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Be honest...Has Africa really been the best holiday destination you have ever visited?

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Apr 21st, 2004, 10:00 AM
  #21
DJE
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Most destinations I have travelled to have offered an interesting experience as each is unique in its own right. Africa of course was one of my favorites and I look forward to a return visit as the land and people definitely made an indelible impression.

Others that remain memorable in my mind are Uluru in Australia and I know that a lot of people just view this as one big red rock in the middle of nowhere, but it was a special place for me. We did a driving trip around the eastern half of the country. Now we are about to return and experience the other half of this wonderful continent.

Patagonia in South America stands out as quite spectacular ( Roccco, I know you and I definitely differ on this destination, ha! ha! )

Going down the Amazon river was interesting and walking on the Great Wall of China was quite amazing. For relaxation I have enjoyed some of the fijian islands and those in French Polynesia. Have also enjoyed a few cruises on the smaller ships. I prefer the more intimate casual atmosphere of the smaller vessels.

Some of my favorite cities have been Buenos Aires, Sydney, Beijing, Florence, Berlin and others.

I have been fortunate on our many travels to have met so many wonderful people in so many places. This has always made traveling that much more enjoyable.

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Apr 21st, 2004, 10:47 AM
  #22
 
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Kavey...most people in the States use sick days as vacation time because they get so few vacation days..unlike the UK. We also do a fair amount of travel with business, but usually manage 3 weeks otherwise..in one country. My favourites are..
Peru(without a doubt)
Italy(especially Cinque Terre)
Jordan, Egypt area(not sure if that would be the case at the moment)
France
Kenya

England would of course be on my list..but we go back home to visit family mostly.Hope South Africa will be on this list after our visit later this year.
Hope Africa
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Apr 21st, 2004, 11:01 AM
  #23
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DJE,

I may have had a different impression of Patagonia if I didn't pinch pennies and would have instead stayed at Explora, as I believe you did.

Plus, I did start out that trip with a marathon in Vina Del Mar, then abused myself further in the Atacama Desert (a lot of activities, many above 10,000' elevation) before finally making it all the way down to Patagonia. I was defeated before I got to Patagonia and then staying at Las Torres instead of Explora didn't help matters out any.

I would like to give Patagonia another shot in the future, although with the current economies of Chile and Argentina, I would visit the Argentinian side instead.
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Apr 21st, 2004, 11:21 AM
  #24
 
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Mincepie
Yeah I know, I have American relatives...
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Apr 21st, 2004, 11:24 AM
  #25
DJE
 
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Roccco,

I do hope you give Patagonia another chance as you have mentioned you would like to do. It does sound like you were quite exhausted by the time you reached this spot. It may have made some difference if your accomm. had been more pleasant. The picturesque setting out the large dining room windows of the Explora were quite spectacular especially on a clear day. The glacial water in the foreground with the Andes and towers in the background were impressive to me.

Yes the dollar would go a lot further in Argentina right now and I think you would definitely enjoy the very cosmopolitan feel of Buenos Aires. I thought it was a very vibrant exciting city and I can see why it has always been described as the Paris of South America. Having been there before all the serious economic problems of the past few years, I would hope that the country is on the rebound upward.

Still have to get to the Atacama at some point as it is still on our list of places to visit.
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Apr 22nd, 2004, 11:04 PM
  #26
 
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By far Africa wins hands down. That's why we are going back this year again. We loved the whole experience and found ourselves trying to buy a winery at the end of it! Highlights were: 4 days private safari and the wonderful staff at our lodge, the amazing restaurants in Cape Town, the friendly people, I could go on and on!


Other favorites:
Stockholm (our favorite city in Europe, amazing in the summer)
Bali (love the white water rafting and the people)
Sardinia (ooh ohh ohh)
Santorini (but only at Katikies, where you can feel like you have the island to yourself)
Utah (skiing - sorry, but European skiing cannot hold a candle to the slopes there)

Still dying to tackle Australia, Uganda for the gorillas, and the islands of off Sicily. Actually we had planned on Australia this year, but that darn Africa bug bit us pretty hard. Luckily living in Europe we have a ridiculous number of vacation days (like 42 or something).

6 months still Africa and counting! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Apr 23rd, 2004, 09:49 AM
  #27
 
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Interesting thread! For me it is a tie for top choice,between my South Africia/Victoris Falls trip and Alaska. Spectacular wildlife in both places.I also love wildlife and both of these places are some of the best for that.

The highlights in Alaska, for me was spending time among the brown bear at Brooks falls.Also having Humpback whales breaching very close to the boat we were on in Homer; was a great thrill.A couple whales came up along side our boat to people watch; very National Geographic. And of course the scenery is breathtaking.

The wildlife and the people are what I loved the most about South Africa. Both are amazing and wonderful.

I also liked Austrailia, with Sydney as my favorite city.Kangaroo Island was my favorite place for wildlife.

Still on my list of places to visit before I die, are Costa Rica, Italy and England(England,because of all the wonderful people I have met from there).

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Apr 4th, 2006, 11:00 PM
  #28
santharamhari
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No doubts......African safaris are my absolute favourite trips.....Botswana in particular.....that's why i am returning for my 3rd trip in as many years later this year. However, next week i go to Krabi, Thailand.

But there's other places i have enjoyed also.......amongst them.......NYC,Paris, Barcelona, Belgium, San Francisco, Sedona,Arizona stand out.

My wish list includes, Namibia, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Southern Tanzania, Morocco, Maldives, Galapagos, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka.

But right now, i think my hunger is to travel to Africa at every opportunity i get.....
 
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Apr 5th, 2006, 03:19 AM
  #29
 
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No. 1 African Safari- beautiful animals in the wild, the ultimate adventure.
No. 2 The USA Southwest. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyon deChelle, Zion, Bryce, Utah. Breath taking scenery, magic, like another world. Canyon deChelle is not as "famous" as the others but it is a Navajo reservation in a valley that is perfect, like the best movie set you could imagine. Here's a photo (not mine) that just hints at it - http://www.pbase.com/rvision/image/26558451
regards - tom
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Apr 5th, 2006, 05:07 AM
  #30
 
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This is a tough one. I can honestly say that I have loved every place I've ever been and there's not a single place I wouldn't want to return to - be they cities with their wealth of history, architecture, culture, or places of great natural and unspoiled beauty such as Alaska or the Galapagos.
Some experiences I'll never forget are swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos and hiking among the clouds at Machu Picchu.
For many years my favorite trip was Morocco because it was so different from any place I'd ever been. It still ranks among the top.
All that being said, no matter where I travel, my next trip to Italy is never far from my mind.
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Apr 5th, 2006, 07:43 AM
  #31
 
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Favorites:
Kenya and Tanzania - I will never forget sitting quietly with all the different types of animals for hours at a time, the amazing guides and drivers, the diverse landscapes, ballooning at dawn over the thundering wildebeest herds and hearing their pounding hooves and labored breathing... Hoping to recapture some of that magic this year in Botswana and Namibia.
Antarctica - Seeing the hundreds of thousands of penguins stealing rocks for nests and porpoising in the water and tobogganning on their bellies and protecting their babies and screaming their ecstatic displays when mates come home - priceless...
Arctic Norway and Svalbard - beautiful fjords, charming cities, polar bears (with babies) on ice bergs in the middle of nowhere, massive walruses bobbing out of the water next to our zodiacs, kayaking and hiking and too much else to fit into 24 hours of daylight each day...
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Apr 5th, 2006, 08:05 AM
  #32
bat
 
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Most memorable--China in 1985 when independent travel first re-opened. Arrived by hydrofoil from Hong Kong with no set itinerary or reservations. I can still hear the ching ching sound of the bicycle bells in Beijing (very few cars then). [Also has worst trip memory when camera with 3 months of travel photos was stolen.]

Also, quite magical--Macchu Pichu (and coupled with a trip to the Galapagos--quite memorable.)
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Apr 5th, 2006, 08:07 AM
  #33
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I just noticed that Rocco started this thread in 4/2004 and hari just revived it. Rocco--what has 2 years done to shape your opinion?
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Apr 5th, 2006, 08:41 AM
  #34
 
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my turn.
Been to all continents (not antartica) that's on a to do list.

top 3 favorites in order:
Africa
Turkey
Indonesia

Sherry

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Apr 5th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #35
 
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1. India - Taj, Tigers, Ganges, colors, craziness.

2. Africa - Kenya/Tanzania: Classic safari. Rwanda: Gorillas and natural beauty.

3. Cambodia - great temples and I love the Cambodian people.

4. Italy - Rome/Venice/Capri/Sorrento: Simply glorious.

5. Peru - Machu Picchu, Cuzco

6. London - Westminster Abbey alone does it.

7. Alaska - Anchorage/McGrath Saw the Iditarod, got to mush sled dogs.

8. Bangkok - Only 1 day, but I loved it. The best suit I've ever had got made in about 10 hours.

9. Seoul - Walked through downtown for several hours while waiting for a plane. Would love to see more.

So clean and contemporary I was almost bored: Santiago, Chile Lucerne, Switzerland.

Would love to go back if I were a wealthy prince: Dubai.

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Apr 5th, 2006, 02:03 PM
  #36
 
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While I've been to several other places and countries, my top three are:

Africa-
Wanting to come here since I saw "Born Free" as a child, it is everything I dreamed it would be and more (with the exception of Elsa not being around anymore!) Never-ending beauty and surprises at each new country and destination.
Continents...you mean there are other continents???

A toss up between the next two:

New Zealand-
About as pristine and as beautiful of a place as it gets. Pictures don't do it justice. Miles and miles of unspoiled beaches and majestic green hills dotted with sheep. The landscapes are magnificent.

Galapagos Islands-
Mother Nature at her finest. It's like traveling back in time when animals were not threatened and had no fear of man.
And the underwater world at Wolf and Darwin Islands is like the Serengeti or Mara of the marine eco-systems. Unbelievable!

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Apr 6th, 2006, 12:51 AM
  #37
 
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I agree with DJE, each destination is unique.

Travel255a: Thanks for bringing in my homecountry, Norway. Being a bit biased I take my chances anyway and allow myself to agree with you. Fjords and scenery in northern parts of Norway is fantastic (living in the south myself).

Nobody has mentioned Istanbul... I found this city utterly fascinating. Chaos, people, history, location, smells, I just loved it. A experience for life being at a Galatasaray soccermatch with 40.000 crazy turks.

The Greek island Thassos. Just watching the slow life while sipping ouzo.

Prague. Arcitecture everywhere...
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:31 AM
  #38
 
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My reason for going to Africa the first time had nothing to do with all the reasons people are mentioning here. In 1980 I had no particular interest in wildlife, the third world, the history of colonialism, African politics, or any of the usual reasons for visiting Africa. My then fiance, now husband, had taken a short-term job in Johannesburg, and when his company asked him to stay on for another three months, he agreed only on the condition that the company bring me over.

So I went, and the combination of wildlife, history, politics, social contrast, -- all this heady stuff coming at us at the same time as the first intoxicating flush of being in love -- it meant that no place in the world can ever have the same kind of attraction for us. We've developed a huge and lifelong interest in the African wild, and in the history and politics of Africa. I even went back to school and did a couple of semesters of African studies.

We love going to Europe, for history and culture. We've been to beachy places like Hawaii and the Caribbean, but now that we're retired, we don't need R&R-type vacations; we travel for the enrichment it gives to our lives. We're starting to think about spending three weeks in France, Spain, and Italy next spring, and Eastern Europe and Greece are high on our list too, but it's always understood that these trips are in addition to, never in place of, Africa.
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Apr 6th, 2006, 06:49 AM
  #39
 
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Absolutely fascinating reading peoples different impressions of places.

I am from London and have lived (worked) in France, Switzerland and Germany. We moved to Sydney, Australia 3 years ago.

I also loved Macchu Picchu in the clouds at Dawn - it feels magical and it is mind bending to imagine how they could have built it all those years ago...

Santorini also stands out - particularly staying in the caves built into the rock face. Go late September when the European school holidays are over and the crowds and prices drop.

Uepi Island in the Solomon Islands wins hands down for diving and snorkelling. The school of Hammerhead sharks were very impressive (scary) and we loved the giamnt Turtles hanging out off the rref. They even had Orcas in the channel 2 weeks before we were there....!

Australia is also wonderful. Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands has been our highlight so far but you are spoilt for great beaches and the climate is simply unbeatable (especially for a Pom!)

I must also mention New Zealand which has beautiful scenery and mountains - particularly Milford Sound and the Franz Josef Galcier in South Island. The skiing is also pretty good.

My first love is skiing - I did a Winter season at Val Thorens in the 3 Valleys in France and nothing compares to being the first at the top of the mountan with blue sky above you and fresh powder waiting below.....

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Apr 6th, 2006, 07:53 AM
  #40
 
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My overall favorites so far:

1. South Africa (Kruger, Cape Town, wineries -- my favorite combo for wildlife & city life)
2. Tanzania northern circuit (best wildlife viewing I've ever experienced, & welcoming people)
3. Australia (Sydney so lively & diverse & relaxed & beautiful, wonderful food & wine, warm people, amazing beaches, unusual wildlife, & best snorkeling Great Barrier Reef)
4. New Zealand South Island (most spectacular mountain scenery, fjords, hiking, friendly people, great wine & food, so affordable)
5. Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Rai, most delicious food in the world, best shopping, best service, friendliest people, so colorful, gorgeous beaches, amazing hotels & spas, inexpensive)
6. Paris (my favorite destination for museums, incredible city for walking, cafe culture, wine, open air food markets, art, bakeries, and cheese).
7. Costa Rica (great natural beauty, monkeys monkeys monkeys, excellent hiking, lovely beaches, and my favorite remote ecolodge, Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula)
8. Santorini (most photogenic island I've ever been to, so relaxing, surprisingly great hiking, good food, lovely sunsets, nice wine, nice people)
9. Angkor Wat, Cambodia (spectacularly photogenic ancient ruins, sweet people, gorgeous weaving)
10. Northern California (my favorite drive in the world along the Big Sur coast, terrific hiking in Yosemite & other parks, great wineries all over the place, divine food, pretty beaches, good wildlife viewing...and San Francisco)
11. Italy (Rome, the Amalfi coast, Tuscany, Venice, wonderful food & wine, fascinating history, gorgeous ceramics)
12. St. Lucia (for my favorite small hotel, Ladera Resort, with the best views in the world from open-air rooms)
13. Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper -- beautiful mountain scenery and excellent wildlife viewing, spectacular hiking, nice people, moderate prices)
14. New York City (the most vibrant city I've ever been to, Central Park, amazing museums and galleries, incredible food, great shopping, my favorite place for theatre, never get tired of it)

Other places I really liked a lot but feel less strongly that I absolutely have to return: Maui & Kauai, Alaska, Mexico's Yucatan, Maine, Salzburg, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Vancouver, Santa Fe, Ireland, Belgium.

Places that are on my list to go to soon:
Botswana (end of this year)
Provence
St. John USVI & Virgin Gorda BVI
Galapagos
New Zealand's North Island
Italian Lakes, Dolomites, & Cinque Terre
Argentina & Chile
India
Krakow
Maldives
Prague
Bora Bora & Moorea
Spain
Madagascar
Turkey
Fiji
Egypt
Tasmania
Bali

In terms of vacation time, I get 20 days (4 weeks) plus federal holidays, so it works out to about 30 days in all -- so I really can't complain even though it never seems like enough!
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