Algeria has been off the map for mainstream tourists for around 20 years, after a fairly destructive civil war during the 1990′s rendered it off-limits. Though peace was restored by 2003, it took some time for the scars in Algerian society to heal and now most of the country is safe for travellers to return.
Algeria has not experienced the major tourist development and commercialisation that neighbouring countries have undergone in recent decades – it’s like Morocco was before hoards of visitors wanted to follow in the footsteps of Hendrix and the Rolling Stones – and the way Algerians remain unaffected by the presence of tourists is particularly refreshing.
Almost everyone who has done a tour of East Africa will tell you it’s fantastic. It’s renowned for being wild, authentic, spectacular and rugged, but Intrepid’s Skye Gainey wondered if it would live up to her high expectations when she finally had the chance to travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania…
“Let me start with the game viewing. Never would I imagine seeing so many animals in such a short period of time. In Rwanda we hiked deep into the forest to spend time with a Gorilla family – a silverback, mature males and females, juveniles and babies! Watching these primates interact with each other and recognise us as friendly visitors truly makes you believe in evolution.
Real life experiences are those moments when you suddenly become aware that you are taking part in something fantastic. Those “wow – this is incredible” events that turns an OK trip into an extraordinary adventure. It was one of those very moments that caught Pat Venning by surprise when she happened upon a family festival in South Africa, but luckily (or not) her partner made sure the night was preserved for perpituity…
“Come sit my friends”, beckoned the tall man resplendent in leopard skin and wielding a rather large shield. “We are celebrating the birth of my first-born son and would be honoured if you would join us.”
Dear Tata Mandela,
You being in this world has given us love, freedom and wisdom. Precious gifts for which we cannot thank you enough.
You have given us wisdom to know that anything is possible when we put effort into it, wisdom that being black, white, Indian, coloured or any other race is a luxury South Africans can embrace (a Nation of Colour). Wisdom that everyone from all aspects of life have equal opportunities and that from now on it is our responsibility to continue your legacy.
If you thought you had missed out on this year’s famous wildebeest migration, think again!
The incredible spectacle of hundreds of thousands of frantic wildebeest rushing through Kenya’s Masai Mara to reach Tanzania’s Serengeti plains normally occurs between July and September, but this year an uncommon event is taking place.
On Dyan McKie’s trip to Morocco she couldn’t wait to get her teeth into all the sensational dishes. Learning the art of couscous, finding the perfect tajine recipe and tasting local specialities were high on her wish list, but what about eating McDonald’s, Moroccan-style?…
“I’m such a fan of Moroccan cuisine, but trying the real thing was even more delicious than I expected. From the big and fascinating cities where foodie choices are endless, to the small towns where you have time to linger and appreciate the local flavours, it’s a wonderful assault on the senses.
The highest peak in North Africa appears to be a well-kept secret amongst trekking enthusiasts, making it all the more enticing for those who are willing to walk through the breathtaking scenery of the Ait Mizan Valley to reach Mt Toubkal Base Camp.
Intrepid’s James Ingham tackled the climb in winter, when it’s a more icy and dicey affair, but even the frosty conditions didn’t detract from his Morocco adventure…
Taking a wander through the local markets of Morocco is a fascinating way to soak in the distinct local flavour. You can discover the culture and traditions that go hand-in-hand with food and even get to try the local delicacies for under a dollar.
Laura Carroll gives you some tips on how to come out of your culinary shell in the Kingdom of Morocco…
“Vendors sell all kinds of wares in the food market of the Fes Medina. Walking through the curious and colourful stalls you quickly lose track of time while you peruse the impressive displays of fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cheeses and snails. Yes, real, live, garden-variety, cook-them-at-home snails. Crawling all over a large woven basket, the snails look more like prospective pets than your potential dinner, but they are definitely destined for the dinner plate.
You’ll often see travellers armed with their list of must sees, must eats and must do’s, but at the top of Laura Harman’s list is simply meeting local people. Laura believes thats learning about the local culture and experiencing everyday activities is the best way to turn your average trip into an amazing adventure…
“Tanzania is one of my most memorable travel experiences to date. I opted for a volunteer work term in Arusha, the hub of safari travel. I was able to travel to the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro National Park and even down to Zanzibar, all spectacular memories. However, when I think of the actual country, I think back to the people I met and my interactions with them. One of the simplest experiences that I enjoyed frequently was taking the local transport (the dala dala) to the Maasai Craft Market with the other volunteers.
Meet Prisca Laurence, beekeeper officer and chilli fence monitor in Minungo, Tanzania. Prisca is working with World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), an Intrepid Foundation partner, on an ingenious and sustainable project to help local people safeguard their livelihoods, whilst protecting elephants.
In Tanzania, with people encroaching on lands once inhabited only by animals, conflict has arisen due to elephants raiding farms to pillage tasty crops. One large elephant is capable of quickly destroying a whole field, so villagers have been forced to take drastic action, including setting painful snares and in the worst case scenario, hunting and killing rogue elephants. And that is where Prisca comes into the picture, when it was discovered that these giant creatures, with their long and sensitive noses, despise chilli and bees!