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The 5 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

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Africa is endowed with some of the best tourist attractions in the world. Here is our list of the best safaris in Africa (in no particular order).

1. Tanzania
Located in East Africa, Tanzania is endowed with some of the most popular African safari attractions; among them Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. Tanzania is also home to a thriving population of wildlife that inhabit the country’s numerous national parks and reserves – making it home to some of best safaris in Africa.

Top destinations in Tanzania include Zanzibar and Mafia islands, Selous National Park (one of the world’s largest national parks), Ruaha National Park and of course Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.

Tanzania was ranked 7th in the New York Times’ list of 45 places to visit in 2012.

2. Morocco
If you are looking for the best safari in Africa, Morocco may be your ideal destination. Located at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, the country offers breathtaking sceneries and attractions.

The North African country is renowned for its rugged but superb looks, especially the expansive Atlas mountains and the awe-inspiring Sahara desert.

Running between the Atlantic coast in the southwest to the Mediterranean Sea in the northeast (about 2,400km), the Atlas mountains offer a spectacular scenery of Morocco. The Sahara desert is on the other hand a favorite location for many Hollywood movie actors.

Morocco is also endowed with an expansive coastline that boasts 120 high quality beaches, most of which are safe for swimming. Other popular destinations in Morocco include the capital Rabat, Casablanca and the ancient city of Marrakesh.

3. Uganda
Located in East Africa, neighboring Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda is a small but stunning destination. The landlocked country is home to Africa’s largest mountain range – Rwenzori and the highest concentration of primates on earth, among them the endangered mountain gorilla which can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda is also the source of River Nile – the longest river in the world, and the country offers some of the world’s best white-water rafting around Jinja. Some of the most popular destinations in Uganda include Rwenzori, Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth national park as well as the capital Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja town. Are you looking to a budget safari in Africa? This is the ultimate destination to visit. Uganda was ranked 1st in the Lonely Planet’s list of the Top Countries for 2012.

4. Namibia
Located in south western Africa, Namibia is endowed with unspoilt landscapes and a thriving population of wild animals.

Despite its harsh climatic conditions, Namibia has some of the world’s most stunning national parks. These include the Namib-Naukluft Park in western Namibia and the Etosha National Park in northwestern region of the country.

Etosha National Park has a huge population of elephants. Etosha National Park (one of the most popular wildlife parks in Africa) has the largest concentration of Namibia’s wild animals that include lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

Some of the most popular destinations in Namibia include the spectacular Fish River Canyon National Park to the south, Namib Desert (believed to be the oldest desert in the world), the capital Windhoek and of course Etosha and Namib-Naukluft national parks.

5. Mozambique
Situated in Southern Africa along the Indian Ocean coastline between South Africa and Tanzania, Mozambique is gaining much popularity as a foremost African holiday destination.

Mozambique is endowed with favorable climatic conditions and a 2,500 km coastline that is lined with high quality beaches and lagoons, most of which are safe for swimming.

While on holiday in Mozambique, visitors have the option of spoiling themselves at the expansive beaches or taking game viewing safaris in the country’s national parks and reserves. Mountain hiking is also possible but not recommended due to the large number of landmines that were left in the mountains during the civil war of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Unforgettable Self Driving Tours in Uganda

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Car hire / rental services in Uganda and Rwanda is our area of expertise and anyone who wishes to rent a self-drive car in Rwanda and Uganda should look no further. We possess a variety, including 4×4 safari vans, suitable for vacation tours in Uganda and Rwanda. Our 4×4 safari vans come with pop up roofs, comfortable and flexible seats with enough leg room. Others are 4×4 safari land cruisers, 2×4 mini buses, RV4s, station wagons, among others.

Our agency is well known for providing luxury and commercial affordable car hire services in Uganda and Rwanda, suitable for both leisure and business travelers. Travel to your dream destination across Uganda and Rwanda with our unequaled car rental services. It is not only affordable but also provides a diverse fleet of cars and gives an opportunity for one to select with very knowledgeable and professional divers.

Here are some of the facts why 4×4 self – drive rental cars are more considered for short trips, town runs and even preferred for long overland trips; self – drive 4×4 rental cars from Self Drive Uganda are perfectly maintained and regularly serviced by expert mechanics to prevent any inconveniences while on a trip during your car rental in Uganda. Top destinations to be visited in Uganda on self drive trip include Bwindi impenetrable forest national park , Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls national park & Kidepo Valley National Park.

We also go an extra mile to offer helpful ideas for those visitors who want to plan for a road trip in the countries of Uganda and Rwanda and they can enjoy themselves as they travel independently and at their own terms and schedule.

We have been in this car rental business in Rwanda and Uganda for long, and so we provide unrivaled services in terms of client handling and the kind of vehicles we possess. Our professionals are mainly known for testing and inspecting our cars before and after every trip. These experts know the ins and outs of each car and deal with any maintenance problems as soon as possible.

Our team of mechanical engineers is always alert for any changes in the performance, sound and the visual tip-offs that suggest if any service or repairs may be needed. So every after a self – drive trip, clients are supposed to park the vehicles at our offices, airport or any other place that might be agreed upon.

There are many 4×4 self – drive cars and they include the 4×4 ordinary land cruisers, 4×4 safari vans or sometimes referred to as the 4WD safari mini bus rental, Toyota SUVs, Coaster buses and the 4×4 super customs.

The Prado TX land cruisers are very lavish cars and they are perfect for the high class and fancy visitors. They are very favorable for different weather and road conditions whether up town journeys or up country over land tours.

The 4×4 super customs range from five, seven to 10 seaters and conducive enough for long trips and up country safaris. These vehicles are very equipped with air conditioners, unlimited wifi internet and also got the pop up roofs to enable travelers have a great view of the landscape and comes with experienced drivers who double as tour guides as well.

Benefits of self-drive trips in Uganda:

  • You got the total freedom and flexibility to get off-the-beaten-track and explore to the maximum.
  • The overall pace of the trip is decided by you entirely.
  • Greater degree of privacy, flexibility and comfort.
  • Self – drive trips are the best ways to explore Uganda’s most hidden treasures which you may not rather see during a pre-arranged / guided trip.

Important tips and advice to consider when hiring a vehicle on self – drive.

  • Most main roads and high ways are generally well maintained and well sign-posted, however most feeder roads connecting to different destinations / lodges may be in bad state or nearly impassable during rainy seasons.
  • Distances can be deceiving; our reservation team can help forge a practical itinerary for you.
  • Service stations are few in upcountry and far between, so fill up whenever you find one.
  • Choose the right type of vehicle depending on the route you are taking – make sure there is sufficient boot space for luggage and that it is mechanically sound to maneuver you through those high terrain roads!

11 Tips to Make Travel with Kids Easier

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Traveling with Kids

There’s a certain stigma attached to traveling with children. If you’ve ever walked onto a plane holding a baby or a toddler, you’ve probably seen the horrified looks of your fellow travellers as they mouth to each other “please not here, please not here“. Traveling with kids isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding, and create lifetime memories.Travel with kids may not be easy, but it doesn’t need to be a nightmare, either. Here are 11 travel tips to help make a journey with your children as easy, smooth, quiet and comfortable as it can be.

1. Slack Off

Travel throws a monkey wrench into normal schedules and routines, and can be stressful for everyone. This is a good time to relax some of your normal parenting rules, and give everybody a break. Of course, safety related rules take priority as normal, but what does it hurt to give them a few extra snacks or a special treat? Lightening up can avoid conflict, ease stress, and keep your kids happy (and quiet!)

2. Snacks but No Sugar

If you think your kids could wig out sitting in a confined space for hours, then avoid the sugar! Sugar will only give them more wiry energy that you then have to control. If you are planning on ‘the bribe’ at any point of your journey (and it’s OK if you are), then try nuts or plain popcorn. Some people even use kids vitamins – they look like candy but have far less sugar.

3. New Toys

Buy some new toys, books or games you know your kids will enjoy. The thrill of playing with something new will make them happier about the trip, and keep them pleasantly occupied for hours. This doesn’t need to cost a lot of money if you check out second hand or consignment stores.

4. Take Breaks

When travelling by car, factor in time for stops now and then. It’s a good idea for bathroom breaks, to stretch your legs, and to let the kids run around for ten minutes. It will help burn off their excess energy, and give you a break, too.

5. Take a Stroller

Even if your young child is a good walker, a stroller makes a good place for your child to rest. Having a stroller can also mean less carrying time for you. Sure, taking the stroller can seem like a bit of a hassle, but it will pay off by making things easier for you and them on the trip. Travel can be tiring, and everybody needs a break.

6. Babies and Security

If you try to take a baby in a stroller through airport security, they will ask you to remove him. When this happens with a child who just fell asleep, it’s not a pretty scene. Instead use a baby carrier where your child can travel undisturbed.

7. Technology

Even if your phone, iPod or iPad is usually off limits to your kids, you can let them play with it for a day. Load up some favorite movies and games, and get them started. It’s an unusual treat they’ll enjoy, and it will be worth it for the quiet!

8. Children’s Luggage

If your kids are old enough, get them some child-size luggage, and let them pack their own carry-on bags with their favorite things. It makes them feel more grown up and in control to have their own bag, and it saves you some work, too. Of course you’ll need to review the contents, and modify if necessary!

9. Travel Sickness

Travel sickness can strike on a turbulent plane flight, a boat trip, or even driving on windy roads. Be prepared for travel sickness, and you can nip it in the bud. Ask your pharmacist about anti nausea remedies. You can also use special wrist bands that use acupressure points to prevent motion sickness.

10. Painful Ears

If you are traveling by plane, be prepared for your child’s ears to hurt. It can mean some crying on take-off and landing, but it’s not as common as you might think. If traveling with a baby, offer a bottle or soother during the ascent and descent. For older kids, give them something chewy or crunchy. The key is to keep their jaws moving to open and close those little Eustachian tubes in the ear, and relieve the pressure.

11. Speed up Check-in

Most airlines now have online check-in available, which can mean less time waiting in line at the airport. If there’s a curbside luggage check, that can also speed up the process. Anything you can do to spend less time standing in a line with antsy kids is a good thing, right?Probably the biggest tip of all when traveling with children is to do whatever it takes to make your trip more pleasant. Giving them a little extra in terms of entertainment or snacks can keep the happier during the journey. When they’re happy, you’ll be happier, too.

Top 10 Theaters in London

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London Coliseum

London is home to some of the best theaters in the world, that play all the newest and most popular shows and musicals. Of course, when you’re visiting London you don’t have time to see everything, so here is a list of 10 top theaters in London.

1. The Palladium

The Palladium is one of London’s most famous theatres, located in the West End. This venue was built by Frank Matcham, a theatrical architect, in the nineteenth century. This historic theatre is still the location of some amazing events like the annual Royal Variety, a gala attended by members of the Royal Family. London Palladium – 8 Argyll Street, Soho, London. Phone: 0844 412 4655

2. The Dominion Theatre

Another on this list is the Dominion Theatre. Built in the late nineteen twenties, this site has hosted many famous shows, and it’s most famous for “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music”. The Dominion Theatre London has provided many thousands of guests with a great viewing experience in the past, and it continues to offer the same great quality to patrons today. Dominion Theatre – 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London. Phone: 020 7927 0900

3. The Globe Theatre

The most historically important theater in London is the Globe Theatre. In 1599, this playhouse was built by a play company in which William Shakespeare was a member, and some of Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed here. Unfortunately, the original building was demolished, but today you can visit a reconstructed version. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – 21 New Globe Walk, London. Phone: 020 7928 9444

4. The London Coliseum

When speaking of London’s top theatres the London Coliseum is a must mention. This show hall was opened in 1904, and has been entertaining viewers from far and near ever since. Today, it is one of the largest and most advanced theaters in London. London Coliseum – Saint Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross. Phone: 020 7836 0111

5. Soho Theatre

Another of London’s great theaters is the Soho Theatre on Dean Street. This theatre is hard to ignore. It is a bright and exciting venue which has been a launching point for many of London’s up and coming new talents. Soho Theatre – 21 Dean Street, London. Phone: 020 7478 0100

6. Royal Opera House

If you’re interested in classical opera or ballet, then the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is the place to go. This major performing arts venue is home to both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. Royal Opera House – Bow Street, Covent Garden, London. Phone: 020 7304 4000

7. Southwark Playhouse

Southwark Playhouse is nestled under the London Bridge station, and it’s well known for being wild or adventurous. Southwark Playhouse offers a combination of some of the world’s best shows, along with some lesser known programs. With the variety of offerings at this venue, you never know what the next amazing show might be. Southwark Playhouse – Corner of Tooley & Bermondsey St, London. Phone: 020 7407 0234

8. Hampstead Theatre

The Hampstead Theatre is another neat theater in London. This venue offers viewers the comfort of leather sofas, where you can watch the great productions that keep the place packed night after night. Hampstead Theatre – Eton Ave, Swiss Cottage, London. Phone: 020 7722 9301

9. The Royal Court

The Royal Court is a great London theater to visit. With leather seating and a cafe bar, this could well be one of London’s “coolest” theaters, where you can enjoy many highly sought-after productions in comfort. The Royal Court – Sloane Square, London. Phone: 020 7565 5000

10. Victoria Palace Theatre

During your stay in London, you will also want to visit the Victoria Palace Theatre. Built in 1910 sparing no expense, the interior is beautiful, featuring grey and white marble, and gold mosaic. In the recent past, this venue has produced great shows like “Annie” and “High Society”. Victoria Palace Theatre – Victoria St, London. Phone: 0844 248 5000

Beyond the Beach – Music in the Canary Islands

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Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a popular destination for holidays, thanks primarily to their winning formula of sun, sea and sand. These islands off the coast of Africa are technically part of Spain, but they have an identity all their own.The Canaries have a unique culture, and part of this is displayed in traditional Canary Islands music and dance. Whether you visit Tenerife, Gran Canaria, or Lanzarote (the three major Canary Islands), you’ll find the islands are teeming with attractions for music lovers.Sure, you’ll want to spend time relaxing by the sea, but think beyond the beach. If you spend some time discovering the music of the Canary Islands, your vacation will be even more rewarding.

Canary Islands music

Traditional Canarian music has a distinct folk quality. While the islands’ population is a mix of the native Gaunches (who are said to be related to Berbers) and Spaniards from the mainland, their music has a Latin and Spanish flavor.One thing you’ll notice is that in the Canary Islands, they play instruments that you don’t see elsewhere.

  • El Timple – A small string instrument that resembles a ukulele
  • Bandurria – Another stringed instrument, that looks similar to a mandolin
  • Gomero – A type of tambourine
  • Carachas – Percussion instruments typically made out of bone or wood
  • Caracola – A wind instrument that looks like a large snail or conch shell

Canary Islands folk dance

What’s music without dancing? Sure enough, folk dancing in the Canary Islands goes right along with the traditional music. After a day of swimming, snorkeling and sunning, why not check out the local dancing? There are numerous performances and celebrations through the year.

Traditional dance outfits in the Canaries are colorful and fun. Women wear bright colored skirts, billowing white blouses, and a scarf on their head. Men wear loose trousers that come down to the knee, with black knee-high socks, and a colored sash around their waist.

Canary Islands Music Festival

Although the Canary Islands are well known for their folk music, the biggest musical event is a classical one. The Canary Islands Music Festival is an annual event, held every January and February since 1985. Events are spread across the Canary Islands, including smaller islands like El Hierro and La Gomera.This music festival was created to enhance the image of the Canary Islands as a destination that offers culture along with the exquisite beaches. Since the festival has attracted world famous musicians from Placido Domingo to Yoyo Ma, it looks like they’ve succeeded.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about going to the Canary Islands to sample the magical beaches and water sports, you’re not alone. If you want to mix in some local music and dancing, you’ll enhance your trip with some memorable moments.

The Canary Islands Music Festival is held in winter, when you’re more likely to find cheap European flights to the islands than you will in summer. But whenever you visit the Canary Islands, be sure to seek out some traditional Canarian music and appreciate the local culture. It’s a great addition to your beach side fun.

Explore Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Thinking about going for gorilla trekking in Africa? Uganda is the best destination where visitors can meet the endangered mountain gorillas face to face in their natural home. With two national parks gazetted by the Uganda government to protect the mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable national Park is the most known and here is Why you should take Uganda’s option as the most viable for gorilla safaris in Africa.

The famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the only four national parks that protect the endangered mountain gorillas. Known as “the impenetrable forest” Bwindi is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the entire world, Bwindi Forest National park is a perfect destination for gorilla trekking holidays in Africa. Whether you want to see only mountain gorillas  or visit other Uganda attractions with friends and family Bwindi forest has it all because its conveniently located close to not only Uganda attractions but also to other mountain gorilla parks in Rwanda and Congo.

How to Get There

Fly to Entebbe international Airport either you traveling on budget or luxury and get the trip started right away upon arrival or a day after arrival. It’s the only international airport for Uganda for both domestic and international flights. Better to arrange a pickup with your hotel of residence if your flight is late or with your trip organizer.However, most tour operators offer free pickups and drops especially if you book a trip with them. Entebbe international airport is served by many airlines so you will have plenty of m flight price options to choose from once you ready to track mountain gorillas of Bwindi Forest National Park. However, you free to connect to the park by road on a scenic drive or by air on any scheduled flight to Kihihi Airstrip.

Getting Around Bwindi Forest

Bwindi forest transport options are safari vehicles, land cruisers, super customs. Toyota Rav4, mini bus all with a pop up ideal for game viewing and photography since Uganda is a home of impressive attractions. If you staying close to the park a day before your trek, you should look at hiring a rental car that will take you for briefing , at the start point for the trek and also to pick you up after the trek since the trek may end in a far distance away from your lodge of residence. However, if you starting your trip from the capital of Kampala better to leave the city with a private hired car. But if backpacking your trip organizer will arrange for a rental car to take you through the entire trek.

Where to Stay in Bwindi Forest

Choosing your accommodation should depend on the gorilla group or family you to trek. Remember, Bwindi forest has four sectors each with different gorilla families and accommodations. Therefore, you need to check your gorilla permit details before booking any accommodation. If your permit is for Buhoma, book buhoma lodges and campsites, if Ruhija still book Ruhija lodges and campsites and same applies to Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla permits. Would advise you to book only one night accommodation so that in case you want to transfer to another destination after the trek, its flexible.

Plan a Gorilla Trek in Uganda?

Bwindi forest is quiet and cold in the evenings and at night so you need to pack warm wears to deal with the cold weather situation. However, it’s warm during the day when the sun shines. The forest is dump and muddy due to thick vegetation of shrubs and trees so  some places can be slippery during the trek the reason we do recommend a walking stick to give you support in case you find difficulties in walking. Even porters are good because they carry the luggage and give you a chance to walk free and light. Expect no bargains on gorilla permits and accommodation if you visit during high season and holiday times like Christmas and New Year. However, the park offers hug discounts on permits during April, May and November. When it comes to cheap budget gorilla tours in Africa, Uganda often gets all the fame and attention. You will prove this once you start planning your gorilla watching trip in Africa.

Adventure Travel: The 10 Most Exhilarating Must Do Trips

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Himalaya Trips

Ever since the man could walk, he traveled. At first, we traveled to escape harsh climate and find food, but as we evolved, we started traveling for fun. Thus appeared travel destinations and travel guides. As time passed, more and more people started traveling to various locations, for the landscape, traditions and thrills.Here are a few travel locations that are sure to give you your thrills and kicks, somewhat like a top five, I guess, but don’t trust me – go check them out yourself out!

1. Himalaya

By far the greatest mountain range in the world, the Himalaya have captured the imagination of philosophers, mystics, mountaineers and empire builders from the earliest ancestors of contemporary Hindus and Buddhists to the present day. Mount Kailash, home of the greatest of the gods, and Meru, centre of the Hindu and Buddhist universe, rise from their surrounding ridges of the central Himalaya. From the high slopes to the foothills, people have carved out an often-meager existence in the harshest of environments with determination, subtlety and imagination enriched by powerful cultural identities. Tribal peoples living often at high altitudes have made their living from their tough environment through trade over the highest passes in the world, while farmers have developed agriculture on the man-made terraces of the warmer, lower-lying valleys and hills of the southern ranges. Although the mountain environment gives a common character to the whole region, each hamlet has its own identity. The villages of the arid high-altitude plateau of Ladakh could scarcely be more different from the homesteads of the monsoon forests of Arunachal Pradesh.

2. Kilimanjaro Climb

Just three degrees south of the Equator is the 5,895m (19,340ft) high, permanently snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. It offers one of the best opportunities in the world to climb a peak at high altitude without needing technical climbing ability. Any normally fit, healthy person prepared for some physical exertion and exercise should be able to complete the ascent to Uhuru Peak, which involves approximately 70 kilometers of walking in total, and no technical climbing.

3. Torres Del Paine in Patagonia, Chile

Near the fjord area of Tierra Del Fuego and the Beagle Channel one may visit the famous Torres Del Paine National Park on the southern edge of the Patagonia Ice Cap. The area is easy to get to from Punta Arenas with transportation of buses, taxis and minibuses. It is possibly the most famous national park in South America with 60,000 visitors last season. It is some 100 km north of Puerto Natales. A 2422 sq. km park was given the World Heritage status in 1978 by UNESCO.It gets it’s name from three wonderful and very prominent polished columns of pink granite, the Towers of Paine (Torres Del Paine).Here you may go backpacking and trekking, or you can join programs to do the mountain climbing as well. Nandu and Guanaco (Ostrich and Alpaca like animals) are frequently seen in the park refuge. There is a broad diversity of fauna y flora. Backpackers should have experience with overnight trips in rough country; those who desire to make ascents should have mountaineering ice and snow climbing experience.

4. Amboseli Safari

Amboseli National Park is one of Kenya’s most popular parks because of the stunning view it displays of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. When you go on your Amboseli Safari, be sure to get the famous photograph of elephants with the unforgettable views of Kilimanjaro in the background!Streams from Kilimanjaro surface in the centre of Amboseli, creating swamps that attract and support a rich diversity of wild animals and birdlife. As Amboseli is easily accessible, it forms a popular part of many of our safari itineraries. Amboseli is one of the smaller game parks in Kenya and the vegetation ensures that the animals are easy to spot. Lions can easily be found and can occasionally be watched stalking their prey.Buffalo, zebra, giraffe, gazelle and other plains game are plentiful in the park and hippos live in the open waters and swamp channels. The elephants found here are surprisingly relaxed around safari vehicles; they were largely unaffected by ivory poaching and have some of the largest tusks.Nothing beats the experience of adventure travel, so pack up your rucksack and give it a go!

5. Mount Rwenzori Trekking

The Legendary Mountains of the Moon, the Rwenzoris are found along the borders of Western Uganda and Eastern Congo. The snow capped Rwenzoris tower up to 5109m above sea level and this is Africa’s third highest mountain. Hiking to the Magherita Peak involves 7 days of hiking and this trek is offered by the Rwenzori Mountaineering Service. The tour to the peak is known as the Central Circuit Trail and can be booked through Ugandan tour operators. Though, the mountain can be hiked from both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, most of the tours can be booked from Uganda.

72 Hours in Melbourne

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Melbourne Guide

Stately city of the south and a vibrant, elegant melting pot with its roots in the great Gold Rush of the 1850s…

Think Australia and most people usually think Sydney Opera House, Red Centre, Great Barrier Reef. They think kangaroos, deserts and shrimps on the barbie.

But these days savvy travelers also think Melbourne, stately city of the south and a vibrant, elegant melting pot with its roots in the great Gold Rush of the 1850s Melbourne, capital of the southern state of Victoria, has about four million inhabitants and is set on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Less raucous than Sydney, Melbourne is Australia’s home of ‘old money’ and has a quieter way of life with a strong focus on culture and fine food.

Which is not to say there isn’t all the glamour and excitement a visitor would need to pack into three or four days. Sure, Melbourne rocks – but with style.

The city is laid out in a large rectangle and has a lively and cosmopolitan pulse. A river runs through it – the slow moving Yarra, with its headwaters in the nearby mountains. As much as the bayside beaches, the river and its adjoining parks are the city’s playgrounds.

Melbourne is big and modern – it has the world’s tallest residential building – but it reveals the heady days of 19th century in its massive public and private buildings, many dating from a shining, golden moment when this was the richest place in the world.

The city has many faces – elegant and luxurious in what is known as the ‘Paris End’ of the business district; head-jerking in the many ethnic enclaves – Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Spanish and other communities who have made their home in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Some of these enclaves are just a lane or two, while others cover the banks of the Yarra or a busy CBD street. One glance at a map and it’s obvious that Melbourne is a planned city: a tidy, balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of everything in its place restraint lies a restless creative energy constantly pushing back at the city’s seeming conservatism.

City arcades: The city’s network of shopping arcades is Australia’s most extensive with the Block Arcade (between Collins and Elizabeth streets, built in 1891) its undeniable crowning glory. Here you’ll find imported Italian mosaic floors, glazed ceilings supported by elaborate iron-lace columns, and octagonal glass domes. Royal Arcade (between Bourke Street Mall and Little Collins Street, built in 1869), is Melbourne’s oldest and features two wonderful folklore giants of the ancient Britons Gog and Magog, who strike the hour.

Other arcades such as Collins two3four, Australia on Collins, The Walk, the Galleria Shopping Plaza and Centrepoint Mall offer an impressive mix of large flagship stores, unique owner-operated shops and quality cafes and foodcourts and all the arcades sit within a block of each other off Little Collins Street.

The laneways: This is a world just waiting to be explored; a web of lanes, alleys, little streets and arcades. Some lanes have been reborn and hum with quirky city life. Others are still waiting to be discovered. Check out Punch Lane or the combined office-retail-residential project between Little Lonsdale and Lonsdale streets Car-free, café-lined Degraves Street (in the Flinders Quarter) is a streak of gently undulating umbrellas hiding patrons from the midday summer sun (or mid-winter drizzle). Nearby funky Block Place (in the Collins Street precinct)is an intimate niche so narrow that the awnings from opposing businesses kiss overhead, while The Causeway, just across Little Collins Street, is another deep ravine of outdoor tables and, in nearby Centre Place, key-hole cafés buzz with diners. The lanes either side of the Chinatown strip (Little Burke Street) are a rich source of indoor Asian eateries and have been for well over a century. But the mother of all alfresco lanes is Hardware Lane where traffic gives way to a long line of trees, plant-thick window boxes and a canvas sea of awnings lapping gently at the tables’ edge.

The bar scene: The most successful product of Melbourne’s laneway renaissance is the boom in bars. Single, unassuming doorways, often with just a discreet sign, open into sumptuous and often spacious interiors. Some are designer cool, while others are miscellaneous mixes of carefully chosen, jumble-sale furnishings. These funky watering holes can be found throughout Melbourne’s lanes including Meyers Place, Bennetts Lane, Bullens Lane, Sniders Lane and Market Lane.

CITY FRINGE

Extending around the bay are a number of inner suburbs, each with its own distinct character and personality. A short tram (streetcar) ride from the city centre, Melbourne’s suburban neighborhoods are a must see for anyone wanting to experience what life here is really all about.

Melbourne’s melting pot of cultures is reflected in its microcosmos of restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. Fashionable, eclectic and eccentric – Melbourne’s dining spots offer a dizzying spread of the world’s great cuisines, serving meals from the substantial and classic to the truly exotic.

In the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea in the genteel surroundings of a nineteenth-century hotel, watch and be watched in buzzing laneway cafés and bars, or handpick a bottle of Yarra Valley chardonnay at the latest über-chic hangout. Head out a little further and explore one of Melbourne’s specialist eating destinations – Richmond for cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dishes, Carlton for Italian classics, Fitzroy for tantalising Spanish tapas.

Planning a Gorilla Trekking Safari

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Bwindi Gorilla Trekking

I have always wanted to do something unusual in my life. However, I have honestly never come across anything that is worthwhile and thrilling. Recently though, I read about some activity called gorilla tracking on the internet. The members of my chat room said only interesting things about this activity and it left me wondering whether I was the only one who had not done it.

I knew at this moment that I wanted to do this on my next holiday vacation. I am not sure whether it was because of the need to keep up with the trend or for the thrill that the activity promised. However, now that I have done some research on the subject, I have come to realize that the activity is one of the most exciting and amazing activities in tourism at the moment.

The prospect of seeing the mountain gorillas in the natural habitat on an activity commonly referred to as gorilla trekking and not viewing them in some enclosure at the zoo is exciting enough. The mountain gorillas are so rare in the world that they are found in two conservation areas in the world, Virunga and Bwindi areas. Yes, I did my research and I have a few of the facts at hand right now like the gorillas cannot survive in confinement and because of this reason, you will not see these amazing primates in a zoo or something like that.

I have heard from some of the people who have been on such trips that you can get as close as 10 metres of the primates and who in their right mind would pass up an opportunity like this to interact with our near similar relatives. It is always good to enjoy these kinds of experiences with your friends by your side and because of this I hope to go with some of my friends. Knowing the kinds of people my friends are, I have a strong feeling that they cannot say no to this.

I have also learned that tracking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda is on constant increasing demand and that I must book my gorilla tracking permit well in advance. Rwanda is also a very beautiful country and I have been assured that this will be a life changing experience as I will meet people who enjoy the forest life and in some way they are not obsessed with the luxury that life in the city offers.

I am therefore in the process of booking a safari to Rwanda with the best deal that I got from Go Gorilla Trekking. I have been communicating with several tour companies organising safaris in Rwanda and i chose GGT because of their available discounts and quick communications that are straight to point. I have also been told that Rwanda has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and that I will enjoy my trip safely and without any interruptions.

Also, from my correspondences with Go Gorilla Trekking, i have realized that Rwanda has very good hotels which is surprising for a country which in 1994 was embroiled in a catastrophic genocide. There are several luxurious, mid range and budget hotels. Though i have been traveling frequently on budget, am looking at staying in midrange accommodation. The trip promises an exciting and amazing experience and I am looking forward to enjoying my time in this small east African country and I promise to tell my story to whomever wishes to listen.

5 Most Popular Tourist Destinations in Africa

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Amboseli Wildlife

Many people are turning to Africa when making plans for their next vacation. Many of these are familiar to some extent with the opportunities offered by the continent to potential tourists. There is no doubt that Africa is the most preserved and intact, its climate in most of the countries is warm all year round and the savannahs are home of the largest herds of wild animals in the world. The other advantage is the prices in Africa which are lowlier compared with those in developed countries.

Below are the 5 most popular tourist destinations in Africa

Kenya

Kenya is the most popular tourist destination in eastern Africa; it has great beaches with bright white sand and coral reefs which break down the large waves of the Indian Ocean far from the shore.  This country is known worldwide for its many national parks and wildlife species. The most common park is Masai Mara national reserve. Its situated in South western Kenya and is home to variety of wildlife species like the crocodiles, elephants, hippos, lions, hyenas, leopards, antelopes, zebras, buffaloes, and lots of local fauna.

Egypt

Egypt is well known among the European tourists. The reasons are many but it’s close to Europe and has got great resorts like Sharm el sheikh and Hurghada. You can enjoy the opportunities of swimming and diving, even during the coldest months of the year. Apart from the crystal waters of the red sea, Egypt is unique for its great culture. Get to visit the Egyptian pyramids which are the most wonderful structures of antiquity. The pyramids and tombs, painted in all sorts of Hieroglyhs that will help you to get to know the world of unearthly rich pharaohs.

South Africa

South African Republic is the most diverse country in Africa. You will find many developed and modern cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria, which with their skyscrapers, museums and the shopping centres remind of Europe and America. The climate here varies from mild Mediterranean in the southern most parts of the country to hot tropical in the north. This is where the two oceans meet; that is the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. South Africa is the best place for surfing on the continent and offers very excellent opportunities for safari tourism. The most impressive is Kruger national park.

Morocco

Morocco is known as the most colourful African country; it’s the homeland of the Moors and is famous for its cities, which seem to have come up out of the fairy tales. The Marrakech is the most famous city in the country. You can see the fiery red martin land scapes of Morocco; it’s the desert oasis of flowers, palms, and the tropical shrubs. The warm climate and abundant sun shine that make it so suitable for tourism all year round and in winter months when you avoid the summer heat. Get to visit the mosques, squares and palaces that will give you so many impressions.

You can as well walk along the narrow streets and colour markets where you will see many of the colourful stalls that offer all sorts of souvenirs, exotic spices, perfumes, clothes, carpets and many more.

Madagascar

Madagascar which is the largest African island and is very exotic and attractive tourist destination. It has got very beautiful and scenic coastline with great beaches, but what makes the island world famous is the great wildlife species. Due to its geographical isolation of Madagascar from the rest of Africa, you will find a wide variety of primates that evolved separately from the mainland species.

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