How to uncover the culture of Africa: 7 tips

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Traveling to another country isn’t all about spending hours lying in the sun and relaxing; it also offers up the chance to learn about a new culture. Africa is no exception. Thankfully, I have put together seven tips that will help you to uncover the culture of Africa on your next journey.

1. Head out on safari

When thinking about Africa, it can be easy to imagine all the animals living out there in the desert planes. So why not take a chance to experience them for yourself? Many companies offer up package deals that take the stress and worry out of organizing the tour yourself, and you could even learn some local tips and tricks from your local guide. After all, it’s their job to know all about the local area.

2. Take things slowly

It can be easy to get carried away when visiting another country, especially when trying to take in all that is on offer in Africa. Unfortunately, the faster you move, the more you could miss. Rather than scrambling around to see as much as you can before you go home, be sure to take the time to stop and look around, what are the locals doing? How does the wildlife sound? How does the sun feel on your skin? It’s the smaller things that will give you a better understanding of the culture of Africa.

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3. Visit the local bazaars

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to delve headfirst into many markets all around the world. Although many regions have their own take on the trade, Africa has perfected bazaars thanks to the variety of bargains on offer. The Khan-El-Khalili Bazaar in Egypt is one of the many I have got to browse through over the years, and these offer up the perfect way to chat with the locals and see life through their eyes.

4. Talk to the local residents

What better way to learn about the local area than by talking to the people that live there? Nearly everywhere I have been, there has been someone willing to offer up a secret vacation spot or snippet of information about the area that you would never learn unless you lived there. If you’re confused about how something works, be sure to ask. If you want to learn more about the history of the culture, get stuck in with some questions. You might even make some lifelong friends along the way.

5. Get on public transport

If you want to take a step deeper into uncovering the culture of Africa, then be sure to take a ride on their public transport. There are many variations of public transportation in Africa, with mini buses being one of the most popular. However, it might be best to opt for a shared taxi if you want a safer ride on your journey. The drivers of these vehicles tend to take things a little slower than their minibus rivals but will still get you there on time.

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6. Get your fork ready

Did you know that every country in Africa has its own specialty meal? While traveling around, you might come across kitfo in Ethiopia or mandazi in Kenya, and be sure not to let these opportunities pass you by. Enjoying mouthfuls of local offerings is a brilliant way to experience life in the local area as well as giving your taste buds the treat of a lifetime.

7. Learn some phrases

Before you head off on your next journey, do you know how to say “hello” and “goodbye” in the local language? It might be a small touch – and you might find many people speak English – but learning some simple words and phrases will show the locals how you’re willing to embrace their country. Plus, they could be more likely to help you uncover the culture if you’ve already made an effort before your plane lands.

Traveling through Africa is a perfect way to uncover the culture of the continent. However, if you have even more tips on how to learn about their ways of the world then be sure to let me know in the comments.

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The Charm of Sharm…El Sheikh

There are few locations as steeped in history and romantic mysticism as Egypt. Most of us, as children have been enthralled by the tales of Egyptian mythology and thus, visiting the country as an adult, we tend to retain a sense of wide eyed mysticism when feasting our eyes on the wonders of this historically and culturally rich civilization. From the pyramids to the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt is steeped in exotic history that has captured the hearts and imaginations of Western visitors for generations. The beauty of Sharm El Shiekh is its ability to combine this sense of vivid and romantic history with peerless luxury so that one can explore or relax in this divine city while experiencing a vacation that is unique and full of character.

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Sun, sand and sea

If you want to take your sandals for an airing, you can hit one of Sharm El Sheikh’s many wonderful beach resorts and enjoy the uniquely arid beauty of the coastal regions.

Naama Bay is the epicenter of the region’s resort life, boasting ultra-luxurious hotels like the Sharm El Sheikh Marriott Resort and the Royal Savoy. Each offers a subtly different but undeniably luxurious stay from which you can begin your journey across the windswept sandy vistas.Naama Bay is famous for its expansive beach with its pedestrian only promenade ringed with profuse cafes and restaurants.

If, however, you’re looking for something more sedate and solitary, we recommend a trip to the Nabq Protectorate 20 km north of Sharm El Sheikh proper. Here you can spend a whole day without seeing another person, although you’ll find plenty of examples of the region’s exquisite wildlife. You’re likely to encounter gazelles and ibexes, and you can even explore the world’s most northerly mangrove forest which is also in the region.

Under the sea

For those with a restless sense of adventure, Sharm El Sheikh has a plethora of opportunities to scuba dive or snorkel among the region’s bountiful sea life. The Gardens Reef at the northern end of Naama Bay offers three different snorkelling and diving sites that can be accessed either off the shore or by boat. There’s a richly diverse palette of sea life to be found here to suit veteran divers and neophyte snorkelers.

Seasoned divers, however, will be drawn to the vivid coral of Thomas Reef where you can explore the spectacular underwater vistas amidst schools of fish.

Step back in time

A trip to Sharm El Sheikh isn’t complete without sampling some of the ancient wonders that give the city and its surrounding regions so much of their character. Take a coach trip to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. The ancient site is home to a still functioning Greek Orthodox monastery and is home to the legendary “burning bush” of the old testament.

The bustling streets of the Sharm Old Market are also a must for those whose trip is not complete without some friendly haggling. Here you can shop, eat and drink in the unique atmosphere that one would not expect to be able to experience without a time machine.

Everything You Need to Know before Visiting Tanzania

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Tanzania is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and magical locations across the world, not just in Africa. Not only does it boast the highest peak in the whole of the continent, but it is also home to the incredible wildebeest migration, and the relaxing and luxurious island of Zanzibar is a short trip away. It is a destination that has it all, and if you are planning on visiting Tanzania in the future, read on to discover what you need to know before your trip.

  • Bring comfortable walking shoes – When packing your holiday suitcase, it is very tempting to pack it full with your glitzy sandals and flip-flops, but make sure you put in a comfortable pair of trainers or walking shoes as well. After, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy feat, and if you are visiting this part of Africa, taking one of the routes on this dormant volcano is a must. For more information on planning your climb, head to AlienAdv.com. They have plenty of details on the different routes available, and can help you to determine the best approach for you. Planning in advance is a must.
  • Travel can be cheap – You can head all of the way to central Zambia on the TAZARA train, and it is really affordable. However, do make sure you book in advance, as it is often full for weeks at a time.
  • The people are great – There may be many amazing sites and things to do in Africa, as you will discover here – PlanetWare.com, but one of the best things about the area is that the people are amazing. The country has more than 100 ethnic groups, and it is advisable to get involved with the culture. Join in with their fun conversations, try their delicious food, and learn their cultural practices.
  • Make sure you have a Visa – In Tanzania, most foreign nationals will require a visa, no matter whether you are visiting to conduct business or you are going on a vacation. There are some foreign nationals that are permitted to travel visa-free for up to three months, but these are mainly Asian and African nationals. Make sure you find out what visa you need and get it sorted way in advance of your trip.
  • Roads get bumpy – One thing you need to be prepared for is a bumpy read when in Tanzania. There will be wandering animals, places that aren’t paved, weird grooves, and potholes, and so, as you can imagine, this does not make for the best driving conditions.
  • Your health is vital – You do need to take some health precautions before you visit Tanzania. This is because it is a tropical environment, which means it favors the growth of various fauna, flora, and bacteria, and most visitors are not used to this. So, while you are there, make sure you only drink bottled water while you are in Tanzania, and visit your doctor to get tablets before you visit to protect your from malaria. Your accommodation will have mosquito nets fixed to your beds, and mosquito repellents are sprayed in each room too, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

3 Travel Ideas For Animal Lovers

When choosing your next travel destination, there’s a few essentials that you have to keep in mind that influence your choice of location. Firstly, there’s your budget – which is always going to constrain what you might want to do. Secondly, you have to decide if you want to return to a much-loved existing destination, or if you want to try something different. Then there are other considerations such as the time you have available or who you might like to go with – but one thing has a tendency to be forgotten: the things you love when you’re at home.

The chances are, you’d consider yourself an animal lover. Most of us do, excusing the odd phobia and bad past experience. This love tends to manifest itself in the love we bestow upon our pets, but this is something we leave behind when we set off on our travels – the animal lover side of our personality stays firmly at home.

What if it didn’t have to, though? What if you could add another consideration to that long list of concerns – a consideration to find a place that allows you to see and experience animals in a totally different country?

Swim With Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins tends to appear high on many bucket lists, especially for those of us who consider ourselves animal lovers. The beauty of this goal is that it’s so attainable. From aquatic centers in Europe to the natural waters of Australia; swimming with dolphins is something you can incorporate into almost any holiday.

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However, it’s perhaps best experienced on coastal resorts in warm countries. Think the Caribbean over the landlocked European countries; aqua parks where the dolphins are kept in as natural a habitat as possible. The Dominican Republic and Jamaica both come highly recommended, so perhaps start your search there.
Volunteer With Conservation Projects

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If you don’t just want to experience different animals but actively help them, then offering your help with conservation projects can be a wonderful way of combining travel and your love of animals. You can largely choose any animal that you might wish to assist, with Africa being a prime destination to consider, especially if you’re considering working with elephants or any of the other famed “big five” animals. Namibia and Botswana should be at the top of your list as places to research.

Walk With The Monkeys

Finally, the above two options are wonderful in their own ways. However, they do somewhat separate animals from humans in how the interaction with the animals goes about. If you prefer the idea of a less forced separation, then the island of Gibraltar might be what you need.

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The famous local monkeys – Barbary apes, to be specific, but everyone refers to them as monkeys! – are a part of the local tradition and integrate with humanity in ways rarely seen anywhere else in the world. Tourists to the rock are nothing new to these animals, who have grown up seeing humans as a source of easy food and a nice fuss rather than anything to be feared. Gibraltar – a British overseas territory – is nice in and of itself, with a temperate climate and stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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An Insight Into Marrakech, And 4 Things You Must Find Time To Experience

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Marrakech has to be one of the most breathtaking and astonishing cities in the whole world. It’s a riot of color, culture, music and life. The architecture is authentic even today, the squares and streets and bustling and busy. There is manmade nature to rival the peace and serenity of the natural beauty found high above in the cities mountains. It is the ideal place to spend a long weekend, a week or a fortnight. It balances chaos with calm, demure with boldness.

Read on for an insight into the incredible place, and four things you must find time to experience while you are there.

Stay In An Authentic Riad Or Villa

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First things first; staying in a beautiful villa or riad should be an absolute priority for your visit. If there is one thing that the Moroccans are truly excellent at, it is building and decorating their homes. You’ll quickly see that luxury in Morocco isn’t hard to find. If you want to be bang in the center of things, look for a luxury riad with a central location. If you want a little more serenity, a villa on the outskirts will be the place for you. Spacious ones, with their own pool and amazing views, are idyllic. There is also a pretty big chance that buying property here in future will make an appearance on your bucket list. You have been warned!

Trek The Atlas Mountains

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High up above the city, looking down like a grand and watchful guardian, are the Atlas Mountains. Book a private tour up to them, and then take a hike! The landscapes and vistas are breathtaking, and the views will be unforgettable. Don’t forget your walking shoes, hat and enough water for the high temperatures!

Wander Jardin Majorelle

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While the Atlas Mountains are entirely natural, back in the heart of the city you’ll find Jardin Majorelle. This place is also known as the Yves St. Laurent Gardens. That is because this is the guy who designed, built and curated this place. He is the guy who you will owe your huge thanks and blessings to when you see it with your own eyes. The colors are so bold and beautiful, they may make any you’ve seen before pale in comparison. And the plants, trees, water and shrubs are special enough to draw you in for a peaceful couple of hours.

Get Lost In Jemaa El Fna

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A great holiday or vacation is usually all about balance. So, balance the mountains with the gardens. Balance a luxury riad with the bravery to try some delicious street food in one of the many market squares. And balance a relaxing morning by your pool with a frenetic afternoon at Jemaa El Fna. This is Marrakech’s biggest, busiest and most popular hub of shops, stalls, restaurants and cafes. Don’t be content with staying around the perimeter. Pack a bottle of water, some long clothing and dive right in. Go and get lost in the winding streets, and finding authentic wares from friendly, cheeky market sellers.

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