Category Archives: Travel

Travel Select: Tanzania

Karibu!

Karibu means ‘welcome’ in Swahili, and you’re certainly going to feel at home when you arrive in Tanzania and get the opportunity to explore its national parks and meet its people.

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Below you’ll find all of the information you’ll need to prepare for your upcoming trip to Tanzania. Of course, if you have any additional information you can email info@shadowsofafrica.com.

Language

Masai boys may have many responsibilities, but they are also every bit as mischievous and adventurous as children everywhere.

Tanzania has two official languages: Swahili and English. Swahili, which has its origins in Zanzibar, is the most commonly spoken language in both Tanzania and Kenya.

English is widely spoken, however you may wish to bring along a Swahili to English phrasebook to give you access to the basics. The locals are always appreciative if you know a little bit of Swahili!

Below you’ll find a few useful Swahili phrases to get you started.

Useful Swahili Phrases

  • ·         Karibu: Welcome.
  • ·         Habari/Hujambo: Hello.
  • ·         Habari?/Habari yako?: How are you?
  • ·         Nzuri: Good. Standard reply to how are you.
  • ·         Samahani: Sorry.
  • ·         Asante: Thank you.
  • ·         Chakula: Food.
  • ·         Rafiki: Friend.
  • ·         Hapana: No.
  • ·         Ndio: Yes.

Time

Tanzania is in the +3 GMT time zone. The sun rises at approximately 6.30 in the morning and sets at around 18.45 in the evening.

The locals also use what is known as Swahili Time, which is quite a bit different to the conventional way of keeping time as we know it. 1:00 in the morning is the first hour after the sunrise (approximately 7am) and 1:00 in the evening is the first hour after sunset (approximately 7pm).

That being said, most businesses will operate using the standard way of measuring time.

Food

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Tanzania’s tourism industry means that there is a great variety of high quality food available. Hotels and restaurants provide cuisine from all around the world as well as local cuisine, so you can immerse yourself fully with Tanzanian food or sample the comforts of home.

Traditional Tanzanian food features plenty of meat (especially beef, chicken, and fish), rice, and vegetables. It’s simple, hearty food often accompanied by ugali, a flour and water based dough similar to polenta and eaten by hand.

Tanzanian’s love seafood, and Zanzibar is a culinary paradise for those who love freshly caught fish, shrimp, and the like.

You’ll also notice the Indian and British influences on Tanzanian cuisine, with everything from spicy curries to old British staples such as fish & chips popular with locals and visitors alike. In larger cities you’ll encounter steak houses, burger joints, and stores selling cuisine from around the world.

Vegetarians are also well catered for in Tanzania. With fresh fruits such as mangoes, coconuts, and pineapples available in abundance. With Tanzanian food so rich in vegetables, legumes, and rice – you’ll be able to find delicious vegetarian food without any trouble.

For the most part, food in Tanzania is perfectly safe to eat. It would be advisable to avoid eating cold, pre-prepared foods.

Water

It is not safe to drink tap water in Tanzania. In fact, it is advisable to use tap water only for showering or washing your hands.

To avoid health problems, use only bottled or filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth.

Bottled water is cheap and readily available in Tanzania, and all lodges and restaurants will have it available. Shadows of Africa’s safari vehicles always come stocked with plenty of bottled water to ensure you remain hydrated while on safari.

Money, Credit Cards, Traveller’s Cheques, and ATMs

Money, Credit Cards, Traveller’s Cheques, and ATMs visit africa

Currency

The official Tanzanian currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. They have coins for 50, 100, and 1000 shillings; and notes for 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 shillings.

The US Dollar is widely used, but may not be accepted in some establishments. It is also important to note that most businesses that do accept US currency will not do so if it is torn or wrinkled.

Notes must not be older than 2006, as local businesses will automatically reject these due to a past counterfeiting problem.

Banks & Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged at banks, currency exchange offices (which are plentiful in the city), and in most hotels. Hotels generally offer the least favourable exchange rates.

Banks in Tanzania are open from 9am until 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am until 11am on Saturdays.

Tax

The tax rate in Tanzania amounts to 16% for most products and services. There is no process for reclaiming this amount upon departing the country.

ATMs

ATMs that accept both Visa and MasterCard are available in most cities. You will be able to withdraw from your accounts in local (Tanzanian shillings) currency by entering your PIN. The daily withdrawal limit amounts to roughly $300 USD.

Be sure to alert your bank that you will be traveling to Africa. Many banks will deem transactions made out of your native country as suspicious, and may lock access to your accounts if you have not forewarned them.

Credit Card

International credit cards (especially Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Thomas Cook) are accepted in most stores, restaurants, hotels, camping sites, lodges, car rental companies, etc. Many smaller stores will not have EFTPOS facilities, so it is generally better to carry cash.

Credit cards typically attract a 5-15% tax.

Traveler’s Cheques

Traveler’s cheques are not accepted anywhere in Tanzania.

Visas & Passports

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Entering Tanzania requires both a valid passport and a Tanzanian visa. While the information below is up to date at the time of writing, it is advisable to always check ahead to ensure visa processes or charges have not changed.

Who needs a visa?

With the exception of Hong Kong, Jamaica, Barbados, Malaysia, and roughly a dozen African nations; everybody entering Tanzania is required to have a tourist visa.

Passport

To enter Tanzania, you’ll also need a passport with at least six months validity remaining. If you are planning to apply for a visa upon arrival, you will also need two free, adjacent pages remaining in your passport.

How to obtain a visa

Visas are available upon arrival in Tanzania, whether you’re landing at the airport or are making a border crossing.

The cost of a visa upon arrival is $50 for non US citizens, and $100 for US citizens. This should be paid in USD. Other currencies are not accepted.

If you have any further questions about the visa process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for!

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Tanzania, and is very much a part of the incomes of many people in the hospitality and tourism industry.

As a general rule of thumb, tipping for satisfactory service should be as follows:

  • ·         Safari and Kilimanjaro climbing guides: $$20 per person per day.
  • ·         Cooks, Porters, Caddies etc.: $15 per person per day.

Electricity and Electronic Devices

Tanzanian power outlets use 220-240V, 50Hz. If you are traveling from a country with a voltage less than 220V should check whether or not their electronic devices have a dual voltage power supply. If not, you may need to purchase a converter before leaving.

Generally speaking, most electronics (smart phones, digital cameras, tablets, and computers) work on a dual voltage basis. Electrical appliances such as razors and hair dryers do not..

Tanzania uses the 3 pin ‘British’ plug, which is comprised of three square/rectangular pegs. Travel adaptors can be purchased at airports and at most larger department stores.

When on safari, it is advisable to bring along items that run on batteries. While most hotels and our Shadows of Africa safari vehicles do have power outlets in which you can charge your devices, in campsites or lodges that run on generators, you may not have access to electricity to charge your appliances.

Safety

Tanzania is one of the safest countries in East Africa, but you never can be too careful when you’re on the road. While safari areas are generally very safe, the country is no stranger to criminal activity. Like any other country in the world, there is always some risk of theft.

It is advisable that you listen closely to your guide’s advice at all times, and that is especially true in some urban areas. Either leave your valuables (such as many, electronics, credit cards, and documentation) behind in your hotel room’s safe, or carry them with you in concealed inner pockets.

Don’t flaunt your valuables in public, as this may draw unwanted attention to you. Pickpockets are particularly active in heavily touristed areas, so it pays to be cautious when in cities and areas popular with tourists.

It is always a good idea to make copies of all of your important documents and keep them in your luggage.

 

Read the full article at ShadowsOfAfrica 

7 Mysterious Trails in Florida to Photograph

Have you visited any of these ruins before? What’s your favorite place to get a glimpse of Florida’s past?

Puerto Rico x Hadiiya

When Hadiiya let me know she planned to be in Puerto Rico for a full moon drum circle I had a feeling I would be capturing it! The day was exciting and Ive never been to Puerto Rico before so it was all new to me. In my mind I thought PR would be like the rest of the islands I’ve visited but It felt more like an extension of Florida. There were moments it felt like I never left the states. It could of been all the McDonalds, Wendys and Churchs Chickens I kept seeing.  A 40 minute ride to Luqillo and here we were! A saw a nice spot on the rocks where the sun seemed to be retreating and decided that is where we will begin.

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As much as I wanted Hadiiya to stand at the tip of the rocks the waves were intense. I was explaining how the water wouldnt splash us there a big wave smacked me as a reminder that it aint safe no where near big waves and rocks. Huge surfer waves is one of the components of Puerto rico that I noticed everytime I stood on the sand.

The full moon gathering was a great end to the night. At first we didn’t think the circle was going to happen

 

but I caught wind from a mate that knew a drummer that would be at the circle. The night continued, we walked over to the beach and found the group dancing and playing the drums.

 

The whole time in PR I couldn’t find green but at the drum circle  I saw someone with locs and had a feeling he would be able to help and he did. As soon as finish shooting I go to roll up a long awaited spliff then right as I begin to grab the bag A poet slides next to me and grabs my attention with very descriptive poems and great stories of adventures he has been through in Oaxaca Mexico. Finished shooting and went back to the hostel to finally light a spliff to myself and stare at the full moon. A few interesting  funny thoughts hit me then I hit the pillow.  The next day my memory card corrupted in a universal effort to tell me I’m done working enjoy the land. With that being said look forward to the videos of Hadiiya shining and expressing the change she plans to create in  the world!  Shoutout to the two vegan spots El Punto Vegano and Cocobanana! Delicious veggie burgers and Egg plant Pizzas + The guy that grills Salmon + Tras on the herb and talk!  Until next time…. Feels like I need a camera for the camera.

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Puerto Rico x Hadiiya //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Travel Select: Oregon

Ive been building up my list of places to visit and do some photography at! Today we add more to the Oregon list. This place has more beauty than I initially knew! If you know more spots send them to me, Im on the hunt!

 Elowah Falls Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge – Zeb Andrews Photography

 

Ponytail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Proxy Falls of Oregon

Ramona Falls Oregon Photograph by Ulrich Burkhalter


Thors’ Well Cape Perpetua Portland Oregon Coast

Mud Houses of Tiébélé, Burkina Faso

In the south of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in west Africa, near the border with Ghana lies a small, circular village of about 1.2 hectares, called Tiébélé. This is home of the Kassena people, one of the oldest ethnic groups that had settled in the territory of Burkina Faso in the 15th century. Tiébélé is known for their amazing traditional Gourounsi architecture and elaborately decorated walls of their homes.

Burkina Faso is a poor country, even by West African standards, and possibly the poorest in the world. But they are culturally rich, and decorating the walls of their buildings is an important part of their cultural legacy in this area of the country. Wall decorating is always a community project done by the women and it’s a very ancient practice that dates from the sixteenth century AD.

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The Kassena people build their houses entirely of local materials: earth, wood and straw. Soil mixed with straw and cow dung is moistened to a state of perfect plasticity, to shape almost vertical surfaces. Today this technique is replaced by the use of mud brick molding walls with foundations resting on large stone. Tiébélé’s houses are built with defense in mind, whether that be against the climate or potential enemies. Walls are over a foot thick and the homes are designed without windows except for a small opening or two to let just enough light in to see. Front doors are only about two feet tall, which keeps the sun out and makes enemies difficult to strike. Roofs are protected with wood ladders that are easily retracted and the local beer (dolo) is brewed at home.

After construction, the woman makes murals on the walls using colored mud and white chalk. The motifs and symbols are either taken from everyday life, or from religion and belief. The finished wall is then carefully burnished with stones, each color burnished separately so that the colors don’t blur together. Finally, the entire surface is coated with a natural varnish made by boiling pods of néré, the African locust bean tree.

The designs also serves to protect the walls themselves. The decorating is usually done just before the rainy season and protects the outside walls from the rain. Adding cow dung, compacting layers of mud, burnishing the final layer, and varnishing with néré all make the designs withstand wet weather, enabling the structures to last longer.

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Sources: Handeye Magazinesworthy10UnescoMessyNessyChic. Photos by Rita Willaer

Travel Selects – Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Peninsula of Yucatan. Throughout its nearly 1,000 years history, different peoples have left their mark on this city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their artistic works and stone monuments. Several buildings have survived.
In the northern region of the Yucatan peninsula, on a limestone plateau lie the relics of Chichen Itza, once one of the most powerful cities of the Maya. Ruins of the temples of this ancient civilization spread from the Guatemala jungles to the Yucatan. Today, Chichen Itza attracts millions of visitors who come to marvel at the spectacular remains.

Walk through the ancient ruins, and you come upon it suddenly, with indrawn breath. Alone in the midst of a vast green lawn, the central pyramid at Chichén Itzá, known as El Castillo, rears up over the surrounding area. This is the Pyramid of Kukulkcán, the feathered serpent god who ruled the Maya pantheon during the later period of Chichén Itzá’s flowering.

Climb the huge stone steps of the Pyramid to the tiny sacrificial chamber, and you can see the forest stretching to the horizon in every direction. The huge green lawn spreads below you, and the other major structures appear small: the Temple of the Jaguar, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Ball Court. Stay for a while, here where it’s believed that the Mayan rulers offered human sacrifices and sat in conversation with the gods. Watch the sun move across the sky, watch the rain clouds sweep in.

Look at the buildings around you. In addition to providing evidence of Mayan knowledge about the cosmos, the architecture at Chichén Itzá preserves the mythology of the Maya. Study the site carefully and you can see a deep-rooted embodiment of Mayan myth, including the emergence of humans from the primordial sea.

According to some interpretations of the Mayan creation myth, in the beginning, there was no separation between earth and sky. Mayan texts often refer to this as the “lying down sky place,” and inscribed images of the events of this time are often represented on a black background, possibly indicating that they took place in darkness or underwater. The first father, the Maize God, planted a World Tree, the pillar that lifted the sky above the earth, creating the space for human life.

Source – Exploratorium 

Wolaba Day Festival 2017 (video)

This is a video capture of the Wolaba Day Parade that happens every year in Costa Rica. Definitely enjoyed myself in the fun atmosphere of music, dancing and celebration!  This was my first time filming a festival so I decided not to get too cinematic with the editing and just cut everything simple and plain to get the sounds that were actually going on while there.