International Women’s Day: African Cities and Destinations Named after Women.

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Primarily set to celebrate women’s achievement in social, political and economic, observance of the International Women’s Day originated from the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. This was a call for respect, recognition and appreciation of women. Its observance has since evolved to a globally acclaimed day set aside to celebrate as well as put into perspective challenges faced by women in different sectors. This year’s theme for IWD is – Make it Happen: a call to see to the advancement of women. Here is a list by Jumia Travel, constituting African destinations named after historic women who have largely and in unique ways contributed to the recognition or advancement of the same.

Cleopatra’s Beach – Egypt

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As wrote Plutarch the philosopher, “her own beauty was not in and itself completely incomparable, nor the sort to astound; but interaction with her was captivating and her character stimulating”. And so would every woman want to be defined! Cleopatra was the last queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty who ruled Egypt nearly 300 hundred years ago, and is said to be the last true Pharaoh. Although recognized for her willpower and strength in leadership, most artworks depict her as a feminine goddess, one whose charming demeanor and physical beauty would prove useful in liaisons and mergers.

Named after this true queen of femme fatale, Cleopatra’s beach located opposite Marsa Matrouh (a seaport off the Mediterranean in Egypt) exudes the same bewitching beauty and wonder. Marked by strange looking rock crops and strong waves, the waters here are not very friendly for swimmers but tourists can relax in the pool where Cleopatra is said to have bathed with her lover Mark Anthony. The beach is popular for sunbathes and exploration of the queen’s palace ruins.

 Victoria Falls City – Zimbabwe

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Borrowing its name from the world famous, “Victoria Falls”, this town carries on the legend of Queen Victoria who still holds record as the longest serving monarch. Located on the western end of the falls, the thundering sounds of the falls and the mysterious mist of the plummeting waters can be vividly witnessed from the town. Victoria Falls City has been in existence since the exploration of hydroelectric power in 1901. The falls however had been discovered about 50 years earlier by Dr. David Livingstone who named them in honor of the Queen of Great Britain. Queen Victoria displayed a great understanding of constitutional principles and governance as well as the rights and gender equality. Victoria’s reign saw great expansion and advances in communication, transportation and industrialization, thus distinguishing her contribution to the Britain we know today.

Zaria –Kaduma State, Nigeria

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Zaria, a major city of Kaduna state in Northern Nigeria inherited this now popular feminine name from Queen Amina’s youngest sister. The Queen reigned over the medieval kingdom and several scholars writing on the rule of Queen Amina have described her as one to ‘step where no man dared’. Throughout her reign, Amina is said to have expanded the Zazzau Kingdom through waging wars on her neighbors and conquering surrounding cities. Today, Zaria is a well-recognized destination which indulges her touring visitors in the state’s attractions such as the ancient Nok culture center – a significant cultural center for one of the best-known African culture, the scenic Kagoro Hills, Kamuku National Park and the famous Zaria City walls. Accommodation in Zaria is quite developed with hotels such as Rila Mu’am Castle Hotel and Hotel 7teen Limited available online on Travel.Jumia.com as well as other leading websites.

Lady Grey – Free State, South Africa

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Lady Grey, a small quaint town tucked in the Wittenberg Mountains of Eastern Cape-South Africa is said to be a perfect get-away for urbanites looking for vintage village living. The village is named after the wife of former Cape Governor Sir George Grey, a recognized leader and scholar. The township is made up of magnificent Edwardian rest houses and antique cottages and homes. There is a 1925-built dam which is great for swims and hikers can use the route through the Jouberg’s Pass, South Africa’s third longest mountain pass. Other tourist activities include San rock art, star gazing, nature trails, mountain biking, birding and fly fishing.

Queen Elizabeth Park – Uganda

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Queen Elizabeth National Park held several different names before finally settling on the royal bequest. This park is highly ranked as one of the most bio-diversified ecosystem in the world and hosts about 100 mammal species and over 500 bird species. The park was set up in 1952 under the local name Kazinga National Park before changing in honor of the Queen’s state visit in 1954. It would later adopt the name Ruwenzori in relation to the very scenic volcanic mountains before going back to QENP, the name it holds to date. The most attractive feature in the park are the tree climbing lions found in Ishasha area of the park, the beasts which are quite rare to find also have a unique black mane on the males. A number of lodges including award winning Mweya Safari Lodge as well as popular camps such as Ishasha Wilderness Camp are available.

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