A few weeks ago, I revealed that Kenya is one of the best places in Africa to see the Big 5 on safari. That’s lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos, in case you need a quick refresher. If Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve piqued your interest then this week I’m going to share some further destinations in Kenya where you can extend your Kenyan vacation.
The Kenyan capital is an energetic city that unites traditional and contemporary culture while fusing urban pleasures and a dash of wilderness. The city is home to the Nairobi National Park where you can gain an understanding of the rehabilitation efforts taking place at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. The open-air exhibition Bomas of Kenya invites you to experience the indigenous customs through art, crafts, and performances. Meanwhile, you will find a spread of museums, wine bars, and international restaurants waiting for you across the city streets.
This huge lake is situated in southwest Kenya and is shared with neighboring Uganda and Tanzania. As only a tiny fraction of the lake is within Kenyan territory it brings exclusivity to your itinerary. You can elect to stay in a plush lakeside hotel in Kisumu where you can arrange boat tours and visit the Kisumu Impala Wildlife Sanctuary. Alternatively, you may want to stay in a beautiful eco-retreat on the island of Rusinga.
If you’re seeking sun, sand, and sea following your safari adventure then look no further than Mombasa on the southeast coast. Known as the blue and white city for its strategically painted buildings, Mombasa is the gateway to some of the loveliest Indian Ocean beaches on the African continent. Head south to Diani Beach for the whitest sand and most appeasing hotels.
South Africa is Africa's 9th largest country according to its landmass. The reasons to visit this vast and culturally diverse nation are seemingly endless, and that's why it makes it on so many people's bucket lists. To encourage you a little more and to further enhance your excitement, here are five reasons you should make it to South Africa at least once in your life.
1. Cape Town. As one of South Africa's three capitals, the Mother City is one that you must explore. Not only is it one of the top holiday destinations in the entire world, but it's full of natural, exotic beauty that you can't find anywhere else. In addition, there's excellent food, plenty of beaches, and, last but not least, Table Mountain.
2. The Garden Route. Take the Garden Route from Mossel Bay to Storms River for some of the most breathtaking coastline views. Visit and view small towns, rugged shores, sandy beaches, and thick forests.
Following on from my advice to where you can see the Big 5 in Africa and ahead of our virtual event on the African Safari, this week the spotlight is on another of the continent’s wildlife hotspots. In addition to being the setting for one of Africa’s most iconic natural landmarks, Victoria Falls, the landlocked country of Zimbabwe is also another haven for observing the native fauna. Here are five places where you can see African wildlife in Zimbabwe.
Hwange National Park
Perhaps the most famous reserve in the country is Hwange National Park. Encompassing over 5,850 square miles (14,600 km²) in western Zimbabwe, this is the largest park in the country and provides a home to over 100 kinds of mammal and over 400 bird species. Hwange is popular as it’s the place that you are most likely to witness the Big 5 in Zimbabwe and it is located close to Victoria Falls so you can easily combine your vacation with a visit. Hwange is one of the best national parks in the whole of Africa for seeing elephants.
Mana Pools National Park
Spanning 2,612 square miles (6,766 km²) and situated in the north of Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, this reserve is a riverine wonderland of watering holes and floodplains which delight the endemic wildlife. The best way to experience Mana Pools National Park is via canoe which enables you to observe the likes of hippos, buffalo, elephants, crocodiles and aquatic birdlife hydrating and bathing. Away from the water, you may spot zebra, lions and even African painted wolves basking in the shade of the mahogany and acacia trees.
When planning a safari in Africa, your chosen destination will be influenced by which region you are likely to encounter the widest variety of wildlife. There are a number of reserves where you stand a greater chance of sighting the Big 5, or, the leopards, lions, buffalo, elephants, and rhinoceroses native to the continent. Here are the best African regions to see the Big 5.
Africa’s southernmost country is synonymous with safaris and the Kruger National Park is one of the leading locations for wildlife watching. Situated in the northeastern point, this ginormous space covers 7,576 square miles (19,623 km2). Besides the iconic Big 5, the park is the habitat of a grand total of 507 species of birds, 336 types of trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish, and 34 amphibians. The premises comprise lodges and game viewing safaris that cater to families, couples, and luxury seekers.
Significantly smaller at 250 square miles (650 km2), the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is located south of Kruger and shares a border with the park. Despite its humble size, the park features the highest density of Big 5 in South Africa and is one of the most luxurious African safari destinations. Furthermore, you can look out for cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and Cape wild dogs.
In honor of the Summer Olympics 2021/2020, here are some top attractions to choose from while visiting Tokyo, Japan. Even though this year is still a very different experience than we are used to, it is great to highlight the many things to see and do in Tokyo, also known as "Electric Town."
Tokyo is one of the most alluring places on this planet. The high energy of the city and its attractions are enough to add Tokyo to your bucket list. So, when you finally take action to visit the capital of Japan, make sure you have an itinerary so you can see as many of the city's most significant locations and landmarks as possible. To make planning your trip simpler, below, you will find 15 of Tokyo's top attractions.
1. Check Out Themed Cafes - Japan is known for its exciting niche cafes. Dine with monkeys or get served by your favorite cartoon characters. If you can fathom it, there's likely a cafe for it.
2. Relax in a Shrine - Not only can you relax in a shrine, but you can spend the night in one too.
3. Attend a Sumo Match - Sumo is an admired sport in Japan. If you can, make a match or watch the Sumo wrestlers practice in the mornings.
4. Partake in a Tea Ceremony - Tea ceremonies, especially Matcha tea ceremonies, are insanely popular.
5. Go to an Anime Convention - Manga and anime are huge in Japan. On the island of Odaiba, you can attend the largest convention in the country, Comiket, from August to December.
When you think of Paris, the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Sacre-Coeur will always rush to mind. These iconic landmarks are worthy of a visit, especially if it’s your first time visiting the French capital. However, if you prefer to get off the beaten track, then you should also add some of the following sights and experiences in Paris to your travel itinerary.
Offbeat and Peculiar Museums
Skip the long lines at the typical museums and head to one of the lesser known gems in Paris. Not far from the Pantheon, the Musée Curie is located in the former laboratory of the physicist Marie Curie at the Radium Institute. The museum showcases original scientific instruments and documents in both the former office and decontaminated lab of Curie.
The Musée Édith Piaf is another quirky alternative. As one of the most successful French singers and cabaret performers, Édith Piaf is known internationally for La Vie en Rose. This museum is situated in her former residence in the Ménilmontant district and showcases her clothing, records, sheet music, and other possessions. You need to book in advance to tour the collection.
One final place for curious minds is the Museum of Counterfeiting. Most of the items exhibited were sourced from French customs officials and police and they range from counterfeit art and luxury goods to knock off perfume. The quality of the bogus goods varies with some objects being extremely convincing.
Lapland Finland, a Scandinavian retreat located above the Arctic Circle, is a place that lends itself to cliches. Nevertheless, it's almost impossible to resist describing the destination as a "winter wonderland" or, quite simply, "breathtaking."
Yes, we know you've heard similar descriptors when describing a beautiful area of the world, but Lapland, Finland is the real deal. The snowy scenery indeed seems to be taken from a painting or movie set. And that's without even mentioning the gorgeous Northern Lights.
Lapland is a place worth visiting. This article will provide an overview of everything you need to know to get the most out of your trip.
Lapland, Finland, is comprised of innumerable small towns. The native Sami has a rich and distinct culture. They have an iconic native style dress and are known for domesticating reindeer.
Exploring the Sami way of life and gallivanting through each village would take a lifetime. Therefore, we've selected some destinations that contain some of the best of what Lapland has to offer:
We'd be remiss if you missed out on the classic winter activities available in Lapland. Saariselka is the perfect place to visit if you want to have a great view of the Nothern Lights, hit the ski slopes, or hike through an idyllic mountain forest. Want to be less active? Not a problem. Saariselka is also known for providing peaceful activities such as spas and massage parlors.
Kiruna is home to some of the most iconic attractions in Lapland. The Icehotel is an art exhibit made entirely of ice and snow that you can live in. Yes, the attraction seems gleaned from a children's book, but we assure you it truly exists! Other incredible places to see in Kiruna include Abisko National Park and Aurora Sky Station.
Portugal is a country that offers an irresistible blend of exquisite nature, sun-kissed beaches, vibrant cities, charming architecture, and delectable food. Through all of these pursuits, you can experience traditional and contemporary Portuguese culture yourself. Let me share some pointers to help you get the most out of your travels in Portugal.
Culture and gastronomy always go hand in hand and Portuguese food is rich in flavor. In a country that boasts 1,115 miles (1,794 km) of coastline, it’s no wonder that seafood features prominently on menus in Portugal. If you are a seafood fan, look for bacalhau (cod) which may be served grilled, baked, fried, or in a stew. During sardine season which runs between June and August, sardinhas asadas are served in abundance.
Besides fish, you can look forward to trying bifanas (pork sandwiches drizzled with tangy olive oil) and the African-inspired piri-piri chicken available at local churrascarias. Portugal produces velvety port wine as well as crisp vinho branco (white wine) and full-bodied vinho tinto (red wine) to accompany your chosen dish. And for dessert? You can indulge in a pastel de nata (custard tart).
When you select which cities will feature on your Portugal itinerary, seek recommendations for family-run and independent restaurants for the most authentic experience.
The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, is draped atop a series of hills that overlook the River Tagus. Overflowing with historic architecture, colorful neighborhoods, and excellent cuisine, there are hundreds of reasons why you should visit this charming city. These are my tips on how to spend one day in Lisbon.
Departing every 10 minutes from Martim Moniz Square, the yellow Tram 28 is an iconic element of Lisbon that traverses the narrowest streets in the city and predates the First World War. You can hop aboard for the novelty of riding the historic tram, but, as this does get busy with both locals and tourists, I suggest you make this your first port of call. The route journeys through such neighborhoods of Graça and Alfama and the entire ride to Campo Ourique takes around one hour.
Alight in the Alfama district and enjoy a wander through the labyrinthine streets of one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods. You can also take in dramatic views of the city and river from the viewpoints at Castelo de São Jorge and Miradouro de Santa Luzia and get a closer look at the beautiful tiles that decorate the walls. This is also a great spot to sample traditional Portuguese cuisine once you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch. Prado specializes in organic farm-to-table plates with a contemporary twist while Restaurante Farol de Santa Luzias excels at fresh seafood dishes including bacalhau (cod) and cataplana de peixes (classic fish stew cooked in a copper pot).
If you think about traveling to Greece, you think of ancient Greek gods, architectural masterpieces, stunning beaches, secluded islands, and spectacular sunsets. But Greece is a place to experience wonderful Greek foods passed down in generations.
You can expect fresh ingredients and loads of flavors whenever you indulge in some of the Greek foods found throughout the country. Their healthy traditional recipes will leave you wanting more, and fortunately, there are many excellent restaurants, eateries, and cafes all over the cities and towns. So, to help you figure out what Greek dish you're going to order next, here are twelve of the best Greek foods to experience in your lifetime.
Greek meze is a blend of bite-sized foods. This platter may include anything from roasted red peppers to octopus, depending on where you order it. It may come served hot or cold, and they make perfect appetizers.
Magirefta refers to any slow-cooked, homemade meal made in Greece. Traditionally any Magirefta meal is cooked in a katsarola (deep pot) or tapsi (deep baking tray).
Souvlaki refers to Greek fast food, but don't let that turn you away. Greek fast food is typically much healthier and tasty than fast food in the U.S. You can order gyros, meat and vegetable skewers, grilled turkey patties, seasoned rice, and much more.
As one of Greece's most treasured authentic dishes, you must try moussaka. This dish includes slow-cooked meats, eggplant, and cheeses, which are served as a casserole.
For the latest installment in my Croatia series, we are traveling to one of the most popular cities in the country. Located on the south coast of the country, Dubrovnik is known for its walled Old Town, its historic landmarks, and its enviable viewpoints of the Adriatic Sea. The city is so beautiful that it was used as a location in the hit television adaptation of Game of Thrones. Let’s go over some of the unique activities waiting for you in Dubrovnik.
Wander the Old Walls
No trip to Dubrovnik is complete until you’ve strolled around those iconic walls. There are three entrances to the walkway, those being by Inner Pile Gate, by St Lucas Fortress on St. Dominic’s Street, and by St. John’s Fortress. Once you’ve paid your admission fee you can explore the 1.3 miles (2 km) to your heart’s content.
This esplanade is a pedestrian zone flanked by ornate 17th-century buildings that mark the heart of the city. I recommend arriving here early in the day before the crowds arrive. Extend the experience by roaming down the little side streets to grab a late breakfast or early lunch.
Sailing in Croatia is one of the most immersive and luxurious ways to experience the culture and beauty of this beautiful Balkan nation. My guide will help you determine how to plan your time.
Cruise v Charter
If you want to experience the Adriatic Sea for yourself, then you have two options. The first is to join a scheduled boat cruise. While you can choose to board a luxury cruise liner, a cruise generally comes out as the more affordable option.
Alternatively, you can charter a boat exclusively for your party and devise your own bespoke itinerary. When chartering a boat in Croatia you can elect for skippered or bareboat, subject to whether someone in your group is licensed.
Cruises and charters are typically scheduled for 7-8 days although you can also find longer options that tap on further days to visit the coastlines of neighboring countries. Day tours and charters are also a possibility if you’d rather spend more time on dry land.
Types of boats available
Sailboats are the most affordable boat charter option. Bear in mind that you will journey at a slower pace so you will need to devise your itinerary carefully. These boats typically feature 2-5 cabins and come as skippered or bareboat.
Catamarans are an upgrade on classic sailboats. They vary from 3-6 cabins and offer a higher level of comfort. In Croatia, catamaran charters always come with a skipper and you will discuss your requirements for further crew members to ensure your comfort.
The country of New Zealand draws travelers from all over the world for its stunning landscapes and laid-back small towns. Even though travel is restricted to this magical country, we can dream of an adventure to Auckland, New Zealand, with many hidden spots to discover.
The city of Auckland is full of diversity and personality. It is also New Zealand's largest city, with a population of nearly 1.5 million. If you're looking for somewhere exciting to go to on your next vacation, Auckland is the place to be. Why do you ask? Below are some of the top reasons you shouldn't miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent city.
There is so much to discover about the European nation of Croatia. As promised, I am continuing my showcase of everything you need to know about Croatia with an overview of the top luxury experiences this captivating country offers.
Charter a yacht
Croatia, the Land of a Thousand Islands, is synonymous with sailing and there are possibilities to accommodate any budget. One of the most luxurious things to do in Croatia is to charter your own private yacht and indulge in some island hopping. This is perfect for a day trip but you can also book a vessel with cabins for the full live-aboard experience.
In coastal towns such as Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik, you will find a variety of sailboats, catamarans, motorboats and gullets. Most charters come with a skipper and crew and include meals, marina fees and fuel costs as part of the package. Always double check prior to booking so that you know what to expect. You will have the opportunity to discuss the route and devise your dream itinerary.
My next feature explores sailing in Croatia in more detail.
Rent a private island
If you think chartering a yacht is luxurious, how about renting your own island?
Several of Croatia’s glorious Mediterranean islands are available for exclusive rental. Whisk yourself away for a romantic stay in the lighthouse located on the islet of Porer Island or retreat among the olive groves on the family-friendly haven of Zizanj Private Island. Renting a private island is a bucket list activity and these immaculate properties will create lifelong memories.
As we explored in a recent blog, visitors to Austria can experience Austrian culture in and around the city of Salzburg and in the small villages in this old-world country.
If you've ever imagined a quintessential European village, you've probably pictured something like Hallstatt. Just a quick day trip from Salzburg, this picturesque town is believed to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe. Situated along the lake and tucked between the mountains, Hallstatt provides visitors with a chance to get away from bustling city life for the day. Make your way up to the Skywalk for spectacular views of the old town and the scenery.
In and around Salzburg, there are several not to be missed places for food, culture, and beer that will give you a taste of Austrian life.
Sachertorte & Coffee
Germans are known for their amazingly thick, decadent chocolate cakes. So make your way to Sachertorte & Coffee for a piece of the most exquisite dessert around, the Sachertorte.
If you happen to visit Austria anytime in November or December, you must make it to the Christmas Market. This age-old event is one that will create memories that last a lifetime. The smell of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air as you walk through the three squares, Domplatz, Kapitelplatz, and Residenzplatz, taking in the true essence of the wonderful holiday.
If you make it to the Christmas Market, you must also make it up to the Christmas Museum. Luckily, the Salzburg's Christmas Museum is a year-round attraction. This museum will teach you all that there is to know regarding the spirit of Christmas and its history.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference
Darby’s Destinations LLC an independent agent for Nexion, LLC, a California registered seller of travel (2071045-50); located at 6225 N. State Hwy 161, Suite 450, Irving TX 75038. Telephone 800-949-6410. While our clients have had great experiences with the travel suppliers featured on this website, Darby’s Destinations is not an employee, agent, or representative of these suppliers and therefore cannot make any promises regarding the service clients will receive with a particular supplier. Clients are responsible for reviewing the services offered by the supplier, along with any terms, conditions, and exclusions, before booking a trip.