In looking at one of the most diverse, exotic and unique continents on Earth, it’s pretty difficult to pick out the mostbeautiful places. From deserts to oceans, manmade creations to nature’s miracles, and mountains to craters, the geography in Africa is some of the most breathtaking in the world. So in the interest of
fairness, this list attempts to spread out the honors among countries, and not just re-iterate all of the Wonders of the World. Essentially, what we have here is an entirely arbitrary collection of some seriously amazing places that you should do your absolute best to get to one day. Bucket list material.
It’s no surprise that the Giza Pyramids make this list (and are the only official world wonder admitted here). Their amazing history enhances their beauty. Built around 2650 B.C. from more than 2.5 million blocks of limestone, they remain among the most awesome feats of ancient times that cost gallons of sweat and hundreds of lives. Housing the tombs of pharaohs who ruled the land, they are cloaked in mystery and danger.
Grave robbers have notoriously stolen the possessions of the former rulers; some are said to have been thwarted by unknown beings. There’s also a rumor that aliens helped build the pyramids to begin with, as technology at that time was nowhere near sophisticated enough to erect something of their size. And while we’re at it, might as well throw the Sphinx in there too.
Britain, Canada, France and Italy. An annual membership costs $119 and gets you as many swaps as you can manage in a year. Okay, Africa is not included, but there are many Lagosians that maintain two abodes and one could be in the aforementioned areas. JetSetter.com is our favorite private-sale site for luxury-hotel deals. In general, these kinds of sites offer invited members exclusive access to deep discounts for a limited time, and they work best if you’re flexible about where you want to travel. JetSetter can have 15 to 30 of these “flash sales” available at once – more than similar sites, which usually offer just a handful at a time — and can save you up to 50% off published rates. The sales typically last seven to ten days or until they sell out. Check their website for information on how to score an invitation to join. The address is http://www.jetsetter.com/register
At CruiseCompete.com, more than 300 travel agents vie to give you the lowest prices for dates, ports and ships you specify, whether you’re booking well in advance or at the eleventh hour. You provide an e-mail address and they send you their best offers. Plus, the site has live agents available to guide you through the process through a live chat or by phone.
DealBase.com has collected more than 90,000 hotel and flight deals worldwide that are easily searchable. But what this site is best for is its “Deal Analyzer.” Hotels often create promotional offers that include, for example, continental breakfasts or some other add-ons along with the room. DealBase.com will dissect these packages and let you know whether or not they’re good values by telling you how much you’d really save. If you find that an offer is in fact a good value, click the “Get This Deal” button, and DealBase will redirect you to the site where you can purchase it.
Hotwire.com often offers the best published deals on cars by collecting rates from its eight rental car company partners, including
Avis, Budget and Enterprise.
The site also offers “hot rates” from rental companies that won’t be identified until after you’ve paid. With rental cars, the risk in taking the blind-booking approach is minimal: A minivan is a minivan, no matter which company provides it. (You can also head back to Priceline.com to try bidding for a better bargain on your rental car.)
Hotwire does offer some good prepaid rental car deals in certain international cities, but such bargains are AutoEurope.com’s specialty. Auto Europe offers rentals at more than 8,000 locations worldwide. And if you have any problems with the rental- car provider you’re hooked up with, Auto Europe will help you resolve them.
OTHER TRAVEL RESOURCES
Currency conversion. Check XE.com for reliable, mid-market exchange rates. Along with an easy- to-read grid of conversion rates on the homepage and a host of other tools, this site offers calculators for travel expenses, credit-card charges and, obviously, currency conversions.
Eurail. Are you headed for Europe?Trains are often the fastest and cheapest way to travel within and between European countries. Our favorite Web site for checking timetables and booking tickets on European train lines is RailEurope.com. But you might be able to catch better deals directly from European railways’ sites, if you don’t get lost in translation.
Frequent-flier miles. At WebFlyer.com, you can see how your miles convert between programs, learn about changes to your frequent-flier program and discover how to maximize the value of your mileage awards when you redeem them for merchandise or services.
Seating. At some airlines, better seats come at a price. SeatGuru.com flags the seats that cost an extra fee, as well as those that have the most (or least) legroom and recline.
Have a great trip!