Udu Drum: My Best Souvenir from Africa

Travelling is my passion, and all my friends know that. Every time I go for a new trip they make me a long list of gifts and souvenirs to bring. Usually, there are magnets, postcards, local alcohol or chocolate, but once, going to safari in Africa, I have received a very unexpected order.

Bring me an Udu Drum’, asked my best friend, when he heard I was going to Nigeria.

Really? A whole drum in my luggage? Are you kidding me? Actually, I was expecting something small. Can I bring you an African tribal mask instead?

No, I want an Udu drum, it’s special for Nigerians. Find a small one to fit into your backpack

In case you didn’t know, Udu drum is also called the Nigerian-origin Udu Utar drum. Well, my friend seemed to be very determined and excited about my new travel destination, so it was hard to argue.

After my wonderful photo safari tour, I had a few more days in Nigeria. I made friends with a local guide and decided to ask him, where I can find that special souvenir. I pointed out that I need a real one, not a toy for tourists since my friend was really fond of ethnic music. My guide smiled at me.

So, you want some local experience’, he said. ‘Let me take you for a trip. Tonight is the night’.
I thought we would go to some local market, but surprisingly, we went to see a rural Igbo tribe, the ingenious inhabitants of Nigeria, instead.

Although Christianity is the main religion of Nigeria, rural tribes still believe in Great Spirit and perform feasts and ceremonies to honor the Earth. I was the only white person to attend a special ceremony conducted that night, and it was a magical and very intimidating experience. All the tribe, wearing little clothes, traditional body painting and big masks made of wood and fabric gathered around a big open fire. They spoke the language I couldn’t understand, but I really enjoyed its sound. And then I heard the first beats of the drums. I always love listening to drums and percussion. Gracious Igbo women went dancing around the fire, playing some kinds of water jugs with additional holes. The jugs seemed to be very light, as they were made of clay. The women’s palms and fingers were tapping in a fast rhythm, and soon more instruments joined the music jam.

‘This is ùdù, which is translated from the Igbo language as ‘vessel’’, explained me the guide.
‘I think, I need two of those’, said I impressed by the wild tribal sound and the energy. ‘Can I buy them here?’

In a few weeks, I came home with two jugs in my backpack. My friend still plays his udu drum in his band. As for me, I take my udu from the shelf time to time, especially, when I am being nostalgic and want to recall my traveling adventures. It always reminds me that the world is much bigger than it seems, way more diverse and magical.

Great travel destinations abroad for the entire family

Whether it’s for an anniversary, a birthday, family reunion, or everything else in between, opportunity arises to travel with the entire family in tow. Planning a trip with everyone from grandkids to grandparents can be a daunting task. You need to pick a location, choose an all-inclusive travel insurance for everyone, plan the itineraries, and prepare a budget.

In this article, we’ll focus on the first consideration – picking a location. We have outlined some of the coolest family vacation ideas for multigenerational travel, perfect for your family bonding experience.

Normandy. One of the most rewarding things about travelling with the entire family in tow is seeing a new place through everyone’s eyes. Nowhere is this experience more touching than in Normandy. This region’s sands have witnessed a millennium of history. While the kids ride horses, sail, and go sand-sailing on Utah Beach, adults can sip Calvados at one of many beach bars. You can sightsee Pegasus Bridge, visit the Bayeux Tapestry and tour the American cemetery.

Puglia. Puglia is where families are celebrated and children are welcomed with open arms. Ride a bicycle through fields of sun-ripened artichokes, tomatoes, and eggplants and enjoy the musical Italian language as local mums encourage the children to “mangia, mangia.”

Sapporo. Japan’s snow capital, as well as the biggest city of the Northern Hokkaido, is famous for its snow festivals, seafood selection and more. Likewise, nearby Otaru is a good day trip, with its well-preserved historical district. Here you and your family can enjoy world-class skiing. Adults will love Sapporo Beer, Japan’s oldest beer brewery founded back in 1877. Prepare your jackets! It’s really, really cold here!

There’s something for everyone; sightsee the sun-baked coastline by boat and by bike, taking in the rocky coves and luminous water of the sapphire seas; stroll through Roman ruins; observe Baroque architecture, or get your hands dirty creating delicious local specialities.

Tanzania. Tanzania is a great place for families with an adventurous spirit and a craving to engross themselves in their environment. Combine walking with safari game drives on the Tanzania Family Adventure trip and your family will have a profound, immersive experience that cannot be found in a driving-only safari.

Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s other big city, is sometimes unnoticed by visitors to the island. Kaohsiung has so much to offer in terms of its sights and tastes for the entire family, and it’s a gateway to some of the marvels on the wild side of the island too.

The city is chock-a-block with skyscrapers, which includes the 250-meter Tuntex Sky Tower, and you get all the ease and amenities of a large Asian city. There’s also a gorgeous harbour where you can view the sunset and soak up the lush environment. The dining and shopping are amazing, and the entire family will be glad to visit.

Vietnam. Let your family bask in the culture of Vietnam as you pass rice paddies interspersed with historic tombs and animals. There are basket boat racing activities, scavenger hunts, conical gay making, and beach paradise. Parents can enjoy a two-bedroom villa at the five-star Six Senses Hideaway.

End Note

There you have it! Get the whole family out to spend quality time together. Nothing says family bonding like going together on a trip, right? To make it as fun and hitch-free as possible, don’t forget to acquire a good travel insurance in Singapore online for everyone. Have fun!

Cape Town To Cairo – Planning It

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So you’ve travelled extensively and you’re looking for your next great adventure, but aren’t sure where or what to do. If Africa is calling, and surely it will at some point, you should consider maximising the opportunity and taking a road trip throughout the continent, perhaps from Cape Town to Cairo, which would be the most obvious choice. That being said, despite the fact that it’s been done before, it isn’t for the faint hearted. This route is around 12,000 kilometres long and includes driving on some rather… interesting roads. Depending on the route you take as well, it could take you through some very unusual and perhaps even not-so-safe countries, so it’s important to plan well in advance.

Which Route?

Depending on your adventurous nature, the route you take is up to you. There are three main possibilities, although one of these is not advisable in the present day due to serious security issues experienced in some of the countries. The routes are as follows:

Route One: Cape Town – Namibia – Angola – Republic of Congo – Gabon – Equatorial Guinea – Cameroon – Nigeria – Niger – Algeria – Libya – Egypt.

Route Two: Cape Town – Botswana – Zimbabwe – Zambia – Tanzania – Uganda – South Sudan – Sudan – Egypt.

Route Three: Same as Route Two, but substitute South Sudan for Kenya and Ethiopia.

Some of the countries mentioned above have issues these days – Libya, South Sudan and to an extent Nigeria all suffer from issues surrounding terrorism and general aggression towards westerners, so it could be advisable to swap these for other countries that are more friendly.

How To Pull This Off

Firstly you’re going to need a really reliable vehicle, preferably a four wheel drive that is good for off-roading as well as in possession of four good tires. It’s advisable to also have some basic car repair skills under your belt too as well as an extra tire to change in case you get a flat (and that’s a very real possibility on some of the roads you could encounter). The second thing to think of is whether you will camp on the roadsides or if you will stay in hotels/hostels along the way. In some places it’s possible to camp, but it can be dangerous so be prepared to drive off-road a length to find a spot that will be unlikely to be seen from the road.

Also make sure that you stock food and water as well as extra blankets, clothes and the like in your car or van in case you get stuck roadside with more than one flat. It could be awhile waiting for someone to come by that can help out – even if you phone roadside assistance!

How Long Does This Take?

It depends entirely on how long you want it to take. Driving straight through it can take between a week and ten days, which allows for quick restful naps, but if you want to stop off wherever and whenever you want with time allowed to explore and just sit and appreciate where you are, a more reasonable kind of time frame would be 2.5-3 weeks, if not longer.

What Is There To See And Do On The Way?

In a word, tons. Between stopping off at beautiful, picturesque points such as along the Nile in Uganda to see some stunning waterfalls and rapids as well as stopping off at view points, museums, small dusty roadside villages where people are welcoming and life seems to go by at a snails pace, you won’t be disappointed. You can even stop off to go on a professionally led game drive safari, so as you can see, there is almost an endless number of things to see and do, it just depends what your interests are and what you’re looking to experience.

So there you have a couple of great ways, including routes to use to plan your trip from the very southern tip of Africa all the way up to the north. With such a diverse and beautiful continent it will be easy to find things to see and do along the way for both you and anyone you’re travelling with. Stay safe and have fun on this almost once in a lifetime trip!