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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

4x4 Tips For Beginners

Congratulations on taking the plunge and hiring a 4X4 for an awesome off-road African adventure!

As a newbie to the wonderful world of 4-wheel drive, you’ll fall into one of two camps – those who think they know it all already, and those who are totally terrified and have no idea how to handle ‘their’ Camel-man-mobile safely, let alone get the best out of it!

This article is for you, whichever side you fall; never be too proud or too petrified to learn, for your sake an...

cape town, tour, car hire cape town, car hire south africa

Congratulations on taking the plunge and hiring a 4X4 for an awesome off-road African adventure!

As a newbie to the wonderful world of 4-wheel drive, you’ll fall into one of two camps – those who think they know it all already, and those who are totally terrified and have no idea how to handle ‘their’ Camel-man-mobile safely, let alone get the best out of it!

This article is for you, whichever side you fall; never be too proud or too petrified to learn, for your sake and the sake of your passengers and fellow off-road track users.

Speed & Momentum

If you hit a spot of trouble DON’T accelerate – it can get you into a worse position. Slow down and take it easy – this helps you to keep traction and your tyres will work for you instead of spinning aimlessly.

When approaching an obstacle, you need momentum. The trick is to start a little way back to gain the momentum you need. This is a skill which you will master over time.

Limits

Don’t try new tricks when you’re out alone. Test your limits when you’re with more experienced drivers.

Mud

Use a stick to test a new mud hole for depth and softness. Remember a soft hole can prove impossible to escape! Enter the mud hole with a little momentum and if you feel that you’re getting stuck turn the wheel left to right to gain traction. Once you’ve gone as far forward as you can try reverse out.

Windows

Keep the windows up to avoid a mud shower or a face full of dust.

Stuck

If you are truly stuck, try letting a little air out of your tyres for better traction and when you get out of the ditch don’t forget to fill them up again.

Stalling

If you stall with your tailpipe under water, get towed out and pull the spark plugs before starting the engine again. A cylinder full of water can destroy an engine. When the plugs are out, however, the water will be safely ejected.

Obstacles

Go slowly over obstacles. Pull the hand brake a little for tension on the drive line to slow the vehicle and enable you to accelerate gently over.

Steering

Always hold the steering wheel with thumbs out when you’re off-road. If you hit a ditch or obstacle the wheel could spin too fast and hurt your thumbs. Keeping them out helps prevent injury. Keep your hands and arms inside the truck to avoid accidents.

Tools & Spares

Keep the following with you:
A hi-lift jack
Steel wire
Spare tyre and plug kit

Safety

Wear a safety belt
Don’t travel alone
Have a cell phone on you
Don’t drink alcohol when driving
Get back on the tar road before dark
Give fellow 4X4 drivers on the track plenty of space
Don’t race or churn up the soil needlessly.

Respect

Respect the land, the other people using the trail and the vehicle! Douse campfires, don’t litter (this includes cigarette butts), stick to trails so as to avoid damaging the plant life.

Leave your ego at home and remember it’s about having fun!

 

Out of Africa

Exploring the wildlife in Africa could be the greatest and the most exiting experiences of your lifetime. People, who get used to living in a big city will be really astonished be the grandeur of the African nature, its flora and fauna.

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Exploring the wildlife in Africa could be the greatest and the most exiting experiences of your lifetime. People, who get used to living in a big city will be really astonished be the grandeur of the African nature, its flora and fauna.

If your aim is to sink deep into this world – your choice is safari. There are several kinds of this sort o tour. Your decision will depend on what you would like to see and how much time do you have. The significant part of safari ways is situated in the Eastern and the Southern parts ot the continent.

During walking safaris you usually will use temporary bush camps or permanent lodges as a base from which vehicles and sometimes boats will get you into areas of activity or specific interest. It’s the closest to nature way to see and to feel the African wilderness areas.

If you lie to see more in a shorter time, then mobile safari is for you. Mobile safaris make use of 4x4 vehicles usually to cover larger areas or a variety of different habitats in a single trip. The diversity and relatively large distances between the prime spots in Botswana and Namibia make mobile safaris the preferred means for covering these destinations.

In case you want to see all that’s possible – then flying above Africa will the right way. Fly-in safaris are regularly done in Botswana and Namibia in order to cover a large amount of territory with some very specific spots on the agenda in as short a space of time as possible.

One of the more popular means of experiencing Africa's wilderness is a canoe safari. Several of the large African rivers are run by canoe but it's the lower Zambezi that really holds the leadership. Mana Pools National Park is on the southern bank - the remote Lower Zambezi National Park is on the northern shoreline in Zambia. You can choose the class of your canoe and travel with the maximum convenience.

Self-drive safari is the most flexible type of trip that you'll find. In this variant you hire a vehicle, plan your own route, pre-book accommodations of your choice and explore the region on your own. Namibia is the easiest to on a self-drive basis even if you travel for the first time.

Privately guided safari is your variant if you're looking for exclusivity, special attention. Some excursions are into the remoter parts, others are on well trodden trails simply exploring on a more casual and relaxed basis.

Your trip can be a combination of all these types of safaris. Anyway don’t forget to receive all the possible information about the destination you are going to. The more information – the better. Also, don’t forget to make all the necessary vaccinations. In Africa it’s a must, if you do not intend to spend your holiday in the hospital.

 

Intrigues Of The Zanzibar Stone Town

Mji Mkongwe (in Swahili) or Stone town is the ancient part of Zanzibar City, the capital of the island of Zanzibar, a part of the East African state of Tanzania. Stone Town is an enjoyable place to saunter around aimlessly and experience a living history.

The stone town is built on the western coast of the island. It consists of narrow alleys, houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. To get around the town one has to use bicycles or motorbikes because the inner streets are too ...

zanzibar,stone town,tanzania,holiday destinations

Mji Mkongwe (in Swahili) or Stone town is the ancient part of Zanzibar City, the capital of the island of Zanzibar, a part of the East African state of Tanzania. Stone Town is an enjoyable place to saunter around aimlessly and experience a living history.

The stone town is built on the western coast of the island. It consists of narrow alleys, houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. To get around the town one has to use bicycles or motorbikes because the inner streets are too narrow for cars to drive into. Stone Town has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The history of the stone town goes back to when Zanzibar was the main trading port of East Africa. The Swahili architecture of the stone town incorporates elements of ancient Persian, Arab, European (Portuguese/British), Indian and African styles. The evidence can be seen in the archaic buildings that make up the stone town.

The two buildings that dominate the seafront of Stone Town are Beit-El-Ajaib or the House of Wonders and the Arab fort.

THE ARAB FORT.

The Arab Fort stands on the site of a former Portuguese Church and residential quarters and was converted to a fort for the town garrison during the 18th Century. The Mazrui Arab dynasty from Mombasa (Kenya) made an unsuccessful attempt to capture the fort in 1754. The skilfully carved Arab door of the main entrance, was in the past in a house belonging to Sultan Seyyid Khaled bin Mohammed

The fort has been restored and now houses the Zanzibar Cultural centre. It is open to visitors and contains shops, a cafe and an ancient Greek-styled amphitheatre. This is where the annual Zanzibar International Film Festival is held every July and attracts film and culture lovers from across the globe.

The Arab Fort hosts the Zanzibar Festivals. Which includes the

i)Zanzibar Festival of the Dhow Countries- This festival involves theatre, traditional and contemporary music, exhibition of paintings, crafts and sculptures. The Festival is held beginning 30 June to 9th July every year.

ii)Zanzibar International Film Festival: - This held together with the festival of the dhow countries.

iii)The Zanzibar Cultural Festival- This takes place for a whole week in July, it brings together musicians from different parts of the world.

The Mambo Club, where music performances and DJ sessions are held, is also housed in the Arab fort.

THE HOUSE OF WONDERS OR BEIT–EL AJAIB.

The House of Wonders was built by Sultan Seyyid Barghash (1870-1888) as a grand palace for ceremonial purposes. It was the first building to have electric lights hence its name. It survived British bombardment in 1896 and both Sultan Seyyid Hamud (1896-1902) and Sultan Seyyid Ali bin Hamud (1902-1911) dwelled in the house of wonders, before it housed Government offices in 1911. It is topped by a large clock tower and surrounded by tiers of pillars and balconies. At the entrance are two fine Portuguese bronze guns made during the sixteenth century captured from the Portuguese by Persians with the help of the British.The House of Wonders has currently been restored and re-opened as a museum. It is believed to be built on dead slaves and black criminals' bodies.

FORODHANI GARDENS.

Below the House of Wonders, by the pier, is the popular Forodhani Gardens, where locals gather in the evening and market stalls sell food and drinks. The dancing and flickering flames of kerosene lamps, tin lamps and charcoal jikos add a lovely atmosphere to the evening market. Evenings in Zanzibar are about communing. You will find people (mostly men) in small groups discussing and children still playing. There is an incredible variety of fresh seafood like squid, crab, tuna and prawn that will be grilled by the vendors as you watch. Meat kebabs, chips and chilli sauce are also available. The sugar cane juice is also a refreshing treat. There is also a small curio and souvenirs market. REMEMBER this is Africa and BARGAIN! BARGAIN! BARGAIN! for anything you buy in the market. Earlier in the day a trip to the local market and buying some of the fabulous selection of fruit available in Zanzibar is recommended.

THE ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL.

The Anglican Church of Christ was built between 1874 and 1882 to commemorate the end of the slave trade. It was constructed on the site of a slave market that was closed down earlier in 1873. The Church is still in use. The external walls are covered by crenulations and recesses ending in tri-foil arches. The clock on the tower was a gift from Sultan Seyyid Barghash. One can also see the stain glass window in the cathedral that depicts Christ as an African and the cross in cathedral commemorating David Livingstone a missionary and explorer. The only remaining evidence of the slave activities are the underground chambers at the St. Monica hostel.

Freddy Mercury's House on Kenyatta Road.

In case you didn’t know, Zanzibar is famous as the birth place of Freddie Mercury, who used to be the lead singer of the band QUEEN.

LIVINGSTONE HOUSE.

Built around 1860, north of the town, this was a base for many European missionaries and explorers as they attempted journeys into the mainland Tanzania then known as Tanganyika. David Livingstone, missionary and famous explorer, stayed here in 1866 for a few weeks until his final expedition. This house was given to David Livingstone by Sultan Seyyid Said. At some point in its history, the building was used as a rest house for invalids and for religious meetings, by the Ithnaasheri Khoja Community. In 1947 the government purchased it. It presently homes the Zanzibar Tourist Corporation.

The Old Dispensary.

This grand four-storey building found near the sea front on Mizingani Road It was built originally as a private home for a well-known Ismaili Indian merchant, Tharia Topan, in the 1890s. Topan was one of the wealthiest individuals in Zanzibar at the time and a customs advisor to the Sultans. In 1899 he is said to have given up the house to be used as a dispensary, also funding the medication and other services. It fell into disrepair during the 1970s and 1980s, but was renovated with funding from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in 1996 and opened as the Stone Town Cultural Centre.

Palace Museum ( Beit el-Sahal)

This was a palace, which was the residence of the Sultan until 1964 when when Sultan Jamshid was overthrown. It is currently a museum showing the era of the rule of Sultans in Zanzibar. It was first occupied by Sultan Khalifa in 1911 when ascended to the throne. The palace also accommodated the Royal family and the Sultan's harem. After the 1964 Revolution, it was used by the Zanzibar Government for Cabinet meetings and for gatherings of the Revolutionary Council

The National Museum (Beit el Amani or House of Peace)

It showcases sections of archaeology, early trade and ships, slavery, palaces, mosques, sultans, explorers, clove oil production, traditional crafts and household items.

Hahamni Persian Baths

These were the first public baths in Zanzibar. They were built by Sultan Barghash in the late 1890's. They are no longer in use but are open for public viewing at a small entry cost. The building was constructed using coral rag with lime stucco rendering. The external appearance is plain with only a decorative dentil frieze on the upper part, surrounded by a crenulated parapet.

Mosques

Mosque’s are scattered all around the town. They are all impressive and with a rich history. The oldest is the Msikiti wa Balnara (Balnara/Malindi Mosque) built in 1831 by Mohammed Abdul Qadir el Mansabi, whose remains are buried infront of the Mihrab. Entry into the mosques is made only if visitors are appropriately dressed. Unlike other mosques, it has a minaret decorated with a double chevron pattern. The Aga Khan mosque is a two storied building with magnificent designs on the outer walls.

There are some good bars around the Zanzibar town. Africa house is a particularly good one with a great view. Located on the 1st floor it is a great place for a sun downer. However if you want a proper view of the sun setting a sunset dhow cruise will be in order. The sunset tour starts an hour before sunset. The guests are picked from their hotels and transported to the drop off point at the sea front, where they board the dhow. The seasoned crew on board take the dhow about a kilometre away from the shore by means of an engine, once out in the sea the engine is shut off and the sail is put up. When the sail is in favour of the wind, the dhow glides through the water and the guests can sit back and relax. The wonder of the fiery golden sun setting beyond the horizon can then be enjoyed over a glass of wine.

The ancient art form of Zanzibar hand-carved doors and chests reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors dot the town and similar hand made artefacts can be purchased. One can also do Spice tours, go dolphin watching, or scuba diving from the stone town.

The hotel accommodation available at the stone town includes Serena Hotel, Tembo House Hotel, Emerson & Green hotel, Dhow Palace and the Beyt al Chai, an exclusive boutique hotel.

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