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East African Countries

East African Countries

Five nations comprise the East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia which are collectively known as The Horn of Africa is also typically considered part of East Africa. Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles are small island nations in the Indian Ocean while Mozambique and Madagascar are often considered part of Southern Africa. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – often also included in Southern Africa, and formerly of the Central African Federation.

The region offers some of the world’s most exciting outdoor tourism. Most countries in the region were colonized by United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and France

Climate in this part of the continent is unusually cool and dry for an equatorial region, due to its mountainous configuration and westerly monsoon effects. The world’s third highest ‘Mount Kilimanjaro’ is situated in this East African and over 20,000 visitors reach its summit each year. Also, the largest river in the world, the Nile, runs through East Africa. Its source, Lake Victoria, is the world’s largest tropical lake. Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest, is the source of the Congo river system. The lakes, rivers and tributaries of East Africa are among the world’s best for all forms of swimming, scuba and whitewater activity.

East Africa is also home to amazing concentrations of large wild animals, most famously the great ape, elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and wildebeest. All types of corporate and independent guided tours through the outdoor beauty are available. In this article will take you through some of the things you need to know about the history, economy and politics of the following East African countries. Sit down, relax and enjoy this piece!

South Sudan

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 and Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. South Sudan is notable for having a varied geology. Part of the country lies in the region of the Sahara Desert, but the Nile River flows through the middle section of the country. Due to this, the nation is vulnerable to floods whenever there is a torrential rainfall. Couple of months ago, thousands of people fled their homes, houses were destroyed and more than hundred people died.

In recent years, Sudan had been marred with political violence as a result a conflict between President Salva Kirr and his Vice which led to the death of thousands of its citizens. During this political violence, UN report had it that, Sudan were recruiting child soldiers; which now raised a question if the country’s civil war is back?. But, South Sudan government refuted the claim and later agreed with the UN for new international peacekeeping force to come in and save the nation from going into another era of civil war.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the countries known as “the horn of Africa”. Legend has it that the Ark of the Covenant has been secreted away in a tiny Ethiopian village for centuries. The most striking geological element in the country is its division by the Great Rift Valley. This fissure was caused by volcanic lava deep within the canyons and gorges. Ethiopia is also blanketed by thick jungle, and is home to many rivers and lakes. Its capital, Adida Ababa, is among the most beautiful cities in Africa. Recently, Ethiopia became Africa’s largest producer of coffee which had led its to be among the top 15 fastest growing economies in Africa with a GDP growth of 4.5 percent. The first East African plant by South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp will be on Ethiopia soil with a mega deal signed with a local company to start assembling cars.

 
Eritrea

This small country has a very varied terrain. The interior of Eritrea is dominated by the Ethiopian Highlands that rise over 7,000 feet. Within these highlands can be found scattered rivers and streams. The coastal region of the country is bordered by the Red Sea and is actually semiarid in climatic conditions.

Kenya

One of the most well-known countries of East Africa is Kenya with coastline on the Indian Ocean. There are lowlands in both the northern and coastal regions of the country. Down south Kenya becomes flat and very dry. The Rift Valley also slices through Kenya, having created lakes as well as volcanic peaks rising to 17,000 feet. Kenya is east African biggest economy and its also among top 10 investment destination in Africa. September 2016, Kenya signed a business deal with Volkswagen South Africa to assemble cars in the country. And with the way its economy is fast growing, Kenya’s vision could transformed the country into a middle-income economy by 2030. With the recent visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, it shows that Kenyan developers are the best in East Africa. Kenya is also ranked among the most friendly African countries for expatriates In 2016. Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-award winning actress who took Hollywood by storm is a Kenyan and she is doing this great continent proud.

Uganda

The highlight of any visit to Uganda will take you to the southeastern corner, where you will find Lake Victoria. The land is very mountainous otherwise, with elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet quite common. Mountains reaching over 16,000 feet run alongside the western border, while to the east you’ll find Mt. Elgon, which is an impressive 14,000 feet. Uganda is also among the most friendly African countries for expatriates in 2016 and its occupies 25th position globally.

Just like Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya, Florence Kasumba, German actress of Ugandan origin, also took Hollywood by storm early this year after she appeared in the most popular film “Captain America: Civil War”. Arguably, Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni is currently the best president in East Africa with his leadership quality and excellent work since 30 years that he had been in power.

This came with the backing of former vice president, Prof Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, asking the country’s parliament to enact a law that will enable President Museveni to rule for life. In terms of economy, Uganda will become the first East African Country to open a gold refinery by the end of 2016 after signing a deal with a Belgian investor. Also, its government recently reduced single entry visa to boost tourism and i think that’s a great move from the path of the government and it’s a good news for tourists that are willing to travel to the country. Uganda is also among the East African countries who offer free public WiFi services to its citizens.

Seychelles

The Seychelles is actually an archipelago that is made up of roughly 90 small islands within the Indian Ocean. The Mahe group of islands are rocky with interior mountains. The Coralline islands are coral and inhospitable. The climate of the Seychelles is warm and wet.

Burundi

Burundi is mainly a country of plateaus. The Great Rift Valley has done its work here as well, creating peaks that rise 7,000 feet as well as having a hand in the shaping of long and narrow Lake Tanganyika. The high elevation of Burundi helps to moderate the otherwise tropical climate.

SUPERMOON Extraordinary Sight

SUPERMOON Extraordinary Sight
 
The supermoon will look especially big because it’s so close to Earth at the moment it reaches its fullest point. Share this sight with someone special, because we won’t see a supermoon this close until 2034.
 
About the Supermoon-From NASA
15042033 247913262289971 3146914286578467899 o SUPERMOON Extraordinary Sight

supermoon

NASA/Bill Ingalls
 
The moon is a familiar sight in our sky, brightening dark nights and reminding us of space exploration, past and present. But the upcoming supermoon—on Monday, Nov. 14—will be especially ‘super’ since it’s the closest full moon to Earth since 1948. We won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034.
 
The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly elliptical, so sometimes the moon is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree—the point at which the moon is closest to Earth—the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and 30 percent brighter.
 
The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn.

How to locate a lost travelling companion

How to locate a lost travelling companion

If you find yourself alone in a foreign country or a strange place instead of surrounded by the friends and family you set off with, don’t panic – these tips will have you reunited in no time

When you’re on holiday, getting lost is half the fun. Wandering around a strange city and stumbling upon a picturesque little street or charming courtyard is the kind of thing that tempts us out of our cosy homes in the first place.

But if you’re part of a group, and especially if you’re part of a smallish group, getting unexpectedly separated from the rest of your gang can be an unsettling experience.

It’s especially worrying when you’re travelling with children, who may not be carrying mobile phones and can’t therefore call you to explain that they’ve just found an interesting little shop selling salty caramel waffles or something.

Good preparation can cater for most eventualities, but fate always has a way of catching you out. Here are a few tips to reunite you with your travelling companions.

Get on up

If you’re in a crowded place, a busy shopping centre or theme park, you need to get as high up as possible. Not only will you be more visible to your lost pal, but you have more chance of catching sight of them.

No handy fountain, chair or ornamental wall to stand on? Seek out the tallest person you can see and ask them for their help. Describe your lost friend or …

A picture is worth a thousand words.

You’re on holiday. Chances are your phone or digital camera has a recent picture of the person you’re looking for. Show it to your new tall friend.

If your companion has been missing for a while, or if they’re very young, then you’ll want to speak to the local police; taking along a recent picture of the person wearing the clothes they had on when they went missing would be very helpful, especially if there’s a language barrier.

Find the centre

If there’s a major landmark, some sort of Eiffel Tower for example, or a Taj Mahal perhaps, head for it. Is there a sign pointing to the Tourist Information Office?

While it might be tempting to stand still and let the person come back to you, you might be in for a long wait if they’ve had the same idea. Heading for an easily recognisable landmark is not only likely to bring you back to your pal, it will also put you near police and other sources of aid if you’re still having no luck.

Go with the flow

Young children, dogs, and easily distracted adults always follow the path of least resistance. If you’re somewhere without obvious landmarks to seek out, there’s a better-than-average chance that the wanderer went in the direction that the wind’s blowing.

As in any crisis situation, it’s hard to resist the natural temptation to panic. But keep a cool head, think about the psychology of your quarry, and you should be enjoying those salty caramel waffles together in no time.

Travel Packing Light

In a recent post, I admitted to having a packing problem — namely overpacking — so that I have to lug a large suitcase on many plane or train trips rather than a lighter, much handier carry-on-size bag (21 or 22 inches long). It spurred me to write “Seven Reasons for Packing Light,” mostly learned the hard way.

But I like to think that after my last trip — a week-long European cruise in February — that I’ve learned my lesson. I’d convinced myself there were extenuating circumstances: it was winter, so I needed heavier clothes; it was a cruise, so I would only need to unpack once; and it was a business trip (a story assignment), so I needed dress clothes and shoes for the ship’s semi-formal nights.

And, of course, my large bag had wheels, as does virtually every suitcase these days, so I could easily wheel it through airports and on level ground. And it being an overseas flight, there would be no extra charge for checking the bag. So, giving in to what seemed the inevitability of a large bag,  I loaded it up with contingency clothes: extra shirts, extra shoes, extra trousers. The “you never know when you might need it” syndrome. It all added up to one heavy, bulky suitcase.

My Big Mistake

New York City train stations and airports are notorious for escalators not working, with no elevators in sight. This means lugging or dragging a heavy suitcase up or down sometimes long — very long — flights of stairs, only to have to squeeze onto a crowded commuter train. What to do with my oversized bag? In my recent case, it meant blocking a crowded train aisle. Conductor not pleased. Other commuters irate, throwing dirty looks. Embarrassing for a professional traveler.

So I’ve decided that unless I’m going on a trip that absolutely requires special equipment — such as heavy hiking boots and hiking sticks and multiple sweaters in the Himalayas — that I’m packing light from now on. That means no checked bags, and no bags I can’t easily carry up or down stairs or get into overhead bins on trains or planes.

Here are 10 general tips on how to pack light. In subsequent posts, I’ll have tips specific to women, and others for men.

* Particularly when  it comes to clothing, keep this old chestnut in mind:  “Lay out everything you think you need, then pack only half of it.” For instance, if you think you’ll need four shirts, you’ll probably do fine with two. (However, if you lay out so much that half still equals a mound the size of a small-town landfill, you’ll definitely have to check a bag.)

* Another way to look at the above rule: “If in doubt, leave it out.” You can always buy a needed — or wanted — item at your destination.

* Open your (carry-on sized) suitcase and pack your absolute essentials first (nothing terribly valuable, of course, in case you have to gate check your bag or leave it in an overhead bin that’s out of sight; valuables go into your “personal” carry-on, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, or briefcase that will fit under an airline seat).

Once you’ve packed your essentials — and I’m talking shoes (preferably one pair, while you wear the other en route), underwear, one or two shirts, a pair of trousers (you’ll wear the other on the plane), a few socks if you’re wearing shoes other than sandals), toiletries with TSA-approved small-sized containers, a crushable hat or cap for sun protection, and some specific items for women and men that I’ll get to in subsequent posts — then you can add borderline items only if there’s space. For example, you may want to pack bulky computer cords or charging equipment in this bag if you’re reasonably sure it won’t be out of your sight.

* Take advantage of “miracle” fabrics that can be washed out and dry easily overnight or even while you’re eating lunch. That means you can wear them over and over, even if they get sweaty, and they are much lighter and more breathable  than wool, cotton, etc. I have a down “sweater-jacket” that can roll up into a small stuff bag that’s easily crammed into the corner of a suitcase. It fits snugly and provides warmth, especially if worn under an outer jacket if needed.

* Use packing cubes. Rather than digging around in your suitcase for an elusive pair of socks, pack your shirts (or underwear, trousers, etc.) in packing cubes — nylon containers that fasten with Velcro or zippers and keep your clothes neat and unwrinkled. You don’t even need to unpack them at your destination — just remove a piece of clothing as needed and if it’s still clean after wearing, fold and return it to the packing cube.

*Use compression packing bags. These are bags you fill with dirty clothes (usually) and then roll them up as a one-way valve pushes out the air, forming a flattened pack that takes up much less space and keeps your dirty clothes separate as well.

* Use every inch of space. Stuff extra socks or anything you can roll up into a small ball (such as a belt) inside packed shoes or anything hollow.

* Wear your heavy jacket, blazer, or heavier pair of shoes onto the plane so you don’t have to pack them. Fill pockets with extra handkerchiefs, Kleenex packs, etc.

* Remember that in general, as a leisure traveler you won’t be expected to be as turned out and stylish as you might be at home. Still, there are easy ways to look good (tips on those to come in subsequent posts).

* This may seem obvious, but it’s commonly overlooked amid all the other last-minute travel arrangements:check the weather at your destination before you pack. If it’s going to be dry and sunny, leave your rain gear at home. (It’s always prudent to carry a compact, fold-up umbrella, however.) If the weather is going to be cool and you’ll be nowhere near a beach, sandals are probably dispensable.

* Be sure that your personal carry-on — where you carry your passport, wallet (or extra wallet — more on that in the men’s tips post) or little purse, any other valuables, prescription medications, electronic equipment (laptop, tablet, cell phone, charger, etc.), reading material — is large enough to hold what’s needed and that your passport, cash, and a pen (for filling out forms) are readily accessible. Having shirt or jacket pockets while traveling is also extremely handy.

Next up: Packing tips for women.

Readers, if you have any favorite packing tips that I haven’t covered, please feel free to add by leaving a comment — thanks!

How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly, being a responsible budget traveler Tourism in developing countries can be both a blessing and a curse – each individual leaves his or her mark upon a place.

Small decisions that we make along the way as travelers insure that future travelers find a place as welcoming and magical as we did.

Travel and tourism should be planned and executed as a means of individual growth and development. When practiced with an open mind, it is an awesome source of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the diversity and wonderful nuances that make our planet such an interesting place.

Everyone has a responsibility for creating and promoting responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must shoulder their share of the load, but as a budget traveler you can support this in many ways that make a huge difference:

  1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your trip and you will earn respect and welcome of the local people. Be tolerant and respectful, making sure to observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
  2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental purpose of travel.
  3. Help preserve natural environments. Leave things the way you found it – or better.  Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals….this includes animal products, novelty insects, etc…
  4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted in a way that respects the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of a place.
  5. Support the local economy – they need it. Purchase local handicrafts and products using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage – don’t fall victim to traveler scams, but that merchant probably needs the difference more than you do.
  6. Get up to date about the destination’s current health situation prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be threatened. Make sure that you have the means to remain healthy and happy before you arrive in a new place.
  7. Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions in an effort to avoid accidentally offending the local population.
  8. Learn the local laws so that you do not accidentally break them. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited.

Responsible travel is not complicated.  Getting into the mindset that you are going to leave a place in better shape than you found it by doing your part and encouraging others, will ensure that the doors will be kept open for future budget travelers!

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