An African Queen to Crown All

When on December 12, 2014 MV Mutambala, a ferry operating on Lake Tanganyika, sank in a storm there was little news coverage. The disaster claimed the lives of up to 150 passengers, mostly women and children. Strong winds and overloading are said to be the cause of the tragedy. It is not uncommon for ships … Continue reading “An African Queen to Crown All”

When on December 12, 2014 MV Mutambala, a ferry operating on Lake Tanganyika, sank in a storm there was little news coverage. The disaster claimed the lives of up to 150 passengers, mostly women and children. Strong winds and overloading are said to be the cause of the tragedy. It is not uncommon for ships operating on Lake Tanganyika to sink, usually for the same reasons.

This great lake of Africa allows us a peek into a world far apart from the mournful world we live in today. In this remote interior of the Dark Continent is still to be found evidence of German innovation, cutting-edge technology and benign colonialism. Operating on the lake today is a ship that really does appear to be unsinkable. What a remarkable history this vessel has. The 1,600 ton MV Graf von Goetzen was built in Germany in 1913 but not in a conventional way. The shipbuilders, Meyer Werft built the Graf von Goetzen in thousands of separate parts.

After assembling it to make sure all was as it should be the MV Graf von Goetzen was disassembled and its parts packed in 5,000 crates. These containers were shipped to East Africa, then a German Protectorate. Germany’s economy in 1913 was on a high as were German spirits. That year, the Kaiser’s daughter Viktoria Luise, was to marry a commoner. Like millions of fellow Europeans many thousands of Germans emigrated to Germany’s overseas colonies and protectorates.

On reaching the East African port of Dar es Salaam the thousands of crates, each containing parts of the 234 feet ferry-liner, were unloaded. The containers were then shipped across the jungle savannah to Kigoma, a small lakeside town an incredible 1,300 kilometres distant. Soon afterwards, teams of German master fitters and shipbuilders arrived and set about rebuilding the liner on the shores of the great lake. Lake Tanganyika, the second largest lake in the world and named after the Deutsch-Ostafrika protectorate, borders four countries. The length of England it is an average 50 kilometres in width.

There was little or none of the plunder and bloodletting suffered by the colonies of other European nations. James Conrad, the great Polish-English novelist, was scathing about cruelties practiced in the Belgian Congo. “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it.’

Such bliss was not set to last. In 1917, three years after the outbreak of the Great War, British troops advanced on Lake Tanganyika. To prevent the ship from falling into British hands this fine vessel was scuttled and it appeared to have met its Waterloo at the bottom of this fantastic lake. The town’s German captives were taken into captivity and were to remain in British concentration camps until 1920 two years after the war’s end.

Later raised to the surface, the Graf von Goetzen, now named Liemba, was returned to service. In 1951, it became internationally famous. The Liemba is the gunboat, Luisa, in the movie, African Queen. The stars were Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Today, this proud liner still carries passengers from township to township, delivering produce to markets, and offering a vital supply linkage to the four Central African republics.

Tsavo, a Home For the Fascinating African Animals

Tsavo Park is the largest park in Kenya and one of the biggest in the world. It is divided into Tsavo East and West. Tsavo river runs across the park but the railway line and the A 109 road divides the park into two. The famous railway line that was constructed in the 19th century also brought about the Tsavo man eaters that terrorized railway workers killing at least 35 of them. There is a lot to see in this park. You can choose to tour all of it at the same time or do it separately. Since it is divided into two, touring one section then crossing to the other section.

You will also note that the climate on both sides is very different. Tsavo East is very dry and hot while its counterpart is wetter and more humid. In Tsavo East, the main attraction is the big five, smaller animals, birds and the diverse terrain. You will encounter hundreds of animals as they go about their business in the park. The best time to adventure is late in the evening or very early in the morning. You will be able to find most animals in action, either grazing or hunting. Other than the man eaters, the park is also famous for the mane less lions. Usually, male lions grow a big heavy mane around the neck that is bright in color but it grows darker and lighter with age. The Tsavo males do not have a mane. They are also larger and heavier than most lions. Male lions are known to dominate a pride where several live with females but are dominated by one older male. In a pride of Tsavo lions, you can only find one male in each group. These males also take part in hunting and sourcing out for food for the entire group which is normally a job left to the females.

In Tsavo West, you will find the Rhino sanctuary. This was built to safeguard the dangerously decreasing numbers of the black rhino which is now an endangered species. At the sanctuary, you will also find other species threatened by extinction. Ngulia rhino sanctuary is a must visit when in Tsavo West. Other places of interest include the mzima springs which is the source of water for Mombasa town. Mudanda rock, offers an underwater natural dam that is a haven in the park. It is a source of water for the elephants and other mammals here. Yatta plateau, Aruba dam and Luggard falls are also other attractions. The Aruba dam is the main source of water for the animals in the Tsavo East especially in the dry season. This is a great place to find the animals resting, taking a dip in the dam and enjoying the cool water in the hot weather.

Choose Hotels For Your Extended Stay With Budget Hotels

When we visit any place, and want to stay for a day, a week or a month, the most basic things that we look for are the facilities, amenities and staff services of the hotel that we decide to stay. You may certainly come across many such hotels that claim to provide you with the best services in terms of facilities and amenities, but the claims are found to be otherwise when stayed there for some time.

However, certain hotels never comprise with all these essential things and even leave no stone unturned when it comes to serving their guests. It is only their best services of treating and serving their guests, they have now come into the good books of all those who are always on the lookout for comfortable, yet affordable stay.

So, if you are also among those who remain on frequent business visits, or have just planned to spend your vacations with your family, Boise, Idaho is the place in the United States of America where you will not only find affordable hotels to stay for your short, long and extended stay, but will also get the best guest treatments from the available staff which is very much courteous and welcoming. The weekly hotel rates don’t even hit hard at your pocket, rather they are lesser than the hotels facilities and amenities that you enjoy while staying there.

Boise, Idaho: where Nature plays a big part

However, before you start the journey to stay in these hotels, it is important that you do know about Boise, Idaho. To summarize this place of scenic beauty, it can be said that if you really want to enjoy the timeless architecture. Boise, Idaho is the place where nature plays a big part. It boasts of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, which serves as a backdrop. The beautifully natural city also brags of a variety of museums that comprise, but not confined to the Idaho History Museum, the Boise Art Museum, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the interactive Discovery Museum of Idaho. Besides, unique attractions that you can enjoy in the city are: Old Idaho Penitentiary and historic Pioneer Village. Old Boise offers shopping, dining, culture and nightlife.

Enjoy a comfortable stay at hotels in Boise, Idaho

As I said above, certain hotels in the city have really carved a niche among their guests as they are located within just a few minutes way from your destinations. The most important things about these hotels are that the guests who have already stayed in these hotels love even after their departure because the locations of these hotels in a quiet residential area with a little traffic made their stay there completely hassle-free and trouble-free.

Elements to Consider for Enjoying a Stress Free Vacation

Though people love to plan trips of any kind, nothing is more exciting than going for a vacation in a foreign land. The idea of getting to know different cultures, meet different people and eat various cuisines makes people pack their bags without giving it a second thought. People often simply pack their bags, book the tickets and go to the desired place. What exactly is necessary is proper planning so that the entire vacation goes smoothly.

Despite proper planning, people suffer problems due to one or the other reason. Most of these reasons are simple yet arise due to the mere carelessness. Especially when it comes to making a trip to a foreign country, it is essential to consider some crucial points.

Confirm Requirements of Visa and Passport

When it is about visas and passports, checking about their requirements is the most important step. In case, you are applying for the first time, make sure to wait for at least six weeks to receive it. Different countries have respective regulations that need an individual to have more than just a passport and plane ticket. Getting in touch with proper authority would let you know about the regulations of the country you are planning to visit. It is also advisable to leave a copy of the passport, visa and other id proofs with a family member or friend.

Chalk out Important Locations

It is quite harassing to arrive into a new country and spend extra time in searching for the hotel to stay. Therefore, making the necessary preparations before leaving home is a wise step. As we live in the world dominated by the internet, make some quick searches for the possible accommodation facilities in the country you are visiting. Even, using the advanced apps is of great help; just type in the address of the place and get instant access to the nearby lodging facilities.

Chart out Budget Sheet

Planning without proper budget would lead to nowhere. A vacation or tour can only go smooth if there is a proper budget for the expenses made. The first thing to do is determining the total cost. After subtracting the cost of passport and visa, what remains is the amount to spend on the trip.

With these three major tips, the entire trip can go smoothly without any hassle. Just keep in mind to always plan each and everything beforehand. Get in touch with various tour organizing companies and seek the travel packages available from them to get a better experience.

Ten Milwaukee Facts That You Did Not Know

Milwaukee is one of those cities that you may not really hear much about, even if you live in the state of Wisconsin. If you are a traveler, half the fun is knowing some interesting things about the places you pass through and visit. Here are some fun facts that you may have not known that may wet your appetite for a visit to Wisconsin’s largest city.

Milwaukee is actually the 22nd largest city in America.
Milwaukee hosts the largest annual music festival that lasts 10 days every summer.
The typewriter was invented in Milwaukee by Christopher Latham Sholes
Milwaukee has the only skywalk that spans a river that is used by watercraft.
Since the 1800’s Milwaukee has been known as the Beertown.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is home to the largest Dinosaur skull.
Gene Wilder aka Willy Wonka was born in Milwaukee WI.
Milwaukee started out as a clutter of 3 settlements in the 1840’s, Juneautown, Kilbourntown and Walkers Point.
Golda Meir has been one of Milwaukee’s famous former residents who became a world famous leader and now has a school in Milwaukee named after her.
The flame-shaped light on top of the Milwaukee Gas Company building changes color to forecast the weather. Yellow forecasts cold, Red forecasts warm, and Blue predicts no change coming.

So the next time you are passing through this great city, think back to some of these fun facts and maybe take a look around and see if you can find some of your own fun facts about Milwaukee.

5 Ideas for Easy But Awesome Texas Getaways

Feeling uninspired? Find yourself in a rut? Then maybe it is time to take that long overdue vacation. If you are looking for a way to relieve some stress and reflect upon the things that really matter in life, then take a look at these five ideas for an easy but awesome Texas getaway:

Bed and Breakfasts

Tired of corporate hotels? Why not look into something quaint and unique by searching out a bed and breakfast. Nearly all Texas towns, large and small, have fantastic bed and breakfasts, and they can make for really easy Texas getaways. Brenham, TX is just one example of a great location for B&B’s. With over 19 B&B’s to choose from, Brenham is an ideal location for a great Texas getaway.

Most owners of B&B’s are locals and will be able to tell you of all the hidden gems in the area. You typically won’t have to travel far to find a great B&B, and most are equipped with exceptional amenities, allowing you to spend a relaxing weekend with minimal planning. Bonus tip: Check online for specials, as B&Bs frequently offer great deals for specific times of the year.

Camping

If you are a nature enthusiast, then camping may be the best option for you. Texas plays host to innumerable state and local parks in some of the most diversified and beautiful landscapes you will ever find. Take a look at Lake Sommerville for beautiful camping options next to water. Whether you like to sleep in a tent or under the stars, the Texas sky is as big and vast as the state. So long as you have a sleeping bag and a good pair of hiking shoes, you can really escape to nature. The great thing about camping is that the cost can be quite inexpensive.

Cabin Rentals

If sleeping in a tent is not your cup of tea, but you like the idea of escaping the city, then perhaps you should consider a cabin rental. Most parks, both privately and publicly owned, have cabins at reasonable prices. They can be quite isolated or in the middle of a populated area. Either way, cabins are great gateways to nature and can offer both family fun and romance, depending on your situation. For a great option, check out Cedars Cabins in New Ulm, Texas. With over 250 acres, these private cabins would make the perfect setting for a Texas getaway.

Historic or Unique Hotels

Some of the best Texas getaways involve a historic or unique hotel. The Ant Street Inn in Brenham, TX is the ideal spot for historic lodging. With antique furnishings, situated downtown Brenham, this hotel is a great example of some of the many great historic options in Texas. With just a small amount of research, you could find yourself in a historical setting, enjoying a part of the old Texas.

Local Festivals

Texas has some of the most interesting and entertaining festivals in the country. From historic to unconventional to quaint, you are bound to find something that piques your interest. From the Texas Independence Day festival held at Washington-on-the-Brazos, to the Bluebonnet festival in Chappell, there is something for everyone. The great thing about planning around a festival is that you will not be bored and you will have a true Texas getaway memory.