Why do we use it?

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Recommendation Rating (Conclusion):

As a huge fan of Rwanda since my first visit in February 2022, I can attest to the country’s unparalleled greenery and cleanliness. Returning for a second time, I was eager to delve deeper into Rwanda’s initiatives for sustainability. I highly recommend Red Rocks to backpackers, campers, and road trip enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re interested crossing Africa overland, embarking on mountain trekking adventure, or Gorilla tracking, Red Rocks serves as an excellent transit point and a destination to learn about sustainable tourism and traditional practices firsthand.”


Exploring Benin’s Hidden Gem

Discovering the beauty of West Africa’s pristine beaches wasn’t on my radar until I discovered this overlooked gem of a country. Benin, nestled between Nigeria and Togo, boasts breathtaking coastal landscapes that often go unnoticed. In this article, we delve into the allure of Benin’s best beaches and coastal attractions, while also shining a light on the inspiring conservation efforts of Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines in Cotonou, spearheaded by one passionate individual.

Benin’s Coast: A Beach Lover’s Paradise

A quick 5-minute drive from Cotonou airport lies Fidjrosse beach, where boho cafes line the shore, and local fishermen grill their catch of the day. For a vibrant beach atmosphere that transitions into a lively nightspot, head to La Plage by Code Bar. This beach bar comes with hanging rattan beds, cosy chairs right on the sand, and a bracelet cashless system for hassle-free dining and drinking. The direct access to the long stretches of sand and sea gives you opportunities to crash beach volleyball matches and mingle with locals. Though only the daring swim here due to strong currents, wave enthusiasts and surfers will find it exhilarating. a DJ plays from about 4pm, when you can start enjoying sunset vibes and transition into the beach’s nightlife

About an hour away from Cotonou, Ouidah beckons as a must-visit destination for those seeking a serene escape intertwined with cultural exploration. As the birthplace of Vaudou, visitors can delve into the village’s rich history before unwinding on its incredible beach. Here, the Porte du Non Retour, or Door of No Return, stands as a poignant symbol of Benin’s painful slave history, offering a space for reflection on the country’s cultural heritage.

Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines: Cotonou’s Conservation Hero

Nestled in the heart of Cotonou, Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines serves as a beacon of hope for marine life conservation. This initiative is dedicated to protecting and preserving the nesting sites of endangered sea turtles along Benin’s coastline, thanks to the tireless efforts of one remarkable individual.

Meet Isaac, the eco-warrior of the ocean, who tirelessly collects turtle eggs daily to safeguard them from predators. His dedication stems from a deep passion for marine life and the ocean, where he spends his days tirelessly cleaning beaches,inviting volunteers to assist, and providing shelter for the turtles until they are ready to be released into the sea. I had the privilege of meeting Isaac, asking him a few questions, and releasing turtles into the sea together. For fellow eco-warriors, supporting Isaac’s work is a must when visiting Cotonou.

Recommendation Rating (Conclusion): 

Benin’s beaches not only captivate the senses but also serve as a canvas for sustainable tourism and marine conservation. By exploring the coast and supporting initiatives like Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines, travellers become stewards for the preservation of West Africa’s natural treasures. In my experience, this commitment to preservation and responsible travel elevates Benin’s beaches to some of the best on the continent.

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Exploring the Enchantment of Eswatini: The Reed Dance Festival

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, often remains under the radar for many travellers. However, within this landlocked country lies an enchanting celebration where tradition, culture, and community converge in a spectacular display of unity. The Reed Dance Festival, locally known as Umhlanga, takes center stage every September, captivating both locals and visitors alike.

Journeying to Umhlanga – Getting to the Festival

During my time in Johannesburg, South Africa, I explored various travel options around the country. While options like Kruger National Park and Cape Town beckoned, it was a fellow traveller who introduced me to the idea of attending the Reed Dance Festival in Eswatini, as she herself was attending it for royal duties. I immediately started researching flight options, but being the shameless budget traveller that I am, I chose to take a 5-hour bus ride that crossed the border into this tiny country adorned with magnificent mountain landscapes. As I settled into a hotel perched up on a hill, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Rwanda’s picturesque views and warm sunsets. Of course, this was after almost collapsing on the way there – make sure you’re fit for these climbs with your backpack!
With no expectations or prior knowledge of Eswatini, every sight, smell, and taste became a cherished experience, fully embraced. And I made sure to take in every bit of it!

Delving into Cultural Significance and Rituals

Now, back to the dance festival. The Reed Dance Festival is an annual Zulu tradition where thousands of young Swazi women gather to pay homage to the Queen Mother, celebrate womanhood, and promote unity within the community. Taking place amidst the scenic Ezulwini Valley in September in the heart of spring, Umhlanga transforms the landscape into a vibrant display of color, music, and dance. As fresh Reed Grass is cut by the women, they march in synchrony, presenting the reeds to the King and Queen Mother as a symbol of their virginity. The festival lasts around 4 days, and during my visit, I had the privilege of attending the final event with my fellow traveller turned friend. Again, not knowing what to expect, I was briefed on the phone about wearing a Sarong, and I’m glad I did. I made sure I went to the market first to wear something appropriate because wearing shorts here is an absolute no no!

The culminating event was an awe-inspiring experience filled with vibrant costumes, royal encounters, and cultural immersion. Despite initial confusion and surprise, I quickly embraced the traditions, learning and engaging with the local customs firsthand. After meeting my friend, we headed to Ludzidzini Royal Homestead where the start of the celebration took place. I wasn’t mentally prepared. Meeting 13 princes, the King and Queen Mother, seeing all the vibrant costumes and colours at once – I felt like a complete stranger there! So when my friend said, “Kneel, the King is coming!” I was so confused as to why I was suddenly on the floor. It was my express way of learning tradition and customs here, I guess! As we followed the women to the stadium, I was mesmerised by the parade, the chants, but above all, the joy and pride that both women and men carried throughout the event. Once we reached the stadium, we witnessed about 5,000 women parading. My friend managed to get us VIP seats, so I was sat with dozens of royals I had absolutely no knowledge about. As I do when I travel, I always break the ice by dancing, so we went down the steps and waited patiently for our turn to get into the field and dance. I was nervous at first, but my friend said, “Seriously, when and where will you ever do this again?” That was enough to get me living every single moment and soaking up every bit of this unique experience.

Your Guide to Experiencing Eswatini During the Festival

  1. How To Get There: Direct flights from Johannesburg and Maputo are available (average cost: $100), or opt for a scenic drive or bus journey from neighboring cities as I did. I booked a return bus TransMagnific ticket for Joburg–Mbabane on their website – it is a 5 hour journey one way, snacks provided (price: $50).
  2. Where to Stay: Consider accommodations like Mogi Boutique Hotel [make aff link] for proximity to local markets, restaurants, and festival venues. Other great options here.
  3. Preparing for the Festival: As mentioned, make sure you get yourself a sarong to wrap around your clothes, avoiding shorts if possible. I wore a blue dress that I bought in Morocco, and wrapped a Sarong with the flag design on it, around me. Your smile and open mindedness is the most amazing accessory to wear here. If you come across any royals, show signs of respect by kneeling in front of them – the King stands high on the stadium of the event, so it is custom to kneel when passing him and walking on the field. The official dates are never announced until about 4 weeks before, so keep checking to make sure you book the right flights and accommodation.

Recommendation Rating (Conclusion):

As a dancer and enthusiast of cultural celebrations, attending the Reed Dance Festival on such short notice made all the sense in the world. This unique event empowers young women while fostering a sense of responsibility, discipline, and community. Eswatini, often overshadowed by its neighboring South Africa, offers a treasure trove of wildlife and safari opportunities waiting to be explored. For travellers seeking authenticity and off-the-beaten-path experiences, I highly recommend adding Eswatini to your itinerary during the festival period.”

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Exploring Red Rocks Rwanda: A Solo Journey into Community-Based Tourism

In the western part of Rwanda lies a remarkable example of community-based tourism, a concept that transcends traditional travel experiences. Red Rocks Rwanda, nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, stands as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives. This is the story of my solo journey to this unique destination, where the spirit of community and the beauty of the surroundings intertwine to create an unforgettable adventure.

Understanding Community-Based Tourism (CBT)

Community-based tourism is a transformative approach that empowers local communities, fosters sustainable development, and invites travellers to immerse themselves in authentic cultural experiences. Unlike conventional tourism, this model places the community at the center, ensuring that economic, social, and environmental benefits are shared among its members.

Exploring Activities at Red Rocks RwandaExploring Activities at Red Rocks Rwanda

Situated in Musanze, at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains, Red Rocks Rwanda was conceived as a community-driven project. Established to harness the potential of tourism for positive change, it has evolved into a hub where visitors engage with the local community, contributing to their well-being and preserving cultural heritage. During my visit, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the community’s process of making organic handmade banana beer, preparing wood-fire recipes for lunch, and I even dabbled in basket weaving!

Getting There: Solo Travel on a Budget

From Kigali, I researched transportation options to Musanze, where Red Rocks is located. While taxis were available at a cost of $150, this didn’t align with my budget as a solo traveller. So, as you might have guessed, I decided to brave the bus yet again (I’m getting really good at taking them!) – this cost only $5 and took approximately 2 hours. Despite the winding roads and a few heart-wrenching turns, the breathtaking scenery and sense of adventure made it all worthwhile. You can also opt to take a moto taxi to your destination with a backpack in front of you and on your back. I didn’t mind the long bus ride too much though, the ride was incredibly scenic, and I kept thinking, “This life could be worse.” This was the adventure I sought for so long – freedom and empty roads, to a background of volcanoes that almost looks like your laptop screensaver – doesn’t get any better than this, really.

As I travel, people often question my motives, my route, etc. especially on the bus, where a foreign woman travelling on her own is not a common sight. But as I often mention in my Youtube videos, what gets me in the zone most of the time is the interaction with people and unearthing cultural similarities. During my travels I often realise I’m a proud Moroccan, as I literally can’t shut up about it! This passion for Africa often leads to a sense of commonality and grounding that puts people at ease immediately. So, after numerous justifications as to why I wasn’t married, the conversation with strangers on the bus almost always settles with, “So, tell me more about Morocco, Africa.” This interaction often led to enriching conversations and a deeper sense of connection locals with fellow travellers alike.

Recommendation Rating (Conclusion):

As a huge fan of Rwanda since my first visit in February 2022, I can attest to the country’s unparalleled greenery and cleanliness. Returning for a second time, I was eager to delve deeper into Rwanda’s initiatives for sustainability. I highly recommend Red Rocks to backpackers, campers, and road trip enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re interested crossing Africa overland, embarking on mountain trekking adventure, or Gorilla tracking, Red Rocks serves as an excellent transit point and a destination to learn about sustainable tourism and traditional practices firsthand.”