Madagascar Food and Music for the Soul


Madagascar Food

Burnt the rice? No problem. One common Madagascar dish is Ranon ‘apango or rano vda. Burnt rice water.

Malagasy cooks double the quantity of rice they need for the meal.  When it’s cooked, they remove most of the rice from the earthenware pan. The remainder (a layer about 1/2-inch thick) is heated until it’s burnt. Then pour boiling water over the rice. Cool, strain and chill.

Language

The majority of people don’t speak English, so brush up on your French which is the second official language of Madagascar. Otherwise it’s Malagasy all the way.

The main Malagasy phrases

Madagascar Music and Dance

 

The beauty of traveling in Madagascar is that you’re never sure what you’re going to hear next. The Madagascar music experience is like Forrest Gump’s ‘box of choc-o-lates’: you never know what you’re gonna get. Music is ubiquitous: The national music scene is booming, with artists from all the major regions turning out serious volumes of quality material. But locals retain a fondness for the usual African favorites: reggae, rap, chart hits, French pop, gospel, music, heavy metal, jazz and reggae Congolese

MUSIC BY LALAH RAINDIMBY OUR MARVELOUS MADAGASCAR CONTRIBUTOR:
https://myspace.com/tambatra
https://myspace.com/tambatra1

The national Madagascar music scene is booming, with artists from with  volumes of material of  striking quality

The Madagascar music experience is like Forrest Gump’s ‘box of choc-o-lates’: you never know what you’re gonna get.

But locals retain a fondness for the usual African favourites: reggae, rap, chart hits, French pop, gospel, music, heavy metal, jazz and reggae Congolese Lingala and good ol’ country music.

Africa’s biggest homegrown reggae superstar, Lucky Dube is even bigger here than the godfather Bob Marley himself.

The best thing to come out of Madagascar since the lemur is the music. Malagasy music rocks. the rhythms are tight. They combine virtuoso traditional music,  tight harmonies, buoyant grooves, infectious melodies, wild instruments, energetic dancing along with challenging, controversial subjects with the energy of punk rock. Malagasy hip hop broke into the mainstream in the mid-nineties and has skyrocketed.

MALAGASY MUSIC

 

Like the Salegy – a funky, tight, energetic form of dance music dominated by ringing electric guitars. In the kind of touristy clubs where the girls are cheaper than the beer. You’ll find out just how much the Malagasy love to dance. If you’re not a rug-cutter yourself, sit back with a Three Horse Beer and watch all the girls line up and bust their moves in front of the mirror (yes, every club has at least one). And then, just when you think you’ve got a handle on ‘Gasy

If you’re not a rug-cutter yourself, sit back with a Three Horse Beer and watch all the girls line up and bust their moves in front of the mirror (yes, every club has at least one). And then, just when you think you’ve got a handle on ‘Gasy clublife… Glenn Miller – ‘In The Mood’…this happens.in absolutely any club, anywhere in the country, you can guarantee that at some point the music will suddenly segue into jazz dance and the whole crowd will burst into energetic and clearly practiced swing and rock ‘n’ roll routines. Learn a few steps and you’ll probably make friends for life.

And the music isn’t just music.  It’s got a big history of political power. Hiragasy troupes were used during the French colonial administration to communicate decrees. Now musos like superstar Rossy’s 1995 song “Lera.”, mobilizes popular support for political efforts.

Malagasy revere ancestors, and ignoring the dead could bring bad luck. Someone who refuses to turn the ancestors denies his identity as a Malagasy. And if the ancestors can intercede with the Creator to bless the living with wealth, health, and happiness or, if mistreated, curse them with unemployment, disease, and misery. People lead good lives so that they, too, will be honored as ancestors some day.

In some famadihanas (funeral traditions), the families take the bodies on a stroll through town, to show the ancestors what is new, and introduce them to children born since they left the tomb. The thinking is that, to help the living, the dead must be familiar with their lives.

Famadihana

Welcome to Africa :  #EXPLOREMOTHERLANDAFRICA

Special thank you to  Freeway  Tours SADC Team: Thandi Brewer, Julie Hall, Jerry  Mofokeng (Freeway), Leslie Fong,( SPY) Lalah Raindimby, and MoMo Matsunyane (PADKOS),  Neo Matsunyane , Sonto Nhlapo, Alex Mamacos, Makgomotho Ngwasheng, Babalo Mpoyiya

In Memory of W.G Robertson

The Soul of Township Tours in South Africa

The Tales of South African Townships

Township in South Africa reflects the celebration of joy in human rights, freedom, justice and reconciliation. From the experience of shebeens to visits with sangomas.

A township visit is an emotional and unique sensory experience that is abuzz with the vivid social culture. Each township tells a story of its own about how it was established, the struggle through the years of apartheid and the current age it has evolved into.

South African townships have an irresistible soul and vibe that will welcome you and give you the experience of a lifetime!

Alex  –  “Township of Rhythm”

Alexandra Township -Gauteng

Alexandra is affectionately known as ‘Alex’, it is  Gauteng’s oldest township. Initially, it was established as a residential area. This was in 1905 by a white farmer. He aimed for a white suburb and named it after his wife. In 1912 it was transformed into a native township. Black people were allowed land ownership.

In 1913 the land act dissolved land ownership rights by blacks. Alexandra continues in migration as it was close in proximity to the employment opportunities in Johannesburg.

‘Alex’ has an interesting and turbulent and past, a fascinating present, and a very promising future.  It also has it’s own community radio and TV station.

Alex is the hub of culture, root culture is rhythm and vibe.  Alex has been home to luminaries like Hugh Masekela, a renowned jazz maestro as well as Nelson Mandela.

Popular culture like theaters in the townships was a dynamic force which gave life and hopes to the people, it’s a dynamic force that gave hope.

A township tour will give assess to the best shebeens in where you can quench your thirst on the tradition umqombothi, an African beer that is home-brewed, and taste amazing local delicacies.

You can also stock up on arts and crafts from street vendors, curios and explore the world colorful traditional medicine world.

The outdoor markets, the St Hulbert Catholic church, Mandela Yard Precinct and traditional healers create a fascinating new and old blend making Alex a fascinating township tour.

A Visit to  the iconic township of Soweto

Soweto is the fifth most popular destination for overseas visitors to the Gauteng province. It’s ‘Jozi’s’ tourism drawcard.  And one of the biggest attractions is the Mandela Museum, in Vilakazi Street.  The former four-roomed home of Nelson and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is a deeply moving experience, that reminds us of our past, and gives us hope for the future.

The Hector Pieterson Memorial is three blocks from where 13-year-old Hector was shot and died on 16 June 1976, the day when students in Soweto marched against the repressive imposition of  the Afrikaans language in schools

Soweto tours start with,  Hector Pieterson Museum and the Regina Mundi church.No trip to Soweto in Johannesburg is complete without a visit to Regina Mundi, the largest Catholic Church in the most popular Soweto.

It’s been a spiritual haven for thousands of Sowetans, it has also played a pivotal role in the township’s history of resistance against apartheid.

The Ubuntu Kraal is a collection of straw-roofed rondavels that form a homestead, popular as a wedding and conference venue.

Many will also be interested in the Soweto  Festival. The Soweto Festival is held annually

Soweto Festival

The venue is the magnificent Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, the site of the signing of the historic Freedom Charter by anti-apartheid organizations in 1955.

This is the ideal place for the people of Soweto to congregate over Heritage weekend as the Square is a national monument.

The Soweto Festival centers around an exhibition and day-long entertainment events.

 The  capturing visit to Katlehong

Katlehong

The Katlehong township area smoldered with political tension in the early 1990s and the name was associated with violent protests and a low-level civil war amongst factions.

This, however, is a thing of the past and in some way seems to make the Art Centre even more of an achievement for being there. Some of the most exquisite examples of ethnic artwork are housed here and the center seems to have been as influenced by the emotional turmoil of the township as its inhabitants once were.

 

Welcome to motherland Africa! Welcome to South Africa!

 

 

 

SAFARI – Manyara National PARK, SERENGETI, Ngorongoro Crater, SAADANI National Park

 

Join us for the ultimate experience in Tanzania. Journey on an expedition of a lifetime! We start off in  Manyara National park, wander through the infamous Serengeti, pass through Ngorongoro Crater and Saadani National Park where 'bush meets the beach', easing into island relaxation in Zanzibar.  
 



The Itinerary


 Day 1

We take off from Dar es Salaam in early morning hours.

We get breakfast as we head towards the northern highlands of Tanzania to the charming town called Arusha, where we spend the night and get ready to launch into a Safari experience of a lifetime.

Day 2

Manyara National Park

A drive from Arusha to Manyara National park will take approximately two hours. A fascinating unique feature is that in  Lake Manyara National park has a rare feature of lions that climb trees freely.

Lake Manyara is a soft introduction to the Safari journey ahead with scenic beauty, game views, flamingos baboons elephants, a breathtaking lake that takes up most of the park, leaving a land strip of game concentration.

Day 3-4

Starting with a game drive through Ngorongoro, we reach the National Park that is world renowned, Serengeti. The wildebeest migration fame, open plains, an exceptional full game drive Serengeti National Park- Oldest game reserve in Tanzania.

 

Day 5

We take off to Ngorongoro Crater for a full game day

Day 6 and 7

We head off to Saadani National Park that is created in the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Pangani. The Tanzania Wildlife sanctuary bordering the sea with a combination of marine flora in a fascinating setting, there are thirty species of mammals and numerous birds and reptiles in a preserved ecosystem including the Wami River, Mkwaja ranch, and Zaraninge forest.

Day 8

Boat Safari in Saadani River Wami for two hours, we finally head off back to Dar es Salaam and take to ferry to Zanzibar.

Day 9-12

Ferry to Zanzibar. In Zanzibar get barefoot on sands of the sea or lay back under the sun, dive  .dhow ride.snorkellinging or kayaking. This is relaxing breakaway on Zanzibar beaches after a magnificent escapade of a Safari in the motherland of  Tanzania.

South Africa’s Cultural Soul – The roots of Township Tours

South Africa – few can rival South African soul in the townships. Today we explore Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Walking the paths of some of the greatest leaders.

It’s another world and another time. This is part of the old Africa, where the amaZulu ruled unchallenged, a place of beaded headdresses and rawhide shields, beehive huts, and a lifestyle that properly belongs to the great age of Shaka.

Gain an insight into the amaZulus’ traditional way of life their beliefs, crafts, songs and dances at Shakaland, the open-air museum near Eshowe.

This is the oldest town in Zululand. Shakaland is also the oldest Zulu Cultural Village in Zululand, originally built as a scenery for the movie “Shaka Zulu”.

It’s been converted into a Zulu homestead with thatched beehive houses arranged in a circle around the central cattle kraal. Visitors stay in beehive houses, with all the modern conveniences.

 

The village overlooking the Umhlatuze Lake offers the true Zulu cultural experience and traditions, including pottery, beadwork, beer making and tasting as well as magnificent foot-stomping, ground shaking demonstrations of traditional Zulu dance.

Assegai-wielding warriors will teach you how to fight. You can also witness the age-old methods of making spears and shields, skills that are to a large extent disappearing. This is one of the few men who still know how to make the broad stabbing spear introduced by King Shaka. A memorable part of the tour is the spear throwing and stick-fighting demonstrations.

The  Memorable Adventures of Zululand

Kwa-Zulu Natal

The Kwa-Zulu Natal province is rooted in the legacy of the Zulu nation. There are ample opportunities to explore the fascinating world of the Zulu’s.

There are many private as well as provincial game reserves showcasing the abundance of biodiversity in the region.  You get an authentic safari experience and a historical viewpoint through the battlefield routes of the historical town, Vryheid which has  tea plantations and cattle ranches.

The Battlefields Route is significant as it was is where there were historical clashes between Zulu,  Brit, and Boer (farmer). The Kwa Zulu Natal battlefield region extends from Thukela river at Dolphin coast to Richards Bay further in the north to Paulpietersburg.

Paulpietersburg is 50hm to the north and links the inland of South Africa with the coast of  Zululand. This town is widely known for sulfur springs and therapeutic spas.

The major attractions are Zulu culture, birdlife, and many nature and game reserves.

Zulu culture is all over South Africa, but not as poignant as the Zulu kingdom.

Visitors can feel and taste true Zulu hospitality in dance, food, and song. There is an opportunity to become part of authentic Zulu weddings, assist with chores in the village and even visit a local sangoma (traditional healer).

You can take an ox-wagon visit to the Zulu beehive huts. Or even explore local shebeens, traditional medicine outlets. You get to learn how locals adapt age-old traditions into modern living.

 

  • A Zululand heritage experience is by stopping at Melmoth ‘where the legend King Shakas was born ‘the Valley of Kings’
  • The Emakhosini Valley is the site of graves of many Zulu Kings
  • The Zululand Birding Route has 650 recorded species of birds. The Dlinza Nature Reserve is a popular spot for birding.
  • Vast nature and game reserves from subtropical forest reserves  along the coast as well as game reserves further north

The biggest attraction in the KZN region is Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

It is the oldest in Africa and home to the famous big 5 in Africa. Rhinos, drive game lions, elephants, buffalos and leopards. There are self-drive game as well as guided walks.

 

Wilderness trails provide an intimate experience in the bush

End the Zululand expedition round off will be Richards Bay. The large town boasts a stunning scenery of the wetland.

 

Welcome to Motherland Africa......

 

Exploring the Magnificent Madagascar

Ringed by golden beaches and palm trees Madagascar - the 8th continent- is the fourth-largest island in the world.

Madagascar promises lush rainforests and rugged, ravine-riven mountains teeming with lemurs and other unique species found nowhere else in the world.


Madagascar promises crystal-clear seas with beautiful, untouched palm-fringed beaches. It promises culturally exotic people with laid-back island-style friendliness. It promises the freshest most sumptuous seafood spreads and deliciously strong local rum cocktails.


Resplendent with grassy plateaus, to volcanoes. Seething with opaque forests and natural reserves, Madagascar dazzles with its rich wildlife. Many of its unique species are found nowhere else on earth. biodiversity wise. Madagascar is one of a kind.

Madagascar isn’t just a country.  It is a state of mind, and you got to get yourself into it. Travelers need to feel the heat, taste the buzz. It’s not just marketing and monkeys.

Local legend says that the Vazimba, a race of white pygmies were the first Malagasy. But it was the Malay-Polynesians, who crossed the Indian Ocean, along with their rice, in the sixth century.

In the ninth century, Marco Polo pulled into Madagascar and found that the East African slaves, Arab, Indian, Dutch, British traders, and French colonists had turned Mad into THE major trading power in the western Indian Ocean.

So much so, that when the European governments were just saying no to piracy in the Caribbean, more than 1000 English, French, Portuguese, Dutch, American and other pirates contributed booty, buried treasure, and genes to the island’s population. It was a fantastic base to attack ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

Madagascar Tour Quiz
  • How many animal species?
250 000.
  • How many endemic species of butterfly?
3000
  • Native plants?
10 000 - 90% are found nowhere else in the world.
  • Bird life?
More than 100 kinds of tropical birds that exist nowhere else in the world.
  • And the biggest bird was?
10-foot tall ostrich, weighing 1,000 pounds which laid 20-pound eggs.

Whether you are into wildlife or nightlife, magical, malodorous Madagascar is the land that time forgot.

 

Larger than California and the size of France Madagascar is home to some seriously unique, sometimes downright bizarre, evolutionary oddities.  It’s the planet’s most biologically diverse island. From dancing lemurs to absurdly colourful chameleons,

From dancing lemurs to absurdly colourful chameleons, geckos, and lizards; tenrecs, spiny hedgehog-like creatures that communicate with its young by vibrating its spines.

Flightlessness, fearlessness, gigantism, dwarfism, and survival of ancient species all happened here in this evolutionary laboratory.  160 million years ago, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America were united in the supercontinent Gondwana, until it split up.

Left alone – with no carnivores or omnivores to deal with, Madagascar went it’s own unique way.

Like Lemur’s, which are found nowhere else on the planet!  If Some 45 species of lemurs live here from the world’s smallest primate, weighing about 1 ounce, to a lemur the size of a Gorilla.

The thing is, humans quickly went to work on the island’s lemurs, reducing the number of species by at least 15. So you need to get there soon.

Madagascar is also the world’s leading example of conservation. In spite of extraordinary pressures from a poor population that relies heavily on forest burning for basic subsistence.

Special thank you to  Freeway  Tours SADC Team: Thandi Brewer, Julie Hall, Jerry  Mofokeng (Freeway), Leslie Fong,( SPY) Lalah Raindimby, and MoMo Matsunyane (PADKOS),  Neo Matsunyane , Sonto Nhlapo, Alex Mamacos, Makgomotho Ngwasheng, Babalo Mpoyiya In Memory of W.G Robertson

 

Strolls and sightings in Africa – Travel Adventures in Zimbabwe and Zambia

Motherland Africa –  Zambia and Zimbabwe

The majestical journey to Zimbabwe is engraved in a superb tradition where hospitality reigns supreme.

Twenty years ago Zimbabwe was the richest country in Africa with tourism as a major industry.

Zimbabwe’s political stature led to it become one of the poorest, with an inflation rate that is the highest in the world. People used to call it the breadbasket of the continent, but after a while, no food was available even for those that had mountains of money.

Once upon a time, it was the continent’s breadbasket but eventually there was no food available, even for those stacked with mountains of money.

Nowadays many may be reluctant to consider exploring Zimbabwe. No worries if the feeling of uncertainty is there, Zambia shares many of the same attractions.

The tourists’ attraction focus is the great Zambezi River. It forms a natural boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Zambezi River

The Zambezi  River is a river system that is the fourth largest in Africa. It runs through six countries. All starts off with a  little spring in the Mwinilunga District in the northwest part of Zambia.

This is close to the  Zambian,  Zaire and Angola borders. This spring bubbles between roots of trees and eventually becomes a mighty river that carves the magnificent Victoria Falls.

The  Zambezi is a calm flow forward, then it builds speed racing headlong in a tumble downwards in hundreds of feet becoming a  natural world wonder then it zig-zags through  Batoka Gorge.  Energy is then captured and it is converted into a hydroelectric form of power by the Kariba Dam, and further down into the  Mozambique CaboraBassa dam.

The Zambezi river flows into  Kariba Dam for 281 kilometers. It is 40 kilometers wide at one point. It heads north from the dam wall,  then back east until it is flanked by Lower Zambezi National Park, located in Zambia, and the  Mana Pools National Park located in Zimbabwe. This zone supports one of the most important wilderness areas in Africa.

 

After the confluence of Luangwa, Zambezi River flows into Mozambique to the  Indian Ocean. The best family holiday to venture on anyhow and anywhere is a  houseboat located on Kariba.  If you prefer game viewing or fishing or even just chilling with drinks on the deck it is one magical experience that is unforgettable.

In 1960 after the building of the largest dam, Kariba, it evolved into a popular visiting place with activities like swimming,  fishing, boating, and game viewing.

Eventually, all the experiences were combined into the houseboat introduction.

A perfect way to appreciate vast water, islands, distinct trees that are half submerged and islands from a comfortable houseboat!

It takes you to

  • Matusodona Game Park,
  • Charra Bay
  • Spurwing Island
  • Gache Gache Communal Land
  • Fothergill Island

Kariba, the name originates from ‘Kariva’,  a  term that means ‘trap’. This refers a rock that jutted out from the wild, swirling entrance gorge waters!

That rock is currently a hundred meters below water. Legends name the rock the great river god, Nyaminyami’s home. Anyone that came a bit too close got sucked into the river depths!

On a search for adventure? There is an upstream cruise to  Victoria Falls, an adventure to last a lifetime.

Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders), only became known to the Western world as Victoria Falls after David Livingstone discovered it in 1855. It took many thousands of years for erosion to create the magnificent natural wonder. The falls are much taller and longer than Niagara Falls.

Many assume that Zimbabwe is a better view of the Victoria Falls, however, keep in mind that  David Livingstone, the well-known explorer discovered the Victoria Falls from Zambia.

He had heard about the sacred site for tribes like the Batoka. Finally, Livingstone, paddled by the  Chief Sekeletu of the Makololo to an island in the center of the Zambezi,  called the  Livingstone Island currently. The water was low but there was a tremor of fear as he approached the wall spray.

If the choice is Zambia you get to stay in a charming town, Livingstone, a popular base for travelers on a venture to experience the Victoria Falls.

There is bungee jumping,  high adrenaline adventures.  Then there is white water rafting in the Zambezi and even riverboarding, where you get to surf upstream.

If you stay in Livingstone on the Zambia side, the Upper Zambezi Canoe Safari is a great way to experience the river and see the scenery along the shores.

The Victoria Falls stay should include an unforgettable flight over the 7th Natural Wonder of the World. Soar high up with eagles and experience the sight from above!

Great Zimbabwe has many ancient ruins built in the 13th and 14th centuries, a UNESCO World Heritage site since the year 1986.

Great Zimbabwe Ruins- Unesco World Heritage site

The Zambian flag features the national bird of Zambia, the Fish Eagle. red, black, orange and a green background

Welcome to motherland Africa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONLY IN TANZANIA – PART 2

The Journey Continues – Endemic and Endangered in  the heart of motherland Africa – Tanzania

Why Safari in Tanzania? The question pounded on. My journey, my search continued.

 

I clearly affirmed in Exploring the splendor of Tanzania – ‘Journey into all dimensions delving into the mystics and wonders of the heart of ‘Motherland Africa’ Tanzania.

My personal quest launched:


Ocean City Garden

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
We are situated on the road between three major hotels Sunrise, Kipepeo, and South Beach in Kigamboni , a fifteen minute ferry ride from Dar es Salaam. A walkaway to the beach we are ready to welco...

10 Endemic Primates in Tanzania

  1. Rondo Dwarf Galago

    Rondo Dwarf Galago

Arkive species - Rondo dwarf galago (Galagoides rondoensis) These are rare and highly endangered animals found only in Tanzania. They weigh 60 grams and they continue to decline in threatened forests.