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A Travel Guide to Discover Dubai’s Wild Side

Travel Tips - Amanda - December 19, 2019

If you’re headed to Dubai, you’re in for a life-changing trip. Dubai is a modern and bustling city, full of cutting-edge art and architecture and brimming with rich culture, not to mention some awesome shopping opportunities. But at some point, you may find that you need a break from the impressive concrete jungle. And despite what you may think or have heard, Dubai is home to some of the wildest nature spots in the world. In fact, so many that you might find yourself overwhelmed when trying to choose what to do. So have a look at the following 5 nature activities that will give you a glimpse of Dubai’s wild side.

Go for a wild ride

You don’t have to go to Africa to experience an awesome safari—look no further than Sir Bani Yas Island. This island is located just off the cost of Abu Dhabi and not too far from Dubai and is home to the Arabian Wildlife Park, and is inhabited by thousands of wild creatures, including:

• giraffes
• goats
• gazelles
• hyenas
• cheetahs
• jackals
• wild cats
• skinks
• dugongs

During your stay, apart from safari, you can also participate in horse-riding, kayaking, sailing, falconry, mountain-biking and archery. What’s more, there are three luxury resorts in case you want to really get to know the island, but day trips are also great if you just want a taste. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money either, with Flydubai you can find tale affordable and comfortable daytrips within the region.

And for you history lovers out there, you’ll also find the ruins of Christian monastery that dates back to the 6th century AD.

Desert safari

Photo by Digjot Singh on Unsplash

This is a must if you go on holiday to Dubai, don’t let the green of the city fool you, Dubai is a desert city. The desert was what this modern, innovative and world-class city sprung from. Before the awe-inspiring architecture, high fashion, and luxury hotels, there was sand, sand and more sand. There are a plethora of different desert safari tours available in Dubai. On most of the safaris you will be picked up at your hotel and enjoy a comfortable ride to the desert, leaving the modern city behind and going backwards through time.

While on safari in the desert you can go dune-bashing, a trip in a Land Cruiser that speeds up and down the dunes a totally wild ride, imagine the sand version of tubing. You can also choose trips that focus on camel riding, and on most safaris you’ll be treated to traditional Arab cuisine. You’ll have to check out the different companies to choose the experience that suits you best.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Photo by Hanna Zhyhar on Unsplash

If you want to see the natural side of Dubai, you don’t necessarily have to step outside city limits. That’s where the Dubai Miracle Garden comes in. See just how green this desert city can be by a visit to these world-class gardens that occupies more than 72,000 square metres, making it the largest natural botanical garden in the entire world. While you’re there, you’ll see hundreds of millions of flowers and you can take a stroll through the butterfly garden that is home to over 15,000 butterflies.

Head there after the sun goes down and you’ll see this garden oasis lit up by glowing strings of decorative lights.

The Green Planet

Here’s another nature activity for those who would like to stay within the city limits. The Green planet is actually an indoor rainforest, protected by a large transparent dome. You’ll see over 3,000 species of animals and plants that originally come from South America; a much more affordable way for European residents to experience the sights and sounds of the Amazon. And in case you didn’t guess it already, this is a wonderful place to go if you are travelling with children. Your little ones can even get to be a zookeeper for the day and follow around a real animal caretaker for an up-close (and totally safe) experience with some of the animals.

Bu Tinah Island

A hop, skip or a short flight away with cheap air tickets from Abu Dhabi, you’ll have to travel a bit further if you’re going from Dubai, you’ll get to experience something that only a few people are allowed to see.

Bu Tinah Island is part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, the first and largest UNESCO marine biosphere reserve. Since few people are allowed on the island, it’s certainly more difficult to get your ticket there, but if you’re serious about nature, then you won’t want to miss it. While there you may see endangered turtles and the oh so delightful dugong.

Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash

So there you have it! The city of Dubai is an amazing place that requires more than a few days to explore. But if you need a bit of a nature break while you’re there, you’ll find plenty of ways to find a respite from the concrete jungle. Whether you go on a safari, head to an island, or even find a natural oasis within the city, you’ll be delighted by the wild part of Dubai just as much, if not more than its urban side.

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Explore All that Costa Rica Has to Offer for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Best Destinations, Travel Tips - Amanda - July 10, 2019

The Peninsula Papagayo is one of the most incredible places to visit in Costa Rica. This 1,400-acre retreat provides a peerless setting for outdoor activities and adventures. This once-in-a-lifetime destination is guaranteed fun for the entire family and fodder for lifelong memories. This guide will provide you with tips for making the most out of your Costa Rican vacation.

1 – Consider Your Budget

You need to come up with a budget before planning your trip to Cosa Rica. Even if you’re not a fan of making them, a budget can give you an idea if a Costa Rica vacation is within your reach. You should consider accommodation costs, airline prices, entertainment costs, food and drink costs, ground transportation costs, travel expenses, and anything else that might come up during your trip. To access some of the choicer adventures and areas, in Peninsula Papagayo, you may need to be a member of the Papagayo Explorers Club, too.

2 – Decide What You Want to Do

With your budget in mind, you can plan accordingly. One of the best things about the Peninsula Papagayo is that there’s something for everyone to do. It’s your access to the incredible biodiversity. This area has access points and basecamps that attract people of all ages.

Each of the trails is designed to preserve some of the biological areas on the planet. You’ll find that the biking and hiking trails are connected to the trail system, which makes it possible to bike, hike, and walk along each of these trails. If you want something more challenging or intense, then you can travel deep into the forest. Some of the activities that take place on these trails include bird watching, mountain biking, nature walks, night walks, safari nature rides, and the Nacascolo Paddle Exploration.

3 – Book Accommodations

If you ever booked accommodations before, then you know how difficult it is to get the room you want. That’s why it’s so important to book your accommodations as soon as possible. Most resorts allow you to cancel a few days before your trip if you use a third-party site such as Booking. But it’s usually best to book through the hotel chain and to find out their cancellation policy.

You should book your room as soon as you know when you want to go. You can always check back if there’s an upgrade or a cheaper rate. There are plenty of gorgeous hotels and resorts in the Peninsula Papagayo area.

One is the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, which gives you an up-close look at nature. This resort has one of the most beautiful landscapes and environments on the planet. This Peninsula Papagayo resort and spa also has luxury accommodations such as four restaurants, a relaxing spa, and four swimming pools, including an adults-only pool.

The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is another highly-recommended resort. With breathtaking Pacific Ocean views and endless entertainment and wellness options, you’ll experience the “pura vida” like few have done before.

4 – Research Local Restaurants

Even if your resort offers word class dining, you still need to explore the food in Costa Rica. The first thing you should do is find out where the hot spots are. Visit each restaurant’s website and read the menu so you know what to expect and what to order. Some of the most incredible food and drink experiences can be found at Chef 4U, the Fish Market, Olas Restaurant, Ostra Seafood, Sunset Lounge, Surf Bar, and Villa Italia, just to name a few. Book reservations ahead of time so you can get a table since some of these places fill up fast.

5 – Finalize Your Budget

Now that everything is planned, it’s time to work on your budget one last time. This is where you’ll want to determine your maximum amount to spend on each aspect of your trip. How much do you want to spend on activities? Souvenirs? Food and drink? There are plenty of free mobile apps that can track your spending.

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Camping in Norway: Spending Unforgettable Vacations in Wild Nature

Stories and Travel Info - Amanda - January 15, 2019

Sometimes, we feel tiredness from the bustle of the city and just need to escape for a couple of days. What could be better than counting stars in the night sky, enjoying picturesque views and relaxing on the amazing landscapes of Norway? Take a break at the best camping places on the shore of the fjord, by the sea or in the forest. We bet you will never forget this trip. Continue Reading

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Africa’s Ugly 5

Travel Tips - Amanda - November 12, 2018

Africa is home to the iconic Big 5, attracting tourists from all over the world. Did you know that there is also another fascinating group of animals known as the Ugly 5? They may not be the prettiest specimens, but they’re just as intriguing. They can be seen on game drives and walks at many safari and game lodges in South Africa such as Pondoro Game Lodge.

Hyena

Hyenas are known to be crafty nocturnal scavengers. They feast on the left overs of predators’ kills e.g. if a pack of lions kill a buffalo, they will watch until the lions have had their share, wait for them to leave and eat the decaying scraps. Most frighteningly, hyenas are cannibals. They may attack and eat other hyenas, especially the young.

There are four species of hyenas: the spotted hyena; the striped hyena; the brown hyena and the aardwolf. The spotted hyena is the largest, standing at 87.5 centimetres in height and 41 kilos in weight. On the other side of the spectrum is the aardwolf, which is 50 centimetres in height and 27 kilos in weight.

Hyenas are renowned for their characteristic laughing sounds, which serve as alerts to other hyenas when food is found.

Wildebeest

Wildebeests are a type of antelope, native to Africa. There are two types: black and blue
The primary differences are in their physical characteristics: the curvature of their horns and colour of their coats. In terms of size, the blue wildebeest is the bigger of the two types.

The Maasai Mara region in Kenya is famous for the Great Migration of wildebeest. This incredible natural phenomenon that sees millions of wildebeest begin their journey from the southern Serengeti and travel to the Mara – late July / early August is the best time to visit in order to witness this wildlife marvel. It’s guaranteed that you’ll never see anything like this anywhere else in the world.

Vulture

Vultures are famous for being scavenger birds of prey. Most types can easily be distinguished by their characteristic bald heads. Interestingly, it has been suggested that their bald heads serve to help vultures regulate their body temperature (thermoregulation).

Like hyenas, they eat leftover scraps of animals that have been killed by other predators. Their strong immune systems prevent them from becoming ill after eating rotting meat. Vultures have a translucent third eyelid (known as nictitating membrane) providing the eye with additional protection. In a similar way to some birds, reptiles and sharks.

Warthog

The description ‘picturesque and regal’ is unfortunately not suitable for a warthog.
There are two species: common warthog and desert warthog.

The common warthog is a member of the pig family and can be found in grassland, savannah, and woodland areas in sub-Saharan Africa; the desert warthog on the other hand, is endemic to Kenya and Somalia.

The warthog can be identified by its characteristic two pairs of tusks that stick out from the mouth and curve 90-degrees or more. The tusks are used for defence purposes against predators.

They are primarily herbivorous, eating mainly grass, fruit, berries, roots and insects, but they sometimes eat other small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Marabou stork

The Marabou is an extremely strange-looking bird found in sub-Saharan Africa, living in both arid and wet habitats.

It can be easily recognised by its immense size, bald head, black-coloured back, white-coloured underparts and wingspan of approximately 3.7 metres, which is said to be the largest span of all land birds.

Like other stork families, marabou storks are gregarious, meaning that they live in flocks or communities.

It’s a scavenger by nature, eating termites, flamingos and carrion (rotting meat scraps). In fact, it will eat any animal that it can swallow. It often follows vultures, waiting for them to tear open the carcasses so that it’s easier for them to access the dead flesh.

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Four Steps to Consider When Planning your Trans-Siberian Tour

Travel Tips - Amanda - September 24, 2018

Image Source: Pixabay

Just by hearing the word Trans-Siberian gives you goose bumps, you feel like floating in distant lands and bygone times. The Trans-Siberian route could be the true adventure of your life. How many pages and books have been inspired in the wagons of this railway? The Trans-Siberian has already passed into the category of mythical route, being the longest rail service in the world – from Moscow to Vladivostok – on the shores of the Sea of Japan. In total there are 9288 kilometres, crossing 8 time zones.

And because every great journey begins with good planning. On a trip of these characteristics, planning becomes essential. Here are some tips to keep in mind in your Trans-Siberian railway holiday planning & booking, to have the experience of your life:

1. Plan Your Route

It is important not to confuse the original Trans-Siberian route – Moscow to Vladivostok – with the rest of existing variants, from Transmongolian to Transmanchurian, which runs parallel to the original line, but a few hundred kilometres to the north. Many times it is advisable to hire for this type of trip some travel agency that is dedicated exclusively to organise this route and plan a trip completely designed to your liking.

2. What About Visas And Travel Insurance?

Being three different countries, you have to get three different visas. This can take time and sometimes the process seems endless. If you have ever experienced having to arrange visas, you know what I mean. The easiest way could be to hire a company that is dedicated to organising this type of travel; not only will you get the visas, but you will be insured and advised.

Image Source: Unsplash

3. The Essential Luggage

On a trip of these characteristics, it is necessary to be extra wise at the time of deciding what we should take. What should we take into account? Among other things the time of year, as temperatures can range considerably. It is advisable that you wear several layers of comfortable clothing – ideally one really warm jacket like the ones that are popular among mountaineers – especially during winter travel. In addition to your main bag, I would suggest carrying a daypack, small enough to have on your seat or berth on the train and can be used to keep your valuables and items you need to get hold of most regularly. Don’t forget your multi-country socket adaptor. Also bring with you an extra rechargeable battery, as the power sockets on the trains don’t always actually work. Place all your gadgets and the cables for those gadgets in one bag. There are articles you can find online providing some advice for a long train journey, which might help you to prepare accordingly.

4. List Of Ideas For Enjoying Long Journeys:

– Sleep or rest
– Stretch your legs during long stops
– Plan the next step by reading a travel guide
– Watch a film
– Enjoy contemplating the landscape through the window of the train

When you organise a trip of these characteristics, sometimes you may have the feeling that it can be too much a nightmare. Between the paperwork, booking tickets, hotels, etc. That’s why it’s best to find out the best way to prepare your trip and find a tour operator that has great reviews.

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