National Geographic travel magazine has recently revealed their top travel tours and destinations for 2014 and one of our local tours made the annual list for the first time. Walking in the footsteps of South Africa’s greatest son experiencing a small part of what he had to endure during his lifelong struggle for the equality and dignity of his people is a privilege and a must for every history loving traveller, I am of course speaking of the late Nelson Mandela and his struggle for freedom.
Nat Geo’s Traveler magazine calls the tour of the history and heritage of Nelson Mandela, Madiba’s Way. Creating a custom itinerary for your personal trip through one of our Flightsite travel agents you can visit all of the historic sites documented throughout the history that this great man left behind. From the rural cattle fields of Qunu in the Eastern Cape where Madiba grew up and learnt his Xhosa culture and history to his house in Vilakazi Street in Soweto where he lived from 1946 to 1962 before he was sent to the notorious Robben Island Prison where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, which is a must visit for this trip. If you have experienced this historic trip recalling the historic footsteps of Mr Mandela then there are some other tours that made the list that might be worth while looking into!
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey has just been named the Top travel destination for 2014 by TripAdvisor and with National Geographic now also naming a culinary tour through Turkey as one of the top 50 travel tours in the world, Turkey truly is a world class travel destination. Istanbul is the only city in the world to be recognised as being in two different continents namely Europe and Asia. The Bosporus strait cuts the city in half and also constitutes the boundary between Asia and Europe. Having both European and Asian influences Turkey has many diverse cultures and customs and this has rubbed off on the cuisine. Tours that focus on experiencing the culinary treasures of Turkey made the Nat Geo list. Turkish food is dominated by ingredients such as eggplant, lamb and green peppers all of which are fresh. The most fun a traveller can have while learning a new culture and experiencing it first hand is through eating its food and experiencing its customs around its culinary culture and no more so is this true than in Turkey. Food is life and with Turkish Delights around life must be a Delight in Turkey.
Greenland, Canada and Alaska
Alaska by many is seen as the last frontier, the last untamed wilderness on earth largely unspoilt by the modern world. Vast areas to the North are covered by ice and snow all year around while the south of Alaska gets a break from the savage winters over the summer time with the ice and snow retracting to reveal beautiful national parks and lakes. Canada shares much of the same climate but it does have areas that are free of snow for most of the year. The friendly country, as Canada is known, is home to one of the most famous waterfalls in the world namely Niagara falls, along with the USA. The majestic falls are a very popular tourist destination with boat cruises taking visitors to the base of the falls during the summer months. A challenge unique to these falls is that of the barrel drop where a person climbs into a wooden barrel and drops down from the top to the waiting rocks and water below. The first person to accomplish this feat unharmed was a 63 year old woman, today this activity has been banned and Niagara can only be enjoyed for sightseeing purposes, not that any sane person today would climb into a barrel and plunge 51m to the rocks below.
The tour that has made the Nat Geo list in this region is a cruise through the Northwest Passage that travels along the Alaskan, Canadian and Greenland shoreline. This passage is open for only a few weeks a year allowing the L’Austral ship to sail from the west of Greenland all the way to the east coast of Russia. On board expedition guides and naturalists are at hand to educate the guests about these extraordinary landscapes and along with the very limited time that this tour is operational every year this truly is a unique experience.
Venice, arguably the most romantic city in the world with its winding walkways and canals has unsurprisingly made the Nat Geo annual list. A week-long trip around the historic canals of Venice is the perfect way to experience this city rich in cultural history. The traditional tourist attractions are a must when visiting Venice like The Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square and Basilica of St. Marco but Venice has more to offer. Visit the Rialto market where fresh produce and their famous seafood is sold every day. The market is frequented by Venice locals and tourists alike. If you have facilities for cooking then buy some seafood here and cook it up as it is a great way to get a feel for life as a local.
To get a taste of the real Venice be sure to sneak into a Bacaro, small bars where locals go for a glass of wine and a bite to eat while chatting about the events of the day. The Nat Geo tour that made the list also offers one the opportunity to have lunch with former gondoliers at their clubhouse followed by a lesson in their paddling technique, here you can learn about the history of Venice through first-hand accounts from the old guard of the Venice waterways.
Have a look at some of our current deals to these wonderful locations and start planning your holiday today with one of our agents click here for Turkey, Italy, Alaska or South Africa travel packages.