Friday, 22 April 2011
Why You Should Travel To Africa
So how was your weekend? How is this new week going so far? I hope according to the plans, and even if its not, keep your head up as it is not over till its over.
When I have a bad day, my escape route is through books!! My mother encouraged me to read at a very early age. I even recall her getting me kid friendly books when I was in primary school, when I was already reading James Hadley Chase books.lol. I was never a Mills and Boons girl, give me a good thriller and am good to go..but I digress
As an avid reader I come across some incredible books that cut across several genre. One of them, Swahili for the broken hearted was very impressive. It was full of adventure, suspense, and a huge dollop of humour. It tells the story of Peter Moore, veteran backpacker, who was dumped by his girlfriend and as a result, decided to travel round Africa. From Capetown to Cairo to be specific and by the cheapest available means!!! This novel is very gritty and realistic, at least from the view of an European tourist. It had me rolling in laughter in several places. I dont want to give any single thing away but check it out if you are interested.
Speaking of travelling round Africa, here are a few secrets recommended by proud Africans. Very long but interesting read.
In Kumasi, Ghana, there is a sword half-buried into a stone: A symbol of Asante power.
From the Simien mountains in Ethiopia to the Nyika Plateau in Malawi to a walking safari with bushmen in Zambia.
Mukesh Gupta, USA
There is a place just outside my home town of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe called Lumeni falls. It is a magical place. The first time I went there I felt as if I were the only person on earth. The clouds covered the low granite outcrops, and there were no human sounds. What better place is there?
A. Booyse, UK
I have heard the Arc of the Covenant is protected by a group in Axum, Ethiopia. This box contains the original tablet that the 10 commandments were written by God and this is recognized by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Loren, Los Angeles, USA
In northern Ghana, the Larabanga Mosque remains a mystery to the people of Ghana.There is a legend that the mosque was built by God and it also houses a Holy Koran which also is believed to descend from heaven: A secret that continues to baffle!
Maxwell Eyram Afari, Ghanaian in Brazil
My Village Bambui in Cameroon, is the best in traditional healing and most Villages in Bamenda including my Bambui Village are best in harming people spiritually in their small Palm wine bars. Hence you can't live the bar to ease yourself without taking the rest of your wine with you. At times you are even poisoned from distance.
Tangang Protus Chungong, Bambui Cameroon
In our thriving rainforests, there is a tree species locally known as "nsorkor". It's rich in fluoride and that is why you see most Ghanaians with sparkling white teeth and naturally infectious smiles.
Kwame Boakye, Berekum, Ghana
Africa is perhaps the only continent that still boasts being culturally unspoiled. Its people and culture remain very much as they were thousands of years ago. From the Maasai of southeast Kenya to the tall Dinka of southern Sudan to diverse groups in west Africa, you can't possibly compare this to any other continent. Did you know that Africa is the only continent where cattle herders of Dinka are known to stand with one leg?
Marial Wuoi, USA
Africa has many kept secrets that the world will never know about. Example, in South-eastern Liberia, in the township of Tiaunta, in the District of Ynaboe, there is a certain river that strangers can not visit. In ancient days of tribal wars, this river protected citizens of this town from their enemies. Even today, strangers who venture at the river without the approval of the town's people will have have snakes to content with.
Roland, Liberian in the US
For me, Africa's best kept secret is Ngonnye Falls on the Zambezi in southwest Zambia. It is even more beautiful than Victoria Falls. It's difficult, but fun to get to. You have to wade across part of the river to see it. Breath-taking!
Nick Moore, UK
As an Ethiopian, I believe that The Ark of the Covenant is alive and well in Ethiopia. As it's also stated in the book, The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant by British journalist Graham Hancock, Menelik (fathered by Israelite King Solomon and born to the Queen of Sheba from Ethiopia) took the Ark of the Covenant from ancient Jerusalem in the days of King Solomon.
Lydia Hailu, California
The walls or moat of Benin city of Edo state of mid-western Nigeria is a place to visit. It's a place you cannot forget because it is mysterious
Scott Odiase, Bologna, Italy
Cape McClear on Lake Malawi is one of the most beautiful places I've been to. The water is like so crystal clear that you don't need to scuba dive to see the colourful fish swimming about. The colours are amazingly beautiful. It's been a while since I visited, hopefully it's still as striking!
Wambui Ngugi, Canada
Some of the most splendid works of humankind are found in Ethiopia. Some of those wonders of this country are the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, northern Ethiopia.
Interestingly, there are enormously plenty of sacred places in Africa that some people are unaware of. For instance, where I come from (Limi in Kajo-kaji) in Southern Sudan, there is what we call "Yige" a sacred place when rain fails, the elders of the village gather and blow it and rain will fall. It's here that the indigenous pay their tribute to the unseen god they call "Ngun" and their prayers are always positively answered. And it is believed that even fertility for both males and females can be restored at the Yige.
Dominic Woja Maku, Canada
The Kilwas of Tanzania have amazing ruins, some of which are the largest and most intact along the Swahili coast.
Beau Llewellyn, Canada
In Botswana about 35 kilometers north of the capital Gaborone, there is a village called Rasesa. At that village there is a huge foot-print said to be of one of the oldest persons in the country called "matsieng". The foot-print is on a rock and it is said during those times the rocks were not solid but soft hence the foot-print where "matsieng" was passing.
Epena Ngatangue, Botswana
I have visited Ethiopia several times. It is really a very rich country that offers a unique and extremely diverse combination of both natural and historical attractions. The natural attractions vary from the volcanic land scape of the Afar desert (cradle of man kind) to the temperate Bale and Simen mountains holding relatively few but extreamly diverse wild life. Historical records start at least 300 BC. I can't list everyting but the most beautiful place I have seen in my life is the Wonchi crater lake located at 3500 meters above see level. The rim of the lake is 500m deep. It is very calm, unpolluted, the green alpine vegetation on the rim of the lake is wonderful. It is realy Switzerland of Africa. Visit this lake in September.
In Machakos, there is an ancient tree with breasts sticking out, when you attempt to touch the breasts, or to cut it down, the tree cries out!
Malinda Harrahs, Kenyan in Germany
The perfectly shaped twin-hills of Somaliland nicknamed "Nasa Habloid" or "the Virgin's Breasts", located on the outskirts of the capital Hargeisa.
Jimaale Hashe, Somaliland
There is a cave in Ibwera, Tanzania nobody knows how far it goes because it is dark inside and there are feet carvings of a man, woman, a child and a dog on the rocks. I wish archeologists went there to know the age of the prints and what is in the caves.
Albina Milembe, Bangladesh
In the northern region of Togo lies the 'Tamberma' region. Barely accessible by road and untouched by modernisation, these incredible people are completely self-sufficient. They live the most simple of lives, in harmony with nature and their indigenous beliefs. Isn't it ironic how such an archaic way of life can teach us so many lessons about the society of war and conflict that we live in?
In Benin, I visited several Tchouk markets. These markets hold many sellers of tchouk, which is a millet beer brew. The typical evening involves visiting different women and tasting their versions. If you enjoy the sample, then you sit and drink a full calabash. However, if you don't enjoy the particular flavour you are allowed to move on and sample other versions. This is an example of the cultures that are the true wealth of Africa.
Christopher Wormley, USA
There is a place in Kenya with a hill, which when you put a ball at the middle of the hill the force of gravity is not obeyed. Surprisingly the ball goes uphill instead of downhill!!!!!wierd. Can scientists explain that?
The beautiful and enormous churches carved out of the mountain in Lalibela, Ethiopia, deserve to be much better known than they are. The Arc of the Covenant, mentioned above, and supposedly housed in Axum, is unfortunately not available to viewing by the public. But that church compound, as well as the nearby Stelae field, is still well worth the visit. So, too, is the wonderful castle complex in Gondar. Throw in isolated island monasteries, the Blue Nile Falls, and a tremendous variety of other wonders, and I'm amazed Ethiopia isn't a lot more heavily touristed than it is.
Brendan Ritchie, Canada
We, from western Kenya, have the annual Luhyia/Maragoli festival, which normally happens from December 25th to the 3rd of January. In addition, we have the 'Crying stones' situated along the Kisumu-Kakamega main road. These stones are shaped like a human being: In between the neck and the rest of the body runs a stream of water that never dries up. This place is very sacred to us Luhyia people.
Near Machakos in Kenya, there is a hill where water seemingly flows uphill when spilt onto the road.
K Shah, Kenyan in Australia
Victoria Falls is the most sublime wonder of the world, it is the smoke that thunders.
Fungai Mabhurukwa, United Kingdom
The eleven rock-hewn churches built in the 11th century by King Lalibela of Ethiopia are still considered the 8th wonder of the world. These churches are all made out of a single rock and have connecting tunnels. They are in the Wollo province of Ethiopia and are still being used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.
Have you heard of a bicycle made entirely of wood? I have given one to a museum and my children have one. They were made in Tanzania. Africa's creativity is its best kept secret, unfortunately.
Rodney Lobo, Norway
The Drakensberg Mountain range in South Africa has some of the most stunning scenery I've ever seen. With peaks over 11,000 feet, it is higher than the Alps - yet I'd never even heard of it until I came to South Africa.
Frederick Green, South Africa
Benin City, in the south west of Africa is a place to visit. Its ancient kingdom spread to Ashanti in Ghana. It had rings of very deep moats dug around it and its other principal towns in the olden days to ward off invaders. These moats are a wonder to people because they were dug at a time when there was no technological help. Alas, they are now filled with dirt! If only the depth could be maintained by periodic cleaning, it will be a great tourist place.
Comfort Adesuwa Ero, Canada
During my visit to Kenya in 1993, I was taken to Machakos, about an hour's drive from Nairobi. Just outside the town, there was a hill, and a group of small boys were standing along the roadside with bottles of water. For a few shillings, they would empty the bottles on a particular part of the road, and the water would flow up the hill rather than down. I captured this phenomenon on my video. I wonder if it is still there.
Ashok Kumar, UK
Somewhere in Lango or Apac district in northern Uganda exists a set of foot-steps in rock which is locally believed to have been made by the "first man" on earth. I believe people in the area call it "Ongom's foot steps", Ongom being that first human being. Does anybody know more about this?
I reckon that the bushmen of a tribe called Koma in Taraba state of Nigeria. Their simple life and hunting method holds much fascination. They know the healing elements of all the plants in the forest.The Koma would snap fingers with you instead of the standard handshake in greeting.
In Botswana there are giant footprints about five metres in length at a place called Rasesa imprinted on rocks
Mufaweli Mubukwanu, UK
The Air Mountains in Niger. Beautiful mountains rising up from desert sands. Truly breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
Stephanie Santos, USA
Rwanda is a treasure of different landscapes. From the savannahs of Akagera National Park in the East, to the green hills of central Rwanda, to Lake Kivu's shores in the West, to the tropical forest of Volcanoes National Park in the Northwest - one of the few remaining sites to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Rwanda is indeed spectacular and you must see it for yourself.
Fish, United States
There are numerous treasures in Nigeria, like the mystical Obudu mountains which stretch across eastern Nigeria near the border with Cameroun, the ancient cities of Kano and Calabar, also the silver back mountain gorillas found only in the mountains of Obudu and remnants of past civilizations, like iron work left by the nok people and pottery left by the Igbo-Ukwu Obudu mountains
Ifeanyi Nwakwesi, NigeriaUK
In northern Mozambique, the ancient commerical center of Ilha de Mocambique is known for its fusion of African, Arab, and Indian cultural influences. One can visit several churches, mosques, and even an old Hindu temple packed onto a few square kilometers. The island's unique architecture is protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The waters around the Ilha are home to tens of shipwrecks, some dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Leila Chirayath, Cambridge, Mass. USA
Apart from the Sahara, Algeria has much more to give. Do you fancy skiing in the amazing Jurjura mountains in the Kabilye region, outside Algiers? If it's too cold, you can always take your skis down to the sandy dunes of the Sahara where a lot of poeple practice sand skiing and boarding!! It's a thrill to be doing these activities, but doing them in Africa gives you an even more amazing rush of adrenaline.
Africa's best kept secret is the 'Sleeping Masai'. This range of hills is in the Rift Valley on the outskirts of Gilgil in Kenya. When you look at it, it appears to be a man lying down in perfect proportion hence its name the 'Sleeping Masai'.
Allan, Kenyan in England
I know Africa has the most to offer to the world: Sports, music, arts etc. I'm sure there are so many things in Ghana especially the Asante kingdom! The weaving of Kente cloth is a secret to the entire world because there is no weaving machine which can weave at the front and the back of th cloth. It is only in the Asante kingdom!
Daniel Okyere, Ghana
Zambia has the second largest game reserve in the world, and has the victoria falls. I think an area that would be worth investigating are stories about very dangerous snakes in some parts of the country. I'm told that there are areas which no human being would pass through because of rumours of very large snakes.
Haile, Zambia / Uk
In a little town called Chimanimani in the eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, there is a place called Bridal Veil Falls. It's exquisite in its natural unspoilt beauty, the water falling like lace against the dark rocks with the deep green of the tree and foliage around it. The beauty makes the hairs on your neck stand on end.
Chinhoyi caves up north of Harare has a mysterious pool which has more than 60 channels running beneath it. Tens of divers perished in the pool. The water is clear and you can see gold at the bottom, but no one has riched the bottom. One of the channel is connected to Kariba dam, 120km away. Visit the place, don't try to dive.
Education Ridge in Tamale, Ghana, has the most spectacular sunset one has ever set his eyes on. The sun appears very big, yellow and scary then gradually descends and vanishes in the Savannah horizon. It is a scene every sunset watcher should see.
Bako Kirki, Ghana
The Lola areas in the mountains of Nimba, southeast of Guinea, is the only place in the world where you can find the largest frogs in the world.
Tokpa Monnemu Zerekorey, Guinea/Conakry
I would like people to know about the three huge stones standing on top of each other, called "Kitmikayi" found in the western part of Kenya.
Janet Akinyi, Kenya
The most enchanting place I have ever seen is the natural formation of rocks located in the midst of the St. Paul River in the city of Arthington. This is a place where the earth shows the beauty and greatness of God's work. The serenity of this place is awesome!
Yata, Fullerton, USA
You need to be in my home area of Ankole to see the magnificent beauty of the people that God gave dominion over the beautiful secret places. My God, the people here are just so beautiful!
Graham Kateihwa, Mbarara, Uganda
Kakamega Forest, the only equatorial rain forest in Kenya, is famous for its diversity of butterfly species.
Tezira Lore, Kenya
The Table of the Sun Festival of Dance and Culture. This takes place every year in Mbarara western Uganda. It brings over 20 countries together with the aim of choosing the best dance group in the world. The festival attracts over 30,000 people. At this festival only clothes made in Africa is acceptable and only traditional drinks and culturally specific meals are allowed.
ll my votes for The Holy Arc of Covenant in Axum, Ethiopia, taken by Menelik, the son of Queen Sheba and King Solomon from the Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
The biggest tree in West Africa, which can be found in Akim Oda, a popular town in Ghana.
Alexander Adjekum, Ghanaian in Ohio, US.
Lyike is a popular inland lake in my village Amaba Isuikwuato in Abia State Nigeria. Before pipe borne water came to my village a few years ago, it provided more than 80% of the water used by the villagers. It is believed in some quarters that it provides security for the community and can cure some ailments. We use only calabash to scoop the water and do not go near it with slippers or shoes. Also you cannot go near it with any form of light or take photographs. The water is cleaned at least two times a year by selected women (those born and and married to men in the village). Any time I travel home, I visit this serene and virgin environment yet untouched by civilization.
Chinedu Ibeabuchi, Lagos, Nigeria
Standing on top of the hill called Kachwekano overlooking Lake Bunyonyi (second deepest in Africa) in Kabale district (South Western Uganda), the Muhavura ranges ahead can make your heart skip a beat. It's almost as if you can touch them.
Kanyima Twehamye, UK (Ugandan)
The ruins of Mapungubwe allow for a fascinating and unmatched glance at the social and political structures in Southern Africa over 500 years ago. The ancient City situated on the northern border of South Africa, was once a powerful trading city with Arabia and India. It developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before being abandoned in the 14th century. Artefacts found within the walls of the city such as the "Golden Rhino" are symbols of this once powerful African Kingdom.
There is a place called Great Zimbabwe here in Zimbabwe. It's amazing. It's a whole ancient village built before colonisation that is made of granite stone only.
Natasha Mawarire, Zimbabwe
The fortified ruins at Djado, in Niger, are something of a mystery. They are huge , old and no one knows for certain who built them!!
Mike Barton, England
One of the best kept secrets in Africa are the caves found in Tassili Najjer in Algeria where you'll find paintings from a different era!
Begoña Belmonte, UK
Bujugali falls at the source of the White Nile in Uganda. One of the best white water rafting stretches in the world.
When I lived in Zimbabwe, we had near our house an ancient ringing rock that was used historically to warn people in the Honde Valley of approaching danger. When struck with another rock, the large rock rings like a bell. There are holes worn in the side from the centuries of use, but this rock is little known by anyone and is still there in the Nyanga mountains where I found it again not long ago.
The several golden Crosses and crowns, Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures, of Emperror Tewodros II looted by the British army and nowadays found in different museums in the UK are real hidden secrets. The British capture of Maqdala, Emperor Tewodros's mountain capital in north-west Ethiopia, took place in 1868, immediately after the Ethiopian monarch committed suicide to avoid falling into the hands of his enemies. The soldiers then looted everything in his castle and transported it to the UK.
The high plateau of Zomba in Malawi must rank as one of the finest landscapes in the world. Sombre yet beautiful and mysterious.
Mike Ashwood-Smith, Canada
There is a place called Wondo Genet South of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. With it, an amazing variety of plants, a breath taking landscape completed with a natural hot spring is a magical place. It's ancient forests are some of the oldest. A recent fire has damaged some of the old trees. This will be an opportunity to focus some attention for its preservation.
Kakamega Forest! The last of the African Rainforests. With some of the most unique Flora and Fauna: Colobus Monkey, HornBills, Snakes, Orchids etc. It is under threat from deforestation. Please help preserve it.
The Johannesburg War Museum has the only version of the Messerschimdt ME 292 night fighter. This is also part of the long tradition of the airforce in SA. The country has the second oldest airforce in the world and the creator of the SA airforce Jan Smuts was also instrumental in starting the oldest airforce in the world, the RAF.
Mone, South Africa
Location: Wase, Plateau State, Nigeria. During the summer birds of different species come to mate and breed in this place known as the Wase rock. This rock is symbol of life and strength for the locals (the Tarok and Jukuns). For centuries this rock has been worshipped and lately has become a tourist attraction.You need to there to understand.
Uche Njoku, England
In Patiko-Gulu Uganda on 'Got Patiko'- a small mountain, there is a trail of blood running from the top of the mountain downward, believed to be blood of victims of slave traders. The mystery is that after many years, even the heavy tropical rainfall has failed to wash it away!
Cankech JB, Uganda
In Zimbabwe, outside Bulawayo, there is a very big cave in Matopo called "Ilitshe likaNtunjambili", meaning The Rock with two Entrances. It is one of the most spectacular natural phenomenon in the world that one can never wish to miss. Not too far from there there are the Balancing Rocks of Matopo. It will be great to see the sites and then listen to the history attached to them. Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources, I love my country.
Mark Msimanga, Canada
You have read the testimonies, so what are you waiting for? The end of life? Right now, is the time to explore the Secrets Of Mother Africa!!