With the possible exceptions of Colombia and Iran, it’s pretty hard to find a country so undeservedly beset with tourism image problems as Ethiopia. A poverty-stricken, war-ravaged dustbowl… right? Well, not quite.
Bob Geldof’s much-publicised famines are now almost 30 years past, the country has been at peace for more than a decade and its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world.
Add to this a staggering diversity of landscapes, kaleidoscope of cultures and history that tracks back to when our species first raised itself up onto two legs – and suddenly you’ve got one very surprising travel destination. And just to push the point further, here’s a further 10 facts about Ethiopia which could come as a surprise.
Think of places where it’s easy for vegetarians to travel and Mongolia probably won’t be high on the list.
Growing vegetables is tough in the harsh climate and tending to the garden is not really part of the traditional nomadic lifestyle. People joke that in Mongolia you eat meat, more meat, with a side order of meat on top of that. But believe it or not, at least in Ulaanbaatar it’s possible to dine meat-free without too much trouble.
In the city there are at least three purely vegetarian restaurants:
So you’ve saved up, booked your flights and you’re soon taking off on holiday to embark on fabulous experiences in amazing new destinations. And amongst the excited anticipation it dawns on you: Aren’t I lucky to be able to do this? To travel to new lands…to have the disposable income to be able to make this choice, knowing that half the world doesn’t have this option.
So are you selfish? You could be. Or you could make the choice to include more give, less take, into your travels. Now we don’t mean randomly handing out cashola to relieve the guilt trip. We’re talking about making some smart travel choices with thought to greater consequences. Here’s 13 helpful tips on how your travel ‘investment’ can be a whole lot more giving, enriching innumerably more lives than just yours!
One of the great things about Waikiki is that everything is within walking distance. You’ve got delicious eateries, famous hotels, shopping centres and of course stunning Waikiki Beach close by. But what happens when you want to venture further?
When you travel to Hawaii, here are some easy options for getting around Honolulu…
Travel is a luxury, a passion and a way of life. It is eye opening, life changing and creates experiences that you’ll remember for years and decades to come. However, some aspects of travel, such as lengthy airport security lines and long flights, can be arduous, difficult and often extremely discouraging. But with the right gear, and the right attitude, every journey can become less stressful and more enjoyable.
The key to smart packing is strategy and preparation. There are an endless number of articles and videos that offer valuable tips for packing light, such as mixing and matching clothes, rolling T-shirts and underwear instead of folding them; wearing (rather than packing) your heaviest or bulkiest shoes – and more. And you can take it one step further by choosing packable apparel designed especially for travel.
Real cultures, people and places are what our friends at Matador Network are always wanting to discover. So who better to talk to about the highlights of Buenos Aires than these talented travel journalists who have either lived, or are living, in Argentina’s iconic city…
Tom Gates, Matador Nights:
Arguably the best Japanese food in Buenos Aires is at Comedor Nikkai, which is, not surprisingly, located in the Japanese Cultural Center (Av. Independencia 732, San Telmo).
Who doesn’t love the chance to simply sit back and see the world go by, especially if you can throw a little people-watching into the mix. Rebecca Jacobs takes time out to tell us some favourite Intrepid places to get a feel for a community and observe the locals in action…
“People-watching is one thing you just don’t do enough at home. Your days always end up being rushed and fumbled through – catching trains, sitting in traffic, grabbing a coffee to go before sitting down for work. But people watching is one of life’s simplest and most rewarding pleasures and when you travel, the opportunity presents itself everyday and offers insight into the vibe of the city and your own place within it.
They are the thriving hub of villages, town or cities. They are where people come from miles around to trade their wares or take home a bargain, and they are where visitors get to see the local community in action. Even if you’re not a shopper, there’s so much to love about markets. Here’s a few favourite places to enjoy the local flavours and hone your haggling skills…
During the day the Marrakech main square is full of touts, performers, snake charmers and more, then at night it transforms into an outdoor food festival. The square is surrounded by souks, otherwise known as local markets, selling everything from brass pots and pans, to linens, antiques, colourful spices, local dresses, leather slippers and delicious Moroccan food.
A simple Ni Hao, Hola, Namaste or Mehaba could change your trip. Learning a little of a country’s local language before you visit is one of Intrepid’s Top 12 Responsible Travel Tips. Even an easy hello or thank you in the local lingo will open up a whole new world and as Intrepid’s Amy Bolger explains, people will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to learn about their culture…
“Whilst attempts to pronounce something in another language can often leave the locals giggling, it is always well received and quite often has its advantages. A little smile and Ni Hao to a family on a 14-hour train ride across China opened up a whole new world of Chinese food for me – I was offered (quite insistently) an array of local cuisine they had packed for the long journey – they were obviously seasoned train travellers and I tasted delicacies that I would have otherwise never discovered. No 2-minute noodles in sight in our cabin!