Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Flag




Why visit Zimbabwe?
Ideal for the adventurous experienced traveler seeking to enjoy culture, game parks, hiking expeditions, hunting, ruins (ancient and medieval), scenery, and wildlife.



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, batiks, beads, bronze, ceramics, copper wall plaques, crocheted clothes, dolls, jewelry, minerals, safari clothing, soapstone goods, spears, stone sculptures,  tablecloths, thumb pianos, wood carvings, wooden spoons, and woven hats.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Boerewors (sausage). Kapenta (fish dish). Mabhonzo Emombe (stew). Muboora (soup). Muriwo na Nyama (stew). Muriwo Unedovi (cabbage dish). Nyama (meat dish). Sadza (corn porridge).
  • Local Drink to TryCount Pushkin (vodka). Mazoe Orange (fruity). Mukuyu (wine). Nikolai (vodka). Whawha (maize beer). Zambezi (lager).


Fun Facts
  • Great Zimbabwe is thought to have been the capital of the great kingdom during the Late Iron Age (1200 BC).
  • Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
  • Mopani worms are eaten as a form of protein.
  • Has 16 official languages.
  • Formerly known as Southern RhodesiaRhodesia, and Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
  • Highest point is Mount Nyangani (8,504 feet).
  • Largest trading partner of South Africa.
  • Hwange National Park is their largest natural reserve.
  • Has won 8 Olympic medals.


Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo Credit: toubibe/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (April) Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA), Harare Jazz Festival, International Trade Fair, (May) Bulawayo Music Festival, (June) Annual Golf Tournament, (July) Zimbabwe International Book Fair, (August) Chibuku Neshamwari Dance Festival, Chimanimani Arts Festival, Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF), (September)  Intwasa Arts Festival, Midlands Arts & Culture Festival, Shoko Festival, (November) Harare International Food Festival, and Jikinya Traditional Dance Festival.
  • Holidays: New Years Day: Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, Easter Monday, Independence Day of Zimbabwe, Workers' Day, Africa Day, Heroes' Day, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, National Unity Day of Zimbabwe, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.


Good to Know
  • A great stop combined with Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia.
  • Considered a developing country.
  • Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (Victoria Falls) offers a Certificate after visitors eat Mopani worms.
  • Antelope, crocodile, and warthogs are meats consumed.
  • Dinner service is usually between 7 - 10PM or later. 
  • Photography of banks, bridges, dams, government buildings, and post offices is not permitted.
  • Overnight rail service operates between Bulawayo - Victoria Falls, Harare - Bulawayo, and Harare - Mutare.
  • Driving is on the left side.
  • Rainy Season is October - March.
  • Homosexuality is illegal; subject to a $5,000USD fine and/or 1 year in prison.
  • English is not spoken in rural areas.
  • Native women lack freedom and rights compared to men.
  • Arrival via South Africa requires at least 6 blank passport booklet pages.
  • Take sufficient cash for the duration of your trip.
  • Few places accept international credit cards, so prepay expenses prior to arrival.
  • Avoid display of large sums of money or valuables.
  • Thieves are known to break car windows while you're stopped at intersections and take things within arms reach. 
  • Avoid evening explorations.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated and inspections do not commonly occur.
  • Possession, trafficking, or use of illegal drugs is severe; 3 - 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.
  • Staying beyond your VISA is over $1,000USD fine and possibility of prison. 
  • Car seats are not mandatory.
  • Hunters are required to be accompanied by a licensed operator. 
  • Medical care and treatment does not meet our Western standards.
  • Prevalent Diseases: African Tick-Bite Fever, African Trypanosomiasis, Chikungunya,  Cholera, Crimean - Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), Dengue, Hantavirus, Hepatitis A & B, LeptospirosisMalaria, Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, Measles, Rabies, Rift River Valley, Schistosomiasis, Tuberculosis (TB), Typhoid, and Yellow Fever.
  • Air quality varies by season.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Offers no national network of roadside emergency service.
  • Use of cell phones while driving is illegal.
  • Seatbelts are mandatory.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and two blank pages for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required . 
  • Currency Restrictions for Exit: $2,000USD.


Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe. Photo Credit: Albrecht Fietz/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: July - September
  • Coolest Months: May - September 
  • Hottest Months: November - February
  • Peak Season: May - September


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, Mana Pools National Park, Matobo National Park, and Victoria Falls. 


Maleme Dam, Zimbabwe. Photo Credit: Gavin Kadey/Pixabay 



Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

Monday, March 20, 2023

Zambia

Zambia Flag



Why visit Zambia?
Ideal for the experienced adventurous traveler seeking to enjoy birdwatching, cave, culture, game parks, rivers, safaris, white water rafting, waterfalls, and wildlife.



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, copper wall plaques, jewelry, local fabrics, masks, pottery, reed mats, spears, stools, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to TryBondwe (vegetable). Chibwabwa (pumpkin leaves). Chikanda (delicacy). Impwa (vegetable). Gizzards (delicacy). Kapenta (sardine). Kandolo (sweet potato). Lumanda (vegetable). Michopo (kabob). Nshima (corn mush). Samp (fine corn). Tente (wild mushroom).
  • Local Drink to TryMaheu (traditional). Mosi (beer). Munkoyo (fermented corn). Rhino (beer).


Fun Facts
  • Kafue National Park (western region) is the largest game African reserve.
  • The 38th largest country in the world.
  • Legalized (2019) cannabis for medicinal and export purposes.
  • Legal age of marriage is 16 with parental consent and 21 without consent.
  • Stink bugs and mopani worms are eaten.

Maamba, Zambia. Photo Credit: TOM Chiponge Baroque M. C./Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (February) Kuomboka Festival, Nc’wala, Zambian Harvest Festival, (March) Elephant Epic MTB Race, (April) Fireworks Colour Festival, Flavours Music Festival, Kenneth Kaunda Day Marathon, (May) Kufukwila Ceremony, (June) Zambia International Trade Fair, (July) Lwiindi, Tangila Trail Series, (August) Kulamba, Likumbi Lya Mize, (September) Elephant Charge, Livingstone Cultural & Arts Festival, Mulungushi Mountain Bike Challenge, Zambezi River Challenge, and (October) White Water Rafting Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, International Women's Day, Youth Day, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday, Kenneth Kaunda Birthday, Labour Day, Africa Day, Heroes Day, Unity Day, Zambia Farmers Day, Zambian National Day of Prayer, Zambian Independence Day, and Christmas.


Good to Know
  • Official language is English.
  • Ideal for travelers who have been to Kenya, Tanzania, and/or Zimbabwe wanting to experience wilder game parks with fewer tourists.
  • Game parks are among the best in the world.
  • Avoid Lusaka.
  • Required to carry your passport booklet (original) or a certified copy with you at all times.
  • Popular rapids: Gnashing Jaws of Death, Overland Truck Eater, Silent Assassin, and The Terminator.
  • National Museum (Livingstone) sells authentic folk art goods.
  • Complimentary local monthly magazine, Lusaka Lowdown offers valuable information.
  • Avoid Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo borders.
  • Roads are in poor condition.
  • Avoid evening explorations.
  • Guides are required in the game parks.
  • Avoid standing or swimming in freshwater streams, lakes and ponds due to Bilharzia (parasitic worm).
  • Pack insect repellent.
  • Airport Departure Tax is included in the cost of international flight tickets.
  • Photography of airports, bridges, government buildings, government personnel, military installations, ports, post offices, and/or public buildings is not permitted.
  • Walking safaris are best between August and September.
  • Rainy Season is November - April.
  • Avoid public demonstrations.
  • Flood Season is December - June.
  • Sweaters are required year round in the evening.
  • For safaris wear boots, khakis, and neutral tones.
  • In destination, flying is the best way to get around.
  • Driving is on the left.
  • Crime is a known issue.
  • Government is considered sensitive to criticism.
  • Homosexuality is s illegal and punishable to 15 years in imprison.
  • Choma, Kapiri Mposhi, Livingstone, and Lusaka are the most populated areas.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated and inspections do not commonly occur.
  • Purchasing elephant ivory, rhino horns, and/or tortoise shells is illegal.
  • Certification of Purchase is required for animal bones, crocodile teeth, crocodile skins, flat skins, hippo teeth, and/or horns. 
  • Certification of Purchase (in person) from the Department of National Parks & Wildlife officials is required within 45 days of departure for an Export Permit. Otherwise a 5 year minimum prison sentence is enforced. 
  • Medical care and treatments does not meet our Western standards.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Nearest air ambulances are based in South Africa.
  • Shortages of medicine and medical supplies exist throughout.
  • Prevalent Diseases: African Tick Bite Fever, African Trypanosomiasis, Chikungunya, Cholera, Dengue, Hantavirus, Hepatitis A & B, HIV, Leptospirosis, Malaria, Measles, Rabies, Rift River Valley, Ross River Virus Disease, Schistosomiasis, Tuberculosis (TB), and Typhoid.
  • Illegal to turn left on a red light.
  • Water splashing a pedestrian as you drive by is a traffic violation.
  • Seat belts are mandatory.
  • Child seats are not mandatory.
  • Use of cell phones while driving is illegal.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and three blank page for entry stamp.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required from select countries. 


Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia. Photo Credit: Simon Berger/Pixabay 

  • Best Time to Visit: May - October
  • Coolest Months: May - August
  • Hottest Months: September - November
  • Peak Season: June - October


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park & Victoria Falls.


Photo Credit: TOM Chiponge Baroque M. C./Pixabay 

Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

Friday, March 17, 2023

Yemen

Yemen Flag




Why visit Yemen?
Ideal for the experienced adventurous traveler seeking to enjoy architecture, beaches, bodyboarding, camel caravans, culture, desert scenery, hiking, historical sites, mineral baths, mountain biking, mountains, rock climbing, sailing, scuba diving, trekking, and water sports.


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to BuyDaggers, hookahs, silver jewelry, and spices.
  • Local Cuisine to TryBint al Sahn (honey cake). Fahsa (stew). Haneeth (lamb dish). Jachnun (pastry). Mandi (meat dish). Salta (stew). Shafut (appetizer).

Fun Facts
  • Shaped like an elbow.
  • Highest point is Jabal An-Nabi Shu'ayb (12,028 ft).
  • Importer of the horns.
  • Second largest Arab sovereign state. 
  • Produces honey and is considered a delicacy.
  • Host (2010) the 20th Arabian Gulf Cup (Aden & Abya)
  • Second largest Arabian Peninsula military force.
  • Television is the main source of news considering low literacy rate.
  • Traditional sport of Camel Jumping is popular. Jumpers train year round for competitions, jumping over the most camels.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (July) Sana Summer Festival and (August) Al-Baldah Tourist Festival.
  • ​Holidays​: Eid al Fitr, Labour Day, Unity Day, Eid al Adha, Islamic New Year, Revolution Day, Mawlid, Liberation Day, and Independence Day.

Good to Know
  • USA Embassy (Sana) suspended operations so protection or consular services are not available. Nearest Cairo, Djibouti, Egypt, Riyadh, or Saudi Arabia.
  • Carry your passport booklet with you at all times.
  • USA citizens are at a very high risk of being kidnapped.
  • Civil unrest is a concern.
  • Hotels and tourist facilities are very limited.
  • Poor human rights exist.
  • Landmines are of concern.
  • Southern region is not yet prepared for tourists.
  • Only Western fast food restaurant is Pizza Hut (Aden).
  • Homosexuality is illegal. Subject to death, fines, and/or incarceration.
  • Female facial tattoos are common.
  • Do dress modestly; no tight clothing, cover your arms, legs, and shoulders.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Lunch is the main meal of the day.
  • Photography of airports, equipment, government buildings, military installations, and/or troops is forbidden.
  • Offers no formal tourism industry infrastructure.
  • Freedom of the press, religion, and speech are restricted.
  • Avoid the Saudi border area.
  • Socotra Island offers one of the best surfing in the world.
  • Socotra Island is popular for bodyboarding, sailing, scuba diving, and water sports.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.

Subject to mountain slides.

  • Best Time to Visit: April - October
  • Coldest Months: January - March 
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: April - October

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Historic Town of Zabid, Landmarks of the Ancient Kingdom of Saba Marib, Old City of Sana'a, Old Walled City of Shibam, and Socotra Archipelago.

Ready to embark on custom and 
personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel
Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Vietnam

Vietnam Flag



Why visit Vietnam?
Ideal for the adventurous traveler seeking to enjoy ancient temples, beaches, bicycling, birdwatching, canals, casinos, golf, hiking, hill tribe cultures, historical sites, kayaking, kiteboarding, national parks, natural wonders, pagodas, picturesque coastline, rivers, sand dunes, scuba diving, shopping, snorkeling, swamps, theme parks, towns, villages, trekking, wildlife, and windsurfing.



Tú Lệ, Vietnam. Photo Credit: Dung Le Tien/Pixabay 




At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, ceramics, coffee beans, embroidery goods, lanterns, musical instruments, pearls, pottery, silk, traditional hat, weave goods, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bánh Cuốn (rice noodle roll). Bánh khoái (rice pancake). Bún Mắm (soup). Bún Riêu (vermicelli soup). Cha Ca (grilled fish). Chả cá Lã Vọng (rice noodle). Gỏi Cuốn (salad roll). Phở Gà (chicken soup).
  • Local Drink to Try: Bia Hoi (beer). Biere Larue (beer). Cafe Sua Da (coffee). Cà Phê đá (iced coffee). Cà Phê Trứng (egg coffee). Chanh Muối (pickled lime juice). Hanoi Beer. Huda Beer. Rượu Táo Mèo (liquor). Nước Mía (sugarcane juice). Trà Sen (tea).


Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo Credit: Olga Ozik/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Largest exporter of cashews in the world.
  • Second largest exporter of coffee and rice.
  • Home to the largest brewery, Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Ho Chi Minh).
  • Dog meat is considered a Vietnamese delicacy.
  • The 16th most populous country in the world.
  • Fansipan (aka: Phan Xi Păng) is the (Lào Cai Province) tallest mountain (10,312 ft).
  • Phú Quốc Island is the largest.
  • Hang Sơn Đoòng Cave (Quang Binh Province) is considered the largest known cave passage in the world.
  •  Ba Bể Lake (Bắc Kạn Province) is their largest natural lake.
  • Mekong River is the third longest among Asian countries.
  • Largest producer of black pepper.
  • Considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
  • Hạ Long, Hạ Long Bay, and Ho Chi Minh City ranks amongst the Top 100 most visited cities in the world.
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) is their largest airport.
  • Has as 2,360 rivers.
  • Tet is a Christmas and New Year's holiday rolled into one.


Phú Quốc, Vietnam. Photo Credit: Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Co Loa Citadel Festival, (February) Festival at the Perfume Pagoda, Fire Dancing Festival, Lantern Festival, Lim Festival, (March) Elephant Race Festivals, (March) Saint Patrick's Festival Hanoi, (April) Hmong Spring Festival, Hue Festival, Hùng Kings' Festival, International Choir Competition, Phu Giay Festival, (September) Mid-Autumn Festival, Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, and (December) Vietnam Sport Show.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Lunar New Year, Tết, Vietnamese New Year's Eve, Hùng Kings' Festival, Labour Day, Reunification Day, and Independence Day of Vietnam.


Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam. Photo Credit: Suyeon Kim/Pixabay 



Good to Know

  • Tourism infrastructure has been rapidly expanding.
  • Crime is highly rated.
  • Northwest region is mountainous and rugged.
  • Buildings have limited or no emergency exits and/or fire safety equipment. 
  • Northeast region is flat and low.
  • Visiting Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum it's illegal to have your hands in your pockets.
  • Has a two tier price structure; citizens and tourists prices.
  • Ground and water transportation are known to lack safety regulations. 
  • Most breweries do not permit visitors on the premises.
  • From July - August birdwatching is best.
  • Cuc Phuong National Park (Ninh Bình Province) from May - June receives butterfly roosts.
  • Avoid purchasing cigarettes or liquor from street vendors.
  • From  January - March renders best for hiking.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated and safety inspections do not commonly occur. 
  • Road conditions are poor.
  • Air pollution is a significant problem.
  • Near Ninh Bình there are boat and scenic cave tours.
  • Hội An (central coast) is known for its well-preserved Ancient Town.
  • Every guest in a hotel room or private residence must be registered with the  local police.
  • Phu Tho Sports Club (Phu Tho Province) holds horse races on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30PM - 4PM.
  • Van Phuc Silk Village (Hanoi) is known for high quality silk goods.
  • Halong Bay is famous for oyster pearls.
  • Dog meat is sold in markets and restaurants.
  • Large cities have street crime activity such as camera snatching, pickpocketing, and purse snatching.
  • Use a hat and wear sunscreen.
  • Exporting of antiques is illegal.
  • Washcloths are not widely provided or used.
  • Tourist are primarily from Australia, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States.
  • Travel + Leisure ranked Hội An as one of the world's Top 15 Best Destinations to visit.
  • Bicycles, motorcycles, and motor scooters are the most popular forms of transportation.
  • Hạ Long Bay (northeast ) is known for its emerald waters.
  • Rail service connects Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and Hanoi to Hạ Long Bay.
  • Spiritualism and supernatural are believed.
  • Considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.
  • Small and peaceful protests are known to occasionally occur.
  • USA citizens have been detained while traveling close to the unmarked border areas near Cambodia, China, and Laos.
  • Medical care and treatment does not meet our Western standards.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Avian Influenza (H5N1), Dengue Fever, HIV, Tuberculosis, and Zika.
  • International Driving Permits and USA Drivers’ Licenses are not valid.


Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam. Photo Credit: Phat Nguyen/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport  with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Required Vaccination from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $5,000USD.

Prone to earthquakes, monsoons, seasonal smog, tropical storms, and typhoons.



Sa Pa (Lào Cai Province), Vietnam. Photo Credit: Ngô Thanh Tùng/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: October - December
  • Coldest Months: November - April
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: July & August


Golden Bridge (Bà Nà Hills Resort), Da Nang, Vietnam. Photo Credit: shell300/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hạ Long Bay, Hội An, Huế, Mỹ Sơn, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Space of Gong Culture, and Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex.


Hội An, VietnamPhoto Credit: Ngọc Minh Nguyễn/Pixabay 



Ready to embark on custom and 
personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel
Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


Stay connected, find us online: Alignable Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Twitter 

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

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