5 Amazing Ways Technology Has Changed The Way We Travel

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Technology has beamed its searchlight in almost every sector you can think of including the travel industry. For example, today, you can easily open an app on your smartphone, decide where you want to go, book your flights and hotels in under 15 minutes and before you know it, you’re all set for your quick weekend getaway. Technology has undoubtedly changed the face of travel and made travelling so much easier.

We look back at how travel has changed over the years.

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1.Staying in touch

While on the go, you’d send back pretty postcards, write letters and occasionally spend on that long-distance phone call from the hotel reception, or a local phone booth. Staying in touch certainly wasn’t easy and most people back home didn’t expect to hear from you unless it was an emergency. Now, free WiFi hotspots at airports and cafés make it so easy to email, Skype and Tweet as much and as often as you like.

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2. Booking the hotel/flight

Brochures were the lifesaver in the past. You have no choice than to go through hotel brochures, ask friends where they have stayed during their holiday and then actually phone the hotel to book a room. While doing all this, you do not know if you will like the room or not. Now, we have Online Travel Agencies like Jumia Travel now provides everything you need to know about the hotel you want to book including room pictures and review. This is almost the same for flight.

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3. Learning local language

You can travel anywhere in the world today and can communicate with ease without any difficulty. This is because you can learn or understand any language you want with the aid of apps like Google Translate, iTranslate or Waygo. These apps can help you dialogue with the locals.

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4. Determining your destination

In the past, you have to exhaustively look over holiday brochures at a travel agent’s office, buy guidebooks or taking a friend’s recommendation when it came to deciding where to go. But today, you can easily Google any destination and all the information you need will be at your fingertips within seconds.

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5. Taking photographs

There was nothing like a selfie in the pre-technology travel age. However, presently you can take as many pictures as you so desire and even share them on any of your desired social media platforms. Smartphones have made this very easy and clearly, these gadgets are a huge threat to digital cameras.


Meet Omowunmi Sadik, inventor of biosensors that detect bombs

Omowunmi Sadik…photo credit: Guardian Nigeria


 Omowunmi Sadik is the inventor of microelectrode biosensors that can detect foreign materials and can be used to spot drugs or explosives.

Sadik is a surface chemist, inventor, and college instructor. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1964.  In 1985, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lagos. She also obtained a Master’s degree in chemistry in 1987.  In 1994, she earned her PhD from Wollongong University in Australia.

Sadik is the recipient of several fellowships to include the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the National Research Council to name a few.

She is also a collaborator with the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, UNESCO in Romania, Turkey, and Japan; and previously a panel member for the National Institution of Health on Instrumentation and Systems Development.

According to patent number 20060275786A1, the request for the patent was filed on December 7, 2006.  Sadik also has patents for additional distinct biosensors.

In 2012, Sadik in conjunction with Barbara Karn formed the not-for-profit Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization.

Sadik is currently a professor at Binghamton University in Upstate, New York while formulating technology that will recycle metal ions from waste for industrial and environmental purposes.

Omolara Adagunodo: “Lagosians Don’t Explore Lagos”

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Lagos is unarguably the most developed and most sophisticated city in Nigeria. Normally, the over 20 million Lagos population should explore places of interest in the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. Surprisingly, this is not the case as Lagosians do not explore Lagos.

This concern was expressed by Omolara Adagunodo, the Managing Director of Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, at the meetup put together by Funmi Oyatogun, the founder/CEO of TVP adventures at the Social Media Week Lagos.

Adagunodo who spoke on the theme, “Help! Can Nigeria Meet My Travel Needs?” said:  “There is no single state in Nigeria that has fully maximised the potential of tourism. If you stay in Lagos for two days as a tourist, there are many places to visit like Nike Art Gallery, Terra Culture, and Hard Rock Cafe. Unfortunately, Lagosians don’t explore Lagos. How many people have been to Omu Resort or Epe Resort?”

While responding to how Jumia Travel is contributing to meet the travel needs of Nigerians, Adagunodo said the company is doing this in two ways: democratising travel and allowing tour operators to sell and market local packages.

Her words: “For democratising travel, we reached out to the hotels to lower their prices. They were sceptical at first but they gradually embraced the idea and bookings went up. Consequently, customers travelled more because they can now afford to pay for hotels. As for tour operators, we opened up our platform for tour operators to sell their local packages after being vetted.”

On the lack of data in the hospitality and tourism sector, Adagunodo stressed that Jumia Travel is doing its bits to provide reliable and verifiable data by publishing a yearly report on the Nigerian hospitality industry.

In his contribution, Dikko Nwachukwu said that Jetwest Airways is tapping into technology, innovation and creativity to cut the prices of air travel. His words: “Travelling by air is extremely expensive for most people. In the last four or five years in Nigeria, 10 million people travelled by air while over 70 million travel by road around the country. Although the environment is very unfriendly, we cannot allow this to stop us from actually trying to find solutions through innovation and creativity to lower the cost of air travel.”

5 Visa Application Tips Every Nigerian Should Know

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Visa applications don’t have to be the tedious process that they can sometimes be, as long as you have the right information on the things to do to aid a smooth visa application process.

Here are 5 visa application tips that can aid a smooth and possibly successful visa application process.

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1.Ensure Your Documents are Well Organized

Make sure documents are properly arranged and in order, both the original documents and the photocopies. This is so it can be easier for you to retrieve relevant documents on request during submission, which can help to greatly reduce your anxiety during the process and improve your composure.

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2. Try to Apply Early

Much like ensuring your documents are well organized, applying early helps eliminate the anxiety and stress that comes with late applications. During your visa application process, an important thing you will be assessed on, especially during the interview, is your level of composure, and eliminating minor things that can interfere with or compromise your ability to remain calm and composed should be top of mind. It is thus best to put in your visa application early, so no matter how long the visa processing takes or the delays that come up, there will be no need for you to panic or be agitated.

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3. Visa Agents Cannot Guarantee You a Visa

You would think that most people would know this by now but many of us still fall prey to scammers that erroneously make us believe that they can guarantee us a visa provided we do this and that, or pay so and so amount. Basically, for a successful visa application, you need to be able to show proof of your genuine intent and your financial capacity to sustain yourself for the duration. There is no agent that can do this for you or guarantee you this regardless of how much you pay them, the best they can do is help fill the necessary forms properly and see that you have all the documentation required. At the end of the day, the consul will typically decide on your application based on your documents and your responses to the interview (where it is required, like in the US).

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4. Try To Show Proof of Strong Socio-Economic Ties

Try to prove that you have strong socio-economic reasons like a good job, investments, sufficient funds etc., to return to your home country at the end of the specified period for the visa. In fact, being able to prove this is so important that according to the US Embassy, the 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa . . . that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status . . .” So visa officers really only just want to make sure that after your trip is over, you will return back to your country, and the best way you can do that is to prove that you have strong socio-economic ties in your home country that can encourage you to return. Some evidence of strong socio-economic ties that are considered are business ownership, employment, social and family relationships etc.

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5. Avoid Mistakes in Your Visa Application

Avoid slangs, big grammar or ambiguous phrases that can lead to avoidable mistakes on your visa application. During the application and even during the interview (where it applies), you should try to keep your responses ‘short, simple and straight to the point’. It is much easier to avoid mistakes this way. Also, during interviews (in cases it applies), be sure that your answers are in line with what is written on the forms submitted.


Safety Tips For A Travelling Group

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Traveling with a group can be exceedingly fun for everyone involved, but it does not come without complexities. If you are the leader of a group trip, then you may want to take note of these safety tips:

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1.Pair your travellers

Endeavour to pair your travellers and ask each person to remain with each other at all times. Instruct each person in the group to alert the group leader when their assigned buddy or partner is out of sight.

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2. Pick your hotel wisely

Reach out to someone who is familiar with the cities you are visiting and is able to help you select a location that is safe and group-friendly.

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3. Do a door check

As the group leader, before you head to bed, check every external door to make sure they are bolted. If you can, you can check to ensure that everyone is in their rooms. This is especially important if you are travelling to big cities.

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4. Emergency contact

If almost everyone in your group has a smartphone, then make sure the members of the group have the phone number for the leader and one more group member to their contact list. Also, make sure everyone has taken note of the address and phone number of the hotel where the group is staying.

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5. Have an agreed meeting spot

If your group is visiting a large attraction, then pick a centrally located spot and turn it into the rendezvous spot, should someone become separated from the group.

SERAP Writes UN, Wants Herdsmen Attacks Treated As Terrorism

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the UN Security Council and its members urging them to: “Urgently hold a special session on Nigeria and to visit the country to press the authorities to end continuing killings and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen across Nigeria, particularly in the North-central of the country.”

The organisation also asked the council to: “treat the atrocities by herdsmen as terrorist acts, in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), which addresses Boko Haram’s presence in the Lake Chad Basin and calls on all states to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism. Declaring attacks by herdsmen as terrorist acts would help make up the authorities to seriously address the threats posed by herdsmen and combat the crimes against humanity being committed against Nigerians.”

In the letter dated March 16, 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organisation expressed, “serious concern that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is failing to uphold its responsibility to protect the citizens from increasing atrocities by the herdsmen, which if not urgently addressed would pose serious threat to regional peace and security, and by extension, international peace and security. The Security Council must act now to protect Nigerians, including women and children, if the Council is not to be accused of failing the people of Nigeria.”

The organisation said: “The attacks by herdsmen have uprooted families, destroyed communities’ socio-economic activities, and taken away their livelihoods and common heritage. These attacks undermine the very purposes and principles of the UN Charter. If not urgently combated, such attacks may rise to the level of threat to international peace and security. SERAP notes that the first ‘purpose’ listed for the UN is to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace.

The letter read in part: “SERAP urges the Security Council and its members to publicly condemn these terrorist attacks, express concern about the protection of Nigerians and communities affected by the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and press the authorities to put in place special mechanisms for bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice, and victims to receive redress, including adequate compensation and guarantee of non-repetition.

“The Security Council and its members should reaffirm that terrorism of all forms and manifestations, such as the growing attacks by herdsmen in Nigeria, are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations. They should also recognise that security, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and are vital to an effective and comprehensive approach to countering all forms of terrorism in Nigeria.

“The Security Council and its members should adopt a resolution to: characterise killings by herdsmen as terrorist acts and mobilize international support for Nigeria to combat these attacks, including for the authorities to adopt and implement measures to tackle the causes and consequences of these attacks and end all forms of terrorism in the country.

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“The resolution should also call on the UN Secretary-General to carry out a joint visit to Nigeria with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the African Union Peace and Security Council to investigate allegations of killings by herdsmen and to better understand the root causes of these killings and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to end them.

“The resolution should express concern that unabated killings by herdsmen may ultimately contribute to undermining the ability of the Nigerian authorities to provide security, good governance, social and economic development in the country. It should affirm the international community’s solidarity and full support for the victims of killings by herdsmen and the communities affected, including those displaced because of the attacks.

“The Security Council and its members should support collaboration with the African Union Peace and Security Council to combat the threats posed by herdsmen and enable both institutions to support stability and development in Nigeria. We believe that a UN Security Council resolution would help to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to take urgent and concrete measures to end the killings and secure the safety of all Nigerians. We urge you to act urgently as recommended, and we would be pleased to discuss these issues further.

“SERAP notes that hundreds of people including women and children, have been killed apparently by herdsmen, and several more have been displaced and others forced to flee their homes and communities. The past weeks alone have seen some of the worst attacks against innocent citizens, including unlawful killings, destruction and pillage of property by herdsmen across the country. The attacks have been fuelled by impunity that has plagued the authorities’ response to the problem.

“According reports, at least seven people have been killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed following series of attacks on Takum and Ussa local government areas of Taraba State by herdsmen. In Plateau State of Nigeria, a man identified as Joseph Alli, 23, was killed and beheaded by herdsmen during a fresh attack on Rotsu village, Miango District in Bassa Local Government Area of the State.”

“His killers reportedly ate the food that he was about to eat, burnt the kitchen and food barn in the house and left. Three houses around the area were also burnt. In Kogi State, at least 50 people have been killed, with several still missing following an attack on Oganenigwu in Dekina Local Government Area of the State by herdsmen.”

The Security Council has five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. The non-permanent members are: Bolivia; Côte d’Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; and Kazakhstan. Others are: Kuwait; Netherlands; Peru; Poland; and Sweden.

The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names. The current president of the council is the Netherlands.

7 Bootstrapping Tricks For First-time Entrepreneurs

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Not all startups have the luxury of getting investors from the very beginning. So, you have to fund your business out of your own pocket. This is what is called bootstrapping.

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While this is a good way to start a business, bootstrapping is more difficult than it might seem especially for first-time entrepreneurs.

Here are 7 bootstrapping tricks to make funding your own business easier.

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1.Carefully pick your co-founder

When bootstrapping, the majority of the work is done internally, so co-founders need to complement each other’s skill sets. If you’re good at different things, you have a better shot at being able to do everything between the two of you thus keeping expenses low.

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2. Have a business model that generates cash ASAP

The most successful bootstrapped companies have a business model that generates cash as quickly as possible. Without any cash inflow, you will exhaust your cash pool before gaining any serious traction.

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3. Reduce personal expenses

Without a salary, you won’t have money to spend–so don’t expect to live a luxury life when first starting your company. Consider every purchase and only spend what’s necessary.

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4. Do not outsource jobs you can do yourself

When bootstrapping, hiring someone for a job you could do yourself is a foolhardy expense. So, whether you are very busy or not, you should never outsource jobs you can do yourself.

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5. Watch out for intending investors

Bootstrapping does not mean you should not watch out for prospective investors. So, keep an eye out for people who may be willing and able to invest in your business. Build relationships with them, but don’t ask for money until the time is right.

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6. Start marketing before you think you’re ready

Many entrepreneurs wait until their product is ready before they start marketing. This is not advisable especially if you are offering a product that people are interested in. Therefore, find good, cheap, effective ways to reach your potential customer in the early stages of your business. And whatever profits you do make, put as much back into marketing as you can.

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7. Invest instead of spending

Don’t spend money on anything that doesn’t have the ability to put money directly back into your business. View the expense of these items as an investment, but be sure the investment has the ability to provide you with a positive Return On Investment.

7 Interesting Facts About African Traditional Religions

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African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on.

Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people.

There is a lot to learn about African traditional religions, and a lot of interesting facts to explore. We share 6 interesting facts about African traditional religions.

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1.It’s Highly Dynamic

African traditional religions are not static but very dynamic, largely because they are constantly reacting to various shifting influences such as old age, modernity and technological advances.

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2. They are Based More on Lived Traditions

African traditional religions are not so much based on faith as they are based on lived traditions. This is seen in the fact that they are more concerned with rituals, ceremonies and lived practices, than they are with doctrines and belief systems.

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3. Concerns For Health, Wealth and Procreation are Central To The Core of African Religions

It is because of this core concern that African traditional religions develop institutions for healing, commerce and general well-being of their own practitioners, as well as adherents of other religions.

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4. It’s Not Based on Conversion

A practitioner of African traditional religion is unlikely to attempt to convert a non-practitioner into his/her religious beliefs and practices. They simply believe in living their faith and attempting a peaceful coexistence with others who are of differing religious traditions that live among them.

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5. Women Play Key Roles in This Religions

African traditional religions have very profound internal gender relations and dynamics. Women, as well as men, play key roles in African religions as there many female goddesses, priestesses, diviners and other figures revered in African religious traditions and practices. The reverence of women, as well as men, in African traditional religions is so profound, that many feminist scholars have used these traditions as reference points to advocate for the rights of women in African societies. For indigenous African religions, the role of gender is complementary in such a way that a ‘confluence of male and female forces must operate in harmony’.

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6. It Provides Strong Linkages Between The Life of Humans and the World of Ancestors

As a result of these strong linkages, African religions provide a platform for humans to maintain constant and symbiotic relationships with their ancestors. These ancestors are understood to be intimately concerned and involved in their descendants’ everyday affairs.

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A Candomblé priest (babalorishá) dances during the ritual ceremony in honor to Yemanjá. IMAGE CREDIT: Jan Sochor Photography

7. Traditional African religions have gone global!

The Trans-Atlantic slave trade led to the growth of African-inspired traditions in the Americas such as Candomblé in Brazil, Santería in Cuba, or Vodun in Haïti. Furthermore, many in places like the US and the UK have converted to various traditional African religions, and the importance of the diaspora for these religions is growing rapidly. African religions have also become a major attraction for those in the diaspora who travel to Africa on pilgrimages because of the global reach of these traditions.

There are quite a number of revival groups and movements whose main aim is to ensure that the tenants and practice of African indigenous religion that are threatened survive. These can be found all over the Americas and Europe.

Welcome to the new Green World of Farmcrowdy

The Nigerian agricultural sector is gradually becoming a focal point of discussions as the economy continues to recover from recession.

On today’s edition of Office Tours, we visit the headquarters of Farmcrowdy, a digital agricultural platform that is simplifying the level of involvement of corporate and non-corporate Nigerians in the agricultural sector.

Farmcrowdy matches indigenous farmers with sponsors and at the end of the farm cycle, the proceeds are shared between farmers and sponsors.

So far, Farmcrowdy has sponsored 6,170 farm units with the help of 996 sponsors. The platform has engaged 3,088 farmers across eight Nigerian states through the company’s outreaches.

 Join me as we see the new space where the humans of Farmcrowdy work out of!

On arrival, you are greeted by a map of Africa artwork

The faces on the map are those of farmers, field specialists and individuals impacted by the platform.

A walk through the entrance reveals the comfy reception area

The carpet grass on the wall is a deliberate choice because Farmcrowdy is about agriculture. Early spoiler: There’s green in almost all parts of the office.

We move on to the ‘Engine Room’

The Engine Room is an open space that is void of cubicles or dividers. Every table represents a department.

The empty seats are those of field specialists who are barely in the office

The field specialists engage farmers and help them in various capacities for optimum farm production.

A screen on the wall shows realtime updates on milestones reached

The company’s motto is clearly visible on the wall to remind everyone of the collective goal of ’empowering farmers’.

There’s an indoor event space that doubles as an interview area

And here is the Community Wall, which represents the 23 early team members of Farmcrowdy

Each member has been promised a bottle of champagne in their name if the company reaches the desired valuation as a business in 2018

Green Room / Meeting Room

For every busy office there’s need for some privacy and that is what the green room is meant for. Cozy furniture surrounded by tree imagery on both sides of the wall.

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Sleeping Pod

Most tech companies are known for long extended work hours. To cater to the need for a nap, there’s a room designated for that purpose.

Meeting Area/Private Workspace

Working in an open space can be distracting sometimes. Employees who require less distraction can use the private workspace.

The Yellow Room

Eating takes place here. There’s an in-house cook that uses a menu created by the staff to provide lunch meals.

Staff Lounge

The staff lounge is a display of Farmcrowdy’s flexible work structure.

Employees are encouraged to ‘play hard and also work hard’. The space is a large room with bean bags, a couch, snooker table, console games and everything fun. It’s a relaxation centre or, rather, a cool off zone.

Conference Room

Balcony/Outdoor Events Space

Outdoor company events happen here. Employees who need some fresh air while working with limited level of disturbance can also use this space.

Our tour through Farmcrowdy’s office shows a company culture that embraces openness and a lot of employee interaction. The interior design of the office space is based on input from various members of the team. Big thumbs up to Farmcrowdy.

CREDITS: Office Tours is a production of techpoint.ng

4 Best Foods From North Africa

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The North African cuisine is the product of a chain of historical, cultural and topographical factors. These regions’ cuisine was influenced by ancient trade routes and links with Europe. Interestingly, the cuisine of North Africa: Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria is packed full of colourful spice mixtures.

Here are 4 of the best North African dishes to try.

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Shakshouka is a Tunisian dish that has spread across North Africa. It can be served for breakfast, lunch or as part of an evening meal. It is made up of chopped onions, chili peppers, tomatoes and cumin, cooked in a skillet to form a rich sauce in which a couple of eggs are poached.

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2. Harira

Harira is a soup served in Algeria and Morocco. It is always eaten during the Holy Month of Ramadan. It can also be eaten throughout the year as a snack or appetizer. There’s no set method or recipe for making harira. It can be made with pieces of lamb, chicken or beef. Extra spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric are often added to prep up the taste.

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3. Couscous

Couscous is the staple food of North Africa of steamed semolina that can be served as an accompaniment with plates of vegetables, or eaten by itself. There are lots of variations depending on which North African destination you find yourself.

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4. Tajine

Tajine takes its name from the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The tajine dish is a slow-cooked stew and can be made up of all sorts of ingredients chicken, lamb, beef, fish or vegetables, stewed with spices and dried fruit and served with couscous and bread.