Beauty queens help homeless kids in Zimbabwe

What could warm the heart more than seeing beautiful women helping out needy kids?

Samantha Tshuma, recently crowned Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, has been busy donating blankets to street children in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. She was helped by her second princess Tafadzwa Mugazambi and Miss Tourism Harare Samantha Dika.

Tshuma is also organizing soccer and rugby teams for the kids. She says that Zimbabwe’s thousands of street children are looked down upon and that they deserve our help and respect.

Zimbabwe attracts many tourists because of its famous ancient cities and Victoria Falls, as well as lots of safari opportunities. The fact that Air Zimbabwe made it onto the list of the top ten safest African airlines probably doesn’t hurt either.

If you want to do a bit of giving back while you’re there, the charity Streets Ahead needs volunteers to teach homeless kids arts and crafts. You can read more about it on the Charity Travel blog.

Sadly I couldn’t find any public domain images of the lovely Miss Tshuma for this article, but Zimbo Jam, a Zimbabwean fashion site, has pictures of the beauty queen and her equally stunning princesses.

Natural beauty on display at the Atlantis this summer

No, I’m not talking about the beaches and ocean and trees and such. This summer, the 2009 Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants are being held on Paradise Island in the Bahamas this year – the former on July 31, 2009 and the later on August 23, 2009. So, if you think nature’s wonder comes in the female form, book your tickets immediately. The has put some packages together around these pageants so you can combine a great vacation with a rare opportunity to see in person what we know you DVR to watch twice at home.

Rates start at $299 a night for a three-night stay, but the perks stretch far beyond a relatively inexpensive stay at this hot resort. You’ll have access to special passes and tickets to both the preliminary presentations and finals for each pagent (i.e., you can get solid discounts). You can also pick up passes to a viewing party on the resort’s Royal Deck and the post-pageant Coronation Ball. Food, beverages and excitement are served up as part of these events. And, you may run into some of the contestants around the resort. For the Miss Teen USA package, you’ll have to travel between July 23 and August 4 (so, get moving!), while you have a bit more time to plan for the Miss Universe event (August 15 to August 31).

Tickets for the Miss Teen USA Presentation Show start at $30, with the finals starting at $50. The Miss Universe festivities are a bit pricier, which is to be expected. The presentation round are $50, with the finals $175. The viewing party is $165, and the coronation comes in at $125.

When the winners have been crowned, you can wander through waterslides, river rides and check out animals in 14 exhibit lagoons. Or, you can try your luck (at the casino, you gump). There are more than 100 table games where you can try to win big and impress the new Miss Universe. Good luck with that.