Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands without caymans, but with rays!

We were laundering a lot on Cayman Islands, but only dirty clothes. Therefore, any of these jokes about the island don't concern us. But true is that Ondra bet the lottery yesterday, so who knows. :-D

The name of these small islands is associated with kind of “posh” life and also with wrong assumption about animals called caymans (crocodiles) whose don´t occur here and actually never did; at least according to memories of local people.

We had them nearby because we were in Mexico at that time and good price of flight tickets didn´t let us hesitating for long time. We were leaving Mexico during earthquake again, so the first day on islands we were woken up by warning message about danger coming.  We had no idea what´s going on in the beginning, however, after watching CNN we found out that tsunami might come to Caymans due to earthquake in Mexico. Well, I can tell you it was really not very good feeling. And much less comfortable was the fact that our “house” was situated right on the beach (see the video), so we were watching through glass door to the sea and checking if it there is no ebb.  Local people didn´t seem to be afraid even though they had no idea where to go or what to do in this case. There is really no place to go or to hide. The island is just flat. J Naturally, there was no drama in the end so Caymans could continue with calm island´s life.

Cayman Islands are famous for swimming with rays which was one of the reasons why we couldn´t miss it. The weather was really great so we could spend one day on the sea with this fabulous animals whose were coming to us to “cuddle” on the open sea.

I know many of you have certain prejudices to these animals, however, rays are similar to any other animals, and they could attack you only in moment they feel in threat or danger. I don´t refute the possibility that really whatever could happen in life, and therefore it is necessary to be respectful and humble. Crew of the ship will train you before you meet the rays and they will tell you exactly how to act to them to avoid any danger.

The rest of our holiday was in calm, even holiday spirit – see the video.

https://youtu.be/k5SH0AQAgmE

If you have any experience or recommendation about Cayman Islands we will be happy if you share them with all of us in comments.

 

Links for accommodation.

Seven Mile Beach - Island Pine Villas

Island Pines #39

 

Translated by Sylvie Kabrhelová
IG: mily_denicku


Namibia

I have no idea where to start. Namibia enthralled us in the best sense. I was personally afraid of it. The opposite has become true and I don´t think any country will surpass it in our imaginary TOP 5 countries.

We were driving 2.500 km – we went through desert, National Park Etoshou, and also through landscape looking more like Mars than our Earth. We were sleeping in tents on car roof, grilling venison, having shower outside, but we also tried the most beautiful lodge with pool in the middle of “desert”. We were really not the first and not the last ones with little kid. It didn't stop surprising us, how many young families or seniors we met there. At one point, we compared it to “Canaries” because of the amount and the type of tourists.

I could poem about it for hours… about the feeling that you can touch the sky or how you can literally walk in stars spilled from Milky Way. But probably I would get lost in my dreams there and wouldn´t be able to reply the questions you are sending us. I would love to inspire you with the article, but mainly to help you. Therefore we will make it as article answering to the questions. Ondřej will help me because administratively it is his merit.

How to get visa to Namibia?

Ondřej: There are many ways to get visa, you cannot avoid Berlin in any case because the Namibia Embassy is located right there. Namibia was second country during our journey so I was trying to find information about getting visa on departure in Cape Town. However, I was warned vigorously that this option doesn´t lead anywhere. Thus we had to solve it quickly in Czech Republic and I found Mrs Stellova and her Stella Travel Agency which deal with Africa more than 20 years. She is in touch with Embassy in Berlin every week and has to solve decades of visas a month. Nice attitude and complete professionalism was kind surprise for us. Moreover, she arranged off-road with tent on the roof and camps in area where isn´t any AirBnB option yet. Google might help you, but Mrs Stellova will resolve it for you. PS: Thanks a lot to Mrs Stellova for organization one more time. If you need any help, visit www.mojeafrika.cz .

What do you need to arrange if you take a kid with you?

Ondřej: It is necessary to have international vaccination certificate with you. Next thing you must have is copy of child´s birth certificate. This copy must be checked and marked by court translator. Be aware it will take you about 5 days. We visited 10 African countries, so I had 5 of these copies just in case.

Do you need any special vaccination?

Namibia is not a country with compulsory vaccination of yellow fever in contrast with other African countries. It is necessary only in case you arrive from country with endemic presence of yellow fever. So for example if you stayed in Uganda and moved to Namibia, you would need the vaccination. Of course it is not very good for kids (live vaccine), so we made up our itinerary not to need any. In spite of that I had got English document saying that Elliot is not able to undergo the vaccine due to the allergy. It was just prevention if any official try to devise something. We have a lot of vaccines, but I and Elliot don´t have yellow fever vaccine. Elliot doesn´t have even typhoid fever because of his age.

Please don´t take us as example for vaccine and contact your doctor or nearest vaccination centre. They will be glad to help you and explain everything. We are not certified.

Is it safe to travel by car on my own?

Yes. But it has some rules. For example you must have itinerary with passport and add them to your request for visa. Itinerary includes except your journey also accommodation reservations or printed vouchers into individual parks. Supposedly, police officers want to see the itinerary too if they stop you somewhere. But we do not have the experience. Nevertheless, you should know you will drive off-road almost whole journey as you can see in our video.

Is it necessary to book camps in advance?

Ondřej: Yes and no, we were in Namibia in high season, so we experienced problem with accommodation near Sossossvlei (the oldest desert). I mean the cheapest and more available camps. But there was always option to find another way, e.g. further from the entrance of park etc. But you just cannot be choosy. Therefore the general rule I have for Booking and AirBnB is the sooner, the better.

 

How do camps work?


Camps have usually more options of accommodation – safari tent, lodge or parking place which usually include some grill. Showers are either shared either private, but always outdoor ;-) Let´s say with a bit of romantic. They will arrange charcoal or sometimes make a fire in bigger camp. The fire is for preparation your meal but also for boiling water to shower.

Some camps have small shop where you can buy meat (venison), drink etc. But it is usually very simple. We actually found only one shop where we could buy more items. If there is no shop, you can just ask at the reception. They have some meal packages in the fridge.

Where and how to hire a car?

Ondřej: It really depends what season you want to hire the car in, but I recommend searching it in advance. We provided cars similarly to visas, with www.mojeafrika.cz. Everything was arranged in advance including insurance for exact price. You can search through web but always ask for signed contract about car hire to avoid problems with empty car rental.

How is car equipped?

It has absolutely everything. Our car had two double tents on the roof. It included also camping set (4 chairs, table, dishes and cutlery), fridge, 4 pillows and 4 sleeping bags.

Note: We recommend taking USB adapter for ignition switch to charge the phone etc. There are usually older models without built-in USB. It´s not bad idea to take CD with music or spoken word as it is mostly not possible to tune any station on the radio. Listening radio or CD is really good if you drive five hours a day. This is just a recommendation if you want to hire car with camping style.

And sure, if you see petrol station just refuel full tank.

Did you take any special clothes or items with you?

We were trying to buy only white clothes for Elliot to Africa as it doesn´t attract flies and mosquitoes. You have to avoid especially blue colour! We took him one-piece overalls for sleeping to cover him as much as possible. We packed snowboard socks because nights are sometimes cold, so we gave it to Elliot few times as well. Another parenting couple which is traveling more than us recommended to buy insertion into sleeping bag. Sleeping bags similarly to pillows should be already washed; however, it is Africa so they are mostly much older than you. The cotton insertions are the best. I will give you link for our insertions down here. Of course I was carrying mosquito net from Nano fibres. You don’t need it in tent because most likely no mosquito can get in. However, I used them in some apartments. I´m not going to talk about our shooting technique, you can see it all in our video on YouTube.

Did you take any antimalarial before the trip?

No, none of us did. But again it is just your choice. When you use repellent I recommend buying the local ones as it is much more efficient.

How about food?

As tourists in Namibia you can find venison as antelope, ostrich and other. If you use lodge, you can find everything in menu and food is really good. If you use camps and eat by yourself, you will probably grill meat. It is really good to buy all you need in large cities (which means about two :D ) during the journey.  Otherwise it might happen that you will not find anything else than meat for long time. If you don´t like venison, buy some chicken or sausages in advance because there will be nothing to buy later. We had problem to find bakery sometimes, which makes toast bread in 90%. They were importing bread into Etoshy once a week but it was gone in a while. As I said car is including fridge so fill it up - coffee, yogurts, ketchup, butter, salt, pepper etc. Sure the most important is water, water and water. You never know what can happen and where you have to stay for hours. So it is never enough of water. Everybody always highlighted – petrol and water. So if you find a petrol station, fill everything up!

https://youtu.be/kAyS2nVR6YM

Links for individual camps and other accommodation.

Sossusvlei Lodge

Sossusvlei (the oldest desert in the world) – be aware if you want to get into area of dead trees you must walk. You can get to “picking point" by car. More experienced “desert” drivers will pick you up there for small amount. They will transfer you to the place where you can finally start walking. Well, you can also try to drive through sand by yourself. We tried it and we got stuck, of course. If you really want to try it, do it in the morning when the sand is not so warm, to avoid our problems as you can see in the video.

Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge

Zebras walking up to the house. Be careful. They like to kick

Swakopmund

Swakopmund – don´t forget to boat trip (oysters are served). The view from boat can show you one of the three places where dunes are connecting to the ocean. You can go closer to the beach to see thousands and thousands of sea-calfs. If you are lucky you might see dolphins or whales. Moreover, you can try snowboarding on dunes in Swakopmund. It is one of the large cities where you can stock up in big shops.

Windhoek

The capital of Namibia.

Okonjima Lodge

Okonjima has over 22.000km² and is so called reservation of cheetahs. Except tracing cheetahs in nature you can experience awesome safari. Lodge has one whole side made with glass so you wake up and fall asleep with view to antelopes, wild pigs etc. I have to say it was the most beautiful accommodation with great food and atmosphere.

Etosha Campsite

In Etosha you can use your own car how you want, but if you are not accommodated in one of the camps you have to leave it by 7pm. There is strict prohibition of using drones. If you admit you are owner of drone, you must hand it in till you leave. Honestly we didn´t admit it as we were afraid of returning but of course we didn´t use it at all!

If you want to be woken up during the night by lion´s and elephant´s roar and if you want to have goose bumps because you sleep in the middle of national park, this is right for you. Don´t worry, the place is fenced and guarded.

 

Finally here is the video about toys giving from you to children in Africa.

https://youtu.be/lgXREfo8gFs

 

Do you have experience with Namibia? Everyone visit different place and stay in individual destinations different time. Thud we will be glad if you share your experience with us in comments.

 

 

Translated by Sylvie Kabrhelová
IG: mily_denicku

Mexico

Probably the very first country, where I regretted not buying the souvenirs and not having the space in our luggage.

Mexico was not actually my dream destination. Probably that was the reason why I was really impressed afterwards. Me, the one crazy about all the colours and trumpery, I didn’t know where to look first. I even wasn’t a big fan of the Mexican cuisine. Well, until then. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ondrej had it clear from the beginning - he wanted the accommodation through AirBnB, eat on the streets and really soaking up the Mexican atmosphere. We lived in an apartment located on the beach, with the view of the stunningly white sand and the most turquoise sea in the Cancun. Having burrito just by crossing the road and enjoying it with the Corona for a couple bucks. 

 

Dave, our neighbor who was taking care of this flat, which belonged to his friend, arranged with us to show us some places and give us a ride wherever we needed.

 

 

We weren’t afraid, he is a young man about the same age as we are. He lived some time in Belgium and had travelled throughout the world. During our trip to Chichen Itzu, Cenote Segrado, Playa del Carmen he was telling us, how it goes in Mexico, what are the rumors and where to be more careful. He said that the tourists don’t have to be afraid because the criminality is more between the local gangs and mostly in the capital city. 

Driving around with a local and visiting the attractions with him has its advantages. On top of them is the price. The locals have always different prices and it applies both to souvenirs and food, so thanks to Dave we did not get ripped off. And he also knew where is the best place to eat, to park the car or where it will not be a never ending queue and/or how to avoid it. 

 

 

After couple of days in Cancun we went to Tulum. We have heard so much about this place, we could not skip it. Tulum is basically one beautiful street on the beach, with many small shops, bars, cafés all in the mexican-boho style. There are swings, swing nets, pom-poms, knitted puppets.. Everything is colorful, even the food seemed more colorful than anywhere else. A really picturesque view. Allegedly since Justin Bieber bought a vila not far from there, is Tulum having the tourist boom. Whether it is true or not, this place is full of beautiful models and the “young blood” in general so if you want to party, this is the right place for you. 

 

Our accommodation was about 5 km away from the beach, which was definitely not the best decision. Although our vila was extremely beautiful, with a rooftop pool, we had to ride a bike every day to get to the centre. There were no shops, nor restaurants close by, which is not really good considering having a small kid with us. So Ondrej was jogging every morning approximately 4 kilometers there and back to the closest shop where they had something more than just water.. I don’t know why, but we thought Tulum was going to be more widespread and we have found this accommodation just perfect, but if you want to visit Tulum, think it through and try to find a place as close to the beach as possible. Don’t get attracted by the cheaper and more beautiful places to stay, located so far from the centre. Well, only if you love bikes, which almost all of the accommodations provide so you can bike back to the civilization. But we’d prefer to live closer. 

 

If we come back to Mexico, we will take one more suitcase with us. For sure! :D 

 

 

If you have any recommendations, remarks or tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments so everyone who is planning to visit Mexico can read it and take your advice. We all travel by our own ways, some of us are nomads, loving to travel by their own, others enjoy to travel with their family. We all have different expectations and dreams to fulfill. Personally I was a little bit afraid of Mexico, that is why we were choosing the more touristy places, but we’d love to get inspirations from you for the next time.

 

 

Here are the links for the accommodation in Cancun, Tulum, Akumal and even the contact for Dave, with whom you can arrange the car rent, driving and visiting places and even the pick up from/drop off to the airport. Last but not least, I am adding our new video on YouTube. The pictures are great, but sometimes they cannot capture all of it. Unfortunately, I cannot give you the contact to Dave, because he’d already left back to Belgium :D

accommodation - Tulum

accommodation - Akumal

accommodation - Cancun

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQcuk0ypvA8&t=4s

 

P.S.: During our travels, we have this little tradition of ours, to find a movie filmed in the destination where we are. And the priority goes to those based on a true story. In Mexico it was ‘Man on Fire (2004)’ which  is based on a true story. :) Even Dave told us this story, his own way, so we are sharing this tip with you :) 

 

Translated by IG: @dadulienocka