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Jun 2019

Top Ten Travel Tips

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Last week I met up with a friend who has been flying airliners for a couple of decades; here’s a summary of our top travel tips:-

1. Write your name, address, phone number and email address on a sheet of A4 paper, laminated it and put it inside your suitcase, just in case your baggage tag falls off.

2. Photocopy your passport and leave the copy with your next of kin at home. It’s also worth keeping a copy on your phone.

3. Don’t order a vegetarian meal: apparently veggies hardly ever get upgraded, because there might not be a suitable meal available up front. You’re also more likely to be moved to the bigger seats if you’re in the airline’s frequent-flyer scheme, and don’t have any special dietary requirements.

4. Carry your phone charger and international plug adaptor in your hand baggage. Planes can be delayed or diverted so avoid the risk of a dead battery in strange countries. And turn off data roaming before leaving the UK.

5. Keep a change of underwear in your hand baggage. It won’t take up much space but will tide you over till the shops open if your main bag is delayed or disappears.

6. Make a copy of your travel insurance policy and carry it in your passport. After all, it isn’t much use if no one knows who your insurers are. Tell your travel companions where it is and leave a copy at home with your next of kin. Do all this and sod’s law states you won’t ever need it!

7. Keep any prescription medicine in its original packaging, ideally with a copy of your prescription, in case you’re questioned at customs. If you’re found carrying a stash of hard-to-identify pills your immigration experience is unlikely to go well.

8. Never fly in shorts – because you never know where your plane might land. A recent Swiss Air flight from Zurich was heading for Los Angeles where it was 21°C and sunny. But after a technical issue it spent nearly 12 hours in Greenland – where it was -21°C and snowing.

9. Don’t fly in flip-flops either. Emergencies are incredibly rare but if they happen you want to be in sensible shoes.

10. If you use the safe in your hotel room put a single shoe inside it, along with your valuables. Looking for that missing shoe should remind you to empty the safe when you pack to leave.

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Jun 2019

If Rhinos could fly ….

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And the good news is that they can! African Parks has just announced that five Black Rhino will be taking a trip from the Safari Park Dvůr Králové in the Czech Republic to Akagera National Park in Rwanda.

All five were born in captivity and are particularly valuable because of the genetic vigour they bring to the very small resident gene-pool. Since 2010, when African Parks took over wildlife management at Akagera poaching has largely been eliminated allowing wildlife populations to surge. In 2017 eighteen black rhino were reintroduced to Akagera after the last one was poached in 2007.

Akagera National Park has experienced an economic revitalisation and today welcomes more than 44,000 tourists a year, half of whom are Rwandan nationals, which is an unusual statistic in Africa, where local people don’t often visit their own national parks.

Read the full press release and please visit rhino move to follow their journey.

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Jun 2019

Beautiful Books!

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The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World?
Here’s a challenge for everyone who loves books as much as they love browsing bookstores: can you find a more beautiful bookshop than this Argentine gem?

El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore in the centre of Buenos Aires has to be the champ! It’s a stunning building (used to be a theatre) it’s distinctively Argentinian and is just plain unique, packed with new editions, new books, new authors, and the broadest spectrum of subjects.

We have created an Insider’s Walking Tour of BA which includes the ‘Grand Splendid’ (half day or full day) accompanied by a local university lecturer to interpret the subtleties, innuendos and implications of Porteño life a street café level. Explore like a Porteño (South American Spanish for a person who lives in a port city) and visit the ‘hoods, café scenes and imaginative graffiti spots; feel the Latin pulse of this most charming of South American cities.

Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore, Buenos Aires

The “reading area” (Stage) of El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore, Buenos Aires

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May 2019

Kilimanjaro cable car ….. ?

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A cable car for Kilimanjaro? Is it April 1st?

This week saw the tragic and insane shenanigans on Mount Everest with a queue from the Hilary Step to the summit, and 12 fatalities. Last month the Peruvian authorities announced their cunning plan to build an airport at Machu Picchu to boost tourist numbers. And now we have the Tanzanian offering: a cable car for Kilimanjaro. Check the report from Reuters

Beggars belief: apart from anything else, how can a human being go from Moshi town (altitude 950m) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) in an hour or so?! I hope their plans make good provision for body bags.

There are about 50,000 Kili trekkers annually and no matter which route you take to ascend, it’s hard work. The altitude is a definite challenge. Trekkers who climb neighbouring Mount Meru first do themselves a huge favour because they allow the acclimatisation process to work more slowly, thus avoiding the headaches and nausea. Besides, I’m old-school and believe achieving a peak should be personally earned rather than being helicoptered in.

Shame on the Tanzanian authorities for suggesting this nonsense and shame on the Chinese construction firm bidding for the contract.

Sign the protest here:

Kilimanjaro cable car

Safari and Kili climb – the perfect safari

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Apr 2019

Release the Inner Cowgirl!

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Following a year’s research we have just released the “Gaucho Trail” which welcomes you to release the inner cowgirl (or boy!).

Gaucho Trail Argentina. Ride with the gauchos moving cattle.

Gaucho Trail Argentina. Ride with the gauchos moving cattle.

A couple of hours away from Buenos Aires in Argentina is a large estancia (ranch) which specialises in cattle rearing. The fertile land in this area is flat and criss-crossed with rivers creating a tapestry of rolling grassland which is ideal cattle country. The estancia’s gauchos are born and bred to their trade and the criollo horses they ride are ‘home made’, quick, agile and really well mannered. In February 2019 we had our first wanabee-gauchos return from Argentina and they really loved the experience, proving with complete confidence that this stunning farm, with outstanding accommodation, great horses and a genuine gaucho welcome delivers what it promises. Given its location, north of Capricorn in the tropics, it’s a 12-month of the year destination. Min stay 3 nights; the Gaucho Trail is 7 nights.

Gaucho Trail Argentina. Ride with the gauchos moving cattle.

One of the many river crossings on the Pampa, Argentina

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