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Africa Travel

March 30, 2010

Is it Too Late to Plan a Trip to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa?


World-cup-south-africa-fans
HERE WE GO!: Soccer fans in South Africa (South African Tourism)

The good news is that it's not too late to plan a trip to this year's soccer World Cup in South Africa. The bad news? The experience won't come cheap. Here's a quick guide to where things stand on the travel-planning front if you haven't already booked your tickets for the big quadrennial soccer fiesta. We'll be posting updates here on the Away.com Travel Blog as we receive them in the run-up to the World Cup's kickoff in June. (The tournament is scheduled to run from June 11 to July 11 in nine host cities throughout South Africa.)

Game Tickets
Tickets to individual games are currently being sold through the tournament organizer, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Now in the fourth and final phase of worldwide public ticketing, you can apply for tickets to individual games (up to seven choices available) or a bundle of team-specific tickets. Tickets are allocated based on availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application window for the fourth phase closes on April 7, after which the remaining tickets will only be made available through FIFA's official in-country kiosks. Given the late date, tickets to see the tournament's more popular teams and more competitive group-stage games, as well as games during the final knockout phases, are all sold out. However, there are still tickets available to watch matches in the qualifying stages that will be once-in-a-lifetime experiences nonetheless. Your other option for following the team of your choice or to attend the later-stage games is to buy an all-inclusive vacation package that will include tickets along with accommodation and travel. If you're a U.S. soccer fan, you can purchase tickets for group-stage games involving the United States national team via the U.S. Soccer Federation's website.

Continue reading "Is it Too Late to Plan a Trip to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa?" »

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Related Topics: 2010 World Cup · Africa Travel · Travel Tips

March 19, 2010

Water While Traveling: What You Need to Know to Stay Healthy



By WorldNomads
03/19/2010

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Banner-travel-saftey

Editor's Note: Thanks to Chris Cranshaw, founder of Hydropal, for providing this information. Chris is a seasoned traveler who has been working to help the environment and provide safe drinking water for 15 years.

Water is something most of us take for granted until we step on a plane and head out into the world. Then we suddenly realize that this precious liquid so necessary to sustain life can also cause serious ill health and even worse.

Nothing ruins a good trip like a bout of diarrhea, nausea, feeling totally exhausted, feverish, and in no mood for anything but bed! Waterborne illness is one of the leading sources of health problems for travelers, and can have serious immediate consequences and after-effects for months.

Where are you at risk?
High-risk areas include Central America, most of Africa and Asia and the Middle East. Moderate-risk areas include Eastern Europe, Russia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and the Caribbean. Even developed countries aren't necessarily risk-free.

Basically if you want to be safe, assume the worst and plan accordingly.

Continue reading "Water While Traveling: What You Need to Know to Stay Healthy" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Asia Travel · Central America Travel · South America Travel · Travel Tips

January 29, 2010

Extreme Job: Meet the Man Who Gets Paid to Dodge Rhinos


Lisa C.

What's twice as tall as Niagara Falls, several times as long, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world? The Victoria Falls, which spans both Zambia and Zimbabwe. But the famous waterfall is not the only thing these two African countries have in common. They both share the honor of being Africa's extreme-sports capital. Their borders are smack dab in the middle of the bridge where most of the really extreme activities like bungee jumping and gorge swinging take place.

But if you think that is extreme, meet someone who willingly goes into the jungle on foot to give visitors a walking tour of the area and its inhabitants. Chiinga Siavwapa lives in the former capital of Zambia and is a licensed safari guide and Falls expert. Here's some questions I put to him:

So I take it that you've tried a few of the extreme activities?: I've done the gorge swing, a couple of boat cruises, and obviously the walking safari, which some people call extreme.

Why is it extreme?: I've had an elephant come after us, a rhino charge, and you have to know how to react. It's always best to back away slowly because a running target is more interesting. I've been trained in animal behavior and it helps that the park provides you with a guard who is authorized to carry a gun.

Continue reading "Extreme Job: Meet the Man Who Gets Paid to Dodge Rhinos" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Outdoor Adventures

January 28, 2010

Top Five Family Vacations, From a 12-Year-Old Perspective


NZ_Arthur's Pass sheep herd_Simon Russell-Photodisc-Getty-83298051
HERD CROSSING: Bring your brood to Arthur's Pass, New Zealand, where sheep have the right-of-way (Simon Russell/Getty)

As the founder of an adventure-travel company, I often have the chance to speak with our guests about their travels. One question I hear a lot is, "How do I know if my kids are ready for a trip to Europe?" (or Costa Rica, or New Zealand, or Peru...)

A recent conversation I had with my oldest son illustrates why I think it's never too soon to introduce kids to the big, wide world.

Jack, now 12, has been traveling abroad with us since he was an infant. (In his first passport photo, aged 11 months, he's wearing a Winnie the Pooh sleeper.) On a recent river-rafting trip, I seized just the right father-son moment to ask him which trips he remembers most fondly and why. With little or no prompting, he offered me the short list of his all-time top five.

5. New Zealand's South Island
While you won't spot any hobbits from the Lord of the Rings movies that were shot here, the whole family will find plenty of miraculous discoveries. Walk on amazing beaches, swim with the world's smallest dolphins, and explore a parrot-filled jungle with its own glacier. At a high-country sheep station, you can spend the day checking on baby lambs and watching the sheepdogs do their work. There's even jet-boat rides on the Dart River. Adults can enjoy sipping their way through award-winning wineries as well as some of the most scenic walks on Earth. New Zealand is a friendly country that captures the imaginations of all ages.

Continue reading "Top Five Family Vacations, From a 12-Year-Old Perspective" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Central America Travel · Exotic Escapes · Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel · Trip Ideas

January 11, 2010

South Africa's First Thai Restaurant Celebrates Its 25th Birthday


Cranks-johannesburg2 SALT & SAUCE: Interior decor in Cranks, Johannesburg (Lisa Costantini)

What do you get when you mix authentic Southeast Asian food with Day-Glo décor and Ken and Barbie in pornographic poses? South Africa's oldest and most unique Thai restaurant, Cranks, which is celebrating its 25th year in business.

Located in the Rosebank Mall complex in central Johannesburg, Cranks is the brainchild of Dutch-born owner Erick Neelson-Lemkes. After years of heading up kitchens in Thailand, Australia, and the Philippines, Erick and his Thai wife have made Cranks a South African institution. With only word-of-mouth advertising, Cranks is renowned for its lekker (South African for "great") Asian adaptations. "We won't compromise the food, but we do it in a lighthearted way," Erick says of the restaurant's dish names and its interpretation of Thai culinary classics.

Continue reading "South Africa's First Thai Restaurant Celebrates Its 25th Birthday" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Food and Drink

December 18, 2009

Sites We Like: iStopOver.com's World Cup Site


Istopover With some reports indicating that there may be a shortage of accommodation for fans attending the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, entrepreneurial websites like iStopOver.com are getting into the mix by offering non-traditional listings from locals who own apartments and houses in and around the World Cup venues. iStopOver.com’s World Cup site, which launched at the beginning of October, currently has over 800 listings submitted directly by local property owners. Fans can browse photos and other amenities, plus contact the owner directly with more questions. iStopOver.com takes a small cut on the final booking fee, which is not due until you complete your stay. On booking, payment goes directly to iStopOver.com via secure third-party, and is then held for release to the owner until after the stay is complete. Like other vacation-rental sites and community-oriented sites like CouchSurfing.org, there is an element of uncertainty to actual levels of comfort, cleanliness, and convenience, but iStopOver.com’s role as facilitator between guest and host means you assume more direct control over the trip-planning process. Beyond the World Cup, look for these types of sites to keep growing as more and more small businesses and individuals cut into a space normally dominated by the large hotel aggregators and portals.

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Related Topics: 2010 World Cup · Africa Travel · Travel Websites

December 14, 2009

Hollywood Goes to Cape Town: "Invictus" Movie Premiere


Invictus-movie-poster South Africa has been getting a lot of attention these past few weeks thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but Friday night was less about soccer and more about rugby. Cape Town hosted the premiere of Invictus, the new movie starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, and I was at the party. Clint Eastwood directs this true story based on the book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation by John Carlin.

The film highlights some of Cape Town's most traveled destinations, including sweeping aerial views of Table Mountain, the city's oldest hotel, Mount Nelson Hotel, and Nelson Mandela's cell on Robben Island. Also on display was the local lingo. While Freeman (who played Mandela and was the only star in attendance) proudly admitted to being able to finally pronounce the iconic figure's middle name (Rolihlahla) after numerous takes, the author (who lived in South Africa for six years) admits to still using "hoezit" as a way to greet someone. Since we can't help you understand Damon's accent in the movie, we can bring you up to speed with some other popular catchphrases:

- lekker = great
- babbelas = hungover
- skort = be careful
- morne = boring
- braai = BBQ

Lisa Costantini is a writer/editor currently traveling the world with her husband working on a project about sport and culture. More information can be found on their website at www.whysportmatters.com. Lisa will be blogging from the road for Away.com as she and her husband travel through Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe over the next several months.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Travel News

Notes from the Field: See Central Africa's Mountain Gorillas, for Less


Mountain-gorilla
Mountain gorilla in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda (Grant Faint/Photographer's Choice/Getty)

For those of you whose life lists include seeing the mountain gorillas of Rwanda or Uganda, leading outfitter Volcanoes Safaris is making it easier through the end of 2010. Current money-saving offers on Volcanoes Safaris packages include a free second gorilla permit ($500 value) for bespoke safari stays of six nights or more, plus two free nights ($1,000 value per person) in their Mount Gahinga Lodge in Uganda's Mgahinga National Park when booking multi-day package gorilla-safari packages out of Kigali. Quite apart from a chance to spend time with the iconic gorillas, Volcanoes Safaris' three ecolodges boast impeccable sustainable-tourism bonafides in terms of operational footprint and construction techniques. Their locations at the foot of ancient 10,000-foot dormant volcanoes, nestled deep in the heart of the cloud forests of central Africa, don't hurt, either.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay · Trip Ideas

December 03, 2009

Lions and Cheetahs, and Marathon Runners?


Cheetah-safari
RACE FAVORITE: Cheetah on show (Photodisc/Getty)

When it comes to bucket lists, African safari and running a marathon are probably two popular entries. What would you say if you could cross them off simultaneously?

Last weekend more than 300 runners descended upon the opulent Fairmont Mara Safari Club in southwestern Kenya for a reason other than the resort's heated pool and daily safari drives. The inaugural Masai Mara Marathon had locals and foreigners running for their lives (literally!) alongside Africa's most famous and dangerous animals. The cheetah was probably the toughest competition, capable of speeds upwards of 70 mph.

Continue reading "Lions and Cheetahs, and Marathon Runners?" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Dispatches from the Road

November 19, 2009

Celebrating Soccer (and Cultural Exchange) in Africa


How high on your travel wish list is Nigeria? So what would possess more than 500 teenage boys from across the world to trek to the heart of West Africa at the height of summer?

A) School trip?
B) Free video games?
C) International soccer competition?

If you answered C, give yourself a gold star. This past month in Nigeria, the FIFA Under-17 World Cup took place. The semi-finals saw Switzerland defeat Colombia, and Nigeria beat Spain. In the end, Switzerland took home the golden trophy, winning 1-0 in the finals on Sunday, November 15 in front of a crowd of more than 60,000 screaming fans. But it wasn't just the players who were from across the globe. I interviewed a few fanatics in the international crowd to find out what brought them to this sports-mad country.

Fifa-u17worldcup-henry Name: HENRY
From: Johannesburg, South Africa
What Brought You Here: I've been working for the past eight months for DSTV.
What Have You Learned From Coming to Nigeria: How diverse the cultures around Africa are.
One Thing You Can't Travel Without: My camera.

Continue reading "Celebrating Soccer (and Cultural Exchange) in Africa" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Dispatches from the Road
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