Sunday Special – Zambezi River, Africa

We have reached the end of the alphabet and with that we are looking at Africa’s great Zambezi River¬†(also spelled Zambesi) where it flows through six countries, feeds the amazing Victoria Falls, and finally empties into the Indian Ocean. Africa’s fourth largest river runs east through Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and on through Mozambique to the ocean for 2, 574 km / 1,599 miles.¬†

This amazing river (often referred to as the River of Life) has been a vital source of life for centuries to the peoples and wildlife around it. Though in recent times it has been dammed to harness hydroelectric power in two major areas: the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Zimbabwe and Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. Although these dams bring hydro power to these countries there are side-effects to the river and its wildlife as well. 

The Zambezi River is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle, and Lower Zambezi and then ultimately forming the river’s delta. The incredible Victoria Falls marks the border of the Upper and Middle Zambezi and is a border for Zambia and Zimbabwe. Spanning total width of over 1,700 m / 5,600 feet and dropping 108 m / 354 feet it produces the world’s largest sheet of falling water. The mist produced floats above giving it a cloud-like appearance.¬†


Victoria Falls seen from Zimbabwe – Photo is Public Domain


The Zambezi River is known as the “River of Life” and supports wildlife like this hippo. Photo credit:¬†Bernard Gagnon,¬†Hippopotamus in the Zambezi,¬†CC BY-SA 4.0


Sunset on the Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo credit: Joachim Huber, Zambezi River, Zambia (2546105466), CC BY-SA 2.0


Sunday Special – Utah, USA

Happy New Year! I hope it has started well for everyone. Welcome back to the next Sunday Special. We are close the end of the alphabet, at the letter “U”. So today we’ll take a look at the American state of Utah.¬†

One of the the “Four Corners” states where Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico’s borders converge, Utah is recognized for its¬†varied landscape and natural beauty.¬† It is made up of different geological regions of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin. The result is a terrain filled with diversity such as mountains with lush valleys, arid regions filled with deserts, salt lakes and flats, and sandstone territories filled with incredible bluffs, striking canyons and arches.

With such a variety in natural beauty this state has plenty to offer with 5 national parks: Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Capital Reef. Winter activities of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more are in abundance particularly near Salt Lake City. Head into the Moab area for some challenging mountain bike trails. It seems Utah has much to offer. 

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San Rafael Swell in Utah, USA РPhoto credit:, San Rafael Swell 4892804322, CC BY 2.0


Hoodoos in Utah’s Bryce National Park, USA – Photo credit:¬†James Marvin Phelps,¬†Hoodoos from the Peekaboo Loop Trail – Bryce Canyon National Park,¬†CC BY 2.0


Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, USA – Photo is Public Domain


Sunday Special – Tro√∂dos Region, Cyprus


I like islands. In fact, my “happy place” is an island (that would be Ireland). I’d like to visit many an island in this world simply because it is an island. One of those is the Mediterranean isle of Cyprus. Today we will take a look at its¬†¬†Tro√∂dos Mountain Region¬†which has some interesting things to offer.¬†¬†

This mountainous area of Cyprus is located almost smack in the middle of the island with the mountains covering most of the western portion. The tallest peak is known as Mount Olympus (not to be confused with the one¬†in Greece) or Chionistra,¬† locally.¬† It is home to several ski slopes and resorts that operate January through to April. During the summer months take advantage of the numerous hiking trails and nature walks. Keep an eye out for some of the waterfalls such as Millomeris Falls and Caledonia Falls.¬† Although there are resorts and hotels in the villages in this area you can get closer to nature by camping in the designated areas in Tro√∂dos National Forest Park.¬† The plant life in the area is impressive, including a number of endemic Cypriot varieties.¬† Let’s not forget about the animals as well. Several protected species of birds may be spotted so bring your camera.¬†

For history enthusiasts and the reason I chose to research the Troödos region today is for the UNESCO World Heritage Troödos Region Painted Churches. I am fascinated by religious buildings despite not being religious myself. Perhaps due to the combination of art and architecture, two things that I appreciate. And that budding photographer in me likes to photograph them.  Ten Byzantine monasteries and churches make up this world heritage site. The artwork within the buildings are specific to Cyprus and unique to this particular region of the island. 


Kykkos Monastery (a painted church), Cyprus РPhoto credit: Gerhard Haubold, Kykkos 01 C, CC BY-SA 3.0


Troödos  Mountains, Cyprus РPhoto credit: Tech bro, Troodos Mountains, CC BY-SA 3.0


Millomeris Waterfall, Troödos Mountains in Cyprus РPhoto credit: Dickelbers, Millomeri waterval in troodosgebergte, CC BY-SA 3.0


Sunday Special – R√©union Island

A small island that is blessed with natural beauty is tucked away in the Indian Ocean in the shadows of Madagascar and Mauritius. This isle, known as Réunion Island, is located approximately 700 km / 434 miles east and 200 km / 124 miles southwest of Madagascar and Mauritius, respectively. As a French overseas island it is part of the European Union (E.U.) though it remains outside of the Schengen zone thus retaining its own immigration code.

Regarded mainly for its abundance of hiking trails for all levels (over 900 km / 559 miles) its mountainous and volcanic terrain draws outdoor lovers into its fold. With trails for all experience levels one can take in lush rain forests, peer into the crater of an still active volcano (Piton de la Fournaise), gaze at fields of cane sugar, and even learn about the flora, fauna and geology of the area with a discovery trail. In fact, the island has such incredible topography that 40% of it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Though there is more to Réunion than the volcanoes, cirques and calderas.  Stunning beaches, natural marine reserves, flowing rivers and more. Even though it is a French territory there is a mixture of cultures that add a vibrant element to the islands culture. Peoples from Madagascar, Africa, Europe, and Asia all flavour the culture, music, and the food. This place strikes me as a wonderful place to explore and unwind at the same time. 


Langevin Falls (also known as Grand Galet Falls) in Reunion National Park РPhoto credit: No machine-readable author provided. JoKerozen assumed (based on copyright claims)., Cascade Langevin, CC BY-SA 2.5



Crater of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island РPhoto credit: User: Bbb at wikivoyage shared, ReU PtFournaise KraterDolomieu, CC BY-SA 3.0