Homely tourists’ destination at Mafia Island, Africa

21 September, 2007

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One of the major islands off the eastern coast of Tanzania in Africa is the Mafia Island.

Mafia Island is a cluster of islands, one major island and numerous islets. Apart from the main one, only a few islets are inhabited, with approximately 41,000 locals calling these islands home. Many of which are fisherman and others subsistence farmers cultivating various spices.

With its deep-water anchorage and numerous sandy beaches, the Mafia Island cluster is an excellent place for scuba diving, game fishing and other water sports.

For all those thrill seekers and active gamer fishing enthusiasts, these islands provide the ultimate experience. These visitors on arrival can find these great accommodations:

Pole Pole Bungalow Resort:
Mafia Island, Tanzania

Kinasi Lodge:
Mafia Island, Tanzania

Mafia Island Lodge:
Mafia Island, Tanzania


Delectable South African Cuisine

25 May, 2007

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South African cuisine is a rich combination of many cultures, with three main cultures of Africa, Netherlands and India dominating it.

Being an African country, it is only natural that its staple diet would consist of local agricultural products such as dishes made of corn, ground maize and whole grain.

Though, Africans usually keep cattle as a sign of progress and wealth, they usually slaughter them on special occasions. But nowadays, cheaper meat like chicken is becoming more and more popular as the main dish.

Some of the few dishes that are popular in this part of the world is ‘bobotie’ – a delicious baked meatloaf; ‘bredie’ – a tomato stew; ‘melktert’, which is a cinnamon flavoured custard tart; koeksisters, similar to donuts; and ‘malvapudding’ – a brandy soaked sponge cake.

And then there are the staple and well-known Indian dishes like biryani, samosas, chutney and rusks, which has now favoured intensely by the locals and visitors alike.


Up close and personal with wild animals in the wild

23 May, 2007

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The giant continent of Africa conjours up images of wild animals roaming giant savannahs, with herds of elephants lazily grazing along the trees, lions slumbering in the hot midday sun and leopards chasing their prey.

Well, if you wish to visit the continent for ‘this’ very reason, then it is suggested you should visit these great wildlife areas.

Hermanus and Mossel Bay, Western Cape: Here you can have rendezvous with the great white sharks – queens of the dark blues seas. Visitors are allowed to ‘meet’ these carnivorous creatures in a special diving cage off Dyer Island in the so-called ‘Shark Valley’.

Private game reserves in Mpumalanga, Limpopo Province, the North-West, and Botswana: Here you will be at a safe distance from the great big cats or more specifically the King of the Jungles. And speaking of the jungles, well, that is another story, altogether.

Though, you will be at a safe distance from the hungry beasts, but the growling noise coming from that pit will shake your jeep like a empty tuna can.

Private game reserves, the North-West, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal: This is one place, where you can play host to the big white cat to lunch.

Simply leave a big piece of meat onto your front porch of your lodge, and soon you will see a leopard casually strolling towards it. While wild animals roam freely in this area, just make sure, that you do not become their lunch or even dinner.

Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve: Now this is a heart beating experience. Tracking an animal that can grow as large as a small tank and weighing approximately the same, can literally, be a dangerous activity, if you are not careful.

Rhinos can smell humans up to 800 meters or 2,600 feet away. So, if you want to get home, safe and sound, then it is advisable to remain a great distance from the great beast.


Seychelles: On the crossroads between Asia and Africa

22 May, 2007

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One of the main island-state of the African continent, Seychelles lies north of the main island of Madagascar in Indian Ocean. To its east lies the African continent, or more specifically, Kenya on the mainland continent, and its nearby islands include Zanzibar, Mauritius, Reuion, Comoros and Mayotte.

An archipelago of 158 islands spread over an area of 455 sq km, Seychelles is also one of the smallest African nations, in terms of population, with only 81,000 people calling it home.

Out of the 158 islands, only 33 are inhabited, while the others are tropical islands, with some bascially, corals isles, and a few granite outcrops.

Seychelles, though, part of the African continent, it was initially populated by the seafarers Arabs, who in their quest for trade, ventured south of the mainland Arabian peninsula.

Being the main transit point between Asia and African, these islands was also home to the sea-pirates, who due to the increase trade between continents, took advantage, and harassed the oceangoers.

In the eighteenth century, the British took over and in 1903 it was separated from the island of Mauritius and was taken under the umbrella of the Crown colonies. But some 73 years later, the islands became an independent nation.

Being on the crossroads of trade between continents, the islands is inhabited by a mixture of races. It’s population has French, African, Indian and even Chinese roots. It’s main languages including both French and English.


Comoros Islands – A trading post between continents

22 May, 2007

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Comoros, an island nation, situated south of Seychelles in Indian Ocean, lies halfway between the giant island nation of Madagascar and Mozambique on the mainland African continent.

Composed of four main islands: Grande Comore (main island), Moheli, Anjouan and Mayotte, the Comoros, was till 2002 was known as the Islamic Federal Republic of Comoros, but now is called as the ‘Union of the Comoros’.

Just like its neighbour to the north, the Seychelles, Comoros, too, being on the crossroads of Asian –African trade, which dates back to ancient times, as there is recorded proof in certain ancient documents.

These texts mentions the town of Domoni located on the island of Anjouan as being a major trading centre during the 15-century where African, Arab, Persian and even Indian traders used to visit for trade.

Archaeological discoveries have unearthed evidence of trade between the African region and countries as far away as Japan, where Comoros Islands acted as the staging point.

Due to this cross-cultural activity, the islands have a mix of cultures and hence, history. Its population comprises of both African and Asian races, with certain local races thrown in the mix. It’s official languages are three: Comorian, Arabic and French.

This island nation is also one of worlds smallest, and Africa’s third smallest in terms of area and sixth smallest African nation in terms of population, with only 800,000 people calling it home.


Reunion (Africa) – The Mountain in the Sea

21 May, 2007

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One of France’s ‘Overseas Departements’ or overseas territory, Reunion Island is one of its 26 regions of France. Located in the Indian Ocean, east of the island of Madagascar, it is located south of the island nation of Mauritius, which is also the island’s nearest neighbour.

Being a part of France, which is a European country, Reunion Island’s government was one of the first European nations to adopt the Euro currency when it was introduced a few years back.

Reunion being part of the African nation is also seen as a poor nation, and hence, doesn’t draw much needed attention, in both tourism and trade. Its nearest neighbours Mauritius and Madagascar, in fact are much better off.

Often called the mountain in the sea as its towering peaks looms out of the Indian Ocean, though, it’s locals are extremely proud of their island’s rich givings, but it lacks the palm-fringed beaches and hot spot Indian Ocean resorts that Mauritius possess.

The island was basically, discovered by an explorer named ‘Tristan da Cunha’ in 1507 and was named initially, as Apolonia Island. The French came here in 1642, and seven years later they decided to claim this land for their country and named it Bourbon.

In 1764, the local government handed the island to the King of France, who renamed it a Reunion Island. During the 18 century, the British Army occupied it for a few years, when France again gained control of it.

The first settlement was called Saint Paul and was practically inhabited by French colonists. They established businesses and grew crops that suited the island’s soil and humidity. These included coffee, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla.

Initially, the business became a success but then competition from surrounding islands increased such, that islanders’ local trade failed.


Seychelles (Africa) – A nature lover’s delight

21 May, 2007

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Home to some of the unique marine specie colonies, Seychelles, is a marine biologist’ haven.

Lying some 1,600 kms east of the mainland African continent and northeast of the island of Madagascar, Seychelles is a group of 158 islands. Many of these are tropical isles, home to a diverse marine animals and birds.

The island is home to Aldabra, which is the world’s largest coral atoll and hence, is protected under the aegis of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also home to some of world’s largest tortoise and many sea bird colonies.

Then there are the countless number of plant species. Including the 81 which is purely native to these groups of islands. Some of the well-known include, the Coco der mer and Azul, which due to its shape is called the ‘love nut’.

The local jellyfish tree is also one of the ‘famous’ plant specie, which unfornately is fast diminishing and can only be found in certain areas. Certain other unique plants are spread far and wide on the islands.