Fun things to do in Africa

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    BURKINA FASO: Ruins of Loropeni

    by sachara Written Apr 20, 2013

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    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."

    Loropeni Ruins Map of the original complex Hole in the wall of 6-7m high Walls of rock with cement of shea butter & honey The guide of Loropeni Ruins
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    THE GAMBIA: Kunta Kinteh Island

    by sachara Written Apr 20, 2013

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    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......"

    The tiny James Island in river Gambia James Island in river the Gambia Ruins at James Island Shady trees at the island James Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site
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    MOROCCO: Meknes

    by sachara Updated Apr 20, 2013

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    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.

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    MARRAKECH BUS TOURISTIQUE (OPEN TOP BUS TOUR)

    by DAO Written Dec 27, 2012


    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.

    Tickets are:
    24 Hours
    • Child 75dh ($8.89, €6.70)
    • Adult 145dh ($17.19, €12.96)
    48 Hours
    • 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.

    Marrakech Bus Touristique Marrakech Bus Touristique Marrakech Bus Touristique
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    Village People of Zambia

    by kharmencita Updated Nov 5, 2012

    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.

    Zambia Village a woman enjoyed being pictured seemed to be happy while they posed for us. children had fun with our camera. Zambian bungalows
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    • Camping

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    OLD PORTUGUESE FORT - MOZAMBIQUE

    by DAO Written Oct 13, 2012


    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?

    Fort of Nossa Senhora da Concei����o, Mozambique Fort of Nossa Senhora da Concei����o, Mozambique Fort of Nossa Senhora da Concei����o, Mozambique Fort of Nossa Senhora da Concei����o, Mozambique Fort of Nossa Senhora da Concei����o, Mozambique
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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

    LOUIS TREGARDT MEMORIAL GARDEN MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
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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).

    CATHEDRAL OF NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEICAO CATHEDRAL OF NOSSA SENHORA DA CONCEICAO THE ELABORATE STAIRS
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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).

    WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL - MAPUTO Senhora da Cobra THE TRAIN STATION
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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.

    TREASURES - BUT NOT FOR YOU !
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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!

    NEW MONOPOL
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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.

    Gambia River Wassu stone circles Georgetown, slavehouses Banjul wetlands south of the Gambia river
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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.

    Marrakech airport
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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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