Top African destinations for the best wildlife photography

Africa is one of those continents where you will get loads of different places to showcase your skills in photography. And when it is all about picturing the wildlife moments, then nowhere will be as best as the African national parks and the forests. After all, it is a country, which sports a huge number of wildlife species, including some of the endangered species.

Starting from Tanzania to South Africa, these countries form the best places for safari and hence, you can really get some unique shots of the animals living in their wild habitat.

zebra

If you are planning on spending holidays in Africa for wildlife photography, then here are some of the best places you wouldn’t dare to miss!

  1. Massai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

Located in the Eastern Africa, this is a preserved forestland with Savannah vegetation. The five beasts of the jungle can be found here- elephants, hippo, lion, cheetah, and the rhinoceros. A large number of the wildebeests migrate into the area during the winter season. Apart from the wildlife, you can also get to capture the precious moments of the Massai lifestyle in the nearby villages.

  1. The Kalahari Desert in Botswana

With the sand dunes, rusty valleys and mountains, desert plants, and a Savannah climate, Kalahari deserts is one of the important places for wildlife photography. The marshes and the floodplains within the desert are enriched with a variety of flora and fauna. Predators like lion, cheetah, spotted hyena, Cape wild dog, brown hyena, and even the predatory birds are found in abundance. Wildebeest is common in this area including the marine animals like the crocodile.

  1. Etosha National Park in Namibia

With the saltwater pan located in the middle of the Etosha National Park, the forest is said to e the home of many endangered and vulnerable species of animals. Four main types of vegetation covers are the there in the park- the woodlands, the Savannah, the grasslands, and the saline desert. Zebra, black rhinoceros, elephants, lions, springbok, blue wildebeest, and black-faced Impala are some of the different mammals found in the area. A large number of avian species are also there in the game.

  1. Samburu National Reserve in Kenya

Though Masaai Mara Reserve is one of the most important national parks in Kenya, you can never ignore the Samburu National Park. The main attraction of this woodland area is the Kamunyak, a lioness who is said to adopt the oryx calves. Reticulated giraffe, African leopard, lion, Cape Buffalo, and even the olive baboons, and the waterbuck can be found in this area. The Ewaso River is the home to a large number of the crocodile.

  1. Rain Forests of Atsinanana in Madagascar

The rainforests of the Atsinanana consist of six main national parks. Being UNESCO heritage site, the rainforests are important for maintaining the ecological balance of the forests as many species of the Madagascar biodiversity are endangered. Some of the unique species that you will witness within the six national parks are lemurs, mongooses, civets, Madagascar serpent eagle, red owl, and so on.

  1. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

The national park is best known for the endangered species of the Mountain Gorilla and the golden money. The main vegetations found in this area are the rainforests and the bamboo forests, providing an ambient habitat for the monkeys. Black-fronted duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena, bushbuck, and elephants are some of the common mammals you will find in the national park. Apart from this, 178 species of birds are found in the park. The Karisimbi volcano is one of the best places for getting some ethereal snaps of nature. Apart from this, there are lakes and caves for your photography session if you want something else other than the wildlife.

  1. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Being one of the main parts of the Serengeti ecosystem the park is famous for the migratory wildebeest. Serengeti plains, Western Park, and the Northern Serengeti are the three areas in which the entire national park is demarcated into. Considering the wildlife, you will definitely have the wildebeest, the largest mammal to have existed on the earth’s surface till date, zebras, Impala, Warthog, hippo, Masai giraffe, waterbuck, and so on. Some rare species of the Impala can be found in this national park.

  1. Okavango Delta in Botswana

Formed by the Okavango River, this inland basin is one of the main reserves for the wildlife. The Moremi Game Reserve is the national park, which is located on the eastern part of this deltaic region. Over 400 bird species can be found in this region including the crested crane, the lilac-beasted roller, hamerkop, and the sacred ibis. Considering the animals, you will get the African bush elephant, the hartebeest, springbok, kudu, gemsbok, roan antelope, black rhinoceros, Nile crocodile, and even the vervet monkey.

  1. Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda

With the rugged Savannah type of vegetation, two main rivers drain the entire land- the Kidepo and the Narus rivers. As two different valleys are there, you will have two different wildlife varieties. In the Narus Valley, you will get the spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffe and so on.

With so many wildernesses within the subcontinent, Africa has become a major spot for photography safari the wild animals and their daily lifestyle. After all, in the wild regions, the beasts can be on their own, with their primal instincts guarding their activities.

 

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5 tips on how to do a successful mount Kilimanjaro climbing campaign

Africa is certainly a land of wonders and Mount Kilimanjaro is one of them. This dormant volcano is formed with three different volcanic cones- Shira, Mawenzi, and the Kibo. Amidst this, only Kibo is dormant while the other two have gone extinct. Being the highest mountain in Africa it is one of those places which offers exhilaration and thrills on the full scale. The mountain is located in the African country of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro national park.

Because of the ethereal beauty of the clouded peak, this is a popular mountain climbing site. Apart from the researches who climb up the mountain to study about the decreasing ice sheets and the glaciers, mountaineers, and local tourists too climb up the mountain.

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

The geological contours of the top of the mountain are quite entrancing with a number of landforms like the pinnacles, ridges, the Saddle Plateau, and even the Great Barranco Ridge.

The Tanzania National Park authority governs trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro. You would be amazed by knowing the fact that you cannot rule out this trekking from the list of difficult mountain climbing events because of the dropping temperature, the steep slopes, and the harsh winds.

Though trekking to the summit seems to be the favorite sports of the adventurers, it is important for every individual to exercise certain cautionary steps. These are not only for the safety but also for gaining the maximum memories from this trekking trip.

If you are a newbie to the world of trekking, then these tips will definitely helps you while climbing Kilimanjaro, at a height of 4,900 meters.

  1. Make sure you are choosing the longer route

As the mountain is quite wide in diameter, officially, seven routes are there for the trekking- Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and the Umbwe. Some are shorter while some are longer. Now the choice of these routes will highly affect your success rate of reaching up to the summit. The reason of this ambiguity is that longer the route, your body can accustom with the mountain ambience lucidly. If you plan on choosing a shorter route and saving some extra bucks and also a few days, then you will be decreasing your success route. This is why it is ideal to choose the longer distance and give your body the time to adapt to the changing weather and geographical conditions. Lemosho is the ideal one for you while you can also go for the Machame.

  1. Carry enough things to keep yourself hydrated

The air high up in the altitude is dry and water vapour is barely there. This is why your body can get dehydrated easily. And once your body will start losing water, you will have difficulty in breathing and you might feel drowsy and nauseous too. This is why carrying enough amount of water or other fluids is suggested to avoid the risks of getting completely dehydrated. As the trekking can last for eight days, it is not possible to carry the water supply for so many days. This is why you can carry the purification tablets and gather the water from the numerous mountain streams.

  1. Be calm and slow down your pace

It is not like you are climbing your building to the fifteenth floor using the stairs. This is a mountain and here you will have to take care of your speed. Unlike in other trekking, mountain climbing in Kilimanjaro does include a speed limit. More the speed, more will be your discomfort. You should walk slow during the daytime because that will allow your body to accustom with the decreasing oxygen levels. If you go on spending more energy in climbing faster, your body will use up the oxygen, leaving you out of breath. You can even ask your trekking guide to opt for rest-stepping which is usually employed while climbing the Karakoram ranges or the Everest.

  1. Carry the right gear

While climbing the mountains, taking a proper gear is must. Without the proper one, you won’t be able to go too far, let alone reach the summit within the destined number of days. As the temperature will drop drastically as you will rise up along the slope, it is suggested to carry extra warm protection. Cold blister is very common and so carry extra socks for protection. Make sure you are carrying gloves, and other warm clothes to keep yourself from freezing. Carry a scarf and a brimmed hat to protect your face and head from the sunburns. Carrying light-weighted clothing is suitable as it won’t make your backpack heavy.

  1. Get yourself trained with the climbing issues

One of the main difficulties faced during the Kilimanjaro trekking is coping up with the oxygen deficiency. This is why train yourself prior to your Kilimanjaro holidays to low oxygen levels. One of the best ways to do so is to use the stairs for climbing rather than the elevator. Also, practice walking more since the trekking is done by foot. This will make the muscles of your thighs and your calves strong enough to let you walk on the rugged terrain of the mountain. Also, make sure you are carrying the pills necessary for curbing the altitude fears and the drowsiness.

Lastly, be positive, both mentally and physically and then watch the wonders. The entire trekking routes are full of amazing scenic beauties that will make your journey more interesting and overwhelming. Be sure to spend each moment till your heart is contented.

 

How to uncover the culture of Africa: 7 tips

mountain

SOURCE

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.

bazar

SOURCE

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.

cooking-dinner-food

SOURCE

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.

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.

egypt

Image by Flickr

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

tan

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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.

 

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