HJDS Travel Group

Tag: Africa

5 Ways To Do Soweto Like A Local

by on Jul.26, 2015, under Travel

Soweto is an incredible township and I have to say – head there and see it!! Not only is it one of the most famous townships in South Africa but it has a lot of history and more importantly things to see and do. Top 5s are difficult but I’m going to try! I’ve had to narrow it down but here goes…

1. Stay with a local Sowetan family:

A highlight from my travels round Soweto was staying with a local family in Orlando East. I stayed with Rachel and her son and daughter. They made me welcome and it was a small but cosy house. At night they just sit at home and cook and watch TV – almost back to basics existence but a great experience and if you get the chance to do it – go for it!!

2. Go Inside Nelson Mandela’s House:

I have to say that a visit to Nelson Mandela’s former house in Vilakazi Street is a must. Don’t miss it! Nowadays his former home has been turned into an excellent mini museum,open to the public. It is just incredible to step inside the house where Mandela once lived. There are quotes on the walls on bricks in the courtyard, photos inside and the house is small. It’s amazing that this man changed the world. Get this on your list!

3. Visit a Shebeen:

You cannot visit Soweto without heading into a Shebeen! These local bars where people mingle to drink and chat are an essential part of the culture. You will get to meet and chat to the locals, enjoy a few beers with them and get to understand a bit more about life in Soweto. The beer you will get is pinky in colour and not strong at all – you will share it communally. Get in there and chat to the locals. I loved it and you will too!

4. Bicycle Tours in Soweto:

Another top thing to do in Soweto is a bicycle tour – it means you can get to places not easily covered on foot or in a car. You can visit different parts of the township on the same day and meet locals. Soweto Backpackers have a recommended bicycle tour which is also listed in a lot of travel books and sites. You’ll also have a tour guide who explains everything to you at points on your cycle through this historic township.

5. Hector Pieterson Museum:

The Hector Pieterson Museum is highly recommended to get into the history of Soweto and in particular the Soweto Uprising of 1976. A museum and well maintained streets and tributes now sits where Hector Pieterson was once shot dead. It’s a real eye opener. Definitely in my top 5 things to do in Soweto!

So head to Soweto and understand the history of this cultured township. These are my top 5 for you!

To read more articles such as Top 5 Things To Do In Soweto then visit Jonny Blair’s recommended travel, work and lifestyle site called Dont Stop Living for endless travel experiences and tips.. Free reprint available from: 5 Ways To Do Soweto Like A Local.

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    Hyena Feeding At Dusk In Harar Ethiopia

    by on May.12, 2014, under Travel

    Arrival into Harar in Ethiopia

    To do the hyena feeding you’ll need to be in Harar, and as the feeding occurs at dusk (7pm ish – changes depending on the seasons), you’ll need to spend at least a night in the town of Harar. You have to be keen if you want to get there – it’s a long, scary and gruelling bus journey in a crampt and overcrowded mini-bus trust me!

    From the capital city, minibuses run from Addis Ababa directly to Harar, but also to Dire Dawa with a connection to Harar. To organise the mini-bus your best bet is actually just talk to locals in the streets and in your hostel and they’ll sort you out. It really is that simple. I booked my mini-bus around 1pm in Addis Ababa and got on my minibus at 8.30pm. The minibus journeys can be long, gruelling and dangerous so be prepared for that. It will be worth it when you rock into Harar. My mini-bus took 15 hours in the end (a story for another post) and cost 300 Birr (which is about 16-17 $US Dollars).

    The view over the old city of Harar – a great spot by day and the hyenas come out at night!

    Walk to the hyena feeding in Harar – it’s the quickest way.

    What price is it?

    For me, and the other three guys that did it, it was 100 Birr each. That’s somewhere between $5 and $6 US Dollars. That’s totally worth it, believe me. In fact I’d say it’s a bargain as this is a special travel memory.

    What happens at hyena feeding?

    Well the story goes that at dusk/nightfall wild hyenas roamed the streets of Harar scavenging and looking for food. The locals decided to befriend them and try to tame them over the years and it’s worked. The hyenas now turn up at dusk and are ready for a live show which they are the stars of. The hyenas, in their innocent lives, are unaware of how popular or cool their activity has become. So after years of nightly hyena feeding by the local “hyena men”, Harar’s people realised the potential of this odd occurrence and as such turned it into a kind of tourist pull. A way for the locals to make money, the hyenas to get fed and the backpackers to get up close and personal to hyenas. Everyone’s a winner here.

    An overview of what happens at the Hyena Feeding in Harar?

    We headed down the street to feed hyenas.

    Within minutes he is whistling out and calling hyenas to appear from nowhere. And they do. They are quick off the mark. One hyena comes and stands a mere 4-5 metres from us. The hyena knows the score. It’s going to get fed raw meat by the humans that are here!

    The hyena man goes first so you can see how it’s done. He holds a bit of meat on a stick. The hyena comes up, hungry and eager.

    Then the hyena man bites a piece of wood and holds it in his mouth. Meat is put on the other end of it. Again the hyena rocks up, snatches it with its jaw and walks back.

    There are 3 main things you will do in terms of positions when feeding hyenas in Harar, and here are the three:

    1. Feed them mouth to mouth.

    2. Hand to Mouth – Hold a piece of wood in your hand. Put meat on the other end. The hyena comes up, takes it, eats it and walks back.

    3. The hyena will jump on your back, in my case he walked up my back digging his paws in and devouring the food. It’s hard to stand still and stay calm when you think about what’s actually happening! This for me was the craziest moment. He jumped right on my back onto my Northern Ireland flag I had draped round me. Then he bit the food right by my ear! It was amazing!

    The feeding a hyena by hand is the calmest and easiest part. We’ve all done that before with dogs, kangaroos etc. But the whole experience is just memorable!! I will never forget Harar or the hyena experience!!

    How dangerous is hyena feeding in Harar?

    Yes, of course. Like a lot of things we do on our travels, it has risks. You don’t sign any documents, there are no tourist tickets issued. It just happens by “the tree” on the backstreets on the edge of Harar. There is no real health and safety in place. But if you’re up for it, DO IT. I highly recommend it.

    Are photos allowed?

    Of course it’s fine! It’s easy to spot a tourist here. Also – if you’re scared you don’t need to do it – you can just go there and watch it from a distance – no problem. If you do this, it’s honourable to give an amount of money (at your discretion) to the “hyena man”, as he’s working for you and putting on a show.

    Overall this is an amazing experience and I totally recommend hyena feeding in Harar.

    For lots more ace travel articles like Hyena feeding ethiopia head to Jonny Blair’s recommended travel website for ideas on backpacking in ethiopia

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      I Wanted Different Holiday So I Climbed Mt. Kenya

      by on May.15, 2012, under Vacations

      Climbing up Mt. Kenya is deemed to be a lifetime chance for most men and women. This can be since it truly is the highest mountain in Africa typically known as the roof of Africa. In addition to, it’s also the tallest and largest totally free Standing Mountain in the world with an ice caped peak owing to its location at about 200 miles that is certainly also 5 degrees below the equator. Amazingly Mt. Kenya is extremely well-known with climbers with many of them who are in great shape physically to reach the summit. This is attributed towards the fact that climbing this mountain is not technical. On typical only one particular out of each ten folks makes it towards the summit. It truly is therefore important to make sure that you prepare adequately just before embarking on the trek. Sufficient preparation is also a key point on whether or not you will be able to get to the summit or not.

      I too embarked a mission to climb Mt. Kenya planning of making it to the summit. The plains around this mountain are residence to various wildlife that includes zebras, elephants, gazelles, wildebeest among other African animals. Because mountaineering skills will not be needed, all I had was the determination to conquer my dream. It took us about six days to ascend this beautiful mountain. Despite the fact that altitude sickness is generally anticipated, I was lucky to have survived. The porters and guides who are accustomed to climbing this mountain a minimum once every week guiding visitors who trek there and find it to be a wonderful pace, with great views inside a even though uncover it exhilarating and breathtaking.

      Probably the most essential aspects that contributed to making this excursion an excellent success is because I chose to stay at the Mount Kenya view lodge that’s tucked away on the slopes in the rain forest. Certainly one of the noticeable factors about this lodge is that it really is authentically African in each and every respect. It also gives an excellent panoramic view towards the valley below. The position of the lodge is great specifically when you come from a tiring trek as it gives globe class accommodation facilities.

      The rooms are effectively furnished to depict a unique African theme. A typical room at this lodge consists of a huge pine bed, a pine study table, a narrow bedside cabinet, a custom made wardrobe with drawers, and some seats on the balcony. The rooms are spacious and you would feel able to unwind after the driving or trekking. Apart from that, you may also feel the need to use all the facilities for example hot showers, or a relaxing drink at the bar. the dining area and a leisure area are well used in the evenings .

      In conclusion, although climbing Mt. Kenya does not require any expertise, it is important to adequately prepare, because you are bound to experience, changes in altitude as you climb the mountain. In order to prepare adequately, you will need to ensure, that you gather all the possible information, that you will need to know that relates to this excursion, that will help you to enjoy the whole experience.

      To see the type of furniture used in the lodges visit custom made wardrobes, also look to find the best and most suitable wardrobes with drawers for your own lodge.

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