African Safaris

“Some people…find they need animals to look at and to learn from. They have discovered that men, not beasts, are uncivilized.”

-Cynthia Nolan

Any discussion about Africa is incomplete without addressing its extensive wildlife. Nature-lovers and animal enthusiasts alike can agree that the continent uniquely offers a level of nature that is unlike any other place on earth. So, how does one choose how to go on a safari? To ensure that you have the best experience possible, let’s run down some important considerations when planning your safari.

Best Countries to Experience Safaris

Contrary to media portrayal, Africa has a diverse ecosystem, climate, and wildlife. Generally, eastern and southern Africa are the best regions to find safaris.

  • East Africa – Oftentimes, safaris will span across Kenya and Tanzania (located in East Africa) as the Serengeti migration routes also cross the border of both countries. Safaris are also offered in Uganda.
  • Southern Africa – Safaris are offered in the countries of Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

The ‘Big 5’ Animals

What kind of animals can you expect to see on a safari? The ‘Big 5’ animals are considered the standard safari animals, although it is really a matter of personal preference. The term ‘Big 5’ was coined by early game hunters to identify the animals most difficult to hunt on foot which made them big prizes. However, it now represents the most sought-after safari sighting. The ‘Big 5’ animals consist of elephants, lions, leopards, black & white rhinos, and the Cape Buffalo.

Photo by Aenic on Pexels.com
  • Elephants
    • Botswana (Chobe National Park)
    • South Africa (Addo Elephant National Park)
    • Zimbabwe (Hwange National Park)
    • Zambia (S. Luangwa National Park)
  • Lions
    • South Africa (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park)
    • Botswana (Okavango Delta)
    • Kenya (Maasai Mara National Reserve)
    • Tanzania (Ngorongoro Conservation Area)
  • Leopard
  • Cape Buffalo
    • South Africa (Kruger National Park)
    • Botswana (Chobe National Park)
  • Black & White Rhino
    • Namibia (Etosha National Park)
    • Kenya (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy)
Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

When to go on Safaris

The best time of year to go on an African safari will vary depending on the country due to weather and migration patterns:

  • Tanzania (January – February): As mentioned before, many safaris in Tanzania will cross through the border to Kenya from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara. However, the exact timing depends on the rainfall of that particular year. To observe the ‘Great Migration of Wildebeasts’ and the mass birthing of the calves, keep January-March as an option as it will depend upon the weather patterns of that year. To view lions in Tanzania, simply follow the patterns of the wildebeasts as the lions follow them for hunting opportunities. Safari-goers will also have a chance to see cheetahs, wild dogs & hyenas.
  • South Africa (March – April): At the Kruger National Park guests have the opportunity to view the ‘Big 5’. In addition to being a great destination for safaris, South Africa also offers good weather and a variety of historical, political, and cultural attractions for the traveler.
  • Namibia (March-April): Unlike South Africa, Namibia’s climate is more desert-like in that it is not a coastal country. However, in March, the climate is more humid and rainy. In April, the weather begins to become more dry.
  • Zimbabwe (May-June): Beginning in May the climate transitions into having both wet and dry elements. During this time, travelers have the opportunity to view leopards, lions, rhinos, zebras, elephants, and more.
  • Botswana (July-August): During this time period the country experiences their winter/dry season and has moderate temperatures. As there is less vegetation, animals travel to the waterholes to drink which is when travelers have the opportunity to view animals. Parks to view animals include the Okavongo Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, and Chobe National Park.
  • Kenya (September-October): Kenya has been considered a safari “dreamland” as it boasts over 40 national parks and reserves. This country offers year-round tourism with September and October being the most optimal periods. A few of the most popular reserves are Mt. Kenya National Park, Nairobi National Park, Maasai Mara National Park.
  • Uganda (November-December): The peak period for safaris are June – September with clearer skies, less rain, and more sun. November is considered the low season/off season and offers better park permit rates.

Accommodations

Safari accommodations can range from very basic to more upscale.

  • Resorts/Hotels – These are generally the more upscale type of safari accommodations.
  • Tented Camps – These accommodations offer a unique experience to camp in a safari experience.
  • Bush Houses – Generally like as private villas that offer a colonial design with African flare.
  • Game Lodges/Safari Lodge – Usually located in or near a national park, these accommodations can range from basic to luxury.

Thanks for Reading!

Hi there-this is Aisha, I am a blogger and travel advisor with Dreamy Tropical Travel. We are passionate about culture, history, and landmarks across Africa and the Caribbean. Join us as we explore unique destinations and cultures!

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Morocco: A North African Treasure

Photo: TripSavvy

History

Morocco is a coastal northwest African country located west of Algeria and south of Spain. The indigenous people are collectively known as the Berbers (self-named ‘Amazigh’). After stints of control under the Romans and Arabs, which subsequently led to the acceptance of Islam by the majority of the population, the Almoravids emerged as a native Amazigh dynasty. The Almoravids controlled an empire stretching from southern Spain to portions of Sub-Sahara Africa. Morocco eventually became a French protectorate in 1912, but gained it’s independence in 1956 and continues to be independent to this day. It is currently the only north-African monarchy.

Photo: Britannica

Culture

Moroccan culture is a unique mixture of Sub-Saharan African, European, and Middle Eastern traditions. The native Amazigh culture has also seen an emergence of interest by the population and associations have encouraged the study of native thought and culture. Morocco’s official languages are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber), but most people can speak and understand French. Spanish is also spoken in northern and southern Morocco.

The climate in Morocco is best described as diverse. As the country sits on the Atlantic Ocean the west, and is crossed by the Rif and Atlas Mountains, it is affected by much influx of climate. The coastal regions of Morocco are more Mediterranean and are lavished with generous amounts of sunshine, mild temperatures, and gentle breezes. Agadir is the country’s premier resort town. Moving closer inland, the climate becomes more continental. Southern Morocco takes on a Sahara topography where one can experience camel rides and explore the vastness of the desert.

Daily life for most Moroccans consists of family-oriented activities around the home and community. A common past-time in the coastal cities include family trips to the beach for swimming, having picnics, and playing sports. Men will typically will gather around sidewalks to watch sports, such as soccer.

The typical activities in the larger cities like Casablanca includes many of the things typically found in any large city. Shopping can range from quaint boutiques and open-air markets in which vendors sell a variety of arts and crafts to large shopping malls with familiar luxury items.


Photo: Eye-Swoon

Attractions

  1. The Volubilis Ruins – Fes-Meknes, Morocco: The Volubilis is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. It was established as an administrative center of the Maurentanian kingdom and is located between the cities of Fez. The Volubilis ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Rick’s Cafe – Casablanca, Morocco – In the 1942 Hollywood romantic classic Casablanca, ‘Rick’s Cafe’ was the fictional nightclub owned by the protagonist, Rick Blaine, and was set in Casablanca, Morocco. The spirit of this nightclub has been reimagined into a restaurant boasting an impressive 4-star rating on Tripadvisor.com.

‘Casablanca’ – Film, 1942
Photo: commonsensemedia.org
Casablanca
Photo: Wikipedia
Rick’s Cafe Restaurant – Casablanca, Morocco
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

3. Chefchaouen ‘Blue Pearl’, Morocco: This mysterious city is known for the beautiful shades of blue found on the houses and shops. The origin of the blue city is questioned, some say that it was used as a symbol of peace and solidarity for the Jewish population fleeing Nazi persecution. Others state that the tradition of painting the city blue goes back to the 15th century to defend the inhabitants against Portuguese invaders. Regardless of the origin, the streets of this city are any photographer’s paradise!

Thank you for Reading!

Hi there, this is Aisha – I am a blogger and travel advisor with Travel Africa. We are passionate about culture, history and landmarks across Africa and the Caribbean. Join us as we explore unique destinations and cultures!

Good Eats in Accra, Ghana

Where de cho dey? This is Ghanaian pidgin for ‘where is the food?’ These days, tasting the local cuisine has become an important part of any travel experience. Travelers enjoy the experience of meeting fellow travelers while sharing a delicious meal. Many go so far as to have the meal become an experience on it’s own, dressing in the local attire, taking pictures, while preparing or simply eating the meal. Here are a few places and dishes around Accra that are good for experiencing the local cuisine.


Waakye at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort, Restaurant

The meal was prepared by the Coconut Grove Beach Resort located off of Mbofra Akyinim Street- Takoradi Highway, Elmina Castle. Holding a four-star rating on Trip Advisor, one of our travel advisors enjoyed this breakfast for her birthday!

Waakye is a traditional Ghanaian dish typically served in the morning. At it’s base, this dish is essentially rice with beans, but oftentimes a protein such as chicken is added along with pasta, salad, plantain, hard-boiled egg, and an assortment of other toppings made to taste! This dish can also be served on green plantain leaves for a truly authentic experience.

Fried Kelewele, Shito, with Chicken served at Starbites, Accra, Ghana

Fried Kelewele is a traditional Ghanaian dish of fried, spicy, ripe plantain typically served with a protein. Ripe plantains are diced and marinated in chili, onions, ginger, and are fried. Kelewele is seen as a Ghanaian type of fast food. The sauce, shito, means “pepper” in Ga, a Ghanaian language. Shito is a hot black pepper is a Ghanaian sauce made primarily of pepper, fish/vegetable oil, ginger, tomatoes, dried fish, prawns, and garlic. It is served with a variety of dishes including steamed rice, kenkey, banku, and gari.

This dish was prepared by Starbites has grown to nine locations over three cities within Ghana! This restaurant chain serves a refreshing variety of western comfort foods with a Ghanaian flair. The menu ranges from pepperoni pizza and burgers to samosas and spring rolls. It is also a nice place for winding down! Starbites has a refreshing drink menu containing pina colada, long island iced tea, and cosmopolitan. A great video about the founder can be viewed below!

This dish is yam chips with pork. Fried yams are made from a starchy vegetable similar to the potato and served as a side. The Azmera Restaurant has a four-star rating on Trip Advisor and is located near the Airport Residential Area in Accra.

Carmel Milkshake, Lord of the Wings

Next time you are in Accra make sure to stop by some of these places!

Flying into West Africa: Airline Comparisons

Flights from the United States into West Africa are relatively long due to the distance being traveled, typically lasting around ten hours. With such a long flight, it is important to be as comfortable as possible. We will make a few flight comparisons so that you can choose the best airline for you.

South African Airways

Founded in 1934, South African Airways (SAA) is state-owned and headquartered in Kempton Park, South Africa. With its hub situated in Johannesburg, SAA offers both domestic and international flights, which include New York, London, Hong Kong, Washington, Sao Paulo, Munich, Frankfurt, and Perth. The flights to Africa specifically include: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Entebbe, (near Kampala) Uganda; Livingstone, Zambia; Nairobi, Kenya; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Lagos, Nigeria; Ndola, Zambia; Lilongwe, Malawi; Blantyre, Malawi; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Harare, Zimbabwe; Windhoek, Namibia; Mauritius; Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivorie); Lusaka, Zambia; Luanda, Angola; Maputo, Mozambique; Dakar, Senegal; and Accra, Ghana.

As a member of the Star Alliance, customers can join the South African Airways Voyager program which allows you to redeem your miles on global flights or on non-airline partners. A few of the non-airline partners include car rental (Avis, Uber), retail, spa, and more. Additionally, SAA repatriation registration for SAA can be found here.

Ethiopian Airlines

One of the rising stars of the aviation industry, Ethiopian Airlines (EA) was founded in 1945 and is government owned. EA began taking international flights in 1951. It’s headquarters and hub are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Also a member of the Star Alliance, Ethiopian Airlines offers the same frequent flyer rewards as mentioned above. Within North America, EA flies directly into Washington DC and to 62 African cities, including Accra, Ghana; Abuja, Nigeria; and Cape Town, South Africa.

Kenya Airways

Coined “The Pride of Africa,” Kenya Airways (KA) was founded in 1977. It flies to 54 destinations worldwide which includes 41 African destinations. KA is estimated to carry over three million passengers each year. KA boasts of being the only African carrier with membership in the SkyTeam Alliance. A few of the African destinations include Accra, Ghana; Abuja, Nigeria; Dakar, Senegal; Gaborone, Botswana; Juba, South Sudan; Monrovia, Liberia; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, South Africa; and Zanzibar, Tanzania. KA flies directly into New York City, United States.


“I cannot go to my grave with my wallet, neither will I go to my grave with the number of houses that I have, I can’t go to the grave with sizes of my bank account, but I can go to the grave peacefully with the kind of legacies that I left behind”.

Chief Barr Allen Onyema, Air Peace CEO
Allen Onyema, Air Peace Airlines CEO

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Accommodation Spotlight – Legassi Gardens; Accra, Ghana


Legassi Gardens, Accra, Ghana

As we pass through the middle part of 2020, I am sure that we can all relate to that feeling of disappointment as most of our travel plans outside of the country have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. However, now is the best time to make plans for the next vacation.

In the spotlight for this blog is Legassi Gardens, a multi-faceted accommodation located within Accra, Ghana. Offering unique tours, delicious eats, and comfortable lodging, Legassi Gardens is a must see on your next trip to Accra.

Tourism

Legassi Gardens is unique in that it offers a range of tourism opportunities including cultural, legal, investment, and more. An ideal option for entrepreneurs looking to invest or set up a business in Ghana, the legal seminars and investment tours are specially tailored for small groups and topics range from buying/leasing land to Ghanaian governmental agencies.

Located in the greater Accra region of Pokuase which is native to the Ga people, Legassi Gardens also offers cultural tours to explore beyond the typical tourist spots for a more intimate experience of Ghana and the culture. A list of various cultural festivals can be found here on the Legassi Gardens website.

Stays, Amenities, and Services

Looking to escape the hustle of inner Accra for a more relaxed vacation experience? Located along the outskirts of the city, Legassi Gardens offers an authentic Ghanaian experience where visitors can enjoy a more serene vacation experience. Additionally, they have a restaurant on site offering vegetarian cuisine, Ina Zion. You can view their Youtube channel here. Take a look at the Legassi Gardens website for more details on the amenities that they offer.

Feel free to visit the Legassi Gardens’ website or email for more information.


To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

Kofi Annan, Ghanaian Secretary-General to the United Nations from 1997-2006.

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Exploring Dakar, Senegal

Dakar, Senegal

Senegalese -American Issa Rae of ‘Insecure’

I found that every time I asked permission the answer tended to be no, so I had to make my own yeses.”

Issa Rae

Attractions in Dakar, Senegal

1. Lac Rose (Pink Sea)

North of Cap Vert, Peninsula, Senegal

This lake is located north of the Cap Vert Peninsula, near Darkar, Senegal. The unique pink color is caused by a bacteria that produces color in order to absorb the sun. Due to the high salt content, not many organisms can survive in the lake. Therefore, the lake is mainly used as a tourist attraction and for salt production. The best time of year to see the pink lake is during the dry season, from November to June, when the color is most visible.

2. Goree Island

Goree Island, Senegal

One of the earliest sites of European settlements in West Africa, this site serves as an excellent tourist attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the island is home to many museams and other historical artifacts.

3. African Renaissance Monument

Dakar, Senegal

Known as the tallest statute in Africa, this monument was formally dedicated on April 4, 2010, 2010 to commiserate Senegal’s 50th year independence from France. After the idea for the monument was presented by President Abdoualye Wade, the site was designed by Senegal’s own Pierre Goudiaby and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.


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Equatorial Guinea: Africa’s only Spanish-Speaking Country

Equatorial Guinea

It is our privilege to help the world community of football by becoming the host of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. We welcome Africa’s footballers.

President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang. In 2015, Equatorial Guinea hosted Africa’s Cup of Nations after Morocco withdrew.

Tucked between Gabon and Cameroon, this central-African nation may not be well-known to some. However, what this country lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in history, culture, and even controversy. As Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, it makes for an ideal destination for anyone seeking a Spanish-immersion vacation.

Geography

Equatorial Guinea is composed of two parts – the mainland, located on continental Africa, and five islands. The islands consist of Bioko, Corisco, Great Elobey, Little Elobey, and Annobon. As you have probably deduced, Equatorial Guinea is a former Spanish colony, and much of the Spanish culture and influence remains within the country. Having gained it’s independence in 1968, this country has grown leaps and bounds from it’s former colonial state.

Culture

The native inhabitants of Bioko island are the Bubi, a Bantu-speaking population that migrated from the mainland. Unfortunately, their numbers significantly decreased due to colonialism and a later struggle with the Fang ethnic group, which has left their numbers only in the couple of thousand. Other ethnic groups present in Equatorial Guinea are Yoruba, Igbo, Spaniard, and Seke.

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Festival, Equatorial Guinea
President Obama and First Lady along with Equatorial Guinea President Obiang and First Lady

Despite the visible traces of Equatorial Guinea’s Spanish colonial past, there has been an emergence of traditional culture seen in the country, particularly on the mainland. This makes for a unique cultural experience for any traveler; the mixture of authentic traditional culture with touches of Spanish influences.

Equatorial Guinea has since become a booming, oil-rich nation. Oil was discovered in the Gulf of Guinea offshore in 1995; since then, oil has become the country’s biggest export. Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest exporter of oil in sub-Sahara Africa, trailing closely behind Nigeria and Angola.

Getting There

Malabo International Airport, Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

Currently, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to stay in the country for up to 90 days. However, it is important to check on these policies for changes before your trip. The most commonly used airlines to fly into the country are Ethiopian Airlines, Air France, and Lufthansa Airlines. Visitors will arrive at Malabo International Airport, located on the island of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

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What unique attractions did you experience when you visited Equatorial Guinea? Leave us a comment below!

Social Media Tips For Maintaining Engagement During COVID-19

Many tourism businesses are feeling the burn of having to cancel tours and events. However, it is still important to maintain a relationship with your client based during this pandemic. Once business does resume and tourists are ready to resume travel, you want to be able to bounce back quickly without missing a beat. Here are a few tips for keeping your client base engaged during the pandemic:

1. Share in Your Client’s Pain

A little empathy can go a long way. Due to COVID-19 social distancing orders, many would-be travelers are missing out on destination weddings, graduation trips, spring break, bae-cations, honeymoons, business trips, and the list goes on. Some travel businesses are sharing in the disappointment their clients may be feeling by ‘mourning the loss’ of travel experiences. These companies use social media platforms to post where they would have traveled to if it had not been for the pandemic. They then engage their audience to comment on where they would be, too, had it not have been for the pandemic. One travel advisor utilizing this strategy is Susie Chau (@carpediemtraveler) who spoke about missing her baby-moon to Miami, Florida.

2. Increase Social Media Presence

If not doing so already, this is the time for daily social media posts at a minimum. It is important to make interactive posts prompting client responses and attract followers so that your business is in the forefront of clients’ minds when travel does resume again.

3. Re-Think Allocation of Advertising Dollars

Generally speaking, it is less expensive advertising to existing clients than to new clients. In light of the decrease in revenue, some tour operators have opted to allocate more of their advertising budget to maintaining communication and relationships with existing clients than to new clients.

4. Virtual Travel Experiences

Many businesses (tourism and otherwise) have used the social distancing mandate as an opportunity to present virtual tours. While they are not typically big money-making machines, they do serve a great purpose of maintaining connections with their customer base and even making a few dollars in the process by charging a small fee for viewing.

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Travel memories on my mind 🧡

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Do you have any tips for how your business has handled changes during the pandemic? Feel free to comment below.

Equatorial Guinea: Africa’s only Spanish-Speaking Country

Equatorial Guinea

It is our privilege to help the world community of football by becoming the host of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. We welcome Africa’s footballers.

President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang. In 2015, Equatorial Guinea hosted Africa’s Cup of Nations after Morocco withdrew.

Tucked between Gabon and Cameroon, this central-African nation may not be well-known to some. However, what this country lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in history, culture, and even controversy. As Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, it makes for an ideal destination for anyone seeking a Spanish-immersion vacation.

Geography

Equatorial Guinea is composed of two parts – the mainland, located on continental Africa, and five islands. The islands consist of Bioko, Corisco, Great Elobey, Little Elobey, and Annobon. As you have probably deduced, Equatorial Guinea is a former Spanish colony, and much of the Spanish culture and influence remains within the country. Having gained it’s independence in 1968, this country has grown leaps and bounds from it’s former colonial state.

Culture

The native inhabitants of Bioko island are the Bubi, a Bantu-speaking population that migrated from the mainland. Unfortunately, their numbers significantly decreased due to colonialism and a later struggle with the Fang ethnic group, which has left their numbers only in the couple of thousand. Other ethnic groups present in Equatorial Guinea are Yoruba, Igbo, Spaniard, and Seke.

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Festival, Equatorial Guinea
President Obama and First Lady along with Equatorial Guinea President Obiang and First Lady

Despite the visible traces of Equatorial Guinea’s Spanish colonial past, there has been an emergence of traditional culture seen in the country, particularly on the mainland. This makes for a unique cultural experience for any traveler; the mixture of authentic traditional culture with touches of Spanish influences.

Equatorial Guinea has since become a booming, oil-rich nation. Oil was discovered in the Gulf of Guinea offshore in 1995; since then, oil has become the country’s biggest export. Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest exporter of oil in sub-Sahara Africa, trailing closely behind Nigeria and Angola.

Getting There

Malabo International Airport, Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

Currently, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to stay in the country for up to 90 days. However, it is important to check on these policies for changes before your trip. The most commonly used airlines to fly into the country are Ethiopian Airlines, Air France, and Lufthansa Airlines. Visitors will arrive at Malabo International Airport, located on the island of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.





What unique attractions did you experience when you visited Equatorial Guinea? Leave us a comment below!

Visiting Lagos, Nigeria

“Become familiar with your home, but know also about your neighbors. The young man who never went anywhere thinks his mother is the greatest cook.”

Chinua Achebe

Boasting the largest population per square foot in the entire continent, Nigeria has much to offer travel-goers in terms of experiences, food, and culture. This blog will primarily focus on the city of Lagos, located along the coast of Nigeria.

1. Nike Art Gallery

Nike Art Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria

A five-floor art gallery that some call one of the largest in West Africa, the Nike Art Gallery is owned by Nike Okundaye and located in Lekki, Lagos. This gallery is home to over 8,000 pieces of art from across Nigeria.

2. Elegushi Beach

This private beach is located at Lekki, within Lagos State. Some of the activities usually available are horse-back riding, beach volleyball, and flying kites. Payment to enter the beach is accepted at the entrance.

3. Freedom Park

Freedom Park, Lagos, Nigeria

Once a colonial-age prison, Freedom Park has evolved into a cultural hot-spot for education, art, film, music, and festivals.

Have you visited any of these attractions? Let us know what your experience was like!

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