If you are searching for a destination that will show you the “real” Africa, look no further than Zambia. It is home to some of the most spectacular sights in the world and is also among one of the safest to visit. A visit to Zambia is sure to bring visits to Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and many other areas bursting with wildlife. The wildlife of Zambia is very divers and is a pleasure to experience via safari. This country is perfect for casual travelers and thrill seekers alike.

One of the major sights that travelers come from all over to see is Victoria Falls. The falls are so big that columns of spray can be seen from miles away. For ideal views of Victoria Falls, you will want to trek to the Victoria Falls Bridge where you can see down the gorge on one side and through the falls on the other. For a especially thrilling Victoria Falls experience, consider taking to the skies. Micro-light and fixed wing flights are available to take you around the falls.

Another reason people travel to Zambia is its robust wildlife. Animals that you would likely see while on safari are leopards, lions, cheetahs, elephants, hippos, buffaloes  giraffes, primates and hundreds of different bird species. If you are a bird enthusiast you will definitely want to visit Zambia as it has been said that at least 740 species live there. There are several options for taking in the Zambian wildlife such as safaris, walking, canoeing, horseback or even on an elephant!

If all of this adventure is a bit intimidating, Zambia is also home to some great shopping as well. A visit to the Mukuni Victoria Falls Craft Village will offer the opportunity to browse a wide range of intricate crafts such as wooden or stone animal carvings, masks, drums, walking sticks, jewelry and more. The local vendors are usually open to trade for things such as T-shirts, batteries, shoes or other essentials.

As you can see, Zambia has a wide range of activities that are sure to please travelers of all interest sets. For a taste of the best that Africa has to offer, consider visiting Zambia.

Some epicurists roam the world, searching for food that will not only satisfy their palates, but satisfy their hunger for adventure and for experiencing the soul of a culture. A stop they must make on their gourmet journeys is Honduras. With its blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences, the cuisine of his Central American land is as diverse as Honduras itself.

The cuisine of Honduras depends heavily on ingredients such as fish, beans, seafood, corn and the ever-popular tortilla, plantains, yucca, cabbage, pineapple, plum, papaya, passion fruit, and other regional staples. Chicken, beef, and pork are very popular and are present in many of Honduras’s favorite dishes. These ingredients are seasoned with cumin, curry, coriander, oregano, and lime juice.  Did you notice an absence of “hot” spices? Usually, Honduran cuisine is quite rich – thanks to creamy coconut milk – but is not as spicy as, say, its Central American counterpart, Mexican food.

The most ubiquitous culinary item you will see in your travels is the humble tortilla. Humble, but a star in Honduran cuisine. Ground corn is mixed with water and rolled into small balls. These are flattened and cooked. From there, they grace the table of virtually any meal. They are served with the national dish, Plata Tipico, which features skewered, marinated beef, pork sausage and crackling, red kidney beans, tangy white cheese, fried plantain slices, rice, salad, cheese, and sour cream. If you arrive hungry, you won’t leave that way.

Tortillas are also a core in dishes like catrachitas (deep fried tortilla chips, refried beans, cheese, and hot sauce), enchiladas, chilaquiles (tortillas covered in egg and deep fried, served with cheese, chicken, tomato sauce, and spice arranged to make a “lasagna,” and are served with sour cream), and tortilla con quesillo (very similar to a quesadilla and served with tomato sauce).

Soup is also a hearty meal that makes frequent appearances on Honduran menus. Sopa de caracol, or conch soup, is famous and is a must for visitors. Cooked in coconut milk and conch broth, it features spices, yucca, cilantro, and green bananas. Another favorite is Sopa de Frijoles, a red bean soup that is richly seasoned and hearty. Don’t forget the sour cream and tortillas!

For dessert, try tres leches cake, a rich, milk-soaked cake, or arroz con leche, milk-soaked rice with sugar, cinnamon, and spice. With your meal, enjoy Horchata, a sweet, spicy milky rice drink and licuados, fruit drinks with milk, water, or yogurt. After, indulge in guaro, sugar cane liquor, or giffity, a liquor brewed on Honduras’s islands, if you are feeling especially adventurous!

From tamales to tortillas and melt-in-your-mouth marinated beef to fresh tropical fruit, Honduras will satisfy all of your cravings.

Due to its mild Mediterranean climate and intricate architecture, Casablanca is considered one of the most desirable destinations in the world. As you explore this Moroccan city, you will find that it as surprising as it is beautiful.  Despite its portrayal in Hollywood, Casablanca has its own unique style and treasures which are waiting to be discovered by the willing traveler. One thing is for sure, Casablanca offers much more than you would expect.

The film, Casablanca was made in 1942 and had a very big impact on how the city is viewed. There are still reminiscences of this image in Old Medina. Old Medina, or the Old City, was built in 1770 and is jam packed with shops, stores and tiny squares. Although it is small and cramped, Old Medina is a great place to take in the culture of Casablanca. You will find ancient charm mixed with modern Arab-Islamic and Western architecture. No trip to Casablanca is complete without spending some time exploring Old Medina.

While it is possible to see touches of the past, Casablanca is a very prevalent vibrant and modern feel.  An example of this modernity can be seen in the Hassan II Mosque. Built in 1980, this huge building is many times bigger than the Notre Dame Cathedral and can accommodate over 25,000 people. A unique feature of this mosque is the set of laser lights that point the way to Mecca. The Hassan II Mosque is as beautiful inside as it is outsides. The interior of this building consists of marble floors, fine moldings and intricately painted ceilings.

These are only two examples of how Casablanca is a city of wonderful contrasts: ancient and modern. If you consider yourself a seasoned traveler, you absolutely must put Casablanca on your list of places to visit. It is sure to surpass all of your expectations

Australia is known for having one of the most diverse landscapes on earth. Travelers come from all over the world to explore the cities, oceans and especially the famed wild bush. If you are the adventurous type and would enjoy experiencing all that the Australian bush has to offer, Bamurru Plains is definitely for you!

Imagine a place where you can be close to Australian wildlife while still having luxurious accommodations. Located west of Kakadu National Park on the Mary River floodplains, Bamurru Plains offers guests safari style suites which blend in with the surrounding environment. This exposes guests to the beauty and majesty of the bush and its inhabitants.  Guests are free from the distractions of TVs, telephones and other common hotel room features in order to let them fully connect with the surrounding bush. This is a very exclusive camp, so guests will not come into contact with other tourists while staying at the Bamburru Plains.

While the accommodations are amazing, the activities available at this location are even better! There are multiple ways to get out and experience the diverse Australian wildlife. You might choose to go on an airboat tour of the Mary River floodplain wetlands. This area is a big attraction and is home to a variety of birds such as the Magpie geese, ibis, egrets and the plumed whistling-duck. There are also wonderful scenic helicopter flights where you can get a bird’s eye view of the wildlife of the floodplains. If you would prefer to stay grounded, there are also four wheel drive safaris available during the dry season to show you around.

Want a unique look at an air boat tour of the Bamurru Plains floodplains? Check out this video!

If you are in search of a traveler’s paradise, consider Argentina. Bordering the zesty Chile and tropical Bolivia, Argentina is one of South America’s largest regions and has a little bit of everything.  Not only would the willing traveler have the chance to cruise through warm forests, but they can also venture out to the edge of South America and explore glacially-carved landscapes. There are so many things to see and too that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so let’s investigate the more popular hot-spots in Argentina.

Buenos Aires

Any trip to Argentina would not be complete without a visit to Buenos Aires. It is a passionate city that has much to offer both natives and visitors alike. Eat at local restaurants that serve gourmet food, people watch as you stroll down the diverse streets or experience some of the best shopping that South America has to offer.  After all of the eating and shopping, you will definitely want to experience the vibrant nightlife. Everyone is sure to find something they enjoy within Buenos Aires.

 Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls is one of Argentina’s natural jewels. The falls are a majestic spectacle that must be seen to be believed. Imagine the view of thousands of gallons of water tumbling and churning over rocky cliffs then falling hundreds of feet. This area is surrounded by thick forests filled with active wildlife. Whether you decide to hike up the falls or tour them via helicopter, Iguazú Falls is sure to give you memories that last a lifetime!

 Glaciar Perito Moreno

Ever wanted to see what an ice field is like? Head to southern Argentina and explore Glaciar Perito Moreno. Most ice fields in the world are comprised of slow moving chunks of ice; however this glacier moves surprisingly fast and is constantly breaking up. Carefully placed catwalks and other vantage points allow visitors to experience the Moreno Glacier at an intimate yet safe distance.

Argentina has much more to offer to visitors of all types.  From the wildly adventurous to the city savvy traveler, Argentina will keep you busy from dawn until dusk each and every day.

Every experienced traveler has moments and stories about a certain journey that brings back vivid memories which absolutely cannot be forgotten. Mongolia is a place that will give you the exact same enriching experiences. There are things in Mongolia that would be hard to find anywhere else in the world. Imagine walking across a stream with ice that is ninety feet deep in the middle of the summer.  In Mongolia, you can! For those seeking the adventure of discovery, there is a remote region in Mongolia that has been isolated for centuries and is home to some amazing ethnic minorities. Exploring the rest of Mongolia can be very exciting as well as there are opportunities to go on an exclusive tour in a helicopter. On this tour, you will travel to very remote regions of the Gobi Desert which is only known by paleontologists and a handful of others. This is a very exclusive and almost “top secret” experience that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. When you arrive to these select regions of the Gobi Desert, you will be greeted by some of the leading paleontologists of Mongolia. They will show you the techniques they use to dig up dinosaur fossils and you will even be able to do some digging yourself! Imaging the look on your loved ones’ faces when you arrive home telling them about your stroll over a frozen stream in the summertime, your helicopter ride across the Gobi Desert and your fossil digging adventure with some of the greatest minds in Mongolia. The time to start planning your Mongolian experience is right now. This is truly an exciting region of the world and offers memories that will last a lifetime.

Jordan is an incredible and storied Arab kingdom in Asia, bordering Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. In a region so rich in culture, in history, in meaning for so many people, it is tempting to think we know everything there is to know about it. But Jordan has a few surprises to bestow upon the sophisticated traveler who is willing and eager to learn about the secrets of the Middle East.

Healing in the Dead Sea

Forgot chemical peels and laser treatments! In Jordan, you can get an ancient, effective, and invigorating body scrub. The Dead Sea waters are home to 35 different minerals, which are believed to cure everything from psoriasis to arthritis. The mud on the shore is very mineral-rich and visitors luxuriate in its restorative properties.

Jordan is one of the world’s premiere medical tourism destinations, and the Dead Sea is a big reason why. The Dead Sea Research Center, for instance, offers programs for patients that promote sun, Dead Sea baths, emollient creams, thermo-mineral baths, mud soaks, scalp treatments, sulfur baths, and more. Those seeking relief from respiratory illnesses benefit from Jordan’s high oxygen levels and low pollution and allergen levels.

Ancient Art Revealed

In the magical city of Petra, “a rose red city half as old as time,” ancient cave art has been restored. Far from primitive, the paintings feature angel-like figures, flowers, and birds, all intricately and brightly rendered. It is believed that the cave in which these are found was a refuge for a cult which worshipped Dionysus, the god of wine. Greek-inspired art in Jordan; a city carved into sandstone cliff faces; an adventure waiting for every visitor – especially those who are fans of Indiana Jones. Several scenes from the series were filmed in Petra.

The Holy Month of Ramadan

It’s not surprising that many Jordanians observe the holy month of Ramadan. What may be surprising to visitors is that the month of fasting, where eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited during the day – is actually a great time to visit. Try to fast yourself so you can feel a part of the sacrifice and celebration; you break the fast at iftar, or the evening meal. This is often a community ritual, and people gather to eat and celebrate. The westernized hotels and restaurants offer meals, or you can head out (early – lots of hungry people will be waiting in line!) to cafes. Stay up for the festivities that occur after iftar; it is a month-long party – at least at night!

Jordan is an intriguing land where visitors will find something new and fascinating with every day that dawns and every night that falls. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan invites you to explore its mysteries and charms.

There are many powerful stories in Egyptian mythology, however one in particular stands out; Isis and Osiris. According to the story, Osiris was killed and set adrift on the Nile. He was then brought back to life by his wife Isis, so he could receive a proper burial ceremony. Because of this, the Nile would flood every year because of the tears Isis cried for Osiris. The flood water would bring life back to the land just as life was brought back to Osiris. The Temple of Philae was constructed in their honor and also has a story of rebirth.

The Temple was built on the rocky island of Philae and stood proud for centuries. In 1902 the Aswan dam was built in order to control flooding and provide irrigation for farmlands. Because of this, the Temple of Philae became submerged and stayed underwater for decades.

In the 1970s interest in resurrecting the temple arose. Egypt partnered with the UNESCO to dismantle and move the temple to Agilika, an island that was landscaped to resemble Philae as closely as possible. Stone by stone the temple was carefully moved until it became restored. This process would take almost a decade, but in 1980 the temple was reopened. Currently, the Temple of Philae is open to the public and visitors are free to explore it. The effort that it took to restore the temple was incredible, but now everyone can enjoy the reliefs, hieroglyphics and architecture of this historic Egyptian jewel.

Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra is a magical place located in Prune, India that should be world famous. Founded as an Indian Charitable Trust in 1979, Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra provides loving care for 35 infants and children up to six years old. With one tour of this facility, you will feel the warmth of those who work there and will be in awe of everything that they have accomplished.

Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra, or BSSK, not only provides care for the youth of India, they also provide social, professional and welfare type services to women, children and families who are in need. This is a wonderful service and positively impacts the lives of many people every day. One special service that BSSK offers is foster care and adoption services for children. In their society, these children are the most vulnerable and are in need of ongoing assistance. For older children, there are community services and educational opportunities.

Thankfully, BSSK has been able to expand throughout India and has facilities in Aurangabad, Chiplun and Sangli. In an effort to help Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra keep expanding, the Big Five family is funding BSSK as the newest project for our nonprofit organization, the Spirit of Big Five Foundation. We are very pleased to be a part of such a wonderful and enriching cause. Children are one of the world’s most valuable resources and we have to work together to ensure that each and every child has a chance at a happy and fulfilling life. If you would like to join us in supporting Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra or simply learn more, please visit spiritofbigfive.org.


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