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Travel Tips

Tour Companies Can Make or Break a Trip

If you opt for a tour on your next trip, the company you choose could make or break it.

My close family and friends have heard me rave by now about my time in Egypt. I thought is was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. So incredible that I would choose to go back there over almost any of the 70 countries I’ve been to.

Since my time there dozens of people have asked me what my favorite travel spots are. Whenever I place Egypt on my list the response has been – oh really? They’ve always known someone that visited and didn’t have the same experience.

David and I got to thinking and while we knew the tour group we selected was excellent – we didn’t realize it could literally make or break your trip. Our itinerary was so well put together and we were treated with such care and respect (like royalty) during our entire stay. Our tour leaders literally bent over backwards for us and educated us on the sites in such a captivating manner.  We felt so welcomed in the country that I couldn’t possibly imagine anything else.

All that being said – I guess I will continue to describe my experience in Egypt to others and at the same time suggest they select Memphis Tours as their operator. No matter what your interests in Egypt, they will make your stay nothing short of spectacular. Their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced and their tour guides/leaders are so knowledgable, you will have a much deeper appreciation for everything you see while you’re there. You will leave Egypt feeling the way I do, that every sight is a masterpiece and that there is so much to see, you’ll already look forward to another visit.

Outside of Egypt a tour company that I can recommend across the world with both their passion for sharing knowledge and leaving a minimal footprint on the environment is Intrepid Travel.  They operate all around the world and have a wide range of tour options to accommodate every interest and budget (just about).  I’ve been on a few overland safari tours with them in Africa and would go again in a heartbeat.

If for some reason these two options don’t offer something in the country you are interested in – check out Tour Radar, they aggregate all the tours along with reviews/ratings to help you make a sound decision.

As always – best of luck on your journey 🙂

Do Not Miss Lists

Top 5 Safaris in Africa – DNM List

An African safari will give you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most spectacular animals on Earth.  From seeing the big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Cape Buffalo) to seeing the most amazing birds living in the wild, African national parks have some amazing safari opportunities.

Here are our Top 5 Safaris in Africa with information about the animals to see, any background about the parks and our recommended contacts.  Have you been on an African Safari before? Which one? Tell us about your experience!

  1. Serengeti, Kenya/Tanzania
  2. N’gora N’gora Crater, Tanzania
  3. Kruger National Park
  4. Etosha National Park
  5. Chobe National Park

Click to see why…

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Culture

What are children learning in Africa?

Visiting a classroom in the country of Namibia in Southern Africa was certainly an eye opening experience for us. We went in with an open mind  and simply wanted to learn what the children are learning in Africa…

Of course, we learned quickly that it depends on where they are. The children we met were very bright and attentive, all able to communicate to us fully in English. The teacher runs all the classrooms in the school and is a strong woman. She happily showed us the class curriculums for various grades, had us sit in on a class and even let us read the text books.

A few things stayed with us from that visit:

1. These children have already surpassed the knowledge of their parents (whom we also met later on).

2. They are able to communicate in a language their parents do not know.

3. They are taught in a completely different way than we are in America (which is expected), but even the portrayal of information was foreign to us. We’d never heard some of the facts that were presented and a great percentage of their curriculum is based on the various settlers that came through the country, and in turn, slavery (more than a year).

4. There is no technology what so ever. We donated chalk and pencils to the school while we were there.

5. There is no access to the internet at all. Even in the big cities in Namibia (a country with only 2 million people that gained independence in the last 30 years) internet is hard to come by. This means research and external information is hard to access. They only learn what is in the books they are provided.

6. The books they have in the classroom are written and published by the Namibian government. This may be common practice all over the world, but it seemed interesting considering the content.

Now to you, this may all seem like no big deal. So what, African countries in rural areas are behind the times…well no, that’s not really the case at all. Namibia is a young country with a strong infrastructure and lots of money coming in by way of natural resources. There are a ton of settlers (mostly German) developing whole cities that look very westernized and are home to stores much like Wholefoods. The home values in and around Swakopmund (one well known city) exceed that of most American cities – and are comparable to prices found in suburbs of Boston and Chicago.

This next generation will define future developments and their education is imperative.

As we have already emerged into the era of technology and they are well on their way – I wonder when they will gain access to the tools that could really evolve the education system for their upcoming youth.

Do Not Miss Lists

Silk Road and Northern China – DNM List

If you’re traveling across Northern China and want to see some things on the Silk Road here are our favorites.
  1. Beijing – There’s lots to do in the capital of China from expat hangouts to tourist sites like Tianamen Square. It’s the closest city to the Great Wall.
  2. Datong – Datong has 2 amazing sites that are must sees if you’re on the Silk Road: The hanging monastery, and the grottoes.
  3. Xi’an – A cool city famous for their Muslim Markets. Close by is the famous Terra Cotta Warrior Site.
  4. Huayin (Huashan) – Only about 75 Miles from Xi’an – This is where the infamous Mount Huashan (Most Dangerous Hike in the World) is located.
  5. Zhangye – Famous for the Rainbow Mountains. Little to see in Zhangye outside the Rainbow Mountains.