Category: Africa

Epic Safari itineraries in Tanzania

Tanzania is the last remaining refuge of a wide range of African animals which have been rescued from the edge of the abyss and are now protected in their natural habitat. Safaris here no longer involve helping to push them over the edge, and all the shooting is done with cameras. The region includes the vast Serengeti Plain and ancient volcanic craters, which are like a lost world of truly stunning vistas, unchanged for millennia. February is the ideal month to come here and join a safari into the heart of one of the very few remaining wild places left on the planet, with professional guides making sure you get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime jaunt and experience African wildlife in all its unsullied richness.

Spectacles like the great wildebeest calving happen in February, when the rivers are still fairly high and migrant species of birds fill the skies to the horizon. The rains don’t return until April and the weather is only just starting to become hot, so the conditions are ideal for a great safari here.

Explore the legendary Serengeti and Ngorongoro

This unique park covers over 15,000sq km and is home to a staggering range of animals in their natural habitat, where man is for a change the intruder. The Ngorongoro Crater, covering over 8000sq km, is one of the largest wildlife parks on the planet and has its own species which have flourished here since the comet hit millennia ago. The best serengeti safaris will take you right to the top for awesome views across the surrounding plains before moving on through some of the most bustling markets in Tanzania and across vast plantations.

Zanzibar road trip

Travel by road on a Tanzania and Kenya road trip to the ancient island of Zanzibar, a name redolent of mystique and seeming to embody all the exoticism of an Africa that has all but disappeared. On the way you’ll get to see herds of elephants and other wildlife and stop off at villages for traditional hospitality and a taste of the local food. The road skirts the Indian Ocean, and with deep blue sea on the one side and dense jungles on the other the route is truly amazing and unlike any other. With its ultimate destination of Zanzibar, the semi-mythical spice island of East Africa, the Zanzibar road trip is an absolute must for anyone wanting to pack as much of Africa’s natural riches and ancient cultures into one heady ride.

The snows of Kilimanjaro

For Hemingway, Mt Kilimanjaro was a symbol for all his yearnings, and this is something that you too will come to appreciate on this Active trip across the great Serengeti Plain, which culminates in a trek to the cloud-wrapped summit of the fabulous mountain. It’s the ultimate buzz for combining the great outdoors, exotic wildlife and an energetic climb up a legendary peak. The Kilimanjaro safari holidays also takes in the Ngorongoro Crater with its herds of antelope, elephant and large predators.

Great wildlife holidays for Spring

Wildlife breaks are a fantastic way of spending your holiday. Safaris have never been more popular, with tourists desperate to see a wide range of animals all within their natural environment. To ensure you get the best experience and stay safe, use a company such as Wildlife & Wilderness who specialise in putting together the trip of a lifetime. Here’s my guide to the best wildlife holidays you can take in April.

Namibia

Kenya is usually the first place that springs to mind when thinking about safari but Namibia is fine competition for its African counterpart. Sitting on the West Coast of Africa, Namibia offers a wide range of landscapes to explore including desert, dunes, mountains and grassland. During a trip here, you’ll be able to see elephants, white rhino, leopards and cheetahs living amongst many other species. Not only is the wildlife spectacular, but the scenery is simply magnificent. April is a great time to visit with the air fresh and clear and the landscape at its greenest.

There are many must see places to visit in Namibia for your wildlife holiday. Sossusvlei Pan offers the chance to see the highest sand dunes in the world and the UNESCO listed Welwitschia Plains gives you the chance to see the unique Welwitschia plants, some of which date back over 2000 years. Both sites sit within the Namib-Naukluft National Park which is the largest game park in Africa. Another favoured national park is Etosha which will give you the chance zebras, white lions and wildebeest wandering the landscape. Once you’ve explored the land, it’s time to explore the Skeleton Coast which looks out to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a fine place to see the seal colonies as well as the many shipwrecks that scatter the coast.

Poland

Spring is a great time to visit Poland as the country looks at its most beautiful. Temperatures during April average 8C (44F) and you’ll benefit from minimal rainfall. The weather at this time of year is perfect to go bird-spotting, especially as you’ll be in time for the migrating animals and birthing season.

There are two places in Poland which rival anywhere in the world for wildlife holidays, Biebrza National Park and the Bialowieza Forest. Located in Northeastern Poland, Biebrza is the largest national park in Poland. Most famously, it is home to the Biebrza Marshes which is the prime spot for bird spotting. Here you’ll be able to see many species of ducks, geese and birds, as well as  elks and beavers. The Bialowieza Forest straddles Poland and Belarus and is Europe’s last primeval forest. Protected by UNESCO, the forest gives you the chance to see Bison as well as woodpeckers in April. Other great places to see wildlife in Poland include the Pieniny Mountains and Roztocze National Park.

Australia

Australia is famed for its unique wildlife and ecosystems which make it an obvious choice for a wildlife holiday. To see some of its most famous inhabitants, head to Adelaide and South Australia. Here you’ll be able to see wallabies, possums, platypus, emus, wombats and of course Kangaroos. April sees Australia in Autumn, with temperatures in Adelaide averaging 16C (61F).

From Adelaide, the must see destination has to be Kangaroo Island. It is the third largest island in the country and home to a wide range of natural sites. Visit Seal Bay to see the sea lions and seals that live here, take a tour of Flinders Chase and Parndana National Parks or explore the Murray Lagoon and sand dunes of Little Sahara. Other great places to visit from Adelaide include Nullabor Plain, Lake Gairdner and the Head of the Bight where you’ll be able to see whales swim nearby.

Uganda

Once a notorious part of the world, peace has once again returned to this beautiful nation which offers up the opportunity of a lifetime for a primate safari. There really is no finer place to see them in their natural habitat than in this part of Africa.  During your time here, you’ll see chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and baboons, as well as a wide range of wildlife. During April, temperatures average 27C (80F), with low humidity in the air.

I would recommend starting in the west of Uganda, taking in tours of the Kibale Forest National Park, especially taking the Kanyanchu Trail to see the daily Primate Walk . From here make your way south, taking time to visit the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to one of the oldest rainforests in Uganda.

 

Visit the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music in Morocco

Morocco in north-west Africa is a colourful and exotic gateway to the great continent, being just over 14 km across the Gibraltar Strait from mainland Europe. Its ancient cities, rugged mountains and the Sahara Desert make it a vibrant and exciting place to visit. Its cultural and spiritual riches make it an obvious inspiration for a celebration of sacred music.

Fes Festival

The Fes Festival founded in 1994 by Morrocan Philanthropist Faouzi Skali. Reflecting the spirituality of the holy city in which it takes place, it is organised by The Sprit of Fez Foundation to bring together musicians and performers from all over the world to break down musical and political boundaries. This years festival takes place from 7th to 15th June and the program includes free daily concerts in the city’s Boujloud Square as well as special musical journeys through the heart of the old city or Medina, including Sufi nights in the gardens of Dar Tazi. All of the concerts take place in the evenings due to the heat of the day in the city, but exhibitions and workshops connected to the festival take place in museums and public places throughout the days. Artists this year include Patti Smith and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia performing in a celebration of Andalusia, this years theme.Full details of all artists and events are available on the website. Tickets and passes for the special events can be purchased online or at the festival.

Fes

Fes lies at the heart of Morocco, the original capital and the religious and spiritual centre of its people to this day. It is the cross roads between the other main cities which strengthens its feeling of the real centre of the country. Fes el-Bali (Old Fes) the medina or walled old gown is the largest living medieval islamic city in the world with its winding lanes, shops, markets, restaurants, mosques, dye pits and tanneries. The city is most easily reached via Casablanca by train with a 4.5 hour journey but trains also connect to Marrakesh, Tangier and Rabat.

Where to stay

To get a real feel for the city a stay in a riad, a traditional medina house-hotel built around a courtyard). Riads come in all sizes and styles to suit your budget and each room normally has an en-suite bath and sitting area. You can book a room,  or rent an entire riad and live like pashas of old.  Make sure to double and triple check your reservations, as it’s not uncommon to arrive and be told that your reservation has been changed. It’s also wise to make sure a guide can meet you on arrival at the medina to show you the way through the tiny alleyways which are confusing to newcomers. Modern hotels and Riads are all reviewed online by previous visitors and travel experts.

Moroccan Excursions

If you want to explore a little more of Morocco you can book trips to the following nearby attractions.

Middle Atlas Mountains

You can take an excursion to walk or horse ride in the mountains to the south of the city. A good destination at the festival time is Sefrou, just 30 minutes from Fez, where the dark sweet cherries of the same name are harvested and celebrated in June.

Volubilis and Moulay Idriss

An hour and a half north-west of Fez is Morocco’s largest and most important Roman remains. A World Heritage site it is a great place to wander an enjoy the ruins and the views. Be sure to take a hat as there is no shelter and plenty of water to drink. The nearby sacred town of Moulay Idriss, with its holy founders tomb, can be a good destination to add to your itinerary and allow some shelter from the heat of the day.

5 Best holiday destinations in March

Timing is one of the most important aspects in ensuring that you truly get the most out of your overseas adventure, so it pays to do a bit of research before you leave. Picking the right season not only gives you the chance to see your destination at its best, but also allows you to pack accordingly. Here are 5 of the best travel destinations for a March holiday.

United States of America

Spring is starting up in March throughout the USA, making it the perfect time to travel. From the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, there’s something for every style of traveller. Take a cycling tour through the scenic Oregon Coast, check out the relaxed living in Hawaii or take a famous American road trip to make sure you see the most from this unique and diverse destination.

Southern Europe

The warming effects of spring see Southern Europe awaken from its cold winter slumber. While still not too hot, the increasing warmth and length of days make March a great time to spend discovering the best that Southern Europe has to offer. The temperature is perfect to get outdoors and explore for the adventurous traveller, with everywhere from the Cote D’Azur to Sicily starting to feel the sure signs of spring.

Africa

Always wanted to experience the magic of Africa, but been deterred by the heat? March is the perfect time to discover this land of wild beauty and spectacular safaris. With the dry season keeping away most of the rain and the tail end of summer giving way to the cooler change of autumn, this is a great opportunity to see Africa without sweltering in the heat. North and East Africa are the best to visit during this time for perfect climate conditions. If you fancy climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There’s also the stunning annual migration of wildebeest and zebra across Kenya from late March. Well worth checking out at least once in your life.

Australia

March is the perfect time to explore Australia. As autumn sets in, the scorching hot days and wild summer storms give way to clear skies and a cool breeze. With such perfect weather and ideal temperatures, you can start to explore everything that this stunning continent has to offer. The sun is still warm enough to encourage a swim on golden beaches or a stunning snorkelling session on the reef. Take a food and wine trail through Tasmania, explore the Snowy Mountains via horseback or discover the wealth of arts and shopping in any of the capital cities.

Caribbean

What could be better than relaxing on the sands of a pristine beach with the tropical breeze rustling the trees and a seemingly endless expanse of glittering water. The Caribbean is a top spot to travel to in March, however be careful to avoid the price spike and rush of tourists during the Easter holidays. For dive enthusiasts, the Cayman Islands are an absolute must-see, while Barbados offers the very finest in dining and boutique accommodation. Of course Jamaica is a popular stop, with many travellers including it on their travel bucket list.

These are some of the best travel destinations that you can visit for a memorable March holiday. Make your holiday one you’ll never forget by experiencing these spectacular travel locations at their very finest.

The world’s best destinations for famous drinks

Let your thirst guide you as you explore the world’s best beverages. From Belgian hand-crafted beers and fine French bubbles to the tradition of whisky in Scotland, a true connoisseur will jump at the chance to discover the very finest that the world has to offer. Here are several of the world’s must-visit destinations for the thirsty traveller.

Fiery Whisky – Scotland

As the home of traditional whisky, Scotland attracts a range of thirsty travellers seeking the very finest specimens of this distinctive spirit. Every part of Scotland imparts its own unique flavour in the whisky that it produces, so taking the time to tour around this magnificent island is definitely a must. Explore the stunningly dramatic landscape, the sometimes harsh climate, and the picturesque countryside whose wild beauty will stay with you for a lifetime.

Beer Bliss – Belgium

The Belgians haven’t just introduced the world to the wonder of eating mayonnaise with their fries, their beer has created a benchmark for boutique flavours and unique handcrafted brands. With over 450 varieties of this delicious drink, beer lovers from across the world flock to Belgium for an authentic experience steeped in cultural tradition. Drink from personalised glasses specifically designed to enhance the flavours of that particular beer, tour through breweries or just relax in an old fashioned café with a beer and some delectable Belgian chocolate. Pure beer bliss.

Sophisticated Champagne – France

If you consider yourself to be a connoisseur of all things sparkling, a visit to the Champagne region in France is essential. Take a leisurely tour along the Champagne Route, a picturesque journey through the vineyards and villages that make this unique wine-making region so special.

As the home of the incredible wine used to make toasts and celebrate special occasions around the world, a visit to the Champagne region would be incomplete without a very special tasting. Indulge in a Champagne degustation, a delicious journey through some of the region’s finest vintages and makes.

Wine Lover’s Paradise – Cape Town

Wine and fine dining go hand in hand for travellers seeking the best sensory experiences in Cape Town. Due to the sheer size of the wine growing area, it is recommended that visitors take a tour to get the most out of their experience. For the top wine routes in Cape Town, consider exploring the Stellenbosch, Helderberg, Contantia Valley, Franschoek and Durbanville Valley routes.

These will take you through some of the most magnificent wine growing regions in Cape Town, with extraordinary landscapes and breathtaking scenery everywhere you look. For the dedicated wine aficionado, a visit to Cape Town’s famous wine routes is an absolute must during your travels.

Your taste buds will thank for the chance to sample the world’s finest beverages. This is just the start of the incredible journeys you can go on in your search for a seriously top drop, and will give you the opportunity to experience the unique culture and atmosphere of these amazing countries. Make sure these destinations are at the top of your list if you’re a discerning-ly thirsty traveller.

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