Adventure travel continues to be popular and is definitely not just for gap year students. Luxury hotels in South Africa, Tanzania and Myanmar are opening their doors and encouraging international travelers to experience some amazing adventures, cosseted by five star hotel standards, yet immersed in a totally different culture.
Packing advice is to travel light and leave behind a lot of those high-tech gadgets which are part of our everyday westernized lifestyle. The challenge is could you really do without the following essentials?
E-readers – designed to save space and weight in luggage, they are far more stealable than books, you need to recharge them and, on a charitable note, you cannot leave them behind for the locals to enjoy. Better take a couple of bestsellers and trade them with fellow guests before giving them away.
GPS – another useful gadget, especially if you like Geocaching, but they attract thieves like magpies to gems. A compass may be less likely to break, is definitely cheaper and with a map you will understand far more about the local terrain.
Ipod – space saving and familiar, but music does isolate you from the foreign sounds that are part of any trip – the babble of local languages, wails from the muezzin or the quiet sounds of unseen inhabitants in the rainforest.
Translation Software – there are some great translation software packages including an iPhone app that overlays English onto foreign writing. Unfortunately users say it is useless on menus, so perhaps the good old dictionary, phrase book and a smile may get you further in the end.
Personally I leave behind the things that distract and take everything that may enhance my trip. How about you?
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
The ‘Obama effect’ of a US President with African heritage, and the 2010 soccer World Cup have been credited with creating a surge of interest in Africa as a tourist destination.
The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says Africa bucked the global trend in 2009 – it was the only continent to see a rise in the number of international tourist arrivals: up by 5 per cent.
That compared to a slump of 4 per cent in travel worldwide amid the economic crisis and the swine flu pandemic.
The head of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, told a tourism conference in Madrid:
“There has been a shift in the way people look at Africa. It’s now considered a serious destination for travellers from the major generating markets.”
Kenya’s tourist board says the fact that President Obama’s father was from Kenya has led to an increase in Americans visiting the country. And the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) says this year’s World Cup in South Africa will have an enormous effect.
“The World Cup is certainly the most exciting thing to happen to Africa, not just southern Africa,” said the ATTA’s head, Nigel Vere Nicoll. “All Africans are very proud that it’s going to be there.”
by Andy Moreton
Check out Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in South Africa, as well as in Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and other parts of the continent.
President Obama’s visit to Ghana in West Africa last week was a bit of a whirlwind affair, but there will always be one permanent reminder of him in the capital, Accra.
The 18-room Hotel Obama, which opened on American Independence Day, is dedicated to him, and its room names include Michelle Obama, Martin Luther King, Joe Biden and The White House.
“I called it Hotel Obama because the President represents all that is possible in bridging ethnic and racial barriers,” said the Chief Executive of Town and Country Plaza, Kwame Owusu.
Ghana is hoping to push its credentials as a holiday destination in the wake of the President’s visit. It has fine beaches, lakes, wildlife in protected areas and many castles and forts.
Although Mr Obama’s visit was brief, the Minister of Tourism, Juliana Azumah-Mensah, called it ‘a chance in a lifetime’ to show the world what Ghana had to offer. The country’s hoping to attract a million visitors a year by 2012.
by Andy Moreton