Posted by: Rasma R | October 21, 2017

Rosario on the Parana River


In our armchair travels we have arrived on the continent of South America. This is a very large continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere and a small part of it in the northern hemisphere. It is surrounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east and north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the northwest by the Caribbean Sea and connected with North America in the northeast part. Altogether there are twelve independent countries and three dependent territories. We will look at the countries in alphabetical order.


Our travels begin in Argentina a massive nation with terrain that encompasses the Andes Mountains, glacial lakes and Pampas grasslands.


Our first stop is Rosario a major port city on the Parana River. The city is proud of its location and the best way to see what both the river and the delta have to offer is to rent a kayak and get out on the Parana. This is the second-longest river in South America. In your kayak you can paddle around the city’s waterfront and sandy beaches. If you prefer you can take a motorboat tour or a cruise, so you can see more of the canals, agriculture and rural life outside the city.

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Rosario sits on the banks of the Rio Parana upper delta. This is a 60 km-wide area that consists mostly of uninhabited, subtropical islands and winding streams. It is rich with birds and animals. Even if on the islands you feel somewhere miles away you can still see the buildings in the city. Boat services and tours are available.

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Costanera is the most attractive feature of this city. It is the waterfront which stretches about 15km from its southern end at Parque Urquiza to the city’s northern edge where the suspension bridge crosses into Entre Rios province.

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It a wonderful place for strolling and seeing birdlife, people watching, catching some impromptu “futbol” games and watching the cargo ship sailing by.

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Monumento Nacional a La Bandera resting in a crypt beneath this colossal stone obelisk is the man who designed the Argentine flag, Manuel Belgrano.

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This was the place where the flag was first raised. You can take an elevator to the top for amazing views of the city.

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There is an eternal flame that commemorates those who died for their fatherland. This monument to the national flag of Argentina is one of the city’s real tourist attractions. If you like you can arrive at 8:15 AM in the morning to watch the raising of the flag.

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Parque Urquiza is a waterfront park near the flag memorial. Here you can stroll, relax and pick up some food from the vendors.

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People do some exercising on the trails and equipment here. You can also bring some food and have a picnic. There’s an amphitheater where occasional performers play and within the park is an astronomical observatory. There is a children’s playground and on its edges many restaurants and bars.

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Mercado de Pulgas del Bajo is a great flea market opened in 1982. It is one of the oldest markets of its kind in the city. It is located next to the National Flag Memorial. On Saturdays and Sundays there are stalls of over 50 artisans and craftsmen. Things like small handicrafts, leather good, silver, candles, incense burners and mate gourds are for sale. You can get some delicious food from the food carts.

ros guevar apartment

Rosario is the birthplace of the famous Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. You can see his former home in a neo-Classical building on Entre Rios 480. This is a private apartment so you can only view it from the outside.

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There is a 4-m tall statue made up of 75,000 pieces of donated bronze, erected in his memory located along 27 de Febrero in a plaza named in his memory.

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Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Rosario has found its home in a brightly painted grain silo on the waterfront. The eight silos have been painted in different colors and a glass elevator will take you to the top. Here you can see temporary exhibitions, mostly by young local artists. There are small galleries spread over eight floors. From the top you can have a good view of the river islands. This museum is also known as MACRO and houses what’s possibly the most important collection of contemporary art in the country. On the ground floor is a wonderful riverside cafe. Davis offers 180-degree views of the river.

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Teatro El Circulo is a historic theater that was renovated in 2004 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Today it functions as a cultural center and stage for international performers, rock bands and operas. It has room for 1,450 people within five levels and the dome of the main room is painted with lovely frescoes. Visitors can take a guided tour. When a performance is going on the acoustics are great and during intermissions you can buy champagne and empanadas.

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Parque de la Independencia is the city’s largest park. It has gardens and a lake where you can rent paddle boats. You can feed the ducks and there are fountains with “dancing waters”. Within the park are food vendors, a history museum, a fine arts museum and a children’s play area.

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Also you’ll find Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, a futbol stadium, home to Newell’s Old Boys. It also has a museum which is not open on match days.

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One of the museums within the park is the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes. This gallery has inventive displays of contemporary and 20th century artwork from the Macro-collection and its small collection of European artwork. This museum was named for one of the city’s most important art collectors. It offers exhibits that change regularly and permanent collections by European, Argentine and local artists. There are more than 3,000 artworks exhibited in 35 rooms, many of them donated from the private collections of local aristocrats. Some of the artwork dates back to the 15th century and in the current collection are paintings by famous artists like Goya, El Greco and Ribera.

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Also in the Parque de la Independencia is the Museo Historico Provincial “Julio Marc” where you can learn about the local, regional and national history. The collection includes artifacts from several South American cultures. There are over 30 rooms displaying things like textiles and tools from indigenous people, weapons, coins, medals and Hispanic art. Visitors can also learn about the colonial times and Argentina’s struggle for independence.

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Basilica Catedral de Nuestra Senora del Rosario an impressive cathedral that is ornate and lovely on the inside. Visitors can attend services.

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The Italian marble altar is amazing as is the architecture of the domes and the beautiful frescoes painted on the ceiling. It is located in the oldest part of the city and located next to the municipal building, el Palacio de los Leones.

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Costanera Sur is a grassy zone below downtown that offers a nice place for strolling and jogging. The Estacion Fluvial building offers boat trips and a place for eating and drinking.

Costanera Norte is the strip that in the summertime attracts crowds for its beaches.

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The public beach of Rambla Catalunya is backed by a promenade and restaurants and bars.

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Balneario La Florida is one of Rosario’s best beaches. There is a safe bathing area. Picturesque stalls behind it sell river fish. You can get a four-day pass.

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Parque de Espana has become a river bank landmark. It has a mausoleum-like edifice.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 17, 2017

Awesome Cozumel

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The beauty of armchair travels is that you can easily pop from one side of the world to the next just at the click of a mouse. Therefore before I decide where we will be heading in the future I chose to do another island this being a Mexican island. Hope you enjoy the tour of this truly awesome island.

Cozumel is mostly an undeveloped Mexican island located in the Caribbean Sea. It has become a popular cruise ship port and popular for its scuba diving.

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Palancar Reef is one of the best spots to dive. It rises from depths of up to 80 m to shallows found just below the surface of the sea at the southwest end of the island. One of the most interesting things is that there is a large bronze figure of Christ found some 17 meters underwater. Both snorkels and scuba divers enjoy it.

Cozumel San Miguel Square 1

San Miguel de Cozumel is the capital of Cozumel located on the northwest side of the island. It has become a tourist hub and is also a busy port. Ferries depart from here to the mainland regularly. The town also has a major airport. One of the highlights is the Island Museum. The city offers great shopping and dining.

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The Island Museum or Museo de la Isla offers a lot of information about the history of the island and its people. It’s most visited tourist destination. There are multi-media displays and permanent collections of ancient artifacts. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits including artwork from both local and international artists. One of the highlights is an exhibit that deals with marine life, as well as a mock-up of the traditional Mayan homes that were once common all over the island. There is an on-site restaurant.

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Laguna Chankanaab is one of the most interesting natural attractions. This is a small freshwater lake in the National Marine Park. It has crystal-clear waters and colorful tropical fish. It is a place to swim, snorkel and scuba dive. It is now part of an adventure park that surrounds the lagoon. Visitors can enjoy a sea lion show and a crocodile exhibition. Other activities include zip lining, treetop climbing and visiting an authentic Mayan home to sample traditional foods.

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Among the over 30 Mayan sites on the island the most important one is San Gervasio. It was built in 800 AD.

San Gervasio Maya Ruins Cozumel

Among the highlights here include the Temple of Ix-chel, for centuries the focal point of the island’s religious life and a pilgrimage place from across the Mayan empire.

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Of interest are also the nearby ruins at Santa Rita

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and Castillo Real, where you can find Cozumel’s largest Mayan statue.

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The largest eco-park on the island is the Punta Sur Eco Beach Park. Found at the southern tip of the island here you can find lots of great swimming and beach fun. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking.

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There’s forested area with plenty of walking trails. Some of the highlights include an old lighthouse the Celarain, with its adjoining nautical museum

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and Caracol, an old Mayan temple. Bird lovers can enjoy the observation platforms that are available for bird watching.

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The newest attraction on the island is Mexico Cozumel Park. Among the highlights here are miniature reconstructions of many of the country’s most important archaeological sites and historic attractions.

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There are also exhibits and multi-media shows that showcase traditional music, art and food as well as displays of traditional dances. A fascinating sight is the daring Danza de los Voladores or Dance of the Flyers with participants throwing themselves off of a 30 m tall pole as they spin and twirl to the ground via ropes attached to their feet.

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An interesting place to visit with coral reefs and crystal clear waters is Stingray Beach. Highlights here include a guided swim with stingrays. Visitors get a chance to feed and touch them.

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You can enjoy the calm ocean coves and tropical atmosphere of Dolphinaris Cozumel. This is a great place to swim with dolphins and interact with them. The company sponsoring this offers 40-minute dolphin interactions and unlimited food and drink after the swim. Other activities include snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding.

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One of the top attractions on the island is Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park.

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Among the highlights here include snorkeling, interacting with manatees and sea lions and resting under the umbrellas or in the hammocks on the beach. Visitors can swim with dolphins.

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El Mirador is a natural lookout point where the sea has carved a natural arch into rugged rock. Visitors can climb onto the rock to take photos and get great views of the island. On the adjoining beach you can find vendors selling snacks, refreshments and souvenirs.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 13, 2017

Beautiful Bali


Bali is an Indonesian island which is known for its forested volcanic mountains, rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. There are many impressive temples to visit. Visitors enjoy the beachside cities and resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.

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Found around 20 km northwest of Kuta is Pura Tanah Lot. In Balinese “pura” means temple. This is one of Bali’s most iconic temples with an awesome seaside setting. It sits on a rocky islet that is surrounded by crashing waves. The Balinese look at this as one of the most sacred of all the island’s sea temples.

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Every evening many people make their way here to watch the sun set behind the temple. This temple was built at the beginning of the 16th century and is thought to have been inspired by the priest Nirartha, who requested that local fishermen build a temple after having spent a night on the rocky outcrop.

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Even though foreigners can’t enter any of the temples it is well worth the walk here at low tide and to wander along the paths taking photos. There are cliff top restaurants and cafes where you can relax. From here you can take a walk to another sea temple the lovely Batu Bolong.

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People begin their climb in predawn darkness, trekking up the 1,700 meter summit of Mount Batur so they can watch the sun rise. This is a sacred active volcano lying in Kintamani District in Bali’s central highlands. The hike takes you along well-marked trails and is a relatively easy hike taking from two to three hours.

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Guided treks include picnic breakfasts, with eggs cooked by the steam from the active volcano. On clear days the view is fantastic and you can see across the way all of the surrounding scenery and beautiful Lake Batur, the island’s main source of irrigation.

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When taking the climb you can also visit one of Bali’s most important temples, Pura Ulum Danu Baur, on the northwest shore of the lake

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and take a therapeutic bath in the hot springs at the village of Toya Bungkah.

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Puru Luhur Uluwatu sits high on sea cliffs looking down on one of Bali’s best surf spots. In Balinese “Ulu” means “tip” or “land’s end” and “watu” means rock. This is a great place to catch a magnificent sunset. It appears the temple dates back from the 10th century. It is believed to protect Bali from evil sea spirits. It is also thought that the monkeys who live in the forest near the entrance guard the temple from bad influences.

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A scenic pathway winds from the entrance to the temple. Only Hindu worshippers are allowed to enter. Visitors can take in the wonderful setting and the sunset Kecak dance performances, taking place here daily.

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Ubud Monkey Forest is just a ten minute walk south of the town center in Ubud. It is also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. In this tourist town this is one of the top attractions.

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Troops of grey long-tailed macaques make their home here and freely roam about. There are paved pathways through the thick forests of giant banyan trees and nutmeg. You can see moss covered statues and ancient temples.


On the southwest side of the forest is one of the three temples found in the forest. Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, dating from the 14th century. There are hundreds of monkeys swinging through the trees. Visitors should secure their belongings and not make eye contact or smile at the monkeys as these are signs of aggression. Don’t bring food into the area.

Ubud Art and Culture was made famous by the book and movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. Ubud is also the epicenter of Balinese art and culture. The modern Balinese art movement was born here. It is surrounded by royal palaces and temples.

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Two art museums Agung Rai Museum of Art or ARMA

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and the Neka Art Museum are just a short distance from the Ubud Monkey Forest. Both museums display contemporary art works among them kris or ceremonial daggers, photos and classical wayang or puppet figure paintings.

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You can also take a look at Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets featuring ceremonial masks from Asia and elsewhere.

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Museum Puri Lukisan displays Balinese artistic styles

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and the Don Antonio Blanco Museum is the artist’s former home and studio.

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If you enjoy shopping for art do take a look at the Ubud Art Market. Here you can see stalls with carvings, sculptures, jewelry, sarongs, paintings and house ware.

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Opposite the market is the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace that hosts traditional Balinese dance performances in the evenings.

Tegallalang and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are lovely emerald rice fields. The first are located about a thirty-minute drive north of Ubud.

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Tegallalang Rice Terraces are one of the most famous areas to take photos. Locals will ask for donations along the trail through the rice fields. After you can relax at one of the restaurants and cafes that overlook the rice fields.

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A 90 minute drive will take you to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces that cover over 600 hectares of rice fields along the hillsides of the Batukaru Mountain range.

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Waterbom Bali is an action-packed waterpark right in the heart of Kula. There are kid friendly swimming pools. You can drift down Lazy River or zoom down one of the many twisting water slides and rides. Restaurants and cafes cater to different diets. The grounds have shady trees and lovely tropical gardens.

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On the western shore of Lake Bratan you’ll find the 17th century Pura Ulun Danu Bratan one of Bali’s most picturesque temple complexes.

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This temple is set against the background of Gunung Bratan. The thatched temples reflect upon the water.


Lake Bratan is one of Bali’s main sources of irrigation and drinking water. The temple complex is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of the sea and lakes. An unusual feature is the Buddhist stupa on the left of the entrance to the first courtyard with figures of Buddha meditating.

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Not far from this temple complex you’ll find the Bali Botanic Garden with lovely bamboo forests, orchids and medicinal plants.


On the grounds you’ll also find the Bali Treetop Adventure Park which is great fun for kids with Tarzan swings and suspension bridges.

Bali is known for its flamboyant designers and fantastic shopping. You can shop along the busy streets of Seminyak. There are chic shops and busy market stalls. There are many top boutiques.

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Its two main malls are Seminyak Square

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and Seminyak Village.

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Kuta Beach might be crowded but it is a popular beach. Two more beaches can be

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found nearby Legian

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and Seminyak Beaches. You can book surf lessons, rent surfboards, boogie boards, sun loungers and umbrellas.

Along the beach there are many cafes and restaurants.

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Nusa Islands among these the most popular are Nusa Lembongan. Here you can surf, snorkel, dive, kayak and paddle.

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The main attractions include lovely Dream Beach,

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Mushroom Bay

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and the Devil’s Tears rock outcrop.

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Just over a bridge is the neighboring island of Nusa Ceningan with a beautiful blue lagoon.

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The largest of the island trio, Nusa Penida is just a boat ride away. There are rock formations, caves and a bird sanctuary. You can see manta rays, sunfish and turtles. Accommodations on these islands range from rustic huts to luxury villas.

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Sekumpul Waterfall located in the Singaraja region in Bali’s north. This is a series of about seven waterfalls. Many hikers hire a local guide to take the three-to-four-hour round trip trek. You can see rice terraces and local villages and heads through a dense tropical jungle.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 9, 2017

Spectacular Santorini


Our armchair travel took us through Africa. When you are hopping about the map on the Internet it is easy to discover many interesting places to visit someday. I was thinking about where we would go next and then decide to search for some popular islands that tourists enjoy visiting. There are quite a few I have not written about. Afterwards I will decide where we will venture next.

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Santorini is one of the Cyclades Islands in the Agean Sea. In the 16th century BC this island was destroyed by a volcanic eruption leaving it with a rugged landscape. Today you can see whitewashed, cubi-form houses in its two main towns, Fira and Oia, clinging to cliffs above an underwater caldera or crater. The overlook the sea, other small islands to the west and beaches that consist of black, red and white lave pebbles.

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Fira or Thira is the capital of Santorini. Here you can see whitewashed cubic-style houses and terraces, winding lanes, little squares and blue-domed churches.

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From the small port of Skala you can get to Fira either by walking up a stepped path

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of 587 steps, ride a mule for hire

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or take the cable-car. Fira exists mostly from tourism and you can find small hotels, apartments, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and jewelers.

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Take the time to visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira which displays finds from Akrotiri archeological site.

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Tourists particularly enjoy the Blue Monkeys wall fresco. There are ancient artworks on display that include marble figurines, painted ceramics, tools and weapons.

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It has found its home in a modern white building, close to the 1950s Mitropolis Church.

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Twelve kilometers from Santorini is the village of Oia. It has whitewashed houses and little boutique hotels with infinity pools. There are steep path winding up to town from Ammoudi Bay, where you can find waterside seafood restaurants. This lovely town is especially known for its sunsets. It is possible to walk from Oia to Fira along a footpath along the cliffs high above the caldera.

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The Caldera was formed by the massive volcanic explosion that blew out the center of the island about 3,600 years ago It measures 12 km by 7 km. It is still home to volcanic activity. In its center rise the two Kaimeni islets with hot springs and gas emissions. You can get one-day excursions of the caldera by boat.

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Visitors enjoy bathing in the hot springs and having lunch on Thirassia, a tiny island on the west side of the caldera.

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Twelve kilometers southwest of Fira near the village of modern Akrotiri you’ll find the ancient settlement of Akrotiri which was buried beneath lave after the 16th century BC volcanic explosion. Before the tragedy Santorini was flouring due to shipping and trading. Frescoes show its connections with North Africa most of which are no in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Akrotiri reopened to the public in 2012.

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Close-by is the famous Red Beach below a spectacular red cliff wall. The beach is accessible along a path from the town of Akrotiri.

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Tiny Pyrgos was the capital of Santorini before Fira took over in 1800. Here you can see whitewashed Cycladic cottages that have been built around the ruins of a medieval hilltop castle.

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Since 2004 this village has begun catering to up-market tourism with the opening of small chic restaurants and boutique hotels. The village lies right in the center of the island eight kilometers southeast of Fira.

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A road taking you from Pyrgos goes to the summit of Mt. Profitis Ilias, the highest point in Santorini. It offers fantastic views over the island and over the sea.

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The Profitis Ilias Monastery is open to the public. Inside the church there is a richly carved iconostasis and the museum displays the miter and crozier of Patriarch Gregory V. who was hanged in Constantinople by the Turks in 1821. Visitors are also interested in the library, the monastic archives and the kitchen. This monastery ran one of the many “secret schools” that operated during the Turkish period.

Thira Fira Perissa Oia Ammoudi Thirassia  Greece island cyclades

The most popular and best known beach in Santorini lies on the southeast coast between the villages of Perissa and Perivolos. Here you can find fine, black volcanic sand along with tamarisk trees and a string of seafood tavernas and cafes. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas and water sport facilities.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 7, 2017

Interesting Zimbabwe

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Harare is the capital of the landlocked country of Zimbabwe in southern Africa.

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National Heroes’ Acre is a grandiose obelisk that overlooks the city is located just 7 km from Harare. It was designed with the assistance of North Korea. It is a memorial to the forces who died during the Second Chimurenga.

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There’s a giant socialist-realism statue of the unknown soldier (actually three soldiers) which is surrounded by bronze friezes depicting stirring war victories.

Pyongyang-based Mansudae Art Studio is the creator of the monument and is the only organization that is authorized to produce sculptures of North Korean leaders.

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The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is located in the southeast corner of Harare Gardens. This is a wonderful gallery with multiple spaces exhibiting the art of contemporary local, African and international artists. Shows are changed monthly offering a combination of paintings, photos, stone sculptures, masks and carvings. There is a shop where you can purchase crafts and books on Zimbabwean art. Outside is an open-air Shona sculpture garden. You can relax in the cafe.

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Harare Gardens is the city’s largest park. The lawns and flowers are well-maintained and there is a little pond on the north side of the gardens. There is a playground for children. This is also a wedding venue for taking lovely wedding photos.


There is a stage for performances like music and theater every year during the Harare International Festival of Arts. People enjoy the restaurant where they can sit to enjoy the view or take-away food to have picnics on the lawns.

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Delta Gallery is located in the charming colonial house of Rhodesian painter Robert Paul.

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It is an impressive gallery with art work by contemporary Zimbabwean artists and shows are held monthly. There is a small bookshop.

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Wild Is Life is a wildlife sanctuary for local animal species. It offers visitors a

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chance to get up close to these rescued animals. Here you can see baby elephants, giraffes, lions and even cheetahs. These animals are treated and later released back into the wild.

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The National Botanic Gardens is located in the suburbs of Alexandra Park. Visitors enjoy the wide ranges of tree and garden plant varieties. There are species from Zimbabwean woodlands as well as exotic trees and plants from places like South America, India and the Far East.

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The lawns are great for picnicking and you can take a stroll or bike around. There is a restaurant on the premises.

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The National Archives of Zimbabwe was founded in 1935. This is a repository for the history of Rhodesia and modern Zimbabwe. You can see artifacts, photos, accounts of early explorers and settlers and displays about the Second Chimurenga and pre-colonial Zimbabwe. There are original newspaper clippings from significant moments in history, oil paintings and the first Union Jack flag that was raised in Harare (then known as Fort Salisbury) in 1890.

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Mukuvisi Woodlands Environmental Center offers visitors a chance to see jungle fauna and flora. It is a great place for animal watching. You can see impalas, giraffes, crocodiles and zebras. It is a great place for bird watching with such birds as the water stork and the red-collared widow-bird.

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You can enjoy viewing from the platform, take a safari or go on horse safari. It is also possible to walk about or cycle. There are bird walks and guided pony rides.

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Eastgate Center was inspired by the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. This shopping complex was designed based on a termite mound, allowing for natural cooling and ventilation. It was completed in 1996 and uses 10% of the energy of other buildings its size. The complex was designed by Harare architect Mick Pearce, who has worked on similar eco-buildings all over the world.

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Tobacco Floor is the place where farmers on one side sell bales of tobacco to brokers on the other. Tobacco used to be one of the country’s major foreign-exchange earners and it produced the best leaf in the world. Auctions take place from around February to July.

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Tsoko Gallery is a quality art gallery focusing on mixed media and avant-garde art work by the best Zimbabwean artists. It’s located in the Doon Estate complex and its name translates to “monkey” in reference to all of the vervet monkeys that run about the area.

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The Chapungu Sculpture Park was created in 1970 and is a place to showcase local stone sculpture and art. The project was started by architect Roy Guthrie.

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Here you can see the art work of some of the most important stone sculptors in Africa. You can purchase some stone souvenirs here.

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Chiremba Balancing Rocks there are many places in Zimbabwe that you can find balancing rocks but these are the most famous. They’re located 13 km from southeast of Harare.

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Central Baptist Church is a centrally located church that has several sittings for its Sunday service.

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The amazing Lake Chivero Recreational Park is located by one of Harare’s chief lakes. It is a wonderful place to have a picnic. It is a reserve area for the wildlife that live around the lake. Opened in 1962 it is home to white rhino, wildebeests, sables, warthogs and many bird species. Visitors can take game walks, for fishing or horse riding.

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Thetford Game Reserve stretches for 3,300 hectares of lovely countryside and mountain terrain about 30 km outside of Harare. Here visitors will find wildlife and more than 150 species of birds. The game reserve was founded so animals would have a safe place to breed. It is home to buffalo, giraffes, impalas, zebras and rhino. If you prefer you can go on a guided safari.

Exploring Zimbabwe

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One of the main reasons visitors come to Zimbabwe is to see the spectacular Victoria Falls, cascading dramatically over black-rock cliffs with steam and mist rising up. Nearby are baboons in the jungle and the Victoria Falls National Park.

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Bulawayo is a town with fascinating art deco and Victorian regal styles. It has wide tree-lined avenues. It is an industrial and economic hub. It is a green and flowery town with bougainvillea cascading over rooftops and palms all about. There are impressive government buildings.

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Nyanga National Park is home of the Highveld. It sits over 1,800 meters above sea level. There are hulking hills of dolomite rock and suspended boulders. You can see msasa trees and cypresses.

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It is home to the Old World Samango monkeys with their white-brushed throats. They can be only found in these parts. There are also leopards and lions.

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Hwange National Park has 15,000 sq km of protected landscape. There are Kalahari woods and teak groves, grass plains and flood flats all peppered with bulbous termite mounds. Wildlife enjoy the watering hole. You can see hyenas and wild dogs, leopards and cheetahs. There are fossil-spotted rive banks and bubbling hot springs.

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Mana Pools National Park is fed by the Zambezi River which spills onto the plains and grasses after rainfall creating a patchwork of watering holes and pans during the wet season.

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Animals gather here to drink and you can see crocodiles and hippos.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 4, 2017

Taking a Look at Zambia


Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It is a country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife offering many national parks.

Zambia’s Capital

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Lusaka the capital of Zambia has a lot to offer visitors.

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Lusaka National Park is a great place to see rhinos in the wild just 15 km from the capital.

Cute Lion Cub Portrait

The park stretches for 46 sq. km. and is home to elands, zebras, giraffes and wildebeests among other wildlife.

What interests visitors the most is seeing the white rhinos. These were imported from South Africa then dehorned for anti-poaching purposes and guarded 24 hours a day. These animals spend their days roaming but are fed in their pen.

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Lilaya Elephant Nursery sits on the southern outskirts of town. This elephant nursery works with rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned elephants. Visitors can see them being fed. You can take wildlife drives. On the premises is a restaurant and a lodge.

zam PRESIDENT-Mwanawasa-mausoleum.

Presidential Burial Site National Monument is a mausoleum where the late Zambian presidents Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, Frederick Chiluba and Michael Sata were laid to rest. A guided tour is available.

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The Lusaka National Museum is a big square box-like building that resembles a Soviet-era Moscow ministry. It has upstairs galleries displaying exhibits on urban culture and Zambian history. There are also cultural, ethnographic and archaeological displays. Downstairs you can see Zambian paintings and sculptures. There is a cafeteria, souvenir shop and kids corner.

zam Freedom-statue

Around the corner from the museum you’ll find the Freedom Statue which is dedicated to freedom fighters and all who lost their lives in the struggle for Zambia’s independence. A depiction of a man breaking his chains symbolizes the country’s break with colonial bondage and was erected to celebrate Zambia’s independence in 1964. This is the place for Africa Freedom Day celebrations on May 25.

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Namwandwe Gallery features an impressive private collection of businessman and patron of the arts John Kapowe Namwandwe contemporary Zambian art.

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The gallery space is in his private home featuring paintings, sculptures, masks and fabrics by established and new artists.

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Lusaka City Market by the bus station is an active area with sidewalk vendors lined up right to the entrance of the market. Here you can find everything from clothing to house wares.

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Munda Wanga Environmental Park is a kind of rescue center. Here you can see a variety of animals among them pangolins and owls.

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Families enjoy coming here for animal viewing. A popular time to visit is when the animals are being fed.

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There are also lovely botanical gardens with almost 500 species of plants and is a great place for a picnic.

Traveling About Zambia

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Siavonga is a lovely town on the banks of Lake Kariba where you can see acacia trees, palms, rosewoods and forest figs. The town is known as one of the top holiday spots in Zambia. All about you can find great hotels with sunning terraces and cafes overlooking the lake.

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This is the largest reservoir in the world and visitors can enjoy lots of water sports and recreational activities.

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The town is fringed by beautiful beaches and walking trails.

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The legendary “Smoke which Thunders”, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is the home to some of the most amazing sections of the Victoria Falls. It is a UNESCO heritage site.

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Here you can find white rhinos, Angolan giraffes, zebras and elephants. You can take many interesting walks here including walking on the narrow platforms of the Knife-Edge Bridge arching over the falls.

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Kasanka National Park is a small park in the middle of Zambia. Here you can see pangolins and mongoose as well as sable antelopes and hartebeest. There are also many fruit bats here.

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Visitors enjoy boat journeys and fishing on the Luwombwa River.

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Livingstone was once the capital of Zambia. It was named after the most famous explorer of the African continent David Livingstone. Livingstone is the gateway to the roaring cataracts of Victoria Fall and apparently the explorer was the first explorer  to see the falls.

Adventure travel, people white water rafting on the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls Bridge, Zambia, Africa

Explorer, adventure seekers and safari goers really enjoy this place as they head for Central Africa and the whitewater rapids of the Zambezi River.

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The South Luangwa National Park is one of the homes of the celebrated walking safari.

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Here you can see elephant herds and hippos, numerous buffalos and long-necked giraffes. There are miombo woods and savannah plains. Pastoralist guides take visitors about and inform them about animal tracking, anti-poaching and conservation.

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Posted by: Rasma R | October 2, 2017

Spectacular Swaziland


Our armchair travels have taken us to Swaziland, a small, landlocked monarchy in southern Africa.

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It shares a northeastern border with Mozambique then stretches down to South Africa with a background of the Lebombo Mountains.

 Seat of Monarchy and Parliament

 swazi lobamba

Lobamba is the seat of Swaziland’s monarchy and parliament located southeast of the capital city Mbabane.

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Visit the National Museum with interesting displays of Swazi culture including a traditional beehive village and cattle enclosure. You can also see several of King Sobhuza II’s cars dating from the 1940s.

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King Sobhuza II Memorial Park is adjacent to the Parliament. This memorial was established as a tribute to King Sobhuza II, who led Swaziland to independence from British rule in 1968.

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The main highlight here is the 3m tall bronze statue of the king. A small museum displays photos and documents about his life. The king’s mausoleum is also in the park.

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Parliament opened in 1969 as a post-independence gift from the British. This hexagonal building is topped with a brass dome and a major landmark. At times it is open to visitors.

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Somhlolo National Stadium was built for Swaziland’s independence in 1968. This is a 20,000 capacity national stadium, hosting soccer matches and used for important state occasions like coronations. It was named after King Sobhuza I, also known as Somhlolo, the founding father of the Swazi nation.

Traveling in Swaziland

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Mbabane is Swaziland’s cool-climate capital.

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It’s home to the Swazi Market. A lively place where you can purchase most anything.

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Visitors can enjoy the crafts at Tintsaba Crafts, just past the Piggs Peak Hotel.

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You can take a wonderful excursion from Mbabane to lovely Pine Valley and follow along the Umbeluzi River with waterfalls.

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The Hlane (Wilderness) Game Sanctuary is home to the largest herds of game in the country. It is the one place in Swaziland where visitors can see lions, elephants and rhinos. It is a great place for bird watchers having the highest density of breeding white backed vultures on the continent.

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Visitors have to have a guided game drive to see the lions which make their home in a separate enclosure. Other self-guided drives are allowed in other areas. You can choose mountain biking, cultural visits to a nearby Swazi village, bird walks and overnight fully-catered bush treks.

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Mbuluzi Game Reserve is privately owned. This is a peaceful retreat sitting on the banks of the croc-filled Mlawula River.

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Visitors can enjoy self-guided wildlife safaris and see animals like giraffe, zebra, kudu, jackal, wildebeest and nyala during the day and hyenas, genets, servals and honey badgers during the night.

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There are over 300 bird species among them the beautiful Narina trogon. Visitors can hike along the well-marked nature trails, mountain bike and fish in the two rivers. Accommodation can be along the riverfront campsites and safari tents or several family lodges.

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Mililwane Wildlife Sanctuary is in the beautiful Ezulwini Valley. This is one of Swaziland’s first conservation areas and its most popular game reserve. It was established by Ted and Elizabeth Reilly, who turned their farm into a game reserve.

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It is surrounded by the Nyonyane Mountains. It is home to over 400 species of birds and animals among them zebras, vervet monkeys, crocodiles, warthogs, caracals, hippos and antelopes.

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Activities here include game drives, nature walks, mountain biking, horseback riding, a village cultural experience and swimming in the rest camp’s pool. For accommodation you can choose self-contained cottages, traditional Swazi-style beehive huts and a luxury hilltop lodge.

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Malolotja  Nature Reserve is the largest protected area in the country. Its name means “river with many rapids and waterfalls”.

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It is divided by the Malolotja River which forms a series of waterfalls including the country’s highest cascades, the Malolotja Falls.

 swazi BlueCraneMlilwanePdeWaal

One of the best features of the reserve is its hiking trails. The fauna is notable for the abundance of reptiles and birds like breeding groups of endangered species such as blue cranes and bald ibis. Among the mammals are rock hyraxes, eland and zebra.

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A great way to experience the reserve is taking the Treetop Canopy Tour.

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The Mlawula Nature Reserve extends from the lowlands up into the Lebombo Mountains. The landscape here ranges from dry savannah to rolling green valleys and dense riverine forests with mountains rising along the Mozambique border. Among the wildlife here are wildebeest, kudu, impala and tortoises. There are 350 species of birds.

Roads allow for self-guided game drives and for hiking on the walking trails. Fishing is popular here. Accommodations consists of campsite, luxury, ensuite tents and a cottage.


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Posted by: Rasma R | September 29, 2017

Charming Cape Town


Cape Town is a lovely port city on the southwest coast of South Africa, on a peninsula in the shadow of Table Mountain.

 cape botanical

The location and unusual flora of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens come together to create these 52,800 botanical gardens. They are among the most beautiful in the world. At the main entrance visitors will find the information center, souvenir shop and conservatory.  

 Tree Canopy Walkway, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa. Table Mountain is in background.

The Tree Canopy Walkway was added in 2013 and is informally referred to as the “Boomslang”, meaning tree snake. This is a curvaceous steel and timber bridge, rising through the trees and offers fantastic views.

The gardens have free guided walks or you can hire the My Guide electronic gizmo to receive recorded information about different plants as you pass the signposts along circular walks.

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You’ll find about 22,000 plant species from South Africa here. The fragrance garden has been elevated so that people can sample the various scents easily. There is a Braille trail, a hill with pelargoniums, a sculpture garden and a section of useful plants as well as a section of the wild almond hedge planted in 1660 by Jan van Riebeeck to from the boundary of the Dutch outpost.

Between November and March you can enjoy outdoor afternoon concerts on Sundays.

cape good hope

The Cape of Good Hope is commonly called Cape Point and is a 77.50 sq. km. section of Table Mountain National Park. It includes incredible scenery, great places for walking, places for bird watching, and deserted beaches.

cape good hope trail

Visitors have to reserve a place for the two-day Cape of Good Hope Trail, an amazing 33.8 km circular route with one night spent at the basic Protea and Restio huts.

cape good hope funicular

Some 250 species of birds have been spotted her among them cormorants and ostriches. Visitors can enjoy hiking and cycling. If you like you can take the Flying Dutchman Funicular right up to the top. It runs from the restaurant to the souvenir kiosk and to the old lighthouse, dating from 1860.

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There is a spectacular ridge way path from which you can look down upon the new lighthouse and the sheer cliffs that plunge down toward the ocean.

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Table Mountain is around 600 million years old and one of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature”.

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Table Mountain National Park is a 220 sq. km park that stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point. It includes a range of environments among them granite, sandstone mountains, giant boulder strewn beaches and shady forests. The main feature of course is the 1086 m high mountain itself with a cableway running to the top.

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Robben Island was once used as a prison from the early days of the VOC up until 1996. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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It has been preserved as a memorial to those like Nelson Mandela, who spent many years imprisoned here. Visitors can come here on a four hour tour.

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Boulders Penguin Colony is located about 3 km southeast of Simon’s Town. It is a picturesque area with enormous boulders that divide small, sandy coves. It is home to a colony of 2100 amazing African penguins.

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A boardwalk runs from the Boulders Visitor Center at Foxy Beach to Boulders Beach where visitors can mingle with penguins.

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The main breeding season peaks from March to May. There is accommodation available and places to eat.

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Silvermine Nature Reserve is another section of Table Mountain National Park. It was named after the Dutch attempted to mine for silver here. Today it’s focal point is the Silvermine Reservoir which is a lovely spot for a picnic or a relaxing walk. There is a wheelchair accessible boardwalk.

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On the southeastern edge you’ll find Peers Cave which was declared a National Monument in 1941. It provides a dramatic viewpoint over Noordhoek looking toward the sea.

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District Six Museum celebrates the once lively multiracial area destroyed during apartheid in the 1960s and 1970s when 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed. The museum has found its home inside the former Methodist Mission Church where the interiors have been recreated. You can see photos, listen to recordings and testimonials of the broken community.

cape district-six-museum

Among the displays is a floor map of District Six, on which former residents have labeled where their demolished homes once stood. There are reconstructions of home interiors, faded photos and recordings. The staff consists of displaced residents with heartbreaking stories to tell.

 cape clifton beach

Clifton Beaches have giant granite boulders and offer sunbathing spots. There are vendors with drinks and ice cream. Loungers and shades are available.

cape clifton beach sea point promenade

Sea Point Promenade is a wide, paved and grassy promenade. There are children’s playgrounds, an outdoor gym and public art works.

cape waterfront

V & A Waterfront is a historic working harbor

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offering many tourist-oriented attractions among them shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas and cruises. The Victoria Basin is used by tugs, fishing boats and other vessels.

cape greenmarket

Greenmarket Square is a cobbled square and the second-oldest space in the city. It plays host to a colorful craft and souvenir market daily. The square is surrounded by some architecturally fascinating buildings.

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There is the Old Town House, a Cape rococo building dating from 1755. Today it is home to an impressive art collection of Sir Max Michaelis. Visitors can see Dutch and Flemish paintings and etchings from the 16th and 17th centuries along with contemporary art works.

 The Market House which is an elaborately decorated building with balconies and stone-carved eagles and flowers on its facade.

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The dazzling-white Portea Insurance Building was built in 1928. Opposite is Shell House, a hotel and restaurant.


There is Namaqua House and Baran’s Cafe has a wraparound balcony with great views over the square.

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Kimberley House was built of sandstone and decorated with an attractive diamond-theme design.

cape aquarium

Two Oceans Aquarium is an excellent aquarium with sea creatures from the cold and warm oceans. You can see penguins and turtles among other sea creatures. Those who are qualified divers can dive in for a closer look.

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Green Point Urban Park the streams in the park are fed by Table Mountain springs and rivers. There are three creative areas People & Plants, Wetlands and Discovering Biodiversity. Guided tours are available.

There’s lots of space for picnics with great views of the stadium, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. There are two children’s play parks.

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Muizenberg Beach is a surf beach that is popular with families.

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There are colorful painted Victorian bathing chalets. Surfboards can be hired and surfing lessons are available.

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At the eastern end of the promenade you’ll find a fun water slide.

cape birds parrot

World of Birds includes barbets, weavers and flamingos among 3000 birds and small mammals from some 400 different species.

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There is lots of tropical landscaping. In the monkey jungle you can see squirrel monkeys.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 25, 2017

Beautiful Bloemfontein


Bloemfontein is the capital city of the province of Free State of South Africa. It is the judicial capital of the nation and one of South Africa’s three national capitals and the sixth largest city.

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Naval Hill was once the site of the British naval-gun emplacements during the Anglo-Boer War.

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From the top of the hill you can get spectacular views. It is also home to the Franklin Game Reserve where you can see animals like ostriches, zebras, bucks and giraffes.

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Upon the hill is also a planetarium and a gigantic statue of Nelson Mandela, overlooking the city.

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The Oliewenhuis Art Museum is one of South Africa’s most striking art galleries. The museum makes its home in an impressive 1935 mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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There is a contemporary photographic exhibition of modern South Africa. There are displays of art work by South African artists like Thomas Baines.

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Visitors can relax in the tea room. There is a carousel in the gardens.

blo national war museum

The National Women’s Memorial commemorates the 26,000 women and children who died in British concentration camps during the 1899 – 1902 Anglo-Boer War.

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The memorial depicts a bearded Afrikaner setting off on his horse to fight the British, bidding a last farewell to his wife and baby, who perished in one of the camps.


Behind this memorial is the Anglo-Boer War Museum which offers interesting displays, including photos from concentration camps set up in South Africa as well as Bermuda, India and Portugal. There are large paintings that depict battle scenes.

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Loch Logan Waterfront is a nice place to take a walk and has a selection of chain restaurants.

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The Orchid House is a glasshouse with a lovely collection of flowers and amazing orchids. The surrounding Hamilton Park is a great place to have a picnic.

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The National Museum offers a great recreation of a 19th century street complete with sound effects. Here you can also find a shop and a cafe.

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The Twin-Towered Church is a landmark building.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 22, 2017

Incredible Pretoria


Pretoria a city in Gauteng Province, is the administrative capital of South Africa and is known as Jacaranda City because of the many jacaranda trees.

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The Voortrekker Monument was built between 1938 and 1949 to honor the journey of the Voortrekkers. These were Boer pastoralists who took a journey north over the coastal mountians of the Cape into the heart of the African veld. The monument is surrounded by a 3,4-sq-km nature reserve.

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The edifice is ringed by a stone wall that is carved with 64 wagons in a traditional laager or circle.

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The building is shaped like a huge stone cube and each corner bears the face of an Afrikaner hero. Visitors can take a staircase and an elevator to the roof from where they can get fantastic views of Pretoria.

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Freedom Park is located atop of Salvokop Hill offering panoramic views. The park was opened to the public in 2007 and includes a series of poignant memorials. The site overlooks the nearby Voortrekker Monument.

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One of the highlights in the park is the Wall of Names, inscribed with the names of all the people who lost their lives in South Africa’s major conflicts. There is an eternal flame. The Gallery of Leaders gives an inspirational look at role models on the road to freedom. Guided tours are available that offer visitors interesting stories and the symbolic features of the architecture.

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You can walk on Mveledzo, a spiral path that cuts into the natural landscape.

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Right in the heart of the city you’ll find Church Square which is surrounded by

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impressive public buildings like the Palace of Justice,

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the Ou Raadsaal or Old Government building, the Old Capitol Theater, First National Banking and the Old Nederlandsche Bank building. In the middle of the square is a statue.


The Kruger Museum has found its home in the former residence of Paul Kruger, president of the South Africa Republic from 1883 to 1900. The house was built in 1884 and is guarded by two stone lions. Visitors can see period furniture and a collection of personal items belonging to Kruger and his wife.

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The Union Buildings sit in beautiful gardens on Meintjieskop Hill which is the highest point in the city. They were designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913. These are impressive sandstone buildings in a mix of Italian Renaissance, English Renaissance and Cape Dutch styles.

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It’s the seat of government and home to the offices of the president and the state archives. In the gardens you’ll find the Delville Wood Memorial, commemorating the South African soldiers who fought in WW I; statues of the South African Prime Ministers Louis Botha, J.B.M. Hertzog and J,C, Smuts;

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as well as a nine-meter-tall statue of Nelson Mandela. Visitors can stroll in the gardens and get great views of the city.

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The Pretoria Art Museum is an art museum that displays South African art. There are also regularly changing exhibitions.

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Melrose House is a stately mansion that was built in 1886. The Treaty of Vereeniging, ending the Anglo-Boer War was signed in the dining room on May 31, 1902. Highlights here include a grand billiard room with a stained-glass smoking nook and a conservatory that has a collection of political cartoons from the Anglo-Boer War.

It is a National Monument that was built in 1866 by businessman George J, Heys. It is filled with antiques. The house is also used for art exhibitions, concerts and antique fairs. There is a cafe serving snacks in the tea garden.

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Pretoria National Zoological Gardens stretches for 85 hectares.

One of the highlights here is a cable car running to the top of the hill overlooking the city.

This large zoo has a walk-through aviary, a reptile house and the country’s only inland aquarium with many species of fish among them ragged tooth sharks.

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Highlights among the large mammals include the lion and tiger exhibit, hippos and elephants.

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Visitors can tour the zoo in rented golf carts, ride the cableway or stroll along the paths to get up close with the animals. Night visits and overnight camping is available.

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The National Cultural History Museum offers a look into the cultural history of South Africa. There are exhibition on San rock art, Iron Age figurines from Limpopo and a small gallery of contemporary South African works.

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The Pretoria National Botanic Garden is located in the eastern suburbs. It spotlights South African species with over half the country’s tree species as well as lots of flowering plants, cycads, sloes and others.

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A quartzite ridge cuts the park into two sections. The plants are grouped according to climatic region, like the savannas of the Karoo, coastal forests and the grassland plains of Namibia. There are paved nature trails leading through the natural vegetation of the rocky ridge above the garden.

The National Herbarium is home to the largest collection of plant specimens in South Africa with over a million species cataloged and stored here. You can enjoy a meal at the lakefront restaurant.

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Ann van Dyk Cheetah Center is a non-profit center that was established in 1971 as a cheetah breeding project. Since then the center has successfully bred African wild dogs, Cape vultures and brown hyenas among others. The center was also the first to breed the rare king cheetah.

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Visitors can choose from a variety of educational tours like a three-hour guided tour and touch experience where visitors accompany keepers on feeding rounds and enjoy petting experiences.

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Both hikers and nature lovers enjoy the Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve. In the 19th century this reserve was a dairy farm and one of the original buildings has been converted into a restaurant where visitors can dine on a lovely deck and watch animals go by.

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There are springbuck, impala, bushbuck, zebra and ostrich as well as many different birds.  Water for the animals is provided by a tributary that flows through the reserve. There is a choice of different hiking trails.

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