slaves who were there and the power of its history.’
La Digue, Seychelles
‘In the Indian Ocean is this pond of beautiful crystal-clear water. La Digue is an island of paradise and I love how small it is. The beautiful landscape makes it the perfect place for cycling too.’
‘This used to be my weekend retreat when I lived in Kenya. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the experience is a valuable one. It’s filled with luxurious simplicity and tasteful architecture.’
Assinie, Cote d’Ivoire
‘This is where I went every weekend growing up in Côte d’Ivoire. It was a family escape so it has great memories for me.’
Read more about Swaady Martin in our July 2016 issue.