Aug 202017
 

Ethiopia, located in Eastern Africa, is the oldest independent nation in Sub Sahara Africa. The country has very magnificent landscapes ranging from desert landscapes to mountain forests. The landlocked Ethiopia is bordered by Kenya on the South, Somalia and Djibouti on the East, Eritrea on the Northeast, and Sudan on the West. Ethiopia occupies an area of over 1,000,000 sq km, approximately five times the size of the United Kingdom.

Bole International airport is the main point of entry for international travellers to Ethiopia. Located in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, this airport is the fifth busiest in Africa. The airport is the home of Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s pioneering airline that currently operates flights between Ethiopia and 48 other travel destinations in the world. Addis Ababa has a population of over 2 million people. The city is nestled at the bottom of the 3000 metres Entoto Mountains, presenting a pleasant landscape of wooded hillsides and gullies occupied by fast flowing streams.

Some of the most amazing scenic sites in Africa are found in Ethiopia. These include the Danakil depression and the jaggedly curved Simien mountains, which are a UNESCO world heritage site. The Danakil depression lies at 120 metres below sea level, making them one of the lowest dry land points on planet earth.

Ethiopia has more than twenty mountains towering more than 4,000 m high, led by Mount Ras Deshen that rises 4,620 m high. Ras Deshen is the fourth tallest mountain in Africa. Ethiopia is often referred to as the ?water tower? of eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off its high tableland. Some of the major rivers of Ethiopia include the Blue Nile, Omo River, Baro River and Awash River.

The Blue Nile originates from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and constitutes aprroximately 80% of the water volume of the Great Nile River. The Blue Nile merges with the White Nile (whose origin is Lake Victoria) at Khartoum in Sudan, to form River Nile, the world’s longest river. Along the Blue Nile route, the Blue Nile Falls is one of the most popular tourist destination in Ethiopia. The falls are located 30 km to the east of Bahir Dar, about a 30 minutes walking distance from Tiss Abey.

Located about 560 km from Addis Ababa, Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia. The lake has 37 islands some of which harbor churches and monasteries. These buildings carry beautiful murals and paintings, remains of emperors, church crosses, icons, manuscripts, crowns and other articles of historical and cultural significance.

Among the activities you can enjoy while on an Ethiopia vacation, mountain trekking is perhaps the most popular. Both Simien and Bale mountains national parks provide good conditions for trekking as well as some excellent spots for mountain climbing. The highland regions to the east and the west of the Omo valley are the other increasingly famous areas for trekkers.

Another popular tourist attraction in Ethiopia is birdwatching. Ethiopia has over 800 bird species, 16 of which are endemic. You can spot a wider variety of bird species in the national parks owing to reduced human interference there. In Bale national park alone, a record 161 species of birds have been observed. The best time for birdwatching falls between early September and February. During this time, especially from November, many migratory birds flock into the region, significantly increasing the bird population and widening the bird species diversity.

Ethiopia was formerly known as Abyssinia. The nation has a rich cultural and traditional heritage, with over 80 ethnic groups each with unique traditional customs, culture and language. Religion is a core part of the Ethiopian culture, especially the many religious festivals and celebrations.

There are plenty of international hotels offering excellent accommodation for visitors, among them the Sheraton, Hilton, Dagim Millennium Hotel, Adot-Tina Hotel and others. Entry to Ethiopia requires a one-month visa going for US$ 20 at airport. Prior to entry, visitors should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in Ethiopia.

Andrew Muigai is the MD of Africapoint.com, a travel agency that provides Ethiopia travel services such as Ethiopian hotel and lodges reservations, Ethiopia vacation packages, plus many others
Aug 082017
 

South Africa’s oldest and most popular national park, Kruger National park, provides arguably the best African wildlife safari experience. As an attestation to this fact, about one million visitors tour this park every year. The national park started as Sabi Game Reserve way back in 1898, to check the destruction of wildlife due to over-hunting. The park was later named after Paul Kruger who was the president of the Transvaal Republic at that time.

Kruger stretches from the Crocodile River in the south, to the Limpopo River in the north and runs for 350 km along the Mozambique-South Africa border. The park is fed by six rivers and has a wide variety of ecosystems; it carries 16 vegetation zones. Kruger is generally flat with an average height of 269 metres above sea level.

Though Kruger occupies 20,000 sq. km, it is the wooded and more lush Mpulanga region in Kruger’s south that is most popular with visitors. You can get to this region using any of the five gates at Numbi, Phabeni, Malelane, Paul Kruger and Crocodile Bridge. The arid central and northern regions are shrouded in some mystery tales and appeal more to the adventurous travelers. With fewer visitors visiting this region, it can be accessed through the Phalaborwa and Orpen gates.

Kruger is the most celebrated national park in South Africa due to its wide variety of game and bird life. Hundreds of different species can be found here: 507 birds, 336 trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish and 34 amphibians. It offers an unforgettable wildlife experience that can rival the best in Africa. In South Africa, this is the best place to see the fabled big five- lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino.

Owing to its wildlife diversity and the presence of complete food chains in the ecosystem, Kruger attracts many scientists interested in researching animal behavior. Cheetahs, warthogs, zebras, impalas, giraffes, hippos, and baboons are some of the animal species found here alongside the big five.

You can access Kruger through nine gates, which are connected to the national road network by tarred roads. From Pafuri Gate in the north to Malelane Gate in the south is a 414 km drive. Once inside the park, it is obligatory to take a game drive. You may chose either a self-navigated game drive, or take a ranger guide as an escort. Kruger allows night game drives, when you can encounter nocturnal animals- bush babies, leopards, hyenas, owls and nightjars.

Many people touring Kruger prefer going for self-drive wildlife safaris on defined regular trails, but you may opt for ranger guided walking safaris if you are more adventurous. There are seven trails in the Kruger wilderness available for walking safaris, giving you the chance to watch wildlife up close as you also enjoy nature’s aroma. You can enjoy a three nights stay in a wilderness camp while on the walking expeditions, though, due to its popularity, early booking is advisable.

You can get to Kruger by the several daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban or Cape town. Phalaborwa Airport, Kruger/Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA), and Hoedspruit Airport are the main airports where scheduled flights to Kruger national park land. Another alternative would be to take a rental car or charter plane from Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, East Gate Airport, or Kruger park gateway airport. Within the national park, accommodation facilities range from luxury lodges to self catering and camping sites, meeting the needs of travelers’ different budgets and tastes.

The author works with Africapoint – Online travel agents for Africa. Visit the Africapoint website for South Africa flights reservations and South Africa lodges and hotels booking.

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Aug 122017
 

Spending family holidays in Poland can be the vacation of a lifetime. After all, Poland is known for its rich history, particularly for its enchanting medieval towns and its Nazi concentration camps that take you back in time. Still, a trip to Poland can put a strain on your budget, so it’s a good idea to try to cut down on expenses as much as you can.

One way to save on your trip to Poland is to book a cheap car hire. Indeed, renting a car isn’t just less expensive than booking group tours. It also allows you to choose more affordable places for dining, shopping and lodging.

Booking a cheap car hire also means you can make the most out of your vacation in Poland, particularly since you can spend as much time as you want admiring each World Heritage Site. You can spend more quality time with your family, too.

You can also save on your family holidays in Poland by not staying at a hotel. Rather, spend the night in a private room, a pension house or an apartment for rent. These offer much more affordable rates than hotels. You can opt to stay at a hostel, too – if you can tolerate the curfew or share the floor with school groups, that is.

Also, consider eating at out-of-the-way cafes or looking for milk bars (don’t worry, they serve more than milk) rather than dining in the restaurants you see on your guide. You’ll get a taste of the Polish cuisine along with a more unique dining experience.

You can save on shopping, too, while spending your family holidays in Poland. Just be sure to shop in quaint little souvenir shops in the various towns instead of buying your souvenirs from the stores in Warsaw for better bargains.

Finally, avoid making your trip to Poland in July and August since these months are considered tourist peak season in Poland. This means it will be more difficult to find cheap rooms and apartments. You also might not be able to enjoy fully since the tourist attractions will be crowded.

Indeed, there are several ways to save on your family holidays in Poland. You just have to do your homework and be prepared to make small sacrifices. After all, you don’t need luxury accomodations or gourmet dining to make your vacation complete. What matters most is that you get to spend time with your family in one of the best European tourist destinations.

Isabella Olsen is a writer for various travel magazines who has toured global tourist destinations by car. To book your cheap rental car Poland or learn more about hiring cheap cars worldwide, visit www.zencarhire.com.
Jun 212017
 

Nova Scotia can be found on Canada’s eastern coast bordering the Atlantic Ocean. This Peninsula touts dense, rich forests to windswept, rocky shores and fertile inland orchards that make it a perfect vacation spot for scenic viewing and perfect relaxation.

The French first settled in Nova Scotia in 1605 – one of the oldest settlements in North America by Europeans. This is now home to a vibrant ethnic mix of cultures. Nova Scotia offers a unique combination of European history along with its cultural diversity.

On your vacation, visit historical landmarks such as the Halifax Citadel. Go back in time and view the Capital city, Halifax, from the Citadel, a fortress completed in 1856 and in use by British and Canadian Forces until the Second World War. Experience the Victorian age recreations of soldiers training in the courtyard – kilts and all! The Citadel also portrays soldier’s wives and civilians in authentic recreations.

Nova Scotia’s history also plays a role in of one of the largest sea tragedies in recorded history, the sinking of the Titanic, and is home to the graves of the largest concentration of the victims.

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Want to take an active vacation? there are several scenic trails that cut through Nova Scotia’s inlands and coastal areas. There are also hiking, canoe, kayaking and biking routes and tours.

Spring ushers in the traditional festivities of the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in May where you can enjoy parades, celebrations and the breathtaking beauty of some of the loveliest apple orchards in full bloom. Fall is equally well admired with the landscape becoming a sea of brightly colored trees painting the hills and valleys with orange, yellow and red.

View the barren, rocky landscape of Peggy’s Cove and visit the most photographed lighthouse in the world. You’ll also be impressed with the awesome power and beauty of the ocean crashing and spraying over the rocks. Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides – so be aware when enjoying the many beaches that dot the coastline.

There are quaint pubs, shops and the art shops of the historic properties in Halifax. Great high end shopping on Spring Garden Road or take a glimpse of works by up and coming artists at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design – a leading visual arts university in North America for more than a century.

Nova Scotia, a beautiful and diverse local, whatever your taste and enjoyment, there is always something for everyone!

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