When I travel I like to know all I can about the locals, and when given the chance to choose from the dozen interesting destinations in Africa, I knew I had my work cut out for me. In South Africa alone there are 11 official languages. One dominant language and culture that most people are familiar with is the Zulus. The Zulu race is a big part of the country and I was excited, yet daunted to find out all I could about this proud people.
The Zulu heritage goes back many years, but they only became a unique people around the early 18th century, pulling away from the many clans that were scattered around the Southern African area.
The King of Kings
Most know of Shaka Zulu, the Zulu people’s leader, who took this people beyond anyone’s imagination. He was fearless and fought for his people for many years. Some would say that he was the first to start the vendetta against apartheid, the British being a big part of this war.
Today, there are still Zulu tribes, who live the authentic Zulu life, with all its culture, religion and traditions. I had the privilege of visiting one such village, and was amazed how they were quite oblivious to our modern ways and equipment. It was, in fact, quite breath taking and heart-warming.
I watched them cook over an open fire, with very primitive-looking utensils. I tasted their food, which was, while a little bland, quite tasty. They are a predominantly vegetarian race, although they do like their meat. As they do not go to the shops to buy their protein, they don’t always have it on tap, so the vegetation that they grow makes do.
They love their beer, and it is made from maize and course sorghum. The process takes place over a few days, and is operated by the women only. Once all is said and done, they produce a really hard-core beer, which has an alcohol content of 3%.
Amazi is a very traditional food, and made up of mostly milk. It is a sacred food, and only consumed by family members, so I wasn’t able to try it.
The Zulu’s are very proud of their attire, and most of it is made from real animal hides.
The men have very different wear to the women, and much of the accessories have deep meaning.
Cow tails are worn on the upper arms of men to give the appearance of greater muscle mass. They are called amaShoba.
IsiNene is the little front apron that covers the men’s private area, made up of weighted circles of animal skin.
The rear apron for men is called iBeshu and is only ever made from dead or stillborn calves.
InJoba is the long skins of animals worn on the hips.
Only married men wear headbands, which can be quite decorative.
The women are divided into single or married, and they dress accordingly. Single women display their “assets” as it were, by wearing very little, just a little grass skirt, with bared breasts. Married women cover up their breasts and grow their hair.
Dancing is a very integral part of the Zulu traditions, and it is a fine sceptical to see. I was able to view a few of their dances and was so tempted to join in, but not allowed to.
All of their dances have meaning, from their hunting dance to their bull dance. They are a fierce nation and express their passion well in dance. One can easily get caught up in the vibe and beat when watching.
The Zulu believe that there are spirits that exist in another realm. The spirits communicate between the dead and the living, giving messages of wisdom and often times foreseeing the future.
The Sangoma, who is their spiritual healer, will intervene when there is a situation that needs to be dealt with.
Animals are very sacred to the Zulu people, and they believe that spirits exist in animals too. You will see them put great meaning into what animals get up to. Suspicion is rife in the Zulu culture.
The Living Arrangements
The village layout is very thought-out, normally always situated on a slope, so that rainwater can drain down and through the kraal, where they keep their cattle.
The umuzi is built to protect the occupants against attack from neighbouring tribes. Although today, that rarely happens, they have kept up with this tradition.
The cattle and claves are kept in the middle, to protect from them wandering and from theft. They separate single men and women from their married counterparts, probably for obvious reasons.
The chief’s mother gets the largest hut, and the chief with his many wives are built around this. This shows the signs of respect within the tribe.
Nowadays the villages allow outsiders in, as more of a tourist thing, so I got to see the layout first hand, but we were not allowed to stay overnight.
So, I urge you, next time you are out and about on a safari in Africa, please go visit a Zulu village, and step back into a time gone by.
Image sources: https://www.safari.com/travel-blog/languages-phrases-serengeti/
Traveling to a new country can be both eye-opening and invigorating. It could be a business trip or a long-awaited vacation but there are some things that you should worry about. Regardless of the kind of trip you are taking, here are some tips to make your international travel easier, safer and more cost effective:
Health and Security
This is something that you cannot ignore. Before you travel to a different part of the world, ensure that you have checked with your doctor and have all the necessary vaccinations. You should also check with your insurance agent about the policies that can be applicable overseas. You might, in some cases, want to add some extra coverage. Further,
ü Have copies of your passport ready, in case you lose them.
ü Leave a copy of your passport back home. Consider keeping an electronic copy that can be accessed from anywhere and at any time.
ü Register with your embassy to make things easier when your safety could become a concern.
It takes some amount of time to adapt to the currency and exchange rates in a foreign country. It is better to be aware of the amount (in your currency) you are paying for and not walk into surprises. 1 euro might sound like a small amount however for an American traveler, it’s a bit over a dollar. Knowing the currency rate and the expenses will also help you prepare better for your overseas travel. On top of this, ensure:
ü That your credit card is valid in the foreign country.
ü You know where to get the best conversion rate (the money exchangers charging the lowest commissions).
ü Have local cash handy.
ü Check the country’s exit/entrance fees
Depending on the kind of overseas vacation you are planning, it is necessary that you have complete details of the itinerary. For instance, it is best to be sure where to go next or the timing of events you want to attend. Local research allows you to be prepared and you will always land on deals that save you money.
ü Get a guidebook / map
ü Download GPS data for online/offline navigation
ü Check out some blogs from travelers who have been to the place in the past
The smartphone has made our world a lot easier and convenient. It can be a savior in all kinds of situations, be it to find the hotel you booked or advise you on the best food restaurant around. Consequently, you must ensure that your gadgets are always in place.
ü Carry an international adapter. It will not only save your gadgets from voltage limitations but also allow you to charge anywhere.
ü Activate the roaming capability of your phone.
ü Download Viber Out for cheap international calling. The roaming charges on normal network calls can be too expensive to bear.
ü Make sure that your laptops and cameras are well protected.
Lastly, international travel is all about how open you are to opportunities. If you are able to adapt well, your vacation can be a great one. Research, knowledge and preparedness are the key to a successful and fun vacation.
Harmonise your six senses to achieve inner peace: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, balance.
This infographic from Kenwood Travel & Six Senses explores the six senses of the body in relation to the unique experience you can have at the collection of resorts in Thailand, Vietnam, the Maldives, and Oman. The luxurious Six Senses resorts are a collection of five-star hotel resort spas in some of the globe’s most beautiful locations.
Canada is a pretty impressive country that has some amazing trails you can hike all throughout the land. Ontario is an especially beautiful area that has some impressive hiking trails as well as attractions and more. In this article, we are going to discuss the top 5 hiking trails in Ontario and tell you why they are so impressive!
Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail
Located in the Niagara Escarpment in Manitoulin Island, this trail is on the highest ridge on the Island. You can find the scenery the most breathtaking when you are at the North Channel at the La Cloche Mountains. Not only is this trail dog-friendly, but it offers a ton of scenery. Your best bet would be to visit here between the spring and fall times.
In this area you can discover the entire Escarpment Biosphere Reserve, with lush forests and tons of scenery. The majority of people come here to hike and take in some of Mother Nature’s beauty. This area can be reached by train and you can bet this 12 km trail will leave you astonished at such glorious views.
You can also find restaurants near the trail such as Mum’s Restaurant and Seasons Family Restaurant, both have great scores and offer an array of food. This trail will not disappoint!
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
Come to Rattlesnake Point any time of the year for some great family time or just to clear your mind on a hike! Still the best time to visit is during the spring and summer seasons. This place boasts some of the most beautiful views on any hiking trail in Ontario and you can get there by train, which makes part of your trip easier.
Located on the Niagara Escarpment, you can camp outside to stargaze at all of the constellations, and have a campfire while you stay overnight from your hike. You also have the choice to stay at one of their campsites and take part in smaller, easier trails like Vista Adventure or Rabbit Run.
Visit Crawford Lake in the area for some beach therapy and take in thousand-year-old cedar trees and the rare Hackberry tree. If you like rock climbing, there are a few cliffs you can visit so make sure to pack your best rock climbing shoes. Geocaching is encouraged here so the whole family can have fun.
Eastern Ontario Trails
From hiking to horseback riding, you can have tons of fun on these trails! Located near Centre Hastings, Ontario, you can take a train to this area and begin your hike! There are many cottages and accommodations here so you can relax at the end of the day.
You will be right in the mix of some lush scenery and tons of adventures. You can feel free to hike but you may want to get an ATV and hit the trail, too! Overall, this is a great area in which to take time to enjoy yourself, which is easy with all of the activities and amenities you will have here!
Rock Dunder Hiking Trail
If you are into nature trips, bird watching, hiking, or just plain enjoying what nature has to offer, then you may want to check out the Rock Dunder Hiking Trail! The 90-meter cliff gives you views as far as the eyes can see, which include the Rideau Waterway. This loop can be accessed by train and offers a 3.7-kilometer loop to travel.
Located in Lyndhurst, Ontario, this loop offers a lot for being such a small hike. You can enjoy so much here that is is no wonder the place is so popular! The best times to come here would be spring and summer to get the best of the trail.
Scout Valley Loop Trail
This is a tiny loop trail that is right near Orillia, Ontario. It sits within a giant nature park, but the loop itself is only 2 km. The beautiful forest leads you to some lush scenery as well as the creatures that live within. If you like bird watching, this is a great place!
Accessible by train, you won’t have any trouble having a great time here, at this little low key trail! Formerly a Boy Scout camp area, this trail is full of wild flowers and a relaxing environment that is not far from civilization.
The best part of all of these trails is the beauty you can find in nature. From lush forests to colorful flowers, cliffs and gorges, you are sure to leave your trail wanting to plan another hiking trip. Now that you are away that Ontario offers an array of trails in which to hike and enjoy other outdoor activities, you can feel confident in taking on the challenge of these hikes.
Travelling alone is a rewarding experience that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime, but it can also be lonely. But with new places comes new people, and meeting other travellers or locals while you’re flying solo on your holiday can be the perfect way to not only broaden your horizons, but to keep you socialising even while you’re away from your friends and family. We’ve pulled together a few tips on how to meet people while travelling alone to help even the most socially awkward amongst us, so grab your passport, renew your EHIC card at europeanhealthinsurancecard.org.uk and get to booking your holiday.
Stay in a hostel
Even if dorms aren’t your thing, a hostel can be a great way to meet new people. Most hostels have private rooms for far less than a hotel would charge, so not only will you be part of the social aspect of staying in a hostel while still having your privacy, but you’ll be saving money at the same time. Whether you bond over the breakfast bar in the mornings, or you hang out in the hostel bar in the evenings, you’re guaranteed to meet someone during your stay. No one expects you to make lifelong friends, but other guests in hostels are often in the same position as you – travelling alone or in small groups, and who knows – maybe you could be looking to go to the same places and go together.
Learn the language of the place you’re visiting
Now, no one is expecting you to learn an entire language overnight, and if you go to a tourist-heavy city, you can probably get around without having to speak a word of anything but English and some broken, questionable hand movements. But if you truly want to meet people – namely the locals – then it’s worth learning at least a little of their language. You don’t need to become best friends with everyone that you meet while you’re on holiday, and so short conversations with a local might give you a better, more authentic feel for the country while helping you brush up on your language skills – which can look good on a CV!
Volunteering while Travelling
While this one is more of a change in the style of your trip, volunteering while you’re on holiday can be an enlightening, enriching and amazing experience, and you’ll get to meet people too. There are all kinds of volunteering services that will either find you volunteering while you’re away, or to use a company that runs holidays specifically for volunteering such as workaway.info and volunteerhq.org. These breaks can take you all over the world to projects that need your help. Whether you want to teach in Africa or China, or help at a conservation project for your favourite animals, there are hundreds of opportunities worldwide, and you’ll almost always be in a team. Meeting people through volunteering can help you meet life-long friends. After all, what better bonding experience is there than cleaning up after a baby Elephant?