BLISS OUT IN AFRICA PT 1

After my last post which was titled ‘African is not a country’ , I bring to you today some fascinating sights in different parts of Africa.  This is just the first part.

BOTSWANA

Botswana is one of the most captivating places on earth and you certainly must put on your ‘to go’ list! Twice the size of Arizona, Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, has a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, which becomes a luscious habitat for the animals during the seasonal floods. The vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve , with its  calcified river valleys and undulating grasslands, is a home to diverse animals which include  Cheetahs, Giraffes, Hyenas and wild Dogs.

The country is bordered by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whiles the eastern part is hilly, with salt lakes in the north, most of the country is near-desert. Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable countries, is the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record. The capital city is Gaborone.

Sparsely populated, Botswana protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness. The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is widely spoken across the country. In the Setswana language, prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages. These prefixes include Bo, which refers to the country, Ba, which refers to the people, Mo, which is one person, and Se which is the language. For example, the main ethnic group of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana for its country. An individual from Botswana is called a Motswana whiles the nationals are referred to as Batswana and the language they speak is Setswana. Botswana Pula is their currency (BWP).

Botswana is the largest producer of diamonds in the world. This has tranformed the country into a middle income nation. Botswana offers assortments of accommodation for tourists, ranging from luxury lodges to budget guesthouses and camping grounds. The cuisine of Botswana is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswana food are Pap (Maize porridge), Boerewors, Samp, Vetkoek (fried dough bread) and Mopani worms. Foods unique to Botswana include Seswaa, heavily salted mashed-up meat. A variety of cuisines are served in hotels and restaurants from local favorites and game meat, to continental and Asian dishes. There are also plenty of fast food outlets and small restaurants/takeaways offering local dishes.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required from visitors from areas infected with yellow fever. In summer, lightweight, light-colored cotton garments are desirable. Garments of neutral colors that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing.

 

GHANA

Ghana is located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the sub-region of West Africa. Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The country is known for its diverse wildlife, old forts and seclusive beaches.

Coastal towns Elmina and Cape Coast contain myriad ancient castles and forts that serve as testimonials to the slave trade. These marked the beginning of the slaves’ perilous journey during the era of the slave trade. These fortresses were the last memory slaves had of their homeland before being shipped off across the Atlantic and never to return. Other castles and forts that remain include Fort Christiansborg (Osu Castle), the Ussher Fort and Fort James. Besides museums, some of these fortresses have been transformed into government offices, prisons, and guesthouses.  UNESCO has declared many of these castles and forts as World Heritage sites because of their great historical importance but many continue to deteriorate due to limited funding.

North of Cape Coast is sited the famous creaky canopy walkway, Kakum National Park (a treetop-canopy walkway over the rainforest).

Ghana is considered one of the stable countries in West Africa since its transition to multi-party democracy in 1992. The capital city is Accra. Ghana is a multilingual country in which many languages are spoken but English which was inherited from the colonial era is the official language. The currency is Cedi for a unit and Cedis (plural).

Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana gained independence from Britain in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to break free from colonial rule. Centuries of old traditions of the people of Ghana and the diversity of the distinct ethnic groups have created a rich culture that is the splendid legacy of modern Ghana.

Another spectacular scenery in Ghana is the the 400-year old stilt propped water settlement in a village called Nzulezu. Nzulezu is also one of the World Heritage Sights. Don’t  forget to visit the Paga Crocodile Pond, a sacred pond in Paga in the Upper East Region of Ghana, which is inhabited by West African crocodiles. Due to the friendliness of the reptiles, it is popular among tourists.

To the people of Ghana the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of their daily life. Important events such as child naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by rites and rituals at family gathering, while seasonal festivals bring a whole people or clan together in spectacular fashion.

Ghana’s diverse culture is depicted through its many exciting festivals which are held throughout the year. yams, and corn are eaten most frequently, while the south and west enjoy plantains, cassava, and cocoyam. Fufu is the best known and the most popular food in the south and Tuo-zafi mostly popular in the north. Tuo-zafi is made from millet. Other staple foods are Kenkey and Banku made from corn. Rice is always an alternative and it could serve as Waakye (Rice and beans), Jollof, or just plain. All these sides are eaten with either soup (Peanut soup, Palm soup, Tomato soup) or local made spicy stews (Spinach, Okra, Garden Eggs, Fish or Meat). Another popular dish is red-red, which is fried plantain with beans. Ghana offers an array of lodgement for tourists and visitors. From five star hotels to guest houses. A visa is required to travel to Ghana. All persons traveling to Ghana are required to have a valid certificate of immunization against yellow fever.

 

KENYA

Kenya, an East African paradise is filled with magnificent wildlife, mountains, fauna and islands. It’s an excellent destination for family holidays, and the best time to visit is between October and March. Kenya has its coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands and endless beaches. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos.

The island is rich with friendly people nestled among coconut and mango plantations, with dhow ferries. The capital town of Kenya is Nairobi and the official language is Swahili. From Nairobi, the Maasai Mara Reserve and Amboseli National Park, offer views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro. Fun activities include hand feeding Giraffes, adopting orphaned elephants and undertaking breathtaking balloon safaris at dawn. The incredible diversity of landscapes, cultures, wildlife and activities mean endless opportunities for visitors to Kenya. Kenya’s rich diversity of wildlife means that no two experiences in the wild are ever the same. In a single trip to Kenya, you can visit tropical forests, beautiful beaches, and deserts, climb mountains and explore the wild. Kenya’s museums and monuments open the door to Kenya’s history and origin. With exhibits dating back to the prehistoric era, you can connect to the magical story of Kenya’s past. Different lakes in Kenya poses different appeals. There are lakes that are bird watchers paradises, lakes that are home to spectacular scenes of hot springs and geysers, lakes with islands, lakes Kenya shares with other countries and lakes that have some of the most interesting stories of how they came to exist. The bottom line is that natural beauty on these lakes is superb. The currency is Shilling. Kenya is a multilingual country. The two official working languages are Bantu Swahili and English ( inherited from the colonial rule).  Swahili (also referred to as Kiswahili) is a spoken by about 99.9% of the Kenyan population. Popular cuisines include Ugali (Cornmeal staple), Irio (mashed Peas and Potato mix), Githeri (Beans and Corn), Kenyan Pilau (spiced Rice), Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice) and Sukuma Wiki (Collard greens or Kale)!

There are also literally dozens of interesting and fun things you could do around the lakes. Kenya offers luxury lodges , tented camps and holiday accommodation for visitors. You need a visa to travel to Kenya which you can get on arrival at the airport or before you travel. Contact a Kenyan Embassy near you for further details.

 

KINGDOM OF LESOTHO

Lesotho is a country in Southern Africa. Known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its lofty altitude. Africa’s mountain kingdom boasts of an array of majestic mountains adorned with the best that nature can offer. It has the highest lowest point of any country in the world (1400m) and is the only country to be entirely above 1000m. This has earned the country  names like ‘the roof of Africa’ and ‘the kingdom of the sky’, Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa and is a fantastic adventure holiday destination. Visiting Lesotho is best for couples or a group of friends who want to immerse themselves in nature. Also known as ‘the mountain kingdom’ , Lesotho’s main attractions are its beautiful parks and reserves, those being the Sehlabathebe National Park, Ts’enhlanyane National Park and Bokong Nature Reserve. Lesotho is the only country in the world with the highest lowest elevation of 4593 feet above sea level. Because of its elevation,  the country remains cooler throughout the year than other regions with the same latitude. The economy of Lesotho is based on agriculture,  livestock, manufacturing and mining. It is the largest exporter of garments to the US from sub-SaharanAfrica through the AGOA(African Growth and Opportunity Act) initiative. Water and Diamonds are the country’s significant natural resources.

The capital city of the kingdom of Lesotho is Maseru and the official languages are Sesotho and English. The currency used in the country is called ‘loti’ (plural would be ‘maloti’). Ski and Mountain Skiing (June – September) and Mountain Adventure Sport (October – April) and hiking are some fun activities to experience. The Lepaquoa waterfall freezes in winter into a solid column of ice. ISehlabathebe National Park, a remote mountain reserve is great for hiking with rare wildlife, impressive waterfalls, and ancient rock paintings and stone shelters. The cuisine of Lesotho has both African and British influences. Some staple food include Oxtail stew, Curries, Mealie Pap, Ting(Maize porridge), Potato, Sea food , Rice and vegetables. Motoho (sour porridge) is one of the traditional foods served to visitors. The locally brewed beer should be seen on the menu as well. Besides Morocco and Swaziland, Lesotho is the third country in Africa that practice constitutional monarchy.

Lesotho offers thrilling unforgettable getaways and hotels in the mountains to tourists.  Any foreign national wishing to travel to Lesotho must obtain a visa unless they are citizens of Lesotho Visa exempt countries.  Check the website or an embassy near you for more information on this. Luckily they operate the E-visa system as well.

 

MAURITIUS

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Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. The island is about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The mountainous interior includes Black River Gorges National Park, with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and wildlife like the flying fox. Capital city Port Louis has sites such as the Champs de Mars horse track, Eureka plantation house and 18th-century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens.

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At first glance, Mauritius looks like a close relative of the Caribbean Islands. Around 1,200 miles from the east coast of Africa, the island is hemmed by 330 kilometers of immaculate white beaches. Mauritius has a trove of natural history. The 800-metre-high mountains and forests in the interior are home to some of the world’s rarest animals. The island is also ring-fenced by one of the largest unbroken barrier reefs in the world, so the scuba diving opportunities are on a par with the Maldives. In the 600 years since Mauritius was first discovered, the island has been a cultural sponge. The island is about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The government uses English as the main language. The Currency is Rupee. The cuisine of Mauritius iso blend of Indian, Chinese and European influence in the history of Mauritius.  Most of dishes were iinspired by former slaves, Indian workers and Chinese migrants in the century . Some common preparations are Curry, Rougaille, Chutney, Pickles, Rice, Noodles, Hakien (local versión of , print rolls), Chicken etc. French cuisine has also become popular in recent years. English is the official language.  Mauritius offer tourists and visitors with both luxury and budget hotels. A foreign national wishing to enter Mauritius must obtain a visa  Prior to arrival.

 

THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO

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Morocco is often described as a distinctly African country on the outskirts of Europe. The north African country borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has a majestic and medieval feel to it, filled with lots of North African culture. No visit to Morocco is complete without visiting Djemma el Fna in Marrakech, which comes to life from 10am with street theatres, henna tattoo artists and snake charmers and peaks in the evening with the arrival of an array of chefs and food masters. Have an authentic Moroccan experience on the Berber tour, experiencing the life of Morocco’s nomadic population through camel treks and desert tours. Ait Benhaddou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a must-visit to get a taste of traditional pre-Saharan life. This is where you will find houses that are built together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers, which will give you an insight into how ancient civilizations lived before skyscrapers were built. Attending the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is a must. The festival includes some of the continent’s best musicians all gathered under one roof to reinforce Africa’s cultural beauty and diversity. Some interesting place to visit include the four historical capital cities of Morocco (Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat Marrakech) Casablanca (Morocco’s largest city) Ouarzazate (a noted film-making location). Morocco is quickly becoming one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations.

Morocco has an abundance of natural and historical assets, not to mention a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Morocco is still steeped in it Muslim identity, but is tolerant of various types of people, cultures, and religions. It’s Berber and Jewish past help to keep the minds of the people open and Morocco is the only country in the Muslim world with a Jewish Heritage Museum (which you can read about in the Casablanca travel guide).

The capital city of Morocco is Rabat and the official languages are Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish. Hospitality in Morocco is legendary. The country also has a fantastic range of walking and especially trekking opportunities in places such as the Atlas Mountains. These offer a dramatic and beautiful landscape dotted with ancient Berber villages and impressive snowmelt that turns streams into gushing rivers every spring. Basic Moroccan meals include thick spicy soup most often made up of bean and pasta harira, salad (often very finely chopped), Kebabs (small pieces of lamb on a skewer) or Kefta (minced lamb). Another dish you’ll find everywhere is a Tajine (stew which is essentially steam-cooked slowly in an earthenware dish with a conical earthenware lid. Like “casserole”, the term “tajine” actually refers to the dish and lid rather than the food. Classic tajines include lamb or mutton with prunes and almonds, or chicken with olives and lemon. Less often, you may get a fish or vegetable tajine, or a tajine of meatballs topped with eggs. Morocco offers best boutique hotels, luxury villas, stylish cottages and private houses for visitors. A foreign national wishing to enter Mauritius must obtain a visa  Prior to arrival.

 

MOZAMBIQUE

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Mozambique is a southern African nation with a long Indian Ocean coastline dotted with popular beaches like Tofo as well as offshore marine parks. In the Quirimbas Archipelago, a 250km stretch of coral islands, mangrove-covered Ibo Island has colonial-era ruins surviving from a period of Portuguese rule. The Bazaruto Archipelago farther south has reefs which protect rare marine life including dugongs. Historic monuments are found on these islands, a testimony to the Arabs and Europeans who settled there. The capital city of Mozambique is Maputo. The offical language is Portuguese. Mozambique beckons with its coastline and swaying palms, its traditions, its cultures, its vibe and its opportunities for adventure. This enigmatic southeast African country is well off most travelers’ maps, but it has much to offer those who venture there: long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colorful fish, well-preserved corals, remote archipelagos in the north, pounding surf in the south and graceful dhows with billowing sails. Discovering these attractions is not always easy, but it is unfailingly rewarding. Bring along patience, a tolerance for long bus rides, some travel savvy and a sense of adventure, and jump in for the journey of a lifetime.

The magnificent transparent waters ignite an irresistible invitation to go swimming, snorkeling or diving to admire the extraordinarily beautiful coral reef and the underwater marine life.

In terms of wild life, the main species to be found in these ecosystems are elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippopotamus, antelopes, tortoises and monkeysand varied species of bird life. Apart from the wild life, there are beautiful landscapes and views to be admired both along the coast and in the higher mountainous areas.

Gorongosa National Park which is one of the best in Africa, is a treasure of Mozambique which provides environmental, educational, esthetic, recreational and economic benefits to the Central region of the Country and all humanity. Situated in the Sofala Province at the southern end of East Africa Great Rift Valley, the park’s sweeping landscapes and unique wildlife makes this a perfect destination whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation. Other special reserves boast of wildlife such as elephants, buffalo exotic birds, coral reefs and protected marine species such as, dolphins, marine turtles and the dugong. The staple food for many Mozambicans is Ncima (a thick porridge made from corn flour) ,as well as Cassava and Rice. All these are served with sauces of vegetables, meat, beans or fish. Mozambique offer to tourists beach lodges, self-catering villas a hotels. A foreign national wishing to enter Mauritius must obtain a visa  Prior to arrival.

 

NAMIBIA

Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek’s Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. The capital city is Windhoek. The country gets its name from the Namib Desert (one of the world’s oldest deserts). Home to the oldest desert, the highest sand dunes and the largest canyon in Africa, Namibia offers some of the most mesmerizing scenery in the world.

Namibia has an excellent road infrastructure that will make anyone go on a self-drive or escorted tour whilst taking in the impressive and dramatically changing landscape. Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free roaming cheetahs (2500-3000). It’s also home to one of the world’s largest seal populations with almost 100,000 seals. Namibia has a wide diversity of languages from multiple language families. Although English is the official language, it is spoken by less than 1%  of the population as their native language. The most widely spoken languages used in households are Oshiwambo dialect, the Khoekhoe, Afrikaans, Kwangali and Herero. The white mostly speak Portuguese and German. So Afrikaans is the only language that is spoken by most black people. Some delicacies include Potjie kos, Braaivleis, Biltong (air dried meat), Rauchfleisch (smoked meat), and Seafood. Tourists will find varied luxury hotel in Namibia. Tourist visas are available at the port of entry. All other types of visa must be obtained before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Namibia’s website for most current visa information.

 

REUNION ISLAND

Reunion island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is simply one of the most intriguing spots on earth. An island of true contrasts, unfortunately not known to many of the world’s travelers. It is not as well-known as nearby Mauritius or the not-so-far-away British Seychelles, little Reunion seems but a speck in the vast ocean, dwarfed by Madagascar, located 500 miles to the west. The French know the island well but only the very well-traveled have ever stepped foot on Reunion’s varied and enticing terrain. Reunion Island (La Reunion in French) is a multicultural society composed of people originally from France, Mozambique, India, China, Madagascar, and the Comores. The Islanders use their ethnic origins to define themselves; asCafres (African ancestry) Z’oreilles (born in mainland France), malabarsor Tamouls (from Tamil Nadu southern India), Z’arabes (from Gujarat I northern India),Chinois (from China), Malgaches (from Madagascar), Comores (from Comores), Petits blancs (poor rural whites living in the highlands), or Creoles blancs (white landowners). The term Creole today also applies to people with a mixed ethnic background. All the residents of the island are administratively French citizens.

With an active volcano on its south coast, welcoming beaches in the west, and lots of mountains and forests in between, Reunion Island offers vacation opportunities ranging from relaxing to truly insane ones.

From hiking Reunion’s unique “cirques” or canyoning the island’s many waterfalls to scuba diving or surfing in the clear waters that surround this tiny 30-mile-wide island, adventure activities abound for vacationers hoping to do something a little daring while on their Reunion holiday. As a French overseas territory, it has the same political status as other departments in mainland France. The island’s capital is Saint-Denis which is home to one-fifth of the population and. the official language is French and Creole

Reunion has a tropical climate and diverse landscape. It is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise, which is also a World Heritage site. The regional specialty is ‘carri’ (a truly Creole dish in which many ingredients and spices are together simmered to perfection).

 

RWANDA

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rainforest that’s a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. It is landlocked, surrounded by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The capital city is Kigali.

Rwanda is not only the land of a thousand hills, but also a country rich in flora, fauna and stunning natural beauty in its scenic rolling and breathtaking green savannah. The country hosts some rare species of animals like the silverback mountain gorillas as well as unique birds and insects in the tropical forest of Nyungwe. Rwanda is home to a huge diverse population of animals including mountain gorillas and the largest natural park for hippos.

Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda, and tourists are warned not to bring them to the country.
Rwandan food is neither spicy nor hot. People eat simple meals made with locally grown ingredients. The Rwandan diet consists mainly of sweet potatoes, beans, corn, peas, millet, plantains, cassava, and fruit. Kinyarwanda (which is the national language of Rwanda and the first language of almost the entire population of the country) French, English, and Swahili are the official languages of Rwanda. Though Reunion Island is a French department, it’s not part of the Schengen treaty hence there are certain exceptions to the visa formalities. Check the website or consult a French embassy for more information and direction. Reunion Island offers a large selection of accommodation for tourists, from five star hotels to self catering and furnished flats to youth hostels.

 

SAO TOME

São Tomé and Príncipe, an African island nation close to the equator, is part of a volcano chain featuring striking rock and coral formations, rainforests and beaches. On the larger island, São Tomé, is the Lagoa Azul lagoon. Ôbo Natural Park, a biodiverse jungle preserve, covers much of São Tomé and is distinguished by Pico Cão Grande, a skyscraperlike volcanic rock.

Officially named Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, or just Sao Tome Islands for short, this archipelago is in Gulf of Guinea approximately 180 miles off the west African coast. It’s made up of two major volcanic islands surrounded by eight small islets, of which 6 are inhabited. With a total land area of 1001 sq. km and a population of 150,000 inhabitants, Sao Tome and Principe is the smallest country in Africa, after Seychelles. The former Portuguese colony was once home to thriving coffee and cocoa plantations and served as a hub for trans-Atlantic slave trade. It achieved independence in 1975.

The island’s interesting volcanic geology, as well as its rich flora and fauna have been admired and studied by numerous travelers, scientist, and nature-lovers. The islands support high numbers of endemic species. Given the islands’ small size, they are comparable with other island centers of endemism such as the Galápagos and the Hawaiian archipelagos. Sao Tome islands have recently designated protected areas to be known as the Obo National Park with include primary rainforests filled with exotic birds and lush vegetation. There are over 700 species of native plants including 100 unique orchids flowers and 143 species of birds, many of which are only found in this islands. The Sao Tome Islands are blessed with pleasant weather all year round, which means that those precious Islands can be visited at any time. A trip to the São Tomé islands will be the journey of your lifetime. The capital city is São Tomé. Obviously, the official language is Portuguese. The cuisine is mostly sea food ,Vegetables , Beans, and tropical crops like Plantain and Banana

 

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometers (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighboring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (colored) ancestry.

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. Inland safari destination Kruger National Park is populated by big game. The Western Cape offers beaches, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town, beneath flat-topped Table Mountain.

Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is 1 233 404km² in size and is edged on three sides by nearly 3 000km of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

In 1998, Conservation International declared South Africa as one of the 17 megadiverse destinations in the world because of its rich biological diversity. Expect majestic and intimidating animals such as rhinos, elephants and great white sharks, and smaller cute ones such as meerkats, bush babies and bat-eared foxes, as well as diverse plant life from succulent Karoo through to fynbos and indigenous forest. South Africa is home to the Big Five; buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino and a host of other animal, bird and plant species. You could also opt for the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West, Marekele National Park in Limpopo, or head for any of the private lodges or parks in northern KwaZulu-Natal, which is famous for its rhino population. Another iconic wildlife experience is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape. It’s a photographer’s paradise and home to the Kalahari black-maned lion.

Your encounter with wildlife big and small will count as among the most thrilling and memorable experiences of your life. Cape Town, iconic Table Mountain, Robben Island and the Cape Winelands are a must on any itinerary, and many visitors start their South African trip at the southernmost tip of the country for this reason.

The Cape wine lands offer unexpectedly lush scenery, the opportunity to sample excellent wines and superior dining in well-regarded restaurants, many of which are on wine farms Hikers will also want to lace up their boots and get out into the spectacular mountains of this region. South Africa has three capitals: Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative) and Bloemfontein (judicial). The country has 11 official languages which include Afrikaans , English, Sotho, Northern Sotho, Ndebele, Tsonga, and zulu. The currency is Rand. The acclaimed national food is Bobotie. South African cuisine was generally influenced by the Dutch, the Germans,  the French,  the Italians,  the Greeks and the British. You will find extensive selection of luxury hotels in South Africa.

 

TANZANIA

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Tanzania, a country in East African is known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by these five rare game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs. The capital is Dodoma. Shilling is their currency. Tanzania is a country with many tourist attractions. About 38 percent of Tanzania’s land area is set aside in protected areas for conservation. There are 16 national parks, 29 game reserves, 40 controlled conservation areas and marine parks.

Tanzania is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites with 6 of them on the mainland and 1 in Zanzibar.
Officially the United Republic of Tanzania, the country borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and the Indian Ocean to the east. The two official languages of Tanzania are Swahili and English. The country is also known for its tropical beaches, and great Lakes.
The cuisine of Tanzania has Indian and Middle Eastern influence. Different regions have their own unique foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include Wali (Rice), Ugali (Maize porridge), chapati (a kind of bread), nyama choma (grilled meat), mshikaki (marinated beef), Samaki (Fish), Pilau, Biriyani, and Ndizi-nyama (Plantains with meat). Tanzania offers to tourists a wide range of luxury hotel. Most visitors to Tanzania must obtain a visa before entering the country. However, a majority of countries can obtain a visitor visa at any port of entry land or air. See their website for more information.

 

ZAMBIA

Zambia officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. Zambia, in southern Africa, is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many parks and safari areas. On its border with Zimbabwe is renowned Victoria Falls (indigenously called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or Smoke That Thunders) . Spanning the Zambezi River just below the falls is Victoria Falls Bridge, a spectacular viewpoint.

The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the northwest, the core economic hubs of the country. Zambia is commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful, friendly, diverse and preserved countries on the entire African continent. Besides the majestic Victoria Falls, Zambia has more natural water resources than any other southern African country, including a myriad of other falls dotted across the country, not to mention the famous Zambezi River. The many National Parks offer great opportunities for observing Africa’s plains, game and their attendant predators, whilst bustling urban areas offer a taste of eclectic Zambian culture.

Blessed with awe-inspiring natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife, huge water bodies and vast open spaces, Zambia offers unforgettable holidays when exploring Africa. Acknowledged as one of the safest countries in the world to visit, Zambia’s welcoming people live in peace and harmony. And here, in the warm heart of Africa, you will find some of the finest Safari experiences on the planet, including face to face encounters with Nature at its most wild. The spectacular waterways provide adrenaline-thrills or a leisurely playground of activities for all ages.

Seventeen magnificent waterfalls, apart from the spectacular Victoria Falls, bring adventurers into the remote undeveloped rural areas where a taste of village life can be experienced. Spectacular daily sunsets are almost guaranteed. The official language is English. The currency is Kwacha. Zambian cuisine comprises mainly ingredients like Cassava,  Maize, Peanut,  meat and vegetables.  Nshima (from ground Maize) is the most common local food. Zambia offers a wide range of accommodation you can choose from. From luxurious riverside lodge, 5 star hotels to stylish tented safari camps. Check the Zambian website for information on visa.

Till I come to you again with the second part of this post, enjoy reading and plan to visit one of these beautiful places.

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