<![CDATA[ZINNIA TRIP - Travel]]>Thu, 26 May 2022 03:36:37 +0530Weebly<![CDATA[Uganda : 10 Not-To-Miss Places in Uganda]]>Tue, 24 May 2022 20:53:13 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/uganda-10-not-to-miss-places-in-uganda#uganda #kampala #kibale #travel #adventure #holidays
                Uganda is a landlocked country on the eastern side of the African continent. It is bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania on the eastern, northern, western, and southern sides respectively. The southern part of the nation is also washed by the waters of the gigantic Lake Victoria and water from the Victoria Nile River. A lot of political tension exists in Uganda and lots of precautions need to be taken care of while you are visiting the northern territories. However, Uganda is slowly coming up to be one of the top destinations to have a complete African experience.

The country has all kinds of natural features to attract oncoming tourists. Wildlife is thronging throughout nature covered in all kinds of natural features such as rainforests, tall and misty mountains, and singular volcanos. Waterfalls are also a common occurrence throughout the country. Kampala, the capital of Uganda is beautiful in its own way and is steeped in African tribal history, tradition, and culture. Here are some of the most impressive places that should be on your itinerary if you are planning to visit Uganda.
Kampala

The Buganda Kingdom once ruled over the lands that now comprise Uganda and Kampala has been the capital then as it is now. It is a charming city that is loaded in history being of the first cities in Africa. You will also find a great inclination towards ancient African cultures and traditions in this beautiful city. The best way to enter Kampala has to be through the air. The Entebbe International Airport hosts regular flights from a number of international destinations and is situated about 35 km to the southwest of the capital. You have to get down at this airport and hire cab services to reach Kampala.

Kampala has an engaging atmosphere and gives you a good sense of being in a big city, albeit with a touch of Ancient Africa. The Kasubi Tombs have to be top on your list of places to visit in Kampala- you will find some of the thatched relics from days of yore.  People watching would also be a great pastime in Kampala as you see the regular crowd moving onwards with their daily life. You should visit Owino market- this is the best place to experience daily life in Uganda and also happens to be the largest market area in central-east Africa. The Gaddafi National Mosque with its tall minarets is another site that you just have to visit. The Naskero Hills lies towards the edge of the city and has all the villas in the country.

Entebbe

Entebbe is a city that will come on your way as you travel through Uganda. In fact, this is the entry point into Uganda for international tourists. While you are here, it makes sense to explore the city. And what a truly beautiful city it is! The city has a laidback atmosphere unlike Kampala and serves as a great spot for resting before taking on your exciting journey through Uganda. The international airport itself is a beautiful sight with the runway being washed by the waters of Lake Victoria on one side. Signs of colonial rule are very prevalent in the city since the British first settled in Entebbe. There are beautiful churches spread throughout the city that you would like to visit. The National Botanical Gardens developed during the colonial rule is also a terrific place to visit. The Ugandan State House is the presidential residence and is also situated in Entebbe.

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is situated on the western side of the nation and is easily accessible from the Entebbe International Airport. You would have to pass through Kampala by road if you take this route. Kibale National Park will open up towards the southern fringes of Fort portal if you take this route. The national park covers an area of about 800 km2 and is covered in dense, wetland forests. This national park is a storehouse of simian lifeforms with chimpanzees being the most common ones to be found over here. Amongst other simians, you will get to spot such species as the Ugandan red colobus or the rare L'Hoest's simians. Efforts have also been put to develop sustainable coffee plantations in this region.

SSese Islands

The Ssese Islands is an archipelago located on the pristine waters of Lake Victoria off the Ugandan coast. These are stunning and exquisite islands with golden, sandy beaches and easily rival those to be found on the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. These islands offer you a beach-like experience and are quite the spot for relaxation and leisurely activities. These are regarded as top-notch relaxation spots within the nation. Buggala Island is one of the most popular destinations among the islands closely followed by Bulago Island. The islands have beautiful hills offering you a chance to stretch your legs and explore through relaxing jungles. You could also partake in water sports activities such as kayaking on the islands over here.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is as much an exciting national park to visit as its name suggests. If you are traveling by road from Kampala, it will take you about 8 hours to reach Bwindi. It is about 3 to 6 hours away from Queen Elizabeth National Park depending on the route that you take. If you are traveling from Mburo National Park, it will take you about 6 hours to reach Bwindi. There are 4 entry points in Bwindi- Buhoma and Ruhija are situated towards the north while the southern side is accessible through Rushago and Nkuringo. Kihihi is the nearest airport to the northern trailheads as Kusoro is to the south. These airports receive scheduled domestic flights.

The forests in Bwindi are as old as Africa, even older. You will find a mass of the densest forests interspersed with rocky peaks making the national park truly impenetrable. The region also has huge biodiversity to offer from gorillas to geckos to a huge variety of insects so much so that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Chimpanzees and colobus monkeys are a common sight as you take a safari through the national park. The landscape, being part of the Albertine Rift, is simply breathtaking!

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park could either be entered through the south from Kampala or the southwest from Fort Portal. The distance from the former is about 300 km and will take you about 5 hours while the national park is about 280 km away from the latter and takes about 6 hours. Several scheduled and chartered domestic flights are available from Entebbe International Airport to arrive at the Pakuba Airfield, the nearest airport to Murchison Falls National Park.

The national park gets its name from the roaring waterfalls that cut through the middle portion of the park. You will find some of the most astounding wildlife activities in north-western Uganda as you explore this national park. It covers an approximate area of about 4,000 km2 and is regarded as the largest national park in the country. Amongst wildlife, you will find a huge diversity of animals on the park premises ranging from lions to giraffes to elephants and so much more. The most prominent attraction within the park has to be the 40 m drop of the Victoria Nile River through a tightly-knit gorge.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park, concisely known as QENP is situated about 400 km away from Kampala towards the west and takes about 8 hours to reach. Nearby airstrips include Kasese, Kihihi, and Mweya which receive chartered or scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport. It is close to the shoreline of Lake Edward and lies on the DRC Border and is regarded as the best national park to visit in Uganda.

QENP is one of the most popular attractions in Uganda among tourists and sees a footfall of thousands of tourists every year. Tourists frequent this place in search of the exotic Congo lions and chimpanzees who swing and mingle in the grassy savannahs as well as the Maramgambo Forest. Volcanic features are also abundant on this stretch of wildland, the terrific Katwe crater being one of the most famous ones. Exploring the national park is captivating and is sure to leave a mark on your heart.

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda. It is situated on the eastern side of the capital at a distance of about 235 km. the road passes through Mbale town and leads on to Jinja, both interesting places in Uganda to visit. It would take you about 11 hours to reach your destination either by bus or by car including the time taken during transits.

Mount Elgon National Park has a rocky appearance covered in jungles and hides away a plethora of natural wonders. Mount Elgon is one of the oldest volcanos in Africa and you will find a series of waterfalls, rugged canyons, and terrific cave systems as you explore the region. There are also several hot springs in the area which give off an interesting vibe allowing the visitors to experience the power of geothermal energy firsthand. If you climb further up you will find clear skies wherein African goshawks and bush shrikes fly freely. There are also different simian species to be found aplenty in this national park including colobuses, De Brazza’s, and blue monkeys.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Uganda but comes with quite the punch! It is situated on the route from Kampala to Bwindi and is generally used as a resting halt during the long journey. However, you should spend some time here to enjoy several activities and wildlife features. Grasslands mingled with wetlands give this area interesting biodiversity to explore.

While you are exploring the Lake Mburo National Park you will find a variety of animals such as warthogs, vervet monkeys, lions, crocodiles, zebras, impalas, olive baboons, leopards, and so on. If you are an avid bird watcher, the wetland areas offer you a majestic opportunity since about 300 species of birds have been spotted over here. The area around Lake Mburo is great for game-viewing in the summer months when all the animals congregate around this area!

Jinja

Jinja is a quaint town located about 80 km away from the capital and best known as the source of the longest river in the world, the Nile. It is a relaxing place and you can either do a visit or stay in this town to bask in the relaxed atmosphere. If you have a thing for adventure activities you could also go white-water rafting on the initial cascades on the Nile. You should also visit the Jinja Market situated in the town center. It is lined with vibrant shops selling all kinds of wares from chicken hearts to parts of a motor.
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<![CDATA[​Mauritius : 7 Not-To-Miss Places in Mauritius]]>Tue, 24 May 2022 20:09:22 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/mauritius-7-not-to-miss-places-in-mauritius#mauritius #port #louis #flick #flack #seewoosagur
                Mauritius is part of a group of islands on the Indian Ocean known as the Mascarene Islands which also includes Réunion, an island under the French. It is situated about 2,000 km off the African coast towards the eastern side of Madagascar. The Republic of Mauritius includes the islands of Rodrigues, Agaléga, and St. Brandon, along with Mauritius. It is a wondrous place to find yourself in and has called many visitors since its ancient days. It is such a splendidly beautiful place that Mark Twain had once proclaimed about Mauritius that it was built first and then heaven was built on its image! It is an especially charming place for couples looking to honeymoon or people simply looking for a place to laze around under a tropical sun. however, there is so much more than this small, charming nation has in store for its visitors. Fine dining options, luxury resorts, and wildlife activities are all part of Mauritius's draw and you will have a great time exploring the island nation. Now that we can guess how wonderful Mauritius can be let's look into the most stunning places that you should find yourself in while touring through Mauritius.
Grand Bassin

Grand Bassin, also known as Ganga Talao is one of the most popular attractions in Mauritius.it has interesting mythology associated with it wherein it is believed that the Hindu god Lord Shiva distributed the waters of the Holy Ganges River and part of it exists in this crater lake. It is also the biggest lake in all of Mauritius and a beautiful place that can be visited throughout the year. The weather is generally admirable though the Lake complex could get suddenly chilly due to the onset of mist from the lake.

Being a revered Hindu site, this lake is often visited by pilgrims especially during Maha Shivratri, the grand night of Shiva! A temple dedicated to the Hindu God has also been built in the complex while several idols of Hindu deities surround it. The recently-constructed, 108 feet towering statue of Lord Shiva stands out of the lot and adds to the pleasant atmosphere around the lake. Making the pilgrimage involves a quint, serene mountain trek through the wilderness, one that you are likely to remember. Just remember to take off your shoes before entering the lake premises.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens is an awe-inspiring structure and lives up to its international status being only second to the Kew Gardens in London. This place is a delight to spend a day while you are staying in Mauritius and could be a truly educational treat for you. There are about 650 species of plants to be found in the gardens, to begin with. The gardens become yet more attractive with 85 odd species of palm trees spread through the garden including the talipot palm which blooms after a period of 40 years followed by its death. The small water bodies in the garden area are covered in gigantic leaves of water lilies while the Spice Garden is also an interesting place to drop a visit. Among the interesting fauna of the region, you will come across giant tortoises and stags. It is open every day of the week from 8:30 AM till 5:00 PM.

Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay

Mauritius is majorly a beach destination and Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay have to be among the top picks for any visitor to this nation. Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay area is well-connected to the major cities of Mauritius by a variety of bus routes. However, bus journeys are cumbersome and take a long while. Thus, the best option to arrive at Pointe d’Ensy and Blue Bay would be to drive through the highway into this impressive lagoon area.

Pointe d’Esny and Blue Bay are one of the finest examples of well-preserved blue lagoons. The white, sandy coastline is lined with several holiday homes. There is a Marine Park that should be on your list of places to visit because of the excellent coral reef formations, the best in Mauritius! You have to go snorkeling to enjoy the full experience of being with the coral reefs. The quaint village of Mahebourg is nearby and should also be on your list of places to visit.

Mahébourg

The village of Mahébourg is situated on the opposite end of Blue Bay and could be easily reached from that area. if you want to experience traditional Mauritian life to the fullest, you have to come to this amazing village. The village was built during the 16th century when the Dutch landed. Within the village you will still find that old essence in rustic restaurants with the most terrific terraces where you can dine in comfort, busy marketplaces to collect all kinds of souvenirs, terrific beaches, and the especially delectable and spicy food! Of the places to visit is a quaint museum exhibiting details about the British-French conflicts that raged battles over the ownership of the island. There is also the bell rescued from Le Saint-Géran, an important part of Mauritian legends. There is a very laid-back, comfortable town and if you come here once, you will want to come here a couple more times.

The Isle aux Aigrettes deserves a special mention and has to be included in your Mahébourg itinerary. Commonly known as the Egret Island, this place is entirely made of coralline limestone unlike the volcanic matter usually found on the mainland. The difference in the landscape is strikingly noticeable! Isle aux Aigrettes is a small patch of dry coastal forest covering about 27 hectares and is believed to be the ultimate resting place of the last dodo bird. This area has been declared to be a natural reserve and scientists are trying with all their might to introduce rare species and restore the ecosystem that once prevailed in most of Mauritius!

Black River Gorges National Park

Black River Gorges National Park has to be one of the most intoxicating places to visit while you are exploring Mauritius. It covers about 17,000 acres and is sort of like a Grand Canyon covered in a rainforest. It is very easy to reach the national park with the nearest airport being Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. You will get numerous bus options or a taxi service which will take you to the park.

The National Park is the largest protected rainforest area in the nation. Within the park, you will find about 50 km of trekkable trails among various landscapes from a challenging trek to the summit of the highest peak to a gentle hike through the forest. Within the national park, you will find about 300 different varieties of flowering plants. Some animals such as wild boars, deer, and macaque monkeys could also be seen wandering within the park area whilst you are hiking. The cherry on the top has to the nine species of endangered birds, unique to the island that could be found here. With birds such as the echo parakeet, the Mauritius kestrel, Mauritius bulbul, Mauritian flying fox, Mauritius olive white-eye, and the pink pigeon, this national park is also a haven for bird-watchers.

Blue Penny Museum

If there is a history buff in you or you are simply interested in learning about the history of Mauritius and the Blue Penny Museum is the best place to go. It is situated in Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, and is regarded as the most famed museum in the nation. There is a rich collection of artifacts that trace the interesting and terrific history of Mauritius from the old days. There are also collections of paintings and sculptures, engravings, marine maps from times of yore, and documents that show the rich history of Mauritius.

The cherry on top of the cake has to be the one penny orange-red stamp and the two pence indigo-blue stamps to be seen here. These are issues of the famous “Post Office” stamp which was printed in 1847. These are priceless possessions of the museum and are regarded as gems in the philately world.
The museum also has a gift shop which is the perfect place to collect souvenirs from. Decorative objects and stationery items, posters, and uniquely designed postcards are some of the pretty Mauritian items that you would find here.

Grand Baie


About 2 decades ago Grand Baie used to be a quaint fishing village situated about 25 km away, to the north of the Mauritian capital, Port Louise. Nowadays, it is quite a happening place and could be regarded as one of the most exciting hubs for tourism within Mauritius. Since Grand Baie is so near to the capital it takes about half an hour to reach the place by cab. If you are traveling straight from the SSR Airport, it will take you about 1 hour to reach the beach destination.

It is a beautiful town to visit. The surrounding emerald blue waters of the Indian Ocean make it even more stunning and praiseworthy. Water-based activities such as sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, and swimming are very common in the lively waters of Grand Baie. You could also go on boat expeditions from Green Baie towards the northern islands such as Gunner's Quoin, Round Island, Serpent Island, and Flat Island. traditional shops, comfortable hotels, and terrific restaurants are all part of the Grand Baie charm. The nightlife of Grand Baie is another interesting aspect of the town- it is vibrant and lively and is a place for the night owls among you!
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<![CDATA[Tanzania : 10 Not-To-Miss Places in Tanzania]]>Sun, 15 May 2022 21:17:25 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/tanzania-10-not-to-miss-places-in-tanzania#tanzania #zanzibar #victoria #travels
                Tanzania is located on the eastern side of the African continent and offers some of the best safari options in Africa. It is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa offering some of the most picturesque locations on the continent. The nation also falls around the perimeter of the African Great Lakes making it an even more desirable location to visit. Due to the vibrant nature of its geography, it is the best place in Africa to partake in wildlife-related activities.
                Tanzania has so much more to offer than simply wildlife activities. It has some of the most excellent beaches on the continent in Zanzibar. The islands of Pemba and Mafia offer plentiful opportunities to adventurers to scuba dive or go snorkeling in the coral gardens surrounding them. There's so much to do in Tanzania that you will only find out as you read on!
Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa at 5,895m had to be the star of the show as you start your travel through Tanzania. The area is surrounded by Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, one of the most diverse landscapes in the nation. However, the particular draw to this national park is not the wildlife available in nature but the picturesque and ever-changing vegetation against the backdrop of the stunning, snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. The peak could be scaled by adventurers any time throughout the year but the best time to do so has to be the dry months between the later parts of June to October.

Kilimanjaro is a popular tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site making it easily accessible from all sides. It was formed due to volcanic movements along the Rift Valley in Africa and there are three volcanic cones- Mawenzi, Shira, and Kibo. Uhuru Peak situated on Kibo is the highest point in the region and is listed as one of the Seven Summits of the World.

The vegetation in the region rapidly changes as one travels upwards. At the lower reaches of the mountain, you will find farmlands. As you go up you will first come across lush rainforests, followed by soothing alpine meadows, and at the end, there is a barren moon-like rocky landscape for your wonderment. Bird watchers will have a great time within the alpine meadows especially because of the birds of prey to be found here.

Serenegti National Park


Serengeti National Park is a vast stretch of treeless land and the second largest national park in Tanzania. The best way to reach the national park has to be through the Kilimanjaro International Airport. It is about 46 km away from Arusha, the gateway into Serengeti National Park. You could also catch the flight to Arusha Airport. It is a terrific place and also happens to be listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The most famous feature of Serengeti National Park has to be the migration of wildebeests who traverse through the park to look for fresh grasslands. You will also find a collection of other wild animals, the most impressive of which are the Big Five of Africa and different species of birds. The national park is a haven for bird watchers since about 500 species of birds are recorded to have been sighted here.

March to May sees the onset of the monsoons with June to October being the coldest period in this national park. The best time to visit the national park is during the cold season when over 1.5 million wildebeests would travel through the park in herds. If you get to the park in May or early June, you will also find huge herds of Zebras and gazelles passing through, a wondrous sight that draws thousands of tourists to the Serengeti National Park every year.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar, also known as Unguja, is situated off the coast of Tanzania and forms part of the archipelago which includes the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the nation owing to some of the most stunning beaches out there. De[ending on the region of the island you are on, the surf would vary. However, you will find soft, white, sandy beaches washed by crystal clear water, traditional boats lining the shore, and shallow waters on all sides.
One of the most impressive places to visit within Zanzibar is Stone Town, situated right at the heart of the place. This is the oldest Swahili city still inhabited by people in the world. The ancient town is lined with small Arabian-themed homes connected through a network of narrow and winding alleyways giving it a unique feel. Most of these houses also boast doors made from intricately carved wood studded with brass. Stone Town was constructed majorly around the 19th century when trade through the Indian Ocean flourished to great heights. Some of the major attractions of Stone Town are the Darajini Market, City Hall, Beit Al-Amani, and the Anglican Cathedral, all to be found in the original Stone Town. Other notable attractions include Forodhani Gardens, the People’s Palace, the Old Dispensary, and the Hamamni Persian baths. The oldest structure here is the Old Fort and is definitely worth your time.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies on the road connecting Serengeti National Park to Lake Manyara. The best way to enter this region is through the roads as you are returning from an exploration of Serengeti National Park. The road is scenic and good enough for travel in private cars.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area gets its name from the Ngorongoro Crater, a famed volcanic crater, and the area abounds in all kinds of wildlife activities. The crater is a hub for all kinds of animals since it is fed by a constant source of water. Because of this, the animals inhabit this region completely and are migratory. The visitors are gifted by sightings of large animals such as hippos, rhinos, buffalos, gazelles, elephants, and predators such as lions. The most viewed animals in this region are herds of wildebeests and zebras. The area also welcomes different species of birds making it an exciting place for bird watchers. The region around Lake Migadi is especially important to bird watchers since it is abundantly visited by birds of all kinds. Sighting flamingos is one of the major attractions in the region.

The Crater is the largest among the ancient calderas of the world and dates back millions of years. The volcano, on the other hand, used to be one of the tallest mountains in the world. However, it was blasted off into a crater after quite an eventful explosion.

Olduvai Gorge


Olduvai Gorge is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area but deserves a special mention because of its scientific importance. It is a hub for archaeologists and has been so since 1911 when a German professor found remnants of ancient humans while looking for butterflies. The findings of skull fragments, bone fragments, and a whole skull in this region offer critical scientific leads about mankind in its earliest stages. The skull and bone fragments found in this region are believed to be about 2 million years old while stone tools and hunting weapons found in the area date back to 1 to 1.5 million years ago! One of the most interesting things to look out for in Olduvai Gorge is the footprints left by a family, a man, woman, and child at Laetoli, which is nearby. The discoveries in the area have led scientists to believe that at least three different hominid species inhabited this area about 2 million years ago!

Lake Manyara National Park


Lake Manyara is a great way to complete the circuit from Serengeti National Park through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and end at the lake. It is a beautiful place, especially because of the huge water body that covers almost two-thirds of the park. The easy availability of freshwater has made this area a hub for all kinds of terrestrial and avian fauna species. A lot of birds frequent this region, the most prominent of which has to be the flamingos. At certain times of the year, you could see flocks of thousands of pink flamingos immersing themselves in the cool waters of Lake Manyara.

Other notable wildlife faunas that you are most likely to see in Lake Manyara National Park include herds of elephants and lions that could climb trees. You should also look out for hippos; this is one place where you will get a much closer look at them than anywhere else. The park also has a huge population of baboons, in fact, the largest concentration in the world! Some of the most popular activities that you could participate in while you are exploring Lake Manyara include canoeing (when water levels are high), wildlife drives, bird watching, and mountain biking.

Mafia Island

Mafia Island is part of the archipelago around Tanzania and is another of the wonderful treasures to visit off the coast. It is a true delight to visit this amazing island with terrific beaches and the Mafia Island Marine Park. The first settlers came to this island around the 8th to 9th century it became an important center around the 12th to 14th century when it became part of the East African trading route. This island provides ample opportunities for divers and snorkelers because of the delightful coral gardens underwater and thus brings in tons of tourists every year.

The best time to go for diving adventures in the waters around the island has to be between October and March. The best time of the year to visit the island is between May to October. You should avoid the island in March and April because of the heavy rains which could be a serious damper to all your outdoor plans.

The coral gardens are instantly captivating and made even more beautiful by a huge plethora of fish species. The waters are also visited by so many different species of birds and the waters hold at least 400 different species of fish. This also includes species such as tuna, sailfish, marlin, etc. which makes deep-sea fishing another exciting activity to participate in while you are on Mafia Island. the endangered green turtle is also abundantly seen on the Mafia Island since it is an important breeding ground for them.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is another famous national park situated on the northern side of Tanzania. It is generally done with Serengeti and Ngorongoro since it forms part of the circuit. Just like Serengeti National Park, you have to start at Arusha and thus this place is also easy to approach. It was established back in 1970 and offers some of the most fantastical opportunities for game viewing! The months of July to September see the onset of the dry seasons and are the best time to visit this national park. This is the time when you will find the highest concentration of wildlife species that migrate from place to place.

Of the most notable wildlife species to be found in this region, you will come across zebras, gazelles, wildebeest, impala, buffalo, eland, and hartebeest. Elephants are also a very common sight in this region. You will also see that unlike the other national parks in the northern part of the nation, there is a huge concentration of baobab trees in Tarangire. If you are an avid bird watcher, you have a collection of about 300 different species of birds to look out for while you are in Tarangire. These birds include huge birds of prey such as vultures, eagles, falcons, kites, buzzards, herons, and storks.

Pemba Island


Pemba Island too is part of the Zanzibar archipelago and is the northernmost island there is. There are also so many desert islands around Pemba that you could also go exploring. The island is surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean and is a favorite amongst scuba divers because of the exceptionally clear visibility! The underwater world around the island is loaded with coral gardens, sea fans, and vibrantly colored sea sponges. You could set your base in Chake Chake- it is the main center of Pemba Island and very popular among divers.

The atmosphere in Pemba is lazy and laidback and is much less crowded than in Zanzibar. This offers ample opportunities for visitors to just lie back on the soft beaches and relax to their heart's content. The island being hilly with hills in the 1000 m range has become famous among mountain bikers too. Misali Island Beach is off the coast of Pemba Island and should be top of your itinerary- it is uninhabited and has the most stunning white sandy beaches! Pemba also has a mystic element based on its juju traditions that deal in medicines and magic. People from all of Eastern Africa often frequent Pemba Island to learn from the traditional healers in this area or to find a cure to their ailments. Pemba is also one of the major producers of clove in the world.

Lake Victoria 

Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa making it a very attractive site to visit as you explore Tanzania. It falls along the borders of Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. The White Nile River originates from the lake providing the lands around with freshwater and the inhabitants with guaranteed sources of income. The Tanzanian part of Lake Victoria is not much visited making it one of the best places to go to if you are looking for unexplored places. It is surrounded by the small towns of Bukoba, Mwanza, and Musoma all of which have their own set of attractions to look out for.
Many islands around Mwanza and Musoma have earned the status of being wildlife sanctuaries allowing you ample opportunities to see wildlife, especially birds. Rubondo Island National Park is a collection of several smaller islands on the southwestern shores of the lake. Boat trips, as well as hiking expeditions, could be easily arranged in and around Lake Victoria.
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<![CDATA[Botswana : ​9 Not-To-Miss Places in Botswana]]>Wed, 04 May 2022 20:14:37 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/botswana-9-not-to-miss-places-in-botswana#botswana #holidays #travel #kasane #kalahari
                Botswanan is situated in the southern part of the African continent. It is a landlocked nation and is surrounded by the countries of South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe on its southern, western, and north-northeastern sides respectively. Most of the landscape in Botswana is flat land and almost 70% of the land is occupied by the Kalahari Dessert. Gaborone is the capital city of the nation and also happens to be the largest city with about 11% of the population living here. The main attraction in this sparsely populated nation has to be its wildlife which includes all kinds of animals and birds spread throughout.
                Whether you are looking at long stretches of arid, empty lands in the Kalahari Desert or the lush vegetation loaded with all kinds of lifeforms in other parts, you will always be looking at something grand in Botswana. The landscape has all the feel of being an African nation! The only problem that you may face while exploring Botswana is the high-cost f touring through the place. In fact, it is one of the most expensive destinations on the entire continent and might not be easily affordable to all. However, for budget-conscious travelers, moving around in Botswana in a self-drive car could be a very affordable means of travel.
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Boswana
Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is one of the most impressive regions in Africa if you are expecting to come across all kinds of wildlife. It is easily reachable from the Maun or Chobe. If you are traveling from Maun, you have to get on a chartered flight to reach the destination. You may as well hit the road on a 4x4. If you intend to drive to this place, the better option is to drive from Chobe. The distance is about 600 km and it will take you around 7 hours to reach your destination.

The best thing about Okavango Delta is that it is quite an untouched and unspoiled piece of land teeming with wildlife. You will either find dry grasslands or swamps in the region with game watching being the most popular attraction of the area. Some of the animals which you are most likely to see are herds of zebras and elephants, elegant giraffes, crocs, rhinos, and cheetahs. If you are planning a trip into the delta, you should meticulously plan your trip. This is because the roads are great and you will always be welcomed by some of the most amazing sights that you will ever see- however, the climatic conditions of the area are very fickle and affects your chances of seeing particular animals.


Moremi Game Reserve

The Moremi Game Reserve has two main access points, namely, the North Gate and the South Gate. While the North Gate situated nearby the Khwai River is easily accessible through Chobe National Park, the South Gate is 60 km away from Maun taking you about 2 hours, and just 30km away from the North Gate. If you are visiting Okavango Delta, you should put Moremi Game Reserve on your itinerary too, since they are close to each other and different parts of the delta.

Moremi has been voted as the best game reserve that Africa has to offer in 2008 making it one of the places that you have to visit while you are traveling through Botswana. The history of Moremi is also quite interesting since it is the first such game reserve to be founded by the locals to counter the increasing threats to wildlife in the region. You will some of the most spectacular sceneries that the nation has to offer while you are in Moremi Game Reserve. The ecosystem in this region is also grand allowing you to view all kinds of flora and fauna throughout the area. Most of the tourists choose to go around the game reserve in self-driven 4x4s but you may also contact a tour operator to get into one of the many camps.

Gabane

Gabane is a small village very near to Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. Being this near to the capital, it is very easy to access the village. In recent years Gabane has become an interesting tourist destination and thus has its own international airport making it so easy to enter the area. the region offers excellent opportunities for travelers to explore the hills surrounding the region on foot. It is an industrious village and there are lots of small manufacturers producing all kinds of wares such as glassworks, metalworks, pottery, and so on. If you are in Gabane be sure to at least drop by the pottery factory- there is also an attached shop that sells pottery items, handiworks, vases, and so on which you can take home as souvenirs from the trip. Hiking is one of the most sought-out activities in this village and thus it is a great place for adventure lovers. Another brilliant facet of the village is the interesting nightlife that the villagers have. If you want to run away from the everyday crowd and immerse yourself in a night of music, revelry, and merry-making, this is the place for you to be in. This also ensures that there are tins of clubs and bars speckled throughout the region.

Kasane

Kasane is a stunning destination in Botswana located at an equally stunning position- it lies at the crossroads between four nations- Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. There is an international airport in Kasane that welcomes regularly scheduled flights from Gaborone, Maun, and Johannesburg in South Africa. You could enter the region by car as the place is well connected to Maun, Gaborone, and Francistown via a network of paved roads that goes all the way into Zimbabwe.

The geographic location of Kasane already makes it picturesque and worthy to be on your Botswana itinerary. The most exciting thing that you could be doing here is to take a trip to Victoria Falls. Chobe National Park, another popular game-laden area in Botswana is also nearby making Kasane a great base to explore the National Park.

There are several interesting features within Kasane too with one of the most interesting ones being a majestic Baobab tree. This tree is so huge that it used to serve as a prison- the trunk was wide enough to accommodate a human being. Another unmissable attraction in Kasane has to be the snake park with about 50 snakes spanning over 17 different species. You could also get grand views of the Chobe River as you are exploring through Kasane.

Maun

Maun is a city that will fall in your way some time or the other as you are traveling through Botswana. In fact, it is one of the best entry points into Africa with the delta region being nearby. There are regularly scheduled flights into Maun since there is an international airport here. If you are already in Botswana, Maun is well-connected by roadways to major cities such as Gaborone, Francistown, Rakops, Ghanzi, and Serowe. This allows you to either take a car or even a bus to this town.

Maun is known as the best gateway to travel into the exciting lands of the Okavango delta. Since it receives a huge footfall every year, Maun has developed into an impressive place with many hotels, restaurants, shopping complexes, and so on. There is not much to see around Maun and it is like a normal city where travelers come to rest before they move on. There are even campsites alongside the river where you can rest for a couple of nights and enjoy the laidback city life of this place.

Gaborone

The capital and the largest city in Botswana, Gaborone, is the best way you could enter or exit the nation. The Seretse Khama International Airport sees regular national and international flights. Outside Johannesburg, you could fly into Gaborone from airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare, and Lusaka. You could also get in through Windhoek, Durban, Addis Ababa, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, and Doha. Gaborone is also well connected by roadway and railway routes. If you are already in Botswana, you could easily enter the city through several bus, car, and train routes from different areas within the nation.

Gaborone has an unusual atmosphere for a capital city- you will all kinds of modern buildings and amenities throughout the city against a tropical backdrop. Other than that, there are very few attractions to look out for within this city despite the large size. There are huge residential areas within the city. You will also find many options for lodging and flooding inside the city. It lacks in history and has a uniquely modern feel to boast off. The city is also slowly paving its way forward towards a bright future and gives you a good experience of Botswana among the crowds.

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park is the third largest one in Botswana and offers quite a collection of rare animal sightings in Africa. It is easily accessible from other parts of Africa- you have to fly into Kasane and hit the road from there onwards. Chobe National Park has situated about 6 km toward the western side of Kasane. You could also reach Chobe National Park from Victoria Falls if you travel about 80 km towards the west. Once you have reached Kasane you can choose from several self-driven 4x4 options.

The best thing about Chobe National Park is that it boasts the largest collection of rare fauna on the whole continent. The Chobe River flows through the National Park and gives the place its name- it's one breathtaking sight the first time you see that you just cannot forget. The river is also the source of a vibrant ecosystem within the park which supports the collection of exotic and rare animals. Some of the common things that you will find in Chobe National Park are elephants, baboons, giraffes, lions, and different species of birds. If you are particularly exploring Chobe National Park during the winter months, you may get to see herds of hundreds of elephants at a time- an experience you are likely never to forget in your lifetime!

Francistown

Francistown is the oldest and the second largest town in the nation. The area had major deposits of gold and the town was built on it until the Europeans came to it with a mind for profiteering. Being an important town in Botswana, it is very easily accessible through the roadways. It is well connected to Gaborone and Maun through a network of highways and the road goes all the way into Zimbabwe. You could either take a car or a bus to travel via road. There is also an international airport in the town that receives regular flights from Gaborone and even Johannesburg.

While you are in Francistown make sure that you visit the Ngwao Museum- it is an interesting place to learn about the Kalanga people who inhabited this region, their cultures, and their traditions. Birds and Games is another interesting place to visit in this town- it is a refuge for all kinds of orphaned animals and truly a remarkable experience to behold.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Situated in the Kalahari region, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve will give you a true experience of seeing wildlife. The road is quite good in dry weather and you can easily drive from Maun to Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The distance is about 250 km and it will take you about 5 hours on road. However, the road becomes pretty bad after rains and it will take you longer to reach your destination.

The central Kalahari region is simply vast- it stretches on and on and is entirely covered in all kinds of wildlife activities giving you a true taste of Africa at its best. Throughout the day you will get to experience vast stretches of extraordinary savannah while at night you will be awestruck at some of the clearest skies in the world. The summer rains are important to this region since it brings with them all kinds of wildlife including springbok and wildebeest. The winter months on the other hand are not a good time if you are planning to visit Central Kalahari Game Reserve since it brings about harsh conditions and thus lowers the probability of viewing animals.
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<![CDATA[Kenya : 9 Not-To-Miss Places in Kenya]]>Tue, 03 May 2022 21:08:43 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/kenya-9-not-to-miss-places-in-kenya#kenya #maasai #Nairobi #holidays #travel #trip #africa
                Kenya is situated on the eastern side of the African continent having a small stretch of coastline opening into the Indian Ocean. The country is speckled with some of the most impressive natural features that anyone could ask for. There is a huge range of things that one could be doing in Kenya with wildlife activities being on the top of the list. Wildebeest rushing across the savannah for the Great Migration, huge elephants in the Amboseli, or the flamingo-filled marvelous Lake Nakuru are but some of the natural wonders that you could see in Kenya. The region is also inhabited by exotic, ancient tribes such as the Maasai and the Kikuyu and you will get a great insight into the traditional lifestyle and customs of these people. You will also find a treasure trove of coastal activities that you could be doing in Kenya. The Great Rift Valley passes through the middle of the nation dividing it. All in all, the diversity of geographical features alone is more than enough to bring you to explore Kenya. So, let's just find out all the exciting that you could be doing in Kenya.
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Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara is one of the best places in entire Africa to look out for games. It is situated along the border of Kenya with Tanzania and the Mara forms a kind of a natural wildlife corridor between the nations. Maasai Mara could be regarded as an extension of the Serengeti and is inhabited by the Maasai people, from whom the region gets its name! The best way to enter Mara has to be through the Nairobi Wilson Airport in the capital- it is a short 45 minutes away on a flight!

One of the most spectacular sights to look out for while you are in the park is the Great Migration. This is a seasonal even between July and October when the wildebeests, Thomson's gazelles, and zebras travel through the national park area into Serengeti. The Mara River is also alive with wildlife, namely hippos and crocodiles. Big predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs are also abundantly available throughout the park making it easy to spot them if you are lucky. The dry months between December and February are the best time to see such predators.

Amboseli National Reserve


The Amboseli National Reserve is located on the southeastern side of the Kenyan capital Nairobi about 365 km away. You could reach this national park from other national parks too as you embark on a journey through the wilderness of Kenya. If you come from Tsavo National Park by road, it will take you about 8 hours. The roads are probably the best way to travel to Amboseli. The name comes from a Maasai term meaning “salty dust” referring to the dry conditions in the area.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent overlooks the Amboseli National Reserve. It is one of the most-visited safari destinations in Africa. The Amboseli Reserve is one of the best places to look out for magnificent elephant herds. Big predators such as lions and cheetahs are also a common sight in this park. Some other animals that you could easily spot as you explore the Natural Reserve are giraffes, elands, impalas, gazelles, waterbucks, and over 600 different kinds of birds. Visitors will also get to experience different ecological zones including savannahs, wetlands along with sulfur springs, woodlands, and the dry beds of Lake Amboseli.

Tsavo National Park


Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and takes up as much as 4% of the total landmass of Kenya. The entire park area is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. You can explore a variety of natural features as you travel through the Park such as waterfalls, volcanos, huge plateaus made from lava rock, and to top it all, a huge variety of game viewing.

The picturesque Tsavo East is situated between the capital Nairobi and Mombasa and is easily accessible by road from either city. There are no regularly scheduled flights that could take you to Tsavo. One of the most memorable sights you will see here are huge herds of elephants rolling around and bathing in red dust- in short, they are simply being at home. Though the plains are arid, the region around the Galana River twisting through the park offers excellent opportunities t game viewing. The Yatta Plateau is another unmissable attraction to look out for in Tsavo east- it is the world’s longest lava flow. The Mundana Rock and the Lugard Falls are also worth a visit as you explore the eastern half of the park

As you move towards Tsavo West, you will see that the climate has gone much wetter. The topography around this region is also much varied and you will find some of the most mesmerizing sceneries towards the northern reaches of Tsavo West. The Mazima Springs in Tsavo West is filled with crocodiles and hippos and is a perfect place to see these species. Chaimu Crater is the best place for bird watchers since this place is flocked by all kinds of birds. You should also head to the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary while you are in this area. Throughout Tsavo West, wildlife is comparatively more difficult to spot since the vegetation is very dense.

Lake Nakuru National Park


Nakuru Town is situated in the central region of Kenya, about 156 km away from Nairobi towards the northwestern side of the capital. The main entry point into the park, Lanet Gate is situated about 4 km away from the town center. If you are coming to work after exploring Maasai Mara, you should use the Nderit Gate. Lake Nakuru is a Rift Valley Lake covering about three-quarters of the entire park area.

The park area has a huge diversity of fauna, especially birds. Since its establishment in 1961, over 450 different species of birds have been recorded to be found in the national park. Other wildlife species that you will find on the premises are leopards and lions, warthogs, pythons, waterbucks, and white rhinos. The landscape is also varying as you will find grasslands around the lake area and as you move farther away you reach rocky cliffs, and heavily wooded areas. The park also features one of the most exotic things you will ever see- the largest forest covered by Euphorbia candelabrum. This is an endemic species specific to this region and provides a captivating aura to the otherwise arid landscape.

Lamu Island


Lamu Island is situated off the coast of Mombasa on the northeastern side and is one of the oldest places in Kenya that has been continuously habituated since the 12th century. The Old Town on this island is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The easiest mode of entry into the island is through the air- you have to fly into the nearby Manda Island and then take a ferry from there onwards.

One of the most attractive things to do while you are on Lamu Island has to be simply strolling through the labyrinthine alleyways on the island. the island has been a rich center for trading and you can see its marks on the exquisite buildings that you will find here. Major Arabic, European, and Indian influences could be easily seen in the style of architecture incorporated to construct the buildings on this island. however, the Swahili techniques are also discernible making way for a unique architectural style. Some of the most common features that you may tread across are hidden courtyards, wooden doors, verandas, coral stone buildings, and rooftop patios.

You will also be amazed to experience how staying on this island is like taking a step back in time. The harbor is lined with dhows that take you to and from the island while motorized vehicles are almost inexistent within the island and the use of donkeys is very prevalent. You have to visit Lamu Museum if you are interested in learning about the history and culture of the Swahili people as well as the island’s many nautical explorations. Lamu Fort and Donkey Sanctuary are also exciting places that you could visit on the island.

Lake Naivasha


Lake Naivasha is situated on the highest reaches of the Great Rift Valley and is a haven for birds. In fact, this is the ultimate place in Kenya that birders should flock to since it boasts of more than 400 species of birds including African fish eagles, white-fronted bee-eaters, jacanas, and different species of kingfishers. Naivasha could be easily reached from Nairobi via flight and it takes only 15 minutes. The road connecting Naivasha and Nairobi will take you about 1.5 hours.

The best way to explore Lake Naivasha has to be on a boat. Among the wildlife, you will get to see hippos splashing in the water while others such as giraffes, zebras, and buffalos abound the fields around the lake. If you look into the canopies, you might also get to see colobus monkeys. While in this region you have to visit the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary which features some of the best wildlife trails for game viewing. Hell's Gate National Park is also nearby- you not only get to explore wilderness here but also get so many climbing opportunities amongst extinct volcanos and the red-hued cliffs belonging to the Hell's Gate Gorge.

Nairobi

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and the largest city in the nation. In all probability, one of the best ways to enter Kenya is via air through Nairobi. The city offers you excellent opportunities to indulge in the Kenyan spirit without having to go on safaris. While you are in Nairobi you have to visit the National Museum to get a dose of Kenya's history, culture, contemporary arts, and nature. The botanical garden on the museum grounds is also an enjoyable place to be in. the Nairobi National Park is another interesting place to visit if you want to watch games near to the biggest city in the nation. It is now a sanctuary for black rhinos giving you a great opportunity to look at these threatened species up close.

Malindi

Malindi is a crazy amalgamation of a historic and modern town. It is situated towards the northern side of Mombasa along the coastline of Kenya and thus is very easily accessible. Because of its unique location, Malindi has been an important trading center in Kenya and thus the cuisine available here is also extraordinary.

While you visit Malindi, you have to explore the beaches of Watamu Beach. You could also go diving and it will bring you a different world altogether- one that is filled with exciting marine life and coral reefs. The Watamu Marine National Park is a great place to cool off from the heat while exploring all sorts of marine creatures. As mentioned, the town is old and has a history that dates back to at least the 12th century. Amongst some of the other attractions in this town, you have to visit the Jami Mosque, two pillar tombs dating back to the 14th century, and the Church of St. Francis Xavier. The Vasco De Gama Cross is one of the oldest relics that you could see standing amongst the monuments in all of Africa. The Falconry of Kenya is another interesting place to visit- it is a haven for injured and sick birds where they are taken care of. The Marafa Depression towards the northeastern side is about 30 km and has to be on your list of places to visit in Malindi- this looks just like a miniature version of the Grand Canyon.

Mombasa


Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya and has the biggest port in the nation. Being a port city, the mix of culture and traditions is immediately visible as you enter this amazing, multicultural city. You will find people from different ethnicities such as British, Portuguese, Indian, Arabic, and Asian along with the locals living together in harmony. The influence of these people is also very prevalent in the architectural styles and the cuisine of Mombasa.

Mombasa is not within mainland Kenya and is an island connected to the mainland through a causeway. Coral reefs are abundant around Mombasa and stretch for about 480 km allowing you excellent water activities. The Mombasa Marine National Park as well as the Wasini Island in the region are the best places to go to if you want to partake in snorkeling or diving. You could also sit calmly as you watch dolphins or go for deep-sea fishing activities in this region. You should also visit Fort Jesus constructed in the 16th century and the Old Town if you are looking for all the historical tales that this city has to tell. You will also find narrow streets, marketplaces, Swahili residential areas, and the best souvenir shops around these regions. 
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<![CDATA[Ivory Coast : Not-To-Miss Places in Ivory Coast]]>Mon, 02 May 2022 20:45:46 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/ivory-coast-not-to-miss-places-in-ivory-coast#ivorycoast #abidjan #bassam #holidays #travel #leisure
                Ivory Coast is located on the southern coast of western Africa and is entirely washed by the Atlantic Ocean on its southern side. The coastal country of Liberia is towards the east of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire while Ghana shares its eastern borders. Towards the northern side, it shares borders with Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso from west to east. While the political capital of Ivory Coast is Yamoussoukro, the largest city, as well as the economic hub, is Abidjan.

Ivory Coast is a stunning country with varied geography. While the northern parts of the country are guarded by the high grasslands of Mount Nimba, the southern side has some stunning beaches. Misty forests are found in abundance on the western side while expansive fields of coffee plantations could be found on the eastern side of the nation.

The nation had extensive coffee and ivory (wherefrom it gets its name) trade with the West and had also been a colony of France between 1893 and 1993. It had seen two civil wars since its freedom and there has been much economic instability. The Ebola virus has left its deep marks on the nation. However, despite these situations, the nation has once again become the largest coffee exporter in the world and has become quite delightful to visit. Exotic food, hikes through solitary paths, and beautiful beaches are what is on offer for you if you are planning a trip to Ivory Coast. So, let's start with all the wonderful places that you should be visiting if you are planning to explore Ivory Coast.
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Ivory Coast
Grand-Bassam

Grand-Bassam is an excellent start to your Ivory Coast tour. The city is situated on the eastern side of Abidjan and is 45 km away by road. Taxis or buses are the best way to reach this superb destination without much trouble.

The old city of Bassam was the central hub of the Ivory Coast whilst it was ruled by the French during the colonial times. The Ancien Bassam district is speckled with elegant mansions built in Parisian architectural styles as well as so many elegant municipal buildings. The sheer wealth of architectural features has earned Grand-Bassam the status of being UNESCO World Heritage. The buildings are crumbling and desolate and efforts are being taken to renovate them. Some of these buildings have already been renovated and opened for the public to visit. Two of the most prominent features that you have to visit while you are in Bassam are the Cathédrale Sacré Cœur and the captivating Museum of Costume.

Grand-Bassam is the newer city that has been developed and is the hip and happening spot of the region. It is where you will find most of the activity in the city. There are beaches towards the east as well as the western sides of Grand-Bassam waiting for you to explore.

Abidjan

Abidjan is the largest and the most happening place to be in while you are exploring Ivory Coast. Na population of more than 4 million lives here making it the second-largest city in western Africa. Consequently, it is very easy to travel to and from Abidjan. The international airport in this city receives quite a lot of national as well as international flights. International flights from France, Brussels, Cairo, Dubai, Nairobi, Beirut, Lisbon, and other cities are scheduled regularly. If you are already on Ivory Coast, you could travel using the roadways via cars or buses. You may also take to the railways to reach your destination to and from Abidjan.

The city is located on the southern coast and opens up into the wide Ebrié Lagoon. This is a stunning city and just the perfect place to introduce you to the culture and people of the Ivory Coast. It is an even better destination than the capital Yamoussoukro to start your adventures on Ivory Coast. There are lots of restaurants to choose from while you are here, you have to try the local cuisine, especially the mouth-watering cassava curry. Wandering through the busy streets of the central Plateau district would also be a great way to experience the vibe of the Ivory Coast. You have to visit St. Paul's Cathedral and look at the towering Francophone spires- a major attraction in Abidjan. If you want to go through the history, tradition, and culture of the people of the Ivory Coast in greater detail, hitting the National Museum is the best idea for you.

Man

Man is one of the most stunning places that the Ivory Coast has to offer. Situated in the western forests of the nation along the rocky edges of the impressive Toura Mountain Range, this particular city is quite the breather from your everyday life. You might either visit Man on a day trip or choose to stay longer if you are looking for a place to chill and relax. The region is surrounded by farms and coffee plantations and thus makes way for quite a refreshing tour destination. It is also quite an important city being the seat of the Tonkpi Region as well as the Montagnes District.

Man is magical and very different from the other destinations on Ivory Coast. You will find two of the highest peaks on the Ivory Coast over here- the Tonkoui and the Toura peaks. The most beautiful geographic feature that brings so many tourists to Man every year is the Cascades waterfall- it is truly a great slice of nature! The forests in Man are mainly composed of bamboo and visitors like to explore through these calm, solitary stretches. The journey is made even more beautiful by the presence of vibrantly colored butterflies to be found throughout the forest area. If you are lucky, you may even come across some very rare insects while you are exploring the forests.

You would also have to visit the Catholic Diocese of Man to look at the influence of the western world on this nation. La Dent de man is another unmissable spot while you are exploring the region. And while you are exploring the forests, be sure to make a trip into the monkey forest to look at something great.

Taï National Park

Taï National Park on Ivory Coast is one of the best places to see the wilderness of the African continent come to life. It covers a gigantic area of 3,000 km2 and is covered in the layered canopies of a rainforest. There are two points through which you can enter the national park area- the villages of Tai and Niobe. Since the area is protected, you would need prior permissions and a guide to enter it. An NGO runs a camp allowing you to even stay the night amongst all the wilderness. The only way to reach these entry points is through an unpaved road that hails from Guiglo.

Taï National Park is one of the most scenic attractions that the Ivory Coast has to offer. Mist-covered rainforests will surround you and offer you peace and tranquillity. The rainforests here are the last remnants of the extensive Upper Guinea rainforests which once covered the entire region between Gabon and Senegal.

The rainforest is not the only attractive natural feature to look out for. Everything naturally beautiful that you can think of can be found in Taï National Park. Huge expanses of river valleys, savannah grasslands, and peculiar inselbergs- all such kinds of natural geographical features could be found against the backdrop of the rainforest at this national park. Amongst wildlife species, you will find some very exotic and rare finds if you are lucky which include chimpanzees, olive colobus monkeys, duikers, and the now-endangered pygmy hippopotamuses!

San-Pédro

San-Pédro is a harbor city situated in the Southwestern Forest region of the nation. It is a beautiful city and also happens to be the second-largest port town in the nation. There are two roads to enter San-Pédro from Abidjan-. The more direct road through Sassandra takes about 10 hours because of its worsening condition while the one through Gagnoa and Soubré would take you about 8 hours.

The harbor of San-Pédro extends out into the Atlantic Ocean much like two elongated tendrils from some marine being. It is also quite the trade center and has been a major point of export of fish and mineral and metal ores. The trade has ensured that a bustling city grows around the harbor making it one of the happening places to be in the Ivory Coast. Taï National Park is very close to this region and you could visit the spot while you are visiting this town. You will find many restaurants, nightclubs, and bars to explore within the city. The Bas-Sassandra beaches are also nearby and one of the major attractions to look out for while you are in the region.

Yamoussoukro

Yamoussoukro is the capital of the Ivory Coast and will leave you with a very strange experience. It is a beautiful city and should be on your list of places to visit while you are on Ivory Coast. There is an international airport in Yamoussoukro but there aren't regularly scheduled flights into it and thus not the best option to enter the city. The road from Abidjan would be your best bet. Buses are regularly scheduled from other major cities on Ivory Coast too. The road from Abidjan is the best one and it would take you about 2.5 hours to reach the city. If you take the road from Bouaké it will take you about 1.5 hours, though the condition of the road is not that good.

You will be transported to a strange fantasy world as you enter Yamoussoukro. Though there are stunning open spaces throughout the city and grand buildings along with a range of high-rise hotels, the city boasts a population of just 300,000 and often looks much like a ghost town. This is a great place to explore some stunning works of Ancient Rome since there are domes and columns still standing tall from that era. The best attraction that this city has to offer has to be the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. This colossal church is the largest church for Christians in the world and you have to see it to feel the immensity of this structure.
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<![CDATA[Zimbabwe : 8 Not-To-Miss Places in Zimbabwe]]>Sun, 01 May 2022 20:27:56 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/zimbabwe-8-not-to-miss-places-in-zimbabwe#Zimbabwe #victoria #harare #holidays #adventures #tour
                The area that is present-day Zimbabwe, once known as the "Jewel of Africa", was once very rich and powerful! By richness, we mean vast deposits of mineral ores and a huge arsenal of ivory that was entirely controlled by this region. However, the European colonization followed by shaky freedom had left this amazing land quite uneventful. Years of guerrilla warfare and such have left Zimbabwe disturbed to the core. However, In recent years Zimbabwe has started to shine bright as a promising South African country. Situated towards the south-southeastern region of the African continent, it is a landlocked nation. However, this hasn't stopped Zimbabwe from getting a horde of natural bounty which is absolutely worth your time!

                Zimbabwe has an impressive landscape. It is situated between the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo and has stunning landscapes and happening cities for you to explore. You would find teak forests, hills covered in cypress, deep caves, river systems that flow underground, and so many inselbergs scattered throughout the country! The jungles of Zimbabwe are open to a safari where you will get stunning opportunities to witness a plethora of wild animals firsthand. Some attractions such as Victoria Falls are on everybody's list of places to visit in Zimbabwe. The capita, Hare, is on its way to becoming quite a happening city. All of this makes Zimbabwe a great place to visit. If you happen to be planning a trip into the wilderness of Zimbabwe, here are some of the things you just have to try!
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Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls

If there's one thing that everyone knows of when talking about Zimbabwe, it has to be Victoria Falls. It is a town towards the western side of Zimbabwe and shares borders with Livingstone, Zambia, and Botswana. However, evident from the name, you are expecting a waterfall, and oh, what a waterfall to behold! You might enter Zimbabwe directly through the Victoria Falls airport since there are regularly scheduled flights. The best way to get to Victoria Falls has to be on a train from Bulawayo. The trains are not very comfortable, however, the view that you will get throughout the journey is going to be on your mind for a long time.

On the Zimbabwean side, the waterfall lies inside the Victoria Falls National Park area. You would have to traverse through a forest park to get to the waterfall and throughout the way, you will find some spectacular vantage points. You could even get a birds' eye view of the entire falls through a helicopter ride, appropriately called "Flight of Angels". There are many water-based adventure activities organized in the falls for the adventurers amongst you to enjoy. For the most thrill-seeking audience, this area offers you to bungee jump into the falls from a great height- a most exhilarating experience!

Harare

Harare is the capital city of the Republic of Zimbabwe and is home to about 3 million residents. This also makes this the largest city and you have to be in Harare to feel the life of the nation. It is also set atop plateaus in the heart of Zimbabwe making it look quite the part of being a capital. Being the capital city, Harare accepts regular international flights from Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Luanda, and Cairo. This is indeed the best way to enter Zimbabwe. Though trains are difficult to get, you could still find a couple of trains that are heading towards Harare if you plan in advance. The roads are also good whether you are traveling by bus or car.

The city is marked by a sea of steel-laden skyscrapers that emerge near CBD which happens to be the economic center of the entire nation. You should also take a walk dozen First Street if you are looking for a way to mix with the crowd- here you will find the main traffic, restaurants, and shoppers throughout the day. There are a plethora of colonial buildings intricately constructed in the past which is sure to draw your attention. You should also visit the National Gallery or the Queen Victoria Museum if you want to taste a bit of Zimbabwean history. Once you are done with all of these things, simply taking a stroll through one of the many beautiful parks in Harare is going to leave you feeling relaxed and calm.

Bulawayo

Bulawayo is another metropolitan city in Zimbabwe that draws much attention, probably because of its New Orleans-like charm. It is the second-largest city in Zimbabwe and has quite a metropolitan vibe. Being a big and important city to the Zimbabweans, it is fairly easy to reach Bulawayo. There are regular trains scheduled from Victoria Falls that take a person about 14 hours to reach Bulawayo. You could also hire a minibus taxi from outside Victoria Falls to reach Bulawayo and it will take you around 7 hours to reach your destination. There is also an international airport in the city if you are thinking of traveling by air.

The busy city has hordes of buildings fashioned in the regal Victorian style to add to its wonder. This particular asset adds a Victorian charm to the city and aids in the process of making it even more beautiful. The roads and avenues are beautifully dotted with trees on the sides while the occasion Anglo-esque public buildings make it even prettier. The city also happens to be an economic hub for the nation and there are many industries within the city. There is also a grand set of railway lines crisscrossing through the city. Despite this, there is plenty of greenery to be found throughout this city, especially bougainvillea looking over from rooftops and palm trees on the streets. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs to take with you. It is also an excellent base to plan different safari expeditions to the south-western parks of Zimbabwe.  

Matobo National Park

The Matobo National Park is just south of Bulawayo and is thus very easy to reach. You would have to travel on the Robert Mugabe Way in the city center initially. This in turn opens up into the Matopos Road which takes you up to Matobo. Once on the road, it is about a 30 km drive from Bulawayo to Matobo.

Matobo National Park is legendary of its own accord and covers a cross-shaped area. The most impressive sight while you are exploring this national park has to be the many inselbergs. These singular granite rock formations spring every now and then and set up quite the scenic view against the backdrop of this wild area. You will also come across many hoodoo rock formations as you travel through the park. This is also a great park if you want to explore the history of South Africa. The park area has multiple records of the pre-historical times in South Africa preserved in the form of carvings in the stone at areas such as the Nswatugi Cave. If you travel to the Hove Wild Area you will get to see sable antelopes, wildebeests, packs of baboons, and even leopards.

Nyanga National Park

Nyanga National Park has an array of all the physical and natural features that you might think of as you are talking about Africa. This national park, situated on a highveld, is loaded with all forms of African wilderness that are sure to awe you. The only way that you could enter this park area and the nearby Nyange village is through the roads. Thus, you should either book a private car or a bus, if you are thinking of budget travel options if you want to explore this African beauty.

The Nyanga National Park could be regarded as the roof of the Zimbabwean nation being nestled on top of a highveld, about 1,800 meters above sea level. Most of the rock formations that you will see in this park area are dolomites. One of the fascinating details about the landscape is the suspended boulders in this region which would creek when a cold breeze blows. There are long grooves of cypresses as well as msasa trees to be found in this region. The entire setup as well as the set of exotic wildlife that you’d find in this region could very well give you an otherworldly experience. One of the most impressive creatures that you get to see here is the rare Old World Samango monkeys- their throats are white-rushed and this species is found exclusively in these parts of Africa and nowhere else. Lions and leopards are also very common in this region completing your grand African safari experience.

Hwange National Park

Do you remember the 14-hour long road between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo? Well, the Hwange National Park is situated on that road making it easily accessible as you are coming towards Bulawayo after visiting the natural wonder. The Hwange National Park is regarded as the biggest one in Zimbabwe and is one of the finest examples of African wildlife. There is a tremendous population of African elephants, culmination at over 40,000 individuals of this species making it one of the best places in the world to see this incredible animal in the world. You also get the terrific opportunity to see about 400 different bird species while you are in this region. Other notable games that you are likely to see as you are exploring the national park are hyenas, zebras, giraffes, and buffalos. The main predatory species to be found in this region are leopards and lions. There are many camping options available throughout the parking area, both public and private. This allows you wildlife encounters through the day and into the night. The rich diversity of this place is because of the impressive natural features such as teak forests, riverbanks, and hot springs, all grouped in one place.

Mutare

Mutare is the fourth largest city in the nation and has quite the picturesque geographic features to offer. The region is situated towards the northern side of the Bvumba hills along the foothills of the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. The name Mutare means “metal” which is a throwback to the times when it served as a fort when gold deposits were excavated in the nearby Penhalogna Valley. You will get an overall relaxed, city-life experience in Mutare. While you are in this city you have to visit the Mutare Museum to get a glimpse into the ancient lives of the African people. A better place to witness how to live in prehistoric times was like has to be Murahwa Hill where you’ll find many paintings etched on rocks dating back to the Iron Age!

Masvingo

Masvingo is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe and one of the most important cities in ancient times. The best way to enter Masvingo has to be through the roads. Buses are regularly scheduled from Harare and would take you about 5 hours to reach Masvingo. The city is situated at the outskirts of the Mutirikwi National Park and allows you plenty of opportunities for wildlife exploration. However, the most prominent attraction around the city has to be Great Zimbabwe. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the region in this nation where the nation draws its name from.

Great Zimbabwe is situated about 20 km away from the city and has to be explored by you. The region of Great Zimbabwe covers about 1,800 acres and is covered in ruins dating back to the time of Ancient Africans who used to dwell in this region exclusively. This ancient city was built around the 13tha and 14th centuries and was the capital of the extensive Munhumutapa Empire. You will find three distinct types of architectural features in this region- they are known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex, and the Great Enclosure. The interesting thing about these building structures is the way they were constructed- huge granite stones place one on top of the other without the use of any mortar or gypsum. Despite this, the buildings have survived through the vagaries of nature for more than seven centuries and still hold strong!
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<![CDATA[Mozambique : 7 Not-To-Miss Places in Mozambique]]>Sat, 30 Apr 2022 21:01:47 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/mozambique-7-not-to-miss-places-in-mozambique#Mozambique #Bazaruto #holidays #trip #adventure
                The Republic of Mozambique is situated on the eastern side of the southern region of the African continent. It shares a huge coastline with the Indian Ocean on the eastern side and shares borders with Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini and South Africa on the northern, western, southwestern, and southern sides respectively. It is quite a tempting country to visit offering a varied range of geographic features as well as natural attractions to tourists. From excellent beaches to wild savannahs, this nation has it all. With the geographic variation also comes a huge bounty of flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial, for you to explore through. Having been a colony of the East, Mozambique is also flamboyant about its Portuguese charm that draws quite the crowd, especially to the capital, Maputo! However, before we just into all the wondrous sites that Mozambique has in store for you, a word of warning- check for the FCO warnings and such before you plan a trip since the nation has seen recent civil upheavals.
Bazaruto Archipelago

The Bazaruto Archipelago is located as a set of long isles on the Indian Ocean and is one of the most recommended sites to visit in Mozambique. It falls under the Inahambe Province. The best mode of entry into the islands is through Vilanculos or Inhassoro. There are regular flights scheduled into these regions from Maputo as well as international flights from Johannesburg. You could take motorboats from the mainland into the island as day trips, or book a resort in one of the islands to stay.

The Bazaruto Archipelago falls under the Bazaruto National Park and is a great place for marine explorations. There are several coral gardens that you could visit while you are scuba diving on the island. you could also go snorkeling into the sea as a fun way of exploring it. You will also find many different species of fish including dugong in the seas.

You could also take motorboats to other islands and explore them. The largest island in the archipelago is known simply as Bazaruto and features quite a scenic setup. There are open, white, sandy beaches from where you are sure to see dugongs. Behind you will be a set of karst hills and huge boulders. A little towards the south is the Ilha de Benguerra, an exclusive, paradisical, luxury hotel overlooking this romantic site.

Maputo

The capital of Mozambique is Maputo. The airport here sees most of the international flights that come into Mozambique and is probably the best way to enter this nation. There are regularly scheduled flights from Lisbon, Johannesburg, and Addis Ababa as well as flights within the nation. You have to take an airport cab to make the journey from the airport to the city center.

It is quite the picturesque capital of a nation. It was raised by the Portuguese and has ample colonial charm to make it look like a slice of some European city. The European connection has also given many exciting attractions such as the extensive railway line (albeit, not very useful to the tourists), the Casa do Ferro constructed under Gustav Eiffel, and boulevards lined with palm trees! The European-looking city has is run by the locals now and this shows quite a terrific confluence. The streets are crowded and lined with bazaars selling all kinds of wares- an ideal place to look for souvenirs. It is a great place to look out for East African Batik. There are loud and happening hip-hop bars in the city as well as amazing restaurants that serve delectable Keralan and Arabic fusion food items.

Pemba & Quirimbus National Park

Pemba is a coastal city towards the northern side of Mozambique and is the capital of the Cabo Delgado Province. The airport sees regular international flights from Johannesburg, Nairobi, Der es Salaam, and Dzaoudzi. You could also get a domestic flight from Maputo, Beira, or Nampula if you are already in Mozambique. Pemba is also well-connected by road to the capital and thus there is easily accessible on a private vehicle.

The geographical location of Pemba gives it an exotic vibe- it is situated at the tip of a peninsula and opens up into the third largest natural bay in the world! This city gives off a similar Portuguese aura, just like Maputo, and has its share of beautiful colonial architecture. The city is so beautiful to look at that it easily shrouds over the numerous industries recently popping up in the outskirts.

However, the city is just the starting point- more mesmerizing locations await you as you head towards the beaches.  Pearly-white sand, swaying palm trees, and shimmering clear waters make this a favorite spot among tourists. The deep waters in the ay offer ample opportunity for Scuba divers to explore the marine ecosystem.

Of the other major attractions that you have to cover while you are in Pemba, the fishing villages among the coves of the Ibo island are a must-visit spot. You will get quite the rustic feel as you explore the villages. At Ponta Romero, the remnants of the colonial slave trade could be seen, as a saddening sight and quite an important aspect of the history of Africa.

While you are in Pemba you should also visit the Quirimbus National Park. It is often regarded as a jewel of the Cabo Delgado Province and is just a short distance away from Pemba. The National Park area starts around the northern mountain plateau of the country and continues into the Indian Ocean in the form of an archipelago. This is a wonderful place to explore all kinds of marine flora and fauna. The region near the mountain plateaux on the other hand offers savannah, montane forests, and mangrove stretches that are abounding in wildlife. Some of the most common fauna species that you would find here include African leopards, crocodiles, dugongs, herds of elephants, and schools of vibrantly-hued fish!

Grongosa National Park

The Grongosa National Park area is regarded as the best safari destination within Mozambique. It is situated towards the central part of the country just where the East African Rift Valley ends. It is fairly easy to reach Grongosa from Maputo or Beira. You would have to hire a car from either of Beira and travel about 200 to 250 km to reach your destination. The roads are made from tars and are loaded with potholes at some sections. You could also get a bus from Beira if you have a tight budget. However, the bus sticks to the highway and you have to get off at Inchope wherefrom you have to take another bus to Vila Grongosa. Every non-Mozambican individual is charged about USD 8 for entry into the park area.

The park area has a huge expanse of savannah grasslands and has been active as a game reserve since Portuguese times. It was in the 1960s when the area was converted to a national park and has held that status since. Some of the most common animals that you get to see in this park include waterbucks, bushbucks, herds of elephants, wild warthogs, and crowned cranes.

Tofo Beach

Tofo is one of the most irresistible beach destinations to visit while you are in Mozambique. You have to get to Inhambane first before you get to Tofo Beach. You have to drive for about 30 km from the city through some scenic roads before you reach the beach destination. You could even drive into Tofo Beach from Maputo- it will take you about 6 hours. If you are thinking of driving from Vilanculos, it will take you about 5 hours to reach the beach. In either case, you should make a halt at the beach. You could also take a bus from Inhambane or Maputo if you are traveling on a budget.

Tofo has a scenic arc-shaped beach loaded with beige-hued, powdery sand that extends in the north-south direction along the shoreline. The beach is washed by the brilliant turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean. This is a laid-back area where you can just relax on the beach and laze around. Opportunities for snorkeling and swimming would be plentiful in the clear waters of the ocean. The semi-Rasta beach bars within the town come alive after hours and make this place even more enjoyable to the oncoming tourists. If you just want to shut the world off for a while and rejuvenate yourself, Tofo Beach is the perfect destination for you.

Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique has once been the epicenter of the Portuguese presence in East Africa. It is now regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thus has to be on the list of places you have to visit in Mozambique. The island is situated just outside Nampula and you can easily access the island from different parts of Mozambique by car. A causeway extends from the mainland into the island. you could also get on one of the minibusses as they leave from Nampula. Once you are within the island you could easily cover it on foot since it is very small. You can take a bike on rent to explore the island.

The island started rising to greatness as more and more European merchants and traders started coming here in the 16th century. This has also brought in the touches of colonial architecture into this island. Thus, attractions such as the old town fortifications, the Church of Santo Antonio, and an old hospital are some of the most interesting facets of this island. The tropical beaches and Makuti, a thatched town, on the other hand, bring about the Mozambican charm into this island.

Inhanca Island

Inhaca Island could be accessed just off the coast at Maputo Bay and is quite a stunning place to visit especially as a day trip from Maputo. The island has a cool atmosphere which makes it the perfect getaway from the heat of the capital city. The curious little island was once a part of the mainland in the recent past, about 7 centuries ago. However, now it is separated from the mainland by an amazing bloom of coral gardens. The island itself has golden, sandy beaches lined with swaying palm trees. There is not much development on the island, especially because it is a marine research center. Thus it might get difficult for you to access or explore this island.
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<![CDATA[Algeria : 8 Not-To-Miss Places in Algeria]]>Fri, 29 Apr 2022 13:27:28 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/algeria-8-not-to-miss-places-in-algeria#algeria #africa #travel #adventure #travel #oran
                Algeria is situated towards the northern side of Africa and is divided from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea coastline. As you travel from Europe into Algeria the change in cultural, traditional, and geographic features is starkly visible. The country also happens to be the largest one in terms of area covered in the African continent. It has the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea towards the north while the Sahara Dessert enters the nation through its southern fringes. This variation in the landscape gives Algeria quite a wide range of geographical features to look out for. From lush landscapes to desert regions, Algeria portrays an overall semi-arid kind of climate interspersed with all kinds of man-made features left by so many rulers and kingdoms over the millennia! So, let's simply move on and dig into all the wonderful places that you should be visiting if you are planning a trip to Algeria.
Algiers

Algiers is the capital as well as the largest city of the nation and the most probable starting point for any trip into Algeria. Being the capital city, there is an international flight that allows flights from all over the world to arrive and depart and thus the best way to enter the city. The place is steeped in history and dates back to the times of the Ottomans when it was first founded.

One of the first things that you have to witness while you are in the capital city is the ancient Casbah. This walled fortress is similar to others found throughout different North African cities and has lots of interesting historic tales to tell you. It is also advisable to tour through the Casbah with a guide since there is a lot of information to look out for. The Dar Hasan Pacha is another monument that you have to see- especially because it is regarded as one of the most haunted places in Algeria. The house is under renovation nowadays and thus entry into the rooms is not permitted.

Another historic monument that you have to check out while you are in this city is the Notre Dame d’Afrique. It is a Roman Basilica and one of the finest places to be in Algiers. The name of the church roughly translates to "Our Lady of Africa" and is a spot frequented by tourists and locals alike. Since the place is situated atop a cliff, it looks upon the city and the beautiful coastline allowing you to click some of the finest shots of Algeria. There are many artworks featuring religious scenes from the past to look out for within the Norte Dame d’Afrique. Of the other beautiful places to visit while you are in Algeria, you should see Le Jardin d’Essai du Hamma, a botanical garden dating back to the 19th century; La Grande Poste d’Alger, which is historically an important building in Algeria; and Le Bastion 23- Palais des Rais, six houses and three palaces steeped in Algerian history, architecture, and artwork!

Atakor


The Atakor Plateau is situated within the Ahaggar National Park and is quite a difficult place to reach if you do not have a private vehicle. However, this is one place within Algeria that you have to get to. The region looks as if taken out word for word from a fantasy novel of sorts. You will be welcomed into an expanse of reddish to brownish expanse of land with many pointy peaks jutting out from here and there, something like Mordor (from the Famed Lord of the Rings series)! The place is so beautiful in a desolate, dry sort of way that it is going to be stuck to your mind for a very long time to come. The most impressive feature to look out for in this region has to be the Assekrem Peak which gives you the most stunning view into the expanding landscape underneath and in front of you. The word Asserkrem roughly translates to "the world's end" in the Tuareg language, which is the right way of describing the impressive landscape that lies ahead of you.

Tamanrasset


Tamanrasset is located towards the southern part of Algeria and is near to the Sahara Desert and the borders to Niger. Popularly referred to as Tam, this is a modern city that is well-connected to the rest of Algeria through roadways and flights. There are regularly scheduled flights from major cities in Algeria into Tam and you might even reach the destination on a cab from cities like Algiers. It is in fact the perfect city to be in if you are thinking of exploring the Ahaggar National Park region or having some desert experience.

Since Tam is a modern town, it is very easy to get everything that you ask for in this region. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in this place to try out. You will also find all kinds of shops selling all kinds of wares for your convenience. However, you should remember that it is considered unsafe to visit the town nowadays for a variety of reasons. This means that you might only enter the town as part of a guided tour. Certain areas within the town are off-limits to the tourists and you would have to show proof of being part of a guided tour as you enter the town. However, this is not so bad since you get to learn a lot about the town and surrounding regions from the guided tour. You could also be a part of some fun excursions into the surrounding wilderness on 4x4 vehicles!

Oran


Oran is a stunning city in Algeria to look out for and has to be on your list of places to visit while you are in Algeria. This is the second-largest city in the nation and is also very modern. The city was developed by the French and made into the beautiful port city that it is now by then. There are a plethora of historical features to look out for while you are in Oran not to mention the beautiful beaches. If you want to enter Oran, it is well connected to the rest of Algeria through flights, and even though the waterways. The airport in Oran is international and thus flights from different places of the world can fly directly into Oran and you may start or end your Algerian tour in Oran.

There are tons of beautiful mosques to see in Oran. The casbah in Oran is also noteworthy and beautiful to browse through- be sure to check in with a guide to get all the historical details about the place. Another stunning example of architecture could be seen in Le Theatre in Oran which dates back to French times. The beachside promenade is exciting and beautiful to walk through. There are tons of cafes and restaurants in the region with stunning views of the sea that you can try. Also, these fine great cafes and restaurants and a great place to try your tongue in Algerian cuisine. This port city is also a great place if you are looking forward to water-based activities such as scuba diving. Oran is culturally rich too and is the birthplace of Rai music that you can come upon in the cafes.

You have to visit Fort Santa Cruz while you are in Oran. It is a terrific attraction and tourists from all over the world flock to this place. This fort is well connected to the other 3 forts in the region through a network of tunnels. The Spaniards had built this for back in the 16th -17th century. It is also a great place to get superb scenic views of the entire city.

Annaba


Annaba is another Algerian city steeped in history which makes it a great place to visit. It is connected to major Algerian cities through a network of roadways and also has an international airport. Regular international flights from Paris, Lyons, and Marseille are scheduled to fly into Annaba. National flights from major Algerian cities are also scheduled making the air route one of the best ways to enter the city. Though it is well-connected roadways, there is a lack of proper infrastructure making it one of the least desirable modes of transport in this city. The city is also connected through the Mediterranean Sea and you can take a ferry from Marseille to enter the city.

The region where the city is built has a unique geographic location. This in turn made the region favorable to the Phoenicians which in turn led to the founding of this ancient city. This is also one of the reasons behind the prosperity of the ancient city. While you are in Annaba you have to visit Hippo Regius, which is the major attraction within the city. These are ruins from a forgotten time including mosaics and bronze trophies and also runic villas and temples. The location is also very attractive having a series of olive trees on one side and the Mediterranean Sea washing the other side.

Constantine


Constantine is a beautiful city that dates back thousands of years and has been quite important to the Romans. It was the ancient capital of Numidia and later Roman Numidia and has been the center of much political and power-play. You might enter Constantine through the airport which attracts regular flights from places such as Istanbul, Paris, Marseille, Geneva, and Brussels. The city is also connected through the railway route and you will find regularly scheduled trains from Algiers and Annaba. Shared taxis and public buses are also great and budget-friendly ways to enter this city.

Constantine has been an important center during ancient times and holds kind of a mystic, charismatic feel. You have to cross a suspension bridge across a huge canyon to reach into the major parts of the city. This adds quite the fantastical charm to this ancient Roman city. However, there isn't much to see within the city. A day or two to visit this iconic place is all that you would need.

Ghardaia


Ghardaia is situated towards the southern fringes of the nation, towards the desert region. It is one of the five towns in a cluster along the northern edges of the Sahara Desert. However, the entire five-town region is referred to as Ghardaia as a whole. The interesting thing about this city is that the entire place has a tradition and culture of its own. It is quite different from the rest of Algeria which makes it so remarkably fascinating to visit. The region has its own dress along with religious and social traditions. You will find a range of stay and food options throughout the region catering to a wide array of travel options from budget to luxury travel. There are many architectural features to look out for and you'd need a guide on most occasions. You have to visit the beautiful Sidi Brahim Mosque while you are in this region.

Tlemcen


Tlemcen is a beautiful place to visit while you are traveling through Algeria. The best way to enter the city would be through a flight, available from major Algerian cities. It is a beautiful city in every possible description of the world with buildings that can be compared to those found in Morocco or Southern Spain. The region has been under Roman rule for a long time and the influence of Roman architectural styles could very well be seen throughout the region. Some of the most stunning attractions that you have to see while you are in this city are the Eiffel Bridge, the Great Mosque, and the National Park in Tlemcen with its mesmerizing waterfalls.
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<![CDATA[Tunisia : 9 Not-To-Miss Places in Tunisia]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2022 19:29:32 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/tunisia-9-not-to-miss-places-in-tunisia#tunisia #sfax #trip #travelphotography #adventure #holidays
                Tunisia is the northernmost nation of the African continent and is washed by the Mediterranean Sea towards its northern and eastern faces. The western and southwestern ends of Tunisia shares borders with Algeria while the southeastern border is shared with Libya. The Atlas Mountains end towards its western borders while the Sahara Desert reaches out to its southern parts. It is often thought of as a simple beach destination but there are a plethora of things that you could be doing in this exotic country.

                Tunisia has a range of cultures, traditions, and attractive locations to offer to make it appear to be North Africa in a nutshell. The cities have crowded souks like most North African nations along with pastel-washed houses. The countryside will offer you many opportunities to explore ruins from ancient civilizations. The Sahara Desert brings with its huge expanses of arid lands often disturbed by the calming presence of oases or the rugged mountains from the Atlas Range!

                The region has been ruled by the Phoenicians and Romans and has been often visited and inhabited by the Arabs. While these influences have brought about legendary wars, it has also brought in various architectural features which are sure to leave you awestruck. There is so much to discover in Tunisia; so, without much ado, let us hop on to the journey through the most exciting places to be in while you are visiting this nation!
El Djem

El Djem is one of the most magnificent cities to find yourself in while you are wandering through Tunisia. If you are a fan of the ancient world, then this city has so much to offer to you. The best way to enter El Djemm would be to take a train. Regular trains are scheduled from all the major cities such as Sousse, Sfax, and Tunis. You could also enter the city via the road in a car- it'll take you about 1 hour from Sousse and about 3 hours from Tunis.

The modern city is built on top of the ruins of an ancient Roman city and thus you get to feast upon the occasional ruins. There are magnanimous archways to look out for and anything said about the amphitheater here would only belittle the immensity of the structure. In fact, the Amphitheatre of Thysdrus is so huge that it rivals Rome’s Colosseum and tells you how grand the Roman times were.

There are yet many attractions to be discovered in this city and requires much archaeological work. Since a lot of the monuments are yet to be discovered the most well-preserved example of the ancient world is the amphitheater. It is one of the prime attractions to visit while you are in El Djemm. You get to walk through the rooms that the legendary gladiators used to use as they prepared for a fight; you get to stand on the posts where the Roman governors stood and presided over a match in the pit, and so much more.

Houmt Souk


Tunisia is famous as a beach destination and you'd want to directly head to the best beach attraction that Tunisia has to offer! Well, you would have to go to the island of Djerba if you want to laze around on picture-perfect beaches.

The main attraction in Djerba has to be the town of Houmt Souk- it is an ancient city and even the dust in the streets would whisper volumes of history in your ears. The fort of Bordj el Kabir was constructed in this strategic location in the 14002 and 1500s and is an amazing place to visit. The purpose of the fort was t protect the harbor from seafront attacks and has been used by Numidians, Arabs, Spaniards, and Ottomans through the centuries. The whitewashed houses where the merchants used to reside are all there for you to explore. While you are in Houmt Souk, you have to experience the shopping activity of this town. There are many handcrafted items such as exquisite pottery that you will find with the beachside vendors that you can take home as souvenirs. Add to those Turkic mosques and old synagogues and you have got into a fantasy world probably from the Arabian Nights.

Sidi Bou Said


Sidi Bou Said is about 20 km away from Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and could well be regarded as the suburban region of the capital. However, this small village set atop a cliff deserves a special mention because of the impossible levels of prettiness that it exudes. As you walk through the serene streets of Sidi Bou Said you’d feel as if you are walking through a scenic imaginary land painted on a canvas!

You will get a peculiar scenic feel in every nook and corner of Sidi Bou Said. The alleyways are pristinely whitewashed, you'll find intricate wrought-iron window frames on every home, and all the doors are painted blue making some fine examples of architecture- almost a gateway into a magical world. And to top it all remember that the soothing Mediterranean Sea forms the backdrop of this elegant sight making it all the more comforting. This is one of the best places to seek solitude and be with yourself. It is peaceful and calm and a great place to simply laze around and check souvenir items crafted by local artisans.

Tozeur


Tozeur is situated towards the southwestern extremes of Tunisia. You could get into Tozeur through a flight from the capital Tunis and it will take you about 1 hour to make the journey. Regular trains are also scheduled from Tunis and it generally starts early in the morning. You might as well hit the roadways and make the journey on a bus if you are looking for budget travel options or hire a car.

It is an impressive location within Tunisia to visit. A trip into Tunisia is not complete unless you take to the sands of the Sahara Desert and this is the starting point of the arid region. Tozeur is an oasis settlement and you will find the place lined with mud houses (which are built to keep the interiors cool)! The region could be well regarded as an exceptional example of Berber traditions. Typical of an oasis this region is lined by verdant palm trees that stand tall and give the region much-needed shade. This is coupled with the beautiful city itself which has lots of carvings and brick artistry works to showcase the shadows of an ancient world.

Tunis


Tunis is the capital of Tunisia and you have to pass through this city at one time or the other. You would have to enter Tunisia through the international airport in Tunis and this could be a great starting point for your exploration into the nation. Being the capital city of the nation, it is well-connected to the rest of the country through roadways and railways. And once you are in Tunis, you will see just how grand this amazing city is!

Since Tunisia is located in the Maghreb region of North Africa you will find many Maghreb influences. However, when you pass through the great arches of Port de France (known as Bab el Bahr in Tunisia), you could clearly see both the French and the Maghreb sides of the city! The French side of the city is known as Ville Nouvelle and has a remarkable collection of French architecture to offer. There are so many traces of the French rule in this place to look out for. Wide tree-lined avenues and lazy coffee shops here and there are what marks the most exciting influence of the French on this part of the city. You will also find many Gothic cathedrals spread throughout the area and these are indeed monuments to look out for. The intricate architectural style is sure to leave you in amazement.

The African side of the town is markedly different from the sophisticated-looking French side. It brings out the very flavor of Africa in a very small space. The catchiest feature has to be the brightly colored souks or markets in this region selling all kinds of exotic wares. The streets are lined with vendors selling handicraft items and spices. As you walk through the streets on this side of the city you will be greeted with the intoxicating smell of mint teas and shisha pipes making you feel as if you are living a fantasy out of Arabian Nights.

Kairouan


Kairouan is an important city to the Islamic faith and has been a center of Sunni teachings since about the 7th century. This city also happens to be historically very significant. You can easily see that the city whispers tales that from times about 1,500 years ago! There are no railway routes into Kairouan and you can’t even fly in. The only way to enter the city would be through roadways. There are regular buses scheduled from the major cities in Tunisia, i.e., Tunis, Sousse, and Sfax. You will also find louages, a form of minibus public transport system in Tunisia entering Kairouan from many different cities in the country making it one of the best ways to enter Kairouan.

While you are in Kairouan you have to visit the Great Mosque of Kairouan. This mosque is a world-renowned site and brings in thousands of pilgrims every year. It is beautifully designed, has been around for a very long time, since the Aghlabids times, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once you are done with the Great Mosque, simply walking through the streets of this ancient city amongst whitewashed buildings is going to give you a unique taste of Tunisia. You should also visit the Mosque of Three Gates while you are at it. While you are walking through the streets of Kairouan (that being the best mode of transport within the city), you should remember to try the Tunisian pastries found in the many bakeries of the region.

Dougga


Dougga is one of the most scenic places amongst the Roman ruins that you could visit in Tunisia. You could stay in the region for a day or two or even visit the relic as a day trip from Tunis or Tabarka, a beach town towards the northern side of the country. Dougga is referred to as one of the most important Roman relics in the North African region. The major monuments found in this region are very well-preserved which has led to this great importance. The beauty of this place is only enhanced by the rural setup giving the place an overall tranquil feel.

Though Dougga may seem to be off the beaten track, you have to believe that there have been settlements in this region that date back to the 6th century BC. The hilltop site used to be a bustling town in age-old times and has seen the influence of many major civilizations such as the Berber, the Punic, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Among all the monuments found in the region, those belonging to the Roman era are the finest and the grandest. The Roman Theatre and the Forum are must-visit attractions in the region. There are also many Roman bath complexes that you have to visit. Temples built in honor of Jupiter and also the Imperial Cult are also top attractions that you cannot miss while you are visiting this region.

Carthage


Carthage is a place of legends and you have heard of this amazing place in history as well as in mythology. The name Carthage presses on your imagination and you are bound to think of legendary figures such as Aeneas and Dido and legendary battles fought on the Alps or the Mediterranean. You could easily enter Carthage from Tunis via the railways and might even visit the ruins as a day trip option from the capital. The best way to explore Carthage would be via walking through the city but you may also hire a cab if you are tired.

Carthage is a grand place to find yourself in, probably this is the reason why so many visitors come to this extravagant location every year! In fact, it is one of the most visited places in all of Tunisia. The region is steeped in history. However, the region has also witnessed centuries of invasions from the Muslims and also Punic wars. This has led to much destruction and abandonment and thus the ruins in Carthage might not feel as grand as some of the other ruins in Tunisia.

Sfax


Sfax is one of the major cities of Tunisia and has to be on your Tunisia itinerary! This city is old, this city is elegant, and this city also has a vivid history to tell! Sfax is easily accessible through the rest of Tunisia through roadways as well as railways. There is even an international airport in Sfax where two flights from Paris are scheduled to reach every week. There are also many national flights into Sfax through other major cities making this an overall accessible place.

This city has seen numerous attacks from the likes of Sicilian kings to Spaniards, from Barbary pirates to the Ottomans! The old Kasbah is pockmarked by Moorish traits and you will see a fine amalgamation with Rococo as well as colonial elements. The city walls look great and seem like they have been taken out of a tale of Aladdin. You should also visit the Place de la Republique and the Sfax War Cemetery while you are visiting the city.
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<![CDATA[South Africa : 8 Not-To-Miss Places in South Africa]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2022 19:04:37 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/south-africa-8-not-to-miss-places-in-south-africa#southafrica #kruger #capetown #africa #travel #photography
                South Africa, also known as the Republic of South Africa is a gem of a place to visit. It is going to be a great experience for you, especially if you are a nature lover and a wildlife enthusiast. When you hear about Africa you would think about dense jungles and deserts and South Africa has all of it on offer for you. From golden-hued savannahs to grand deserts, from wide gorges to a plethora of African creatures such as the "Big Five" (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard), South Africa has all of it on display for you and so much more. So, without spending much time beating around the bush, let's dig into all the wonderful amazing wonders that South Africa has to offer you.
Kruger National Park

Whenever you think of Africa you think about jungles, safaris, and a chance to see animals such as lions and African elephants. So, what's a better gateway into Africa than visiting a national park! Kruger National Park is one of the most renowned among and also one of the oldest wildlife inhabited areas in South Africa. If you love to find yourself amongst nature and in the presence of wild animals and birds, this place has to be on your South Africa itinerary.

The Kruger National Park is easily accessible from Johannesburg and is just about 4 hours away on road. This is one of the places where lucky visitors can see all the animals among the “Big Five” which includes lions, elephants, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos. There are a plethora of other wild animals to be seen in this area too. The San tribe, one of the famed Bushmen of Africa, used to inhabit this region and you will also find many San cave painting works in the region. This has also led to the excavation of many archaeological sites in this area. There are multiple options to explore this rich region either on a jeep or walking safari. You might also get up on a hot air balloon and soar above the entire region, taking in as much as you can as you hover over the dense forests, intricate river systems, and huge grasslands. It is also very easy to find the kind of accommodation you are looking for in Kruger National Park be it a luxury resort or a budget campsite!

Cape Town

Cape Town is situated in the Western Cape and is one of the most hip-and-happening places in the world. This is a terrific place to visit and has to be on your list of places to visit while you are in South Africa. In fact, Cape Town is such a glamorous destination that it is considered one of the most breathtaking cities in the entire world. Cape Town has its own international airport and thus is very accessible to the rest of South Africa as well as the world. Being such an important city Cape Town also has well-maintained, direct access via roadways and railways to the rest of the country. It is surrounded by nature in its most vibrant form on all sides in the form of rugged mountains on one side and pristine waters on the other.

The Table Mountain in Cape Town is one of the most impressive natural features to look out for. It is a peak with a very flat top that looks over the rest of the city. You could either hike to the top of Table Mountain or take a cable car there. If you are hiking from Lion's Head up to the top, you will get some of the most impressive and picturesque panoramic views of the entire city on your way and obviously from the top! Towards the eastern slopes of the Table Mountain, you will find the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which is another brilliant place to visit and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once you have taken a trip through the mountain ranges surrounding Cape Town it is time to take to the coast. From gigantic whales to waddling penguins in False Bay, the coast of Cape Town has a variety of marine wildlife on offer for you. The southernmost tip of the city, Cape Point has some of the most impressive flora and fauna that South Africa has to offer. The beaches in Cape Town are outstanding and are lined with cool cafes and different kinds of shops. For more entertainment you might visit the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront- it is similar to the Fisherman’s Wharf situated in San Francisco and an excellent place for dining, café hopping, shopping, and so on.

The Garden Route

The Garden Route is a stretch of about 200 km situated towards the southeastern coast of South Africa. It is one of the most breathtaking driving routes along a coast in a country and stretches between Mossel Bay in the Western Cape region to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape region. Lush hills, quaint coastal towns, breathtaking lagoons and lakes, and cliffs that open out into the Indian Ocean are all part of this extraordinary route along the coast.

One of the most impressive towns that you will find en route to the Garden Route is Knysna quietly nestled between an electrifying lagoon and dense forests. The Garden Route National Park is another charming spot that you will find on this route and is worth a visit- you will get to see amazing gorges and thick forests with beautiful tidal pools in them. The Oudtshoorn’s Ostrich Farm is a marvelous place to visit to look at some ostriches. You should also visit the Robberg Nature Reserve situated in Plettenberg Bay if you are looking forward to meeting some seals. There are also different kinds of adventures that you could partake in while on the route such as elephant safaris, whale watching, bungee jumping, and so much more.

Kalagadi Transfrontier Park

Kalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated in Northern Cape and was formed in 2000 when the Gemsbok National Parks in Kalahari and Botswana were merged. This led to the formation of a giant area of wilderness, probably the largest in the entire world. It is a self-drive experience, meaning that you have to travel through the national park area in your own vehicle. It is preferred that you get an SUV or a 4x4 vehicle, though any other normal vehicle is also acceptable within the park. T is situated about 900 km away from the international airport at Johannesburg.

It is an excellent place to be in and quite the unique jungle experience. The area is mostly covered in red sands interspersed with golden grasslands and camel-thorn trees. The sky is generally a clear electric blue color and the entire setup welcomes you into a memorable jungle safari experience. This forms a great backdrop for photographers and game viewers.

There are all kinds of fauna available to look at within the boundaries of this amazing park. The most exciting thing to look out for is the famed black-maned Kalahari lions while you'll find other exotic species too such as the gemsbok, meerkats, and so many birds of prey! Other predatory animals such as cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas are also available abundantly throughout the park.

The Drakensburg

The Drakensberg roughly translates to the "Dragon Mountains" and is a spectacular natural feature to look out for while you are traveling through South Africa. It is situated in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa and is a favorite spot to visit even among South Africans. You will find some of the highest peaks in the country in this region. There is no way you can directly reach the Drakensberg from nearby airports and you have to go on break journeys. The nearest airport is in Durban and the region is about 5 hours away from the airport. You could also go to the Drakensberg from Johannesburg Airport, though it'll take you more than 9 hours to reach your destination. The region is well-connected via roadways and you might also find some favorable train routes.

The uKahlamba-Drakensberg Park in this region is worth a visit and it is also listed as a World Heritage Site. The area is so beautiful that it is going to leave you awestruck! You will find many rocky basalt buttresses in the region coupled with San rock art. You should also visit the Royal Natal National Park where you will find the extraordinary Amphitheatre which is a cliff face where South Africa’s main rivers arise from. You should also go to the Giant's Castle Game Reserve where huge eland herds are protected and you will find over 800 species of flora throughout the region. While the summer season brings to you a dramatic scenery of lush mountains with crystal-clear streams and turbulent waterfalls cutting through them, the winters see these mountains covered in a thick layer of snow! Hiking, biking, fishing for trout, parasailing, rock climbing, and white-water rafting are some of the most common activities to look out for while you are in the region. You could also hop on a hot air balloon and hover over the forested region taking in all the brilliance that the place has to offer!

Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is situated just a 2.5-hour ride away from Johannesburg and is a great place to catch the Big Five in a short duration. This national park is buzzing with wildlife! Add to that about 350 different species of birds available in this region and you'll get something a wildlife enthusiast's delight! Since it is much smaller in terms of area covered compared to the huge Kruger National Park you have a higher chance of witnessing the game. This makes it an amazing opportunity at a day trip from Johannesburg and Pretoria or you might even stay here for a couple of days.

The reason you get a rich variety of fauna in Pilanesberg National Park is that it is kind of a transition area between the dry Kalahari Desert and the rainfed Lowveld area. The difference in climatic conditions brings in a huge variety of animal species in this area. Some interesting animals that you get to see in this region other than the Big Five are wild dogs, sables, roan antelopes, and zebras, not to mention the varied bird species. Another great thing about the Pilanesberg National Park is that you get accommodations as per your budget and you can choose amongst bed and breakfasts, luxury lodges, safari tents, and even self-catering units.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso is a term in the Zulu language and refers to "miracle and wonder". True to its name, iSimangaliso is a gem of a place and has to be on your South Africa itinerary. It is indeed a World Heritage Area and showcases 8 different, interwoven ecosystems that include coral reefs, lakes, rivers filled with crocodiles, coastal dunes, savannah, and swamplands. It is situated in Kwazulu Natal and lies on the northeastern coast.

Since the area comprises such a diverse range of ecosystems you will find plenty of flora and fauna here. There are over 526 different species of birds to be found in this area coupled with various land fauna such as leopards, rhinos, loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles, and a huge concentration of crocodiles and hippos. Because of the unique location of the place you can very well combine the experience of a safari with that of coastal activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and diving.

Johannesburg 

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa with respect to population and could be regarded as one of the major entry points into South Africa. It is also known as Jo’burg and could be regarded as the economic center of South Africa. This is because of the rich mineral deposits to be found in Johannesburg which has garnered a nickname for the city- “City of Gold”!

One of the most interesting attractions to look out for while you are in Johannesburg is the Apartheid Museum- a place that depicts the victorious trail of Africans from oppression of apartheid to democracy. Constitution Hill is another important point in Johannesburg that you gave to visit. You should also plan a trip to Gold Reef City where you will find an interesting depiction of the city’s history through mining-themed presentations.

While you are in Johannesburg you have to also visit Soweto. These shantytowns, better known as South Western Townships are the region wherein the freedom movement in Africa had started and led to the creation of South Africa's democracy. A guided tour of Johannesburg will take you through all of these places and could be a delightful adventure for any history buff.

While you are in Johannesburg you should also visit the nearby city of Pretoria. Though close to Johannesburg, it could be regarded as a world apart from the culture and tradition that Johannesburg has to offer. Pretoria is the administrative capital of the nation and is quite beautifully built. Some of the most popular attractions to look out for in Pretoria are the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Site and the famed Freedom Park.
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<![CDATA[MOROCCO : 11 Not-To-Miss Places in Morocco]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2022 18:24:31 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/morocco-11-not-to-miss-places-in-morocco#morocco #africa #tourist #volubilis #travel
Morocco is situated towards the northern side of the African continent and opens into the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is a timeless destination to visit if you want to immerse yourself in an extraordinary tour. This is a place that sees an interesting confluence of the Arab and the African cultures making it such an impressive place to visit. If you are looking for impressive artistic handiworks, then the souks of Marrakesh and Fes should be your go-to place. If you are fond of adventurous activities then the Atlas Mountain Range holds a lot of challenges for you. Added to that, adventurers could also spend time in the nearby Sahara Desert and carry some captivating tales back home with them. It is a wonderful place with beautiful people and a lovely intermingling of different cultures, a place whose very essence is going to mesmerize you. So, without beating around the bush much, let's jump into all the wonderful places that you could be visiting in Morocco.
Marrakesh Medina

Marrakesh Medina is a major destination frequented by tourists- the buzz that this place has is unique and sums up the entire tour through Morocco. The medina is the old city of Marrakesh and can be entered through Djemma el-Fna Square. From a bird's eye view, the city might look like a gigantic honeycomb- only instead of hexagonal structures, the city is lined with square structures constituting homes, marketplaces, and so on. The best time to hang out in the old city would be in the evenings and night when the whole place comes to life and is bustling with street vendors, snake charmers, skillful acrobatic performances, and traditional musicians. The overall experience is vibrant as you traverse from shopkeeper to shopkeeper selling all kinds of wares. The city gives you an insight into the tradition and culture of Morocco and thus should be on your itinerary through Morocco.

Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is set amidst the lofty Rif mountains and is quite an impressive place to visit. It is a picturesque destination sure to take your breath away the first time you set foot in this place. It is very easy to get to Chefchaouen since there are regularly scheduled buses from bigger cities such as Fez and Casablanca. The most unique feature of this labyrinthine hill destination is the blue-on-blue houses that set quiet the photogenic glow to this place.

The main attraction in the town is the town itself as there are not many sightseeing spots to go to. Visitors generally flock to Chefchaouen to enjoy some quiet, relaxing time away from the hustle of everyday life. It is a charming town with fresh air and a clean environment that is surely going to leave a sweet aftertaste. The town is all about walking through meandering alleyways as you take upon the vibrant and brightly colored architectural features. You should put Chefchaouen in the middle part of your travel itinerary through Morocco. The bigger cities of Fez, Marrakesh, and Casablanca are bustling with crowds and Chefchaouen would be a great respite to escape that and recharge yourself. Chefchaouen is also a brilliant starting point for many treks and hikes into the mountains making it a favorite destination amongst adventurers.

Erg Chebbi’s Dunes

The Sahara crosses into Morocco and you can get a grand view of the immense dunes of the desert region. All you need to do is travel towards the eastern side of the nation, pass through the High Atlas spine and keep going farther east till the point where Morocco shares borders with Algeria. It is at this point that you will be welcomed by the terrific dunes of the Sahara. Reaching Erg Chebbi’s Dunes is easy from any of the bigger cities in Morocco such as Fes and Marrakesh since there are regularly scheduled cabs and bus services available to take you there. You could also opt for a package deal to give you the ultimate desert experience from these cities. Erg Chebbi is the most spectacular point to behold the terrific dunes in the region though there are other places too that hold a grand vista of this awesome sight.

While you are in Erg Chebbi there are a lot of sand-related adventure activities that you could partake in. dune surfing, dune bashing on 4-wheel drives, and camel trekking are some of the most interesting activities that you could be doing. While you are amongst the dunes you could also get grand views of the sunset and the sunrise, so be sure not to miss those! There are provisions for you to stay in a tent in desert camps at Erg Chebbi allowing you to enjoy desert life to the fullest. Be sure to stay up late in this region since the open, empty region devoid of light and pollution is a spectacular point for stargazing. With all the stars that you could see in this region, the visit to Erg Chebbi could be really fulfilling.

Fes el Bali  

Just like Marrakesh, Fes is a cultural hotspot in Morocco and is definitely worth your time. Since it is such a big city, it is very easy to get to Fes. You could travel into the city by air, the Fes-Saiss Airport is just 10 miles away from the main city. It is also well connected through railway routes and roadways allowing you to take trains, buses, and even private cars from different cities in Morocco to reach Fes.

The medina in Fes is known as Fes el Bali and this is the main city center of the place. Like other Moroccan cities, Fes el Bali has a labyrinthine structure and it is quite easy to physically lose yourself as you travel through the many alleyways in the city.

You have to walk through the souks in Fes to get a proper view of the lives of the locals here. You will also find many tanneries within the souks. The tanneries are marked by huge vats filled to the brim with colored dyes- this is one of the most iconic sights that you get to behold as you travel through Morocco. The city is also artistically sound and many artisans are displaying their handiwork in the souks. There are also many palatial and monumental buildings spread throughout the city. The best way to explore Fes would be to wander about aimlessly through the city as every corner has something memorable to offer to you.

Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou is an idyllic destination within Morocco that you have to see to believe. Reaching Ait Ben Haddou is fairly easy as there is a local airport allowing regularly scheduled flights from Marrakesh. It is also well-connected to Marrakesh through roads but you’d have to drive through the Atlas Mountains which might take very long. The fight will take only 40 minutes and it is even available at minimal rates of just US $29!

Ait Ben Haddou is a ksar or fortified village with buildings constructed using golden-hued stones. The surrounding area is scenic giving this village a majestic feel, one that you have to experience while you are traveling through Morocco. This destination has the kind of appeal as if taken straight out of a fairy tale. In fact, the surreal beauty of this fortified village has made it the center of filming many Hollywood films. For the entire packaged experience, you should sleep within the ksar and that is indeed possible. Away from the rest of the world and without the comfort of electricity, a night within the ksar is surely going down memory lane in full armor!

Essaouira

We have talked enough about the many desert cities within Morocco that you have to visit. Let us now go to the seaside- Essaouira is one of the most fantastic seaside destinations in all of Morocco.  The medina is fortified but that does nothing to take the wonder away from the city. It is a culturally rich city with a terrific art scene going on. In fact, during the hippie upheaval in the 1970s, this city was a central point among the hippies, and shadows of that time still lingers around the corners.

The seafront medina is the main attraction that draws so many visitors into the city. Many twisty lanes are cutting through the city and opening into beautiful art galleries and boutiques. There are also many contemporary cafes throughout the city and the restaurant scene is very vibrant. You could also experience traditional souks in the region which completes the grand experience. Surfing is a common activity on the beaches of Essaouira while you could also enjoy long, soothing walks into the nearby villages along the beaches!

Volubilis

Morocco has something to offer to anybody who comes here and Volubilis is the most stunning site for history buffs to visit. This is a ruin from the Roman era and is one of the most famous historic destinations within Morocco. There are so many tumbling columns and runic temples to look out for as you go to Volubilis. The most important among the attractions has to be the intricately designed mosaic floor which has been left intact where it was unearthed for the convenience of visitors to imagine the significant gory of age-old times. Added to that, the ruins are situated atop a hill overlooking the countryside which adds to the romantic flavor of this terrific destination. You should walk your way up to the Capitol and Forum which will grant you beautiful panoramas of the entire ruins along with the countryside underneath. The destination could be easily done as a day trip from Fes.

Dades Valley

Now that we have looked into the places for adventurers, history buffs, and general travel enthusiasts, it is time to look into a place for nature lovers. Dades Valley in Morocco is a great location within the High Atlas region filled to the brim with the eccentricities of nature. This is a wonderful spot for any nature lover and offers plenty of options for hikers and trekkers as well.

It is also a comfortable destination and features a quiet rural lifestyle away from the crowds of Marrakesh and Fes. You could get a grand view of the snow-covered Atlas Mountains at a distance while enjoying some peaceful time in the valley region. There are many trails in and around the region that will take you on peaceful walks. If you are a bird watcher, it's all the better for you since many different species of exotic birds flock to this region. The region has many orchards and farming is also quite common in the area. Thus, spring is the best time to get the most out of this picturesque location- this is the time when the trees blossom and you are surrounded with vibrantly colored flowers at such a picturesque location.

Rif Mountains

While most of the mountainous areas in Moro coo are rugged and arid, the Rif Mountains set a different tone with their lush green slopes. This is an ideal destination for trekking and hiking activities. One may also go on long walks in the region or get a bike for some mountain biking activities. You could start your exploration onto the Rif Mountains either from Chefchaouen or from Tetouan. While in the region, you should try hiking through the Talassemtane National Park, a region covered in cedar and fir forest, amazing gorges, and views into picturesque valleys.

Rabat’s Oudaias Kasbah

Rabat is the city of Morocco and is definitely worth a visit. Being the capital city, it is very easy to reach this spot through air, railways, or the road. While you are in Rabat be sure to visit the old Oudaias Kasbah area in the city. This could be regarded as one of the most photogenic and splendid locations within the city. The peace and serenity of this region make it appear to be so far away from the rest of the city though it is right at the center of the city. Within the walls, you will find an old city with white-and-blue houses just existing through the vagaries of time. This region is not frequented by many tourists which adds to the enigmatic appeal that the place holds.

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

​Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco making it a stand-out among the places you have to visit while you are in Morocco. The most stellar destination to look forward to while visiting Casablanca has to be the Hasan II Mosque. This mosque, which was completed in 1993, is a remarkable representation of not only the city but the entire nation. It took a huge workforce of 10,000 artisans to complete through all the intricate details of the mosque spread over an area of 2 hectares! This is also the only mosque open to non-Muslims in Morocco making it all the more impressive among visitors.
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<![CDATA[Israel : 11 Places You Have to Visit in Israel]]>Sat, 16 Apr 2022 20:23:14 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/israel-11-places-you-have-to-visit-in-israel#israel #jerusalem #travel #nazareth #bethlehem
            Israel is a much sought-after place, especially for all the religious attractions that it holds. To be true, some of the most interesting stuff happening in the Old Testament of the Bible happens in Israel. This is the birthplace of all the Abrahamic Religions in the world such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and so on. The immense mythological significance of Israel coupled with its rich history, culture, and tradition make it a very appealing place to visit for history buffs, conspiracy theorists, as well as the religious crowd. Added to that, Israel has so much more to offer to those looking for adventure, peace, and even picturesque destinations. So, without further ado, let's dig into all the brilliant places that you have to visit while you are planning a trip to Israel.
Jerusalem  

Jerusalem is the city that has witnessed legendary kings, outstanding religious warfare (the Crusades), and has been the envy of many a conqueror. It is one of the most important religions to the Abrahamic faith. And what a city it is! As you walk through the streets of Jerusalem, you would be able to feel years, centuries of history blowing with the wind. It is indeed one of the oldest cities in the world and you can feel that with every step that you take through this ancient city. The skyline of Jerusalem is notable and known worldwide especially because of the glittering golden Dome of the Rock. The city itself looks quite ancient with all the houses built from caramel-hued stones.

The city is very close to the sect of people following a monotheistic form of religion. The alleyways form a labyrinthine passageway throughout the city taking you on an impressive and interesting course of history. If you are especially walking through the Old District, you very well will come across some significant religious sites. There are also many museums in the city that stores many stories from the past and is definitely worth your time.

Haifa

While Tel Aviv caters to the modernistic lifestyle and Jerusalem invites you into the ancient world, Haifa sets its own tune. It is a town set along the sea and thus a port, and the cliffs cascading into the sea make for a picturesque setting. The best thing about Haifa is the numerous cafes and restaurants that this place has to offer to its many visitors. Haifa could be best described as the perfect base to visit all the most interesting places in Israel.

The most impressive place to visit in Haifa would undoubtedly have to be the Baha'i Gardens. The Baha'i Gardens are listed as a World Heritage Site because of the terrific beauty and innovation it showcases. Free tours in a range of languages are organized every day for the convenience of the visitors. The Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery is another stunning place that you have to go to while visiting this port town. A particular trail extends from the monastery and goes down into the grotto- Elijah's Cave. It is believed to be the dwelling or the final resting place of Elijah. Added to the fantastic historical stories that Haifa has in store for you, it has also got very happening beaches. Bat Galim Beach is the one to go for if you are looking for adventure activities while Hof HaCarmel Beach is a lovely day out for someone looking to lie back and relax.

Nazareth

Nazareth is one of the most important cities to visit among those about the Christiaan faith. This city has biblical relations with Jesus bringing in hordes of Christian pilgrims every year. The holy sites that Nazareth has in store for you are some of the most important Christian holy sites in the whole wide world. Nazareth is the city where the Annunciation in the New Testament of the Bible happened. It is the place where Jesus, the son of God was brought up. There are many important churches still prevailing in this city to this day that celebrates this bit of mythology or history.

While you are in Nazareth, you have to visit the Basilica of Annunciation. It is a very significant site and it loos grand too. So, whether you are religious, a history buff, or just want to enjoy some fascinating relic from the past, this is the place you have to come to. There is more to Nazareth than all the important religious sites, especially in its bazaars. The marketplaces in Nazareth are always bustling and seem to have a life of their own. Exotic spices, delectable food items, and interesting artifacts are some of the most impressive things that you will find in the bazaars of Nazareth, a place definitely worth your time.

Jaffa  

Jaffa is situated along the sea and is an important port town. The houses made from honey-colored bricks form a terrific backdrop behind the cool blue waters giving you some terrific, picturesque moments. You have to come to Jaffa to see it for yourself before believing how grand it can get!

Jaffa is regarded as a laid-back town best for chilling and lazing around. The town is designed such that you can aimlessly wander around throughout the town without much to do. Added to this, Jaffa has a remarkable flea market, one, where you are likely to procure all the souvenirs that you could on your Israel trip! Being very near to the ultra-modern Tel Aviv, Jaffa helps you go back to the past in the blink of an eye.

Many streets go down from the city into the sea. Imagine how majestic it once might have been when the huge Mesopotamian ships used to dock in this region for exchanging wares! The streets are now lined with all kinds of cafés for you to try out without much difficulty. You will also have a great time sightseeing through the old city as you take one of the winding lanes to the sea. Jaffa also features numerous art galleries and craft shops in recent years which adds to the pretty things you could be doing here. There are so many newly opened restaurants for you to try Middle Eastern cuisine. The weekends see Jaffa get really busy with so many shoppers and diners!

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea has one of its ends in Jordan while the other end stretches into Israel. It is a truly fascinating natural delight that you have to behold. The mystery and intrigue of the Dead Sea can only be felt once you see it first hand- an immense waterbody so salty that you just can't sink in it. The Dead Sea makes way for some of the more fun activities in Israel away from all the holy shrines and religious sites.

It is the deepest point on the earth and has quite the wacky deal to offer to you. The Dead Sea is locked in by the Great Rift Valley cliffs and has existed in this region for centuries. The soil around the Dead Sea is also very mineral-rich and is said to have healing and rejuvenating properties. The Dead Sea area has seen much development recently and certain resorts, spas, hotels, restaurants, cafes, etc. have opened up in this region. This allows for all the facilities that you might be requiring while visiting the region such as a place to take a bath after taking a dip in the ultra-salty waters of the Dead Sea. The resorts also allow you to stay here for the night and enjoy the quiet nightlife around the Dead Sea region.

Bethlehem

Even if you have not read the Bible, the name of Bethlehem immediately rings a bell in your head! It is indeed one of the most important cities to those belonging to the Christian faith is the place where Jesus Christ is said to have been born. The Church of Nativity is built on the exact site where Christ's birth is said to have taken place and this is a remarkable place to visit. The Church is also intricately built and has a stately complex overlooking the bazaar. Overall. This combination makes for a really good place to visit, making the Church area a stunning highlight alongside the West Bank. Most of the travelers coming to Bethlehem visit the place as a day trip option from Jerusalem. However, staying here for a day or two will do you good. This is a beautiful place especially if you are looking for a fine base to visit the Byzantine monasteries in the surrounding areas.

The St. Catherine’s Church is another remarkable architectural feature in the region that you have to visit. You should also visit the Milk Grotto, a chapel where the holy family is said to have hidden before they fled into Egypt. The Palestinian Heritage Centre is the place to get exclusive local handicraft works and thus should be on your list of places to visit in Bethlehem. While in this region you should also find time to give St. Theodosius Monastery a visit.

Timna Park

If you want to immerse yourself in nature in its rawest form, then you have to take the road down to Timna Park it is situated near the Red Sea towards the resort in Eliat and is a stunning, picturesque spot that Israel has to offer. Timna Park has one of the most rugged desert sceneries out on offer for you. The land in this region has a mystical feel what with all the rocky, tall mountains, odd-shaped boulders, and stretches of dunes between the two. It looks like a setting carved out from a fantasy world calling upon folks with the promise of a great adventure ahead.

Don’t think that raw beauty is the only thing that Timna has to offer. It also has a colorful history mostly related to copper mining in this area. The copper mining activities date back to the ancient Egyptians which makes it all the more interesting. There are so many ancient mine shafts that you can marvel at in this region. You will also find many inscriptions done on rocks that tell so many stories from the past- a perfect place for an adventurer or a history buff!

Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is an impressive spot along the shoreline of Israel which has something to offer to any kind of traveler. If you are religious and want to visit places significantly mentioned in the bible you can head to Tabgha, where Jesus delivered his crucial Sermon on the Mount. If you want to laze around under the hot tropical sun, then you should visit Tiberias where there are hot pools for your comfort and convenience. Even if you want to go on adventurous hiking expeditions, there are provisions to do so around the area. It is an amalgamation of all the wonderful things that you could be doing in Israel.

Masada

Masada is situated near to the Dead Sea region and you can visit both places on the same day. However, the significance of this ancient relic demands a separate mention such that you do not forget to put this up on your list of places to visit while you are in Israel.

Masada features a fortress on the top of a mountain that peers down upon the Dead Sea. The fortress is the stuff from legends as so many awesome things have happened around here. The fortress is the exact place where the grand palace of King Herod was built. This is also the defensive area from where the Zealots took a stand, their last stand, against the mighty Roman Legions. These titbits of history make the place worth your time and visit. The best way to reach the top would be on foot, hiking through the winding Snake Path. As you traverse through this path, you will come across some terrific vistas and panoramic views of the entire region. If it is difficult for you to walk that much or you don't have much of an adventurous spirit, you can easily take the cable car to the top of the fortress.

Mar Saba Monastery

Constructed in the Byzantine Era, the Mar Saba Monastery could be regarded as an architectural marvel! It is built in such a way on the cliffside that it looks like it has sprouted out of the rocks! Such is the mighty significance of the Mar Saba Monastery- you'll look, you'll look, and you'll keep looking! Female travelers are not allowed entry into the monastery but no matter what, they could still behold this architectural marvel from the old world.

Beit Shean

Israel has lots and lots of ruins to look through in a very short period if you are planning a trip. However, amongst all the relics that Israel has to offer Beit Shean stands out simply because of the excellent condition it is in. it could be regarded as one of the best-preserved ruins from the ancient world where you get to witness first-hand how the ancient Byzantine and the Romans used to live. In the ruins, you get excellent perspectives into a grand theatre, colonnaded streets, and the extensive bathhouses from Roman times.
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<![CDATA[Iran : ​Best Places to Visit in Iran!]]>Thu, 14 Apr 2022 10:23:22 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/iran-best-places-to-visit-in-iran#iran #travel #holidays #tehran #shiraz
History, culture, and nature – Iran boasts of the very bests of everything! Iran has seen the rise and fall of so many dynasties and civilizations. The enticing glory and abundant richness still speak out to this day in the modern world. Today, the stability of the nation might be at risk since it is war-ridden, but that doesn't take away the prestigious historical stories that Iran has to whisper in your ears. The destination has always charmed travel enthusiasts from all across the world. Here is a list of our favorite attractions you cannot miss on your trip to Iran. Take a look.
Persepolis

The capital of the first Persian empire, Persepolis is the abode of Persian civilization. You cannot explore the true taste of Iran without taking a stroll through the footpaths of the city. Walk among the arches, pillars, and remaining majestic palaces. The vast history of ancient Persia is sure to stun you.

The city was believed to be built by Darius I in 518 BC. The construction of the whole place took about 120 years. Though the primary function of Persepolis is yet a mystery, the spectacular ceremonial complexes bring thousands of tourists from around the world.

The place is located 60.7 km northeast of Shiraz and boasts of an incredible historic value. It has earned the acclamation of the UNESCO world heritage site. It is an ideal place to visit during a day trip from Shiraz. You can hire a taxi or contact a tour agency to explore the place.

Tehran


As the capital city, Tehran is a must-visit in Iran. It is one of the most historical places in the country. Visit the Golestan Palace at Tehran – a UNESCO world heritage site. The majestic historical complex was once the residence of the Qajar dynasty. It displays a remarkable blend of contemporary European architectural design and ancient Persian style. This blend is a characteristic feature of Iranian art during the 19th and 20th centuries. The spectacular halls, gardens, museums, and chambers will surely fascinate you.

After visiting the palace, visit the Azadi tower. Built in 1971, the monument pays tribute to the 2500th anniversary of the Persian empire. The distinct style of the tower merges modern influences with traditional Persian style. Covered with 8000 pieces of marble, the iwan arch will stun you. Azadi square symbolizes the protest during the Islamic revolution in 1979. You can use an elevator or stairs to climb the tower and get a 360-degree view of the city.

Imamzadeh Saleh is yet another fascinating place to visit. Also known as Tajrish mosque, the place demonstrates Saleh's abode. The stunning tilework of the mosque will charm you. The colorful Tajrish bazaar is an ideal place to buy souvenirs and get a glimpse into local life.

Shiraz


Filled with gorgeous mosques, Shiraz is famous for Nasir Ol Molk mosque or Pink Mosque. Built around 1888 in the Qajar dynasty, the mosque is renowned for its multi-colored glass windows that allow the sun to peep into the rooms. For this reason, photographers love this place and it is one of the stunning places across the world.

Visiting Iran without seeing the rainbow colors will be an incomplete trip. You will feel like you are inside a kaleidoscope. Nasir Ol Molk Mosque is fascinating from the outside as well. It has a stunning courtyard and a pond. Its vibrant tilework symbolizes western influence on Iranian traditional architecture in the 19th century. The tiles were usually imported from the UK, France, and Germany.

European art elements like landscape, architecture, and women are depicted on these tiles. You can spend hours admiring the detailing on the interior and exterior of the mosque.

Next, visit the sacred Shah Cheragh Shrine, translated as the King of the Light. The name is indeed interesting. In about 900 AD, a traveler reached here following a light. He stumbled upon a grave of a Muslim figure. Later on, a tomb was built on it and t became an important pilgrimage destination.
Its incredible and intricate mirror works will surely charm you. It is indeed a priceless sight. Here are a few gourmet restaurants in Shiraz: Cafe Hedayat, Haft Khan, Seray-e-Mehr, Shapouri Garden restaurant, Soufi, etc.

If you want to buy souvenirs, visit Saraye Moshir, Vakil Bazaar, Setareh Fars shopping mall, and Shiraz Miniature gallery.

Shiraz International Airport is the nearest one to the city. It is located at a distance of 16 km from the city. You can take a cab to reach your destination.

Naqsh E Rostam


Drive about 10 minutes from Persepolis to reach Naqsh e Rostam. It is a royal necropolis of the Achaemenid empire. Here, you can admire the four majestic tombs of ancient Persian kings. Historians are still not sure about the king's identity inside the tomb. Speculations include those of Darius I, Darius II, Xerxes I, and Artaxerxes I.

 Once here, try local cuisines including Dizi, Ash reshte, fesenjan, baghali poli, zereshk polo morgh, khoresht gheimeh, tahdig, etc.

Take a taxicab or local bus to reach Naqsh E Rostam from Persepolis.

Iran is full of city life, historic architecture, sceneries, and more. Pay a visit to the place and preserve the memories for your lifetime.

Esfahan


Esfahan is one of the most glorious and most beautiful cities in all of Iran. It is situated at the base of the Zagros range and is about 430km towards the south of Tehran. There is an international airport in the region so you can fly into the city. You will also get a cab, bus, and train services from major cities such as Tehran, Shiraz, and Yazd.

Esfahan has seen the rein of so many Sultans and Caliphs over the ages and all of them have tried to bring glory and richness into this city. Naqsh-e-Jahan, ringed by mosques with ceramic façade and stunning Safavid palatial buildings, is at the heart of the city and is regarded as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It looks how any rich city is supposed to look like, with brightly colored busy souks (marketplaces), tree-lined lanes and by-lanes, and legendary madrassahs at unexpected corners.

Dizin


Dizin is one of the best places in Iran to head to if you are fond of adventure sports, especially those pertaining to winters and snow! It is situated about 3000 meters above sea level, perched within the Alborz Mountain Range where the Caucasian ranges merge with the Asian ranges. This small hill destination is beautiful and will give you quite a sense of calm. In fact, it has climbed the ladders swiftly and is regarded as the top destination for winter sports in Iran. If you are traveling to Dizin there are multiple stay options available to you. The alpine-styled hotels would make for a great stay option, especially with a view of the immense Mount Damavand.

Yazd


If you want to live in a world that seems to be carved out of a fairy tale then Yazd is the right place for you. The city looks like a dreamland from the Arabian Nights and you will have a great time walking through the streets and alleyways of the city. There are regular train services available from Tehran to reach Yazd. You might also undertake a 9-10 hours bus journey from Tehran if you are traveling on a budget.

The roads in Yazd are magical! You will see a random turret towering above a mosque and covered in intricate geometric patterns as you walk through any street in the city. The alleys are filled with the enticing scent of mint tea and incense sticks. The heart of this city holds the enigmatic fire temples of the Zoroastrian faith. The Amir Chakmakh complex is also worth exploring- it holds spiked minarets belonging to the Shia Hussaina. The many souks in Yazd are also worth exploring where you will find all kinds of wares.

Tabriz


Tabriz for one has an incredible story to whisper into your ears. This city is regarded to be as hold as civilization itself, dating back to more than 4,500 years. It is indeed regarded as the oldest city to have been continuously inhabited by civilization. Tabriz is well-connected to the rest of Iran through roadways and railways and you can get here by buses, cars, and trains. If you are flying international, there is an airport in Tabriz that allows regular flights.

The city is known to the world through its fantastic architectural works. The ancientness of the city could be easily beheld as you look into the stunning architectural features that the city has to offer. While you are in Tabriz you have to visit the Blue Mosque of 1465- it is a colossal structure lined with brightly dazzling cobalt blue ceramics. The Bazaar of Tabriz is another place you have to explore- it is one of the outposts of the ancient Silk Road that came from China.

Mashhad


Mashhad is a beautiful city and is quite an important religious site to the Iranians. The tomb of Imam Reza, the 8th Imam of Shia Islam is located in Mashhad making it such an important destination among Iranians. The Reza shrine in the city center houses the tomb and is spread over an immense area of 600,00 m2. Some of the gold-lined minarets emerging from the shrine rise to a height of 30 meters from the base making them one of the best pieces of architecture in the country. There is also a terrific collection of delicious saffron-infused curries that Iran is famous for to be found in the restaurants and street shops of Mashhad.

Rasht
Rasht opens up into the Shomal region where there are lush valleys owing to the abundance in rainfall the region receives. The weather is unlike anything that you will find in the rest of Iran. Adding to the picturesque setting, Rasht is also situated along the banks of the Caspian Sea making it an enviable location among the Iranians. One of the best places to visit in Rasht has to be the Golestan National Park. The forested area is as mystical as it can get with misty forests filled with Persian leopards. Another interesting thing that you could see in Rasht is the impressive facades built in the Russian and European styles during the time of Mirza Kouchak, a Soviet sympathizer.

Kish


Kish is a fantastical island destination in the waters of Iran that is unlike anything you will see in Iran. This is a stunning place to go to if you have the party spirit within you. The streets in Kish are lined with resort-like hotels and casinos to have a great time here. The island town is located about 19 km away from the coast of Iran into the Persian Gulf and is easily accessible by boats and cruise rides.

Kish is also famous for its many white sandy beaches washed by clear blue waters. The most common activity here would be to laze around on the beaches or take a cool, refreshing swim through the waters. You could also find coral reefs in the area or even go scuba diving for a more comprehensive experience. The shopping scene in Kish is also vibrant and brings in a stream of visitors the souks and duty-free malls of Kish are filled with all kinds of wares and you can shop to your heart's content!

Ramsar


Ramsar is another city that is lined by might mountain ranges on one side and washed by clear blue seawater on the other side. Regular flights are scheduled from Tehran into Ramsar. You could also enter the city through the roadways via the Kandavan road or the Haraaz road. Regular bus services are also available for budget travelers.

The city is nestled between the Alborz Mountain Range on one side and the Caspian Sea on the other. This makes way for quite a dramatic setting making it a very beautiful location to go away from the bustling crowd.  The proximity to the sea ensures that there are a handful of great beaches in the city. You can also go on hiking adventures through the forests in the nearby mountains. You will get grand panoramic views of the hills to the northern part of the city. The city also offers visitors the comfort of relaxing hot springs and it is fabled that the healing waters of the city are imbued with magical properties!
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<![CDATA[Iraq : How You Can Have a Great Time in Iraq!]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2022 21:16:40 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/iraq-how-you-can-have-a-great-time-in-iraq#iraq #travel #holidays #baghdad #babylon
            The name Iraq might instill ideas about a war-ridden nation seeing massive destruction in every aspect. However, despite all that Iraq has faced in the last few years, it is indeed a country worth your visit. The nation is nestled between the twin river systems (Tigris and Euphrates) and happens to be one of the major hotspots for the growth of civilization. Ancient Iraq was the center of the Mesopotamian Civilisation that introduce hieroglyphs, a format of writing, and had shown innovations in the fields of literature, music, science, theology, medicine, and so on. Many of the places that are mentioned in the Bible also happen to be in Iraq making it historically and theologically significant. There are many Ottoman relics and Persian structures to look at too. So, without much ado, here are some of the most stunning places that you have got to see while you are in Iraq.
Baghdad  

Baghdad is the capital city of Iraq and has faced much of the brunt of all the wars and devastations that have been caused to Iraq. Entering the Green Zone in Baghdad could be a difficult ordeal since you would be needing special permissions to do so. However, there are plenty of impressive places to look out for if you ever get the chance to visit Baghdad. It has been an incredible city in the past and has rich culture and tradition to welcome you in on the offer.

Baghdad used to be a richly decorated city with glorious architectural marvels built by some of its many rulers while the other rulers have destroyed a lot of these marvels. One of the most mystical finds in Iraq is hosted in the National Museum of Iraq and is known to the world as Baghdad Batteries. These are earthen urns filled with copper and iron and sealed with asphalt. The true purpose of these batteries is unknown yet but it is speculated that they were used as some kind of electronic device used for electroplating. Since the earthen pots were initially overlooked after the find, their true purpose couldn’t be figured out. You could see 12 of these amazing batteries or whatever they are in the museum.

The nearby Al-Shaheed Monument is also a stunning feature to look forward to. Thou a much modern addition to the architectural features in Iraq, this monument stands testament to the devastations caused in the Iran-Iraq War and was built to commemorate all who died in the said war. Underneath the teal-colored, onion-shaped dome is a library and museum dedicated to the Iraqi soldiers. There are also playgrounds and grounds surrounding the area of the monument. The combined effect has a strange charm to it which makes the oasis-like structure all the more interesting to visitors.

Another interesting display that you should not miss while you are visiting Baghdad is the 605-page Quran written in the blood of the dictator Saddam Hussain. The dictator had supplied 27 liters of his blood over 2 years to a skillful calligrapher to design this version of the bible in order the appease the Lord above and to show himself to be a devout Muslim.

Babylon


Just when you think that things in Iraq couldn't get any more interesting you will stumble upon the once majestic Babylon. Babylon has been the capital of the many Mesopotamian empires and dynasties including Babylonia. The glorious Babylonia developed and reached its prime under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar II between 605 and 563 BC. Elaborate architectural features including two giant palaces were constructed during this period. The famed and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Hanging Gardens of Babylon were also constructed during this era. Much of the previous glory of Babylon is believed to be covered under the mounds nowadays. The dictatorship of Saddam Hussain had worsened the situation for the time when he believed himself to be a descendant of the mighty King and tried to design Babylon on his image as the one true leader, however, since his defeat and fall, efforts had been started to restore the relics and monuments that Babylon has to offer. Excavations are being carried out and it is believed that much of the old Babylon could be found underneath the mounds.

Al Shekhan

The Shekhan District in Iraq is an interesting place to visit while you are in Iraq with two of its most impressive and intriguing attractions being the Lalish Temple and the Aqueduct of Jerwan.

The Aqueduct of Jerwan is an engineering marvel dating back to the 7th century BC. It is believed that the elaborate aqueducts were built by King Sennacherib to water the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This elaborate system was constructed using stone and a type of waterproof cement that wouldn't wear for years to come. It was also built about 30 miles away from the King's palace and the hydraulic system brought waters from the nearby mountains around Dohuk. Nowadays it might look like rubble but upon closer inspection, you would be marveled to behold this wondrous creation. And to think that such an enigmatic system of hydraulics was developed much earlier than the Roman engineering structures (which are still in existence).

The Lalish Temple on the other hand is a shrine to the Yazidi population in the world and one of the most important places of pilgrimage among the Yazidis. The Yazidis are a minority religious group residing in Iraq and their religion is similar to the other Abrahamic religions that arose in the Middle East such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The Yazidi religious style has also incorporated Zoroastrian elements into their way of worship. The Lalish Temple is the most important and sacred site amongst the Yazidi faith holders.

The village of Lalish has been existing for millennia and the temple is believed to have been used both by the Sumerians and the Mesopotamians as the ancient civilizations flourished. The shrine has a conical architectural style and it is believed that it houses the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, the religious head. Presently, the village is uninhabited by anyone except the Emir who looks after the temple premises. However, there are a large number of open houses in the village where dreary pilgrims could rest.

Rabban Hormizd Monastery
 

The Rabban Hormizd Monastery dates back 1,400 years and is an important site of worship among the Chaldean Catholics. It was carved from rocks and has an amphitheater-like appeal. It was built by Rabban Mar Hormizd in 640. During the 16th century, Yahanna Sulaqa was the abbot of Hormizd Monastery and the first Patriarch of the church. It was during this time that the gap between the Holy See of Rome and the Church of the East developed and in 1552 the monastery became the seat of the Chaldean Christian Church. Between the 15th and the 19th century, the church was the residence of many patriarchs belonging to the Chaldean Christian sect. The 1st century saw constant attacks into the church which nearly left it abandoned. In the early 19th century, the church's library was ransacked, looted, and destroyed leading to the destruction of many Syriac documents. A new sanctuary was built in the later 19th century with aims to improve the security of the area though the old church was also preserved.

Great Mosque of Samarra


The prominent minaret of the once Great Mosque of Samarra is the only standing relic of the immensity of this place which was once the largest mosque in the world. At its peak, the mosque covered an area of 42 acres surrounding the 180 feet tower called the malwiya (snail shell minaret). Al Mutawakkil of the Abbasid caliphate sanctioned the construction of the mosque in the 9th century after which the ruler rode a white donkey to the top of the mosque. However, by the 11th century, the mosque crumbled in the hands of destruction and disuse. The memory of the mosque is still preserved in the towering minaret. A part of this last standing structure was also destroyed in 2005 during the US occupancy by the insurgents.

Erbil


Erbil is situated in the Kurdistan part of Iraq and is a manmade wonder that has been developed for over 7,000 years. In this region, settlements have been built on top of one another over the years and the Erbil Citadel stands tall at the top looking over the passage of time.

The citadel is an ovoid mound fortified on all sides. The height of the citadel compared to the surrounding region is due to the settlements being built one on top of the other and having reached a staggering height of 100 feet over the millennia. Though the first recorded document to have mentioned the citadel dates to 2,300 BC, its ancient history goes back to 5,000 BC and even farther. 2007 has seen an upsurge in archaeological activities in the area with the UNESCO proclaiming it to be a World Heritage Site in 2014.

Sulaymaniyah


Sulaymaniyah is situated towards the northern side of Iraq and is one of the safest cities to visit amidst all the war and political tension in the area. Since it is situated amongst the mountains the climate is generally pleasant and cool. There are many fine restaurants and eateries to try here to get you a sense of the delectable Iraqi and Middle Eastern cuisine. Spiced koftas and biriyanis are some of the most promising dishes that you have got to try as you travel through Sulaymaniyah. The city is also a fantastic base if you are thinking of exploring through the oases and valleys in the region, especially the valleys of Goyija and Azmer.

Ur


Ur has been referred to in the Bible and has a history that is rich, interesting, and intriguing to the point of being unimaginable. It has been a rich city in the past and a lot of the relics and ruins from ancient times are still visible here. It has been known for all-destroying floods, powerful Babylonian kings, and so on. It is situated towards the southern desert region of Iraq and is home to the Ziggurat. This is a towering structure with very high walls and a steep staircase to traverse to the top and looks much like a pyramid. It is a temple built for the worship of the moon god among the Akkadians. It could be regarded as one of the most mysterious places ever that you could visit in Iraq.

Ctesiphon


Ctesiphon, like most other Iraqi cities, boasts of a rich, vibrant, and brutal history. Initially, it used to be a small settlement along the banks of the Tigris River occupied by the Persians in the 4th century BC. However, after the Parthian invasion in the region, Ctesiphon rose to glory in the 1st century AD when it was made the capital of the Parthians and also went on to include Seleucia. By the 7th century, Ctesiphon developed into one of the biggest cities in the entire region. And you can actually see this growth from the many relics that this pace has to offer. One of the most impressive facets that you just cannot miss if you are visiting Ctesiphon is the Taq Kasra. It is a Sassanid dome, one of the largest such domes in the world. It also happens to be a very important archaeological site in the entire region.
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<![CDATA[Lebanon : Attractive Places Not to Miss While Visiting Lebanon!]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2022 15:07:53 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/lebanon-attractive-places-not-to-miss-while-visiting-lebanon#lebanon #middleeast #byblos #beirut
            Are you planning a trip to Lebanon and cannot decide what places you should be looking out for? It might be a small country but there are a great many things to see around in Lebanon. In fact, one of the best things about exploring Lebanon is that you can easily set base in Beirut and explore the entire country by taking day trips from there onwards. This method will also ensure easier travel options since Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon allowing you easy options for transport options. There is a huge cultural diversity within the nation to look out having a 50% Muslim and 45% Christian population along with traces of other ethnic groups- there are a total of 18 such groups recognized in Lebanon. Here, you will find a unique mix of things that belong to the Middle East coupled with things found entirely in European countries. So, without much ado, let’s get on to the list of amazing places that you have to visit while you are visiting Lebanon!
Beirut

Obviously, Beirut has to be top on the list of places that you have to visit while you are in Lebanon. It is the capital city and you have to enter Lebanon through Beirut via airways. Some ferries will take you to Lebanon too- however. All the roadway routes to Lebanon are boarded up at the moment.

Beirut could be regarded as one of the most exciting places to be in while you are enjoying the arid grandeur of the Middle Eastern countries. For one thing, this city is a lot more liberal than the rest of the Middle East. The wildest beach clubs, loud nightclubs, and other such attractions make Beirut a hard-partying place of the Middle East. Set apart from the vibrant nightlife, you also get to witness several centuries' worth of history while here. Coupled with this, you will find some of the most delectable cuisines in the world while in Beirut.

Armenia Street within Mar Mikael is the place to be if you are looking for party scenes. The Beirut Corniche is captivating and one of the best places to visit the place is during the early mornings. If you are looking for different delicacies to try, go to Hamrun Street which is lined with all kinds of cafes. The National Museum of Beirut is truly a remarkable place to begin your history tour of Lebanon. The Alternative Tour Beirut is a special schedule hosted to give you an alternative perspective into the history of Lebanon through a more holistic approach. The Beirut Souks are excellent and you can shop your heart out for all kinds of souvenirs that you can take back home.

Byblos


Once you are done exploring Beirut, one of the most vibrant places in the Middle East, you should head to the most beautiful place to be in Lebanon- Byblos! It is also known as Jbeil in Arabic and is situated towards the northern side of Beirut. It is a scenic seaside village together with amazing teal waters, beaches lined with palm trees, and a plethora of sandstone houses found in the old town. It will take you about 45 minutes to reach Byblos from Beirut via road.

Byblos has one fascinating titbit of history- the term seems to be associated with books. It was in the truest sense in ancient times- Byblos happened to be an important trade center for importing and exporting papyrus to ad from Egypt, thus conventionally becoming one of the earliest centers to distribute books. One of the finest things to do in this magical place is to walk by the seafront or enjoy a scrumptious seafood meal in one of the cafes along the seafront. It is regarded as one of the oldest among Phoenician cities and listed amongst the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. The city has been occupied by humans since the Neolithic era and had major contributions towards the development of the Phoenician language.

Tyre


Tyre, once called Sour is et on the southern side of Lebanon and a beautiful place to visit. In the past, it used to be a city of very high importance along the Mediterranean. Nowadays, it is a city holding lots of Roman ruins, some of the friendliest people in the world, and fragrant, vibrant, fresh flowers bursting open on every side! It is one of those places which is going to give you excellent vibes as you walk through the streets. The Roman ruins to are going to mesmerize you since you get an amazing slice of the past through these. Tyre is also listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for multiple reasons. Its status as an ancient runic city gives it a major boost. Its history as a Phoenician city also adds to the glamour. Tyre is also held responsible for the founding of other cities like Cadiz and Carthage. And their greatest invention- they were the first to produce the royal purple dye!

If you want to travel to Tyre from Beirut you have to hit the roadways. Public transportation options are available in the form of minibusses. However, if you are taking a minibus, you might have to change vehicles in Sidon. It is a one-hour and forty-five-minute ride from Beirut to Tyre.

Harissa


Harissa is one of the most amazing places and has to be there on your list of places to visit in Lebanon. It is situated about a 40-minute cab ride away from Beirut. However, there is a much more interesting route that you can opt for if you plan to go to Harissa (and you should!). you could take a cab or bus ride from Beirut up to Jounieh. From Jounieh, scheduled cable cars leave for Harissa taking you through mountainous regions covered in forests and looking mesmerizing. This particular90-minute cable car journey is one of the major attractions to Harissa and why you should visit the place!

The most attraction to look out for while you are in Harissa is the Our Lady of Lebanon statue. It is perched high up on a mountain top and was built with the idea that the Lady would be overlooking the nation underneath. The city is built at 650 m above sea level allowing you bearable weather and some stunning sights to behold. It is an important pilgrimage center in Lebanon but all kinds of tourists can frequent the place. The sanctuary was built in honor of the Virgin Mary and Christians and Muslims alike gather here to perform various activities together.

Baalbek


If you want to get a taste of how grand and impressive the Roman Empire was at its peak, Baalbek is the place for you to be. Baalbek is about two hours away from Beirut on road and it is recommended that you stay in Baalbek for about two days to take in all that the place has to offer. It is one of the best Roman ruins in the world that you are most likely to see unless you are in Rome itself. The immensity of the ruins is mind-boggling and is sure to leave you spellbound.

Baalbek was originally known as Heliopolis or City of the Sun in the Roman Era. There are four temples in Baalbek dedicated to Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Bacchus respectively. These temples are some of the largest examples of the intricate Roman architectural styles left in today's world. The Stone of the Pregnant Woman at 1,000 tons and the Megalith weighing 1,650 tons are two of the largest stone blocks ever in antiquity! Even if you are less of a history buff and more of an adventurer, Baalbek has something in store for you. You can climb to the top of the temples and enjoy the dramatic view that encompasses you, much like the Romans used to do during their time. The massive ruins that Baalbek boasts of have earned it a place among the list of World Heritage Sites.

Bcharré


The city of Bcharré is about two hours away from Beirut if you are taking public transport. It was initially known as Bsharri in Arabic and is a place with a mystical charm! The journey to Bcharré alone will enthrall you like nothing else in Lebanon can. You have to travel through winding roads in the Qadisha Valley to reach Bcharré. From there on you will be led into canyons carved by rivers and mountains perpetually covered in mystic mist. The wintertimes also bring snow into the mountainous regions sometimes.

The famous Lebanese-American poet-writer Khalil Gibran is said to hail from this mystical hamlet. Naturally, one of the most famous places to see in Bcharré is the Gibran Museum dedicated to the memory of the poet. There was a time when this iconic place used to shelter hermetic monks. However, nowadays, it is a mausoleum to Gibran housing his tomb and also displays a collection of his most famous works both in writing and drawing. You will also get one of the most stunning views of Bcharré from the top of the museum, so be sure to visit there.

Cedars of God


Cedar has been an important tree for structural use in Middle Eastern times. The Phoenicians had extensively used cedar to construct boats while the Egyptians had used the same for the construction of tombs. The use of cedar is ingrained into the Lebanese culture so much so that even U2 has prepared a musical composition called Cedars of Lebanon. However, the rampant use of the wood has harmed the cedar forests and there's hardly any natural cultivation left. However, if you want to take a glimpse into the wondrous cedar forests you can head to the Cedars of God park situated just outside of Bcharré. These trees are majestic to behold and a walk or hike through the nature park is surely going to be a delight for you.

The Cedars of God park is regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and vehemently protected nowadays. The fine status was achieved because of the extensive use of this wood, especially in the construction of religious features. Since it the forests are located just outside Bcharré, you can visit the place while visiting the town which is just a 2-hour drive away from the capital.

Jeita Grotto


Jeita Grotto is a marvelous set of two tunnels situated just outside Beirut, about half an hour on road. This is an especially "cool" place to visit on a hot day since you'll be easily protected from the sultry heat by the cool caves.

There are two cave systems in this region regarded as the Lower and Upper Caves. A river cuts through the Lower caves and is an essential source of water to the people of Lebanon. You can take a boat to traverse through the river system- it is a beautiful experience, albeit a bit spooky. On the other hand, the upper caves are dry, can be explored on foot, and feature the largest stalactite in the world at 8.2 m long.

Qadisha Valley


If you want to taste a slice of an entrapping bit of history or simply love to find yourself in places that take you to the past, Qadisha Valley is the place for you. In fact, in the early centuries, when Christians were facing persecution in this region, it is one of the earliest places where the refugees had settled down. It is also one of the finest places in Lebanon to visit if you are up for some adventurous activities such as skiing, hiking, and mountain climbing. It is also regarded as a World Heritage Site as it is seen as one of the most important monastic settlements among Christians.

While you are visiting Qadisha Valley, make it a point to have Qozhaya in your list of places to visit. It is an important shrine among Christians and is dedicated to the memory of St. Anthony. It is a fine example of Arabic architecture, especially seen in a rock-hewn chapel built within a cave. The journey is also mesmerizing since you’d have to take a long journey through wooded canyons to reach the destination. The Qadisha Valley is easy to reach from Beirut and is just a 90-minute ride away from the city.

Sidon


Sidon is a great side trip from Tyre, being just 45 minutes away from the place, and the two places can be easily done on a day! This place is also known as Saida and happens to be a port city. despite the storied history of the place, Sidon is one of the calmer cities to visit while you are traveling through Lebanon. One of the main reasons to visit Sidon would be the terrific souks or marketplaces that it has to offer. You can shop for all your collectibles and souvenirs from the vibrant souks here where everything from modern-day implements to traditional wares are sold in little, brightly colored shops. You also have to visit the Sea Castle which is a relic from the time of the crusade wars among the Muslims and Christians and was constructed by crusaders as a fortress!
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<![CDATA[Oman : 11 Stunning Places Not to Miss While Traveling Through Oman]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2022 11:17:50 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/oman-11-stunning-places-not-to-miss-while-traveling-through-oman#oman #travel #asia #middleeast #wadi #khalid #wahiba         
Oman may be nestled in one of the acridest areas of the world, but it abounds in natural beauty. A visit to Oman is going to be grand and mesmerizing with all of its wadis, stunning mosaic works, tall minarets, and emerald sinkholes. You are going to witness grandeur in its raw form as you graze through the streets of Oman- a beauty that can only be wholly be felt while you are in the country. So, without taking much of your time, here are some of the most beautiful places that you have to go to while you are in Oman.
Wadi Bani Khalid

A wadi is a natural structure, a narrow ravine that allows water to flow from the mountains into the lowlands. In other words, it can be regarded as a life-giving oasis in densely arid regions. Oman has a lot of such wadis but Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most stunning and picturesque of the lot. It is the epitome of beautiful wadis in Oman and should be on every traveler's list of places to visit in Oman.

There is a line of turquoise or emerald-hued pools in this area. Since the area has a downward slope, you'd also find frothy waterfalls running through gigantic boulders with caves opening up into the rock formations. Some of these caves are accessible by foot while you need to be able to swim to reach the others. The wadis are lined by a series of palm trees that provide shade to the striking waters keeping them cool and fresh. You can reach some of the more remote pools either by swimming or via hiking through the sands if you are looking to get away from the crowd that generally comes to this place, especially around weekends.

Wahiba Sands


Oman has a notable tradition of Bedouin culture and you can feel that first hand as you traverse through the desert in and around the region. There are four desert regions within Oman with Rub Al Khali or the Empty Quarter being the most famous one- it is also one of the largest desert regions in the world.  The Wahiba Sands, now known as The Sharqiya Sands is towards the inner-north region of Oman in Rub Al Khali and one of the best places to enjoy the emptiness and solitude that huge dunes bring about. It is about a 2-hour ride away from Muscat, the capital of Oman. You could spend a day here bashing through the sands and end it with watching how beautifully a gigantic red sun disappears among the golden dunes during sunset. Staying here overnight could be a memorable experience for you since the lack of population in the region ensures that you will get unobscured views of the stars followed by an equally amazing sunrise the next day.

Muscat


Muscat is the capital city of the desert nation and the main point of entry for international travelers. Muscat, as a city is as beautiful as the dominating geographic features it has to offer with the Gulf of Oman on one side and the huge Al Hajar mountains on the other! Muscat has architecturally significant features to look out for in the form of excellent mosaics, intricate minarets, and carefully crafted wood-inlays. One of the best places to see such architectural marvels would be the largest mosque in Oman, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is the only mosque open to non-Muslims in this nation. Oman’s culture and tradition could also be easily enjoyed as you walk through the streets of Muscat, especially as you explore the marketplace in Muttrah Souq- shops are selling all kinds of wares such as henna, spices, exotic fish, and so on. There are many art galleries as well as museums that give you a vibrant introduction to the culture and tradition of Oman. You’d also be left awe-struck as you behold the architectural marvel of the Royal Opera House in Muscat. You should at least spend two days in the capital to get a good grasp of the immense beauty that this place holds.

While you are in Muscat, there is a terrific place that you have to go to. About 1.5 hours away from the capital is the Bimmah Sinkhole, also known as the Hawiyyat Najm among the Omanis. It is one of the most popular day trip options from the capital and you'd be missing out on a lot if you do not come here. The sinkhole was naturally created as the limestone eroded with time and tumbled down upon itself. There is a lake at the bottom with a depth of 300 m at the deepest point. The water here is fresh, cool, and crystal clear allowing you to enjoy some gala time.

Musandam Fjords


A 4-hour drive away from Abu Dhabi will take you to one of the most wondrous landscapes in Oman- the Musandam Peninsula. It is also regarded as the Norway of Arabia and quite rightly named so because of the numerous fjords in the region that empty into the Omani coast and give the place an overall Nordic vibe. The most wholesome way to enjoy the pristine beauty of this place is to take a dhow cruise- be sure to keep some time so that you could swim through the fresh, cool, blue waters in the region. Especially in Khasab and Dibba beaches. The peninsular region is remote and also offers excellent opportunities for various adventure activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and watching dolphins. the Khasab Fortress is nearby, just off the coast, and you should make it a point to visit this place.

Nizwa


Nizwa is the second-largest city in Oman and about 2 hours away from Muscat on road. The city has a rich history in culture and tradition and used to be the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was since that time that Nizwa had been a center for arts in the nation and was also an important point of Oman's trade route. Nizwa is located in the inland regions making the experience here much different from what you'll get in Muscat. The mountains separate it from Muscat and the coast and the region is more or less arid.

The main attraction in Nizwa has to be Nizwa Fort, built in the 17th century. It’s a humongous fort with towers, flat terraces, stairwells, and even hidden underground passageways. The center of the fort holds an impressive museum that you just have to look through. The nearby Nizwa Souq is the place to look for souvenirs to take home from your Oman tour. The nearby Jabreen Fort is also a terrific place to visit to look into the architectural superiority of the Omani people. Samail Fort falls on the way if you are traveling to Nizwa from Muscat and another wondrous man-made creation. Nizwa is also the perfect place if you are planning to explore the Al Hajar mountains.

Wadi Shab


Wadi Shab is about a 2.5-hour drive away from Muscat towards the Omani coast and one of the most spectacular places to visit in Oman. The location is more remote than Wadi Bani Khalid which makes the long ride worth it! You have to leave your vehicle in the Wadi Shab parking area wherefrom you have to take a short ride on a boat to enter the main swimming area in the region. You have to hike a bit along the canyon wall to reach the first swimming pool. From here on, you could either scramble along the rocks to go higher up or swim up through the pools.

Jebel Akhdar


A 2-hour drive from Nizwa into the Al Hajar mountains will take you to Jebel Akhdar, the green land among all the arid, barren desert land that Oman offers. Jebel Akhdar is also regarded as the Green Mountain and quite rightly named so since it allows cultivation because of the highly fertile soil in the region. The nearby Al Nakhur is in complete contrast to this beautiful picturesque place owing to its rocky outlook. Jebel Akhdar has terraced gardens and dense foliage of shrubs which makes it look like an emerald in a sea of desserts.

Jebel Akhdar is located on the Saiq Plateau and once was only accessible through a donkey ride. The roads have developed nowadays allowing you to take vehicles into the region. The region is lined by lemon, apricot, and pomegranate trees. There are also many hiking trails in the region allowing the adventurer in you to walk through amazing landscapes. The more you hike up the mountain, the more you will be taken to ancient and remote mud villages offering perfect panoramic views. While you are in this region, you have to travel through the Sumail Gap which marks the pass between the eastern and the western Al Hajar mountains.

Bald Sayt


Bald Sayt is one of the most mesmerizing and picturesque among the Omani villages.  In fact, Bald Sayt is regarded as one of the most scenic villages in the Middle East. It falls under the shadow of the majestic Jebel Shams and is similar to Jebel Akhdar in taste and beauty. You will find beautifully terraced cultivation lands just like Jebel Akhdar over here featuring date palms, fruit trees, and so on.

This region too is very remote, cut-off from the rest of the dessert nation, and was once accessible only through donkey rides. Even today, this is quite cut off from the erst of Oman as you'd need an experienced 4x4 driver or an adventurer's spirit that allows you to hike into Bald Sayt.

Sur


Sur is a coastal port city, about 200 km away from Muscat, and features a laid-back lifestyle which could make it one of your favorite places in Oman. It is a visual delight thanks to the white lily houses, brick-colored reddish rock formations, and a backdrop of electrifying waters in the natural harbors. All of this makes it a beautiful, picture-perfect destination, not to miss as you are traveling through Oman. There isn't much to do in Sur but laze around and walk through the harbor. You could visit one of the dhow factories where these boats are crafted in the traditional method without using any glue or nails. You should climb up the nearby Al Ayjah Watch Tower which gets you a stunning view of the city. There are also many castles and mosques around the city that you can visit and marvel at the architectural brilliance. The Bilad Sur Castle is one of the most famous ones in the region.

Masirah Island


A ferry ride from the Shannah Port, which is a 4–5-hour drive away from Sur will take you to Masirah Island. It is situated on the Arabian Sea and the largest island in the nation. This is a truly off-the-road destination in Oman which makes it even more alluring to tourists daring to take the journey. Masirah is remote, rugged, and has the most gorgeous sandy beaches in Oman. The current in this region, however, is very strong, and is known to toss boats which makes it a “dhow boat graveyard”. You will find dozens of tossed, wrecked dhow boats that lie along the shore which ensures the nickname that this place has garnered over the years. It is also proof of how tumultuous the waters in this region could be!

Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve


The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is located at the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a fishing village and the beaches are famed throughout the world as important nesting grounds for green turtles, an endangered species. The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve was developed in 1996 by the then Sultan of Oman to protect these turtles and for the promotion of ecotourism ventures in the region. You could reach this pristine location by taking one of the guided tours, regularly scheduled from the Centre at night. This is one of the few places where turtles are known to nest and lay eggs almost every day in a year. For the same reason, you could almost be certain that you will get to see female turtles laying eggs or hatchlings making a break for the waters!
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<![CDATA[Qatar : Stunning Not to Miss Places to Visit in Qatar]]>Mon, 11 Apr 2022 20:35:49 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/qatar-stunning-not-to-miss-places-to-visit-in-qatar#qatar #middleeast #travel #doha #barzan
Qatar is one of the most hip-and-happening places in the Middle East. It gained independence from British rule in 1971 and hasn't looked back since then in terms of progress. It is one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas in the world and abounds in riches. It also has a rich, diverse culture to showcase to any oncoming traveler. The rich nation is a peninsula located towards the western coastal region of the Gulf of the Arabian Sea. It spans over a width of 100 km across and extends almost 200 km into the Arabian Gulf. There are many exciting places that you could visit while you are in Qatar and here is a list of some of the most stunning, unmissable places while you are traveling through this country!
Doha Fort and Doha Desert

Qatar, being a part of the Middle East, is largely covered in desert regions on which civilization has been built. Quite naturally, the Doha Desert is one of the finest features that you could be seeing while you are traveling into this land. It is part of the capital city, Doha, and a mesmerizing treat to the eyes. The sheer immensity of the desert is going to leave you awe-struck and in wonder! A day safari through the desert region ending with you watching a terrific sunset could just be your ideal start into a journey through Qatar.

While in Doha, you should also make it a point to visit Al Koot Fort, also known as the Doha Fort. It was built by Sheikh Abdulla bin Qassim Al Thani in 1927 as a military fortress during his rule between 1913 and 1949. It is now converted into a museum and quite a grand one at that depicting the culture and tradition of Qatar. Handiworks including wooden and gypsum ornaments, fishing implements, oil paintings, and old photographs line the walls of the museum in the fort, depicting the interesting history of Qatar. However, the most alluring feature of the fortress has to be the outer arena. It is heavily illustrious and creates the aura of yourself being encompassed by something eternally powerful. All of this makes the fort an important point to visit as you travel through Qatar.

Barzan Towers


The Umm Salal Mohammed Fort Towers, also known as the Barzan Towers is one of the most famous attractions to go to while visiting Qatar. These are a series of watchtowers that were initially constructed in the latter part of the 19th century. The towers were later modified during the reign of Sheikh Abdulla bin Qassim Al Thani around 1910. The main purpose of the towers was to provide fortification to the “rawdat”. A rawdat is a valley area where fresh rainwater is collected as it flows down from the higher regions and later used for a variety of regular activities.

The towers stand tall at a height of 16 meters and also served several other purposes. It was also built to keep track of the pearl divers and also to look out for approaching vessels on the sea. The tower might also have served as an observatory to track the moon and the skies. It has been restored in 2003 and is a marvelous sight to visit. The tower is also a stunning example of Islamic architecture. You will get some of the best views of the surrounding areas as you climb to the top of the tower. Be sure to carry a camera with you since the tower provides some of the most exceptional examples of photography.

The National Museum of Qatar


The National Museum of Qatar is situated in the capital city, Doha, and demands a special mention. It was opened to the public eyes on 28th March 2019 after reconstructing the original Qatar National Museum. Jean Nouvel designed this brilliant architectural masterpiece after being inspired by the desert rose crystals which are found abundantly in Qatar. Sheikh Al Thani’s palace is part of the museum since it is part of the Qatari identity. The intricate design of the museum would baffle onlookers to whom it may appear like an origami masterpiece. The museum is still under construction and slowly taking the form of an intricate desert rose.

Inland Sea


Inland Sea or Khor Al Adaid is one of the most innovative natural features in the world that you are going to see. It is alluring and captivating and is a common haunt for tourists as well as locals alike. You will find tranquillity and serenity like nowhere else while you come to visit this spot coupled together with astonishing beauty. You also get to see untouched nature in one of its purest forms as you behold Khor Al Adaid. There are options to camp at this site too for the more adventurous soul who wants to experience desert camping at its finest. Geographically speaking, Khor Al Adaid is an inlet of the sea from the Persian Gulf that cuts through the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The water in this region is much saltier than the surrounding areas since the region has high temperatures and low rainfall.

Mesaieed is the nearest settlement to the Inland Sea and you have to reach this exclusive spot from this location. If you visit the Inland Sea during a high tide you can see the dunes smoothly sloping into the sea. On the other hand, during low tides, a mesh of microbial mats is left on the sand while intricate natural patterns are drawn upon the sand visible through the inlet’s crystal-clear waters.

Al Jassasiya Carvings


Situated towards the northeastern side of Doha the Al Jassasiya Carvings are one of the most mysterious geographic features that Qatar has to offer. These are a set of petroglyphs or carvings done on stone. There are such carvings found at other sites within Qatar but these are some of the most well-preserved ones out there. The quality of these ancient carvings is also top-notch which adds to the allure that this holds. There are about 900 such glyphs found in the Al Jassasiya site representing geometric patterns, animal forms, and boat-like structures found along two parallel “jebels” or lines. These are believed to be some sort of symbolic representation though the true purpose of the petroglyphs is yet to be discovered. There are many more such markings in the region that have become indistinguishable over the years. The true origin of the symbols is also a mystery though it is believed that the markings are at least a few hundred years old.

Katara Cultural Village


The Katara Cultural Village is part of The Pearl and is situated on the eastern banks of West Bay. It is a terrific cultural center amongst the Qatari people and is a center for music, art, theatre, literature, displays, and gatherings. Huge events such as the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, Ajyal Youth Film Festival, and TEDxDoha are organized in the Cultural Village.

At the heart of the Katara Cultural Village is the Katara Mosque, an unmissable place while you are traveling through Qatar. Everything from the architectural fashion to the surrounding areas of the Katara Mosque is different from what you usually see in any Islamic nation, even within Qatar. The blue mosaic edifice with hints of red and yellow is most alluring. The design is tricky while the interiors are equally fascinating. The mosque was designed by Zainab Fadil Oglu and is regarded as one of the most beautiful mosques to visit in Qatar and the Middle East. The structure of the mosque coupled with the minarets, the interiors, and the prayer hall are all inspired by various famous mosques found in several cities throughout the world.

Doha Corniche


The Doha Corniche is another structure within the capital city, Doha, which demands a special mention. This 7 km long waterside promenade is excellently designed and has quite the mesmerizing appeal to it. Many annual celebrations in Qatar such as the Qatar National Day or the National Sports Day in Qatar are centered around this waterfront promenade. It is a popular attraction among the tourists to enjoy some relaxing and leisurely time in the capital.

Corniche is one of the most-visited places in Qatar. In fact, you’d have to cross the Corniche some time or the other as you are exploring through the capital city. It used to be empty space at one point in time but the 21st century has bought about all kinds of developmental works in the area with new skyscrapers being added to the skyline every year.

Souq Waqif


Souq Waqif is THE marketplace in Doha where you have to go to believe how grand it is. It is one of the most unmissable places in the nation and is the best place to look for all kinds of souvenirs to take home with you from your Qatar trip.  Handicraft items, spices, and traditional garments are some of the exciting wares that you are going to find at the Waqif Souq. There are also a series of restaurants as well as Shisha lounges to cater to all your culinary and relaxation needs while walking through the marketplace. Though the traditional marketplace dates back hundreds of years, it was reconstructed in 2006 to give it a more modern feel while beautifully preserving the Qatari tradition and architecture. It is not very far from Doha Corniche and should be on your  Qatar itinerary. Some of the more exotic find to look out for while walking through the marketplace has to be embroideries, perfumes, spices, and oud, a traditional incense made from agarwood.
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<![CDATA[Bahrain : ​11 Places to Look Out for in Bahrain]]>Sun, 10 Apr 2022 21:42:07 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/bahrain-11-places-to-look-out-for-in-bahrain#bahrain #middleeast #asia #arab #manama #quran

Nestled within the Gulf of Persia, Bahrain is one of the top Middle Eastern places flocked by tourists from all over the world. It is also the third smallest nation in the Asian continent. The country is naturally wholesome and beautiful and is comprised of 51 different islands that give it its enticing charm. The nation has seen much growth in the present years and there have been as many as 33 artificially built islands for you to visit and explore. Along with the beautiful islands, Bahrain also has a plethora of terrific architectural features that include mesmerizing architectural features and bustling market places. Here are some of the most satisfying places that should be on your Bahrain itinerary if you are planning a trip into this wonderful place.
Manama City

If you are planning a trip to Bahrain, you'd have to come to Manama City, the capital of the nation at some point. It is one of the best places to visit in Bahrain as it features a strong mixture of the ancient with the modern. The beautiful skyline is crowded with many significant architectural features such as tall skyscrapers coupled with interesting buildings that reflect the style and beauty of the Bahraini people. Two of the most significant man-made architectural features of the nation are to be found in Manama City- the Twin Towers that go up to a height of 240 meters and the Bahrain World Trade Center. Since this is a bustling capital city, you would find everything that you could ask for here- great places to shop for souvenirs, delicious Middle Eastern meals served at excellent cafes and restaurants. And a touch of Islamic tradition amongst everything. Ideally, you should spend about 3 days in the capital to explore it fully. The best time to do so would be between December to March when the weather remains quite pleasant allowing you to enjoy the city life in all of its glory.

The Bahrain National Museum in the capital should be one of the top places to visit in Manama City. It is spread over an area of 27,800 m2 and has all kinds of artifacts that represent the history of this nation. The architecture of this museum itself is enchanting enough to draw you into it. There are 6 main sections to look for and there is an array of artifacts, some of them dating back to 4,000 years when a kingdom was first established in this region.

Manama Souq is another significant location within the capital that you just have to visit to get a taste of the traditional marketplaces. It is situated in the heart of the capital and gives you a really good insight into the culture and tradition of the Bahraini people. Spices and jewelry items are two of the major things that you will get in the marketplace. It is also a great place to look for souvenirs to take home with you. Just be sure to up your bargaining skills while you are buying from the vendors here.

Some other impressive places that you should visit while you are in Manama City are Bahrain National Theatre, Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House, Beit Al Quran, and Al Faith Mosque.

Beit Al Quran

Beit Al Quran demands a special mention among the places to visit in Manama City since it is one of the most important places in the island nation, speaking in terms of religion. The place gets its name from the huge collection of Qurans that you could find in this place. Over here, you could find a Quran belonging to every century since the Islamic religion was founded. You will even find the first translations of the Quran into a European language. Beit Al Quran also houses a library wherein you’d find other texts and renowned works from famous Islamic writers from all around the world. There is also a collection of miniaturized Qurans to be found in the Beit Al Quran, the smallest one of them measuring just 4.7 cm x 3.2 cm. other significant artifacts that you could find in Beit Al Quran included meticulous works in calligraphy, wood carvings, and manuscripts.

Riffa Fort

Bahrain is a great place for history buffs to visit since this peculiar nation is steeped in rich history, culture, and tradition. There are so many historical attractions and architectural features to look for as you are traveling through Bahrain- the Riffa Fort being one of the most significant ones among them. It is an example of marvelous Islamic architecture and is like a time machine that takes you back to the rule of the Al Khalifas. Sheikh Salman Bin Ahmad Al Fatih had the fort constructed during his reign in 1812. There is a small museum within the fort that will provide visitors with enriching details and titbits. The mosque within the fort is open to visitors and tourists alike except when a prayer is going on. The entry to this stunning fort is free!

Hawari Island

If you want to take some time off from all the rich history that Bahrain has to offer, Hawar Island is one of your best bets! This is the ideal place to be, especially if you are a nature lover. Hawar Island offers much-needed peace and tranquillity away from life's everyday hustle and is quite an idyllic location to be in. it is situated along the Persian Gulf and opens up into the sea for your benefit. Thus, the island is also a great place to be in if you are looking forward t engaging in water sports activities. It is also a popular destination among travelers looking for a place where they can laze around in comfort in a resort or so. The ideal duration of stay in this peaceful; place would be about 2 days- there's not much to see here other than the picturesque landscape of land meeting sea. It is a great place for bird watchers since many exotic species flock to this region that including the sand gazelle and the Arabian onyx.

Amwaj Islands

The Amwaj Islands is a group of the many exotic islands that Bahrain has to offer to situate towards the north-eastern region of the island nation. It sets quite an example of being an artificial island! this is one of those places in the entire Middle East that offers some of the best beaches unlike the rest of the region which is generally barren and desolate. There are also many resorts allowing travelers to enjoy luxury stay options under the tropical sun in front of the pristine turquoise sea. You shouldn’t spend more than 2 days in the Amwaj Islands since that’ll be enough to get the best of this beach destination in the Middle East. There are also many fine-dine restaurant options coupled with numerous cafes to cater to all your savory needs. The Amwaj Islands also has many shopping complexes and malls allowing you to shop to your heart's content for all kinds of souvenirs and articles. You could be sure that the entertainment options available in the Amwaj Islands is sure to keep you busy for a long time and there is no way you could get bored here.

Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve

The Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve is a great place for nature enthusiasts within the island nation. It boasts of a huge collection of flora and fauna species- there are about 25 different species of flora in the region and t89 species of birds. You’d also find several mammalian species in this region. The park is situated in Zallaq and was constructed way back in 1976. The park is also a zoo and is divided into different sections for your convenience. There are separate water birds and wild birds parks within the reserve. There is a separate wild animals complex that houses all the mammalian species. The Dessert Flora Garden is also captivating having many different species of desert plants.

Juffair

Juffair is close to Manama City and another fine example of bustling city life in Bahrain. However, you get to see development literally reach the skies in this amazing place at a much faster pace than in Manama. New towers are popping up in this region every year and you can see that for yourself as you walk through the roads in Juffair. You should also understand that development is not the only bonus point that Juffair has to offer. For example, you will get some of the world's best-renowned delicacies in the best restaurants of Juffair. Juffair also has some of the best hotels and resorts for luxury stay options that Bahrain has to offer. Be sure to walk down the American Alley on Juffair which houses some of the best bars and pubs in the entire nation. While you are in Juffair, you should also make it a point to visit Juffair Park. Of the many other attractions that this place offers, you should also have Bahrain Fort on your Bahrain itinerary!

Isa Town

Towards the north-central part of the island nation, you will find a place that could be regarded as a shopper’s heaven- Isa Town. There is no point in staying in Isa Town for more than a day. The ultra-active marketplace of Isa Town beats some of the big malls that Bahrain has to offer. The bazaar stalls in the marketplace are shrouded in versatile shades and offer terrific fabrics up for sale. The handicraft items are also excellently crafted and you have to look out for them. The Bahrain National Stadium in Isa Town is also one of the top attractions to look forward to while you are visiting the town. The stadium is the largest one in the country and is completely packed with spectators on big match days!

Al Jasra

Al Jasra is a coastal town situated towards the Western coast of Bahrain and located exactly in the crossroads between the strait of the western coast and the King Fahd Causeway. The small village is regarded to be the heritage heartland of Bahrain and features skilled artisans who craft some of the most amazing handiworks. Weaving, pottery, jewelry, etc. are some of the handicraft items that you would find in this village thus giving you ample opportunities to collect souvenirs from your Bahrain trip. You have to visit the Al Jasra House in this village while you are exploring the place. It used to be the residence of Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and has an exquisite collection of coral stonework for visitors.

Saar

Saar is located towards the western side of the capital city Manama and is one of the finest places to go to in Bahrain. It is a peaceful place that offers much-needed tranquillity and April is the best month to visit the city in the world. The place features many urban summer houses where the rich and famous of Bahrain's population resides. it also features some of the most amazing cafes and coffee houses that you'd find in this country. There are several historical monuments that you have to look for while you are exploring Saar. The Dilmun Settlements originate in Saar and they are renowned for their skill in working with metals, particularly artwork crafted from copper and copper ore.

Muharraq

Muharraq, situated towards the eastern side of Manama is an island upon itself. The Muharraq Island has a rich history to offer dating back to the time when the Dilmun Civilization started settling in Bahrain. This is the od capita of the nation before it was changed to Manama City. The Bahrain International Airport is located in Muharraq making it the entry point into this exotic nation. You will much influence from the Greeks in Muharraq since is one of those places where the Greeks had brought prosperity. The cafes and restaurants in this city offer many delectable meals that you just have to try. You have to try the amazing mint tea that the cafes offer. You should also visit the Muharraq Souq lined with all kinds of vendors selling their wares.
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<![CDATA[Jordan: ​8 Attractions in Jordan That You Have to See]]>Sun, 20 Mar 2022 13:30:22 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/jordan-8-attractions-in-jordan-that-you-have-to-see#jordan #wadi #jerash #aqaba #trip #middleeast
            The Middle East has a lot of baren, deserted lands, but that does not mean that there is nothing to see. In fact, the entire Old Testament of the Bible is based in the Middle East and thus you'll get some spectacular relics from the past, historically significant buildings, exotic sights, and so on as you explore the region- and Jordan is the perfect gateway into exploring the Middle East. You'll get to see some of the wonders of the world, coupled with some of the most hospitable, welcoming, and friendly crowd to make your trip a memorable one. You not only get to explore a slice of history, but Jordan has a plethora of modern amenities to offer. The capital city, Amman, set in the hills, has many cafes and restaurants that serve delectable Middle Eastern cuisine, impressive shopping areas to look for souvenirs, and fine art galleries to laze through and be amazed. Thus, if you are planning a trip to Jordan, you have to give this a read to find some of the most spectacular places to visit that you just cannot miss!
Petra

Represented as an ancient, mystical site in many movies throughout the world, Petra is a common site and is also included in the list of the New Seven Wonders of the World! This is one of the most stunning monumental places that you will ever see in your life- the magnanimity of which is entirely unmatched! The ancient city has left all the visitors awestruck since its rediscovery almost 200 years back by a Swiss explorer going by the name of Jean Louis Burckhardt.

A minimum of two days is required to explore the major attractions that the ancient ruins of Petra have to offer! If you can afford to spend more time here, you won't be disappointed and keep exploring the spectacularly well-preserved monuments from the past. There are above 800 sites that are registered that you can explore in Petra. This is a place that'll make you awestruck from the moment you set foot on the lands. The first thing to see would be the Djinn Blocks as you enter the city- the original purpose of these blocks is yet to be figured out! These are followed by the Obelisk Tomb which just gives a slight indication of all the amazing monumental features that you'll get to see.

The Siq is a labyrinthine, snaking pathway carved through a canyon and bounded long walls. As you take a closer look at these walls you will find the remnants of the channels that used to water this ancient city. You'll also see niches where sacred carvings are made, known as "baetyl" indicating that Petra not only used to be a grand city but also a holy one. The Siq will lead you on to Al-Khanneh or the Treasury. The Hellenistic façade of the Treasury is one of the most popular man-made features from the Middle East represented in all kinds of artwork throughout the world. The legends tell that this was the stronghold that hid away a glorious treasure from the pharaoh when Moses walked through the land.

These are the primary attractions that Petra has to offer. After looking through these, you could take a walk down the Street of Facades and check out the many tombs there. You would get an enticing view of the High Place of Sacrifice after climbing a set of several very steep stairs. The Colonnaded Street is also an impressive exploration point in the ruins of the city while the Theatre is awe-inspiring. The Monastery requires you to walk up 850 steps but it too is a magnificent sight to behold. During the night, the Petra Night Show comes alive when the Siq and the Treasury are alighted by over 1,500 candles!

Dead Sea


The Dead Sea is a world-renowned attraction for quite a lot of reasons. Firstly, being 418 meters below sea level, it is the lowest area on earth that you could access through roadways. And then, the myths, legends, and scientific facts about the immense mineral deposits in the Dead Sea and the healing properties that the waters hold make it even more enticing. The bright aquamarine sheen of the Dead Sea makes it even more lucrative. In short, a visit to Jordan is incomplete if you do not visit the Dead Sea, a natural wonder of the world on to itself! The setting is also dramatic- the aquamarine waters dazzle under the beside rock ledges with salt deposits and against a backdrop of red mountains. It is accessible through the capital city, Amman, and is about an hour's ride away.

The mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea bring in an array of wellness devotees from all around the world. However, the water is very dense and you shouldn’t even try to swim in it. All you can do is float on the water- be sure to keep it out of your eyes since the intense salinity is going to sting in your eyes like nothing else. The Dead Sea mud is also much glorified and it is said that once you apply it on your skin and wash it off, you can instantly feel that it has become much softer.

Wadi Rum


Wadi Rum is situated towards the southern end of Jordan and is one of the most spectacular geographic features in the world. The place is also known as "Valley of the Moon" and the place will give you out-of-the-world experience! with special features. The rocky valley is composed of sandstone and granite rock formations coupled together with humongous sand dunes, caverns, and swirling archways. The 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia was mostly shot in this spectacular location and it has earned a listing in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2011.

This region is inhabited by the Zalabia Bedouin tribe and they have converted the place into an ecotourism hotspot. Of the many activities you can try in this place riding a camel or a wonderful Arabian horse is one of the most exciting things to do. You could also go on hiking expeditions through many trails carved in the rocky landscape. The region is also a haven for rock climbers, and if you are not into adventure sports you could simply dash through the sand on ATV tours. While in Wadi Rum make it a point to visit Khazali Canyon where there are numerous petroglyphs featuring humans and antelopes and dating back to the 8th century BC. Wadi Rum also has many glamorous camping or "glamping" options available for you to enjoy. Since there is negligible interference from light pollution, the barren lands of Wadi Rum offer an excellent opportunity for stargazers at night!

Jerash Ruins


The Jerash Ruins is one of the best places in Jordan and visiting the place is one the closest things to sitting on a time machine and going on a tour into the past.it is a Roman City and of the best-preserved ruins in the world! There is everything in these ruins of a city that includes colonnaded avenues, beautiful temples, and an immense sports complex that can house almost 15,000 spectators. Hadrian’s Arch is the best place to start your exploration of the Jerash Ruins. A walk through this 11-meter structure is going to be one of the most memorable things that you ever do- just imagine how grand it originally looked like when the towering structure was almost double in height when it was functioning.

You should also visit the Hippodrome while you are in the ruins. It’s a sports complex dating back to the 2nd century and is famed to have hosted incredible chariot races as thousands of spectators cheered for their favorites. There are shows hosted in the Hippodrome which re-enacts the ancient games of gladiator fights and chariot races for your convenience. The Forum is another place of importance that you just have to see to believe. It is an oval-shaped plaza with tall columns that will give you a grand feeling. The Temple of Zeus is nearby and climbing up the steps to the top will open up a grand view into the colonnaded site. The ornate South Theatre is also going to captivate your imagination. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as you walk through the many monumental features since there is no shade and the walks could get extremely hot and tiring!

Aqaba


Apart from the terrific man-made and natural features that Jordan has to offer, you would also get to enjoy the joys of a beach in Aqaba. The city is situated towards the southern fringes of Jordan and is washed by the vibrant waters of the Red Sea. Since there is a sea, all kinds of water activities are possible in this region such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The local hotels also offer cruise rides into the bright turquoise waters of the Red Sea and it is a beautiful journey in itself. While you are in Aqaba, you have to try the "sayadieh"- it is a flavourful fish dish made from local fish mixed with onions, tomatoes, chili pepper, and rice.

Amman’s Roman Ruins


The Middle East holds a plethora of archaeologically significant sites and Petra is not the only place to witness them. You’ll get a taste of the mystical Roman ruins while you are staying in the capital city, Amman- you have to come here as you enter Jordan through this impressive location. The ruins are easy to explore since they are a short walking distance away from one another.

The Amman Citadel is one of the most popular ruins to visit in the city and you have to have it in your Jordan itinerary! The artifacts that archaeologists have dug up from this impressive location suggest that the place has been inhabited since the bronze age- yes, it speaks of an ancient history! A few columns on the Temple of Hercules still stand tall today giving you an impression of a significant, yet incomplete Roman architecture. The place holds stone sculptures shaped in the form of fingers- it is believed to be part of a statue of Hercules that was supposed to be almost 12 meters tall giving you an idea of the majesty of this site.

The ruin of the Roman Theatre in Amman is also worth your time. The amphitheater has been restored and features a capacity of seating up to 6,000 spectators, dating back to the time of the Roman rule in Amman before the Christian era began. The Nymphaeum is a nearby site built around the same time as the theatre- it is an intricately designed Roman fountain. You should also visit the smaller Odeon theatre which had a seating capacity of 500.

Once you are done witnessing the ancient features in Amman, it is time for you to engross wholeheartedly into the modern culture that the pace has to offer. Walk through Rainbow Street where you will find many art galleries, shops to collect souvenir items, and many restaurants and cafes to satiate your hunger for Middle Eastern delicacies.

Madaba and the Ancient Mosaics


Madaba is an interesting place to visit in Jordan. While nearly all the locations in the world demand that you look up and about to see something spectacular, Madaba has intricate Mosaics that you have to look down upon. These are some of the finest mosaics in the world to be found in the location of their origin and are spread through the many churches and buildings in the region.

St. George’s Church in Madaba looks unassuming but it has one of the most significant mosaics in Jordan. The Madaba Mosaic Map dates back to the 6th century and illustrates what the holy land looked like during the reign of the Byzantine empire. Though some of the almost 2 million tiles are missing, you'd still get to see how the entire Middle East looked like in all its glory during that era.

Madaba also has two archaeological parks that display more of such mosaics. Archaeological Park I feature an open-air museum and has a display of geometric mosaics collected from the Church of Virgin Mary- a site that was rediscovered in someone’s basement in 1887. You’ll also find Jordan’s oldest mosaic work dating back to the 1st century BC. You might also visit Archaeological Park II, situated in a Byzantine Era mansion. Here too you’ll find some excellent examples of mosaic work.

Wadi Mujib


Wadi Mujib is a canyon much like the Grand Canyon in America and is situated about 70 km away from the Dead Sea. The canyon has a width of 4 km and a depth of 1 km making it an immense natural feature in the area. Here, you'll get to witness some Middle Eastern wildlife firsthand such as the Egyptian vultures, striped hyena, Syrian wolf, and Nubian ibex. You could also go on hiking expeditions, especially through the Wadi Mujib gorge though you might get a little wet while doing so. The Mujib Reserve Biosphere is also a stunning location to visit to witness the tranquil, picturesque setting while you enjoy yourself in a hot spring!
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<![CDATA[Bahamas: ​10 Attractions to Not Miss in the Bahamas]]>Tue, 15 Mar 2022 21:14:40 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/bahamas-10-attractions-to-not-miss-in-the-bahamas#bahamas #atlantis #harbour #andros
            Just 80 km off the coast of Florida lies the paradisiacal powdery-sand beaches of the Bahamas washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea in sublime shades of blue. This is one of the most elusive beach destinations that any beach-lover can think of going to. There are 700 islands and more than 2,000 cays that make up the Bahamas. This region was once exclusively inhabited by pirates and Loyalists- however, nowadays, it is a destination for the rich and famous and frequented by travelers looking for exciting water-based adventures such as boating, diving, fishing, sailing, and snorkeling. Here we will give you a list of some of the things that you have to do while you are exploring the Bahamas and thus plan your trip accordingly.
Nassau

Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is situated on New Province Island.  It is one of the most popular ports on the Caribbean for cruise ships. Though it is crowded by lots and lots of tourists, there is no end to the exciting things that you could be doing on this island. Cable Beach is one of the most terrific beaches that you have to visit while you are staying at Nassau. There are shops and restaurants to look through and explore in the beaches. You shouldn’t miss the chance of walking through the colonial buildings coloured like candies on Bay Street. The Nassau Straw Market is a great place to shop for souvenirs on the trip.

The Blue Lagoon Island is nearby and just a catamaran ride away from Nassau. This is a lovely place especially for animal lovers as you get a first-hand experience with dolphins! The Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Center is another fun place that should be on your list of top attractions in the Bahamas to enjoy some comfortable time among rare and endangered animals.

Atlantis Paradise Island

A short distance off the coast of Nassau, about 5 km away is the Paradise Island. The Atlantis Paradise Island is a one-of-a-kind salmon-pink luxury resort build in this place. The charm of the resort resides in the legendary Atlantis-like setup complete with an entertainment complex, a water park, and an aquarium.

Aquaventure, a 141-acre waterscape, is one of the most unmissable places to visit while you are in the Bahamas. Popular attractions in Aquaventure include exhilarating water-slides such as the “Leap of faith”, over 20 areas reserved for swimming activities, and the relaxing Lazy River Ride.

Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park

If you are looking forward to witnessing some of the most satisfying seascapes in the Bahamas, you’d have to head to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. You will find beaches laid with bone-white sand and washed by electrifying blue waves! It is situated along the eastern edge of the Bahamas and is a relatively remote area. In fact, it is one of the first marine protected areas in the Caribbean region. Mostly visitors interested in diving or boating through the clear waters find their way into this amazing cay. The waters in the region are so amazingly clear that on a good day, one could get visibility of up to 30 meters underwater. Just be sure that no fishing or shelling activities is allowed in this protected area. You could get to this area on private areas to enjoy the diverse marine live and water activities.

The Exuma Cays is also home to some of the most famous people in the world such as movie stars like Johnny Depp and David Copperfield. Great Exuma is the largest while Little Exuma and Staniel Cay are popular among those interested in boating and enjoying the cool ambiance of the friendly restaurants. You should visit the Thunderball Cave in Staniel Cay which was brought to immense popularity thanks to the James Bond franchise.

Harbour Island

Harbour Island is one of the prettiest islands that you get to see in the Bahamas. The beach is covered in salmon-pink hued sand and lapped by the outstanding blue waves from the sea. It is situated to the north-eastern side of Eleuthera and has attracted many rich and famous people as a popular getaway.  It is also one of the first settlements in the Bahamas and lovingly called “Briland” by the locals. It also happens to be the place where the first Bahamian Parliament was set up.

Back in the 1700s, English Loyalists had settled down in this region. You should visit Dunmore Town to look into the bygone era through the many brightly coloured cottages that they had constructed in the region. An interesting aspect of the island is the mode of road transportation that you find here- golf carts! The interesting history and the beautiful beaches make this one of the top attractions to have on your list of places to visit in the Bahamas. Like other beach destinations, you can spend your time basking under the tropical sun, swimming in the clear blue waters, and diving, fishing, and snorkelling in the sea. If you are short on time, you can visit this place as a day trip from mainland Nassau as regular ferries are scheduled from the capital.

Grand Bahama Island

The Grand Bahama Island is located towards the northernmost part of the Bahamas and an impressive and popular destination among tourists from all around the world. Freeport is the capital city of the island and is the second largest city in the nation. However, Port Lucaya has replaced Freeport as the tourist hub for shopping, entertainment, and dining. Port Lucaya Marketplace is a remarkable place to visit if you are looking for jewellery and straw items to be collected as souvenirs from the trip.

While in the Grand Bahama Island, make it a point to visit the underwater cave system- it is one of the largest ones in the world. The Garden of Groves is an attractive spot, especially for nature lovers. There are large plantations in this region coupled with exotic species of birds that fly around in the region in different seasons. There are 3 national parks in the area where you’d find many native bird species and you could even book an encounter with dolphins.

Andros Island

Andros Island is the place in the Bahams where things start to get really exciting an thus you shouldn’t miss it for anything! This is the largest kandmass among all the islands in the Bahams and also happens to be the home to the third largest coral barrier reef in the whole world. This place has one of the most diverse marine lives to offer and there are ither exciting features such as underwater caves and freshwater holes creating an elusive underwater wonderland.

One of the most popular activities to partake in the Andros Island is bonefishing. In fact, this place is regarded as the bonefishing capital of the world because of the extremely habitable environment. There are vast wetlands spread throughout the island that makes it such a rich reservoir of marine biodiversity. The island also has 5 national parks making it the largest protected area in the Bahamas. There are mud flats, forests, and mangrove swamps in the region which are home to numerous bird species, both native and exotic, giving birders an excellent opportunity. You should also visit the Androsia Hand Made batik Factory to collect memorable souvenirs in the form of brightly-coloured fabrics which display a plethora of Bahamian motifs.

Treasure Cay Beach

The Treasure Cay Beach is located in the Great Abaco Island towards the eastern shore. It is often regarded as one of the most striking and beautiful beaches not only in the Bahamas but the nature world. You’ll be welcomed by sandy beaches which are soft as flour to touch and are washed by waters with a brilliant aqua hue. The crescent-shaped coastline only adds to the charm that tis brilliant place holds. Treasure Cay is an upscale community of resorts and of the most terrific fishing tournaments is held in this region. The region was hit by a devastating category 5 hurricane in 2019 and you should check in with the tourist amenities available before you plan a trip to this place.

Elbow Cay

The Elbow Cay is also situated among the Abacos and is accessible through the Marsh Harbour. This impressive place in the Bahamas holds all the charm that you’d find in a typical English fishing village away from home. Hope Town is the main settlement area in this island and features brightly coloured cottages lining the main street. The town center is inaccessible to vehicles as they are not permitted inside which further enhances the rustic, village-like feel in this region. One of the most famous attractions of this region are the lighthouses painted in candy hued stripes. You have to visit the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum while you are in this island region. You should also make it a point to visit the nearby Tilloo Cay Reserve which is an 11-acre habitat devoted entirely to birds. The Guana Cay is also a popular destination to visit while you are in this region. Elbow Cay was also hit by the category 5 hurricane in 2019 and you should check in abut the accommodations and amenities available before you plan a trip into this place.

Bimini

Bimini, also known as the “Big Game Fishing Capital of the Bahamas” is another unmissable place that you have to have in your Bahamas itinerary. The best time to visit this area in the Bahamas is between March to September when deep-sea fishing tournaments are hosted. This is mostly because of the closeness of this region to the Gulf Stream which welcomes a warm stream and makes it an ideal habitat to a diverse range of marine life such as marlins, mahi-mahis, and manta rays. You will also find references to Bimini in the novels by Ernest Hemmingway “The Old man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”. Hemmingway had spent considerable time in this island and was drawn towards it because of the big catches that the island promises.

The entire region of Bimini includes North Bimini and South Bimini and several cays between the Pigeon Cay and the South Cat Cay. It is also the closes of the Bahamian island to Florida at just 88 km away from the US. Other than big game fishing, visitors could immerse themselves in diving, swimming, and snorkeling activities while visiting the place.  Rainbow Reef, Victory Reef, and Sapona Wreck are some of the most popular attractions that you have to cover while you are exploring Bimini.

Long Island

If you are looking for a place to get away from the daily tourists that crowds the major attractions of the Bahamas, Long Island is your best bet. Situated towards the southern end of the Bahamian archipelago, this is one of the most beautiful islands in the nation and offers visitors with untouched, unexplored nature at its finest. The island spans over a length of 130 km while being only 7 km wide and has a contrasting geography with sandy beaches on the western side lined by rocky mountains on the eastern side. The beaches are laden with white and pink sand and are a delight to lie lazily and bask under the sun. you have to visit the Dean’s Blue Hole which is the deepest saltwater blue-hole in the world yet, known to man-kind. You can enter the Long Island through Nassau through a ferry ride or you could take one of the regularly scheduled flights into the island.
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<![CDATA[Costa Rica: 10 Attractions to Not Miss in Costa Rica]]>Sun, 13 Mar 2022 21:08:25 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/costa-rica-10-attractions-to-not-miss-in-costa-rica#coatarica #costa #rica #volcan
            Costa Rica is a terrific place with a plethora of natural attractions including cloud forests, volcanoes, beaches, and unique flora and fauna. This is a nation that brings in a wide variety of tourists and visitors including bird watchers, luxury travelers, backpackers, and those interested in water-based activities such as swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. San Jose, the capital city, is historically very significant and has some of the finest museums in the nation. However, the charm of the nation can only be felt as one moves away from the capital city into the villages and forests of Costa Rica. Here is a list of some of the most fascinating places to visit and things to do while you are planning a trip to Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is an amalgamation of a bit of all the things that Costa Rica has to offer. Lush green forests are ending in pristine beaches and the region features terrific wildlife activity. The moment you step into the national park area you will be gifted by wondrous and vibrant sights that include brightly colored butterflies and birds. Some other wildlife forms that you are most likely to see while you are exploring through the area are different kinds of monkeys (squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys), sloths, and capuchins. You could also join one of the guided tours arranged by the locals to get a more informative and thrilling experience as you explore the park. The idea of getting a guide is that they are well-versed with the region and sometimes know well which points are the popular haunts to look out for various animals and birds.

The beach washed by the ocean is the most active region in the entire town. From soccer matches to adventurous surfers, you get to see all kinds of activities happening on the beach during the daytime. The waves in this region are very gentle allowing beginner surfers to enjoy a gala time in the ocean waters. As you move away from the beach towards the mountainous regions, you will find many hillside restaurants as well as stores where you can shop for souvenirs. Even within the national park, many beaches are calm, quiet, and away from the tourists that crowd the main beach in the town.

Volcan Arenal


Volcan Arenal and the surrounding national park area is one of the top volcano attractions in Costa Rica. The volcano is situated in the Cordillera de Tilarán, a rugged, mountainous area hiding away some mesmerizing views. The Arenal Volcano is the main attraction of the place- it is a magnificent sight, seeing the huge, singular, cone-shaped mountain wherefrom huge ash columns are often spewing out from the crater. The Arenal Volcano has been dormant for over 400 years between the 1500s and the 1900s. On a sad July day in 1968, the volcano had a massive explosion that had taken the lives of 82 residents and devastated two villages in the vicinity. Since that time, the volcano has been very active and lucky visitors might also get to see a line of lava flowing out of the volcano instead of the regular ash columns.

Another impressive feature of the park is the terrific biodiversity available here. You’d get to see almost half the fauna species available in Costa Rica in the form of vibrant birds, lazy reptiles, amphibians, and even mammalian life forms. There is only one lodge that provides housing within the Arenal Volcano National Park area- the Arenal Observatory Lodge. It was established in 1987 and is located within a farm specializing in the cultivation of macadamia nuts towards the southern fringes of the volcano. The lodge provides an excellent view of the magnanimous volcano and the nearby lake; you'd also find many hiking trails in the surrounding regions that could take you to unexplored waterfalls and even recent lava flow areas.

Monteverde


Monteverde is an attractive and unmissable location and has to be on your itinerary as you are traveling through Costa Rica. This is home to the famed Cloud Forests which spreads out over Monteverde and the nearby Santa Elena and is one of the prime locations to visit in this country. This is the place to be if you are a nature lover and want to see unique and exotic species of flora and fauna without moving too far off the known paths.

This area is perpetually covered in clouds which provide the desired moisture to sustain the many unique habitats available throughout the region. Birding s a very common activity in this region since many exotic bird species frequent this area. You'll also get to see all kinds of reptilian, amphibian, and mammalian animal forms in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as well as the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Among the amphibians, you'll get to see a wide range of brilliantly colored frogs as you explore the region- just don't get too close to them since some of them could be fatally poisonous! Among the mammals, you'd get to see jaguars as well as pumas if you are lucky enough. There are many scheduled organized hikes in this region and that is one of the best ways to explore through the forests.

The Monteverde and Santa Elena regions are located about 4 hours by road towards the northern side of the capital San Jose. These two are the prime locations in the cloud forest region and also offer brilliant restaurants, art galleries, and so on.

Dominical


If you are a tropical backpacker, there is no other place in Costa Rica for you to be better than Dominical! This place has its all- cheap accommodations, dirt streets, open-air restaurants featuring a casual ambiance, striking beaches, and an overall energetic and friendly vibe. It is also a terrific spot for surfers and offers amazing surfing opportunities in the cool blue waters. It is also a popular destination for the crowd seeking a luxury tour and has many luxury inns and BnBs in the outskirts or amongst the hills. These points are often set up in remote locations and thus offer visitors a chance to interact with the wildlife of the region. Along the beaches, you will find many vendors who have set up small shops in the shaded areas of the beach. Here, you'll find tons of handiwork that you could take home as souvenirs from the trip. There are less popular, quieter beaches towards the outskirts of the main town if you are looking for some quiet time away from the maddening crowd.

Tamarindo


Tamarindo is situated on the Nicoya Peninsula and is a prime location for exclusive beach-related activities. It used to be a fishing village at one time but nowadays it has grown to become a tourist hotspot in Costa Rica. This place features a wide range of accommodations for budget as well as luxury travelers and some of the finest, most delectable food that Costa Rica has to offer! The Tamarindo Beach spans over 1.5 km and the town is built around this beach. It is an ideal place for surfing and there are places where experienced as well as beginner surfers can enjoy a fun time. The November and December months see the biggest waves! Other fun activities that you partake in while in Tamarindo are snorkeling and diving, ziplining, horseback riding, and the elusive turtle watching in the right season. Nearby the Playa Grande beach, between October to March, hundreds of leatherback turtles flock to the place to nest and lay eggs making it one of the most important nesting grounds in Costa Rica.

Mal Pais & Santa Teresa


While you are in the Nicoya Peninsula area, you should also visit Mal Pais, especially if you are an adventurous surfer and looking for big waves. This is a very popular area among surfers and attracts them from all around the world. Santa Teresa is the main town in this region and the hub of all activities. There are even small villages lining Mal Pais such as the village of mal Pais itself and Manzanillo!

Jaco


The city of San Jose offers all kinds of amenities but the huge crowd of tourists and locals alike could make it tiring. Jaco is the best bet if you are looking forward to staying in a big town with all the amenities available while avoiding the crowds of tourists and locals. The beaches in this region are good- they are spacious and you will have a pleasant time walking along the coastline during sunset. However, compared to the other beaches spread throughout Costa Rica, these could only be regarded as average beach destinations.

The waves of the sea are smaller allowing for pleasant surfing and swimming activities. However, Jaco is very well-developed and there are many modern apartments for accommodation in the area. You will also find modernistic stores that have everything that you could be looking for. There are also many impressive restaurants as well as hotels in the region serving delectable food and great stay options. This makes it a great place for retirees and ex-pats- however, there is not much to see or do here if you are a tourist.

Tortugero National Park


The Tortuguero National Park area is situated towards the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and is accessible only through the water on boats or through planes. It is one of the wettest regions in the entire country and has something out-of-the-box in store for you. It is an important area for breeding amongst the green sea turtles and thus the national park area offers plenty of opportunities to watch these impressive creatures. As you can understand, turtle watching is the main activity in this area!

There are so many attractive beaches in this area. However, it is advised that you do not go and take a dip in the sea in this area or go for surfing activities- the waves, as well as the currents, are very rough in this region and if you are not experienced enough, it could be very fatal for you. The waters are also frequented by sharks making surfing and swimming activities even more perilous. Thousands of green sea and leatherback turtles flock to this island to lay their eggs and you are allowed to watch them only on guided tours. Many efforts at enhancing conservation practices have been adopted which has further added to the number of turtles that come to this impressive nesting ground.

There are also many hiking trails and boat ride options available in this region. While on such an expedition you could see sloths, monkeys, and kinkajous in this region. If you are lucky enough, you might also get a chance to see such wildlife as peccaries and tapirs. Other reptilian forms that you will find in this region are freshwater turtles, snakes, and lizards while amphibians such as toads and frogs are also available in plenty.

Irazu Volcano National Park


At a height of 3,432 m, the Irazu Volcano in Costa Rica is the highest amongst the active volcanoes of the nation! The top of the volcano has a moon-like landscape and there are many craters spread here and there. The main crater of the Irazu Volcano has a diameter of 1,050 meters and goes as deep as 300 meters. The Diego de la Haya Crater is another one of the famous craters in the region- it is considerably much smaller, though it is covered by a lake that showcases a lime-green hue. At times, the water on this crater might also appear red. There are marked trails in the national park area that will take you to these two main craters. Some trails take you to two other smaller craters in the area, one of which contains another small lake. Another significant natural feature to look out for is a pyroclastic cone that has been created over the years from fragmented igneous rocks. On a clear day, you will get a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea from the top of the volcano.

Rincón de la Vieja National Park


The Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a vibrant area to find yourself in offering some exciting hiking trails. the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is the prime attraction that the National Park has to offer. The most popular activity in this region would be to take the 9.6 km hike to the top of the volcano. The trail starts at Las Pailas and you'd have to pass through different kinds of ecosystems as you slowly traipse your way to the top. If you are lucky to be on the summit on a clear day, you will have a fine view of the Nicoya Peninsula all the way up to Nicaragua. There are other trails too in this region that are shorter and less strenuous. These would lead you to various waterfalls in this region as well as hot springs. Tapirs, monkeys, sloths, pumas, jaguars, and ocelots are some of the active wildlife that you get to see in this region.
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<![CDATA[​Panama: 8 Attractions to Not Miss in Panama]]>Sat, 12 Mar 2022 22:26:52 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/panama-8-attractions-to-not-miss-in-panama#panama #bocas #sunset #travel
            There are innumerable possibilities to explore though as you are planning a trip into Panama. It is surrounded by sea and there are terrific beach destinations as well as islands on both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast. The interior of the country has vivid mountainous areas with coffee plantations, a plethora of wildlife, and some exhilarating hiking routes. Other attractions in Panama include spectacular small towns, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and a myriad of natural wonders. There is an opportunity to soak in the daily life of a big metropolitan city in Panama too. So, if you are planning a trip to Panama, here are a couple of ideas that you have to try out while you are in the country.
Panama City

Panama City is the capital of Panama. You have to visit Panama one way or the other when you are entering Panama. This is an all-around metropolitan atmosphere. There are quite some attractions to see and a general city-life ambiance to enjoy while you are here. The Panama Canal in Panama City is the most famous place to go to while you are visiting Panama. It connects the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side to the Pacific Ocean on the west. When you see a humongous ship cruise through this narrow pass from one giant ocean to the other, then only can you fathom the sheer brilliance and ingenuity that went behind the construction of the Panama Canal. If you want a more detailed outlook of the Panama Canal, the best way for you would be to take a boat ride through it. Traveling about 25 minutes away from downtown Panama City you’d come to Miraflores Locks. This is the best point to see the canal from the 5-storeyed visitors center over there. It also houses a small museum that you can walk through if you have the time.

Another interesting place that you have to visit while you are in Panama City is Casco Viejo or the Old Town. You’d be surrounded by history recreated or preserved as you graze through the narrow streets. There are a plethora of brightly colored buildings and historic ruins that look down upon the dazzling bay. This is a small area and you can look through all the attractions while strolling through the Old Town. As evening falls, the buildings are lit up in vibrant, bright lights with restaurants and cafes setting up chairs and tables on the sidewalks. There are also many boutique hotels in this region crafted into restored buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Bocas del Toro


On the Caribbean side of this nation, the major beach to visit is Bocas del Toro.it is very near to the border that Panama shares with Costa Rica and has excellent soft beaches washed by azure-hued waters. The climate is tropical and you will find an overall relaxed atmosphere throughout this area. The beach is a storehouse of water-based activities which includes swimming in the vast ocean, diving, and surfing. You might also choose to laze around under the brightly shining sun. The activities are available at very affordable prices.

The main part of Bocas del toro is simply called Bocas Town, situated on Isla Colon. There isn't much to do in the town and there aren't many beaches either. However, as you walk around the island, you will find the most alluring stretches of sand throughout the island and you could even take boat rides to nearby islands. Bluff Beach, Red Frog Beach, and Starfish Beach are some of the most famous ones that you ought to visit while enjoying a stay in this amazing place.

You could enter Bocas del Toro through the airport situated in Isla Colon. You could enter this region through roadways too- you'd need to travel for about 3.5 hours through the mountains from Boquete into Almirante, wherein you will find numerous boats willing to take you to the island.

Sunset Coast


If you are looking for a place to get away from even the numerous tourists that crowd Panama, Sunset Coast would be your best bet. It is nestled along the Pacific Ocean side of the country and one of the few places in Panama that offer a magnificent sunset view into the Pacific Ocean. It is a fairly undiscovered and unexplored area with numerous small towns allowing you to find easy lodging in small lodges and inns. Most of the visitors in this region are from Panama allowing you to completely get away from the daily crowd. The setting is mostly rural with farmlands, nearby hills, and immense expanses of beaches lined by palm forests. This is also a great place for surfers to enjoy the lofty waves of the Pacific in solitude.

Boquete


Since the climate in Panama is most coastal and tropical, it often gets unbearably hot and stuffy! The town of Boquete is set amongst the mountains and thus offers a much-needed respite from the sultry climate of the nation. It is a safe, relaxed town that is often visited by the people of Panama as a weekend getaway, and the people from the northern regions during the winter months.

Boquete holds many excellent restaurants along with a plethora of impressive hotels and luxurious inns. The climate favors coffee plantations and this place is an important region for coffee cultivation in Panama. The area also offers favorable climatic conditions that attract much wildlife allowing visitors to enjoy a relaxing hiking expedition. Many birds frequent the forests in Boquete creating great birding opportunities. While you are in Boquete you should take one of the tours through a coffee plantation. A vehicle is very useful to explore Boquete since it allows you to easily be transported to nearby mountainous destinations.

There are a 15 miles long magical trail in Boquete- it is also one of the best short drive routes in the nation. You'd find many trailheads, waterfalls, a brilliant river, and even an old, desolate castle while traveling through the roue. You will also get stunning views of Volcan Baru as you ride through this route. The Finca Lerida Lodge on this route is an excellent haunt among tourists, especially if you are fond of birding. You might also arrange a hike up Volcan Baru, through the popular Quetzal Trail, or up the many beautiful waterfalls to be found in this region.

San Blas Islands


If you want to go completely off the radar into a highly adventurous journey, San Blas Island would be a great place for you. Have you ever seen the picture of a heavenly beach on a postcard? Well, that is exactly what San Blas Island has in offer for you- white beaches lined by palm trees and lapped by the crystal clear, turquoise water of the ocean. A sailboat charter would be one of the most luxurious ways to explore this gorgeous island. The captain knows some of the unbelievably magnificent spots throughout this island and makes stops in these regions. You could choose your cruise duration on the beautiful luxury catamarans between 3 and 21 days. The package also includes food and beverages allowing you to experience some amazing moments such as dining under the starlit sky. If you are low on a budget there are more economical options available. The best deal would be to book a package from the indigenous Guna people which includes somewhat rustic accommodations, three basic meals every day, and trips around the island. You have to be a Robinson Crusoe to enjoy the beauty of this island and have to be mentally and physically prepared to take on all the challenges that this off-the-grid trip is going to offer!

Parque Nacional Coiba


Isla Coiba is a part of Santa Catalina and is now known as the Coiba National Park or the Parque Nacional Coiba. This is a lush green island and is regarded as a biodiversity hotspot. Almost 200 different species of birds along with other fauna such as turtles, snakes, and crocodiles are extensively found in this region. Even scuba diving activities are very famous in this region due to diverse marine life including whale sharks who regularly come to this area.

While you come to visit Parque Nacional Coiba, you should also explore the surrounding Santa Catalina. It is one of the most terrific places in Panama to go on adventurous surfing expeditions on the Pacific Ocean. The town has an overall laid-back ambiance and is a great place to relax and forget about the rest of the world. Funky restaurants and impressive hotels have a charming effect on you that does in fact slow time down for you! You could also go snorkeling or scuba-diving in nearby places if you are not that fond of surfing.

Los Cangilones

Los Cangilones is a short distance away from and downhill of Boquete. The lower elevation makes the weather over here much warmer and you will find fun, party scenes around the area during hot days. Panamanians flock to this place to relax in the cool river waters while songs are being played, barbecues are set up, and numerous food vendors sell their wares. This is a unique geographical location wherein the river first narrows down and forms a gorge and then opens up into a shallow pool. People of all ages jump down from the walls surrounding this place to take a dip into the cool water by diving.   You might just wade through the shallow waters near the gorge's mouth if you are looking for something milder. Entering the park would require a small fee but it is worth it!

Playa Coronado


Playa Coronado is another impressive beach destination to hit in Panama. You will find miles-long golden and black sand beaches in Playa Coronado. The water has a greyish-greenish tinge in this region and is not entirely blue. The larger waves in the sea could be dangerous and anybody swimming should be very cautious. There are many beachfront hotels and BnBs in the region allowing you to enjoy relaxing beach times. You should however remember that Playa Coronado is one of the hottest destinations in Panama and temperatures could get very intense during the dry seasons.
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<![CDATA[​South Korea: What You Could Be Doing in South Korea!]]>Wed, 09 Mar 2022 20:35:51 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/south-korea-what-you-could-be-doing-in-south-koreaPictureSouth Korea
#southkorea #korea #seoul
South Korea is an amazing place and has a bit of everything that any person can ask for. Tremendous locations, invigorating culture, delectable cuisine- you name it, and you will find it in South Korea. You will also find a huge diversity in the locations offered to ranging from ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples perched amongst nature atop mountains to the ultra-modern city of Seoul. So, if you are planning a trip to S. Korea, here are some places that you just cannot miss!

Changdeokgung Palace

​The 15th century saw the Joseon Dynasty building five grand palaces throughout South Korea, around Seoul, and the Changdeokgung Palace is one of them. This used to be the regular residence of the king as well as the royal family. It is more of a palatial complex with a plethora of buildings with different administrative and residential needs. There are even libraries, meeting rooms, dining rooms, and other wondrous architectural creations. The 78-acre Huwon palace garden situated behind the palace is entirely unmissable. There are beautiful pagodas, lakes, and streams, and wonderfully kept green spaces in the garden.

Busan

The second-largest city in the country is Busan and it comes with a stunning beach. It is a fun place that is also filled with loads of culture and historical facts. It is also very easy to reach Busan from Seoul- all you need to do is take the bullet train from Seoul and you’ll be in Busan in a couple of hours. The Beomeosa Temple and the Gamecheon are two places that you just can’t miss while on a trip to Busan. Gamecheon is one of the European-styled villages situated exactly atop a cliff against the sea, somewhat like Santorini in Korea.

The Jagalchi Market in Busan is the largest among the seafood markets in the entire country. You have to visit the place if you are a food buff and fond of seafood. Several smaller restaurants in the region serve food, so you can eat seafood fresh from the sea.

North Seoul Tower & Lotte World

The North Seoul tower is one of the most iconic locations in Korea. It has been represented in various artistic works, films, books, and so on. If you are in Korea, you have to visit this place in Seoul. It is constructed atop a mountain, and with the combined height of the tower, you go as high as 500 m above sea level. This gets you an amazing view of the entire city in front of you. The surrounding Mount Namsan is also a brilliant place to explore, especially because of the many hiking trails in the region. There are restaurants and observation areas (both indoor and outdoor) within the tower.

A cable car from Myeogdong will take you to the base of the tower from where you'd have to hike up the remaining part. While in the area, you should also visit the Namsan Hanok Village. Hanok Villages are places where the ancient culture has been preserved and you get a glimpse of how life used to be back then.

There’s another superb attraction waiting for you at the base of North Seoul Tower- the Lotte World. You get a taste of the exact commercial culture in Korea at this place. This is an amazing place for kids as well as adults. Kids could enjoy the many rides available in the park, the cultural performance, magic shows in Magic Island, while adults could shop for all kinds of souvenirs, visit Korean workshops, and much more.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Hanok Villages are a common sight throughout Korea and could be best described as living museums. These are particular locations where restoration and preservation work has been conducted to get back the old, ancient neighborhoods. In short, these are functioning places, where you get an original idea of how life used to be in Korea. Bukchon is one of the original locations of a Korean village. If you visit Bukchon, you will be put on a time machine and flown 600 years into the past to experience life as it was back then.

Hanoks are the preserved buildings and there are many such intact buildings where you can experience the true Korean culture. Some of the hanoks have been modified into museums to give you insights into life back then. There are also cultural shows and demonstrations hosted in some of the hanoks which are just wonderful to look at. You could also live in some of the hanoks which have been converted to hotels and experience the Korean lifestyle from the core. Some of the hanoks are even inhabited by residents which give makes enjoying the place an even more wholesome experience.​

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan was the first region in Korea to be declared a national park. This eco-hub has a bit of everything natural that you could ask for-waterfalls, lakes, long hiking trails, over 1,500 species of fauna, and 1,000 species of flora. You would also come across two different Buddhist temples within the park- one of them having a dramatic name like "Temple of a Hundred Pools". However, the temple is indeed rightly named since there are numerous ponds around the temple fed by streams. The park is about 3-4 hours away through the road and if you cannot reach the top of the mountain, a cable car would easily take you there!

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace, also known as the Northern Palace is another one of the five grand palaces erected by the Joseon Dynasty during their reign. It was constructed in 1395 and had seen much turmoil since then. It is an elaborate and beautiful palatial complex and it is easy to lose yourself in the immenseness of the place. It also features a rough history since the palatial complex has been destroyed multiple times, bombed, had seen several re-constructions, and was even occupied by the Japanese, once in 1592 and more recently in 1990.

Two of the original palatial structures from the 14th century still exist in the complex. These are the Gyeonghoery Pavillion and the Hyangwonjeong Pond and you have to see these to witness some fine work from the Joseon period. The National Palace Museum as well as the National Folk Museum, both within the palatial complex are worth a visit. You will also get guided tours within the palatial complex to get a better idea of the history and beauty of the place.

Hallyeo Maritime National Park

​Taking a one-hour ride from downtown Seoul in a bus or a car would take you to a scenic wonder in the form of a raw coastline spanning over several individual islands. This is the Hallyeo Maritime National Park and should be o your list of activities to do in Korea. The islands come with different hiking trails for you to enjoy a quiet day out with amazing views of the coastline and cliffs all around you. The Hallyeosudo Viewing Ropeway is a cable car service in the region and happens to be the only dual-cable, automated circulating system in the entire country. A ride on the cable car is about 9 minutes long wherein you'd travel 2.5 km to the summit. The summit is one of the most stunning places in Korea since you get a brilliant, uninterrupted view of the countryside and the coastline. You could easily spot Daemado, a Japanese Island from the summit.

Bulguksa Temple

Bulguksa Temple is one of the most famous and most visited Buddhist temples of Korea. It is also an important historic site and should be on your list of must-visit places while in Korea. It has also been classified as "Scenic Site Number One" by the Korean government. There are several pagodas, Buddha statues, and as many as seven national treasures of the country in this temple.

To reach the Bulguksa Temple you have to take the KTX high-speed train from Seoul to Gyeongju, which is the ancient capital of Korea. The journey would take about 2.5 hours.

Jeju Island

Jeju Island could be considered to be the Hawaii of Korea. It is a volcanic island and a resort destination and the best way to reach Jeju is through a flight from Seoul (it takes only 1 hour)! This is home to Mt. Hallasan, which is the highest South Korean mountain. You also get to see miles and miles of gigantic lava tubes, almost the size of railway tunnels.

While in Jeju Island, you should also visit Jungmun Beach to get an interesting taste of Korean culture. You will find many diving women here, who would dive hundreds of feet into the ocean to collect seafood.  There are also many hiking trails in the region for adventure lovers. Hot springs, as well as spas, are abundantly available and thus this is a brilliant place to be if you want to relax and chill!
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Changdeokgung, Seoul
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Seoul Palace
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Bushan, In night
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Seoul, Namsan Tower
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Bukchon
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<![CDATA[Colombia: 10 Top rated Places to Visit in Colombia]]>Mon, 28 Feb 2022 15:05:55 GMThttp://zinniatrip.com/travel/colombia-10-top-rated-places-to-visit-in-colombia Picture
#colombia #cartagena #bogota 
Colombia has been ravaged by drug wars and the reign of gangsters, but you can keep those thoughts aside. It is up and coming and heading towards being a prosperous and peaceful; nation. In fact, you will be missing out on a lot if you are an ardent traveler at heart and are not planning a trip to Colombia. This nation has varied geographical features that include the high reaches of the Andean mountains, the Caribbean coastline with electrifying blue waters, the lush, dense jungles of the Amazon, and even two desert regions kissed by the sun. there are stunning places in this nation to take you away from your daily life. So, if you are convinced that a trip to Colombia is worth it, keep reading to find out all the exciting things that you have to do in Colombia as you plan a trip to this amazing country.

Cartagena

Cartagena is one of the most terrific locations to visit in Colombia. It is a city with some of the most stunning beaches along the Caribbean coast and has some of the most well-preserved examples of colonial architecture. A walk through this city would feel like you have been transported in time to the colonial era. The centuries-old walled structure surrounding the city is centuries old. These buildings too, speak of a forgotten grandeur. Some of these architecturally significant buildings have even been converted to hotels and restaurants for you to enjoy the magnificence of colonial times first-hand. Every plaza has a towering Catholic church overlooking the place and so on.

While in Cartagena, you should also visit Getsemami, which is beyond the walls of the city. This place has a more laid-back atmosphere and is a great place to laze around. If you are looking to reside in some modernized quarters then you should head to Bocagrande near the seafront. This is a relatively newer part of this region and the seafront is lined with luxury hotels and such. While you visit the many beaches surrounding this coastal city, be sure to take some of the amazing boat rides to nearby islands and beaches- these are going to be amazing!

Medellin

Medellin was an infamous city in the early years of the 1990s and was dubbed as the most dangerous place in the entire world. However, this quaint city has traveled a long way since then, and now it is famed for something else- innovation and ingenuity. It is a very small city and thus easily manageable and though Bogota is the capital of Colombia, Medellin steals the show.

Medellin has everything to offer that a modern city does and much more! There are cable cars that easily connect to the mountain settlements. There is a channel of modernized metro systems running through the city in the valleys below. Libraries, community centers, and excellently kept eco-parks are some of the other attractions that you would find in this city. And all of these are available in some of the poorest neighborhoods from across the world!

If you plan to explore the city you should start in the Old Quarter situated in Botero Plaza. There are 23 amazing sculptures to see in this area which were donated by Fernando Botero, the Colombian artist. Nearby this plaza is two striking monuments that you have to visit- the Museum of Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture. From there onwards, you could go to Comuna 13 to take the stylish escalator that will take you into the hilly regions of the city. You could explore the streets here looking into the vibrant neighborhood interspersed with street art and murals. The day could end with you visiting El Poblado, the trendiest place in Medellin. Here you will find excellent eateries, all kinds of hotels, boutique shops, and so on!

Eje Cafetero

Colombia is the third-largest producer of coffee in the world and Eje Cafetero of the Coffee Axis is where it all happens! Eje Cafetero refers to the subtropical region among the Andean hills situated towards the western side of Bogota. It comprises three small cities- Armenia, Manizales, and Pereira. In Eje Cafetero, there has been an upsurge in coffee plantations that have opened up for tourists. Here, you could get many guided tours, coffee tastings, and lavish stays within the farms. The farmer-owner of a plantation will take you on a guided tour and explain all the steps of the coffee-making process, starting at a red "cherry" and ending in the ground coffee to make a latte!

Salento is a small resort town in this area and the prime focus among travelers for stay. This is perhaps the most attractive place in the region where you could base yourself and make all your travels from here. There are numerous guided tours nearby and a lot of activities that you could take part in. the nearby Cocora Valley is a must-visit site since it is home to the tallest palm trees in the world. Salento also offers bicycle renting services for you to go around and explore the city in any way you like. The old-fashioned Willy jeeps are plentiful in this region and serve as the de-facto taxis- you could simply hop on to one and go to your desired destination.

Leticia

When someone talks about the Amazonia rainforests, Colombia is not the first place to come to your mind. However, you will be amazed to find out that almost 1/3rd of this nation is covered by rainforests. The best place to start your Amazonian exploration would be to start at Leticia. This small frontier town is the capital of the expanding Amazon Basin and is quite the spot to base all your explorations from. There is no direct entry into Leticia and the only way in is through the air- regular flights are scheduled from Bogota. Leticia itself has a unique location in the rainforest, sitting along the banks of the Amazon River and sharing borders with Brazil and Peru.

There are many activities that you partake in from Leticia. Regular wildlife safaris are organized from here into the Amazons. You might even go on hiking expeditions into the Amazons to engage in some fun and adventurous activity. You could learn about the indigenous tribal people who have always resided in the jungles of the Amazon. In short, this is the best place to be if you want a first-hand experience of the wild side of nature.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Some of the most spectacular beaches that Colombia has to offer are nestled in the stunning Tayrona National Natural Park. The crystal-clear lagoons in the area and the palm-shaped coves on the beaches make this a popular and interesting place to visit. The nearby Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria mountains make way for an even more dramatic setting, giving this place an alluring appeal and also adding to the list of activities that you could partake in this area. Hiking through the rainforest-covered hills in the mountainous region could be a brilliant way to spice up your beach vacation- think of all the mesmerizing views of the beaches and waters that you will get as you climb higher up.

The la Piscina beach and Cabo San Juan have protected places within Tayrona where you have amazing opportunities at snorkeling. The best time to visit these "secluded" beaches would be the down season between February to November. You see, though these are secluded beaches, they are not a secret anymore and these beaches bring in a horde of tourists and travelers every year.

Ciudad Perdida

The lost city of Ciudad Perdida is one of the most intriguing places to visit while on a trip to Colombia. Reaching the lost city is not an easy task since you'd have to hike and trek through the mountainous Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for 4 days and 44 km. however, this is one of the most popular and attractive treks that the nation has to offer. The lost city was rediscovered in the 1970s and has brought hordes of curious travelers and explorers since then. Ciudad Perdida is also referred to as one of the biggest of the pre-Columbian settlements found in the Americas. It was a city inhabited and even built by Tayrona Indians somewhere between the 8th and 14th centuries.

Most of this lost city is still lost under a mesh of jungles. The modern indigenous residents of the area have had excavations in the region banned and thus newer parts of the old city cannot be rediscovered. However, the few glimpses of the city that you will find through the outstanding stone terraces and the stairways do speak of a brilliant lifestyle among the Tayrona Indians.

This region is highly revered and highly protected and thus you cannot go for individual treks. You have to check in with a tour operator, get permits and are only allowed to embar upon the hike if you have a tour guide. The journey is going to be difficult and adventurous since you would be braving sultry heat, sudden rainstorms, sticky mud, and all kinds of insects. The trail isn't flat either. However, as you move up to the city you will be treated numerous times by excellent views and freshwater rivers and ponds where you can enjoy a relaxing dip. The best time to explore this amazing slice of history is around January and February when there are the least chances of rain.

Bogotá

Bogotá is the heart of the Colombian nation and also happens to be the capital city- in all probability, you will be starting your Colombian journey in Bogotá. It is also the largest city in Colombia. The city showcases an exciting and unique amalgamation of old and new having a colonial charm coupled together with the sophistication of urban lifestyle. The city might not be the ideal vacation for a lot of people as they complain about uncomfortable weather and terrible traffic, but if you give the city enough time, it will grow on you.

The best place to start your sightseeing adventures in the city would be La Candelaria. Here, along the Plaza de bolivar, you will find impressive buildings lined along with spectacular cultural attractions such as the startling Museum of Gold. In North Bogotá, you could stop for delectable meals prepared by excellent chefs. You could also shop for souvenirs in the many boutique shops of the region.

Providencia Island

Providencia Island is unique and has many traits that keep travelers perplexed. The island is closer to Nicaragua than Columbia, the spoken language is English Creole instead of Spanish, and so on! However, despite the many idiosyncrasies of the place, you'll find yourself sunbathing in some of the most stunning beaches that Colombia has to offer. The best thing about Providencia Island is that it has a plethora of marine biodiversity waiting for you to explore. It is regarded as the crown jewel of the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve which is protected by UNESCO.

Caño Cristales

There was a time when Caño Cristales was the stronghold of guerrilla fighters and thus was off-limits for any kind of touring or exploration. However, that is the past and the place is out there welcoming everybody. Caño Cristales is a natural delight and most visitors are drawn towards the chance of hiking between the waterfalls or enjoying refreshing dips in the naturally occurring swimming holes in the region. The canyon is most charismatic around July to November though you can visit the place at almost any time of the year. La Macarena is the base from which you will conduct your exploration of Caño Cristales and it is only reachable through the air from Bogotá or Villavicencio.

La Guajira Peninsula

The northernmost point of the South American continent houses the La Guajira Peninsula making it one of the most unique features in the nation as well as the continent. It is very different from the rest of the country where you'd find sweeping dunes, mangrove swamps inhabited by all kinds of birds, and expanding stretches of land with no habitation whatsoever wherein the La Guajira desert meets the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. This island is home to the indigenous Wayuu people who were always away from the Spanish colonization and thus gives you an excellent slice of ancient American lifestyles and cultures.
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Streets of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, Cartagena
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Cartagena
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Medellin city
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Coffee seeds
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Tayrona
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Bogota
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Providencia Island
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Providencia Island
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