‘Safari’ traditionally means journey in Swahili, but the word now describes the ultimate bucket-list trip to discover Africa’s wondrous wildlife. Yet today, that wildlife seems increasingly vulnerable, so how do you ensure your safari will be both safe and ethically sound?
Start with a good safari operator
A good safari operator is key to a good safari. Research well and check the company’s ethical credentials: do they use local staff and guides? How do they help communities? Are they involved with conservation initiatives?
With a bewildering array of safari options and complex logistics, it can be a false economy to book independently: specialist operators have invaluable insider knowledge and often better rates. Websites like safaribookings.com are a good place to start, and offer helpful customer reviews of hundreds of operators and the tours they offer.
Stay safe on the road
On game drives, remember wildlife is still wild, even if the lions or elephants you spot seem unperturbed by 4x4s surrounding them. Stick to responsible safari etiquette: stay in your vehicle, don’t stress the animals, don’t stand up or move suddenly, don’t let your driver get too close or go off-road hoping for a better tip, and definitely don’t litter.
Get closer to nature on an exhilarating walking safari: you’ll be accompanied by an armed ranger but the gun is only ever intended as a last resort. Make sure it doesn’t need to be used by always obeying your guide’s instructions, walking quietly in single file, and never ever run – by doing so, you act like prey, and predators will act accordingly.
Most safari destinations, with the exception of parts of Namibia and South Africa, are malarial – use prophylaxes and insect repellent, and if you’re on a budget trip, you may need your own mosquito net. Avoid wearing blue and black since these colours attract tsetse flies – they have a nasty nip similar to a horse fly and can cause sleeping sickness.
Introduced by the British East India Company, tracks were first laid across the country in the late 1800s to transport troops. Only after independence in 1947 did the focus switch to passenger trains – now, Indian Railways is the biggest employer in the country.
Today, there’s always an element of adventure to a journey on the rails. Here’s everything you need to know before travelling by train in India.
1. Book in advance
Booking opens 60 days before travel, and long-distance trains get filled up quickly, meaning that only the shortest journeys can be organized on the day. It’s often possible to book at your hotel reception, but be aware that you may have to pay a small “admin” fee.
If you organize your trip at a train station, avoid any touts, head straight for the booking desk and leave yourself plenty of time – it’s not the fastest system in the world.
You can also book online, though it’s not as simple is click and pay. First, you’ll need to create an account on IRCTC (Indian Railways’ official website), which will require an Indian phone number for confirmation. You can get around this by emailing the company with a photocopy of your passport.
Once you have your IRCTC login, you may find the website a little clunky, so it’s much easier to use another travel booking site such as Cleartrip to actually buy your tickets (you’ll still need to enter your IRCTC login details at payment stage).
2. Don’t panic if your ticket says “Waitlisted”
If there are no tickets available at the time of booking, you’ll be given a reserve ticket, either “RAC Waitlist” or “Waitlist”.
With an “RAC” (reservation against cancellation) ticket, you can board the train, though you might not get the seat/class you were after. The ticket will be confirmed if enough people cancel and, as many people book far in advance, there is a high chance of this happening.
London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explored throughout this land, each with something different to offer. Here’s our pick of the 8 best alternative UK city breaks.
1. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast rarely makes the cut on UK weekend getaway lists, but there’s plenty to lure you to Northern Ireland’s port-side capital for a 48-hour minibreak. On these lanes you can get educated at the Titanic Museum, stretch the legs along the ancient walls of Londonderry, or wet (or drench) your whistle in the pubs along Great Victoria and Donegall streets.
If the hubbub of the city overwhelms, Belfast is a good springboard to explore the rest of the region; the mountains of Mourne and the Giant’s Causeway are within easy reach. Just be sure to pack for any weather you could possibly imagine. This is a “four seasons in a day” kind of place.
2. St Davids, Wales
To the untrained eye, St Davids could be mistaken for yet another tiny Welsh town. But locals will be quick to tell you that this is as much of a city as London or Manchester, thanks to its handsome cathedral where Wales’s patron saint, St David, is buried.
Beyond a mooch around the cathedral and posting a cryptic status update saying “I’m in the UK’s smallest city. Where am I?”, there’s not a great deal else to do here. Try the Pebbles Espresso Bar and Gallery for a caffeine hit while looking at world-class photography, or escape to the country into nearby Pembrokeshire National Park.
3. Canterbury, England
OK – Canterbury can’t really be described as a “hidden gem”. High-speed Javelin trains hurl visitors from London to the Garden of England in their thousands every year. But, so long as you can overlook the selfie-stick wielding mob, the car-free centre and creaking lopsided Tudor coaching inns might well transport you back to a simpler time.
Most of Canterbury’s modern-day pilgrims come here for the city’s rich history, and few will miss its blockbuster sight: the cathedral. When you need refuelling, make a beeline to the Goods Shed farmers’ market for organic picnic fodder or, upstairs, to the excellent restaurant.
Every person understands real life isn’t just like the motion pictures. That doesn’t prevent individuals from looking that fairy tale love. Despite the fact that the romantic motion pictures are often belittled as goofy, there are several girls that would enjoy having that adoring as well as attentive spouse or partner. The timeless animated fairy tales can easily still carry a sigh from a young female as the knight in shining armor gives loves first kiss. Life might not copy art, however there’s a great many people who are required to find out how men show affection. It won’t have to be that has a kiss or even a great motion. Sometimes love is definitely peaceful as well as kind.
Not everyone displays love in a similar way. It does not have to be scorching as well as heavy and also filled with passionate sex. Which could definitely be the method a few men show their love, yet it’s most likely within the small section. When it comes to how men show love, it is usually that has a nice smile of knowing in the midst of a child’s temper tantrum. Possibly it’s getting up with the newborn so his partner may get a few all-important snooze. If you’re thinking how do men show love, look at the period he / she in a rush where you can find happen to be by your side as he noticed you are sick.
Certain, love is actually real along with intimate. It can also be difficult to identify. A man who is not very demonstrative might still demonstrate his passion by means of cleansing the food items. It’s not that challenging to observe how men express love. Try to find the person that retains the girl locks when she will be experiencing morning sickness. Try to find the male which is great for your children as well as the housework. Search for the person exactly who carries a tender touch plus a adoring embrace. It’s actually not truly that tough to get love. It may not maintain all of the clear places. The hardest component, nonetheless, will be finding the just one lover that even now helps make your heart flutter many years after the wedding evening is over.
For those who have a vehicle, then you certainly merely can be in a position to switch it directly into a supplementary flow of side cash by simply ride sharing. In case you didn’t really know, ride sharing is actually when you register as being a contractor for a business including uber or even lyft and also behave as a designated driver on-demand regarding their potential customers. They are the two biggest companies in the marketplace and may only use new individuals. So if you have a thoroughly clean record and need some more money, this approach is a great way to get it. In the event you register with the business enterprise, you will get a alert on the business’s app that you have a person in which needs to move somewhere. You’ll be given the route and all you have to do would be to get that person and drive them to their vacation destination. It really is as simple as that. Obtain a promo code that Uber offers for that first journey and see for yourself exactly how the total procedure operates.
It can be rarely smart to hop into some thing without pondering through, and usually there are caveats you should be aware of before getting up and running being a ride share driver. Never ever overlook that this is definitely a authorized business and you’re operating for a subcontractor, so you will have to keep records and report the appropriate taxes. Additionally, there are insurance plan concerns to bear in mind. The ridesharing company you have will probably incorporate some constrained obligation insurance policy of a few variety, and discreet insurance companies tend to be more and more providing goods relevant to ridesharing individuals. A number of neighborhood government authorities as well as localities mess with the history to obtain a prospective ride sharing driver. So it’s a good idea to verify each of the regulations in the area. People often undervalue just how much each day destruction your car accumulates more than regular generating. You might like to remember this as the servicing and consequently routine maintenance on an individual’s car or truck may well boost.
These are several things that you can take into account in choosing the ridesharing company. It’s really a fantastic way to give you a much needed service to your local community although putting a minor funds in you wallet simultaneously.
Norway isn’t short of incredible landscapes. This is the country of majestic lakes, lush meadows and snow-covered mountains. Yet one part of Norway continues to hold unique appeal – the wild Arctic north where the mainland fractures into an intricate coastline of twisting fjords and remote archipelagos.
At the heart of the region is one of the country’s most delightful small cities, Tromsø, situated 350km north of the Arctic circle. That’s more northerly than all of the Icelandic mainland, Inuvik in Canada and most of Alaska. Yet thanks to the warmth of the Gulf Stream, it’s an appealing, welcoming place home to more than 70,000 people.
This is about as far north as you can travel in Europe, and one of the best places to come if you’re looking for a winter adventure. Pack your mittens and dig out your snow boots: here’s our guide to visiting this compact city and the magical sights that surround it.
What are the best day-trips and activities?
Topping most travellers’ winter wish-lists are husky sledding, whale watching and aurora hunting – and there is a bemusing array of operators ready to whisk you out of the city. You’d be wise to do some research before you come. The tourist office website is a great place to start, with a well-curated list of excursions and reliable providers. Unfortunately Tromsø isn’t cheap; expect to pay upwards of 1200NOK for a day-trip.
Arctic Adventure Tours are one of the longest established local companies, offering both whale safaris and dog sledding. This is a family run and considerate outfit, demonstrated by the care they show to their hundred-or-so exuberant huskies. Visitors are invited to meet and play with the dogs before they’re harnessed, and then learn to drive their own two-person sleds through the snow.
Flying along the mountain slopes is an unforgettable experience, with the “musher”, or driver, standing to guide the sled and keep the huskies’ incredible power under control – step off, and they’ll happily speed into the distance.
From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world’s most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you’re looking to wander lost ruins or explore lavish palaces, you’ll find inspiration here.
1. The Alhambra, Spain
Towering out of an elm-wooded hillside above Granada, a snowy Sierra Nevada behind, there are few more iconic images of Spain than the ochre-tinted enclave of the Alhambra. Over five thousand visitors wander through the restored complex every day. No amount of words, however, can approximate the sensual charge of seeing the Palacios Nazaríes, the best preserved palace of the Nasrid dynasty, for the first time.
2. Baalbek, Lebanon
One of the wonders of the ancient world, the Roman archeological site of Baalbek – a place that, in the words of Robert Byron, “dwarfs New York into a home of ants” – holds awe-inspiring temples, porticoes, courtyards and palatial stone stairways. The Greeks and Romans called it Heliopolis, “The City of the Sun”, a name it shares with another great Classical city in Egypt – but this phenomenal site has no equals.
This winter, hygge emerged as the most divisive cultural phenomenon to hit the world since that blue and black dress. Or was it white and gold? In the second episode of our podcast (iTunes; Soundcloud), The Rough Guide to Everywhere, we get to the bottom of what it’s actually about.
In case you’ve been living in a cave (probably unknowingly having quite a hyggelig time while you’re at it), hygge is the Scandi word that translates to being comfortable, content and – paradoxically – antisocial amongst friends. It is a spiritual turning inwards, or a literal turning towards the nearest candle; a concept casually applied by Danes for decades before the rest of the world caught wind last year.
Lovers have flocked to the shops to buy handsome books, thick woolly socks and as much cocoa as they can get their cashmere mitts on. Haters claim that the concept has been exploited by publishers and clothing companies in a cynical bid to sell more stuff.
So, just before hygge reaches ultimate saturation point, we decided to talk to the global spokesman for hygge, CEO of the Institute of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking, to settle the score.
Before you listen to our podcast, here are 5 things you need to know about hygge to get you up to speed.
1. It rhymes with “cougar”
“Higgy”, “herger”, “hig” are all wrong.
It’s “hoo-gah”, people.
2. It’s not new
The word hygge has been part of the Danish language since the early 1800s, when the word first appears in written records. Meaning it took the rest of the world a mere two hundred years to catch on.
3. It was the 2016 Word of the Year
Every year, Collins English Dictionary publishes a list of the ten most popular new words and expressions of the year, and hygge made the cut. The 2016 list also included the words “Trumpism”, “Brexit”and “uberization”.
4. But some people think it’s an over-hyped trend
After a swathe of articles and magazine pieces on hygge, the press quickly turned on hygge, calling it “overhyped”, “a conspiracy” and one article even went so far as to brutally proclaim “Hygge Is Byllshytte”.
From the calm surf of the Caribbean on the east coast, to the gnarly breaks of the Pacific on the west, the beaches of Central America make for stellar backpacking territory. And there’s plenty more wedged in between.
Whether you want to sandboard down a steaming volcano in Nicaragua, explore a cloudforest in Costa Rica, watch the sunrise over ancient Maya sites in Guatemala, or hike through the thick Panamanian jungle, the slim waist of the Americas offers plenty of adventure.
Here are eight tips to help you get the best out the region’s seven countries.
1. Pick your countries wisely
Sometimes saving a few bucks is as simple as hopping from one playa to the next. But if you’re selective about the countries on your hit list you stand to pocket a whole lot more change. Costa Rica and Panama consistently rank among the most expensive countries in the area, alongside English-speaking Belize, leaving Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras among the cheaper choices.
2. Know your accommodation options
Hostels and homestays are plentiful in these parts, but if you fancy spending the odd night somewhere more swish, bear in mind that most destinations in Central America are yet to capitalise on the trend for flashpacker-style hostels. There can be a hefty price gap between a dorm bed and a boutique abode.
3. Gorge on local produce
Chocolate, rum, coffee, cheese – you might just be surprised at the array of prime produce Central America’s rich soil nurtures. And best of all, you can go straight to the source. Forget savouring a cup of Guatemala’s single-origin espresso from your local coffee shop, or devouring a bar of Costa Rican chocolate at your desk. Here a number of local entrepreneurs offer wallet-friendly tours of cacao farms and coffee plantations with free tastings thrown in for good measure.
4. Stay safe
Still hear stories about how parts of Central America are a lawless, cocaine-cloaked gangland? They belie just how much progress has been made in the region since the slew of revolutions and civil wars that marred much of the 80s.
However, some cities – notably San Pedro Sula in Honduras and San Salvador in El Salvador – have not kept pace and remain among the world’s most dangerous. Exercise caution when travelling through the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which has gained notoriety of late. And use your common sense when it comes to safety throughout the region: take only registered taxis, keep up to date with travel warnings, heed the advice of locals, don’t flaunt valuables and don’t walk home alone after dark.
In January 2016, energy company Dakota Access announced plans to run an oil pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. A few months later, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe began protesting the threat to their water supplies. The protests quickly became a movement, a rallying point for all manner of individuals and groups to express anger about everything from dark money and corporate power to ecocide.
But while the protests came to mean many things to many people, Neil McQuillian found that they mean most to the Native Americans involved. He went to understand why this is one of the greatest scandals in US history.
Colourful flags crack in the cold wind. There are tepees that sit like crowns amongst the regular tents. A silvery grey sliver of Missouri river slicks dull beyond them. The camp is pretty, in a way.
But, in its freezing stillness, the scene feels bleak – the few figures I see are bundles of clothing, moving hurriedly to finish what they’re doing and get back into shelter. Plus I’m only dropping in – I’ve come to better understand the protests against the $3.8bn Dakota Access oil pipeline but have just a few hours to spare – which means I’m an outsider. That status weighs pretty heavily here.
So when I hear low applause, it sounds like warmth and company. I find the source, a large tent in the centre of camp, and push back the heavy flap. It is warmer in here and my cheeks begin to glow. A group of some thirty people, around two-thirds Native American, are listening to the speaker. I recognise her as LaDonna Brave Bull Allard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who owns the nearby land where the protests began.
“I’m here until the pipeline is stopped,” she is saying. ”We are at a point in our lives where we are unifying. We are people of trauma and we have to heal. We are fighting a demon. Everything we have fought for the past 500 years.”
But should you start finding all the people wearing their backpacks on their chests a little oppressive, it’s time to shake them off your tail. As one of the authors of The Rough Guide to London, Neil McQuillian has got this down to a fine art. Here are his top tips.
Take a walk – or the bus
Mews, alleyways, yards, courts – London does atmospheric walking like few other places on Earth. And the more you walk, the more you find; roads seem to call out to you, leading you on, ensnaring you in a wonderful riddle. Getting lost in London is one of its great pleasures.
Feeling ambitious? Writer Will Self reckons it takes a whole day to walk from central London to green fields – in other words, to actually leave the city on foot. A more manageable variation is to take a bus to the end of its line and walk back in.
Slightly less ambitious, but a lot of fun, is to take a bus back into London from the start of its route. Getting on before anyone else, you’ll have your choice of seats – which of course means top deck, front row. Picnic and hip flask optional.
You could try the number 18 from out by the legendary Ace Café, a petrolhead hub on the North Circular. The 74, meanwhile, is cut out for better things: hop on at Putney Bridge and spend the next hour or so peering in at the windows of some of London’s wealthiest residences in the likes of Fulham, South Kensington and Knightsbridge.
Many of the buses that run from around Hampstead Heath feel practically bucolic at times – get some fresh air vibes aboard the 214 or 271 (the latter is also handy for Highgate Cemetery). South of the river, the 176 runs from Penge, through leafy Dulwich (passing right by the excellent Horniman Museum) to Tottenham Court Road.
A fine companion to such explorations are the Pevsner architectural guides – with these in your backpack, you’re never far from a flying buttress or some other fascinating nook or cranny. Nairn’s London is another recommended book.
London’s lost rivers are its most powerful ghosts. Largely built over now, they run in subterranean silence, locked away from the living city, feeding its urban legend. Some twenty of them have been accounted for and a good number you can see for yourself if you know where to look.
Walk down to Blackfriars Bridge, for instance, peer over the side and you’ll see the Fleet emptying into the Thames. Stand on the platform at Sloane Square station and look up – see that pipe? That’s the Westbourne in there.
But there’s another river, not yet lost, which remains little known by tourists – the Lea.