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Qatar Airways to launch flights to Zanzibar

Zanzibar’s tourism industry may be headed for a major boost after Qatar Airways announced plans to launch flights to the Island town from July 1 2015.

The new five-times-a-week flight will operate via Kilimanjaro and becomes the third gateway in Tanzania after Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro and the 20th city in Africa.

[Photo/airlinereporter.com]

[Photo/airlinereporter.com]

The launch brings new developments in Qatar Airway’s operation in Tanzania with the current Kilimanjaro flights served via Dar es Salaam will be non-stop from Doha to Kilimanjaro with return flights from Kilimanjaro to Doha served via Zanzibar.

The launch of direct flights now offer passengers will several options travelling to any of the 140 destinations served by the airline.

“Today’s announcement of new services to Zanzibar reflects our commitment to connect diverse cities via our Doha hub and offer our passengers an extensive range of exciting global destinations.

“As our 20th gateway in Africa, Zanzibar will strengthen our presence as one of the biggest airline flying to the African continent,” said Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker.

The launch comes weeks after Qatar Airways announced plans to increase operation to Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa.

Book your stay in Zanzibar on SleepOut.com.

[FeaturePhoto/blog.burrard-lucas.com]

‘Christmas’ comes early this year as Wildebeest migration begins

‘Christmas’ has come early for enthusiasts of wildebeest migration as the fete begins, three months ahead of schedule.

Thousands of wildebeest began arriving in the central areas of the Serengeti this week in what has left Safari experts astonished. The migration usually begins in early summer but the dry conditions in the southern Serengeti have encouraged the animals to head north far earlier than usual.

[Photo/africajoytours.com]

[Photo/africajoytours.com]

Bradley Murray, Singita Faru Faru Lodge general manager said this is one of the earliest migrations ever recorded in the history of wildebeest migration.

“This is one of the earliest sighting on record. The wildebeest stated passing through the reserve unexpectedly on May 1 last year and we thought that was a big deal – but this is incredible,” he said.

He further notes that the initial assumption was that a couple of strays had broken away from the main herd but this perception changed when tens of thousands started flooding in.

“It is always an awe-inspiring sight but now all you can see is wildebeest,’ he notes.

The early migration is a blessing for travellers who will get an opportunity to witness the migration without paying peak season prices.

Some lodges in Kenya’s Maasai Mara charge over $600 a night for a double room during the peak season while the cost stands at as little as $300 a night in March and below that mark in April.

Around 1.5 million wildebeest accompanied by some 200,000 zebras make the 1,200 mile journey each year in search of wetter conditions. The herds travel through the Tanzania’s Serengeti and on to Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve before returning south in early autumn.

Book your accommodation at the  Maasai Mara and Serengeti on SleepOut.com and witness the wildebeest migration.

Lake of Stars

Date set for Lake of Stars Festival 2015 in Malawi

The 2015 edition of Lake of Stars Festival will be held from September 25th to 27th at the Sunbird Nkopola Lodge at Mangochi in Malawi.

The award-winning event will be running its 10th edition this year with the organisers promising even more high quality entertainment and better experience that last year.

lake of stars 2

“We are excited to be launching this year’s Lake of Stars Festival with the backing of a number of our sponsors and partners from 2014, alongside new partners,” said Lake of Stars director Will Jameson.

He added: “Last year’s festival was our biggest and best to date, and this year we want to deliver an even better experience for all those who are involved.”

Among the artists set to perform at the event include Young Fathers from the UK, Ric Hassani from Nigeria, Danny Kalima George Kalikusha and Gwamba from Malawi and Menes from Democratic Republic of Congo.

lake of stars1

In addition to the musical line up, attendants will also enjoy a diverse selection of other entertainment including poetry, theatre, dance and art. The festival will also continue its family-friendly ethos with children activities and free tickets for those aged 12 and below.

Running alongside the three-day event will be free outreach activities in neighbouring Chipoka village for the local community.

Visit lakeofstars.org for more information.

Book your stay in Malawi on SleepOut.com.

[FeaturePhoto/alterra.cc]

Four ways to get to Victoria Falls from Harare, Zimbabwe

Regarded as Africa’s most famous waterfall, Victoria Falls is situated on the course of Zambezi River in Southern Africa at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls is locally known as “Mosi-Oa-Tunya” to mean “the smoke that thunders” owing to the rapturous sound it makes when it pours into the Zambezi River. SleepOut highlights below several ways to get to Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

By air

International and domestic airlines use the Harare International Airport located 15km southeast of Harare while chartered flights and other light aircraft operate from Charles Prince airport located 2km northwest of Harare.

Air_Zimbabwe

[Photo/en.wikipedia.org]

The flights available are Air Zimbabwe and South Airways, which passes through Johannesburg.

Victoria Falls Airport is approximately 20km out of town but worry not as you can hire taxis to take you to your destination for $30.00. Most of the hotels and lodges in Victoria Falls also have a pickup service for their clients. There are also bus services available.

 

By bus

Buses regularly travel between Harare and Victoria Falls and vice verse. There are a few bus companies like Pathfinder and City Link that operate this route and are decently priced with various classes of seating available.

[Photo/source.co.zw]

[Photo/source.co.zw]

The bus stations are in the town centres of each city and make numerous stops at each town along the way, where you can get on and off the buses.

It is generally a 12 to 13 hours journey from Harare to Victoria Falls and is very reliable and affordable. The buses work on a daily basis and are extremely clean and comfortable.

 

Self-drive

On self-drive from Harare via Bulawayo is approximately 880kms to Victoria Falls taking around 12 hours drive.

[Photo/flickr.com]

[Photo/flickr.com]

Bulawayo is located 440kms out of Harare and is the second largest city in Zimbabwe making it the perfect place to pause before continuing with your journey.

Self drive is a good option as it allows you to have fun and makes it possible to make stops at different destinations and take in the beautiful scenery.

 

By train

You can travel to Bulawayo and Mutare from Harare Train station near corner Kenneth Kaunda Ave & Second Street, from here you can connect to Victoria Falls.

[Photo/steppesinsync.com]

The train timetables are constantly changing though and maybe be delayed on bad days. This makes this means of transport unreliable and uncomfortable.

 

Book your stay in Zimbabwe on SleepOut.com

[FeaturePhoto/zambiatourism.com]

Zambia drops visa requirements for COMESA countries

The push for free visa entry into African countries has attracted Zambia with the southern African country dropping visa requirements for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) nationals.

[Photo/lonelyplanet.com]

[Photo/lonelyplanet.com]

According to the Livingstone Tourism Association, there will be no visa requirement for COMESA nationals entering Zambia for official business.

The move is aimed at placing Zambia on the same competitive stage as South Africa, Namibia and Botswana where visas are not required for tourism.

Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) chairperson Mark O’Donnell expressed his delight in the new initiative saying it will make it easier for visitors to visit Zambia and explore the amazing attractions that the country has to offer.

“This is very impressive because it will now be easier for visitors to visit Zambia as the barriers to entry have been removed,” he said.

So far Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe out of the 19 COMESA countries have signed the Protocol of free movement of persons. Of these signatory countries Burundi is the only to have fully ratified the agreement.

Book your accommodation in Zambia on SleepOut.com.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you.

eco-tower-watamu-4

6 unique SleepOut accommodation for your African holiday

Sometimes what we need is run-of-the-mill accommodation in a well-furnished hotel room, or apartment but other times you might be looking for an out-of-this world place to stay. This accommodation might be in the middle of nowhere with just the basic things we need to sustain ourselves but they exude incredible charm and make for a great story to tell your friends and family! SleepOut highlights below some of the coolest accommodation in Africa.

 

Kitengela Glass Art & Eco Cottages – Kenya

Nairobi’s Kitengela Glass Studio is now offering a unique coastal holiday with their very own Kitengela-styled Beach House and Eco Tower (with sky bed).

The Beach House has 2 traditional double bedrooms with a shared bathroom, a lounge bed, and offers a large upstairs bedroom with a beautiful glass mosaic-decorated balcony and additional large bathroom downstairs.

eco-tower-top-floor

The Eco Tower is a unique cottage with its own “Sky Bed” that rolls out from the top floor so guests can literally SleepOut under the stars.

If you are a lover of art, a bird watcher or just intrigued by nature, this is the place for you. You can observe hyrax (klippschliefer), sykes monkeys, hyenas, baboons, impala, giraffes and at night even leopards.

 

Chongwe River House – Zambia

Chongwe River House is built around a frame of wild wood with ferro walls following the natural lines of the branches. The house sleeps eight in four spacious en suite bedrooms, making it the ideal safari base for a family or a group of friends wanting a more exclusive and private experience.

chongwe

All the furniture in the sitting room has been carved from a single fallen winterthorn tree and coloured pebbles from the river decorate the ceilings. The bedrooms all have king-sized plus beds under waves of netting with each bed cleverly placed to offer a stunning view of the bush or the escarpment.

 

Kumbali Cultural Village – Malawi

How about a stay in a traditional Malawian mud hut? Kumbali Cultural village is custom-made to offer a unique cultural experience and reveals a warmer more community-focused approach to hospitality.

hut

The hut has a side table, candles, mosquito net, cupboard, towel, clean and fresh bedding. Bathing is under the stars using a traditional bucket shower with your water heated by you using maize husks in a cast iron drum.

 

Freddie Mercury’s Apartment - Zanzibar

Freddie Mercury’s Apartment says a lot about the British musician famously known as the lyricist and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen (read more about Freddie).

freddie

From the art deco Zanzibari decor, its ideal location and old school furniture, the house speaks of a person who, despite his huge fortune and propensity for exuberance, actually grew up under quite modest circumstances in Stone Town.

 

The Bedouin Camp – Morocco

The Bedouin Camp is a beautiful tent that offers exotic open air accommodation for desert travellers on-the-go. The tent offers a picturesque view of a salty depression in the horizon and simple but comfortable bedding.

photo

There is more – the place also offers ideal meeting spots with a wild beach near the Atlantic Coast. Get on a 4×4 truck and enjoy a ride into the deserted landscape.

 

MamboView Point – Tanzania

MamboView Point offers an exceptionally stunning cliffside stay. THe house, is at the top of the Mbokoi cliff next to the Usambara mountains offering stunning 360 degree views.

photo1

The house has a living room, hall, bathroom and bedroom all neatly set to offer maximum comfort. The house has a kitchen fitted with the necessary equipment, and extra space for a bed in the sitting room.

Book your unique accommodation in Africa on SleepOut.com.

[FeaturePhoto/corporate.rayanair.com]

Ryanair to fly to “ghost airport” in Spain

Built in 2011 at cost of more then $100 million, Catellon Airport is said to be a symbol of Spain’s “reckless” spending.

The airport has a statue of Carlos Fabra, a local politician who championed the construction of the airport who began a four-year jail term for tax fraud in December 2014.

ryanair-lottery-airplane-cabin-flickr

In all the years of its existence, Catellon Airport is yet to see a single plan on its runway earning the mock name “ghost airport”, though this is set to change with Ryanair announcing interest in launching three times a week flight from London Stansted Airport to Catellon and twice a week from Bristol.

According to the airline’s chief marketing officer Kenny Rodgers, there is a strong demand for travel in and out of Catellon based on seasonal traffic and significant number of young migrants leaving Spain to look for jobs in the UK.

“London is the number one destination for unemployed Spanish youth,” Rodgers aid.

There is a strong demand for a route from Catellon which we will meet making us the first commercial airline to fly there.”

The airport is located in Castellon de le Plana, a city between Valencia and Barcelona with several cultural attractions including Santa Maria Cathedral and a Museum.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you

[FeaturePhoto/dayhiker.com]

It’s Art and Fun at Lake District

Long known for its beautiful landscape, the Lake District is easily distracting due to its picturesque lakes and mountains that have made it a great tourist attraction.

The Lake District, also famed for its creative spirit, is located in North West England in the United Kingdom. The area has entered a class of its own with international films shown half-way up mountains to rock bands in deep parks and sculptures high in the hills along with over 50 cultural assets in the area.

[[Photo/telegraph.co.uk]

[[Photo/telegraph.co.uk]

The scenic views have offered a creative inspiration for generations with world-renowned celebrities like William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and JMW Turner a few of those inspired by these features.

While here, you can visit the former home and gardens of John Ruskin at Brantwood in the little village of Coniston and marvel and the beauty within. You can also get to see Ruskin’s paintings and marvel at his fine furniture and other precious possessions

Lake District aerial view

Lake District aerial view

The Lake District is also known for as an art hub due to the marvelous galleries and studios herein. Get an opportunity to meet artists here and admire their work and take home mementoes. The Pencil Museum in Keswick also offers regular creative workshop for visitors, from beginners to advanced artists interested in various designing from animations and cartoons to illustrations to model making.

Among the popular events here include Words by Kendal Calling at Lowther Deer Park (July 30-August 2), Borderline Carlisel Book Festival (September 4-5), Lakes International Comic Art Festival (October 16-18).

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you

[FeaturePhoto/coloradonewsday.com]

World’s most dangerous footpath set to reopen

If you’ve been yearning to walk the world’s most dangerous footpath, this is your chance!

The footpath, which has been closed for over a decade will finally open to the public on March 26 after a year of massive reconstruction.

[Photo/cnn.com]

[Photo/cnn.com]

The Spanish government closed the footpath and demolished the access points to the walkway ten years ago after fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. Reports at the Spanish daily El Paris show that the provincial government allocated $5.8 million to go towards the renovation of the footpath to make it safe for visitors.

The trail begins in the village of El Chorro in southern Malaga Province. It features a cliff face boardwalk that hangs 100 metres above the Guadalhorce River.

The footpath has been around since the early 1900s and was originally built to provide access to two waterfalls for hydroelectric workers.

The entire route is 7.7 kilometres long, with boardwalks covering 2.9 kilometres of the trail and takes between four to five hours to walk the entire route. The most famous section includes the Balconcillo de los Gaitanes Bridge, which spans the Gaitanes gorge.

The opening of the footpath coincides with Spain’s annual Holy week celebrations.

Entry will be free for the first six months with visiting hours set for 10am to 5pm from April 1 to October 31 and 10am to 2pm from November 1 2015 to March 31 2016. To book a spot visit the official website Caminitodelrey.info.

 

About NOMAD from SleepOut.com

Travel just like life should be inspiring, amusing, down-to-earth and diverse. NOMAD brings together original travel pieces by SleepOut.com guests and writers from around the globe written expressly for the NOMAD in you

[FeaturePhoto/boomsbeat.com]

Things that make you have to visit Malawi

Named among the top 10 places to go in 2014 by Lonely Planet, Malawi has certainly earned the praises showered upon this Southern African country.

Though it is not yet a significant tourism destination like neighbouring Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa, Malawi has numerous attractions and unique characteristics that make it a really cool place to visit.

SleepOut highlights some of these unique characteristics for you.

 

Hospitable Locals

Known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”, Malawi’s locals are among the friendliest in Africa. Their hospitality has made it easy for visitors to find the going easy while there.

In fact, it’s common for strangers to wave and greet visitors as if they know them with curious kids often coming to say hi and welcoming you to Malawi.

 

Spectacular Scenery

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

Malawi has a good number of attraction sites to keep you busy but not too many to make it impossible to see them all. From Lake Malawi to the Stone House Museum and the Majete Widlife Reserve, there is just not enough time to see it all in Malawi.

 

Chilled Out

Malawi is a place of peace and quiet without traffic jams and the hassle of city life. The country is largely rural with only 15.7 per cent of the population living in urban areas.

There are also not very many cars in Malawi hence you will travel to different places without feeling overwhelmed or fearful of getting run over.

 

Cool Accommodation

Kumbali Country Lodge

Kumbali Country Lodge

There are a variety of unique, quirky, luxury and affordable accommodation options in Malawi. From high end hotels, to holiday homes, guest houses and backpackers, Malawi is a place for every traveller.

 

Safe and Secure

Malawi is perceived to be among the safest and more secure countries to visit in Southern Africa. The country is known for its political stability, rule of law and security. This has made Malawi an ideal place to visit for most travellers thus enabling its tourism potential.

 

Book your stay in Malawi on SleepOut.com.

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