Two Out of the Ordinary Experiences around South Africa’s North West Province

One of the best parts about holidaying in foreign lands is the ability to experience a whole range of new things, from the rich history of the land, to the beautiful wildlife and architecture that the culture has to offer. South Africa’s North West Province, situated just west of the major population centre of Gauteng, definitely has some breathtakingly amazing sites available. Home to the Cradle of Humankind, one of the eight World Heritage sites found within South Africa, a large number of national parks filled with beautiful wildlife and, of course, the beautiful hotel and resort of Sun City, you are guaranteed to never run out of activities when visiting this picturesque province.

The Maropeng Exhibition and the Sterkfontein Caves

Maropeng, which is Setswana for “returning to the place of origin”, is the official visitors centre of the Cradle of Humankind and home to the fascinating exhibition that focuses on the development of humankind and our ancestors over the past few million years. This is definitely a must-see place for anyone that is interested in gaining a fuller understanding of how we, as humans, came to be.

The limestone Sterkfontein Caves near the Maropeng Exhibit has become world renowned thanks to the many monumental fossil discoveries that have been uncovered, hidden deep within them. The two most popular is definitely that of “Little Foot” and “Mrs. Ples” which have helped answer many questions about how our humanoid ancestors once lived.

Sun City Casino and Resort

The best way to describe this resort would be as something you would expect to find in a Disney-styled fairy tale. Thanks to the rolling green hills, the utopian-like Valley of Waves waterpark and the extravagant five-star Palace of the Lost City, there is no denying that this resort is a must-see for travellers of all ages. Thanks to the large number of online casino sites like http://pokiespalace.com.au, that have taken the world by storm, many people seem to have forgotten the architectural beauty that surrounds most world renowned casinos. The Sun City Casino definitely takes this beauty to a whole new level, situated within the four-star Sun City Hotel, this place will leave even the non-gamblers in complete awe.

By Jason Swindon        

5 things you must do when travelling to New York in your 20s

Visiting New York in your 20s is a right of passage. You’ve probably seen the city a thousand times on your TV, on movies and even on pretty much every travel blog you’ll ever read – New York is a city to behold. With so much to see and do, you’re likely to feel a bit overwhelmed and with that in mind, we’ve a list of 5 things you must do if you’re heading to visit the big apple in your 20s.

New York

Image source: Flickr

Top 5 things to do in NYC in your 20s

1. Eat the real good bad food

New York is no place for a calorie counter and this is especially true in your 20s (you’ll have plenty of time to work it off walking around the streets of NYC). Good food was born in New York, so ditch the preppy salads and head to Gray’s Papaya. This is where the locals go to get their daily hotdog fix and better yet it’s under $2.

2. Walk off the real good bad food

You are young, fit and well able to take in this beautiful walk way on The High Line.  The park stretches from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea on a previously derelict elevated railway track. Resurrected with a stunning maze of gardens (showcasing 300 species of plants) and lots of New Yorkers – you’ll have a blast just strolling and people watching.

3. Get on the Staten Island ferry

Nothing is more appealing in New York than something for free, especially when it offers you such a great view. Want to see the Statue of Liberty? Of course you do – and rightly so, it’s a must when visiting New York. But if you’re on a budget it’s a good idea to hop on board the Staten Island Ferry for a total cost of $0. A short journey will take you to the island, hop on another return boat, and come back – free of charge. Not only that, but you will also have a stunning iconic view of Manhattan from the water – offering your some perfect photo opportunities and a chance to see New York with the New Yorkers.

4. Cycle round Central Park

Central Park is one of the most beautiful and iconic things anyone visiting New York should do – it is sacred ground for the New Yorker and the tourist. Home to 843 acres of sheer beauty, a young and fit person in their 20s should see it all on bike. Take to the tracks early morning (any time after 6am), rent a bike, and see the sights -, the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, Belvedere Castle atop Vista Rock, or the Bow Bridge (which one of the park’s most photographed locations). Cheap hotels in New York are plentiful in this area so stay around here for the ultimate NYC experience.

5. Get a view from a rooftop

Roof top views in New York can often be expensive and exclusive, but there are some that can offer your views like never before at a somewhat reasonable price. 230 Fifth is one of these – dress well and avoid crazy nights like Saturdays and you’ll have every chance of getting in. Prices are good considering the area and the view is simply phenomenal.

Whatever your plans for New York City – you could not be disappointed. Soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy all the city has to offer.

 

 

VISITING THE ANCIENT CITY – PETRA

My trip to Petra turned out to be shorter than I planned, but a fantastic experience. No surprise that Petra was named “one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man!” I was completely possessed by Petra’s beauty.

 

Petra is a unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled there more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Petra is also sometimes called as the ‘lost city’, as it was completely lost to the western world, in spite of being such an important city in ancient times.

 

Petra lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains that form the eastern flank of Aravah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

 

We had planned a hike to the Monastery, one of the major buildings in Petra for the day. It was truly spectacular, much larger than the Treasury and well preserved, because of the walls on both side and a facing mountain protected it from the wind. In front of the Monastery was a restaurant with shade where we stopped for a break.

 

Then the next day we planned to visit the Treasury. Wow, I am still just a little amazed as I write this. You walk down a gravel slope, where guides are trying to sell you a mule or carriage ride in. Nope, we preferred walking. Then you pass the start of this amazing society – there are caves, tombs, and funeral blocks along the pathway, where I believe the poorer members of the culture were buried. There were some carvings along the wall, and limestone blocks that supposedly were part of the initial road. Then, you see the glimpse of the treasury – a little bit of a pink structure peaking in through the shadowed Siq walls. This was an incredible experience.

 

Diving in the spectacular Red Sea, jeep safari driving in the desert, absorbing the enchanting Petra and floating in the Dead Sea, amazing sights, surprises and barbecues in a cave, hiking in Dana Biosphere Reserve, everything… Everything is so perfect there. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. I am extremely happy, proud and humbled by the entire experience.

The best things to do in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the best countries in Africa and that is why it attracts hoards of tourists year after year. The country is situated in East Africa, it has been blesses with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet and has something for every holiday and every interest. If you haven’t been there yet it’s time to start thinking about it right now!

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Deciding to go is the easy part, the difficult part is figuring out what it is that you will do when you get there because there is just so much to see and do! Here are my 3 things that you shouldn’t miss, if you’re heading to Tanzania then do at least one of them and I promise you will not be disappointed. Have you been to Tanzania before? If you have I would love to hear about your experiences and places that you think a re a ‘must see’, all you have to do is put your thoughts in the comment section below this post. I love to read about your travels and it’s also a great way for us, as a travel community, to share ideas with others.

So here’s my list of 3 TOP places not to be missed in Tanzania:

A visit to Mount Kilimanjaro

When people think of Tanzania one of the first thing that enters their mind is Mount Kilimanjaro, this iconic symbol of Tanzania is a must see for everyone! You can do do many things here, either climb the dizzy heights or marvel at it’s beauty from the national park whilst you watch the wildlife roam free. It’s the tallest mountain in Africa and a site that knocks everyone for six when they first lay eyes on it.

Take the dive on Mafia Island

If a place is thought to be the best diving location in Africa then you know it’s going to be a knockout! You’ve all heard of the Spice Islands I’m sure, well, Mafia Island is probably the most stunning of them all. I think those last two sentences really tell you who amazing this place is! If you want to have a holiday in a location blessed with crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and stunning marine life then go here now!

Take a safari

Yes, you have to do it! Yes, everyone does it! But guys, there’s a reason everyone does it and that is because it’s one of the best experiences you will ever have! You can’t go all the way to Africa and not go on a Safari, it just wouldn’t be right. With the amazing national parks in Tanzania you are never short of options. If you want to see elephants, lions, rhinos and buffalos in their natural habit then book one straight away – hands down one of the best things I have ever done!

Monteverde Cloud Forest: a highlight of Costa Rica

Costa Rica should be at the top of must-visit lists of those of you who are interested in flora and fauna. While the Central American country takes up just 0.03 per cent of the world’s surface, it’s home to five per cent of the planet’s biodiversity. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a good place to begin your adventure tour around Costa Rica, especially if you want to see flora and fauna.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Straddling the Continental Divide, the cloud forest lies at 4,662 ft above sea level, with this high altitude meaning its biodiversity is even more impressive than what a rainforest offers. I think the fact it has around 400 species of bird, 100 types of mammal, 2,500 plant varieties and 30 types of hummingbirds alone speaks for itself, and you’re bound to spot an array of creatures when you explore Monteverde Cloud Forest.

One of the most unique ways to get a fantastic view of the flora and fauna is to go on a zip-line canopy tour. It’s exactly as it sounds – you’ll whizz by the tops of the trees of the cloud forest on a zip wire. This is certainly an activity with a difference and one you’re bound to still talk about when you land back at home.

I’d advise you to keep your eyes peeled for the Resplendent Quetzal. If you don’t know what one of these is, it’s basically a colourful bird that lives in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and is a stunning green, white and red. It’s one of the most popular and famous creatures that lives here, so perhaps start a competition with your fellow travellers as to who can spot one first!

If you’d prefer your feet to be firmly on the ground, there are lots of hiking trails you can follow on your quest to soak up the stunning scenery and spot as many animals as possible. The Cloud Forest Trail – also known as Sendero Bosque Nuboso – spans 1.2 miles and, with an elevation of around 213 ft, should take you approximately 1.5 hours to finish. Strangler fig plants can be seen along the way, so make sure you take time to stop and admire them.

Another route that covers a similar distance is the River Trail, and if you choose to follow this you will walk along the Quebrada Cuecha. However, I’d strongly recommend you take a slight detour off the main track along the short side trail that leads you to a stunning waterfall. As well as gazing at the cascading water, you can also see a number of zapote trees.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when hiking around Monteverde Cloud Forest, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble sticking to these rules. You cannot collect any animals or plants you come across – not that these would fare very well in your backpack even if you tried! Smoking is also forbidden, and you mustn’t leave the signposted trails. Flash photography is also not allowed, but these regulations are easy to follow and designed with the protection of the fragile biodiversity in mind.

The Sky Walk should also be on your itinerary, especially if you decide against the zip wire. This tour sees you exploring all of Monteverde’s suspended bridges, providing you with brilliant views of the canopy. You don’t need to be super fit to complete this experience, either, making it suitable for backpackers of various abilities.

 

Things that you can’t miss in Barcelona

I have been fortunate enough to visit Barcelona on several occasions, it’s such a magical place I just can’t get enough of it! Not only is the weather great, food delicious and people friendly but it also has so many things to see and do there. It really is very difficult to get bored in Barcelona.

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The first thing that you have to do is sort out your travel and accommodation, you can find some great deals out there for flight if you look hard enough. For accommodation the good news is that HCC Open in Barcelona you will be able to find some amazing hotels at great rates, it’s such a great site and it offers all of us some affordable accommodation in one of the world’s best cities. So once you’ve got your travel and bed sorted it’s time to plan what you are going to see and do!

Here are my two favourite things to do in Barcelona, I know they may not be the most ‘touristy’ things in the world but trust me when I say that they are definitely worth doing!

Hit the beach

That’s right! It might be a city but there are some fantastic beaches just waiting for you to relax on. So grab a beer, pack a picnic and head to the beck for a day of lazing around and doing very very little! Barceloneta is probably the most popular beach in town, it can get crowded so head there early. You can sip on Mojitos, dance to the loud reggae music that is being pumped out and admire the beautiful people of Barcelona strut their stuff.

Head for the roof

You cannot go to Barcelona and not check out one of the rooftops, of which there are many, that will give you amazing views of the city. You can usually find them on top of some of the most luxurious hotels. Now, they do like to try and keep the bars only for their guests but if you’re nice enough and dressed well then you won’t have any issue at all. If you’re with a big group of guys or are a little loud then I am sorry but you have no chance at all! These rooftops are there to relax, watch the sunset and marvel at Barcelona in all its glory.

Best Places to Visit in Israel

Israel is one of the most culturally and historically rich places in the world, a fascinating destination to visit on your holiday. It’s a perfect destination for anyone interested in a variety of cultural and adventurous activities on their trip. With so many incredible things to see and do here, it can be hard to choose how to spend your days here, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the places you absolutely can’t miss!

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Jerusalem

While you’re in Israel, you cannot miss the chance to visit one of the most sacred cities in the world to three different major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Marvel at the ancient sites here encircled by stone walls that will bring you back to biblical times. The ancient holy relics here include the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall.

The Dead Sea

The lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea is so salty that nothing can live here, at 10 times saltier than the ocean! Go for a swim in the Dead Sea and see how you can float effortlessly here. The water is so mineral-rich that it’s great for your skin, but watch out for getting the salty water in your eyes!

Tel Aviv

For a modern city experience, Tel Aviv is the place to visit in Israel. It’s the country’s cultural and commercial center with everything from buzzing nightlife to museums, international restaurants, beaches and so much more. It’s an exciting city with so much to offer so make sure to give yourself a few days to explore!

Eilat

This seaside resort town on the Red Sea is an absolute must-visit for anyone looking for a great summer holiday on the water. You can participate in all sorts of activities here like snorkeling, scuba diving, and even swimming with dolphins. Eilat hotels in Israel are luxurious and will help create a perfect experience for your holiday. Enjoy world-class dining and spa treatments while gazing out over the gorgeous scenery and beaches.

Masada

In the southeast of Israel stands this majestic mountain fortress overlooking the famous Dead Sea. It’s got a fascinating history which you can learn when you visit, and find some unforgettable photo opportunities here as well. Walk up the Snake Path to visit the fortress for an adventurous and scenic hike.

6 Reasons Why You Should Immigrate To Canada

Ever since 1994, Canada has topped the list of best countries in the world to live in! Cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary were voted 3rd, 4th and 5th best to live in by the Economist Intelligence Units report in 2012.

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It’s rumoured that about 250,000 people per year are moving to Canada in search of a better life.

Why move to Canada you may say? Well here are a few reasons:

1. Voted the best country to live in, as stated above.

2. It has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with the average expectancy of 79 years.

3. Canada has one of the cleanest environments on the planet. This is a pretty amazing fact, considering it is the second largest country in the world and has a population of over 30 million. Some of the purest water, natural resources and air in the world can be found there.

4. It’s health care system is without a doubt one of the best. A monthly fee will allow all Canadians to have access to the best medical care possible. Permanent residents will also have this option.

5. Canada has an amazing educational system that is free until 12th grade.

6. Cultural diversity in Canada is like no other country on earth. The country embraces people of all nationalities to come a live there. Because of this, it has a very multicultural society in which Canadians are very proud of.

This has meant that there are equal business, political and academic opportunities for anyone that has a permanent residency there.

Asians have played a massive role in developing and shaping Canada over the years. They have actually been established there for more than 100 years. Outside of Asia, two of the largest Asian communities can be found in Toronto and Vancouver. It’s very common to spot plenty of Chinese newspapers as well as Chinese television channels there.

With the recession not letting go of it’s stranglehold for the majority of countries around the world, more and more families are uprooting and setting sail for Canada.

In countries like Ireland, the focus is slightly shifting away from immigrating to Australian, and more so towards Canada.

To sum up, if you want to live in arguably the best country in the world for a variety of reasons, then Canada is the best option for you and your families future.

Gambling through Paddy Power Mobile Casino

Playing cards and table games is more than just a means of earning a little money on the side. It is a hobby. Most people play these games to unwind and relax after a busy day at work or after a long, hard meeting. By playing these games, they get to think of other things other than work and responsibilities. This way, when they go back to work, their minds are completely rested and they can concentrate and work properly. Other people use them as pass time activities. You know, instead of watching TV to pass time, they pay card and table games. It helps keep the brain active thus making those fast thinkers as opposed to staring at a TVInitially, people used to go to casinos to play these games. Alternatively, one would buy the game and play it in their houses. The only problem with this is that you would have to call your friends over just so you can play. With the development of technology, most casino owners have come up with online branches of their casinos.

This allows lovers of the games they offer to play at the time of their convenience. They can play from anywhere; bathroom, work at the beach?. The beauty of these online games is that you do not have to move an inch to enjoy your favorite game; all you have to do is connect to the internet.

It gets better. Paddy power casino has a mobile version of their casinos; paddy power mobile casino. Thus gives you the pleasures of card and table games from your mobile phone. You do not have to have a computer to enjoy your games. The software for this game is small enough to be downloaded to your phone without worrying about the phone slowing down. It is easy to use and the games are much more fun. It has a large variety of games and all of them have bonuses. The beauty of playing these games via mobile is that the payment mode is very simple; they use credit cards, debit cards, master cards, PayPal among others. This makes it easy for you since you have the chance to choose the mode that suits you best.

By playing your games at paddy power mobile casino, you are able to play your games without attracting outside attention to yourself. Playing card and table games just got easier. Play card and table games on the move with Paddy Power mobile casino, you will never want to stop.

Top 5 Attractions in Atlantic City

Atlantic City is a great travel destination. Besides being the ultimate casino and hotel destination on the east coast, the shore has many other entertainment and leisure activities.

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Hotel casino and resorts

Atlantic City is home to some of the most famous hotels and resort names, such as the Golden Nugget and Harrah’s Resort. These resorts have marvelous casinos, making Atlantic City the ultimate casino destination, on the East Coast. These resorts are known for wonderful hospitality.

1. Golden Nugget

Try out the Golden Nugget, known for its stunning suites. The Golden Nugget also has five distinguished restaurants. Cuisine ranges from traditional American fare to Italian cuisine. There is also the 24-hour operational Bean & Bread shop packed with scrumptious snacks, brewed coffee, salads, bagels, pastries, and fresh fruit. Personally, my favorite attraction is the Farley State Marina and its water activities and traditional dock amenities, 630 floating ships, and access to the pool and bar. Finally, end your day by attending a live show at one of two entertainment venues, The Grand or The Showroom.

2. Harrah’s

Harrah’s is known for some unique activities. I enjoyed taking a cooking at the Viking Cooking School. It was great to take a break from lounging around the hotel and learn something new! The Viking Cooking School combines hands-on teaching with a “gourmet toy store” filled with fine culinary tools. You can attend a class alone or with some friends. You can also shop for cookware and cutlery at the retail store, and enjoy 25 wines all under $25. Then head down to the pool for some relaxation. On Thursday the pool hosts the Thursday Night Swim which runs from 18:00 till midnight. I recommend you grab a bite to eat that pool bar, because they have delicious snacks and meals. If you want to get into shape, attend an Aquatic Aerobics class. If a trip to Atlantic City is not in your budget at the moment, you can gamble online. New players receive a first deposit bonus at Euro Palace Casino.

Atlantic City Boardwalk

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is a 4 mile long seaside promenade. It was the first boardwalk to be built in the United States and it was opened in 1870. In 2012 the northern part of the Boardwalk fronting Absecon Inlet was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Some famous shopping destinations are located in this vicinity, including The Pier Shops at Caesars.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum

I was eager to visit the museum that inspired the hit TV show. The Museum consists of 14 galleries and 12 000 square feet of exhibit collected by traveler Robert Ripley.

Atlantic City Nightlife

Atlantic City is also famous for spectacular night time entertainment. From, stylish restaurants to trendy bars and Salsa dancing, the choice is endless! The Quarter at Tropicana Casino & Resort offers great night entertainment, including sports bars and live music. Also head down to one of the seasonal beach bars, such as the Beach Bar at Trump Plaza or Bally’s Atlantic City Bikini Beach Bar.

Cruises

Atlantic City has daily sightseeing cruises. I think this is a different and fun way to do some sightseeing. There are different cruises to choose from, including the dolphin Watching Adventure, Happy Hour Cruises, and private parties.