Kenya, East Africa
Who doesn't want to see wild animals up close and personal in their natural habitat!? Definitely something I want to experience, going to the zoo just doesn't cut it for me!
What to do
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe or hand-feed the giraffes
Today the population numbers more than 300, and the centre has successfully released these giraffes into Lake Nakuru National Park (home to around 45 giraffes), Mwea National Reserve, Ruma National Park and Nasalot National Reserve.
Prices start from $64 (around £50.00) upwards depending on the tour, but if I were you I would make the most of the visit and see as much as possible. That even includes visiting the Nairobi Elephant orphanage.
There’s nothing more famous about Kenya than going on a safari to one of the many national parks or reserves located throughout the country. The most famous wildlife viewing sanctuaries include Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo East.
Safaris can be on the expensive side, but observing African animals in their natural habitat including the big 5 (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and white/black rhinos) is a once in a lifetime experience and probably well worth it!
Now I'm not one for extreme sports or activities especially ones that involve water! So i will sit this one out! For those dare devils though you can River Raft the Tana River, Whitewater raft and kayak on the Tana River. When you're not screaming for your life, you can take the opportunity to view Kenya’s nature from the river!
Hell's Gate, National Park
Named after a narrow crack in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake, this national park north-west of Nairobi. Visitors can walk among buffalo, zebra, eland and Thomson’s gazelle and see baboons scratching each other. Prepare to be rendered silent by the beauty of the Njorowa gorge’s red sandstone walls.
With a long coastline along the indian ocean, Kenya is home to some of the most incredible beaches (Nyali, Diani, Bamburi Beach, Malindi). Whether you want to swim snorkel or surf, most of the beaches offer some sort of activity. There are also plenty bars and restaurants in the areas.
Where to stay
You can sleep under the stars Loisaba Lodge is set in a 61,000 acre reserve, and guests can experience the wilderness by night in private huts open to the skies a 20-minute drive from the main building.
*Angama Mara, Masai Mara
*Nay Palad Bird Nest
Kenya shilling (136 KSH = 1GBP)
It is advised to also take some U.S. Dollars, as some places will only accept these as currency.
Kenyan authorities introduced an e-visa system in 2015, meaning British travellers no longer need apply for entry documents before travelling, or queue at the airport for all the right stamps. A single entry visa costs $51 per person (£39) and the e-visa site is linked from the Foreign Office’s Kenya travel advice page. Ensure that you use the official e-visa website to avoid being scammed by fake providers.
Las Vegas, USA
The city that never sleeps, or is that New York?! Either way, Vegas is not for the faint hearted. If you are going to relax and chill, then this is not the place for you! For starters it’s HOT, like really hot! We went in September and it got to 45 degrees, I could only sit out in the sun for 30 minutes max, before I was running inside for shade and air con. Even though we were there for 10 days, we packed in as much as possible and still didn't get to do it all.
Vegas isn't just about casino's and the nightlife, it has a lot of history behind it. Downtown Vegas is where it all happened with the main strip with its extravagant hotels being an added extra. A taxi driver actually told us that the main source of income for Vegas isn't the casino's but gold and I think possibly oil, but I might be making that bit up!
Trip was booked through My America Holiday and we got a fantastic deal. I expected to be bored on an 8.5hr flight, but as soon as we took off we were given drinks and snacks and food then more drinks, snacks and food. A great selection of inflight films to choose from. It was great and I normally hate flying.
What to do
You could easily spend 2 days just checking out the hotels, which are beyond massive. The Americans know how to make an impression!
One activity I had to do whilst I was there was the Grand Canyon and it was well worth the bumpy plane ride!
There are 2 parts to the Canyon, West Rim and South Rim. We booked for the South Rim as this gave us more for our money. Pick up and drop off from the hotel (nearly got left behind!), plane ride (seats 12 people so it's tiny), hop on to a bus that took you to the national park, 30 mins taking pics, head to another area where you get lunch spend 20 mins there, head back to the plane (25 min flight ), then back on the bus home. It's an all day activity so don't try and cram anything else in as you won't have tome. You can add an additional experience by going on the helicopter tour as well, but that could set you back by another $200.
Take plenty money, as it is very expensive (bottled water $10, Vodka & Cranberry $20). How you spend it is up to you, but I would make sure you keep money separate for tips and cab rides.
House Of Blues
Located inside the Mandalay Hotel, HoB offers authentic American food with live music every night. Book in advance as this places gets full quickly. Food portions are HUGE. Ordered Calamari as a starter and it was enough to feed another 4 people! It's either go big or go home!
Cirque Du Soleil
I would go back to Vegas just to see all of these shows. It was spectacular! Some shows are more expensive than others and i think this is based on the hotel it's located in. We watched Mystere at Treasure Island hotel. Tickets were purchased whilst we were over there and actually worked out cheaper than buying them in advance. You can't really take pictures, but if you are slick enough like me, you can manage to sneak one or two, just remember to turn off your flash!
Where to stay
We stopped at the Luxor, which is at the start of the strip. This is a 20 min ride from the airport and cost us $35! Side note if you don't wait or collect your change, they will assume it's a tip as I learnt as soon as I got there. Taxi driver took the $5 change and I didn't even hear him drive off in his electric car! Start of the holiday I was already down by $5!
Rooms at the Luxor were slightly dated, but big and comfortable. After looking at the other hotels and their locations, I would opt for staying near the centre, that way you are closer to all the bars, clubs restaurants and shopping centres. This should cut down on your taxi rides too!
Right next door to the Luxor was the Mandalay Hotel. This hotel is fantastic and we spent most of our time there as there was more to do in regards to food and entertainment. After walking up and down the strip nearly every day, I realised our location was a tad poor. Being right at the bottom means either walking for 30-40 mins or getting a taxi to your destination. You can use the mono rail, but you have to walk to the main station in order to get on it and go else where.