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Category: Africa



What a better way to relax than a beach!

Now even if it’s always pleasant to lay down on the beach, it’s much better if it’s on a perfect white sand one with crystal clear water…

So where to go to find yourself in these magical places?

The good news is that don’t need to go to an atoll in the Maldives, there are places far more accessible.

So here is a small selection of what I consider as the 5 most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen:


Zanzibar is a magical place: on one hand, a fascinating culture at the crossroads of civilizations, and on the other hand an incredible coastline. After discovering its capital, Stone Town, a true cultural gem, you can head to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see in your life.

I had the opportunity to explore the island for some weeks before I ended on this spot I still consider as “my” most beautiful beach: “Paje”.

Located on the east side of the island, it is a huge strip of fine sand with crystal clear water. The tide is very strong here as the water is shallow. It’s not the best spot to swim (too shallow at certain times of the day), but the view is simply stunning.  When the tide is low, you can enjoy pure transparent water over kilometers, and when it starts rising, the water will come through a full range of colors: incredible shades of green and turquoise blue will scroll over the hours.

Low tide base is also an opportunity to appreciate the seaweed harvest. Moreover, this spot has good wind conditions and is loved by Kyte surfers.

Another must do on this island: “The Rock” restaurant. Its setting is quite unique: you reach it by foot at the beginning of the day, and as the tide surges, the restaurant will be surrounded by crystal clear water. You will need a boat at the end of the day to get back to the mainland (or if you feel like swimming –  like me, after having emptied 2 bottles of wine 😉

Friendly Maasai on the beach (Paje)

Indonesia is a fascinating country – it is the largest archipelago in the world with over 18,000 islands. Therefore, it is one of the best places to find incredible beaches.

The most famous beach is found on the iconic Nusa Penida, a small island located between Bali and Lombok.

But it is far from being the only one worth a visit. I’d recommend you explore: Southern part of Bali, the Gilis (Gili Trewangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) and Nusa Lembogan. And if you venture further on (till Komodo and Flores), you’ll see some of the best and most remote beaches.

Because most of the islands were shaped by volcanoes, the scenery is spectacular. I highly recommend you rent a scooter to explore Bali and Lombok.

The incredible beach of Nusa Penida

Rivera Maya is the most tourist place in Mexico. It all started with Cancun, a former fisherman’s village converted into a holiday and resort center that looks more like Vegas than  Mexico. The second town to explode was Playa del Carmen… And finally  Tulum.

I remember the first time I visited this little Caribbean paradise back in 2003. A tiny village, a few huts on the beach where you could put your hammock in exchange for a few pesos. And an archaeological site with a breathtaking view over a deserted beach and turquoise water.

Unfortunately, things quickly changed: the village became a town, the Cabañas were replaced by hotels, and in 2006 a ramp was built to allow access to the beautiful beach at the foothill of the archeological site.

Hotels located on the beach have become very exclusive, and free access has been reduced by dubious commercial policies (a Mexico’s classic). Nevertheless, Tulum remains a beautiful beach and is on my top 3. Its long strip of fine beach has not (yet) been covered with concrete and it is still much more charming than Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

And all changes are not bad: last time I visited it (in summer 2017), there was a cycle path between town and the beach (located 4km away).

Another magical place of the Riviera Maya was Holbox. It is a bay located at the border between the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. But yeah, I have to say that it’s been almost 10 years since I was there. Back then it was a small village next to a long perfect white sand beach. No big hotels just huts on the beach… I’m pretty sure its fate was similar to Tulum.

A vintage photo of Tulum’s ruins before the access ramp was built…

Thailand is also famous for its dreamy beaches. Between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the country has thousands of miles of beaches. The most famous are islands such as Ko Tao, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Phi Phi (next to the beach from the movie “The Beach”), Ko Lanta, etc.

But my favorite one was Railay, located near Ao Nang in the province of Krabi. It is a superb bay with impressive limestone rocks overlooking the water (A popular spot for climbers). The beach is a perfect strand of white sand. Moreover, it is a relatively quieter place in comparison with the surrounding islands.

Life is hard in Railay!

The Mediterranean is also full of amazing beaches that are as beautiful as in the tropics. Greece is probably the most famous country for its dreamy beaches, but I was quite surprised by the beauty of Corsica. The crystal clear water of Santa Giulia, near Porto Vecchio, makes it a perfect stop. Of course, the sea is not as warm as in the tropics; But bathing is still great. And then, for those who live in Europe, there’s no need to grab a 12-hour plan to get there 🙂

When the Mediterranean shows its beauty…


So that was my top 5 but there are many other beaches I enjoyed so much, just to name a few of them:

  • Palolem in Goa (India): A relaxing and cheap place, a great stopover on a long and intense trip to India.
  • Camps Bay in Cape Town (South Africa): a great beach in Cape Town’s classy neighboorhood.
  • The “Calanques” in the south of France: a set of creeks formed by the rock. Magical landscapes between the blue of the Mediterranean Sea and limestone rocks.
  • Utila in the Bay Islands (Honduras): One of the best snorkeling spot in the Caribbean. Corals are impressive, even if Roatan has better beaches
  • Mexico’s Pacific Coast: from Baja California to Oaxaca, Mexico offers over 2000 miles of coastline on the Pacific. I didn’t have the opportunity to explore Baja California, but some of its beaches are as beautiful as those of Rivera Maya
  • Koh Rong (Cambodia): This island is located off the coast of Sihanoukville. A relaxed and enjoyable place to be explored in a few days. Its beaches are sublime, although I suffered harsh weather conditions.
  • Perhentians (Malaysia): Perhentians Islands are located off Kota Baru. A small diving paradise, with fine sand beaches and transparent blue water.
  • Likoma (Malawi): As weird as it sounds, this island is actually on a lake. Yet its freshwaters are warm and crystal clear.
  • Copacabana in Rio (Brazil): Finding a beautiful beach in a densely populated city is not an easy task. Yet the famous Copacabana beach is a great spot, even though you won’t feel alone.

Of course, this is just a very short list based on my own experience. So now tell me what is your favorite beach to include it on my next trip 🙂



Cape town is the most glamorous city in South Africa and it’s easy to understand why!  Located at the edge of the Indian ocean and enjoying a Mediterranean climate (but with inverted seasons compared to Europe and the U.S.), beautiful landscapes between sea and mountain, it’s a lively city that has good restaurants at affordable prices. The city is modern and has all the necessary infrastructure,!

Here is my 15 best plans about what to do in Cape Town and its surroundings…

  • Watch the sunrise or sunset over the city from Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is a strangely shaped mountain that overlooks the city next to Table Mountain. Located at 669m above sea level, it is a shorter walk than Table Mountain (around 1h30) But the view is as great as from Table Mountain. You’ll enjoy a  panorama over all the city, its most beautiful beaches and Table Mountain. Simply my favorite lookout in Cape Town!

I didn’t try the sunset walk but the ascent under the full moon to spot the rising sun at the top was exceptional!

The classic viewpoint from Lions Head
  • Visit Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most iconic natural feature. It is a high plateau dominating the city by 1,000 m that was converted into a national park. There are 2 ways to get there: The cable car or by foot. The cable car costs around 25 euros back and forth. I walked up (3 hours ) and went down by cable car. You’ll ask me why? Well, I wanted to enjoy the sunset, but the last cable car left just before it!

The city view (and Lions Head) from Table Mountain
  • Enjoy the flora of the botanical garden of Kirstenbosch

It is one of the most renowned botanical gardens in the world. Here you will find an incredible number of native species. A real haven of peace after the excitement of the city. Take all your time to explore the park. The scenery is radiant with Table Mountain in the background!

One of Kirstenbosch’s gateways
  • Walk around Camp Bay

This is Cape Town’s classy residential area. Great beaches, trendy restaurants and bars… But yeah, be ready for pricy stuff.

Camp Bay’s beaches
  • Visit the Vineyard of Constancia

Constancia is Cape Town’s oldest areas. Home to a great vineyard that hosts some of the most prestigious wines of South Africa. Just feel free and stroll through the vineyards of Groot Constancia, the oldest in South Africa. And if you want to indulge yourself, stop by Klein Constancia and taste the “vin de Constance”, consecrated as one of the best sweet wines in the world!

Tasting in Groot Constancia… Working hard!
  • Explore the colorful area of Bo-Kapp

Located near the city center, this area is fascinating with its many colorful facades. Its inhabitants are descendants of various origins including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. You’ll also find this diversity in the neighborhood’s restaurants. The best way to get the most of it is through one of the many walking tours available.

Bo-Kaap’s houses
  • Get in a party mood  in the bars of Long Street

“Long Street” is located right in the city centre. It is partying reference. Its streets are already lively during the day but go wild when night falls.

  • Take a walk on the waterfront V&A

You will fell amazed by the unusual architecture of this place that witnessed the history of South Africa (Dutch and then the English arrived through this harbour). There are many shops and restaurants on the seaside. A perfect spot for a Sunday walk. You can also go on a boat trip (which usually lasts 90 minutes).

  • Enjoy the Neighborhood markets

Woodstock area is very nice and you will find it all here: shops, restaurants, good beer, etc… So why not gathering everything at the same place? Get a closer look at the market at Old Biscuit Mall. A great atmosphere and an incredible variety of products!

And in the vicinity of the city:

  • Visit Robben Island

The history of South Africa is linked to the Apartheid and Nelson Mandela. The former President South African was imprisoned in Robben Island (off Cape Town’s coast) for 18 years. It is possible to visit this very special place by taking a boat from the mainland (half-day tour with departure from the V&A Waterfront).

  • Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point

Erroneously considered as the southernmost point of the African continent, Cape Point is home to a superb fauna and flora. To get there, rent a car (very cheap in South Africa) and take your time on the way. The road to Cape Point is indeed impressive: you’ll start with Chapman’s Drive, an impressive road between the mountain and Hout Bay, before reaching the fantastic beach of Noordhoek and finally reach Cape Point. On the way back you can go through Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach.

Nordhoek Beach
  • Meet the Penguins at Boulder’s Beach

A little trip along the coast (you can use the interurban train if you don’t have your own vehicle) till Simon’s Town. Don’t miss the beautiful spot of Boulder’s beach where you can share a moment with the countless penguins chilling near the beach.

The sympathetic penguins of Boulder’s Beach
  • Enjoy one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world

Whether you are a big fan of wine (as I am) or not, the South African vineyard will surprise you. First of all the scenery is impressive, and then the wine’s quality is pretty fair at a very reasonable price… And finally, the tasting system is simply amazing. For a small fee (a few $), you are entitled to 4/5 by the glass tasting (actually glasses are fully filled). You can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings while sipping your wine. Only downside: the access is only by vehicle, which means tricky way back 🙂

Spend a few nights in Stellenbosh, the capital of the South African Vineyard (and students). Don’t forget Paarl and Franschhoek, the landscapes are of incomparable beauty!

The picturesque vineyard…
  • Go whale watching in Hermanus

If you are visiting the are in the winter season (from May to July), you may observe these giant mammals in Hermanus. This town is also the starting point for the Garden Route.

  • Explore the Garden Route and ride an ostrich in Oudtshoorn

The Garden Route is a coastal road of about 200km which has a wide variety of vegetation and landscapes. It starts at Mossel Bay and ends in the vicinity of Port Elizabeth.

On the way, you can discover the South African countryside and visit one of the many ostrich farms of Oudtshoorn. I was skeptical about riding an ostrich, but it was fun…

Meeting new buddies


Finally, some practical information about Cape Town:


Cape Town has its own international airport and many intercontinental flights. Otherwise, you can also come from Johannesburg by bus or by train (I did this latter option: a 29h comfortable train trip with beautiful scenery!)


If you only have a few days I recommend you the City Sightseeing bus: There are 2 itineraries that cover most places of interest I found it actually much better than that of Johannesburg), including Constancia and the starting points of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain hikes. Expect to spend around 20euros for two days.

If you have more time, use the MiCiti bus: a fast and modern urban service. You’ll need a user card (people usually leave their card for the next user at the hostels). if you feel like going local, try the “Disco” local vans. It’s a lot of decibels, but quite a lot of fun.

For activities outside town, you can choose between booking tours (relatively expensive and not flexible) or rent a car. The car is cheap (as from $20 per day) and the fuel too. South Africa is the perfect place for a road trip. I definitely recommend it!


It depends on your budget and your preferences. Downtown and Longstreet are rather for young backbackers who want to go out every day.

Greenpoint and especially Seapoint are a little more exclusive (and much quieter) areas. I stayed at Never @ Home hostal in Green Point an loved it (I spent a month there!). Great atmosphere! Rooms starting at $60 and dorms at $16.


Cape Town is one of those places where it’s easy to indulge. The city is set with restaurants for all tastes and all budget (but much more affordable than in Europe!)

South Africa is known for its meat and South Africans are crazy about “Braai” (BBQ). You will find all required BBQ facilities in most hostels. And wines are a good value for money.

My Steakhouse recommendation: “The Hussar Grill” (Camp Bay)

To have a drink: head to Longstreet!


In addition to the activities mentioned before, there are the extreme ones: bungee jumping (located on the Garden Route, it is the highest in the world), paragliding, “cage swim” with the White sharks, etc.


Yes, South Africa is a dangerous place, and Cape Town is no exception. Use common sense and you’ll be ok. Never wander alone in the streets late at night, always take a taxi when it’s dark (you’ll find Uber everywhere!), avoid townships and secluded areas alone, don’t show material belongings, etc.


Cape Town is not the cheapest city in the world, but given the infrastructure, the many activities and the food quality, it’s quite a good deal. You should indulge yourself! A great part African travel budget stayed there, but hell yeah it was good!


The high season (and high prices) is in January/February. You’ll enjoy nice hot weather (we reached 43°C!).

Winter months are rainy but quiet. It is also the season to spot whales.


So I hope you’ll enjoy your trip to Cape Town… Have a good and contact me if you have any question!




If I tell you about Kenya, what do you have in mind?

“Safari” would probably be the very first word. Indeed, with National Parks such as Masai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, the country is a reference and one of the most popular safari destinations.

Kenya is also well known for its white sandy beaches stretching along the Indian Ocean, from Diani in the south to Lamu at the border with Somalia. I must admit that I was surprised by the beauty of Kenyan beaches, even those located in the northern suburbs of Mombasa. The Kenyan coast has been at the crossroads of African, Arab and Indian civilizations. Cities like Lamu have such a special atmosphere.

During my 4-month stay in Kenya, I did spend some time doing safaris and chilling on beaches. But my most memorable experience is without a doubt this epic journey in the northern part of the country, where I took part in a permaculture project (Sadhana Forest, more information at the end of the article).

Kenya’s remote areas are your best opportunity to discover what makes Africa: its ethnic diversity. Whereas the Masaïs are the country’s most famous ethnic group, it has to be said that there are not less than 42 different tribes on the sole Kenyan territory. Traveling north you will meet, among others, the Samburu ethnic groups (and Turkana if reach the Ethiopian border).

The “knees” jump, typical from the area

This beautiful project I joined aims at reforesting a semi-arid area. Some permaculture techniques are taught to the locals and all the necessary assistance is provided to them to plant various species at home. The final objective is not only ecological but also social (in the long run, local communities should enjoy food self-sufficiency). Other kinds of training (as i.e. building an energy efficient oven) were also organized. All the training were on-site training and the follow-up was ensured through some visits to the communities. At the same time, water is distributed around communities (which saves a 20km journey to get water). Besides, a water filling station and an electric charging station (produced from renewable energy) were set up next to the project site. Because as strange as this modernity seems,  the locals have mobile phones and internet, but neither electricity nor running water…

The visits to the communities were a wonderful experience that enabled me to discover the locals’ daily lives and learn more about their culture and beliefs. A great cultural exchange between human beings and a fructifying collaboration.

Training in communities

I will also keep a wonderful memory of the wedding we were invited to. A colourful ceremony that lasted 3 days. The climax: we were driving on our way back under a magnificent sunset and acacia trees as far as you can see, and the Morans (Samburu Warriors) started chanting. Zebras could be seen everywhere. Definitely one of my African highlights.

Various dances during the wedding ceremony

One of my favorite places was the small local market of Likicheki, held every Saturday. A landmark full of unusual scenes: tribesmen selling goods in traditional clothing,  old men chatting about the latest news, and from time to time, random people would start singing at the glory of lord “Yesuh”, soon enough joined by the crowds!

To sum up, this area of Samburu is a unique place to discover real Africa, the one you don’t find in any travel guide. A truly authentic place where you can experience the traditional way of life of one of the many tribes of this beautiful continent.

At the market

Kenyan safaris are up to their reputation and its paradise beaches are worth a visit. But if you are seeking something different, more intimate and authentic, you should definitely head to the remote areas of this beautiful country, you’ll love it!


Practical information: 


How to get to Samburu area?

From Nairobi: take the bus to Nyahururu at Nyamakina bus station. The ride is about 4hours and costs $6. From there you can either keep on traveling to Maralal (another 4 hours, but plan accordingly as departures are not frequent) or split your journey and spend the night in Nyahururu.

If you opt for a night in Nuyahururu, check out Thomson Falls, a 30-minute walk from town.

Thomson Falls


Where to stay?

Maralal is a small town but offers a few lodging options (I didn’t try any since I was sleeping on the project site)

In Nyahururu, I stayed at Olympia Hotel. Basic but decent and clean ($10 per night).


Local sights:

  • Maralal Camel Derby in August: Camel race and folklore show
  • Samburu National Reserve: In case you wanna go to a less crowded safari (entry fee: $70 per person per day… You’re still in Kenya 😉
  • Rift Valley: Samburu has one of the best viewpoints of the African rift (you can overlook the valley by more than 1000m!)


Information about Sadhana Forest project:

It is a global permaculture and reforestation project. Originally based in India, they’ve started projects in Kenya and Haiti. During your stay, you will learn various permaculture techniques and live without leaving any environmental footprint. So be ready for a very rustic way of life (camping, bucket shower, toilet composting, etc.) and a vegan diet.

The project is amazing as it provides invaluable help to local communities, not only by providing ecological solutions but also access to running water and electricity.

As a volunteer, you’ll be asked for a petty contribution (that barely covers your food and accommodation).

For more information, check out their website: sadhana forest


“Safari Njema” (have a nice trip)!



Tanzania is one of the most popular countries in East Africa. Between the white sand of Zanzibar, the famous Serengeti National Park and the massive Kilimanjaro, the main issue is to make a choice as it is difficult to see it all.
And even if you have all the time in the world, doing all these activities would burn all your savings. Because as you may know, prices are completely insane in this part of the world.
As a reference, you won’t be able to get a 4-day safari in the Serengeti for less than 800$.
The Kilimanjaro is no exception… Africa’s highest peak  (5.895 m) obviously attracts the crowds. It is indeed the only continental summit that can be climbed without prior experience.
And for the same reason it has become a huge cash machine: be ready to spend around $1400 for the 6-day ascent.
There is another alternative in 5 days (via Marangu) but I wouldn’t recommend it. Remember that the Kilimanjaro is a massive volcano (actually there are 3 volcanoes) overlooking the surrounding by about 5.000 m, so you’d be lucky to be successful in your attempt to climb these 5,000m in just 4 days (any mountain guide would consider this as a pure madness). And even the 6-day climbing has a low success rate due to the altitude challenge.
This must be an amazing experience, but I find the price to be excessive (there are much better hiking/climbing options in the Andes and Himalayas, for a fraction of the cost). And if only the funds spent would supporting local communities… But more than half of the amount paid goes straight into the pocket of corrupt politicians…
Since I had decided to make better use of my bucks, I was considering the available options, while having lunch in Moshi (a town near to Kilimanjaro). In no way, I’d pay any government fees.
I started chatting with the waiter, a young man born and raised in the region. He offered to show me the surroundings.
No sooner said than done: the next morning, we headed to Marangu by local transport. From the main road, we got into the bush. The slopes of Kilimanjaro are the habitat of a huge diversity of fauna and flora. The ground is also very fertile and you can find all kinds of culture… Among which many coffee plantations from which are extracted some of the finest coffee beans in the world.
At some point, we reached a waterfall… Before going down to check it more closely, I was required to pay the “Muzungu” tax (an half-affectionate/half-despising nickname given to white people in East Africa). 2000 shillings, less than $1, fair enough!
The first waterfall
After a short break, just enough time to take a few pictures with my new friend, we resumed our journey. We then stopped at some nice folks’ places. They had decided to set up a project aiming at showing the daily life of local tribes. Very interesting.  You can get into small huts and see how those people live. Without any feeling of being intrusive.
Traditional Hut
Nobody charged me any fee here. I just got a delicious local coffee while chatting with the people around and supported by buying some souvenirs.
We then had an”Ugali” (a typical African dish made of maize flour).
We eventually resumed our way inside the coffee plantations before entering again into the rainforest. And reached a second waterfall lost in the middle of the jungle. This one was even nicer than the first one!
A beautiful waterfall appears in the lush vegetation…
It was about time to head back to town so we slowly went back to the main road and grabbed a local bus that dropped us in Moshi about an hour later.
I was quite happy with my day. I had discovered the beautiful surroundings of Kilimanjaro and had also learned a bit more about local tribes and Tanzanians’ daily life.
As far as money is concerned, besides the fact I had spent peanuts compared to the cost of climbing the Kilimanjaro, the most satisfying point was that I felt it had been spent ethically. Indeed, rather than stuffing the already well-filled government’s belly, it was a direct support to local communities; the ones who need it the most.
Locals are trying to benefit from the tourist industry, whose revenues are so unfairly allocated. I believe it’s our duty as tourists to support them.
How to find a guide? Well, just ask around, and trust your guts. We had found a nice deal with mine: I’d pay him all transportation, meals (and some improvised beers in the middle of the afternoon) plus a $15 tip (which is better than his daily wage as a waiter). I strongly recommend ending the day with a few beers at a local bar: it’s a great opportunity to share their daily life (and learn their best-kept secrets 😉
The full day cost me around $40 ($8 for transportation, $10 for meals (local food), $15 for the guide, $1 for both waterfalls… Consider a very variable budget to be spent at the local bar at the end of the day.
Sure, you can also explore the area on your own (this is actually my preferred way of traveling), but I must admit that I would have skipped most of these lovely places if I hadn’t asked the advice of a local guide… And not to be forgotten: you will almost always be better considered if you are coming with a local.
Practical INFO:
  • Housing:
In Moshi, there aren’t many lodging options (Arusha, a much larger city, which is also the closest to Serengeti, catches most of the visitors and offers more alternatives).
I stayed at “Rafiki Backpackers”. Nice atmosphere. Dorms starting at 10$. They also offer tours on the Kilimanjaro’s slopes (coffee plantations, etc.), but the price is much higher…
  • Transport
To get to Moshi:
– EITHER by bus from Dar Es Salaam : plan at least 10/12 hours to reach your destination. Tickets can be purchased at any counter inside Dar’s “bus station”, but beware scammers: it’s a real mess!
– OR by plane (Kilimanjaro Airport is 30km from Moshi). There’s a shuttle service between Moshi and the airport (in the early morning… check timetable beforehand): a great option for about $10. Flight tickets start at $125 (fast jet).
If you can afford it just fly: apart from the unrivaled comfort, you’ll get great views of Kilimanjaro!
To get around Moshi (and its surrounding area – Machame, Marangu and Arusha), go to the “bus Stand” (which has a central location in Mawenzi Street, a few steps away from Uhuru Park). You will also find a well-stocked shopping center next to the bus station.
Finally, for an amazing view of the Kilimanjaro, you should head to the 2nd floor of the YMCA facilities (Kareem Road, slightly outside the city center). The best sunset ever!
To make the most of the mountain views, consider the period of the year. For instance, I was there in May and views were clear only at the end of the day. At other times of the year, you can only get a glimpse of the mountain at the rising sun…
In any case, seeing the sun falling on this mythical mountain is an unforgettable experience… You should go for it!
The beautiful sunset at YMCA