More and More Zambians Holiday in the Holy Land

More and More Zambians Holiday in the Holy Land

As Zambians become more affluent, they will naturally begin to enjoy overseas holidays.  Similarly, as relations between Zambia and Israel warm up, it makes sense that Zambians, especially Christians, will holiday in the birthplace of Christianity.  We suggest combining a visit to Egypt, with its pyramids and the Sphynx and Petra in Jordan.

As the three countries are contiguous and both Egypt and Jordan enjoy peaceful co-existence with Israel, such a combination holiday makes a lot of sense for Zambians.

Israeli Geography

The only major geographical advantage Israel has over Zambia is the long coastline.  A warm weekend spent in Tel Aviv should see you walking the beach listening to the many people playing the Israeli paddle game they call matkot.  You won’t be able to figure out the rules of this game because there are none! You’ll also not be able to figure out how they keep score because they don’t!

Israel has highlands in all regions but it would be a mistake to call them mountains.  There is a national trail for hiking the length of the country and many hikes in the river beds that are dry except during the rainy season.

Instead of visiting highlands, we recommend taking a trip to the crater just outside the town of Mitzpe Ramon in the southern desert.  It’s a bit of a long drive so you’ll want to make a full day side trip from Tel Aviv out of it.  The crater is beautiful as the sun hits the walls of the crater.  People come here to collect different coloured sand to make beautiful home ornaments.

Crowded

Israel has the most densely populated region in the world if you cut the country into its northern third and southern two-thirds.  As Israelis of all ethnic groups are quite affluent, there are a lot of cars on the roads and many traffic jams.  You can travel by bus, shared taxi, private taxi, train, or rental car.  GPS and WAZE are very good at helping you get around.

Tel Aviv

This is a bustling metropolis.  Tel Aviv proper was established out of sand dunes only 100 years ago so it is interesting for its historical significance in the repopulation of what was for centuries a desolate country beginning in the late 19th century.

Aside from the coast, Tel Aviv is best known for its café culture.  People come out of their homes fairly late in the evening and then may sit in cafes and sidewalk restaurants until after midnight.  Tel Avivians get around on foot, bicycle, and small motorcycles.  The sidewalks become impromptu carparks for bicycles and motorcycles at all times but especially in the evenings.

Municipally, Tel Aviv is connected to Jaffa with its millennia of history.  Jaffa is undergoing a great renaissance and is well worth a visit.  The outdoor market there is colourful and you might even pick up a real bargain.

Jerusalem

There may be no country in the world in which the contrast between the two most populous cities is as great as in Israel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  Whereas Tel Aviv proper boasts a history only 100 years old, Jerusalem features the walled Old City that dates back more than 3000 years.

Many of the Jewish people of Jerusalem wear unusual clothing that immediately separates them from their modern co-religionists.  Men wear different styles of hats and other head coverings and the married women also wear head coverings.

Moslem women wear the traditional head scarf but you won’t see many full-length burkas.

If you’re in Jerusalem for the weekend, make sure to be there early on Friday and go to the outdoor market called Mahane Yehuda.  Don’t worry if you can’t move a meter.  No one else can!  Everyone is buying food for the Sabbath which begins at sundown Friday evening.  In most parts of Jerusalem, traffic comes to a halt; the roads are empty of cars and people can walk freely in the middle of normally busy streets.

Christian Jerusalem

Every important place name mentioned in the Bible and located in or around Jerusalem is here!  The most popular places to visit are Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Sea of Galilee

The Bible also comes to life at the Sea of Galilee.  Just as heading south is a bit of a drive, heading north is also a bit of a drive so the amount of time you have to spend in Israel will likely determine which Christian sites you see.

No Casinos

Fortunately, there are no land based casinos in Israel.  Thus, they won’t stand as unnecessary temptations.  You can play at any of the South African online casinos you like or take a holiday from online casino play entirely!

Other Main Sites

There are a number of Crusader castles especially in the north.  The most famous is in Acre on the Mediterranean coast.

The Baha’i religion has a beautiful building and magnificent grounds in Haifa just south of Acre.

Zambia and Israel

The two countries are working together in many areas including medicine, high tech, water conservation, and agriculture.  For its size, Israel is the world leader in many fields.

Israel is safe to walk in almost everywhere.  As Africans, if you dress like westerners, you’ll not even turn heads; Israelis have less race consciousness than most people around the world.  If you wear colourful Zambian dress, you’ll turn heads as the locals enjoy seeing exotic people.

Israel has a population of less than eight million and welcomes more than half that number yearly so everyone in Israel is used to seeing foreign visitors.

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