South Africa: A Top Destination in 2015

The Garden Route is one of the most precious treasures in South Africa ... photo by CC user dlbezaire on Flickr

After hosting the World Cup successfully in 2010, South Africa’s profile has been elevated in the international travel media, which has been transitioning to a respected nation in the world after the trouble filled times that defined much of its 20th century.

Below, we profile several South Africa multi centre holiday ideas that will help you make your trip there as good as it ought to be.

Go on safari in Kruger National Park

One of the activities that South Africa is best known for are wildlife safaris, as they enable foreigners to see animals (like lions, rhinos and giraffes) in the wild that they have only ever seen within the bounds of their local zoo.

There is no better place in the entire country to see these majestic animals then in Kruger National Park, which has protected the massive mammals located located therein since 1898. In addition to the safari tours that are widely available, visitors can also observe a restored village from the Iron Age which sheds light on human life in Southern Africa many thousands of years ago.

Explore the many wonders of the Cape Peninsula

Many tours begin or end in the Cape Town area, and there many things to do within the city and in the rural areas that surround it.

Colorful neighborhoods, outstanding restaurants and views from high atop Table Mountain are all great side attractions to the major historical sight in the area, which is Robbin Island, which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades during the days of Apartheid.

Outside the city, there are many vineyards that produce some of the world’s best wines, and along the coast, lucky explorers can get to see penguins waddling along the beaches on the Cape Peninsula.

Discover the Garden Route

If you feel like going on a road trip after puttering around the Cape Peninsula, then perhaps driving the Garden Route should be a quest that you should undertake, as it is one of the places in this nation that make it such an outstanding destination.

Named for the abundant vegetation that grows due to plentiful rains throughout the year, this road takes you along a route that is sandwiched between mountains and the Southern Ocean, with plenty of hidden sandy coves to discover along the way.

Whale and dolphin watching tours are available in many of the towns and villages on the route, so be sure to take a day to discover South Africa’s marine wildlife.

UPDATE: For more information on South Africa and other destinations across Africa and around the world, be sure to check out http://www.travel-spots.co.uk/ for the hottest places to travel in 2017.

The Great Hike: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park ... photo by CC user GuyFrancis on wikimedia

Americans love it, the world is simply mesmerized by it, welcome to Yosemite National Park. Not so long ago, two great free climbers managed to scale the full height of Yosemites El Cap or Dawn wall.

This feat is not something that happens overnight; in fact, the two free climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson planned their ascent for many years. Judging by their sheer dedication, Yosemite is really something worth traveling for. For your next itinerary, make sure that you have your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) Visa with you for a smooth travel experience when entering the USA.

There are not so many free climbers in the world, some are just casual indoor wall climbers, myself included. But given the chance, I would also do my best to summit the magnificent and scary Dawn Wall of Yosemite.

Nonetheless, you dont have to be a professional climber to fully experience Yosemite. Any dedicated backpacker can explore Yosemite in a whole new way without clinging to ropes and sticking your fingers on a little crack on the wall to inch up closer to the summit.

Backpackers have the tendency to pack up heavily and chances are that they fail to even reach half of the summit because of dead weight. The novel idea is to leave almost all of the heavy stuff behind and just bring your normal day climbing stuff.

The popular High Sierra Camp Hikes offer the best hiking on Yosemite with the emphasis on convenience. High Sierra Camps allow you to hike the best high country trails without carrying over 40 kilos of heavy camping materials.

There are 5 camps on a stunning 85 kilometer loop, each with their own amenities such as tent cabins, cots, blankets, even the trekker friendly chuck wagon that spits outs ready-to-eat meals.

To make your hike easily manageable, you can start at the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge tracking the loop from behind; think about it like reading a book starting from the last page.

The advantage of this method is that it somehow gives an illusion that everything is off to an easy start. However, nothing is easy on Yosemite National Park. You really need to work it if you want to enjoy your hiking adventure.

Tracking the river also allows you to pass through fantastic meadows littered with wildflowers all the way to Glen Aulin camp, followed by May Lake just 13 kilometers ahead.

When you get to the Sunrise Camp, you start having sudden surges of adrenaline. Whilst youre tackling Sunrise Camp, you can be invigorated by the breathtaking view of the early sun rays that hit the ground at first light.

The colors are simply stunning and for the lack of words simply profound. The technical climb is at the Matthes Crest, strictly for professionals only or if you have a background for really challenging climbs.

If time is not on your side, you can proceed directly to Vernal Fall whilst passing through the Mist Trails. The scenery here is simply stunning; with the the tall plume exhibiting natural light shows doing most of the talking.

Yosemite hiking is not for the faint of heat but with sheer dedication, anybody can discover the great secrets of the national park.

Want to check out the best part of West Africa? Check out the best time to visit Côte d’Ivoire…

With most of this nation's beaches being located in the equatorial zone, any time is the best time to visit Côte d'Ivoire

Knowing the best time to visit Cote d’Ivoire will allow you to make the most out of your trip in this West African country. Known for its pristine beaches, tourist villages and safaris, Cote d’Ivoire (or Ivory Coast) is one of the region’s best tourist destinations.

But who wants to go to the beach on a rainy season? No one. So it’s best to do your homework and research the best time to visit Cote d’Ivoire to make your trip worthwhile and memorable. Here’s a little guide to the country’s climate:

Climate in each region. Cote d’Ivoire’s climate varies depending on the location. Along the coast, the climate is tropical, while the far north has a semi-arid climate. The south, on the other hand has an equatorial climate with rainy seasons during May to November.

Climate in general. Cote d’Ivoire generally has three seasons: Warm and Dry, which lasts from November to March, Hot and dry, from March to May, Hot and Wet from June to November.

Weatherwise, the best time to visit Cote d’Ivoire would be from November to March when the temperatures are quite bearable and the humidity is quite low compared to the rest of the year, except in the southern parts of the country where the humidity remains high but still quite bearable.

If you’re heading out to the south, on the other hand, it’s best to avoid the rainy season which falls on May to November if you don’t want to be stuck in the hotel the entire duration of your trip in Cote d’Ivoire.

But be warned: from January to early February, the sand-laden wind from the Sahara called the harmattan blows and covers everything in yellow dust. So it’s best to avoid visiting Cote d’Ivoire during this time, unless you plan to stay indoors for the entire duration of your trip in the country.

The Best Brazilian Art Museums for the Refined Culture Hound

These works from the Museu de Arte Sacra rank among the best Brazilian art museums

Brazilian art is rarely pre-Columbian in nature and mostly a reflection of Western art. Portugal colonized Brazil in the mid-16th century, a time when most of the country was still primitive and had no specific art form.

By the late 16th century, local artistry was born thanks to Western influences and it continues to evolve until this day. The best Brazilian art museums are great places to witness local art and how it has evolved.

Museu de Arte Sacra, Mariana

The museum has some of the best collections of sacred Brazilian art. It can be found in Mariana, a small town located right outside of Ouro Preto. Museu de Arte Sacra also has an impressive collection of gold and silver artwork which complement the colonial mansion where they’re displayed.

Museu de Oratoria

It is located behind the main square of Ouro Preto. Just as its name suggests, the museum boasts a collection of oratories or small altars kept by home owners so they can pray without having to visit a church.

Oratories of different colors and designs are displayed on the museum. Among them are those of Afro-Brazilian origin which, due to the influence of Candomblé religion, are decorated with shells and flowers.

Ouro Preto is one of Brazil’s best preserved colonial towns. Although you can’t fly directly there, Belo Horizonte is about 100 km away and plenty of airlines like the biggest in the country, TAM, fly there.

Monument to Latin America

The landmark is not your typical Brazilian art but represents it nonetheless. It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, a famous Brazilian architect. The monument is a good example of modernist Brazilian art. You can find it in São Paulo.

Pinacoteca de Estado

Situated in São Paulo, the city has a massive collection of Brazilian art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among them are the creations of Alfredo Ceschiatti who is known for his Brasilia sculptures.

Museu de Arte Sacra, Salvador

Not to be confused with Museu de Arte Sacra of Mariana, the museum has one of the country’s best collections of Catholic art. Included in these collections are oratorios, oil paintings, and silver work. The Catholic Brazilian art works are displayed at the monastery connected to Igreja de Santa Teresa, a building with architecture worth admiring.

The Best Switzerland Attractions To See On Your Holiday

The best Switzerland attractions are the ones that involve the mountains in its scenic backyard...

Switzerland has more than vast Alpine meadows, luscious chocolate, and elegant watches to offer. The country also has a wealth of different attractions for nature lovers, adventurers, history buffs, religious faithfuls, and other kinds of travelers. The best Switzerland attractions caters to a wide variety of interests which in turn attracts tourists both young and old alike.

The Benedictine Convent of Saint John Mustair is a must-see for the faithful. It is thought to have been founded by Charlemagne. The date at which it was built is unknown but the murals inside the convent date back to 800 AD. Stucco artwork and Romanesque frescoes may also be seen in its interiors and contributes to its overall charm. The convent’s façade is rather simple and is probably the reason why most tourists don’t include it in their itinerary.

If you love architecture and nature, one of the top reasons to visit Switzerland is Chateau de Chillon. It is strategically located on the eastern edge of Lake Geneva. The beautiful Chillon Castle sits on top of jagged mountains. The castle appears to be surrounded by calm waters from afar and looks like a scene straight out of a movie. The reason why it was isolated is because it served as a medieval fort and prison. Long-abandoned, Chateau de Chillon is now open for tours and for exploring its natural surroundings.

The town of Bellinzona is strictly a historical-only landmark in Switzerland protected by fortified walls. Within its walls are the Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro castles. On the contrary, a strict nature-only attraction in the country is the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area. It is a glacial area with about 35,000 hectares of frozen mountains. It is also home to Aletsch, the lengthiest glacier in the Alps which stretch 23 kilometers long. Hiking, trekking, and skiing opportunities are available to visitors of this nature reserve.

If you’re taking kids with you and if you want them to have fun, take a train that passes through Albula and Bernina. Some of the country’s most scenic landscapes are along these train routes. It’s an effortless way of showing your kids the best of Switzerland. Meanwhile, travelers who adore art should stop by the Fine Arts Museum where works of Picasso, Monet, and other famous painters are on display. Products of Expressionism, Pop Art, and other kinds of art are also on display at the Fine Arts Museum.

Top Tourist Attractions In Newtownabbey

Castle ruins and an old cemetery rank as one of the top tourist attractions in Newtownabbey

If you want to visit Northern Ireland and its towns then here are the top tourist attractions in Newtownabbey for you to delve into in a big town in the County Antrim. It is a great place to start if you want to go to other destinations in Northern Ireland. If you are a sporty type of person then you came at the right place to have your vacation because Newtownabbey’s natural landscape is great for all sorts of outdoor activities.   

One of the most sought after destinations for tourists is the Belfast Zoological Gardens which is home to a lot of species. The place is located in a secluded area at the northeast side of Cavehill which makes it a very serene place for animals and the visitors alike. The zoo also caters exotic and rare animals and tropical plants which will surely amaze you that’s why you shouldn’t miss this great opportunity to see the ring-tailed lemurs, Malayan tapirs, Sumatran Tigers and other animals that will bring you delight.

Don’t forget the Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Center because you get to see a peek on the life of the Mckinney family, who came from Scotland but later on, moved to Ireland. William Fee McKinney was the one who putted up an amazing collection of family letters, diaries, pamphlets, books as well as other items with historical interest. Visitors are very much welcome inside his house. Though the rest of the family is gone, the doors to the Sentry Hill will always be open for you.

Another one of the top tourist attractions in Newtownabbey is the Theater at the Mill. Its facilities are quite outstanding which will definitely give you only the best entertainment. Programs vary from musicals, dances, drama, comedy, concerts and a lot more that will give you a lot of fun and surprises. Not only that, the theatre also has restaurant facilities and a accredited bar that will spice up your evening that’s why a trip to the Theater at the Mill is a must because you will certainly regret if you missed this one.

Now that you know a little bit of the top tourist attractions in Newtownabbey there’s nothing left to do but to plan your trip and enjoy a vacation in one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. Aside from the stunning landscapes, great outdoor activities will definitely liven you up and give your energy a boost that’s why plan it ahead because you don’t want to miss an exciting place such as Newtownabbey. 

Best Time To Visit Itacare

If you want to experience conditions like what you see in this picture, then April to November is the best time to visit Itacare, Brazil

Knowing the best time to visit Itacare can help you make the most of your vacation in this known vacation located in Northeast Brazil.  This famous tourist haunt in Bahia is popular for its amazing beaches, capoeira and a whole lot of culture.

But certain weather conditions and high hotel accommodation prices can put off the savviest traveller.  So it’s best to be prepared early on.  Knowing the best time to visit Itacare can spare you from the hassles associated with travelling to a city or country without prior research.

Here are some pieces of information which could come in handy, should you plan to spend your holidays here.

Weather.  Itacare, just like the rest of Bahia, enjoys a tropical climate with an annual average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.  But things get even warmer from February to March with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.  But things get cooler starting July with a temperature averaging 22 degrees Celsius.

Rainy season is from December to March.

Surf Season.  If you’re here to learn how to surf, or to indulge in the sport, the best time to visit Itacare would be Anytime between May to September.  But on some beaches in Itacare such as Corais and Tiririca offer great waves anytime of the year.

How long can I stay?  Locals would definitely recommend spending a week in Itacare, especially during Carnaval season as there are so many activities you can enjoy with your loved ones, family and friends when you’re there.  There’s just so many things you need to experience in Itacare, such as witnessing Capoeira practices, or maybe having a crash-course on the said martial arts.  In addition, you can enjoy surfing, tasting local delicacies and enjoying the sun, sea and surf.  So there’s no reason not to stay longer in Itacare.

Top Tourist Attractions In Tonga

The enviable beaches easily rank among the top tourist attractions in Tonga

Tonga has had its share of riots but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting the top tourist attractions in Tonga. Its people are friendly and not once have they directed violence against tourists. In fact, the people are so nice that Tonga is called the “Friendly Islands” of the South Pacific. Below are the best sights and experiences this island country has to offer.

1. Tongan Feast refers to a traditional Tongan practice where a group of people – family, friends, or acquaintances – gather to eat their favorite dishes. A maximum of 30 various dishes may be served on pola or banana leaves. It is often accompanied by traditional music and dance on the background as well as kava, an ancient ceremonial ritual. Many local restaurants serve Tongan feasts but prior notice is required.

2. Whale watching is one of the top tourist attractions in Tonga. It’s something you can experience from June until November of each year. During these months, humpback whales travel to Vava’u so they could breed.

3. Nuku’alofa is the capital of Tonga. There are many things to look forward to in this city. First off is the Tonga Royal Palace where King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV lives. You can also visit the city’s Talamahu markets where a variety of fresh produce are sold. Or, you can drop by the Langafonua Women’s Handicraft Centre to get handmade items as souvenirs. The Royal Tombs is also one of the top tourist attractions in Tonga and it’s not too far from the city proper. It is a place where former kings and queens of the country were buried.

4. Sailing is a popular activity in Tonga, particularly around the Vava’u group of islands. Vava’u has a reliable network of waterways, peaceful islands, and a large natural harbour. The perfect time to go sailing in Vava’u is between June and November when humpback whales visit its waters.

5. Lavengatonga is best known for its limestone caves which are among the best tourist spots in Tonga. The caves feature long stretches of stalagmites and stalactites which continue for some distance. At the end of the caves you will find deep, freshwater pools. Lavengatonga is located 24 km from the capital.

Top Tourist Attractions in Barbados

Barbados is an island nation found close to the Caribbean Sea in the Lesser Antilles. The top tourist attractions in Barbados represent the “little Britain” of the coast. Bridgetown is the capital and biggest metropolitan of Barbados and can be accessed through Grantley Adams International Airport. There is a wealth of great accommodation options for every budget to make a stay for almost anyone accessible. Check out the Colony Club Barbados for the best of both worlds. Here are some of the top attractions in Barbados not to miss.

St. Nicholas Abbey found in Cherry Tree Hill belongs is one of the top tourist attractions in Barbados. St. Nicholas Abbey is actually a sugar agricultural estate with an authentic Jacobean Mansion built within it. An educational tour in St. Nicholas Abbey which is one of the historical heritage sites in Barbados allows you to view antique furnishings, structural designs and photographs of its previous landlord and workers. From here you can learn various narratives and legends of the olden times. Also a documentary film is presented along the tour which portrays the life of the plantation around the year 1930s. The total experience here is quite fulfilling and interesting. St. Nicholas Abbey is definitely a must-see when in Barbados.

Situated in the hamlet of Saint Peter occupying 4 acres of mahogany jungle close to the summit of Farley Hill lies the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. The wildlife sanctuary was at first built as a research center for primates in 1982 to safeguard Green Monkeys. In the year 1985, the research center was transformed into a wildlife reserve which was financially supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and is now one of the top tourist attractions in Barbados. At present, aside from displaying Green Monkeys, the Barbados Wildlife Reserve is also home to many other animals which wander with freedom within the vicinity such as Red Brockets, Patagonian Maras, Red-Footed Tortoises, Cuban Rock Iguanas and several varieties of exotic birds.

Being renowned as the most historic town in Barbados, Holetown was formerly named as Jamestown after King James I of England. This town takes pride in showcasing one of the most private resorts of the island featuring astonishing natural and artificial panoramas which are definitely included among the top tourist attractions in Barbados. Among its famous attractions include Paynes Bay, Sandy Lane, Pratts Rock, Sandy Lane Bay and Alleynes Bay which are also ideal for varied aquatic sports. The Holetown celebration is also a broadly distinguished occasion in Barbados which celebrates every year the 1st settlement of Barbados at Holetown in February 1627. The merrymaking usually lasts for about a week showcasing the indigenous artefacts, crafts and the rich history and tradition of Barbados.

Top Things To Do In Maldives

It is essential that you have some idea of the top things to do in Maldives before you buy a ticket. That way, you can hit the ground running the second you land, as there are a wealth of amazing activities to enjoy.

An island nation found in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives receives as many as 900,000 tourists per year. And with its rich culture and amazing sceneries, it’s no hard to find a number of fun activities to do when you are in this magical place. Now, just a quick primer for first timers. The majority of the Malidives’ history has been a hodge podge of different occupations, with short colonization intervals in the 15th (Portuguese), 17th (Dutch) and 19th (British) centuries. As such, much of its heritage has been preserved. If you are wondering what this might come off as, neighbors like Sri Lanka and India should give you some idea.

Of course, with the prospect of making the country a summer destination, it is important to first establish what the top things to do in Maldives are that is coordinated with the season. The Maldives is famous for its natural beauty, blue oceans and white sand beaches. So you can expect to engage in all sorts of water sports from swimming to fishing, snorkeling, water-skiing, windsurfng, kite boarding, and scuba diving. Kanuhura Beach provides a luxurious setting for tourists who would like to enjoy all of these without any compromises on the sights they get to see. There are lagoons that could be perfectly enjoyed by kids and offshore, adults can pursue more challenging activities. As a bonus, dolphins and pilot whales also frequent this spot and the nearby Llaviyani Atoll. Reethi Beach has a more laid-back atmosphere, with badminton courts, gyms and different facilities all the way around, while Filitheyo boasts more budget-friendly options.

Male serves is the capital of the Maldives and has the most number of full-service resorts. So if you have to start anywhere, it would probably be here. But don’t be surprised if its beaches are not as stunning as other parts of the country, like at the Adaaran Club Rannalhi, since it is also the most densely populated and overly developed. But this does serve a tourism advantage given that guests enjoy a different pursuit during their stay. Another one of the top things to do in Maldives, especially Male, is to tour the Friday Mosque, Republic Square, and Maldives Naional Defense Force Headquarters. Then, add the Sultan Park and National Museum and you’d have some historical and cultural references crossed of your list. Just so you know though, the Friday Mosque does not admit non-Muslim guests. So your only choice is to admire its intricate and gorgeous designs from outside. If you have the budget, you might want to go for a helicopter ride around the area to enjoy the Maldives from another perspective.