Posted by: Rasma R | September 19, 2017

Visiting Johannesburg

south africa

In our armchair travels we have arrived in South Africa which is a country located on the southernmost tip of the African continent. There are many fascinating cities to explore and wonderful national parks.

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Our first stop will be Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and the capital of Gauteng Province. It began as a 19th century gold-mining settlement.

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The Apartheid Museum lets visitors get a look into the rise and fall of South Africa’s era of segregation and oppression.

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The museum makes use of film, text, audio and live accounts to give an insight into the architecture and implementation of the apartheid system. There are also inspiring stories of the struggle towards democracy.

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One Eloff is an impressive art deco building that is filled with loft-style apartments. Visitors can browse the artists’ studios here and enjoy the trendy eateries. All the shops and cafes stay open till 10 PM on Fridays.

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Liliesleaf Farm at one time was the secret headquarters of the ANC or African National Congress during the 1960s. It reopened as a museum in 2008. Visitors can explore on their own or take a tour. Here you can learn the story of South Africa’s liberation struggle through a series of high-tech interactive exhibits.

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Wits Art Museum was completed in May 2012. This modern museum is the leading museum of African art on the continent. In this collection are 10,000 works of art. There is a program of events and exhibitions. There are temporary exhibitions and a popular cafe.

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Constitution Hill overlooks the city of Johannesburg. It was a former prison that offers an interesting look into South Africa’s history.

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Visitors can see provocative exhibits at the Number Four Museum, the Woman’s Gaol Museum and the Old Fort Museum. At one time this precinct was referred to as The Fort. It was a place for political prisoners, common criminals and passive resistors. Former prisoners included Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

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The old Awaiting Trail Building has been transformed into the Constitutional Court of South Africa and welcomes visitors who want to attend hearings and watch the judicial process. Guided tours of Constitutional Hill are available.

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Arts On Main is a multifaceted arts center that makes its home in a former warehouse with a wonderful courtyard.

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Here you can find cultural spaces, artists’ studios, galleries, retail areas and restaurants. There are regular performances and events. On Sundays there’s a popular market.

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In Joubert Park you’ll find the Johannesburg Art Gallery or JAG. This is one of the biggest collections of art in Africa with over 9,000 art works. The gallery focuses on art work by South African and European artists. The exhibits include artifacts, drawings, textiles and paintings from the 17th century to the present day. In the courtyard there are sculptures on display.

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Visit the fascinating Maboneng Precinct which is a successful urban renewal project. Its name means “place of light”. Here you can find trendy restaurants, cafes, art galleries, shops, hotels and places for entertainment.

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Among the top attractions here are the weekly Market on Main that offers food from all over the continent, Arts On Main

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and Revolution House.

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The Lindfield Victorian House Museum this is a “living museum” and Provincial Heritage site. The present owner, Katherine Love, who has lived here since 1967, dresses in Victorian clothes and greets visitors, She takes visitors through the rooms of this middle-class Victorian home that was designed by one of South Africa’s most famous architects, Herbert Baker.

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Visitors can see an impressive collection of 19th and 20th century furniture, art and household items. You can hear amazing stories about former residents and how Victorian culture and customs have influenced Johannesburg today. You can get a full tour and afterwards have a cup of tea on the verandah.

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Mary Fitzgerald Square was named after South Africa’s first female trade unionist. The square is lined with an array of heads, carved from old railway sleepers by Newtown artists.

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It is also bordered by the Jazz Walk of Fame which is a Hollywood Boulevard style walkway, paying tribute to South Africa’s most influential jazz musicians.

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There is also a bronze sculpture that honors Brenda Fassie, one of the country’s most popular musicians, who died in 2004.

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The Market Theater complex makes its home in a converted market building. Here you can find four live theater venues. The complex also has a bookshop, an art and photo gallery and restaurants. A popular jazz venue is Kippie’s offering music by well-known musicians. Every Saturday in the large parking lot directly opposite you can find a large flea market.

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Next to the Market Theater is Museum Africa with a collection of reproductions of huts, tools, arts and crafts, dress and toys of South African tribes.

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Zoo Lake is a busy park in the city center. People enjoy running along the paved paths or enjoy a game of basketball or football. Families like to picnic here on weekends. The lake is a favorite spot where people can rent rowboats and paddel to the fountain at the center of the lake.

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Visit the lovely Johannesburg Botanical Gardens with large, grassy open spaces with scattered trees. There is a beautiful mix of indigenous and exotic plants.

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Visitors enjoy the theme gardens – the Shakespeare Garden, the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden, a Hedge Demonstration Garden and the main arboretum, housing family groupings of plants and trees from South Africa and the world.

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The gardens is also home to Emmarentia Dam which is popular with canoeists and boaters.

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You can see many aquatic birds here.

Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City is a theme park just great for families. It takes people back to the gold rush days with thrilling theme park rides and historical exhibits.

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Visitors can also tour a disused shaft of the Crown Mines, one of the richest gold mines in the world.

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Carlton Center at 223m has been Africa’s tallest building for over forty years. In the basement you’ll find a shopping mall. From the observation deck you can see fantastic views over the city.

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Gandhi Square was named in honor of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi who came to South Africa in 1893 and lived in Johannesburg, working as a lawyer from 1903 to 1914. In the middle of the square is a bronze statue showing him as a young lawyer.

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A well-known landmark is the 269m Telkom Tower. It’s not open to the public.

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Nelson Mandela Bridge was built in 2003 two days after Mandela’s 85th birthday.

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This is a cable-stayed bridge which is the longest of its kind in South Africa.

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The Johannesburg Zoo is among the popular places to be in the city. It is located in the heart of the northern suburbs. The zoo is home to 2070 animals and 365 different species. Visitors delight in white lions, elephants, polar bears, chimpanzees, gorillas, bat-eared foxes, hippos, antelopes and much more.


This is the only zoo in the country that has successfully bred Siberian tigers the biggest cats in the world.

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The zoo offers daytime and nighttime safaris. At night you can see nocturnal animals such as owls and bats. The education center organizes sleepovers for groups of children.

After renovations the zoo included new exhibits like a walk-in aviary, an ape house, a reptile house and new enclosures for bears, pumas and tigers.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 15, 2017

Exploring Namibia


Namibia amazes its visitors with the Namib Desert lying along the Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is located in southwest Africa and is home to diverse wildlife, including a large cheetah population.

Wonderful Windhoek


The capital of Namibia Windhoek sits in the country’s central highlands.

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Christuskirche is the city’s best recognized landmark. It is a German Lutheran church sitting on a traffic island. The building was constructed from local sandstone in 1907 and was designed by architect Gottlieb Redecker.

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It is a mix of neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. The altarpiece, the Resurrection of Lazarus, is a copy of the renowned artwork by Rubens.

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Daan Viljoen Game Park is a lovely wildlife park in the Khomas Hochland about 18 km from Windhoek.

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You’ll find plenty of wildlife in the desert hills like gemsboks, kudus, mountain zebras, springboks, hartebeests, warthogs and elands. It is also the place for bird lovers with more than 200 species among them green-backed heron and pin-tailed whydah. The hills are covered with open thorn-scrub vegetation and three walking tracks. There is a luxury lodge as well.

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Zoo Park is a leafy park that once served as a public zoo until 1962. Today people enjoy having picnics and enjoying the shade.

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Five thousand years ago this park was the site of a Stone Age elephant hunt and this prehistoric event is honored by a prominent elephant column, designed by Namibian sculptor Dorthe Berner.

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Another memorial is the Kriegerdenkmal which is topped by an unusual golden imperial eagle, dedicated in 1987 to the memory of German Schutztruppe soldiers who died in the Nama wars of 1893 – 1894.

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The Trans-Namib Transport Museum is located in Windhoek’s lovely old Cape Dutch-style train station which was built by the Germans in 1912. Across the driveway from the entrance visitors can see the German steam locomotive Poor Old Joe. It was shipped to Swakopmund in 1899 and reassembled for the treacherous journey across the desert to Windhoek. The transport museum is located on the second floor offering the history of Namibian transport, focusing on rail transport.

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The Independence Memorial Museum opened in 2014 and is dedicated to the country’s anti-colonial and independence struggle. On the first floor are displays that tell the story of Namibia’s colonial rule. The second floor is devoted to the resistance movement and the top floor dominated by the road to Independence. The glass elevator on the outside of the building offer great views of the city.

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Outside is a statue of founding president Sam Nujoma.

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Heinitzburg Castle is one of three castles in Windhoek, dating from 1914. Today it is home to a hotel and a fine restaurant. Nearby are the two other castles,

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and Sanderburg.

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Tintenpalast is the former administrative headquarters of German South West Africa and today is the Namibian Parliament Building. The name of the building means “Ink Palace”.

The surrounding gardens were laid out in the 1930s and include an olive grove and a bowling green. In the front is Namibia’s first post-independence monument, a bronze-cast statue of the Herero chief Hosea Kutako.

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Kaiserliche Realschule is Windhoek’s first German primary school built in 1908. It has an unusual turret with wooden slats designed so European children would have ventilation since they weren’t used to the African heat. Later on the building was home to the city’s first German high school and an English middle school. Today it is the administrative headquarters of the National Museum of Namibia.

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Gathemann’s Complex is a complex of three colonial-era buildings designed by the famous architect Willi Sander. The building furthest to the south was built in 1902 as the Kronprinz Hotel. The building later joined Gathemann House which is now a gourmet restaurant. The most notable of the three is the Erkrath Building, built in 1910 as a private home and business.

Traveling in Namibia

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Etosha National Park has many rare animals and became a game reserve in 1907. There are dry and cracked salt pans and a labyrinth of valleys in the Leopard Hills.

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You can see African bush elephants, plains zebras, springboks and the uber-rare black rhino.

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Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan that is surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Some of the dunes here are the highest in the world.

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The colossal mound of Dune 7 rises over 350 meters above sea level. Visitors prefer taking 4 x 4 tours. There are sightings of antelope, oryx, springbok and ostrich.

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The carved lands of Kaokoland are bisected by winding river ways through rock-ribbed mountains. Visitors are fascinated by the smiling Himba folk who make a living from the wilderness as nomads. It is home to the mountain elephant.

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At Swakopmund a beach side resort on the Atlantic coast visitors can see and feel the German influence.

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There are the lovely white-sands of the Swakopmund Beach and you can enjoy yourself at the beer halls and pubs. Take a walk along the lovely promenade. Craft markets sell German trinkets.

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You’ll find endless stretches of sand dunes and amazing Atlantic waves at the Skeleton Coast Park. It is at the spot where arid deserts meet the ocean and is famed as one of the most dangerous sections of shoreline in the world.

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You can see rusting carcasses of old tankers and skiffs, fishing boats and convoy ships. There are wandering elephants and hyenas.

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Twyfelfontein is an amazing spot in the dusty Kunene Region in the heart of northern Namibia. It is home to Africa’s most prolific displays of ancient rock art. It was named a UNESCO  site in 2007. There are soaring table mountains and rolling savannah plains. Here you can see some of the most unusual petroglyphs.

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Kolmanskop is a mystical and haunting place. A ghost town that was abandoned in the middle of the 20th century. All of the homes and municipal buildings have crumbled.

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At one time it was a rich town famed for its diamond boom. Hundreds of tourists visit it every year to see an abandoned way of life.

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Penguin Island in Walvis Bay tiny islets poking out of the Atlantic not far from the coast. This is home to the Jackass Penguin. There are breathtaking headlands and cliffs.

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The Fish River Canyon weaves between the great mountains of southern Africa. You can see red-hued rocks rising about the valley, pits of deep sand and colossal boulders.

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There are the rugged ranges known as the Three Sisters. There is a hiking path running the length of this amazing place.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 11, 2017

Visiting Mozambique


Mozambique is a country in southern Africa with a coastline along the Indian Ocean offering many popular beaches.

Lovely Maputo

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Maputo is the capital of Mozambique. It is an interesting city with colonial architecture and many turn-of-the-century buildings as well as markets and plazas.

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The National Art Museum has an excellent collection of paintings and sculptures by the finest contemporary artists in Mozambique among them Malangatana and Alberto Chissano.

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Centro Cultural Franco-Mocambicano is a great place for art exhibitions, music, dance performances, films and theater. There is a craft shop and a cafe.

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The train station in Maputo has become a landmark and is a most impressive building. The dome was designed by an associate of Alexandre Gustav Eiffel. You can see impressive wrought-iron latticework, pillars and verandas. Inside is the Kulungwana Espaco Artistico along with a small exhibition of art works by local and visiting artists. There are sculptures and paintings for sale.

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Praca dos Herois Mocambicanos along Avenida Acordos de Lusaka near the airport is well-known for its 95m-long mural which commemorates the revolution.

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This star-shaped structure is made of white marble and in its center are the remains of Mozambique’s revolutionary and poet-independence heroes among them Eduardo Mondlane and Samora Machel as well as the remains of national poet Jose Craveirinha. Photography is forbidden. The public can only visit on Mozambican Heroes’ Day February 3.

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The Portuguese built the old fort in the mid-19th century near the site of an earlier fort. Inside visitors will find a garden and a small museum. Here is the sealed, carved wooden coffin of Ngungunhane the final ruler of the famed kingdom of Gaza on display.

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The neo-Classical City Hall hovers upon a low hill. It was built in 1947 and is still in use today. It is a building that is still in use today so it cannot be visited but is worth taking a look at from the outside.

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The Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao is one of the city’s most attractive buildings and has a lovely, white spire. It was completed in 1944. Inside is beautiful alter work, stained-glass windows and impressive paintings.

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The Iron House historical building was designed in the late 19th century as a governor residence. It has a metal-plated exterior.

Exploring Mozambique

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The Bazaruto Archipelago is a speckling of elongated islands in the Indian Ocean. Here you’ll find sparkling seas and coral gardens, windblown sand dunes and coastal hills with scrub and cococunt palm groves.

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The largest island is Bazaruto with sandy bays, karst hills and boulders.

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To the south is Ilha de Benguerra with luxurious honeymoon hotels, white sands, swinging hammocks and sunning decks.

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Pemba is the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado. Here you can see lovely colonial architecture and Portuguese-style frontispieces.

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Along the shore are white sand beaches. There are swaying palms along the waters of Pemba Bay. It is a great area for scuba divers.

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You’ll find Gorongosa National Park at the very heart of Mozambique.

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There are rolling svannah and grassy hills.

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You can see bouncing bushbuck, elephant herds, waterbucks, crowned cranes, wild warthogs and more.

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The Quirimbas National Park counts as the natural jewel of Cabo Delgado Province. Here the northern mountains slope down toward the waters of the Indian Ocean. Along the way you can see montane forests, savannah plains and endless mangroves. Along the shoreline are sparkling coral reefs. It’s a great place to see African leopards, elephant herds and crocodiles.

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The Island of Mozabique became an important hub for commerce for European traders and merchants during the 16th century.

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Here you can see impressive colonial buildings and the lovely Church of Santo Antonio. This has become a UNESCO Heritage site.

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Lake Cahora Bassa extends all the way to the Zambia border. The lake waters represent one of the largest freshwater lake systems in all of Africa.

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At one end is the huge Cahora Bassa Dam  a wall of concrete and steel rising 171 m high. All around the banks of the reservoir are fishing lodges and houseboats. You can see some Baroque churches from the time when the Portuguese were here.

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The Niassa Reserve is part of one of the largest international conservation areas on the planet. There are vast areas of miombo woods and rugged rock bluffs that are home to animals like the African lion, African elephant and packs of wild dogs. All around are breathtaking landscapes with eco lodges and tourist camps.

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The Limpopo National Park has amazing landscapes and fascinating biodiversity. It stretches out along the bends of the Limpopo River where lions, elephants, waterbucks and more wander along the banks. Safaris are popular here.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 8, 2017

Marvelous Malawi


Malawi is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa. The country has a background of highlands that are split by the Great Rift Valley and huge Lake Malawi.


The capital Lilongwe is located

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on the Lilongwe River. It has lots to offer visitors.

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Lilongwe Wildlife Center this wilderness area is Malawi’s only sanctuary for orphaned, injured and rescued wild animals.

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The wildlife that makes its home here include a one-eyed lion rescued from Romania, a python, two cobras, baboons, duikers, servals and blue and vervet monkeys. The purpose is to rehabilitate the animals to they can go back into the wild.

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Visitors can wander the woodland trails and enjoy the picnic area, playground and cafe.

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The Parliament Building is worth a look at. It sits on the outskirts of Lilongwe near Capital Hill. Visitors can get a free guided tour.

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Kamuzu Mausoleum is a marble and granite mausoleum and the final resting place of Malawi’s “president for life”, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. There are four pillars with the initials of his most prized principles – unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline and between them a wrinkled portrait of the “lion of Malawi”. Banda ruled from 1961 to 1994 and died at almost 100 years of age.

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The Reserve Bank Building is a landmark in central Lilogwe.

Traveling in Malawi

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Liwonde National Park is where visitors can do some wildlife watching and enjoy going on safari. The park stretches along the Shire River. This is a vast reserve of flood plains and wetland swamps with swaying grass fields and baobab groves.

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Here you can see bush elephants, jackals, hyenas, impalas, waterbucks, baboons and much more.

Here is a great diversity of flora with huge and waxy orchids and ponds with water lilies.

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Blantyre is a town boasting over 150 years of history since it was first established by missionaries working for the Church of Scotland. Visitors enjoy seeing old

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structures like Mandala House or

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getting a look at the Malawi Stock Exchange. There are also various tobacco packing factories.

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Lake Malawi National Park is the place for nature lovers. Among the sylvan hillsides are the shores of the country’s largest lake Lake Malawi.

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You can see baboons and antelopes along the shore. There are safari lodges on the reserves various islands. You can also see old missionary settlements.

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Nyika National Park is the largest of its kind in the country and one of the most unusual natural habitats. There are many river ways, grassy plains and colorful orchid beds. You can see roaming elephants and water buffalo.

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Visitors enjoy horse riding safaris, hiking and bird spotting.

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Nkhotakota is located right in the heart of Malawi’s central backcountry. Here you can see green miombo woods and winding rivers heading toward Lake Malawi. Here travelers come to spend time in the safari lodges along the waters.

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You can see tropical birds, elephants, buffalo and leopards.


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Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve has breathtaking stone and rock formations. It has the  highest peak in the nation. It is famous for the woodlands with the endangered widdringtonia African cypress trees,

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Likoma Island is surrounded by the waters of lake Malawi.

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Visitors admire the Gothic Likoma town cathedral. It is famous for its crystal-clear shore waters and unspoilt coastline. You can enjoy fishing and snorkeling.

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Chongoni is known for its rich history and pre-historic arrays of rock art. It is a UNESCO site. Here you can see the Dedza Mountains reaching nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. There are caverns with religious elements and old artwork. On the westernmost  edge is Mphunzi Mountain.

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Posted by: Rasma R | September 5, 2017

Beautiful Botswana


A landlocked country Botswana is located in Southern Africa with its landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta.

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Gaborone the Capital

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Three Dikgosi Monument is a monument depicting three nationalist heroes – Bathoen, Khama II and Sebele.. The dikgosi or chiefs are memorialized in larger than life form. The monument includes panels that feature carvings of national virtues among them Botshabelo or refuge, Bogaka or herioism, Boitshoko or endurance, Maikarabelo or global respinsibility and Boipuso or independence.

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Gaborone Game Reserve was established in 1988. It has become the third busiest reserve in the country.

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Visitors can see wildebeest, elands, gemsboks, kudus, ostriches and warthogs. Among the birdlife here are kingfishers and hornbills.

The reserve has some picnic sites, a game hide and a small visitor-education center. All of the roads here are accessible by 2 WD.

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A prominent landmark the Parliament Building sits at the western end of the Mall.

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Debswana House is home of Botswana’s diamond industry.

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The University of Botswana is Botswana’s biggest university.

Traveling in Botswana

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The Okavango Delta is one of the most impressive and lovely wilderness locations in Africa.

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This is unspoiled wilderness with terrain that ranges from dry grasslands to swamps.

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Among the most popular activities are safaris and game watching. There are cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles and rhinos.

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Kasane is situated between the Four Corners of Africa at the place where Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zamibia meet.

Among the attractions in the is a huge Baobab tree that was once used as a prison because the trunk is large enough for a human to enter.

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There’s also a snake park with about 50 snakes from 17 different species.

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The town makes it easy for visitors to explore the Chobe River.

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Chobe National Park is the third largest game reserve in Botswana. It has one of the largest concentrations of rare game animals in the African continent. It takes its name from the Chobe River.

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The river supports an ecosystem of rare and exotic animals among them birds, elephants, lions, giraffes, baboons and buffalo. During the winter season you can see a herd of hundreds of elephants at a time.

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Francistown is the second largest and the oldest town in Botswana. It was built on gold mining. The town takes its name from a British man – Daniel Francis.

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The main sights in the town include the Supa Ngwao Museum which documents the life and culture of the Kalanga people.

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Birds and Game Botswana is a refuge for orphaned wild animals.

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The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has amazing grasslands and the rain in the summer brings many wild beasts including massive herds of animals like wildebeest and springbok.

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Here you can see true African wilderness.

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The Tsodilo Hills seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere in northwest Kalahari. These are amazing rock formations in all shapes and sizes.

Van Der Posts Panel bushman Paintings Tsodilo Hills Botswana

This is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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It is home to an impressive 4000 cave paintings that are spread out over 200 locations.




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Posted by: Rasma R | September 2, 2017

Amazing Madagascar


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A huge island nation Madagascar is located off the southeast coast of Africa. It’s home to many different animal species like lemurs. There are rainforests, beaches and reefs.

Capital of Madagascar 

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Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar. It is located in the island’s Central Highlands. 

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Tana’s rova or fortified palace which is known as Manjakamiadana or A Fine Place to Rule sits on the city’s highest hill. It was gutted by fire in 1995 and is currently still under restoration. However visitors can see the compound. The palace was designed for Queen Ranavalona I by Scottish missionary James Cameron.

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The gate to the palace is protected by a carved eagle, the symbol of military force and a phallus, the symbol of circumcision and therefore nobility. The Rova is also the resting place of the country’s greatest monarchs and you can see imposing stone tombs to the left of the main gate. The tombs of the kings are grey and the tombs of the queens are red which was the color of nobility.

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Musee Andafivaratra has found its home in an impressive pink baroque palace which is the former home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony. In the museum visitors can find a assortment of memorabilia. Unfortunately the museum has been closed since 2012.

In 2013 the Merina crown jewels were stolen and have not yet been recovered. Of the remaining artifacts the most interesting is a portrait of the mad Queen Ranavalona I. There is also a huge gilt throne, coats of chain mail and a selection of presents from foreign crowns through the ages. The exhibits have explanations in English and French.

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Parc de Tsarasaotra – even though Lake Alarobia is found right in the heart of the city’s industrial area this park is the refuge and nesting site for 14 threatened endemic bird species

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like the Madagascar pond heron, Meller’s duck and Madagascar little grebe.

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The Presidential Palace is a lovely 19th century manor that was an official French residence for many years. In 1975 it became the Madagascan presidential palace and remained so until President Didier Ratsiraka chose to build a more modern complex about 15 km south of the capital in 1991. It remains an official residence.

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Musee d’Art et d’Archeologie is a small museum in Isoraka that gives an overview of archaeological digs around the island among them displays of grave decorations from the south referred to as aloalo, rotating exhibits on Madagascan life and few talismans and objects used in traditional ceremonies.

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Lac Anosy is a heart-shaped lake in the southern part of town. It is particularly lovely in October when the jacaranda trees that line the shores have their purple blossoms.

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On an island that is connected to the shore by a causeway stands a large golden angel on a plinth, the Monument auz Morts, a WWI memorial was erected by the French. At present it is not advised to walk in this area but visitors can appreciate Anonsy from viewpoints in the Haute-Ville.

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Gare Soarano used to be the old train station. Today this lovely building has become a small, umarket shopping center. Here you can also see regular art shows with artwork by Malagasy artist. There are also chic boutiques and other shops.

Exploring Madagascar

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In little Nosy Be you’ll find Madagascar’s trademark beaches. There are quaint little fishing villages as well. You’ll find beach parties on Sunday along the sands of Madirokely.

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Between the coastal hills of Helodrano Antonigila Bay you’ll find the small island nature reserve of Nosy Mangabe. A great place for wildlife  lovers famed for its booming populations of bug-eyed aye-aye lemurs.

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There are huge fig trees around groves of palms where lemurs can meet up with mantella frogs. The green hills slope down into secluded bays with bright yellow sand.

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One of Madagascar’s most curious natural treasures is the Tsingy de Bemaraha with a dramatic landscape of carved rocks and towering hoodoos, needle-like stone spires and colossal monoliths balanced atop cliffs. It lies among the long green belt of nature reserves on the west coast.

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It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its great biodiversity of dry deciduous forests, rare rock habitats and sweeping plateau.

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Ranomafana National Park is the natural jewel of Fianarantsoa and home of Madagascar’s famous golden bamboo lemur.

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There are misty montane forests and lowland plains with miles of hiking tracks going past roaring waterfalls. There are multi-colored lizards.

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Lovely Isalo National Park is a patchwork of carved rock gorges and winding canyons, blooming oasis and palm groves. Since 1962 it is a designated protected area with extreme biodiversity. Visitors come to admire the windswept runiforme mountains and to walk beneath towers of stacked stone.

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You can see rare crested ibis and ring-tailed lemurs. There are also over 80 species of endemic birds along with the famous Canyon of Monkey.

Posted by: Rasma R | August 29, 2017

The Lovely Seychelles


The Seychelle Islands have been designated as being one of the world’s most beautiful tropical destinations. This is an archipelago nation that consists of 115 islets, cays and coral atolls. The Seychelles are located in the water of the Indian Ocean about 1,600 kilometers east of Kenya and mainland Africa. They have become a popular destination for tourists wanting to relax in luxurious resorts and for newlyweds.

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Beau Vallon offers many lovely pure white sand beaches and the tropical Indian Ocean to swim in. Here you can see sharks and manta rays swimming through the water. Enjoy many different water sports and relax at international eateries.

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From Beau Vallon you can see a great granite rock rising high above the horizon which is the silhouette of Silhouette Island. Tourists flock here for the large resorts. There are also hidden coves of black sand with boulders and many palms.

Mahe Island and Victoria

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Victoria is the beautiful and welcoming capital of the Seychelles. It is a capital where you can see colonial buildings along the streets and different arcades. Tourists enjoy the colorful markets.


One of the most beautiful sights in the capital is The Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. This church dates from 1851 and is one of the oldest on the islands. Beneath the floor is the tomb of the first and only bishop of the islands. His tomb is marked with a special plaque that commemorates his work in the community.

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The impressive carved doors and tabernacle were designed by Seychellois sculptor Egbert Marday. There is wonderful colorful light filtering from the stained-glass windows.

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You’ll find La Bastille just north of the town center. This is a national monument built according to the designs of Alfredo Leit in 1973. It was once home to the National Archives but today is home to the National Ministry of the Arts, Culture and Sports.

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The Seychelles National Archives are home to valuable government records and historical documents. This collection goes back to the discovery of the islands in the early 1770s. There is a vast collection of photos from the early days of colonization. Visitors can have guided tours.

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The best way to get a good feel of the life on the islands is to visit the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market. This busy and colorful market has been in the heart of the capital since 1840. It is the best place to shop for spices, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. The atmosphere here is particularly lively on Saturday mornings and in the nearby street you can find boutiques and souvenir shops.

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Take the time to visit The National Botanical Gardens which are over a century old. Here visitors can find many endemic, exotic and mature plants in these lovely tropical gardens. All through the gardens you can see spice and fruit trees.

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Giant tortoises will cross your path. In the taller trees visitors can spot the fruit bats that roost and feed there. The orchid house has a large variety of blossoms among them many native varieties.

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The most prominent feature in this small capital is the Victoria Clock Tower which is known to locals as the Lorloz. It has been a focal point in the city for more than 100 years and unchanged from its original 1897 design.

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The Liberation Monument is one of the country’s major political landmarks and can be found near the People’s Stadium. It was built to commemorate those who revolted against colonial injustice and oppression in 1977. The monument takes the form of a man with both arms raised high in a victory stance.

Other Places to Explore in the Seychelles

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In the Vallee de Mai National Park visitors can see black parrots among the coco de mer palm blooms. This is one of the Seychelles’ most amazing UNESCO reserve.

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Visitors can hike along the winding trails and enjoy seeing such creatures as the tiger chameleon and chirping geckos.

Tropical beach at Seychelles

You’ll see the coast of lovely La Digue where great granite rocks seem to crumble into the waves of the Indian Ocean and palms dance in the Trade Winds. This is the third largest inhabited island in the archipelago. Here visitors can find the rock-studded sands of Anse Source d’Argent

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and the craggy hills of the Veuve Nature Reserve. You can find rare paradise flycatchers and giant tortoises along the beach fronts.

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Aldabra is the second-largest coral atoll in the world. It is a wonderful place with white sands and coral and rock formations. It has been designated by UNESCO for its rich biodiversity.

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Here you can find sharks, manta rays, coconut crabs, flying foxes

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and the giant tortoise of which Aldabra has the largest number in the world.

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Cousin Island is home to the rare Hawksbill turtle, the uber-rare Seychelles warbler and the Seychelles magpie robin. At one time this island was a coconut plantation.

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Today it is a protected reserve and draws many bird watchers and turtle seekers. The coast is lined with coconut palms and casuarinas as well as eco-lodges and luxurious villas.

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Praslin Island is home to Grand Anse which counts as one of the longest beaches in all of the Seychelles. A wide horseshoe curve of yellow-white sand stretching for much of the length of the island’s west coast.

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Here you’ll also find lovely hotels and guesthouses as well as fragrant hibiscus and frangipani. Grand Anse is a great place for swimmers and snorkelers and lots of different water sports.

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North of Praslin is Aride Island which has a large population of interesting seabirds.

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There are coconut palms with rare blue pigeons and magpies. Turtle Beach with shimmering sands and windblown cliffs.

Posted by: Rasma R | August 20, 2017

Traveling in Rwanda


Rwanda is country in East Africa that is landlocked and has a green, mountainous landscape. It is renowned for its national park and wildlife.

Exploring the Capital Kigali

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The capital of Rwanda is Kigali and is located in the center of the country. It has many hills, ridges and valleys.

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Kigali Genocide Memorial honors an estimated 250,000 people that were the victims of the Interashamwe Army and buried here in mass graves. There is an exhibition that explains how it all happened. Visitors can get an informative audio tour. There are many descriptive photos of what took place.

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Upstairs is a section that offers visitors information about other genocides that have taken place around the world and helps put Rwanda’s nightmare into historical perspective. There is a lovely rose garden and a cafe to relax in.

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Inema Art Center is a collective of ten resident artists and guests. It has become the foremost modern art gallery in Kigali.

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There are paintings, sculptures and traditional crafts. There are dance and music performances and courses. Much of the art is for sale and can be shipped internationally.

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Camp Kigali Memorial is a spot where ten Belgian UN peacekeepers were murdered on the first day of the genocide.

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Each stone column represents one of the soldiers and the horizontal cuts in it represent the soldier’s age. The bullet-sprayed building in which the soldiers died has a small exhibition on the genocide.

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Museum of Natural History is Kigali’s best museum. It offers exhibits on Rwanda’s geology and natural wonders. The museum found its home in the 1907 residence of explorer Richard Kandt and is reputed to be the first building in Kigali. There is a wonderful view from the garden overlooking the city.

The Rwanda State House Museum, built in 1976 as the residence of

The State House Museum is a former presidential palace located on the eastern outskirts of the city. It is an amazing place to explore with secret room and a presidential nightclub.

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The wreckage of Juvenal Habyarimana’s presidential plane can be seen right in the spot where it was shot down just over the garden wall.

Taking a Look at Rwanda

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Huye was once known as Butare and many locals still know it by that name.

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It is home to the National University and the National Institute of Scientific Research as well as other learning centers.

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Visitors can hear stories of the Old Tutsi monarchs at the National Museum of Rwanda and can enjoy the Huye Market.

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Volcanos National Park is an amazing place to explore. All around is the wild, mist-topped backcountry. Above it rises such mighty mountains as Karisimi and Sabyinyo. All around there are craggy volcanic peaks, lush montane forests and thick groves of African redwoods.

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You can see the uber-rare mountain gorilla.

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Comoran Lodge 

Kibuye is a lovely town jutting out into the waters of Lake Kivu. It is surrounded by high hills. You can find little eco lodges on the shores, an interesting Catholic church and a memorial to the Rwandan genocide.

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There are also some empty beaches and many boats for tours.

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Akagera National Park has savannah and riparian swamps. It borders Tanzania. Here you can see herds of giraffes, antelopes, jackals and much more. Visitors enjoy taking safaris.

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The Kagera River gives way to the waters of Lake Shakani. There are papyrus swamps and protected birding areas.

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Lake Kivu sits among the hills and mountains of the Albertine Rift Valley. Gisenyi is located in the place where the African jungles cascade down grassy hills with palm trees and exotic cassiyas. The banks of the lake are lined with bamboo shacks and eco lodges.

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Nyanza is home to the ancient King’s Palace. This was one of the last capitals of the pre-colonial Kingdom of Rwanda. There are many bits of history to be discovered in the museum.

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The town is also home to the Rwesero Art Museum offering a rich collection of art.

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Step into the mystical world of Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is the single largest enclave of montane forest that remains in this corner of the continent. There are thick canopies of mahoganies and clambering jungle vines.

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You can see chimpanzees, rare golden monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys and huge baboons.

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Gisuma is the king of coffee in Rwanda. It sits among the foothills and sylvan valleys which rise to the Nyungwe Forest. Even though the town is small it is well-known for its coffee the world over. The area around the town is lovely with rolling fields of coffee and mountains all around.

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The waters and surrounding area of Lake Muhazi are a favorite place for relaxation.

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The banks have many secluded picnic spots and there is a popular country club with volleyball courts, quiet cabanas, eateries and bike and boat rentals.

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Gishwati Forest National Park is the place where mass migrations of refugees headed during the genocide in the 1990s and has suffered from deforestation. You can see bare ridges and rolling meadows. Thousands of new trees are to be planted by 2020.

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The green highlands and woods are beautiful and are home to the L’Hoest’s monkeys and chimps.

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Posted by: Rasma R | August 15, 2017

Terrific Tanzania


Tanzania is a country in East Africa known for its vast wilderness areas. There are many national parks for visitors to get up close to nature and wildlife.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Africa’s highest mountain peak. It is located in northern Tanzania and visitors mostly come here for the challenge of climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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It is a World Heritage Site. The mountain rises from farmland to rainforest and alpine meadow then up to barren lunar landscape at the peaks.

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The rainforest slopes are home to buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, elephants and eland. The alpine zone is home to birds with many birds of prey.

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Serengeti National Park is mostly a vast treeless plain where millions of animals search looking for fresh grassland. “Serengeti” means an “extended place” in the Maasai language.This is the largest national park in Tanzania and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The annual migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest happens in May or early June.

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There are large herds of antelope as well as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bat eared fox, hunting dog and jackal. There are nearly 500 species of birds.

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The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of two islands – Zanzibar and Pemba.

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Zanzibar is also known as Unguja and is a major holiday destination due to its lovely beaches. This island has some of the best beaches in the world with varying surf. Visitors delight in soft white sand and clear shallow water.

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Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar. There are grand old Arabian homes that line the narrow streets and winding alleyways. Many of the houses in the town were built in the 19th century when Zanzibar was one of the most important Swahili trading towns in the Indian Ocean.

Stone Town is the world’s oldest functioning Swahili city and lots of the landmarks have been restored to their former glory. Some of the historic buildings have been made into museums.

Take a walk along Creek Road and it will take you to the original Stone Town.

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Central Darajani Market, Beit el-Amani, City Hall,

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the Anglican Church. Other key highlights include

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the Forodhani Gardens,

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the Old Dispensary with carved wooden balconies,

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the former home of the sultans known as Beit el-Sahel or the People’s Palace,

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the Hamamni Persian Baths built in 1888 and

La ville de pierre de Zanzibar (République-Unie de Tanzanie)

the oldest structure, the Old Fort.

Sea Kayaking. Pemba Island. Zanzibar Tanzania

Pemba Island is less visited. Visitors can watch traditional bullfighting from December to February. This is a hilly island with deep valleys and has become popular with mountain bikers who are drawn to the 1,000 meter peaks.

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Clove tree flowers

Pemba is a major world clove producer and well-known for its juju traditions of medicine and magic. People come from all over East Africa to learn from the voodoo and traditional healers and to seek cures.

Large numbers of blue wildebeest (gnu), Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara. It is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and is one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. The huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water. Visitors enjoy viewing the large game and birds. Of interest in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge.

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The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world and is nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world’s tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. On the crater floor you can see lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles and buffaloes. There are a great many wildebeests and zebras.

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Hippos enjoy submerging themselves during the day and grazing in the grasses in the evening.


The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site that is situated on a series of fault lines. Centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind.

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Lake Manyara National Park consists of forest, woodland, grassland and swamps. Two-thirds of the park is covered by water. At Lake Manyara you can see thousands of flamingoes and other diverse bird life.

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The highlight of the parks is observing the large elephant population, tree-climbing lions and hippos.

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It also has the largest concentration of baboons in the world.

Popular activities here are wildlife drives, canoeing, mountain bike tours and bird watching.

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Mafia Island attracts divers and snorkelers from all over the world. The undersea world here is protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park. There are excellent coral gardens, a great variety of fish and fantastic diving atmosphere. Lots of birds and 400 fish species. The island is also the traditional breeding ground for the green turtle, which is close to extinction.

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This is also a desirable location for deep-sea fishing particularly for tuna, marlin, sailfish and other big-game fish.

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Tarangire National Park was established in 1970. It is best to visit during the dry season from July to September when animals can be found along the river. During the dry season you can find a large concentration of migratory wildlife among them wilde beets, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, harte beest and eland. Among the highlights here are the Baobab trees in the grassy landscape.

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This is a great park for bird watching with over 300 species like buzzards, vultures, herons, storks, kites, falcons and eagles.

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Selous Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in Africa. It was established in 1922. The southern area is a forbidden zone which is underdeveloped heavily forested and has a series of steep cliffs.

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Travelers are limited to the area north of the Rufiji River. Here visitors can find grassland, woodland, rivers, hills and plains. The river bisects the game reserve and has the largest catchment area of any river in East Africa. Here you can find elephants, hippos and rhinos as well as buffalo, antelope, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, lion, leopard and cheetah. Over 350 bird species.

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Arusha National Park is smaller than most in Tanzania. It consists of the forest of Mount Meru, Ngurdoto Crater in the southeast section and Momela Lakes, a series of seven crater lakes.

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In the forested area you can see black and white Colobus monkeys while the marshy floor of the crater has herds of buffalo, zebra and warthog.

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Mount Meru is one of the most beautiful volcanoes in Africa and the second highest mountain in Tanzania. The summit can be reached by a narrow ridge that offers great views of the volcanic cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater. The ascent takes visitors through parkland, forest, a giant heather zone and moorland.

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Ruaha National Park counts as the least accessible park in Tanzania. Here birdwatchers can see more than 400 species of bird. There is the river, spectacular gorges and majestic trees. It is Tanzania’s second largest park and has large herds of buffalo, elephant and gazelle.

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The Great Ruaha River is the park’s main feature with wildlife on both banks. The river also provides much of the electricity to Tanzania through a hydroelectric dam at Kidatu.

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Katavi National Park is located in a remote location and offers unspoiled wilderness. Its predominant feature is the enormous flood plain divided by the Katuma River and several seasonal lakes. The lake has a huge groups of hippos, crocodiles and more than 400 species of birds.

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One of the spectacular happenings is at the end of the dry season when as many as 200 hippos try to squeeze into a pool of water.

During the dry season herds of impala, reedbuck, lions, zebras and giraffes can be seen at the remaining streams and pools. There are an estimated 4,000 elephants and several herds of buffalo.

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Gombe Stream National Park is the place visitors go to when they want to get away from the beaten path and get a look at chimpanzees. It is the smallest national park in Tanzania and famous for the work of Jane Goodall. The British researcher arrived in 1960 to study the wild chimpanzees.

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Visitors are taken on guided walks to observe chimps in the wild. Many different species of primates and mammals live in the park. There are more than 200 species of bird in the tropical forest among them barbets, starlings, sunbirds, crowned eagles, kingfishers and the palm-nut vulture.

Among the popular activities here are hiking and swimming. A forest trail leads to a waterfall in the valley.

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Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa. It’s bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This lake is the source of the White Nile. The towns of Bukoba, Musoma and Mwanza have some attractions.

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There are many islands near Mwanza and Musoma.

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Popular excursions are bird watching and fishing trips. Boat trips and hikes can be arranged.

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Posted by: Rasma R | August 13, 2017

Kenya In the East African Rift Valley


Kenya offers visitors lost of wildlife, national parks and game reserves. There are many miles of coastline along the Indian Ocean with plenty of beaches. Its capital Nairobi is one of the largest metropolises in all of East Africa.

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Maasai Mara is home to the single most famous safari park in the world. To the south it borders Tanzania’s celebrated Serengeti National Park.

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You can see savannah plains with galloping zebra herds, swaying grasslands with stalks of giraffes, meadow with topi and waterholes surrounded by cape buffalo. Visitors love to go on safari and see the fabled Big Five of African mammals.

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Lamu Island is surrounded by sandbanks, mangrove swamps and the waters of the

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Indian Ocean on the eastern edge of Kenya.

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It is home to one of the most historically rich towns in the country. Lamu Old Town is a historic port with whitewashed facades and tropical timber wood housed.

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Amboseli National Park is a fine national park. It finds itself in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

A herd of zebra drinking, Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Here you can find plains and savannahs and riparian wetlands. It has some of the largest elephant herds in the country. You can see cheetahs, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras and more.

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Hell’s Gate National Park finds itself between the capital Nairobi and the backcountry town of Nakuru in southern Kenya. It is considered to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s “The Lion King”.

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There are high escarpments and deep valleys with such interesting names like Fischer’s Tower and Embarta.

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You can expect to see wildebeests and vultures as well as African buffalo, gazelles and plenty of lions.

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Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in all of East Africa. It is one of the best safari destinations in the world.

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There are swaying savannah grasses and red-hued rocks rising like escarpments. On the eastern edge of the park  flows the Athi River giving way to the great stones of Yatta which is one of the largest lava channels in the world.

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You can see white-tailed mongooses, cape buffalo, ground pangolins and cheetahs.


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Mombasa is an interesting place to visit. It was influenced by Portuguese and Arabic rulers.

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There is the European-style Old Town and the lovely Mombasa port.

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There are shimmering white sand beaches and palm tree groves.

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The Samburu National Reserve is surrounded by rising highlands and is shadowed by Mount Kenya.  The terrain has flat-topped acacia trees and there are riparian oases of palms.

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Among wildlife you’ll see lions, gazelles, Tanzanian cheetahs, waterbucks, crocodiles and olive baboons.

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Lake Nakuru has its own national park. The lake rises above the Great Rift Valley between acacia groves and meadows. There are a lot of birds among them many flamingos.

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Visitors can get a lookout over the park from Baboon Cliff. You can take hikes along dirt tracks and see Eastern black rhinos, baboons and migrating birds.

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The Laikipia District is one of Keny’s prime ecotourism hotspots. The region offers hikes through its natural backcountry. There are sweeping green highlands and hills. You can see zebras, wild dogs and black rhinos.

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