Africa – Traveler’s Itch
A sequel to ‘12 unique countries to visit for adventurous travelers‘, we conclude the miniseries with these 12 places to visit you haven’t thought of before! So, if you’re ready to swap the familiar for the extraordinary, these countries and places are waiting to be discovered. Get off the beaten path, embrace the unknown, and let these unconventional destinations redefine your travel bucket list!
12 places to visit to pique your interest
Bulgaria is a country often overlooked by travelers, but it is one of those destinations that hold the potential to blow you away if you give it a chance.
The best way to get to Bulgaria from abroad is by plane. You should look into flights to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and the best starting point for your trip. If you will be doing a trip around the Balkans, you may consider an alternative transport option by road that could be by bus or train.
Sofia is also the best place to use as a base if you prefer to do day trips instead of moving hotels every few days. The best area to stay in Sofia is in the city center, you can use the Vitosha Boulevard as a point of reference since this is the main pedestrian street.
The best time to travel to Bulgaria depends on what you want to see and do. During the winter, Bansko is the most famous ski resort in the country and is known to be a good destination for digital nomads looking for affordable winter destinations. The warmer seasons like summer and autumn, though, are the times of the year when you will be able to explore most of Bulgaria’s landscape.
When it comes to interesting attractions, Bulgaria has no shortage of places to offer. You should start the trip by visiting Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and take the time to explore the incredible Roman ruins and the mesmerising Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Plovdiv and Bansko are two other cities worth visiting. If you are more into outdoor adventure, Bulgaria is known to be a great hiking destination. One of the most famous hikes in the country is the trail to the Seven Rila Lakes, visiting the Rila Monastery.
Before you pack your bags, here are a few interesting things to know about the country:
• Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but the most important street signs and most menus are also written in Latin characters
• Bulgaria is the third country in Europe with the most valuable archaeological monuments, behind only Italy and Greece. This is very visible just by walking around the streets of Sofia, as you can see incredibly well-maintained ruins of the ancient Roman city that used to exist in that same spot.
All in all, Bulgaria is a destination that offers a perfect mix of a very rich and unique culture, beautiful landscapes, and delicious cuisine.
Contributed & photographed by Fernanda of MaukaTravels
One of the reasons Ilulissat in Greenland remains off the beaten track is it’s hard to get there! You can fly there from Reykjavik in Iceland or Copenhagen in Denmark (changing planes at Kangerlussuaq in Greenland) or you can take an arctic cruise or expedition ship.
And, seeing as Ilulissat is within the Arctic Circle, you must be prepared for some cold weather, even in summer.
The main appeal of Ilulissat is the Icejord that is located next to it. Ilulissat Icefjord is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stunning spectacle, due to the enormous icebergs that emerge from it.
The source of the icebergs is the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, one of the fastest and most productive glaciers in the world. It calves around 40m per day and the gigantic icebergs float along the Icefjord, get grounded for a while at the shallow fjord entrance and eventually float off into the smooth waters of Disko Bay.
If you visit in summer, you can enjoy spectacular Ilulissat boat tours out to the majestic icebergs on the Icefjord. You can even kayak amongst them! In summer, you also have a good chance to see magnificent humpback whales on a whale-watching tour. And you can hike to Icefjord viewpoints near the town. And in June and much of July, there’s 24-hour daylight, so you can enjoy the eerie spectacle of the midnight sun lighting up the icebergs in a yellow glow.
July is said to be a good summer month, as it has good chances of good weather, whales and it still has some midnight sun.
However, if you would like to see the Northern Lights, you’ll need to come during winter, when it’s dark enough to see them. And winter is also the best time to go snowmobiling and dog sledding on the ice caps. In summer, the strong and ferocious sled dogs are housed in stations around town – so you can still see them, but not in action.
April is said to be a good ‘winter’ month, as the winter activities are possible, but the weather is not as brutal as during the dead of winter.
Getting to Greenland is expensive, so if you want to save some money while you’re there, a good budget hotel is the Hotel SØMA Ilulissat.
Contributed & photographed by Martha Knight of MayCauseWanderlust
Lithuania is one of the three Baltic states located in Eastern Europe. It’s a less popular destination in this continent despite its own charm, fantastic locals, culture and history that is worth discovering. If you’re looking for a more affordable European destination with traditional cobbled-stone streets, a diverse culinary scene, and less crowded, Lithuania has to be on your list.
Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania. You should be able to find direct flights from major European countries such as Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, London, Copenhagen, and Rome to Vilnius. If you’re coming from Poland or another East European country, you can take the bus to Vilnius. There’s also an option to take the train if the railway network is connected to the Lithuanian one.
The best time to visit Lithuania is pretty much all year round. During the late spring to early autumn season, you can see the top attractions and enjoy the warmer weather. It gets quite busy in summer, but not as chaotic as Paris or Rome. You’ll still be able to walk around without being shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists.
The winter season is an incredible time to visit Lithuania. This is because the lake around Trakai Castle freezes over. Locals would come out with their skates or walk over the frozen lake for some magical and unique time of the year.
During your visit, you should not miss Vilnius. It’s where you’ll find the Three Crosses Monument, KBG Museum, and the Gates of Dawn. You can also enjoy the easy hike up to Gediminas Castle Tower and admire the outdoor art museum of the town Uzupis.
If you’re visiting in summer, go swim at the man-made Green Lakes with options to do boat rentals, which are popular with locals, or simply have a picnic or attend a musical festival at Vingis Park. Another option is to ride the stunning hot air balloon over Vilnius, which is a great sunrise activity.
For Vilnius, you should consider your accommodation to be near the train/bus terminal for easy access. You can take the bus or train to other Lithuanian cities such as Klaipeda, great for beach trips or Kaunas, which is a cultural city. If you have two weeks in Europe, you can even combine two Baltic country during this trip.
When it comes to accommodation, The Artis Centrum Hotel or Hotel Rinno are amazing hotel options in Vilnius, but if you’re on a budget, Jimmy Jumps Hostel is a great choice or Downtown Forest Hostel and Camping is the place to go for some outdoor accommodation.
Contributed & photographed by Mary of ThreeWeekTraveller
Despite its size, Montenegro is packed with stunning natural beauty, rich history and delicious food. If you’re planning a trip to Montenegro and are short on time, a 5–day itinerary is the perfect way to see the best of what the country has to offer.
Montenegro has two international airports: Tivat Airport and Podgorica Airport. Tivat Airport is located on the coast, while Podgorica Airport is inland. Both airports have regular flights from major European cities. If you are traveling from outside of Europe, you may need to transfer to another European airport first.
You can also fly into Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia, which is just across the border from Montenegro. Dubrovnik Airport has more flight options and regular bus service to Montenegro.
Getting around the country is easy with public transportation. Montenegro has a well-developed bus network with regular routes between major cities and towns.
When planning your trip to Montenegro, avoid winter as it can be cold, windy and unsuitable for outdoor activities. In spring and fall, the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, choose the summer months for your trip to Montenegro.
Explore the old town of Kotor, just 10 km from Tivat Airport. Walk the narrow medieval streets and pet one of Kotor’s many cats. If you are in good shape, climb to the top of St. John’s Fortress for a magnificent view of the town and bay. Take a boat tour to Our Lady of the Rocks and the charming town of Perast.
Take the bus for a short trip to Budva. Its old town is a must see with its narrow streets, ancient walls and beautiful architecture. You can spend hours wandering around, admiring the old buildings and soaking up the atmosphere. The Church of St. John the Baptist, dating back to the 7th century, is a particular highlight with its rich history and stunning frescoes. Spend some relaxing time on some of the many beaches. Head to the famous Mogren beach, surrounded by impressive cliffs. Don’t miss the spectacular island of Sveti Stefan. It is a resort island, but you can still admire it from the beach.
Montenegro is an affordable and accessible destination, perfect for travelers who want to experience the beauty of Europe without breaking the bank. Whether you’re interested in history, nature or just relaxing on the beach, there’s something for everyone.
Contributed & photographed by Maria of Map and Camera
Slovenia is a picturesque country in Central Europe. Ljubljana, Slovenia’s charming capital, often flies under the radar, but it’s a hidden gem worth exploring. Despite its small size, this city boasts a wealth of historical marvels and modern attractions, creating a delightful experience for visitors.
Slovenia, known for its safety, welcomes travelers with top-notch friendliness. Plus, compared to many other European capitals, Ljubljana is very affordable, making it a budget-friendly choice. Stay at Hotel Heritage for a high-class experience at a moderate price.
Atop Castle Hill, Ljubljana Castle stands proudly, offering not only a glimpse into medieval history but also panoramic views of the city. In the heart of the city lies Preseren Square, adorned by the iconic Triple Bridge, an architectural marvel spanning the river. Gothic enthusiasts will marvel at St. Nicholas’s Cathedral, a testament to timeless architecture right
in the city center.
What truly sets Slovenia apart is its commitment to sustainability. Pedestrian-friendly streets, bike-friendly infrastructure, and abundant green spaces define this eco-conscious city. In the heart of the city, cars are replaced by the charming presence of the Triple Bridge. For nature lovers, Ljubliana’s Tivoli Park, stretching over 5 kilometers, provides a serene escape within the city. It’s a green oasis featuring walking trails, botanical gardens, and biking paths.
Food enthusiasts will appreciate Slovenia’s flavors. Don’t miss out on potica, a delectable nut-filled pastry. In Ljubljana, the Central Market is a food lover’s paradise, bustling with fresh produce and local products. Dive deeper into the culinary wonders with a food tour.
You can often find Štruklji – traditional Slovenian dumplings, typically prepared with various fillings such as cottage cheese, walnuts, apples, or poppy seeds. They can be served as a main dish or a dessert, and they showcase the rich culinary heritage of the region. These delicious dumplings can be found in restaurants and markets throughout Ljubljana and are a must-try for anyone exploring Slovenian cuisine.
Lake Bled, located in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, is renowned for its natural beauty and tranquility. The lake surrounds Bled Island, home to the Assumption of Mary Church, which visitors can reach by traditional wooden boats known as pletnas. The medieval Bled Castle overlooks the lake from a cliff. Outdoor activities such as hiking, rowing, and cycling are popular among tourists, and the local cuisine, including the famous Bled Cream Cake, offers a delightful culinary experience.
Plan your visit between April and August for the best weather. April and May, in particular, offer better rates and fewer crowds than the peak summer months.
Fly into Ljubljana airport or opt for a scenic train ride from neighboring cities like Zagreb, Croatia, or Salzburg, Austria.
Contributed & photographed by Eleanor of Elevate Your Escapes
Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, remains one of the world’s least explored countries. Only having achieved independence in 2004, it has yet to make its way onto the radar of most travelers. Nevertheless, with its tumultuous recent history and remote landscapes, Timor-Leste is great for those seeking an adventurous, off-the-beaten-path destination.
The easiest way to get to Timor-Leste is by flying to its capital, Dili. Several airlines offer flights to Dili from neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Australia. Alternatively, you can enter by land from its only bordering neighbor, the Indonesian island of Timor.
The best time to visit Timor-Leste is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. The country has a tropical climate for most of the year, with temperatures ranging from 20-30°C. During the rainy season, while the landscape becomes greener, the rural and mountain roads may become inaccessible, and there is a potential for tropical cyclones.
Despite being a small country, Timor-Leste tourism has a diverse offering in terms of activities and experiences. For history buffs, learning about the country’s bloody past is perspective-changing. The Resistance Museum in Dili provides an insight into Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence and its long history of colonization.
For adventure seekers, Timor-Leste has incredible diving opportunities on Atauro Island and exciting mountain peaks to hike, like Mt. Ramelau and Mt. Matebian. Additionally, the country’s beaches are stunning and still unspoiled. If you have the time, make an effort to go to Jaco Island, an uninhabited paradise with some of the bluest waters you’ll ever see.
Why travel to Timor-Leste? For one, it remains untouched by mass tourism, preserving its authentic culture. Locals will invite you to their traditional treehouses and markets and want you to stay over for dinner. Moreover, with its diverse landscapes, the Timor-Leste landscape changes from rugged mountains and pristine beaches to crocodile-infested lakes.
Outside the capital, accommodation options in Timor-Leste are still relatively limited. Budget travelers can find guesthouses and hotels in Dili and other main towns. For those looking to explore the more remote parts of the country, eco-lodges and guesthouses may be available, or local churches may offer a room on a donation basis.
Insider Tip: Even though Timor-Leste is in Southeast Asia, the official currency is the US dollar. However, breaking larger bills might be a challenge in most places. Additionally, English and Portuguese are commonly spoken languages in the area.
Contributed & photographed by Catherine Xu of Nomadicated
Trinidad & Tobago
One of the lesser visited countries in the Caribbean is Trinidad & Tobago. It’s the southernmost Caribbean country located just off the coast of Venezuela. It’s a bit further to get to and lesser developed than some of the other Caribbean hot spots, which is likely why it doesn’t see as many tourists.
The best way to get there is to fly into Trinidad’s capital city: Port of Spain. From South Florida, it’s about a four-hour flight. To explore the island of Tobago, you’ll then need to take an inter-island ferry from the Port of Spain to Scarborough. The 20-mile journey takes between 3-3.5 hours to complete.
The best time to visit the islands of Trinidad and Tobago is during the dry season from January to May. Temperatures will be warm year-round, though you may see more rain from June to December. The good news is that the islands are so far south, that they are below the hurricane belt.
Another thing to consider is Trinidad’s carnival. It falls on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesdayand is a huge celebration in Trinidad. Thousands of visitors flock to the island during this time so you may have trouble making reservations.
Though it may seem like Trinidad and Tobago are similar islands, they actually have different vibes and offer a different kind of experience. Trinidad has a much larger population and is more lively with great nightlife. Though the island in general is busier, you can still find some beautiful locations and nature spots. Head to Maracas Beach or Las Cuevas for some sun and sand. Or hit the hiking trails to Paria Waterfall or the Rio Seco Waterfall.
Tobago is a much smaller island with quiet, laid-back vibes but there are lots of things to do in Tobago. Pigeon Point is one of the most beautiful beaches or you can head along the north coast to Englishman’s Bay or Castara for quieter beaches. Take a tour to the Nylon Pool, a shallow sandbar out in the ocean or tour Tobago’s many forts.
Even with their different vibes, they both have a very rustic feel to them. They aren’t mainstream Caribbean islands and whether you choose to visit Trinidad or Tobago, you’ll get a very local, authentic feel.
Port of Spain is a great area to stay in if you’re visiting Trinidad. The capital city is busy and there are several places to stay around the city center. If you don’t mind staying a little outside the city, Crews Inn has beautiful marina views. Crown Point is a popular area to stay in Tobago and where you’ll find a lot of the tourist activities. Check out Coco Reef Resort or Bacolet Beach Club in Scarborough.
Contributed & photographed by Ashley Jansen of JetsetJansen
An island country in the Pacific Ocean near Australia’s northeast, Vanuatu is not as well-known as its neighboring islands which include Fiji.
Vanuatu is made up of 83 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited. Efate is the main island in Vanuatu as it is where the international airport is located, plus it is home to the port town of Port Vila, where cruise ships dock for the day.
Most visitors stay on Efate and take day trips to other islands while others choose to stay on the smaller islands. Some islands have resort hotels. Many of the islands can be reached by boat while others require flying.
The Blue Lagoon is a must-see, and note that there are 3 entrances. One of the entrances is the most popular with tourists and includes wooden platforms to jump off of and rope swings to swing into the clear water. Be aware that some of the fish can get too close and while it doesn’t hurt, it can be scary to feel them try to nibble on you!
In town, the Vanuatu National Museum is a great place to learn about the country. While the museum is self-guided, there is a presentation throughout the day where you can learn about the customs and traditions in Vanuatu.
Be sure to visit some of the smaller islands. A great way to see more of Vanuatu and speak to the locals is on the Lelepa Island Tour. You may recognize Lelepa Island from Survivor! The beautiful island is not far from Efate where locals pick you up from your hotel, take you snorkeling, feed you lunch, and then take you to their island.
Lelepa Island has a cave which will be visited on the tour as well as a village. This is a chance for you to speak with families on the island and learn about their lives.
A small touristy island is Hideaway Island which is home to a resort but can also be visited for the day. Hideaway Island is a must-visit as it is where the world’s only underwater post office is. You can purchase a special waterproof postcard in the gift shop after taking a short ferry ride to the island.
Once you snorkel out to the platform, find the rope that leads to the post office. This will help you get down there easier and is much simpler than trying to swim down on your own.
To get to Vanuatu, most flights start in Australia or New Zealand or have a stopover in Fiji.
The most popular time to visit Vanuatu is from April until October when the weather is drier. The weather is generally warm all year, though it is cyclone season from November until April.
Vanuatu is gorgeous, the people are lovely, and there is so much to see in this small island country. If you have the opportunity, Vanuatu is definitely worth visiting, and make sure you get away from the port area to see the real beauty of the islands.
Contributed & photographed by Lanie of Lets Make More Adventures
Looking for an off-the-beaten-path travel destination in the US? Look no further than the state of Wisconsin! This Midwest state might not be as glamorous as New York or California, but there are many unique attractions and fun activities to enjoy in Wisconsin.
The largest airport in Wisconsin is the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. There are also several regional airports that may work better for you depending on which portions of the state you want to visit.
Milwaukee is a great place to start your exploration of ‘The Badger State’. There are many top Milwaukee attractions to keep you entertained. Check out museums such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum, or the one-of-a-kind National Bobblehead Hall of Fame. Then take a stroll along the Milwaukee Riverwalk and admire the public art, including the life-sized ‘Bronz Fonz’.
Summertime is the best season to visit Wisconsin, as there are plenty of festivals to enjoy. You’ll love Summerfest, a massive music festival held in Milwaukee with performances across three weekends at the end of June and beginning of July.
No trip to Wisconsin is complete without a trip to the state’s capital of Madison. Take a tour of the stunning Capitol building and climb up to the observation deck surrounding the Capitol’s dome. This is the best viewpoint in Madison! And don’t miss the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which are particularly beautiful in spring and summer.
Take a day trip from Madison to explore one of Wisconsin’s quirky small towns, Mount Horeb. It’s the self-proclaimed ‘Troll Capital of the World’. If you’re visiting in February, don’t miss the Scandihoovian Winter Festival, where the town’s residents put on pointy red hats and celebrate their Scandinavian heritage.
Sports fans will enjoy watching Wisconsin’s major league sports teams. Don your green and gold and cheer for the Green Bay Packers at a football game, or watch the Milwaukee Brewers play America’s favorite pastime.
If you love spending time in nature, you’ll love Wisconsin. Enjoy the beauty of the state’s 15,000 lakes—perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming. Water-ski shows are a popular entertainment in Wisconsin, and you can enjoy a day of family fun at one of the state’s dragon boat festivals. Wisconsin is also gorgeous in the autumn, when the trees put on a colorful show of fall foliage.
Wondering where to stay during your visit to Wisconsin? When you’re in Milwaukee, stay at the Plaza Hotel, a boutique art-deco styled hotel with kitchenettes. And in Madison, you can’t go wrong with the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club. It’s located right next to the Capitol building and within easy walking distance of several excellent restaurants.
Contributed & photographed by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
Located in the breathtaking Yukon Territory, Canada, you will find Whitehorse, the capital city and a hidden gem where adventure, untamed wilderness and natural beauty surround you.
Whitehorse has remained one of Canada’s lesser known cities and is widely undiscovered as a tourist destination, which is quite unusual, as it is full of spectacular landscapes and vast mountains as far as the eye can see.
With nearly 20 hours of daylight in the summertime, an elevated chance of witnessing the northern lights in the winter, and activities for each season, Whitehorse promises a year round escape.
Getting to Whitehorse, Yukon is more accessible than it may initially appear. The city is well-connected to its neighboring provinces, making traveling to this northern gem straightforward.For those starting their journey from Canadian cities such as Edmonton and Calgary (in Alberta), or Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna (in British Columbia), Air North provides budget-friendly flights.
The ideal time to travel to Whitehorse depends on your specific travel preferences. If you are drawn to the wintery activities such as skiing and ice fishing then the winter months offer the perfect time for your journey!
Additionally, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) come alive between November – March.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that due to Whitehorse being located in the northern hemisphere, daylight hours are limited during this season.
Conversely, if you seek close to 20 hours of daylight, and wish to partake in hiking, white water rafting, and other warmer outdoor activities, then the summer and fall months will suit you best.
Outdoor activities and adventure define Whitehorse. Visit Whitehorse to fully immerse yourself in Canadian nature and wilderness.
Embark on a boat tour through Miles Canyon and the Yukon River. To dive deeper into the history of the Yukon River, visit the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, where you can learn of its role during the 1800’s.
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a must visit for animal lovers, where you can observe northern animals from up-close or consider visiting Sky High Wilderness Ranch for a memorable horseback ride.
For those who enjoy hiking, Yukon Territory has many national parks, the closest to Whitehorse being Kluane National Park and Reserve. However, you don’t have to go too far to find trails, Whitehorse itself has a number of hiking opportunities. Check out The Millennium Trail that is located right in downtown Whitehorse.
Whitehorse is for you if you are searching for a once in a lifetime adventure. This lesser known gem is perfect to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the wilderness.
Whitehorse is not just about outdoor activities, come here to learn about the Indigenous people of Yukon Territory and gain a deeper understanding of their culture and traditions. Explore the stories of the gold rush era, and don’t forget to learn about the role of the Yukon River in the late 1800’s, serving as a lifeline to its citizens.
For a unique, once in a lifetime escape, the Northern Lights Resort & Spa is located just 20 minutes outside of Whitehorse. This resort offers all inclusive and half-board accommodations for reasonable prices. Stay in a traditional log cabin or a glass-front chalet to experience the marvelous Aurora Borealis.
Contributed & photographed by Joanna of Plan Before Land
Tonga is such an underrated country. It’s home to some of the best beaches on the planet, but because so few people know about them, you can visit and have them all to yourself.
Getting there, however, can be a little tricky. Tonga comprises a small chain of islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, not particularly close to any major airports. Flights can be expensive and lengthy if you’re not already in Oceania.
If you’re already based in Australia or New Zealand, scoring a cheap flight is going to be simple. You can book direct flights from either country, as well as Fiji, and they rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars each way. If you live in the United States, however, you’ll want to fly from Los Angeles, which runs a flight to Tonga three times a week with a stopover in Fiji.
The low season in the South Pacific runs between November and March, and if you visit at this time, you can expect to be one of only a handful of tourists on any island in Tonga. Prices are extremely low because of this and the only major downside is the weather: there’s a low risk of cyclones and a high risk of rain (although the latter rarely lasts for more than a couple of hours at a time).
Between the months of July and October, however, something really quite special happens.
Hundreds of humpback whales descend upon the islands of Tonga from Antarctica to give birth in warmer waters. It’s a remarkable experience – and only one of a handful of places in the world where you can swim with humpback whales – but also eye-wateringly expensive. Prices can triple during these popular travel months and the few accommodation options are booked out years in advance.
The whales may be Tonga’s most famous attraction, but there are so many other reasons to visit.
The island of Tongatapu is home to blowholes and lagoons; royal tombs and palaces; ruins and a collection of swimming pigs. It’s here where you can witness the landing sites of famous explorers, like James Cook and Abel Tasman.
You’ll find plenty of hikes on the rugged, eco-friendly island of ‘Eua, a destination that’s known for its wild ponies, rugged cliffs, and dozens of myths and legends.
Over on Ha’apai, you can island-hop your way from pristine beach to untouched island, kayaking over families of leopard sharks and kiteboarding across turquoise waters.
And on Vava’u, you can dive to breathtaking coral reefs or charter a yacht to explore tiny uninhabited islands without anybody else in sight.
There are several important things to know before you go: Tonga is a deeply religious country and there are certain cultural customs that you should therefore adhere to. Firstly, it’s seen as offensive for men or women to go topless in the country. Women should aim to keep their knees and shoulders covered while out in public. And everything is closed on a Sunday. In fact, it’s illegal for two activities to take place on this day: exercise or business transactions. Plan accordingly! Stock up on food for your Sunday meals – or join in with a local feast – and head to church for a fascinating cultural experience.
Contributed & photographed by Lauren of Never Ending Footsteps
One of my favorite off-the-beaten-path travel destinations is Uganda in east Africa. Uganda is the most popular for trekking with primates, such as gorillas and chimpanzees. In addition, it offers fantastic opportunities for traditional safari that you would find in other sub-Saharan countries such as Kenya and Tanzania.
The top reason to travel to Uganda is to experience amazing wildlife. Uganda is one of only three countries where you can trek to see wild mountain gorillas. The other two options are Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo which are more expensive and more dangerous respectively.
Trekking with wild mountain Gorillas is a truly bucket list experience. You will travel in a small group with the support of an expert guide and trackers to find a family of wild gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Once you spot the gorillas, you are invited to spend one hour observing the animals in their natural state. You will see them feed, play, and wander their habitat. There is a great chance of seeing a wild silverback and/or baby gorillas.
Similar to the gorillas, Uganda offers the unique opportunity to see wild chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park. Similarly, you will trek to find the chimp families then spend up to an hour observing them.
Seeing wild chimps and gorillas was truly one of the best travel experiences of my life. In addition to primates, Uganda offers opportunities to see other wildlife such as elephants, lions, hippos, and more.
In the Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can take game drives to spot African wildlife and soak in the beautiful Saharan landscape.
In addition, there are amazing local people and ancient tribes in Uganda. It’s an honor to interact with the local people, learning about their customs and way of life. You can also arrange to meet with the local Pygmy tribes that have been living a nomadic lifestyle in Uganda for centuries.
The best time to visit Uganda is in October, which is considered dry season. It’s also much cooler than the peak of summer. However, Uganda is great to visit year-round.
The best way to get to Uganda is by flying into the capital city of Kampala. From there, you can connect on small bush planes or drives to the more popular tourist areas.
If you are planning a vacation to Uganda, I recommend 10-14 days in the country. Split your visit between four areas – Murchison falls, near the Nile river, Kibale, where you can see chimps, Queen Elizabeth National park for games drives, and Bwindi, for gorilla trekking.
Spend 2-3 days in each area to have enough time to visit the top sights and activities of that region. There are great resort options in each of these areas, ranging from budget hostels to 5-star luxury lodges. In fact, Uganda is home to my favorite resort in the world, the Nile River Lodge.
Overall, if you are seeking a vacation to a lesser-traveled destination, I strongly recommend Uganda. You will be awed by the natural beauty, amazing culture, and unbeatable wildlife.
Contributed & photographed by Lauren of The Travelling Moore