Travel locally to experience the culture, history, and wildlife of a country
When you travel, you want to experience the best of what a country has to offer. This includes its culture, history, and wildlife. One of the best ways to do this is to travel locally.
Traveling locally means visiting a country and experiencing it through the eyes of the locals. This means staying in locally owned hotels, eating at local restaurants, and visiting local attractions. It also means using local guides to show you around.
Here are some of the benefits of traveling locally:
- You’ll get a more authentic experience. When you travel locally, you’re less likely to be caught up in the tourist traps. You’ll also be able to experience the local culture and way of life in a more authentic way.
- You’ll learn more about the country’s history and culture. Local guides are experts on their country’s history and culture. They can tell you stories and share insights that you wouldn’t be able to learn on your own.
- You’ll support the local economy. When you travel locally, you’re putting your money into the pockets of the locals. This helps to support the local economy and create jobs.
- If you’re planning a tour, consider traveling locally. It’s a great way to experience the culture, history, and wildlife of a country in a more authentic and meaningful way.
Here are some examples of how to travel locally and experience the culture, history, and wildlife of a country:
In Mexico, stay in a family-owned casa particular in Havana and eat at local restaurants where you can try traditional Cuban dishes. Visit local markets and art galleries to experience the vibrant Cuban culture.
In Vietnam, stay in a bamboo hut on a beach and take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional food. Visit a local village to learn about the culture.
In Greece, visit the Acropolis in Athens and learn about the history of ancient Greece. Take a day trip to Delphi to see the ruins of the ancient oracle and learn about its role in Greek history.
In Ghana, visit Elmina Castle. The Castle of St. George, the oldest extant colonial building in sub-Saharan Africa, dating from 1482. This castle is steeped in history and played a prominent part during the tragic, transatlantic slave trade era.
In Costa Rica, visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to see monkeys, sloths, and other wildlife. Take a boat tour of the mangroves to see crocodiles and other marine life.
In Kenya, visit the Maasai Mara National Reserve to see lions, elephants, giraffes, and other wildlife. Go on a safari to see the animals in their natural habitat.
Benefits of using local guides
Local guides can help you to get the most out of your trip. They can show you hidden gems that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own. They can also tell you stories and share insights about the country that you wouldn’t be able to learn on your own.
Here are some of the benefits of using local guides:
- They know the best places to go. Local guides have a deep knowledge of their country and know the best places to visit, eat, and shop. They can also help you to avoid tourist traps.
- They can help you to understand the culture. Local guides can explain the local customs and traditions to you. They can also help you to communicate with the locals.
- They can make your trip safer and more enjoyable. Local guides can help you to stay safe and navigate the country with ease. They can also help you to have a more enjoyable experience by sharing their stories and insights with you.
- If you’re planning a tour, consider using local guides to show you around. It’s a great way to get the most out of your trip and have a more authentic and meaningful experience.
4 Tips for traveling locally
- Learn a few basic phrases in the local language. This will help you to communicate with the locals and get around more easily.
- Be respectful of the local culture and customs. Dress appropriately and avoid doing anything that could be considered offensive.
- Be prepared for unexpected events. Things don’t always go according to plan when you’re traveling, so be patient and flexible.
- Have fun! Traveling locally is a great way to experience the culture, history,
Exploring the Hidden Gems of Romania
Romania, a land of diverse landscapes and rich history, is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Nestled in Eastern Europe, this country boasts stunning scenery, medieval castles, vibrant cities, and a culture deeply rooted in tradition. Exploring Romania is a journey that promises to be both enchanting and educational, and what better way to experience it than through escorted tours?
Escorted tours in Romania offer a structured and immersive experience, allowing travellers to delve into the heart of this beautiful country while accompanied by knowledgeable guides. These tours ensure a seamless exploration of Romania’s highlights, providing insights into its history, culture, and natural beauty. Let’s embark on a virtual journey through the lens of escorted tours and discover the hidden gems of Romania.
Discovering Romania’s Enchanting Cities
The capital city, Bucharest, is often the starting point of many escorted tours in Romania. This bustling metropolis is a blend of old and new, where grand architecture from the communist era stands alongside modern buildings and parks. A guided tour of Bucharest offers a glimpse into its rich history, including a visit to the massive Palace of the Parliament, a true architectural marvel.
From Bucharest, the tour might venture into the charming city of Brasov, nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. Known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and the iconic Black Church, Brasov transports visitors back in time. The city’s medieval charm, narrow cobbled streets, and vibrant central square make it a favourite stop for those exploring Romania.
The Wonders of Transylvania
No journey through Romania would be complete without a visit to Transylvania, a region famed for its association with Dracula and its stunning landscapes. Escorted tours through this region often include stops at the medieval Bran Castle, often linked to the Dracula legend. However, the true allure of Transylvania lies in its picturesque landscapes, with the Carpathian Mountains offering breath taking views and opportunities for adventure.
Sibiu, another gem of Transylvania, is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and vibrant cultural scene. Guided tours here might lead visitors through the historic Old Town, showcasing its stunning squares, churches, and fortifications. Each street seems to whisper stories of the past, immersing travellers in the essence of Transylvanian history.
Discover the Bucovina Painted Monasteries
One of the most unique aspects of Romania’s cultural heritage is the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. These monasteries, adorned with vibrant frescoes depicting religious scenes, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Escorted tours often include a visit to some of these monasteries, such as Voronet, Humor, and Sucevita.
A guided tour brings to life the stories depicted in the vivid frescoes, offering insights into the region’s religious and artistic heritage. The awe-inspiring craftsmanship and historical significance of these monasteries make them a must-see on any journey through Romania.
Exploring the Natural Beauty of the Danube Delta
The Danube Delta, a true ecological paradise, is a natural wonder worth exploring in Romania. Escorted tours often incorporate a visit to this unique region, allowing travellers to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. A boat tour through the intricate network of channels and marshes reveals a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers.
The expert guidance during these tours ensures a deeper understanding of the delicate ecosystem and its importance in the global context. It’s a chance to witness nature at its best, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Diving into Romanian Cuisine and Traditions
One of the most delightful aspects of escorted tours in Romania is the opportunity to savour the country’s culinary delights and experience its rich traditions. Traditional Romanian cuisine is a blend of flavours, influenced by various cultures and historical periods. Travelers can enjoy dishes like sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled sausages), and mici cu muștar (sausages with mustard) while exploring local markets and eateries.
In addition to the gastronomic delights, escorted tours often include visits to traditional villages, where travellers can engage with locals, learn about their customs, and witness traditional crafts. This cultural immersion offers a glimpse into the authentic way of life in rural Romania.
Romania, a land steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, is a captivating destination for travellers seeking a unique and enriching experience. Exploring this remarkable country through escorted tours provides a structured and educational approach, ensuring travellers make the most of their journey.
From the bustling cities to the tranquil countryside, escorted tours offer a well-rounded experience, unveiling the hidden gems of Romania. The guidance of knowledgeable tour guides, the comfort of organized itineraries, and the camaraderie of fellow travellers make these tours a perfect choice for those yearning to uncover the beauty and mysteries of Romania. So, consider embarking on an escorted tour and let Romania enchant you with its wonders.
The Real Greece Travel Experience
At Our Local Tour, we know that wanderers and adventurers have always made their way to this land and that is why it is one of our favourites. Steeped in history, mythology, and unmatched beauty, we know and love The Real Greece. Far beyond the glossy postcards and bustling tourist spots, lies a Greece that captivates the soul with its authentic charm, ancient wonders, and warm-hearted people. So, come with us and put on your explorer’s hat, lace up those walking shoes, and get ready to uncover the hidden gems of this enchanting Mediterranean jewel.
A Journey Through Time
As you step onto the sun-kissed soil of the real Greece, prepare to be transported through time. This is a land where ancient ruins hold secrets of a bygone era, where stories of gods and heroes echo through every corner. Delve into the ruins of Delphi, where the Oracle once spoke, or stand in awe before the colossal columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Let history come alive as you wander through the Agora of Athens, where philosophers debated and citizens traded. Our local guides can take you on a tour that escorts you back to the times of the ancient Greeks.
Embracing the Azure Waters
But Greece isn’t just about ancient stones and historic tales. It’s a country blessed with a coastline that’s nothing short of breath-taking. From the pristine beaches of Crete to the turquoise waters of the Ionian Islands, the real Greece offers a haven for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike. Indulge in the art of island hopping, where each island boasts its own unique character and allure. Whether you’re basking on the sandy shores of Mykonos or exploring the volcanic landscapes of Santorini, the coastal charms of Greece are bound to leave an indelible mark on your heart.
Culinary Odyssey: A Feast for the Senses
No journey through the real Greece is complete without a culinary adventure. Prepare your taste buds for a symphony of flavours that reflect the country’s rich history and diverse landscapes. Indulge in fresh seafood by the harbour, savour the tang of olives and feta cheese, and relish the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of a perfectly cooked gyro. Join the locals in a kafeneio (coffee shop) for a taste of Greek coffee and engaging conversations that flow as freely as the wine.
Village Whispers: Embracing Traditional Life
Step away from the tourist hubs and dive into the heart of Greek life by exploring its charming villages. Here, time seems to stand still as you stroll through narrow cobblestone streets, past whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant flowers. Share a smile with the locals who greet you warmly and experience the joy of simple pleasures. In the village squares, you might witness traditional dances, music, and celebrations that have been passed down through generations.
A Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts
The real Greece isn’t just an open-air museum; it’s also a playground for nature enthusiasts. Lace up your hiking boots and traverse the rugged terrain of the Peloponnese or the towering peaks of the Pindus Mountains. Discover the wonders of the Vikos Gorge, one of the world’s deepest canyons, or embark on a journey to the mythical birthplace of Zeus atop Mount Olympus. Whether you’re a hiker, a cyclist, or a lover of all things wild and free, Greece offers boundless opportunities to connect with nature.
The Heart of Hospitality: The People of Greece
Beyond its physical beauty, what truly sets the real Greece apart is the warmth and hospitality of its people. Greeks are known for their zest for life, their passion for sharing stories, and their genuine welcome to visitors from around the world. Embrace the art of conversation with locals and fellow travellers alike; you might just find yourself making lifelong friends and memories.
Embrace The Real Greece
So, as you prepare to immerse yourself in the colours, flavours, and stories of the real Greece with Our Local Tour, remember that there’s so much more to this enchanting land than what meets the eye on glossy brochures. It’s a place where ancient history intertwines with modern life, where each moment feels like a step back in time and a leap into the future. Let the real Greece capture your heart and soul, as you embark on a journey of discovery that will stay with you long after the journey ends.
Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Côte d’Ivoire
Nestled on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, the Côte d’Ivoire is a country where history, culture, and tribal traditions weave together into a mesmerizing tapestry. As a land that has witnessed the footsteps of empires, the rhythms of ancestral ceremonies, and the vibrant expressions of diverse tribes, Côte d’Ivoire offers intrepid travellers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a world unlike any other.
For many in English speaking countries, Côte d’Ivoire is better known as Ivory Coast. Côte d’Ivoire is the French name for the country and this which directly translates to “Ivory Coast” in English. The French name derives from the early colonial history of the region when European powers established a presence in Africa. This historical association is deeply embedded in the country’s identity and cultural heritage.
The name Côte d’Ivoire specifically refers to the stretch of coastline along the Gulf of Guinea, which was historically a significant trading region for ivory and other commodities. The name reflects the nation’s rich history of trade, as well as the interconnectedness of the region with the global economy during colonial times.
While “Ivory Coast” is widely recognized and used in English-speaking countries, there has been a growing effort to promote the use of the country’s official French name, Côte d’Ivoire, in international contexts. Many international organizations and media outlets have gradually adopted the official name to reflect the country’s self-designation and at Our Local Tour, we have chosen to use the official name.
Tracing the Footsteps of Empires
Stepping onto the sun-kissed soil of Côte d’Ivoire can feel like stepping back in time, with glimpses of the empires that once held sway over this land to be found all over. In Grand-Bassam, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once the colonial capital of the country, you can stroll through its narrow streets, lined with colonial-era buildings that exude an air of faded grandeur, and you’ll find yourself transported back to an era when European powers vied for control over African territories.
Beyond Grand-Bassam lies the vibrant city of Abidjan, where modernity harmoniously now coexists with these echoes of the past. The Plateau district boasts a skyline that tells a story of economic growth and urban development. Yet, even in the heart of this bustling city, the towering St. Paul’s Cathedral stands as a poignant reminder of the enduring influence of Christianity on the nation’s history.
Dance, Music, and Festivals
Delve into the heart of Côte d’Ivoire culture, and you’ll be captivated by the rhythm of life that courses through its veins. Dance and music serve as integral parts of their identity, with each tribe contributing its unique style to the country’s variety of traditions. The vibrant colours, hypnotic beats, and graceful movements of traditional dances like the Zaouli, a mask dance of the Guro people, tell stories that have been passed down through many generations. Côte d’Ivoire is a mixing pot of cultures from all over West Africa and with so many different tribes, there is almost always a festival to visit.
The Yam Festival, celebrated by the Bete people, pays homage to the staple crop that sustains many communities. The Goli Festival of the Wan people brings together generations in a vibrant celebration of identity, unity, and heritage. Who knows what will be celebrated when you visit?
Venturing into the heartlands of Côte d’Ivoire unveils the legacies of its tribal diversity. Over 60 distinct ethnic groups call this land home, each with its own language, traditions, and ways of life. The Senufo people, with their intricate woodcarvings and rich mythology, offer a glimpse into a world where art and spirituality intertwine. Meanwhile, the Dan people, known for their exquisitely carved masks, open a portal into the realm of ancestral spirits and rites of passage.
To meet the people of Côte d’Ivoire is to witness the threads that bind the past with the present. In the remote villages, the Krou people embrace the art of scarification as a testament to their courage and fortitude. The Baule people, renowned for their craftsmanship, craft masks that are not mere ornaments, but embodiments of their beliefs and stories.
Preserving Côte d’Ivoire Heritage
While Côte d’Ivoire’s cultural landscape is undeniably rich, it is not without challenges. The modernising forces of globalisation and urbanisation can threaten to erode traditional ways of life. Yet, the resilience of the people shines through as they endeavour to safeguard their heritage for generations to come.
Initiatives such as the establishment of cultural centres and museums work to keep the flames of tradition burning bright. The National Museum in Abidjan showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, offering visitors a chance to embark on a visual journey through the country’s history and culture.
Côte d’Ivoire Awaits
In the heart of West Africa, the Côte d’Ivoire offers an authentic travel experience unlike any other. With a history marked by the footsteps of empires, a culture enriched by dance and music, and tribes that stand as guardians of identity, this is a land ready for exploration. Whether you’re exploring the colonial echoes of Grand-Bassam, immersing yourself in the rhythms of tribal festivals, or connecting with the people themselves, each step you take on this journey unveils a new layer of the country’s soul.
Pack your curiosity, bring an open heart, and set forth on an expedition of a lifetime – one that promises to leave an indelible mark on your soul.
Private Escorted Tours
As modern travellers, we find ourselves perpetually navigating a labyrinth of choices when it comes to exploring the world. We are often torn between embarking on solitary expeditions, joining a group tour, or opting for something in between. Among these possibilities, the allure of a private escorted tour stands out as an epitome of tailored luxury and exclusive experiences. While every travel style has its charm, there’s something distinctly enchanting about embarking on a private escorted tour that elevates the voyage to an unforgettable level. Let’s delve into the benefits of such an adventure.
The Personal Touch: Crafted for You
Imagine stepping foot in a foreign land where you have had a seasoned travel expert design every aspect of your journey, tailored to your preferences and desires. This is where the allure of a private escorted tour lies. With the guidance of a professional, the entire experience is meticulously curated, assuring you that every day, every moment, will be precisely what you had envisioned. From meticulously selected accommodations to personalised activities that align with your passions, every detail is accounted for, leaving you free to savour every second of your trip.
Insider Access: Beyond the Veil of Tourism
One of the most significant advantages of a private escorted tour is the rare privilege of gaining access to exclusive sites and hidden gems that most tourists might miss. The network of connections that these expert guides possess can whisk you away to places unknown to the casual traveller. You can immerse yourself in authentic local culture, meet intriguing personalities, and partake in unforgettable experiences. These encounters enrich your journey with genuine connections and a profound sense of immersion in the destination.
Learning Through Experts: A Journey of Discovery
Every destination has its stories, mysteries, and historical significance. With an experienced guide by your side, you have a living repository of knowledge, ready to share the fascinating tales and rich history of each place you visit. From the ancient ruins of Greece to the vibrant markets of Morocco, these experts are storytellers who can bring the past to life, unveiling the hidden layers and weaving the fabric of culture, tradition, and history into your experience. A private escorted tour transforms sightseeing into a journey of discovery.
Seamless Travel: Effortless and Stress-free
Traveling can be a demanding affair, and it’s no secret that the logistics can sometimes become overwhelming. A private escorted tour eliminates these worries, allowing you to relish the pleasures of exploration without the burden of planning and coordination. Your guide takes charge of transportation, accommodations, and any unexpected challenges that might arise along the way (they do and probably will!). With this attentive support, you can rest assured that your journey will be as smooth and stress-free as possible, and tailored to ensure maximum enjoyment.
Flexibility and Freedom: Your Journey, Your Pace
While group tours may have predefined itineraries, a private escorted tour offers much more flexibility. You have the freedom to decide the pace of your adventure and the destinations you wish to explore. Whether you seek to spend an extra day at a special site, wander off the beaten path, or embrace spontaneous detours, your guide is there to accommodate your wishes, transforming your vacation into an effortless yet profound exploration.
Cultural Immersion: A Deeper Connection
Traveling is about more than just admiring the beauty of a place; it’s about forging a connection with the culture and people that call it home. A private escorted tour allows you to engage with local communities, participate in traditional activities, and experience their way of life. This authentic cultural immersion broadens your perspective and leaves you with memories that transcend mere photographs.
A private escorted tour offers a travel experience unlike any other. With its personalised approach, insider access, and focus on authentic discovery, it caters to those seeking a deeply enriching journey. While other styles of travel have their merits, the benefits of a private escorted tour make it a truly exceptional and captivating way to explore the world. So, get in touch with Our Local Tour and embark on an unforgettable voyage as you let the world unfold before your eyes in ways you never thought possible.
Travel into the Danakil Depression
With the launch of our new tour to the Danakil Depression we thought it would be useful to have a guide to what the experience is like. In this blog post, our local experts let you know what to expect.
The Danakil Depression is one of the most extreme and inhospitable places on Earth. Located in north-eastern Ethiopia, it is a vast, arid basin that is home to some of the hottest temperatures, lowest elevations, and most active volcanoes on the planet. Perfect for any intrepid adventure seeker!
Despite its harsh conditions, the Danakil Depression is also one of the most fascinating and rewarding places to visit in Ethiopia. You are able to explore a landscape that is unlike anything else on Earth, from salt lakes and lava fields to bubbling mud pots and geysers.
It is home to an active volcanic crater called Erta Ale. this means “Smoking Mountain” in the local Afar language. Erta Ale is one of the few continuously active lava lakes in the world, emitting a mesmerizing glow that illuminates the surrounding landscape. The opportunity to witness and camp next to this natural wonder is an experience that few places can offer.
As mentioned, the region is inhabited by the Afar people, who have lived in this inhospitable environment for centuries. Interacting with the Afar community offers a glimpse into their traditional way of life and their resilience in adapting to extreme conditions. The opportunity to learn about their customs, traditions, and survival strategies provides a deeper understanding of the human spirit and the ability to thrive in even the harshest of environments.
Getting to the Danakil Depression
The journey to the Danakil is classed as an expedition, rather than one of our normal tours. For anyone interested, it should be made quite clear that the Danakil Depression is a remote and difficult place to reach. The nearest major city is Mekele, which is about a 12-hour drive from the depression. Other tour companies will then travel from Mekele, taking a 4×4 to the Danakil Depression. We take a slightly different route, first travelling to Semera, cutting down travelling time.
The challenging terrain, extreme temperatures, and lack of infrastructure make it a destination for intrepid travellers seeking unique experiences. Trekking through the desert, witnessing volcanic activity, and camping under the stars in this remote and untouched wilderness provide a sense of adventure that is hard to find elsewhere.
Exploring the Danakil Depression
There are several things to see and do in the Danakil Depression. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Visit Dallol, a geothermal area with bubbling mud pots, geysers, and salt lakes.
- Hike to Erta Ale, an active volcano that is home to a lava lake.
- Visit the salt mines of Berhale, where salt has been mined for centuries.
- Meet the Afar people, a nomadic tribe who have adapted to life in this harsh environment.
Tips for Visiting the Danakil Depression
The Danakil Depression is a challenging place to visit, but it is also an incredibly rewarding one. Here are a few tips for making the most of your trip:
- Be prepared for extreme heat and dust.
- The best time to visit the Danakil Depression is during the dry season, which is from October to February.
- Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
- Make sure you are using a reputable guide who can help you navigate the Danakil Depression safely.
The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is an extraordinary place to visit due to its unparalleled geological wonders, cultural significance, historical importance, sense of adventure, and the opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form. It is a place that challenges, inspires, and rewards those who venture into its depths. For those seeking a truly unforgettable and transformative travel experience, the Danakil Depression is an absolute must-visit destination.
A Journey of Authenticity: Exploring Ghana, Togo, and Benin
In a world increasingly connected, it is sometimes the road less travelled that promises the most authentic experiences. Beyond the popular tourist destinations, lie hidden gems waiting to be discovered. In this travelogue, we embark on a captivating journey through Ghana, Togo, and Benin—countries brimming with vibrant cultures, rich history, and an intoxicating blend of traditions. Join me as we explore the authentic experiences that await intrepid travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the heart of West Africa.
Ghana: A Tapestry of History and Culture
Our adventure begins in Ghana, a country renowned for its captivating history and warm hospitality. As I stroll through the bustling streets of Accra, the capital city, the vibrant energy of its people instantly envelops me. The colours, sounds, and aromas of the local markets create an irresistible sensory symphony, showcasing the authenticity that lies at the heart of this remarkable nation.
A visit to Cape Coast takes me back in time, where the echoes of Ghana’s poignant history can still be felt. The imposing Cape Coast Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a haunting testament to the transatlantic slave trade. As I walk through its sombre dungeons, I am humbled by the resilience of those who endured such unimaginable hardships. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of acknowledging and learning from our shared past.
Beyond its historical significance, Ghana pulsates with a vibrant cultural scene. The rhythm of traditional drums echoes through the air as I attend a captivating dance performance by the Ashanti tribe. The intricate movements, vibrant costumes, and soul-stirring music unite to create a celebration of Ghana’s rich heritage.
Togo: A Hidden Gem of Authenticity
Leaving Ghana behind, we venture into the enchanting land of Togo—a hidden gem nestled between Ghana and Benin. Togo reveals itself as a treasure trove of authenticity, beckoning curious explorers to uncover its hidden wonders.
As I journey through the countryside, I am struck by the warm smiles and genuine curiosity of the Togolese people. In the village of Koutammakou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I am transported to another world. The Batammariba people welcome me with open arms, inviting me to discover their ancestral mud tower houses called “takienta.” These remarkable structures, with their distinct conical shape, have stood the test of time, serving as a symbol of tradition and unity.
Exploring Togo’s natural beauty, I embark on a hike through the lush landscapes of Kpalimé. The dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and breath taking vistas create an awe-inspiring backdrop. In the midst of this tranquil setting, I meet a local herbalist who shares the secrets of traditional medicine, passed down through generations. As I sip on a cup of healing herbal tea, I am reminded of the interconnectedness of nature and the wisdom embedded within indigenous cultures.
Benin: The Cradle of Voodoo
Our final destination brings us to Benin, a country steeped in the ancient traditions of Voodoo. Benin’s authenticity lies not only in its mystical practices but also in its vibrant communities and the resilience of its people.
In the heart of Ouidah, I witness a breath taking Voodoo ceremony, an integral part of Benin’s cultural fabric. As the rhythmic beats of drums fill the air, devotees adorned in vibrant costumes dance in a trance-like state. The atmosphere is electrifying, as the spiritual connection between the living and the divine is palpable. This glimpse into the world of Voodoo allows me to appreciate the profound significance of this centuries-old belief system.
This is one of the many memories that I will forever remember from my trip through Ghana, Togo and Benin. I would like to thank Our Local Tour for arranging this once in a lifetime travel experience.
Our Local Tour client Oscar and his partner wrote about their trip to explore Albania with a local guide.
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination that’s rich in history and culture, then Albania should be at the top of your list. And what better way to discover this hidden gem than with a local guide who can show you the real Albania? That’s exactly what we did on a recent private tour of Albania, and it was an experience that we’ll never forget.
From the moment we arrived in Tirana, we knew we were in for a treat. The guide, Agron, was waiting for us at the airport, and we immediately hit it off. He was friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about his country, and it was clear that we were in good hands.
Our first stop was the vibrant capital city of Tirana, and Agron wasted no time in showing us the best that the city had to offer. We started with a visit to the National History Museum, which was a fantastic introduction to Albanian history. The museum is a huge, modern building, and inside there are exhibits that cover everything from prehistoric times to the present day. Agron was a font of knowledge, and he brought the exhibits to life with his stories and explanations.
Next, we headed to the Et’hem Bey Mosque, which is one of the most important landmarks in Tirana. The mosque was built in the early 19th century and is a great example of Ottoman architecture. Despite being in the heart of the city, it’s a peaceful and tranquil place, and we felt a real sense of calm inside the mosque.
The next day, we hit the road and headed south towards Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s often called the “town of a thousand windows”. And it’s easy to see why – the town is full of beautiful Ottoman-era buildings with countless windows that give it a unique and romantic charm.
One of the highlights of our time in Berat was a visit to the castle, which is perched on top of a hill overlooking the town. The castle dates back to the 4th century BC and has been used by various empires and rulers over the centuries. Agron was a fantastic guide, and he gave a real insight into the castle’s history and the many battles that were fought there.
As we left Berat, we headed further south towards the Albanian Riviera, a stretch of coastline that’s been described as the “Mediterranean as it once was”. The scenery was stunning, with crystal-clear waters and rugged cliffs that dropped down into the sea.
Our base for the next few days was the town of Saranda, which is known for its lively atmosphere and stunning beaches. One of the highlights of our time in Saranda was a visit to the ancient city of Butrint, which is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city dates back to the 7th century BC and was an important centre for the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantines. The ruins are incredibly well-preserved, and it was fascinating to walk around and imagine what life was like there thousands of years ago.
As our tour of Albania came to an end, we both felt incredibly grateful to have had Agron as our Albania guide. He had shown us a side of Albania that we would never have experienced travelling on our own, and his passion and enthusiasm for his country was infectious. Albania may be a small and often-overlooked destination in Europe, but it’s a place that’s rich in history and culture. I would highly recommend any intrepid traveller visit now before things change too much.
Yoga Holidays in Morocco
Morocco is a country that has something to offer everyone, from its stunning scenery and rich culture to its delicious food and friendly people. It’s no wonder that it’s become a popular destination for yoga holidays.
If you’re looking for a yoga holiday that combines the best of Morocco, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll share some of the best destinations and experiences for yoga holidays in Morocco.
Best Destinations for Yoga Holidays in Morocco
There are many great places to go for a yoga holiday in Morocco, but some of the most popular destinations include:
Essaouira is a beautiful coastal town that’s known for its windsurfing, kitesurfing, and yoga. It’s also a great place to relax and soak up the Moroccan atmosphere.
Taghazout is another popular destination for yoga holidays. It’s located on the Atlantic coast and is known for its beautiful beaches, great surfing, and laid-back atmosphere.
Marrakech is the most popular tourist destination in Morocco, and it’s also a great place to go for a yoga holiday. The city is home to a number of yoga studios and retreats, and it’s also a great place to experience Moroccan culture.
- The Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are a beautiful mountain range that runs through Morocco. They’re a great place to go for yoga holidays if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Best Yoga Experiences in Morocco
In addition to the great destinations mentioned above, there are also a number of great yoga experiences that you can have in Morocco. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Yoga in the Sahara Desert
There’s nothing quite like practicing yoga in the vastness of the Sahara Desert. The silence and stillness of the desert are the perfect setting for a yoga practice, and the stunning scenery will take your breath away.
- Yoga on a Surfboard
If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try yoga on a surfboard? This is a great way to combine your love of yoga and surfing, and it’s also a great way to get a workout.
- Yoga with a View
There are many places in Morocco where you can practice yoga with a view. Some of our favorites include the rooftop of a riad in Marrakech, the beach in Essaouira, and the mountains in the Atlas Mountains.
No matter what your budget, experience level, or interests, there’s a yoga holiday in Morocco that’s perfect for you. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your yoga holiday today!
Here are some additional tips for planning your yoga holiday in Morocco:
- Choose the right destination
There are many great destinations for yoga holidays in Morocco, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. Consider your budget, experience level, and interests when making your decision.
- Do your research
Once you’ve chosen your destination, it’s important to do some research on the different yoga retreats and studios that are available. Read reviews, compare prices, and make sure you choose a retreat that’s a good fit for you.
- Pack light
You’ll be doing a lot of yoga on your holiday, so it’s important to pack light. Bring comfortable clothing, a yoga mat, and any other essentials you might need.
- Be open to new experiences
Yoga holidays are a great opportunity to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. Be open to new experiences, and you’re sure to have a wonderful time.
We hope this blog post has inspired you to book a yoga holiday in Morocco. With its stunning scenery, rich culture, and delicious food, Morocco is the perfect place to relax, rejuvenate, and connect with your inner self.
Sustainable Tourism for Tour Operators
Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly important in the travel industry. Outbound tour operators such as Our Local Tour have a key role to play in promoting sustainable tourism practices and supporting local tourism development in the destinations they serve. Here are some ways that we believe we can work towards becoming a beacon for sustainable tourism and support local tourism development.
Promote sustainable tourism practices
One of the most important ways that outbound tour operators can improve sustainable tourism is by promoting sustainable tourism practices among customers. This can include encouraging customers to choose eco-friendly accommodation, reducing waste, supporting local businesses, and respecting local cultures and traditions. Tour operators, such as Our Local Tour should also work with local partners to develop sustainable tourism initiatives, such as community-based tourism projects, that benefit both the local community and the tourists who visit. Of course, we are already doing this and it is an important part of our ethos and fully built in to our tours.
Support local businesses
Another way that tour operators can support sustainable tourism is by working with local businesses. This includes not only accommodation providers, but also restaurants, transportation providers, and activity operators. By working with local businesses, tour operators can help to create a more sustainable tourism economy that benefits the local community. This is also an integral part of our product design and we work closely with our local partners to make sure local businesses are supported by our clients travels. In many of our tours, we do not include meals were there are nearby options to eat out, encouraging travellers to eat in local restaurants and cafes.
Tour operators also need to play an important role in educating their customers about sustainable tourism practices and the importance of supporting local tourism development. This can include providing information about local customs and traditions, promoting responsible travel practices, and encouraging customers to shop locally and support small businesses. Tour operators can also provide customers with information about sustainable tourism certification programs, such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) or the Rainforest Alliance, which can help customers to identify and support sustainable tourism businesses. Our Local Tour is currently in the process of applying to be accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Partner with local organisations
Outbound tour operators should also partner with local organisations, such as community-based tourism initiatives, environmental organisations, or social enterprises, to support sustainable tourism development. By working with local organisations, tour operators can help to promote sustainable tourism practices, support local communities, and protect the environment. You will find that in many of our tours we visit a local community ran program or help to support a social enterprise. We are working hard to embed more of this into our tours.
Measure and report on sustainability
Finally, for tour operators to become a beacon for sustainable tourism it is vital that they are measuring and reporting on their sustainability performance. This can include tracking and reporting on carbon emissions, waste reduction efforts, and community investment. By measuring and reporting on sustainability performance, tour operators can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable tourism and provide customers with transparency and accountability.
It should be obvious to all travellers that their outbound tour operators have a key role to play in promoting sustainable tourism practices and supporting local tourism development in the destinations they serve. By promoting sustainable tourism practices, supporting local businesses, educating customers, partnering with local organisations, and measuring and reporting on sustainability, tour operators can become beacons for sustainable tourism and help to create a more sustainable tourism industry for the future.