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Adventure Journal: #53 Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Adventure Journal by Luckies

Already spent your gap year painted like a neon butterfly at Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party? Or maybe you’ve already done the whole trekking around South America to discover yourself, thang? If you’re getting stuck on ideas for your next epic adventure then you’re definitely a case for Adventure Journal, Luckies jam-packed travel bucket list with over 300 experiences around the world for you to uncover. Adventure #53 is the booming Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa’s highest mountain and ideal for those that wake up and fancy a bit of a life changing challenge. 

Located at the heart of Mt Kilimanjaro’s National Park, North Tanzania, is the main attraction of Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing 5,896 meters tall, this beast of a beauty is one of the highest dormant volcanoes in the world and the meanest, taking around 6 lives a year. Don’t let its tough reputation put you off though, around 25,000 keen trekkers hike up this bad boy every year and with our Adventure Journal top tips, you could make it 25,001 as you embark on the climb to Uhuru Peak, the top of Africa.

With it now compulsory to climb Kilimanjaro through an agency (you’ll be thankful when you’ve got a friendly porter helping you with your tent!) it’s no easy undertaking with the climb generally taking 6-8 days…and that’s for those that are in top-notch health (maybe step away from the porkpies and puddings well in advance of the set off date). However with the majority of routes like Umbwe or Marangu route the good news is that you don’t require specialist equipment like ropes or climbing experience, just sturdy footwear and bags of ambition.

Though Kilimanjaro isn’t famous for its wildlife, it is noted for the forever changing landscapes from cultivated farmland on the lower levels through to rainforests and the barren landscape of Kibo and Mawenzi, additional tough volcanoes. When it comes to grub, what’s on the menu is hearty, healthy wholesome food, provided through your agency, and as for the toilet facilities, let’s…urm, just agree that you’ll definitely be at one with nature…

If the thought of the trek scares the bejeezus out of you, or if you simply fancy exploring the rest of Tanzania, day trips are available leaving you time to adventure out to Ruaha National Park, Lake Victoria and Mafia Island where you’ll find safaris, scuba diving and fishing. For those that do complete the climb, on their final day of this awesome adventure you’ll find them sipping iced tea on the sandy white beaches of Pemba Island. And who’s to blame them! What have you done today to make you feel proud? CLIMBED A MOUTAIN, IS WHAT!

Scratch Map® Poster Inspiration: Mauritius

Scratch Map Inspiration: Mauritius

Picture paradise…and now picture something more perfect than paradise and that’s Mauritius. Located in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres southeast off the African continent, this tiny tropical island is a big step for small islands and an even bigger step for your Scratch Map poster. With tropical clear-water beaches and multiple wildlife reserves, you’re sure to come back an awesome zoologist studying beach goer with a great tan – how enviable!

The first and most important thing to do once landing in Mauritius is to unpack your bird-watching binoculars and totally pretend you’re David Attenborough in a real life nature documentary. Having saved more birds from extinction than any other country, wildlife tourism in Mauritius is growing in a big way. At Ile aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve you can spot our feathered friends along with giant tortoises, dolphins, whales and the odd giant fish with teeth…commonly known as sharks. We hate to spoil the fun but this may be the one holiday where it’s not appropriate to play the whole ‘pretending to be a shark underwater game!’ Cue Jaws theme tune.

If you’d prefer to keep your feet dry, or even just keep your feet (because of all the sharks, LOL) then head to d’Eau or Macchabée Forest where you can explore this beautiful country through mountain biking, hiking, horse-riding and even championship-standard golf courses. During this visit it’s a great chance to have a guided tour and learn about this good-doing island’s eco-friendly lifestyle and how it’s home to multiple green hotels and houses. Why not become a true eco-warrior for a week by staying in an awesome eco-safari tent lodge based along the east coast in Deux Freres? Here you can lounge lovingly in lagoons and kayak along Mauritius’ longest river, Grande Riviere. Goodbye social media, hello recycled rainwater!

Next up is the grub where foodies of the world can rejoice! During your epic visit make sure to drive out to The Vale for some delicious Mauritian home cooking where you can try the local specialities like ourite safrané (octopus cooked in garlic and ginger) and chilli lamb. If however you’re sticking near the beaches at Belle Mare Plage, beachside shacks will serve scrummy fresh fish just off the boat. Or, heaven forbid you’re travelling with a slight fusspot, book a table at a luxury resort (they’re certainly not in short supply!) where you will be offered a mix of everything from the community like Chinese, French and Mauritius’ Indian. Decisions, decisions…

Once back on home soil with your Scratch Map poster you can proudly uncover this good influence island with all its eco-friendly, wildlife-saving ways. Mark Twain once wrote ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’. And here at Luckies we are glad Mr Twain wrote that because it not only makes us look dead smart by ending on a quote, but we also couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Scratch Map® Poster Inspiration: Ghana

Scratch Map Inspiration - Ghana

Commonly known as ‘Africa for beginners’, Ghana is the perfect country to explore for all Africa- visiting newbies. With its rich culture and reputation for locals forever bopping and jiving to beats in the street, it’s no surprise it’s hailed as West Africa’s golden child. After visiting and uncovering on your well attended Scratch Map poster you’ll be overcome with its vibrant energy forever more. Trust us, you’re Ghana love it!

If there’s one thing we could not recommend more, it would be to have a gander in Ghana’s wonderful wildlife. With miles of saffron coloured savannah to explore, a safari around one of the countries well-loved National Parks is a must-do. Mole National Park is one of the most affordable safaris in Africa offering sights of buffalos, baboons and even lions (all of which we are certain will be named Simba). If however you fancy something more physical but want to stick with the safari then Kakum National Park is an easy day trip from Cape Coast and is famous for its sky high viewing platforms and suspension bridges.

Next up on your African adventure is the Ghanaian grub and nightlife. No cowering in McDonalds in the country’s capital, Accra, it’s time to dive into the delicacies of plantain and yams. These staple foods will be cooked a hundred different ways and taste great a hundred times over. Once full, put on your dancing shoes and simply start dancing. With influences from Jamaican reggae, Ghana has its own hip-life music genre which you will hear in bars, clubs, streets and schools. Just keep dancing and maybe only stop to eat some yams.

For all those good deed doers out there, it’s a great idea to head off the beaten track into small reserves and truly explore the country through volunteering. Like many East African countries, the country’s political hardship has left multiple outback areas in a poorly developed way and areas like Akuapem Hills and Cape Coast depend on good folk like you spending a gap year or career break offering your help. With many organisations you are invited to stay with a host family and take part in whatever floats your boat, be it teaching, nursing or even helping in the local fish market, sushi anyone?

So next time your mates are over for sushi (because you’re a pro now) you can look fondly at your Scratch Map Poster and tell a tale of the time you danced in the street and volunteered at the local orphanage in Kumasi, South Ghana. They’re sure to be impressed and even a bit jel if they’ve spent their summer simply lying on the beach with a piña colada…though we’re all for that too!

A Luckies Guide: Cool Gift Ideas for Adventurers

Life’s too short to spend each and every day in the same part of the world, especially when there’s just so much out there waiting to be explored! It’s time to make Bear Grylls proud by spreading your wings and embarking on an adventure of a lifetime with the help of our cool gift ideas for adventurers. Whatever adventure awaits, be it hiking across Hawaii or an excursion to Antarctica (rather daring!), treat yourself or a travelling buddy to a gift that will get them ready and psyched to take on the big, bad but glorious world!

Adventure Journal

When faced with a new task of setting off on a life-changing adventure around the world some might argue it can be tricky knowing where to begin! But fear not as Adventure Journal kick-starts your voyage of a lifetime by providing over 300 bucket list ideas, 8 x mini regional Scratch Maps and a 64 page journal featuring ‘must do’ experiences around the world. When on your travels you can cross off your visit to the Great Barrier Reef and Eiffel Tower (but maybe not in the same day!) and keep all souvenirs like tickets and pictures safe in this cute journal. This is one of our ultimate cool gift ideas for adventurers and we’re pretty certain that if Christopher Columbus was with us today, Adventure Journal would totes be top of his wish list.

Inner & Socks Pouch

Another of our cool gift ideas for Adventurers is our Alife In Luggage Pouches. For adrenaline junkies living out of a rucksack, with the Inner and Socks Pouch you can quickly change socks and undies before getting back to that giant bungie jump. No more having to pull out the entire contents of your bag looking for a lonely left sock, by keeping these two essentials in their own pouch, you will have them on hand in no time. These drawstring bags also take up minimal space so you can squeeze in an extra pair of waterproof trousers and Rocky inspired bandanas to fully commit to life in the wild.

On Air Toothbrush Cover

Next up on our guide is the On Air Toothbrush Cover which aids your adventure off the beaten track and keeps those pearly whites super shiny for all #adventureselfies. Whether you’re chilling in Chile or climbing Kilimanjaro, you’ll be thankful for this cute plastic cover keeping your toothbrush nice and fresh. It works best for two main reasons: 1.You never know when you’ll next meet civilisation that sells toothbrushes and 2. You may bump into a good-looking traveller and want to snog them under a waterfall. Aww, we can but wish.

Travel Organiser

Throughout your adventure we would expect nothing less than for you to break free of all Western traditions. Forget wearing real shoes and brushing your hair because you now live in sandals and keep flowers in your dreadlocks. And though we praise this new you, a little organisation never goes amiss. With the Travel Organiser, you can store all your travel documents in one place, that’s passport, boarding pass and tickets all on hand for minimal airport drama. This shiny enamel PVC travel wallet also comes in different colours; that’s blue for you and pink for your pal which in turn makes it one of our most essential cool gift ideas for travel buddies.

Scratch Map® Poster Inspiration: St Lucia

At Luckies we believe no man is an island which is why we’ve lent a helping hand and researched the best holiday island hotspots. In at number one is St. Lucia, the pin up poster girl of the Caribbean islands and a hidden haven to uncover on your Scratch Map poster. Pack your flip flops and cropped tops and get stranded on this remote island…well, stranded for a week on annual leave, or your boss may come looking for you!

Located at the heart of the Caribbean, the island of St. Lucia is certainly small but beautifully formed. With a tropical climate and mountainous terrain, it offers everything under the sun from sun bathing at Reduit Beach to climbing up the Piton Mountains. It even has its very own drive–in volcano at Sulphur Springs. Unlike the drive-ins where you and I would order one large Big Mac meal and diet coke please, this drive-in gives you the chance to ride straight up and through the crater of the Soufriere Volcano. Be prepared to fight fiery steam and sulphur as you battle through the elements to reach the luxury hot springs and mud baths. By the time you reach them you may be a nervous wreck and need a new pair of shoes but your skin will certainly thank you for the volcanic minerals as you bathe.

After having a soak the best way to satisfy your adventurous spirit is by heading north to Dennery, halfway up the east coast. Explore St. Lucia’s densely packed green spaces by hiking, climbing and zip- lining through these amazing rainforests. As you scratch away St. Lucia on your Scratch Map poster you won’t help but think back to your Tarzan – like days.

There also comes a time on every holiday where the guilt slowly creeps in and you feel the need to do something educational. Luckily for you, St. Lucia has a rich and interesting history of piracy which can be explored through jolly pirate tours along the island’s west-coast. On these tours, you can become a true pirate of the Caribbean as you sail north round the island when firing the black powder cannons and walking the plank. On this boat, every day is ‘Talk like a Pirate Day’ so make sure to be up to scratch on all pirate lingo or ye gunna be foolin’ th’ scallywag (left a bit confused).

And finally, if you’re feeling super extra-curricular then make sure you drop by The Pigeon Island Museum where you will learn interesting pirate facts that will inspire your crew when back on board. Over a pint of pirate rum, casually slip into conversation that St. Lucia gained its independence in 1979 after changing hands 19 times. Such a fact is sure to impress your crew who are yet to move on from doing impersonations of Jack Sparrow.

After you’ve done all the above you will be a zip-lining pirate connoisseur with a great tan, so take pride in uncovering this small but mighty island from your Scratch Map poster – you’ve definitely earned it, matey!

Scratch Map® Poster Inspiration: Taiwan Lantern Festival

If you’re currently roaming around rural Asia then put down your chow mein and chopsticks and head straight to the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taoyuan. This is the largest Chinese New Year Festival in Taiwan and the optimal opportunity you’ve been waiting for to uncover this remote island on your Scratch Map® poster.

The 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival kicks off on February 22nd and runs all the way to March 6th to celebrate the finale of the Lunar New Year Season. During this time the whole city of Taoyuan is completely capped in thousands of beautifully crafted lanterns and lasers. They come in an array of different sizes and designs from giant pandas to baby Buddha’s and glimmer brightly throughout the entire two week festival. Hate to be the one picking up that electricity bill…

This amazing celebration is really the Glastonbury Festival of Lantern Festivals. It has multiple themed areas like Fairytale Kingdom Lantern Area, Blessing Lantern Forest and Competition Lantern Area, all swamped with lanterns as Glastonbury is swamped with mud. And every year, at the centre of the celebration is a main, giant lantern based on the Zodiac of the year. With last year being the year of the ram the lantern was quite tame with a mere 23.4 meter high sound-activated, fully illuminated, multi-coloured, rotating ram statue which hysterically flashed for hours and blared out very loud Taiwanese music. But don’t worry, with this year being the year of the Monkey we are expecting them to go all out!

At this festival you’re sure to have more fun than a barrel of monkeys. However if you want to truly earn unveiling this island on your Scratch Map poster then make sure to head to the small village of Ping Xi. Their celebration, held in conjunction with the Lantern Festival, simultaneously releases hundreds of thousands of beautiful paper lanterns into the night sky. Watch that little light of yours shine bright as it drifts off into space – just imagine the Instagram snaps you’ll be getting!?

And finally, once you’ve had enough monkeying around with lanterns you can at last proudly unveil the tropical island of Taiwan on your Scratch Map poster. Compared to its monstrous neighbour, China, Taiwan may appear a small fish in a big pond but the Scratch Map poster race is also about quality, not quantity. So ignore your gloating flat mate who has just returned from the entirety of Europe and Russia and stun them to silence with your charming lantern shots. Winning.

Top 3 Valentine’s Day Weekend Getaways Recommended by Luckies

They say travelling as a couple is a real make or break, but fear not as we believe that with these Top 3 Valentine’s Day Weekend Getaways you’ll come back as the new Brangelina, (but without the adopted children on the way)!

The Atlas Mountains, Morocco

When planning a romantic weekend getaway there’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill, especially when our first lovers retreat is Morocco’s most naturally beautiful region, the Atlas Mountains. Ideal for the superfood loving couple who have become each other’s personal trainers (you know the type), this active adventure will leave you breathless…or maybe that’s just the altitude? And remember to take the conveniently compact Pocket Tin Speaker with you so that once you reach the peak you can serenade your loved one with some tunes. Because baby, there just ‘aint no mountain high enough.

Prinsengracht Canal – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam’s charming canals and comfy cafes make it a convenient getaway this Valentine’s Day for all jet setting couples. Look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two when cycling along the Prinsengracht canal and its many bridges. Make sure to use a Jacket Gripper to not only secure your coat but also free your hands, thus fully abiding by The Netherlands Highway Code! Because we all know there’s only one thing worse than being shouted at by other road users, and that’s being shouted at, in a different language, by other road users, “Ga uit de weg, dwaas!” WHAT!?

The Hermitage Garden – Moscow, Russia

For travelling couples in the mood for love, Russia wouldn’t be the first destination to spring to mind. Sure, there’s freezing temperatures, a scantily dressed President and the slight dabble in communism, but there’s also a romantic ritual that takes place every year at Moscow’s Hermitage Garden. Either drunk on love or drunk on Russian vodka, couples flock to these gardens every year to make a Valentines wish. Once back on home soil, you’ll have the satisfaction of scratching away Russia on your shared Scratch Map. The country’s absolutely huge, so you definitely won’t want to be Putin it off (Get it!?)