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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6 Planning Tips For Your Vacation Abroad

Traveling to another country on vacation can be a wonderful experience.  Travel broadens the mind and refreshes the spirit.

Choose an interesting place to go. Rather than settling on a well-known holiday destination, think outside the box. For instance, if you want a seaside vacation, consider an exotic location like Larnaca, a 6,000-year-old seaport in Cyprus. Next, determine how much money you will need, hunt for travel deals, and work and save for the trip.

Some things that you should take care of well before your intended trip include making sure that you stock your wallet, get your passport renewed, apply for any necessary visas, and get an International Driver’s License (if you intend to rent a car). You may also want to consider whether you should get Traveler’s Insurance, if you need to get any health shots and if you have enough prescriptions meds with you.

1. Decide how you’ll stock your wallet

Although traveler’s checks used to be a go-to solution when traveling, they can be problematic if you go to a less developed country. Getting cash in the foreign currency might be a problem, too, because you might have to take a large stack of notes, which increases the risk of theft. You might be better off taking a credit card and informing the issuer which country you’ll be visiting. This way, your card won’t be denied for suspicious activity when you make purchases from a foreign country.

Additionally, you have to consider what to do if your wallet is stolen. One simple solution is to have a family member send you money. If, for instance, you live in Australia, you can ask them to sign up for a Ria Money Transfer Australia account. They can then use this service to send you the amount you need in an emergency.

2. Renew your passport and apply for any necessary visas

Make sure your passport is up-to-date, valid for 6 months after your date of return. Renew it, if it’s set to expire. Next, see whether you will need a visa and find out where to get one. Make a photocopy of everything. If your passport is ever stolen, file a police report, go to the nearest embassy or consulate and fill out a statement about the theft and apply for a new passport. Carry your photocopies with you in your carry-all.

3. Apply for an International Driver’s License

If you are planning on renting a car, then also consider getting an International Driver’s License.

4. Decide on Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can provide protection should you have a medical emergency or trip interruption. But before you apply for this, make sure that there are no travel warnings and advisories about the country you’re planning on visiting. If they are, then you may not be able to get travel insurance.

5. Find out about Vaccinations

Find out about any required vaccination shots at least six weeks before you leave. These may be necessary if you’re traveling to a country where a disease is widespread. Also, find out about any dangers associated with drinking the local water.

6. Fill your Prescriptions

Take photocopies of your prescriptions and pack them separately from your non-prescription meds. You may also have to check to see these prescription drugs are legal in the destination country. Usually, this is not a problem, but it’s best to make sure that it’s not on a confiscation of prescription drugs list.

And if you need to use a syringe, then get a letter from your doctor about why you need to inject yourself. As you go through customs, be sure to declare your syringe.

Finally, get enough medicine to last your whole trip as it might be difficult to get a prescription refill when you’re abroad.

Plan Early

By planning ahead, you’ll enjoy a safe time abroad. The earlier you take these six steps the better.  If there are any delays in getting the required paperwork, it won’t interfere with your flight plans.

4 Places Around The World To Find Incredible Ancient Ruins

Seeing a slice of history is one of the greatest things about travelling. Going to a country with a rich heritage and visiting some of the relics of those long forgotten era’s is an amazing experience. If you’ve got a keen interest in history, you should visit some of these incredible ruins around the globe.

Roman Forum

The Romans are one of the most interesting civilizations in history and there are some incredible surviving monuments from the period. The Colosseum is the most famous of the Roman ruins, attracting hordes of tourists every year. It’s worth seeing, of course, but you shouldn’t miss out on the Roman Forum. This was the heart of the Roman Empire where decisions that would shape the world were made. The place was used for so many different aspects of public and political life in the empire so if you’re interested in the history of the country, it’s an absolute must see. The ruins themselves are well preserved and you can get some great guided tours where you’ll learn about each of the buildings and their purpose.

Machu Picchu

In the early 1900’s, archaeologists discovered the lost city of the Incas, otherwise known as Machu Picchu. It is one of the few remaining places that were left untouched when the Spanish arrived in South America. You can easily spend a day exploring this impressive monument and if you really want to get in touch with the ancient Inca civilization, you should walk the Inca Trail. It’s a great hiking trail that takes you through dense jungle and mountainside landscapes before eventually leading up to the sun gate, with Machu Picchu at the end.

Pyramids Of Giza

The Pyramids are probably the most famous ruins in the entire world and if you haven’t been there before, you need to add them to your bucket list. Head over to the desert south of Cairo and you’ll find these impressive monuments to the pharaohs. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world so get out there and see it before it’s too late. As well as the great pyramid, you’ll be able to see the Sphinx and a whole host of smaller pyramids as well. You can get inside some of the pyramids but the access is limited at certain times so it’s best to check whether you’ll be able to get in before you plan your trip.

Sphinx of Giza, the biggest sphinx in Egypt

Sphinx of Giza, the biggest sphinx in Egypt

The Acropolis

The Greeks have been credited with creating modern civilization as we know it so everybody should get out there and see where it all started at some point in their lives. At the heart of the Greek empire is the Acropolis in Athens. It’s a great collection of incredible monuments built by the ancient Greeks. The Parthenon is the most famous but you’ll also be able to see the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea, and the Erechtheion.

Acropolis

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If you’re interested in history, you should plan your next trip around some of these incredible ancient ruins.

Have the Perfect Year in California With These Seasonal Destinations

People insist that California doesn’t experience all four seasons, but that’s silly. The weather is different, but each season is beautifully represented in typical West Coast style. Visit California in spring, summer, fall, and winter to see for yourself.

Watch the Wildflowers Blossom in Spring

Head inland in the springtime, away from the coast. Later in spring, wildflowers pop up along California’s sandy coastline, but as the season gets going, the greenery struggling to bloom again craves warmer temperatures. It’s cooler near the water, even in sunny California. During March and April, springtime explodes. There’s less fog, the hotel rates are lower, and the crowds are thin.

Yosemite is one of the best places to watch the flowers return to the landscape. Head to the north of San Diego and let the Carlsbad Flower Fields steal away your breath. In Huntington Garden, camellias reign supreme. Check out Mendocino, as well. The rhododendrons in the Coast Botanical Garden will make you feel brand new.

Welcome Sea Life in Summer

Along the coast of California, marine life joins the tourists in flocking to the shores in the summertime, although many of them come from the opposite direction. Along the beaches of La Jolla, the leopard sharks are the most welcomed guests. In spite of the name, these sharks are harmless. The big, brightly colored critters are personally responsible for drawing divers, kayakers, and snorkelers to La Jolla every summer. Their visit almost always begins in June, but they tend to hang around in July and August, as well. Consider taking a swim with them this year. Dive down and say hi.

Experience the Perfect Fall in SoCal

Southern California puts on a spectacular show every autumn. Visitors never expect it because the stereotype is that California has no seasons, but residents of LA know better. The air doesn’t have the same crisp nip you experience on the East Coast, and you can still swim as you bob for apples and plan your Halloween costume, but multiple fall-friendly activities are on offer.

Just as you can in nearly any New England town, you can go apple picking around Oak Glen. You can spend an hour or two in a pumpkin patch picking out the perfect jack-o-lantern. Lose your way in a corn maze, or desperately find your way out of a haunted house. A drive through Los Angeles will even reveal breathtaking fall foliage. Keep your eyes pointed toward the mountains, or peep at the gardens throughout the city.

Spend Winter in Big Bear Lake

Believe it or not, California is home to some exceptional skiing. It’s such a hot destination that you need to make reservations well ahead of time. Check out HotelPlanner to find Big Bear Lake hotels in November, December, or January. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, and sipping cocoa at the lodge, you can play in the powder, make snowmen, and experience winter in an entirely new climate.

Have you ever thought of taking a seasonal vacation? Where would you go?

4 Free Things to do in Larnaca, Cyprus

Holidays in Larnaca is a vacation worth giving a try. Larnaca is the oldest city in Cyprus. It has been existing for more than 6,000 years since it is beside seaports. It is dubbed as the capital of the Mediterranean Sea since it is a very popular seaside destination.

You might say that it will cost you a lot to spend your holidays in Larnaca. Actually, it will cost you some money since most tourist attractions are not free. However, there are things you can do in Larnaca that are actually free and encouraged. Here are four free things you can do during your holidays in Larnaca.

Walk On One of Larnaca’s Stunning Beaches

Being on the seaside of Cyprus only means that Larnaca is filled with beaches you can stroll around from morning to midnight. One of the nearest beach from the Larnaca Airport is the Mackenzie Beach. You can walk on the seaside of Mackenzie Beach while feeling the cool waves wash on your feet.

If you are after are more tropical scenery to jog along and take pictures, you can start with Phinikoudes Beach. This beach is filled palm trees that give off the beach ambiance. Beaches like Yanathes, Kastella, and Faros are some of the safe beaches you can visit in Larnaca. Taking a stroll while taking pictures is definitely free yet relaxing.

Stroll Along Larnaca Promenade

If you are looking for another beautiful place where you can take pictures of yourself, visiting the Larnaca Promenade is definitely the right place. The said promenade is filled with tall palm trees that you can walk by. Not only that, you can also feel the busy bustling place ambiance. Larnaca Promenade is the complete package place. It has beaches, entertainment, food, drinks, shops and recreational centers. Basically, pictures you took in that place will all scream “Hey! I’m in Larnaca.”.

Religious Spots Are Free To Visit

If you are looking for a Larnaca tourist spot that you can go in for free, then visit the religious institutions situated in the area. One of these is Agios Lazaros. Agios Lazaros which means Saint Lazarus in English is a splendid ancient stone church that is located in the town square. It is one of the infrastructures during the Byzantine Empire that has survived the Ottoman War and had been preserved up to this day. The said church is where Lazarus, the man who was resurrected by Jesus, had stayed during his missionary works along with Apostle Paul. This is also where his tomb lies. Not only does Agios Lazaros possess such rich biblical history, it is also home to the finest architectural masterpieces like the baroque wood carvings.

If you are more on the Muslim side, Larnaca is also the home of the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque. The said mosque was built in 648 AD when Umm Haram the aunt of Mohammed died on that spot during a missionary expedition. It is the center of Muslims gatherings in Cyprus. It is also one of the sacred Muslim mosques alongside Mecca and Al Aksha. The mosque welcomes people of different races and religions to go in and see its interior. It also has a beautiful garden and an amazing view of the Salt Lake.

Indulge In The Beauty Of Salt Lake Larnaca

If you decided to visit the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, then you might as well indulge with its beautiful surroundings. Salt Lake Larnaca is filled with the culture of Cyprus that you are free to see and take pictures with. The region gives you a glimpse of Cyprus’ history.

The Salt Lake is also where the infamous Wreck of the Zenobia lies. It is also home to many species of colorful fishes that you can see swimming along the lakeside. If you visit the region during the winter season from November to March, you will be bombarded with the many species of birds that use the lake as a temporary shelter. The most famous of the bird species that also visit the lake is the Pink Flamingos. Their pink feathers reflected on the waters of the lake is definitely a sight to see and an Instagram-worthy shot.

Mainly, you do not need to spend a lot of money to enjoy your holidays in Larnaca, Cyprus. In fact, just being there is enough for you to enjoy your vacation. Just make sure you brought your camera with you to capture the picturesque city of Cyprus.

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