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South Africa – DoNotMissList

SOUTH AFRICA – DoNotMissList

What to see…. What to eat…in South Africa

Let’s start by saying that South Africa is home to diverse breathtaking landscapes and a rich history that supports 11 official languages!

From the vibrant ‘Garden Route’ to the ‘Dragon Mountains’ you could take in all that the country has to offer without breaking the bank! The climate also supports general travel year round, although if you are interested in specific activities such as diving with great whites, watching the whale migrations, surfing, kite boarding, etc. you may want to check the best time of year for your specific interests!

South Africa, which is the southern most country within Africa is commonly renowned as The Jewel of Africa – and let me assure you, we agree with this sentiment. There’re various ways to get around – from public transport, renting your own car for less then $20/day, walking within all major cities (we tested out Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban) and a variety of well priced overland tours (Intrepid being our favorite).

Now for our South African DoNotMissList:

  1. Garden Route – stretches along the southeastern coast of South Africa and boasts spectacular scenery
  2. Kruger National Park – one of the largest game reserves in South Africa and home to the infamous Big 5
  3. Table Mountain – hike up or take the cable car to see Cape Town from above
  4. Diving with Great Whites in Gansbaai – hop in a cage and go face to face with huge great whites
  5. Boulder’s Penguin Colony – home to the tiny “African Penguins”, formerly known as “Jack-Ass Penguins”
  6. Cape Point – the most spectacular cliff side view
  7. Blyde River Canyon – the largest green canyon in the world
  8. Safari Ostrich Park – the only place I’ve come across that you can ride an Ostrich
  9. Circa on Jellicoe – a modern landmark in Johannesburg’s art district
  10. Stellenbosch Wine Route – a vineyard route outside of Cape Town that offers views that will blow your mind

South Africa’s World heritage sites: 

  1. Mapungubwe National Park – a national park in Limpopo Province, South Africa
  2. The Cradle of Humankind – draws visitors from around the world for the fossil record that lies in the network of limestone caves beneath the surface
  3. Robben Island – an island in Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years of his 27 year sentence

Grub to try in South Africa:

These are the iconic South African dishes that are proudly served to guests…

  1. Droëwors – a type of sausage popular in South African cuisine
  2. Morogo – known as wild or African spinach
  3. Chakalaka – a South African vegetable relish, usually spicy, that is traditionally served with bread, pap, samp, phutu, stews or curries

Thanks for visiting our DoNotMissList for South Africa – we hope you make it there and know you will not be disappointed!  It certainly ranks in our top ten of all time :)

Do Not Miss Lists

Egypt – DNM List

What to see…. What to eat… In Egypt

Let’s start by saying that we were adventurous enough to travel to Egypt not long after the revolution… Although it’s been a year since the revolution, there’s still turmoil and visiting during the anniversary of this revolution certainly showcased this fact… Some “amateur” bombs went off while we were there to mark the 1 year anniversary of the second revolution on July 3, 2013. Well we’ve lived to tell, and give you some pointers on what to see when you have your chance to visit this beautiful land, know that you need to take some safety precautions when visiting this spectacular country.

Egypt is unreal – it’s unlike anywhere else in the world you’ve ever been, because so much ancient history is well preserved – Go there to learn about pharaohs and get a feel for how people lived, how much work was put into making the ancient art, and get a taste of what Egypt is like today – It’s a place of amazing sites and structures, with lots of outdoor museums.  Some of the most incredible sites you’ve ever seen – much like Rome, but with underground additions and hieroglyphics beautifully carved into every column.

Keep in mind that after the Egyptian revolutions it is considered a dangerous place for travel, nevertheless we went there, and we promise it’s not that bad. We’d even say we picked the best time to visit, prices are down, people are extremely hospitable and friendly, and best of all, the sites are empty. We were practically the only people looking at the pyramids (Good time to visit?) it was easy to get amazing pictures and learn a fair amount about the history of the nation since there are more guides to tell the stories than actual tourists.

Egypt – What everyone who makes it to Egypt must see (on a short trip – there’s more if you have the time)

  1. In Cairo 
    1. Pyramids of Giza – there were 138 pyramids found in Egypt
    2. Sphinx – Located by the great pyramids of Giza
    3. Egyptian Museum
  2. In Luxor – 4000 year old open air museums
    1. Karnak Temple
    2. Hatshepsut Temple
    3. Valley of the Kings

Food Suggestions – Must eat:

  1. Toum – Our favorite thing of Egyptian Cuisine- Garlic Sauce/Spread – Recipe
  2. Baba Ghannoug – common Middle Eastern Eggplant based spread – Recipe
  3. Tahini – spread (paste) made out of sesame – major component of Baba Ghannoug and Hummus – Recipe
  4. Shakshouka – Tunisian Dish, commonly found in Egypt – Fried Eggs in a tomato sauce – Recipe
  5. Kofta – Meatloaf, usually made from lamb, beef mutton, or Chicken
  6. Kebab – meat on a skewer

Do Not Miss Lists

Top 10 Cheap Places to Travel – DNM List

Travel hacks – top 10 places to travel that won’t break the bank

Everyone usually thinks of Southeast Asia when they think of cheap travel – and yes, that is true most of Southeast Asia is extremely cheap and there is good weather nearly year round.  At this point though, I have traveled all over the world and want to give you the top ten cheap places to travel that won’t break the bank, have a lot to offer AND are somewhat unique :)

1. Peru

The land of the almighty Incas.  Of course, you can find the most impressive site in the world here, Machu Picchu, but that’s not it.  Peru also has the range of natural beauty, a cuisine unlike any other place in the world, and some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.  The entire sacred valley outside of Cusco is just that, sacred.  You can feel the energy and power in the region – and will leave with a sense of awe and wonder.

2. Indonesia

– Comprised of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia has a lot to offer every member of the family.  My personal favorite island is Bali – beaches, mountains, artist colonies, fishing towns, volcanic regions, and amazing food very similar to that of Thailand.

3. Thailand

– Mainland plus islands brings you a country with a vast array of options from Tiger petting to jungle trekking, island hopping, full moon partying, praying with buddha, taking cooking classes, and elephant riding.  From the north to the south, the Thai people are wonderful and the food is spectacular.

4. Costa Rica

Rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, volcanic regions – Costa Rica is blessed to have two full coasts and then everything in between.  You will not be disappointed with any region of the country as each has a wonderful set of offerings.  Just choose if you want an adventure – in the tree tops, hiking through cloud forests, watching volcanoes ooze from your bedroom, or if you prefer relaxation – checking out sloths in the rainforest, lying on one of many beaches, watching the most incredible sunsets you’ve ever seen while sipping on an exotic drink.  Even better than that, you can have it all, the country is narrow and you can make your trip across easily – so get to planning – there’s a lot to choose from!

5. South Africa

A country with vast diversity, many official languages, and landscapes of every variety – South Africa will keep you busy and happy for a long time.  Whether your fancy is safaris, diving with great whites, kiteboarding, surfing, dancing, wine tasting, mountain climbing, hiking, relaxing – I could go on with this list for quite a while, because South Africa really does have it all.  Cape Town of course is the most impressive of the major cities, but take your time exploring, even rent a car, the roads are good and the adventures are plentiful!

6. Egypt

One of the most moving places I have ever been, Egypt impresses on so many levels it is hard to put into words.  It is not as affordable as the other countries on this list, but it is still doable on a budget and is not to be missed.  The ancient temples (open air museums) of Luxor tell the story of the land and give you true understanding of the Egyptian people.  The sites are more impressive than rome and the food is stellar – what more could you ask for?

7. India

An enormous land with desert, beaches, mountains and spirituality.  India will yes, shock you to the core, but also bring you to a place of inner peace not yet experienced (if you let it).  Yoga retreats, ashrams, meditation, you name it, India has it happening in one region or another.  The food is amazing, but even more than that, the energy and centering that can be felt there will blow you away.

8. Montenegro

– A lot like Croatia, with crystal clear waters, and beaches all along the coast.  One of the few places you can find inland fjords, castles, old walled cities, and mountainous regions that will leave you trekking for days.  Montenegro has it all, and the price tag will agree with your bank!

9. Argentina

The land of steak and malbec.  Argentina is home to some of the most passionate artistic individuals and the big cities like Buenos Aires make sure you feel that.  From dance, art, food exploration, wine regions, some of the most enchanting falls in the world, and the patagonia with black/white glaciers, endless nature, you can find yourself in Argentina.

10. Namibia

Safaris and sand dunes characterize this massive country with a mere population of 2 million.  The infrastructure is sound, the roads good and the animals a plenty.  There is a long coast line, home to the skeleton coast, and sand dunes that go on for miles.  You can spend your time finding rhinos, elephants, zebras, and lions – or taking a snowboard to the dunes, flying down at speeds over 30 km/hr.

So the next trip you are considering – think of this list for the Top 10 Cheap Places to Travel!

Travel Tips

Booking Cheap Flights – DNM List Travel Hack

Looking for the best deal on travel?  Here are our tips for booking cheap flights anywhere in the world:

There are a number of aggregate searches available out there – our two favorites of the bunch are Kayak and Skyscanner. These two sites will search hundreds of others to find you the best flight based on your search criteria. Some travelers prefer the most direct journey while others have time restrictions or care more about price. These search interfaces will allow you to slice and dice the results any way you please. You can additionally use the flexible dates feature to determine the best/cheapest option within a range of dates. The explore feature on Kayak even allows you to check out options on a map to see if one location may be cheaper than another depending on your plans and flexibility.

So then that’s all you need to know right? Well, not exactly.

Use these aggregators carefully. Kayak was bought by Priceline in recent years and since then, it presents the same potential problem that Skyscanner does – they don’t just aggregate flights directly from the airlines, but also show options from third party services.

What are the potential problems with third party services?

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