Category Archives: Africa

TRAVEL APPS 2016 IDEAS FOR TRAVELLERS

IMG_1971 (1)

Having just come from a long break, I would like to share with you the different apps I used during our trip in Tanzania and Cape Town. My hardware consists of an Iphone 6S+ with 9.3.2 iOS version. I also had with me, which I left in my room, my Macbook Pro to which I uploaded my photos and videos daily. And finally, I had a battery bank charger and a car phone charger to make sure I never ran out of juice during the trip. So here are my apps:

1. Day One [http://dayoneapp.com]

Day One is journal app that allows you to write down your thoughts and upload the photos you have taken while on the road. Its GPS is based on Foursquare locations so you generally can capture the name of the place you’ve just been from the dropdown menu. Because it is GPS-based, one can relate the thoughts you’ve written down to the place where you’ve been.

IMG_3161

Location is just one. Day One also takes note of the weather, as well as any tag you have created and assigned to the event or photo. Then from the journaled entries, you can share the entry to any of the social media or simply email your entry to friends and family. The new version 2.0 allows one, among others, to create different journals for your different activities.

I don’t really write journals on a regular basis. Travel does give me a chance to do so. And Day One is a great app to have.

2. TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com/apps)

I contribute regularly to TripAdvisor. So it was not a surprise for me to use the app of TripAdvisor to look for interesting restaurants and even to get directions. What is handy in this app is the Travel Timeline. Here, for as long as you are connected to the internet, the app captures the pictures taken as well as the names of your location. Very likely you take pictures of the restaurants you are in; so the app suggests the name of the restaurant. Then if you want to upload a picture or review the restaurant (or the site), then the app checks you in into the restaurant.

IMG_3159

3. Motion-X GPS (gps.motionx.com)

This is a great app to record the tracks to the places where you have been. It records not only the track, but also the waypoints of your trip. You can always name and even place a photo of your waypoints. This is good to trace back your route of your travel. I used this, for example, in tracking our sunset cruise, our wine tour, and our trip to the Cape of Good Hope. I missed tracking our safari tracks because it took quite a while for me to download the app.

IMG_3162

The app tells you the speed, elevation, elapsed time, and even your heart rate if you have a heart monitor paired with your smartphone. You can share your track “live” by having the app email your position to friends and family in case you just want to let them know where you are.

4. Waze (www.waze.com)

Waze is known to many and can indeed very useful. It’s not useful though in a safari where traffic is not an issue. And where known tracks or roads have not yet been populated by Waze users. It is, however, very useful for travelling in urban centers and in estimating distances and travel times.

5. FlightTrack/FlightBoard (www.mobiata.com/apps/flighttrack)

To get information on your flight, generally airports have their own apps and the information board is as accurate as you need it to be. However if you are like me who wants to have information on the palm of your hand, then FlightTrack is for you. There is a free version and there’s a paid app.

IMG_3160

FlightTrack allows you to search for flights according to routes, flight numbers, or by airline. It tells you whether an incoming or outgoing flight is on time or delayed. The downside here is that for minor airports, this information is generally not available.

Of course the other regular apps that I use FaceBook, LinkedIn, and other “built-in” apps of the iPhone. And the best feature of the iPhone 6S+ for me is the camera with the metadata that comes with the photo. I cannot complain about the quality of the photos taken, They are stunningly clear.

The Cape of Good Hope

I will have more on apps in another post. Before I go, one more thing – I am always connected to the the internet. I use Globe’s roaming service which, at P599/day is not cheap. However, because of the value of getting directions, posting photos immediately to FaceBook, or immediately exchanging posts with friends and family, I deem the cost reasonable.

Yet again, we did not have this 20 years ago…

IMG_1244

SUNSET ON A DHOW

IMG_2509

Watching sunsets is one of our family’s favorite past time…sunrise too, but that’s a bit difficult to do for the kids. To watch the sunset is a family tradition that requires planning for creativity. It requires that people are relaxed with a nice cold bottle of beer, or a glass of white wine to accompany that marvel of seeing the sun set before our eyes.

In Zanzibar, we decided to put this activity one notch higher. Not only did we get to watch the sunset cruising on a traditional sailing vessel called the “dhow” in Zanzibar, we even had two musicians play traditional music while we were cruising!

IMG_2525

The sunset we had was indeed stunning. We watched the sun as it was slowly sinking in the horizon into the Indian Ocean as the waves lapped up the side of our boat as if accompanying the drum of our musicians.

IMG_2494

Of course we had the white wine and the beer, but the camaraderie we had with the boatmen and the musicians was just amazing. They played a number of tunes most of which are local Zanzibar pieces. “Ya Laiti” is a favorite piece of music in Zanzibar which we learned in that cruise.

IMG_2515

In the end it kept me thinking that either these tours were well planned and praticed, or the people here are just natural entertainers. I didn’t ask as I thought it will spoil the spontaneity and the enthusiastic vibes we were getting that lovely twilight in Zanzibar.

IMG_2526

IMG_2514