The Best City In The World? Yes.

Before my very first visit to Cape Town, everyone I know who really has traveled told me that Cape Town is the best city in the world. Now, the world has a lot of great cities and I always questioned everyone’s certainty.

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

It is the best city in the world, bar none, and it’s not just my opinion.

This is a city that has only really been open to the world for the last two decades, and it still offers excellent value for money and a sense of new discovery. Small wonder then that Cape Town has – for the third year in a row – won our readers’ vote as the best city in the world to visit.

Rest of the story here. 

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This Bites. #AfricaFactFriday.

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What does you ask? Well the simple fact that for every human killed by a shark, humans kill over 2,000,000 sharks. The demonization and often complete lack of understanding of sharks makes it easy to dismiss the way they are treated – which is a tragedy on many levels, for sharks are some of the most amazing creatures on earth.

For example, sharks were swimming in the earth’s oceans for 200 million years before the dinosaurs even came along – and in all those years, they really haven’t evolved much at all. That does mean, though, that they have some pretty incredible traits – such as, some species of sharks have seven rows of teeth and one row just falls in place when the shark loses a row of teeth. Sharks can go through 30,000 teeth in their lifetime.

Now, one of the best places in the world to see sharks is in the cold clear waters off of South Africa. Diving with great whites is an an amazing, albeit, cold experience (don’t worry there are plenty of wet suits available) and the chance to see these incredible animals up close is a thrill. One of the leading experts in great white sharks will actually take you out to see them – it’s just a short drive down from Cape Town and next thing you know you’ll be on the high seas with Chris Fallows.

Chris knows a lot more about sharks than we do – so he already knows that sharks don’t have a single bone in their bodies – it’s all cartilage. He also knows that of the more than 500 species of sharks, only four are considered dangerous to humans and, again, they are far less dangerous to us than we are to them.

If you go out with Chris, you might ask him about this recently discovered fact that we find interesting – despite the fact that an equal number of men and women swim in the ocean, over 90% of shark attack victims are men.

Visiting South Africa and seeing all the amazing sights that the country has to offer is a wonderful thing. Traveling there with Travel On The Good is even better – why? Book any trip to South Africa and let us know that sharks are your thing, and we’ll donate 10% of the total cost of your trip to a shark conservation project we support in Gansbaii, South Africa.

Does that mean the trip costs you more? No not at all. We have a fully-staffed top-notch travel agency in Cape Town that will get you the best possible deals (just email us where you want to go and we”ll send you some ideas and some great prices.) It’s what happens next that makes us different – and we think better. Your typical travel agent will receive a 20-30% commission for booking your trip. And keep it. We take the same commission and donate a large portion of it to a non-profit in the part of Africa where you’re visiting.

You pay the same – or less.

The hotel, resort or safari camp where you are staying receives the same amount they usually would.

We operate a little leaner, but not meaner, and we donate 10% of the trip or 1/3rd of the commission because we think a bit more of your hard-earned travel dollars should stay on the ground in Africa and not go in travel agent’s pockets.

Now, if you’re into sharks, like really into sharks and an hour in the cage just won’t do it. Here’s some great news.

Our friends at African Impact have an amazing volunteer project that you can go on in Gansbaii – and work with the same group that we donate to.

There are more details here  African Impact is the best volunteer company in Africa and if you love sharks, this is the trip for you.

You might even get the chance to see two sharks courting. The male shark will bite the female shark to get her attention. No wonder they go through 30,000 teeth!

Lions And Lions And Lions, Oh My. Happy #AfricaFactFriday

Just to be clear, as we don’t want any disappointed readers, there aren’t any tigers in Africa. Not a single one. Well, not a single one in the wild at least. There could be one or two in zoos we suppose but frankly, who wants to travel to Africa and go to a zoo? Not us.

It’s not that the tigers are all gone, there never were any tigers here. There aren’t really bears either – there might be a sub-species of a bear around somewhere but with all due respect to “The Wizard Of Oz” if you’re headed to Africa, it’s really all about the king of the plains, the pride of Africa – lions.

Lions are the second largest cat – right after the tiger which we just mentioned. Until as recently as 10,000 years ago, lions were the second most popular mammal on earth right after humans. Now, there are, of course, a lot more humans than lions but if you want to really see lions, we highly recommend The Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya. This incredible conservancy is not only over 55,000 acres but is home to the largest pride of lions in the Mara ecosystem. Some days, the pride can be seen in its entirety with over 100 lions gathered to hunt and sleep – really just to sleep – as lions sleep for over 20 hours every single day.

Within Naboisho, there are a number of wonderful camps but we’re partial to Encounter Mara – this amazing tented camp was recently voted the “Best Tented Safari Camp In Kenya.” If you have ever been to Kenya, or even just dreamed of Kenya, well then you know that there are a lot of amazing tented safari camps so to be voted the best there, well, that’s saying something. Encounter Mara has some great specials going right now by the way – they are here. 

There’s one other thing you can do with lions – actually there are a lot of other things you can do with lions. Our good friends at African Impact have a number of amazing volunteer opportunities for you to come work, play and walk with the lions.

The highlights?

Walking with the lions in Zimbabwe and getting them ready to be re-introduced to the wild

Tracking lions, and other big predators, in South Africa.

More lions. Different country – Zambia

So if you like lions, there’s a country and a project just for you – just as lions are the kings of Africa, African Impact is king of the lion projects. While you’re there, you’ll learn more about lions than anyone will know, like they are the only cat with a tasseled tail, or that out on the plains, the roar of a lion can be heard from five miles away.

For some people, that’s close enough. For others, they want to get closer. A lot closer. 

 

 

Happy Africa Foundation. Happy #africafactfriday

This week, we were happy to announce our partnership with an amazing group, The Happy Africa Foundation. HAF does really critical important work all across Africa and, in their honor, we’re highlighting some of the amazing things that they do (we’re more than impressed and are sure you will be as well.) We’re also tossing in a few more facts about the countries and places where Happy Africa operates. So let the fun facts, and the fun retweets begin!

Here are a few fun things about Happy Africa Foundation and where they operate that we’ll be tweeting out today.

In Livingstone, Zambia, Happy Africa Foundation is working to renovate and improve the Zambezi Sawmills School. In Zambia, there are a lot of schools that need a lot of help so good thing Happy Africa Foundation is stepping up. (By the way, you can donate directly to Happy Africa Foundation here if you so desire.)

If you visit that part of Zambia though, bring your umbrella because the rainforest at the base of Victoria Falls is the only place on earth that receives rain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Further north and east, in Zanzibar, Happy Africa Foundation is helping with Nursery and Nutrition programs for children.

And, right there in Tanzania, Happy Africa Foundation is working with the Jambiani Educational English Center to facilitate English lessons and community services.

Tanzania is also home to the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit.

In the Western Cape, South Africa, Happy Africa Foundation works Sporting Chance Street Cricket. This program brings everyone together to learn this remarkable game.

Based in South Africa, and with a lot of interesting people working there, maybe Happy Africa Foundation helps give SA the third highest biodiversity in the world?Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.46.29 AM

The Happy Africa Foundation planted 14 food gardens in KwaZulu-Natal in one year.

Speaking of plantings, Table Mountain in Cape Town has over 1,500 species of plants. That’s more than the entire United Kingdom.

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Now reading about all these places is one thing but if you are interested in going to Victoria Falls and seeing the Moonbows that happen during full moons, or if you want to visit the amazing back alleys of Stone Town in Zanzibar, travel with Travel On The Good and a portion of your trip will benefit Happy Africa Foundation.

Happy Africa Fact Friday everyone. Check out our current deals and please, email Avery at avery@travelonthegood.com with questions.