Tourism: Latest News
Becca Blond, 8:01 am
Until I saw a lemur in the wild, I wasn’t sure what the fuss was about. They look cute in photos, but surely I’d be more excited to see a leopard or a cheetah than spend a day tromping through the bush looking for a small, cat-meets-monkey-type creature. Then I saw my first ring-tailed lemur. Its liquid eyes stared directly into mine before it flipped its tail and bounced away. I was hooked. Lemurs are addictive. Once you see one, you become obsessed with seeing more. Since there are 50 varieties, you can spend an entire trip rambling around the countryside trying to Instagram them all. After all, you’re in Madagascar, and safaris here often mean trekking.
Dana Sanchez, 3:39 pm
Tourists seeking an animal encounter can dive with Cape fur seals throughout the year at South Africa’s Plettenberg Bay. There’s a boat excursion to a marine protected area near Robberg Nature Reserve where visitors can jump into the water and swim with the seals — often babies, and often playful. Before you go though, definitely read the reviews at TripAdvisor. Here’s what one recent visitor said after going on this excursion: “You get super close to the seals. Sometimes when you hold still, they even gently touch you with their nose.” Not all the reviews are glowing.
Lucy Corne, 8:17 am
The last thing I wanted to do was tie up my hiking boots and climb the mountain where Moses is thought to have received the Ten Commandments. The hike is traditionally done before sunrise. We’d spent the night counting shooting stars, huddled under a rented blanket, bones chilled as only the desert can. Jews, Muslims, and Christians flock to this sacred spot. I am none of the above, and while religious sites often wow me, it is usually for their architecture. Hiking Mount Sinai was different. Orion and Sirius proved to be the best hiking companions you could ask for.
Staff, 8:01 am
Lying face-down on a stone slab, nearly naked, while a stranger thrashes at you might be a fantasy for some, but not for me. Yet I willingly signed up for the jarring experience — and, truth be told, enjoyed it. Welcome to a Moroccan hammam. Traditional bathhouses are a staple of Moroccan life. Each city’s ancient medina revolves around four neighborhood requisites: a mosque, a public fountain, a bakery, and a hammam — the last frequented by residents at least once a week for a thorough scrub. There are thousands of hammams to choose from.
Karen Elowitt, 8:37 am
From most angles, this sculpture looks like a bunch of jagged-edged steel columns jutting out of the Earth, but shift slightly to one side and a profile of Nelson Mandela appears. Located near Howick, the sculpture marks the spot where Mandela was captured and arrested in 1962. This arrest set in motion a chain of events that would make Mandela a legend: 27 years in prison, his evolution as a freedom fighter, and his subsequent release to become president of a newly democratic South Africa. The Mandela Capture Site and its themes of fracture and transformation are a top Mandela tourist destination in South Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 8:01 am
Sousse has some spectacular, if overcrowded, beaches. If you’re traveling independently, the best way to reach Sousse is by train. It’s a relatively scenic route through the Tunisian countryside, past olive and orange groves and small villages. Or you can jump in a “louage,” Tunisia’s much-loved shared transport. Just watch out for the crazy driving. Getting behind the wheel in Tunisia is no small thing, and can quickly descend into something resembling a video game. Once in Sousse, the best stretches of beach are around the hotels Movenpick and Marhaba Beach.
Dana Sanchez, 9:12 pm AFKI Original
Daniel Adidwa, founder and CEO of Tour 2.0, said he built a tourism company that creates new perceptions about Africa by exposing tourists to people living in communities once considered “no-go” zones. His tours of Alexandra Township — it’s next door to Sandton, Africa’s richest square mile — allow tourists to get an authentic experience of South Africa and its cultural diversity. Adidwa’s new Cocktails and Culinary tour of Alexandra continues to blast away at stereotypes.
Susan McKee, 8:04 am
A trip to Nairobi wouldn’t be complete without time spent in Karen, an affluent neighborhood of Kenya’s capital. The area has an English country feel. Houses are on five-acre lots with stone walls and iron gates. Many have stables. It’s still debated whether Karen is named for the author of the book, “Out of Africa.” One thing is clear. Karen Blixen is remembered here. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is her former home, now a museum. Much of the action in the 1985 movie starring Meryl Streep took place here.
Karen Elowitt, 8:01 am
Humans evolved with day-and-night rhythms of natural light-dark cycles. Most of us no longer experience dark nights. Exposure to artificial light disrupts our circadian rhythm, increasing our risk of cancer. Far from city lights, Namibia’s Sossusvlei Desert offers uncompromised views of the night sky. The Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is an International Dark Sky Reserve. It’s almost totally free from light pollution. Located on the private NamibRand Nature Reserve, it has its own observatory and astronomers.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:15 am AFKI Original
The African continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies on the planet, with numerous nations on the continent among the top 10 best performing economies globally. The best performing economies in Africa have benefited from government policies and structural reforms, which have resulted in strong inclusive growth. According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook for 2016, a long list of African economies were in line to achieve positive growth above 3% for the year 2016.
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