The Pyramids of Giza

A Day Trip To The Pyramids & Sphinx of Giza From Cairo

Cairo is Egypt’s bustling capital city and home to the famous Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza. Cairo sits on the River Nile and is popular with tourists from all over the world who come to explore an ancient past left behind in the desert.

I have always dreamed of visiting all of the 7 wonders of the world in my lifetime, and have been fortunate enough to visit most of them already. Recently I got rostered a work trip to Cairo quite last minute so straight away I knew I wanted to venture out on my quick layover and explore the Pyramids!

The Great Pyramids are located on the Giza Plateau on the outskirts of Cairo, there are 3 pyramids which are – the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with their pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza.The Pyramids of Giza

This collection of pyramids are the largest in all of ancient Egypt, there are pyramids scattered all over the country but the pyramids of Giza are the most famous ones. The pyramids are roughly 4,500 years old and were built for the pharaohs who expected to become gods in the afterlife. The largest pyramid is thought to have taken 2 decades to complete, and thousands upon thousands of workers and tradesmen were involved in the creation of this wonder.

When visiting the Pyramids I would really recommend booking a tour guide as it can be busy and a bit of hassle with people trying to sell you services and products, and if your female I would recommend going with a guide as you can get some unwanted male attention. I booked Nevin from Deluxe Tours Egypt, and booked a half day tour. Nevin and her driver picked me up at 10am and we ventured off to the Pyramids. Along the way we made a quick stop where Nevin grabbed me some breakfast.

We arrived at the Pyramids and Nevin handled everything and arranged getting my ticket and guided me all around the Pyramids and helped me take plenty of photos. Entrance into the Pyramids site is only a few quid but I just paid Nevin at the end of the tour, I paid approximately £55 for a half day private tour.The Pyramids of Giza

I really enjoyed my tour with Nevin she was knowledgeable and also did not leave my side and ensured no one hassled me. The driver met us a few times and drove us to different spots which was great as I got to see the pyramids from all the different angles and in some quieter locations, as it was heaving around the main entrance it was nice to have some quiet spots to really appreciate the pyramids. I also went down in one of the pyramids which was really interesting, and amazing to know how deep down the tombs went.

The only downside to the pyramids is the amount of rubbish floating around the pyramids. I really wish they would clean the site up by providing bins and paying workers to give it a big clean up and anyone caught littering to be fined! This is a wonder of the world and it is a shame to see the amount of rubbish the site is covered in, its definitely the most messiest wonder of the world. I just feel they should be a bit better looked after than what they are.

Honestly though rubbish a side the pyramids are an absolute must when visiting Egypt, and I can’t wait to come back and explore more of this exciting and lively city, and maybe bring someone with me and spend some more time exploring the pyramids.The Sphinx of Giza

Food & Drink

Felfela

Felfela serves authentic Egyptian food and is a well known chain across the capital that have restaurants and take aways, and has been loved by locals since the 1960s. We made a stop off at the take away in Giza close by to the pyramids, and Nevin ran in and grabbed me the most delicious falafel pita wrap and some baba ganoush with some breads for breakfast to eat on the go. Honestly it was the best baba ganoush I have ever had and the falafel wrap was also delicious! Felfela is a must try when in Cairo.Giza - Falafel Wrap

Transport & Getting Around

Cairo’s roads are congested and chaotic! If your short on time and only on a quick trip then I would suggest getting drivers as they’re vehicles should have air con and comfortable seats, and the drivers will know and understand how the roads work. If your in Cairo for longer then there is a whole range of various transport options available for getting around and to suit all budget types from metros, buses, micro buses and river buses. I personally however would just always book a guided tour with Nevin and get her to show me around the sites of the city.

Top Tips

I would really recommend booking a tour with Nevin I was recommended her by so many of my colleagues and she is honestly the best tour guide, you can WhatsApp (+20 128 2957737) her and ask her for prices and tour options etc. When visiting the pyramids I would also recommend dressing respectfully and cover your legs and shoulders as most of Egypt is predominately Muslim, and also if your female you don’t want to gain any unwanted attention! Also wear comfortable shoes as the area around the pyramids is quite rocky and sandy so comfortable shoes or sandals are a must. Walking down into the tombs of the pyramids can be quite steep too so have shoes with some good grip.

When staying in Cairo it is essential to go out and try all the amazing Egyptian cuisine and mezes, the food is delicious and the best way to end an evening is of course with a shisha and mint tea, my absolute favourite thing to do in the Arab nations!

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Cape Town - Hout Bay

Cape Town Travel Guide

I have been lucky enough to travel to Cape Town on many occasions through my work. It’s one of my favourite routes with my job, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the World. The landscape is just gorgeous from Table Mountain to Boulders Beach to Cape Point it’s all just stunning.

I love Cape Town as there is just so much to do there, it literally has something for everyone! If your a big wine lover check out the vineyards, if your a nature lover go cage diving with sharks or on a safari, if your an adrenaline junkie check out the shores for some surf lessons.

The food in Cape Town is also some of the tastiest food I have ever tasted and also amazing value as Cape Town is so cheap. Cape Town is also great for anyone on budget, I really can’t recommend Cape Town enough and every time I see it appear on my roster I’m always over the moon to go back. Every time I go on a layover with work I try and find something new to go and do or somewhere new to eat. You can never get bored in Cape Town.

Sights & Activities

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap is a former township and is located at the slopes of Signal Hill. It has lots of history and is the heart of the Cape Malay culture. It is a bright and colourful neighbourhood and the majority of its residents are Muslims. Originally the aboriginal tribes in Cape Town resisted the Dutch back in the 1700s so slaves were bought over from Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Africa.

The brightly coloured houses are to express freedom as originally the houses were white when they were on lease many years ago. There are also several mosques dotted around the neighbourhood. Bo-Kaap should be added to any Cape Town itinerary as it’s such a diverse and vibrant place. While on the tour you also get the best views of Table Mountain and Signal Hill.

On one layover I decided to take a Free Walking Tour of Bo-Kaap which was great and lasts about 90 minutes, and the guides take you all around the main parts of the neighbourhood and provide lots of information about the area, I really would recommend the tour as there is no need to book you just turn up and check the times they run, and just give a tip as this is how the guides earn their money. Cape Town - Bo-Kaap

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is one of my favourite places to go and visit in Cape Town, it’s absolutely amazing and a nature lovers dream. Boulders Beach is situated in False Bay and not too far away from Simons Town, which is also another tourist attraction. What makes Boulders Beach so special is it’s 2000-3000 African Penguin colony that have made their home on the soft white sand beach.

Back in the early 1980s a few African Penguins made Boulders their residence as it’s well sheltered from storms and waves with its large granite boulders, and since the early 80s the population has continued to grow, unfortunately African Penguins are on the endangered species list which also makes Boulders extra special, and it is now protected under the Table Mountain National Park and Marine protected area.Cape Town - Boulders Beach To go and witness these feathered little guys there is a small conservation fee of R65 per person and some boarded viewing platforms which you can stand and watch these gorgeous little birds, and the boardwalks also protect the penguins and their nests from the visitors. If you do have extra time some people climb over the boulders and go to view the rock pools and go swimming in the crystal clear waters around False Bay.

Just as you walk towards the penguin colony there is a gorgeous little place to grab a drink or ice cream it has a little hole in the wall where you can order, we grabbed some Milkshakes to go and the blueberry one was very tasty! Cape Town - Boulders Beach

Camps Bay

Camps Bay is a tourist hot spot in Cape Town and when visiting there you can see why with a gorgeous beach and Table Mountain as a backdrop it’s one of Cape Towns most desirable neighbourhoods. Camps Bay has a great atmosphere and plenty of choice of bars and restaurants to choose from. There are also several street vendors selling traditional African arts and crafts to browse. Camps Bay is a great place to base yourself if staying in Cape Town as it’s easily accessible from other main areas in the city and you can’t beat the breathtaking views of Table Mountain.Cape Town - Camps Bay

Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope

Cape Point is always referred to as the most southern point of Africa however that is actually Cape Agulhas, however a visit to Cape Point definitely makes you feel like your on the edge of the world. Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope are both part of the Table Mountain National Park. It’s got a rugged coastline and is where both the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet.Cape Town - Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope The Flying Dutchman Funicular is a must when visiting Cape Point it takes visitors up to the Cape Point Lighthouse and summit and provides panoramic views once at the top. The funicular also saves visitors a hard walk up to the top and can enjoy the views and only costs R70 per person return.Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope I have visited Cape Point on a few occasions now and have always booked a half day tour through the hotel concierge. The tour includes Hout Bay, Boulders Beach and Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope, and pick up from the hotel in Cape Town is roughly at 8.30am and normally returns to the hotel at approximately 1pm.

The half day tour crams lots in but also allows plenty of time to see everything and only costs about £25 per person, not including the funicular at Cape Point and the conservation fee at Boulders Beach. There is a huge variety of tours available in Cape Town and all vary slightly with what’s included, so have a good look into what you want to get out of a tour and what meets your budget.

Cape Wheel

Cape Wheel is at the V&A waterfront and offers 360 degree views over the waterfront, Table Mountain and the skyline. The Cape Wheel has 30 enclosed capsules for you to have to yourself which rise above 40 meters off the ground. The ride goes round several times which lasts about 15 minutes. I took my mother on the wheel for her birthday and if you take proof of ID you can get a free ticket on your birthday. If your visiting the V&A waterfront this is a great attraction to go on and only costs R150 per adult. Cape Town - Cape Wheel

Chapmans Peak Drive & Hout Bay

Chapmans Peak Drive is also referred to as Chappies by locals, this toll road stretches along 9kms around the rocky Atlantic coastline of Chapmans Peak from Hout Bay to Noordhoek. In total there is 114 curves and it isn’t one of the easiest roads to drive along, and can close due to bad weather conditions. Chapmans Peak was originally constructed during the First World War, and has won many engineering awards. The road is also a toll road so have a look over the website for full details and information. Chapmans Peak is definitely one of the most picturesque and scenic roads I have had the pleasure of witnessing and is a must do especially on the way to Cape Point. Cape Town - NoordhoekHout Bay is a seaside neighbourhood in Cape Town which sits in a valley in the Cape Peninsular. The neighbourhood, the harbour and the valley are all referred to as Hout Bay. Hout Bay Harbour is a popular tourist spot as it hosts a small traders market selling local wares and there you can see local fishermen’s boats and other locals going about their day to day lives. There is also a resident sea lion which swims about the harbour which one of the locals feeds daily.

Hout Bay also has breathtaking views of the ocean and the surrounding valleys. Hout Bay is also one of the stops along Chapmans Peak which is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Hout Bay is an absolute must when in Cape Town even if it’s just to stop for a few minutes to witness the rugged coastline overlooking the Atlantic.Cape Town - Hout Bay

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is situated in the suburbs of greater Cape Town, and is a fishing village on the coast of False Bay. This beautiful little village has lots to offer any visitor, with interesting boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. It’s a beautiful place to visit with it’s rugged coastline on one side and mountain backdrop on the other. We stopped here on the way to Boulders Beach and walked along it’s quaint high street which is full of character. I really want to go back to Kalk Bay and spend a full day exploring the area as it had so much charm to the place. Cape Town - Kalk Bay

Lions Head Mountain

Lions Head Mountain is another one of Cape Towns famous mountains and is situated between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lions Head Mountain is part of the Table Mountain National Park, and can be spotted as a backdrop from many parts of the city. I’m always really lucky as I mostly get a lovely view of it from my hotel room when I stay over in Cape Town on my layovers with work. You can also hike up lions Head which should take between 1 and half hours to 2 hours, and can be quite a tough walk up but the views are meant to be spectacular. The hike up Lions Head is still on my to do list, and something I would like to do on a layover in the future.

Sea Point

Sea Point is a affluent suburb in Cape Town, which follows the coastline and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. This lovely neighbourhood is also great for foodies it has so many amazing restaurants and cafes to visit. Sea Point promenade stretches for several kilometres and is one of the main attractions in the area, it’s great to walk or run along the promenade and take in the sea air.

Sea Point is also a great area for families as there are lots of beaches, play areas, swimming pools and tidal pools. I love Sea Point and always try to sample a new restaurant in the area every time I’m in Cape Town and always have a leisurely wander along the promenade which is just gorgeous on a sunny day.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is Cape Towns number one attraction and the landmark that is most associated with Cape Town. Table Mountain is breathtaking both viewing it from a distance and also while on top of it. I have visited Table Mountain on several occasions and normally get the cableway car up as it’s only about £15 return, however I do know some people that do climb up the mountain. I never have climbed it as it looks quite hard to climb, and I’d rather get up to the top and spend lots of time exploring the top of Table Mountain and it’s gorgeous views.Cape Town - Table MountainOn one trip I took my friend with me, and we both went to the top of Table Mountain and decided to take a small packed lunch and some prossecco up to the top which was amazing, we sat overlooking the most beautiful views while having a picnic, can’t recommend it enough. I also took my Mum up Table Mountain on a separate trip for her 60th birthday, which she loved!

There is so much more than gorgeous panoramic views to see on top of the mountain, Table Mountain has lots of unique flora and fauna as well as lots of small cute little Dassies running around which are like small guinea pig type creatures.

Even though Table Mountain is a huge tourist attraction once on top of the mountain it never feels over crowded or too busy, and I always feel like I’ve had plenty of space to roam around and find a quiet spot to myself to enjoy the scenery. There is also a restaurant and gift shop near the cable car which is slightly busier area of the mountain but that’s to be expected.

If you are really strapped for time in Cape Town, then make sure you visit Table Mountain if nothing else. Cape Town - Table Mountain

Tigresse Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Tigresse is one of the largest catamarans in the V&A which offers a selection of cruises throughout the day which normally last from 60 to 90 minutes long. The catamaran can also be hired for private events and functions aswell as offering charter cruises. Some of my colleagues and myself decided to go for the sunset cruise to take in the spectacular views of Table Mountain from the ocean with beautiful pastel sunset skies. The sunset cruise is R320 per person but also included some sparkling wine which is the perfect way to wind down the day. Cape Town - Sunset Cruise

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront (Victoria & Albert Waterfront) is always popular with both tourists and visitors there is so much to see and do at the Southern Hemispheres oldest working harbour. The V&A has so much to offer from hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, markets, museums, historic attractions aswell as several purpose built attractions. The Waterfront is always a hive of activity as there is also a huge array of boat and watersport tours and packages available there too.

The Waterfront is upmarket and you can also take in stunning views of Table Mountain which is set behind the V&A. The Waterfront is steeped in historical attractions such as the Victorian Clock Tower, where you can also witness some of the resident sea lions nearby swimming and also coming up on to the boardwalks for a spot of sunbathing. The V&A is a great place to visit at any time of day but try and visit around one of your daily meals as there are so many great places to grab a bite to eat or drink.

Wine Tasting

No trip to Cape Town would be complete without sampling some of Cape Towns wines. There are lots of vineyards to choose from in Cape Town and lots of vineyard tours available. On one layover some of the crew and myself booked through our hotel who organised a driver to collect us and took us to 2 popular vineyards which were Groot Constantia and SteenBerg.

It was great to go to 2 different vineyards as they were very different Groot Constantia was a traditional vineyard which was more old fashioned and SteenBerg is a very modern and upmarket vineyard. Wine tasting in Cape Town is so cheap, there are various packages available at the vineyards but from what I remember we paid about £10 each to the driver who sat and waited for us while we were in each vineyard, and I paid less than £5 in each Vineyard.

At Groot Constantia I opted for a cheese and wine taster which was amazing and the taster was informative too. While at SteenBerg I opted for a sparkling wine taster which included about 5 different glasses of sparkling wines to sample. SteenBerg was my favourite out of the 2 vineyards we visited, it was a gorgeous sunny day sat outside with stunning views and great wine. If you are in Cape Town for a while try and sample as many vineyards as you can, I have had some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted in Cape Town and of course always bring a few bottles home with me to enjoy.Cape Town - Steenberg Wine Vineyard

Food & Drink

Brian’s Pub

If your a little homesick and missing a good old fashioned dive pub, then head to Brian’s Pub in Seapoint. It’s a typical pub with cheap booze, pool table and juke box, literally nothing fancy at all, but I have to admit I pop in here from time to time for a nightcap.

Cape Point Vineyards

Cape Point Vineyards is a gorgeous place to stop at for a glass of wine or two or to visit for wine tasting. The views are stunning and this award winning estate is nestled between mountains and ocean in Noordhoek. There is also a restaurant on site which you can visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.Cape Town - Cape Point Vineyards

Cape Town Fish Market

Cape Town Fish Market is a chic restaurant located in V&A Waterfront, it’s a restaurant which prides itself on serving up fresh seafood. There is outside seating which is great on a warm day, and the food is delicious. I had a lime milkshake which was amazing, it sounds like it shouldn’t taste good but was one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had! I also visited here with my Mum on a trip I bought her on, and we stopped here and sat outside and had the some gorgeous milkshakes. Even if you don’t stop here for food you should definitely make a pit stop here and check out the milkshakes! Cape Town - Fish MarketCraft Burger Bar

I always hear so many great comments about Craft Burger Bar, so recently I decided to check it out for myself, and can honestly say I was not disappointed. There are two locations one at Sea Point and the other at Heritage Square, I visited the Sea Point one. There is a decent selection of burgers which you can change to chicken or vegetarian, or alternatively and what I opted for was the create your own option.

You choose which burger you would like then can choose no bun or half bun if you like, lots of sauces and extras can be added too. I chose a vegetarian burger with half a bun and fried egg, pineapple, tangy mayonnaise, gherkins and red onions and a side salad and it was delicious, I’m not normally a fan of vegetarian burgers but can honestly say it lived up to the rumour as Cape Towns best burger!

Crew Bar

Crew Bar is a LGBT club and bar and is always a good night. It always has good music playing and on most nights the bar staff are topless and wear small hot pants, if you order shots you also have the option to take the shot off the abs of one of the bar staff. Crew Bar is the place to go if you want to get tipsy and dance the night away. It has a great atmosphere and is unpretentious and always attracts a good crowd to have a laugh with.

Hussars Bar & Grill

Hussars Bar and Grill has been around for over 50 years, and is a part of a chain with restaurants dotted all over South Africa. I have been to the Hussars in Camps Bay which is set back a little bit from the main strip overlooking the beachfront. This restaurant has a cosy and old fashioned charm to it which has a huge selection of wines.

Hussars Bar and Grill serve up amazing food and some of the best food I have ever eaten in Cape Town. The menu has a good selection of meats and steaks and also cater well for vegetarians. I chose the portobello mushroom starter and the grilled halloumi for my main and it was so flavoursome. I would really recommend a visit to Hussars you won’t be disappointed, and if you fancy a slightly more upmarket restaurant this is the place for you that won’t cost you an arm and leg. Cape Town - Hussars Bar & Grill

Mojo Market

Mojo Market is a great find, I was so happy when I came across this quirky indoor street food market. It’s good if there’s a group of you and you all fancy eating something different as they literally have everything under one roof. There is everything from Thai, Italian, Greek, Indian and everything in between, I can guarantee you will find whatever you fancy in Mojos. One of my personal favourite stalls is Earthfire Pizza the pizzas are cooked fresh to order and honestly one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had!

As well as having lots of choice of street food vendors there are also several small stalls and pop up shops selling arts and crafts. There is also a roof terrace which has a gorgeous ocean views and a view of Lions Head Mountain, so there is the option of eating your food inside or outside. There are also several bars and they host events and live music too. I really recommend Mojo Market for either lunch or dinner as it’s open late and a great option if your on a budget but still want tasty food.

My Sugar

My Sugar is a chocoholics dream, it specialises in handcrafted chocolates as well as offering coffee and a selection of drinks and milkshakes in its cafe. This is a great place to stop at for a drink and pick up a selection of beautifully crafted quirky chocolates, they also make great gifts to take home. My personal favourite was the peanut butter and jelly chocolate it was to die for!

Nuri Sushi

Nuri Sushi in Sea Point offers take away sushi and Japanese food and there is also seating available inside. When I visit I always order the crispy vegetarian rolls which is the best sushi I have ever had! The Asian fries are also delicious, they are more like crisps than fries but are cooked fresh to order.

I like to go to Nuri after landing into Cape Town for my lunch and normally sit in and eat, and watch the world go by the window. Nuri Sushi is such great value for money without compromising on the taste. The sushi I have is so filling and for 10 pieces it works out at approximately £3.50. Nuri Sushi is a great place to pop in to for lunch or a light snack.

NV80

If you love a steak and wine then NV80 is the place to go. It’s a favourite with my work colleagues. NV80 is located in Sea Point in The Point Mall up the escalator. It’s really nicely decorated and your always greeted with a warm welcome. Before I went vegetarian I used to love going to NV80 for a fillet steak, creamed spinach and dauphinois potatoes, it was always a complete calorie overload.

The garlic bread rolls are to die for and so delicious and make a great little starter. NV80 is really reasonable as normally I would spend about £20 for a really decent meal and wine. They also serve lots of fish dishes which are also really delicious, the only downside to NV80 is they don’t offer hardly any vegetarian options, if you are vegetarian then you will prefer Hussars Grill as there is a lot more choice.Cape Town - NV80

Ocean Basket

Ocean Basket is a South African chain restaurant serving up a huge selection of seafood dishes and platters. The Ocean Basket in Camps Bay is a great location and along the main strip of bars and restaurants overlooking the beachfront and it’s so cheap, I went a while back and got a platter to share with my colleague and it was absolutely delicious and so filling.

Scheckters Raw

Scheckters Raw has to be one of my favourite places to eat in Cape Town. Everything they create is organic and vegan and best of all very fresh. It’s kind of got a cool laid back cafe vibe, but they serve lots of food such as starters, burgers and Buddha bowls. They also have a selection of takeaway snacks and fresh juices available. If you fancy a detox and want some healthy food then this is the place visit, you won’t be disappointed.Cape Town - Scheckters Raw

Shimmy Beach Club

I went to Shimmy Beach Club in the evening for some dinner, and would love to go back during the day to see what this super chic beach/pool club is like during the day. Dinner however was delicious it has a great selection of vegetarian options and a wide variety of dim sum which was cooked to perfection.Cape Town - Shimmy’s Beach Club

Stones Bar

Stones Bar is a great place to go to if there’s a group of you, it has a little bit of a party atmosphere and lots of pool tables to have a game on. It’s a little bit of a dive bar so don’t go expecting all the glamour and just take it for what it is, it is a chain and there are several around, I have been to the one in Sea Point several times and always had a good night.

The Bungalow

The Bungalow is a restaurant and bar in Clifton and has the most beautiful decor and layout, with views overlooking the ocean. I did want to go there for dinner on a trip I was taking my Mum along with me on for her 60th birthday, however I heard from so many colleagues that the food was not all that and quite disappointing. So we opted for cocktails at sunset on the sofas outside, we tried the peach sangria which was so sweet and fresh.

The large bed/sofas outside are amazing to chill out on and watch the pastel sunset skies, it’s the perfect way to end a day in Cape Town. I would like to try eating there sometimes to see what the roofs like for myself but I didn’t want to risk it for my Mums special birthday. Hussars Bar and Grill is located just a few short minutes drive away which is where we headed after our drinks.Cape Town - The Bungalow

Top Tips

Even though Cape Town is a beautiful city with so much to see and do, it still can also be a dangerous one so like anywhere else in the world extra caution and awareness should always be taken when out and about, and maybe leave unnecessary valuables at your accommodation or locked away somewhere safe. Also make sure that you don’t venture into certain parts of Cape Town and try and stick to the main tourist areas and city centre, if your worried of concerned speak to your hotel concierge to gain some advice.

This is a bit of a random tip and one that might seem quite obvious, but when in Cape Town make sure to use sun cream especially in their summer months as I always burn quite easily in Cape Town and know a lot of my colleagues have suffered with sunburn in Cape Town, so slap on extra SPF lotion both when sunbathing and out and about wandering around the city, as it’s so easy to catch the sun in Cape Town.

Whatever you decide to do in Cape Town you will fall in love with this incredible city, it really is a city that can appeal to everyone with all age groups in mind.

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Atlas Mountains

A Day Trip To The Atlas Mountains From Marrakesh

The Atlas Mountains and Marrakesh in Morocco were both places I had always dreamed of visiting. Something about Marrakesh when you see it on the TV or in magazines just seems so appealing, with its bustling markets for miles selling trinkets and handcrafted goods, the smells and spices and all the bright colours just look so beautiful.

I turned 30 recently and my husband wanted to take me away somewhere to celebrate on a city break, when he asked me where I would like to go to I knew straight away I wanted to go to Marrakesh. So we booked some cheap flights through Ryanair from London Stansted Airport which were about £100 return.

The Atlas Mountains has been on my bucket list for a while, so we decided to book a tour on the day of my actual birthday to visit them. We booked a full day tour with Morocco Attractive Tours via Viator although you can also book direct through their website too.Atlas Mountains 2Atlas Mountains 3

The tour was amazing it was one of my favourite parts of our whole trip while in Marrakesh, we did so much in one day. The Atlas Mountains are breathtaking and the locals that live in and around the mountains are so welcoming and friendly.

This tour included so much and stoped in so many places such as Ourika Valley and it’s waterfalls, which a local mountain guide escorted us up to the waterfalls, which took about an hour and a half to walk to the falls and back. We also got to stop off at an argan oil workshop and watch local Berber women extracting and creating argan oil which was really interesting and with no pressure to purchase any of the products.Atlas Mountains - Argan OilAtlas Mountains - Spices

We also drove through Oukaimeden Valley on a quiet mountain road which stands 1800 meters above sea level to reach the third valley of our tour which was Sidi Fares Valley, and passed through many traditional Berber villages and got to see lots of local life.

We stopped for lunch in a small village in the mountains and had lunch cooked for us by some local Berber ladies which was all cooked and presented beautifully, and with a gorgeous view of the valley and mountains. We were served a Moroccan salad, Berber tagine, moroccan couscous, dessert and finished off with some traditional tea.Atlas Mountains - Berber Village

We really enjoyed lunch and they even surprised me with a birthday cake, as our guide secretly called ahead when he found out it was my birthday, and the ladies prepared me a huge yummy cake which was a lovely surprise.Atlas Mountains - Berber Village Birthday

After lunch we headed to the fourth valley of Asni which is famous for its fruit trees, and also home to the highest peak in North Africa – Toubkal Mount.

We opted for the extended tour and spent an extra hour exploring the Kik Plateau which is a level limestone outcropping that offers wonderful views of the valleys below. We finally finished our tour off at Takerkoust Lake which is a serene artificial lake which attracts many locals and has pool clubs and bars over looking the lake. After Takerkoust Lake we headed back to Marrakesh.Atlas Mountains - Kik Plateau

The day out to the Atlas Mountains was my favourite day while in Marrakesh, I loved seeing all the natural beauty the mountains had to offer and loved meeting all of the friendly locals. I really can’t recommend this tour enough, our guide was also brilliant and really knowledgeable.

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Leopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - Giraffe

Leopard Song Safari Mini Guide

I have always wanted to go on an African Safari it’s been on my bucket list forever, I’m so glad I finally had my chance to go on one and it’s literally one of those experiences which made a lasting impression and memories I will remember for the rest of my life. Seeing huge animals living freely and in the wild is the ultimate experience and really shows us how insignificant everything is compared to nature.Leopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - Rhinos

Leopard Song is located in the Pride of Africa game reserve, and honestly hand on heart one of the best things I’ve ever done while on a work trip. Leopard Song felt like a mini holiday, even though I was on a layover. It is also fantastic value for money too.

After doing several Johannesburg trips I kept hearing other crew say how amazing Leopard Song was, so wanted to try it for myself. So when I got a Johannesburg on my roster I emailed all the crew ahead of our trip to see if they wanted to join and also posted on one of our crew Facebook pages to see if any of the crew from the earlier flight wanted to join.

We managed to get 5 of us together and emailed Leopard Song to arrange and book. When we arrived at our hotel we had a few hours to relax before Leopard Song came and collected us. It took about an hours drive from Johannesburg to reach the reserve. When we arrived we were greeted by the most friendly staff who really couldn’t of done anymore for us.Leopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - LodgeLeopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - Pool

They made us a lovely lunch and we got checked into our own individual luxury lodges complete with en-suites. The lodges were all immaculately clean and really lovely inside. There was lots of deers and impalas walking around the lodges which just added to the feel of the place. It was so peaceful and relaxing and there was also a small pool, and a campfire to sit around in the evening.

After our lunch we went for a game drive in the late afternoon, and we saw so many animals such as zebra, enyala, daika, warthogs, impalas, giraffes, ostriches, rhinos, lions and a variety of birds. The scenery on the drive was stunning as well, and we stopped off at a watering hole for sunset which was absolutely gorgeous. Leopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - ZebraLeopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - RhinoLeopard Song Safari - JohannesburgLeopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - Sunset

During the evening it does get quite chilly and while driving through the reserve it got quite cold on the jeep, but Leopard Song were well prepared and have lots of cosy blankets on the jeep to keep warm while driving around on Safari.

After having a magical afternoon driving around the bush seeing lots of animals living freely, we headed back to the lodge and the chef had prepared a delicious 3 course dinner for us which was homestyle comfort food with a big lasagne for the main course and some garlic bread, all of it was so tasty and just what we needed after a tiring night flight and the Safari.

Once dinner was demolished by all of us we sat around the campfire for a bit and enjoyed a few glasses of wine. It really is a special place we could see so many stars and the only noises we could hear were that of animals in the bush.

We decided to have an early night as we all wanted to get up early to do the sunrise Safari and to see some more animals. We started the morning Safari at 6.30am and got to see lots more animals again and enjoy the sights and sounds of being out in the bush. After a little while of driving around the ranger driving us round pulled over at a watering hole, and laid out some tea, coffee and biscuits and we all sat having a cuppa overlooking the watering hole, and could even see hippos in the distance poking their heads out from the water. When we finished the morning Safari we arrived back to the lodge to be greeted with a hot full English breakfast which was the perfect end to our Safari night stop.Leopard Song Safari - JohannesburgLeopard Song Safari - JohannesburgLeopard Song Safari - JohannesburgLeopard Song Safari - Johannesburg - Lion

Leopard Song provide a discounted rate to workers from the airline I work for. We got such a good deal I think from memory it cost me approximately £90 which included pick up and drop off, overnight accommodation, all meals and drinks and 2 game drives. I couldn’t believe what great value for money it was. Even without any discount Leopard Song is extremely affordable without any compromises.

I made the best memories at Leopard Song and really want to go back and would love to take my husband. If your looking to escape the daily grind and break free from having WiFi, then Leopard Song is the ultimate getaway to switching off from the rest of the world and just relaxing in the most peaceful atmosphere. I really fell in love with Leopard Song, and I don’t think my words or pictures will do it justice, so if you are planning a safari trip visit Leopard Song to see for yourself and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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Accra - Jamestown

24 Hour Layover Guide To Accra

Accra is the capital city of Ghana, and not exactly a travel destination on everyone’s bucket lists, however I thought I would write a small blog on Accra, as I know several people that have travelled to Accra with work and volunteering for various charities over there. I have also read lots of articles recently saying that Ghana is now becoming an up and coming tourist destination.

Working as cabin crew I am lucky enough to travel all over the world and to places I wouldn’t necessarily travel to in my own personal life. These sort of destinations I always love though, I love experiencing new places and meeting new people from all walks of life.

I have been lucky enough to travel to Accra many times over the years with work, at one time I used to go there so regularly it started to feel like a second home. Accra isn’t the safest of places to visit and not somewhere I could freely go and explore, as the airline I work for advise us not to leave the hotel, so on many trips I would sit by the hotel pool. I have been out in Accra on several occasions but always made sure I went with a group of colleagues, and we had a taxi to take us and paid a little extra for the taxi driver to wait for us, and on one occasion asked him to escort us around the market which the hotel organised for us.

Like many African cities I have been to before, Accra is very busy and congested with lots going on everywhere you look, I imagine there is a lot more to Ghana than what Accra has to offer, I have heard Ghana is meant to be a beautiful country once you leave the hustle and bustle of the capital and get out into the countryside.Accra

Sights & Activities

Centre for National Culture

The Centre for National Culture is a craft market which is aimed towards tourists and showcases many local arts and handiworks from wooden sculptures, ornaments, paintings, traditional Ghanaian clothing and bags and everything in between.

I really enjoyed the small and friendly market and as it caters for tourists I found all the stall owners really friendly and were up for a laugh and a joke. If you want to pick up a souvenir or handmade trinket this is a great market to stop off at and it’s also providing an income for the local people.

Independence Square

The Independence Square is the second largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and its located in the centre of Accra. It is home to Independence Arch, Black Star Gate, lots of seating, Ghanaian flags and statues which all commemorate Ghana gaining independence from Britain back in 1957. We briefly stopped off here after visiting Jamestown.Accra - Independence Square

Jamestown

Jamestown is a township within Accra and is situated on the coast and is one of the oldest districts in Accra. Jamestown also has lots of colonial remnants and a huge lighthouse as well as other historical landmarks. Jamestown is one of the poorest areas in the capital, and when I visited there it was a real eye opener into the third world.

I have travelled all over the world and seen how people live from all walks of life, Jamestown however is by far the worst living conditions I have witnessed people living in. People who live in Jamestown don’t have a lot and most of them live in m built up rubble and shacks. The sanitation conditions are not great and there doesn’t appear to be much running water, and there is a lot of rubbish everywhere.

I came to Jamestown to visit a school called The Noyaa Association. The school is set up to help children from poor families and street children in the area who are not enrolled in the Ghana education system, and to provide a basic level of education from reading and mathematics etc. I have visited Noyaa on several occasions and always take donations from clothes, books, toys and whatever else I can get hold of from people with children having a clear out. The airline that I work for allows us to take extra luggage if it’s for a charitable cause, which is fantastic as on one occasion when I visited I had that many donations I had 3 suitcases full!

The Noyaa Association does some fantastic work for these kids however they are in need of funding and materials, they make best of what they have. The school is a wooden structure that has lots of dividers up to divide the many different age groups. There are about 90 children all together with some children being as young as 3 and all ages in between up to 12 year olds.

Whenever I visit I normally drop them a message on their Facebook page and organise a time to visit to take donations and spend a bit of time with the younger children playing. It really is an amazing experience and the children are so sweet.

If you visit Jamestown try and visit the Noyaa Association with some donations for the children, or another charity in Jamestown as there is always help needed in the area.Accra - The Noyaa Association

Makola Market

Makola Market is the commercial hub of Accra and has a lot going on everywhere from traffic, lots of stalls and people running errands and carrying huge amounts of shopping and goods on their heads. It’s very busy and a bit chaotic, however I felt like I saw the real Accra with lots of hustle and bustle and street vendors trying to sell their wares. The market sells a whole range of items but mainly tends to be food, homewares and lots of African land snails which are cooked up in stews.

I’m glad I got to visit Makola Market as you can see the locals living their day to day lives. I would recommend not visiting here alone, and do not take anything valuable with you, if you can also see if you can get your hotel to arrange someone to escort you around the market, as this is what we did with our taxi driver and it just made us feel a little more at ease. Like most places it’s all about having an awareness of what’s going on around you.Accra - Makola Market

Top Tips

I would recommend when visiting Ghana to leave any unnecessary valuables behind and to always have your wits about you when visiting, however when visiting also go with an open mind it is a bit of a culture shock but that being said you will also come across some of the most warm and friendly people around.

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Marrakesh

Marrakesh Travel Guide

Marrakesh in Morocco was somewhere I had always dreamed of visiting. Something about Marrakesh when you see it on the TV or in magazines just seems so appealing, with its bustling markets for miles selling trinkets and handcrafted goods, the smells and spices and all the bright colours just look so beautiful.

I turned 30 recently and my husband wanted to take me away somewhere to celebrate on a city break, when he asked me where I would like to go to I knew straight away I wanted to go to Marrakesh. So we booked some cheap flights through Ryanair from London Stansted Airport which were about £100 return.

My husband asked me to find somewhere that I really wanted to stay, I was desperate to stay in a traditional Moroccan Riad, after much searching and trawling through the many booking sites online I finally found one that looked amazing and had reviews to match.

Once the flights and accommodation were booked, we started looking through our guide book and started planning all the sights that we wanted to visit, and of course the markets for all the shopping I wanted to do.

Marrakesh is an amazing city with lots going on, from gigantic markets that feel like mazes, mosques and beautiful gardens and buildings there is so much to see. I would really recommend getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city for at least a day. I had always wanted to explore the Atlas Mountains so we booked a tour on my 30th Birthday to take us there, it was the highlight of our trip.

Even though I loved Marrakesh and glad I visited I’m not sure I would go back as I kind of feel like I saw all the sights that I wanted to see and ticked everything off my itinerary, and after a while the constant hassle and busyness from the markets can be quite overwhelming. Saying this I would recommend Marrakesh to everyone as it’s a great affordable exotic getaway.

Sights & Activities

Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

Ali Ben Youssef Medersa was founded in the 14th century and was North Africa’s largest Islamic learning centre. Today it is one of Morocco’s greatest interpretations of Islamic art and craftsmanship.

When we visited it seemed to be closed due to some kind of event we couldn’t work out what it was unfortunately so we never got to enter, which we were really disappointed about, as I have heard about how beautiful it is inside and wanted to see the intricate ceramic tiling and opulent courtyards. We did decide to walk around the outside of it and take in the architecture from the outside.

I would recommend when visiting Marrakesh to visit Ali Ben Youssef Medersa as it’s one of Marrakesh’s top attractions and is open daily, I think we were just unlucky on the day we decided to visit.Marrakesh - Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains has been on my bucket list for a while, so we decided to book a tour on the day of my actual birthday to visit them. We booked a full day tour with Morocco Attractive Tours via Viator although you can also book direct through their website too.

The tour was amazing it was one of my favourite parts of our whole trip while in Marrakesh, we did so much in one day. The Atlas Mountains are breathtaking and the locals that live in and around the mountains are so welcoming and friendly.

This tour included so much and stoped in so many places such as Ourika Valley and it’s waterfalls, which a local mountain guide escorted us up to the waterfalls, which took about an hour and a half to walk to the falls and back. We also got to stop off at an argan oil workshop and watch local Berber women extracting and creating argan oil which was really interesting and with no pressure to purchase any of the products.

We also drove through Oukaimeden Valley on a quiet mountain road which stands 1800 meters above sea level to reach the third valley of our tour which was Sidi Fares Valley, and passed through many traditional Berber villages and got to see lots of local life.

We stopped for lunch in a small village in the mountains and had lunch cooked for us by some local Berber ladies which was all cooked and presented beautifully, and with a gorgeous view of the valley and mountains. We were served a Moroccan salad, Berber tagine, moroccan couscous, dessert and finished off with some traditional tea.

We really enjoyed lunch and they even surprised me with a birthday cake, as our guide secretly called ahead when he found out it was my birthday, and the ladies prepared me a huge yummy cake which was a lovely surprise.

After lunch we headed to the fourth valley of Asni which is famous for its fruit trees, and also home to the highest peak in North Africa – Toubkal Mount.

We opted for the extended tour and spent an extra hour exploring the Kik Plateau which is a level limestone outcropping that offers wonderful views of the valleys below. We finally finished our tour off at Takerkoust Lake which is a serene artificial lake which attracts many locals and has pool clubs and bars over looking the lake. After Takerkoust Lake we headed back to Marrakesh.

The day out to the Atlas Mountains was my favourite day while in Marrakesh, I loved seeing all the natural beauty the mountains had to offer and loved meeting all of the friendly locals. I really can’t recommend this tour enough, our guide was also brilliant and really knowledgeable.Marrakesh - Atlas Mountains

Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace is a stunning palace and it’s name translates to the ‘The Beautiful’. The palace is pretty magnificent and has such fine attention to detail everywhere you look.

The build of the Bahia Palace began in the 1860s but was finished off with all the fine intricate detailing and artisan embellishments from 1894 – 1900. There are many aspects to Bahia Palace from pretty courtyards, to riad rooms and the Grand Courtyard all decorated with colourful tiles, marble and painted woodwork.

Bahia Palace can be quite busy with crowds, try and aim to visit in the afternoon to beat the tour groups, although we found it still to be quite busy but kept going through peaks and troughs. Like most places in Marrakesh entering all the major tourist attractions won’t break the bank as entrance into Bahia was about Dh10 per person which works out at roughly £1 or less. Marrakesh - Bahia PalaceMarrakesh - Bahia Palace

Cyber Park

This large royal park is set out across 8 hectares of parkland and dates back to the 18th century. Cyber Park was given its name since it started offering free WiFi from the outdoor kiosks scattered around. There is also an internet cafe located in the park. This is a pretty park with lots of shady areas and is great to wander through mid afternoon to escape the heat.

Dar Si Said

Dar Si Said is a 19th century medina mansion, it has some similarities to Bahia Palace but on a much smaller scale. The interiors are stunning and intricate. We really enjoyed visiting Dar Si Said it was really peaceful and quiet when we visited, and was a much needed break from the busy streets. We pretty much had the place to ourselves which was absolute bliss. This beautiful little medina is a must do on any Marrakesh itinerary. Marrakesh - Dar Si Said

Djemaa El-Fna

Djemaa El-Fna is the main square in central Marrakesh and also serves as a stage for the many street performers ranging from musicians, dancers, magicians and snake charmers and much more. Please be aware that there are also men with monkeys that try and get you to have your picture taken with them for a fee, please try and avoid this at all costs as I got the impression the monkeys were not very well cared for!

While visiting the hustle and bustle of this crazy square also have your wits about you as there any many con artists and pick pockets around this area and it is known as a bit of a tourist trap.

Seeing the famous square was pretty amazing it can be quite overwhelming and an overload for all your senses, but it is something worth seeing in Marrakesh and one of the main attractions. It is also the main gateway for the many mazes of markets .

Try and see the square at different times in the day, including in the morning when it’s at it quietest and grab a fresh orange juice from one of the many vendors set up there. In the afternoon is when it is a lot busier and some of the street performances start, and in the evening is when it is at its most busiest and frantic with everything going on.

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace is a 16th century palace which was ruled by Ahmed Al Mansour, 75 years after it was adorned with gold, crystals and semi precious stones the palace was looted.

Today only remnants and rubble are left of this once glorious palace. However even though most the palace is derelict there is still a huge courtyard to see with sunken gardens and pools, the view from the palace is incredible with sights above the winding higgledy piggledy streets and ramshackled buildings of Marrakesh. While admiring the city views you can also see huge storks nesting on the high walls.

El Badi Palace may not have all of its original charm like many of Marrakesh’s other palaces and grand houses, but it is quirky and different and a must see and at just DH10 entrance it’s well worth spending a morning or afternoon meandering through the ruins of this once majestic palace.Marrakesh - El Badi Palace

Jardin Harti

Jardin Harti is a tranquil park, with lots of flower beds and palm tree lined paths with plenty of benches and seating areas. There are also two large dinosaur statues which attracts many local families. We came here after walking through Cyber Park as they are both within short walking distance of each other, and whilst in the Ville Nouvelle area of Marrakesh visiting some of its many public gardens is a must.

Jardin Majorelle

Jardin Majorelle is one of Marrakesh’s most iconic attractions. Yves Saint Laurent and his partner bought the gardens back in 1980, after falling in love with the city back in the 60s. The house and gardens was originally owned by painter and landscaper Jacques Majorelle.

Yves Saint Laurent gifted the gardens to Marrakesh to preserve its psychedelic mirage. The gardens are full of many plant species from all over the world and from most of the world’s continents. The Musee Berbere is housed in the cobalt blue art deco house which features many artefacts from Morocco’s indigenous people, including wood and metal work and traditional costumes and much more, to enter the museum it is only an extra DH30 per person.

Strolling around the beautiful gardens is essential when in Marrakesh, the contrast between the electric blue studio house against the greenery from the palm trees, bamboos and cactuses is absolutely beautiful.

Try to get here early if possible as it does draw many crowds, we came in the afternoon and although it wasn’t heaving i imagine first thing in the morning it would be a lot quieter.Marrakesh - Jardin Majorelle

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque is one of Marrakesh’s main landmarks and stands tall overlooking Djeema El-Fna. Non Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque, however you can get stunning views from all angles by having a walk around the mosque.

You can’t miss the 70 meter tower you can see it from all over the square. It was originally built back in the 12th century by the Almohads and was covered in pink plaster like many other mosques and buildings around Marrakesh, since then the building has been restored and taken back to its original stonework to make it stand out against the rest of Marrakesh’s pastel pink toned buildings.

Le Jardin Secret

Le Jardin Secret is an oasis of beautiful gardens situated in the hustle and bustle of the souqs. This riad was once owned by a powerful local chief and has lots of artefacts and exhibits on the history of the grounds and the restoration project. There is also a tower and cafe overlooking the city. The gardens are so peaceful to walk around so take a break from the busy markets and step into this little paradise.Marrakesh - Le Jardin SecretMarrakesh - Le Jardin Secret

Souks

The many Souks are one of the main draw for any visitor travelling to Marrakesh. The central souks are pretty crazy with narrow alleyways and have so much going on and there is so much to see and explore, every turn you will see something different.

My best bit of advice is to spend a few hours getting lost in the souks and try and experience them both in the day and at night. During the morning the markets tend to be much quieter.

In the souks they sell everything from spices, clothes, homewares and trinkets and crafts. While in Marrakesh we visited the souks most days or wandered through them as every time we went we saw something new.

When wandering through the central souks also head towards Moussaine and Bab Doukkala area, these were some of my favourite areas in Marrakesh as you tend to see more locals going about their day to day lives, and there is also lots of quirky and funky boutiques and cafes. These areas are also great for any keen photographers as there are so many gorgeous spots to take the perfect photograph with lots of blush coloured crumbling walls and traditional Moroccan architecture.

When wandering the markets be sure that your not paying too much for items and always have a limit in your head and make sure you barter. The Moroccans are hard hagglers so join in and try and get the best price possible as they will always start way too high, and it’s all part of the fun.Marrakesh - Souk Marrakesh - SoukMarrakesh - Souk

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal is located in Ville Nouvelle and was started back in the 1970s and still today hasn’t been fully completed. This opera house looks stunning from the outside, we came and had a look at the outside after we had lunch at Amal’s which isn’t too far away.

Food & Drink

Amal

The Amal centre is a small traditional restaurant that teaches disadvantaged Moroccan women restaurant skills and helps to provide support to them. The restaurant does amazing work to help these lovely ladies. We visited here for lunch and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and was great value for money.

We sat outside in a lovely shaded spot, and ordered a tagine and had delicious warm beads which were all prepared by these local women.Marrakesh - Amal

Earth Cafe

Earth Cafe is a fab little find right in the heart of the central souks. It cooks up a great selection of vegetarian and vegan food. This brightly coloured ramshackled restaurant is laid out over several floors, and is hidden away in the central souk down a small alleyway. If you are vegetarian or vegan and fancy a change from vegetarian tagine while in Marrakesh, then definitely pay this restaurant a visit.Marrakesh - Earth CafeMarrakesh - Earth Cafe

La Casa Berbere

La Casa Berbere is in a really lovely location overlooking a small square and opposite Snack Al Kzadria, we stopped in La Casa Berbere for a spot of lunch and had a delicious wrap and some fries which were so filling but also just what we needed after a busy morning exploring the city.

La Famille

La Famille is situated down a small lane and is a hidden gem, it doesn’t look much from the outside but once your through the small pathway it’s a little hipster oasis. It has the most gorgeous decor and furnishings all set out in a courtyard garden.

We only came in here for a quick drink to quench our thirst, but they serve a selection of food and snacks, there is even a small shop area where you can buy artsy gifts. This place is really cute and quirky and really popular with French tourists. It had a kind of French chateau feel to it with Moroccan and Scandinavian style influences.Marrakesh - La Famille

Niama

Niama is just off of the main square of Djemaa El-Fna, it’s a bit of a fast food type place but seemed popular with locals, we went in there to escape the madness of the square and got a quiet table up the stairs, they have a large menu with lots of choice of both Moroccan cuisine and western dishes such as pizza, burgers etc.

Niama is nothing fancy but if you want an escape from the hustle and bustle of the square and some cheap comfort eats this place is great, we got some dishes to share such as a sweet corn soup, olives, meze and falafel. Marrakesh - Niama

Cafe Snack Rahba Kedima

Cafe Snack Rahba Kedima is situated in a great spot on Kedima Square and has several floors, we went and sat on the top floor as it had some great views over the square where you could people watch and see all the stalls selling their wares. We went here for a light lunch and the food was really well prepared and fresh.Marrakesh - Cafe Snack Rahba Kedima

Snack Al Kzadria

Snack Al Kzadria has a really nice location set on a square which doesn’t seem to have a name, and is opposite La Casa Berbere. This area had some great cafes, restaurants and small shops and stalls and all the locals there were really friendly.

Being Vegetarian isn’t always easy in Marrakesh, although there is plenty of vegetarian tagines available, but after 4 days of mostly eating tagines we fancied something different, so we ordered a few pastries with various vegetarian fillings and some vegetables all were delicious, and of course I had to have one of my favourite soft drinks – lime and mint juice, which is so refreshing on a hot day.Marrakesh - Snack Al Kzadria

Accommodation

Riad Viva

After ages of looking through tons and tons of different Riads on various booking sites and review sites, we finally decided on Riad Viva. The Riad was central and had a good location, all the photos online looked amazing. Riad Viva also had lots of great reviews and offered a lot in-house.

Riad Viva was great value for money we paid £200 for 4 nights bed and breakfast and opted for a superior room. The room was stunning with lots of traditional Moroccan decor and details. It had a large cushioned seating area, bed and a beautiful bathroom.

The location of the Riad was perfect as it was only a 10 minute walk to the Djemaa El-Fna Square and lots of other major attractions in the city centre. The Riad was down a small road and where lots of locals lived.

The breakfast every day was great to and served up on the roof terrace and a selection of pastries, fruits, breads and eggs were on offer.

The hotel also had a roof top pool and small spa where you could book treatments. On our last night we decided to treat ourselves to a traditional Hamam and Massage, its slightly more expensive in the riads and hotels than other places in Marrakesh, but it’s nice that after your relaxed you can just wander back to your room rather than having to battle through the crazy streets and crowds of Marrakesh.

The Riad also offers set lunch and dinner menus which you can book, we decided to book a meal for the evening on my birthday.

We had an amazing stay at Riad Viva we can’t fault it, the staff were really friendly and helpful and couldn’t do enough for us, their English was also great. The Riad and it’s central court yard was absolutely stunning and the whole place was immaculately clean. If you are considering a trip to Marrakesh give Riad Viva a try, you won’t be disappointed!Marrakesh - Riad VivaMarrakesh - Riad VivaMarrakesh - Riad VivaMarrakesh - Riad VivaMarrakesh - Riad VivaMarrakesh - Riad Viva

Top Tips

Marrakesh is an amazing city but also one that you should take a bit of extra caution in, the city centre is safe however I would recommend to women to ensure your covered as you don’t want to receive any unwanted attention, for example wear baggy loose trousers or long skirt and cover your shoulders. Not only does it prevent any unwanted attention but also Morocco is a Muslim country so it’s in keeping with cultural traditions and expectations from the locals.

While exploring the city be aware of potentials cons and have your wits about you, we had quite a few people approach us offering ‘free tours’ which of course are not free as they will expect a tip at the end. Just be weary of anyone trying to offer you something for free, as it’s very rare that anything in the world is actually free, and will most likely always come with a price. In the markets also be careful of pick pockets.

If you can I would always suggest staying in a traditional Moroccan Riad when visiting Marrakesh it was a great experience and you get a really personal experience from the staff as there are normally a max of maybe 10 rooms in most Riads, so their service is much more personal and friendly compared to that of large chain hotels.

Important Information

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Nairobi - David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

24 Hour Layover Guide To Nairobi

Kenya is located on the east coast of Africa and is home to a huge array of wildlife and I known all around the world for its nature and animals. Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city, and also a starting point to which many people start their safari trips to other areas around Kenya such as the Maasai Mara National Park.

I have travelled to Nairobi on several occasions with work, however we only get a 24 hour layover there. The airline I work for also advise us not to leave the hotel as Nairobi is not always the safest of places. I have only ventured out on two occasions and that was to go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for orphaned elephants and The Giraffe Centre – both were amazing.

In this short and sweet blog I wanted to write about my experience of Nairobi and what I have done there, and hope it helps anyone planning a safari to maybe spend a day in Nairobi to visit these amazing sanctuaries.

Sights & Activities

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust also known as DSWT for short, is one of the best rehabilitation centres for orphaned elephants and rhinos in the world. The foundation was started in 1977 and has done some amazing work to help orphaned wildlife, and to preserve their habitat. The trust is a registered charity and donations are accepted when visiting. The entrance is really reasonable at 500 Kenyan Shillings which equates to roughly £4.

The DSWT opens for 1 hour daily between 11am – noon, during this time the elephants enjoy their mud bath and feed and visitors can learn about each orphan and their story. Each elephant has their own keeper which watches over them 24 hours a day to ensure their safety and to give them their feeds. The keepers rotate themselves and work shifts to ensure the elephants are always watched over and to make sure the elephants do not become too attached to one person, so that when they are released back into the wild that they’re not too dependant on humans.Nairobi - David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

When I visited I couldn’t wait to see the baby elephants – being the wildlife fanatic I am, however it’s a very emotional and moving place to visit, it’s really heartbreaking to hear what these young elephants have been through, it really will make you sick to your stomach when you hear how cruelly they have been treated by humans. I loved seeing the elephants and how well they are looked after here but at the same time I did have a cry as it was so sad to hear how they had ended up there.

If your going on a safari or visiting Kenya this is a must do when in Nairobi, it’s affordable and the entrance fees goes to a great cause. If you wanted to stay for longer you can also organise eco lodges through the trust.Nairobi - David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Nairobi Giraffe Centre

After we had visited the DSWT we went on to visit the Nairobi Giraffe Centre which is also a sanctuary which allows you to get up close to these tall beautiful creatures. The centre is home to Rothschild Giraffe. A subspecies of the giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The Giraffe Centre is also nature education centre, which educates thousands of Kenyan school children every year.

The sanctuary began in 1979 and at the time Rothschild Giraffes were on a decline in the wild in Kenya due to loss of habitat.

The centre began with just 2 young giraffe calves which they raised, and began a breeding programme. The visitor centre opened to educate people on the wildlife, and the giraffes habitat and conservation.

It’s a great place to visit to learn about giraffes and you can get up close and feed them. There is a tower which you can walk up and feed the giraffe pellets. If you want a giraffe kiss you can hold one in your lips for the giraffe to take which is obviously very slobbery, but all good fun and a laugh.

This is a great place to visit and would recommend coming here after visiting the DSWT and both can be done in half a day.Nairobi Giraffe Centre

Top Tips

I would always recommend booking a tour to visit these attractions or requesting the hotel or your accommodation provider to organise it for you. I would also recommend not taking too many valuables and ensure you have your wits about you, as much as seeing these elephants and giraffes is an amazing experience and set in beautiful settings, Nairobi itself can be very dangerous so please always take care.

Important Information

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