The tragic events in Tajikistan last week, where American round-the-world cyclists Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan were run down by terrorists claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State, has got me thinking. Although it may sound surprising, I don’t find Jay and Lauren’s travels particularly unusual. But their tragic end, I did.
The last time I was in Esfahan was May 8th 1997. And now I am back again, exactly 21 years later. Has it changed?... 'Half the world', was how one French traveller described the city when passing through in the 16th century, and for good reason.
Among the well-informed travelling community, the people of Iran have a reputation as one of the most friendly, hospitable and cultured peoples of the world. And within less than a day in this fascinating country, I had already had first hand experience of these famed characteristics.
One of the most interesting aspects of travelling around Madagascar is enjoying the dramatic landscapes the country has to offer. With magmatic volcanic rock predominant in the north, granite running down the centre and east and limestone prevalent in the southwest, the country is a veritable cornucopia of differing topographies, all of which offer wonderful walking locations.
If you are going to be away for Christmas you might as well do something completely different, this year we certainly did that. As per the French tradition celebrations started on Christmas Eve. Staying at a lovely lodge right on the beach, we had a special dinner of lobster and turkey washed down with champagne. We pulled crackers we had brought from the UK and wore silly paper hats. Sitting on a terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean was pretty memorable but it was Christmas Day that was really special.
Travelling in any new country is exciting and arriving into Madagascar was no exception. That said, my first observations of the world’s fourth largest island were somewhat confused. In some ways this intriguing country is totally African but in others it is very much Asian. The red earth, the brightly painted shops that line the streets and the flowering flame trees are unmistakably Africa but the terraced paddy fields, the bullock carts, the auto-rickshaws and the people, most of whom are descended from intrepid Malay boatpeople that started to arrive here two thousand years ago, all put you in mind of Asia.
Few things get the world’s travel press excited like the opening of a smart, new hotel in an exotic paradise where previously there were none. When the Taj Group announced that is was going to open a new property on the Andaman Islands, journalists were abuzz; at least three contacted me asking if we’d be able to offer them a trip. With great publicity guaranteed, I thought I’d better go and see for myself what all the fuss was about… a tough job as they say, but someone has to do it.
With the increasing numbers of tourists visiting Rajasthan, it’s refreshing to explore a town that has remained largely off the tourist trail. Bundi is one of the oldest towns in the Land of Kings. Founded in the early part of the 15th century as a stronghold against marauding Maratha warriors from what is now Madhya Pradesh, it is a town steeped in history.
WF's founder, Jonny Bealby, is travelling through Rwanda, the heart of Africa, searching for chimps and gorillas with Kate Humble. In his first blog he talks of their search for chimps in Nyungwe Forest.
The trip had been a great success. The group had been the perfect mix of ages – sexes, couples and singles – the weather had been glorious and the journey passed off without incident. Leaving the Kalash valleys we’d had fun in Chitral, where the first polo tournament of the season was taking plac…
After the success of our Evening of Adventure at the Royal Geographical Society back in March, where on the night we raised over £7,000 for the Kalash flood defence wall, I was excited to get back to those heavenly valleys and lay the foundation stone. Saifullah Jan, the chief spokesperson for th…
WF MD Jonny has just finished leading our Hindu Kush Festival Adventure group tour in Pakistan. Below he reflects on returning to the country where he led his first group tour almost twenty years ago... Looking down at the snowy peaks of the Hindu Kush from the window of my plane this morning …