News | Mezzaninehttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/The latest news and updates from Live The Journey.enBorneoBotswanaCape Town TourismCompetitionDave PeplerDrive OutEthiopiaEventsFamily SafarisGetawayGroenGroen ReisHanlie RetiefIcelandIndonesiaJohan BadenhorstkwelaKykNETLive The JourneyMadagascarMark BeaumontMartelize BrinkmoroccoNamibiaNews24Radio Sonder GrenseRapportRwandaThe Namib DesertThe SandbaggersTjailatydTravel MagazineTravel News AlertsVisaVoetsporeWegryWorld Photo AdventuresWed, 25 Jul 2018 19:53:42 +0000Namibia: Seven Rivers Tourhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/seven-rivers-tour/<p>As we drove further away from civilization and deeper into the Kaokoland the restlessness in ourselves were replaced by serenity and inner peace.  We were far away from any work stress, school exams or new world wars and ready to recharge our batteries in this western corner of Namibia.</p> <p>The population density in this area is one person for every 2 km².  Big cities and hug shopping malls are nowhere to be seen.  The major town is Opuwo and the rest are just dots on a map:  Palmwag, Sesfontein, Purros, Rooidrom, Epupa and Orupembe.</p> <p>An adventure that needed some careful planning was ahead of us.  The Kaokoland is an amazing place, but can be very hostile if you don’t prepare carefully.  Mobile connections are not part of the inclusions for such a trip, but our guide had a satphone for emergencies.  Ensure that you have enough fuel to last from one fuel stop to the next as well as extra should the pumps be dry at your planned stop.  Finding drinking water in these harsh conditions is difficult.  Be like a camel and carry more than the daily requirement.</p> <p>Our tour started at the Kunene River Lodge where we met our guide.  The camp is under a canopy of trees with beautiful views of Angola across the river.  From there we followed the course of the river in a westerly direction. Along the river bank you will find hundreds of Makalani Palms with glimpses of the Zebra Mountains in the distance.  Our destination, Epupa.  Here the waters of the Kunene plunge 60 meters down into the main stream with the river splitting up in hundreds of small waterfalls.  It is a water spectacle that you will never forget.</p> <p>With butterflies in our stomach we started the day as Van Zyl’s Pass was on the agenda and we did not really know what to expect.  We have heard and read so many stories about this notorious pass.  The pass is located between two mountain ranges in the Marienfluss. The Marienfluss is a valley with soft sand and grasslands as far as the eye can see. Yippieee!  We have conquered Van Zyl’s Pass … slowly and very carefully and not without one or maybe two nerve wrecking moments, but the calm voice of our guide over the radio guided us and kept our nerves under control.</p> <p>Another icon of the Kaokoland is Rooidom … a 45-gallon Caltex drum used for petrol storage. The purpose of the drum changed and it became a navigational point … lending the area its name.</p> <p>If you are lucky you will find a cold beer at the Orupembe shop.  We then started with our zig-zag route that will gradually take us south by following the Khumib River.  Later we found ourselves in the Hoariseb River and eventually reached Purros Community Camp.  This area is traditionally the domain of the desert elephants.  If you do find them take care, they can be aggressive. </p> <p>We headed for Sesfontein, refuelled before proceeding to the Khowarib Schlucht.  Then we made our way to Palmwag, which is basically just a lodge … one of the oldest in Namibia.  It is located in a beautiful area with palms whispering in the wind.  In this area we saw some giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu.</p> <p>South of Palmwag we entered Damarland and visited some of the historical sites in the area.  The Twyfelfontein engravings is Namibia’s only World Heritage Site.  Also, nearby is the Organ Pipes, Petrified Forest and Burnt Mountain.</p> <p>Our trip ended at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge. It does not matter if you are a city dweller, seasoned camper, well-travelled jetsetter or just someone looking for a place to escape too … join the Seven Rivers Tour for a recharging adventure.</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 19:53:42 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/seven-rivers-tour/NamibiaFaces of the Namibhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/faces-of-the-namib/<p>Solitaire.</p> <p>Hoe vertaal mens dié pleknaam? Alleen? Afgesonder? Dis gepas die begin van ‘n Life the Journey-reis wat nou al kultusstatus in die kleine gekry het: Faces of the Namib.</p> <p>Dis daar in Solitaire waar julle laatmiddag stilhou vir brandstof vir ses dae, ‘n paar laaste bottels water – en wyle Moose McGregor se beroemde appeltert. Daar’s afwagting in die lug as die toergroep mekaar oor ‘n kampvuur ontmoet en die gidse diplomaties uitvis wie’s ervare duinryers en wie’s, wel, eerder ervare met Sandton se sypaadjies.</p> <p>Dag 2 se ontmoeting met die woestyn is 35km noord van Solitaire, met ‘n draai na links by ‘n bord wat sê Namib Nauklüftpark. En dis dit. Dis hoe terloops die avontuur begin. Skielik is jy op paaie waar min ander al gery het. Permitpaaie.  Jy volg die spore van geskiedenis – die vroeë setlaars met hul ossewaens, transportryers in die laat 1800’s en die Duitse Schütztruppe met hul kameelpatrollies tot 1918.</p> <p>Oor die wye Namib-vlaktes kruip jy geleidelik nader aan die duine. Die eerste rooi duine maak hul opwagting, mak genoeg vir die onervare bestuurders om hul ry-tegniek te oefen. Die Kuiseb-ravyn is ‘n onvergeetlike gesig met die hoë rooi duine aan die een kant, anderkant ‘n pikswart rotswand, en die rivierbedding vol bome.</p> <p>Namib se oerplante lyk soos ou tantes wat velties vang. Welwitschia Mirabilis. Twee breë blare deur eeue se wind tot flardes verfomfaai.  En dan, die eerste aand in die woestyn onder die sterre. Rondom jou, die stilte. Jy en jou reisgenote is alleen onder die uitspansel. En dan weet jy: hierdie oos-wes-reis deur die wêreld se oudste woestyn verander jou lewe.</p> <p>Die volgende dag oppad na Conception-baai spoel jy uit op die sandsee. Teen dié tyd is die stadsbestuurders en hul 4x4’s reeds ‘ingebreek’ want die duine raak nou massief – sommige heelwat hoër as 150m.</p> <p>Jy kamp dié aand in die diepwoestyn, met die maanlig op die breë ‘strate’ tussen die duine wat bleek voor jou uitstrek.</p> <p>Jy druk jou hand diep in die duin, nog warmgebak in die son, diep in tot waar dit koud word.</p> <p>Op die vierde dag verander die kleure van die landskap soos jy naderkom aan die Atlantiese Oseaan. Tussen Conceptionbaai en Meob-baai, in ’n antieke seebodem, is die diamant-myndorpies Grillenberger, Holsatia en Charlottenfelder. Die vroeë myners het die seebodem letterlik vir diamante onder die onherbergsaamste toestande “gehark”. Die dorpies vertel windverwaaide verhale met verweerde drankbottels wat verstrooi lê. In ‘n museum is daar ou Duitse boeke, huisraad, gereedskap. In Holsatia staan ’n stoof nog met ’n pot of twee op die plate. In ‘n begraafplaas waai die wind die bleek beendere oop en toe.</p> <p>Al met die see langs ry jy onverhinderd op die strand verby die Eduard Bohlen-skeepswrak. Van die eens-indrukwekkende ou skip is daar min oor. ‘n Rooijakkalsgesin het kaart-en-transport oorgeneem van die geroeste kajuite.</p> <p>Verby die Shawnee-skeepswrak en Sandwich-baai, ontmoet jy die langewand (die smal strook tussen die duine en die see) wat jy met laagwater moet ry, anders druk die oseaan jou vas teen die 100m hoë duine wat reg op die strand eindig.</p> <p>Van Sandwichbaai af laat die Namib jou vol adrenalien, met reuse duine waarin jy rondspeel. Jy ry oor slip faces: op met die rugkant en dan neus-af oor die kruin, en dit voel vir jou jy’s loodreg daar af, en jy onthou klaarhelder al die youtube-videos van ouens wat die Goue Reël van Ry Reguit vergeet het, skuins begin gly en dan dan na benede tuimel.</p> <p>En vir oulaas, ‘n paar speelgate waarin jy gillend die duin volspoed afjaag tot onder, Evel Knievel-agtig gat te skuur oor die bodem en dan weer voet-in-die-hoek bid tot bo.</p> <p>Nêrens is daar ‘n plek soos die Namib nie. Hoe sê Jurgens Schoeman? As hy himself weer wil vind, gaan raak hy verlore daar.</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 19:39:03 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/faces-of-the-namib/NamibiaMadagaskarhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/madagaskar/<p>La Grande Île. Die groot eiland. Madagaskar. Eenduisend kilometer van kontraste – woestyn én reënwoud, rysland én koraalrif – uitgestrek in die Indiese Oseaan langs Afrika.</p> <p>As jy reguit suid vaar vanaf die suidste punt van Madagaskar, is daar niks behalwe grys see en wilde storms tot jy Antarktika 5 000 km verder bereik nie.</p> <p>Madagaskar ís die eiland op die einde van die aarde, soos die Malgassiese digter Flavien Ranaivo dit beskryf het.  Marco Polo het nooit daar voet aan wal gesit nie, maar hy het reg geraai toe hy geskryf het dis “een van die grootste en beste eilande in die wêreld,” lees ek in ‘n National Geographic uit 1967.</p> <p>Die skrywer HG Wells se verhaal Aepyornis Island gaan oor ʼn versamelaar wat Madagaskar toe is om te gaan soek na ʼn reuse voël met eiers so groot, volstruiseiers lyk soos hoendereiers langs hulle.</p> <p>Dis ʼn wilde, vreemde wêreld. Byna al die inheemse diere kom nêrens anders ter wêreld voor nie – en wie is beter as Suid-Afrika se groen-ghoeroe, Dave Pepler, om jou op ʼn Live the Journey-toer deur Madagaskar te begelei.</p> <p>Mens vergeet nie die eerste keer as jy in ʼn lemur se goue oë kyk nie, en die hiert! as ʼn paar ‘mak’ lemurs op jou kop of skouers spring en in jou hare begin rondvroetel nie, maar nét so onthou jy die rare blaarstert-geitjie in die reënwoudpark Parc National Montagne D’Ambre, wat die ligene op boombas mimiek om hom te kamoefleer. </p> <p>Nét so onvergeetlik is die vreemde gevoel as ʼn Panter-trapsuutjie (Furcifer pardalis) voetjie vir klewerige voetjie op jou bo-arm rondwandel.</p> <p>Sit voet aan die eilandjie Nosy Be (teen Madagaskar se noordwestelike puntjie) en dit voel kompleet asof jy in ʼn Indiese Oseaanse Tahiti aangeland het. Palmbome, wit strande, vissers in uitgeholde boomstomp-kano’s.</p> <p>As jy op Hell Ville (vernoem na ʼn ou Franse admiraal) van die vliegtuig afklim, ruik jy die swaar soet geur van ylang-ylang, en die bome se takke hang swaar van die geelgroen blommetjies. By die fabriek lê hulle in tamaai hope voor hulle in antieke boepens-koperketels gedistilleer word. Byna honderd kilogram ylang-ylangblommetjies word gebruik vir twee liter olie-konsentraat. <br>Dis ʼn eiland van geure en smake. Peper, vanielje, koffie, naeltjies. En dan is daar die be-rum-de Nosy Be rum.</p> <p>Dis Nosy Iranja wat jou laat verbeel jy is Robinson Crusoe se niggie. Op die lemur-eiland, Nosy Komba, bekyk die Sifaka-lemurs jou uit die bome. Die gidse roep hulle maki-maki-maki en lok hulle met piesangs nader.</p> <p>Daar is amper 60 soorte lemurs (spesies en sub-spesies) in Madagaskar, van die 25-gram pigmee muis-lemur tot die reuse Indri van 9,5 kg.</p> <p>Op Nosy Iranja doen jy nét wat jy wil. Jy dobber in die louwarm turkoois water, bak in die son, koop van die tradisionele houtwerk en linne waarop groot skilpaaie geborduur is. Jy eet soos Crusoe op die strand. Hier is ʼn tafeldoek oor ʼn ‘tafel’ van sand, en die heerlikste visgeregte. Dis moeilik om jouself weer na die motorboot weg te skeur vir die terugvaart na Nosy Be.</p> <p>Madagaskar is Afrika, Indië en Suidoos-Asië. Die kulture en gelowe (en ʼn paar dosyn bygelowe) is daar so vermeng soos die speserygeure – en die oliedampe van die stokou Renault 4’s – in die lug.</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 19:11:40 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/madagaskar/Hanlie RetiefCaptivating Moroccohttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/captivating-morocco/<p>Morocco. Just hearing the name evokes vibrant images of an ancient culture, romantic Moorish architecture, delicately spiced North African cuisine and wildly desolate landscapes. Morocco’s diverse natural splendour often surprises even the most seasoned traveller. Travelling through the hauntingly beautiful Sahara Desert dotted with Berbers towns and oases, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and the endless plains fringed by the sandy coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean makes for an utterly wonderful bucket-list journey.</p> <p>There are a number of must-see destinations in this fascinating country and the best place to start is Casablanca. This is a city for travellers who like to feel like a local, rather than a tourist, and who want to experience the present as well as learn about the past. Though not as atmospheric as other Moroccan cities, Casablanca is the best representation of the modern nation. To a romantic, Casablanca is a mythical place that exists in a dream inspired by the 1942 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart.  In reality this is where money is being made, where young Moroccans come to seek their fortunes and where business is thriving.</p> <p>An extraordinary journey made up of moments frozen in time. This is Fez. The spiritual heart of Morocco, it is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. A visit here will see you exploring labyrinthine streets concealing ancient souks and iconic monuments, none more so than the exquisitely decorated Medersa Bou Inania. The most elaborate, extravagant and beautiful of all Merenid monuments, every room has beautifully sculpted ceilings and carved cedar beams as well as elegant marble floors. All the walls have been covered by handcrafted stuccos and even the spaces between columns have been decorated in this magnificently delicate art form. In addition, the medersa is the city’s only building still in religious use that non-Muslims are permitted to enter.</p> <p>Set somewhat apart from the other medersas of Fez, the Bou Inania was the last and grandest built by a Merenid sultan, completed in 1357. It shares its name with the one in Meknes, which was completed (though not initiated) by the same patron, Sultan Abou Inan, but the Fez version is infinitely more splendid. Its cost alone was legendary – Abou Inan is said to have thrown the accounts into the river on its completion because “a thing of beauty is beyond reckoning”.</p> <p>Travelling to western Morocco, there is so much to discover in the colourful chaos that is Marrakesh! Journey through narrow streets lined with fruit stalls, mounds of spices, intricately woven Berber carpets, leatherworks and ceramics. In the Djemaa el-Fna square, known by locals as “the heart of the city”, keen street-vendors, charismatic snake-charmers, street musicians performing lively songs, and flocks of tourists add to this magical assault on the senses.</p> <p>The Sahara is the world's largest desert and stretches across much of North Africa covering over 9,000,000 square kilometers (roughly the size of the United States). No visit to Morocco is complete without spending a night here. The quietude and space of the Sahara is indescribable, the night-sky boundless (skies so crisp and clear that the stars seem close enough to touch) and the desert scenery otherworldly. A sunrise camel ride over its rolling dunes will probably be imprinted in your memory forever! </p> <p>Live the Journey can assist you with incredible journeys of discovery to Morocco. Venture into this fabled land of myths and legends where a surprise lingers around every corner!</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 19:01:52 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/captivating-morocco/moroccoPeru: Wild landscapes and ancient wondershttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/peru-wild-landscapes-and-ancient-wonders/<p>Peru is the third largest country in South America. It consists of a variety of landscapes, including the world’s second highest mountain range, the Andes, deserts, beaches and of course the Amazon rainforest. Most people live along the coast of the Pacific Ocean where the capital, Lima, is located. Peru shares borders with five countries – Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. It is a fascinating country sure to be on every intrepid traveller’s bucket list.</p> <p>Peru’s earliest inhabitants date back to more than 13,000 years ago. Beginning around 1000BC, several societies developed in different parts of Peru, including the Chavín, Moche and Nazca. One of the most important Peruvian cultures was the Inca, who lived in Peru around 600 years ago. Their capital, Cusco, is still a major city today. The Incas also built Machu Picchu, a famous ancient city in the Andes. Today, Machu Picchu’s spectacular ruins are a popular site for tourists. The Incas thrived for centuries, before being conquered by the Spanish in 1532.</p> <p>Other must-see attractions include the Sacred Valley, the once fertile homeland of the Inca Empire, as well as the mystical Nazca Lines. The lines are found in a region of Peru just over 370 km southeast of Lima, near the modern town of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 55 km, while the biomorphs range from 15 to 356 metres in length. Difficult to distinguish on ground level, these lines really only come to life when viewed from the air.</p> <p>Nearly half of Peru is covered by the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. Thousands of fascinating plant and animal species inhabits this mysterious humid verdure that is home to hundreds of Amerindian tribes, some of which may never have seen the outside world! A riverboat cruise is an absolute must as it offers fascinating glimpses into life along the Amazon River and its many tributaries.</p> <p>Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable body of water in the world. It is also, according to Andean belief, the birthplace of the sun.  The Uros islands are a group of 70 man-made totora reed islands floating on the lake. Its inhabitants, the Uros tribe, pre-date Incan civilisation and continue to hunt and fish the plentiful land and waters they occupy. It is a place where time seemingly stood still.</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 18:44:56 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/peru-wild-landscapes-and-ancient-wonders/Biblical Jordanhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/biblical-jordan/<p>People said: “Don’t go, it is not safe”. Human instinct tells you not to travel to unsafe places. Jordan’s geographical location strengthen this type of assumption. It is in die Middle East surrounded by neighbouring countries that are always  making international news headlines: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Israel. Naturally, people assume Jordan is an unsafe, dangerous place to visit. From the moment I stepped foot into Jordan I was greeted by warm and hospitable people, good infrastructure, excellent food and wonderful places to visit. Educate yourself, read more and dig deeper than international news reports that only looks at the downside of the Middle East, not telling the stories of thriving countries like Jordan. I found Jordan to be a safe, fascinating spiritual destinations.</p> <p>OK. I might have convinced you that Jordan is a safe haven in a region of conflict, but why would you visit the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan? People go on pilgrim visits to Israel, Mecca, Egypt, Spain, Ethiopia, etc. Why not, undertake a pilgrimage to Jordan? This beautiful land has a rich connection to the Bible.</p> <p>The pink rose city of Petra is surely the best known tourist attraction in Jordan. Situated between die Dead Sea and the Red Sea, Petra is half-built and half-carved into the rock and is reached by a walk through an amazing gorge, the Siq. It is a World Heritage Site, one of the Eight World Wonders and a place where something new and amazing is discovered on a daily basis by archaeologists. Petra is a must for any travel bucket list, but …</p> <p>Did you know?</p> <p>Bethany Beyond the Jordan is the place where John baptized Jesus. A church that was built around a cave where John the Baptist lived, as well as a water channel, was recently excavated. Pope John Paul II visited Bethany Beyond the Jordan in 2000 as part of his holy pilgrimage to Jordan</p> <p>In the Old Testament current day Madaba was referred to as Medeba. It is the “City of Mosaics”. The masterpiece of which is in the Orthodox Church of Saint George. It is a 6th century AD mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The earliest religious map of the Holy Land in any form to survive from antiquity.</p> <p>From the top of Mount Nebo, Moses viewed the Holy Land that he would never enter. A small church was built there in the 4th century to commemorate the end of Moses’ life. The view from Mt Nebo is spectacular, overlooking the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, Jericho and Jerusalem in the distance.</p> <p>As Salt is a city north-west of Amman. It houses the tomb of Job. Jobs hardships are described in the book of Job in the Old Testament. It also houses the tomb of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses.</p> <p>Jerash is the second most important historical site in Jordan after Petra. In Biblical times it was known as Gerasa. The city houses a fountain where Byzantine citizens annually celebrated Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine.</p> <p>The lowest point on earth is the Dead Sea. In Biblical times it was an important barrier, blocking traffic to Judah from the east. The sea had many different names: Sea of the Arabah; Sea of Lot; Devil’s Sea; Salt Sea. The shoreline dots modern resorts and many mystical places like “the pillar of salt that was Lot’s wife”.</p> <p>The Kings Highway is the world’s oldest continuously used travel and trade route. It is believed that Abraham used this route for his journey from Mesopotamia to Canaan.</p> <p>Amman, the capital city, was known as Rabath Ammon and today boasts with a number of historical sites: the Roman Theatre, Roman Temple and Byzantine churches. Some of the Copper Dead Sea scrolls are in the archaeological museum.</p> <p>Aqaba, on the Red Sea, is known for its relaxing beaches, diving spots, adventure activities and antique shops. After criss-crossing the country visiting all the significant pilgrim sites Aqaba is just the place to relax.</p> <p>On the other hand, you might just enjoy the timelessness of the Wadi Rum. Perhaps best known for its connections to the movie Lawrence of Arabia. It can be explored in a 4x4, on camel back or a night under the stars in a Bedouin tent.</p> <p>Jordan is a bit of a secret at the moment. Don’t let someone discover it before you!</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 25 Jul 2018 18:36:47 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/biblical-jordan/Ethiopian Myths &amp; Legendshttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/ethiopian-myths-legends/<p><b>O</b>nce upon a time in a country far, far away, there lived a beautiful queen.  She rained over a kingdom that was prosperous and covered an area that forms part of modern day northern Ethiopia.  She was known as the Queen of Sheba. Her subjects were renowned for their distinct craftsmanship and skills.  Evidence of this fine workmanship can still be seen today … the Stelae of Axum … monolithic madness!  The obelisks were carved out of one piece of rock and stands 82 feet tall. </p> <p>The Queen of Sheba thought her Axumite Kingdom was rich and powerful.  However, one day a merchant called Tamrin told her about the wisdom of King Solomon of Israel.  He also described the beautiful great Temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem.</p> <p>Queen Sheba decided to visit King Solomon and arrived with an abundance of gifts.  Her purpose was to try and corner him with difficult questions all of which Solomon answered to her satisfaction.  She stayed a while before returning to her kingdom.  Upon her return she discovered that she was pregnant with Solomon’s child.  A handsome boy was born and she named him Menelik.</p> <p>When Menelik grew up he wanted to know who his father was and was told that it was King Solomon.  Menelik wanted to meet his father and went to Jerusalem for a visit.  Upon his return he was accompanied by extra servants and people, of which one was a priest.  The priest stole the Ark of the Covenant and only told Menelik about this once they left Israel.  King Solomon also found out that the Ark was stolen, he chased after Menelik, but could not overtake him.  Menelik kept the Ark of the Covenant in a special place.  Legend has it that the Ark is still in Axum today and kept in the Saint Mary of Zion church.  Only the High Priest of Axum, an elderly holy monk can see and take care of it.  He cannot leave the small yard that surrounds the chapel, and he is expected to name his successor on his deathbed. </p> <p>Axum has many archaeological remains of which some are the palace of the Queen of Sheba, her bath and the magnificent Stelae.</p> <p><b>I</b>n the 12<sup>th</sup> century another Ethiopian prince was born.  He was named Lalibela.  As he was born amidst a swarm of bees, but not stung by one, it was seen as a sign that he will one day become King.  As a boy he visited the Holy Land and followed the footsteps of Jesus.  His elder brother was jealous of him forging a plot with a servant to poison Lalibela.  The poison was weak and did not kill him, instead he fell into a deep sleep while his spirit was whisked to heaven.</p> <p>In heaven Lalibela heard God’s voice who instructed him to build a New Jerusalem.  He told Lalibela how to carve the churches out of solid rock.  After 3-days Lalibela woke up and told his family of his godly mission to build churches.</p> <p>Lalibela send for the best stone masons.  He forbid them to use any wood, mortar, bricks or dressed stone.  He informed them that each church should be sculpted from a solid rock. The workers thought he was crazy.  This could not be done … impossible!</p> <p>The masons wanted to please their king and started to work.  They started to cut rectangular trenches into the red volcanic hills to get a sold piece of free standing rock.  Then they started to chisel out the exterior of the church.  The outside was shaped from the top down and then the inside was carved out … the rock was in actual fact hollowed out with precision.  It was a tiring process and while the workers were sleeping at night the angles continued their work.</p> <p>In 12-years Lalibela never slept.  He wanted to oversee everything to ensure all was done with perfection.  When he finally fell asleep he had a dream.  He saw Saint George, who asked him why there was no house built for him.  Lalibela promised St George he would built the most beautiful church for him.  The cross-shaped church of St George is for many the most gorgeous of the 11 churches in Lalibela.</p> <p>The 11 rock hewn churches chiselled from red volcanic rock can still be seen in a small town, Lalibela, high in the mountains of Ethiopia.  They represent the New Jerusalem as they are divided in a northern and southern group by a rock channel (river) called the River Jordan.  The churches are connected by narrow passages and tunnels taking you on a journey from one beautiful church to the next. </p> <p>These churches are there for you to visit and admire.  What are you waiting for ?</p>Stella NeethlingTue, 24 Jul 2018 15:51:53 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/ethiopian-myths-legends/EthiopiaBotswana in the Green Seasonhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/botswana-in-the-green-season/<p>The question of whether to go to Botswana in the green season (November to March) or dry season (April to October) is one that we are often asked. The general view is that game viewing is much better in the dry winter season when it is cooler and vegetation is sparse so it’s easier to find the wildlife, and the wildlife has to congregate near permanent water sources so again this makes them easier to find.</p> <p>Whilst this is not wrong, there are many reasons to consider travelling to Botswana in the green season. Price is one of them. Botswana is one of the more expensive African destinations due its far-flung lodges and the priority on low-impact tourism. However, In the green season between mid-November and mid-March, lodges try to encourage more visitors by dropping their prices, sometimes by up to 30%, and frequently dropping single supplements totally. You can therefore get some great deals in the green season and spoil yourself to one of the most spectacular times of year to be visiting this vast, game-rich country. There are also fewer travellers, therefore you’ll be in for a much more exclusive experience.</p> <p>Besides outstanding value, sightings of newborns and by default an increase in predator activity is a great lure to travel during this time. In summer, there’s an explosion of new life as many species give birth to their young, making for many enjoyable moments as you watch the amusing and endearing antics of the young learning about life in the wild. This is particularly enjoyable in an area like the Central Kalahari which is at its wildlife viewing peak in the green season. This normally parched area with wide-open vistas welcomes the rain and the desert is utterly transformed.</p> <p>The green season also sees the start of the annual zebra migration. Thousands of zebra will move through Botswana’s Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks. It’s the second largest migration of wildlife in Africa. Predators such as lion and leopard follow closely behind, hoping to make the most of this abundance.</p> <p>Birders will delight in exceptional bird watching with a steady stream of migrant birds arriving from all over the world. Botswana has a brilliant range of resident species but as the rains arrive, so do migrant birds from Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa. Botswana's bird watching goes from superb to astounding and even non-birders will be astonished at the array of colour and song gracing the skies of the Kalahari, Savute, the Okavango Delta, the Chobe River and Linyanti wetlands.</p> <p>Lastly, but by no means least, it is the absolute ideal time for photography. This is not called the “emerald” season for nothing. During Botswana’s summer months there are vivid colours all around. The normally pale blue Botswana sky seems somehow brighter, the light sharper. Add to that incredible cloud formations and brilliant sunsets and it is sure to be a photographer’s dream.</p> <p>If you are prepared to endure the higher summer temperatures and typical afternoon thundershowers, then Botswana’s green season promises a truly magical experience of colour and abundance.</p>Stella NeethlingFri, 13 Jul 2018 13:11:15 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/botswana-in-the-green-season/BotswanaFamily SafarisLive The JourneyThe Extreme Namibhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-extreme-namib/<p>It is human nature to be on the lookout for something new, exciting or different to do. Something no one else has attempted before. The Namib is an excellent example of a destination that lends itself towards unique and amazing adventures.</p> <p>Namibian adventures have evolved over time. Think about the adventurous and opportunistic diamond diggers who went to extremes in search of shining pebbles. They had the courage to negotiate the thick sand with ox-wagons, trucks fitted with Dakota aircraft tyres and even a bulldozer.</p> <p>Then came the era of driving the dunes for fun with Sandmasters and Uri cars. Battling the dunes became addictive and a thrilling experience. In the meantime, owning a 4x4 vehicle came within reach of more people. Regulated guided 4x4 tours through the Namib became a bucket list item.</p> <p>This is very exclusive, as only a set number of tours are allowed annually. Being part of a convoy of only 12 vehicles negotiating a route through dune straits and down slip faces is an experience that is life changing. Recently other adventure seekers have also challenged the Namib, but with completely different means and Live the Journey has facilitated these requests successfully.</p> <p>Endurance runners have successfully completed a gruelling run from Lüderitz to Walvis Bay. A distance of 504 km of thick sand, unrelenting daily heat and only a camp bed to rest a tired body. With blisters on their feet and tired legs, they arrived 8,5 days later in Walvis Bay. A superhuman accomplishment.</p> <p>If running is just a bar too high, gear down and consider hiking in the Namib… a Camino desert experience. Camping gear and luggage are transported with support vehicles so you will not carry a load. It will only be you, your thoughts and the silence of the desert. Get some friends together and tackle this challenge as a group. Distances and days can be tailor-made according to your needs.</p> <p>Lately, Europeans do not want to pack away their snow skis after the winter. Groups of skiers, skiwalk the Namib. With snow skis fitted to their shoes and walking poles for assistance, they struggle to the top of a dune and then experience the amazing thrill as they ski down a slip face. Difficult to imagine, but it is really being done.</p> <p>There are also those that would rather like to admire the Namib from the sky. These paragliders are transported to high dunes from where they then launch for an amazing view of the world’s oldest desert.</p> <p>Tired of road cycling or mountain biking? Why not pack your fat bike and come and test your endurance in the Namib?</p> <p><em>Whatever your adventure… Live the Journey will make it happen.</em></p> <p>Your extreme might only be a night in the middle of the desert, but you don’t own a tent or a 4x4. Let us make this dream come true. The latest additions to the company fleet are two stretch passenger cruisers. Sit in comfort, experience the beauty of the desert and the thrill of dune driving without having to change a gear. We will drive you, set up a camp et voila your became a reality.</p> <p>By Elsabeth Muller</p>Stella NeethlingFri, 13 Jul 2018 12:30:02 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-extreme-namib/NamibiaThe Australian Outback – You will never ever know if you never ever gohttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-australian-outback-you-will-never-ever-know-if-you-never-ever-go/<p>When I hear the words <strong>“Australian Outback”</strong> images of Crocodile Dundee calling “G’day mate!” while killing a crocodile with his bare hands, howling dingo’s, Uluru, Aborigines, open spaces and kangaroo’s jumping around, comes to mind. I soon realised it was much, much more - the Outback embodies the history of spirited adventurers who endured hardship and difficulties to explore a terrain that had no mercy for the fool who imagined that he could tame the land.</p> <p>As we drove away from <strong>Alice Springs</strong>, we repeatedly drove past two road signs – a yellow one to warn you to be on the lookout for jumping kangaroo’s (which was actually more exciting than scary, as I really, really wanted to see an actual kangaroo) and a red sign stating: “CAUTION: Remote Travel Area, proceed either with a Satellite Phone or HF Radio.”</p> <p>It was only then that I came to realise that we were about to embark on an expedition where the words “remote and vast” have a complete new meaning. Just to give you an idea - most people would think that driving from Cape Town to Windhoek (1,500 km) in Namibia is quite far. The Outback is so big, that if you drive from Alice Springs (which is more or less in the middle of Australia and the biggest town in the Outback) you will drive 3,000 kilometres to reach Perth on the Western Coast, 3,000 kilometres to reach Brisbane on the East Coast, 2,500 kilometres to reach Darwin up on the North Coast and 2,500 kilometres to get to Adelaide on the South Coast. It is mind boggling!</p> <p>What will I remember? Besides the <strong>remoteness and freedom</strong> of stopping any place, anywhere to make your camp for the night, hearing the dingo’s cry and seeing millions of stars from another angle, I will remember the so called Road Trains, the behemoth trucks transporting livestock throughout the Outback. Farms in the Outback can be up to 400,000 hectares in size. Imagine being the owner of 15,000 heads of cattle…</p> <p>I will always remember <strong>Uluru (Ayers Rock)</strong>, rising more than 300 metres above the surrounding desert with a circumference greater than 8 kilometres. Uluru, meaning “mother of the earth” – a most sacred place for the local Aborigines. This is also where I met René, a gentle soul with a heart full of memories of how her people once lived as the great custodians of the Outback. I did not have words when we stood there – I felt overwhelmed and awe-struck. I left Uluru with a feeling of total wonder.</p> <p>We stopped at small towns, some with a mere 40 inhabitants. We soon realised that the pub or hotel was the best place to meet locals, as every living being gathers there in the evening for a “bite and a pint”. Mt Dare’s one and only pub/ hotel has a notice board in the window warning “Last Pub for 340 km”. <strong>William Creek Hotel has a post sign reading “In the middle of somewhere”.</strong> Crossing the Simpson Desert, you arrive at the famous “Pink Roadhouse” in Oodnadatta. Coober Pedy, where all the houses are underground, because it is too hot – also the town where the best gem quality opal in the world is mined. I always imagined that the small towns of the Outback would consist of a lonesome hotel with one gravel road coming from who knows where and going to who knows where – well, I was not disappointed, it looks exactly like that! I loved everything about it. About 500 kilometres out of Alice Springs, we turned onto a road that said “4WD recommended”. In the middle of nowhere, a tree-lined spring appeared, it was Dalhousie Springs. It was like something from another world – a crystal clear, natural hot spring. Floating in the water, all I could hear was the sound of the birds…</p> <p>Out of all the extraordinary experiences, the thing that I will remember best, are the people. <strong>Australians are big-hearted, like their continent.</strong> Understanding them is another story altogether. They speak a most unique English. Pretend to be very tired when you speak and you will sound like a native Australian in no time!</p> <p>Crikey! the Outback was “heaps good”, as they would say. You will never ever know if you never ever go...</p> <p>- By Karien Schoeman</p>Stella NeethlingWed, 09 May 2018 10:50:33 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-australian-outback-you-will-never-ever-know-if-you-never-ever-go/Live The JourneyOberammergau Passion Playhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/oberammergau-passion-play/<p><a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/oberammergau/">Oberammergau</a> is a charming village set in the mountains of Bavaria, Germany. This picturesque village with its delightful traditional buildings is famous worldwide for its re-enactment of the Passion of Christ, known as the “Passion Play”. It is the world’s largest amateur dramatic performance.</p> <p>In 1633 in the middle of the Thirty Years War, the villagers of Oberammergau in Southern Germany, after months of suffering and death from the plague, vowed to put on the ‘Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge.</p> <p>The famous <strong>Oberammergau Passion Play</strong> is due to be performed again in 2020 with an estimated 500,000 visitors expected. A tradition, maintained and experienced almost without interruption for over<strong> 380 years</strong>, will be continued for the <strong>42nd time</strong>.</p> <p>All actors come from the village, since a special play law is in effect. All participants, from actors playing the big speaking parts such as Jesus, Mary or Judas, through to members of the choir, orchestra members, firemen and ushers, must have been born in Oberammergau or lived there for at least 20 years.</p> <p>Despite the fact that the play is in German, it attracts audiences from all over the world, both religious and secular, who come to Oberammergau to experience the drama and the charismatic way the town comes together to perform the play.</p> <p>Join <strong>Live the Journey</strong> from <strong><a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/oberammergau/">12 August to 27 August 2020</a></strong>, as we experience this extraordinary event in conjunction with an <strong><a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/tour/eastern-europe-with-oberammergau-passion-play/">exclusive guided tour</a></strong> featuring Eastern European highlights including Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, Berlin and Prague.</p>Stella NeethlingFri, 13 Apr 2018 08:40:52 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/oberammergau-passion-play/Live The JourneyNatural Wonders Bucket Listhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/natural-wonders-bucket-list/<p>There are so many wonderful things in the world to experience and be a part of. You may have a bucket list of specific experiences that you want to do. We would like to add to this and share our favourite bucket list items of Natural Wonders in Africa. Let <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/" target="_blank">Live the Journey</a> help you tick these off, one by one…</p> <ol> <li>Witness the evolution of nature in <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/madagascar/" target="_blank">Madagascar</a>… imagine spotting two-foot long chameleons, ancient baobabs and a dizzying array of lemur species.</li> <li>Observe a troop of <strong>gelada baboons</strong> high in the Simien Mountains in <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/ethiopia/" target="_blank">Ethiopia</a>.</li> <li>Sit surrounded by a <strong>gorilla family</strong> in the dense forests of <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/uganda/" target="_blank">Uganda</a> or <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/rwanda/" target="_blank">Rwanda</a>.</li> <li>Experience teeming masses of game and the <strong>annual wildebeest migration</strong> in <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/tanzania/" target="_blank">Tanzania</a> and <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/kenya/" target="_blank">Kenya</a></li> <li>Follow the trail of the last <strong>desert adapted elephants and rhinos</strong> in <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/namibia/" target="_blank">Namibia</a>.</li> </ol>Stella NeethlingThu, 05 Apr 2018 08:49:28 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/natural-wonders-bucket-list/Live The JourneyMadagascarNamibiaThe Namib DesertWhy travel insurance is so importanthttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/why-travel-insurance-is-so-important/<p><em>Over the many years that we have been providing life-enriching journeys to our guests, we have unfortunately also had to provide support during a number of unforeseen situations leading to trip cancellations or curtailment.</em></p> <p><em>Our guests’ wellbeing is of the utmost importance to us. We urge you to read through the following information carefully and to ensure peace of mind by taking out comprehensive travel insurance.</em></p> <p><strong>Why is it important to take out travel insurance?</strong><br>As exciting as travel is, it does hold some risks. By taking out travel insurance you are essentially covering yourself against travel risks such as lost or stolen luggage, cancellation cover (should you not be able to travel due to unexpected medical or personal reasons) and most importantly, unexpected medical costs abroad.</p> <p>It is extremely important to take out travel insurance, even if it tightens your budget a little. Your loss could be a lot greater should anything unforeseen happen. Imagine you have a medical emergency in a foreign country, or a natural disaster forces you to leave your paid accommodation. Your flight could be cancelled; baggage could be lost or your wallet or passport could be stolen. These are all scenarios that happen to tourists every day!</p> <p><strong>What does a travel insurance policy cover?</strong></p> <ul> <li>A comprehensive travel insurance policy will provide:</li> <li>Emergency medical cover</li> <li>Losses incurred due to unforeseen cancellation or having to cut your trip short</li> <li>Death and disability cover</li> <li>Personal liability cover</li> <li>Baggage cover</li> </ul> <p>Various other inconvenience benefits, for example, cover for costs incurred when being forced to extend your stay due to adverse weather.</p> <p><strong>How much insurance do I need?</strong><br>A good idea is to talk to your advisor about whether your current insurance includes cover when travelling to a foreign destination. However, please note that if travel insurance is included, it is usually not sufficient cover with regards to the inclusions and excess payments. Travel insurance can cover you from incidents like theft to more serious medical situations where you have to be flown to the nearest hospital by helicopter, anywhere in the world. Medical, cancellations, baggage, delays, personal liability and accidents are usually included in your travel insurance. Inclusions and exclusions will depend on the policy you choose. Your travel advisor can assist you to make the best possible choice for your personal needs.</p> <p><strong>Do I understand the limits of my insurance?</strong><br>Some limits will be applicable, depending on where you will be travelling to or for how long you will be away.</p> <p>For international travel, visa requirements can affect your policy limitations or certain areas in the world might be excluded. There could also be limits with regards to medical emergencies regarding pre-existing conditions. Remember to communicate any such conditions to your travel advisor to check whether it will be covered in your travel insurance policy. All travel insurance policies have specific benefits and exclusions so it's common sense, imperative, and absolutely necessary to take the time to read the policy wording carefully.</p> <p><strong>Are there any exceptions for more vulnerable travellers such as pregnant or elderly travellers?</strong><br>Pregnant travellers will generally enjoy coverage on a standard policy up until the first day of the 26th week of pregnancy. Any babies born during the trip will not be covered. With senior passengers aged 70 and over, they will have to pay a higher premium and won’t automatically receive coverage on pre-existing illnesses, cardiovascular diseases and cerebrovascular disease. A more comprehensive policy is recommended in this case.</p> <p><strong>What if I already have travel insurance through my credit card company? Is it possible to top-up my coverage?</strong><br>Most banks provide basic complimentary cover when airline tickets are purchased with a credit card. This is generally not sufficient and it is possible to supplement the coverage provided by a credit card company. In order to choose a suitable top-up package to meet your needs you’d need to determine what the basic cover is and add the appropriate top-up option.</p> <p><strong>What is the rule of thumb when it comes to when travel insurance should be purchased by?</strong><br>It’s recommended that travellers purchase their chosen policies as soon as their trip has been paid for, as that means that they’ll enjoy cancellation coverage from up to six months before the trip.</p> <p><em>Travel is a very exciting experience, but you have to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Talk to your tour consultant to ensure you have adequate cover to enjoy your holiday without the worry should you find yourself in an unexpected situation.</em></p>Stella NeethlingThu, 14 Dec 2017 13:13:42 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/why-travel-insurance-is-so-important/Live The JourneyAnnemarie ervaar die Faces of the Namibhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/annemarie-ervaar-die-faces-of-the-namib/<p><em>“A picture speaks a thousand words”</em>. Dit is waar. Totdat jy in die Namib staan. Hier kan ʼn foto nie beskryf hoe ongelooflik mooi die woestyn is nie. So mooi dat dit jou op jou knieë bring in verwondering.</p> <p>Annemarie Olivier, 'n Live the Journey konsultant, het onlangs een van ons <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/tour/faces-of-the-namib-4x4/">Faces of the Namib</a> woestyntoere meegemaak. Sy deel haar ervaring met ons.</p> <p>Hierdie was my eerste ondervinding in die duine en die gogga het behoorlik gebyt. Letterlik en figuurlik! Daar was stories oor die legende van die Makieriebok, <em>marshmallows</em> oor die kampvuur gebraai en selfs ʼn bakkie wat besluit het om te vlieg in plaas van ry. Daar was gelag, koud gekry en kompetisie gehou oor wie die vinnigste deur ʼn “speelgaatjie” kon jaag. ʼn Onvergeetlike ervaring wat ek vir altyd sal koester. </p> <p>Die verandering in die landskap van vlaktes na grys rots, na ʼn rivierbed en uiteindelik die duine, is iets om te aanskou. Waarlik al die verkillende gesigte van die Namib.</p> <p>Ons gidse kwyt hulle baie goed van hul taak en verseker dat almal veilig begelei word deur die duine en later met vol magies gaan slaap, ná ʼn heerlike kuier om die kampvuur.</p> <p>Hierdie is beslis ʼn toer wat op almal se wenslysie moet wees.</p>Stella NeethlingThu, 12 Oct 2017 08:41:22 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/annemarie-ervaar-die-faces-of-the-namib/Live The JourneyNamibiaThe Namib DesertSudan - The land of the black pharaohs http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/sudan-the-land-of-the-black-pharaohs/<p>When <strong>Sudan</strong> received its independence on 01 January 1956, it was the biggest country in Africa. This changed in 2011 when South Sudan gained independence/secession from Sudan. Today, Sudan is the third biggest country in Africa, roughly half the size of Australia. The separation from South changed the security-issues of the country in totality, resulting in a safe destination that is worth exploring.</p> <p><strong>Statistical Facts</strong></p> <ul> <li>Khartoum is the Capital of Sudan</li> <li>There are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt</li> <li>Population is roughly 34 million with growth of approximately 2.5%</li> <li>Sudan’s development dates back as far as 3300BC through the Pharaoh’s and Kingships</li> </ul> <p>Live the Journey’s Johan van Tonder recently spent some time in Sudan and shares some of his experiences here:</p> <p><strong>Travelling Sudan</strong><br>Arriving in Khartoum exposed us once again to the “organised chaos” of so many airports. After 90 minutes we collected our bags and hopped into an air-conditioned transfer vehicle to make our way to the hotel in Khartoum.</p> <p>A strong “English Colonial” influence is seen in the architecture of many buildings in Khartoum. The history of the British Colonial Period (1896 – 1955) or better known as the Anglo-Egyptian Period, is riddled with well-known names of that era, including Charles Gordon, Lord Kitchener, Sir Geoffrey Archer, Sir Robert George Howe and many more.</p> <p>Khartoum is divided into three areas: Khartoum - Public Service/ Administrative Section, North Khartoum – Industrial section of the city, where most of the people work and Omdurman - Where all the markets and shops are situated. (One of the biggest camel markets are located here and thousands of camels change hands here on Fridays and Saturdays.)</p> <p>Interestingly, Omdurman used to be the Capital, but the colonial era saw Khartoum becoming the Capital of Sudan. The outlay of Khartoum is also in the shape of the British Flag!</p> <p>At Khartoum we also see the confluence of the Blue Nile, which originates in Ethiopia (70% of the Nile’s water comes from here) and the White Nile, which originates in Uganda, to form the Nile River. Here at the Mudarani Peninsula is where the mighty Nile starts it journey north, through Egypt, and into the Nile Delta, which finally ends in the Mediterranean Sea. Viewing the confluence by boat and seeing the different colours of the two Nile Rivers, was an extraordinary experience.</p> <p>Up to 2003, the northern sections of Sudan was not readily accessible, as ferries had to be used to cross the mighty Nile. Since then, several bridges were built and the desert is more accessible and travelling time is significantly less.</p> <p>From the border of Egypt to Khartoum, there are six cataracts or massive rapids in the Nile, which made the river impassable for earlier Egyptian explorers. The second cataract is the biggest and spans roughly 50km of the Nile. Here the Egyptians built a road around the cataract, transported their boats by road and continue their journey south!</p> <p>Nowadays, most of these cataracts are covered by either man-made dams or weirs, but remnants are still to be seen, especially at the third cataract.</p> <p>During the building phases of these dams/weirs, all the artefacts of the area, which include tombs, sarcophagus, paintings, massive sculptures, etc. were carefully removed and transported to Khartoum’s National Museum. This museum is seen as the best in Sudan and has breath-taking exhibits. The ground floor covers the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Kerma, Kush and Meroe. There are some stunning royal statues and perfectly preserved 3500-year-old artefacts from Kerma. Upstairs are numerous medieval Christian frescos removed from the ruined churches of Old Dongola and elsewhere. Outside are some temples rescued, Abu Simbel–style, from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. You need at least two hours for a visit.</p> <p>Khalifa House also offers a good overview of the colonial history. Opposite the road is a Catholic Church, worth a quick visit.<br>Travelling North, we visited the Western, Bhayuda (White) and Nubian Deserts (Nub means gold).</p> <p><strong>Places of interest visited</strong></p> <ul> <li>Karima (historic name is Napata) for old temples and Jebel Barkal, a holy mountain, with its 100m high pinnacle, in line with the pyramids of Nuri. The tomb of Tanutamani, a Black Pharaoh, at El Kuru. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.</li> <li>Necropolis of Nuri – excellent photography opportunities late afternoon. Here you will find 22 King Pyramids and 59 Standard Pyramids. This is also where we saw the highest pyramid in Sudan. </li> <li>Bayuda Desert: A visit to the Nomadic Tribes was very rewarding – enjoy a unique drink of coffee and ginger, an interesting taste combination, which is surprisingly quick to get used to and even miss!</li> <li>Kerma Museum with its magnificent Granite Statues and Nubian artefacts</li> <li>Oldongola Tomb Site as well as the Oldongola Archaeological site. The Cemetery is packed with beautiful tombs for "saints" and ordinary graves with no writings on it.</li> <li>Tobos where we saw the sleeping pharaoh. This is a half-completed granite statue, three meters in size! Inscriptions on rock-faces where the pharaoh indicated his conquered land.</li> <li>Necropolis of Meroë, probably the most photographed pyramids of Sudan. Two groups of pyramids, north and south but southern necropolis much older than northern necropolis. We also visited the mountain where the blocks were mined for the pyramids. </li> <li>The Royal City is very close to Meroë. This used to be a thriving city of more than 10,000 inhabitants. A large indoor pool from that period and a sauna is still visible. </li> <li>Naga Archaeological Site. The well-known Temple of Amun, as well as the Temple of Apedemak was built here. Remnants of a “Roman Kiosk” is also visible, a lion enclosure as well as an area where elephants were kept.</li> </ul> <p>Traveling to Sudan was probably one of the most exciting and spiritual trips for me, in a very long time. The people are fantastic – openhearted, friendly and extremely helpful.</p> <p>The history of the Egyptians, moving south into Sudan and how they “occupied” the land along the Nile is absolutely amazing. Conquering cataracts, 50km’s long and building more pyramids in Sudan than there are in Egypt, is mind-boggling.</p> <p>The perception that Sudan is a risky destination, is a pity and not true. This is however something that Sudan Tourism needs to work on if they wish to have more than the current 1,200 tourists visiting this incredible country per year.</p> <p>Believe me, it is a safe, extraordinary, unexplored, sort-of-eccentric destination and ready for visitors!</p> <p>I will be back, without a doubt…</p>Stella NeethlingFri, 30 Jun 2017 13:14:44 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/sudan-the-land-of-the-black-pharaohs/Live The JourneyRain in the Namibhttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/rain-in-the-namib/<p>Having grown up in Norway I never really understood the importance of water since we have such an abundance of it. In fact, most of Norway’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants and the tap water in Norway is probably the best in the world and most of it comes directly form the source without the need for processing or chemicals!</p> <p>It was only since I moved to Swakopmund nearly three years ago with my husband and children that I realised how precious water really is. I knew Namibia was a dry country, but so was Jordan where we lived for almost eight years. Jordan though has its dry and desert areas, where only nomadic herders lived and the rest of the country received enough rain – and sometimes snow! – to survive. In Namibia, the situation was completely different, whereby it seems that most people not only live, but also try to farm in areas where there have been little or no rain over the last couple of years.</p> <p>We visited different areas of Namibia over the past year and in several places the wild animals were on the verge of starving and many game farms and safari lodges were forced to feed their wild animals almost like cattle to avoid starvation. It was an amazing, yet sad sight for me to see giraffes, elephants and rhinos coming so close to the waterholes at the lodges because they knew it was feeding time. This of course put heavy burdens on the establishments as the animal feed is extremely expensive.</p> <p>Thankfully Namibia has experienced heavy rains over the past month or so which was boosted by tropical storm Dineo. Most of the country has now received suitable levels of rainfall and the dams are slowly filling up as the water comes down the catchment areas.</p> <p>The town of Swakopmund was abuzz with excitement last week as word spread that the Swakop river was going to flow. We were excited to see this magical flow of water, so we packed our 4x4 last week and ventured out to the Swakop river area north of the Rosmund Golf Club. Needless to say, every man and his dog (literally) was there!</p> <p>And there it was, water running through that dry hot desert for the first time since 2011. The Swakop river, where the town of Swakopmund takes its name from, is a seasonal river, like most of the Namibian rivers, but the fact that this area hasn’t seen any water in the last 6 years makes it more special.</p> <p>People were setting up camp, braai fires were burning and the happiness and most noticeably, the relief on the people’s faces was quite an amazing sight! The dogs were going crazy running in the water and the kids couldn’t believe that we allowed them to jump in that muddy river so they made sure they enjoyed every minute. At times the river flowed so strong that we had to move further downstream, and several braai fires had to be moved hastily!</p> <p>The water was running fast and we thought that the river might even reach the ocean but unfortunately, we will have to hang around in Namibia longer to experience that.</p> <p>Seeing a river flow for the first time in a desert is not something that I ever thought about, however now that I have experienced it I truly believe it should be on everybody’s bucket list. It is such an amazing sight and a humbling experience - what a privilege and yet again, just more proof of what a wonderful country Namibia is!</p> <p><strong><em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bBkr7kBzdI" target="_blank">View video of this extraordinary event here</a>.</em></strong></p> <p><em>Lao Tzu “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”</em></p> <p><em><strong>Esma Al-Samarai</strong> is married to Hein Truter, the Managing Director of Live the Journey Namibia. They have been privileged to live in numerous foreign and unique countries, such as Mozambique, Taiwan, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Vietnam. As seasoned world travellers, they finally found their peace in Namibia where they are raising their daughter Zara (5) and son Ryan (3).</em></p>Stella NeethlingMon, 20 Mar 2017 09:57:06 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/rain-in-the-namib/Live The JourneyNamibiaThe Namib DesertTravel more in 2017http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/travel-more-in-2017/<p>Even though we are already one month into 2017, the new year still stands before us like a blank canvas. Besides the usual suspects like “eat healthier” or “quit smoking”, we think that “travel more” should be at the top of any New Year’s resolution list.</p> <p>Each and every one of us has a list of things we want to do and places we want to see in our lifetime and for many this means packing a bag and hopping on a plane to remote destinations to experience new cultures and wonder at nature's beauty or man-made marvels.</p> <p>In the immortal words of Bill Bryson: “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”</p> <p>To get you inspired for 2017, we've compiled a list of must-do experiences, from wildlife encounters to jaw-dropping adventures and historic wonders.</p> <ul> <li>Marvel at the Northern Lights in Iceland</li> <li>Be humbled by the ancient Rose City of Petra in Amman</li> <li>Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu</li> <li>Trek Gorillas and chimpanzees in Rwanda or Uganda</li> <li>Experience the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania</li> <li>Experience true solitude in the Namib desert</li> <li>Cook up a storm in Italy</li> <li>Overwhelm your senses in India </li> <li>Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania</li> <li>Uncover the mysteries of Madagascar</li> </ul> <p>Please contact Live the Journey for more information on these and many other unique travel experiences.</p>Stella NeethlingTue, 07 Feb 2017 11:44:10 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/travel-more-in-2017/Live The JourneySicilian Cooking Adventure - Buon Appetito!http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/sicilian-cooking-adventure-buon-appetito/<p><a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/destinations/sicily/" target="_blank">Sicily,</a> Italy’s largest island, is a fascinating land endowed with mountains, hills, the sea and thousands of years of history, culture and of course great food. Sicilian cookery is very much embedded in the history of the island. Various civilizations – Greek, Roman, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and British – have left their mark. From a gastronomic point of view, the influence of these invaders is still very much in evidence today.</p> <p>From <strong>24 September to 31 October 2017</strong> Live the Journey embarks on a <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/tour/sicily-cooking-tour/" target="_blank">fascinating culinary exploration</a> of this Italian gem. Together with South African radio presenter and “foodie”, <a href="http://www.livethejourney.co.za/tours/rsg-toere-wat-is-nuut/" target="_blank">Martelize Brink</a>, our guests will learn from a passionate local chef and completely immerse themselves in the flavours of Sicily. The group will be based in the south east of the island, in a region famous for its gastronomic specialities: Pachino grows juicy tomatoes, Avola produces almonds and wine, Ragusa is famous for Caciocavallo cheese and Modica for chocolate made from an ancient Aztec recipe.</p> <p>All of the cookery lessons take place in the informal kitchen of a private villa and together with fellow travellers and a local chef, guests will create mouth-watering dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients such as fresh pasta with ricotta and marjoram filling, Peperonata Con Capperi (a delicious Sicilian vegetable recipe made from peppers and capers) or Arancini – a tasty rice-ball that can be stuffed with mozzarella, ragu sauce or peas and coated with breadcrumbs.<br>To tantalize your taste buds we share this easy recipe for Arancini.</p> <p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p> <ul> <li>800ml vegetable stock</li> <li>250g arborio rice</li> <li>1/2 tbsp salt</li> <li>Pinch of saffron</li> <li>50g parmesan</li> <li>150g Mozzarella chopped into chunks</li> <li>1 egg</li> <li>170g plain flour</li> </ul> <p><strong>Method</strong><br>1. Add salt and saffron to the stock and bring to boil. Then add the rice.<br>2. Bring back to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until stock is absorbed and rice is soft and yellow.<br>3. Add the grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Leave until completely cooled down.<br>4. Beat the egg and add to rice. Then shape the mixture into 10 even balls.<br>5. Press a hole in the rice-balls, using your fingers and insert one teaspoon of Mozzarella. Pinch the rice around to enclose.<br>6. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and cover rice-balls with the crumbs.<br>7. Heat the oil in a deep pan, no more than a third full. In batches, fry the rice balls for about 4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel and season with salt.</p> <p>Often sold as traditional street food, Arancini is an old-style Sicilian recipe, best enjoyed while strolling along the beautiful streets of this fascinating island…</p>Stella NeethlingThu, 26 Jan 2017 11:48:23 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/sicilian-cooking-adventure-buon-appetito/Live The JourneyMartelize BrinkRadio Sonder GrenseThe Famous Garden Routehttp://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-famous-garden-route/<p>The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful routes to drive in the Western Cape and I had the wonderful opportunity to join an educational trip exploring this area.</p> <p>I was fortunate to stay at Garden Route Game Lodge in one of their newly built rooms. Beautiful modern rooms with amazing views over the reserve. The staff and management makes you feel part of their establishment from the moment you arrive till the minute you depart. From Garden Route Game Lodge we travelled to Oudtshoorn, one of my favourite places. The atmosphere and the people in Oudtshoorn are amazing.  I personally feel a person should  stay two nights or more. There are so many beautiful properties, restaurants with amazing food and  activities to do. Be sure to include it on your next Garden Route holiday!<br> <br><strong>By Tanya Engelbrecht – Craftsman</strong></p>Esther FrauensteinThu, 22 Dec 2016 08:30:20 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/the-famous-garden-route/Live The JourneySouth Africa, Zimbabwe &amp; Botswana all in one trip! http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/south-africa-zimbabwe-botswana-all-in-one-trip/<p>I was very fortunate to travel with a group of guests on a journey including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana for 12 days. What an amazing experience!</p> <p>The trip included experiences and adventures at Entabeni Game Reserve, Madi A Thavha Mountain Lodge, Matobo Hills, Hwange National Park, Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park and The Land of the Brave!</p> <p>From seeing wildlife in abundance, adrenaline-rushing thrills with soft adventures, fairy-tale sunsets, dancing under starlit African skies, noises from nature with birds calling, or gushing water from Victoria Falls... One cannot summarize the African beauty experienced.</p> <p>This certainly was an once-in-a-lifetime-time experience, leaving me feeling proud and excited to be part of Africa!</p> <p><strong>By Sanet Williams – Craftsman</strong></p>Esther FrauensteinThu, 22 Dec 2016 08:25:11 +0000http://www.livethejourney.co.za/blog/south-africa-zimbabwe-botswana-all-in-one-trip/Live The Journey