Africa

Sponsored Video: Get Hired to Map a Tropical Paradise
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The Seychelles still has a few roads that haven’t yet been fully mapped by the major GPS companies. The lush, tropical archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa is a choice destination for honeymoon couples, beach goers and scuba divers. But how are they going to be able to accurately navigate around the islands if its maps are incomplete? Some one has to help map that tropical paradise.

It turns out: That some one could be you.

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South Sudan: The World’s Newest Country

Happy 1st birthday, South Sudan! Congratulations on making globes everywhere outdated.

After more than two decades of strife and civil war between the mostly African and Christian southern part of Sudan and mostly Arab and Muslim north the two sides officially split. The divorce process started with a 2005 peace agreement that granted the south autonomy and the right to a referendum on independence. Then last January that referendum took place, with the pro-independent side winning an overwhelming majority. Today, the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign state.

The workings of this new, impoverished, politically precarious state are still a work in progress. A new currency, the South Sudanese pound, is still taking hold. The visa policy is a bit uncertain, though the limited number of South Sudan embassies are issuing them and, as of August 2012 at least, travelers arriving into Juba by air have reported being able to procure one at the airport.

Assuming you can figure out where to get a visa—and what money to use—you may be wondering what there is for travelers to see in what would be the world’s youngest country. Spot Cool Stuff takes a look:

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Eat Breakfast with a Giraffe

You’d probably expect a lodge named “Giraffe Manor” to have some sort of African decor. You might even guess that a lodge with such a name would be in Africa and perhaps be located within the vague vicinity of where giraffes sometimes roam. But you’d never imagine this . . .

Giraffe Manor is not merely in the vicinity of real giraffes. It is inundated by them!

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The Hotel That Was Once Luke Skywalker’s Home

Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed the cool, luxurious and eco-friendly Adrere Amellal resort in Egypt; we described being there as like living on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s desertic home planet in Star Wars.

Further to the west, in Matmata, Tunisia, there’s a desert lodge that isn’t like Tatooine. It is Tatooine1. That lodge, the Sidi Driss Hotel, served as the filming location for several scenes in Star Wars.

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Go Skiing (But Not On Snow)

While skiing the dunes, sand will get inside your clothes. And it will go to places you very much would rather it wouldn’t

Ski bums, do not despair when the weather warms at your travel destination. Though the snow may vanish, your opportunity to partake in downhill skiing and boarding needn’t.

Here’s a Spot Cool Stuff look at three non-snow ski surfaces and where to enjoy them:

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The World’s Best Hostels 2011
(Part I)

Hostelbookers is one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite websites for booking cheap hostels, inexpensive inns and budget hotels. In addition to offering a wide selection of accommodations (most of which aren’t available on sites like Travelocity or Hotels.com), what’s cool about Hostelbookers is their extensive database of customers reviews—they’re a huge help in separating out those hostels that are high value from those that are cheap for a reason.

Hostelbookers reviewers grade properties on eight criteria: atmosphere, location, facilities, fun, staff, cleanliness, safety and value.

Below is the first of our two part review of the budget lodgings that Hostelbookers users rated the best over the last year. Scroll down to read through them all. Or click on the region you are most interested in:

Part I Part II
Africa Europe
Asia Oceania
Canada South America
Caribbean/Mexico United States

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5 Delicious Foods
(That Can Kill You)

Sticking your nose in a portion of hakarl feels like being whacked in the face with the putrid carcass of a musk ox.

When you think of dangerous adventure travel you probably think of activities like bungee jumping, shark diving or sneaking into North Korea. But occasionally simply eating an exotic dish is death defying. That’s the case with the five foods featured below. Each of them can be tasty when eaten properly and fatal when not.

You are reading on — and trying any of these foods — at your own risk.

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One Fish, Two Fish,
Places That Look Dr. Seuss-ish

Anyone who grew up on The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham remembers the illustrations of one Mr. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Trees with elongated trucks or with improbable collections of limbs. Stark and scraggly landscapes with oddly balanced rocks and unlikely geometric shapes. Architecture with unusual protrusions and awkward angles where no two windows exactly the same. These were some of the hallmarks of the world Dr. Seuss illustrated in his 60 children’s books.

Here’s a look at some places on Planet Earth—places you can visit on your next vacation—that resemble scenes from a Dr. Seuss illustration. So, in the words of the doctor himself . . .


…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


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