Our top 6 ideas in May

Migration, Northern Tanzania

Annual wildebeest migration - Tanzania and Kenya

The annual wildebeest migration across the plains of the Serengeti and Masai Mara are perhaps the most astonishing wildlife pageant in Africa. Each year at the end of the rainy season (normally the end of May), hundreds of thousands of wildebeest move north from the Serengeti in Tanzania into Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of greener pastures. Wildebeest arrive in the Masai Mara during July and August and are joined by countless herds of gazelle, antelope and zebra, their progress keenly watched by the ever-present predators who relish this ready-made source of food. You are likely to see lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas shadowing the herds, picking off the weak and young along the way as the dramatic cycle of life is played out before your very eyes. Bales offer special group departures providing an unforgettable opportunity to witness what is one of nature’s most powerful events.

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Lantern Festival, China

The lantern festival holds an historical significance as well as the opportunity to marvel at intricate and colourfully decorated lanterns which line the streets of China. Guessing "lantern riddles" is an essential part of the Festivals with riddles written on a piece of paper and posted on the lanterns. Those who have the solution to the riddle can check their answers with the lantern owners. if right, they receive a gift.

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LAINK Machu Picchu

Inca Trail, Peru

May is one of the best months to hike the Inca Trail in Peru.  Marking the end of the rainy season, vegetation should be green and it will be mostly dry. May is also not as chilly or as busy as June to August, which are the peak months. In fact, it’s a great time generally for walking and trekking. 

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Morocco

Storytellers of Marrakech - Morocco

The heirs to a long oral tradition, storytellers continue this ancient narrative art to the delight of their listeners, whether Moroccans or tourists. The most famous storytellers hold court on the Place Jema El-Fna in Marrakech. Endless stories transport listeners to a world full of adventures and travel. A magical world where good triumphs over Evil. Listeners huddled in a circle round the storytellers are so absorbed by the unfolding action that they lose track of time. Stories and storyteller here are an integral part of popular culture. Isn't it said that stories are created by and for the people? Stories have in fact long been anonymous, meaning that they belong to everyone. The story may include a moral aspect; others are intended to explain the wonders and horrors of the world. But the storyteller also practices his art to entertain and amuse his audience, with grotesque or charming characters and imagined or idealized places. Everything is done to enable the audience to escape the banality of everyday life. So during a trip to Morocco, and especially Marrakech, take the time to attend one of these extraordinary street shows. Preferably with a local guide to explain to you all the subtleties of this popular art.

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A Taste of Morocco (Superior)

Morocco's Maussem Festivals 

Both religious festivals and commercial fairs, moussems are above all an opportunity for Moroccans to come together and share their cultural identity. A moussem is firstly a religious festival, bringing people together who have sometimes travelled a long way to celebrate and honour a saint. One of the most famous is that devoted to betrothals in Imilchil. Here the spiritual moments are lived alongside commercial exchanges and it is a real celebration for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Further south, towards Tan-Tan, the camel market is classified as Intangible Heritage by Unesco. The rose moussem held every May is near Ouarzazate in Kelaat M’Gouna. This is an opportunity for travellers to buy creams, incense and soap perfumed with Damascus rose. A moussem generally involves paying homage to a saint, a Sidi, a man of faith who did something remarkable during his lifetime. But they could be just to celebrate the changing seasons and harvests, such as the date festival in Erfoud held in September, on the edge of the desert, or the honey moussemm (May) in Immouzer Ida Outanane near Agadir. 

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9-geisha

Kyoto Matsuri, Japan

Some five hundred people wearing ancient costumes and traditional make-up parade through the main streets of Kyoto. This festival came to be called Aoi Matsuri because aoi (hollyhock) leaves are used as decoration on the people's costumes, and even on those of the horses and cows.

This festival reproduces the procession of officials delivering the Emperor's message and offerings to the two shrines of Shimogamo and Kamigamo. In this light, the most important position held in the parade is the messenger on horseback wearing a gold sword at his side, who is followed by a train of attendants. The highlight of the procession is the parade of women accompanying the proxy of the imperial princess serving the deities. The role of this heroine is selected from among all unmarried women living in Kyoto. She must dress in the formal style of the imperial court, in other words, 12 layers of kimono, weighing 30 kg in total.

The procession leaves Kyoto Imperial Palace, where the Emperor used to work and reside until 1869, stops by at Shimogamo-jinja Shrine and finally arrives at Kamigamo-jinja Shrine around 15:30. Upon arrival of the procession, dance performances and horse events take place.

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