Archive for Africa

Things to do on Mauritius

Seven Coloured Earths

I have traveled to more than 45 countries, and if you’ve been following me, then you know, I am all about exotic destinations where I can just lie down on the beach and indulge in the sun beams.

Yet, for some strange reason I have not had a chance to visit Mauritius.

It is definitely one of the top countries on my bucket list, though and I cannot wait to fly there for a few weeks.

Thinking out loud … Maybe I have not been to Mauritius yet because I am still single and it looks more like a perfect honeymoon destination to me. However, I am pretty sure once I get to that stage of my life when I will start thinking of having a family, I will check out honeymoon resort packages to Mauritius, no doubt.

But for now, I can only day dream of 2,000 square km small island located around 2,000 km Southeast of the African continent.

 

Palm trees, beach, sunsets and a cold drink in my hand while letting go of every negative thought on my mind. Yeah, life on a sunbed with birds singing above my head and pleasant breeze playing with my hair?

Sounds like paradise to me!

 

Seven Coloured Earths

Seven Coloured Earths

*photo credit: Moongateclimber.

Searching online, I found out there are many different things to do on Mauritius.

 

Nature and wildlife

Knowing me, you can bet I would spend the most time just beach bumming on one of the white sandy beaches and then in between visit the main spots. It seems like the nature of Mauritius would capture my eye straight away. From the tea plantations, Crocodile Park (where I could observe my mum’s favorite animal), to the Ile aux Aigrettes Nature or the Reserve and Casela Nature & Leisure Park known for its zebras, birds, lions, and also quads and zip line adventures.

The island is known for its unique wildlife species not found in other parts of the world. Before the year 1500, there were no terrestrial mammals which allowed a lot of reptiles and flightless birds to develop on the island. Now Mauritius is home for example to the cutest green and brownish ornay day gecko with red dots on it.
And have you heard of the Seven Coloured Earths geological formation in Chamarel? These surrealistic sand dunes of yellow, red and brownish colours have been the main island tourist attraction since the 1960’s and are definitely on my bucket list.
If you are into pleasant hiking, then the Mauritius mountain ranges of volcanic origin are there for you. The highest peak Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire is just 828 m a.s.l. (which is still 178 m less than the mount next to my home town Sninsky Kamen, also of volcanic origin which seems like my kind of hiking.)

The world’s third largest coral reef surrounds the island which gives its visitors a perfect reason to snorkel or dive, as well. Many other sporting activities, together with the catamaran cruises around can be done on the island.

 

Culture

Due to the history, the mixture of different cultures makes it very intresting to visit – Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, African, etc. Many colonial houses are also among the things to do on Mauritius. Tourist markets attract the island’s visitors in search of souvenirs for their family back home.

What surprised me personally is for example the sugar cane plantation which for some reason I had no idea I should expect in this part of the world. It reminded me of my visit to St. Kitts and Nevis islands in the Caribbean with many old cane plantations around that were transformed into chick tourist accommodation.

 

Luxury

 

According to Wikipedia, ”Mauritius received the World Leading island Destination award for the third time and World’s Best Beach at the World Travel Awards in January 2012.”
Luxury, luxury and more luxury – if you just need to switch off and pamper yourself, then there is no better place than Mauritius. The island is full of all inclusive four and five star hotels and it would be a great fit for my Adventure and Spa project as there are awesome spas and the island also offers many adventure activities.
I can tell you for sure now that I am going to plan a longer visit to Mauritius, stopping by at Madagascar and more countries in Africa. Until now I have paid only 2 visits to Egypt (Hurghada both times) and 1 to Tunisia, but all the other African countries are still waiting for me 🙂

Travel tips when heading to South Africa

It’s an incredible experience to be able to travel to a land that is completely alien to you. South Africa is often the destination of choice for many Americans and Europeans. The opportunities to experience new and incredible things is never ending. A trip that offers so much will also require hard work and preparation to prevent any problems.

 

The Weather in Africa is hottest during European winter. While many choose to head for warmer weather during the dead of winter, many mistakenly travel to Africa and find the unbearable heat infinitely worse than their winter environment. It is advised that a trip to Africa be made during the Summer when the temperature is more comfortable.

 

A South African plane ride will take approximately 12 hours depending on which state or part of Europe you reside in. These trips are often pricey but there are always ways to maneuver to find a great deal. The earlier you book your flight, the better easier it will be to find a cheaper rate. Enterprising young companies are utilizing social media to leverage quick communication in order to offer low cost tickets. Several innovative websites participate in such transactions.

For fantastic accommodation options in South Africa, and inspiration for where to stay, I recommend you to check AccommoDirect.com.

 

 

Southafrica1

Southafrica2

 

Once you’re there it’s advised that you take advantage of bus transportation. Simply hop on when you find a bus and hop off when you reach your detestation. The most important advantage to this kind of transport is that you will be forced to interact with locals as well as other travelers.

 

Living quarters can be decided upon based on your budget. The cost of living as a tourist in South Africa can range in price. Because of the currency exchange, it’s possible to stay in a decent hostel for as little as $5.00 a night. These places certainly don’t offer the luxury of a fancy hotel, offer a clean and quite place to sleep while you plan the activities of the next few weeks.

 

There is so much more to lean about travel in South Africa. If you have the chance to take the trip, take the next step and enjoy the journey. For more information about my friend’s trip to Africa, please visit Bob’s website Traveling Tripster.

 

rhinos

Interview with Manu of My1stimpressions about her 6-month trip around Africa

Manu at Wanaka lake

Who are you and what is My 1st impressions about?

 

My name is Emanuela but everybody calls me Manu. I am Italian, even though I keep moving around the world since 10 years. So far, I have been living in Norway twice, Denmark, Scotland, London also twice, Australia, Holland; “I am a globetrotter with a gipsy heart”, as someone definied me some time ago.

During my many travels I always wrote lots of notes of the places where I was. I called them “My 1st impressions”, as they were my purest feelings on the spots where I was. I never write anything later, I always write everything wherever I am, in front of a waterfall in Iceland, on a cliff in Scotland, in a neverending valley in New Zealand.

Since last year I decided to share these pages on my blog My 1st impressions, together with the photos I took and keep taking along the road. I love nature, landscapes and unknown places, and I love photography as it’s the only way I can show people the beauty I see around the world.

Everyone has a first impression…

Manu at Wanaka lake

Manu at Wanaka lake

When are you going to visit Africa? Tell us more about your project.

 

In January I will join Vikings Across Africa to start this amazing 6-month journey from Reykjavik to Cape Town, overlanding all Europe and West Africa in a truck together with 15 other crazy people.

It will be the first expedition ever to go from Iceland to South Africa.

 

Which countries?

 

We start this trip in Iceland, then from there we will take the ferry to the Far Oer Isles where we shoud stay for some days, then one more ferry to Denmark.

From Denmark we will continue our trip crossing Germany, France and Spain, and in Gibraltar we will leave Europe to Morocco.

In Marocco we will have the first contact with Africa, we will spend some time in the capital Rabat to get some visas, then Fez, Marrakesh and Casablanca.

After Morocco I think the real adventure in Africa will start. We will head to South, into the desert of Mauritania, then Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, where we wil spend some time relaxing on the beach, Benin, Nigeria and if not possible due to the political situation, we will go around it through Niger and Ciad, to arrive in Camerun. From there we will be heading to Congo and then Angola, Namibia and then all the way down to South Africa.

The route keeps changing as it’ s really subject to the political and burocratic situation of some countries where getting a visa can become a mission impossible at times.

Tour map across Africa

Tour map across Africa

 

What is the main goal of your 6 months there?

 

I don’t have a main goal for this trip. I just want to travel and live this unique experience at the fullest. I am aware I am going to do and to see something unique, that not everybody can do in life. I want to get the most out of this trip and of myself. This is a great chance to unplug with the world and give myself 6 months of unforgettable freedom from everything that in life we consider so essential. When this trip will be finished, I hope to be reacher inside. And there will be some very simple things like hot water or light that will astonish me and that I will appreciate so much more than now and Africa won’t be anymore the country we see on the TV documentary but will be a country with a heart, with amazing people and landscapes and nature and life…this is the real richness I want to pursue during this trip, the awareness of the human being.

 

What do you think will be the most difficult for you while there?

 

Luckily I don’t have any idea what it will be the most difficult part of this trip for me. I usually travel alone and love traveling alone, taking my time and making my own choices, so I guess traveling and dealing everyday with 15 people could be tricky sometimes, but it’s a great challenge as well. Some of these people will become great friends and this is also nice and part of the game.

 

Do you have any doubts? E.g. food or anything?

 

Not really. Not regarding the trip. I choose to travel for 6 months in Africa and I think when I decided to do this I was a bit conscious of the fact that it’s not going to be neither easy nor comfortable. I don’t mind. I don’t mind to eat less, to have a bath in a cold river, to sleep on the floor in a tent for months and months. This is Africa. I never thought in life to go to Africa before just because I never really saw myself in this kind of all inclusive luxury packets where you go there surrounded by rich people doing safari and stuff like that and coming back not having even an idea of the real life there. With this trip I will have a chance to go to Africa and live its life fully, with all the troubles and risks that it includes, the real life … and I love that.

At the beginning people made me really scared with the malaria issue and stuff like that, but that’s part of the game. Imagine people dealing with this everyday, without our knowledge and our means. I go there aware of this risks, but also aware of the fact I don’t want to be overtaken by it.

 

How are you getting ready for such a trip?

 

At the moment the occupation I am mostly busy with is taking time and care of my friends that I am going to leave, here in Amsterdam, where I currently live.

That’s the most difficult part as well, as it’s always hard to say goodbye to the amazing people of your life.

For the rest I am slowly realizing this trip will start soon. Very soon. I am almost running out of time and it’s becoming exciting. The most important part of the preparation has to do with the vaccinations, and it’s almost done. 12 vaccinations in total, I should be ok for a while and for a lot of other trips for the upcoming years.

 

How are you going to finance your trip in Africa?

 

I have been working hard and sparing money all year for this trip, minimizing my night outs and fun time. I still had a great time anyway, and with this I also learnt how to have fun with less.

On my website My 1st impressions people can sponsor my trip, by making a small donation either to get a postcard form one of the 20 countries I will be visiting next year or just by contributing with that they want. They are my real sponsors and I love that.

Manu

Manu

 

What are you going to do when the trip finish?

 

No idea! And I love it! I will be on the other side of the planet, in Cape Town, considered by many one of the most amazing towns in the world, and I don’t really think I am going to take a plane the day after the end of the trip to come back to Holland. I will probably hang around there for a while, or maybe keep going … I need to go back to South America again at some stage of my life!

 

Thanks, Manu, for such a great interview. Good luck with those 6 months around Africa.

Love,

Alex