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Eritrea is a small African country at the Red Sea opposite Saudi Arabia and Yemen. At the the crossroads of 3 continents the country has it own special atmosphere and cultural heritage.
I visited Asmara the capital, Massawa at the Red Sea Coast, Keren north of Asmara and the archaeological sites in the south.
Asmara, the capital in the Central Highlands at 2.500m, has an Italian flavour with lots of Art Deco architecture and Italian food. It is also worth to visit the local markets. From Asmara I made also a trip with the old steamtrain to Nefasit.
Massawa at the Red Sea Coast has arabic influences. Here you see still many destroyed buildings of the recent war with Ethiopia. The trip from Asmara to Massawa is breathtaking, descending from 2500m to sea level.
Keren at 1220m is an attractive town, especially at marketdays with its camelmarket.
In the south you can visit Qohaito and Metera with ruins from the Aksumite civilisation like in Ethiopia around Axum.
For more information look at my Eritrean pages
Updated Apr 29, 2013
In 2009 the Loropeni Ruins became the first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Burkina Faso. There is a small entrance fee and an additional fee for a camera. A guide shows you around the complex.
The Loropeni Ruins are among the most impressive few surviving stone ruins in West Africa. The bricks are made of rock, stuck together by cement made from shea butter and honey. The walls, standing in an area with trees, are till 7m high, enclosinf a space of about 40x50m. You still can see that the complex has three compartments. There are still some discussions about the origin of the ruins. Artefacts have been found from the 11th century. The complex is deserted in the early 19th century.
Acoording to UNESCO: " The property with its imposing stone walls is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade. the ruins have been shown to be at least 1,000 years old. The settlement was occupied by the Lohron or Koulango peoples, who controlled the extraction and transformation of gold in the region from the 14th to the 17th century."
Written Apr 20, 2013
In 2012 during my third trip to The Gambia we visited James Island, also known as Kunta Kinteh Island. James Island is a very small island in the Gambia River. The location of the island in the middle of the river was a strategic place to control the waterway.
James Island is an UNESCO World Heritage Site: "James Island and related sites present a testimony to the main periods and facets of the encounter between Africa and Europe along the River Gambia, a continuum stretching from pre-colonial and pre-slavery times to independence. The site is particularly significant for its relation to the beginning of the slave trade and its abolition......"
Written Apr 20, 2013
Meknes, the third imperial citie of Morocco, is an UNESCO world heritage site. The oldest part of the historical city is founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement. In the 17th century Moulay Ismail of the Alawite dynasty made Meknes his capital. He turned Meknes into a impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, with impressive high walls around with great gates.
According to UNESCO: "Meknès is distinctive by the monumental and voluminous aspect of its ramparts reaching 15 metres in height. It is considered as an exemplary testimony of the fortified towns of the Maghreb. It is a property representing a remarkably complete urban and architectural structure of a North African capital of the 17th century, harmoniously combining Islamic and European conceptual and planning elements. Endowed with a princely urbanism, the Historic City of Meknes also illustrates the specificities of earthen architecture (cobwork) of sub-Saharan towns of the Maghreb. "
In 2011 I visited Meknes for the first time. The walls around the city with the monumental gates look very impressive. One of the most well-known gates is the Bab-el-Mansour.
Updated Apr 20, 2013
The Marrakech Tourist Bus is an open-top, 'hop on, hop off' bus tour of the city. Tickets can be purchased (on board) for either 24 of 48 hours. They are owned by the massive Spanish owned ALSA transport group. They certify the safety and training of all their drivers. They have 2 routes you can choose to see (or both!) - The Oasis Circuit and the Historic Circuit. The highlights of the Historic Circuit include: Place Jemaa el Fina/Souks, Sâaddien Tombs, Bahia Palace and Menara - just to name a few. The Oasis Circuit takes in the Majorelle Gardens and the Dromadaire Oasis and several pleasant areas to the north of the city. The tours are conducted in 8 languages. Only Spanish, French, Arabic and English are listed on their website, but there are 4 more. You can email them with any questions you might have.
• Child 75dh ($8.89, €6.70)
• Adult 145dh ($17.19, €12.96)
• Chid 95dh ($11.26, €8.49)
• Adult 190dh ($22.52, €16.98)
They operate from morning until late at night in the summer and a fairly reasonable number of hours in the winter. If you are only here for 1-2 days – this is an excellent chance to see the area and make sense of the ancient city before you get lost for hours in the labyrinth that is Marrakech. Also you get a chance to see some sites I have never seen – and I have been here twice.
You can but tickets:
• On all the busses
• From one of the salesmen at bus stops number 1, 6, 15 and 17
• One of the salesmen at the Majorelle Gardens
• On the bus from the airport
The busses reach each stop at intervals between 20 minutes and 1hour and 10 minutes. Please see their multi-lingual website for exact details.
Written Dec 27, 2012
Address: ALSA Marrakech Kiadat Saada, Rte d'Agadir, Askedjo
Phone: 05 24 33 52 70
One of the places i visited in Africa is Zambia. To experience how the people live their way of life in this area is really a great experience for me. Although most of the people i encountered live in poverty but i saw in there faces the contentment and satisfaction of what God gave them in the moment. Maybe if there were chances to make a much better way of life they will also never reject it. There are lots of interesting things that i experienced with the people of Zambia. I was amused by their lifestyle. The people we met were very curious type of people. The love to ask questions about the other parts of the world like Europe. When we went there we brought with us some ballpens and candies. They were very happy and enjoyed these small gifts we gave them. These beautiful innocent smiles were the price paid back to us which cost more than anything.
If you want to visit such villages in the future, it is a big joy if they receive some useful materials for the school or old usable dresses. They will appreciate them and thankful. Please bring along with you your own water supply, medicines foods and other necessary supplies while away from the modern civilization. Toiletries for example are necessary.
There are some camping grounds in Zambia. So if that´s your intention then don´t forget to bring durable tent.
Updated Nov 5, 2012
Address: Zambia, Africa
Maputo, the capital of Mozambique has a very evocative landmark - the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception). This Portuguese fort (or Fortaleza) was built in the mid-18th century on top of earlier fortifications. Its striking architecture, battlements and cannons have a dominant position over the main harbour area.
Inside are several striking reliefs commemorating the defeat of Gungunhana (1850-1906), the king of Gaza (an area to the South of Maputo). He was aligned with the Portuguese King, but then rebelled against the colonial authorities. Loyal forces lead by Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque put down the uprising and captured Gungunhana at Chaimite . The former King of Gaza later converted to Catholicism and lived in exile in the Azores until his death.
A commanding equestrian statue of Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque lies in the small well kept gardens. The question is who is buried inside the gardens? I have read that it is Gungunhana, but he died in the Azores. Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque failed as an Administrator and committed suicide in Lisbon. So who is buried with a Royal looking crest on their tombstone?
Written Oct 13, 2012
Address: Praca 25 de Junho, Maputo, Mozambique
Standing in absolute contrast to the Communist Themed avenues and statues to great Mozambique leaders is the Louis Tregardt Trek memorial garden. A commemorative plaque in memory of the Voortrekker leader Louis Tregardt was unveiled on 12 October 1968 when South African Navy ships SAS Simon van der Stel, Kimberley and Mosselbaai visited Lourenço Marques (now Maputo).
Tregardt was a pioneer in the Boer ‘Great Trek’ movement. The Boers felt that the continued influx of British settlers and the emancipation of slaves in 1833 they need to leave for greener pastures. He formed a group of 9 families who set out for the Portuguese Colony of Delagoa Bay (Maputo) to establish trade links and find new lands. He is the acknowledged leader of the Voorste Mense (The Great Trek's `people in front'). He found Delagoa Bay in 1838, but he and many in his party died from Malaria.
More information can be found at:
Map of the treks of Louis Tregardt and J. Van Rensburg
Written Oct 12, 2012
Address: Situated in Avenida Josina Machel - Maputo
Built in 1944 the tall white spire of Maputo’s Cathedral dominates Independence Square. It is dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Conception’ and was a very contemporary piece of architecture for its time. It is a working church and the seat of the Catholic Church for Mozambique. This iconic structure was designed by an engineer named Marcial Freitas e Costa in 1936. The tower reaches up to 66 meters (216 feet).
Written Oct 11, 2012
This interesting monument of a woman holding a dead snake was inaugurated on the 11th of November 1935. Created by sculptor Ruy Gameiro, it commemorates the loss of Portuguese and Mozambican soldiers during World War I. According to local legend the lady was carrying hot porridge when she came across the snake who tried to strike her. Instead it fell into the pot of hot porridge and was killed. Locally she is known as ‘Senhora da Cobra’ (the snake lady).
Written Oct 11, 2012
Address: Praça dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Square)
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