Seven Reasons to visit South Africa

Safari, exotic animals, rugby, football, extreme sports, incredible beaches and quality restaurants are just a few of the ingredients that transformed a country that was associated with street fights into one of the most important tourist destinations of the world. Mark from www.belairstairsrailings.com just came back and said it was beautiful. Of course, he enjoyed the ironwork and metalwork on many of the older buildings. Here’s seven beautiful attractions of South Africa.

 

  1. South AfricaThe National Park Kruger

The place is considered a true heaven for South African hunters. The park has a length of 360 kilometers North-South and 64 kilometers East-West. It’s a huge park where the tourists can see real wildlife shows. It is one of the most popular natural reservations in the world.

  1. Here you can see the world’s biggest baobab.

The South African natives believed that this tree offended the Creator, and he planted the tree upside down. The tree that we’re talking about today is located in the small town of Modijadjiskloof from the North of the country and it’s age is over 6000 years. It is older than Egyptian pyramids and it lived before the Sahara became a huge desert.

  1. The Sudwala Caves

Located in the Mpumalanga province they are considered the oldest caves in the world, with an age of 240 million years. Also, the rocks of the caves date since Precambrian era, being formed 3.8 billion years ago. The caves are one of the most important touristic attractions of South Africa.

  1. The Durban Beaches

Palm trees, golden sand, huge waves and five star hotels are waiting the tourists at the shore of the Indian Ocean. The locals call the beaches the Miami Beach of Africa and the tourists that have visited them can confirm this name is not exaggerated. The Durban is one of the biggest ports in the world and a true paradise of the tourists that are willing to relax on an exotic beach.

  1. The Robben island

This island doesn’t have any amazing beaches or luxurious hotels, there’s no historic sites or anything of this kind.  On the Robben Island you can see a huge jail. In this jail was locked the president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners. Another interest point on the island is the colony of penguins and seals that live on the island. The Robben island is a true cemetery of Dutch and British ships from the past few centuries.

  1. The Blyde River Canyon

It is one of the most beautiful canyons in the world. A true jewel of the South Africa it is the third largest canyons of the world. It is the only green canyon on the planet. There’s no less than 60 kilometers of wild nature, cascades, unique geological structure and almost 40 kilometers caves and caverns.

  1. Garden Route

Garden route is one of the most spectacular images of the southern African nature. It is a sample of what a trip to south Africa can show you. It is formed where the Indian Ocean meets the Tsitsikamma Mountains and Outeniqua Mountains. Garden Route is a true proof of the beauty that nature can create.

 

The ultimate guide of the solo traveler

Traveling alone might seem scary at first, but discovering a new city by yourself is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. There are plenty of last-minute city break offers on the internet that are worth your attention. Discovering a new city by yourself is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. Nowadays you can get from London to Paris, from Paris to Berlin and from Berlin to Bruxelles in just a few hours with the Eurostar train. Traveling around Europe was never as easy as it is nowadays. The Western and Northwestern regions of Europe have a developed an amazing infrastructure, that connects the capitals and the most important cities.

solo travelerOne of the most important things that you should do before starting a solo trip is to make sure that you know how the transportation system works in the city you are about to visit. Some cities have unique tickets for trains and buses, some have one-day passes while in other places you can buy the ticket directly from the bus driver. Research this information on the internet and study the most important routes.

Make a realistic budget for your trip and research the main attraction points of the city you are about to visit. You can buy most of the access tickets to the main touristic attraction online. For Vatican, for example, you can buy the one-day pass online and you avoid the 3 hours queue that usually forms at the entrance. There’s a huge number of tourists that visit these places every day and it’s not fun spending half of the time you have in the city staying at these huge queues that form in front of the museums and other attractions, especially if you are there by yourself. If you didn’t buy the tickets online and you decided to wait at the queue, you can make the best of it by making new friends from different corners of the world. You should also look for freebies. In the big cities there are many museums, parks and other attractions that have free entrance.

Try the traditional food of each place you visit. Install TripAdvisor and look for the best traditional restaurants of the city you are visiting. Even though it might seem scary to try new tastes, we promise it is worth it. Each region has its own special dishes, some very popular worldwide, and some specific recipes that the locals have kept for themselves.

Travel light. A three days city break does not require too many clothes. A big luggage requires attention and might be uncomfortable. Instead of carrying a huge trolley, try to fit everything you need for a 3 days trip in a medium size backpack. Leave your laptop at home, you will not have time to spend on the internet if you want to discover a new city.

Look for freebies. In the big cities there are many museums, parks and other attractions that can be visited.

10 Tips on How to Pass Time While Traveling

So you are looking forward to traveling but you are stuck on a plane, bus or train for some long hours. Bummer! Transportation is one of the most dreadful moment during travel. The boredom is out of this world, not to mention the fatigue that comes after. 10 tips are listed below to help you overcome boredom and pass time while traveling.

  1. TravelingSleep

Most people resort to this as it’s the easiest. Also, traveling is stressful and hectic so anytime you get a chance to rest your head, do it. Of course, precaution is advised. Some train routes may be unsafe but if you are on a plane, then by all means, sleep.

  1. Journal

Writing your thoughts down is a great distraction. It is also a perfect way to keep a detailed record or account of your journey to pass time. While at it, you could also use this time to do some planning and make some to-do lists.

  1. Read

When you decide to read you are really spoilt for choice as there is a lot of material available. It could be an airport novel, history about the country you are traveling to, a magazine, etc.

  1. Play Online Games

Games are another fun way to pass time. If you don’t want something too engaging, playing games will do.

  1. Observe

You can choose to observe the scenery and soak in the beauty of nature. Those who have tried this before can attest to the calming effect it has on someone.

  1. Watch Movies

There is no better time to catch up on movies you had on your waiting list. Most planes nowadays have this entertainment option. You get uninterrupted time to watch and choose from any genre that you like.

  1. Music

Headphones on, plus your favorite album on will take you to a whole new world of your own. If you are trying to fall asleep with no success, try music. It gives you a soothing feeling and before you know it, you will be at your destination.

  1. Strike Up a Conversation

You can easily make friends with other travelers or your seatmate. It is an effortless way to meet new people and you never know who the next person might be. It would be great though if you don’t prolong the conversation because it can get tiresome or boring.

  1. Some Phrases in a Foreign Language

If you are traveling over very long distances, chances are there is a different language or dialect there from what you are familiar with. An interesting thing to do would be to learn some basic phrases that you absolutely must use.

  1. Meditate

Travel is stressful and meditation will calm your nerves down almost instantly. Alternatively, you can choose to daydream as you look out the window and watch the world going by. Let your imagination come alive!

How to Travel Alone

The thought of traveling alone can be daunting for many especially if you have never traveled anywhere alone. The questions that come to mind are security, accidents, getting lost and many more self-doubts that may arise from the sheer thought of it.

However, many advantages come from traveling alone, and the disadvantages can be minimized by taking precaution and following some simple tips on how to travel alone. Below is what you need to do to have the best individual traveling experience.

  1. How to Travel AloneResearch and plan your destination

Before you embark on your solo traveling, research the destination you intend to visit. The research will help you prepare adequately and determine critical things such as;

  • Weather conditions
  • Topography of the area
  • Security of the destination
  • Price range for various commodities

After acquiring the relevant information plan accordingly by packing the necessary gear to combat any huddle that you may come across. Remember not planning is planning for disaster so take your time and use as much information and resources as possible.

  1. Determine a path and follow it to the letter

When you are embarking on traveling alone make sure you pre-determine the places you will visit; don’t wander off this route or path for whatever reason. This is imperative especially for the first time solo travelers for purposes of avoiding accidents or unprecedented, unpleasant events that you had not planned for.

A pre-determined path will also save you the trouble of getting lost forcing you to spend more resources and wasting a lot of time retracing your steps.

  1. Make and adhere to your budget

If you know you have limited resources, it will be great if you could make a budget to ensure you have maximum fun while traveling but still keeping to your budget. It is also advisable you save some cash for emergencies or miscellaneous costs. Knowledge of the currency of the country you are traveling to in case of international travel can also come in hand.

  1. Book accommodation in advance

Booking accommodation in advance may be wise since some destinations have an unpredictable surge of visitors and tourists, forcing you to settle in crappy motels. Look for good hotels and book in advance to ensure you have a beautiful and nice place to spend the night.

  1. Buy travel insurance

Many people ignore travel insurance, but when traveling solo, your well-being and protection should be a priority. Ensure to look out for the best insurance cover just in case you encounter accidents or loss in your adventure.

  1. Pack light

You are not moving to another city; you are only traveling; this is mostly for the ladies. Remember you may end up buying some things while you are vacationing. Because you will be outdoors most of the time, don’t carry a lot of bags with unnecessary items. Just pack the necessities and embark on your travel.

  1. Security

Finally, ensure to be always aware of your surroundings. Avoid eating things from strangers or following strangers to less populated areas. Make sure you are in constant communication with a friend or a family member. Develop a check in of every 2 hours where you call and inform them on your locations and activities. Take your security seriously and in case of anything contact the police or notify the hotel management.

For some more ideas on this topic check out this Rick Steves article.

Airport Lounge Etiquette

The airport lounge is an interesting place to see a variety of characters. From the outside, travel is all glamorous no matter the stars or airplane ticket one has. However, there are hidden hassles and frustration of parking shuttles, airport drives, frisking, rude passengers, lines and more lines, lost luggage, you name it. Here are some dos and donts to guide you on your behavior at the airport lounge.

  • Loud callsAirport Lounge

Try as best as possible to keep your voice in check. A whisper is not necessary; your normal speaking voice will do. Nobody really wants to hear the details of your trip or adventures so keep it down.

  • Share the power outlets

As only a number of power outlets are available in lounges, don’t be selfish if you happen to get a hold of them first. Sometimes other people need them urgently even for just a bit. If you happen to be the one requesting to use one, be polite and courteous to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

  • Don’t hog on food and drinks

First off, if you have to drink before boarding a plane, make sure you are hydrated. A few drinks are okay but don’t overdo it and be labeled as the intoxicated passenger. You have to at least remain a sober mind for your safety and that of your luggage. Intoxication will lead you to become a nuisance to your fellow travelers.

  • Clean after yourself

That they aren’t trash cans in many lounges is appalling but that shouldn’t be an excuse to make a mess of your area. Wrap up your peels nicely or whatever litter you have and dispose of it once you get the chance. But for pits sake don’t throw it on the floor.

  • Check the bags you bring on-board

The staff is normally on the look-out for too big or too many bags. To save yourself the embarrassment or unnecessary arguments, follow the airport’s rules and policy for everyone’s peace of mind.

  • Park your luggage well

The lounge is a pretty crowded place and so what might help matters and ease of access by other people is strategic placement of your carry-ons. Try not to put them along walkways rather prop them against the walls or the chairs if possible.

  • Use earphones/headphones

If you are going to use your computer/phone to listen to music, play movies, or Skype, use some headphones. It can be quite annoying to be the one sitting next to people who assumes you are interested in whatever genre of music or movies they are listening to watching.

  • Control your kids

Nobody wants a screaming child at the airport lounge. It’s understandable that kids do throw tantrums from time to time but you can help prevent this by warning them way beforehand to avoid the frustration and shame that comes with their public tantrums.

  • Queueing

It takes at least 20 minutes before everyone settles in the plane so take your time and relax in the lounge. You don’t have to rush when the gate opens but be cautious and attentive so that you don’t miss your flight.

 

 

Why you Should Visit Atlanta this Year

Atlanta is not only Georgia’s largest city but also one of the country’s largest airport hubs and a popular destination for those seeking to have a city break. So, what can you do here? Why should you travel to this city? These are questions every other traveler asks whenever they hear someone talk about a given destination. Of course, every person usually has their preference when it comes to traveling. Atlanta is known for being home to world-class museums, luxurious mega-malls, major sporting events, Civil War lore galore, and a sizzling food scene. From history lovers to sports-enthusiasts, this city has everything you’d want to explore and experience as a traveler. If you’re still wondering why you need to travel to Atlanta this year, here are some of the reasons.

The Story of Civil Rights

Everyone has at least read or heard about the Civil Rights Movement and its history in fighting against segregation in the United States. What you might have never known is that Atlanta lies at the heart of this movement. Let’s just say this is the city that has significantly contributed to and guided the progression and advancement of the human rights across the United States and the entire world. If you’re a history lover, you must visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. There’s also the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site where travelers visit to explore the Freedom Road Exhibit.

Atlanta is a City of Nature

In addition to learning history, travelers come here to explore the numerous parks in Atlanta. You’ll find one of the world’s biggest aquarium here. If you also want to learn more about conservation, there’s a zoo in Atlanta that entirely focuses on that area. The Georgia Aquarium features thousands of sea animals while Atlanta’s Zoo is home to hundreds of different animals.

City Pit Shops

Some of us simply want to visit a place where we can enjoy live music and shop in vintage clothing shops while exploring diverse areas. If you belong to this group, you better add Atlanta to your travel list. Atlanta not only has beautiful areas to explore but is a city characterized by quirky fun and lots of adventurous activities. Two places you must visit here are the East Atlanta Village and the Little Five Points. You may also consider spending some time in downtown Decatur where you’ll find local outdoor events and great food in restaurants.

Tasty Goods

Who wants to visit a destination where they can’t even find a barbeque market with burger stands and pizza shops? Atlanta is one of those cities where you’ll find something for everyone. From steakhouses to oyster bars and five-star restaurants, this city will take care of all your needs. One site you must visit is the Atlanta Food Truck Park where locals and travelers come together to explore the local art, experience local food and drink, and also pick up fresh produce from the locals. When it comes to entertainment, the city features a vibrant nightlife culture which includes comedy clubs, live music venues, and nightclubs.