Fun things to do in Africa

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    BOER MONUMENT IN MOZAMBIQUE

    by DAO Written Oct 12, 2012


    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

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    CATHEDRAL OF NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEICAO

    by DAO Written Oct 11, 2012


    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).

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    THE WAR MEMORIAL - MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE

    by DAO 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).

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    Egypt

    by grayfo Updated Aug 28, 2012

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    When we think about Egypt; camels, pyramids, and mummies often come to mind! That's not surprising since much of what we know about ancient Egypt comes from the tombs of Egyptians and the objects found buried with them. But Egypt is much more than this, and only by visiting can you truly understand the popularity of this wonderful country.

    Egypt lies in the northern corner of Africa. It is bounded by the international frontiers of the Mediterranean Sea in the North, the Red Sea in the East, Libya in the west and Sudan in the south.

    I long for the day when I can return.

    June 1995

    See My Travel Page for more information.

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    THE HALL OF TREASURES

    by DAO Written Aug 12, 2012


    Inside of Sun City, South Africa, is a fabled Hall of Treasures. Inside is untold wealth and an endless supply of money. Unfortunately it is the Casino that gets all this money. Statistically you will lose every game on offer. The main Gambling Hall is full of slot machines, video poker and other games designed to make the Casino richer. Las Vegas it’s not. Mostly you have to do everything yourself. They only have staff actually dealing with you if you go into the High Stakes area inside the Sun City Hotel. In the Entertainment Centre is a slots only ‘Jungle Casino’. Both are pictured. I found the staff bored and not overly helpful. Mostly bored. Tables players can play Blackjack, American Roulette, Poker, and Punto Banco. There is a Salon Prive with higher stakes the International Room, which is reserved for games with extremely high limits and is by invitation only.

    Get into there and you can lose a vast Treasure very quickly.

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    A POOL WITH A BAR !!!

    by DAO Updated Aug 12, 2012


    OH YES !

    Africa can be hot. Ouagadougou can be blistering. To be able to combine a nice swimming pool, great food and ice cold beer - absolute heaven! The great folks at the New Monopole will make sure the only warm thing you will receive here is your welcome. The rest is all cold, hot or cool. The pool is great for families. It has a children’s swimming area and then a full pool for adults. They have a pool-side bar, lots of covered table areas and a very full menu. In fact I was really impressed with the menu. I ordered a beer and an omelette. I was ushered to a nice covered table and my ice cold Burkina beer was brought to me with some nice peanuts. Shortly after my delicious omelette arrived. I had a chance to see some of the other dished going out to other tables, and I can assure you this is an excellent place for a very good lunch. They seem to close around the late afternoon, so come for a swim and a great mid-day feast.

    The covered table areas have themes and are named after several 'Tourist' destinations in the country like Nazinga and Laongo.

    I did not take great pictures of the pool out of respect for the families swimming there when I visited. This is a great place for anyone. They have changing areas, toilets, nice grounds and a very welcoming atmosphere.

    They also cater for business meetings here. Sure beats the office.

    I still love their receipts. They say:
    * Bar - Restaurant - Piscine (Swimming pool)*

    Awesome!

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    THE GAMBIA

    by sachara Updated Aug 10, 2012

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    The Gambia is a very small country, situated at the two banks of the river Gambia, with a length of 320 KM an a breadth of hardly 35 KM. Gambia is well known as a beach destination for Europeans. There are a lot of cheap flights and packages to the sunny beaches and Africa nextdoor.

    The country has more to offer.
    Banjul the capital has an interesting National Museum (history, ethnology, local customs) and you can visit the Albert and Banjul Craft market. At the Danton bridge near Banjul you can book boattrips to the creeks of the mangrove and the dolphins in the rivermouth.

    In Serrekunda you can attend traditional wrestling matches.

    300 KM inland you can visit Georgtown with old slave houses.

    Nearby In Wassu we visited the 1200 years old stone circles. In 2006 the stone circles along the river Gambia became an UNESCO world heritage site.

    UNESCO description Stone Circles:
    The stone circles of laterite pillars and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape created over more than 1,500 years. It reflects a prosperous, highly organized and lasting society.

    For more information and pictures have a look at my The Gambia page.

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    Visiting Morocco

    by angiebabe Updated Aug 2, 2012

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    What about choosing Morocco? - I am rather biased but it is Africa

    - has some very beautiful sights

    - no vaccinations needed

    - pretty safe and stable particularly out of all the Arabic/islamic countries

    - people culturally and traditionally love children/babies there and are generally hospitable

    - theres plenty to see there of a wide range of sights, culture and historic periods or angles (Jewish, Berber, sub-saharan, Arabic, roman, Portugeuse, French, Spanish) with a range of languages - particularly with those in tourism

    - there are some great places for walking, hiking, cycling, climbing - not particularly expensive, plenty of choice for whatever levels of comfort you want and great for driving around

    Theres an excellent range of landscapes - I love the diversity there so much - coast and beaches, mountains, desert, cities and Imperial cities, berber villages

    Moroccan food is great!

    If you want to add a bit more you could start off in Andalucian Spain for a week or so - see the Moorish connection there and then easy trip over the straits of Gibraltar to Morocco.

    Ive travelled frequently to MOrocco over the past 9 years driving around many routes and have a pretty good range of accommodations that I have connections with of varying levels around most of the country and totally find it a fascinating but still quite relaxing place to be , especially with my camera.

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    Tunisia

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Official Name: Tunisian Republic; Land Area: 63,170 square miles (163,610 square kilometers); Population: 10,629,186; Capital: Tunis; Largest City: Tunis

    Tunis is Tunisia's capital and largest city, with about 2,150,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. It is a modern and pleasant city, but not many visitors remain long before heading off to more tourist-oriented towns and beach resorts.

    Tunis, originally called Tynes, was founded by the Carthaginians on a narrow isthmus of land between Lake Tunis to the east and Sebkhet Sejoumi (a salt lake) to the southwest. Throughout the centuries, Tunis remained a small and unimportant town. About the only improvement was a medina built by the Arabs for defensive purposes in the late seventh century.

    It was not until the ninth century, when the Aghlabid ruler, Ibrahim ibn Ahmed II, moved his court to Tunis that the city began to become an important center. In the late tenth century, however, the ruling Fatimids moved their capital to Mahdia. But after the conquest of North Africa by the Almohads in 1160, Tunis once again became a national capital. Tunis flourished between 1229 and 1574, and especially after Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1285. That event caused Tunis to become the most important city in the western part of the Arab world. It was during this period that culture flourished, the population grew, and mosques, universities, schools, libraries, and souqs (markets) were built.

    In 1881, after a period of rule by the Ottoman Turks, the French took control of Tunisia and made it a colony. They built the Nouvelle Ville (new city) east of the original medina on land reclaimed from Lake Tunis. The French influence can still be seen in wide boulevards and sidewalk cafes.

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    Senegal

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Official Name: Republic of Senegal; Land Area: 75,749 square miles (196,190 square kilometers); Population: 12,643,799; Capital: Dakar; Largest City: Dakar

    The Sahel, which is derived from the Arabic word sahil, meaning "shore" or "border," is a dry savanna zone between the Sahara Desert in the north and wetter savanna zones in the south. It stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Horn of Africa in the east. All of northern Senegal is within the Sahel, and aside from scattered acacia trees, there is little vegetation, especially during the dry season. Due to overgrazing by the goats and cattle of the tribal groups that live there, the Sahel is expanding, growing wider each year. As a result, more and more cropland is being lost to desertification.

    The Sahel is characterized by little rainfall, averaging only between six and 20 inches (150 and 500 millimeters) per year. Most of the rain falls in the rainy season from June through October. There are cyclical periods when the Sahel experiences higher than normal rainfall. During those years, many nomadic peoples move north with the increased vegetation. However, there are also cyclical periods of drought, and devastating famines can occur when the crops and forage die from lack of moisture.

    The purpose of my traveling to the Sahel of northern Senegal was to look for Sahelian species of birds that are found nowhere else. Therefore, my group spent several days walking through the dry areas looking for these birds, all of which we did find. In addition to birdwatching, we were also able to interact with some of the Wolof herdsmen who live in the area and learn about their lifestyles.

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    Morocco

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Official Name: Kingdom of Morocco; Land Area: 172,400 square miles (446,500 square kilometers); Population: 31,968,361; Capital: Rabat; Largest City: Casablanca

    One of the most popular sights in Fez is the tanneries located in the leather souq. The tanneries date back nine centuries and are the oldest in the world. In the fifteenth century, there were about 200 tanneries in Fez; nowadays, there are only two. The methods used in tanning hides are the same ones used for centuries, and no modern equipment or processes are employed. Visitors can observe the tanning process from the terraces of leather shops which surround the tanneries.

    The hides of goats, sheep, and cattle are processed at the tanneries to be made into quality leather goods, such as bags, coats, shoes, and other items. After observing the tanning process, visitors can visit the leather souq and perhaps buy some souvenirs.

    After the hair and flesh has been removed from the hides, they are soaked in one of the numerous circular stone vats which resemble a large honeycomb from above. The first step is to soak the hides in vats containing an acidic liquid which contains pigeon guano, cow's urine, and acid. This makes the hides soft and supple. The next step is to dye the prepared hides. This is done in vats containing dyes made from all-natural materials, such as henna, saffron, or mint. Workers stamp the hides with their feet to ensure that they are well soaked. After dyeing, the final process is to dry the hides on the roof of the leather souq.

    The workers perform their jobs in terrible stench and heat, and they only earn about $7.50 per day. In addition, their arms and lower legs are permanently stained from a lifetime of working in the dyes.

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    Gambia

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Official Name: Republic of the Gambia; Land Area: 4,363 square miles (11,300 square kilometers); Population: 1,797,860; Capital: Banjul; Largest City: Banjul

    The Gambia River rises in the Fouta Djallon Plateau in northern Guinea, and flows about 700 miles (1,130 kilometers) before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Banjul. At first the river flows northward into Senegal before making a turn to the west, where it enters Gambia at Fatoto. Because the river runs down the middle of the country from one end to the other, it is Gambia's main geographical feature. Most of the country's main towns and cities are located on the river, and it is one of Gambia's major transportation routes.

    Although a relatively short river, several large tributaries give the Gambia River such a large volume of water that it is navigable for about one-half its length, and is about six miles (ten kilometers) wide at its mouth.

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    Djibouti

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    Official Name: Republic of Djibouti; Land Area: 8,873 square miles (22,980 square kilometers); Population: 757,074; Capital: Djibouti City; Largest City: Djibouti City

    The Ghoubet-Kharab is an almost landlocked sea located at the westernmost end of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Two points of land from the north and south coasts almost meet and close off the Ghoubet-Kharab from the Gulf of Tadjoura proper. The narrow strait passing between the points of land is called the Ghoubet Pass.

    The Ghoubet-Kharab, also known as the "Devil's Cauldron," is one of the finest diving sites in East Africa. Because there are no rivers emptying into the Gulf of Tadjoura, the waters are extremely clear and are free of silt and other debris. The clear waters provide an excellent environment for soft coral, of which over 200 species have been identified in the area.

    Since the Ghoubet-Kharab is almost landlocked, it is relatively protected, and is therefore good for the production of plankton. This in turn attracts large numbers of fish, including barracudas, jacks, manta rays, sailfish, snappers, and whale sharks. The whale sharks go to the Ghoubet-Kharab to breed, so it is often referred to as a "whale shark kindergarten."

    The Route du Roi Fahd passes high above the Ghoubet-Kharab, and scenic overlooks provide spectacular views of the water below.

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    THE DERG MONUMENT- ETHIOPIA

    by DAO Written Jun 24, 2012


    This huge obelisk dominates Churchill Avenue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is located just over the road from the main Post Office. It is a grotesque tribute to the rise of the Communist Derg (translates as ‘committee’) which was a military junta that seized power in 1974. Their first months were marked by the imprisonment, torture and murder of tens of thousands of innocent Ethiopians. Led by Major Mengistu Haile Mariam, they ruled with bloodthirsty ruthlessness until 1991. This is actually a complex that you pay an entry fee to get into the grounds. The main obelisk is decorated with typical Communist gothic ‘heroic’ figures brandishing guns and ploughshares. It is an absolutely grotesque romantic depiction of the enslavement of a nation. It is a must see to understand the bloodshed of over a decade and even bizarre depictions of the famine deliberately caused by the Derg themselves.

    Open 7 days a week. The ticket seller finds you. There is no ticket office. Just walk up to the gate. They will give you a receipt.

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    THE LION OF JUDAH MONUMENT - ETHIOPIA

    by DAO Updated Jun 24, 2012


    The Lion of Judah is the personal symbol of Emperor Haile Selassie I. This monument was one of several unveiled for the Emperor’s coronation in 1930 in Addis Ababa. In May 1936 the invading Italian army occupied Addis Ababa and began to make plans to seize the monuments they liked to send back as spoils of war to Rome. They demolished several monuments to Emperor Menelik, who defeated the Italians in 1896. The Lion of Judea, despite weighing several tons, was shipped of to Rome and erected next to the large white Vittorio Emanuelle Monument in time for the 4th anniversary of the declaration of the New (Fascist) Italian Empire. A young Eritrean named Zerai Deres was marching in a parade when he realised he was looking at the looted monument, the personal symbol of his Emperor. The young man attacked and killed at least one Italian military officer with a ceremonial sword he was carrying. Deres was finally subdued and killed. From that day he has been known as an Ethiopian Patriot.

    The statue was repatriated in the 1960’s while Emperor Haile Selassie was still in power. It is made from black granite, so it’s very dark. No, it’s not my camera. There are images in relief of Haile Selassie and Emperors Menelik II.

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