In this week’s 123RF World Travel Guide series, set foot in Bosnia’s medieval castle ruins and embark on a hunt for a legendary croc in the depths of Burundi.
Bosnia’s iconic Old Bridge in the town of Mostar.
The 123RF World Travel Guide believes the warm Bosnian hospitality and fascinating medieval castle ruins makes Bosnia an intriguing destination. This east meets west setting has had its reputation damaged by the tragic civil war in the 1990s. However, it is now time for Bosnia to step out and stake a claim as one of the best spots for admiring the world’s natural landscapes. If the gorgeous mountain range and crystal clear waters of cascading rivers are the backbone of the nation, then Mostar is the heartbeat of Bosnia.
Beautiful Turkish-era stone architecture, stunning street art and inviting bars as well as cafes, make this thriving city a must visit. Spend 2-3 days here and be sure to put your wits to the test as you indulge in local history by jumping off the Old Bridge, straight into the icy waters of River Neretva. If living life on the edge is not your cuppa, then head out to the vibrant capital city of Sarajevo. Just be sure to have enough time to explore Bosnia’s majestic landscape, and while you’re at it, remember to sip some delightful local coffee.
Chobe National Park promises an unparalleled safari experience.
Safari. If there was one word to describe Botswana, the 123RF World Travel Guide affirms that you can safely place your money on this. The splendid Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park and Kalahari Desert offer everyone the opportunity to witness Africa’s epic wildlife, be it living off canned tuna in a tight squeeze tent, or slicing into a rib eye on a rooftop that overlooks the savannah. Between June and August, the delta is at its best. As the river swells, some 200,000 diverse animals make their way to Okavango in the hunt for a drink and a meal. For the unique experience, be sure to sit in the traditional canoe, better known as the mokoro. With your eyes at water level, you are guaranteed to feel a part of this rich ecosystem.
Similarly, Chobe is on one of the continent’s best safaris. The abundance of lagoons, rivers, savannah and floodplains of this park makes it a perfect spot to see Africa’s fauna live in action. The park’s northeast is home to big boys of the renowned Big Five, meanwhile, the southwestern grounds are the playgrounds of the fearsome big cats. On the contrary, check out Kalahari for a glimpse into what it would be like to live if all hell breaks loose. To its credit, the ‘Land of Thirst’ does hold substantial wildlife. Zebras, meerkats, hyenas call this home. However, the Kalahari Lions are the ones who run the show in these areas.
The historic center of Salvador, Brazil.
If powdery beaches, rich marine life and colorful cities are your goal, then do yourself a favor and head to Brazil. The 123RF World Travel Guide recognizes the endless travel possibilities in this South American party nation. The southeast is the country’s most populated parts, thanks to the electric Sao Paulo and Rio. The latter needs no introduction to samba. The cariocas living here know how to celebrate life and the annual Carnaval celebrations are a testament to this. Held for a week in the early months of February or March, this thrilling street festival is one of the grandest celebrations one could ever be part of. Top it off with a trip to the legendary Copacabana beach and a healthy dose of caipirinha, and you have yourself one amazing travel tale to tell your grandkids.
Next, head up to Brazil’s northeast and set foot in Salvador. A sublime combination of stunning colonial architecture and pounding Afro-Caribbean music allows you to truly hymn to the rhythms of this land. Pelourinho is arguably the best place to stay in Salvador. This UNESCO Heritage Site is home to brightly colored historical buildings, cobblestone streets and grand churches, making this city an intoxicating fusion of cultures. A tagline perhaps best suited for no other land other than Brazil.
25. Brunei Darussalam
Brunei’s iconic monument – The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque
The wallflower of Southeast Asia is often considered ‘boring’ when compared to its more vibrant neighbors of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The Sultan Omar Saifuddin mosque remains the poster child of this nation. Meanwhile, the Kampong Ayer takes the title as the world’s largest water village. However, the 123RF World Travel Guide has discovered that this ‘Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures’ accommodates a hidden gem in its waters. Diving is yet to kick off in Brunei, and thankfully too. Famed for the world’s best wreck and macro diving, the World War 2 wrecks and rich marine life makes this a fantastic alternative to the more populated waters of Brunei’s neighbors.
Alternatively, Brunei also caters to those looking for a luxurious getaway. Begin your journey by checking into the Empire Hotel and Country Club. Next, head out to the region’s ‘Sultanate of Swing’ and work on that golfing skills. Finally, end the day by treating you and your partner to a luxurious spa and a swim in the grandeur indoor pools.
Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Image courtesy of Fritz Hiersche@123RF.
Bulgaria’s blend of snow capped mountains, lively cities, gorgeous beaches and ancient buildings makes this a fascinating nation. Similarly, Plovdiv acts as a flag bearer for this intriguing blend. The city combines medieval ruins with bustling nightlife, and 19th century museums with trendy guesthouses. Meanwhile, Veliko Tarnovo oozes with a romantic ambiance amid fortified walls and cobbled streets. Wedged between imposing hills and the Yantra River, this town is home to one of the nation’s most iconic monuments and the former residence of the tsars, the Tsarevets Fortress.
However, Bulgaria’s heart and soul lie in the impressive Rila Monastery. Rising like a phoenix from the valleys of the Rila Mountains, this work of art has been a spiritual site for over 1000 years. Finally, if you are in need of rest from all that walking and hiking, head out to Varna. Here, lay on one of its stunning beaches while you soak in the sun and feast on a guilt-free bowl of shopska.
27. Burkina Faso
The famous sukhala mud houses in Tiebele, Kassena.
One of the world’s lesser known countries, Burkina Faso is a West African jewel that is yet to be uncovered. The best time to visit would be between November and February, when the rains are away and the blistering heat is a lot more bearable. To immerse into the local culture, a trip to Bobo is a must. The nation’s flourishing cultural hub sees musicians and artists flocking the city. Notably, do head out to the Marche Central during the day to get your hands on fine Burkinabe craftsmanship.
Meanwhile, as the sun sets, Musee Houet is the place to be for a quirky marquis (nightclub) experience. Similarly, a trip to Ouagadougou offers the glimpse into the life of the vibrant Burkinabe people in the soul of the nation. Alternatively, the 123RF World Travel Guide highly recommends a trip down to Lobi Country to educate yourself on the fascinating practice of animism beliefs and blacksmith skills of the ethnic groups.
Dance to the rhythm of the Gishora drummers in Burundi. Image courtesy of pursche@123RF.
This tiny country in East Africa homes imposing mountain ranges, beautiful lakeside views, stunning beaches and a legendary croc. The Rusizi National Park accommodates a diverse wildlife including hippos, antelopes and Gustave. Rumored to have killed over 300 people, this over-sized croc is one of, if not the largest of its kind. If a man-eating carnivore is too much to handle, then the 123RF World Travel Guide recommends a trip to Kagera waterfalls for a serene getaway. This majestic series of waterfalls is divided into four segments, with the Nyaki falls being the best of the lot.
Similarly, Africa’s largest and deepest lake, Tanganyika, gives travelers the chance to soak in picturesque views. To make the most of this experience, come just before sunset, hop on a canoe and take in mystical views of the lake. Finally, for one of Burundi’s hottest attractions, head out to Saga beach. The sands may not be as picture perfect as other African beaches, but the warm waters oozes with calmness and tranquility – two words often inviting enough for any traveler out there.
Next up on our 123RF World Travel Guide, join us as we discover the heart and soul of Chile in Santiago, but not before laying on the idyllic beaches of Cabo Verde. Alternatively, catch up on our previous series which uncovered Barbados all the way to Bolivia. Finally, visit our pinterest page for creative inspiration and be sure to check out more amazing stock images to satisfy your wanderlust cravings and breathe life to your travel stories for your blog, magazine or website!