Africa First

Blogging my journeys through this exotic continent!

Places to Visit When in Africa

vic-falls-bridge1[1]Having lived here in Africa for almost 5 years, I can safely say that I have been to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Nothing compares to the experience of being up close with wild animals. I remember how beautiful yet frightening it was to see a gazelle being chased down by a lioness. How the poor gazelle tried to outrun its predator but failed.  I remember feeling grossed out seeing a wake of vultures feeding together at a carcass. I have learned later on that vultures are the only animals that can stomach eating rotten flesh and that they help prevent diseases spread by rotting corpses.   I have seen the smiles of locals and how accommodating they were. I have visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and believe it or not, they are in Africa.

Despite the negative picture the media paints us of Africa; we cannot deny that it is a beautiful country. It has been my home for the last 5 years. In the years that I have been here, I can safely say that I know some of the best places that travelers need to visit when they find themselves itching for a little African adventure. Check out the list I made below.

TABLE MOUNTAIN

Where: Cape Town

Table Mountain is named as such due to its appearance—it is a flat topped mountain that overlooks Cape Town. Just like any hiking trip, the climb can be very hard and taxing, but the view from up the mountain is just spectacular. You can see all of Cape Town from up there. If the idea of hiking up the mountain does not appeal to you, don’t worry; there’s a cable car service to the summit.

ROBBEN ISLAND

Where: Cape Town

Robben Island is famous for many things such as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to the prison where South Africa’s prisoners hid during the Apartheid era. Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned in Robben Island too.  According to Africa’s history, that Robben Island was once a leper colony, a place where mentally ill patients were sent and a defense training base.

Usually, the people leading the tours to Robben Island are former political prisoners who have a lot to share of Africa’s political history.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: Phalaborwa

If you think the view from the Table Mountain is spectacular, then wait till you visit Kruger National Park. This place is the very definition of breathtaking. It boasts of a diverse collection of flora and fauna—336 types of trees, 34 types of amphibians, 49 kinds of fish, 112 different kinds of reptiles, 147 kinds of mammals, and a whopping 507 different species of birds.

THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

Where: Krugersdorp

Situated just 50 km away from Johannesburg, The Cradle of Humankind is made up of a complex of limestone caves where scientists have discovered fossils dated back to the birth of humankind. It is said that man’s earliest known ancestors evolved from the Cradle of Humankind.

I hope this list can help you guys if you ever decide to visit Africa. It is a place that will leave you with some amazing impressions and wonderful, unforgettable memories.

Gorilla Trekking Tips

One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had while living in Africa would have to be the time when I saw mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Up close.

The first time I was invited to a Gorilla Trekking party, a few years ago, I did not hesitate to say yes. I wanted to go even though I was uncertain as to what I would see or how I would feel. I said yes, in the spirit of adventure.

When I first saw the gorillas, I felt as though I were meeting some old, distant relatives—albeit more hairy than me. I took a lot of photos of the gorillas, but then I had to put my camera away so that I could just observe them. Please note that I was just a few feet away from these animals. I watched them without bars, fence, glass or rumbling safari car. Nothing stood between us and the gorillas and they calmly let us watch them. Up close, we were able to get a glimpse of what it is to be part of their world.

If anyone of you decides to go on a safari adventure in East Africa, do consider visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Congo or in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is fun, but it is unlike traditional safaris as it requires more active participation. My advice is that you plan ahead so that you won’t come unprepared in case you face challenges along the way. If you do push through with Gorilla Trekking, here are some helpful tips to make your experience a memorable one.

WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

When picking out clothes for this activity, remember two things: muddy trails and changing weather. You might want to wear shirts made of synthetic materials that dry quickly. It can get quite warm and muggy in the forest, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing. If you and the group stop to rest after a few hours of hiking, it’s best to cool down with clothing made of fleece. It’s also necessary to bring a raincoat or a waterproof rain jacket as rainstorms normally happen in the forest. Always wear pants made of synthetic material. Avoid wearing shorts.

WEAR THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR

I’d suggest wearing above the ankle boots. You’ll likely walk through ankle-deep or even knee-deep mud and everyone knows this is no fun. Sometimes the mud could even suck the boots right off your feet so wear gators over your boots.

BRING ENOUGH FOOD AND WATER

There are no stores where you can buy food and water on national parks so, be sure to pack a liter of water and some snacks with you. I suggest packing energy bars as they don’t take up too much space in the bag and they can stave off hunger for a few hours.

These are just some of the things you need to know when getting ready for Gorilla Trekking. Once you’ve reached the destination, be sure to take a lot of photos to document the success of your Gorilla Trek.  Have fun!

 

Birthday Barbecue in Africa

Our son’s birthday is nearing in a few weeks and I’m getting pretty excited about throwing him a party. Planning a birthday is really exciting but it’s expensive and can be very tiring as well. Good thing I have my wife help me out with the party planning. Parties won’t be complete would good food and I ask our son what kind of food he’d like to have on his birthday and he said without any hesitation: “I want barbecue and ice cream!”

If there is one thing in the world that I would not tire of eating every day, it would be barbecue. I reckon my barbecue addiction must have rubbed off our son because he seems to love it just as much as I do. Now, I love barbecue but here in Africa, particularly Johannesburg, it seems to be a national obsession. In fact, men here seem to take pride in barbecuing. There’s even a reality show on South African TV called “The Ultimate Braai Master”. Braai is the Afrikaans equivalent for barbecue, I guess.

I’m pretty excited about barbecuing meat for my son’s birthday only I have a teeny problem with that—our barbecue grill broke a month ago. We could just buy barbecue from the nearest barbecue joints but our son wouldn’t want that—he’s always bragged about how his dad makes the best barbecued pork briskets.

Fortunately, my friend, Kade, volunteered to help us out. He owns an electric smoker, which he claims, is a lot better than traditional smokers. He said I could borrow it if I don’t have time to buy a new BBQ grill. I was a bit confused because, as far as I know, smokers are used for smoking meat. How would that help me with grilling barbecued meat?

We went over to Kade’s house and he showed me his electric smoker. Electric food smokers, he said are efficient and versatile. They can smoke, grill and barbecue meat, fish and vegetables. He showed me how the device works and I can say I’m pretty impressed. The fact that this smoker can be used indoors was impressive as well.

Learning how to operate the smoker was easy so I got the hang of it in just a few minutes. I thought the vertical electric smoker couldn’t impress me more until Kade showed me how to barbecue meat using it. He just set the timer and said we could leave it alone and the meat be done by then. He said I could just set the device and let it do its own thing. With this I could cook barbecue while watching TV, surfing the net or talking with my friends on the phone. Who invented this device? I want to give him/her a big thank you hug! Haha!

Because I got curious about electric smokers, I did some research and learnt a lot of useful things about it on the internet. It seems that Wikipedia has got everything you need from reviews to basic information about electric smokers. I’m definitely getting an electric smoker, but for the meantime I’ll be using Kade’s for my son’s birthday bbq party. I can’t wait to start using it!

Running Gear & Accessories a beginner needs

I didn’t do any sports when I was young but recently I started running. It was something I would never have thought of doing because it seemed dull to me. I recently went to the doctor and when he checked my blood values he asked me if I did any sports. I said I had never done any sports and he looked at me quite surprised. I guess he didn’t expect that answer. He told me I should try out with the start to run program. Honestly I thought why? But he told me that I could use some more exercise according to my blood values. It was nothing to be concerned about but it was just a good advice he told me. I was in shock that my own doctor dared to say that right in my face. It felt a bit like an insult. I took the pamphlet and left his office quite unhappy.

After a night sleep I decided to read the pamphlet. There was some useful information in there about the health benefits of running and how you can start running on your own or in a group. It did state that running on your own would be best so you could run at your own pace. There was also a link to the website where you could download the app so you could follow the start to run program and get coaching while running.

Running shoes and other gear needed to begin running

First of all I didn’t have any sport shoes and more specifically I needed running shoes. I didn’t know which ones would be the best so I looked at Superior Runner where there was a bunch of information on choosing the best running shoes. It seems it depends on the type of feet you have and how regularly you run. I was planning on running twice a week (1 time during the working week and 1 time during the weekend). I ordered the …running shoes in my size. They really looked cool on picture but even better when they arrived in the shoebox. I immediately felt the urge of running some laps.

Getting started with running

Before starting I downloaded the Runkeeper app on my mobile phone. I heard some great things about it so I was eager to try it out.

So I got my gear and also my running app installed. Now it was time to really start. I planned out a route of 2 miles for the first run. When I came back I thought I was almost dead. I did make it until the end, but it wasn’t a pretty sight. I was sweating like a pig or like I just ran a marathon. So it was obvious that I had to do something to my physical fitness. I was breathing very heavily while running so it was clean I wasn’t in shape at all. But everyone has to start somewhere, right? I’m sure that if I continue to run regularly I will keep on improving and the distance I’ll be able to run will also get longer.

Starting Zumba

I’ve recently started doing Zumba, which has taken off massively in the past few years, and is a great way to get fit. But one thing a lot of people starting out don’t know is that it’s really important to get yourself some special shoes for it. The reason for this is that normal sneakers/trainers aren’t suitable because they have too much grip. This is great for running on wet pavements but is not good for Zumba. The reason for that is because if the feet grip to the floor too well it means that your feet can’t move from side to side. So you could potentially damage your knees. Zumba shoes have a special pivot on them which allows you to move easily.

But apart from the pivot what else should you be looking for in the best Zumba shoes? Here are some of the key things

Breathability
Zumba is a strenuous activity and it is likely that you will sweat a lot so it’s important to have a breathable shoe.

Shock absorbence
Having a good sole is important in a Zumba shoe because it will take quite a bit of punishment due to Zumba being quite vigorous. Unfortunately this does mean you’ll have less feeling in your feet but generally it’s a price worth paying.

Lightness
Having a light pair of shoes will help your movement, so don’t get a really heavy pair of shoes.

Stablility.
Zumba involves quite a lot of jumping about and sliding so it’s important that you get a reasonably stable pair of wide-soled shoes.

Toes
You don’t your toes to be too cramped in the shoe. Make sure that they fit, not only when relaxed but when stretched out.

Heel counter
This is the part of the shoe that supports the heel. One of the key things to look out for is to make sure that has something called an achilles notch on it. If it hasn’t then the back of the shoe could rub against you and give you blisters. If you’re an experienced dancer, this will be less of a concern because your feet should hopefully have become toughened up.

Find out the surface you will be dancing on

This is because different shoes are best on different surfaces. A shoe that is good on a hard floor but have too much grip for a carpet, and one that’s good on a carpet would be bad for hard floors.

What types of Zumba shoe are there?

Solid shoe
These are best for people who have flat feet are who have high feet arches. They are popular with both beginners and more experienced dancers.

Mid shoes
These shoes cover all of the ankle area and this means that they offer a lot of support. But it also means that they are not very flexible. They are often chosen by people who are just starting off at Zumba and those who have problems with their feet and want more protection for them.

Split shoes
Split shoes have no mid-sole on them and thus have no arch support. They are therefore definitely not recommended for beginners, unless you do a lot of other sports and have strong feet from that, or you walk around barefoot a lot.

Low shoes
Low shoes offer less support because they go below the ankle, but they do provide much more flexibility

Zumba socks
Instead of getting a pair of shoes, you could at first trying getting some dance socks. You put these around a normal pair of shoes, thus turning them into dance shoes. But you need to make sure you get the correct pair for either smooth floors or carpets.

Find out from this Zumba shoe review website which are the best shoes for Zumba.

Numerology Brought Me to Africa and I Enjoyed It

I just gave numerology a try and my feet were brought to Africa to discover its beauty and more.

When it comes to the best travel destinations, African countries are not necessarily on top of the list. Aside from a few countries like South Africa, most other countries are not heard of by many. Thus, when I told my friends that I am visiting Africa during the holidays, they asked me why. Honestly, I also did not know the answer. I just started numerology and eventually, I found myself booking a ticket to Kenya. Other countries included in my itinerary are Tanzania, Angola and Nigeria.

After seeking for help from a numerologist on what I should do to find the love of my life, I was pointed to these African countries. Some people say it is crazy to rely on numbers for your fate. I also find it ridiculous. However, at that time, I was on a holiday break and I had nothing else planned. Therefore, it did not hurt to give the said trip a try. At the back of my mind though, I was hoping that I can finally meet the right person for me. I know the chances were very little, but I was still hopeful.

Seeing Africa for the first time

Upon heading to Africa, my mind was set on finding the right person for me. Therefore, I really did not care about where I was heading and what my activities there would be. I just sought for help from a local travel agency to arrange my itinerary. However, everything changed upon arrival. Right after seeing the countries for the first time, I was in awe. I immediately got confused. I knew I went there to find the love of my life, but I felt like Africa itself is the perfect definition of love.

The amazing sceneries, exotic animals and colorful costumes all caught my attention. Interacting with the locals even heightened my love for the place. I’ve only seen most of them in photos. I never thought they would be that amazing in person. They were way better up close. I spent the next 15 days moving from one place to another. I tried hiking, biking, visiting national parks and zoos and many more.

On the way home

The entire trip was amazing and I knew that this is what the numbers had been telling me. The love of my life is not about someone, but it’s about the exciting adventures. Upon such realization, I was already content. I was going back home with a happy heart. Upon waiting for my flight, I bumped into this guy and he knocked my stuff over. I was not really in a hurry so I declined his offer to help. He wasn’t in a hurry too so he insisted to help. I was sort of irritated, but I accepted his help after all. We then spent some time to know each other and the rest as they say, is history.

Yes, the numbers were right after all. I was going to find the right one in that trip. If you are interested in giving it a try, then find out more about numerology compatibility through this site. You can also check out name numerology from here. After seeing Africa in its glory and finding the right person for me, I can safely say that numerology is worth your trust.

Drogba’s Crossover Fame is Thanks to Spin Bikes

I’ve noticed that Didier Drogba has been gaining a lot of fame here in America due to his fitness and workout videos.  That certainly makes me miss Africa a ton! I’m not certain why football (soccer) does not carry the same weight it does in all other countries of the world here in America, but that’s for another post.  Throughout Africa, if you’re an excellent footballer, you are akin to royalty.  I could not name one person who plays soccer for America.

I digress.  The other day while I was out at Target perusing the workout DVD section, I saw Didier Drogba’s smile flashing at me, as he was situated on top of a spin bike.  I started laughing, thinking this had to have been some kind of joke.  Didier Drogba played on the field, he didn’t sit on a bike.

I did a little bit of online research and found out from an article on bikecompanion.com that Drogba tried to break into the US soccer market and wanted to join the New York Red Bulls.  Apparently the team had no interest in him, along with many of the other soccer organizations because at the time he was in his early 30’s.  They believed he did not have much left to offer because he was older.  Instead of getting down and out about the experience, Drogba worked with a US talent agent who told him to market himself as a fitness guru, like the men and women behind P90X, Zumba and The Biggest Loser, and a very successful bike trainer manufacturer.  Although he was not much of a cycler himself, his agent suggested he create and act in a spin bike workout video along with a professional cycler.  That is why on my trip to Target I saw the new Didier Drogba spin bike work out on the shelves.

The sales for this workout video aren’t groundbreaking, but they are selling quite a bit of copies and I can assume making a bit of money.  However, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about Didier Drogba selling himself out like this.  He is from Ivory Coast, which is a gorgeous and lovely country.  Although I never lived there, I did travel through it for approximately two weeks.  He has an excellent job, which he gets paid handsomely for.  So why exactly did he feel like he had to give up his talent to be something that he is not, just for a miniscule amount of notoriety in America? Perhaps I’m just feeling negative, but I just don’t see why the rest of the world is caught up in this “American Dream” propaganda when our entire world is full of spectacular surprises.

Overall, it was very heartwarming to see a familiar African celebrity on the shelves of the products in a highly visible American store.  It gave me the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on how amazing those 5 years of my life were, when I was least expecting it.  If you’re wondering, no I didn’t buy his exercise DVD.  I’m more of a Zumba girl anyway – I can always get down to African drum music!

Sanitation With Minimal Water – A Lesson From My Time in Africa

As you probably already know there is a shortage of clean water in most parts of Africa. This means the water that is available needs to optimized. Things like turning on a clothes washer and letting it cycle through are just not possible. I have seen some pretty creative inventions in my 5 years in Africa. However, I’ve also seen some standard machines like a pressure washer being used because it cleans much faster and uses less water than cleaning by hand. In this post I wanted to share some lessons learned about keeping things clean without wasting water. When using little water is necessary you tend to get pretty good at it.

Higher Pressure Water

Making surfaces sanitary is all about getting rid of dirt and grime. The best way to do that is with high pressure water. And the best machine for creating that high pressure is a top notch power washer. Yes, surprisingly, many people have these machines. They are actually quite cheap and they are very useful they can be shared by an entire town. Let me tell you how much water they save by comparing it to washing your car by hand or by pressure washer. If you use a garden hose and bucket of soapy water to wash your car you would save 5x the water by using the pressure washer. It literally uses that much less water by increasing the pressure. In Africa, I witnessed people using a pressure washer to clean kitchen areas, pumping machines, boat motors, trucks and more. You can use a siphon hose to pull water from a water source to use to clean. It really is a great machine.

Everything At Once

Another thing I noticed is the tendency to clean everything at once. There was no clean after each meal or clean after each use. It was one large clean at steady intervals. For example, if there was a large communal kitchen it would only be cleaned once at night. Everything would be cleared from the surface and then pressure cleaned with soapy solution all at once. This halves water use. During the rest of the day things are spot cleaned. Another example of everything at once is clothes washing. Everything goes into a bucket of water once a week and it is cleaned all at once. This is just not possible any other way.

The Power of Heat

Heat kills germs. And a high pressure hot water power washer is the ultimate tool for cleaning. The only problem is the expense of these machines. Some unique inventions I saw was in Sudan. There was a teenage boy who had invented a wind turbine to generate electricity for an electric heater that heated a large vat of water. That water was so hot you could kill germs with it. He was actually trying to sell the hot water for use in tea and cooking but you could just as easily use that hot water as a water source for your hot water pressure washer.

So I hope this post helps you to realize that using less water is important. There is only a finite amount of fresh water on Planet Earth after all.

A Good Day in Malawi

My impression of Africa after five years living there could not be more different from what it was before I left. Ask most people in the West what they think of Africa and you will usually end up having a conversation about charity, famine, war, poverty and a whole host of other depressing things. Or if you are unlucky you will get an answer that is even worse – some people have very poor notions of other nations, and people unlike themselves, and this is not the forum to get into that!

On the other hand, when you speak to anyone who has spent time in Africa, and you ask them what they think of it, you will get a completely different answer. These people will talk to you about the wonderful people, the sense of community, the culture, the food, the music, the love and the laughter. It truly is an amazing, life-changing place.

But the truth is, depending on where you go, you can see some of the bad stuff, or some of the good stuff. There are issues there, and there are local solutions being found, and there are some charities and individual people doing appropriately helpful work. I’d like to tell you about one such day, when I was in Southern Malawi.

I had been staying with a family and ended up volunteering helping with some building work and also helping with some summer classes in the local school. I was assisting the teacher and helping with games and football and such like. I also had a rare opportunity to share some of my craft skills with the kids! Lucky them!

Anyway, whilst I was there the school received a large charitable shipment of many different resources from Europe. Apparently the school had had a teacher from a school in the UK visit a few years ago for a few months, and they had kept in touch with her ever since. Well, the school she worked in, in the UK was downsizing to a smaller campus, and they had a whole lot of equipment that they were unable to fit into the new campus. It didn’t take long for this clever lady to put 2 and 2 together, and soon she had arranged (with a local charity) to have 30 boxes (or varying sizes) shipped over and driven to the town in Southern Malawi. It was a wonderful day, like a mid July Christmas party! They had school equipment, including some fancy magnifier gadgets for visually impaired children. They had a Schwinn 430 elliptical machine and a treadmill for a school gym, and a whole lot of books, pens, paper, calculators. There was also cooking equipment, and a full set of a sports kit for 11 people.

The people here were moved to tears, and were soon taking photos of themselves and the kids playing with all the new equipment. These gifts are not just charitable gestures, but will actually make a real impact in these children’s education and learning. It was a wonderful day and I only hope that I can be in a position to arrange something so wonderful myself.

Hard Workouts Raise Fertility Issues

Sports-related infertility problems are among the most prominent not just for women but also for men.

If you like physical and challenging workouts and you want to become a parent soon, be ready to turn your life around. It has been found that working out to exhaustion as well as some sports can decrease fertility for both men and women.

Stressful Workouts, Sports, and Reduced Fertility

In a 2011 study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, a link has been found between hard workouts and infertility. A whopping 7% of women in the Scandinavian country are experiencing the heartache of difficult conception. A slice of that percentage are women who are into stressful workouts. According to the NTNU study, the female body cannot support challenges from both ends – workouts and pregnancy – at the same time.

The exhaustive demands of hard workouts may hamper hormonal mechanisms, especially those that are significant in fertilization. Your lack of energy may result to your hormone machines failing, keeping you short of the needed supply.

If there are some good news about that study, it is the fact that the reduced fertility is only as good as the last hard training. Yes, you may have more fertility problems as an active woman but as long as you slow down, your decrease in fertility may no longer become a bother. This is considering you are not exposed to the other perils of conception, lifestyle-wise and health-wise.

In the case of men, cycling is seen as the most probable sports-related cause of infertility problems. But it is not really the activity itself that reduces sperm count; it is the quality of seat you have and the period you stay seated on a saddle, which could raise scrotal temperatures. To avoid infertility issues when bicycling, it is advisable that you take breaks in between rides. You must also choose a seat that is not too narrow, to take away the pressure from your crotch and move it to your butt bones.

It must be clear that fitness per se do not hamper your ability to have kids. It is how you manage your workout routines that matter. Being fit and within an ideal weight, after all, helps boost your chances for conceiving.

Have a Child, Have a Happy Life

Pregnancy and having a kid is challenging but it is also very fulfilling. If you are yearning to rear a kid, you need to make adjustments in your physical activities all the while making sure that you are medically fit for it as well.

The stress that your fitness habits causes may get in the way of having a baby. But it’s not just that. Other bad lifestyle habits like taking illegal drugs, smoking, and drinking alcohol also take part. You should be ready to turn your backs on them as well. Obesity and stress are also main triggers of fertility issues. If you want to handle them properly, you need to be serious about taking control of your life fully. Check this site for HCG injection kit and click HCG Diet Info to learn about HCG diet pills.

Things you need to pack and have whenever you travel!

Travelling is fun, and exciting, especially when it is your first time to go across the country, or overseas. But it can be pretty intimidating and nerve-wracking if it is your first time, too. No matter where you are travelling, you need to have a good list of stuff to bring. The truth is, you already have and own most of the things you need. You just have to put it in your suitcase and next thing you know, you’re already boarding up the plane or loading the car to get there.

But there are a few thing that you just overlook, or never realize how useful they are when travelling. Most of these stuff are not expensive, and so compact that you can effortlessly squeeze them in your luggage without a fuss.

• The backup phone has a right line. – Your awesome and high tech phone may come in handy when you are overseas. The phone connection may be not. When travelling, you need a cheap phone, and Broadconnect VOIP service to contact your relatives whenever you feel nervous or excited about something. A cheap phone are not a target for thieves, as well.

• Power strip – This power strip may come in handy at various times. When you are at the airport and in need of a recharge, but alas! There’s outlet shortage. You can use your multi-socket power strip to help share power from a single public outlet. Who knows? You may even make a friend while sharing! Plus, power strips also comes in handy when you’re in a hotel. Here’s a great tip; Charge all of your devices in one multi-socket power strip. This way you never have to forget any gadget behind.

• Adapter and Converter – Electricity voltage varies from country to country, so you will need these to charge your beloved gadgets!

• Baby wipes or Moist Towel – Can you just stop for a minute and think about all the stuff you can do with baby wipes? These handy dandy towelettes are not just for infants! They can help you sanitize everything from your hands, to tray tables, armrest, earphones, doorknobs, tabletops, spoon and fork, and practically just about anything you touch on a public area! A bit too germaphobic? Nah, just making sure you’re clean! Plus you can also use these on your skin as a refreshing face cloth or to wipe your sweat and moisturize your complexion after a lengthy day outside.

• Duct tape – You are probably thinking “What? Duct tape?” Yes, duct tape! Duct tape is pretty versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. You can bandage up exploded luggage, patch tears in shoes, clothing, bag, etc. You can also use duct tape to remove lint from your clothing. And when you’re travelling with a baby, you can use duct tape to baby-proof your hotel room! It helps to cover outlets, secure a drawer shut, and so much more.

• Safety Pins – These pins may be small, but you won’t believe how useful they can be! These safety pins can be used to replace a missing button of your shirt. It can be used as a zipper pull as well. For your bags, use safety pins to clasp the zippers and put it together. Safety pins are very useful in making problems solved easily.

• Travel Mug or a tumbler – these items can be used for your drinks, but they can also do more than that. You can also put your most valuable belongings such as your sunglasses, money, souvenirs, phones and so much more inside a travel mug. It will help you prevent damaging your stuff, and make your important stuff an unlikely target for thieves. Just make sure your tumbler has got a secure screw top.

Well, there you go! The next time you go plan for a trip, do not forget to include these simple tips down to your list. Happy travelling!

Introducing the outdoor sport – throwing knife

I always try to find the nature way to stay healthy. Exercise is something that I always recommend doing. But one shouldn’t forget that mood and mind also play an important role in your health. This time I am going to introduce a sport which is a bit uncommon, but it can definitely help you release stress – knife throwing.
Human being has learned how to throw a knife before inventing words. It was used by people for hunting purposes. Then, gradually it has become a weapon used in wars. Later, it was seen in many circuses as entertainment as the thrower has to hit a certain point on a revolving wheel. In the early 18th century, it has evolved into an entertaining sport.

Knife Throwing is a fun and healthy sport

Knife throwing is easy to lean and it is great fun. For me, it is just a hobby and I play it casually with friends and family. But for the more serious players, knife throwing is a a professional career. The championships are organized all over the world on professional level. So, practicing this weapon could lead you to become a professional sportsman.

I remember the first time I threw a knife without having any prior practice. I was reading an article about the no-spin technique that I read on a website and I decided to give it a go. Somehow I hit the target and I felt amazing. I think the best thing about this sport is you can play it on your own, or you can play it with a group of friends. It is more fun when it comes to compete with my friends to get the highest score. You also don’t need a lot of equipment; all you need are some throwing knives and a wooden board. It helps me to get out of stress and it gives me a healthier social life as I hang out a lot more with friends nowadays just to throw knives together.

There are many types of knife throwing games one can play. These games are fun and competitive comparing to simply hitting the tree trunk with your knives. The number target game, shivs’n Daggers, knife snooker, combat contest and PIG elimination contents made knife throwing a more interesting and fun having game. Though, in all these versions of knife throwing games, the main target is to throw the knife and stick it on the target but there are colorful number and letter to hit on. The letters and numbers are colored and these colors have some extra meanings in them. The secret is to hit the different colors with different distance.

It keeps my mind clear

In my opinion, knife throwing can keep my mind clear and healthy. It is an amazing sport that requires all personal skills including correctness, memory, synchronization, body position and gesture. Every time I play it, I forget about my work, my bills and all other annoying things in life.
I love that fact that I can play it anywhere around, in the courtyard, garden, forest or anywhere as long as there is a wooden board in front of me. It does not involve huge amount of expenses to bear. I just need to buy a throwing knife of my choice. However, choosing the best throwing knife is a very long topic and here is a good article about it.

Family Trips To Africa

I have written a lot about the years that I spent in Africa, but one question I still get is where I would advise people to go on a family trip. While this does depend on many factors, like the age of your kids and what your expectations and budget are. In this post I want to give some details of a trip I helped plan for my cousin Claire. She has just returned from the trip so I have some feedback from her based on my advice.

Claire, her husband John and their twins had always wanted to go on a trip to Africa. Obviously with two kids age 4 they had a few things to consider, like safety, inoculations and travel times. For a family trip like that I advised them to consider Botswana for several reasons. It is one of the few economic and social success stories with a very politically stable environment and no conflicts.

It is also relatively easy to get to with just one stop over, which Claire decided was going to be Dubai, where they also spent a couple of days on the outbound trip. I visited Botswana on several occasion and loved the country and people. However, it is one of the more expensive destinations in Africa because in recent years it has become very popular with tourists.

One of the biggest concerns Claire had was the whole handling of the airport and flight. I directed her to some of the best family travel advice I have ever encountered. The detailed planning and spreadsheets available for free are really priceless when it comes to planning every single aspect of the trip. The BabyWheels site also gave really great advice on choosing a double or twin stroller for vacation trips.

So at this stage we had a destination, we know how to best get there, we had a plan for the travel days and we had the necessary equipment to make the trip more comfortable for the kids. Now we had to plan an itinerary around the kids.

The plan was to fly into the capital Gaborone and spend two days there to become acclimatized and to make the final preparations for the family safari trip. They were going to be meeting the organizers who were going to go through the details of the trip. They were going to be spending the majority of the time in tents, but these are not the normal tents you would encounter. These are set up on stilts and wooden frames and have a private bathroom as well.

The safari was going to last 4 days, plus two days spent in a cultural village where they would encounter indigenous tribes in their daily life. The important thing was that I had used the same tour operator and I knew that they had tailored a tour specifically for families with young kids. This basically meant that all walks and light hikes were chosen to be stroller friendly and that accommodation and transport would be fully equipped for children and babies.

Claire’s experience was incredible and I will probably write another post soon as an interview style blog entry. They enjoyed it so much that they are already planning their next trip for when the kids are a little bit older.

How Air Compressors Can Help Africa through Pressure Washers

You can help Africa by donating pressure washers which provide tons of benefits.

It is a known fact that for many African countries, lack of water is a huge problem. This is why a lot of people need aid from around the world to address their necessity. There are foundations helping in setting up new water sources to provide people access to water. There are those who need to walk far and travel just to get clean and potable water. Therefore, they need all the help they can possibly have just to provide something to quench the thirst of the entire family.

Aside from using water for drinking, it is also essential for cleaning. Lack of proper nutrition is also a major issue in Africa. Hence, when there is enough water, they can easily clean up the entire place and avoid these health issues. This is where pressure washers come in. Pressure washers allow strong force when cleaning something using only a small amount of water. It is the pressure that builds up that allows cleaning to be done quickly and with strong force. Pressure washers are possible with the help of air compressors. It is just one of the so many practical uses of air compressors. This is something that many people are not really familiar of. In order to get an air compressor, take a look at the best small air compressors. For a specific example of an air compressor that’s perfect, go for California air tools cat-6310.

A major change

With the help of pressure washers, it is now easier to clean up the entire place. Those who have dirty houses can make use of the device to instantly clean everything up. it does not take time before cleaning can be done. Aside from saving time, it saves gallons of water. Again, for countries in Africa that suffer from a devastating water crisis, this is a huge help.

This is also the reason why a lot of homes in Africa are now using pressure washers. They maximize the help given by the air compressor in cleaning up their home. It is also important to note that Africans also live a normal life like we do. They also have buildings to be cleaned, vehicles to be washed and many more. Thus, pressure washers are real game changers.

Start helping out

If you feel like you want to donate to Africa, it is best to help in kind as well. If you can buy pressure washers based on the recommended site earlier, then you are assured that your help will go a long way. These days, it is not just about donating money. It is about making sure that your help will go to the right person and right cause. Again, waster is a main problem in Africa. Hence, they need your help. With the help of pressure washers that you will donate, nutrition in Africa will be better and resources will be saved. It does not cost that much. Therefore, it won’t make you feel bad if you give a few of the amount that you have to help.

Dealing with Travel Finances – Ways to Save Money on the Road

For those of us who enjoy getting out of town and stretching our legs a bit, there’s nothing better than hitting the open road and taking a trip. Of course, with the price of gas being what it is, hotels rarely being cheap, and the unexpected costs that always seem to pop up while you’re on the road, taking a trip is not always easy on your wallet. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help make sure your next road trip doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I have found that the best thing for me has been to continually track every penny you spend. I’ve been on the road for 5+ years now, and this has changed quite a bit. My system started with a notepad and a pencil that I kept in my purse, but has since moved online. Now I use online budgeting tools and apps like Personal Capital to keep track of what I’m spending.

The first thing you need to do is eat the right way. Most people grow accustomed to eating fast food while on the road, but this is not a good move for your health or your finances. The first thing you can do is bring sandwiches and snacks from home, which will help provide most of your food for the first day or two, helping you to save money. After that, avoid restaurants and fast food joints, and instead find a grocery store, where you’ll be able to get all the ingredients you need to make sandwiches without spending a lot of money. If you do want to go out to eat while on a road trip, try a local establishment like a diner; those places won’t gouge you like some of the chains will, so you’ll get some local flavor without spending a lot.

Finding affordable accommodations at night is also essential to keeping your road trip costs down. If you don’t have friends along your route that you can impose upon, camping out is the next best thing, as it’ll be far cheaper than going to a hotel. Of course, not all of us are willing to “rough it” out in nature, in which case there are a slew of websites where you can book hotel rooms at a cheap rate. This takes away some of the spontaneity of traveling, but the money you’ll be able to save on lodging will be well worth it.

The next thing you need to keep your eye on is gas. Gas is usually one of the biggest costs of a road trip, but there are a few things you can do to save a little money at the pump. First, if you can avoid it, don’t fill up on weekends or holidays, as the price for gas is generally higher on these days. Make sure you’re taking the shortest route from place to place, and not necessarily the quickest, as this will cut down on money spent on gas. It’s also important not to drive too fast, because if you take your foot off the accelerator just a little, a full tank will take you a bit further than if you’re driving as fast as you can, so you lose a little time but save a little money.

Finally, look for cheap but fun recreational activities to do along the way. Road trips are ultimately about the times when you can get out of the car and experience something new and unique, but this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If you do some research before your trip, or keep your eye open during the drive, you should be able to find plenty of fun things to do and interesting sites to see that won’t cost more than a few bucks, if anything at all.

The Two Staple Weapons of African Safari

Rifle hunting is definitely the most commonly employed method on hunting trips (safaris) in the southern parts of Africa. The best caliber for the rifle, as well as the type of rifle to bring on the trip is an endlessly debated topic. Professional, seasoned hunters have their own favourites and are more than happy to share their views on the topic. In many cases, the choice of the rifle depends on the type of game you’ll be hunting, but it’s a good idea to know about the basics of guns and gunsmithing training before you get started, of which you can find here.

Double Rifles

The double rifles are a work of art, and are a staple of African safari. They are quite expensive owing to the painstaking hit and trial process which the gunsmith must endure in order to make sure that the two barrels line up at exactly the same point. Many of these guns are engraved, which can add to their cost even more. Besides the cost, these rifles are a specialty tool which isn’t absolutely necessary on a hunt. They are heavy to lug around throughout the day, and though they can be augmented with scope modifications, this can upset their excellent balance, defeating their actual purpose. Certain lighter calibers are available, but the double is essentially a heavy caliber weapon – its ammunition is costly, and can be heavy to carry around in its own right. The double is a stocky rifle and can aim rapidly, just like any common shotgun. It is meant to be used at close quarters, so you will have to be within 60 yards of the target to make sure the gun’s barrels cross. This rifle shows its strength when hunting dangerous game. It holds two cartridges, as opposed to the 3 to 5 which bolt action rifles hold, however, it is still the quickest way to shoot twice at the target, and this can prove vital in a dangerous hunting situation.

Bolt Action Rifles

This is the most commonly used rifle in African hunting trips, and is famous for its legendary accuracy and strength. Able to carry between 3 and 5 rounds, it is some serious firepower in your hand. Combine it with a telescopic sight and you’ve got a weapon that served the snipers of the Second World War. Aiming with iron sights can be challenging because you’ve got to line up the target with both the front and rear sights, which is why many people today prefer scopes – all you have to do is place the crosshairs or the dot over the target and pull the trigger. A piece of advice here though, always have iron sights as a backup on your scoped rifle when you come to Africa. Scopes can be somewhat fragile and may get damaged, or fail, making them essentially useless. This can happen at an unfortunate time i.e. right when you spot excellent game from afar, and your expensive bolt action rifle with its damaged scope will be nothing more than a beautiful showpiece, that you can used as a club if push comes to shove.

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