Atypical South-Africa: KwaZulu-Natal has it all

When we visited Lesotho in April, we decided to extend our road trip with some stops in KwaZulu-Natal. Kwazulu whatta? When you think of South-Africa, you think of a safari in the Kruger, Apartheid, Mandela, Cape Town, maybe the World Cup … not of KwaZulu-Natal. A shame, because, as we discovered, this less-known region has a lot to offer.

We went for nature in Drakensbergen, city-life in Durban and safari’s in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi and Saint-Lucia. With some last-minute decision stops on the road, we managed to add culture and history to our beautiful experience. Ah, the luxury of a rented car and creating your own adventure!


Hiking and a picnic in the magical Drakensbergen

The literal translation of ‘Drakensbergen’ is mountains of the dragons. It is also the mountain range that marks the border of Lesotho and South Africa. People are very warm and won’t hesitate to show you the pride they feel for the place as well as show you wild flowers and where you’ll find the most stunning sceneries. There are ample marked walking paths, some a little easier than others, so you can easily have an adventure of your own.

We went to Underberg, where we passed from South-Africa to Lesotho taking the Sani pass (the dragon’s tail!). Read about our Lesotho adventures here. It is definitely a must.

However, our golden tip about Underberg would be to discover the privately owned – yet open to the public – parcs and take a picnic along. Romance is in the air!

Experiencing Durban

A big city in Africa is always a little adventure. Now when you visit the city on the day of the former president’s corruption trial, either you’re in for a show or you decide to spend your days on the relaxed Waterfront. We went for the latter. The Waterfront in Durban has a Florida-vibe to it: it’s a place where people meet, concerts are given, you can surf, swim, rent a go-cart (that was fun!) and where you can eat.

Let me tell you about the most amazing breakfast I’ve ever had. Twice to be exact, because it was that good. It was at the Circus Circus Beach Cafe in Durban.

Hippo and crocodile spotting in Saint-Lucia

Saint-Lucia, a very touristic wetland park right at the ocean, where you can spot hippo’s crossing the road, but mainly in the water. Many tours by boat are proposed. We took a small platform boat that brought us to see the large hippos and cranky crocodiles. Pretty cool. Our tip? Take the boat around sunset so you can capture the true beauty of the wetlands.

The -literally- golden tip would be to wake up extra early to see the sunrise looking out over the ocean.

The big 5 in the small Hluhluwe-iMfolozi

Compared to the Krüger, the safari park of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is teensy tiny. Yet, you can also spot the big five. The experience is completely different though. There’s more local tourism, less mass. Less adrenaline and less ‘we’ve seen that, wow, how about you?’. It’s enjoying the small things, surrounded by big animals.

Where in the Krüger we really had to search for rhino’s, in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi we saw at least 21 of them (after I lost count), as this park is known for saving the white rhino. We even walked sort of next to them. That’s right, and that’s my golden tip to you: book a walking safari while you’re there.

Behave at your best, respect the animals and your two (armed) guides when going for a walk in the park. While discovering the ecosystem of the park, you’re surrounded by the smaller creatures of the park like birds, butterflies and tube spiders. And as you go, you pass the wild animals at sometimes less than 50 meters away. There is nothing in between you and the animal except a little space and maybe a guard. This is quite the adventure!

Discovering South-Africa’s history leading up to today’s social battles

But what makes South-Africa so special and unique? The land, the people and the history they share. If you want to get a better understanding of the country, or get inspired by the figure of Nelson Mandela, we suggest some stops on the road.

These roadside museums enlightened us on the rich history that caused Apartheid and today’s social battle for farming lands.

In between Durban and Saint-Lucia/Hluhluwe-iMfolozi we can strongly recommend the small museum in Eshowe, where you can easily spend more than two hours, as they not only handle the history, but have a most inspiring collection of Zulu woven baskets. Internationally known, of the finest quality and of course, the prices are accordingly. Sadly, no pictures were allowed as they were strict about the artist’s rights.

In between Underberg and Durban (just above Pietermaritzburg), we visited the Capture Site of Mandela. The atmosphere there was intense. Overwhelming and soft at the same time, a bit like the sculpture by Maco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose. In an old shed, big (temporary) panels explained to us the importance and influence of Madiba, aka. Nelson Mandela.

We saw a businessman and teacher from Mozambique doing the tour of the site at the same time as us and we could hear them talking, looking up to the man. Wishing they had a freedom fighter just like him.

This Capture Site just captures you, and makes sure you go home with Mandela’s words in mind:

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”


Guest blog by Ludwine

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Backpacking in Colombia

Colombia had been on our wishlist for many years. As a wildlife and LatAm lover I planned this 5-week trip carefully to get the most out of it. If you’re into palm tree beaches, snowy Andes peaks, humid rainforest hikes and bright-colored colonial villages, you know where to go! And yes, Colombia is a completely safe country if you’re avoiding some remote regions in the west and south-east. Sheerful locals welcome you to their place with a lot of reggaeton and salsa vibes.

Our top places

  • Bogota: Probably your first stop of the trip. Book a room in La Candeleria for the best city center experience and take your time to get used to the altitude. We enjoyed a bike tour from Bogota Bike Tours that took us around the city with some great stories along the way. You’re likely to visit famous graffiti art, the fruit market, the busy center and a local coffee roaster.

  • Cartagena: The heat and humidity will smack you in the face after the chilly Bogota so dress accordingly while strolling through the gorgeous streets of the most colorful colonial town in the country. This is a true touristic hotspot so be aware. Also, go seek the local sloth and family of monkeys at the central park and push your boundaries by eating ‘comida corriente’ lunch at a trashy restaurant. Huge dishes for no money! If you’re spending a few days in Cartagena, make sure to take a dip in the mud volcano El Totumo. Very touristy but hella fun!
  • Tayrona NP: Sleep at the not-so great city of Santa Marta as the anchor point of your visit to Tayrona. The Dreamer Hostel is quite popular and with good reason. Or book one of the eco hostels near the entrance of Zaino Our tip for a nice hike in Tayrona: Take a minibus to the main entrance Zaino. Another (optional) bus will take you a little bit further in the park. From there it is around 2-3 hours hiking to Cabo San Juan. This place is clearly the headquarters of the park and offers food and lodging with tents and hammocks. The beach at San Juan is beyond your dreams and offers a surrealistic scenery. If you can, spend the night here as many daytrippers will leave around 4PM and the place gets less crowded. We took another route back (via Pueblito) and crossed some mighty boulders in the jungle. Santa Marta is also a fine basis for the adventurous hikers that plan a hike to the marvellous Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek).

  • Minca: Foggy hills, tucan area and coffee farms. A great place for beautiful day hikes and a dive in a shady waterfall pool. We stayed at the Casa Elemento (legendary for their huge hammocks) but don’t consider this a real recommendation.

  • San Andres y Providencia: These Carribean islands near the coast of Nicaragua are honeymoon material. Especially the beautiful tiny island of Providencia has a unique vibe with its pristine and turquoise bays and one single ring road around the central hill. Drink cocktails straight from the coconut at the trashy Roland Roots Bar, discover the amazing reef species at Sonny’s Dive Shop or take a short but rewarding hike to pirate captain Morgan’s Head. (Don’t worry, it’s a rock).

  • Medellin: Aaah, the City of the Eternal Spring. Truly, the cosy atmosphere and trendy bars provide the perfect climate to pin Medellin as the coolest big city in Colombia. Take a cable car and enjoy the stunning views of the city before taking a hike in Parque Arvi. Book a day trip to colorful tourist trap village of Guatapé and conquer the 740 steps to the monolith of El Peñol for a jaw-dropping 360° view around the nature park. And ofcourse, don’t forget to check out some Botero-statues. Be careful if you want to take an Escobar-tour, as they offer varying quality or even make up random stories just to amaze you.

  • Salento: Although the tiny village is becoming quite popular, it still provides a unique setting among the coffee farms. Spend around 2 nights here to enjoy a day hike in the Valle de Cocora to walk between the world’s mightiest wax palm trees. Vintage Willy Jeeps will take you there from the main square. Most travelers plan this stop after having visited the buzzing Medellin. Take your time to relax and enjoy the welcoming break at a local coffee shop while eating some homemade cake.

If you have the time …

The sleeping city of Mompox, The famous Tatacoa Desert near Villavieja, El Cocuy trekking and other high-kicks near San Gil, the unearthly Caño Cristlaes near Sierra de la Macarena and the San Agustin statues if you’re heading to the whity city of Popayan. And the list goes on with Las Lajas Sanctuary near Magui Payan, the underground salt cathedral of Zipaquira and the Amazon jungle tours around Leticia and the Rio Yavari.

Getting around

Colombia is an immense country, but taking the train or bus for some transfers brings a whole new experience to your trip. Dress like winter is coming, because most bus drivers have a strong tendency to put the airco on ‘extreme frost’.

Domestic flights are often offered at low rates, so for the longer distances you might want to take a plane. Get your tickets from Avianca, Wingo, Satena or Viva Colombia. All of them offers frequent and low-cost flights. Check-in beforehand and print out your tickets as they will charge you if you just show up at the check-in desk.


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Wakanda exists!

We have found the real Wakanda, remember: a fictional African country from the Marvel superhero production, Black Panther. Wakanda has rare minerals, rich culture and stunning nature as major characteristics. And well, as it turns out, Lesotho has exactly the same characteristics. Only this country, aka the Kingdom in the Sky, is for real.


The unique positioning of Lesotho, high up in and embedded in the mountains of South Africa, gives you jaw-dropping, dramatic landscapes everywhere you look. In those landscapes you’ll see people passing by, keeping themselves hot with the traditional Basotho blankets (also seen in Black Panther). We can tell you: that’s only the tip of the rich culture and history that Lesotho has to offer.

The fact that this place is isolated, have hidden, preserved and protected it during the course of time. But now, thanks to its minerals this gem is opening itself to the world. In returning for mining Lesotho’s world-famous diamonds, China is developing a road network. A pretty smooth one at that: you no longer need a 4×4 to discover this kingdom. What are we waiting for? Time to explore before the masses arrive!

That’s exactly what we did. We’ve done it and we loved it. Find out our favorite moments below.

Travel tip: a holiday in Lesotho is wonderful to combine with the discovery of KwaZulu-Natal, South-Africa of the beaten tracks. Stay tuned on our blog for more details!


Sani Pass

A pass that starts in South-Africa and goes all the way into Lesotho. It offers amazing views over the Drakensbergen mountain range and Lesotho. At the top, you can have a drink in the highest pub of Africa and visit a local village, where a lovely lady sells quality souvenirs. You are only allowed up there with a 4×4, and some experience is required on rainy/snowy days. If you don’t have a 4×4 you can book a tour or try to make friends in the villages at the foot of the Sani Pass in Underberg.

As we speak, the road is getting tarred. According to locals it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be eating your Big Mac on top, instead of drinking a delicious Basotho soup.

Accommodation tip: use AirBNB in Underberg, a village at the bottom of the Sani pass. There’s a ton of wonderful hosts that will happily show you the pearls of the village and if you’re lucky, they will even take you all the way up the Sani pass.


Road Tripping on the Roof of Africa

Once good for some world-famous rallying, the roads zigzagging in and around the highest peaks of Southern Africa are now allowing a smooth drive to enjoy the dramatic sceneries and some vulture and other big bird (falcon, buzzard) spotting. After every corner a new adventure awaits.

Activity tip: when you go in winter(July-August), make a stop for some skiing at Afriski ( ). This is the only place in Africa where there’s a snow slope: talk about a unique experience. There’s other extreme sports available in the region.

Activity tip: avoid dinosaur footprint tourist traps or going to a National Park unannounced and out of season (they are often privatized). We speak by experience!


Horse riding in the south

Basotho horses are known for their bravery and loyalty. To the Basotho a key stone of community as a work machine and a transport ‘vehicle’, to us, tourists, a magical way to discover the beauty Lesotho has to offer. The horses know the area by heart and will guide you through it with great passion (so does the guide), even if you’ve never been on a horse before.

Set your own boundaries and feel the freedom. Tell your guide you’re going for a galop (again, even if you’ve never done it before) and two minutes, some clicking sounds and ‘kai kai’ later, you’re racing the guy. Farmers and villagers will wave as you pass by.

Activity tip: There is a number of accommodations offering horse riding. We went with the amazing Jape (guide), Ntiti and Matsitsi (horses) at the Semonkong Lodge ( The horses are in good shape and treated well. The whole experience was top notch!



The place of Smoke, a name it got by the smoke created at the drop of the Maletsunyane falls. Take a guide and learn about the village OR, … even better, get him to guide you on a wonderful walk in nature: meet shepherds and farmers, learn about local life. Get up to the Maletsunyane falls, one of the highest (192m) single dropping waterfalls in Africa. This is one of those moments where words just don’t live up to the magic and drama of a place, even pictures don’t do it justice.

Just go there, get enchanted.

Accomodation tip: if you’re traveling on a budget, try camping. Lesotho has limited places to stay and prices for a room rice quickly. Most accommodations also offer camping ground though at a fraction of the price. Semonkong Lodge is one of those places(
It is all very clean and well taken care of. The host, Jonathan, will be happy to tell you his adventures and gladly listen to yours. If you decide on the room, they will light the fireplace in your room for some extra heat and cosines.


Guest blog by Ludwine Van Craenenbroeck

Exploring New Zealand

New-Zealand is the place to be for wilderness adventures, without having to worry about snakes, bears, or other critters like most other outback destinations. Furthermore, the helpful staff at the numerous tourist information centers provides all essential information and even performs your bookings, thereby ensuring a smooth and relaxing journey. Check out the highlights of ALY’s adventurous hikers on their 7-week travel journey.

Where to go

New Zealand consists of two main islands, logically named the North and the South Island, and many smaller, offshore islands. Together, they comprise a variety of awesome sceneries, all within easy reach of each other. Since the distance between the most northern and the most southern point of New Zealand is roughly 2000 kilometers, many tourists tour the whole island in a couple of weeks, typically ticking-off the key attractions along the highway. However, based on our 7-week journey, we took our time to fully enjoy the richness of New Zealand’s nature by selecting particular regions of this beautiful country. The best place to really get off the beaten track and into the wild is definitely the rough west coast of the South Island.

Recommended itinerary

Head directly to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital situated in the south of the North Island. In fact, Wellington is arguably the only city in New Zealand that is really worth a visit due to its delicious restaurants, as well as its great (and free!) national museum. Together, these will give you the perfect introduction to New Zealand’s gastronomy, history and geology. From Wellington, a beautiful 3-hour ferry trip will take you to Picton, in the north of the South Island. There you can rent a car (Apex and Omega Car Rentals are good low budget options or try Sunny Cars for hassle-free all ins arrangements) and the freedom to go anywhere you want with a trunk full of stash. Alternatively, hitchhike and/or use a hop-on/hop-off  bus pass to get around. This way you don’t need to hike in loops to get back to your car. To head south from Picton, follow state highway six to Queenstown, but allow a detour to visit Abel Tasman National Park (near Marahau) and Oparara basin (near Karamea). From Queenstown, you can fly back home after a cruise or kayak trip in the stunning fjords of Milford or Doubtful Sounds.

What to do

New Zealand is a paradise for hiking (more frequently named ‘tramping’ by the local kiwi’s). The country is filled with numerous tramping tracks of all durations and levels imaginable. In addition, the department of conservation (DOC, maintains more than 900 wilderness huts across the country, which serve as the perfect (and cheap!) outback accommodations during a multiday hike. On the west coast of the South Island, tramping tracks lead you through a beautiful subtropical forest with spectacular views on rugged mountains, glaciers and the Tasmanian Sea. However, this unearthly combination of nature’s finest is sometimes difficult to enjoy due to the uneven terrain, which forces you to keep your eyes on the ground below. The ideal solution to this issue is to give your feet a rest, and take-in the surroundings from the back of a horse.

We experienced the pleasure of horse riding in Punakaiki, which is mainly known for its particular rock formations, called the ‘Pancake Rocks’. Although we had limited experience with horse riding, our friendly guide Marian quickly taught us the basics. Ten minutes later, we were confidently steering our horses across the private property of Karen and Neil, who have been organizing horse riding tours there since more than 20 years. We waded through beautiful rivers (without our feet getting wet!), felt the full strength of our ‘horse-buddies’ as we were marching through the wilderness, and rode along the craggy coastline of Punakaiki. Halfway through the trip, Marianne even conjured up a warm tea with cookies. Other routes are available, like riding into the Punakaiki valley and finishing along the beach.  The Youtube movie below gives a good idea of this must-do experience. Don’t you dare to pass Punakaiki just to snap a quick picture of the Pancake Rocks!


Check out Karin & Neil’s horse trek offerings:

Don’t forget to book beforehand! They are open from early October to June.

Roadtripping in Croatia and BIH

Travelling to Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina was already on our list for quite some time. As Valerie will be studying in Zagreb for the coming months, now was the perfect time to explore the beautiful Balkans on a romantic road trip.

Where to go

On our 10-day road trip we had to make a few tough choices on what to visit as these countries are full of cultural and natural must sees. We picked the following itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival at Zagreb and sleeping near Plitvice Lakes
Day 2: Plitvice Lakes and Sibenik
Day 3: Split
Day 4: Dubrovnik
Day 5: Dubrovnik and Neum
Day 6: Mostar, Kravica Falls and Blagaj
Day 7: Tito’s Bunker and Sarajevo
Day 8: Sarajevo
Day 9: Jajce, Visoko ‘pyramid’ and Banja Luka
Day 10: Zagreb

Getting around

A rental car is by far your best option over public transport. Not only does it give you the sense of freedom and flexibility, it is also much more convenient to get more out of your holiday if you want to see several places. Plus, you can sing along your favorite duets or stop over to go a coffee at a local town. Try that while you’re on a bus 🙂

For this trip we were happy to try out the concept of Sunny Cars. After several blame-on-you rental check-ins (“Are you SURE you don’t need this additional insurance?”) we decided to go for some peace of mind. No hidden fees, no bait-and-hook charges at the check-in and a very transparent pricing for a car with optimal insurance (fully comprehensive insurance and theft protection with refund of excess; damage to glass, roof, tires and underbody covered with refund of excess). Thank God we took this package deal, as we have encountered a scratch in our front door and a crack in our windshield, but it couldn’t ruin our good moods.

Sunny Cars collaborate with locals partners in over 120 countries and have made customer-oriented services their mission. Checking in was never so relaxed! We took the package with winter tyres included, which has also proven to be a great choice on the mountain roads.

Where to eat & drink

Out of a long list of delicious dishes and delightful places we selected a few worth remembering:

Pantarul – fine dining

Dubrovnik might be a city of history and culture, but Pantarul adds a modern touch of gastronomy to the city. This restaurant is actually owned by two experienced restaurateurs, Đuro Šiljug and Milan Vasić and Ana-Marija Bujić, a locally acclaimed food blogster who shares our passion for tasteful dishes so you can imagine that everything on the menu is tested and esteemed 🙂 She even wrote a cookbook last year with her own recipes and photography, accompanied by short stories to show the world the way people eat and live in Dubrovnik nowadays. Grandmother approved! We can’t wait to try some of her recipes ourselves!

You’ll find the best local wines with seasonal dishes presented in a modern way served by waiters who know their craft and serve with a smile.



(Ulica kralja Tomislava 1, Dubrovnik)

Konoba Lučac – traditional cuisine

You’ll find a lot of ‘konoba’ in Croatia as it is the traditional word for ‘tavern’. If you want to experience the culinary traditions of Croatia, this is your stop. The restaurant is decorated with jars containing cheese and veggies on oil. We started out with a plate full of delicious tapas to try out some local cheese and sausages. As a main dish we ordered fresh caught first class (more like ‘wold class’) tuna and deer stew. Link your dishes with some secret herbal brandy and finish with a semifreddo and a coffee. Yes please!



(Ulica Sv. Petra starog 2, Split)

Tima Irma – Cevapčići and meat galore

When in Mostar, do me a favor and team up to take the challenge of eating a 2-person menu at Irma’s. A giant pile of meat awaits, combined with grilled vegetables and flat bread. The place has no toilet (like most places in the old city) so plan ahead 😉



(Onešćukova, Mostar)

Zlatna Ribica – Bar of curiosities

Zlatna Ribica is a one-of-a-kind bar in the region, and maybe even worldwide. Impossible the photograph the atmosphere of a bar filled to the gills with curiosities and souvenirs from around the globe. Try out the honey brandy and feast your eyes in awe.

(Kaptol 5, Sarajevo)

Where to sleep

Boy, if you’re a fan of snowy mountains, turquoise rivers and easy living in small towns, this will be your kind of trip. Near the Istrian coast there are plenty of campings and modern hotels but in the mainland you’ll have to search harder to find some cosy and wonderful accommodation. This is our list of 7 places we’d really recommend:

Farm Yurt Glamping (Plaski)

A traditional Mongolian tent right next to a goat farm? This is it! Wake up in the middle of nature and try some local farm produce. The yurt is still a bit basic as glamping goes and the owners are still experimenting with the concept, but definitely give it a try when nearby. This is a great location if you’re travelling from Zagreb to the Plitvice Lakes and need an overnight stay.

Otok Misjak – Glamping dome (Sibenik)

In a lush pine forest, a geodesic dome offers 40 incredibly comfortable square meters of living space, ideal to host up to four people. The luxuriously furnished KingDome consists of a fully equipped kitchen, a modern bathroom with a shower, a bedroom with a king-size bed, and an upper level with two additional beds. Enjoy on your private terraces with natural vegetation the magical view of the sea and the Kornati islands.

Ow yeah, did I mention this is actually on an inhabited island? Check out their amazing video:

Obonjan Island tents (Sibenik)

Near Sibenik you’ll find another uncommon camping concept. The Obonjan Island is an adults only party and wellness island and offers comfortable forest lodges and bell tents. Great place if you’re in the mood to immerse yourself in the island’s life.

Cadmos treehouse (Dubrovnik)

This treehouse is probably one my favorite accommodations I’ve ever been, located about 30 minutes south of Dubrovnik. What started out as a wild dream of Zoran and Goran ended up in what might be the biggest treehouse in Europe. With an amazing eye for detail they built this 7-meter high wooden cocoon for up to 6 people all by themselves. The whole system is eco-powered with solar and wind energy and heated with a pellet stove. Eat and sleep between the treetops and deeply connect with mother nature.

In summer the location turns into an Adventure Park with ziplines, a giant 12m-high swing, archery, paintball and even a restaurant. These guys have won all the local touristic awards and seem unstoppable in thinking up new concepts on their hidden valley grounds. They are getting bigger and better every year so don’t miss your chance to check it all out!

Matusko Agroturismo (Neum)

If you’re looking for an overnight stop in between Split and Dubrovnik, this might be the perfect option. The coastal Neum hasn’t much to offer in terms of accommodations with a jolly vibe, so we recommend staying at Davor’s farm in Mosevici, 10km outside of Neum. The rooms are quite basic, but outside you’ll find a splendid pool, some farm animals for the kids and rental bikes to explore the surroundings. Be prepared to get stuffed by Davor’s culinary skills and taste his homemade liquor, wine, sausages and ham. The most friendly house dog will accompany you wherever you’ll go.

Pino Hotel (Sarajevo)

Apart from Sarajevo being my favorite city of this road trip, Pino Hotel knows how to treat their Sarajevan visitors. This luxurious nature hotel on the top of the pine-covered hill is no doubt the best you’ll find in the area. Each room has been decorated so creatively that you’ll find yourself in the middle of the woods, even when you’re inside. If you have the money to spend, their suites are even more jaw-dropping and are perfect honeymoon material.

The hotel has spa facilities and a pool plus you can get a very relaxing massage (speaking out of experience). The hotel is a great starting point for (short) day hikes but there is 1 surreal sight you should explore when staying at the Pino Hotel. On a 10 minutes walk you’ll find the Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track built for the 1984 Winter Olympics. The track was damaged as a result of Siege of Sarajevo. Today, the tracks still remain mostly intact with war wounds of defensive fighting holes, drilled into one of the last turns of the course. The tracks today are mainly used for graffiti and bicycling. Although cheerful it might seem, this place is a sound reminder of how war can tip the scales so easily.

Hotel Ideja (Banja Luka)

Hotel Ideja is situated in the center of Banja Luka, in the old part of town. This, once artisanal part of the city, still preserves the spirit of the past. It’s located next to a beautiful mosque  and is only 5 minutes walk from the city’s epicentre. The interior decoration and spacious room set-up feels like a true boutique hotel, beautiful and luxurious, yet simple and elegant. You can park right in front of the hotel while they take care of the parking ticket. This customer-friendly staff knows exactly how to make you feel at home. Banja Luka is the second biggest city of Bosnia & Herzegovina and is worth a day of citytripping.






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Discovering Israel & Palestine

Last Christmas holiday I decided to travel to Israel and Palestine with my dad for some real father-son-quality time! As Bethlehem is a special place to be during Christmas, we were very excited to see the region and experience the culture at the melting pot of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions.

Dead Sea, Ein Gedi & Masada

This combo is a perfect daytrip whether you are staying in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem and a great mix of culture and nature. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth (-400 meters) and as you probably know extremely salty. For adventurers who like to experience a floating dip, I would suggest Ein Bokek. This small town has that bit of comfort with a changing room and showers on the beach and a coast guard (probably the easier job around as it is incredibly hard not to float). But even with the shower, your clothes and skin will feel very awkward and sticky afterwards 🙂 A few kilometers south of Ein Bokek are wonderful ‘salt rock beaches’ to explore with nobody around. The water is around a comfortable 16°C, so no excuses!

Ein Gedi is a small nature reserve north of the Dead Sea, a 30 min drive from Ein Bokek. It has a very touristic ‘boulevard’ to the Wadi David (waterfall) and you’ll probably encounter some rock badgers (somehow related to elephants apparently). If you’d have some time to spare, make sure to take a longer hike along the hillside away from the crowds.

Masada is a archeological site with a curious cultural history. The fortification was built by king Herod on top of a mountain plateau in the midst of the Judaean desert and was used in 73CE by Jews fleeing from the Romans. The siege ended up with a mass suicide of 960 men, women and children.


Jerusalem is worth at least 2 full days of your attention. The Old City is quite compact but embraces so much cultural heritage with an insane density. Religious highlights include the Western Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, King David’s Tomb, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. But there is so much more to discover while wandering through the tiny streets where Jezus walked. Smell the authentic atmosphere in the Mea Sharim Street (orthodox Jewish quarters) and the Jehuda Market or relax in a cosy corner with a hookah (waterpipe) and some baklava or halva. If you have the time to spare, go check out Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and Jericho. They are just one bus ride away from Jerusalem and you will get submerged in a totally different vibe when you’re crossing that big wall into the Palestinian territories.

We took a guided one-day trip with Bein Harim Tours. After beint picked up at our hotel, we met our lovely guide Isaac who taught us some history and showed us around the most magical places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The trip gets you to the Palestinean area without border-control hassle and has a more than fair price-quality ratio. I would suggest to take their ‘small group’ package as you will manoeuvre more rapidly and get to see more in the same time.

Tel Aviv

What can I say? Tel Aviv is quite the opposite from Jerusalem as it is a modern and quite recent city near the Mediterranean Sea. Quite famous for its night life, amazing food and hospitality. You won’t find the same architectural richness as in Jerusalem but it is a great place to discover. Stroll through the tiny streets of Jaffa in the twilight and end up in one of the no-nonsense fish restaurants!

Regional tension

The ongoing Arabic-Israeli-Palestine conflict and the recent political decisions of the world’s most famous Pussygrabber to aknowledge Jerusalem unilaterally as the capital of Israel is keeping the political tension in the region on point. I must say however that there was not a single moment where I felt intimidated by army presence or encountered issues at our numerous border crossings. Police and soldiers are carrying guns but never seem to dominate the atmosphere. Check your governmental advise to travel, but don’t let the media reportings scare you away from Jerusalem and the Westbank.

For those of you with a special intrest in these matter, Alternative Tours offers guided tours to the ‘seperation barrier’, refugee camps and others, all with a antropocentric and political focus.


Getting around in Israel is quite comfortable and easy to arrange. I spent a lot of time to find a rental car online before going on the trip and we should have just went with public transport all the way in hindsight. Busses can take you to all the major cities with multiple and fast connections. The train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a little slower, but crosses a beautiful valley.

Unique accomodations in Iceland

These are some of the greatest places to stay in Iceland if you’re looking for a magical, romantic or adventurous setting!

1. Barrel huts, Westman Islands

If you’re checking out the Westman Islands, the barrel huts make for an accommodation just as magical as the surrounding nature. The huts have a cute interior and owner Hafdis makes sure that they are cosy and have her own personal touch! Get yourself a good night’s sleep and wake up your body with a short, but invigorating hike up the surrounding mountains. A breathtaking view over the mountains and sea awaits you while puffins flutter all around.

Upon arrival, we received a warm welcome and a fun challenge: Hafdis gave us a cardboard box and explained that the locals like to drive around town to pick up stranded pufflings! These young birds can’t fly themselves to the safety of the open seas and need to be released on the shore. Challenge accepted! We managed to find a lost puffling and threw it out to freedom the next morning!

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2. Hotel Rangá, Hella

Hotel Ranga in the South of Iceland is more than just a hotel. It is a paradise for luxury lovers, cuisine connoisseurs and wonder wanderers. It seems like Friðrik’s heart and soul is in this amazing hotel with continent themed rooms and suites. Every detail is in place and the amazing staff will make sure you have a hotel experience you’ve never had before.

Get in your robes and slippers and go outside to relax in the hot tubs with a view over the Icelandic plains. No doubt that you should try some Icelandic fish prepared by the talented chefs in the hotel’s restaurant! After that, go outside and gaze at the beautiful northern lights. A night to remember always!

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3. Volcano huts, Þórsmörk

Got your hiking boots on to explore the nature around Þórsmörk? Staying at the Volcano Huts will certainly elevate your experience! From dormitories to private luxury glamping huts, there is something here for every traveler.

Relaxation is possible everywhere in this little paradise surrounded by nature. Go sweating in the sauna barrel or take a bath in the vulcanic spring. Some welcome wellness after a day of hiking! Check out their website for more information on the famous and breathtaking hikes from Skogar (Fimmvörðuháls), Landmannalaugur (Laugavegur) and other shorter hikes.

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4. Laxárdalur cottages, Húsavík

Can’t get enough of Iceland’s beautiful nature, remoteness and silence? The Laxárdalur cabins are located near the Myvatn area on a sheep farm. Guðrun and her family, who have always lived in the valley, own 300 sheep that can be seen running around in the area. The valley also has a rich folklore culture and tradition, and a river that is full of trout, if you have a special fishing licence. The cabins are beautifully decorated and very comfortable and have a kitchenette.

We visited the farm around the réttir period, when all sheep are collected from the surrounding mountains and valleys. So when we arrived, there were A LOT of sheep and they all seemed very agitated, which was very fun and spectacular to see!

Find the Laxárdalur Cabins on Airbnb and

5. Einishús cottages, Husavík

In the beautiful Myvatn lake area, the Einishús cottages from Einir and his wife are a must visit. Designed and built by their son-in-law, these cottages have a very homey feeling with lot of space and openess and are perfect for families. Outside every cottage, there is a hot tub you can fill with fresh vulcanic water that you can enjoy in comfort and privacy. The cottages are located in nature, but are close to the Diamond Ring, a restaurant and a supermarket.

What we enjoyed most was the fully equiped kitchen and the space. Perfect for a cosy night to cook together with family and friends. The hot tub also made sure we felt relaxed and replenished!

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6. Esjan Buses, Reykjavík

Sleeping in buses under the Esjan mountain close to Reykjavík truly is an unique experience. Don’t let the image of sleeping in a bus scare you though! Linda has managed to transform these city buses into these amazing sleeping units (hard to call it a room of course). These units are beautifully design with lovely details, have a kitchenette, accommodate 4 people each and are little works of art!

This area around the buses is just as beautiful as the buses themselves. This place is also great for checking out the northern lights. We were lucky enough to see the most beautiful spectacle of our entire trip right here!

Find the Esjan buses on Airbnb.


© 2017 Corre Photography for Adventures Like You – All rights reserved

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Get your kicks in the land of Fire & Ice

If you think Iceland only offers only attractions like waterfalls, hot tubs, glaciers and volcanic fields, you’re dead wrong. Last summer, we explored this beautiful island and came across some splendid activities. As tourism is rising every year, you’ll find an increased offering each year. These ones below all offer amazing experiences.

RIB Safari on Westman Islands

When you’re in Westman Islands, this activity should be on your list. You’ll stop by major highlights of the coastal region like Elephant Rock, some hidden caves, Keiko’s basin and (maybe) spot some seals, whales and puffins along the way. Puffin presence depends on the season, but if you’re visiting Iceland in September, your chances are the highest they are still on these islands.
The RIB speedboat has 2x 400 horsepower engines and can blast at high speed to provide you with an awesome adrenaline rush. Funny and competent guides accompany you along the trip, together with some groovy beats.

The company offers multiple type of trips, and we went for the ‘one hour small islands trip’, which showed a great deals of highlights. You’ll get a short safety introduction first and receive protective clothing, float suit and life jacket. The trip is perfectly suitable for families with children as well. Booking online is highly convenient (and recommended) and overall service is great. Check their website for FAQs, trip schedules and actual prices.

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Husavik Adventures Whale Spotting

Another great experience in the North is spotting whales. Husavik is like the Whale Capital of Iceland and offers very high spotting chances every day. We joined on an RIB tour with Husavik Adventures and spotted Minke whales, a shy Porpoise and several Humpback whales. Never came as close to these majestic creatures! They swim and dive slowly so you’ll be chilling right next to them on your RIB. Puffins can be spotted in abundance too.

Other types of trips (with bigger boats) are also offered but I’m glad we chose for the RIB.  They get you there faster and closer. A competent guide and eagle-eye captain made sure we didn’t disturb the animals and got great photo opportunities. You get a warm protective suit and life vest but don’t forget your hat and gloves. The ticket office can be hard to find so check their website for detailed directions 🙂 After the trip you can grab a pile of fresher-than-ever-before Fish & Chips from the restaurant next door. Awesome value for money. Must do in Husavik!

Husavik Adventures The Buggy Experience

This company started this summer with offering Buggy Rides in the area as well. If you’re feeling adventurous and you enjoy a bit off karting and quad-driving on gravel roads, you’ll love this activity. Powerful 4×4 Buggy Cars get you to places you’ll never explore by car, away from the beaten tracks. An experienced guide drives in front of you while you grind those slippery roads. Along the way, you can take a break to enjoy the scenery on top of the mountain and switch positions with your co-driver or take some pictures.

You’ll wear a helmet, gloves and a protective suit at all times, while you’re strapped in the buggy and additional safety nets are around you. I never felt unsure about tipping over or losing control over the wheel. Total trip lasts about 2 hours and will get your body thrilled for a few hours after. Check their website for actual prices and time tables.

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Off-road to Askja crater – Saga Travels

The Myvatn area still has a lot of volcanic activtity and is famous for its unique volcanic formations. You’ll find an authentic answer to the Reykjavik’s (‘tourist trap’) Blue Lagoon near Reykjahlid, colorful mountains surrounding the Lake and ofcourse the most friendly people of Iceland. One of those highlights in the area is the Askja Crater. The downside is that you cannot reach it with your regular 4WD (unless you’re a daredevil and don’t care about exuberant car towing bills). The upside is that Saga Travels offers daily Superjeep tours to this magnificent crater lake and its turquoise little brother.

Our tour guide (Julius) was a funny, passionate and competent true-blood viking. He drove through the lava fields in a good pace and talked about his favorite spots along the way. You’ll see the main location where NASA trained their Apollo Astronauts before the first lunar landing and iconic landmarks such as Herðubreiðalindir Oasis, Drekagil Gully and Holuhraun Lava Fields. These pit stops were a nice change to the tiring and extremely bumpy drive of 3 hours to the crater. Another upside is that this location hosts only few tourists (which is becoming a rare thing in Iceland).

The Askja Crater itself offers a stunning view in an extremely remote location. The two river crossings with regular 4×4 jeeps are tricky so we didn’t take any risk. We came across two jeeps that were stuck in the river. Flooded engines are very costly so you’d better stay safe with a guided tour.

Pack your own lunch, water and plenty of snacks as you don’t really come across anything like a café to restock 🙂

Other activities in Iceland are surely worth mentioning as well. We didn’t had the opportunity to join in on a tour, so I don’t have any details about them.

Northern Lights Tours

Quite popular in the Myvatn-Husavik-Akureyri area. Spotting chances starting from the end of August but peak season around Dec-Jan. Check out Anton’s Geotravel ( or Halldor’s Amazing North offerings (

Inside the Volcano

Quite pricey but one-of-a-kind experience. Descend with a small elevator into the belly of a volcano. Don’t expect to see any boiling Mordor lava but you’ll surely feel like a real explorer! They operate on a few time slots a day in the season, but it is best to book well in advance! (

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© 2017 Corre Photography for Adventures Like You – All rights reserved

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Moose safari in Sweden

Who doesn’t like moose? The statue of the north. I saw them already in Norway and Sweden on 2 holidays. Why do this tour then? Well, because I love wildlife, I love this creature.

We’ve done this with wild Sweden, one of the biggest wildlife tour organizations in Sweden. I have to say, they are pro. In everything they do, say and know, they can tell you. The guidance is excellent.

It’s a wonderful evening, with interesting information about the moose, a forest walk looking for tracks, a campfire with a local made wrap, local beer, homemade cookie and a safari with a mini-bus, really fantastic! Everything about this tour is eco-minded, I think it is really important these days. Off course, the gasoline is not 😊 At the end of the tour we saw 6 moose and 1 fox. Not bad,.. 🙂

You can drive on your own in the morning or evening hoping to see a moose but if you don’t know how or where you might end up with an empty fuel tank, so book this trip and you are 100% sure you will meet the king of the forest. You have to be in Skinnskatteberg for this tour.

Wild Sweden offers more than just a moose safari, check their site and book! They won’t disappoint.


Monkey business in Bali

When you want to discover Bali, Ubud is a good central place as a starting point for different activities. Here are our favourites!

1. Ring a bike

If you are looking for the best local guide in Bali, we can proudly present you to Jering from the company ‘Ring a bike’. Jering is a vivant and unbelievable friendly man who knows a lot (maybe everything) about Bali. They always organise private tours, which makes it more easy going and personal. No worries, you don’t have to pay more when you are just with 2.
Ring a bike is a company which organise obviously biking trips. But suprisingly, that is just a part of what they do. You just need to contact them, ask what you want to do (something cultural, adventurous, visit an island,volcano track,…) and they do it. Easy peasy! Just ask for the possibilites and you will get a fair price. No tourist traps here 🙂.

We went on the downhill cycling trip (20 km). We stopped at a place to harvest some rice, visited a Balinese family and were splashed by waterfalls unknown by tourists.
This tour is for 98 procent downhill and very suitable for many people as Jering is always conscious about the speed you want to ride.
So… What are you waiting for?


2. Karsa spa

Bali is the perfect place for spa treatments and massage. For 10 euro you can already have a massage for 1 hour. Almost at every corner you can find a spa, but they are not always professional, so do some research in advance! We recommend Karsa Spa, which is located in the rural area of Ubud. It’s a very nice walk throughout ricefields starting from the center of Ubud (30 minutes). When you arrive, it’s like a little paradise. The people are very professional. We tried several Balinese massages, but this one was 1000 times better then the others. So, do it the right way.


3. Paon Bali cooking class

If you want to learn about real Balinese flavours, we advice you to go to Paon Bali cooking class. They pick you up at your hotel and if you do the morning class they first take the group (15 people) to the market to show local fruits and veggies.
This is a family owned business and they welcome you into there house. They show each ingredient and then the group starts chopping. After that the real cooking starts, in groups of 2 you get a cooking pit and they teach you how to make every dish. It goes all very smooth as they are reaching everything and you don’t need to do the dishes or any cleaning up. When the cooking was done, it was all presented well on a buffet and you could eat as much as you want. At the end you will get all the recipies.


4. Bali golden Tour

This company has lots of tours. In fact, they offer everything what tourists want to visit on their holiday, going from cultural to adventurous,… . We went on the volcano track with them (Mount Batur). The driver picked us op at 3 am and brought us to the volcano. At 4 am we met the local guide who brought us up the mountain. It was just the 2 of us, so no big groups. It was a real experience to climb to the top in the dark not seeing how high you still need to go. Around 6 am we reached the top. We watched the sunrise while the guide prepared us a little breakfast. Bring warm clothes with you as there is a real cold breeze up there.
On our way back we stopped at a Luwack coffee plantage. You can taste one for less than 5 euro and they offer a free tasting of there different kinds of tea and coffee. The driver was very reliable, drived safely, offered you enough privacy and was very informative if we had questions.


5. Monkey forest

Literally… Monkeys in a forest. This is a very fun activity. You see the little ones attached to the belly of their mother and you can feed them.

6. Sleep in a homestay.

Choose to sleep in the suburbs of Ubud. It is very quiet here and you can experience the real Bali Life. There are different good homestays. We choosed for ‘Pangkung Sari’ and were very happy with our stay. They offer amazing breakfasts. Everyday you can choose between pancakes, egg or a traditional one. Try to taste them all! 🙂 They even want to bring you to the center by scooter.



Bear watching from a hide in Sweden

To be honest, I love bears 🙂

2 years ago, I’ve already stayed in a bear hide in Sweden, that was so cool I wanted to do it over again. This time in another hide, Sweden’s most southern bear hide, just a 2-hour drive from Stockholm.

This time it was different, it was more personal, better service, more explanation about bears,… Meeting point at “Sara’s” house, a famous Swedish photographer. She has a small gallery from some of here photos. First you start with a nice sandwich, some talking about the hide and bears before heading into the woods for the cabin..

I’m going to compare a bit about the previous bear hide. This time it was smaller, with a maximum of 4 people, beds and a toilet are in the cabin.

The cool thing this time was that the bait was under rocks, in trees,… so they have to work for the food, also cool to take a photo from a standing bear.. Much better and cooler. Food for birds and squirrels was spread right before we were locked into the cabin. First time, no birds, so this is cool when you’re waiting for the real deal! 🙂

Around 16u30 we were in the cabin, we saw many birds, but with many I mean MANY! Squirrels playing in the tree, fighting jays, woodpeckers,.. To name a few.

Okay, sun is setting, the birds are moving and tension is rising, time for the bears to come. 1 hour, 2, 3, … Are they still coming? They have to, because at the moment the hide has a 100% success rate…

Is that, noo, yes? I don’t know, I see something, jup, oh yes, it’s a bear. Oh no wait, it’s a bear with a cub, sweet! No wait, you’re kidding right? 2 cubs! My god, this is amazing! 🙂

They ate a bit, went back into the forest and returned 2 more times. This was thrilling, awesome to see my favorite creature in its own habitat. I love this.

Okay, it was very difficult to take a nice photo because it was as good as dark, but there are binoculars you can use and they are good! ISO 12800, but hey, I’ve got proof! 😉

Tired, around midnight we went to bed? Why? At 4u30 we were back on our seat but it was too late.. When Sara came to pick us up she took the movement camera from the tree and saw that there was a big male at 01u00, shit, we’ve missed this guy. But on the other hand, now we have a reason to go back!

Breakfast time at Sara’s house, damn that was good after 1 week of choco pops 🙂 I recommend this to everyone who loves wildlife, nature and an exciting night!

More information here:

Citytrip: Discovering Helsinki

Planning a citytrip in Scandinavia? Why not consider going to Helsinki? Finland’s cozy capital by the sea has so much to offer:

Go for dinner and drinks on the beautiful Katajanokka peninsula. Wander around, enjoying the seaside and harbour view, choose a bar to your liking and experience the Finnish bar buzz. You won’t be disappointed. We recommend Ravintola Nokka for local food, beautiful plates, expert service and a gorgeous setting.

Want to try not sleeping in a hotel for once or are you, like us, still carrying your tent around from an awesome trip in Finland’s nature parks? Consider going to the Rastila Camping Site. You can place your tent or trailer in an awesome environment or rent one of their summer cottages! This 5-star camping ground has all the facilities you can imagine and swimming is possible at the nearby public beach.

Have breakfast/brunch at the Karl Fazer Café. Being Finland’s institution and pride, Fazer produces everything sweet, from chocolate to pastries. Take your pick from the enormous brunch buffet and you won’t be needing more food until the evening.

Karl Fazer
Karl Fazer restaurant bar

You won’t find any silence or peaceful contemplation at Helsinki’s Rock Church, the abundance of Asian tourists will make sure of that, but this is still a very impressive place. Marvel at the impressive dome and the amazing interior with copper accents. (Don’t let the name fool you: you won’t find any Bon Jovi or AC/DC relics here; refer to the Hard Rock Café in the city centre)

Rock Church

Want to try reindeer meat or grab some canned bear to impress your friends at home? Buy your Finnish specialties and delicacies at the Old Market Hall, a beautiful historic market place with little shops from Helsinki’s cream of the crop.

Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall

In need for some peace and quiet and want to chill in a laid back atmosphere? Head over to Regatta. Grab yourself a coffee and a cinnamon bun or grill a sausage (the Finnish way!) over the fire and watch the peddle boarders and swimmers in the sea.

For the bookworms among you, the Arkadia Bookstore is a great refuge (during a summer shower). Great selection of quality second-hand books in all languages and in the midst of a unique environment, including a pool table and a chapel. By the way, Ian the owner is completely whack and entertaining!Arkadia

And of course you’ll find some beautiful culture and architecture all across the city. So make sure to keep your eyes peeled at the Railway Station, the Orthodox Uspenski and Lutheral Cathedrals. And for you little Jugendstil treasure seekers, there’s this beautiful facade with eight curious stone owls, well hidden at the Kauppiaankatu street near the Uspenski Cathedral.


Canoe adventure in Sweden with Byns camping

In July, we went on a 4-day canoe trip, something we wanted to do for many years, so finally, this was the time. And it didn’t disappoint us, not at all! I’ve seen and done so many thing around the world, but this was one of the greatest things I’ve done so far. Truly amazing.

We’ve booked our canoe with Byns camping, a small, cozy, clean and calm camping, near a river. It’s located in Ekshärad, Varmland. Approximately between Oslo and Stockholm, so also a perfect stopover. The service is nice and personal, very kind people, a father with his 2 sons.

You can reach this camping on every way you want. We’ landed by airplane on Stockholm and rented a car, because we’ve did a few other things after the trip. Oslo is even closer than Stockholm. By bus or train is possible too.

You can also rent a cabin if you don’t want to camp. There’s a kitchen, washing machine, showers and much more available for all guests.

They sell different canoe trips on different rivers, suitable for small children with parents to people that wants to be into the wild for a few days, off course, that’s the one we chose 🙂 The Svartälven river. What’s so cool about this trip? Well, you can do it in 4 to 7 days, we’ve booked 4. So, you are free to do how long you want. The variety is cool, from wide to small and winding rivers, big and small lakes with islands, swamps,…

You even get a transport wheel because there are a few land transports needed, fun guaranteed! You’ve got big chance of seeing wildlife along the route. We’ve seen few road deer, lots of birds, tracks of beaver,…

You can stop wherever you want to spend the night. There are shelters along the way but probably you won’t be alone there, so we stayed where it was quiet, and with an amazing view. Once we’ve had our private island for 1 night. Every evening a campfire, fresh fish and quietness… Oh I miss this 🙂

You can choose your own endpoint, there are 13 stops where you can be picked up, you just have to let them know 1 day in advance.

You’ll get waterproof backpacks to put all your stuff in (food, camping gear, clothes,…), very useful. All of this makes it so cool and interesting.

Here you can find more information:


They also own a moose farm. You learn a lot about moose, interesting facts you’ll never heard of. They do it on a pleasant way, excellent for children, but to be honest, also for adults 🙂

You can see them from close. You even can feel (their antlers) and feed them. Standing near the king of the forest is a ‘big thing’. This is not a zoo to be clear… It’s a 10-minute drive from the camping. Check it out, the 2-hour tour is worth it.