The Amazing Coromandel, New Zealand

Blessed with native rain-forests, attractive golden beaches and an incredible rural landscape, the Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand's most versatile holiday destinations. The peninsula's unspoiled natural beauty can easily draw in any visitor who longs for the company of Mother Nature. Coromandel is home to several attractions and activities. If you are seeking…

Blessed with native rain-forests, attractive golden beaches and an incredible rural landscape, the Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand's most versatile holiday destinations.

The peninsula's unspoiled natural beauty can easily draw in any visitor who longs for the company of Mother Nature. Coromandel is home to several attractions and activities. If you are seeking thrills and adventure, head out to the Sleeping God Canyon and descend 300 meters down to marvel at a majestic set of waterfalls. But if the thrill that you want is the kind that will pump your adrenaline like crazy, then opt to skydive in Whitianga!

Because the peninsula is huge, you have a great selection of towns and coastal areas to choose to stay in. The capital is suitably called Coromandel Town and is known for its long history. Here, you can dine on fresh seafood and enjoy attractions like the Driving Creek Railway. If you head out to the Southern Region, you will encounter scenic towns like Waihi, Paeroa and Thames. This region is also blessed with wonderful sites like the surfing paradise called Whangamata and the hot pools in Athenree and Miranda. The Karangahake Gorge is another highlight spot in Coromandel's Southern Region. While here, you can go for train rides, discover relics and follow the trails that lead to old gold mines.

If you came to Coromandel to juts relax and rest your tired body, then spend time at the peninsula's beaches. One particularly distinct stretch is called Hot Water Beach. This natural spa expels warm bubbling water to the delight of its visitors. While here, you can dig yourself a small hole with a renovated shovel and once you dug deep enough, the hot water will emerge from the sand. By then, you can lower yourself to your small pool and have a relaxing bath.

Another famous sandy attraction that should not be missed is Cathedral Cove, which is an integral part of a protected marine reserve. Cathedral cove is located within the Northeast region, known for its wineries, outdoor recreation opportunities and gorgeous beaches such as the lovely Hahei Beach.

As mentioned, the peninsula is covered with pristine forests, making it the perfect destination for hikers. One of the peninsula's most popular trails is the Coromandel coastal walkway. There are also paths that are perfect for cycling excursions. One of them is the gorgeous Hauraki Rail Trail, which starts from the famous town of Paeroa that sits on the southernmost tip of the peninsula.

Coromandel has a great affinity to the arts, because of its hippy and artsy population who came in great number in the last century. You can easily see paintings and artwork of local artists when you visit cafés, wineries and restaurants. But if you want to visit an actual gallery, there are many to choose from. Some of the most prominent ones are the Little Gallery of Fine Arts in Tairua and Opoutere's Topadahill Studio.

Accommodation options in Coromandel are plenty enough that they can cater to a very wide range of preferences and budget. You can stay at a traditional hotel room or camp for the night at an established tent site to enjoy the view of the night sky. Coromandel Peninsula is conveniently an hour away from other major New Zealand destinations like Rotorua and Auckland.

4 Reasons Why You Should Go on Safari in Kenya

A safari in Kenya is one of life's most incredible experiences and the ultimate travel adventure. However, many travelers share some common doubts about security and any media about Kenya sees to bring only stories of terrorism, ebola and road accidents. But you have to be unlucky to get caught up in trouble of these…

A safari in Kenya is one of life's most incredible experiences and the ultimate travel adventure. However, many travelers share some common doubts about security and any media about Kenya sees to bring only stories of terrorism, ebola and road accidents. But you have to be unlucky to get caught up in trouble of these sorts. Kenya has much to offer if you can shake off the media's negative images, so you should go on safari for the following reasons:

1. To see the Great Wildebeest Migration

2. Beach, bush, mountains, desert, savannah – Kenya has many different environments and with them, different cultures, wildlife and birds

3. Poaching is increasing and gloomy predictions say there will not be any elephants in 20 years

4. Kenyan people are ready to welcome visitors – low tourist numbers affect the whole economy and Kenyans want to show travelers their beautiful country

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Tourists flock to the Maasai Mara to witness the Wildebeest Migration, often touted as the eighth wonder of the natural world. Each year approximately 120,000 tourists come to see the wildebeest cross the river while crocodiles snap at them. But even if you miss the river crossing, seeing the massive herds (animals in their millions!) Grazing the savannah is a sight to behold. Cameras can not do it justice; you have to see it for yourself.

Varied environments

Whether you want a beach holiday, bush retreat, mountain climb or desert experience, Kenya has it all. And you can put together an itinerary that covers some or all of these environments without having to fly long distances. The most common Kenyan holiday combines a safari with a few days at the beach at the end to wash the dust off. And along with these different environments comes different cultures and wildlife – Samburu in northern Kenya has five endemic species you will not see in the southern parks. For culture, you can visit a Maasai village, experience 14 different ethnic groups around Lake Turkana and then finish in cosmopolitan Nairobi. The highlight of the central highlands is Mt Kenya, but you do not have to hike for a week to enjoy the mountains; there are coffee and tea plantations to visit and the beautiful Thomson's Falls. Through the Rift Valley and into western Kenya are lakes with the myriad birdlife, including the famous flamingos.

Poaching threatens the Kenyan safari

There seems to be a misunderception that poaching was a problem in years past, but is not now. Sadly this is untrue, and in fact it is becoming worse. One prediction is that there will be no elephants in 20 years if poaching continues at the current rate. Lions and rhinos are also under significant threat, with rhinos disappearing at a rate that is simply not sustainable. It's difficult to be optimistic that humans will be able to turn around the trend with market forces so strong for ivory and rhino horn, so it is probably better to come to Kenya now to see these magnificent animals before it's too late.

Kenyan people

Tourism is Kenya's largest industry so when tourism numbers are low the whole country feels the economic impact. Kenyans are naturally hospitable, keen to welcome visitors and show off their country. Not everyone is a terrorist or a madman; most are proud of their country and excited to meet travelers. Moreover, there is a lot of positive work being carried out by Kenyans to develop Kenya that goes unseen and unheard. Come and see for yourself and be inspired!

A Kenyan safari will be one of the most unforgetable experiences of your life. I came to Kenya in 2010 and have now made it my home. But a word of caution: you may have heard people who have traveled to Africa talk about the “Africa bug” – it bites!

What are your perceptions of Kenya? Do negative news reports impact your decision on where to travel or do you ignore the hype and do your own research on a destination? Please leave your comments below.

The Perfect Amsterdam Travel Guide for 2015

There is plenty to do in Amsterdam and it's important that you know exactly what is going on in the city before you go so you can enjoy your traveling to the full. Whether you are just going to chill out, want to sample the nightlife, or are keen on the historical side of things,…

There is plenty to do in Amsterdam and it's important that you know exactly what is going on in the city before you go so you can enjoy your traveling to the full. Whether you are just going to chill out, want to sample the nightlife, or are keen on the historical side of things, Amsterdam has something for everyone.

Amsterdam is most famous for its liberal attitudes towards sex and drugs – prostitution is legal, and marijuana is decriminalized. Youngsters and the more curious visitors congregate around De Wallen – the city's Red Light District – to find out if it lives up to the hype. And it does. As night falls the city's escorts show themselves off in the windows, and while they are actually at work, for many tourists, they are certainly a tourist attraction. The Sex Museum and the Hash Museum are two hotspots in De Wallen, and with admission fees at around 5 euros each, you can have fun without spending a fortune.

The coffee shops which sell weed and hash can also mostly be found in De Wallen. The area is very relaxed and looks beautiful thanks to the canals, but it's best to be slowly careful late in the night as many people will be high or drunk.

The internationally-renovated beer Heineken is also made in Amsterdam and you can have a tour around the brewery with the “Heineken Experience”. The tour is not cheap, but it is interesting and you get given a few complimentary beers as well. The art galleries are superb in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum has over 8,000 works of art and is located in the center of the city. In addition, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum are also located close by, so if you're keen on art, you'll have a lot of fun in this area.

Amsterdam is also known for Anne Frank House. This historical site is dedicated to the Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during the Second World War. There are many special artefacts in the house that are worth seeing and it is one of the most popular destinations in Amsterdam. Because of this, queues are often very long – two hours is not uncommon – so it's advised to get there early in the day if you have a tight schedule.

If you're going to Amsterdam with children, be sure to take them to the Science Center Nemo. It's the fifth-most popular museum in the Netherlands with over half a million visitors a year, and has plenty of fun activities to keep the kids occupied.

It's very easy to travel around Amsterdam with the metro and tram systems. You can purchase passes for unlimited access to both at very reasonable prices.

If you love traveling, Amsterdam is a real gem in northern Europe and a city to unique to any other. This beautiful, chilled out and historical city is a prime destination for a weekend break.

The Great Waimea Canyon at Kauai Hawaii

Dubbed by Mark Twain as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is one of the must-see sites in the US state of Hawaii. Measuring 10 miles in length and 1 mile in width, this magnificent gorge on the island of Kauai, is impressively 3,500 feet deep and stretches towards Koke'e State Park. Waimea…

Dubbed by Mark Twain as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is one of the must-see sites in the US state of Hawaii.

Measuring 10 miles in length and 1 mile in width, this magnificent gorge on the island of Kauai, is impressively 3,500 feet deep and stretches towards Koke'e State Park. Waimea Canyon is reliably easy to locate as it is situated along Highway 550 near a town that bears the same name.

Waimea is smaller and younger compared to the Grand Canyon of Arizona, but it can definitely compete with the more popular canyon when it comes to sheer beauty. Officially called West Kauai Waimea Canyon, the geological wonder is protected by the Koke'e State Park and is the largest of its kind in the Pacific region. It was believed to have been formed by flowing rivers and floods from Mount Waialeale thousands of years ago.

There are two main ways to experience the beauty of the Waimea Canyon. The first is to drive through it and making a few stops at significant lookouts. The second option, which is hiking, is physical challenging yet more adventurous and exciting. The designated hiking trails around the canyon cover approximately 45 miles, with some going all the way to the neighboring Alakai Swamp.

Ideally, the canyon should be visited during a clear and sunny day when visibility is at its best and you can actually see the vibrant colors like red, blue, gray reflected by the canyon. Even from a distance, Waimea looks breathtaking as its unique geological formations are well complemented by multitudes of lavender, sienna and rose colors. Early mornings are usually the best time for viewing because of the usual favorable weather and less crowd accumulation. The afternoons tend to be more cloudy and crowded.

If you decide to drive to the lookouts, the most popular ones are located along the Waimea Canyon Drive. One popular site is the one aptly called Waimea Canyon lookout, which is just past the 10-mile mark on Highway 550. Other equally popular lookouts are Puu Hinahina and Pu'u ka pele. Take caution when driving the canyon road as it is known to be full of potholes that can potentially cause great inconvenience not to mention sever damage. Driving through Waimea requires an entrance fee of $ 5 USD. Take note that there are no gas stations located along this 40-mile stretch, but the main park area has restrooms.

The Waimea Canyon Drive winds into the mountains and leads to Kokee State Park's forested area. If you decide to ride, this is the spot where you can find the different paths that will take you into the canyon and its rim. The hiking paths vary, so catering to both inexperienced and seasoned hikers. The hiking fee for the Waimea Canyon and the state park is only $ 1 USD per person.

After hiking the Waimea Canyon, you may want to explore the parks and its other fascinating attractions like the Kokee Natural History Museum. For maps and details about hiking and things to do around the canyon area, you can drop by the Ranger's Station housed at the museum. If you want a bird-s eye view of the gorgeous landscape and have the budget for it, consider booking a very scenic and memorable helicopter tour around Waimea Canyon!

A Vacation on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head is the perfect getaway for people who are looking for a place to relax. On your vacation on Hilton Head Island, you can get away from the stress and strain of everyday life. Hilton Head is a beautiful, breathtaking island. During your Hilton Head vacation, you can relax on the gorgeous beaches and…

Hilton Head is the perfect getaway for people who are looking for a place to relax. On your vacation on Hilton Head Island, you can get away from the stress and strain of everyday life. Hilton Head is a beautiful, breathtaking island.

During your Hilton Head vacation, you can relax on the gorgeous beaches and enjoy the freedom of your holiday. If you are a nature lover, you will love the islands and the wildlife. If you are not the nature type, the golf courses and the modern age amenities will certainly keep you entertained.

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful destination with sandy white beaches, salt marshes, lagoons and woods. People tend to categorize this destination as a beach vacation. However, Hilton Head is so much more. The beautiful beaches will enchant you; but there are many more possibilities for you to explore on the island.

This is an ideal destination for the golf enthusiasts. The lush green courses span for miles. These golf courses attract celebrity golfers and the amateur golfers. If you would like to learn how to play golf, you can do that as well. If tennis is your game, you can enjoy a game or two on the courts. If you wish to sunbathe on the beach all day, you can do that as well.

If you are looking for an adventurous vacation, you are in the right place. You can try cycling or hiking through the rugged terrain for an adventure through the natural world of Hilton Head Island. The woods and the Gullah Corridor are waiting for you to explore. This adventure can also be taken with family and friends. It will be an exciting journey where you can safely travel and see the natural wonders of the Gullah Corridor.

There are many interesting spots to explore and enjoy on Hilton Head Island. If you wish to learn about the native Gullah Geechee culture, you can book a tour with one of the popular traditional touring companies. During the tour, you will be able to clearly see into the past. During the tour, you can learn about the island, the cultural heritage of the Gullah Geechee people, their lives, and their long past.

The Gullah Geechee people have been serious and meticulous about preserving their cultural heritage. They have maintained their language, traditions, art forms, lifestyle and the family norms of their culture. The history of the Gullah Geechee people is fascinating and awe-inspiring.

The tours will explain how the Gullah Geechee people survives through generations of slavery in America, how they persevered and flourished after the abolition of slavery, and how their culture came to be what it is today.

There is a lot to do on your Hilton Head vacation. Do not miss out on your favorite activities while you are planning your vacation there. You can always ask fellow vacationers for recommendations and advice. A beautiful destination awaits your decision.

Majestic Shoshone Falls, Idaho – USA

Looking for some exciting thing to do in Idaho, United States? Then Shoshone Falls may just do the trick! This spectacular natural attraction is definitely the highlight for anyone going along the Snake River, which stretches for more than 1,000 miles. Shoshone does not fail to impress with a height of 212 feet and a…

Looking for some exciting thing to do in Idaho, United States? Then Shoshone Falls may just do the trick! This spectacular natural attraction is definitely the highlight for anyone going along the Snake River, which stretches for more than 1,000 miles. Shoshone does not fail to impress with a height of 212 feet and a width of 900 feet. Shoshone is actually higher than famous Niagara Falls which is why it is often referred to as the “Niagara of the West”.

Housed in a park area, Shoshone Falls was named after the tribe of Native Americans who historically occupied the area. It was not until the early 20th century, that Shoshone was developed for hydroelectric purposes. This was also the time when the falls received more national interest and frequent comparisons to Niagara. Over the years, some individual parts of the falls, particularly the upper tiers, were given individual names. These tiers are where the water flow splits into small pillar-like islands. The names of tiers include The Brides Maid, The Bridal Veil, The Sentinel and The Two Graces.

The ideal time to visit Shoshone Falls is from Spring through early Summer, when the snow melts and a huge amount of water rushes through the giant rocks and gorges that adorned Shoshone. This is truly a magical sight worth the travel! As the summer progresses and fall sets in, the water diminishes due the erosion diversion of the Snake River. But if you really can not make it during spring, take note Shoshone is still a worthy destination year round due to its authenticity and natural beauty.

Shoshone Falls Park lies in the South Central Region of Idaho; and the City of Twin Falls, which is about 3 miles east, is the main gateway to the falls. The Twin Falls city government is also the governing body that operates the falls as well as the nearby Lake Complex. There is no regular public transport that goes straight to the park area; thus, driving a rented vehicle is the best way to get here.

There is a $ 3 per-car entrance fee that visitors have to pay before accessing the park. But if you plan to visit Shoshone several times, you can also obtain a season pass worth $ 25 dollars, which can be bought from the Parks and Recreation Department building, the ticket booth at the park and at Twin Falls City Hall.

If you forget to bring some snacks and drinks, the park provides a concession stand and a drinking fountain. It is also equipped with restrooms, a visitor information office and a gift shop. Aside from Shoshone's natural beauty, you can also enjoy some of the recreational facilities set up in the park. Hiking enthusiasts would enjoy tackling various paths, some of which lead to the rim of a canyon that offers outstanding views of the waterfalls.

Visiting families with small children can spend some fun time at designated playgrounds. There are 11 grills and tables available for those who would like to combine their water visit with a festive picnic. To cap off an enjoyable and memorable day at the Shoshone Falls Park, consider going for a scenic boat tour on the mighty Snake River. Make sure to bring your camera for some memorable photos.

Top 5 Authors Who Inspire Us to Travel

Every list of best travel writers of all time is going to be a little different, and it's bound to offend diehard fans of excluded or improperly ranked authors. Let's face it, there's a lot of great travel writers out there, and their ranks have ballooned in recent years as international travel has become more…

Every list of best travel writers of all time is going to be a little different, and it's bound to offend diehard fans of excluded or improperly ranked authors. Let's face it, there's a lot of great travel writers out there, and their ranks have ballooned in recent years as international travel has become more accessible. Here, I did my best to take a balanced look at classic authors from the distant past, as well as those who emerged more recently and were able to see travel through the eyes of modern wanderers.

We'll start backwards beginning at # 5 and ending with our selection for # 1.

5. Paul Theroux

The Peace Corps has helped shape a number of successful travel writers over the years, and Paul Theroux is most certainly one of the greatest and most prolific among them. When Theroux joined the Peace Corps to teach in Malawi in 1963, it was still a still a very new program. He's written a number of fiction and non-fiction books about travel, but unduputedly is most well-known for The Great Railway Bazaar. It records his own, real life four-month journey from London through Europe and finally ending in the Far East. Theroux's gift is not in its ability to describe places and things so much as it is its ability to capture the people he encounters and their unique personalities as well as cultural tendencies.

4. Eric Newby

There's plenty of Eric Newby books to choose from, although his best work probably came early on in the form of two legendary real life accounts of his travels in A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush and Love and War in the Apennines. Newby's writing is aided in large part by some remarkable experiences he had in Afghanistan, as well as modern day Iran and Turkey. His impressive wit and ability to find the humor in even the most trying situations is what sets Newby apart from other travel writers.

3. Peter Hessler

It's impossible to read Peter Hessler books without recognizing the obvious influence of one his greatest mentors, John McPhee. Also a former member of Peace Corps, Hessler's most celebrated books are three autobiographical accounts of his time in China. His ability, like McPhee's, to blend dry and complex history with everyday and often hilarious encounters on his travels makes his books some of the most readable and educational around. Good luck reading just a few pages of the impossible-to-put-down River Town , Oracle Bones , or Country Driving .

2. Mark Twain

Practically the inventor of the modern, brutally honest and unvarnished travelogue, Mark Twain is not always recognized for his abilities as a travel writer. However, The Innocents Abroad is one of the most fun laugh-out-loud hilarious real life travel accounts of all time. It chronicles a massive expedition Twain led with a group of American travelers aboard a former Civil War ship through Europe and into the Holy Land. Twain's smart commentary on the inherent conflict between history and modern world on display seems everywhere everywhere he goes is classic Twain. The prequel to that book, Roughing It, details Twain's adventures in the American West prior to his famous “Pleasure Cruise”.

1. Jack Kerouac

It's practically impossible to keep Jack Kerouac off any list of great travel authors. When people think of travelogues or influential quotations about wanderlust, Kerouac is almost always the first name to come to mind. And describingly so, his most important work, On the Road is probably the most quoted travel book by modern day travel bloggers and expats. While other famous travel writers could potentially in part on obscure and exotic destinations to keep the attention of readers, Kerouac's On the Road thrives on his ability to distill the art and form of travel itself. Having died at age 47 from excessive drinking, it's tempting to wonder what else he might've accomplished as a writer in the second half of his life.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” -Jack Kerouac

Sheila and Christine’s African Safari Extravaganza

Waaaaaay back in May 2014, I sat in Sheila's lounge room with Sheila and Christine to talk about an African adventure. They had traveled to South America a few years before and wanted to make the most of their Yellow Fever contamination, so Africa was the logical next step for them. Of course they had…

Waaaaaay back in May 2014, I sat in Sheila's lounge room with Sheila and Christine to talk about an African adventure. They had traveled to South America a few years before and wanted to make the most of their Yellow Fever contamination, so Africa was the logical next step for them.

Of course they had to come to Kenya, both to visit me and because it's the place for the best safaris in the world (I'm not biased!). They also wanted to visit Botswana, being fans of the No. 2. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency , and Victoria Falls. They had three weeks to experience the best of the African continent and so we set to work planning an itinerary.

There were a couple of challenges. First of all, Kenya has so much and we wanted to show them all of it, but we had to narrow the safari down to just a week. Secondly was finding an affordable way to travel in Botswana. Botswana caters to the high-end luxury traveler, and lodges are typically US $ 400 + per person per night. For your average retired teacher, this is not affordable. The alternative is a mobile camping safari and our intrepid ladies agreed.

Eighteen months later Sheila and Christine landed at Nairobi's airport, looking quite fresh after the 22-hour flight. We headed straight to the accommodation for a quick shower and then went to the mall to take care of some essentials – changing money, buying things that had been left behind and having a cold Kenyan beer as we discussed the week ahead.

Safari Begins

Our first destination was the Maasai Mara. The wildebeest migration was in town, and Sheila and Christine could have forgiven for never wanting to see another wildebeest ever again! But do you think we could find an elephant? The night before, a herd of about 15 elephants had crashed through our camp, but there was not a trace of them or their friends until 5pm when I glimpsed a big gray face in the bushes. Elephants do not like all the noise of millions of wildebeest and tend to disappear until the rowdy tourists have gone back to Serengeti (kind of like Philip Island residents on Grand Prix weekend!). On our ellie hunt though, we were lucky to find five lions – two males and three females – supervising a herd of buffalo. No one else had found this group, and so we got to enjoy the sighting all alone. Magical!

Lake Naivasha

From the Maasai Mara we went to Lake Naivasha for two nights. The next day started with a walking safari in Wileli Conservancy where we got excited spotting many different birds (see the list below) and getting close to some giraffes who were necking. Neckting is not as romantic as it sounds; it's actually the term for how giraffes fight. From a distance they look quite graceful and almost gentle as they swing their necks against one another. But once we got close, we could hear the thumps as they crashed together. They can cause serious injury or even death as they fight for supremacy of the herd.

We had a very lovely lunch at Sanctuary Farm and then went for a boat ride around part of the shore of Lake Naivasha. We requested our captain keep us a safe distance from the hippos, and despite his respect of the request, I was still very nervous – I do not think I should do any more boat trips in hippo-infected waters as I suspect my nerves make everyone else a bit edgier. But they are really big!

Samburu Safari

Our final destination in Kenya was Samburu. This is where Sheila and Christine got a bit of a taste of what was to come on their camping safari in Botswana, as we stayed in tents inside the park. Camping in the park is such a great experience, even if you think you are not the camping type, it's worth trying just once. Samburu gets really hot in the middle of the day and all the animals retire to the shade, making game driving at that time a little boring. Fortunately there's a lodge near the campsite with a pool that one can use for a small fee. While Sheila and Christine cooled off, Francis and I ducked out to Umoja Primary School. Last year, Bev had spent a day teaching at the school and later sent some money that her students in Australia had raised. We used that money to buy hoops and footballs for the school and at last we had the opportunity to deliver them. The students remembered Bev and I heard murmurs about rockets (one of the activities Bev had done with them) as they gathered to receive the gifts.

As we headed back to Nairobi, there was one last stop to make: Kiota Children's Home. At our fundraising event in Melbourne earlier this year, Sheila had signed up to sponsor a Kenyan student. Being in Kenya now, it only made sense for her and the student to meet. Ndunda is a very shy young boy, but he graciously received the stationery that Sheila and Christine had brought for all the children at the home. He then showed us around the home, pointing out the place where he kept his school bag and shoes, his homework, his bed, and common areas where they hang out. We also met Samuel and Simon who are also sponsored by people who came to our Melbourne event.

I can not write too much more about Sheila and Christine's adventure, as they flew out of Nairobi the next day and left us behind. They went to the mighty Victoria Falls for a few nights before heading to Botswana. They had a night in the Chobe Safari Lodge where they did a boat cruise on the Chobe River. That's an amazing cruise as the animals come down to the water to drink in the evening. Chobe has the highest population of elephants in Africa – it certainly must have made up for the ellies' absence in Maasai Mara!

Then they joined their camping safari, traveling to Savute, Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta. It was certainly an adventure, and I hope that they have written about it somewhere so we can hear all about it!

What we saw

Birds

  • Common Ostrich
  • Great White Pelican
  • Great Cormorant
  • Long-tailed Cormorant
  • Cattle Egret
  • Common Squacco Heron
  • Little Egret
  • Gray Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Black-headed Heron
  • Hamerkop
  • Marabou Stork
  • Yellow-billed Stork
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Hadada Ibis
  • African Spoonbill
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Yellow-billed Duck
  • Secretary Bird
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Rüppell's Griffon Vulture
  • African White-backed Vulture
  • African Goshawk
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • Tawny Eagle
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Francolin
  • Yellow-necked Spurfowl
  • Vulturine Guineafowl
  • Helmeted Guineafowl
  • Black Crake
  • Red-knobbed Coot
  • African Jacana
  • Blacksmith Plover
  • Crowned Plover
  • Sandpiper
  • Gull
  • Yellow-throated Sandgrouse
  • Ring-necked Dove
  • Go-away-bird
  • Verreaux's Eagle-Owl
  • Swift
  • Grey-headed Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Lilac-breasted Roller
  • Green Wood-hoopoe
  • Ground Hornbill
  • Red-billed Hornbill
  • Gray Woodpecker
  • Plain-backed Pipit
  • Common Bulbul
  • Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
  • Rattling Cisticola
  • Long-tailed Fiscal
  • Brown-crowned Tchagra
  • Cuckoo-shrike
  • Common Drongo
  • Black-headed Oriole
  • Pied Crow
  • Rüppell's Long-tailed Starling
  • Superb Starling
  • Wattled Starling
  • Red-billed Oxpecker
  • Rufous Sparrow
  • White-headed Buffalo-Weaver
  • Sparrow Weaver
  • African Golden Weaver
  • Baglafecht (Reichenow's) Weaver
  • Red-headed Weaver

Animals

  • Cape buffalo
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Black-backed jackal
  • Spotted hyena
  • Burchell's Zebra
  • Grevy's Zebra
  • Maasai giraffe
  • Reticulated Giraffe
  • Eland
  • Impala
  • Thomson's gazelle
  • Grant's gazelle
  • Wildebeest
  • Hartebeest
  • Topi
  • Waterbuck
  • Bushbuck
  • Beisa's Oryx
  • Gerenuk
  • Dikdik
  • Rock hyrax
  • Warthog
  • Olive baboon
  • Vervet monkey
  • Hippopotamous
  • Crocodile
  • Skink

Glamorous and Exciting Marbella, Spain

The playground to the rich and famous, this is just one of the most common descriptions Marbella receives from travel experts and guide books. Located in Spain's Costa del Sol, Marbella did not really start out as a glamorous town. It was once a small fishing village that soon became popular due to its pristine…

The playground to the rich and famous, this is just one of the most common descriptions Marbella receives from travel experts and guide books. Located in Spain's Costa del Sol, Marbella did not really start out as a glamorous town. It was once a small fishing village that soon became popular due to its pristine sandy stretches and beautiful coastal scenery. These days, cosmopolitan beach resorts, world class restaurants and fashionable shops populate Marbella, to promote the glamorous lifestyle that attracts many visitors from all over the world.

However, this Spanish town is not all about glamor and class. It also treasures history by preserving its old quarter, whose design is greatly influenced by Andalusian and Moorish architecture. While here, you can get lost through cobbled streets and enjoy small plazas and old houses with charming balconies. There are plenty of things to see, and of course buy, like handmade wares and accessories from local craft shops. Plaza de los Naranjos is one of the most popular squares in the Old Town, mainly due to its striking appearance. Aside from strolling through the pretty orange trees adorning the plaza, you can also visit the 16th century town hall and tourist office.

You will not run out of things to do in Marbella. You can charter a yacht and discover what this part of the Mediterranean sea has to offer; or rent a car to explore the region's gorgeous coastal motorway. Organized tours and buggy safari excursions are also viable options. But if all you really long for is that laidback and serene vacation, the beaches are always there at your disposal.

Marbella boasts a coastline that stretches approximately 27 kilometers, and is adorned with 24 beaches. Some of these beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag distinction (certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards). Most of them have basic amenities such as public toilets, showers, sun loungers and lifeguards.

The eastern coast of Marbella has more sandy beaches than the pebbly ones. Playa Alicate and Playa de la Fontanilla are a couple of the most frequented sandy stretches in the area. Local people tend to distinguish the beaches based on the beach bar (chiringuito), or beach clubs that can be found there. If fine dining and the luxury beach club service is what you are looking for, head out to spots like Sala Beach and Nikki Beach.

Like other sports enthusiasts who visit here, you can also challenge your golfing skills at the town's top class courses, some of which were designed by the top golfers in the world. Overall, there about 40 golf courses spread through the Costa del Sol region. For people who do not mind hiking, the Golden Mile is the perfect attraction. This walking stretch measures four miles and conneces Marbella and Puerto Banús. While completing the Golden Mile, you will treated to the sight of some of the most upscale mansions and houses in Marbella. This is also the home of some notable lodging establishments like the Puente Romano Hotel and Hotel Marbella Club.

The dining experience in this Spanish town promises to be memorable especially if you allocate an amount budget for it! Dine while overlooking the sea at one of the beachfront bars, or try out some of the Michelin-starred restaurants run by prominent chefs in the region! Marbella will certainly make you want to return soon!

4 Reasons To Take A Fitness Vacation

Fitness vacations are gaining momentum in the travel industry. The thought of not needing a vacation from one's vacation seems to appeal to many people. There are various types of fitness vacations from weight loss camps to adventure travel. Healthy fare, hiking, workouts and relaxing massages are starting to take over the traditional vacation of…

Fitness vacations are gaining momentum in the travel industry. The thought of not needing a vacation from one's vacation seems to appeal to many people. There are various types of fitness vacations from weight loss camps to adventure travel. Healthy fare, hiking, workouts and relaxing massages are starting to take over the traditional vacation of fried foods and adult beverages. Find out why some might be interested in a fitness vacation with the four reasons below.

1. Get Re-Motivated – Many people have fallen off the beaten track in terms of living a healthy lifestyle. They are not going to the gym as much as they used to and eating healthy has also taken a plunge. Feeling lost in your healthy regimen can be daunting for some. Going on a healthy holiday can re-ignite that fire to live a healthy lifestyle. Diversity in workouts, accomplishing a full week of days filled with fitness, relaxing with massage and breaking bad eating habits can deliver exactly what some travelers need to get them back on the right track.

2. De-Stress – Often times, getting out of your environment is enough to promote stress reduction. Getting out of the office, being away from the stressors of everyday life and having a completely different routine can really allow the mind to relax. In addition to getting out of your environment, many retreats and adventure camps offer various types of yoga, stretching and / or meditations to further promote mind body balance. Spa treatments such as massage, facials, reflexology and more also aid in the stress reduction process.

3. Learn Healthy Habits – Having a structured schedule of activity, stress reduction and healthy eating is a great way to thrrust people back into the habits of healthy living. Some fitness vacations take it a step further offering private nutrition consultations, nutrition classes, cooking classes, take home stress reduction techniques, personal training and more to help those really looking to get back into a healthy lifestyle. The extra support and information can make a big difference in whether they implement new habits at home.

4. Lose Weight – A large population of those looking for fitness vacations are looking to lose weight, shed some extra inches and feel better about themselves. There are many fitness holidays geared for weight loss offering portion controlled meals and very structured settings to allow for the best success possible. Many also offer services to aid in meal planning and preparation, weight loss planning for at home and how to implement healthy habits in the home environment.

No matter what your goal, there is something for everyone. Fitness vacations range from hiking retreats to yoga retreats, weight loss resorts and even extreme adventure. It's important to do your research to find the best healthy holiday for you.