Africa First

Blogging my journeys through this exotic continent!

Places to Visit When in Africa

vic-falls-bridge1[1]Having lived here in Africa for almost 5 years, I can safely say that I have been to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Nothing compares to the experience of being up close with wild animals. I remember how beautiful yet frightening it was to see a gazelle being chased down by a lioness. How the poor gazelle tried to outrun its predator but failed.  I remember feeling grossed out seeing a wake of vultures feeding together at a carcass. I have learned later on that vultures are the only animals that can stomach eating rotten flesh and that they help prevent diseases spread by rotting corpses.   I have seen the smiles of locals and how accommodating they were. I have visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and believe it or not, they are in Africa.

Despite the negative picture the media paints us of Africa; we cannot deny that it is a beautiful country. It has been my home for the last 5 years. In the years that I have been here, I can safely say that I know some of the best places that travelers need to visit when they find themselves itching for a little African adventure. Check out the list I made below.

TABLE MOUNTAIN

Where: Cape Town

Table Mountain is named as such due to its appearance—it is a flat topped mountain that overlooks Cape Town. Just like any hiking trip, the climb can be very hard and taxing, but the view from up the mountain is just spectacular. You can see all of Cape Town from up there. If the idea of hiking up the mountain does not appeal to you, don’t worry; there’s a cable car service to the summit.

ROBBEN ISLAND

Where: Cape Town

Robben Island is famous for many things such as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to the prison where South Africa’s prisoners hid during the Apartheid era. Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned in Robben Island too.  According to Africa’s history, that Robben Island was once a leper colony, a place where mentally ill patients were sent and a defense training base.

Usually, the people leading the tours to Robben Island are former political prisoners who have a lot to share of Africa’s political history.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: Phalaborwa

If you think the view from the Table Mountain is spectacular, then wait till you visit Kruger National Park. This place is the very definition of breathtaking. It boasts of a diverse collection of flora and fauna—336 types of trees, 34 types of amphibians, 49 kinds of fish, 112 different kinds of reptiles, 147 kinds of mammals, and a whopping 507 different species of birds.

THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

Where: Krugersdorp

Situated just 50 km away from Johannesburg, The Cradle of Humankind is made up of a complex of limestone caves where scientists have discovered fossils dated back to the birth of humankind. It is said that man’s earliest known ancestors evolved from the Cradle of Humankind.

I hope this list can help you guys if you ever decide to visit Africa. It is a place that will leave you with some amazing impressions and wonderful, unforgettable memories.

Gorilla Trekking Tips

One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had while living in Africa would have to be the time when I saw mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Up close.

The first time I was invited to a Gorilla Trekking party, a few years ago, I did not hesitate to say yes. I wanted to go even though I was uncertain as to what I would see or how I would feel. I said yes, in the spirit of adventure.

When I first saw the gorillas, I felt as though I were meeting some old, distant relatives—albeit more hairy than me. I took a lot of photos of the gorillas, but then I had to put my camera away so that I could just observe them. Please note that I was just a few feet away from these animals. I watched them without bars, fence, glass or rumbling safari car. Nothing stood between us and the gorillas and they calmly let us watch them. Up close, we were able to get a glimpse of what it is to be part of their world.

If anyone of you decides to go on a safari adventure in East Africa, do consider visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Congo or in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is fun, but it is unlike traditional safaris as it requires more active participation. My advice is that you plan ahead so that you won’t come unprepared in case you face challenges along the way. If you do push through with Gorilla Trekking, here are some helpful tips to make your experience a memorable one.

WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

When picking out clothes for this activity, remember two things: muddy trails and changing weather. You might want to wear shirts made of synthetic materials that dry quickly. It can get quite warm and muggy in the forest, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing. If you and the group stop to rest after a few hours of hiking, it’s best to cool down with clothing made of fleece. It’s also necessary to bring a raincoat or a waterproof rain jacket as rainstorms normally happen in the forest. Always wear pants made of synthetic material. Avoid wearing shorts.

WEAR THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR

I’d suggest wearing above the ankle boots. You’ll likely walk through ankle-deep or even knee-deep mud and everyone knows this is no fun. Sometimes the mud could even suck the boots right off your feet so wear gators over your boots.

BRING ENOUGH FOOD AND WATER

There are no stores where you can buy food and water on national parks so, be sure to pack a liter of water and some snacks with you. I suggest packing energy bars as they don’t take up too much space in the bag and they can stave off hunger for a few hours.

These are just some of the things you need to know when getting ready for Gorilla Trekking. Once you’ve reached the destination, be sure to take a lot of photos to document the success of your Gorilla Trek.  Have fun!

 

Birthday Barbecue in Africa

Our son’s birthday is nearing in a few weeks and I’m getting pretty excited about throwing him a party. Planning a birthday is really exciting but it’s expensive and can be very tiring as well. Good thing I have my wife help me out with the party planning. Parties won’t be complete would good food and I ask our son what kind of food he’d like to have on his birthday and he said without any hesitation: “I want barbecue and ice cream!”

If there is one thing in the world that I would not tire of eating every day, it would be barbecue. I reckon my barbecue addiction must have rubbed off our son because he seems to love it just as much as I do. Now, I love barbecue but here in Africa, particularly Johannesburg, it seems to be a national obsession. In fact, men here seem to take pride in barbecuing. There’s even a reality show on South African TV called “The Ultimate Braai Master”. Braai is the Afrikaans equivalent for barbecue, I guess.

I’m pretty excited about barbecuing meat for my son’s birthday only I have a teeny problem with that—our barbecue grill broke a month ago. We could just buy barbecue from the nearest barbecue joints but our son wouldn’t want that—he’s always bragged about how his dad makes the best barbecued pork briskets.

Fortunately, my friend, Kade, volunteered to help us out. He owns an electric smoker, which he claims, is a lot better than traditional smokers. He said I could borrow it if I don’t have time to buy a new BBQ grill. I was a bit confused because, as far as I know, smokers are used for smoking meat. How would that help me with grilling barbecued meat?

We went over to Kade’s house and he showed me his electric smoker. Electric food smokers, he said are efficient and versatile. They can smoke, grill and barbecue meat, fish and vegetables. He showed me how the device works and I can say I’m pretty impressed. The fact that this smoker can be used indoors was impressive as well.

Learning how to operate the smoker was easy so I got the hang of it in just a few minutes. I thought the vertical electric smoker couldn’t impress me more until Kade showed me how to barbecue meat using it. He just set the timer and said we could leave it alone and the meat be done by then. He said I could just set the device and let it do its own thing. With this I could cook barbecue while watching TV, surfing the net or talking with my friends on the phone. Who invented this device? I want to give him/her a big thank you hug! Haha!

Because I got curious about electric smokers, I did some research and learnt a lot of useful things about it on the internet. It seems that Wikipedia has got everything you need from reviews to basic information about electric smokers. I’m definitely getting an electric smoker, but for the meantime I’ll be using Kade’s for my son’s birthday bbq party. I can’t wait to start using it!

Things you need to pack and have whenever you travel!

Travelling is fun, and exciting, especially when it is your first time to go across the country, or overseas. But it can be pretty intimidating and nerve-wracking if it is your first time, too. No matter where you are travelling, you need to have a good list of stuff to bring. The truth is, you already have and own most of the things you need. You just have to put it in your suitcase and next thing you know, you’re already boarding up the plane or loading the car to get there.

But there are a few thing that you just overlook, or never realize how useful they are when travelling. Most of these stuff are not expensive, and so compact that you can effortlessly squeeze them in your luggage without a fuss.

• The backup phone has a right line. – Your awesome and high tech phone may come in handy when you are overseas. The phone connection may be not. When travelling, you need a cheap phone, and Broadconnect VOIP service to contact your relatives whenever you feel nervous or excited about something. A cheap phone are not a target for thieves, as well.

• Power strip – This power strip may come in handy at various times. When you are at the airport and in need of a recharge, but alas! There’s outlet shortage. You can use your multi-socket power strip to help share power from a single public outlet. Who knows? You may even make a friend while sharing! Plus, power strips also comes in handy when you’re in a hotel. Here’s a great tip; Charge all of your devices in one multi-socket power strip. This way you never have to forget any gadget behind.

• Adapter and Converter – Electricity voltage varies from country to country, so you will need these to charge your beloved gadgets!

• Baby wipes or Moist Towel – Can you just stop for a minute and think about all the stuff you can do with baby wipes? These handy dandy towelettes are not just for infants! They can help you sanitize everything from your hands, to tray tables, armrest, earphones, doorknobs, tabletops, spoon and fork, and practically just about anything you touch on a public area! A bit too germaphobic? Nah, just making sure you’re clean! Plus you can also use these on your skin as a refreshing face cloth or to wipe your sweat and moisturize your complexion after a lengthy day outside.

• Duct tape – You are probably thinking “What? Duct tape?” Yes, duct tape! Duct tape is pretty versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. You can bandage up exploded luggage, patch tears in shoes, clothing, bag, etc. You can also use duct tape to remove lint from your clothing. And when you’re travelling with a baby, you can use duct tape to baby-proof your hotel room! It helps to cover outlets, secure a drawer shut, and so much more.

• Safety Pins – These pins may be small, but you won’t believe how useful they can be! These safety pins can be used to replace a missing button of your shirt. It can be used as a zipper pull as well. For your bags, use safety pins to clasp the zippers and put it together. Safety pins are very useful in making problems solved easily.

• Travel Mug or a tumbler – these items can be used for your drinks, but they can also do more than that. You can also put your most valuable belongings such as your sunglasses, money, souvenirs, phones and so much more inside a travel mug. It will help you prevent damaging your stuff, and make your important stuff an unlikely target for thieves. Just make sure your tumbler has got a secure screw top.

Well, there you go! The next time you go plan for a trip, do not forget to include these simple tips down to your list. Happy travelling!

Introducing the outdoor sport – throwing knife

I always try to find the nature way to stay healthy. Exercise is something that I always recommend doing. But one shouldn’t forget that mood and mind also play an important role in your health. This time I am going to introduce a sport which is a bit uncommon, but it can definitely help you release stress – knife throwing.
Human being has learned how to throw a knife before inventing words. It was used by people for hunting purposes. Then, gradually it has become a weapon used in wars. Later, it was seen in many circuses as entertainment as the thrower has to hit a certain point on a revolving wheel. In the early 18th century, it has evolved into an entertaining sport.

Knife Throwing is a fun and healthy sport

Knife throwing is easy to lean and it is great fun. For me, it is just a hobby and I play it casually with friends and family. But for the more serious players, knife throwing is a a professional career. The championships are organized all over the world on professional level. So, practicing this weapon could lead you to become a professional sportsman.

I remember the first time I threw a knife without having any prior practice. I was reading an article about the no-spin technique that I read on a website and I decided to give it a go. Somehow I hit the target and I felt amazing. I think the best thing about this sport is you can play it on your own, or you can play it with a group of friends. It is more fun when it comes to compete with my friends to get the highest score. You also don’t need a lot of equipment; all you need are some throwing knives and a wooden board. It helps me to get out of stress and it gives me a healthier social life as I hang out a lot more with friends nowadays just to throw knives together.

There are many types of knife throwing games one can play. These games are fun and competitive comparing to simply hitting the tree trunk with your knives. The number target game, shivs’n Daggers, knife snooker, combat contest and PIG elimination contents made knife throwing a more interesting and fun having game. Though, in all these versions of knife throwing games, the main target is to throw the knife and stick it on the target but there are colorful number and letter to hit on. The letters and numbers are colored and these colors have some extra meanings in them. The secret is to hit the different colors with different distance.

It keeps my mind clear

In my opinion, knife throwing can keep my mind clear and healthy. It is an amazing sport that requires all personal skills including correctness, memory, synchronization, body position and gesture. Every time I play it, I forget about my work, my bills and all other annoying things in life.
I love that fact that I can play it anywhere around, in the courtyard, garden, forest or anywhere as long as there is a wooden board in front of me. It does not involve huge amount of expenses to bear. I just need to buy a throwing knife of my choice. However, choosing the best throwing knife is a very long topic and here is a good article about it.

Family Trips To Africa

I have written a lot about the years that I spent in Africa, but one question I still get is where I would advise people to go on a family trip. While this does depend on many factors, like the age of your kids and what your expectations and budget are. In this post I want to give some details of a trip I helped plan for my cousin Claire. She has just returned from the trip so I have some feedback from her based on my advice.

Claire, her husband John and their twins had always wanted to go on a trip to Africa. Obviously with two kids age 4 they had a few things to consider, like safety, inoculations and travel times. For a family trip like that I advised them to consider Botswana for several reasons. It is one of the few economic and social success stories with a very politically stable environment and no conflicts.

It is also relatively easy to get to with just one stop over, which Claire decided was going to be Dubai, where they also spent a couple of days on the outbound trip. I visited Botswana on several occasion and loved the country and people. However, it is one of the more expensive destinations in Africa because in recent years it has become very popular with tourists.

One of the biggest concerns Claire had was the whole handling of the airport and flight. I directed her to some of the best family travel advice I have ever encountered. The detailed planning and spreadsheets available for free are really priceless when it comes to planning every single aspect of the trip. The BabyWheels site also gave really great advice on choosing a double or twin stroller for vacation trips.

So at this stage we had a destination, we know how to best get there, we had a plan for the travel days and we had the necessary equipment to make the trip more comfortable for the kids. Now we had to plan an itinerary around the kids.

The plan was to fly into the capital Gaborone and spend two days there to become acclimatized and to make the final preparations for the family safari trip. They were going to be meeting the organizers who were going to go through the details of the trip. They were going to be spending the majority of the time in tents, but these are not the normal tents you would encounter. These are set up on stilts and wooden frames and have a private bathroom as well.

The safari was going to last 4 days, plus two days spent in a cultural village where they would encounter indigenous tribes in their daily life. The important thing was that I had used the same tour operator and I knew that they had tailored a tour specifically for families with young kids. This basically meant that all walks and light hikes were chosen to be stroller friendly and that accommodation and transport would be fully equipped for children and babies.

Claire’s experience was incredible and I will probably write another post soon as an interview style blog entry. They enjoyed it so much that they are already planning their next trip for when the kids are a little bit older.

How Air Compressors Can Help Africa through Pressure Washers

You can help Africa by donating pressure washers which provide tons of benefits.

It is a known fact that for many African countries, lack of water is a huge problem. This is why a lot of people need aid from around the world to address their necessity. There are foundations helping in setting up new water sources to provide people access to water. There are those who need to walk far and travel just to get clean and potable water. Therefore, they need all the help they can possibly have just to provide something to quench the thirst of the entire family.

Aside from using water for drinking, it is also essential for cleaning. Lack of proper nutrition is also a major issue in Africa. Hence, when there is enough water, they can easily clean up the entire place and avoid these health issues. This is where pressure washers come in. Pressure washers allow strong force when cleaning something using only a small amount of water. It is the pressure that builds up that allows cleaning to be done quickly and with strong force. Pressure washers are possible with the help of air compressors. It is just one of the so many practical uses of air compressors. This is something that many people are not really familiar of. In order to get an air compressor, take a look at the best small air compressors. For a specific example of an air compressor that’s perfect, go for California air tools cat-6310.

A major change

With the help of pressure washers, it is now easier to clean up the entire place. Those who have dirty houses can make use of the device to instantly clean everything up. it does not take time before cleaning can be done. Aside from saving time, it saves gallons of water. Again, for countries in Africa that suffer from a devastating water crisis, this is a huge help.

This is also the reason why a lot of homes in Africa are now using pressure washers. They maximize the help given by the air compressor in cleaning up their home. It is also important to note that Africans also live a normal life like we do. They also have buildings to be cleaned, vehicles to be washed and many more. Thus, pressure washers are real game changers.

Start helping out

If you feel like you want to donate to Africa, it is best to help in kind as well. If you can buy pressure washers based on the recommended site earlier, then you are assured that your help will go a long way. These days, it is not just about donating money. It is about making sure that your help will go to the right person and right cause. Again, waster is a main problem in Africa. Hence, they need your help. With the help of pressure washers that you will donate, nutrition in Africa will be better and resources will be saved. It does not cost that much. Therefore, it won’t make you feel bad if you give a few of the amount that you have to help.

Dealing with Travel Finances – Ways to Save Money on the Road

For those of us who enjoy getting out of town and stretching our legs a bit, there’s nothing better than hitting the open road and taking a trip. Of course, with the price of gas being what it is, hotels rarely being cheap, and the unexpected costs that always seem to pop up while you’re on the road, taking a trip is not always easy on your wallet. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help make sure your next road trip doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I have found that the best thing for me has been to continually track every penny you spend. I’ve been on the road for 5+ years now, and this has changed quite a bit. My system started with a notepad and a pencil that I kept in my purse, but has since moved online. Now I use online budgeting tools and apps like Personal Capital to keep track of what I’m spending.

The first thing you need to do is eat the right way. Most people grow accustomed to eating fast food while on the road, but this is not a good move for your health or your finances. The first thing you can do is bring sandwiches and snacks from home, which will help provide most of your food for the first day or two, helping you to save money. After that, avoid restaurants and fast food joints, and instead find a grocery store, where you’ll be able to get all the ingredients you need to make sandwiches without spending a lot of money. If you do want to go out to eat while on a road trip, try a local establishment like a diner; those places won’t gouge you like some of the chains will, so you’ll get some local flavor without spending a lot.

Finding affordable accommodations at night is also essential to keeping your road trip costs down. If you don’t have friends along your route that you can impose upon, camping out is the next best thing, as it’ll be far cheaper than going to a hotel. Of course, not all of us are willing to “rough it” out in nature, in which case there are a slew of websites where you can book hotel rooms at a cheap rate. This takes away some of the spontaneity of traveling, but the money you’ll be able to save on lodging will be well worth it.

The next thing you need to keep your eye on is gas. Gas is usually one of the biggest costs of a road trip, but there are a few things you can do to save a little money at the pump. First, if you can avoid it, don’t fill up on weekends or holidays, as the price for gas is generally higher on these days. Make sure you’re taking the shortest route from place to place, and not necessarily the quickest, as this will cut down on money spent on gas. It’s also important not to drive too fast, because if you take your foot off the accelerator just a little, a full tank will take you a bit further than if you’re driving as fast as you can, so you lose a little time but save a little money.

Finally, look for cheap but fun recreational activities to do along the way. Road trips are ultimately about the times when you can get out of the car and experience something new and unique, but this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If you do some research before your trip, or keep your eye open during the drive, you should be able to find plenty of fun things to do and interesting sites to see that won’t cost more than a few bucks, if anything at all.

The Two Staple Weapons of African Safari

Rifle hunting is definitely the most commonly employed method on hunting trips (safaris) in the southern parts of Africa. The best caliber for the rifle, as well as the type of rifle to bring on the trip is an endlessly debated topic. Professional, seasoned hunters have their own favourites and are more than happy to share their views on the topic. In many cases, the choice of the rifle depends on the type of game you’ll be hunting, but it’s a good idea to know about the basics of guns and gunsmithing training before you get started, of which you can find here.

Double Rifles

The double rifles are a work of art, and are a staple of African safari. They are quite expensive owing to the painstaking hit and trial process which the gunsmith must endure in order to make sure that the two barrels line up at exactly the same point. Many of these guns are engraved, which can add to their cost even more. Besides the cost, these rifles are a specialty tool which isn’t absolutely necessary on a hunt. They are heavy to lug around throughout the day, and though they can be augmented with scope modifications, this can upset their excellent balance, defeating their actual purpose. Certain lighter calibers are available, but the double is essentially a heavy caliber weapon – its ammunition is costly, and can be heavy to carry around in its own right. The double is a stocky rifle and can aim rapidly, just like any common shotgun. It is meant to be used at close quarters, so you will have to be within 60 yards of the target to make sure the gun’s barrels cross. This rifle shows its strength when hunting dangerous game. It holds two cartridges, as opposed to the 3 to 5 which bolt action rifles hold, however, it is still the quickest way to shoot twice at the target, and this can prove vital in a dangerous hunting situation.

Bolt Action Rifles

This is the most commonly used rifle in African hunting trips, and is famous for its legendary accuracy and strength. Able to carry between 3 and 5 rounds, it is some serious firepower in your hand. Combine it with a telescopic sight and you’ve got a weapon that served the snipers of the Second World War. Aiming with iron sights can be challenging because you’ve got to line up the target with both the front and rear sights, which is why many people today prefer scopes – all you have to do is place the crosshairs or the dot over the target and pull the trigger. A piece of advice here though, always have iron sights as a backup on your scoped rifle when you come to Africa. Scopes can be somewhat fragile and may get damaged, or fail, making them essentially useless. This can happen at an unfortunate time i.e. right when you spot excellent game from afar, and your expensive bolt action rifle with its damaged scope will be nothing more than a beautiful showpiece, that you can used as a club if push comes to shove.

The Beauty of Durban South Africa

Africa is a beautiful place, but because of the Ebola scare, it’s gotten one more negative in the notches of its difficult history. It’s gotten so bad that people assume that the whole country is in danger of outbreak when in reality, only two places were infected with the disease. Africa is huge and is filled with so many places that you can visit without ever having to worry about your safety. The southern part of the continent plays host so many different cities and natural spots that it would be impossible to list them all down in one list. Here are some cities and trips you can take when you visit South Africa.

Stellenbosch

If you take a ride out of Cape Town, one might think you would be visited by arid desert and empty savannah. That is a very false assumption because the outskirts of the city are actually very green. In fact, one of the most popular exports that Stellenbosch boasts of is the wine that comes directly from their own little wine country. They offer walking tours of their wineries, fields, and they also offer their bottles straight from their racks.

Durban

Durban is another one of those cities that holds a reputation for a lack of safety. However, over a few years the city has grown into an impressive little cosmopolitan with a lot to offer tourists. Its shores are particularly golden all year round, and crashing waves make it a great place for the surfing backpackers. The city is a melting pot of many cultures, the majority being the Indian population and that makes Durban even more unique. If you have the time, check out the House of Curries as it offers a variety of delicious meals with a distinctly Indian touch.

Hermanus

One of the rarest activities you can participate in when you go to South Africa is whale watching. You can do this from several different locations, but if you want to settle in a city with plenty to do, then you should totally place Hermanus on your visiting list. If you arrive at the right time of year, you can watch them play from early morning right until the dusk starts to touch the horizon.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

One simply cannot visit Africa without taking in the natural beauty of their wildlife. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is special in that not many tourists visit it. The park spans over 38,000 square kilometers and is highly protected. The relative isolation and lack of human disturbance allow rare animals to thrive in the park. You can participate in the various trips and viewings with guides that understand the lay of the land.

You can believe me when I say that Africa has many more treats in store for the intrepid adventurer. Despite what people think, the continent is not an arid desert, however you might need to review water ionizer consumer reports found here for potable drinking source. All you’ll need to do is to pick a location and plan your trip through this wonderfully diverse landscape.

My Trek Across Canada’s Mountainous Region

During my five year stay in Africa, I acquired a taste for escaping on adventures to far off regions. I enjoyed the anticipation that accompanies adventures – the thrill that there is always something new to see, waiting around the bend. After having made the move to Canada, the sweltering African sun had been replaced by the mild to chilly Canadian clime, and I felt as if new adventures awaited me now.

Last summer I rented out a Jeep Renegade for a road trip around the Canadian Rockies through the picturesque national parks in British Columbia and Alberta. The area was filled with open vistas and tons of wildlife.

My trip started in Calgary, where I rented out a 2014 model Renegade SUV. I opted for the compact Jeep because it would provide more mobility in the outdoors, and also because it had been a while since I had driven an SUV in open country. To get my hands warm behind the wheel, I decided to initially forego the Trans-Canada highway, opting for a more serene and winding route to Canmore – the 1A West.

Next up was Banff National Park, as I drove north along the famed Icefields Parkway. Travelling past the serene turquoise blue lakes and snow-covered glaciers, I saw (and photographed) plenty of elk and deer along the sides of the road. Eventually, I drove into the town of Jasper, where I grabbed some sustenance and took respite from the unfiltered natural beauty and crisp air bombarding my senses. I spent the night at a nearby hostel, before embarking onto the Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle

I continued my adventure in the Rockies by reversing my direction and speeding back through the Icefields Parkway to see totally different views. I stopped for some hours to stretch my legs by hiking to the summit of Parker Ridge, which provided a fantastic view of Mount Athabasca and the impressive, slow-moving Saskatchewan Glacier meandering in the valley below.

I met a fellow adventurer on an old Harley Davidson motorbike, who was headed to the Golden Triangle, a bike route which goes through 3 different national parks – Kootenay, Yoho and Banff. Regretting that I couldn’t take part in this exhilarating journey myself, I resolved to visit again next year on a motorbike (I also made learning how to ride a motorcycle a part of the resolution!).

My next destination was Golden, BC, a small-town that wasn’t as busy as Banff, and didn’t cost as much either. It was in the vicinity of five national parks, an excellent place to catch some R & R before heading off to Kootenay National Park. The road sliced smack into the Sinclair Canyon before curving into the wilderness along the frigid waters of the Kootenay. It was fun taking those bends with the Jeep.

Having concluded (as best I could with my Jeep) the Golden Triangle, I drove back to Calgary to return the vehicle. I hadn’t felt this alive since my days in Africa.

I managed to come home well in time, not that I was worried – my house was in the able hands of a professional house sitter, who was meticulous in her care, right down to the way she regularly watered the pot plants on my kitchen sink, highly recommend house-sitting-kelowna.ca! I can’t wait for my next adventure in Canadian back-country, and I’ll definitely be inviting her again.

Game Hunting in Africa

Game hunters are always running into people interested in protecting the environment, so that can make hunting difficult. This issue will continue as long as the hunting spirit remains in the minds of today’s hunters. Hunting for food is a widely accepted, though hunting for sport is not. But when it boils down to hunting in Africa, there are varying kinds of struggles that seem to never end. Hunters can leave these on the side and continue their passion to hunting game in the wilderness once they’re in Africa.

Make sure that when you’re hunting in africa, you bring the right gear out. Hunting there is far different from hunting in the states, which I grew up doing. Everything is different, so it’s wise if you be prepared. For tips on what to bring while hunting, check out Hunter Insight , or read through some of their buying guides.

Note: Poaching is illegal, and it is bad for the species. Many african big game species have been hunted to the point of extinction, and only with heavy protections are beginning to come back. Make sure to comply with all local laws and regulations when hunting in Africa.

With regulations now allowing local and international hunters to have ample room to hunt in Africa, the country now is an exotic game haven for those looking to flex their hunting muscles. It should be noted that not all of the species below can be hunted due to various restrictions, or need to be hunted on game farms. Here are some of the most known wild game seen in the country today:

Crocodile
Crocs are also there for hunting in africa, and can be done in many places in africa (as well as the US). If you’re looking to add a little danger to your hunt, look no further than the croc, which has a huge temper and moves quick.

Hippopotamus
Hippos are known to have killed more humans in Africa than other animals. These animals are highly territorial and unpredictable. They’re known for tipping boats they feel are infiltrating their water territory. A single chomp from a hippo is equivalent to a shocking bite force of 1,821 pounds. It has a charging force of 8,000 pounds and can run at speeds between 18 to 30 mph.

Cape Buffalo
Known individually as the “Black Death,” these animals are highly dangerous and are known to be have killed more animals than the hippopotamus. Males have an average height of 6 feet while weighing a muscle-heavy 1,750 pounds. A savannah females are heavier at over 2,200 pounds with running speeds of up to 35 mph. This is one of the Africa “big 5″ species.

Bears
These animals are considered to be the most perilous to take down, not only because of their immense size, but they’re very intelligent and with a keen sense of smell that can track anything from a distance. Males can weight anywhere from 800 to 1,500 pounds. They have a towering height of 7 to 10 feet and possess razor sharp claws.

Wild Boar
Experienced wild game hunters say a wild boar are twice as dangerous to hunt compared to a bear. Packed with thick-sharp tusks and intelligence, a boar can weigh as much as 660 pounds and showcase an unpredictable and ultra-aggressive behavior. These animals tend to circle a human and can charge from behind.

Lions and leopards
Lions and leopards are some of the trickiest and dangerous mammals to hunt. Both cats have superb night vision, intelligence, speed, and agility. They’re known to be nocturnal hunters and are difficult to take down in the dark. They make full of their senses including their smell and hearing. This is one of the Africa “big 5″ species.

These wild game examples are what most seasoned hunters are after in Africa. But not all of them are spotted in all seasons. Hunting them requires kill and patience to achieve a successful take down.

Proper Travel With an Air Mattress

Taking an air mattress with you on your vacation / travel / tour can make all the difference between a comfortable sleep and staying awake in discomfort, at times. Whether it’s a solo trip or a family affair, a portable air bed will help you save money during a stay at a local hotel, and enable you to rest easy on camping expeditions. Even though you might be concerned about travelling with a bulky mattress on your back, this is rarely the case. Air mattresses occupy a very small space in your car’s trunk during road trips, and you can fold them up to fit in your carry-on or suitcase while on foot. Whether it is sleeping under the open sky or crashing at a buddy’s home, this post will be your guide to travelling with an air mattress.

  • Embrace simplicity: Even though new air beds often come with double mattresses to provide the most comfort, you should stick with single air beds if you want to enjoy true portability on your journey. To have the most ease during packing, spend money on an air mattress that comes with valves which allow self-inflation and deflation.
  • Fold here: When you’re packing the air mattress, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve folded it in the most efficient way you can. First of all, you need to get rid of any extra air that may be trapped inside the mattress. Begin at one end and force all the air out of it with your hand. Now fold the tent into half along the length, then along the width and repeat this cycle. Keeping doing this until you’ve got your air mattress folded into quarters. After this is done, roll the mattress to make it fit in a narrow space, or fold it into quarters to pack it flat.
  • Keep your mattress covered: Once the mattress has been folded, you should put it away in a carrying case. This will keep it from puncturing and will make sure that it won’t be shifting around as you go about your journey. The majority of air mattresses incorporate a protective cover, but if you have misplaced yours or your mattress didn’t come with one, you can make a cover of your own quite easily. All you need to do is take a pillowcase, cut out two slits on both sides of its hem, then thread a tough string through it to tie it securely.
  • Be ready: Make sure that you have some substitutes for your main mattress when you’re travelling to make sure that your bed remains in the best condition possible – here’s an excellent review of some great air mattresses where you can find mattresses that match your budget and requirements. Take an extra pump along with the primary one if you have a mattress that doesn’t self-inflate.

There’s also a chance that your mattress could develop a leak (although this is quite rare, since most manufacturers use top-notch materials to construct the mattress) so you should pack in some specialty patches just in case.

How to Prepare to be a Professional Archer

You can always do better in archery if you focus well and set your mind in what you are doing.

Anyone who is really interested in being an archer can do so by practicing on the basics. In fact, a lot of people have archery as their hobby. If you want to make it as a hobby, then you can go ahead and learn the basics from experts as well. However, if you want to go beyond just an ordinary hobby, then you can train to be a professional archer. There are a lot of things that you have to go through though if you want to take this field really seriously.

Spend more time practicing

Archery as a hobby would take only a few hours of your time every day. In fact, you can only do it whenever you feel like doing it. However, when you want to train as a professional, you have to spend more time for practices. A few hours a week won’t suffice. You need to devote your time just to be better. You also need to divide your time on what you need to focus on each practice.

Find the right equipment

As the cliché goes, you cannot go to a war without the right weapon. The same thing is true for archery. You cannot be a professional archer if you don’t have the best crossbow. You need the best one in order to be a cut above the rest. You also have to get used to your instrument. You have to set it up and tune it every now and then. You also have to find a way to improve the equipment whenever needed. You can find the PSE Surge Review and read this review of a bow suitable for beginners.

Preparing for the tournament

You need to prepare for different tournaments if you wish to go big as a professional archer. As a beginner, you have to lower your expectations. You can join some small tournaments first. If you feel like you are doing well, then you can move on to bigger tournaments. You might also have to check out your schedule to see if you can join the tournament or if you even have enough funds. As you are to embark on a tournament, you have to spend more time to practice and you have to manage a more complicated schedule this time.

Physical preparation

Even if you only use a few parts of your body to be a professional archer, you still have to ensure that you are in perfect shape. This sport is about strength and agility. Therefore, you need to have the best shape to do well. Otherwise, you will have a hard time controlling your body. You also need to check if you can sustain long practices without affecting your performance since actual tournaments are very long.

Mental preparedness

Aside from being a physical sport, archery is also a mind game. You need concentration and focus. If not, you will have difficulty hitting the targets. You need to find a way to focus on this aspect since no matter how good you are if you are not mentally prepared for the tournament, you will have a hard time.

Go ahead and start your preparations now.

Food and Healthy Living for Breastfeeding Moms

A well balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is something that every one of us should take a very serious look. This is especially true for nursing moms. The reason for that is that she is no longer just making effort for her own body but for her child as well. In other words, a nursing mother should more than responsible in ensuring she is in excellent condition at all times.

Among the best ways for a nursing mom to achieve excellent physical health is by monitoring her fluid and food intake. This will help her not only to be in great shape but also to produce substantial milk for her child.

Here are some basic practices a nursing mom should seriously follow:

Do not deprive yourself of food

Normally, we should cut our calorie intake. But in the case of a nursing mom, the added calories are definitely needed if you are to hope to boost your energy so you could perform nursing duties to her child. You could get the much needed calories from whole-grain bread, peanut butter, fruits like banana and apple, and of course a fat-free yogurt.

Fruits and vegetables are also great in helping you produce more milk for the baby. It would also be an excellent idea to vary the food you eat so that your milk will have more variation in terms of flavor. This will greatly help your child develop the ability to appreciate different tastes.

Other than your food intake, also closely watch your fluid intake. It is advisable to always have a bottle of water with you wherever you may go, most especially during feeding time.

Ensure consistent feeding

Consistent feeding of the baby, especially during the first 6 months, is very healthy not only for the baby but for you as the mother as well. Consistent feeding means there is constant changing of milk as your body produces more and more as a result of your balanced diet. Yes, there are moments when you cannot feed the baby.

The best way to compensate for situations such as this is to use breast pumps. These tools are perfect for pumping and storing milk on a feeding bottle so you can feed anytime. This is perfect for working moms as well as during travels. If you want to learn more about them, you can check out breast pump reviews from this site.

Having a healthy eating habit couple with good exercise can get you a long way especially when you are breastfeeding. Just remember, you have to have enough so you can give something for your baby.

Breastfeeding is a healthy way of raising a child. However, some women fear it because they think that when it is all over, getting back their figure is a difficult task. If you are a bit worried about your figure when all this breastfeeding is over, it would be a good thing to entertain breast augmentation. You would find that doing so would also be healthy for you psychologically. You can learn more about this topic such as breast implants cost at http://www.breastprocedures.org/.

Keeping Your Kitchen Clean While Making Great African Food

Seriously, can you keep your kitchen clean as you cook dishes that require a lot of processes, utensils, and equipment? Apparently, it’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible. There are techniques you can employ to minimize the mess you make as you cook. Do these in addition to the tips you can get from http://www.finecooking.com/ and you should be able to prepare great dishes with very minimal mess.

  • Position the garbage bowl in a strategic place. One thing you don’t want to do while you cook is going to the trash bin over and over again in an attempt to keep things neat as you do the cooking. You can eliminate the tediousness by having a temporary garbage bowl in some strategic position where you can easily throw the scraps, peelings, and other trash. Of course, this doesn’t have to be a bow. It can be any container large enough and capable of containing messy liquids dripping from your kitchen trash.
  • Cut, peel, or do other messy things near the sink. Make it easy to clean your knife and the rest of things you use to prepare your ingredients by doing the cutting, peeling, dicing, slicing, or chopping near the sink. Just remember not to clog the sink. Don’t allow trash to accumulate on the water filter of the drain.

  • Make it a habit not to throw or leave trash anywhere. Pick any mess you find as much as possible. A few peelings or wrappers scattered around can already make the “instinct” of messing around kick in. There’s this tendency hidden in most people’s subconscious that since some trash are already scattered, it’s okay to not care about the mess and just do the cleaning later on.
  • Try to limit the number of utensils, containers, and dishes you use. The less utensils and equipment you use, the easier it will be to clean things up. It also forces you to be efficient. Unless the recipe is sensitive to the unprescribed mixing of ingredients, you can use the same measuring cups and containers after a little washing.
  • You may need to rearrange your kitchen. Some kitchens are just so thoughtlessly arranged that they make it difficult to cook efficiently. It’s okay to have spacious living and dining rooms but the kitchen preferably has to make things close to each other, without being too cramped up. The sink should not be too far from the stove and the area where you prepare your ingredients. Also, additional lighting or better ventilation may help you become more efficient as you move around.
  • Always have rags around. As much as possible, spilled liquid ingredients should not be allowed to stand. They become difficult to clean when they dry up. There should be rags that can be easily reached to do quick cleaning.
  • Be good in carrying out cooking procedures. If you still don’t know how to beat eggs without spilling them or if you still chop or mince ingredients without spreading a generous portion into the table or floor, you must try improving your skills.
  • After you transfer the dish from the kettle or pan, put water into them. This is to prevent leftovers from toughening. The heat left in them can help dissolve the portions that may have stuck on the pan or kettle. For greasy dishes, you can add dishwashing liquid with the water.

Don’t be too disappointed if you can’t really keep your kitchen mess-free as you cook. The goal here is not to make things appear like nothing is going on. It’s more on reducing the cleaning task that will have to be carried out later on. After all, the focus should always be on making the food you cook great. It’s like doing the right things on how to become a nutritionist. You want to make the process smooth and hassle-free but ultimately, the purpose is the mastery of nutrition, not the mastery of the steps.

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