While the crisp autumn is gradually veiling over the Northern Hemisphere, many countries south of the Equator are coming to life with blossoms and a lively series of special events and colorful festivals that mark spring. Admire art installations, sip bubbly, follow along in religious precessions and get your groove on over the coming months in these various Southern Hemisphere destinations.

Círio de Nazaré. Photo by Celso Abreu/ Flickr

Cirio de Nazare, Belem, Brazil

On the second Sunday in October Belem explodes in color and music as two million people descend on the beautiful and historic Amazonian city for its annual 15-day Cirio de Nazare festival. Commencing this year on October 8th, it’s the largest religious event in Brazil and includes a lively lineup of parades, cultural activities, and amusement parks to honor the Virgin Mary of Nazareth. The main event involves a statue of Our Lady of Nazareth, which is thought to have performed miracles when it was found by a farmer from Belem, Placido Jose de Souza. As the miracle goes, the statue would “return” on its own accord to its home in Icoraraci. Today the statue makes the journey from the Catedral da Se in Bellem to the basilica in Icoaraci with the help of hundreds of colourful decorated boats, filled with thousands of singing, dancing attendees. Visitors to this unique festival can make the most of their trip by staying on to explore the beauty of the Amazon.

Where to Stay in Brazil.

Fiji Day and Week

October is a special month across the Fijian archipelago as the 10th of the month marks the day when it was officially granted independence from British colonial rule in 1970. This important milestone is celebrated in a week of festivities taking place in most towns and villages around the country, making it a nice time to visit Fiji and discover its diverse cultural traditions. Depending on the destination, you might catch military parades, artistic and musical performances or enthusiastic street parties.

Where to stay in Fiji – Vatuvara Private Islands

After taking in the party, retreat for some tranquil R&R at Vatuvara Private Islands. Located in the Northern Lau Group of the Fiji Islands, this exquisite resort offers conscientious luxury to the discerning traveler.

The boutique resort only has three very secluded seaside villas which have been carefully crafted with natural textures and materials creating spacious and comfortably refined environments. Each villa has its own private beach access and individual infinity edge pool surrounded by lush tropical landscaping and aromatic flowers.

Fiji Week celebrations aside, October to early November is the perfect time to visit Fiji as you can get some great airfare deals and the weather is warm and dry. The Vatuvara Private Island team can assist you with planning a fabulous itinerary to enjoy the Fiji Week festivities as well as other activities to take in Fiji’s unique culture and environment.

Enjoy the best of Fijian culture and spirit at Vatuvara Private Islands at this link.

 

Festival Kreol, The Seychelles

October also plays host to the annual Festival Kreol in Seychelles, one of the biggest and most significant cultural events in the archipelago. Held this year from October 23-29th and now in its 32nd edition, the week-long event showcases the various aspects of Creole life including food, music, dance, art, language and other traditions manifested in a range of activities which contribute to maintaining and promoting the cultural roots of this Seychellois population. The festival is particularly lively on the main island of Mahé, specifically in the capital city of Victoria, but there are events taking place on beaches and hotels around the island.

Where to Stay in the Seychelles – The Residence on the Rocks

Set on a high ridge in the southern part of Mahé, on the estate of the Banyan Tree Resort, the Residence on the Rocks benefits from being extremely private yet with all the advantages of a five-star hotel.

Constructed in 2008, the stunning four-bedroom villa is surrounded by virgin forest overlooking Intendance Beach, voted one of the best beaches in the world. Decorated in a sophisticated colonial, Creole style and incorporating natural elements of its location, the villa feature antiques and artwork collected by the villa’s owners.

It has a spacious comfortable lounge, including a sitting area and dining room which is next to a well equipped kitchen. Two bedrooms are found in the main building and the other two in two separate guest houses which are accessible via a forest path. The main villa is bordered by gorgeous covered verandas, sunny poolside terraces and a lovely shaded pavilion, all with stunning views of the forest or sea. Guests also have access to all of the facilities of the Banyan Tree Resort.

Enjoy the lively festivities of the Kreol festival on the island as well as some Creole culture right within the comfort of your own private villa at the Residence on the Rocks here.

Photos courtesy of Porlwi Festival

Porlwi by Nature, Mauritius

Over the course of this five-day festival, taking place this year from November 29th to December 3rd in Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, visitors can learn about the island via art and nature – this year’s theme for the festival. A favorite of our local experts at Villanovo, this third edition of the festival aims to create a reflection on the environment and our surroundings. Port Louis has a rich botanical history and an incredible array of flora and fauna, the art created for the festival will strive to raise awareness of this and reintegrate green spaces in the heart of the city. This will be done through street art, light installations, music and other displays created specifically for this year’s festival.

Where to Stay in Mauritius – Villa Kavanga

Carry on with the theme of nature by staying at this stunning beach villa, located on the northeastern coast of Mauritius in Roches Noires and set on a gorgeous lagoon and surrounded by exotic garden and lush lawns.

The luxurious 305m2 villa, available through Villanovo, has a backdrop of a formation of black rocks and it faces a wide lagoon with a sandy beach. The stylish villa is divided over two floors. The ground floor has a welcoming open-plan lounge/living room with lovely teak furnishings and beautiful view over the turquoise lagoon. This leads out to the gardens, a covered terrace, a private infinity pool (3 x 2m, depth 1.5m) and the spectacular sandy beach. There is also a high quality furnished dining area and a fully equipped kitchen with a granite kitchen top. The first floor is home to the four spacious bedrooms and a cozy TV room.

Guests can partake in a number of watersports right from the villa, made all the more enjoyable due to the surrounding islets which provide shelter from the waves. In the vicinity are three acclaimed golf courses of the Eastern Coast as well as Grand Baie, the “Northern Riviera” known for its luxury shops, restaurants, clubs and marina. A half an hour drive is the world-renowned Pamplemousses Garden and Port Louis can be reached in less than an hour.

Savor a private paradise in a stunning natural setting with Villanovo here.

Franschhoek-valley-PC-lily-heise

Cap Classique & Champagne Festival and HSBC World Rugby Sevens, South Africa 

As spring gradually blends into summer, the Cape Town area has some excellent events recommended by our local experts at La Rive. Firstly, the lovely winelands town of Franschhoek will host its annual Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, the ‘Magic of Bubbles’, which takes place December 2nd-4th at the iconic Huguenot Monument. It’s always a wonderful weekend of amazing weather, beautiful people dressed to impress and, most importantly, South Africa’s finest Méthode Cap Classiques (MCC) bubbly. The following weekend, the event calendar turns to sports for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens. Held on December 9th-10th, it’s regarded as one of the best sporting events in South Africa and is the second of 10 global destinations that will comprise the 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

 

Where to Stay in the Western Cape – La Rive

Enjoy the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival while staying at the beautifully restored six-bedroom La Rive Farmhouse, located in a the town center. The villa combines a lovely mix of Victorian, Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture and furniture, as well as artwork by famous South African artists like Neil Rodger, Gregoire Boonzaier, Edward Wolfe and Dylan Lewis. Each of the villa’s bedrooms has its own personality, character and decoration.

Outside, guests can enjoy the property’s spacious, airy patios and inviting swimming pool, ideal for a quick dip to cool down from Franschhoek’s hot late spring day. There is also a lush “secret” garden with a number of paths leading to various alcoves, benches and lawns, a great place to wander in the shade or have a peaceful moment.

During your stay, you will be extremely well taken care of by the villa’s live-in chef and butler who can also give you advice on how to best take in the sparkling festival.

Over in Cape Town, La Rive also has a divine four-bedroom Penthouse. The luxurious “Home in the Sky,” was redesigned two years ago giving it an Art Deco, stylish, yet cozy feel. The expansive, classy living area includes a classic grand piano and, like at the La Rive Farmhouse, paintings and sculptures from some of South Africa’s best known artists.

The large, comfortable bedrooms are divided around the apartment to provide guests with their own privacy. The south-facing apartment has a sublime infinity pool, surrounded by terraces from which you can admire breathtaking views of Robben Island, the Atlantic Ocean and the Metropolitan Golf Course and the Green Point Urban Park.

The building is found right on the bustling Sea Point promenade with nearby access to Cape Town’s world famous beaches, the V&A Waterfront, and a fabulous range of excellent restaurants are within walking distance. A 24-hour Concierge Service is on hand to welcome all guests and assist with anything you may need during your stay. If you would like tickets to the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, please let the La Rive team know when you book.

Learn more about these gorgeous La Rive luxury rentals at this link.

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