Asanja Africa: Finding the Perfect Mix of Wilderness and Luxury in the Serengeti

Asanja Africa Luxury Tented Camp Serengeti lodging hotel

Asanja Africa provided the perfect balance of wilderness and luxury for us while staying in the Serengeti. The Serengeti, one of the world’s most amazing wildlife areas, is the perfect place to enjoy a stay in a small tented camp. Located in the southern central area of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Asanja Africa is a tented camp that offers seven well-appointed luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms and private verandas. Each of the seven tents are individually decorated based on a different Maasai ceremony so that each one has a unique theme and style. Because of the camp’s small size and location you can have an authentic wilderness experience while still enjoying a comfortable bed, warm shower, great food, and personalized service. Ethan and I enjoyed the scenic views of the Serengeti plains and Moru kopjes during the day and listened to the sounds of hyenas and lions in the evening! Read the Rest…

Top 10 Things to do in the Serengeti

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The Serengeti is one of the most famous national parks in Africa and offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world; however, there are a number of others things to do in the Serengeti other than game drives. The Serengeti has earned the titles of one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa” and one of the “Ten Natural Travel Wonders of the World” for being the site of the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world (about 2 million animals!). However, even without the Great Migration, the park sports the densest lion population in the world and is home to all members of the Big Five and almost 500 bird species. The Serengeti fits well into most people’s dream of an African safari with its abundant wildlife, vast golden plains dotted with thorny umbrella acacia trees, kopjes, and sausage trees, and its crocodile and hippo-filled rivers. When Read the Rest…

Sleeping on the Rim of Ngorongoro Crater at Ang’ata Ngorongoro Camp

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The first tented camp we ever stayed in was Angata Ngorongoro Camp, a camp situated on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. If you go on safari in Tanzania, your itinerary will almost inevitably include the Ngorongoro Crater. Descending into the crater is a bit like entering the mythical Garden of Eden as it is teeming with wildlife and probably offers the best opportunity to see a black rhino in Tanzania. Angata Ngorongoro Camp sits on the northern rim of the crater near the Lemala Gate. The small camp has 8 eco-friendly luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms, outdoor seating areas, hot showers, and even warm robes. At night, you can view the sunset from the outdoor seating area of your tent and then walk with one of the security guards to the Lounge for drinks or the Mess Tent for dinner. The camp’s great location allows for a quick morning Read the Rest…

Fashionable Camera Straps from iMo

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Ethan and I just invested in our first DSLR camera this summer in preparation for our trip to Africa, and I loved having the opportunity to accessorize it with a fashionable camera strap from iMo. This Hong Kong based company sells cotton tape, neoprene, jacquard, and leather camera straps that can be used for a variety of cameras, including mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras. The most unique aspect of the company is the large variety of available camera strap designs offered at affordable prices. Far from the boring logo-imprinted black and brown nylon straps that accompany most camera purchases, these straps are colorful, bold, fun, and unique. Interested in a new camera strap that fits your personality? Read on for our review of our iMO camera strap that was field-tested on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in the back of a Land Cruiser traversing the rough dirt roads of the Serengeti, Read the Rest…

Top 10 Things to Do in Karatu Tanzania

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 On our recent trip to East Africa, we spent two days in the colorful town of Karatu Tanzania which served as a relaxing pause from our wildlife safari. Located along the northern safari circuit, Karatu serves as gateway to the Ngorongoro Highlands and is located between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater. Due to its location, many safari goers end up overnighting or stopping here for a quick break earning it the nickname “Safari Junction”. The busy downtown of Karatu is a mix of old and new with safari vehicles, local buses, and brightly colored  tuk-tuks riding alongside Maasai herders and ox-carts, while just outside town cultivated Iraqw farms and villages merge into the green vegetation of the Ngorongoro Forest. If you do an Internet search for top things to do in Karatu Tanzania, you may end up with the erroneous impression that there is nothing to do in this town. In addition Read the Rest…

Karatu Simba Lodge: Eco-friendly Lodging with Stunning Views in Karatu Tanzania

Karatu Simba Lodge hotels in Karatu Tanzania

Karatu Simba Lodge is a new eco-friendly lodge located near the Ngorongoro Forest in Tanzania. Many safari travelers stop for a night in Karatu because of its strategic location between Lake Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Karatu Simba Lodge is committed to environmental conservation with its reliance on solar power and emphasis on water conservation; however, the lodge also offers all the amenities that weary safari travelers will be wanting after a day of bumpy, dusty roads, including en-suite flush toilets and hot showers, wireless internet, a swimming pool, complimentary afternoon tea and coffee, and nightly campfires. The lodge sits off the main road along the northern safari circuit amongst a series of small farms and offers beautiful views to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Forest. If you’re lucky you might even get to spot elephants, buffalo, baboons, or other animals wandering outside the forest from the safety of Read the Rest…

Kissing Giraffes, Baby Elephants, and a Danish Lady: How to Spend a Day in Nairobi

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During our recent trip to Kenya, we had to decide how to best spend a day in Nairobi since we had only a limited amount of time in the city. It may have started as a small British rail depot, but Nairobi is now Kenya’s capital, the most populous city in eastern Africa, and a major business, political, and financial hub in Africa. Nairobi is one of the largest cities in Africa and a growing one. We were quite surprised by both the amount of construction and industry and the significant presence of major international corporations in the city. At the same time, Nairobi, like many large cities, struggles with issues of crime, poverty, and unemployment. Wealthy suburbs like Karen and Lang’ata stand in marked contrast to the nearby slums of Kibera, demonstrating a large social and economic divide. Most tourists arrive at the NBO airport and then head out the next Read the Rest…

Fine European Dining at Machweo Wellness Retreat near Arusha Tanzania

Machweo Wellness Retreat and Fine Dining Onesa House Arusha Tanzania gourmet dining

The day we completed our trek of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we headed back to Arusha to enjoy the warm beds and gourmet dining at Machweo Wellness Retreat & Fine Dining. We were told during our recent trip to Africa that “you don’t come to Tanzania for the food”, which is likely true given the stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, and endearing people to be found in this enchanting country. Ethan and I found the food to be quite tasty throughout our travels in Tanzania, but travelers looking for restaurants serving up gourmet dishes may be hard-pressed to find good options. Tucked away in the green hills just outside of Arusha, travelers will be pleased to discover not only a small boutique hotel but a restaurant that has been critically acclaimed for its European-African fusion four-course gourmet meals. Sitting side-by-side Onsea House and Machweo are two properties jointly run by the Janssens, a Read the Rest…

Our Charity Climb of Mount Kilimanjaro for Climb for Sight

Mount Kilimanjaro Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb for Sight Vision for the Poor charity climb Kili

This past January Ethan and I made the decision to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to help support a non-profit organization called Vision for the Poor. Through our climb, we raised donations from both individual and corporate sponsors to be used to support the treatment of children and families in need of sight-saving eye surgery and new eyeglasses in Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and Tanzania. We just completed the climb about one week ago and Ethan summited and got to stand on the top of Africa as Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 ft. (5,895 meters)! Neither of us are mountain climbers and while Mt. Kilimanjaro does not require technical climbing, it is quite a difficult trek because of the altitude and the final steep ascent at the top. I found this out first hand as while Ethan successfully Read the Rest…

Thai Nguyen: A Visit to Vietnam’s Tea Region with Footprint Travel

Thai Nguyen tea region Vietnam Footprint Travel tea tour from Hanoi

As tea lovers, Ethan and I were excited to visit the Thai Nguyen province with Footprint Travel’s Tea & Bike Tour. Thai Nguyen province is the premiere tea growing region of Vietnam and is famous not only for its green tea, but also for its beautiful Nui Coc Lake and mountain scenery. Located about 2 hours from Hanoi, this region is a popular local vacation destination for Vietnamese travelers who want to relax on and around Nui Coc Lake, but has yet to be widely promoted as a tourist destination for Westerners. A great place to add to your Vietnam trip itinerary if you appreciate tea and/or want a break from crowded Hanoi. There is much to do in this scenic province, but we focused our visit specifically on the tea-related attractions. Our private day tour from Hanoi with Footprint Travel included stops at a local tea growing plantation, a Read the Rest…

Drinks with a View: 10 Best Rooftop Bars in Ho Chi Minh City

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We love to find places that offer good views of a new city and the rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City provided not only an excellent opportunity to get a good orientation to the city, but also the chance to savor some delicious cocktails. Ho Chi Minh City, often still referred to as Saigon, is a booming city on the rise—quite literally! You’ll see the shorter historical French colonial buildings next to giant sleek glass-and-steel skyscrapers throughout the downtown area making for an interesting city landscape. We discovered that there are essentially two places to look for good rooftop bars in the city: hotels (old and new) and business towers. You have a wide array of choices from historical colonial-era hotels to up-and-coming glitzy nightspots, depending on whether you feel like contemplating the war-era days of Graham Greene or hanging with hipsters in a modern lounge. You can also have Read the Rest…

Our Favorite Castle in Germany: The Mighty Burg Eltz

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Burg Eltz is the German castle that has impressed us the most and currently holds the title as our favorite castle in Germany. Even in a region where it is almost impossible to not stumble over some ruined castle, this castle really stands out. Burg Eltz sits in a forested green valley alongside the babbling Elzbach Creek in the Mosel Valley, hidden away from the traffic of the main roads. Walking up (or down) to this magnificent castle provides for a really knockout view, as it looks today much as it did in 1540 when the last major part of the castle was built. Unlike the vast majority of castles along the Mosel and Rhine Rivers, this was one of the few that was not destroyed or badly damaged. Its history is quite fascinating as it has been owned within the same family since at least the 12th century and continues Read the Rest…

Guide to Halong Bay Cruises in Vietnam & Our Cruise with The Au Co

Halong Bay Cruise Vietnam The Au Co Cruises Review

Halong Bay is considered one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Vietnam, and a Halong Bay cruise is a must-do on many travelers’ lists. Imagine an emerald bay peppered with about 2,000 tiny vegetation-topped islands which feature numerous caves, lagoons, coves, and coral reefs. This breathtaking UNESCO heritage site has recently received the honor of being named one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the world and is not surprisingly one of the most popular attractions in Vietnam. Most visitors need little convincing to visit, but the array of cruise options can be daunting as hundreds of boats ply across the waters of Halong Bay each day. Cruises range widely in price and companies offer a variety of cruise lengths, itineraries, amenities, and activities. We’ll share our tips on how to choose a Halong Bay cruise, answer common questions about Halong Bay cruises, and review our own recent Read the Rest…

Dreaming of Turkey: Colorful Turkish Hammam Towels from sorbet ltd

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These colorful handwoven Turkish hammam towels from sorbet ltd have us dreaming of Turkey! Ethan and I have been thinking about visiting Turkey within the next year and we were very delighted to have the opportunity to review a set of sorbet-colored hammam towel hand-woven in rural Turkey. These towels, also called peshtemal towels, have a long and important history in Turkish social life and have been worn as clothing, used in ceremonial bathing of brides to be, and today are mainly associated with their use in traditional Turkish baths or hammams. Recently, Turkish hammam towels have also been popping up on beaches, pool lounge chairs, yachts, and in travelers’ suitcases as these towels are not only beautiful but lightweight, quick-drying, and made of natural absorbent fibers. We’ve used ours mainly as beach towels, but one of the problems we have with all beach towels is them blowing away in the Read the Rest…