Monthly Archives: December 2012
Cast your minds back to every Christmas holiday / vacation you have spent in Africa!!! Is there a place that stands out from the rest? Is there a destination or specific holiday /vacation attraction that takes its place as your number 1 “Best Travel Destination”? If so, whether it be an awe inspiring historical monument, place of immense excitement, the most beautiful place you have ever experienced or simply a place that just ‘did it for you’, here is another opportunity for you to have a shot at it again.
Below is a list of top five destinations in Africa to check out this Christmas;
CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
Cape Town is the most popular international tourist destination in South Africa due to its good climate, natural setting, and relatively well-developed infrastructure.
The city has several well-known natural features that attract tourists, most notably Table Mountain, which forms a large part of the Table Mountain National Park and is the back end of the City Bowl.
Reaching the top of the mountain can be achieved either by hiking up, or by taking the Table Mountain Cableway. Cape Point is recognised as the dramatic headland at the end of the Cape Peninsula. Many tourists also drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive, a narrow road that links Noordhoek with Hout Bay, for the views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby mountains. It is possible to either drive or hike up Signal Hill for closer views of the City Bowl and Table Mountain.
Cape Town is noted for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of Cape Dutch style buildings in the world. Cape Dutch style, combines the architectural traditions of the Netherlands, Germany and France, and is most visible in Constantia, the old government buildings in the Central Business District, and along Long Street.
The Arts cape Theatre Centre is the main performing arts venue in Cape Town.
Things to do
Cape Town offers a dozen or so beaches which are popular with local residents. Due to the city’s unique geography, it is possible to visit several different beaches in the same day, each with a different setting and atmosphere. Beaches located on the Atlantic Coast tend to have very cold water from the Benguela current which originates from the Southern Ocean. The water at False Bay beaches is often warmer by up to 10 °C (18 °F). Both coasts are equally popular, although the beaches in affluent Clifton and elsewhere on the Atlantic Coast are better developed with restaurants and cafés, with a particularly vibrant strip of restaurants and bars accessible to the beach at Camps Bay. Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town is known for its colony of African penguins. Surfing is popular and the city hosts the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing competition every year.
The city has several notable tourist attractions. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, built on top of part of the docks of the Port of Cape Town, is one of the city’s most popular shopping venues, with several hundred shops and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Part of the charm of the V&A, as it is locally known, is that the Port continues to operate and visitors can watch ships enter and leave. The V&A also hosts the Nelson Mandela Gateway, through which ferries depart for Robben Island. It is possible to take a ferry from the V&A to Hout Bay, Simon’s Town and the Cape Fur Seal colonies on Seal and Duiker Islands. Several companies offer tours of the Cape Flats, a mostly Coloured township, and Khayelitsha, a mostly black township. An option is to sleep overnight in Cape Town’s townships. There are several B&Bs where you can spend a safe and real African night. Other popular tourist spots include the Table Bay harbour, museums and galleries, castle, Parliament building, Tuynhuis (State President’s mansion) and Groote Kerk church (oldest in SA); Table Mountain cable car; brewery tours; Robben Island, the maximum-security prison where Nelson Mandela was held; cricket and rugby at Newlands Stadium.
The nightlife offers bars, discos and nightclubs which congregate around the Sea Point area.
For food there is plenty of choice, from local cuisine to European and Malay, and of universally good quality; many restaurants are in hotels. Prices are generally reasonable. Fish and shellfish are specialties.
Giza is home to one of the most awe inspiring landmarks in the world, the ‘Great Pyramid’. The last remaining of the seven wonders of the world, the great pyramid and other pyramids of Giza are a must see for tourists in Egypt. Aside from the pyramids, Giza also is home to the ‘Great Sphinx’, whilst looking it’s age at 6000 years old, it is still another of Giza’s fantastic tourist attractions and is only a short walk away from the pyramids.
Contrary to the common belief, only the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), not all three Great Pyramids, is on top of the list of Wonders. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies.
The tradition of pyramid building started in Ancient Egypt as a sophistication of the idea of a mastaba or “platform” covering the royal tomb. Later, several stacked mastabas were used. Early pyramids, such as the Step Pyramid of King Zoser (Djoser) at Saqqara by the famous Egyptian architect, Imhotep, illustrate this connection.
The great pyramid is believed to have been built over a 20 year period. The site was first prepared, and blocks of stone were transported and placed. An outer casing (which disappeared over the years) was then used to smooth the surface. Although it is not known how the blocks were put in place, several theories have been proposed.
One theory involves the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the construction proceeded. This ramp, coated with mud and water, eased the displacement of the blocks which were pushed (or pulled) into place. A second theory suggests that the blocks were placed using long levers with a short angled foot.
Those visiting the pyramids have an option for an extra fee of being taken inside the pyramids. Photography and camcorders are strictly forbidden but the memory snap shots that will be gained from this experience will last you forever. However, it is important to note that those who suffer from claustrophobic environments and heat exhaustion need to think twice as each pyramid takes you deep into the ground where a stuffy atmosphere and small chambers will be upon you.
Camel ride touts, knick-knack souvenirs, and beggars are in abundance in this area and unfortunately the downside to the Giza experience is a distinct lack of law that controls the number of salesmen in the area and lack of respect that these entrepreneurs show when trying to sell their gifts to tourists.
Try and put these out of your mind and Giza will leave you with a fantastic day trip experience…
Things to do
The Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) – slightly smaller than the Great Pyramid, though appearing from some angles to appear larger owing to a better position on the desert plateau
The Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus) – the smallest of the Giza Pyramids at 62 m (203 ft) high (originally 66.5 m)
The Sphinx and the Temple of the Sphinx –
the colossal, recumbent human-headed lion was conceived of by the ancient Egyptians as the sun god Re-Horakhty – “Horus of the horizon”. The Egyptians call it Abu el-Hol, the “Father of Terror”, and even the Greek name Sphinx is the less than pleasant “Strangler”. 45 meters long, 22 meters wide, and carved from a single giant block of sandstone, the Sphinx is considerably smaller than the Pyramids around it. The missing nose is blamed on target practice by bored troops, commonly blamed variously on British soldiers in World War I or Napoleon’s troops in 1798, but 18th-century drawings showing the nose already missing, pointing the finger towards the occupying Turks.
Various Queens’ Pyramids and Nobles’ Tombs, located in regimented cemeteries surrounding the royal pyramids.
Consider attending the nightly Sound and Light Show (Son-et-Lumière) – a bit kitsch, but a worthwhile evening activity.
Avoid succumbing to the temptation of taking a camel ride around the Pyramids – not only is it a bit naff, but the practice is noisy, smelly and overrated – the camel drivers are also frequent targets for accusations of harassment and petty crime. Most also do one way trips (without telling you) on a camel, after leaving you half a mile into the desert, you’re either expected to either walk back or book a return journey.
VICTORIA FALLS (ZIMBABWE/ZAMBIA)
The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. The Local people call it “Mosi-oa-Tunya” — the smoke that thunders and the fall are remarkable.
It is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Victoria Falls is 1708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummet over the edge every minute.
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860’s. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialization. The Falls are spectacular throughout the year, but February onwards, after the rain season, has the heaviest flow and volume of spray.
There is nothing quite like getting a thorough soaking from the roaring, powerful Victoria Falls. The spray is so impressive from the look-out point; it feels like you are in the middle of a torrential rainstorm.
Things to do
A number of activities can be undertaken such as the ‘Flight of Angels’ which provides a fabulous view of the falls, the upstream river and its many islands. For the more adventurous, there is micro lighting with stunning views of the fall.
Rafting the wild rapids below the fall is a very popular adventure. Visitors can also kayak, canoe, fish, go on guided walking safaris, and ride on horseback and lunch on Livingstone’s Island.
MASAI MARA (KENYA)
Masai Mara is “The” park of parks in Kenya. Its grass-carpeted smooth hills, the chocolate Mara river waters with frolicking hippos, as well as the rich faunal diversity, fulfil the expectations of any visitor searching the African landscapes portrayed in motion pictures such as “Out of Africa” or “Mogambo”.
Save particular tastes or special requirements, this is the park on top of the “must” list in the country: no trip to Kenya would be complete without a visit to Masai Mara.
True that it’s not the best park for bird watching, and true that some species are not easily found. However, leopards and rhinos abound, and with more than 450 bird species, the reserve should not be envious of Samburu or the great Kenyan bird sanctuaries. Albeit, in an area only slightly smaller than the State of Rhode Island and with a diverse and complex geography, getting lost is far easier than finding a leopard or sighting a given bird species in its multiple woods.
The reserve, gazetted in 1961, is located west of the Rift Valley and is a natural extension of the Serengeti plains, in Tanzania. The Mara River, the reserve’s backbone, traverses north to south heading for its westbound way unto Lake Victoria, through the Tanzanian park. This course is the natural barrier crossed every year by the large migratory herds of wildebeests and zebras which march across the two parks.
Things to do
Masai Mara’s location and altitude, above 1,500 m, yield a climate which is milder and damper than in other regions. The grassy landscape and the nutrient wealth for the great herds are maintained by the abundant rains, which here last from November through June, as a fusion of the two rain seasons (long and short) typical in other Kenya areas. Night storms are frequent. In the hills and plains, grasslands are scattered with acacia woods and bush. The riverbanks of the Mara and of the multiple tributary streams are bordered by dense riverine forests with a good chance to find some of the reserve’s bird species.
The long distance to the country’s main urban centres poses a difference that allows this reserve to keep one of the features which is becoming today an oddity in African parks: wildlife roams in complete freedom, without fences or other obstacles around. Animals make no notice of the borders drawn on the papers, not only those which split Kenya from Tanzania but the limits of the protected area as well. The reserve is surrounded north and east by the so-called dispersal area, inhabited by the Masai but otherwise similar to the territory within the limits, with equal or even higher opportunities to spot wildlife than at the reserve itself, frequently overcrowded by tourists arriving and wandering around by car, minibus, airplane, balloon or micro light.
LA DIGUE (SEYCHELLES)
The Seychelles is an unspoilt tropical paradise thousands of miles from anywhere. Here you will find magnificent palm-fringed beaches, superb snorkelling and diving, and plenty of forested wildernesses filled with wildlife.
La Digue is situated a short distance from Praslin, but is unreachable by plane, instead a short boat ride from Praslin to La Digue is required, lasting only 20 minutes or so.
La Digue is the fourth largest and third most populated of the islands within the Seychelles, with over 2,000 inhabitants. Several hotels exist on the island, providing comfortable accommodation, the most popular being La Digue Island Lodge.
In addition there are several guesthouses offering simpler accommodation. It is also possible to visit the island on a day trip from Praslin.
La Digue is perfect for nature-lovers seeking total relaxation and an away-from-it-all holiday. A haven for romantically inclined couples and a popular honeymoon destination.
La Digue is off the east coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean and the fourth largest of the Seychelles group.
Things to do
La Digue is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches, spectacular coves where one can find deserted beaches with no other tourists beside yourself. The simple beauty and charm has made the island into a favourite for film producers and photographers.
For the more adventurous, who don’t want to spend the whole holiday on the beach, climb to the top of the mountain at the heart of the island, it offers a wonderful view of the island. At the ends of the roads, the follower is left with just a footpath to follow.
There are some small tourist shops and a couple of art galleries along the main road from the jetty. A few other shops at the jetty offer groceries and other convenience items. La Digue Island Lodge has 2 boutiques well stocked with souvenirs and other necessities.
This is not the place for nightlife, some hotels provide evening entertainment. The local community hall holds dances/discos at weekends, but these are mostly for locals.
This is the time to have that outdoor adventure, that family excursion, or that romantic sunset cruise you’ve been clamouring for all year.
Holidays are those time of the year that most people look forward to. This period gives them the opportunity to cool their head, ease themselves of the tension built overtime during the work period, plan and prepare for the next phase of their life, relax and shed themselves of pressuring responsibilities they face both at home and office.
But there are more to holidays than all these, it is doing something different from the usual, it transforms you from being the spectator/ organizer to be the participant, it gives you the recourse to enjoy your environment by taking in every bit of your surroundings. Exploring the gift of nature all around you, visiting new places and giving you a form of relaxation that has never been experienced. At the end of the holiday, you’ll be formidably refreshed and at ease, not just that, you would also have insightful ideas of other places in the world which in turn gives you an eventful experience. In one word, holiday is about experiences and people
The first secret to enjoying your holiday is:
Unlock the feeling: most holiday goers just know that they are going on holiday without actually asking themselves certain questions like why am I going on holiday, what do I gain/get from going on holiday?
Getting answers to these questions helps you identify the essence of your holiday and also help you unlock the holiday feeling which gives you a bursting feeling of excitement. The feeling gives you unspeakable joy of going on holiday which is the key thing if you want to enjoy your holiday. It makes you look forward to the holiday so rather than going on holiday looking tired and broody, the feeling gets you in high spirit and makes you look forward to having a galvanizing holiday. Be deliberate about enjoying your holiday.
To keep this feeling going is to get the best place to spend your holiday and getting the best place depend on what your interests are; adventure (sightseeing, camping, touring), beach holiday (sun bathing, visiting the spa) or other varieties of holidays.
The next secret is to know where and how to spend your holiday
Knowing where and how to spend your holiday has its impact on your enjoying the holiday. In picking where to go, there are some considerations that should be made such as what time of the year is it, how accommodating is the place to visitors etc. this is to avoid over crowded places, natural hazard occurring places which might weaken the holiday feeling.
Enjoying your holiday
After putting the above keys into consideration and acting them out, you are set to enjoy your holiday because you would be in the right mood, doing what you enjoy, that even when a small hitch comes, it is likely to go unnoticed because of the temple at which you would be and even if when noticed, you can handle it appropriately without any major setback on your on going experience.
From its deep caves and fast waters to the trees and mountain tops, South Africa is a beautiful country with a broad mixture of people, languages and cultures. Renowned for its breathtaking landscape and extra-ordinary cultural heritage, this country is certainly a tourist site to visit. The country has spawned some truly gifted pioneers and inventors, as well as possessing some unique and marvellous, biological and geological attributes, this is why it’s one of the best tourist centres in the world.
Below is a list of some interesting facts about South Africa:
- South Africa currently has the second highest waterfall in the world “the Tugela falls”. Tugela Falls is the world’s second highest waterfall. The total drop in five free-leaping falls is 948 m (3,110 ft). They are located in the Drakensberg (Dragon’s Mountains) in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa. They are easily viewed after a heavy rain from the main travel road into the park, glistening from the reflection of the late afternoon sun. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for ‘sudden’ is the Mont-Aux-Sources plateau which extends several kilometres beyond The Amphitheatre escarpment from which the falls drop
- Deep in the rugged bushveld, in the heart of an ancient volcano, lies the world’s most unique resort, the internationally acclaimed Sun City. The Resort has a unique heartbeat and an African rhythm of its own and is unlike any other Resort destination in the world. This is pure fantasy and your every desire is met. There are four world-class hotels including the magnificent Palace of the Lost City that glitters like a jewel beneath the African sun, brilliant in its rain forest surroundings and luxurious in its detail and design. Adjoining the Resort, is the beautiful Pilanesberg National Park, which will delight game viewers as it is a malaria free zone and home to the “Big 5” (Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino).
- The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
- South Africa’s fruit and vegetable sector ranks among the best in the world. It may surprise you to know that the country is the second largest exporter of fruits in the world and is ranked the number one largest producer of macadamia nuts.
- South Africa has one of the best tourist centres in the world which you may want to check out “The Drakensburg Mountains”. Its geological history lends it a distinctive character amongst the mountain ranges of the world. South Africa is the first, and to date only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantleits entire nuclear weapons programme.
- South Africa is the ninth largest wine producer in the world. The country is famous for its extensive production of wines and is currently the ninth largest wine producers in the world. A large number of wine producers employ over 60000 people within the industry. Most visitors to South Africa would want to find the time to tour the wine estates of the Western Cape, coupling fantastic wine with culinary art.
- South Africa is believed to have one of the oldest mountains in the world which is the “Table Mountain” in Capetown. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. The mountain is featured in the Flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
- Travel to South Africa and take a trip on the most luxurious train in the world. Your romantic vacation through the heart of South Africa will begin or end at the headquarters of this private railway company, Capital Park Station and Locomotive Yard situated outside Pretoria. Rovos Rail offers two beautifully rebuilt Classic trains, each carrying a maximum of 72 passengers who are accommodated in the most spacious and luxurious train suites in the world. The use of traditional furnishings and period decor ensure an atmosphere of elegance and grandeur in the Dining, Lounge and Observation cars.
- South Africa is the only country to have hosted the rugby, cricket and soccer world cups.
- South Africa has the most diverse and unique floral kingdom in the world and 70% of the Cape floral kingdom occurs nowhere else on earth.
- South Africa is the world’s leader in mining and minerals. It has nearly 90% of the platinum metals on earth, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium and 41% of the gold. Also the Western Deep Level mines are the world’s deepest mines at approaching 4km
- Three of the five fastest land animals live in South Africa – the cheetah (63 miles per hour), the wildebeest, and the lion.
- South Africa is the sole producer of the Mercedes Benz C Class, right-hand drive vehicles .
- SA ranks 24th in terms of tourist arrivals at 11.3 million (France 79 million, UK 28 million, Switzerland 8.5 million, India 5.2 million)
- South Africa supplies two-thirds of Africa’s electricity and is one of the four cheapest electricity producers in the world. The country currently has the second cheapest electricity costs in the world behind Canada. It falls among the top nine in terms of sales, and has one of the world’s biggest dry cooled power stations- the Matimba Power Station.
With its diverse and stunning scenic landscapes, wonderful weather, friendly locals and vibrant cities, South Africa is indeed a wonderland. It is one country everyone would love to visit some day.
One of the most colourful and vibrant countries on earth, Brazil could certainly never be accused of being a wallflower. It contains not only some of the most diverse flora and fauna, the largest rainforest and the longest river on Earth, but also the world’s biggest, most exuberant carnival.
Topping most people’s lists of places to see is likely to be the Amazon region, a vast swathe of tropical rainforest, which can be explored by boat along the Amazon River. Although famously diminishing in size due to deforestation, the jungle is still a remarkable area, home to a seemingly infinite array of creatures and plants. One of the most impressive sights is the Foz do Igiazu, or Iguazu Falls, whose waters gush at a staggering rate over a precipice into the Iguazu River.
Although the official capital is the modern city of Brasilia, far more people visit the lively city of Rio de Janeiro, where the beaches and general revelry are a major draw for party-loving travellers. Most famous for its wild carvival, held usually in February, the city is fun at any time of year and shouldn’t be missed.
Brazil also has some charming colonial towns that are well worth visiting. Olinda and Salvador are two of the most attractive, their cobbled streets drenched in olde-worlde atmosphere, both home to their own riotous carnivals and some delicious local cuisine. And if you tire of sightseeing, there are plenty of idyllic beaches along the 7,000km of coastline.
Souvenir hunters have endless possibilities for finding a bargain in Brazil. Shopping ranges from elegant boutiques to hippy markets and everything in between.
Artwork and handicrafts feature heavily across the country and art lovers have a huge range of locally crafted items to tempt them from roughly hewn pots to oeuvres of an international standard. You can peruse paintings in chic galleries while being served a glass of chilled wine or you’re just as likely to find yourself in a musty old workshop with the artist pulling up a chair and opening a beer.
Markets, known as feiras or feirinhas, are found in every city and are the obvious place to head for. Woodcarvings, musical instruments, jewellery, leather goods and clothing are among the main items at most markets, with a few regional additions such as lace and crochet work from the northeastern states and pottery from the Amazon. An added advantage of these markets is that there’s always a place offering shoppers a seat, a cold beer and a snack.
Food markets are well worth a visit for the experience alone. They are also a good place to find homemade chilli sauces, spices and guaraná powder, all of which travel easily and make interesting souvenirs. Take a wander around a fish market in the Amazon for the sheer wonder of the creatures on display, or stroll through a northeastern market for the overwhelming fragrance of ground cumin and black pepper.
Wannabe musicians should check out the music shops in Rio and Salvador and the craft markets selling musical instruments. Percussion instruments such as congas, bongos, and berimbaus are great buys, but can be tricky to squeeze into a suitcase. The Brazilian tambourine, pandeiro, or maraca-style instruments are easier to transport. For those who accept their musical limitations and are happy to leave it to the professionals, current and old recordings are found at most music shops.
If you have a passion for jewellery, your pulse will quicken on entering any of the H Stern and Amsterdam Sauer stores. Glittering displays of some of the most exquisite precious stones around are for sale at very reasonable prices. That’s not to say that some purchases won’t require a bank loan but, as the gems are all homegrown, prices are better here than anywhere else for those who simply can’t live without their sapphires.
And if your goal is to hit the beach in Ipanema – or anywhere else in Brazil – and blend in with the locals, be sure to purchase your beach attire locally from any of the numerous swimwear boutiques. Anything else will look positively Victorian.
Brazil, South America’s largest country, covers a vast expanse of the continent. It has long held a fascination for European explorers, the dense rainforest of the Amazon was believed to hide vast cities of gold, although perhaps these earliest visitors missed the real wealth of this wilderness – its incredible natural beauty. Today’s visitors can witness the best of all that Brazil has to offer, from the colonial influence of the Portuguese settlers, seen in the great city of Rio de Janeiro to the magnificence of the Iguazu Falls, nature at its most powerful.
Often seen as Brazil’s “jewel in the crown”, Rio has cast its spell on visitors for centuries and it’s easy to see why. Emerald green mountains and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic provide the perfect backdrop to this enchanting city and its residents, known as Cariocas.
Rio’s legendary carnival is the main draw for many visitors, but for those that can’t make it, there’s no shortage of entertainment the rest of the time, from religious festivals to sporting and cultural events. All year round, the bars and clubs throb to the beat of live music while the beaches provide a daytime playground for both tourists and locals. In addition, the city has more than its fair share of shops, a good selection of museums and great food. For exclusive Rio de janerio deals click here.
When to go
The North of the country has a tropical climate, with the South more temperate and with more marked seasonal variations. During the winter (June to August), temperatures in the South can drop to around 12 degrees centigrade, while in the summer, they tend to stay around the 30 mark, though many areas, most notably Rio, reach the high 30s from December to February. The Amazon basin is, unsurprisingly, very wet and humid.
The North is wettest from January to April, while the rainy season hits the northeast coast from April to July and the South and central regions from November to March. As the best tactic is to avoid real extremes of temperature or rainfall, the best times to visit Brazil depend largely on where you’re going. As a general rule, though, the northern/northeastern regions are at their most comfortable from August to November, whereas in the South, April/May and September to November are the best times to go.
Bahian cooking is among the most popular, using fresh seafood cooked in spices that were introduced to the country by the Portuguese colonisers, combined with the milk and oil from the coconut palms that grow in abundance in the northeast. Bahian seafood stews known as moquecas are popular throughout the country but are best at their source. Heavy on chillis, coriander, palm hearts and lime, the food is just one more reason to hang out a bit longer in Bahia.
In the cowboy country of the south, the fare is heaven for carnivores with succulent cuts of meat barbecued to perfection. Churrascarías, barbecue restaurants, are found throughout Brazil, but the best are in the south. Armies of waiters relentlessly serve great sword-like skewers of beef, pork, sausages, chicken and chunks of buffalo mozzarella. Some restaurants have “yes and no” discs at the tables for diners to indicate that they are “resting”. When ready for another onslaught, diners flip the disc over to show they’re ready for more.
In the interior of the arid Northeast, the diet reflects the hard conditions of the land and the limited produce it offers. But it also reflects the talent of the inhabitants for creatively using what nature offers. Carne de sol, sun dried meat, is a rather salty but delicious meat eaten with yams or sweet potatoes and accompanied by the ubiquitous black beans and rice. Farofa, ground cassava flour, with the appearance and taste of sawdust, is used to mop up the juices.
The climate in the state of Minas Gerais is temperate and the traditions are strongly European. Minas is renowned for its cheeses that can rival some of the best from Europe, as well as for its rich pork stews flavoured with fresh herbs, and chicken and okra dishes served with polenta in the local black stone pots. Tropical fruits are grown here but so too are orchard fruits: plums, apricots, peaches. These are usually made into doces, sweet desserts made with the stewed fruit and a ton of sugar.
The Amazon region relies heavily on river fish, which are often huge creatures with very meaty flesh that are best barbecued. Amazonia also offers an array of tropical fruits, many of which are unknown outside Brazil. Try the vitamin C-rich açerola, the delicious, dark purple açaí or the sublimely tropical cupuaçu. Many of these fruits have no translation from their native names, while others are more familiar: mango, jackfruit, sour sop, passionfruit. One name that has become familiar in the West recently is guaraná. The berries of the guaraná bush are used as a stimulant and taken in liquid or powder form or as a pale gold fizzy drink that rivals Coca Cola for its popularity and its equally distinctive taste.
If there is one dish that is found throughout the country it is the national dish of feijoada. Traditionally served as a Sunday lunch, this heavy stew is made from black beans and bits of pork you didn’t know existed. It is served up with finely chopped kale, rice and sliced oranges. It may not sound so enticing, but it has been known to have visitors booking return flights to Brazil at the memory of it.
Now lets get talking. Brazil’s official language is Portuguese but you are sure to find quite a number of people who speaks English. Below are a few English to Portuguese translation to get you going
|Good morning||Bom dia||Bom-dee-uh|
|Good afternoon||Boa tarde||Boh-uh-tard|
|Good evening||Boa noite||Boh-uh-noyt|
|My name is…||Me chamo…||Mee-xa-mou|
|One, two, three, four, five||Um, dois, tres, quatro, cinco||Oon, doysh, tresh, kwa-tro, seen-koo|
|Please||Por Favor||Poor fuh-vor|
|How much?||Quanto custa||Kwan-too koosh-tuh|
|Where is…?||Onde esta…?||Ond’ shtah|
|Bill||A conta||Uh kohn-tuh|
|I would like…||Queria…||Kree-uh|
|Where should I get off for…?||Onde devo sair…?||Ond dee-vor sah-eer|
|Is this bus for…?||Este autocarro vai…?||Ehst oh-too-kah-roosh vy|
|Where are the toilets?||Onde estacas casas de banho||Ond’ shtown has kah-zuh d’ban-yoo|
|I’m looking for…||Estou a procura…||Shtoh uh pro-kuh-ra|
“Elegance and extravagance are usually left behind, but music and dancing are extremely brought to life”.
Thats the statement of one of world’s most thrilling carnival.
Do not miss out in the forth-coming edition of the sensational Rio DE Janerio carnival with exclusive travel deals.
- Carnival in Rio (munchow.wordpress.com)
- Why Travel to Brazil (ibiyinkafamugbode.wordpress.com)
- Rio Carnival – Get Ready For A Bigger, Wilder Party At The Rio Sambodromo In 2012 (prweb.com)
The word “holiday”, often regarded as vacation by many, can be described as a trip for the purpose of recreation or tourism. Little did many of us know that it was originally termed “holy day” and was ascribed to only special religious days as opposed to the modern day interpretation of it being any special day of rest or relaxation. What matters most right now is that everyone wants a holiday. Yes, everyone wants a holiday, not just any holiday but an enjoyable holiday. How we define our enjoyable holiday may differ but there is a singular simple secret on how to enjoy our holidays which is “planning”.
If you are getting set for the forthcoming holidays, then you should already have your travel, hotel and sightseeing tickets [that is if you planned for a trip]. It is almost obvious that preparing for any holiday is a task in itself, let alone being on a trip which adds more stress to the holiday at the long run.
Travelling can be fun and relaxing but doing it during holiday seasons comes handy with some in-built stress such as very busy airports, malls and markets. Bearing that added stress in mind, then you may want to peruse some holiday planning tips I find very useful.
Someone once said, you may have a miserable holiday experience if you don’t do the things you like. It all starts from planning your holiday to suit your taste. Failure to do so may end up with a holiday you may not enjoy. Start by choosing your most preferred destination, preferred airline, then your preferred seat position and the list of your desires may be endless. The key is to ensure your choices fit your taste.
Little do you know that your choice of seat may be the single reason while you won’t enjoy your trip. I often make use of seatguru.com to checkup on aircraft’s seats.
Of course, you don’t want to nurse any form of illness while you are on holiday but you can be too sure when certain illnesses will appear therefore, you should equip yourself with basic medication required to keep you going. Make sure you have an ample supply of medications with you in your carry-on just in case you and your luggage get separated.
Just about everyone has a lapse when it comes to adhering to time especially for non-business circumstance. Timing can be highly predicted by frequent travelers but there may be a big difference during holiday season, therefore you don’t want to be a victim. I often tell people to ensure they arrive at the airport about 90 minutes before check-in commences. Hey, you can say “what will I be doing for ninety minutes”, sure, you can be bored but trust me, you never know what might go wrong (you may just have to go and get something).
Just so that you can save time, try to check-in online. It saves you the stress of long queues at the airport and hurray, you have more time to yourself plus you get to remain fresh -*smiles*. Another thing I do is to call the airline to confirm flight status. You can also do this online by checking airlines website.
As much as you want to have everything with you on your holiday you should try as much as possible to reduce your luggage. With adequate planning, you will be able to identify what you really need on your holiday. Too much baggage will make your trip very inconvenient and may help you forget about the good memories of your holiday as its now part of the experience.
Make sure your luggage has a secure tag on the outside of your bag, and even put one inside in the middle of your items, just in case your bag does not make it to the same destination you do. It will be easier to track if your name is on the outside and inside.
Also avoid wrapped items such as gifts in your luggage. If you have to travel with gifts then try to keep them unwrapped till you arrive at your destination. Wrapped items arouse unnecessary time wasting as they will eventually be unwrapped and adequately checked at some security checkpoints.
Now, here is the big one. Wherever you find yourself, make sure you are engage in an activity you like, even if your most enjoyed activity is sleeping then make sure you have enough of it. Personally, I usually recommend that travelers embark on one or more sightseeing activity (you can check out www.worldtraveland.com to book one) to help create interesting memories. For female travelers, you can be sure to go for shopping, it is always fun (remember to have enough cash though *smiles*)
There are just too many tips one can possibly talk about. Let us hear from you, which holiday planning tips you have got. Share with us and let us share with you our friends.