South Africa

Several Countries Expedite their Visa Procedures

Zooming around the world to places like India, Myanmar, and southern Africa just got easier for citizens of 40 plus countries including Australia, Canada and the USA:  

For India, you no longer have to go to an India consulate to apply for a visa.  As of November 27, 2014, you may now apply for and get a tourist visa-on-arrival (TVoA) online, entitling you to enter India anytime within 30 days of the approval. The electronic travel authorization, which will be in the form of an email received from the Indian authorities, will entitle you to a 30-day stay in India.  On arrival, simply present the authorization to the immigration authorities who will then stamp the entry into the country.

For Myanmar, a country with few consulates around the world, a simple online registration, which takes between 7-10 days to approve, is definitely the easiest way to apply for a tourist visa.  It costs $50, and like the India visa, you will receive an emailed pre-approval letter confirmation that can be presented on arrival and the visa stamp placed on your passport.

For Southern Africa, it gets even easier to see this culturally rich region.  As of November 28, 2014, you can now receive a UNIVISA upon arrival in Zambia or Zimbabwe.  The UNIVISA costs $50 and will be valid for 30 days, as long as you remain within Zambia and Zimbabwe for hotel overnight purposes.  It also covers Botswana and Namibia day trips without the added cost of a visa fee to those countries.  At a later stage other popular tourist destinations such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar are expected to be added to the list of UNIVISA participants.

Why Safari

We had a question come into the office the other day that I thought I would answer for other readers as well.
 
Dear Joel,
 
I live in San Diego and we have an awesome zoo here. Why do you recommend doing a safari in Africa?
 
That is a great question!   This is like saying that you have a subscription to a gourmet food magazine, so why would you eat.  Traveling to Africa and seeing the Big Five up close and in their natural habitat is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. It is sheer magic.  Every moment is unpredictable, just like nature.  You never know if you will see a lion and lioness mating, a leopard taking down an impala, a pair of zebra frolicking, or a baby rhino curiously approaching your vehicle.  
 
But it's not just about the animals.  The landscape plays just as much a role in the magic.  On June 22, UNESCO declared the Okavango Delta its 1000 World Heritage site. One of the unique characteristics of the Delta is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. 
 
The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world's most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.  I am headed back to southern Africa with a group in literally just days to experience South Africa, Zambia and Botswana again, and I just cannot wait!  Let the magic begin! 

 

Vegan Soup on Safari: Carrot Coriander

One of the best things about being on safari is sun-downers: alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks enjoyed at sundown during evening game drives.  Usually drinks are accompanied by nuts and biltong (similar to beef jerky), but on one of our recent safaris, guests enjoyed a delicious vegan carrot and coriander soup, served in mugs.

INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 White Onion
1 Kg of carrots
2 Tablespoons of Ground Cumin
1 and 1/2 Liters of Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper to Taste

METHOD 

Heat the olive oil in a large pot

Add the onion, carrots and cumin, and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes.  

Add the vegetable stock to the carrots and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for an hour or until the carrots are soft enough to be mashed with a spoon.

Place the soup in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Season to taste, and serve.

Enjoy!