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.

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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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Earning Money While Travelling

There is so much to see on this human-straddled green planet and sometimes trips must be multiple months long to provide you the full experience of a new land. Budgeting a trip to the best of your ability is the smartest way to stretch your money – and time – out, but what happens when budgeting isn’t enough? There are a number of ways to make a little bit of money here and there, legally, while on your travels – thanks to the beauty of the internet.

Advertising in Blogging

Blogging can allow you to share your travel experiences and tips, or discuss whatever topics happen to hold your interest with those around the globe who possess these same interests. However, did you know blogging can also bring you some income? Blogging sites can be set up with payment for subscription to access certain parts of a site or can host pay-per-click advertisements. These provide you a certain amount of money for every time someone clicks on said advertisements – these advertisements can be relevant to your blog – making your audience more apt to click. Another option with ad-hosting is to provide links to those products being advertised for purchase: each time a visitor purchases that product via the blog’s link, a commission percentage is received by the blog’s author.

Personally Selling Photography

If you have a passion for photography, you merely need to market yourself to spread the word. It all comes down to interests: nature, animals, architecture, cars, whatever you fancy. Capturing these bemusements through photography on open sites, or personal blogs or portfolios, will provide your work an internet presence. Open sites that showcase wallpapers,such as nature wallpaper or supercar wallpaper, where anyone can post professional photos within the vein of interest, is an excellent way to find your niche and gain a diverse following. Having an internet presence allows you to reach audiences all over the globe and sell your photography to individuals or companies that desire physical or digital copies.

Freelance Work

There are a number of websites that connect people with skillsets with those looking for those skillsets: writing, virtual assistance, website design, the list goes on. Working freelance does demand a time, effort, and a strong internet connection, so it works best if you aren’t moving around too often. Getting started in freelance can be difficult, but can be a relatively reliable way to fund yourself on your global explorations.

While the Earth, to our comparatively little feet, seems quite vast, the internet has shrunken our planet down to the size of the screens of our laptops and computers, tablets and phones. This has allowed us to connect to anywhere, everywhere, and anyone at the click of mouse. So, while you are galavanting around Europe, you can reach your audiences in Japan, Australia, or the United States via the wonderful world wide web. The internet is your oyster!

Craving for Old Europe? Here are Top 7 Cities to Visit !!!

It’s not just the European food or people or cultures that attracts millions of people to visit the continent each year. Yes, those are appealing, but for the most part, it’s the unique medieval charms of Europe that people can’t get enough of when they are getting lost in the narrow alleys of small towns in Europe, looking at centuries old cathedrals or  ruins of ancient fortresses,  or walking on cobbled stoned squares from the middle ages.

Every time I’ve visited the big or tiny towns in Europe, I was taken back in time. I could feel and see the life that existed hundreds of years ago. It was like an open museum that has surprises in every corner of it. From big cities like Rome to one of the smallest ones, like Cyprus have medieval elements scattered though the cities.

After visiting more than 130 cities in Europe (it’s not enough for any continent, let alone for Europe), I had hard time hand-picking cities that will give the tourists most medieval experience of Europe. Oh yes, there are plenty of these towns where you can go and feel like you traveled to the past thru a time machine in this continent. But here are 7 not-so-common places that you should visit to experience some enticing old European charms. They are not in any particular order…enjoy

  1. Toledo (Spain): Once the capital of Spain, Toledo, is a must-see city when you are in Madrid. The history of this town dates back to 192 B.C. which became a UNESCO World Heritage site for its rich cultural and historical monuments. Some spots to hit in Toledo are Cathedral of Toledo, Monuments of Greco, Old city wall, the synagogue, San Martin Bridge, and finally the magnificent Alcazar.
An overview of Toledo with River Tagus and Puente de St. Martin

An overview of Toledo with River Tagus and Puente de St. Martin

2. Volterra (Italy): This is a perfect day-trip if you are in Florence or Sienna in Italy. Volterra is one of many walled cities of Toscana and it attracts thousands of tourists every month. Other than its sweeping beauty of its countryside and other small hill-towns, it has those cozy piazzas, like Piazza dei Priori, a roman theater, couple good museums like Alabaster Museum and Pinacoteca Museum, and finally an old baptistery…Santa Maria Assunta Church. To finish off the day, have some gelato from a local store.

Old Town of Volterra, Italy

Old Town of Volterra, Italy

3. Plovdiv (Bulgaria): Dating back to more than 4000 B.C, Plovdiv is one of the oldest towns in whole Europe. The town is very well-preserved and many old buildings, paved streets, fortifications, walls, water-supply, and sewerage survived from its early period. Visit the Virgin Mary Church, St. Dimitar Church, Roman Theater, ancient Stadium of Philippopolis, and Djoumaya Mosque from the 14th century. Plovdiv would make a perfect trip if you are in Sophia and have an extra day to taste the old Bulgaria.

Roman amphitheater from the 1st century in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Roman amphitheater from the 1st century in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

4. San Marino (San Marino): This is one of the littlest countries in Europe yet it claims to be the world’s oldest republic. San Marino not only  offers impressive views of the surrounding hills, countryside, Adriatic Sea, and Italy, but it also has spectacular historic landmarks for its visitors. If you are in the Tuscany region in Italy, San Marino would be a perfect day-trip from there. Visit the Old Town, 1st Tower – Guaita, Basilica di San Marino, Piazza Publica, and enjoy its great Italian cuisine in any restaurants.

Walking thru the old cobble-stoned alleys of San Marino

Walking thru the old cobble-stoned alleys of San Marino

5. Luxembourg City (Luxembourg): This is probably one of my most favorite capitals to visit in Europe. The history and the beauty of Luxembourg City will truly make your trip a memorable one. Here are some places to see here: Gella Fra Monument, Notre Dame Cathedral, Grand Ducal Palace, Bock Casamates, and finally the whole town. This should be on your top list if you are visiting Belgium…too good to miss.

Walking around the old ruins of Luxemburg (Casamates)

Walking around the old ruins of Luxemburg (Casamates)

6. Valletta (Malta): This is a unique place where rich history, good Mediterranean food, scenic beauty, and colorful atmosphere come together in harmony. Malta’s capital, Valletta, was one of the earliest sites that got listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site for its old world splendor and magnificent Baroque architectures. While in Valletta, make sure to take a boat ride to the unforgettable Islands of Gozo and Comino. But in the city, roam around its old part and enjoy places like, St. John’s Cathedral (and many other old churches), Upper Barracca Garden, National Library of Malta, St. Fort Elmo, and Great Siege Square.

Valletta, Malta -the whole city is A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Valletta, Malta -the whole city is A UNESCO World Heritage Site

7. Dinant (Belgium): Situated by River Meuse, Dinant is a French-speaking (Wallonia) part of Belgium. This is the hometown of Adolphe Sax…the inventor of saxophone that dates back to 800 B.C. Visit the Dinant Citadel (and enjoy stunning view from there), Collegiate Cathedral of Dinant, Saxophone Bridge and River Meuse, and get lost in the old alleys that are packed with local goods and cafes. Another sweet trip if you are ever in Brussels.

Breathtaking view of the city and river from Dinant Citadel in Belgium

Breathtaking view of the city and river from Dinant Citadel in Belgium

 

 

Christmas in Peacock Lane

After living in Portland, OR, for many years, I finally got to visit this place that becomes magical during the holiday season. It’s in a neighborhood in the SE Portland which becomes pedestrian only area for the last two weeks of every December.

This is an old Portland tradition since 1920. Every house here are fully decorated with extravagant Christmas lightnings and ornaments. My girls had a blast walking in front of every house and checking out all the different themes and dazzling scenes.

The event is absolutely free, but we had to park couple blocks away from Peacock Lane. It does get crowded pretty quickly as soon as it gets dark.

Check out the pictures of Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon…hope you like them.

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Painted Hills in Central Oregon

PAINTED HILLS STATE PARK (CENTRAL OREGON):  The yellow, gold, black, red, and orange colors of Painted Hills are some of the stunning works of mother nature and is one of the most unique geological attractions in Central Oregon. It reveals millions of years of history in the layers of mountains. Through the rugged landscapes of Central Oregon, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument near Mitchell, Oregon is nature’s one of the miracle. And Painted Hills in John Day is one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. The geographical beauty and colorful layers of these eroded hills are educational for kids and fun for adults to hike the small trails. All the trails are short and easy for anyone and offer spectacular view of the hills.

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Driving to Painted Hills in John Day National Monument…one of the most unique geographical attractions in Central Oregon

We were there with few family friends during the kids’ spring break, in end of the March, 2016. We stayed in Bend for two full days. 1st day was spent by driving around in our car (make sure to have sufficient engine oil) and going to Old Bend and The High Desert Museum and 2nd day was for Painted Hills State Park and Smith Rock State Park. The weather was nice, without any rain. But summer would probably be the best time to explore this place. We wanted to go to Newbury Volcanic Monument and Lava River Cave too, but both were closed and don’t usually open until April.

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Colors and layers of Painted Hills in Central Oregon

Painted Hills is not that big area and just took us couple hours to stroll and enjoy the colors of the small hills. If you are a passionate photographer, I would recommend to go there during sunrise or sunset for gorgeous colors combinations. It is out in the middle of nowhere…there is a toilette facility near the entrance but no restaurants or vending machines. There is no park entrance fee.

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Painted Hills near Bend…one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon

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