Posted on

Raising Your Adrenaline While Thrill-Seeking in South Africa

Thrill Seeking in South Africa with WorldVia

From vintage African escapades to harrowing experiences not for the faint of heart, it’s also the ideal place to cut loose and delve headlong into adventure. For anyone considering South Africa for a bit of thrill-seeking, don’t skip these opportunities for an unforgettable experience.

Quad-Bike Safaris:

You don’t have to be a quad-bike enthusiast to enjoy cruising through the pristine South African terrain inspecting elephants, leopards, rhinos, and more. While there are many different options for safaris throughout the continent, quad-bike safaris have become very popular near both Cape Town and Johannesburg for their unique combination of thrill-seeking and scenery.
At the renowned Aquila Game Reserve about two hours from Cape Town, guests have a spread of options catered to creating an individualized experience. While those looking for a mild adventure can do a half-day trip and stay in a luxury lodge, there are also overnight camping options that will take you right out under the stars among the local wildlife. Along the way, explorers can expect to see the Big 5 in African wildlife, including a chance to get just close enough to snap compelling photos of a pride of lions. Aquila Game Reserve also has a working conservation center, where you can check out animals that are being rehabilitated before being sent back into the wild.
While there are plenty of transportation options to get to a quad-bike safari near Cape Town, the same goes for near Johannesburg. One of the most popular spots in the area, Segwati Getaways, taps an extensive network of quad-bike trails that cuts right through stunning terrain. Snaking up the beautiful Witwatersberg Mountains, trails showcase some of northern South Africa’s finest scenery, and visitors are likely to have close encounters with giraffes, water buffaloes, exotic birds, and plenty of others. Trails also are very close to the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site that offers numerous cultural experiences. Although there are many ways to see South Africa’s famous wildlife, zipping through the gorgeous countryside on an easy-to-use quad bike has become a go-to favorite for thrill-seekers.

Rock climbing (or Hiking) in the Drakensberg Mountains:

The Dutch settlers who first came to the region named them the Mountains of Dragons (Drakensbergen in Afrikaans), and there might not be a better or more interesting place to be a beginning rock climber. Swirling with local legends and panoramic beauty, the Drakensberg Mountains are mysterious and inspiring, complete with enormous grasslands and green hillsides filled with endangered plant species. A morning’s drive south from Johannesburg, near the eastern border of Lesotho, the Drakensberg Mountains have more trailheads and outdoor adventures than you’ll know what to do with.
One of the favorite spots for visitors is the Didima Camp at the base of Cathedral Peak, where hikers can find comfortable lodging as they launch into the neighboring attractions. While you can easily spend an entire day or even a week walking through the Didima Valley, most find their way to one of the nearby Cathedral Peak trails that will take you to the breathtaking summit the region is known for. Very green in the summer (December through March) and brown during most of the dry winter, Cathedral Peak has multi-day hiking trails for the most adventurous, and you can even sleep in a cave on the side of the escarpment (Twins Cave).
For those who aren’t quite up for that level of excitement, staying at the Cathedral Peak Hotel or Didima Camp and taking a more direct day hike to the summit still guarantees plenty of thrills and scenery. Also in the Didima area, the Rainbow Gorge Trail is a pleasant 3.4-mile woodlands hike that ends at a waterfall that often boasts a rainbow when there is enough sunshine.
Even if you’re not much of a mountain climber, the Drakensberg Mountains are also a great place to be a curious beginner. At the Sentinel Peak in the northern part of the mountain range, popular beginner courses will have you scaling up rocky bluffs in only a couple days of training, ending with a triumphant view of the escarpment and valley. For those not afraid of a little winter adventure, novices can also learn the art of ice climbing during the coldest parts of the year, and the views are every bit as sensational.

Shark cage diving and cableway tours near Cape Town:

If you’ve ever wanted to slip into a Discovery Channel documentary, all you need to do is charter one of the many boat tours that leave from various spots in Cape Town. While searching for sharks jumping out of the water is sure to yield a memorable experience, true thrill-seekers can find their way into a shark cage in Shark Alley, where your sense of adventure will be challenged by face-to-face meetings with great whites.
One of the most popular launching points is False Bay, where there is a wealth of options for a close encounter with the local marine life in the area. From fall to spring (March through September) you can expect clear waters all around internationally famous Seal Island, the hot spot for catching great whites jumping out of the water in a feeding frenzy. If you want to get into the water next to a great white, a shark cage expedition from either False Bay or Gansbaai Harbour is sure to be one of the most intense experiences of your life. Between the chilly Atlantic waters and a close-up of a great white buzzing by your cage, even a seasoned thrill-seeker will have a spike in adrenaline.
If diving with one of the greatest predators in the history of the planet is a bridge too far, there are also terrific whale-watching options just south of Cape Town off the coast of Hermanus. Sailing along the southwestern tip of South Africa between July and November, visitors can check out the massive southern right whales gliding just off the rugged coast. Thrill-seekers can still take it to the next level here as well by renting a kayak for an even closer look at the many sea beasts of Cape Town.
Meanwhile, taking a cable car to the 3,500-foot peak of Table Mountain will yield a spectacular view of Cape Town and miles upon miles of ocean-hugging coastline. The gigantic Table Mountain National Park – spanning almost the entire west side of Cape Town – also has an exceptional assortment of hiking trails that boast impeccable views of the region, including down to the majestic Cape of Good Hope. With thrill-seeking opportunities to fit every type of traveler, Cape Town is simply an outstanding launching point for adventure.

Gauging the weather:

Many of the activities in South Africa change substantially from season to season, although they’re still predominately doable year-round. In the Drakensberg Mountains, for example, the pinnacle of fall between April and May is generally seen as the best time to hit the hiking trails, as you’ll see a lush green landscape without the constant threat of summer thunderstorms. By winter (roughly May through August) you’ll have to be prepared for temps to drop below freezing at nighttime, though you also won’t have to deal with the rainfall you’ll have to overcome during the summer months. A similar dynamic will be at play for anyone eager to check out a safari; knowing the local climate and bringing the right gear will be a fundamental part of your trip.
As for chartering a boat or hopping in a shark cage, your tour will completely weather dependent and keeping a close eye on forecasts is a must. You’ll also want to have an alternative in mind in case you get bad weather, though that shouldn’t be difficult considering Cape Town’s extensive network of popular sites and icons. For those ready to persevere no matter the weather, however, South Africa is difficult to surpass when it comes to thrill-seeking.

Posted on

How to Eat Like a Local in Ethiopia

Feast Through Ethiopia

Here is some practical advice on how to blend in and eat like a local and several popular restaurants and cafes you should visit while you’re in Ethiopia’s capital.

How to Eat Ethiopian Food Like a Local

There is one thing you should know before you go to an Ethiopian restaurant in Addis Ababa: many locals don’t use silverware. Ethiорiаnѕ prefer to eat with their bаrе hаndѕ. Although silverware may be available in some establishments if you ask the waiter, you should bid farewell tо trаditiоnаl cutlery like knives and forks if you truly want to eat like a local during your vacation.
Ethiopian diѕhеѕ are traditionally ѕеrvеd to individual guests on a Mеѕоb, which iѕ a colorful tabletop stand made out of woven ѕtrаw. The server will remove the Mesob’s lid once your food is ready to uncover your meal inside. You can also order everything family-style, so the food is served to everyone on one big community platter or plate.
Meat is usually reserved for special occasions in Ethiopia. Restaurants usually buy meat from nearby farms and use fresh, locally sourced vegetables. Many Ethiopian meals are served with injera, a popular bread made from fеrmеntеd teff flour. The main ingredients of your meal are usually ѕеrvеd on tор оf the spongy injera bread. All you have to do is tear off a рiесе of Injera and use it to scoop up the food in the center if you want to start eating. Your ѕеrvеr will also probably рlасе some extra fоldеd injеrа in a small basket next to thе serving trау or Mesob so that you won’t run out.
It’s also custom for you to scoop up ѕоmе fооd and fееd it to a loved one if уоu are оn a date. Known as “gursha” in Ethiopian culture, feeding someone is considered an act оf kindnеѕѕ аnd demonstrates your deep sense of rеѕресt for the оthеr person.
Remember to wash your hands beforehand since you’ll be using them as utensils. Certain restaurants may also bring out a bаѕin of wаtеr and ѕоар so you can clean them at the table and won’t have to bother to get up and go to the bathroom.
Now that you’ve learned how to eat like a local, here are several Ethiopian restaurants and cafes you should visit while staying in the capital:

Moyos Cafe

Do you get cranky in the morning without coffee or breakfast? If so, you should consider stopping by Moyos Cafe to enjoy some Ethiopian coffee, freshly squeezed juice and pancakes smothered in strawberries to start your day. Other breakfast items include omelets, fruit cups, waffles, and French toast. Since Moyos Cafe is a favorite among the locals, try to get there as early in the morning as possible.

Effoi Pizza

Effoi Pizza specializes in cooking Italian Ethiopian cuisine, which means that each gourmet pizza pie has a unique blend of Italian pasta sauce and tasty Ethiopian spices. Their most popular dish is a vegan pizza with roasted eggplant and toasted zucchini with pesto and cheese. Meanwhile, meat lovers prefer their Tsedei pizza since it has ground beef, salami, and spiced sausage as toppings. In addition to serving Italian beverages, Effoi Pizza also serves traditional Ethiopian drinks like Tej (honey wine) or Suwa beer. The restaurant has been serving the local community since 2007 and has four locations throughout the country. If you make an effort to visit Effoi Pizza during your trip be prepared to wait for a table since it’s one of the most popular hangout spots in Addis Abba.

Mama’s Kitchen

If you want to catch a live show while you’re in town, head to Mama’s Kitchen. The glamorous and upscale restaurant, located in the heart of Addis Ababa, is a favorite among music lovers since they have live music and entertainment every day. The modern restaurant serves everything from traditional Ethiopian food to shish kebabs and BBQ. There is also a beer court and cocktail bar happy hour specials and specialty house cocktails if you want to relax and have a drink while listening to the music. Make sure that you check out their sophisticated VIP lounge, complete with red leather couches and gold accented decor. We recommend that you look up the restaurant’s event schedule and make an online reservation so that you can check their availability before leaving your hotel.

Dashen Traditional Restaurant

Are you traveling in a large group? If so, you should visit Dashen Traditional Restaurant. The casual venue has an outside garden terrace and bar that is the perfect place to eat with a group of friends. They serve traditional Ethiopian meals on Mesobs and large community platters. Their most popular dish is beef tongue and chicken stew. Dashen Traditional Restaurant also features live musical acts several nights a week.

Brundo Butchery Bar and Restaurant

Brundo Butchery Bar and Restaurant is famous for its fresh meat. Their most popular dish is kitfo, which is raw ground beef that is mixed together with a blend of different spices and butter. If eating raw meat doesn’t interest you, you can always order kitfo leb leb since it’s the same type of meat but fully cooked. Another favorite among locals is the cooked beef tips. Brundo Buthcery Bar and Restaurant also has several varieties of Tej beer and fermented honey wine.

Kategna Restaurant

One of the first things you will notice when you step inside Kаtеgnа Restaurant is the delicious smell of fresh spices and herbs. Although the restaurant has a contemporary decor, don’t be fooled. Kategna specializes in serving traditional Ethiopian meals with injera bread. They also host elaborate coffee ceremonies for guests during the day. The restaurant draws both a local and international crowd due to its proximity to several high-end hotels, so be prepared to make friends from all over the world when you dine at Kategna Restaurant.
Regardless if you want to try Italian Ethiopian pizza or eat kifto with injera bread, there are various dining options for you to choose from in the city of Addis Abba. After all, we can’t think of a better way for you to explore the Horn of Africa than by sharing several flavorful meals with your friends and family members.

Posted on

3 Magical Towns in South Africa For Art Lovers

African Towns For Art Lovers

The bigger cities are cultural meccas of colorful creativity, individual expression, and vibrant invention. Many wanderers have been stopped and enthralled by the treasures found there, yet artists are often drawn to smaller towns where the quiet calls and even the skies seem airbrushed by a painter’s hand.

Clarens is Playful

Clarens is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Free State,” but those familiar with the enchanting town know it as the ultimate artist’s hideout. It rests comfortably beneath the Maluti mountains, a craggy range that embodies the American West. Multi-colored sandstone formations and pristine rivers and streams dress up the landscape. Nature here is canvas enough for outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of trout fishing and white water rafting on the Ash River. Scenic cycling trails and bird watching adventures also await.
The town of Clarens is an eccentric town full of quirky character that is just a few hours from both Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. The village square is bustling by day with over fifteen unique art galleries, charming antique stores, and cafes. You may want to check out the Robert Badenhorst Gallery where both emerging and established fine artists are showcased. Stop by the Highland Coffee Roastery for a cup of heavenly coffee. Clarens is a friendly and walkable community, so you can take your time and explore.
In the evening, Clarens transforms from lively to subtle, quietly enticing the romantic and hungry to experience fine dining. You can reserve a table at Clementines with its upscale country menu and relaxing ambiance, or keep it cozy and casual at The Artist’s Cafe. There are several lodging options in town when you are ready to call it a day. You can sleep in style at the Mont d’Or Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel with all the frills, or opt for a quaint B&B like Patcham Place in the heart of the village. Self-catering cottages are also available.

Prince Albert is Crafty

Prince Albert in a hidden gem in the Karoo Desert where craftmakers, photographers, and story-weavers animate imagination. The picturesque Swartberg Mountains in the distance frame a living gallery bursting with cultural pride and rich history going back to the year 1762. Be sure not to bypass the Fransie Pienaar Museum where you will be mesmerized by the extensive collection of earthenware, fossils, and olden musical instruments. An onsite distillery produces local moonshine, called witblits, available for tasting and purchasing at the museum’s shop.
The off-the-beaten-path town of Prince Albert is alive with an artistic vibe spanning the creative genres and straining the poetic norms. Karoo Looms is not to be missed on a visit to town. The weavery was established in 1983 and has since delighted all with its highly-skilled spinning and weaving of beautiful mohair rugs. You can take a stroll down Kerkstraat (Church Street) with its quaint woodworking and pottery shops as well as outdoor cafes.
Dining choices are plentiful in Prince Albert, and a slow relaxing dinner with a glass of local wine at the Gallery Cafe is the perfect way to close out the day. Owner Brent Phillips-White uses ingredients from local sources including those from his own garden, planted to supply the restaurant. You might want to try the black wildebeest fillet for an authentic South African experience. You can stay the night at one of the community’s unique lodging establishments like the historic De Bergkant Lodge. The tranquil Cape Dutch homestead offers comfortable, spacious suites with elegant features and cool antique accents. Large swimming pools and natural green terraces invite peaceful relaxation.

Nieu Bethesda is Dynamic

Nieu Bethesda is mostly known for The Owl House, a tribute to outsider art by Helen Martins. The friendly, small village is also home to a growing number of creative types who appreciate its serene lifestyle and breathtaking vistas. The gurgling of fresh spring water running through the town’s working furrow system serenades while Compassberg, the Eastern Cape’s highest mountain, keeps vigil over the idyllic setting. You can take a leisurely donkey cart tour with Jakob van Staden who cheerfully shares his extensive knowledge of his hometown and its history.
Nieu Bethesda may appear to be a sleepy village at first glance, but the interesting and talented characters who have gathered there bring a colorful animation to the area. Charmaine Haines, an acclaimed South African ceramicist, was inspired by the natural environment and chose to open her studio in the village as did renowned sculptor, Frans Boekkooi. The Bethesda Arts Centre is an incredible testament to textile arts celebrating Bushman mythology through vibrant tapestries crafted by the indigenous artists of ǀXam descent. You might also want to check out Dustcovers Bookshop for rare books sourced from all over the world.
The Brewery and Two Goats Deli is the ideal spot to enjoy a delicious lunch and a cold glass of ale in the shade of pepper and pear trees. The almost-hidden rustic pub makes its own cheese, hand-roasts its coffee, and brews its own craft beer for a fresh and authentic experience. Dinner at The Tower Restaurant finds you comfortably seated in a quaint old tower with a pleasantly mysterious ambiance. The menu is varied and includes Karoo Lamb, Cottage Pie, and vegetarian dishes. Accommodations in Nieu Bethesda are homey and sometimes quirky. Self-catering cottages like Murrayfield Guesthouse and Rustpunt Cottage are clean and affordable options for a one-of-a-kind South African adventure.
South Africa has much to offer both travelers and residents, from its rich diversity to its awe-inspiring landscape. Cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg exude cultural charm and modern amenities, but sometimes it’s a good idea to take the roads less traveled. You never know what treasures you may find there.

Posted on

The World’s Top 5 Waterfalls for Adventurers and Romantics

Victoria Falls

Take waterfalls for example. These wonders are pure nature, but can also have the same emotional impact as the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities. Depending on the nature surrounding it, they can attract adventurers and romantics alike.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or serene natural beauty, here are the world’s top five waterfalls for you to visit.

1) Niagara Falls, Canada

This fall is famous for a reason. As the world’s second largest waterfall by volume, 7,000 cubic meters per second make their way from the top to the bottom. But the reason it ranks top on this list is a different one: sheer accessibility.
The Niagara Falls is right on the border between the United States and Canada. By most measures, the Canadian side is more impressive. But between the two of them, both sides offer a wide range of ways to experience the falling water masses.
Most visitors enjoy a boat trip on the famous Maid of the Mist, right to the bottom of the fall. The U.S. side offers the Cave of the Winds, a way to get close to the water by foot. Finally, a number of walkways on the Canadian side offer almost direct access to the falls that allow you to get close with this spectacular natural wonder.

waterfalls-victoria-falls-zimbabwe-worldvia
Victoria Falls

2) Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Here, we have the only waterfall in the world even more massive than Niagara Falls. It is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Every second, up to 40,000 cubic meters of water fall down a height of more than 300 feet. Even more impressive, the entirety of the fall line is a full mile long. “Impressive” doesn’t even begin to describe this sheer display of natural power.
While the official name comes from a British explorer, its native name The Smoke that Thunders perhaps describes it even better. The gorges are especially beautiful to visit during dusk and dawn when the rising and falling sun shines onto the falling water in gorgeous tones.

3) Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

That New Zealand is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful countries in terms of nature should come as no surprise. Neither should the fact that it also happens to be home to one of earth’s most famous and beautiful waterfalls.
The Sutherland Falls are nothing like Niagara or Victoria. Only a thin strip of water falls down a large mountain amidst lush vegetation surrounding it. At more than 1,000 feet, it is one of the world’s highest waterfalls.
Make no mistake: Sutherland Falls is not easy to access. It’s a destination for adventurers, rather than romantics. But if you can brace the remote and challenging Milford hiking track, you will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful waterfalls you can imagine.

4) Angel Falls, Venezuela

waterfalls-angel-falls-venezuela-worldvia
Angel Falls

What can go wrong when visiting a natural attraction named after a heavenly creature? If Angel Falls is any indication, not much. As it turns out, visiting this destination is nothing short of supernatural.
If you thought 1,000 feet was impressive, how do you feel about the 3,200 feet uninterrupted fall in Venezuela? That number makes it the highest waterfall in the world. And the supernatural element doesn’t stop there.
Angel Falls is a waterfall that does not originate from a stream or river, but simply the water accumulated at the plateau of the mystical Auyán-tepui mountain from which it falls. Its local nickname, Mundo Perdido (Lost World), certainly rings true.

5) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

We end the post with not just one, but a collection of waterfalls that form one of the most stunning lake districts in the world. The Plitvice National Park is home to no less than 16 individual lakes, all connected with waterfalls that are nothing short of gorgeous.
The tallest of the falls is ‘only’ 230 feet tall, and none of the is particularly wide. What makes this area so unique is how all of them work together to form a park that seems like it came straight out of a mystical fantasy novel.
In winter, the waterfalls accomplish a rare feat: they freeze and become even more beautiful. But the same mystical element remains throughout the year, as well. For the fans of nature and romantics among us, Plitvice National Park is a bucket list item to visit.
Each of these waterfalls is well worth a visit, for a variety of reasons. All offer exceptional natural beauty. While some impress through their sheer power, others almost seem delicate. Regardless of which you choose to visit, it will be a journey that you won’t soon forget.

Posted on

Experiencing Cairo’s Amazing Sites Beyond the Giza Pyramids

Girl with camel near pyramids

The Many Wonders of Salah El-Din Citadel

Dripping with history and beauty, the Salah El-Din Citadel (or Cairo Citadel) is not only a critical component of Cairo’s history but one with as much visual splendor as anywhere else in the city. A 12th-century fortress built by Saladin (also sometimes called Salah El-Din), the series of buildings take visitors back to a crucial period of Cairo’s development, simultaneously offering some of the best views in the city thanks to their high pitch on the Mokattam Hill. One of the most popular things to do is to scale to the top for a panoramic glimpse of the region, with clear days offering views all the way to the Giza Pyramids just beyond Cairo’s modern cityscape.
Inside the Citadel is also a treasure trove of different landmarks, including the very famous Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Built in the first half of the 19th century, the Ottoman-styled mosque dazzles both inside and out, complete with its iconic dome, skyscraping Turkish minarets, and vintage clock tower that hovers over an alabaster-covered courtyard. With its apparent beauty and historical importance, the Muhammad Ali Mosque is one of the most popular spots in Cairo for a reason.
Outside of the mosque, there is no shortage of other features worth your time either, like the Al-Gawhara Palace that Ali built for his wife. There are also a series of other smaller mosques, museums, and sites of intrigue bundled within the medieval complex, and it’s large enough to spend an entire day absorbing the many features that have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the 1970s.

The ancient roots of Coptic Cairo

You don’t have to be particularly religious to feel a connection to Coptic Cairo, where longstanding traditions, ancient architecture, and ancient folklore blend into a magnificent gathering spot for visitors. At Amr Ibn al-Aas, you can inspect the oldest mosque in Africa while down the street, within the ancient Babylon Fortress, sites like the Hanging Church and the Church of St. George are emblems of Christianity’s ancient roots. The Babylonian Fortress area of Coptic Cairo has also been a spot of strategic importance for millennia, dating back to its days as a crucial dividing point (and tolling station) between Lower and Middle Egypt. The Ben Ezra Synagogue, meanwhile, is whispered to be built on the spot where the pharaoh’s daughter brought Moses after scooping him out of the Nile, bringing an aura of ancient mystery to one of the newer constructions of Coptic Cairo.
Though knowing the context of Coptic Cairo will help you fully grasp the area’s appeal, it’s also a bustling and interesting experience in itself. The alleys in between the ancient stone buildings are loaded with vendors showcasing unique artwork and artefacts, giving visitors a glimpse of modern Cairo seamlessly blended into the oldest part of the city. You can easily spend a morning – or an entire day – wandering through the eternal network of religious sites and fascinating buildings, which collectively provide a blueprint to how the city itself developed out of the ancient world.

Start or end your journey at the Egyptian Museum

Chances are you’re at least moderately interested in the annals of history if you picked Cairo as a destination, which is why skipping the Egyptian Museum can be an epic mistake. Centrally located near the Sadat metro station, the museum is an ideal companion piece to a journey into the region’s past, complete with a King Tut exhibit that showcases the boy king’s iconic gold mask – one of the most famous artifacts of history. The ancient jewelry exhibit is also one of the most spectacular in the world and the sprawling museum is absolutely loaded with fascinating objects both small and large, transporting visitors to the mysterious world of the ancient Egyptians.
Though the King Tut exhibit is clearly the mainstay, there are some other popular main exhibits as well, including a mummy room that will provide detailed insight into a lost world that is equal measures enchanting and eerie. Although you have to pay a little bit extra to check out the mummy room, it’s a small price to pay for ancient Egypt enthusiasts. While a trip to the museum before heading to the pyramids will set the tone and help you appreciate the land’s most famous sites, the museum is also is an ideal swan song to wrap up an unforgettable journey.
Although the museum is a must-see for pyramid-gazers, a little planning is required to have the best experience. Because there is no air conditioning, it’s highly recommended to arrive close to its 9:00 a.m. opening and visitors should be ready to pay a few extra bucks to be able to take photos inside (it’s completely worth it). The museum is also in its final stages of prominence, as the massive and long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in late-2018 at the edge of the Giza plateau will take over the main exhibits. Whether you make it to the old Egyptian Museum or the new one, however, taking a day to wander through time at one of the region’s state-of-the-art museums is one of the best ways to get in tune with the area’s famous ancestors.

Other archeological sites to consider

A city like Cairo and its neighboring regions have more than enough sightseeing to justify an extended holiday. For those with a little extra time, a trip south of the city to the pyramids of Dahshur can be a terrific day trip, taking visitors to a world often forgotten due to their infinitely more famous cousins in Giza. Although not as visually striking as the Giza pyramids, the Dahshur monuments (e.g. the Black Pyramid, Red Pyramid, and Bent Pyramid) all have a fascinating story of their own and the crowds are dramatically lighter.
Also just south of Cairo, Saqqara is worthy of an excursion as well, as the famous necropolis is where you can find the Step Pyramid of Djoser, ancient healing temples, and a wide range of different Egyptian statues and artifacts. Both Saqqara and Dahshur are very easily accessed from central Cairo via either bus, taxi, or a guided tour.
When traveling to Cairo, however, it’s also critical to take into consideration both the weather and the city’s regular schedule. Between June and September, you can expect intense sun and heat, making it crucially important to get going as early as possible to maximize your comfort at Cairo’s most popular sites. Being a Muslim-dominant city, many of the city’s greatest features (e.g. the Muhammad Ali Mosque) are closed on Fridays and have limited hours during high holidays like Ramadan. But with a little research and a plan, Cairo remains one of the world’s most fascinating cities and a must-see for anyone awed and inspired by the forever-evolving pages of history.

Posted on

Why Zanzibar Should be on Your Bucket List

Just off the coast of mainland Tanzania, the Unguja Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago is a locale complete with exotic white-sand beaches, stunning historical buildings, and more than enough sites and activities for any holiday. Thanks to warm–but not typically hot – weather all year long to go with vibrant and unique local cultures, the many enchanting features of Zanzibar’s main island make it one of the go-to destinations in all of Africa. Here are just a few of the features that should get Zanzibar onto that bucket list.

The wonderful old world of Stone Town

Tucked along the west coast of Unguja Island near one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Zanzibar, a unique town of masterfully-built stone buildings hugs the clear water of the Zanzibar Channel. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Stone Town has roots that go back a millennium, but many of the sites were built during a major flourish in the 19th century when it became a prominent spice port. More than just a quirky fact, its prominence as a trade hub made it both a spot of rapid cultural exchange and a critical part of the developing Zanzibar islands.

Blending of Cultures

But its merging of cultures goes back long before Stone Town’s golden age, as we see clearly with its most famous building, the Old Fort. Peeking over the Forodhani Gardens and Stone Town’s natural harbor, the Old Fort was started by the Portuguese and then finished by Omani Arabs near the end of the 17th century. The Old Fort has continued to evolve, however, taking visitors from the days of it being a military stronghold to a focal point of modern Zanzibar, complete with an open-air amphitheater that was added to the fort only a couple of decades ago. Today, the Old Fort is even the main site for the steadily growing Zanzibar International Film Festival, the biggest film festival in East Africa.
The rest of the buildings that started filling in around the Old Fort also tell an interesting story as well, which ultimately led to its distinction as a World Heritage Site. After rising as a major Swahili trading port, Stone Town became a blend of Arabic, African, Indian, and European cultures. Visitors can see this in the collaboration of architectural traditions seen around town. Buildings of ragstone and timber create winding, narrow alleyways filled in with bikers, pedestrians, and bazaars selling any number of unique items. A short walk away, Nakupenda Beach is legendarily gorgeous thanks to its immaculate turquoise water lapping against the pure white sand, making it the ideal place to spend an entire day or simply unwind after a busy morning.

Other sites in Stone Town to consider`

Showcasing Stone Town’s interesting history, the Palace Museum – once called the Sultan’s Palace – is a beautiful white stone building near the shore’s edge in the heart of Stone Town. Touring the Palace Museum is inexpensive and provides a nice link to the town’s more recent history, taking visitors from the sultanate rule that dominated the 19th century through the revolution in the 1960s that forever changed the town. Next door, the House of Wonders is another striking late-19th-century palace and is the home to the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar – another must for history lovers. Meanwhile, the Darajani Market is the most prominent bazaar in Stone Town, whisking patrons through the unique food traditions of the region with a lively atmosphere that makes for a perfect day or night excursion for visitors.
With plenty of visually-stunning seaside walks, all kinds of history to dive into, and an upbeat modern buzz, Stone Town is easily one of the worthy must-sees on any trip to Zanzibar.

The beaches of Unguja

Just a little more than an hour north of Stone Town, the village of Nungwi is a beach lover’s dream, with crystal-clear water, wide white-sand-beaches, and a range of outstanding accommodations that showcase the most famous parts of the village. Because swimming is possible even at low-tide – not a guarantee in most beaches in Zanzibar – it is known for having some of the best ocean swimming throughout the archipelago. Nungwi is also an especially great destination for fishing and boating, as popular activities include night deep-sea fishing and a range of inspiring sunset cruise options. Nearby Kendwa is another one of the top beaches on the northern tip of Unguja.
On to the southeast part of the island, there is an equally amazing spread of beaches that regularly bring in visitors from all over the world. In Paje, the kitesurfing on the lagoon is as legendary as the beaches, and there are miles of pristine sand and warm water to explore. Paje also has some of the best diving in the area as well, and the restaurants are known for their authentic Zanzibari cuisine, which typically is a blend of Indian, African, and Arabic traditions.
But while Nungwi and Paje can be pretty busy during peak season in the summer (December through March), there are other spots with a little more elbow room that can be just as terrific. A 20-minute drive north will take you past a long line of gorgeous, ocean-facing resorts on your way to Michamvi, a lively little village known for its iconic sunsets and tranquil atmosphere. On the northeast part of the island, Matemwe is a traditional fishing village that provides another launching point for boating, diving, or just soaking up the sun at one of the terrific beaches nearby.

Experience village life

An inexpensive, 10-kilometer cab ride from Paje will take you to the quiet village of Jambiani. Here, you can dig even deeper into authentic Zanzibari culture and get a real taste for life as a local. Whether on a small group tour or solo, the local fishermen and seaweed farmers are known for incorporating guests into their daily routine, giving you insight into the local economy and culture.
You’ll also get a chance to try some of the most traditional Swahili dishes on the island. And if you’re not sick of the beach yet, Jambiani has an eye-popping beach of its own that can rival anything down the street in Paje. For festival enthusiasts, the Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival in late-November/early-December is a wonderful chance to see a flourish of local customs and traditions in action.
Jambiani is far from the only exciting village on Unguja worth traveling to, however, as the eclectic little villages throughout the island each have their own unique cultures within the larger Zanzibari world. A short distance from either Paje or Jambiani, for example, Makunduchi can be a terrific day trip that shows Zanzibari life outside of the beach-dominated areas. Located in a fertile portion of mostly undeveloped land, Makunduchi is particularly exciting during the Mwaka Kogwa, a July/August festival that celebrates the Persian New Year with a series of rituals that provide an unforgettable cultural snapshot.

Important tips to know before you go

The best bet for getting to Zanzibar is to board a ferry in Dar es Salaam, from the Julius Nyerere International Airport. The ferry is, unsurprisingly, a lovely ride and only takes a few hours to bring you to Stone Town, although it’s highly advised that you book everything well in advance. Booking ahead means you won’t have to buy a ticket from an unofficial vendor who commonly inflate ticket prices. Travelers also tend to stay away from monsoon season between March and May, as the ferry can be very bumpy and beach trips can be difficult to plan due to the weather.
It’s also worth remembering that the word “Zanzibar” actually could mean a couple of different things, which gets confusing. Technically, Zanzibar includes both the Unguja and Pemba islands – along with a series of smaller ones. Colloquially, however, Zanzibar often refers to either Zanzibar City or potentially Unguja Island as a whole, as it’s the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Simply put, be as specific as you can be to make sure everyone is on the same page.
You also should keep in mind that the Zanzibar islands are in many ways completely independent of Tanzania, and you’ll need your passport as you make your way over from the mainland. Most travelers will also need a travel visa, which you can easily obtain ahead of time and is relatively inexpensive. If you’re staying at a resort or hotel, you also might want to consider arranging private transportation to some of the top sites, like Stone Town to Nungwi. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of taxis in the area, you can save quite a bit of money if you negotiate.
If you’re looking for a white sand paradise with interesting locals, a unique culture and endless sunny days, Zanzibar should be the next trip on your bucket list.
worldvia-email-subscribe-local700

Posted on

4 Unforgettable Destinations for Wine Enthusiasts

Unforgettable Wine Destinations

Take an unbelievable journey to these 4 must-see destination’s to experience ancient traditions and cutting-edge techniques that fuse each region’s uniquely charming history into the finest vintage lines to create an unforgettable travel adventure for the oenophile in everyone.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

With over 160 regional wineries to choose from and a historic status as South Africa’s second oldest city, the nearly 350-year-old Stellenbosch lays claim to the country’s first wine route that takes you along the breathtaking Precambrian granite mountains and lush scenic valleys of the Western Cape. The local winemakers’ long-running experience is reflected in their award-winning Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinotage creations, as well as their warm and inviting vibe. Here, mineral-rich, delectable wines are augmented by the deeply rich cultural heritage which includes numerous art galleries and museums, as well as celebrated restaurants that have garnered the district its fitting moniker as “The Gourmet Capital.”

vineyard-south-africa-worldvia
Stellenbosch

Where to Visit: The historic 1690 Stellenbosch Vineyards feature multi-tiered food and wine fusions that offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience, including a delectable new Chocolate & Wine Pairing. The estate is just 5 minutes from the innovative tasting room of Thandi Wines, the first fair-trade brand in the world. If you’d like some wildlife with your wine, head over to the elegant minimalism of Remhoogte Estate, where the succulent summer tastings overlook a park stocked with zebra, springbok, and wildebeest. Many of the area’s vineyards have their own on-site, full-service restaurants, including Simonsig, Delheim, and Warwick, and the wide array of accommodations feature the most modern hotels mixed in with rustic lodges, quaint cottages, and centuries-old homesteads. The Vine Hopper Tour takes you on an enlightening outing to 15-20 vineyards spread across the northern, southern, and eastern sections of this vibrant region.
Best Time to Go: From September until mid-February you can experience the beautiful spring and summer weather of the southern hemisphere, and the cool, lush autumn season ends around mid-April. Many fun Harvest Season bashes take place from late January until mid-March.

Napa Valley, California

For three days each April, the world-renowned ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ festival in Napa Valley takes travelers inside the homes and inner sanctuaries of the area’s leading winemakers for private tours of the cellars, fun social tastings, celebrated dining experiences, and exclusive access to purchase select varieties from internationally acclaimed vineyards. During these festivities and throughout the year you can learn about the exquisite soils, climate, and geology that make this unique district California’s first American Viticultural Area.

nappa_valley_worldvia
Napa Valley

Where to Go: Napa Valley is home to some of the most exclusive Cabernet Sauvignons in the world, as well as singular berry blends of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel. Explore the lands on the famed Napa Valley Bike Tours, or board the elegant Napa Valley Wine Train to visit environmentally Gold Certified Cade Estate, enchanting Inglebrook’s 150-year old French heritage, or the 15,000 square foot cave tastings and tours of Failla Winery. The region also has a vibrant arts scene showcased in the annually curated masterpieces of downtown’s Napa Art Walk and a week-long film festival featuring artists from across the globe.
Best Time to Go: Late April for the Vineyard to Vintner Festival, late August through early November for the full grape harvesting experience, November 7-11, 2018 for the Napa Valley Film Festival, and March through May for a less-crowded visit while spring is in full bloom.

Douro Valley, Portugal

“A geological poet. A supreme splendour.” – Portuguese poet Miguel Torga describing Douro Valley
Three distinct regions make up the ancient and awe-inspiring Douro Valley: the western Baixo Corgo is known for its ruby and lighter tawny Ports, the Cima Corgo for high-quality Vintage and LMV Ports, and the archaeologically-inspiring Douro Superior shares a border with Spain and features exceptional dry wines that match its arid climate. The dazzling scenery features magnificently steep terraces that overlook the beautifully tranquil Douro River, and the entire valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the transformative human cultivation of the land over the past 2,000 years.

douro-valley-worldvia
Douro Valley

Where to Go: Sister cities Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia sit on the opposite banks of the charming river and offer an enticing array of cultural and culinary experiences, such as the celebrated Wine Quay Bar which is situated amidst Porto’s historic monuments and museums and features selections from across the valley. Heading westward, Gaia’s 1751 Ferrarai Porto port house, which was founded by famed Douro matriarch Dona Antónia Adelaide, provides you with fascinating lessons in winemaking as a well as an intriguing journey into the region’s development. The valley itself is home to numerous vineyards and wine houses, including the oldest still-active Port-producing estate, 430-year-old Quinta de Roeda. One of the most unique experiences is found at the Museum of Art and Archeology in Côa, which offers tours of the region’s famous 20,000-year-old rock art followed by select tastings at the on-site restaurant.
Best Time to Go: Most everyone agrees that September through early November is the time to see the phenomenal color scapes that light up the land and to experience the one-of-a-kind harvest celebrations. The region offers a wide array of riverboat, train, hiking, biking, and motorcar tours to take you across this breathtaking and sophisticated valley in style.

Willamette Valley, Pacific Northwest

Spread across a sweeping 5,000 square feet of prime Oregon territory, this region’s tagline of ‘We are Pinot Noir’ makes a bold promise that it delivers on with its 500 internationally esteemed wineries set against stunning Cascade and Coastal Mountain scenery. The local cultivators collectively made Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2016 Wine Region of the Year due to a generation of risk takers who recognized that the mountains, river, sea, and soil of the area all combined to form an ideal atmosphere for growing the perfect grape that bridges the gap between Burgundy and California styles.

Where to Visit: The Carlton Winemakers Studio is Oregon’s first cooperative wine house and features pourings from 15 top-rated ‘indie’ estates in a revolutionary business model that allows small vineyards to thrive. Just down the road, the ever-evolving Red Ridge Farms features 5-generations of toilers who were among the original Oregonians to grow grapes for wine cultivation. They now showcase relaxing Wine Country Retreats and a holistic food and natural product boutique right on sight for a fun shopping excursion. One of the best ways to experience the region is through a cultural wine tour aboard Precision Helicopters: you can fly over the breathtaking panoramas and hear the history, geology, and stories of the people who overcame the naysayers to craft an exclusive array of internationally acclaimed vintages. Social responsibility is also part of the community vibe, and the heartfelt Taste of Community tours offer you the opportunity to experience the valley’s famously eclectic black cherry-herb infused flavors while giving to a local cause.
Best Time to Go: From late September to early November is harvest season highlighted by multiple ‘crush’ lunches, winery concerts, interactive tours, and fun festivals, such as September’s Feast Portland. Summer is more laid back, with the lush Portland landscapes in full bloom and plenty of hiking, biking, art galleries, and resort and spa experiences to keep you entertained.
Ready to kick back with a glass of amazing vintage and a dazzling view into a whole new culture? Then pack your luggage—and your wineskins —today!
worldvia-email-subscribe-winelover700

Posted on

4 Unforgettable Natural Wonders of South Africa

South Africa has an incredible number of national parks, nature reserves, beaches and other amazing destinations that are hard to match. If you want to take a once in a lifetime excursion to a land where you can find lots of unspoiled nature and wildlife, you can’t do better than South Africa. Here are four of the top destinations to explore if you’re fortunate enough to visit this majestic land.

Kruger National Park

Sunset_Kruger_Park_Worldvia
Sunset In Kruger Park

Kruger National Park, about four hours from Johannesburg, is one of South Africa’s largest and best-known game reserves. Many people who plan African safaris are set on seeing the “Big Five,” which are lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos. While you can certainly see these in Kruger National Park, there’s so much more as well such as birds, primates, wildebeest and countless other species. Here are some guidelines to help you plan the best possible journey.
Choose the right tour
If you prefer a guided tour, make sure you select carefully. Consider factors such as the length of the tour, quality of accommodations, how many people are on the tour, and the cost. Always check out the reputation of the tour company. There are definite benefits to being led by a knowledgeable guide. You don’t have to worry about getting lost and the guide will know when and where to find the animals.
Giraffes on a safari in Kruger Park

Consider a self-guided tour 
If you like to be independent and want a more intimate journey with your companion (s), you can take a self-drive tour of Kruger National Park. This, of course, requires more planning than a guided tour. Make sure you have a reliable off-road vehicle as the terrain is often rough.
Decide when to come
One of the best times to visit Kruger National Park (or any game reserve in Africa) is winter when visibility is best. If you visit in summer you can expect quite a bit of rain. It’s also more challenging to see animals because of thicker vegetation. Another factor to note is that in summer you may need medication to prevent malaria. In winter this isn’t usually an issue as mosquitoes aren’t active. However, you always have to check with your doctor and health advisories for the region before visiting Africa.
Zebras_Kruger_Park_Worldvia
Zebras in Kruger Park

North or South?
Kruger National Park is very large and is divided between north and south. The southern part has a higher density of wildlife while the north is less crowded (in terms of human visitors as well as animals). If you have time, both are worth exploring. If you’re set on seeing predators such as lions, the south is your best bet. However, the north has plenty of animals as well, including elephants.

Drakensberg

Eland_South_Africa_Worldvia
Eland in South Africa

Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park often called simply the Drakensberg, is one of South Africa’s most dramatic landscapes. Drakensberg means Dragon Mountain and the Zulu name Ukhahlamba means barrier of spears. Both of these names were inspired by the unique appearance of this mountain range. This is a vast area encompassing three provinces. Here are some sights and activities that are available in this breathtaking region.
Giant’s Castle Game Reserve
This game reserve is best known for its large eland herds. Another protected species, bearded vultures, are also prevalent here. You can also see some fantastic cave painting dating back thousands of years. You can even spend a night in a cave. Accommodations range from camping to luxury lodges.
Bird watching
knysna_Loerie_South_Africa_Worldvia
Knysna Loerie bird in South Africa

The Drakensberg is a must-see for nature lovers, as it’s one of Africa’s most biodiverse regions. It’s especially appealing for bird-watchers, as it has 299 recorded species of birds.
Hang gliding and paragliding
If you’re into adventure sports, the Drakensberg offers some incredible launch sites. There are several companies in the area that offer adventures and instruction in paragliding and hang gliding. Another way to get a birds-eye view of the region is hot air ballooning.

Wild Coast

As the name suggests, the Wild Coast is an untamed and pristine area on the Indian Ocean in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. This is the place to come if you enjoy open spaces and scenery that hasn’t changed much in millennia.
Visit the birthplace of Nelson Mandela
The famous leader and activist was born in the small village of Mvezo. You can visit the Nelson Mandela National Museum, which is refreshing for its remoteness compared to your typical tourist museum.
Mkambati Nature Reserve
One of the country’s more secluded nature reserves, this one is only accessible by hiking or boating. Here you can find pristine hiking trails, waterfalls that empty directly into the ocean, and wildlife such as eland, wildebeest, and an incredible variety of birds. Because of its remoteness, you won’t find luxury hotels here. There are, however, quite a few modest lodge and cottages where you can stay.
South_Africa_Beach_Worldvia
Uncrowded beaches
Haga Haga is one of the relaxing beaches on the Wild Coast where you won’t have to contend with the usual crowds. Another is Coffee Bay Beach. Aside from the opportunities for swimming and sunbathing, you can hike around the surrounding areas.
Explore the Xhosa community
The Xhosa are the traditional people who have lived in this region for many centuries. Visit IKhamanga Cultural Village, where you can stay as a guest among these friendly people and learn about their ways.

Table Mountain

Just outside of Cape Town, Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s most recognizable landmarks. Named for its flat top shape, the mountain offers spectacular views of Cape Town as well as a surprising variety of flora. In fact, many of the plants you’ll see here are unique to this mountain.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch_Botanical_Gardens_Worldvia
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Among the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens, Kirstenbosch gives you a chance to see the area’s many beautiful plants and flowers. There are free guided tours as well as the Centenary Tree Top Canopy Walkway, which leads you through an incredible forest.
Ride the cable car
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway provides the best views of Table Mountain, Cape Town, and surrounding areas. This is a popular activity so it’s best to pre-book your tickets.
Hiking
The mountain provides many hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Be careful and make sure you know where you’re going as some of these trails are more difficult and treacherous than they appear. Those in good shape can hike all the way to the top. If you’re less active, you can take the aforementioned cable car.
Table_Mountain_South_Africa_Worldvia
Table Mountain, Cape Town

South Africa is a nature lover’s paradise. You can, of course, also enjoy the cultural attractions and beaches of Cape Town and Johannesburg. However, the above destinations will give you a chance to see some of the landscapes and wildlife that are hard to find anywhere else.

Posted on

Nile River Cruises: A Trip Through the Heart of Egypt

Cruising along the Nile River has been one of the top luxury cruises around the world since the days of the famous voyage of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. These days, the magic of the Nile remains intact as world-travelers shoot along the river to see some of the most beautiful spots in Egypt from the comfort of a world-class riverboat. Although there are plenty of ways to see the best that Egypt has to offer, a Nile river cruise will take a traveler deep into the historical roots of the region while promising unparalleled views and relaxation that will quickly make for the trip of a lifetime.

The entryway to the ancient world.

Egypt remains a world-class destination for one main reason: the awe-inspiring ancient pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx. Sitting just west of the Nile and a short trip from Cairo, the pyramids date to the 3rd millennium B.C. and continue to be among the top tourist destinations on the planet. The Pyramid of Khufu (or simply the Great Pyramid of Giza) is the only Ancient Wonder of the Ancient World to remain intact and is one of the most massive pyramids ever built, making it a natural starting point for any trip to Egypt.
The view of Khufu’s famous tomb—along with the equally impressive Khafre and Menkaure Pyramids—is also nothing short of breathtaking from the Nile, the lifeblood of both ancient and modern Egypt. From the river, visitors will see the marvels of Giza the same way that the ancients would have first seen the pyramids, as it was only with the Nile that most travelers were able to maneuver around Egypt’s Old Kingdom reliably. With Nile river cruises that tend to start and end in Cairo, travelers enjoy a terrific opportunity to see the pyramids from the river before a short day trip directly to the complex, providing direct access that makes planning as easy as possible.

Much more than just pyramids.

The pyramids are certainly not the only draws of the region, however, as you don’t have to be a history buff to fall in love with the remarkable ruins of Luxor. Only minutes north of Cairo, Luxor is a stunning combination of ancient ruins, temples, and monuments from the days that the town was known as Thebes, the one-time capital of Ancient Egypt. Known as the largest open-air museum in the world, Luxor is excellent for exploring on your own or in a small group with a knowledgeable tour guide who can unlock the mysteries of famous sites like the Luxor Temple, Karnak, and more.
Just across the Nile on the west embankment, the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens are two of the most renowned archaeological hot spots of the ancient world and together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Valley of the Kings is also the foundation for the mysteries of King Tutankhamun, the famed boy king whose tomb became internationally famous when British archeologist Howard Carter discovered it nearly a century ago. Though you might have to start as early as 5 a.m. to beat the heat in the summertime, stopping by the remarkable tombs of Egypt’s ancient pharaohs are nearly guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
Other sites to see nearby:
Cairo itself has plenty to offer besides just being a launching point for the pyramids. Near the top of the list, the Cairo Citadel is stunning both inside and out and is famous for being the location of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Built directly on top of an ancient Roman-era fortress, the Hanging Church is also well worth a trip, as is the Egyptian Museum, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, and the enormous Cairo Tower, where you can glimpse the entire city from 187 meters above the ground.

Don’t forget Port Said and Suez.

Port Said is one of the unique locations that can easily fly under the radar in Egypt, bringing an exciting international feel while also providing exceptional access to the Suez Canal and the many features of the Mediterranean. Within Port Said, the El Nasr Museum of Modern Art is a great stop, and there is even a Central Perk in the middle of town, a favorite local café modeled after the coffee shop from the famous sitcom Friends. Getting a glimpse of the famous Suez Canal House on a free ferry ride over to Port Faud is also a great way to spend an afternoon around the Port Said region.
The main draw of Port Said, of course, is that it’s the perfect conduit to getting anywhere else in Egypt that you need to go. While there is easy transportation to Cairo-Giza, as well as a range of highly rated day tours, it’s also easy to hop on a cruise ship or ferry to enjoy the Suez Canal. A crucially important canal built in the 1860s, Suez links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and is excellent for a pleasure cruise or for making a trip down to port towns like Safaga.

The treasures further down the Nile.

The Luxor-Cairo-Giza region is rightly the centerpiece of most Egyptian adventures, yet anyone who has been down the Nile understands that pyramids and tombs are only a portion of what a Nile River Cruise has to offer. A destination that has become very popular is Safaga, a small Egyptian port town hugging the Red Sea that has become a haven for watersports enthusiasts. After seeing some of the main wonders of Egypt, Safaga is an excellent opportunity for kitesurfing, scuba diving, or to enjoy the black-sand beach the region is known for. It’s also the perfect starting location for sailing the Red Sea or up the Gulf of Suez to the Suez Canal and other destinations in northern Egypt. From the town of Qena along the Nile, Safaga is only an easy two-hour drive away, although many access Safaga through Port Said and the Suez Canal.

Final tips.

If you’re planning on seeing the best sites of Egypt, a Nile river cruise remains a perfect option to easily make the rounds to the most famous destinations in the country. Not only will you be awed by the vantage point of the pyramids, but you’ll have easy connections to a range of other underrated stopovers. Although Egypt can get a little toasty in the summertime as well as portions of fall and spring, the breeze off the Nile and amenities of a respected cruise line also help ensure that your trip will be as comfortable as it is inspiring.