Visit the River Nile & Explore Boma National Park

Audio by Max & Sophie, who have travelled to South Sudan and published a travel guide about South Sudan’s River Nile and Boma National Park, the best national park in Africa, with over one million Antelopes, countless number of gazelles, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, leopards, lions, birds galore, any many more wildlife.

How to Pack a First Aid Kit for Extended International Travel

nile explorer south sudan

By Talya Minsberg (Source: New York Times)

It’s a question that the two 52 Places Travelers have fielded from readers and colleagues alike: How do you stay healthy when crisscrossing the world for nearly 365 days? And what do you pack in case you get sick? Each location has its own set of challenges, recommended vaccines and access to pharmacies.

There’s a thin line between being over- and underprepared, said Rebecca Acosta, the co-founder and executive director of Traveler’s Medical Service. The average globe-trotting traveler does not need I.V. bags and syringes, she said, though the items are suggested for those trekking in rural areas.

Jada Yuan began her year as the inaugural 52 Places Traveler in 2018 with a first aid kit that was built with the help of foreign correspondents. Ms. Yuan’s kit was so extensive that a Moroccan customs officer accused her of being a drug dealer.

Twelve months and some 74,900 miles later, Ms. Yuan returned to New York City with “basically the same amount of medicine,” she said.

This year’s 52 Places Traveler, Sebastian Modak, is having a similar experience. Five months in, his first aid kit has been almost untouched. But it offers enough peace of mind that it’s worth all the space it takes up, he says.

(His top recommendation for staying healthy? Drink clean, filtered water. Lots of it.)

Here’s how to pack a first aid kit, whether you are going around the world for a year or a remote adventure for a week.

The Centers for Disease Control has a list of vaccines, health notices and packing lists for those traveling around the world. That means accounting for location: Ms. Yuan and Mr. Modak had to plan for places as diverse as Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia and Japan’s Setouchi Islands.

Make sure to look up vaccine requirements far in advance of your travels, as some vaccines may require treatments or doses. Additionally, some nations may require proof of vaccination upon entering customs. The World Health Organization keeps an updated list of nations requiring yellow fever vaccines here.

If you are traveling with a group or on business, you may already have traveler’s insurance that covers medical evacuation. If not, consider buying insurance that includes medevac services, which are recommended when traveling to more rural destinations.

In addition to health coverage, travel insurance covers things like lost baggage and flight cancellations. So even if you stay healthy, it can come in handy when you’re on road.

A good travel insurance package will also include a support number to call if you need help identifying the severity of your illness, and where to turn for help.

If your health care provider in the United States offers virtual doctor visits, you may be able to turn to your regular doctor’s office while abroad, too.

If you have prescriptions, make sure they are filled for the entirety of your travels. That may take some coordinating between a primary care physician and insurance companies if medicines need to be resupplied on the road. Ms. Acosta recommends working with a doctor to compile a list of all prescribed medications, in generic form, in case prescriptions are misplaced.

When it comes to prevention, Ms. Acosta said, travelers should think of their medicine cabinet. “What are the type of things that you may grab from your medical kit at home? If it’s one in the morning and you have an upset stomach or a headache, what do you go for?”

Pack those items first.

For Mr. Modak that included vitamins. “I don’t know if you can overdose on vitamins but if so, I’m doing it,” he said from Bulgaria. “I take a multivitamin every morning and chew an Airborne vitamin C tablet, too, on top of that.”

Travelers should create a first aid kit for simple wounds and basic medications to treat stomach issues, colds and allergies. Some products that Traveler’s Medical Service recommends include:

  • Alcohol swabs and liquid disinfectant solution

  • Bandages: Adhesive bandages, gauze, tape, blister pads and bandage rolls

  • Topical creams: Antibiotic ointment, antifungal ointments, hydrocortisone cream

  • Oral rehydration solution for diarrhea or dehydration

  • Tweezers

  • Digital thermometer

  • Lubricating eye drops

  • Insect repellent

  • Aloe gel

  • Antacids

  • Antihistamines for allergic reactions and seasonal allergies

  • Bismuth subsalicylate for nausea, gas and bloating

  • Laxative/stool softener

  • Anti-motility medication for severe diarrhea

  • Cough and cold remedies and lozenges

  • Pain relievers/fever reducers

  • Motion sickness medication

Similarly, note any preventive medicines in generic form should you need to restock while traveling.

Want to help save African wildlife? Visit Africa.

Nairobi — Standing in the pop-out of a Land Rover just a few yards from Fatu and Najin, the last two northern white rhinos in the world, at Ol Pejeta in central Kenya, was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.

The last two massive members of this subspecies live under armed guard 24 hours a day in a 700-acre enclosure here. Ol Pejeta is the largest rhino sanctuary in East Africa.

In an era when purpose-driven, transformative experiences are the ultimate travel luxury, a visit to Africa should be at the top of any traveler’s list.

Americans are often inspired by African wildlife: there was outrage two years ago when Cecil the lion was shot by a hunter in Zimbabwe; the Trump administration took heat last year when it said it would overturn a ban on the sale of elephant trophy imports from Africa; and in March, when the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died here at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the severity of rhino poaching got international attention.

For those who really want to help save African wildlife, I offer the same advice that Elodie Sampere, Ol Pejeta’s head of conservation marketing, gave to the group of journalists I was traveling with: “The best way to help is to visit, not donate.”

One of the most exciting parts of being here is seeing what the locals are doing to help conserve and protect the continent’s iconic species. Donating to causes from afar helps, but spending money in person shows the local communities that the animals are more valuable alive than dead. And in a selfie-driven era, visitors spread the word far more effectively about the importance of saving these delicate ecosystems.

Beyond that, experiences here can be life-changing, as mine were at Ol Pejeta. More than 85,000 visitors come here annually, taking game drives through Ol Pejeta’s plains, where I encountered elephants, lions and chimpanzees. The high amount of rainfall in this region compared with other parts of Africa means more vegetation, and Kenya’s highest density of wildlife outside of the Maasai Mara. The reserve uses advanced fencing techniques to facilitate the movement of wildlife while, as much as possible, keeping poachers out.

Visitors can either stay at a number of lodges on the conservancy or nearby, as we did, at the Fairmont Mount Kenya. Tour operators like Intrepid Travel offer trips that focus on visiting the last two northern white rhinos and donate part of their profits to protecting them.

Guests at the Fairmont Mount Kenya don’t even have to leave the property to get a taste of animal conservancy. The resort’s founder, 1950s film star William Holden, was a hunter turned conservationist who also founded the onsite Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, which raises and rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.

You can get far more up close and personal with cheetahs at the conservancy’s orphanage than you would in the wild. And cyclists setting off from the resort through the conservancy can see the rare white zebras, which are being bred and hopefully released back to the wild, as well as the mountain bongo, one of the most endangered animals in the world.

By Johanna Jainchill

Travel Truths: what really happens when you flush a plane loo?

For millions of people, summer means an opportunity to hop on a plane and experience new and exciting sights, cultures, and food. It also means getting packed into a giant commercial aircraft and then wondering if you can make it to your next layover without submitting to the anxiety of using the onboard bathroom.

Roughly the size of an apartment pantry, these narrow facilities barely accommodate your outstretched knees; turbulence can make expelling waste a harrowing nightmare. Once you’ve successfully managed to complete the task and flush, what happens next?

Unlike our home toilets, planes can’t rely on water tanks to create passive suction to draw waste from the bowl. In addition to the expense of hauling hundreds of gallons of water, it’s impractical to leave standing water in an environment that shakes its contents like a snow globe. Originally, planes used an electronic pump system that moved waste along with a deodorizing liquid called Anotec. That method worked, but carrying the Anotec was undesirable for the same reasons as storing water: It raised fuel costs and added weight to the aircraft that could have been allocated for passengers. (Not surprisingly, airlines prefer to transport paying customers over blobs of poop.)

Beginning in the 1980s, planes used a pneumatic vacuum to suck liquids and solids down and away from the fixture. Once you hit the flush button, a valve at the bottom of the toilet opens, allowing the vacuum to siphon the contents out. (A nonstick coating similar to Teflon reduces the odds of any residue.) It travels to a storage tank near the back of the plane at high speeds, ready for ground crews to drain it once the airplane lands. The tank is then flushed out using a disinfectant.

If you’re also curious about timing your bathroom visit to avoid people waiting in line while you void, flight attendants say the best time to go is right after the captain turns off the seat belt sign and before drink service begins.

Stay Where the Wild Things Are

Part of the wild and adventurous appeal of going on a safari in Africa, involves the possibility of having up close encounters with wildlife.

Game drives, bush walks and boat rides are all great methods of searching for animals in the wild. However, what if you didn’t need to leave camp in order to experience an intimate wildlife sighting? What if the animals came to your doorstep?

Imagine waking up to see a pride of lions outside your window, or having your breakfast interrupted by a herd of elephants. While this may sound too good to be true, this is in fact the reality of many lodges in Africa where they have chosen to forego the fences and allow the wildlife to roam freely throughout the camp. Although just because a lodge doesn’t have a fence, doesn’t necessarily guarantee any wildlife visitors. By nature, animals are wary of humans and will avoid unfamiliar structures. However, there are a few places that are lucky enough to experience regular visits from their wild guests.

These are some of our favourite lodges where the wildlife roams free and animals are known to visit on a regular basis:

Mfuwe Lodge:Stay Where the Wild Things Are

Situated in the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, Mfuwe Lodge plays host to a very special wildlife spectacle. Each year between late October and mid-December, staff and visitors at Mfuwe look forward to a special visit from elephant families that have been regular guests at the lodge for three generations. The elephants walk directly through the lodge’s reception lobby, to feast on the fallen fruits from the large Wild Mango (Cordyla Africana) tree in the lodge grounds.

Kanga Camp:

Renowned for the ‘Armchair Safari’, Kanga Camp is located in the most remote part of Mana Pools National Park – Kanga Pan. This pan is the only known water source in the area available throughout the year, making it a hub for wildlife and Kanga Camp is perfectly placed to offer you a front row seat to the wildlife action. From the comfort of the deck chairs, guests might be lucky enough to see elephant, lion, wild dog, buffalo and even leopard drinking in front of the lodge.

Royal Malewane Private Game Lodge:

Royal Malewane is located in Thornybush Private Game Reserve within the greater Kruger region, South Africa. One of the best amenities at the Royal Malewane Private Game Lodge is their private plunge pools that come with each room. It is not that uncommon for an elephant or two to drop by for a drink of water while you’re taking a dip and soaking up the sunshine.

Staying in an unfenced camp is an exhilarating and authentic bush experience, however, due to the obvious safety concerns, these lodges generally have very strict child policies. Guests also need to be accompanied by a member of staff when walking from one area of the lodge to another, especially at night.

5 Mind-blowing Places to Sleep in Africa

Fancy sleeping somewhere gorgeously adventurous and unusual? Airbnb is not the only place to shop for the most unique, quirky and out-of-this-world holiday rentals and accommodation options. In recent years, Africa has set the standard for award-winning and innovative accommodation and this is reason enough to save up and go on safari this year.

Heck, afterwards you may just have the urge to seek out and embrace the masterminds who’ve thought beyond the four-bedroom wall to present us with these magnificent places to slumber.

Here’s our list of the top 5 places to sleep in Africa that will totally blow your mind:

1. Sleep with fish in an underwater hotel room in Zanzibar

In the north of the pristine island of Pemba in Tanzania lies The Manta Resort’s astonishingly impressive underwater room. The floating structure consists of three levels each offering guests a unique experience above and below the water. However, the most magical of them all is arguably the bedroom beneath the waves which affords 360 degree views of the underwater world. Sun worshippers can spend time on the upper landing deck by day and climb down the long ladder into the turquoise bubble by night. By turning on the spotlights, you can watch the shoals of reef fish carry about their nautical lives as you drift into a deep sleep.

5 Mind blowing Places to Sleep in Africa

© The Manta Resort

2. Sleep on your own eco-friendly private island in Zambia

On a faraway private isle in the middle of the Zambezi River is where you’ll find Sindabezi Island. In fact, it’s the only luxury bush camp from where the Victoria Falls can be comfortably explored. Compromised of just 5 open-sided chalets, guests get to proclaim Sindabezi as their own personal retreat while staying at one of the most environmentally friendly properties in Africa. We don’t know what’s better – their commitment to sustainable tourism or the intimate, barefoot in the bush, island feel.

Sindabezi Island, Zambia

© Sindabezi

3. Sleep on a rooftop in an airstream trailer in South Africa

Situated at the heart of the bustling Long Street in Cape Town, the Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel is a quirky and convenient place to explore South Africa’s Mother City. The boutique hotel features a top-class eatery, luxury rooms and family suites, and better yet, South Africa’s only rooftop Airstream Trailer Park. A new world awaits on the rooftop. Among the seven uniquely designed trailers where guests can choose to spend the night, there’s an open-air cinema with weekly movie screenings and a sky bar perfect for sundowners on a summer night.

Rooftop Hotel, Cape Town

© Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel

4. Sleep on an open-air deck in the bush in Kenya

The 56,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy in Northern Laikipai, Kenya is one of the most beautiful places in Africa to sleep under the stars. It lies just off the equator overlooking the Kiboko waterhole, making it the ideal destination for stargazing and wildlife viewing all year round. The Loisaba Starbeds are handcrafted four-poster beds which sit on wheels and are rolled out onto a raised wooden platform so guests to sleep under the African stars. It’s the biggest bedroom in the world, where the night sky is your ceiling and the hills in the distance are you walls. Talk about sweet dreams!

Loisaba Starbeds, Kenya

© Loisaba

5. Sleep in a luxury houseboat on the river in Botswana

Moving along the banks of the Chobe River, the Zambezi Queen is a unique floating boutique hotel in a class of her own. She is a 5-star, 42-metre long luxury houseboat offering unparalleled sophistication in one of the most remote locations on the planet. As a guest on the vessel, you can enjoy an adventurous river safari holiday, while still being surrounded by complete comfort and luxury. Wake up to the sight of an elephant drinking from the river or watch a fish eagle take flight – all from the comfort of your bed.

Zambezi Queen luxury houseboat

© Zambezi Queen Collection

Source – africaodessy

Melania Trump caught by surprise as baby elephant charges at her on Kenya visit

Harriet Agerholm

Danger can come from anywhere when you’re a security agent for the first lady of the United States, even from baby elephants.

Melania Trump, who is visiting Africa on her first extended international solo trip since her husband Donald Trump assumed office, was shoved by one calf while visiting an elephant and rhino orphanage in a Nairobi National Park.

A security agent leapt into action, pulling Ms Trump out of harm’s way, although the disturbance was soon over.

During the visit, Ms Trump fed formula to two of the elephants being raised at the park and reached out to others, patting one’s back and stroking the ear of another.

She also went on safari in the park, taking photos on her phone and peering through binoculars for a closer look at zebras, giraffes, impalas, rhinos and hippos bobbing in water.

She also stopped at a site where 105 tonnes of ivory was burned as part of an effort to discourage the trade.

Earlier this year, Mr Trump decided to once again allow Americans to import body parts of African elephants shot for sport.

Sources – Associated Press

6 PICKS; TRAVEL DESTINATIONS THIS SEASON

Malta

How strange it seems now that this former British colony was, until recently, considered most remarkable for expat retirees and red phone boxes. Though its fortified, honey-gold capital, Valletta, is in the spotlight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture, top tastemakers have been quietly rediscovering the history-soaked Mediterranean island of Malta for a while, knocking it to the top of our ‘best-holiday-destinations-2018’ list. Cool kids come for Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival – pitching up for a third go-round this year, with Diplo and Jamie XX in tow – and stay for a sceney new bundle of forts-turned-clubs and what our writer Juliet Rix calls ‘centuries-old palazzi transformed into high-design hotels‘. The most visionary of these, Iniala Harbour House, opens in January. Millionaire philanthropist Mark Weingard enlisted a trio of designers to reimagine several townhouses, flaunting original features like stone walls, cupola ceilings and basement vaults. For the guest who thinks they’ve seen everything: in-room ‘experience-ometers’ can be set to desired activity levels; the hotel plans an itinerary to suit.

 

 

The Seychelles

The Seychelles’ brand of barefoot luxury is that bit wilder, more elemental, than its similarly Eden-esque neighbours, the Maldives and Mauritius. Primeval jungle fringes white-coral sand; postcard-blue surf pounds dramatic black rocks. The Indian Ocean archipelago zealously lends itself to castaway fantasies: local lore about buried treasure and haunted sea caves abound. But paradise comes at a price: marooned 1,600km off Africa’s east coast, reaching this remote refuge can be an ordeal. Not so in 2018, when British Airways launches the UK’s first non-stop flights to the Seychelles from March.

There could hardly be a better time to go. As Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s senior editor Peter Browne reported, several islands have smartened up their resort game: self-sustaining Frégate, a conservation success with its own hydroponic farm, recently rebooted its villas; the beach lodge on North Island, where William and Kate honeymooned, has been refurbished with glamorous embellishments (soft silk rugs; hand-beaten brass headboards). Not forgetting the splashy new Six Senses Zi Pasyon, scattering vast villas across densely forested Félicité. Go get lost.

 

Japan

It’s an interesting time for this fiercely insular island nation. Long-entrenched traditions are suddenly hot in the West: reverence for nature (in Japan,’shintoism’); a meticulous eye for design; precisely crafted food; fearless fashion. Call it a millennial’s Pinterest board made flesh. And boy, has Gen Y figured that out: tourism to Japan doubled in the past three years alone. The challenge, then, is to discover the country’s dual draws of quiet spiritualism and frenzied urbanisation a touch further from the well-worn trail. Sapporo, capital of northern Hokkaido, teems with trends: brewpubs pairing beers and gyoza; repurposed subway passageways and abandoned basements turned galleries; a new outdoor Art Park. The parallels with sister city, Portland, Oregon, are plain. And as Charles Spreckley wrote for us, undervisited Kii Peninsula is ripe for a pilgrimage to shrines on misty mountains and hilltop farmstays – not to mention the Kaatsura fish market, where the tuna is fresher than Tokyo’s.

 

Bologna, Italy

Forgotten for Florence. Rejected for Rome. Passed over for Pisa. Bologna is forever overlooked in favour of flashier Italian brethren. That’s a mistake: this terracotta-hued town doesn’t just have history – medieval towers, porticoed walkways, cobbled piazzas – but a spirited present to boot. Via Pratello’s annual April street party is a motley melee celebrating resistance, communism, and gay pride (though Pratello buzzes year-round with modern osterias serving slow food and organic wine between dives). Progressive and rebellious, Bologna’s nickname, La Rossa, is a play on both the ubiquitous red brick and a penchant for socialism.

Its other claim to fame is food – though they’d prefer you call spaghetti bolognese tagliatelle al ragu. Much-hyped new opening, ‘foodie theme park’ Fico Eataly World, offers a 20-acre complex of gastro workshops, rides and restaurants. Better still, seek out that counterculture: in the hip little art bars of the Jewish Ghetto; at art-squat-turned-warehouse-club Link; or the yearly Robot digital arts and music festival. Co-working collective Kilowatt recently turned the Giardini Margherita park’s derelict greenhouses into fairy-lit spaces for live music, film screenings and cool cocktails; nearby, a converted 14th-century convent makes boutique lodgings

 

Bali

In Canggu, boho Bali is reborn. Or, as Brigid Delaney quipped in our recent feature on the Indonesian island’s hottest new hangout, Canggu, you might call it ‘Brooklyn-On-Sea’. Tanned hotdeskers tap at MacBooks in airy cafes serving vegan breakfast bowls and cold-pressed espressos; come sundown, they’re mixing hibiscus martinis with old-school hip-hop at laid-back beach club The Lawn. And where beautiful nomads go, hot hotels follow. The Slow’s retro-modernist suites make a tough booking, but soon face competition from COMO Uma Canggu, where duplex penthouses come with rooftop pools. It’s a new energy, and a new Bali.

Not to be outdone, in 2018 Bali’s other big-ticket haunts step up. Capella Ubud, where luxury tents have accompanying Jacuzzis, is all spiritual-wellness tucked into tangled rainforest; upcoming Six Senses Uluwatu perches Balinese villas atop a spectacular cliff south of Kuta

 

Botswana

Harry’s chosen spot to woo Miss Markle on that all-important third date was a masterstroke: who could fail to fall for a prince in Botswana? The Southern African nation’s vast inland Okavango Delta overflows with wildlife, offering not only one of the continent’s greatest safari destinations, but also a rare chance to track the Big Five by dugout canoe. Having converted 30 percent of its total land to protected park or game reserve, this isn’t a country in which you’ll struggle to see what you came for. But following the royal’s revelation about his whirlwind getaway in an internationally syndicated TV interview, it may yet be a destination you’ll struggle to book.

Wilderness Safaris picked a fine time to open its all-new Qorokwe Camp on the banks of an Okavango lagoon. There are just nine luxury tented suites, all bleached timbers and rust and brass, with private decks; located on the border of Moremi Game Reserve, guests have their pick of walking, boating and 4×4 sojourns. Plus, the whole joint runs on 100 percent solar power. A camp fit for a fifth-in-line-to-be-king.

 

Courtesy Conde Nast Traveler