Saturday, February 6, 2016

Awesome Facts About South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is positioned at the southern tip of the continent of Africa and it has one of the most diverse ethnic societies of the world. The country has diverse culture, religion and languages due to this multi-ethnic characteristics. The nation is also referred to as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ due to this rich ethnicity.

The country of South Africa consists of the people of Sub-Saharan ancestry who speak different Bantu languages, nine of which are included in the official list. The nation recognises 11 official languages and two of these, the Afrikaans which originated from Dutch is the most common language while English is usually used for official purposes. The popularity and wide usage of these two languages comes from the history of colonialism that existed in the country few decades back. The country had history of colonial rule followed by the division of the country in terms of the race one belonged to, i.e., the whites and the blacks.

South Africa is a beautiful land that has rich treasures of ethnic heritage, history and rare flora and fauna of the world. 

The series of caves in the Gauteng Province of the country contained some rare old human fossils and archaeological remains, thus the site has been termed as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because the fossils contained there are one of the oldest in the world. The various findings in the lands of South Africa suggests that the land was inhabited by a number of hominid species starting with the Australopithecus africanus about 3 million years ago. These were followed by the Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei and the modern humans, the Homo sapiens who have inhabited the place for about 170,000 years.

The land of South Africa was inhabited by a number of Bantu-speaking people before the colonisation started. Bartolomeu Dias, the famous Portuguese explorer was the first person to discover the lands of South Africa for the European community. He discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 as directed by the king of Portugal to find a trade route to India. His travel experience helped the other Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who ultimately found the sea route to India landing at Calicut in 1498. The Portuguese maritime powers declined in the early 17th century which was soon overtaken by the Dutch.

Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch colonial administrator established a refreshment station at Cape of Good Hope in 1652 which later became Cape Town. The Dutch East India Company established a colony taking with them a number of slaves from India, Indonesia, and Madagascar to work at the lands. A large number of precious minerals like gold and diamond was found in the land in later years which attracted other colonial powers like the British towards the country. A number of fights and wars broke out and the British came to rule in 1795 overthrowing the Dutch.

The nation of South Africa has a long history of struggle and fights before the nation became a republic in 1961, however the racial discrimination called apartheid continued in the state. The first multi-racial election was held in 1994 ending the policy of apartheid in the country. Today, the nation has about 80% of people of African descent, whites about 8%, coloured 9% and Indian/Asian 3%. Christians dominate the scene among the people of other faiths, followed by Muslims, Hindus, Jews and others.

The large geographical area of the land of South Africa stands at 25th in the world and it is bounded by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean on three sides. The nearness of the sea is responsible for the general temperate type of climate present in the country. The interior of the country is generally a plateau and in some places, the land is almost flat. The great Kalahari Desert lies to the north-west of the country so the interior climate is slightly hot as compared to the coastal areas. The diverse landscape present in the country is the home of different varieties of wildlife not found anywhere.

The flora and fauna found in the lands of South Africa are one of its kind and they are a delight for wildlife enthusiasts. Different mammals are found in the country like the Transvaal lions, African leopards, South African cheetahs, white rhinos, giraffes hyenas, hippopotamus etc. The Kruger National Park, the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and Sabi Sand Game Reserve are the treasure houses of the wildlife of South Africa. The riverine rabbit is another endemic species found in the lands of South Africa which is critically endangered like many other species of the land.

The lands of South Africa are rich in diverse plant species which makes the country a very colourful and different place to explore. The grasslands type of vegetation are the most common which includes different types of grasses, shrubs and acacia trees. The baobab trees are specific to the lands of the country and in the dry areas, the aloes and euphorbias are found in abundance. The King Protea is the national flower of South Africa and it is endemic to its lands and the West Coast National Park is another place worth visiting. The Postberg Flower Reserve Section of the park is a must-visit in the months of August and September when the place is filled with blooming flowers.

Cape Town

The South African arts are one of the oldest art objects in the world being about 75,000 years and they were found in a South African cave. The Khoisan tribes, the Bantu/Nguni people had a distinct arts culture among them which are still visible through cave paintings. The cuisine of South Africa most often includes meat and the dishes are influenced by different cultures that is present on its lands. Dance is also a part of life and the people enjoy dancing there.

The two great personalities who fought against racism and colour distinction in South Africa are Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. While Gandhi ji later fought for Indian Independence, Nelson Mandela fought for equality in South Africa.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Travel Gadgets Actually Worth Buying

There are a lot of travel gadgets out there claiming to be the best travel gizmos. However, on a personal note, it is really hard to gauge which travel gadget would come really useful.  Mentioned below are a few of the latest gadgets which I felt could be of great help.

Sigmo Voice Translation Device

This is perfect for the ardent traveler as it permits real time translation of close to 25 different languages, both ways. In other words, you can speak a phrase in English and then press a button to have Sigmo repeat that phrase in the foreign language of your choosing, so that the listener is easily able to understand. Then when somebody speaks to you in their native language, the device will capture and translate all back to you in English. Voila! All it takes is one button.

However, the best translators are the ones offering multiple languages, words and phrases, local clock features and metric conversions.


Rolo is a carry-on travel bag that’s shaped like a tube. The small size and unique shape make it perfect for traveling light. Once you arrive at your destination it also makes a great day-pack. Don’t be fooled by the slim shape or relatively small size, Rolo has an impressive amount of room for clothing and personal items.

It gets better though, Rolo also has a hook inside so that it can hang vertically when unrolled, giving you access to multiple pockets containing all of your clothing and travel items. The fact that a bag can fit this much in such a small space and then unroll and immediately give you access to every single item (unlike a backpack where things get buried on the bottom) is really convenient in terms of saving time.

This is definitely an essential travel item for those that like to pack light and take a minimalist approach to their travels.

TrakDot Luggage Tracker
TrakDot is a small device that gives you the ultimate peace of mind. It can exactly show where your luggage is anytime, anywhere in the world. You would not have to ever worry about stolen or lost luggage again, as you can easily figure out where your gear is and track it down.

Handle Scales

Today’s airline regulations can make packing an anxiety-inducing task, as travelers must attempt to pack essentials without being charged an extra fee for each bag exceeding the weight limit. A handle scale is an inexpensive and worthwhile travel investment.

Costing as little as $10, these scales attach to your luggage handle, and weigh your bags and suitcases, allowing you to gauge the weight before arriving at the airport. This can save you as much as $25 per bag and assist you in packing only essentials.

AViiQ Travel Charger

This gadget eliminates the need for multiple outlets and multiple cords, and with the help of one power outlet, you can simultaneously charge up to four devices. This not only cuts down on the number of cables, it also doubles as a travel case that neatly stores your electronics inside too.

PowerCard Portable Battery

PowerCard is a portable battery that you charge before your trip. It can then recharge your electronics even if you find yourself without access to a power outlet. PowerCard itself is rechargeable too of course. It’s designed to be very sleek and thin so it’s not a burden to carry while traveling, and it holds enough charge to bring an iPhone up to 60% battery life. (1300 mAh of battery power)

This is one of the best travel gadgets to have in an emergency when your phone is about to die. It’s also convenient when you just don’t feel like stopping at an outlet for an extended period of time during the day. PowerCard lets you keep moving, charging your devices on-the-go. You can wait to  charge via outlet until you’ve reached your destination at night.

Whatever the scenario, it’s a really useful travel item to have with you especially given the tiny amount of space it takes up.

Corsair Flash Survivor USB stick

A USB stick is useful for travelers as it’s the easiest way to share video files or lots of photos, and to get things like boarding passes printed out without logging into email on dodgy computers in hostels and internet cafes.

The Corsair Flash Survivor is a shockproof, waterproof, dustproof USB stick that comes in capacities up to 256GB. That’s enough space to back up photos from even the longest trips, as well as store enough music and movies to keep you entertained. That means you won’t need to carry a separate portable hard drive for backups, which often break and take up a lot of space.

You’ll pay a little under $100 for the 128GB version, or around $150 for the highest capacity. That’s not bad for an almost-unbreakable, multipurpose backup device that fits in your pocket.

USB Wireless Antenna

The Wireless Antenna are small, cheap and can easily increase your wireless range by over three times.

The above travel gadgets are really useful items and investing in them can definitely help you travel smarter and also enhance your traveling experience.

Research ref:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tourist's Global Guide to Tipping

That age old dilemma of what to tip in an unfamiliar country is solved for you below with the below travel guide to tipping..

Once you are armed with your new found tipping savvy, head off to our great locations to try it out.

Essentially, a tip is given based on the level of service an individual provides for a customer.

However, tips are also given out of courtesy or respect for the task being provided. Because of this, not providing a tip can be seen as rude or as a sign that the service rendered was unsatisfactory.

 Happy Tipping !

Monday, February 23, 2015

Travel Travel Travel

If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Travel Somewhere

Once A Year, Go Someplace That You Have Never Been Before - The Dalai Lama