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Archive for africa

The Dunes of Dorob

By Linda Tancs

Sea and sand meet at Sandwich Harbour along the Atlantic coast of Namibia. One of the area’s key attractions are the sand dunes backing the coastline, rising in many cases to over 300 feet. Historically a commercial fishing and trading port, legend has it that the name derives from an English whaler, the Sandwich, that operated in the area in the 1780s. The scenic locale is now part of Dorob National Park, a conservation area running from Walvis Bay to the Ugab River.

Kalahari Sands

By Linda Tancs

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a national park formed from the merger of South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park. It’s a vast wilderness area stretching for over 14,000 square miles in the Kalahari, boasting five sands ranging in color from red in the dunes to yellow-brown in the riverbeds along with fossil river valleys and grasslands. Wildlife is abundant, including over 170 species of birds, several species of antelope, the famous black-maned Kalahari lion, jackal, brown hyena and wild cats. The park is also completely unfenced, allowing for wildlife to move freely along the ancient migration routes so necessary for their survival in the desert. The main entry and departure point between South Africa and Botswana is at the Two Rivers/Twee Rivieren gate, which also has camping facilities, chalets, shops and a restaurant.

Crystal Clear in Malawi

By Linda Tancs

The crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi are legendary. One of the deepest lakes in the world, its southern expanse is dominated by Lake Malawi National Park, the first freshwater national park to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Scientifically, it’s important for its fish diversity, with 1,000 species half occurring within the property and estimated as the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world. It also boasts more than 350 species of mbuna (rockfish) endemic to the region, a population considered of equal value to science as the finches of the Galapagos Islands or the honeycreepers of Hawaii. Boats are available for hire, and the fish will feed from the hand.

Top of the Nile

By Linda Tancs

The “top of the Nile” is where you’ll get the best view of Murchison Falls in Uganda, where the water powerfully squeezes through a narrow 22-foot crevice in the rocks to plunge over 131 feet below into a 164-foot radius pool. The falls are so spectacular that the national park of which it is a part is named for it. A three-hour, round-trip tour to the bottom of the waterfall will give you an opportunity to observe lots of local wildlife, like the shoebill stork, hippos and crocodiles. And you might even see the dwarf giraffe that was found in the park.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Falling in North Africa

By Linda Tancs

The highest natural waterfalls in North Africa, Ouzoud Falls in Morocco is a stunning respite from the summer heat of Marrakech. Emptying into the El-Abid River gorge, the tiered cascades tumble from a height of 360 feet into a natural amphitheater of rugged, red-colored rock cliffs. To get there, you’ll journey high into the Atlas Mountains, passing through Berber villages and beautiful scenery. Even the name of the falls derives from Berber culture, meaning “the act of grinding grain.” You’ll enjoy several view points of the falls, including from restaurants along the falls’ path.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

South Africa’s Spice Route

By Linda Tancs

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, established in the 1600s as a refueling station along the Spice Route for eastbound ships. The story goes that ancient mariners would blow their horns to signal their arrival at Cape Town harbor, inviting farmers to trade. That spirit is captured today along the modern Spice Route, a tourist destination in Paarl featuring arts and crafts, local wines, draft beer and dark chocolates. The artisans chosen to participate in the route represent the best of the culture, art and taste of South Africa. The site is just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s city center.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Art in Zimbabwe

By Linda Tancs

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is a gallery in Harare (and other locations) dedicated to the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe’s contemporary art and visual heritage. Part of that heritage is Shona sculpture, an ancient, stone-working tradition that has emerged as a contemporary artistic movement. It takes its name from the Shona tribe, a collective of similar groups of people who are the largest in Zimbabwe. Much of the stone is locally sourced and belongs to the Serpentine family. Among other collections, the gallery boasts a permanent exhibition of exquisite stone carvings.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

South Africa’s Garden Route

By Linda Tancs

The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa. It was discovered by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias. A museum devoted to him is located in Mossel Bay, the official starting point of the route. It ends at Storms River. Needless to say, the 124-mile trek is a popular self-drive destination. The region comprises beaches, lagoons, coves, indigenous forest, beautiful flowers (giving the area its name) and quaint towns like George, known as the “Gateway to the Garden Route.” Another town worth a visit is Oudtshoorn, center of the ostrich industry, which rests conveniently along the wine route. You’ll enjoy pleasant temperatures year round.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Mountain of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Drakensberg translates roughly to “mountain of dragons.” It’s one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders, the highest mountain range in the country, reaching over 11,000 feet above sea level. Its peaks, favored by shutterbugs and trekkers alike, include Giant’s Castle, Cathedral Peak and Mont-Aux-Sources. For those seeking an easy day hike, try the Hlatikulu Forest Trail at the foot of the mountains and near the Mpofana River Valley. It boasts some stunning forested areas in some places as well as carpets of wildflowers (in season) in others.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

An African City of Bridges

By Linda Tancs

Constantine is the third-largest city in Algeria, currently named for Emperor Constantine the Great, who restored the city following its destruction during a war before his succession. It’s popularly known as the “city of bridges,” an unsurprising title given the precipitous gorge through which the Rhumel River flows. Of the eight bridges, the most spectacular is arguably Sidi M’Cid, which at one time was the highest suspension bridge in the world. Its eastern side leads to Monument aux Morts, a memorial built to honor the French soldiers from Constantine who died during World War I. From there you can enjoy panoramic views over the plateau (some 2,000 feet above sea level) on which the city sits.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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