Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’

Ethiopian Visa Requirements to Visit the Konso Cultural Landscape

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

This month’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the newest additions to the list. Ethiopia’s Konso Cultural Landscape was just designated as a World Heritage Site this year. The Konso Cultural Landscape is the ancestral homeland of the Konso people, a group of farmers and herders living in South Central Ethiopia.

According to UNESCO, the site “constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities.”

In addition to showcasing the Konso people’s traditional lifestyle, the Cultural Landscape also contains funeral monuments called wagas. These wooden statues are carved in the likeness of the deceased as well as his family and the person or animal he died fighting. UNESCO says that this funeral tradition is “on the verge of disappearing,” so see them while you can.

To visit Ethiopia, you will need a visa. US citizens flying in to Bole International Airport may apply for an Ethiopian visa on arrival, but be aware that this may complicate your entry into the country. In fact, the Department of State says that tourists arriving without visas may be “significantly delayed.”

If the prospect of being “significantly delayed” in a foreign country after a long flight makes you want to tear your hair out, stop and take a breath. There is another way: you can apply for your Ethiopian visa in advance before you leave the country.

Also, please note that if you’re entering Ethiopia by land, you have to apply for a visa ahead of time.

To get an Ethiopian visa, you need the following documents:

  • 1 completed Ethiopian visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo of yourself
  • A copy of your round-trip itinerary
  • Your US passport

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting an Ethiopian visa before your trip easy and quick. We know you have more important things to do, like packing, so we walk you through the application process to reduce the chance of errors. Then, we deliver your paperwork to the appropriate Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate for the fastest possible service.

Apply for your Ethiopian visa today!

A Chinese Visa: Your Key to Enter the Forbidden City

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site was the home of the last two great Chinese dynasties: the Ming and the Qing. Once, the Forbidden City was the center of the Chinese empire. Nobody could enter or leave without the permission of the emperor, hence the name.

The last emperor of China was kicked out of the palace in 1924, and the Forbidden City is now the Palace Museum, open to anyone who can pay the fees. Still, it continues to impress and delight visitors.

Part of the Forbidden City’s grandeur comes simply from its scale. It is the largest palace complex in the world, and took 15 years to build. When the trees were cut down for the main hall, records indicate that the massive trunks were too big for workers to move.  Instead, they had to wait for floods to wash them into the river, then guide them to the city using boats.

But it’s not just the enormity of the Forbidden City that’s impressive. The entire complex is painstakingly designed and flawlessly executed. UNESCO says that “The buildings of the Forbidden City fully embody the artistic features and style of ancient Chinese palace architecture, and can be called a masterpiece in Chinese, even world, architectural history.”

To see the Forbidden City, you’ll need a passport and a Chinese visa, naturally. To familiarize yourself with the Chinese visa process, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting your visa easy and quick. We’ll take a look at your itinerary and research it to make sure you know what paperwork will be required for each step of your journey. Then, we’ll walk you through the application process with easy-to-follow instructions and helpful checklists, and expedite your visa with the Chinese Embassy for the fastest processing possible.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

Get an Indian Visa to Visit Manas National Park

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best places in the world to see a variety of endangered animals, including the elusive tiger.

Manas National Park is located in the Himalayan foothills in Assam, next to the border with Bhutan. It’s not just a national park, it’s also a Project Tiger Reserve and an elephant reserve. The tiger population within the park is the second-highest in all of India.

Tigers aren’t the only big cats here, either. Leopards and clouded leopards are also present, as well as a variety of smaller wild cats.

The park encompasses both grassland and forest habitats, so the wildlife is quite diverse. In addition to the tigers, notable forest animals include the slow loris, several different types of langurs, sloth bears and an unusual armored anteater called the pangolin. Grassland animals include the Indian rhinoceros, Asian elephant and wild Asian buffalo.

Tourist lodges and bungalows are available for visitors. Tours are available by Jeep, by rafting one of the rivers and by elephant.

First, though, you’ll need a passport and an Indian visa. You must apply for your Indian visa in advance. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your US passport
  • 2 recent passport-sized photos. Eyeglasses are not permitted in the photos and they must have been taken within the past 6 months.
  • A completed Indian visa application form. To ensure that your application is accepted, write neatly and look over the application carefully to catch mistakes. Also, make sure that you enter in “tourism” in the section that asks you to state why you are traveling to India, as opposed to describing the attractions you intend to see while you are there.
  • A copy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
  • A legible copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill showing your name and address.
  • A copy of your birth certificate.

When you apply for your Indian visa with RushMyTravelVisa, our trained visa specialists will focus on making your experience as hassle-free as possible. We’ll help you with the paperwork and expedite your visa with the Indian embassy for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indian visa today!

Get a Russian Visa to Visit Lake Baikal

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Here are some fun facts about Russia’s Lake Baikal, this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site:

  • Lake Baikal was formed about 30 million years ago, making it the world’s oldest lake.
  • At 1,700 meters deep, it’s also the deepest lake in the world.
  • Over 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water is found inside Lake Baikal.
  • Lake Baikal is home to many species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on earth. Because of its rich biodiversity, it is often called the “Galapagos of Russia.”
  • The lake is formed by the deepest continental rift in the world.

UNESCO added Lake Baikal to the World Heritage List in 1996, calling it “the most outstanding example of a freshwater ecosystem.”

In addition to the lake itself, the surrounding landscape is a striking mix of mountains, tundra and ancient forests. Activities for visitors include hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing, cruising, visiting hot springs, scuba diving and touring the area’s many museums and cultural artifacts.

You need a visa to visit Russia- unfortunately, this may be one of the hardest parts of getting to Siberia. Russia’s visa system has a well-deserved reputation for being bureaucratic and hard to navigate. Here’s what you need to get a tourist visa: (more…)

Get a Chinese Visa to Visit the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

You could literally spend weeks touring this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas includes 1.7 million hectares of land inside China’s Three Parallel Rivers National Park.

The three rivers in question are among the largest and most important in Asia: the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Salween. Although their courses take them far away from each other, they run roughly parallel in Yunnan province, slicing deep gorges into the steep mountains.

According to UNESCO, “The deep, parallel gorges of the Jinsha, Lancang and Nu Jiang are the outstanding natural feature of the site; while large sections of the three rivers lie just outside the site boundaries, the river gorges are nevertheless the dominant scenic element in the area. High mountains are everywhere, with the glaciated peaks of the Meili, Baima and Haba Snow Mountains providing a spectacular scenic skyline.”

The Three Parallel Rivers National Park also protects an amazingly diverse collection of flora and fauna. UNESCO calls it “one of the world’s most important remaining areas for the conservation of the earth’s biodiversity. Inside the protected areas you’ll find 3 different species of leopard, monkeys, gibbons, the red panda, a type of “goat antelope” called the takin and many others.

The region is also home to 25 different minority groups, many of whom still live in their original villages and have clung to their traditional culture.

To visit this World Heritage Site, you’ll need a valid passport and a Chinese visa. You must apply for your visa before you leave the US – while many countries allow US citizens to apply for a visa on arrival at the airport, China is not one of them. For more information about what you need, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting your Chinese visa easier than ever. Our visa specialists cut through the red tape with clear, easy to understand instructions and a helpful checklist. We’ll assist you with the paperwork and expedite your Chinese visa application for the fastest possible processing.

Let us help you with your Chinese visa application today!

Zimbabwe Visa Requirements to See the Rock Art of Matobo Hills

Monday, February 21st, 2011

If you visit this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll see some of the most incredible rock art in all of Africa. The Matobo Hills of Zimbabwe have been inhabited for many thousands of years, since well before the dawn of agriculture. The area’s distinctive boulders and caves form natural shelters that humans have long taken advantage of. The name Matobo means “Bald Heads” in the language of the Ndebele people.

According to the World Heritage website, “The Matobo Hills has one of the highest concentrations of rock art in Southern Africa. The rich evidence from archaeology and from the rock paintings at Matobo provide a very full picture of the lives of foraging societies in the Stone Age and the way agricultural societies came to replace them.”

There are several camps for tourists in and around the national park. In addition to the prehistoric rock art, the Matobo Hills are also a great place to view endangered African wildlife such as rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest and ostrich.

To enter Zimbabwe, US citizens will need a valid passport and a Zimbabwe visa. You’ll also need to be able to show a return ticket and prove that you have enough money in the bank to support yourself. You can get your visa at the border or in the airport, or you can apply for one in advance from the Embassy of Zimbabwe.

To apply for a Zimbabwe visa, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • 2 completed application forms
  • 2 passport photos

Also, if you will be entering or exiting Zimbabwe via South Africa, you need to have at least 2 completely blank pages in the back of your passport per entry-otherwise South Africa won’t let you in.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get the visas you need for your next trip to Africa. We’ll research your itinerary, walk you through the paperwork and expedite your visas for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Zimbabwe visa today!

Get a Kenyan Visa to Visit Lake Turkana

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest permanent desert lake in the world. Lake Turkana is located in Kenya along the border with Ethiopia. Sometimes called the Jade Sea, this salt lake surrounds an active volcano on Central Island.

Lake Turkana is a salt lake, but it’s not nearly as salty as the Dead Sea, and animals like fish, crocodiles and birds thrive there. In addition to the crocs, large numbers of scorpions and poisonous snakes make it a dangerous place for tourists to travel unguided. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go, only that you this park is best visited as part of an organized tour with a reputable tour group.

The Lake Turkana World Heritage Site consists of 3 protected national parks: Sibiloi National Park, Central Island National Park and South Island National Park. It was added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. UNESCO says, “The Lake Turkana ecosystem with its diverse bird life and desert environment offers an exceptional laboratory for studies of plant and animal communities.”

For non-scientists, that translates to excellent wildlife watching. In addition to the crocodiles that live in the lake and the migratory birds that make it a temporary home, herds of zebras, giraffe and antelopes roam the shore, hunted by prides of lion and by cheetahs.

When visiting this particular World Heritage Site, do be careful! The State Department released a travel warning regarding Kenya in December 2010 – read the full text here so that you know what the hazards are and how to protect yourself.

Despite the risks, Lake Turkana is a sight worth seeing. If you want to go, you’ll need a passport and a Kenyan visa. (more…)

Tanzania Visa Requirements to Visit the Serengeti National Park

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

You’ve probably seen this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site in numerous nature shows. The Serengeti National Park is one of the most famous national parks not only in Tanzania, but in all of Africa. You know all of those “Trials of Life” type specials that show wildebeests, antelopes and zebras as they migrate in search of water? Yup, that happens here.

The “Great Migration” happens twice a year, in October and then again in April. More than 2 million animals participate, and herds of wildebeests, eland, gazelles and zebra literally fill the horizon. Naturally, lions and other predators fallow the herds, looking for stragglers. It’s an amazing, unforgettable event.

Of course, even if you aren’t there for the Great Migration, there’s still plenty of wildlife to see in the Serengeti National Park. The park is home to around 3,000 lions, a population which is believed to the largest in all of Africa. There are also about 1,000 leopards, a small but recovering population of African elephant and many African buffalo. Plus, the park is home to a precious few black rhinos, survivors of decades of poaching. And of course, there are countless antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, hyenas and other animals.

The Serengeti National Park became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. Even at 5,700 square miles, the park only encompasses a small fragment of the Serengeti ecosystem. For a more complete experience, you could also visit Ngorongoro Conservation Unit, also in Tanzania, and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Tanzanian Visa Requirements (more…)

Get a Tajikistan Visa to Visit the Ancient Ruins of Sarazm

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Tajikistan is one of those countries that’s often overlooked by American travelers, and with some good reasons. It’s a relatively undeveloped country, and tourist facilities are often non-existent.

Still, if you don’t mind roughing it, a trip to Tajikistan can be an amazing experience. The scenery – golden steppes, towering mountains and isolated lakes – is simply breathtaking.

Visiting this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site gives you a chance to take in the scenery and get a close look at the ruins of one of the country’s oldest settlements.

The city of Sarazm dates back to the 4th millennium BC, which makes it older than the Egyptian pyramids. It was abandoned in 2000 BC, but came to life again as a mining town about 500 years later. Many of the tools and structures unearthed by archaeologists were used for metalworking.

A visit to Sarazm is often included in tours of the Zeravshan Valley. Arranging travel through a tour operator or travel agent is probably the way to go, given the logistical difficulties that traveling in Tajikistan can sometimes present.

You’ll also need a Tajikistan visa. If you’re visiting as a tourist, you’ll need to obtain one before you leave the US. The following documents are required: (more…)

Get a Gambian Visa to Visit the Senegambian Stone Circles

Friday, January 21st, 2011

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage site is located in the Gambia. The Stone Circles of Senegambia are located in four different groups along the River Gambia. Scientists believe they were built over more than a millennium, from 3 BC to the 16th century AD.

The origins of these circles remain somewhat mysterious. Archaeologists believe that they were used to mark burial sites, and were possibly built on top of older graves. Other than that, nobody is sure what specific beliefs motivated the people who lived there to build so many stone circles. There is no doubt that the monuments are impressive, however, and just as with Stonehenge, half the fun of visiting them is speculating about who built them and why.

According to the UNESCO site, “the survival of so many circles is a unique manifestation of construction and funerary practices which persisted for over a millennia and a half across a large sweep of landscape, and reflects a sophisticated and productive society.”

To visit the stone circles, you’ll need a valid US passport and a Gambian visa. In theory, you might be able to get a visa on arrival, but the US Department of State advises against it, saying, “there are no uniform procedures for Gambian immigration officials and the best way to avoid any potential problem is to get a visa before entering the country.”

If you’re visiting the Gambia as a tourist, here’s what you’ll need to get a visa:

  • Your passport. Check the expiration date, cause if it’s not good for at least 6 months after the date you plan to enter the Gambia, there will be no visa for you. Also, make sure there’s at least one completely blank page in back.
  • A copy of your itinerary.
  • 2 passport photos

RushMyTravelVisa will be glad to help you get your Gambian visa. When you apply through us, you’ll get your own personal visa specialist to help you with the application. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes that could lead to delays, and we’ll expedite your visa for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Gambian visa today!