Cape Town, Table Mountain

The National Park of course includes Table Mountain, or Tafelberg as it is called in Afrikaans, but it also encompasses a much larger area, ranging from Signal Hill all the way to Cape Point in the South. Most of the Table Mountain National Park area is open to visitors at no charge, but some activities and parts of the park require a fee. Cape Point, Boulders, Table Mountain and Silver mine are the most popular parts of the park with a cost.

Cape Point, the southernmost point of Cape peninsula, is a stunning rock formation, with unique flora and fauna, including the klipdassie, a local species of hyrax. The highest elevated formation on Cape Point features an old lighthouse, and the opportunity for visitors to look out over the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Boulders beach is another major attraction. The beach is enclosed by large granite boulders, which provides the perfect environment for the indigenous, rare African penguin. For a small fee, visitors can observe an African penguin colony in its natural environment. Table Mountain is the most prominent natural feature of Cape Town. The geography of the city is determined by the location of the mountain, and it forms a magnificent backdrop to many of the cities’ natural and architectural scenes. A visit to the city is not complete without a visit to the top of the mountain.

There are several routes leading up to the flat mountain top. Experienced guides organize tours along the more dangerous route. Anyone in good health with two to three hours to spare will enjoy the more gradual hike to the top. Alternatively, if the weather permits, a glass-paneled cable cart with a 65 person capacity will take you to the top of the mountain, while giving a unique 360 degree view of the city below.

At the top of Table Mountain, a restaurant and souvenir shop, as well as several panoramic view sites with magnificent photo opportunities are located near the exit of the Cableway. From there on out, several hiking trails along the table top will lead you to even more stunning views.

Cape Town, V&A Waterfront

Since the end of Apartheid, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has developed from an active harbor and commerce center into the main tourist hub of the city. Located close to the city center, it is very accessible by public transport or even on foot. The V&A, as it is also called, covers a large area, and one of the finest hotels (the V&A) as well as some smaller accommodation is available on site. This makes the V&A a perfect place to stay if you want to explore the city.

The Waterfront’s appeal is fueled by the several attractions, including a number of historical museums, a large shopping mall, several pubs, bars and restaurants and hotels. The Victorian styled old buildings, erected after Prince Alfred supervised the initial development in 1860, include the Clock Tower, the Robben Island Demarcation Building and the Breakwater Prison. But many of the newer structures have managed to keep the classic charm of the historical harbor.

Strolling through the Waterfront’s harbor area, you will notice that the colonial legacy is not the only cultural influence present on the boardwalks. European styled mime artists and African choirs perform regularly side by side in the streets between the cafes, and open air musical performances take place near the smaller V&A mall most afternoons in summer.

The Waterfront caters mostly for tourists, and at any given point, tourists will outnumber locals by a wide margin. Because of this, there are a lot of foreign exchange bureaus, souvenir shops, travel agencies and tourist activity businesses, promoting sailing trips, paragliding, parachuting and other activities taking place nearby. Of course, other amenities such as pharmacies, toilets and wireless access are easy to find.

One of the attractions near the Waterfront any tourist should visit is Robben Island. A ferry to the notorious prisoner’s island leaves from the Waterfront harbor, past the Demarcation Building, on scheduled times, and the subsequent tour, given by a former prisoner, is both interesting and emotional.


Marrakech (مراكش) also known as “Red City” and “Al Hamra” is a city located in the south west of Morocco, nearby the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains. Marrakech is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat. As of latest measurement the city has a population of 1.3 million people.

Marrakech’s beauty lies in its ancient atmosphere and spectacular locations, with a breathtaking view of the Atlas Mountains from any location within the city. Walking in downtown Medina, the old city center gives an view of a exotic, distant city with markets selling magic carpets, jewelry, herbs and potions, candles, meat and metalwork. Fortune tellers and snake charmers to make money from tourists mixed with an incoming hot wind from the Sahara desert.

Today, the main focus of Marrakech continues to be the main square of Jemaa-el-Fna, its an extraordinary and social gathering place that seems is hasn’t change since medieval times. Local markets are setup every day, the noise and smell is mixed from several vegetables, fruits and local cuisines being sold while market vendors screaming to sell their merchandise. It’s tallest building within city limits Koutoubia mosque, viewable from almost anywhere within the city reminds the importance of the Islam to the locals.

Travelers to Marrakech are required a valid passport, most nationals are only required passport which is at least 6 months valid, and a return ticket. Travelers are advised to contact the Moroccan embassy before a trip. The city has two seasons with a hot and humid summers and white, snowy winters.


Maastricht is a city and municipality in the province of South Limburg. The city is situated on both banks of the Maas river in the south-east of the Netherlands, near the borders of Belgium and Germany. As of latest measurement the city of Maastricht has a population of 120 thousand people.

First time visitors to Maastricht will experience locals that attach great importance to it’s quality of life, public safety and social occasions, while the city has many historical buildings and settlements the minds are set towards the future offering modern university with international ambitions and a high cultural landscape.

Maastricht city center is attractive due to its wealth of history, about 1450 monuments are protected by the law. It’s locals show great care to renovate the buildings, monuments to maintain its atmosphere and historical look and feel. Because of Maastricht’s heritage value the entire city center is now serving as a “protected area”. In the center of the city you can find the main square “Vrijthof” where you can admire several monuments as the beautiful “Basilica of Saint Servatius” or the famous “St. Pietersberg’ caves which are the left overs of centuries of excavation of marl. There’s a possibility to book a boat cruise through the over 20 thousand passages through the tourist information office VVV.

The city history, culture and sightseeing and day to day living includes a wide variety of shops, impressive monuments, theaters, entertaining bars, cafes and pubs in between spacious parks and squares and of course last but not least the hospitality of its locals. This makes what makes the oldest city within the Netherlands a truly unique travel destination.

Travelers to Maastricht need a valid passport and visa. American citizens are allowed to stay up to 90 days without the use of a visa. Maastricht is a city of decent size, it’s easy to get around in the city center. he most convenient time to visit Maastricht is during daytime summer, from June till August.

Cape Town, Observatory

Observatory, or “Obs” as most locals refer to it, is one of the Southern Suburbs, located south of Table Mountain, bordering Mowbray and Salt River. It has a large student population, due to its location near the University of Cape Town (UCT) Medical School, and the campus itself.

Obs used to be notorious for the high crime rate, but recent developments, such as the renovation of the main square and a cleaning out of its streets and parks, have improved the entire suburb.

One of the main attractions during the day is the famous Grootte Schuur Hospital. Grootte Schuur is a stately Victorian hospital, built by Cecil Rhodes. Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant ever over 40 years ago, and a small museum dedicated to this fact, and to the Hospital’s history, is open for those interested in both medical history and architecture.

On the other side of the suburb, on the east side, you can find the Royal Observatory, which gave the suburb its name. Twice a month in the weekend, it opens for visitors who like to get a clearer view of the South African night sky.

The Suburb itself is not frequented constantly by tourists, although a number of lively backpackers’ and cheap short-term accommodation are available throughout the year.

Obs’ main street features many organic food stores and alternative music and fashion shops, as well as a rapidly changing restaurant scene. Obz Cafe is the largest restaurant/cafe, and, like many of the smaller cafes and restaurants, it features wireless internet access and all-day breakfast specials. Occasional live music performances are held in its small theater section. Cafe Ganesh is a more chaotic and flamboyant place to eat, and one of the several places specializing in vegetarian dishes.

The other main appeal of the suburb is its nightlife scene. Like the restaurants, clubs appear, disappear and change appearance quite frequently, but Roots, a beach themed bar, Gandalf’s, an alternative rock club and Stones, the pool bar, are the most established ones.


Guayaquil or officially Santiago de Guayaquil is the largest and most populous city in Ecuador, also the country’s main port. The city is located on the west bank of the Guayas River, which connects to the Gulf of Guayaquil and Pacific Ocean. Because of the location, its Ecuador’s important center for manufacturing and fishing industries. As of latest measurement the city has a population of 2.3 million people.

Taxi’s to get around in the city are widely available also known as “taxi amigos” though meters are not the standard. Being a tourist gives you disadvantage, an over charge will be paid. Therefore always agree upon a price before you get into the cab.

The city of Guayaquil is a easy to like city, it has been watched by travelers worldwide lately as it’s been going through massive renovation for the past 12 years, and has opened new tourist opportunities in the port area and on the sides of the Guayas river. In Latin America it’s unique that this port has been designed by London University of Oxford, besides the fact its one of the top 10 ports to see and enjoy.

Guayaquil’s nightlife is most active throughout Ecuador. The guayaquileños or locals enjoy to party until the sun comes up. A large amount of discotheques, bars, pubs and restaurants are spread all over the city, there’s no center of nightlife as Cuenca in Quito. Although some club entries may sound expensive, about $10 to $15 US it’s being compensated with the cheap prices of alcohol and liqueur.

Travelers to Guyaquil or elsewhere within Ecuador do not need visa as long their visit does not exceed 90 days. Passports, of course and a return ticket are required to visit Ecuador, immigration officers may ask you for proof of traveler’s economic means.

Cape Town, Company Garden

The Company Gardens are more than just an urban park; they are the oldest garden in the country, created years ago by Jan Van Riebeeck as a tranquil asset and vegetable garden bordering his lawn “Town house” or Tuynhuys as it is known currently. The former Riebeeck estate is currently the official President’s house in Cape Town, and it is well-guarded and gated, although the garden and many of the other colonial-era buildings have opened up for the public. Between 7AM and 7PM, the gates to the park will remain open.

Even though the Garden area is a well-known and popular tourist destination, locals enjoy the fresh air and peaceful surrounds equally, and can be found throughout the Company grounds. The surrounding area contains both the professional business district and the Parliament houses, and lunch breaks cause the Gardens to overflow with Capetonians. Other locals enjoying the park are the many squirrels you will undoubtedly meet on a walk through one of the two parallel lanes.

For visitors, aside from the views of Table Mountain, the Cecil Rhodes statue and the appeal of the large fountain in the center of the park walkway, the several museums within and just outside the Company Gardens are the main attractions. Unlike the park, these museums will require an entrance fee on any day of the week apart from Thursdays, when there is free admission.

The South African National Gallery is worth a visit by any art-lover. The permanent collection of the Gallery includes contemporary as well as colonial art from renowned European and African artists. Recently, the SANG has made an effort to showcase more South African art, such as bead work and apartheid-era paintings which have been censored in the past.

Opposite the Gallery you can find the South African Museum, the oldest museum South of the Sahara. A highly popular destination, the museum has a large collection of natural historical items as well as cultural and anthropological gems on display, specifically from South Africa, although Africa in general is well represented.

Cape Town, Long Street

As the name suggests, Long Street is one of the longest streets, with a length of 3.8 kilometers, in Cape Town, found in the city centre and stretching between the Waterfront and Gardens areas of the city. As you enter the street, the first impression is the lively atmosphere and architectural splendor, with elaborate Victorian designs and colorful balconies attached to most of the larger buildings.

It is not only a popular tourist site, but also a place where locals shop for antiques, clothing and (second-hand) books, and visit other specialized retail stores. Travel agencies, banks with foreign exchange counters and internet cafes are all to be found along the line. A number of cafes and restaurants are spread out among the shops, although these are generally more expensive than usual.

Just off Long Street you can find Greenmarket Square, a tourist hub where traditional African merchandise is sold in market stalls. Wooden masks, drums, T-shirts and other souvenirs are sold here during the day, and you will find that the vendors are friendly, although insistent. Haggling is advised if you are set on buying your souvenirs here.

One of the most celebrated restaurants on Long Street is Mama Africa, where traditional African meals are accompanied by live music, and at night there are often high quality music performances by Cape Towns top jazz and African musicians and collectives. Night life on Long Street has always been vibrant and the large and diverse set of clubs, pubs, cafes and lounge bars attract people from inside and outside of Cape Town with different lifestyles and backgrounds.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained significant popularity recently among the local city dwellers. Jo’burg is one of the busiest venues for this scene.  Electronic music is also on the rise, and several clubs have caught on and play the latest psytrance, fidget, electro, wildbeat, drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep, and more. Rhino Room and Fiction are two most prominent electro clubs. For a more relaxed night out, the Irish pub the Dubliner and the mellow alternative balcony-clad Neighborhood provide the perfect setting for a drink and the chance to meet other people.


Antwerp is a Belgium city and municipality, as well the capital of the Antwerp province. It’s situated on the right bank of the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea. Antwerp has a long history of being a important city in the Benelux as well economically and culturally. As of latest measurement Antwerp has a population of 490 thousand people.

Antwerp has an international reputation for being the “world’s leading diamond city” as more than 70% of all diamonds are traded in Antwerp. It’s also a popular travel destination for many travelers, the overwhelming friendliness of the Belgium locals, and their urge for a quality living and food, combined with an overall low stress lifestyle, makes it a relaxing and desirable travel destination.

In the heart of Antwerp lies a irregularly shaped square named Grote Markt which is being surrounded by decorative guild buildings aging from the 16th century. The Grote Markt is home to the statue of Brabo, according to the 16th century legend, his actions led to the city’s name. It’s said that Silvius Brabo had flung the hand of Antigonus, a giant who terrorized ships passing by. Antwerp’s city hall is located right on the square, which has great Italian and Belgium characteristics. Furthermore the city of Antwerp has several historical sightseeing including museums and churches, as well fine dining opportunities with both local and international cuisine.

Travelers to Antwerpen need a valid passport and return ticket. For stays that do not exceed 90 days a visa is not required. English is not widely spoken in Antwerpen, might as well bring yourself a French dictionary or pick up a few French lines. The best time to visit Antwerpen is during the summer months from July till August.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong (香港) meaning “fragrant harbour” is one of the two Special Administrative Regions in China, with the second one being Macau. Hong Kong consists of 236 islands situated on China’s south coast, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea. Hong Kong has developed itself to a globe’s top financial center with a capitalist economy. It’s skyline and harbor are breath taking. As of latest measurement the city has a population of 7,1 million people.

Hongkong today is one of the most important and popular travel destinations in China. The city has absorbed people and cultural influences from places all over the world and therefore its also a unique travel destination which is often referred to as a center the city “where east meets the west” which reflects in its daily life, streets, cuisine, music and traditions.

Aside from its chaotic traffic scene, busy streets, gigantic sky scrapers and thousands of bright advertising signs the city of Hong Kong can also be hushed and peaceful with fine dining experiences trying Chinese cuisine, excellent transport network around town, massive and sublime shopping malls, quiet temples and spacious parks and gardens. Another Hong Kong sightseeing include the vantage point at Vicoria Peak overlooking the world’s busiest deep water port which is outstanding and breathtaking.

Getting round in the city, it’s easiest method is the subway system. All of the signs are in English language as well, though metered taxi’s are widely available. According to South Asian standards, not the cheapest of them all though a 20 minute taxi from center Hong Kong to Victoria Peak (20 minutes) cost us about $6 US. Taxi’s are the most expensive (public) transportation available in the city.

Travelers to Hongkong need a valid passport and visa. While the city is relatively safe, the common travel concerns include presence of pickpockets, thieves and thick city smog. The best period to visit Hongkong is between May and September when there’s the best temperature. On average it does rain more in these months than in periods throughout the year.