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2016 ISSUE 02

KENYA: PARADISE LOST AND FOUND NEPAL'S LESS TRAVELLED PATH CHILE, LAND OF LAKES AND VOLCANOES

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DISCOVER QUEENSLAND’S HIGH COUNTRY The Scenic Rim Trail is a unique multi-day hiking experience exploring the natural beauty and diverse landscapes of the Scenic Rim region, located only one hour from Brisbane CBD. Over the four days, discover a stunning collection of vast mountain ranges, forests, and ancient volcanic plateaus, complete with an abundance of local flora and fauna. Our guides will lead you through the winding trails, much of which are located on private property and previously only touched by early pioneers, giving you a unique and exclusive look into the region. Whilst the terrain is rugged and remote, luxurious accommodation, fine food and wine and attentive service await you each evening. Scenic Rim Trail is an all-inclusive experience, with all meals, beverages, accommodation, transfers and luggage portage included.

To find out more contact us today on 13 77 42 or visit scenicrimtrail.com


#opentheworld

kathmandu.com.au


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2016 ISSUE 2

CONTENTS

64 YOSEMITE: THE RANGE OF LIGHT

REGULARS

FEATURES

6

EDITOR’S LETTER

8

THE BIG PICTURE

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LAND OF LAKES AND VOLCANOES

From Everest Base Camp to the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal is a highaltitude-trekking mecca, but a walk through the rural foothills offers a rare insight into how the locals live

Like Tuscany, Bavaria and Lake Como rolled into one, but with calderas, Chile’s spectacular lake district, south of Santiago, plays host to a mother gone rogue

Words & photographs by

By JAYNE WISE

GEORDIE TORR

Photography by PABLO CORRAL VEGA

NOTEBOOK 10  ADVENTURE WORLD 150  CONCIERGE

COMPETITION 50  BEST SHOT 4 

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By JULIE MILLER

(COVER: GRIZZLY BEAR, AL ASK A) VOLODYMYR BURDYAK/500PX; GEORDIE TORR

A magnet to adventurers, rock climbers, hikers and, most of all, photographers, Yosemite National Park protects some of the most majestic landscapes in the whole of North America


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SKY LIGHTS

THE GRANNY DIARIES Rodeos, sombreros, mariachis and mole. A writer sets out to track down a revolutionary ancestor in central Mexico. But all is not quite what it seems

By DAVID LANSING

Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s remote Northwest Territories, is experiencing an Aurora-assisted tourism boom. And it seems there’s nowhere better for sightings of the eerie Northern Lights

Photography by PETER MCBRIDE

By ELAINE ANSELMI

PETER MCBRIDE

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P H O T O S T O R Y: ANIMALS ON THE MOVE

STORIES IN THE STONES

S TAT E O F WONDER

Scattered among the foothills of South Africa’s Cederberg mountains lies a vast repository of ancient rock art, where more than 130 sites, some dating back at least 10,000 years, record the cultural history of the Bushmen

Everything is scaled up in Alaska— perhaps nowhere more than in Denali National Park, home to glaciers, grizzlies and North America’s highest peak

By NADIA KAVANAGH

Photography by AARON HUEY

In the wilds of northern Kenya, there once was a lake in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by a Garden of Eden teeming with wildlife. Is it still there?

ANNA HAIR

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For some animals, staying put isn’t an option. These restless creatures move between distantly separated habitats and when they move en masse, they can create some of the world’s most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles

Words & photographs by

By JEFF RENNICKE

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EDITORIAL

Editor Geordie Torr Art Director Anna Hair PUBLISHING

Publishing Director Neil Rodgers Production Manager Kristy Johnston Advertising Sales Melinda Sharpe mel@sundancecompany.com.au N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C T R AV E L E R ( U S )

Editorial Director Susan Goldberg Editor In Chief, Travel Media George W. Stone Digital Director Andrea Leitch Design Director Marianne Seregi Director of Photography Anne Farrar Editorial Projects Director Andrew Nelson Senior Editor Jayne Wise Features Editor Amy Alipio Associate Editor Hannah Sheinberg Producers Marie McGrory, Lindsay Smith Associate Producers Christine Blau, Caity Garvey Deputy Art Director Leigh V. Borghesani Senior Photo Producer Sarah Polger Associate Photo Producer Jess Mandia Associate Photo Editor Laura Emmons Chief Researcher Marilyn Terrell Production Director Kathie Gartrell Publisher and Vice President Kimberly Connaghan

EDITOR’S LETTER

THE ELEMENT of SURPRISE

I N T E R N AT I O N A L P U B L I S H I N G

Senior Vice President, International Media Yulia P. Boyle Director, International Magazine Publishing Ariel Deiaco-Lohr

A new country, a new experience

N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C PA R T N E R S , L L C

CEO Declan Moore Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe Chief Operating Officer Ward Platt Chief Financial Officer Marcela Martin Legal and Business Affairs Jeff Schneider Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Young Board of Directors Chairman Gary E. Knell N AT I O N A L G E O G R A P H I C S O C I E T Y

President and CEO Gary E. Knell National Geographic Traveler is published by National Geographic Partners, LLC For more information, contact natgeo.com/info Copyright © 2016 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. National Geographic Traveler and Yellow Border: registered trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. National Geographic Traveller Australia & New Zealand edition is published by Adventure World Travel Pty Limited. A.B.N. 69 122 505 631. Level 5, 35 Grafton St, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022 Australia. © Copyright 2016 Adventure World/National Geographic Partners, Llc. All rights reserved. Printed by Webstar, 83 Derby St, Silverwater, NSW 2128. Adventure World and National Geographic Partners, LLC. accept no responsibility for damage or loss of material submitted for publication. Please keep duplicates of text and illustrative material. ISSN 2203-6172

National Geographic Traveller, published by Adventure World as part of The Travel Corporation, is proud to use 100% recycled LEIPA paper. Some positive impacts of this decision include saving more than 41,000* trees per year and reducing landfill waste that produces harmful greenhouse gases. We are proud to be using one of the most environmentally friendly recycled papers available. *Calculations based on data from the Environmental Paper Network.

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IN APRIL, I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO VISIT NEPAL, my 55th country. I don’t say this to brag but to illustrate a point. Despite the fact that I’m pretty widely travelled, Nepal managed to surprise me. Here was a country that was different to everywhere else I had been before. Before I went, I thought I knew Nepal: tea-houses, trekking, hippies, the Himalaya, altitude sickness, tummy bugs, Sherpas, Ghurkas, yaks, that weird royal family massacre, those terrible earthquakes, Everest, Hillary and Tenzing, the Maoist insurgency… And when I first arrived, it all looked pretty familiar. Kathmandu is a classic Asian capital city: dusty, chaotic, choked with traffic, crazy spider webs of black wire adorning the telegraph poles. But when I started my trek—joining one of Kathmandu’s Summit Club treks—I entered a wonderful rural world of blue-and-white farmhouses and terraced fields, of suspension bridges and stunning vistas. And that was when I discovered what makes Nepal different— and, I would argue, what makes Nepal, Nepal. In these rural areas, there are very few roads. Villages are connected by narrow tracks and everyone walks from place to place—often with eye-wateringly heavy loads on their backs. We went two weeks without seeing a car. And this, for me, is what’s so great about travel. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve travelled before, how many countries you’ve visited, there’s always somewhere new, somewhere that will surprise you.

GEORDIE TORR


LOST FOUND

There are many sides to The Islands of Tahiti. Yet they are all connected by Mana. Mana is a life force and spirit that surrounds us. You can see it. Touch it. Taste it. Feel it. And from the moment you arrive, you will understand why we say our Islands are

Š GrÊgoire Le Bacon

To discover Mana for yourself, visit Tahiti -Tourisme.com.au


the

BIG picture AFTERNOON SUNLIGHT FLOODS ACROSS the artfully arranged rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai, a rural district of Yen Bai province in northeastern Vietnam. Located in the cool highlands at about 1,000 metres above sea level, Mu Cang Chai is blanketed in more than 4,300 hectares of terraced fields, which have been cultivated by the local Hmong people since the 15th century. The district offers a quieter alternative to the better known Sapa, which can become crowded during busy periods. From February to April, the hills shimmer as the waterfilled rice paddies act like stacked mirrors. They then turn from emerald green in May to golden in late September or early October, when the harvest begins—considered the best time to visit.Tourism in Vietnam exploded following the opening up of the country to foreign visitors during the mid-1990s. Last year, the country received roughly eight million international visitors and tourism’s total contribution to Vietnam’s GDP amounted to some US$26 billion, about 14 percent of the total.

SARAVUT WHANSET/500PX

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Hikers survey the Matterhorn from the summit of Tête Blanche

MOUNTAIN DELIGHTS

PEAK of PERFECTION Zermatt, Switzerland — MENNO BOERMANS

WHY WOULD A remote farming hamlet turn into a first-class

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all: nobody can resist pointing a camera up at that majestic wonder of nature. The Matterhorn isn’t the highest peak in the Swiss Alps, but its nearly perfect triangular shape makes it one of the most photographed in the world. Only a five-minute walk from most hotels, the Kirchstrasse bridge makes an ideal location to watch the sunrise awakening of the mountain. But the closest to the summit a visitor can get without donning a climbing rope is via a helicopter ride with Air Zermatt. “I’ve flown around the summit some 5,000 times now, but it’s still an amazing experience,” says pilot Gerold Biner, who was raised in Zermatt. “Sometimes we can even see the smiles on the faces of the climbers.”

PATITUCCIPHOTO

travel destination that attracts 1.5 million visitors a year? The answer is simple: because it’s there. Zermatt, the only village on the Swiss side of the Matterhorn, has been luring travellers ever since British adventurer Edward Whymper made the first ascent of the mythical 4,478-metre peak 150 years ago, on 14 July, 1865. Nowadays car-free Zermatt witnesses a colourful procession of chocolate-nibbling tourists searching for cow souvenirs, sun-browned hikers and climbers clomping around in big boots, and the fashionably rich lavishing hundreds of thousands of dollars on Swiss watches. Yet, one activity bonds


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AIR TRAVEL

NEWS from the SKY AWARDS FOR THAI THAI AIRWAYS INTERNATIONAL recently won the

awards for World’s Most Improved Airline and World’s Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility at the Skytrax 2016 World Airline Awards, while also placing in the top three in the Best Economy Class Onboard Catering, Best Airline Staff Service in Asia and World’s Best Airport Services categories “These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Thai Airways International, devoting great attention to detail in providing service to passengers and having such determination to better ourselves for improved customer satisfaction,” said Charamporn Jotikasthira, president of THAI. REDUCING WASTE QATAR AIRWAYS HAS LAUNCHED a new waste-

reduction and recycling programme in Doha, introducing additional measures that will minimise packaging and increase recycling to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Over a three-month period earlier this year, the airline and its catering arm recycled 266 tonnes of materials, including cardboard, plastic wrapping and a variety of plastic containers, along with 6,300 litres of cooking oil, which will be converted into biodiesel. “Through the provision of support and investment, our local recycling supply chain can evolve to further drive environmental change in Qatar and provide an excellent revenue opportunity for local commerce,” said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways Group. NEW ROUTES ROYAL BRUNEI AIRLINES HAS EXPANDED its

flight network into China. It’s now flying to the city of Zhengzhou, in Henan Province in eastcentral China, a four-and-three-quarter-hour flight from the airline’s hub in Bandar Seri Begawan. And it has also signed a code-share agreement with China Eastern Airlines, allowing passengers to connect from Bandar Seri Begawan to Shanghai (and vice versa). The airlines are continuing to work towards expanding this partnership to other parts of China.

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ABOVE: THAI has been judged to be the world’s most improved airline; BELOW: Royal Brunei Airlines has begun flying to Zhengzhou in east-central China


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FISHING

ANGLING for a FUTURE – JOSHUA HUTCHINS

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JOSHUA HUTCHINS/AUSSIEFLYFISHER.COM

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RAFAEL IS A MASTER OF MANY TRADES. Born and raised on Anaa, an atoll in French Polynesia made up of 11 small islands with a population of less than 500, he dabbles in hen-raising, bee-keeping and coconut harvesting. But his true passion is fishing. With few other food sources, or the means to buy them, he and his family enjoy the island’s local bonefish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fish, known locally as kio kio, is not only good eating, but could also be the key to the local community’s economic survival. Anaa’s residents are hard-working, but opportunities are scarce. Unemployment is high and young people are often forced to leave the atoll to find work. However, 12 months ago, a group of conservationists, scientists and fishermen visited the island to assess the economic potential of Anaa’s fishery. Working closely with community leaders, the visitors’ vision was to develop a sustainable, locally owned fly-fishing ecotourism operation. The potential is obvious. A shallow, clear lagoon offers a whole gamut of saltwater fly-fishing options, including some of the most sought-after saltwater species, such as bonefish, triggerfish and the aggressive giant trevally. But while we came for the fly fishing, it was the welcoming and friendly locals, all too willing to share their paradise with us, who left the greatest mark. With support from Fly Odyssey Travel, the Indifly Foundation and the TFF Foundation, studies into Anaa’s fishery continue. The community looks forward to building a sustainable operation while conserving their environment and creating jobs and opportunities for the next generation.


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EXPLORATION

SABAH’S lost WORLD A hidden corner of Borneo reveals its secrets

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HANS HA ZEBROEK/SABAH TOURISM BOARD

IN THESE DAYS of satellite mapping and high-speed jet travel it can feel as though the world is losing its mystery. But deep in the heart of Malaysian Borneo lies a land that time forgot, an atavistic realm of carnivorous plants and impenetrable jungle. The Maliau Basin is a vast rainforest-cloaked amphitheatre more than 25 kilometres across and covering in excess of 390 square kilometres, its steep rim rising to a height of about 1,650 metres. Formed by neither volcano nor asteroid impact, the basin is actually a sedimentary formation. About 15 million years ago, a river delta laid down beds of sand- and mudstone that were later thrust upwards by tectonic forces and then carved out by the myriad streams that formed on the basin’s steep sides. Today, more than 40 major cascades are known to fall down the basin’s walls, including the 28-metre-high, seven-tier Maliau Falls (pictured left). The Murut people, who live near the base of the northern escarpment, have long known of the basin’s existence, but it wasn’t until its chance discovery by a British pilot in 1947 (he narrowly avoided crashing into the mist-shrouded cliffs of the rim) that it became more widely known. Even then, it took another 34 years for the first expedition to enter the basin itself. Such is its extraordinary biodiversity that the basin has been proposed as a future World Heritage site. Granted government protection during the late 1990s, the 588-square-kilometre Maliau Basin Conservation Area contains an unusual assemblage of 12 different forest types. More than 1,800 plant species have been recorded from the area, including 80 species of orchid and eight species of pitcher plant. It’s also home to some of Sabah’s most endangered wildlife. Almost 300 bird species have been recorded, as have more than 80 mammal species, including the Sumatran rhino, orangutan and clouded leopard. The conservation area is reachable by road via the towns of Tawau and Keningau; the drive from each takes about four to six hours. With more than 70 kilometres of marked trails, only about a third of the basin is open to visitors and less than half has been explored by researchers.


#INLOVEWITHSWITZERLAND since getting stuck in traffic. Susan and Mark Peters

Furka Pass, Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region

Discover the diversity of Switzerland on the Grand Tour: 00800 100 200 30 or MySwitzerland.com/grandtour


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FOOD & WINE

an EPICUREAN EDEN On the trail of a gourmet experience on the Mornington Peninsula TUCKED AWAY IN SOUTHERN VICTORIA, about 40 kilometres southeast of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula has long been a popular destination for discerning wine lovers. The region is renowned for the quality of its wines, which are primarily made from the two Burgundian varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—and with more than 50 winery cellar doors to choose from, visitors are spoilt for choice. But now, gourmands of all flavours have a reason to tour the peninsula—and a handy map to make it easy. The Wine Food Farmgate (WFFG) trail features more than 75 like-minded epicurean operators, who’ve banded together to showcase the Mornington Peninsula’s dazzling array of gourmet treats. The trail introduces visitors to artisan producers of everything from cheese to chocolate, bread to beer, olive oil to cider, and

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honey to locally roasted spices—not to mention those 50-odd cellar doors. “Until now, many of these spots were local secrets or off the beaten track, so putting together everything from farmgate experiences, general stores, old pubs, artisan producers and microbreweries to chefs-hatted restaurants and renowned wineries provides an amazing checklist and itinerary planner for any gourmand,” says Tracey Cooper, the executive chair of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board. Visit winefoodfarmgate.com.au to download a map of the trail or pick up a trail kit from the Mornington Peninsula Visitor Information Centre in Dromana. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can simply meander around the peninsula, keeping your eyes peeled for the WFFG logo.


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WILDERNESS

FLYING visits Taking to the air to see Tasmania’s remote side COVERING AN AREA OF 600,000 HECTARES, Tasmania’s Southwest National Park is the island state’s largest protected area, forming part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. And wilderness it is; remote and largely inaccessible, the park’s spectacular rugged ranges, thick, moss-draped temperate rainforests and sweeping buttongrass plains are largely out of reach to visitors... but not entirely. Par Avion Wilderness Tours makes regular flights into and over the park, showing daytrippers some of its highlights. But for those who want to immerse themselves in this wild region, it has an exclusive luxury private camp located in the forest on the shores of Bathurst Harbour. Guests enjoy fine wine and sumptuous meals before retiring to their spacious elevated tents. Experienced guides lead hiking tours of the surrounding area, offering the chance to see the endangered orange-bellied parrot and visit Aboriginal middens and caves; or take guests out in a private boat to explore the maze of waterways and walk on pristine beaches.

WINE CRUISE

TOP drop Sydney’s peerless harbour meets its wine match IMAGINE SIPPING A GLASS of what is arguably Australia’s one truly iconic wine while cruising around what is arguably one of its most iconic natural attractions. It’s now possible to do just that, with the recent launch of Captain Cook Cruises’ Platinum Penfolds Grange Dinner Cruise, a new prestige dining experience on Sydney Harbour for lovers of fine wine. Held onboard the MV Sydney 2000, the cruise features a six-course degustation menu with a selection of Penfolds wines matched with each course. A bottle of Grange, one of Australia’s most celebrated wines and an official Heritage Icon of South Australia, accompanies the penultimate course The cruise, which departs nightly from Circular Quay Wharf 6 at 7pm, also includes priority boarding, a Star Deck welcome reception, guaranteed platinum window seating, million dollar views of Sydney Harbour at night and an open bar of top-shelf spirits and liqueurs, local and imported beers, liqueur coffee and soft drinks.

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Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is situated at the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Lady Elliot Island is regarded as one of the best snorkelling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef. The Island is situated within the highest protection zone on the Great Barrier Reef and is a haven for marine life including, manta rays, turtles, whales, dolphins and reef sharks. There is a PADI Dive Shop on the Island with 20 superb dive sites giving divers plenty of opportunities to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Turtle Nesting Season Oct - Feb Turtle Hatching Season Feb - April Whale Sighting Season July - Oct Daytrips & Overnight Stays available with direct flights from Hervey Bay/ Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gold Coast & Brisbane (Redcliffe) to Lady Elliot Island

Phone 1800 072 200 or +61 7 5536 3644

www.ladyelliotisland.com.au


2014 Gold Major Tour and/or Transport Operators


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CITY PROFILE

when you’re in CAPE TOWN... Living it up in South Africa’s Mother City OBVIOUSLY… you’ll have to catch a cable car up Table Mountain, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could also abseil back down with Abseil Africa. A visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, is another must-do. And if you have an interest in the history of apartheid, make sure to visit the award-winning District Six community museum. BUT YOU COULD ALSO… head to the beach. For the classic Cape Town beach experience, try Clifton 4th beach. Or, if you want to escape the crowds, visit the secluded sandy shores of Beta Beach. Or mix beach time with penguin spotting at the African Penguin Colony at Boulder’s Beach, which hosts several thousand jackass penguins. Or maybe a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is more your thing. There’s an amazing treetop canopy walkway called the Boomslang that was declared the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2015 Design Indaba expo. IF YOU WANT TO BUY… jewellery, check out Tinsel at the Old

Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Olive Green Cat in Gardens or visit the newly opened Jewellery Avenue in the heart of the city, which boasts more than 20 stores. Afrogem, also in Gardens,

offers an excellent factory tour. If you’re after some folk art, make sure to visit the Pan African Market and Greenmarket Square. For quality gifts and souvenirs, head to Heartworks, Imagenius and Baraka. IF YOU HAVE KIDS… pay a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium or the World of Birds, Africa’s largest bird park. WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY… the afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel (known locally as the Pink Palace) is widely hailed as one of the best in the world. For great African food, choose between Marco’s African Place, the Africa Café, Mama Africa or Addis in Cape, where authentic Ethiopian dishes are served in a woven basket-like table called a mesob and eaten by hand. For dining at the finer end of the spectrum, check out Test Kitchen, the Roundhouse, La Colombe, Beluga, or the Opal Lounge. WHEN YOU’RE SLEEPY… get a room at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel in the heart of the shop- and restaurant-filled V&A Waterfront district. The stately 94-room hotel started its life in 1904 as the North Quay Warehouse before being converted into a luxury hotel in 1990.

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TWIN CITIES

TEXAN treats Exploring the Dallas Fort Worth area DALLAS FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT recently became the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status, which is quite an achievement when you take into account the fact that more than 64 million customers pass through the airport every year. And it’s also a pretty good excuse for visiting the Dallas Fort Worth region. As the ninth-largest US city and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation, the Dallas area is the top visitor destination in Texas, and boasts the largest arts district of any US city. With a plethora of attractions to sample, visitors can now take advantage of a partnership between Dallas and CityPASS to get discounted prepaid entry to the city’s top attractions, including the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, Dallas Zoo and Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. And now’s a great time to visit, with several great events on the horizon, including the State Fair of Texas (30 September – 23 October), the USA’s longest-running fair, featuring everything from petting zoos to beer gardens and the Big Tex Choice Awards—a sampling of fried delights—allowing fairgoers to experience the varied Texas culture; and the inaugural Elite

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ABOVE: the Fort Worth Stock Yard cattle drive; BELOW LEFT: the Performing Arts Centre in Dallas Rodeo Association World Championships (9–13 November), the first of what will be an annual showcase of the world’s best rodeo athletes. But visitors shouldn’t leave the area without spending a couple of nights sampling the delights of nearby Fort Worth, the “City of Cowboys & Culture”. Made up of seven primary entertainment districts, each offering distinct dining, shopping, entertainment and cultural experiences, Fort Worth is home to everything from NASCAR racing to rodeos, from world-class museums to cowboy cuisine, and from biking to horseback riding. And there’s now an unusual new way to explore the city—the Fort Worth Ale Trail links nine breweries in and around Fort Worth, offering a vibrant, diverse group of entrepreneurs who are helping to redefine the city’s character, one perfect pint at a time. Upcoming events to look out for include the Lone Star Film Festival (10–13 November), an annual event held in downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show (15–16 October), one of the USA’s premier air shows, drawing the best in aviation talent, and the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering & Western Swing Festival (28–30 October), which celebrates the heritage of the American cowboy through music, ranch rodeo, cowboy poetry and more. And don’t forget, shopping is tax-free in Texas, so visitors can take advantage of some of the USA’s great shopping meccas while enjoying the celebrated hospitality of the two cities.


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WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS

WHERE the WHALES ARE Queensland’s Hervey Bay offers a whale-watching experience par excellence

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affair—there’s every chance that you’ll head out in the boat but the whales just won’t be there. But there’s an exception to that rule: the humpbacks of Hervey Bay. Each May, thousands of southern humpback whales leave the rich feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica and begin their annual 5,000-kilometre journey to their breeding grounds in the warm waters of the Whitsunday Islands. After spending a short time there mating and giving birth, the whales then head south again. By August, they begin to arrive in Platypus Bay, off the northwestern coast of Fraser Island in the Hervey Bay Marine Park, the only place in the Southern Hemisphere where humpbacks break their migration. With Fraser Island acting as a buffer from the surf, swell and winds of the open ocean, the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait, of which Hervey Bay forms the northern end, offer the perfect conditions for the whales to laze about and socialise. The hiatus gives the adult whales an opportunity to interact and allows the newborn calves to grow stronger in protected waters before beginning the long journey south to Antarctica. The mother whales also use the time to teach

KINGFISHER BAY RESORT (2)

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LIKE ANY FORM OF WILDLIFE ENCOUNTER, whale-watching is a hit-or-miss


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their calves important skills that they’ll need when they get into the cooler, deeper waters of the Southern Ocean. Newborn humpback calves are around 4.5 metres long and 1.5 tonnes in weight. They drink up to 400–500 litres of their mother’s high-fat milk (about 35 percent fat, compared to two percent in human milk) a day, allowing them to grow quickly and develop a good thick layer of fat in preparation for the long swim south to the colder Antarctic waters. By the time nursing ends at about 11 months of age, a suckling calf will have increased its weight by between five and eight times, and will have grown to a length of about eight metres. The annual stopover makes Hervey Bay one of the few places where you’re guaranteed to see whales if you’re there at the right time of year. And for the past 30 years or so, visitors from all over the world have flocked to the bay to take advantage of that guarantee. A local fisherman instigated the whalewatching industry in Hervey Bay, taking his friends out on the water to see the humpbacks. Today, 11 local operators take around 80,000 people whale-watching each season. An estimated 20,000 humpbacks venture into the bay each year. At the beginning of the season, most of the whales entering the bay are adults and sub-adults; the mothers and calves tend to arrive towards the end of the season. Some will stay in Platypus Bay for as long as five days, others will only stay for a day. While they’re in the bay, the whales, which can be up to 15 metres long and weigh up to 40 tonnes, put on an impressive show, slapping their tails, shaking their pectoral fins and

leaping into the air. They’re naturally curious and will often sidle over to the whale-watching boats to get a better look— sometimes as close as a metre or two, and staying close to the boat for ten minutes or more—in the process providing the humans on board with exactly what they came for: one of the most awe-inspiring wildlife encounters on the planet. The abundance of whales in Platypus Bay can be considered something of a conservation miracle. It’s thought that when the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission recommended halting the hunting of humpbacks in 1963 there were only 200 individuals left. Since then, humpback numbers have recovered significantly, with more than 25,000 whales now making the east coast migration each year. And numbers are still rising, at a rate of about ten percent per year. The whale-watching season in Hervey Bay runs from 1 August to 31 October. Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island offers a convenient base for whale-watching tours, with morning cruises departing daily at 7.45 a.m. aboard the Quick Cat II and returning at 12 p.m. The boat features a hydrophone that lets passengers listen live to the underwater sounds produced by the male humpbacks, as well as an underwater viewing camera that beams images onto screens around the boat. There’s expert commentary from the family who pioneered whale-watching in Hervey Bay and there’s even a money-back guarantee if you don’t see any whales. And for the truly adventurous, it’s possible to climb overboard and swim with the whales for the ultimate close encounter with one of the world’s most remarkable creatures. 2 01 6 ISSU E 0 2  

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EXPLORER

OCEAN hero Ecologist and conservationist Enric Sala talks travel

YOUR WORK WITH PRISTINE SEAS TAKES YOU TO SOME VERY REMOTE PLACES, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO TAKE YOUR HOLIDAYS?

To places with healthy nature, or towns with lots of history and art. WHAT ITEMS DO YOU ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO PACK WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELLING?

My iPad, iPhone, swimsuit, mask and snorkel, and my Blancpain Fifty Fathoms diving watch. WHAT HAS TRAVEL TAUGHT YOU?

Empathy, tolerance and openness of mind. It has helped me to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and has given me perspective and a better sense of relativity. HOW CAN TRAVELLERS HELP TO SUPPORT OCEAN CONSERVATION?

If you are a diver, go only to marine protected areas. We need to show governments that there is demand for more protected areas. WHICH NEW PLACES IS PRISTINE SEAS FOCUSING ON?

We’re going to Niue in October and next year we’ll be back in the southeast Pacific, and to Ascension Island (a British overseas territory in the south Atlantic). WHICH OF PRISTINE SEAS’ MANY SUCCESSES MAKES YOU THE MOST PROUD?

All of them! This is like asking a parent which child they love the most. But the Galápagos Marine Sanctuary created in March this year is very special because of the iconic nature of that place. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD?

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D R E N R I C S A L A , a marine ecologist and National Geographic explorer-inresidence, leads the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project. Launched in 2008, and supported by luxury Swiss watchmaker Blancpain as part of its Ocean Commitment programme, Pristine Seas aims to identify, survey, protect and restore the ocean’s last truly wild places.

JOSEP M. LLENAS

There are too many to list here—I’m very, very lucky—but the Galápagos Islands, the Southern Line Islands and the Arctic are at the top of my list.


The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is teeming with life - over 150 animal species and over 800 plants species, including 300 types of trees.

More things to do: • Go island hopping in Honda Bay. • Try spelunking at the Ugong Rock. • Take a mangrove paddle boat tour in Sabang. • Be enchanted by the fireflies on the Iwahig River Cruise. • Visit one of the country’s last tribes at the Batak Cultural Village

Coron and Puerto Princesa, Palawan itsmorefuninthephilippines.com facebook.com/itsmorefuninthephilippines

Getting there: Accessible bia air from Manila Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.


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ART & TRAVEL

light ENTERTAINMENT A spectacular art installation lights up the desert near Uluru AS IF ULURU WASN’T DRAWCARD ENOUGH, guests at

Ayers Rock Resort can now experience the monumental art phenomenon Field of Light in its largest form to date. The installation, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku by the local community (“looking at lots of beautiful lights” in Pitjantjatjara), is the work of British artist Bruce Munro, who’s known for producing large immersive light-based installations that often employ thousands of components. “The idea for Field of Light first landed in my sketch book in January 1992,” Munro said. “I had been living in Australia for eight years, and my fiancée (now wife) Serena and I embarked on a camping farewell tour of Australia prior to our return to England. While camping at Uluru, the Red Centre seemed to radiate ideas like heat, and I dreamed of an artwork that would bloom at night, like dormant desert seeds responding to rain.” Munro first created the installation in a large format in a field behind his home in rural Wiltshire, UK, in 2004 and has recreated it several times since—in fields, city parks and

urban squares, on building roofs and over rocky foothills. This iteration, the largest yet, comprises 50,000 delicate handcrafted “light stems” arranged in a circular installation covering an area of more than 49,000 square metres. It’s made up of 300,000 different component parts, connected by more than 380 kilometres of optical fibre (equivalent to the distance between Sydney and Wagga Wagga). It took more than 3,900 hours to recreate the installation on the site, which is located in a remote desert area within sight of Uluru. It represents the artist’s first solar-powered installation: 36 portable solar panels interface with the 144 projectors used in the installation. Guests at Ayers Rock Resort’s five properties have a number of options to interact with Munro’s monumental artwork, including a 45-minute sunrise walk-through, an evening visit that culminates with sparkling wine and canapés at an elevated viewing area, and a four-and-a-halfhour night tour that comes complete with a three-course buffet dinner that showcases bush tucker ingredients. The installation will be open until 31 March 2017.

MARK PICKTHALL

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RAIL JOURNEY

ROCKY ride All aboard for the “world’s most spectacular train ride”

THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS boast some

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ROCKY MOUNTAINEER

of the most dramatic, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, indeed, downright astonishing scenery in the world. Tumbling waterfalls, rugged snowcapped mountains, deep canyons, majestic old-growth pine forests, glittering glacial lakes—it’s quite the scenic smorgasbord, but how best to see it? Well, you would be hard pressed to beat the Rocky Mountaineer—dubbed the world’s most spectacular train trip. Operating a fleet of luxury trains on four unique rail routes that take in seven separate mountain ranges, Rocky Mountaineer has, since its inception in 1990, grown to become the largest privately owned luxury tourist train in the world. Its custom-built, bi-level Gold Leaf Service cars, introduced in 1995, come with a transparent, fully domed window-roof that offers unparalleled panoramic views. Downstairs, there’s a dining room that serves gourmet food and wine cooked to order from a menu of locally inspired cuisine. There’s even an exclusive outdoor vestibule where you can suck in deep lungfuls of that fresh mountain air. In order to allow for the best views, the trains operate exclusively during the day; each night, travellers leave the train and transfer to a comfortable hotel, before rejoining it for an early-morning departure. And the trains travel at a relatively sedate 50 km/h, increasing your chances of spotting wildlife, which can include eagles, big horn sheep, elk and bears. The engineer will even slow down when there’s a particularly interesting sighting. The Rocky Mountaineer’s season runs from the end of April to mid-October.


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FIVE TIPS TO LEAD YOU HAPPILY ASTRAY 1. SEE THE NEIGHBOURS

For every Rome, there’s a Mantua. Instead of creating an itinerary based on the places that receive the most attention, seek out the destinations that seem to have been missed. 2. DITCH THE GPS

Your phone’s mapping apps are precise locating tools, but travel should never just be about “getting there”. Look at a paper map and see if there’s a route that takes you through a bustling market or along a quiet shore. Give yourself permission to wander intentionally off course. 3. TALK TO STRANGERS

WELLNESS

GO your OWN WAY An offbeat guide for exploring the unknown

ILLUSTRATION BY JOSH COCHRAN

— HEATHER GREENWOOD DAVIS

Find a hashtag that pinpoints your area of interest and ask away. Fellow travellers will tell you where to go near Toronto, or recommend a home stay in Croatia or a guide they know in Beijing. Ask where the locals take vacations to score some insider information. 4. HOP ON

A train, subway, or bus will work. There’s no better way to get to know some of the local vernacular than to blend in on a city commute.

IT HAPPENS to the best of us. We finally get a chance to book a trip—and end up in the

5. BE OPEN TO THE JOURNEY

same places as every other traveller. You stay where TripAdvisor tells you, eat where Zagat recommends, and Yelp your way through a vacation. Suddenly, you’re visiting a checklist instead of a place. Make no mistake: there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the wonders of the world or the UNESCO-designated sites, but they aren’t the only reason to travel. For every city you’ve heard about, there’s another waiting for you to discover it, but in a sea full of must-see lists, it can be difficult to uncover the smaller destination fish. So how do you find those spots that will wow you without risking a vacation that disappoints? You prepare yourself to get lost.

Getting lost isn’t about being reckless or unsafe; it’s about choosing a path that hasn’t lost its allure. The key is to open yourself up to the possibility— and intention—of doing things differently. This is about succumbing to the true idea of travel: to explore. 2 01 6 ISSU E 0 2  

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REEF ADVENTURES

coral KINGDOM The southern Great Barrier Reef is an adventure playground AND THEN THE BOAT LEFT and we were alone on the reef. Well, okay, our group of five “reefsleepers” wasn’t truly alone—we were sharing the Reefworld pontoon on Hardy Reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef with our host, Natalie, and a few support staff—but when that big Cruise Whitsundays boat, carrying more than 300 day-trippers, motored away, I suddenly became acutely aware of how far we were from the rest of humanity. Whether day-tripper or reefsleeper, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on the pontoon, including snorkelling, diving, guided trips in a semisubmersible vessel, helicopter flights and even massages. I managed to fit four

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dives in during my stay, including an amazing night dive, the highlights of which included some close encounters with George, the resident three-metre, 400-kilogram Queensland groper and his slightly less impressively proportioned “girlfriend”. While there’s an air-conditioned double room on the pontoon, for the true reefsleep experience you camp out on the top deck in a rather luxurious swag, which you can unzip for an awesome view of the incredible canopy of stars above. My first visit to the Whitsundays—a group of 74 continental islands scattered along the Queensland coast just south of Bowen—more than 20 years ago, was, I

must admit, underwhelming. Airlie Beach, the islands’ gateway town, seemed like a charmless backpacker haunt from which I couldn’t wait to move on. But things have definitely changed, and today, the town is much more family-friendly and sophisticated. And the number of ways that it offers to get out to the reef and islands is growing all the time. The Whitsundays are probably best known as a sailing destination, but there’s sailing and there’s sailing. You can hire a yacht and do it yourself, or book a berth on one of the many vessels that run tours among the islands. There’s nothing quite like the experience of sitting on the side of a maxi yacht under full sail, rising


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and falling with (and being splashed by) the waves—I had an exhilarating ride on 24-metre Boomerang. Or for something a bit more sedate, spend a few days cruising around on Solway Lass, a glorious 114year-old two-masted schooner. If you want to do some diving during your sailing trip, simply hook up with Explore Whitsundays’ rendezvous dive boat, which connects with the yachts to show divers around the fringing reefs that encircle the islands. If it’s an adrenalin rush you crave, why not take a daytrip out to Whitehaven Beach, regularly voted Australia’s best beach, with Ocean Rafting. Their semirigid inflatable vessels, each boasting a pair of 300-horsepower engines on the back, are extremely fast, turning the journey out and back into a whiteknuckle thrill ride. And finally, to get an aerial overview of your island explorations, take a tour with Air Whitsunday—you’ll even get to see the famous Heart Reef, discovered in 1975 by an Air Whitsunday pilot.

A CLE AR WINNER CLEAR WATERS, abundant marine life and deserted beaches—what more could you want from an island getaway? Lady Elliot Island ticks all of these boxes and more. A coral cay situated at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot is just 42 hectares in size—it only takes about 45 minutes to circumambulate it. It boasts a single small eco resort, which means that it’s perfect for travellers in search of solitude. The island is situated within a so-called “green zone”, the highest level of protection on the GBR, which makes it a haven for marine life. It’s known for its “great eight”: manta rays, humpbacks, turtles, sharks, clownfish, giant

clams, coral and Maori wrasse. But that’s just the start—in all, more than 1,200 species of marine life can be found in the waters around the island. The island’s position on the outer edge of the continental shelf means that it’s spared heavy boat traffic and runoff from mainland rivers, so the surrounding water is exceptionally clear year round— average visibility exceeds 20 metres. And you don’t have to be a scuba diver to discover this amazing marine wonderland—it’s possible to go snorkelling straight off the beach, either in the protected lagoon or off the western side of the island for a deeper snorkelling experience.

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A frozen crown of an iceberg rides the frigid waters around Antarctica


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ANTARCTICA

TRIP of a LIFETIME Think you’ve seen it all? Head south—far south— to the ultimate continent – JAYNE WISE

JOSHUA HOLKO

“TOWERING MOUNTAINS rise straight out of ice-clogged seas, icebergs gleam the radiant blue that only ancient ice attains, wildlife congregates in multitudes. In Antarctica, you see things clearly,” says photographer Jim Richardson, whose decades of travel have taken him twice to the white continent. If Antarctica is a destination for clear visions, its tourism visionary was Lars-Eric Lindblad, who pioneered travel to this icy realm 50 years ago. In 1966, the Swede brought 57 goose-down-bundled passengers on a dream cruise to the ends of the Earth. In the years since, Lindblad Expeditions has pioneered sustainable Antarctic journeys, often in partnership with National Geographic. Turn the page to discover why Sven-Olof Lindblad, the founder’s son, thinks the world’s coldest continent is our hottest ultimate destination.

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WHAT CAMERA GEAR SHOULD TRAVELLERS BRING TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR ANTARCTIC EXPERIENCE?

Whatever camera is comfortable, but understand the camera you choose. Of course, on our ships we have photo instructors—including National Geographic photographers—to help everyone maximise their equipment. NAME ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE ANTARCTIC EXPERIENCES

I love watching the goings-on in penguin colonies: their courtships, how they raise their young, their strategies to avoid leopard seals. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR ANTARCTIC TRAVEL OVER THE COMING DECADES?

Gentoo penguins charmed photographer Jim Richardson during one of his National Geographic Expeditions trips to the Antarctic region

A continued growth in interest, with one possible challenge: how to offer a remarkable Antarctic experience to more and more travellers—and do it safely. WHAT DO YOU WANT TRAVELLERS TO RETURN FROM ANTARCTICA WITH?

WHY IS ANTARCTICA THE ULTIMATE TRIP

SHARE WITH US SOME OF YOUR

FOR THOSE IN THEIR SEVENTH DECADE?

IMPRESSIONS OF ANTARCTICA

Seventh decade, seventh continent. Antarctica simply can’t be missed by any traveller driven by curiosity and attracted to 21st-century exploration. This is the wildest, most dramatic place on Earth. Be prepared for constant surprise.

Its palette of whites, blues and blacks. How nature dictates everything there and human influence is so minor. The miles and miles of ice; on my first visit, I didn’t sleep for two days, I was so mesmerised as we crashed through the sea ice.

Above all, I want them to have unforgettable, knock-your-socks-off experiences that enhance their respect for wild places—and for the importance of these places to life on Earth. ­

CHILE ARGENTINA Ushuaia

200 km

HOW HAS TRAVEL TO ANTARCTICA

TIME TRAVELLERS ON YOUR

CHANGED SINCE YOUR FATHER

ANTARCTIC EXPEDITIONS?

INAUGURATED TRIPS TO THE

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SOUTH AMERICA PACIFIC OCEAN

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

AREA ENLARGED

ANTARCTICA

*Route can change due to ice conditions

JIM RICHARDSON (PENGUINS); NG MAPS

WHAT SHOULD TRAVELLERS EXPECT?

Antarctica is dramatic and nuanced at the same time. At first it’s overwhelming, but as days progress, the nuances come into play; the shapes and colours of icebergs, the antics of penguins, the pods of whales.

ULTIMATE CONTINENT?

When my father began bringing people to Antarctica, no-one went there. Now, many people go, on all manner of ships. In terms of the guest experience, it’s better now because of advanced technologies to predict weather and ice conditions. In our case, we have hydrophones and ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles). We also have “undersea specialists”, who take videos of underwater life during the trip for guests to enjoy.

*National Geographic Expeditions route

e sag Pas

The endless beauty and wonder of ice—enormous glaciers, icebergs, ice sheets. Also, the constantly changing light as it illuminates the vastness of this place.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

Cape Horn ake Dr

WHAT ALWAYS IMPRESSES FIRST-


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Experience Texas hospitality, great food and music plus some of the best museums and galleries in America.

VisitDallas.com

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AWARDS

WORLD LEGACY awards National Geographic Traveller recognises leaders in sustainable tourism for 2016 – COSTAS CHRIST

“TOURISM IS ON FIRE. OUT OF CONTROL , it can burn your house

down. But if you harness that energy, you can cook your food with it.” With those words, we launched the World Legacy Awards in 2002. Our goal was simple: applaud, support and raise the bar for nations and travel companies in the vanguard of sustainable tourism, at the time an emerging concept based on safeguarding the world’s natural and cultural treasures for future generations. Those early ideas gave rise to a travel philosophy that continues to redefine how we explore the planet. Among the initiatives recognised in these profiles of the 2016 winners are a grassroots organisation that’s empowering village women as conservation leaders and a Maori tour company that’s helping travellers understand New Zealand’s indigenous heritage. Our winners prove that a great holiday can also make the world a better place.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AWARDS: WWW.NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM/ WORLDLEGACYAWARDS

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The Cliffs of Moher, a top sight in Ireland, belong to UNESCO’s Geopark network


WORLD LEGACY awards Places that demonstrate environmental, cultural and community best practices WINNER BURREN AND CLIFFS OF MOHER GEOPARK, IRELAND RUNNERS-UP – DESTINATION RØROS, NORWAY – TRAVEL OREGON, U.S.A.

E AR TH CHANG E RS Leadership in environmentally friendly business practices and technologies WINNER MISSION HILLS RESORTS, CHINA RUNNERS-UP – L AGUNA LODGE ECO-RESORT AND NATURE RESERVE, GUATEMALA – INSPIRA SANTA MARTA HOTEL, PORTUGAL

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ENGAGING COMMUNITIES

MORE THAN 100 ENTRIES were submitted from 51 countries.

A global panel of 23 judges, coordinated by National Geographic Traveler editor-at-large Costas Christ, scored the entries according to internationally recognised criteria for sustainable tourism. Also considered: innovation, visitor activities and quality of service. The 15 finalists underwent a rigorous on-site inspection. One winner was selected in each category. Partners and sponsors include ITB Berlin, the Botswana Tourism Organization, Adventure World and the TreadRight Foundation.

IT’S A COMMON PROBLEM in many parts of the rural world: once-thriving villages become

economic backwaters as business opportunities shift from the countryside to urban centres. That’s what the project known as the Burren and Cliffs of Moher GeoparkLIFE set out to change in County Clare, on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, a place dotted with farms, villages and walking trails. “By developing a destination-wide partnership with the Burren Ecotourism Network, we’re bringing communities, businesses and municipal authorities together to create a sustainable future for our rural way of life,” says Geopark manager Carol Gleeson, who grew up on a nearby farm. Key to the project’s success was ensuring that the Cliffs of Moher, which soar 200 metres above crashing waves, aren't just photo ops for day-trippers. Attractions such as the Burren Outdoor Activity Trail and the Burren Food Trail—which features food producers and culinary artisans, and is a winner of a 2015 European Destination of Excellence award for local gastronomy—now have more travellers spending more time in this scenic region.

AMONG CHINA’S CITY DWELLERS they’re called “breathers”—holidays focused on nature and

clean air. Mission Hills offers both at its three resort complexes. “We want to be the positive change in China that we believe is needed for a greener future,” says Ken Chu, the young chairman of Mission Hills, who is part of a growing Chinese environmental movement. The flagship property, Mission Hills Haikou, on the tropical island of Hainan, features ten golf courses certified by the Golf Environmental Organization, stands of lychee trees that golden birdwings (China’s largest butterflies) call home, an eco-heritage trail that meanders past a 300-year-old archaeological site, and an eco-diversity trail that features native species. Also here are a high-tech field station that monitors air quality and climate-change impacts, and more than 50,000 native trees transplanted to help restore a deforested ecosystem. Other Mission Hills highlights include eco-learning centres that promote awareness of biodiversity and a “Green Manual” for guests with suggestions on how to live a more sustainable life at home.

N AT I O N A L G E O G R A PH I C T R AV E L L E R

CHRISTOPHER HILL/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (OPENING PAGES, TOMB), COURTESY MISSION HILLS CHINA (LOBBY)

DE S TINATION LE ADE RSHIP

Mfuwe Lodge mascots: local elephants

EARTH CHANGERS

DESTINATION LEADERSHIP

Neolithic tombs in the rugged Burren

A lobby at the Mission Hills Haikou resort

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COURTESY THE BUSHCAMP COMPANY (ELEPHANT), PAUL CHESLEY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (THERMAL POOL), COURTESY SIERRA GORDA (WOMAN)

Promoting economic and social benefits that directly improve local livelihoods WINNER THE BUSHCAMP COMPANY, ZAMBIA RUNNERS-UP – GROOTBOS GREEN FUTURES FOUNDATION, SOUTH AFRICA – ABERCROMBIE & KENT PHILANTHROPY, U.S.A.

SE NSE OF PL ACE Excellence in enhancing sense of place and authenticity; support for indigenous traditions WINNER TIME UNLIMITED TOURS, NEW ZEALAND RUNNERS-UP – CGH EARTH EXPERIENCE HOTELS, INDIA – TIERRA PATAGONIA HOTEL & SPA, CHILE

CONSE RVING THE NATUR AL WORLD Preserving nature, restoring habitats and protecting rare and endangered species WINNER GRUPO ECOLÓGICO SIERRA GORDA, MEXICO RUNNERS-UP – ARKABA BY WILD BUSH LUXURY, AUSTRALIA – ELEPHANT HILLS COMPANY LTD, THAILAND

CONSERVING THE NATURAL WORLD

Ceramics made by Sierra Gorda women

SENSE OF PL ACE

A steam-filled thermal pool in Rotorua

E NG AG ING COMMUNITIE S

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ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS to emerge from decades of conservation in Africa is that

unless the people who live closest to wildlife become allies in protecting endangered species, lasting conservation is elusive. Enter the Bushcamp Company, which operates Mfuwe Lodge and six safari camps in South Luangwa National Park, a vast haven that offers some of the continent’s most spectacular wildlife experiences. “Tourism plays a huge role in protecting nature in Zambia,” says managing director Andy Hogg. “We do that by working with villagers to provide jobs, build schools and improve rural livelihoods.” Each year, Bushcamp, the area’s largest employer, pumps more than US$300,000 into conservation and community development, including on-the-job training, scholarships for 350 students, 3,000 anti-malaria bed nets and a daily meal for 1,600 schoolchildren (within a year, their exam pass rate rose from 53 percent to 91 percent as teachers reported increased attendance). Bushcamp also donates funds to the South Luangwa Conservation Society to support its anti-poaching patrols.

THE BEST WAY to understand indigenous culture is to travel with companies owned by indigenous

people. Meet Ceillhe Tewhare Teneti Hema Sperath, who, with her husband, Neill, founded TIME Unlimited Tours in 2005. The name is an acronym for the company mission, To Integrate Maori Experiences, says Sperath, herself a descendant of two Maori chiefs who signed the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. “It is very important for us to represent the inter-generational vision our ancestors had to be the kaitiaki [guardians] of this special place we call Aotearoa, also known as New Zealand,” she explains. The Speraths want to share Maori culture through personalised journeys in New Zealand’s mystical landscapes, including the Waitakare Ranges and Rotorua’s geothermal pools and geysers. Their approach has earned TIME Unlimited the country’s highest certification for environmental and social responsibility. “We create experiences that help travellers understand our tribal legends as living legacies,” Sperath says, “a sense of place we call home.”

FOR 29 YEARS, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, a grassroots non-profit organisation, has worked to protect one of the world’s loftier biodiversity enclaves—the Sierra Gorda, a lush mountain region some four hours’ drive north of Mexico City—by building a “conservation economy”. Much of what the group does “focuses on improving the daily lives of women, so that they become the voice of conservation in their communities”, says Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo, the director. “This has created a network of 83 small ecotourism businesses, many led by village women who previously struggled in poverty.” Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda also aided the establishment of the 385,000-hectare Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, home to diverse ecosystems—including Cuatro Palos, where forest and desert meet, and Sótano del Barro, a huge sinkhole where endangered macaws nest—as well as the Franciscan Missions World Heritage site. Travellers see the conservation economy at work among local outfitters who offer hiking and other excursions, and artisans such as Doña Dorotea, who runs a pottery studio.

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Manila’s Quiapo Market sells everything from produce and street food to religious items and pets

PHOTO CREDIT

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FILIPINO FOOD

MANILA with ZEST Sour finds its biggest fans in the Philippines – WILMA B. CONSUL

AT THIS VERY MOMENT, a good number

of the 12 million people in Metro Manila are craving sour. Manileños bite into a tart, crisp slice of green mango dabbed with fermented shrimp paste for an afternoon snack. They slurp a hearty bowl of tamarind soup at a Sunday after-church lunch. They crunch fried fish dipped in chili-spiked palm vinegar at a cafeteriastyle turo-turo, where customers simply point (turo) at their dish of choice. Sour appears on menus everywhere in the Philippines. Each dish has a distinct taste and degree of tanginess based on the region and the season. In Manila, sour can be found both at a design-centric restaurant in the financial district of Makati and at a Baclaran carinderia, a food stall where jeepney and pedicab drivers sit on benches for a meal and a break from the city’s paralysing traffic. When nature handed this Southeast Asian country lemons—and a tropical bounty of other acidic fruits—the Filipinos made lemonade. And seviche. And sour fried chicken. That last dish appears on the menu at Kafé Batwan, in Makati. Chef JP Anglo pays homage to his roots on Negros, the fourth largest of the Philippines’ 7,107 islands, by featuring the native batwan, a hard fruit smaller than a lime. Anglo marinates the chicken in batwan juice,

coconut vinegar and lemongrass salt, then fries it crisp for a surprisingly delicious twist. The stairs leading up to a secondfloor dining room showcase bottles of spicy housemade vinegar and Don Papa, a small-batch rum named after the shaman and revolutionary who, in 1896, freed from the Spaniards the island of Negros, where this sugarcane product is distilled. “Sourness is the main flavour that distinguishes us from other Asian cuisines,” says Amy Besa, cookbook author and co-owner of Purple Yam in Manila’s buzzing retail district of Malate. Located in Besa’s ancestral home, the restaurant displays original artworks by acclaimed Filipino modernist Botong Francisco, Besa’s godfather. Besa and her husband, chef Romy Dorotan, alternate between Manila and Brooklyn, where the original Purple Yam has drawn fans of the couple’s fresh and elegantly updated Filipino dishes since 2009 (and before that at their nowshuttered SoHo restaurant, Cendrillon). “The holy trinity of native Filipino foods,” says Besa, is adobo, sinigang and kinilaw (a cured seafood dish similar to seviche). “All three dishes are cooked and eaten by all classes of society from the very rich to the very poor,” she says. Dorotan’s recipe for chicken adobo—meat braised in rice vinegar, garlic, pepper

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Co-workers morph into rock stars at I’m a Singer, one of Manila’s many popular karaoke bars

and coconut milk—is possibly the most published and shared of all Filipino adobos. Many Filipinos believe that imbibing a steaming sour soup, such as sinigang, helps cool the body—and whet the appetite. Chefs Isaiah Ortega and Korinne Lirio-Ortega believe in the power of sour soup so much that they opened Sinigang restaurant in BF Homes Parañaque, a well-off Manila neighbourhood that has seen numerous restaurants open in the past year. Prior to the restaurant’s launch, Ortega read up on all things sinigang and travelled the provinces. He says he found “more than 20 different souring agents used for sinigang”, including pineapple, herbs, tree bark and others he’d never heard of such as libas (hog plum), bignay (Chinese laurel) and katmon

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(elephant apple). The Ortegas had the sour fruits shipped to Manila in sacks. Patrick Roa’s food awakening happened during his search for the best seviche. “I can make you 50 kinds of seviche, if you want,” Roa says. He and his wife, Pia Temporal Roa, opened Patricio’s Cevicheria in Fort Bonifacio to share his findings. The Roas also serve Hawaiian poke and regional Filipino kinilaw. Their superstar dish: kinilaw de Oro, fresh tuna cured in coconut vinegar with fruits and roots indigenous to the region around Cagayan de Oro, where Patrick grew up. Whether you’re dining in the food court at Harbour Square with a view of Manila Bay or meeting for lunch in the posh Rockwell Center area of Makati, it’s perfectly natural to ask the servers for some fish sauce (patis) to accompany your meal.


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This will come on a small plate with a sweet-sour calamansi (a type of citrus fruit related to the cumquat) and one little red-hot pepper slit in the middle to let you temper the heat. “The ritual of sawsawan (dipping sauce) is an important part of Filipino meals,” says Pia Lim-Castillo, who teaches cooking at her home kitchen in Forbes Park, Makati. “By adjusting the sauce, the eater partakes in the cooking.”

Manila ASIA

Washington D.C.-based WILMA B. CONSUL ( @citizencookdc) is a journalist, artist and chef who cooks with patis. Her fellow Washingtonian, photographer GREG KAHN ( @gregkahn), has been trying to re-create Manila dishes. He says, “I never realised how much I love sour food!”

AREA ENLARGED

PACIFIC OCEAN

PHILIPPINES

AUSTRALIA

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WHAT MEALTIME IN MANILA LOOKS LIKE Clockwise from top left: a Makati streetside food cart selling grilled pork and chicken skewers until late; lechon (roasted suckling pig), a favourite special-occasion dish in the Philippines, being prepared at Elarz Lechon; food served on banana leaves in traditional Filipino style

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at Gerry’s Jeepney in Quezon City; along Felipe Street in Makati, known for its late-night food and drinks; pork with various dipping sauces at a private catered party in the wealthy neighbourhood of Forbes Park; a sunset dinner cruise around Manila Bay


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best shot

What we eat here

GIVE US YOUR

WINNER ‘NIGHT MARKET’ by CRYSTAL EGAN

The winner of this issue’s Best Shot competition is Crystal Egan, who photographed a vendor selling dried fish at a night market in Puerto Princesa, a coastal city on the island of Palawan in the western Philippines. Dried, salted fish, known as daing, are popular in Filipino cooking, both as an ingredient and for flavouring. Sardines are particularly popular, and are known as tuyo, as seen in Crystal’s photo. Once seen as the food of the poor, they are now widely eaten, fried and then consumed as a snack or served with rice for breakfast, always accompanied by a spiced vinegar dip. As the winner of this issue’s competition, Crystal receives a Fujifilm X-T10 and an XC16–50mm lens, together valued at $1,299.

P R O U D LY S P O N S O R E D BY

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path THE

less travelled Nepal is a high-altitude-trekking mecca, but a walk in the rural foothills offers a rare insight into how the locals live words & photographs by

GEORDIE TORR

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In Rumpur village, a young girl watches trekkers prepare for the day ahead

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A LITTLE GIRL CROUCHES, face pensive,

looking down at us, at me. Dark hair, dark eyes, she’s silent, but her face, her fascination, tells me what she’s thinking: “Other.” A short time later, I look up and see two more small children peering down at me with that same blend of curiosity and caution on their faces. I’m clearly a novelty here—and that’s just how I like it. FOR ME, ONE OF THE FASCINATIONS of travel is the insights that it can provide into how people in other parts of the world live, how lifestyles have adapted to suit the surrounding environment. To do that, however, you usually need to leave the well-trodden tourist trails and find places where foreigners are a rare sight, places like this. Although the Solukhumbu district in northeastern Nepal is the home of Mount Everest and many of the country’s most visited areas, there are broad swaths of the region that see few tourists. In April, a year after devastating earthquakes killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal and left almost 3.5 million homeless, I took part in Kathmandu’s Summit Club Trek through the region, which was among the worst hit. For the trek I joined a group of nine Summit Club members who had raised funds for the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF). Kathmandu supports the AHF’s Teacher Training and Quality education programme, which operates in the lower Solukhumbu. The AHF has collaborated with Kathmandu to set up this annual trek into the Solukhumbu so that the trekkers can visit the schools and students who will directly benefit from the funds they’ve raised. The first half of the 14-day trek took place in a rural area little touched by tourism; for the second half, we joined the main trekking route to Everest Base Camp. We visited schools, walked through fields and villages and pine forests, crossed suspension bridges and streams, passed prayer wheels and stupas, climbed up and down steep hillsides, indeed, climbed up and down full stop. Although we were only in the foothills of the Himalaya, the landscape was still dramatic. This is very much a land of hills and valleys, with steep, pine-forest-clad slopes descending to frigid, milky-watered rivers that tumble over jumbled boulders—the liquid engineers responsible for making this such a deeply dissected land. Nepal contains eight of the world’s ten highest peaks and about 85 per cent of its land area is populated by hills and mountains. Although the total land area is roughly the same as that of the US state of Florida, the actual surface area—if you laid the country out flat—approaches that of the entire USA. Living in a landscape as steep as this, flat ground is to be coveted, and the locals have had to literally carve an existence

out for themselves. The only land that’s flat is flat because they’ve made it flat. Flat, here, isn’t natural, flat is an artefact. Large patches of forest have been cleared and the slopes terraced for agriculture—primarily potatoes and corn. In places, the terraces seem to flow down the hillsides like honey or mud, in others they look like corduroy, or wrinkled skin. Each is held in place by a stone wall and each is a testament to the difficulties of eking out a living in these hills. Some are so small that they host just two or three corn plants. The compensation for living in this precipitous landscape is the views. Standing on a hillside, you invariably look out onto another hillside, or a snow-capped mountain, a valley, a river, a forest, a giant’s staircase of terraced farmland. Wherever you live, wherever you walk, you’re guaranteed an impressive view and often as not, you’re treated to a sublime one. The impression is of a cross between Tuscany and northern Vietnam—scrub, pine trees and blue-and-white farmhouses, surrounded by terraced fields. At night, lights burning on the scattered farmhouses dot the hillsides below, like Earth-bound constellations—as though you’re looking down on the heavens. ONE OF THE LESS WELCOME CONSEQUENCES of this

dramatic topography is the scarcity of roads; in a landscape such as this, building roads is, obviously, not easy. There’s currently less than 15,000 kilometres of road in Nepal, less than half of it paved. Consequently, roughly a third of Nepal’s population lives at least two hours walk from a road. But the roads are coming. Nepal has embarked on an ambitious road-building programme, with about 1,000 kilometres of new road being constructed each year. One afternoon, as we rested beside a house laid low by the earthquakes—essentially a huge pile of rocks with a blue roof perched haphazardly on top—we could see this process in action. On the adjacent hillside, the open wound of a new road was slashed across the steep slope; the jackhammer pounding of the big yellow digger responsible echoed across to us. You could argue that this scarcity of roads has shaped Nepal’s national character. Without roads, if you want something moved from one place to another you need to find someone (or something) to carry it. Hence, pretty much wherever you go in Nepal, you’ll see people (and livestock) carrying heavy loads. Indeed, seeing all of this carrying, you can understand why Sherpas are, well, “sherpas”. Each day, we passed and were passed by porters of widely varying ages, all bent at the angle required to take the weight they were carrying: near upright for a relatively light load; perpendicular to carry the constituent pieces of the pool table we saw being carried up to the village of Tengboche. Nothing quite prepares you for the scale of the loads. Yes, obviously, they’re heavy; porters are paid by the kilo, so will pile their loads up to their physical limit, in some cases carrying more than 100 kilograms. But there’s the volume as well, the surface area. In places, we passed porters using ropes 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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tied to the tops of their towering loads to steady them as they walked. It’s also striking how young the porters start. Our visit coincided with the national school holidays and on the trail, we saw lots of children carrying impressive loads—boys with enormous hunks of meat or big loads of firewood in their baskets, girls with towering loads of fodder or firewood baskets of their own. Personally, I struggled a little with handing over my heavy bag each day for a porter to carry. It somehow felt exploitative, yet they’re clearly used to it. Carrying loads is a way of life here and carrying for tourists is more lucrative. THE BURDEN of carrying is shared by livestock. After a few days of walking, we regularly had to make way for mules, bells tinkling and clanking from their necks, loads—usually a pair of gas cylinders—lashed to their backs. As we got higher, the mules were replaced by jopkyos —cow–yak hybrids—and then full-blood yaks. The regular passage of these livestock trains down the hill offered us respite from our climbs, as we did our best to make ourselves small on the uphill side of the path while covering our mouths (the rocks along the trail weather down to form an incredibly fine talc-like dust that the animals kick up in a choking cloud). One of our other sources of regular respite were the “rest stops” that dot the paths. Rough benches made from flat stones, many of them carved with images and prayers, these were essentially shrines dedicated to the memory of people who lived in the surrounding area—the Buddhist equivalent of park benches with brass ‘In memory of…’ plaques on them. In Nepal, religion figures large. But while its people are largely Hindu (more than 80 per cent), it’s the much smaller Buddhist contingent (nine per cent) that makes the more visible impression. As well as the rest-stop shrines, there are the iconic prayer flags that flutter from every tethering point, the prayer wheels beside the paths for travellers to spin, the stupas, large and small (which we learnt must be circled in a clockwise direction), the mantras carved into boulders and the monasteries, with their monks clad in Burgundy-coloured robes. IN MUCH OF ASIA, at any given time, you’ll come across a

lot of people, mostly male, sitting about doing very little. In the Mekong Delta, you pass restaurants filled with hammocks, where the patrons can have a meal and a nap without having to get up in between. That’s not the case in rural Nepal. It feels as though everyone you see is doing something: a woman harvesting wheat with a small scythe, throwing the heads of grain into a basket on her back, groups cutting down then cutting up pine trees for timber, children gathering firewood or fodder.

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Two girls stop to check out the trekkers on their way home with a load of fodder each

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A woman harvests wheat near the village of Rumpur

At one point, we passed a group of men preparing to carve up a freshly slaughtered buffalo. Nearby, the severed heads of two buffalo were propped up against a wall, metal bowls sitting beneath the bright-red throats to catch a few last drops of blood. Not long before, we had passed a woman weaving a mat; not long after, we passed a mother and son pounding millet seed heads with wooden mallets. Nepal is among the world’s poorest countries. It’s regularly buffeted by powerful natural and geopolitical forces—the climate, tectonics, its neighbours, its own internal politics—and yet it remains a reflexively welcoming country. During our first week of trekking, away from the tourist areas, the people we passed seemed fascinated to see Westerners walking through their fields, their villages. Most would smile, wave and greet us with a hearty, “Namaste”. A traditional Hindu greeting, namaste literally means “bowing to the god in you”. It’s said with the hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards—as if in prayer—and in these rural areas, it’s usually said with a drawn out “aaaaay” at the end. The greeting is so ingrained that even pre-language children will clasp their hands together in a Pavlovian response to hearing the word. ONE AFTERNOON, halfway through the trek, we walked

into a village. There was quite a large amount of earthquake

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damage visible and for the first time, we started to see German Red Cross tents amid the rubble. At first, the village was quiet, near-deserted, but then it began to change. The farmhouses that had lined the track until now were replaced with hotels and restaurants (virtually all of which seemed to have names containing some combination of “Sherpa”, “Everest”, “Himalaya” and “view”) and bars offering free pool and popcorn. We had now joined the route that links Lukla to Namche Bazaar and on to Everest Base Camp, and the increase in tourist numbers, and in businesses set up to cater to tourists, was quite startling. The peace and tranquility to which we had become accustomed was replaced by the staccato clatter of walking poles on paving stones, by AC/DC and Creedence Clearwater Revival booming from the bars. From here on, the views would get more spectacular, the air would get thinner and the paths would get more crowded. It’s the peaks of the high Himalaya that draw most travellers to Nepal, but it was the quiet authenticity of the rural foothills that stole my imagination.

G E O R D I E T O R R is the editor of National Geographic Traveller Aus/NZ. He travelled to Nepal with Thai Airways International. This story was made possible through the support of Kathmandu.


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TIMIDLY, the small boy

approaches, dressed in his school uniform, a bouquet of red rhododendron flowers clutched in his hands. With great solemnity, he bows to Jill and hands her the flowers, then clasps his hands together, says a quiet “Namaste”, and returns to his seat. 62 

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ABOVE: gift-giving in the village of Garma; RIGHT: Dalit children in Tamakhani model their new woolly hats; FAR RIGHT: inside one of the classrooms in the village of Nele

DURING THE FIRST WEEK of our trek, we regularly stopped in at village schools so that we could see the work being carried out by the AHF's local NGO partner REED-Nepal. We were accompanied by Ekraj Koirala, one of REED-Nepal’s senior trainers, who acted as guide, interpreter and general explainer during the visits. The first school we visited was in Garma, one of the Solukhumbu villages worst hit by last year’s earthquakes. The school suffered particularly badly; eight of its nine classrooms were completely or partially destroyed. The Nepalese government only provided $2,800 for reconstruction, but a number of NGOs and aid groups, including the AHF, stepped in to help, and by the time of our visit, many of the buildings had been rebuilt. We were greeted at the school like dignitaries. In the dusty playground, two rows of seats had been set up for us, facing another seven rows of seats and benches occupied by an impressive crowd of schoolchildren and their parents. We were given a traditional greeting and gift of Khata scarves, and

then the students presented us with gifts—mostly bouquets and garlands. After some speeches and a display of traditional dancing, we took a tour of some of the rebuilt classrooms. As we moved from room to room, Ekraj told us about some of REED-Nepal’s programmes. Established in 2000, REED (Rural Education and Environment Development Center) works mainly in the Solukhumbu and Taplejung regions. Although it’s active in environmental development, and helps with emergency response following natural disasters, the NGO’s main focus is on education. With support from the AHF, it regularly conducts training workshops where teachers learn effective and creative teaching methods. They’re also taught how to make their classrooms more child-friendly, which REED hopes will help to motivate the students to come to school. Ekraj explained that he and trainers like him regularly visit schools, providing learning materials, carrying out further teacher training, monitoring the teachers and providing feedback to ensure that the training has been


effective. During these visits, the trainers also talk to parents, urging them to become involved in their children’s education—to the point of sitting in on classes and monitoring the teachers’ performance with “scorecards”. Many of the villages in which REED-Nepal works are remote and levels of poverty are high, so the schools are often very basic; in some of the schools we visited, the classrooms had dirt floors. Classrooms are typically overcrowded, bathroom facilities are unsanitary, the school grounds are often hazardous and there are often insufficient books and other materials. To counter this, REED-Nepal delivers supplies and basic infrastructure assistance to the schools, providing, for example, mini-library collections, fencing, child-friendly furniture, stationery supplies and even computers. Working in partnership with the AHF, it also awards as many as 500 scholarships each year to promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to provide motivation and promote retention. Student motivation is important when

you consider the obstacles to their education. Without roads—and hence any form of transport, public or otherwise—the children must walk to school. For those who live in the local village, this is no great hardship, but some students may have to walk more than two hours each way to get to and from school, and as we discovered, that two-hours-plus walk is likely to include several steep, tiring climbs. To date, REED-Nepal has worked with more than 320 schools and 1,300 teachers. Its work is supported by the AHF, which is, in turn, supported by outdoor travel and adventure company Kathmandu. On day six of the trek, we visited the village of Tamakhani, which is located close to where our guide, KK, grew up. Many of those living in the area are Dalits—Nepal’s “untouchables”, historically discriminated against and oppressed; almost half of Nepal’s Dalits live below the poverty line. Most of Tamakhani’s Dalits used to work in a nearby copper mine, but since it was shut down, they’ve struggled to find other work. Their younger children

were also effectively excluded from education because the nearest school was too far away for them to walk to. However, thanks to KK’s efforts, the AHF now funds the salary of a teacher at the village’s small school, which caters to grades one to three. Inside the two-room bamboo school building, we handed out 40 LuminAIDs, small, inflatable, solar-powered lanterns that form part of Kathmandu’s Give Light Get Light programme (Kathmandu donates one of these lights to the AHF for every ten that it sells). In communities without reliable access to electricity, the lanterns provide a clean, safe, reusable light source—which is of particular importance for families with school-age children as it allows them to study after dark. KK had also come bearing gifts, including educational materials and a big bag of woolly hats, which were gleefully distributed and modelled by children and adults alike. ■ For further information, visit: www.reednepal.org www.australianhimalayanfoundation.org.au www.kathmandu.com.au/ community-partnerships 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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Taft Point at sunset

YOSEMITE THE RANGE OF LIGHT By Julie Miller

YOSEMITE

THE RANGE of LIGHT

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BRIAN FULDA/500PX

A MAGNET TO CLIMBERS, HIKERS AND, MOST OF ALL, PHOTOGRAPHERS, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK PROTECTS SOME OF NORTH AMERICA’S MOST MAJESTIC LANDSCAPES By JULIE MILLER

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ABOVE: named for their large, mule-like ears, mule deer are the most easily seen mammals in Yosemite National Park; OPPOSITE: the highest waterfall in the park, Yosemite Falls drop a total of 739 metres

YUN GAO/500PX; MAT T REISS/500PX

IF THERE’S ONE THING the current centennial celebrations of the US National Park Service highlights, it’s the incredible scenic diversity of the USA’s wilderness regions. But well before 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson created the national body to manage and defend the country’s monuments and parks—and even before Yellowstone was pronounced, back in 1872, the world’s first national park—there was one majestic landscape considered worthy of protection under state law: the Yosemite Valley.

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Half Dome at sunset

ON 30 JUNE 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, the first instance of land being set aside for “public use, resort and recreation”. Just 15 years prior, a battalion of soldiers had become the first non-Indians to ride into the spectacular gorge in California’s Sierra Nevada range east of San Francisco. Word quickly spread, however, about the sublime beauty of the wildflower-strewn meadows flanked by monumental granite cliffs and tumbling waterfalls, luring the first tourists to its groves of giant sequoias. “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of

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Nature I was ever permitted to enter,” gushed naturalist John Muir, the man credited with putting Yosemite on the map through his prolific, rapturous musings, written during his years exploring the High Sierras. “After ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.” Years later, Muir would share his beloved mountain


GREGORY CL AY/500PX

home with President Theodore Roosevelt, the man largely credited with starting the USA’s conservation movement. “It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man,” the president wrote of his camping trip in the wilderness in 1903. “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods… and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

More than a century after that, Yosemite is one of the USA’s most popular national parks, attracting four million visitors a year. Many of them come on day trips from San Francisco, just a three-hour drive west, and most stay within the 18 square kilometres of the central valley—which represents just one per cent of the entire park area. Yosemite is also a magnet, however, to adventurers, photographers, backcountry hikers and rock climbers, who tackle challenging ascents such as the glacier-carved Half Dome and the one-kilometre sheer face of the granite monolith El Capitan. 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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Snow and sequoias

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ADVENTURE JOE/500PX; MICHAEL KEMPER/500PX

OPEN YEAR-ROUND, Yosemite’s geographic wonders are showcased by the seasons. In spring, its famous waterfalls are fully charged, thundering over cliffs still glistening with ice crystals. By June, delicate wildflowers announce peak tourist season, with crowds jostling for space at campgrounds, lookouts and popular trails. Autumn is less frenetic, the warm, rich colours of the turning leaves a bonus for wildlife spotters and hikers. My first visit to Yosemite takes place during winter, when much of the park is inaccessible due to snow. With limited time, I opt for an organised tour with a San Francisco-based company. However, I’m craving some independence, so I settle on an overnight stay, which will provide me with park highlights while allowing a precious 24 hours of free time to explore on my own. The decision not to self-drive is a prudent one; the roads are a bit icy and some sights, such as Glacier Point and the giant sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove, are inaccessible due to snowdrifts (to me, that is—adventurous types could still get there on crosscountry skis or snowshoes). My group is also blessed with a personable guide, a veteran of 148 park visits as well as hours of extracurricular study of Yosemite’s geology and biology, resulting in enthusiastic and knowledgeable on-road banter. But at the park viewpoints, chit-chat is superfluous. We stand in contemplative silence at the iconic Tunnel View, the forest beneath El Capitan and Half Dome, dusted today in icing sugar, and the wistful Bridalveil Fall, plummeting 189 metres in the distance; while at the three-tiered Yosemite Falls, huge chunks of ice splinter with a thunderous echo as they tumble over the precipice and onto the rocks below. We’re also blessed with a number of encounters with some of the park’s nonhuman inhabitants. In the heart of Yosemite Village, a handsome, lone coyote wanders along the verge, unfazed by eyes peering through bus windows; a young mule deer buck, nibbling at shoots poking through snow, shows no fear as we tiptoe past on a trail.


Light and clarity

JULIE MILLER; MIHAI P/500PX

AFTER LUNCH at Yosemite Valley Lodge,

I wave goodbye to my tour group and head off to explore on my own. I venture across Sentinel Meadow under the shrouded shadow of El Capitan, but the weather is closing in and the afternoon light waning, so I loop back to the village centre to check out its man-made attractions—the historic Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly the Ahwahnee, before a controversial name change in March due to a trademarking debacle) and the fascinating Ansel Adams Gallery. The Ahwahnee, as it will always be known to purists, is one of the USA’s great lodges, and as much a part of the national park’s fabric as the geographical wonders it celebrates. Built in 1927 to attract affluent visitors to the park, this national historic landmark was constructed at a cost of nearly a million dollars from granite, steel and timber, with enormous picture windows framing views of Glacier Point, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Its centrepiece is the Great Lounge, which features two stone fireplaces and a distinctive combination of Art Deco, Native American and Persian design; while its cavernous, beamed dining room has played host to such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth II, John F. Kennedy, Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney. Landscape photographer Ansel Adams was also a regular guest at the hotel, using it as a base during his annual pilgrimages to Yosemite. Regarded as a national institution, Adams credits his seven-decade career to the distinctive light and clarity of the High Sierras. “The splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious,” he wrote of his first visit to the park with his family in 1916. “One wonder after another descended upon us... There was light everywhere... A new era began for me.” During his early visits to Yosemite, Adams began courting Virginia Best, whose father owned an artist studio in the village. After their marriage in 1928, Adams used the studio to showcase his ever-growing portfolio of landscapes; and it remains

OPPOSITE, ABOVE: a climber takes on the Turtle Dome boulder in the Yosemite Valley; OPPOSITE, BELOW: coyotes can be seen throughout much of the park; ABOVE: the Ansel Adams Gallery; BELOW: rising a kilometre from the valley floor, El Capitan is a favourite haunt for experienced rock climbers

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The iconic Tunnel View down the Yosemite Valley takes in El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall

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JASPER DEN BOER/500PX

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in the hands of the Adams family, now operating as the Ansel Adams Gallery. Adams’ images of Yosemite—including his first masterpiece, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome (1927)—were his personal statement on the US wilderness, using them to promote conservation and to highlight the fragility of the environment. His photographs “did for the national parks something comparable to what Homer’s epics did for Odysseus”, critic Abigail Foerstner wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 1992.

Winter wonderland AFTER A FRESH DUMP OF SNOW overnight, I awake to what can only be described as a winter wonderland, fluffy white powder sparkling under an azure sky. I wander along the trail to Mirror Lake, revelling in the cool, fresh air and thrilling at the intimate details in this perfect canvas— icicles on a bare branch, snow-covered pebbles in a stream, ice-encrusted lichen on a tree trunk, crisp reflections on glassy surfaces. But it’s soon time for me to leave this Narnian vision.

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J U L I E M I L L E R is an Australian freelance journalist, author and scriptwriter who scrapes a living doing the things she loves best: travelling and writing.

CRAIG PHILPOT T/500PX

One of Ansel Adams’ favourite photographic locations: the banks of the Merced River at the foot of El Capitan

After connecting with my return tour group, we make a final pilgrimage to one of Ansel Adams’ favourite locations —the meadow at the foot of El Capitan. The hulk is playing hide-and-seek, its solid mass a ghost beneath a gossamer cloud. Alighting from the bus, I join a row of photographers lining the banks of the Merced River, tripods splayed and fingers poised as they patiently await nature’s cooperation. I’m in luck—right on cue, the veil lifts to a collective gasp of appreciation; shutters click furiously as the granite monolith is illuminated by afternoon rays, its burnished flanks reflected in the bubbling stream as an ethereal vapour rises into snow-laden firs. It’s achingly, mindblowingly beautiful; and I know that, even with my questionable photographic skills, I’ve captured a moment of glory. In the words of Ansel Adams: “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”


GEORDIE TORR

Embassy of Nepal

Consulate General of Nepal, NSW (Hon.)

02 6162 1554 info@necan.gov.np www.necan.gov.np

02 9460 0388 info@nepalconsulate.org.au www.nepalconsulate.org.au

Canberra, Australia

North Sydney, Australia


RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

F O D D N N A A L KE S E S O A L LCAN O V

All mist and froth, Puma Waterfall makes for splashy entertainment in Chile’s Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve

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RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

BY J AY N E W I S E P H OTO G R A P H S BY PA B LO CO R R A L V EG A 2 01 6 ISSU E 0 2  

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“I’LL HIT THE ROAD too, then,” I

AREA ENLARGED

Pucón

Villarrica

SOUTH AMERICA

Villarrica Volcano

Santiago

Valdivia

Lanín Volcano

Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano

Neltume

7,946 ft 2,422 m

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C H I L E

12,388 ft 3,776 m

HUILO HUILO BIOLOGICAL RESERVE

D

B u eno

Lake Puyehue

ARGENTINA

Frutillar Puerto Varas Puerto Montt

Lake Llanquihue

Osorno Volcano 8,701 ft 2,652 m

Chiloé Island

25 mi 25 km

I AM A MUM … ON THE LAM. I GUESS I SHOULD EXPLAIN.

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But how to get from here to wherever that is? I needed ideas, so I called my friend Uli. “You know, I’m living in an amazing place. It’s like Tuscany, Bavaria and Lake Como rolled into one, but with calderas. Look it up: Chile’s volcanoes and lakes region, south of the capital, Santiago.” He moved there to follow dreams—and it’s where he now urges me to follow some of mine. So here I am, on fuming Villarrica Volcano, making my way through a very dark lava tube. “We’re in one of Earth’s more interesting formations,” says my guide as he steers me along with his headlamp, “a volcanic cave created when a blazing stream of lava cooled on contact with surface air, hardening the outer layer into a shell.” Drops of condensation ping my head as we snake through the cylinder, its walls now coated with moss, and emerge into a witches’ brew of mist swirling around Villarrica’s top half. Expanses of black cinder spread out everywhere I look, evidence of this volcano’s explosive might as one of Chile’s most active craters; somewhere far below lie Lake Villarrica and the Tahoe-like town of Pucón. Bet my boys aren’t turning up anything like this on their road trip. “WE’VE HAD GUESTS CARRY ON about how this view

of Lake Villarrica reminds them of the Italian lakes,” says Rony Pollak that afternoon when she finds me gazing out from a terrace at Hotel Antumalal, the jewel of a lodge her parents created in the 1950s and my home for the next few nights. Villarrica Volcano lurks behind us, letting off steam. Below, bees weave among the violet hydrangeas in the hotel’s gardens. A breeze ruffles a nearby chestnut tree before swooping down to rustle up whitecaps on the lake. To our right, sailboat masts spear the air in Pucón’s harbour. Just as

NG MAPS, WORLD DATABASE ON PROTECTED AREAS

RECENTLY, MY HUSBAND AND SON ANNOUNCED, OUT OF THE BLUE, “WE’RE GOING ON A ROAD TRIP, JUST US MEN.” SO IT’S COME TO THIS, I THOUGHT. THE GUYS GO ONE WAY, LEAVING MUM ON THE SIDELINE. FINE. I CAN PLAY THIS GAME. 78  

bantered back, “trolling for adventure.” We all chuckled—until my eyes fell on the mess in the kitchen. Suddenly I knew that hitting the road was exactly what I would do. Head out, go rogue, take that walk on the wild side. All I needed was a destination that had, oh, everything: nature, culture, history, good food and an adventure or two. A land that would fire up my routinerusted mum synapses.

N

5

A

PA C I F I C O CEA

Curarrehue

9,340 ft 2,847 m

E

CHILE

Lake Villarrica

S

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A food truck wrapped in head shots of rock stars dishes up tacos and other specialties of chef Gustavo Sandoval Rivas along Lake Llanquihue

eye-catching is this lodge, a modernist poem in stone and wood suggestive of Frank Lloyd Wright. “It couldn’t get any better than this for my parents, who moved here from Prague in the 1930s,” Pollak says, then pauses. “Except for the volcano.” Antumalal wasn’t the Pollaks’ first hotel. Avid skiers, they had built a lodge on the glacier-blanketed slope of Villarrica Volcano during the 1940s. All was good until 1949, when a mudflow destroyed the lodge. “They’d already bought this land, thankfully at a safer distance from the volcano.” “And Pucón?” I ask. The town crouches at the base of the volcano. “It’s in the danger zone for lava flows.” Within the hour I’m walking to town to see how people live with such an explosive neighbour. Soon I spot signs marking evacuation routes. So it’s almost a shock to find a thriving town, its restaurants—Volcamburguer, Mamas y Tapas—and brand-name shops such as North Face swarming with adventure-sports types. Any sense of living on borrowed time seems absent. Or is the heightened sense of danger a sort of catnip? When I’d asked a local why he was here, he’d answered, “To be around this,” pointing to the volcanic terrain, “where the planet is most alive.”

LOOKING OUT ON LAKE VILLARRICA THAT EVENING, I process all I’ve seen in one day—and wonder what lies ahead on the route south to my endpoint, Chile’s largest lake, Llanquihue. First, however, Pollak has more to show me in her beloved backyard. “We’re off to Curarrehue,” she announces the next morning, packing two bag lunches into her car. “It’s a Mapuche town whose inhabitants are reviving the indigenous Mapuche culture.” A half-hour’s drive through mountain valleys dappled with sheep brings us to the tidy roadside settlement. Pollak pulls up in front of Cocina de Elisa—Elisa’s Kitchen. “Entra, entra,” says a smiling Elisa Cea Epuin as she arranges breads hot from the oven. The cottage is steeped in the aroma of honey and baked berries. Jars of marinating fruits line wood shelves, but I’m drawn to a bowl of what look like supersize almonds. “Que son estos?” I ask. “Piñones de la araucaria,” Elisa says. Nuts of Araucaria araucana, Chile’s national tree, native only to this part of the country and western Argentina, eight kilometres to the east. The starchy seeds are a staple Mapuche ingredient. Pollak hands me a roll. “It’s made with piñon flour.” The taste perfectly balances sweet and doughy. On our way out,

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I ask Elisa for a souvenir to buy. She opens a jar of purple jam. “Maqui”—Chilean wineberry. I swipe up a spoonful of the spread. “Muy rico in antioxidantes,” she says. Maqui is also muy rico in colour, I learn 20 minutes later, up a dirt road at Textileria Mapuche, where 30-something Juanita Becerra continues the Mapuche weaving tradition. Trailed by a meowing kitten (“she thinks I’m her mother”), Becerra ushers Pollak and me into her cottage showroom, arrayed with woollen wares—vests, ponchos, belts. “Feel this,” she prompts, holding a ball of yarn she’s just carded. I finger the wool, thick and soft. Outside, sheep bleat. Becerra’s operation is soup to nuts: she shears the sheep, spins and dyes the wool, devises designs, then gets busy weaving. I gravitate to a purple scarf for my teenaged son, who always underdresses in winter. “The maqui berry gives that wonderful colour,” she says. I’m tempted to buy it but, no longer clear on what clothing he’ll like, pass, a decision I’ll regret. “I have one more spot to show you,” Pollak says as we climb back into her car. “It’s a special place of mine. Huinfuica Lagoon.” The scenery transforms before my eyes as we climb south. The vegetation—leafy, mixed with fir trees—is abruptly overtaken by araucarias, their slender trunks sheathed in gnarly bark and sprouting tiered branches. Dinosaur trees. Dubbed “living fossils” because they have

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surivived, little changed, since the Mesozoic era, araucarias (also called monkey-puzzle trees) are sacred to the Mapuche. As is Lanín Volcano, which rears up like a snow-robed god on the near horizon. “This may be my favourite hike on Earth,” Pollak says, parking. A flurry of emerald-winged parakeets swirls into view above us. As we step onto a trail that winds through bamboo and araucaria and beech trees, a gold-winged beetle teeters in and settles on my arm. Suddenly, a green lizard, neon in the shade, darts onto the path—and I think of my son. I helped him with homework on the brown lizards back home. This showy one would transport him. Why in the world, my mum brain hisses, am I here without him? Unnerved, I sprint ahead of Pollak to Huinfuica Lagoon and find the answer. The pool, flanked on three sides by mountains, like a Roman amphitheatre, lies still as glass. Behind me rises Lanín Volcano, silent but very present. The only footprints on the volcanic sand are mine; I have the place utterly to myself. For a long moment I feel removed from the scrolling of time—a feeling that the presence of my teenage son, no matter how much I wish he were here, would have altered. GLITTERING LAKES and bluffs threaded with the slenderest of waterfalls mark my drive south the following day. “Bienvenida a la Montaña Mágica!” I barely register the


LEFT: clean lines and wide window views distinguish the refined Hotel Antumalal, in Pucón; ABOVE, LEFT: the log-built Nothofagus Hotel blends in with its woodsy setting in the Huilo Huilo Reserve; ABOVE, RIGHT: backdropped by Osorno Volcano, a visitor feeds llamas beside Lake Llanquihue

receptionist’s greeting; I’m sizing up the sight before me, a conical, hobbit-like wood lodge. Or is it a volcano? “A bit of both,” the receptionist explains. “Our Magic Mountain represents our forest as well as Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano. See it over there?” She points out a window. Hulking Mocho-Choshuenco is the heart of the 600-square-kilometre Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, a sustainable-tourism playground with a museum, trails and multiple lodges, including the adjacent Nothofagus. Which is where I now find myself corkscrewing down a log ramp to meet Chilean writer Manuel Pino Toro. Nothofagus is an inversion of Magic Mountain’s cone; guest rooms radiate off the spiralling central ramp into surrounding trees. “What do you think?” Toro asks as he orders us pisco sours. Men in kayaking gear tramp past. I scan banisters made of branches and windows looking out on trees. “Whoever designed this place had fun,” I say. He suggests that I visit the Huilo Huilo Foundation, in the nearby village of Neltume. When I get there, I hear laughter rippling out of the side-street cottage. Entering, I find women making cloth dolls accessorised with acorns and other forest-sourced trappings during a foundation workshop. “Fabricamos muñecos mágicas,” says one woman. “We are making magical fairies depicting our natural world.”

Another woman is stitching lichen onto a fairy: a straightfrom-the-forest jacket. Then I spot a flute-toting sprite, the perfect talisman for my musical son. As the ladies wrap it up for me, they urge me to visit the beekeeping workshop, to try its organic honey. ADVENTURE—HIKING, KAYAKING, mountain biking—is

Huilo Huilo’s other focus, so soon I’m manoeuvering crampon-fanged boots on a glacier on Mocho-Choshuenco. Roped up, I’m following the tracks of Leandro, the guide leading me and Toro, whom I’ve coaxed into joining me, toward the summit. “This volcano is part of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, ” Leandro calls out as we tramp along. He stops at a crevasse; its ice walls glisten with blue meltwater, a beautiful but disquieting sight. Glaciers here, as elsewhere, are retreating. Leandro sweeps his arm around. “You can see eight of the nine major volcanoes that formed this part of Chile.” He points out Osorno, near my last stop, Puerto Varas. Maybe it’s the lofty view, but I’m feeling light as a feather. Feathers sure would come in handy within the hour. “Didn’t you want to zip-line?” Leandro asks when we’re back in the SUV. “We have one of the best in South America: the Condor.” So here Toro and I stand, harnessed and helmeted, on 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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“I’M LIVING IN AN AMAZING PLACE,” MY FRIEND ULI SAYS. “IT’S LIKE TUSCANY, BAVARIA AND LAKE COMO ROLLED INTO ONE, BUT WITH CALDERAS”

One of South America’s most active volcanoes, Villarrica lights up a star-splashed night sky. Its most recent eruption was in May 2015

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the lip of a gorge called El Abismo. Across the abyss—a 100-metre-deep slash in the mountain—snakes a zip line. “Really, Leandro? We’re first-timers.” My voice sounds pale. “Ladies first,” Toro declares. Well, fine. Then it hits me: I’ll do this for bragging rights with my son. I toe the edge—and launch myself across the chasm, over treetops and under what suddenly feels like an infinite sky. Rocketing in, I pull off a solid landing. Toro follows. Exultant, we high-five and begin shedding our harnesses. “Not so fast,” Leandro says, grinning. “The Condor has five zip lines. Venga!” Huilo Huilo’s spell will vaporise the next day as the scenery reverts to fields and towns on my drive to Lake Llanquihue. Soon I make out Osorno Volcano and within the hour, reach Hotel Arrebol, a rock-meets-wood lodge near the resort town of Puerto Varas. Blue-eyed co-owner Harald Opitz Jurgens gives me the lay of the land. “Do you know any German? Puerto Varas and the town of Frutillar, across the lake, were largely settled by Germans in the 1800s. You’ll come across many German names and establishments—gasthäuser, bierstuben.” “What would lure Germans halfway around the globe?” I ask. “The same things that brought my family: lots of open land and natural beauty. We designed our lodge using the vernacular of Patagonia—simple shapes and materials from nature.” His words describe the transformation of things from one reality to another that I’d found in Pucón and Huilo Huilo. They also describe what I’ll find the following day, in Frutillar. “It looks like a ship,” one visitor says to another as I approach the Teatro del Lago, a piece of architectural bravado on Frutillar’s quiet lakefront. “To me, it’s a modern palace,” says the friend. I see both, although I also see a lighthouse. “We wanted it to suggest different things,” says Ulrich Bader, the theatre’s creative director, as he fetches us some coffee in the theatre’s slyly named Café CapPuccini. A playbill announces a performance by a Brazilian-jazz group—the type of music, I note with some pride, that my son has taken up. “This has been called one of Chile’s most complex buildings,” Bader tells me. “We brought acoustical experts from Europe. Even the seat fabric had to pass acoustical muster.” German-born Bader and his Chilean wife, Nicola Schiess, president of the Teatro Cultural Corporation, have big plans. “We want to make Frutillar the Salzburg of South America. Nearby is our music school, where local children learn performance arts.” What he says confirms what I’ve sensed about this part of Chile: it inspires ambitious visions that honour what has been and look forward to what can be. Which, in a way, is the conversation that I’ve been having with myself about motherhood and my shifting dance with it. As I stroll by Lake Llanquihue, I try to imagine how the place will look as Bader and his wife proceed on the journey of transformation that they’re clearly passionate about. And I ponder my own journey in this land of volcanic change: has any transformation taken place in me? Could I consider myself rebooted? Yes, yes and how. My walkabout through this lake-dimpled land of volcanoes has gratified my yen for spontaneity, novelty, the extraordinary—and dialled me down to a contented hum. Gawking at Lake Llanquihue and mist-shawled Osorno Volcano, I invoke the words I saw in Elisa’s Mapuche bakery: “Gracias Madre Tierra.” Thank you Mother Earth. The ultimate mother of all. I’m ready to go home and share this with my son.

J AY N E W I S E is senior editor at National Geographic Traveler. Ecuador-based photographer PA B L O C O R R A L V E G A trains his lens on the cultures of South America.

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THE BEST OF

CHILE’S LAKES REGION LAKES AND MORE LAKES

Glaciers that helped to shape this part of Chile left behind lots of lakes. Worth a detour are the “Seven Lakes”, south of Pucón, which include serene Lake Calafquen and trident-shaped Lake Panguipulli. Also notable is Lake Puyehue, flanked by Puyehue Volcano (last eruption: 2012) and site of the classic Termas Puyehue Wellness & Spa Resort, with its array of thermal pools. M A P U C H E WAY S

Two museums showcase the area’s indigenous Mapuche culture: the modern Museo Mapuche Pucón, in central Pucón, and the homespun Intercultural Village Center Trawupeyüm, in Curarrehue, where visitors can also try traditional corn bread and sautéed piñones at Cocina Mapuche Mapu Lyagl and Cocina de Elisa. COUNTRY ELEGANCE

Just east of Pucón, the sleekly contemporary Hotel Vira Vira sits in its own “native park” along the clear waters of the Liucura River. Guests can pitch in with chores at a working farm, visit the resort’s cheese dairy (which provisions the upscale restaurant), float the river, hike trails and take art classes. H U E R Q U E H U E N AT I O N A L PA R K

Known for its centuries-old araucaria trees, this national park outside Pucón ranges across mountains and forests. The Los Lagos trail is particularly scenic, winding through ancient groves of larch trees and alongside blue-water lakes. ISLE OF RAINBOWS

Osorno Volcano

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ANNA HAIR

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Southwest of Puerto Varas, off Chile’s coast, sits Chiloé, an island of rainbow-haloed hills, fishing villages and wild wetlands. Sixteen wooden churches here boast World Heritage status for their “fusion of indigenous and European culture”.


W W W.T O N G A H O L I DAY.C O M


A Samburu warrior gazes out from the pool at Samburuowned Sarara Camp

In the wilds of northern Kenya, there once was a lake in the crater of an extinct volcano. Is it still there?

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PA R A D I S E LOST

& FOUND

D avid Lan s in g P H O T O G R A P H S B Y Pete r McB r id e BY

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Lanterns light the way at Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, a throwback to the early days of African safaris

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FOR A RECENT BIRTHDAY I received an

unusual gift from a friend—a well-worn book with the great title I Married Adventure, purchased at auction because my acquaintance liked the book’s cover: a zebra-stripe pattern. The memoir, published in 1940, sat untouched on my shelf for months until one afternoon, bored, I began reading the brittle, jaundiced pages. The prose was showy, histrionic—like an old Frank Capra movie—yet absorbed me completely. Particularly when I got to the part where the author, Osa Johnson, and her husband, Martin, both natives of Kansas, set off for faraway East Africa in 1921, determined to document on film a land they knew almost nothing about. What, I wondered, were they thinking? And what did they find? Their own piece, it would turn out, of paradise. AN “OLD SCOTCHMAN” had described a crater in northern Kenya

“which is on no map ever made of this country”, Blayney Percival, Kenya’s first game warden, dramatically revealed to the Johnsons when they met him in Nairobi, according to Osa’s memoir. Martin stared at him. “You mean there’s a lake around here nobody knows about?” “Nobody, and you may be certain I’ve kept my ears open.” Martin was beside himself with excitement. “Well, man alive,” he shouted, “let’s go!” And so they did, contracting a big-game hunter to supply their safari and lead them across the arid lava fields of the Kaisut Desert, in Kenya’s north, with an army of porters and ox-drawn wagons, eagerly headed in search of a lake they weren’t sure even existed. For long weeks their expedition marched through the inhospitable land until they spotted an extinct volcanic crater in the middle of the desert, climbed its wooded slopes, and found themselves at the edge of a caldera, from which they looked out on a small lake. It was shaped like a spoon, almost 400 metres wide and a bit over a kilometre long, and sloped up into steep, wooded banks 60 metres high. A tangle of water vines and lilies—great African lilies—grew in the shallows at the water’s edge. Wild ducks, cranes and egrets circled and dipped. Animals, more than they could count, stood quietly, knee-deep in the water, and drank.

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“Oh Martin, it’s Paradise!” I said. And that, Osa says, was how they discovered Lake Paradise and gave it its somewhat Biblical name. A wonderful, mysterious story, especially for a person such as me, who has travelled from one end of Kenya to the other and never heard of Lake Paradise. I immediately researched the name, but even in this age of information there was almost nothing to be discovered about this lake since the Johnsons’ explorations. I found a few undated photos, notices of discontinued safari trips, warnings about difficult travel. It appeared that Lake Paradise—once a Garden of Eden in the middle of a hostile African desert— had, in the ensuing years, vanished. How was this possible? Did Lake Paradise still exist? And if so, what had happened to the herds of elephants the Johnsons had filmed and the ancient cloud forest that was home to great numbers of leopards, baboons and African buffalo? I had wanted, and now I felt compelled, to find out. And so, like the Johnsons 90 years before me, I made plans to search for it. There was only one problem: like the Johnsons, I needed to find someone who could show me the way. COTTAR’S 1920s SAFARI CAMP sits in an area of towering

escarpments, rolling grasslands and meandering rivers in southwestern Kenya—a pastoral wildlife arena that teems with leopards, lions, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest and dozens of other species. Proprietor Calvin Cottar calls this patch of land “the epicentre of the Cottar soul”. His family has a long history here: his grandfather and great-grandfather, both killed by wounded animals, hunted near these hills. My coming across Calvin Cottar was as serendipitous as my receiving the gift of Osa Johnson’s memoir of Lake Paradise. After several months of investigation, I had yet to find anyone in Kenya who’d heard of Lake Paradise, let alone was willing to take me there. When I mentioned this to Sarah Robarts, a Californian friend who was born and raised in Kenya, she said simply, “You should talk to Calvin Cottar. If anyone knows where it is, it’s Calvin.” Not only did Calvin know where the lake was, but, he told me in an astonishing email, it was his great-uncle, Bud Cottar, who first led the Johnsons to Lake Paradise in 1921. Calvin was as enthusiastic as I was to see what had happened to Lake Paradise in the interim and immediately agreed to be my guide. The plan was to leave from his camp, on the border with Tanzania, more than 480 kilometres south of Lake Paradise, because Calvin wanted me to experience something of what it might have been like for the Johnsons during the 1920s, an era his outpost evokes. When I arrive at the camp I find a white-canvas big top tent, as from a circus, supported with rough-cut poles and staked with ropes: the heart of Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp. Dusty Oriental rugs

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cover the floor and Victorian artifacts—a brass telescope, a wind-up gramophone, weathered safari hats—decorate a sitting area that looks styled after a colonial corner of the old Lord Delamere Terrace bar in Nairobi. Because of the distance and difficulty of our expedition, our stay here will be brief; we depart first thing in the morning. I savour my early dinner at a linen-covered table illuminated with candles, then stumble off into the darkness to my tent, following a tall Maasai askari (warrior) carrying a kerosene lantern. I’m intently aware of the worrisome sounds of baboons, a distant coughing leopard and other night-time bush noises, but I fall asleep almost immediately. THE PAVED ROAD GIVES OUT at Archer’s Post, two thirds

of the way to our destination in northern Kenya, and turns into rutted earth and sand and loose rocks. Just past the strange flat-topped mountain called Ol Doinyo Sabachi— “the mountain where the child got lost”—which marks the southern end of the Mathews Range, we turn west, towards the town of Wamba. Nudging our Land Cruiser along, we look for obscure tracks in the bush-tufted countryside. The sun fell behind the hills some time ago, leaving just a faint glow of light hovering above the silhouetted mountains. Our road trip so far has taken us from the lush savanna grasslands and soft air of the Masai Mara National Reserve, where the Cottars are based, to the dusty, paprika-red plains of the north. Around Archer’s Post we had been told to search for a sign marking the turn-off toward Sarara, a tented camp in a conservation wilderness area owned by the local Samburu tribe and our lodging for the night. But we see no markers, just antlered gerenuks balancing on their hind legs as they nibble leleshwa leaves and a troop of baboons crossing from one side of the chalky road to the other while vigilant elders watch. Darkness descends quickly. We continue to bump along, every bit as lost as the child for whom the mountain was named. It’s no coincidence, of course, that we diverted off the main road to Lake Paradise to lunge into these hills, which mark the beginning of what some call Kenya’s Lost Land, a forbidding stretch of country troubled by shifta, Somali bandits who steal cattle, poach elephants and occasionally hijack vehicles. This was the juncture where, on their second expedition to Lake Paradise, the Johnsons had a falling-out with Bud Cottar. The story I’d heard was that upon reaching Archer’s Post, Martin Johnson became determined to find a shortcut to Lake Paradise through the Mathews Range. Bud Cottar adamantly opposed the idea. There was a bit of a standoff, until Blayney Percival reluctantly agreed to go with Martin Johnson in search of the new route. The two set off, leaving Osa and Bud Cottar to mind the camp. In the end, Percival and Martin realised


I’m intently aware of the sounds of baboons, a distant coughing leopard, and other nighttime bush noises, but I fall asleep almost immediately

Brilliant with stars, the night sky hovers above the dining tent at Sarara Camp

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ABOVE: Samburu women in traditionally intricate beadwork enjoy a heartfelt laugh on tribal land in central Kenya; RIGHT: elephants by the hundreds roam Samburu National Reserve

that there was no way through the Mathews Range and returned to Archer’s Post. Luckily there is a way to Sarara, and we finally find it. I’M LYING ON MY BED, my pillow doubled under my head so that I can see through the mosquito netting that wraps around me, watching the sun climb over “the mountain where the child got lost”. The acacia-filled plain in front of me is slowly coming to life. Unseen dudus—insects—chirp, click, hum, spring from one tree to another against the background coos of mourning doves. Directly below my tent shimmers a natural pool rimmed by rocks. Above it, I spot Calvin perched on an outcropping and peering through binoculars. I hurry down the path in the dawning light, thinking that we might get a little chat in before everyone else is up. “What are you looking at?” “Smelly ellies,” he answers quietly. I think he’s kidding, but when I reach the outcropping I see them just below us: two elephant cows and a calf at a watering hole. Calvin and I sit, knees to our chest, looking at the huge grey beasts, which are so close that I can count their eyelashes. Framing the elephants are the ragged peaks of the Lengiyu Hills, poking through a purple layer of

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morning clouds. I’ve never seen a setting so perfect in my life; it could be a scene from the first day of creation. The stillness of the morning is broken by a low buzz coming in over the hills to the north. “Must be Ian,” Calvin says, rising. He means Ian Craig, native Kenyan and godfather of Kenya’s community wildlife conservancies, who is flying in to have breakfast with us. Over scrambled eggs and fresh fruit, I ask Craig—who started the first local community conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, on what was his family’s cattle ranch—how Sarara came to be. He recounts camping here in 1989 when he and his Samburu guide found themselves surrounded by automatic gunfire. Hiding in the bushes and fearing for their lives, they watched, horrified, as a herd of elephants was slaughtered by armed shifta. “They hacked up the elephants’ heads to get at the tusks and then fled in pickup trucks, leaving these bloody corpses behind. That was when I decided something really had to be done.” In 1997, Craig returned with Kenyan conservationists Hilary and Piers Bastard, who would run Sarara for the local Samburu community, and camped out with them at the spot where he had seen the elephants slaughtered. “We heard leopard every night. We saw many tracks of


kudu, and of giraffe, and we saw dik-diks. But there were no elephants. All gone.” By year’s end, Craig and the Bastards had created Sarara Camp. “Now there are some 6,500 elephants around here.” That afternoon we set out to visit a manyatta—the local word for a village, usually five or six mud-and-stick houses surrounded by a thornbush fence—where Samburu and Rendille tribespeople live. We drive for an hour, until we come across a group of Rendille who are celebrating a wedding and stop to observe. The bride, her face masked with a sort of beaded headdress, is lightly holding the hand of the groom as the two dance, bobbing up and down in a circle behind chanting warriors. I recall Osa Johnson writing about a similar ceremony she had observed on the journey to Lake Paradise. Almost 100 years have passed since the Johnsons travelled this way, yet life here remains remarkably unchanged. On the way back to camp, we come across a plenitude of wild animals. There are elephants taking dust baths and tight groups of Grévy’s zebras browsing. At one point, we stop to view a handful of giraffes, including a couple of young ones, moving like shadows among the thorn trees. As we pull closer, the calves stop, ears out, their large eyes looking inquisitively at us for a moment before

loping back to their group in that delicious slow-motion amble that giraffes have. WE HAVE LINGERED AT SARARA too long—perhaps because it has been such a stirring experience, perhaps because we’re afraid of what we’ll find when we get to Lake Paradise. Does the cloud forest there still have “that enchanted look” Osa Johnson wrote about, and are lions, buffalo and leopards still lurking in the ravines? Having an idea of what lies ahead, Calvin had instructed us to be ready to go before the break of dawn. The sun hasn’t yet risen and a chill ripples through the air as I drag my duffel bag down the hill to the mess tent. Standing there is our rangy Samburu guide, Philip Laresh. “Today you go to Marsabit?” he asks me, naming the national park and nature reserve in north-central Kenya that contains Lake Paradise. “Yes. Want to go with us?” I ask. Laresh smiles shyly. “Do you think there will be many elephants?” “I am hoping.” The sun creeps up over the horizon and he declares, “I think you will see many elephants in Marsabit.” The dust-caked four-wheel-drive vehicles are loaded up

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climb out. Clouds of butterflies are floating over blueflowered verbena. A flock of black-and-white geese, suddenly noting our presence, honk; white-winged sacred ibises rise from the oozy shoreline into the cerulean sky. And there, in the middle of a green, boggy meadow dotted with small pools of muddy water, is a small herd of elephants—seven, maybe eight. They stop their bathing to lift their trunks high into the air, waving them to and fro as if to welcome us to their home. After many days and hundreds of miles of difficult travel, we’ve reached Lake Paradise. PARADISE HAS CHANGED—a lot—since the Johnsons’ day.

Diminished by boreholes, but still an oasis of green in arid northern Kenya, Lake Paradise entrances visitors

with our luggage, we down a quick cup of tea and we’re off. Headed north on the final leg of our trip. To Lake Paradise. With the hope of seeing many elephants, although Calvin tempers my expectations with tales of Kenya’s several-year drought. BEYOND THE TOWN OF ISIOLO, the road disintegrates to chalky red dirt and near-desert scrub for mile upon dusty mile, with the occasional dik-dik or lone gazelle appearing in the distance. As she and her husband reached Lake Paradise in 1921, Osa Johnson said that she “felt nervous little shivers of excitement running up my spine and into my hair”. I looked about me, slowly, breathlessly. I saw a spot of unsurpassable beauty—a cool, turquoise lake surrounded by clean, virginal forest where fantastically beautiful birds coloured the trees. This, I realised, was the end of our journey. The side road to Marsabit National Park is unremarkable: a rust-coloured trail lined with red volcanic rocks. As we gain elevation, the landscape changes from high grass to thick green brush to a montane forest of old cedars and gnarled African olive trees, their branches laced with delicate filigrees of Spanish moss, just as Osa described in her memoir. Mosque swallows and swifts dive all around us while a pair of goshawks flirt in the crater thermals above. As we come over a rise, the forest opens—and there before us we see a natural amphitheatre ringed by the sheer walls of a caldera. Calvin brings the vehicle to a stop. We

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The “cool, turquoise lake” with its “unsurpassable beauty” has largely disappeared and, according to Robert Obrien, a game warden who stops by our camp for breakfast and a chat, it may never return. “There are more than 40 boreholes around Marsabit,” he tells us, which tap into underground water sources. “When I first came here, a few years ago, the lake had no water. Now there is some, but not much. The area also continues to suffer from deforestation. Every morning, the women from Marsabit and its environs come into the forest to gather wood for their fires. This forest is the centre of life for the people and the wildlife here in northern Kenya. I’m trying to persuade the Rendille and the Borana—another local tribe—that if we can save the forest, we can save everybody.” For now, several families of elephants still live in the forest. But the rhinos that carelessly tromped through Osa’s garden have disappeared completely, poached for their horns, as have the black-and-white colobus monkeys she loved to see. Still. We spot large buffalo, hear the growls of leopards and lions, and are visited by many green monkeys and baboons. We’re stunned by the great variety of butterflies, which Osa also wrote about. Obrien tells us that there are probably butterfly species around Lake Paradise that have never been formally identified, as well as plants, evolved over millions of years, found nowhere else in the world. For several days we explore the forest, circumnavigating the lake where, every morning and evening, we continue to see small herds of elephants and buffalo come down to drink. We also spend a few mornings looking for the remains of the Johnsons’ elaborate camp, where they lived from April 1924 until early December 1926 while filming wildlife. According to one book I had read, they had set up on a low, sloping ridge on the southwest end of the crater and built a small house that overlooked the lake, with a separate kitchen, storehouse, workshop and an underground vault—the “skyscraper of the village”—that housed Martin’s stores of film. Behind the house, Osa put in


the insider

Lake Paradise, Kenya GETTING AROUND

WHAT TO READ

I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson was reprinted in 1997 by Kodansha. Tales about Osa and Martin Johnson’s African travels and the Cottar family are included in Africa’s Big

Five and Other Wildlife Filmmakers: A Centenary of Wildlife Filming in Kenya (2010) by Jean Hartley. The challenging plight of Africa’s elephants informs the 1992 book Battle for the Elephants by Iain and Oria DouglasHamilton; Iain Douglas-Hamilton founded the Samburu-centred Save the Elephants organisation.

Lake Lake Lake Turkana Turkana Turkana

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Lake Paradise, Samburu and Sarara are reachable from Nairobi by small plane or, for the more adventurous, by four-wheel-drive along often-unpaved roads.

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INTERNATIONAL MAPPING

WHEN TO GO

Kenya’s northern half, where both the Samburu National Reserve and Marsabit National Park lie, is a semi-arid region with a long dry season. To see it at its greenest, plan to visit during either of the two rainy seasons, which usually take place from midMarch into April, and in November/December. Animal viewing is best in the drier months: January to March and June to October.

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a 1.5-hectare vegetable and flower garden, where she happily grew such American-garden blooms as roses, nasturtiums and carnations. “I suppose that the winds and the birds have now carried the seeds of my garden throughout the forest,” she wrote in her memoir, “and I hope the crater is abloom with the flowers on which I spent so much care, and with which we left a part of our hearts.” I would love to come across a single descendant of her flower garden. But after much searching, we fail to find any wild roses or other flowers that don’t belong here. We do, however, discover where the Johnsons built their thatched house—on a flat spot littered with old foundation stones just off a well-trod elephant path, ringed by ancient olive trees where, you could easily imagine, the Johnsons did have a magnificent view of Lake Paradise. We celebrate our discovery that evening by breaking out a good bottle of single-malt whisky. As we sip, I recall that during our stay at Sarara, Ian Craig had suggested to Calvin that he should consider creating a new community wildlife conservancy, around Lake Paradise. “Marsabit still has more than 300 elephants,” he’d said. “There’s a massive opportunity for community development in northern Kenya—a way to bring the animals back into the garden. And Lake Paradise may very well be the key.” The recent discovery of an immense aquifer in the region may help tilt things even more in their favour. WHEN I GET UP the next morning, the men are already

knocking the camp apart. I find Calvin sitting quietly in

a canvas chair by the edge of the meadow looking through his binoculars. “Smelly ellies,” he says. “Eight of them.” As we observe the elephant family perform its morning rituals, I’m both discouraged and heartened: discouraged at what Lake Paradise has become since the Johnsons visited it almost a century ago; heartened that while something has been lost, something else has been gained— at Sarara. Twenty years ago, fewer than 50 elephants were counted in Sarara; now an estimated 1,500 ellies roam the reserve, along with sizeable numbers of rare Grévy’s zebras, kudu, giraffes and some 500 species of bird. Sarara is, I decide, the new paradise. An hour later, I’m seated in a small plane on my way back to Nairobi. I had said goodbye to Calvin—and am already feeling nostalgic. “Would it be possible to fly one more time around that lake?” I ask the pilot, pointing down. He dips the plane’s wing and we slowly float, like goshawks on thermals, one last time over Paradise. “All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa,” Ernest Hemingway wrote of a long safari. “We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.” Like Hemingway, I thought to myself as the plane turned for home, I’m still in paradise. Yet a part of me misses it already.

D AV I D L A N S I N G travels the world from his home in California. Contributing photographer P E T E R M C B R I D E first went to Kenya when he was nine years old.

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Animals

ON THE MOVE

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ANDREY NARCHUK/500PX

FOR SOME ANIMALS, STAYING PUT ISN’T AN OPTION. AS THE SEASONS CYCLE, THESE RESTLESS CREATURES MOVE BETWEEN DISTANTLY SEPARATED HABITATS, FOLLOWING FICKLE FOOD SOURCES OR SEEKING OUT MORE HOSPITABLE PLACES TO BREED. SOMETIMES THESE TREACHEROUS TREKS SPAN THOUSANDS OF KILOMETRES, REQUIRING STAGGERING FEATS OF ENDURANCE. AND WHEN THEY HAPPEN EN MASSE, THEY CAN CREATE SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST AWE-INSPIRING WILDLIFE SPECTACLES


Whale sharks are most often encountered in the warm waters located between latitudes 30°N and 35°S. They regularly gather together in large aggregations to gorge on plankton at about a dozen locations worldwide, but where they go in between is something of a mystery. Satellite tracking studies suggest that the fish can migrate enormous distances; in one case, a tagged whale shark travelled 13,000 kilometres over a 37-month period as it migrated from the Sea of Cortez to the western north Pacific Ocean

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miniature migrations

GARY STRINGFELLOW/500PX; BAK GISEOK/500PX; ALEX GUILL AUME/500PX

LEFT: the annual migration of monarch butterflies across North America has been described as one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena. Starting in September, butterflies migrate from Canada and the northern USA, arriving at their overwintering sites in the south— in central Mexico and the southern USA—around November, where they form aggregations of up to 50 million butterflies per hectare. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. The total distance covered can be almost 8,000 kilometres, although no individual butterfly completes the entire round trip, with at least five generations involved in the annual cycle; ABOVE, LEFT AND RIGHT: it’s thought that as many as 50 of the world’s 5,200 dragonfly species migrate, with some believed to travel more than 10,000 kilometres. As with the butterflies, they’re often one-way journeys—in the USA, the dragonflies that migrate north in the spring are the offspring of the generation that flew south in the autumn 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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the great migration The largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet, Africa’s Great Migration sees about 1.5 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebras, as well as large numbers of antelope, move between Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. The migration’s exact timing and route changes from year to year, depending on rainfall patterns, but always takes place in a clockwise circle, with the animals covering a distance of about 3,000 kilometres. Those that make it, that is—every year an estimated 250,000 wildebeest die en route, many of them becoming prey when forced to cross crocodile-infested rivers

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ABOVE: it’s thought that when Europeans first arrived in North America, as many as 50 million plains bison roamed the continent’s central plains. Today, fewer than 30,000 wild bison are in conservation herds and fewer than 5,000 live in unfenced areas. Each year, large groups migrate between high-elevation summer feeding grounds and lower winter areas, where temperatures are milder and it’s easier to find grass under the snow, in some cases travelling several hundred kilometres; RIGHT: each spring, hundreds of thousands of elk migrate from their far-flung, low-elevation winter ranges in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to high-elevation summer ranges near the centre of Yellowstone National Park, where the females will give birth. The migration is the longest made by elk in the continental USA, and often takes place along well-used routes, where the animals sustain a diverse collection of carnivores and scavengers

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RODERICK STENT/500PX; CHASE DEKKER/500PX

American migrations


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MARCO MAT TIUSSI/500PX

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TERRIE GRAY/500PX; OLIVER BORCHERT/500PX

taking flight ABOVE, LEFT: flamingoes aren’t truly migratory, but will migrate to escape unsuitable conditions. In East Africa, they migrate in their millions among the saline lakes of the Rift Valley, huge flocks taking flight in unison and moving from lake to lake as food resources are depleted; ABOVE, CENTRE: during the 19th century, hunting decimated snow goose populations, but they’ve recovered to the point where more than five million breeding pairs leave swaths of destruction between their Arctic nesting grounds and the southern USA, where they overwinter; ABOVE, RIGHT: migrating bartailed godwits have been known to fly non-stop for nine days 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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SKY LIGHTS Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s remote Northwest Territories, is experiencing an Aurora-assisted tourism boom

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FRANK BERGDOLL

by ELAINE ANSELMI


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Caption goes here

FRANK BERGDOLL

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I’M STANDING in a crowded

parking lot, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, gazing up at the night sky and wondering if anyone can tell that I’m naked beneath my goose-down jacket. Certainly, the bare skin on my legs can tell—at least the stretch that’s exposed between the top of my boots and the bottom of the jacket. The air is a crisp –30°C. Everyone else is in insulated snow pants. Has anyone noticed the goosebumps crawling up my legs? That my kneecaps are turning blue? Probably not. Their eyes are all trained on the heavens. That’s where the action is. Here in Inuvik, a small settlement on the rim of the Arctic Ocean, this sort of spontaneous nocturnal gathering recurs nearly every winter evening as eerie waves of white, green and pink wash across the sky, bathing the viewers below in brilliant colour. Inuvik is one of several towns in Canada’s Northwest Territories that have lately seen a surge in the number of international visitors flocking to witness the world’s best displays of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The people gathered around me “ooh” and “ahh”; camera shutters click; the Aurora does a little swirl and someone cheers.

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Cold hotspot

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been drawn here by the vivid nightly displays. One avid Japanese traveller, Hiroshi Shintaku, has visited 18 times over the past decade—that’s nearly 400 hours of flying to bring him again and again to Blachford Lake Lodge, just outside of Yellowknife, where Northern Lights fanatics watch the sky dance while relaxing in an open-air hot tub or brushing up on their Aurora-photography skills with an expert tutor. Shintaku isn’t alone in feeling the Aurora’s magnetic pull. While he stares up at the billowing, radiant skies, his tripod perched on a rocky summit or secured in the snowdrifts on a frozen lake, thousands of visitors at other lodges and camps in the territory are gazing up along with him. According to the government of the Northwest

TRUE NORTH PHOTOS/500PX (2)

UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO, the Northwest Territories would have seemed an unlikely tourism hotspot. Perched at the remote top of Canada, the region is similar not just in name but also in size to Australia’s Northern Territory—yet it has just 41,000 residents, not much more than Alice Springs. The majority huddle together in the territories’ one vaguely urban outpost, the offbeat capital city of Yellowknife. Outside of the few other scattered settlements, the region is a patchwork of vast lakes and rocky outcrops, strewn with stout tamarack trees and delicate tundra flowers that somehow eke out a living in an environment where temperatures of –30°C are par for the course. But lately, the gaze of tourists from around the world has


LEFT: with a population of about 20,000 people, Yellowknife is the largest community in the Northwest Territories. It’s located about 400 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle; ABOVE: because Yellowknife sits directly under the so-called auroral oval, the chance of seeing the Aurora on any given night is more than 90 per cent—higher than anywhere else in the world

Ephemeral beauty Territories, in 2014, more than 21,000 tourists visited the region for Aurora viewing. All indications are that that number hasn’t stopped rising. “It’s certainly the fastest-growing segment [of visitation to the Northwest Territories],” says Richard Zieba, director of tourism and parks with the territorial government. “Numbers remained pretty steady at about 7,000 people for several years and then really picked up in the past three or four years.” The leap, he says, was attributable to “Aurora max”, when solar activity, which waxes and wanes over an 11-year cycle, reached its most intense phase, sending charged particles blasting into the Earth’s magnetosphere, triggering the cosmic fireworks.

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS have a certain following—both literally and figuratively. Individuals and groups have started Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that track activity, providing forecasts and measures of the current levels. AuroraMax is one particularly popular example. A website and social media platform developed by the Canadian Space Agency, Astronomy North, the City of Yellowknife and the University of Calgary, it’s the reason why I jumped out of my cosy bed that chilly night in Inuvik. You never know how long a Northern Lights display will last. They can ricochet around the heavens like the lines of a heart rate monitor and then fade away into a

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FRANK BERGDOLL

Clear skies and the lack of light pollution make for ideal Auroraviewing conditions

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Guests at Blachford Lake Lodge in Yellowknife can choose from a range of activities during the day, including (clockwise from top left) dog-sledding, ice-fishing, hanging out in the outdoor hot tub or just gazing at the glorious skies

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TRUE NORTH PHOTOS/500PX; FRANK BERGDOLL (3)

muted glow in the time that it takes you to pull your longjohns on. So, when I saw an alert on AuroraMax that said, “Aurora is reaching storm level,” I didn’t stop to pull mine on. Jumping out of bed and into my brightgreen parka, I descended a flight of stairs at breakneck speed and flew out of the door. Thank goodness, the lights were still on. The Aurora is different every time you see it—limegreen or blood-red, swirls or columns, gradual or dynamic, dim or vivid. Several factors affect the intensity, hue and duration—a key focus of study for Astronomy North and AuroraMax. “When we talk about space weather and the solar wind, we’re referring to the relationship where the sun has a complex magnetic structure within it,” says James Pugsley, president of Astronomy North. “When that structure becomes active, it creates sunspots—areas on our star that are magnetically complex and occasionally quite active. When active, we see a solar flare—what could be described as a gust of solar wind.” Those gusts, when they occur, hurtle outward— sometimes, towards the Earth. Travelling at up to 800 kilometres per second, they take about two to four days to reach us. “When they arrive,” says Pugsley, “a small piece of the sun comes with them—that magnetic element. Our magnetic field has taken quite an impact and that impact is what you watch for if you’re an Aurora chaser. Those impacts can produce the most colourful Auroras because they’re essentially a surge of energy slamming into that magnetic field.” Even when the Earth isn’t being battered by a solar storm, there’s a consistent gentle flow of solar particles dancing on our magnetosphere, keeping the Aurora gently glowing. That’s why, in the north, the Aurora is visible on more than 200 nights per year. Indeed, thanks to Yellowknife’s positioning at 62°N, the chance of an Aurora occurring overhead on any given night is more that 90 per cent—higher than anywhere else in the world. Why? Because Yellowknife sits directly under the auroral oval, an annular ring around each of the geomagnetic poles where the Aurora is most likely to occur. It’s in these areas that the Earth’s magnetic field most effectively accelerates charged sub-atomic particles from the Sun, slamming them into gas molecules, which, in turn, causes the latter to release energy in different forms, including light (the different gases in the atmosphere produce different coloured light; the most common colour, green, is released by atoms of oxygen). And then there’s the semi-arid climate of the Northwest Territories, which results in cloudless skies; the pollution-free, crystalline atmosphere; and the long, dark winter nights, which begin with a 2.30 p.m. sunset and don’t abate until dawn at 10 a.m. the next morning. 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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Celestial dance ACCORDING to Blachford Lake Lodge’s sales and marketing manager, Katherine Johnson, seeing the Northern Lights is a top-of-thebucket-list experience for many visitors— something they’ve dreamed of for years. She says that about 85 percent of guests come to the lodge just to witness the lights. Despite seeing thousands of Aurora displays, Pugsley remains a fan. The reason is simple: “It’s a really cool phenomenon,” he says. And that phenomenon has certainly had an impact on the ground. According to Zieba, in Yellowknife alone there are about 30 licensed tour operators for whom Aurora viewing is the primary part of their business. They offer a diversity of packages: visitors can stay out of town in rustic cabins or luxurious lodges; they can bunk down in hotels in town and drive out each evening in buses or vans to one of many viewing spots around the city; they can witness the celestial dance from aboard dog sleds, snowmobiles or “Bombardiers”—snow buses equipped with treads and skis. And in their free time—during those few hours of

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daylight—they can ice-fish, explore the local snow castle, dine on fillets of Arctic char or a musk ox sirloin steak, or shop for indigenous arts and crafts.

Winter cheer “THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES is one of

the unique places where you can say that the sky actually has an impact on the economy,” says Pugsley. “There aren’t a lot of places where that’s true.” There also aren’t a lot of places where a visitor will dash outside, largely undressed, in the bitter chill of an Arctic midnight. But that evening in Inuvik, gawking up at the shimmering ribbons of colour undulating in the heavens, I briefly forgot the cold. I, too, started to cheer.

E L A I N E A N S E L M I is a Yellowknife-based writer who has worked across Canada as a journalist and tree planter.


FRANK BERGDOLL

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stories in the stones In the foothills of South Africa’s Cederberg mountains lies a vast repository of ancient rock art RED CARNATION HOTEL COLLECTION (ALL PHOTOS)

BY NADIA K AVANAGH

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The rock art at Bushmans Kloof is often located in caves and overhangs

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WE SET OUT NOT LONG AFTER SUNRISE. OUR GUIDE, LONDOLOZA NDZIMA (who insisted

we call him “Londi”), took us on a brief drive out to a vast open plain, a sweeping expanse of dry grass punctuated by outcrops of rich-red and brown boulders. In the distance, the horizon was broken by a series of mountain ranges, but when Londi stopped the vehicle, our parking spot, near one of the rock outcrops, looked rather ordinary. STEPPING CAUTIOUSLY onto the crumbling, sunburnt stone, I saw tiny

succulents breaking through cracks in the ancient rock. I reached out to steady myself on a boulder and my fingers came away coated in a fine, dry dust. Each footstep I made was carefully negotiated, not because the ground was particularly treacherous, but for fear that I was about to step on a delicate plant or a passing insect. As we followed Londi uphill and among the boulders, I stopped briefly to look up and properly take in my surroundings. I will forever remember how my heart suddenly lifted as I found myself looking out across a seemingly endless panorama, with views of the Cederberg mountains, one of South Africa’s richest and most beautiful environments, and the magnificent Karoo Plains. As my eyes adjusted to take in the breadth, depth and natural drama of the valley below, I was able to locate our “home” for the past few days: Bushmans Kloof lodge, the five-star, award-winning accommodation and spa set in the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat. We continued on, the only sound our quiet footsteps. Londi stopped. Our small group of guests was silent, watching him as he looked out far over the hills, a faint smile playing on his lips. Shutting his eyes, he breathed in deeply, seemingly drinking the air. Then, in a hushed voice, as if he was afraid of disturbing someone nearby (although we were clearly the only people for miles around), he started to fill us in on what we were about to see. We walked slowly among massive boulders interspersed with the local, indigenous fynbos plants as Londi explained that these were the ancestral lands of the ancient San and Khoisan people, the ‘Bushmen’. The Bushmen, he told us, are considered to be the people most closely related to the early humans that gave rise to Homo sapiens—they are, in effect, the ancestral source of modern humans, the most ancient people on the planet. 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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The Bushmen used natural pigments such as ochre, animal blood and plant juices to create their paintings

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BELOW: there are more than 130 rock art sites in the Bushmans Kloof reserve, some of which date back 10,000 years; RIGHT: the art depicts both animals, including giraffes and antelope, and human figures, shown standing, dancing and shooting with bows

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Ancient history BUSHMAN TRIBES lived in these mountains for 120,000

years. Being hunter-gatherers, they lived a nomadic lifestyle, following food sources according to the changing seasons. It’s believed that they mainly lived in the Cederberg during spring and early summer, eking out a living eating mostly plants. The rest of the year would be spent closer to the coast, where food would have been more readily available. While in the Cederberg, the Bushmen tribes would create “bases”, uniting as a community and establishing shelters to protect themselves from the elements. And when they came together like this, generation after generation, century after century, the tribesmen would work to preserve their history and heritage. And while for the most part, the passing on of teachings and traditions from one generation to the next took place through storytelling, the Bushmen also used more durable methods. At sites scattered throughout the Cederberg mountains, primitive artists recorded life’s lessons, and some of its most important moments, in increasingly sophisticated drawings. Using natural dyes created from oxide pigments and, in some cases, plant material such as berries and leaves, the Bushman stained the rock faces of their cave shelters with depictions of local wildlife and the Bushmen themselves, of traditions, ceremonies, seasonal changes and historical events. Londi’s monologue had us all captivated. He clearly has a deep, intimate knowledge of these sites and their fascinating history. I later learnt that he’s actually the chief archaeologist for Bushmans Kloof, but at that moment, he was simply a man who held in his heart a deep love and appreciation for the ancient people who walked the paths we were following. And then, turning a corner and ducking beneath an overhang, we entered a prehistoric art gallery. Here was an artist’s canvas made of ancient rock, a segment of the cultural history of the Bushmen who roamed these lands during the tail end of the Stone Age. What at first appeared to be naïve images of animals and tribesmen, perhaps created by a young child, on closer inspection were revealed to possess a subtle sophistication. Here in this natural, outdoor gallery, was a vast collection of ancient images in soft reds, browns, beiges—earth materials turned to earth-tone paintings. Londi explained that the main pigments used for the paint consisted of red ochre (an iron-rich mineral), yellow ochre, white clay (which, unfortunately, fades quickly) and charcoal or manganese for black. These natural pigments were mixed with a binder—usually animal fat, blood or plant substances. The binder, being organic, decayed quickly, but the inorganic pigments have lasted significantly longer.

Dating the art relies mainly on any organic material left behind at the site. Radiocarbon dating provides a fairly accurate age for this material, which then provides a relative date for the paintings. Close examination of the paintings themselves can also give an indication of their age—the different styles used can be related back to specific time periods. Tearing my eyes away from the artworks, I looked around at our surroundings. The site had clearly been chosen with great care, the rock overhang providing impressive shelter for the paintings, protecting the rock canvas from rain, sun, wind, whatever the elements threw at them—thereby allowing them to survive the passage of several millennia.

Art sites AFTER VISITING a few more rock art sites, we returned in silence to our vehicle for the brief drive back to the lodge. Bushmans Kloof lodge is set in a reserve that protects more than 7,200 hectares of fynbos vegetation; more than 755 indigenous plant species have so far been recorded in the reserve. It’s also home to 150 species of bird, including the majestic African fish eagle and the jewel-like sunbird, and 35 mammal species, including one of the world’s largest private herds of the endangered Cape mountain zebra, the bat-eared fox, the aardwolf and the caracal. However, it’s the rock art sites that are the jewels in its crown. In recognition of its historical—as well as its ecological—significance, Bushmans Kloof has been

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ABOVE: gemsbok are one of the more than 35 mammal species found in the reserve; BELOW: the retreat features an outdoor dual spa gazebo located above the Boontjes River; RIGHT: the Embers Restaurant, perched on a cliff in a natural sandstone amphitheatre, offers dining under the stars

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designated a South African Natural Heritage Site. Between 2005 and 2011, an archaeologist meticulously documented and researched all of the rock art sites in the reserve to create a database that’s linked to a Geographic Information System. In all, the database contains more than 130 rock art sites, some of which date back at least 10,000 years. Since its inception, the retreat has worked tirelessly to preserve these cultural treasures. This work is supported by the TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports environmental and community-based projects around the world. The foundation was established, and receives funding, as a joint initiative between leading tourism business The Travel Corporation and its family of travel brands. The company’s founders, Stanley and Bea Tollman, continue to lead the now-global business. The Tollmans bought Bushmans Kloof in 2004 and transformed it into a natural playground for guests who want to reconnect with themselves, the environment and the essence of life. Today, the retreat is one of Travel Corporation’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection properties. Through the direction of The Travel Corporation, and the ethos of the Tollman family, the TreadRight Foundation has helped to support more than 35 sustainable-tourism

The retreat is located in the foothills of the Cederberg mountains

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projects worldwide. Preservation of the rock art at Bushmans Kloof is one such project, with the foundation supporting a full-time rock art expert whose focus is the protection of these delicate remnants of indigenous heritage. Guests at Bushmans Kloof, along with visiting archaeologists and academics, are fortunate to have the opportunity to visit these fragile sites. For me, the experience went far beyond anything that I had anticipated. Expecting a simple, easy hike to a historic spot, I knew that I would see something special—how could a place that holds more than 10,000 years of cultural history not be—but I was unprepared for how deeply touched I would be by both the artworks themselves and their incredibly evocative location. As we were readying ourselves for the walk back to the vehicle, and then on to the lodge, I heard myself spontaneously whisper a heartfelt “Thank you” in the private hope that somehow the artists might hear.

With an innate love of adventure and curiosity about the world, Dublin-based writer N A D I A K AVA N A G H finds herself continually drawn to Africa’s diversity of people, culture, history and environment.


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RIGHT: copy goes here and italics if needed; ABOVE: copy goes here and italics if needed

the

Granny

diarie�

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ON THE TRAIL OF A REVOLUTIONARY ANCESTOR IN CENTRAL MEXICO WORDS & PHOTOGR A PHS by PETER MCBRIDE

An equestrienne rides sidesaddle in traditional rodeo style at Rancho Santa Emilia, just outside San Miguel de Allende

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In Guanajuato’s Jardín de la Unión, a young mariachi riffs on the guitar while his grandfather drums up their next gig

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MARIMBA MUSIC LILTS OUTSIDE IN THE COLONIAL CITY OF QUERÈTARO.

KEN K ASHUBA/T YPE SET COIN COLLECTING

IN THE SUN-SPLASHED LIBRARY ROOM, shelves crammed with bound parchment paper, leather journals and government letters sit against walls hung with Catholic relics and oil paintings cracked with age. What I don’t see are temperature- and humiditycontrol devices. Better not cough, I think; centuries of Mexico’s written record could be reduced to dust. It’s two weeks into my ancestral scavenger hunt through Mexico’s central highlands. My quarry, Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez, has thus far eluded me. But now, perhaps, paydirt?

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I open the book. I think of my grandfather, who introduced me to our family’s famed forebear. Years ago, he gave me a faded Mexican 20-peso bill with Josefa’s portrait. I carry it with me now. MY SEARCH BEGINS IN THE BUSTLE OF MEXICO CITY,

A ghoulish trio celebrates the Day of the Dead in Guanajuato DAVID SAAVEDRA VEGA, the librarian here for 30 years,

greets me. Of course he’s heard of Josefa: known as La Corregidora, she remains the heroine of Mexico’s 19thcentury War of Independence against Spain. She was also the mother of 14 children. Saavedra smiles and says he might be able to help. Within minutes, he brings me a pile of handwritten letters dated 1806. The Gs and Qs swirl flamboyantly. I imagine the arcing feathers that penned them. Stamped on the letters signed “Miguel Domínguez, Corregidor”— Josefa’s magistrate husband—are Spanish government seals. Moments later, Saavedra returns to my table and hands me a thick book. It's an account of the family’s offspring. The (grand)mother lode. For generations, my family has boasted about our connection to Mexico’s great revolutionary. Without Josefa’s courageous involvement, the story goes, Mexico’s independence would likely have been delayed. (After 11 years of war, the Spanish overlords had no choice but to hand over the reins to the Mexicans.) My pride in Josefa’s role aside, I also credit her for my passion for Latin culture, food and rhythms. I also suspect that she's the root of a rebellious streak that has coursed through my veins since I was born. I want to know her better.

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where splashy murals, oversize plazas and a friendly vibe might have distracted me for days. But I'm eager to head north to the Ruta de la Independencia, a series of winding mountain roads that connect San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato and Querétaro—all key to Mexico’s history. Some two hours north of Mexico City, I drive down a cactus-covered hill as the radio crackles to life with the accordion-heavy strains of norteño music. On the road’s shoulder ahead, three charros (cowboys) move a herd of loose-skinned brahman cattle, clouds of dust chasing their horses. Over the next hill, on the outskirts of the prosperous city of Querétaro, I turn onto a historic stretch of road. On 13 September, 1810, a rider galloped some 65 kilometres from Querétaro to San Miguel. He carried an urgent message from an activist named Josefa—María Josefa Cresencia de la Natividad Ortíz Téllez-Gíron de Domínguez, to be precise. No-one knows the exact words in that note, but history got the message: begin the revolution. Now. In 1810, fed up with the second-class treatment of Mexico, Josefa and her revolutionary associates hatched a plan from her Querétaro home to liberate Mexico from Spanish rule. But word of the plan leaked and Spanish officials began rounding up the conspirators. Josefa’s husband, Miguel, aware of his wife’s activities and wishing to protect her, locked her up in their home. She managed to slip her note through the keyhole to a rider. That simple act toppled the first domino in what would come to be known as Mexico’s War of Independence. My plan is far less ambitious: follow Josefa’s footsteps, absorb everything related to the Mexican Revolution—and consume some mole along the way. In San Miguel, I find a culturally rich town with a dash of arty Santa Fe sensibility, sweeping views, secret alleys and music-soaked plazas, but I uncover nothing about my ancestor. An invitation to a rodeo at a local ranch offers balm for my frustration. Rancho Santa Emilia is an elegant nod to the 1800s, down to such details as horse stalls crafted with hand-hewn timbers. When the rodeo starts, I watch another century swirl before me. Sombrero-clad charros gallop through explosions of red earth as escaramuzas (horsewomen) ride sidesaddle in swishy Spanish dresses. Bulls snort and mariachis trumpet. A man in the audience stands, toasts the rodeo, downs a tequila shot and begins to sing a ballad of the brokenhearted. His deep baritone carries a haunting nostalgia that seeps into my bones. Then, a 12-piece mariachi band jumps in and violins pierce the air. The din captivates


Crumbling books and manuscripts line the shelves of Querétaro’s Museo Regional, a former Franciscan monastery

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Throughout central Mexico, rodeos celebrate horsemanship

After the charros (cowboys) show off their skills, spectators take to the dance floor

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the crowd. Dust clings to the sweat on my face and I'm swept back into the 19th century and thoughts of Josefa. On 15 September, 1810, my grandmother’s message reached a co-conspirator, Father Miguel Hidalgo. At 6 a.m. on 16 September—celebrated as Mexico’s Independence Day—Hidalgo rang his church bell and delivered a sermon that would serve as the people’s rallying cry. It was time to pick up arms, march south and send the Spanish home. By car from San Miguel it takes me 30 minutes (half a day by horse in 1810) to reach the plaza of the blue-collar pueblo of Hidalgo. Children’s laughter rings out. Edging the plaza is a school, El Colegio La Corregidora. Metal etchings and bronze busts of La Corregidora surround the building. In the centre of town I find statues of Father Hidalgo and Josefa. I visit the small parish church where Hidalgo exhorted his flock—mostly peasants—to become an army. Outside, a young woman, eyes clenched shut and brow furrowed, belts out a heartfelt solo. I ask her what the song means. “It is about love and freedom,” she says. I push on toward Guanajuato. The road—all curves and bright views of La Sierra Gorda—is nearly empty. I encounter few vehicles, mostly weathered trucks. Their drivers wave me on. Within an hour, glimpses of Guanajuato’s candy-coloured architecture flash past as I head into the city. In late September 1810, Hidalgo hurried his ragtag wagon train of rebels along the route I now drive. They reached Guanajuato and solidified the revolution in a surprise and successful attack on the Spanish barracks. Less than a year later, in Chihuahua, Hidalgo and his cohorts were captured and executed. To thwart further insurgent activity, the Spanish displayed the heads of Hidalgo and his three lieutenants in cages suspended on the corners of a granary. The gory symbols only strengthened revolutionary resolve. I walk through the granary, now an open-air museum. I come upon a mural of Hidalgo’s caged head. His burning eyes follow me. Back outside, I stroll a maze of alleys and tunnels that create an atmospheric blend of Spain and Mexico. It's 1 November, El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), the first of two days of countrywide celebrations. When I reach Jardín de la Unión, I see skeletons wandering the square. A clown makes people howl as mariachis keep the beat. At Casa Valadez, off the plaza, I sit down to a Caesar salad with a blue-cheese-ice-cream dressing. The next day I visit a cemetery blanketed with people and fresh flowers. Miniature skulls made of sugar are sold everywhere. This holiday is all about remembering the departed. I spend the afternoon wandering the walled pantheon that overlooks hilly Guanajuato and its gravitydefying architecture, thinking about my own departed ancestor. I head back downtown at dusk. Murals of skeletons made from coloured sawdust have magically

appeared on the pedestrian streets. One looks to be a rendition of Hidalgo with Josefa in the background. But I’ve seen enough statues and paintings. I want the real Josefa. It's time to visit her home in Querétaro. This isn't my first visit to this colonial city. Twenty years ago, I’d applied for a college semester abroad in Spain. I was turned down—and ended up here instead. En route from Mexico City by train, I opened a package my grandfather had given me. In it were the 20-peso bill with Josefa’s portrait, a bundle of letters, a hand-scribbled family tree and a typed note: “Peto—I am delighted to know you are going to Querétaro. You are headed to the center of your family’s history.” During my four months of study here, I tried to uncover some family lore, but limited language skills and a young adult’s attention span hindered my quest. Today, Querétaro appears to be twice the size I remember. I quickly find Calle Corregidora and turn toward the centro histórico, weaving through vaguely familiar blocks until I reach La Casa de la Marquesa. Located a few steps from the central plaza, the hotel is the perfect base for my explorations. My room’s name: Doña Josefa. No kidding. I walk the streets, engulfed in a sense of déjà vu at every corner. The statue of Josefa looming over the Jardín de la Corregidora looks more vibrant than I recall. Busloads of school kids funnel through to pay homage to this woman, who is “more popular than ever, thanks to the Internet”, a teacher tells me. Restaurants and chic bars fill what were ghostly streets when I studied here years before. And just as I had encountered in every town along La Ruta de la Independencia, live music bubbles from many an open door. I climb to the city’s aqueduct overlook. Just above sits Querétaro’s pantheon. Here Josefa, her husband, Miguel, and other important figures in the fight for Mexican independence lie entombed. I overhear two women discussing the revolution. I ask them about Josefa. The shorter of the two looks at me, cups her right hand low by her waist, moves it up and down and grins. I understand the gesture perfectly. “Huevos,” she says, “huevos grandes.” The taller of the two shakes her head. “I don’t agree,” she says. “She was just doing her duty.” Little do they know they’re talking about my flesh and blood. The next day, I tour Josefa’s home, now the town’s main government building. Two guides lead me to the stateroom. “Today, this is where anything important happens,” one tells me. It's the very room where Josefa’s history-changing “start the revolution” message slipped through the keyhole—and went viral. As her distant relative and, I like to believe, kindred spirit, I can’t help but wonder: could I start a revolution? Do I have, ahem, what it takes? My last stop is Querétaro’s regional museum and, within it, the library. I pause when I'm handed the exact text I’ve 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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A bust of La Corregidora, heroine of Mexico’s 19th-century War of Independence against Spain, keeps vigil in Dolores Hidalgo

been searching for; I know it marks the end of my quest. From my pocket I pull out my grandfather’s handwritten family tree. I open the book. I locate the genealogical diagram and search for familiar names. I trace the names detailed in my grandfather’s letter. I cross-reference with the book. Domínguez–Domínguez. They start to match. But then they don’t. Something isn’t right. I check both again—three, four, five times. The two lists don’t line up. Our family names don’t match any offspring of Josefa’s grandchildren. Then I notice a blurb about her fifth son, Miguel (our alleged link). He moved to southern Mexico (our Domínguez relatives lived there too), but there is little documentation of his life beyond that. He married but had no marriage licence, no children. Then I read in Spanish: “One family claims to be related, but have been proven to be imposters.” Outside, the marimba music stops. A shadow sweeps across the room. I realise I'm not who I think I am. I have not descended from a famous revolutionary. The sangre of Mexico’s great heroine doesn't dance in my veins. My nonrevolutionary blood starts to boil. Imposters. My family’s connection to history is, well, fiction. Or is it? There's always the question of illegitimate children. After Hidalgo was executed, a battalion “escorted”

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Josefa to Mexico City. Legend has it she spat in the face of each soldier. Josefa was imprisoned for eight years. Was there a secret 15th child born during that time? Did her son Miguel have undocumented offspring? Does it matter? On my last night in Querétaro I stumble on a little Oaxacan-style restaurant, María y su Bici. Featured here are 12 flavours of mole—that intensely rich, velvety smooth, infinitely complex Mexican secret sauce. After I beg, the waiter lets me sample them all. People merrily share tables, jokes and tequila. Such simple joy, such decadent mole. Such decent humanity. I could fight a revolution for this. Two musicians start to play campesino tunes that make my heart ache and I decide I will adopt Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez, La Corregidora, as my insurgent granny. I think my grandfather would approve. My inner Latino might not come from Josefa’s DNA, but it still jumps when a mariachi wails.

Colorado-based P E T E R M C B R I D E is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. He loves Mexico’s mañana attitude and sometimes dreams in Spanish, although he's still working on pronouncing “La Corregidora” correctly.


T H E

S C I E N C E

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C L E A R ,

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F U T U R E

E x e c u t i ve P r o d u c e r M a r t i n S c o r s e s e

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Equal parts awe and expanse, Denali National Park is known for its breathtaking views, here of upper Ruth Glacier

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State of WONDER EVERYTHING IS SCALED UP IN ALASKA—PERHAPS NOWHERE MORE THAN IN DENALI NATIONAL PARK, HOME TO NORTH AMERICA’S HIGHEST PEAK

BY

Jeff Rennicke

PHOTOGRAPHS BY

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Crowned by clouds, North America’s king of summits, Denali (formerly called Mount McKinley), lords it over nearby peaks. “It’s a transcendent thing,” photographer Aaron Huey says

Dawn. The zipper on my tent is stiff with frost and the early light seems as brittle as the ice on the edge of the river where I camp. Fresh snow powders the shoulders of the Alaska Range, pink now against the sunrise. I stretch on this new morning in Denali National Park and head towards the portable stove to make coffee.

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A Dall ram suns itself on a rock framed by ribbons of the Toklat River. “Patient visitors will spot rams from the road,” says Huey; OPPOSITE: ice-blue waters flow down Ruth Glacier, one of 40 named glaciers in Denali


EACH YEAR, thousands of visitors come

to this huge swath of Alaskan wilderness located 390 kilometres north of Anchorage. They come to check off its must-dos, from picking blueberries along the shores of Wonder Lake, with its view of 6,190-metre-high Denali—the continent’s highest peak—reflected in the mirrored lake water, to scoping the Toklat flats for wolves, caribou and bears, to hiking all or some of the scenic Triple Lakes Trail. But at 2.4 million hectares, the equivalent of three

Yellowstones or eight Yosemites, Denali is so much more than guided walks or photo possibilities. Its backcountry offers hikers with permits the chance to get out, go deep and experience raw wilderness. Park shuttle buses ply the 148-kilometre Denali Park Road. Flag one down and it will drop you off almost anywhere along its route for your very own walk into the wild. Designated a national park in 1917, Denali challenges superlatives. It wears easily such titles as tallest and grandest. 2 01 6 ISSU E 0 2  

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Hop, skip, jump: a hiker pole dances across ice pads dotting a RIGHT: copy goes here and glacial pool. “The ice’s grey coating italics if needed; ABOVE: copy comes from dirt blowing off the goes here and italics if needed surrounding mountains,” notes photographer Huey

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Multicoloured plants blanket Polychrome Pass, drawing a hungry grizzly

Although its open terrain can make it appear accessible— the highest peaks, on a clear day, are visible from Fairbanks, 190 kilometres northeast—appearances in Alaska can deceive. Fast-moving glacial rivers slice through the backcountry, leading to some treacherous river crossings. A ridge that seems close enough to touch can be a day’s hike away. It soon becomes clear that this is echo-swallowing, border-defying, leave-you-weak-at-theknees frontier country. In such a place, wildness and beauty aren’t constrained. Halfway to the portable stove, I stop. Pressed into the mud between the river and my tent is a fresh paw print. I kneel and place my hand in its large outline. While I slept, a grizzly bear stepped here. I’ll hike for more than a week during this trip, my sixth

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in the park, watch what appear to be puffs of summer clouds transform magically into Dall sheep on a distant hillside, hear distant wolf howls drift on the wind like flute music. But in Denali, “heaven,” to borrow a line from Henry David Thoreau, “is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Standing in the grizzly track, I turn in a slow circle— and take in the glory around me. This loftiest of national parks yields beauty in every step.

J E F F R E N N I C K E wrote National Geographic’s book Treasures of Alaska: Last Great American Wilderness. Photographer A A R O N H U E Y ( @argonautphoto) spent several months in Denali National Park.


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concierge

CONCIERGE EXCLUSIVELY for ADVENTURE WORLD TRAVELLERS

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MAKING TRAVEL EASY You’ve been inspired by the tales of travel to exotic destinations in National Geographic Traveller; now, let Adventure World take you there. Here, in the exclusive Concierge section, Adventure World’s team of experienced travel experts has created a series of tailor-made journeys to each of the destinations featured in this issue. Adventure World goes above and beyond to create unique and extraordinary travel experiences— awe-inspiring, incredible moments that will take pride of place among your memories.

DESTINATIONS

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152 ANTARCTICA 158 ZAMBIA 164 MOROCCO 166 NEPAL 168 MUSCAT 170 YOSEMITE 176 CHILE 180 KENYA 186  NORTHWEST TERRITORIES 190 SOUTH AFRICA 192 MEXICO 194 THE BLUE TRAIN 196 ALASKA 201 6 I SSU E 0 2  

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JOURNE Y to ANTARCTICA THE WHITE CONTINENT

A land of extremes and superlatives, Antarctica is quite simply stunning and one of Earth’s final frontiers. The sheer enormity of its ice shelves and mountain ranges will heighten feelings of human insignificance among nature’s grandeur 152 

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his classic Antarctic journey delivers the complete package: huge tabular icebergs, sculptural bergs floating in pools of turquoise melt water, mountains rising almost 2,750 metres straight up from the sea, penguins galore, abundant marine mammals and experiences such as cruising through the solemn majesty of the Lemaire Channel, among many more. Spend your days and nights in a rapture of discovery.

DAY 1: SANTIAGO (ORION) / BUENOS AIRES (EXPLORER)

Guests travelling aboard National Geographic Orion arrive today in Santiago. Spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring Santiago’s sights, including the Plaza de Armas (the main square), and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening, gather with your fellow travellers for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel.


concierge

Guests travelling aboard National Geographic Explorer arrive this morning in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided overview of the city, seeing its Beaux Arts palaces, grand boulevards and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Peron. In the early evening, gather with your fellow travellers for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (L) DAY 2: FLY TO USHUAIA AND EMBARK

Today, fly by private charter flight over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southern-most city. If the weather is fine, you’ll see the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. You’ll then board the expedition ship and set sail. (B)(L)(D) DAY 3: AT SEA

Awake this morning well into the journey across Drake Passage. Lying between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula, the passage holds a unique place in maritime lore. Sometimes misty and grey, other times calm and clear, crossing the legendary Drake Passage is an unforgettable experience—a milestone in any adventurer’s personal travel history. (B)(L)(D) DAYS 4–9: ANTARCTICA

With nearly 24 hours of daylight, make the most of your six days as the ship keeps a flexible schedule to take advantage of the unexpected—perhaps watching a

40-tonne whale surface off the bow. You’ll be out daily. One day, you may make a Zodiac foray amid towering icebergs, walk along the shore amid a huge penguin colony, hike to a summit for a breathtaking view or kayak along a cliff-side rookery in search of blue-eyed shags. The next, you’ll have the thrill of watching the ship crunch through the pack ice or step ashore to the cries of thousands of gentoo penguins. Learn how to identify penguins from expert staff while receiving photo tips from a National Geographic photographer. Back on board, the ship’s undersea specialist may present video from that day’s dive—rare images taken up to 300 metres below the surface using the ship’s ROV. Expert staff will craft an expedition where you’ll learn more, see more and experience more. (B)(L)(D) DAYS 10–11: AT SEA

As you sail back to Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the ship’s avian escort and spotters will keep an eye out for marine life. There’ll be plenty of time to enjoy a wellness treatment, log some time in the gym or catch up on the book you haven’t had a minute to read. Talks from staff will reflect on all that you’ve seen and learned. (B)(L)(D) DAY 12: DISEMBARK

After breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia with some time to explore before proceeding to the airport for your charter flight to Santiago or Buenos Aires. (B)(L)

AT A GLANCE

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS

★★★

DEPARTS Selected dates TRAVEL STYLE Expedition cruise HIGHLIGHTS

• Experience Antarctic Ocean ecology • Kayak, Zodiac cruise and hike on the continent • Be guided by a diverse range of knowledgeable naturalist staff INCLUSIONS

Ten nights cruise accommodation, one night hotel accommodation, selected meals, return charter flights, excursions, services of a Lindblad Expeditions leader, naturalist staff and expert guides, use of kayaks, entrance fee, all port charges and service taxes. FROM AU$17,939* / NZ$20,275* * Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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Land of contrasts Haida Gwaii

Canada is the country of maple syrup, the glorious Rocky Mountains, ice hockey, cosmopolitan Vancouver and arguably some of the best skiing in the world. But if you look beyond the clichés and head off the wellworn path, away from the traditional tourist spots, you’ll find a surprising diversity of landscapes filled with places that will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Chosen as one of National Geographic’s 20 Best Trips of 2015, Haida Gwaii more than lives up to its nickname: the “Galapagos of the north”. You can watch humpback whales breaching, see bald eagles perched in towering moss-draped trees, kayak across the sheltered bay on SGaang Gwaii Island to see worn totem poles and hopefully spot a mighty Haida Gwaii black bear (the world’s largest) foraging along the shoreline. Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii (“islands of the Haida people” in the native language) is accessible only by plane or boat. The islands are home to a vibrant First Nations culture. Experiencing Haida culture, with its rich history and strong community, is a large part of the Haida Gwaii experience, and the Haida people are only too happy to share it with you.

“Galapagos of the North” Haida Gwaii cruise 9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS From AU$6,089* / NZ$6,395* pp twin share


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Great Bear Rainforest

The Saint Lawrence River

Thompson Okanagan

The world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, the Great Bear Rainforest’s vibrant ecosystem is a place where waters teem with whales, sea otters, dolphins and sea lions, and the land is home to black-tailed deer, mountain goats, cougars, coastal grey wolves and eagles. However, its most famous residents are grizzly bears, black bears and rare Kermode or “Spirit” bears, a subspecies of the black bear with white fur. A stay in the Great Bear Rainforest also provides the opportunity to tour old-growth forests; hear a “bear whisperer” speak to grizzlies; take part in an authentic potlatch—a gift-giving feast practised by indigenous peoples of coastal regions in the Pacific Northwest; cruise through labyrinthine fjords and glacier-carved inlets; and spend the night in a floating lodge.

The mighty Saint Lawrence River in eastern Canada connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, meandering through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and partially forming the border between Canada and the USA. The most popular spot along the river is the Thousand Islands region, an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the border near the northeastern corner of Lake Ontario. Cruising the river, you’ll pass sections offering dramatic scenery and calm waters and then enter passages where you feel as though you’re actually on the open ocean. The shores of the river are home to quaint fishing villages and pictureperfect lighthouses, and the cities you visit along the way—Quebec City, Montreal and Trois Rivieres— all offer a rich French heritage.

The Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia has something for everyone. Foodies flock to the area for its lush orchards and vineyards, including North America’s only underground wine cellars carved into a volcanic-rock hillside; families fill the sandy lakeside beaches (the region boasts more than 200 lakes); and outdoor enthusiasts excitedly venture there for the hiking, biking, golfing and skiing. However, it’s the region’s natural landscape that will surprise you; it’s home to the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, a waterfall twice the height of Niagara Falls and Canada’s only desert. And there’s a rich variety of landscapes to savour, from high-elevation sub-alpine meadows and semi-arid grasslands to moist temperate rainforests.

Great Bear Lodge

Rail and cruise in eastern Canada

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS From AU$2,295* / NZ$2,415*

15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS From AU$5,199* / NZ$5,459*

pp twin share

pp twin share

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply.

Sparkling Hill Resort 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS From AU$605* / NZ$635* pp twin share


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The Maritimes

Fogo Island

The Badlands

Canada’s Maritime Provinces—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island—are, unsurprisingly, all about the coast and the sea. Here you’ll find picturesque bays, unspoilt beaches, soaring cliffs, quaint towns and arguably the world’s tastiest lobster. Head inland, however, and you’ll find vast areas of intractable wilderness, with dense pine forests that hide the mysterious Canada lynx. Travellers will marvel at Halifax, situated on the edge of the large natural harbour of the same name; Cape Breton Island, home of the famous Cabot Trail, considered one of the most awe-inspiring trails in North America; the Bay of Fundy, which has some of the world’s highest and most dramatic tides; Prince Edward Island, home to the picturesque villages and rolling green farmland made famous by Anne of Green Gables; and Peggy’s Cove, a small village with the world’s most photographed lighthouse.

Fogo Island, a Canadian Signature Experience, is situated in an area of the North Atlantic colloquially referred to as “Iceberg Alley” due to the hundreds of icebergs that pass by on their way between Greenland and Newfoundland. The island is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfloundland and Labrador. Perched precariously on stilts above the rugged, rocky coastline, the architecturally unique Fogo Island Inn, designed by a Newfoundland-born architect and built and operated by islanders, is internationally renowned for its exceptional hospitality and bold, contemporary design. The inn is a 100-percent social business—all operating profits are reinvested in the Fogo Island community through the projects and programmes of the Shorefast Foundation.

The Canadian Badlands in Alberta are famous for their unique coulee landscapes and hoodoo rock formations, and their rich fossil deposits. The remains of more than 44 species of dinosaur, including more than 150 complete skeletons, have been discovered in the area now protected by the World Heritage-listed Dinosaur Provincial Park. But the Badlands are also one of North America’s best birdwatching destinations, with more than 300 species soaring over the prairies, migrating to and from scattered lakes and sloughs, and nesting in lush river valleys and rolling prairie grasslands.

Rail to the Maritimes

pp twin share

Fogo Island Inn 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS From AU$1,719* / NZ$1,809*

14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS From AU$3,859* / NZ$4,055* pp twin share

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply.

Ranchlands and prairies 14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS From AU$2,659* / NZ$2,765* pp twin share


SMALL SHIP ADVENTURES Alaska | Pacific Northwest | Columbia & Snake Rivers | Hawaiian Islands | Mexico’s Sea of Cortes DESIGNED TO INSPIRE TRAVELLERS TO APPRECIATE THE NATURAL WORLD, EACH UNCRUISE JOURNEY FEATURES ACTIVITIES AND EXCURSIONS THAT COMPLEMENT THE WILDERNESS, WILDLIFE, CULTURE AND HERITAGE OF THE PLACES VISITED. Offering a hands-on, small group experience to pave the way for up-close discoveries, UnCruise’s fleet of vessels are uniquely equipped for their distinct style of cruising and feature shallow drafts that allow exploration of areas that are inaccessible to larger ships. UnCruise’s innovative small ship adventures and river cruises provide an unbeatable combination of activity, culture, expertise, and unique encounters, coupled with exclusivity, attentive service, and time to experience a destination with only a few like-minded travellers.

Januar y 2017 to April 2018

BROCHURE OUT NOW

ALASKA

January 2017 to April 2018

| MEXI CO

22 to 88 Guests Adven ture & River Cru ise

| HAW AIIAN ISLA NDS | COLUMBIA

22 to 88 Guests Adventure & River Cruises

ALASKA | MEXICO | HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

| COLUMBIA & SNAKE

E RIVE

Define Your Un-ness

RS | WAS HINGTON | BRITISH COLU

Define Your Un-ness

RIVERS | WASHINGTO N | BRITISH COLUMBIA

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com

s

& SNAK

MBIA


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MFUWE LODGE Built on an ancient elephant route, the award-winning Mfuwe Lodge, in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, serves as a central base for exploring the park. Each November, the lodge welcomes a small herd of elephants that nonchalantly meanders through the reception area

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onsidered Zambia’s pre-eminent wildlife destination, South Luangwa National Park is home to abundant wildlife, diverse ecosystems and the perennial Luangwa River. For wildlife-lovers, it doesn’t get any better, with huge herds of game, large numbers of predators, a diverse avifauna (more than 400 species), mopane woodlands and indigenous hardwood forests. Mfuwe Lodge, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, allows you to ease yourself into Luangwa life. DAY 1: LIVINGSTONE – SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK

Board a scheduled flight from Livingstone Airport to Mfuwe Airport. A representative from Mfuwe Lodge will meet you on arrival and transfer you by open Land Rover to Mfuwe Lodge, your home for the next three nights. The 45-minute drive provides a fascinating insight into rural Zambia as you pass through numerous villages. Settle in and make yourself at home before heading out on your first game drive in the late afternoon. (D) 158 

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DAY 2: SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK

Today you’ll enjoy morning and afternoon game drives through the park, conducted by a team of experienced, knowledgeable guides. For the adventurous, a mid-morning bush walk (additional cost) is also available. Striding out on your own two feet is the best way to understand the wilderness and provides one of the most amazing zoology lessons you’ll ever have. (B)(L)(D) DAY 3: SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK

Explore the park further with morning and afternoon game drives. With more than 60 mammal species living in the park each game drive is different. High on many safari-goer’s wish lists are sightings of Africa’s top predators, including lions, leopards and wild dogs, all of which can be found in South Luangwa. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK – LUSAKA

Soak up the surroundings on your final game drive before breakfast at the lodge. After breakfast, transfer to Mfuwe Airport for the scheduled light-aircraft flight to Lusaka. (B)

AT A GLANCE

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Enjoy a guided bush walk • View hippos from your balcony • Look out for elephant herds around the lodge INCLUSIONS

Three nights accommodation, all meals, morning and afternoon game drives, and flights and transfers as specified. FROM AU$4,525* / NZ$4,759* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.


Where adventure begins With more than 500 itineraries in over 90 countries you can explore everything from cities to deserts, coast and jungles with Exodus Travels.

8 days excl. flights

A TASTE OF CUBA

FROM AUD

1485

$

Experience the best of Cuba’s beaches, cigars and ‘50s cars! • Savour every taste of Cuba, from the expertly mixed mojitos to the traditional cuisine • Learn to salsa with a local dance partner • Walk through tobacco plantations in Vinales Valley • Stay in a traditional Cuban family home

8 days excl. flights

CLASSIC DOLOMITES

FROM AUD

1865

$

Take on Dolomites on foot with 5 days of trekking through the spectacular, jagged limestone peaks. • Trek around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, UNESCO World Heritage • 5 days centre-based walking • Experience incredible open-air museums • 7 nights in a 4-star hotel

14 days excl. flights

CYCLING VIETNAM

FROM AUD

2275

$

Enjoy the best of Vietnam on 2 wheels exploring beautiful sandy beaches, shimmering paddy fields and mountains cloaked in forests. • Experience the vibrant streets of Saigon • Eat mouth-watering cuisine • Relax in charming Hoi An • Take a cruise around the incredible seascape of Halong Bay

TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT OR VISIT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM


DISCOVER NAMIBIA WITH RICHARD BANGS

ANTARCTICA

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS from AU$12,549* / NZ$12,999*

15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS from AU$14,045* / NZ$15,215*

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS from AU$8,515* / NZ$8,779*

Departs 10 May 2017

Departs 02 March 2018

Departs 16 April 2017

See the highlights of Namibia with renowned world adventurer Richard Bangs. Having spent decades as an explorer and communicator, leading first descents of over 35 rivers around the world, including the Zambezi, Richard will take you on a journey to view wildlife, track rhino and interact with local tribes.

Set foot on the Great White Continent - Antarctica - for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, accompanied by an expert from the Australian Museum. Spend time in the Paris of the South, Buenos Aires, before embarking on your expedition, crossing the Drake Passage to explore the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Explore the beautiful colonial architecture of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and visit a textile market in Otavalo; cruise the spectacular Galapagos Islands and explore the diverse flora and fauna both on land and below the sea. Witness land and marine iguana, sea lions, numerous bird colonies and green sea turtles in their natural habitat, accompanied by an Australian Museum expert.

HIGHLIGHTS: The red sand sea of Sossusvlei View wildlife that has adapted to the harsh desert Track black rhino on foot in true wilderness Appreciate one of the oldest Bushman rock art sites in the world Interact with the fascinating Himba people

HIGHLIGHTS: Dinner and tango show in Buenos Aires Nine nights on an Antarctic expedition cruise Cross the mythical Drake Passage Set foot on the Great White Continent Enjoy lectures from expert expedition staff on the ship

HIGHLIGHTS: Four night cruise around the Galapagos Islands Visit Charles Darwin Research Station Santa Fe, North Seymour and Bartolome Islands Visit the Otavalo textile market Walking tour of Quito

CONTACT AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM GROUPS OPERATED BY ADVENTURE WORLD ON

1300 369 751 groups@adventureworld.com.au

OPERATED BY


SMALL GROUP JOURNEYS EGYPT

VANUATU

The Australian Museum

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS from AU$4,789* / NZ$4,949*

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS from AU$3,639* / NZ$3,825*

Departs 09 March 2018

Departs 18 February 2017

aims to inspire exploration,

Visit the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza and marvel at the sheer scale of these immense structures, enjoy a private visit of the Egyptian Museum with its extraordinary collection of antiquities and visit the Valley of the Kings and the entrance to Tutankhamen’s tomb, accompanied by an Australian Museum expert.

Venture away from the beaches and crowds and discover another side of Vanuatu. Head out on a safari, through plantations and villages to Mount Yasur, Tanna’s world famous volcano, visit local villages and learn about the locals’ traditional way of life, visit the remarkable Lemnap Cave and experience black magic rituals practised by a warrior tribe, accompanied by an Australian Museum expert.

HIGHLIGHTS: Visit the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza Explore Sakkara and Memphis A private visit of the Egyptian Museum Visit the Temple of Karnak and the Temple of Luxor The Valley of the Kings with entrance to Tutankhamen’s tomb Alexandria Library & Museum

HIGHLIGHTS: A guided snorkelling tour to Turtle Reef Yasur Volcano and Tanna Highlands Safari Gain an insight into the daily life of a local tribe Visit the natural limestone cave on the north west coast of Tanna Experience the rituals of black magic practised by a warrior tribe

understanding and care for our world. Join the Museum for a series of intimate journeys to some of the world’s most unique and extraordinary destinations. Interact with local tribes in Namibia, set foot on Antarctica, cruise the Galapagos, go behind the scenes on a private visit to the Egyptian Museum or visit

*TERMS AND CONDITIONS Prices are per person twin share and correct as at 9 Sep 2016 and subject to change. All care has been taken to promote correct pricing at time of printing, but is dependent on availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. The trips require a minimum number of passengers to operate and have specific payment schedules. For more details please contact Adventure World Groups. Packages can change without notification due to fluctuations in charges and currency. Credit card surcharges apply. International airfares are not included unless otherwise stated. For full terms and conditions visit adventureworld.com/terms-and-conditions AW4230

Tanna, Vanuatu’s world famous volcano with an expert guide from the Australian Museum.


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Utah: Land of canyons If it’s breathtaking views and iconic activities you seek, a self-drive trip through Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks delivers scenery on a spectacular scale

BRENT PURCELL

Zion National Park


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Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Carved by water and time, Zion National Park is a canyon that invites you to participate in the very forces that created it. In the warm climate of southwestern Utah, step into the Virgin River and see the colourful strata that mark the ages, rising for hundreds of metres up to a narrow strip of sky, then hike to seemingly impossible places and heights. Located just 45 minutes northeast of the city of St. George, Zion National Park’s canyons and mesas boast an especially exquisite beauty, even in a state known for dramatic landscapes. Breathtaking Zion Canyon is the centrepiece of this 593-square-kilometre park, which protects a spectacular landscape of high plateaus, sheer canyons with stunning waterfalls, hanging gardens and monolithic red cliffs. Opportunities to see and explore Zion National Park abound for people of all ages and abilities, from the scenic byways that slice through the park to the trails that wind through the backcountry. Wildlife watchers can search the sky for some of the more than 200 bird species that call the park home. Hikers can strap on their boots and venture out on trails that range from easy interpretive nature walks to lengthy, challenging hikes through narrow slot canyons. The popular, paved Weeping Rock trail is a must-do for all visitors to the park. After hiking past wildflowers and lush vegetation, you reach the Weeping Wall, where groundwater that has seeped 610 metres through the Navajo sandstone from Echo Canyon emerges to create a dripping wall that represents one of Zion’s most famous landmarks. In an alcove, the “weeping” water has formed picturesque hanging gardens and a small stream. Or, for an out-and-back day hike, head to the lower section of the famous Zion Canyon Narrows, where the North Fork Virgin River runs beneath 300-metre sandstone walls that centuries of erosion have sculpted into some of the most beautiful rock forms in the American Southwest.

At dawn and dusk, mule deer graze on the forested plateau along the road into Bryce Canyon. The alpine environment is home to dozens of species of mammal and bird, all acquainted with a spectacular truth: this is no ordinary forest. Over millions of years of freezes and thaws, water and wind have carved the plateau into endless fields of distinctive red rock pillars, called hoodoos, and a multitude of natural amphitheatres. Seek out the canyon floor on foot or explore the overlooks by car. Bryce Canyon National Park invites discovery. Every year, the park awes visitors with its spectacular geological formations and brilliant colours. The towering hoodoos, narrow fins and natural bridges seem to defy reason or explanation, leaving hikers gazing around with jaws agape in wondrous incredulity. This surreal landscape is what brings people from all over the world to Bryce Canyon National Park. How are those hoodoos and fins formed? It starts with rainwater seeping into cracks in the rock. During Bryce’s cold nights, the water expands as it freezes, breaking apart the rock. The deep, narrow walls called fins result from rain and snowmelt running down the slopes from Bryce’s rim. Eventually, the fins form holes (called windows) and when the windows grow larger, they collapse and create the bizarre hoodoos that we see today. Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park is the best way to immerse yourself in the amazing geography. Day hikes range from easy one- or two-kilometre loops to challenging 18-kilometre round-trip adventures. As you hike, be sure to check out the bristlecone pine trees for which Bryce is known. Bristlecone pines are the oldest trees in the world; some of them have been around for an incredible 5,000 years!

Canyons & Indian lands

From AU$2,269* / NZ$2,389* pp twin share. To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply


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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN MOROCCO T

hink of Morocco and your mind will likely conjure up images of colourful and chaotic squares, of exotic cultures, dust-orange kasbahs and tranquil oases. All of this and more can be found in this selection of our favourite places to stay in Morocco— from an exclusive riad in Fez’s old medina to a hidden sanctuary close to the bustling heart of Marrakech. PAL ACE AZIZA & SPA, MARRAKECH

While most visitors to Marrakech make a beeline straight for the noise and chaos of Djemaa el Fna Square, it can be difficult to escape the assault on your senses if you’re also staying close by. Which is why we like to stay at the Palace Aziza & Spa, a serene haven in an exclusive palm grove a short drive from the heart of Marrakech. With gorgeous rooms and suites surrounding a refreshing pool and charming villas hidden throughout the gardens, you won’t want to leave this calming haven. 16 4  

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L A TOUR HASSAN, RABAT

The Moroccan capital is often overlooked by visitors, but Rabat has plenty to offer the curious traveller, including the stunning La Tour Hassan Palace Hotel. Set deep in the city’s heart, this one-time royal palace would be easy to miss if you walked past it on the street. But behind its imposing walls lies a luxurious oasis where Moorish and Andalusian architecture and decor combine to create one of the most beautiful hotels in Morocco, replete with mosaics and marble.

PAL AIS DU DESERT, ERFOUD

Located on the outskirts of Erfoud, a bustling oasis town in the Sahara near the Erg Chebbi Dunes, the Palais du Desert is built in the style of a traditional kasbah using authentic methods and materials. The hotel’s 44 large rooms, which are set within a number of separate pavilions, feature tables, countertops and walls that have been uniquely decorated and inlaid with fossils uncovered in the local area. This unique hotel offers a sanctuary of calm on the edge of the mighty desert.


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LEFT TO RIGHT: Palace Aziza & Spa; Palais du Desert; Riad Palais Amani; Berbere Palace

AT A GLANCE

HANDPICKED MOROCCO 12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

RIAD PAL AIS AMANI, FEZ

Considered one of the best-kept secrets in Fez, the Riad Palais Amani is situated just inside the walls of the old medina, hidden behind large wooden doors. This traditional palace has been converted into an authentic Moroccan riad, whose unique, opulent rooms, refined dining and lush courtyard will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a Moroccan fairytale. The riad also offers famous hands-on culinary workshops where you get to prepare (and savour) tasty, fragrant traditional dishes using ingredients you’ve bought yourself in the nearby souks.

BERBERE PAL ACE, OUARZAZATE

The Berbere Palace is a fitting hotel for the movie capital of Morocco. Set in the centre of Ouarzazate, the hotel has played host to a multitude of Hollywood stars over the years and with exquisite five-star luxury hiding behind the hotel’s high walls, it’s easy to see why. The stunning Egyptian-style entrance leads to a hallway decorated with movie posters from the golden age of cinema, providing just a glimpse of the hotel’s history. The beautiful rooms and suites, coupled with the attentive service, will soon have you feeling like a movie star.

• Modern Casablanca • Fez, the oldest imperial city • Bustling Marrakech INCLUSIONS

Eleven nights accommodation, meals as indicated, sightseeing and transfers as specified, and a multi-lingual guide. FROM AU$4,455* / NZ$4,725* To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Prices are per person twin share. Terms & conditions apply.

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HANDPICKED

NEPAL

A land of soaring mountain peaks and ancient temples and monasteries, of wildlife viewing in national parks and breathtaking scenery, Nepal has always held a mystical allure for travellers

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ince Nepal first opened up to visitors during the 1950s, it has drawn trekkers and explorers to what have gone on to become some of the Himalaya’s most iconic hiking trails. Thanks to its combination of spectacular scenery and extensive walking tracks, the entire length and breadth of the country is a paradise for trekkers, from the demanding climbs of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga to less taxing hikes through the Kathmandu Valley and the famous Annapurna treks. And while Nepal’s natural beauty draws you in, once there, it’s the culture and history that leave a lasting impression. The 2,000year-old Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu and the village of Pokhara are sights not to be missed, while a game drive through Chitwan National Park can bring you up close to endangered wildlife, including tigers and rhinos.

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DAY 1: KATHMANDU

Arriving in Kathmandu is like stepping into another world. Centuries-old Buddhist and Hindu sites sit beside modern hotels and restaurants, and ancient traditions meld with the latest in technology. DAY 2: KATHMANDU

Today is all about discovering the ancient religious history of Nepal and its capital, Kathmandu. One of Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, Bhaktapur, is the living embodiment of medieval Nepal. Head to Bhaktapur Durbar Square and take a heritage walk through its medieval alleys. Walk further south to reach Pottery Square, where you can admire the beautiful handicrafts and see how good you are at spinning a clay pot. Bouddhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. While here, you’ll interact with the stupa’s lama, who will also bless the travellers. Afterwards, head to Pashupatinath Temple, a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River, followed by interaction with a

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sadhu—a Hindu holy man. This evening, you’ll attend an aarti ceremony—the lighting of lamps in devotion and thanksgiving—one of the most important ceremonies of the Hindu faith. And finally, encounter the tallest mountain on Earth during an exhilarating, breathtaking flight to Mount Everest. This flight can be added to your journey on either Day 2 or Day 12, depending on the weather conditions. (B) DAYS 3–4: KATHMANDU – CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK

If you want to satisfy your yearning for nature and wildlife, Chitwan is one of the best wildlife-viewing parks in Asia. Track wild royal Bengal tigers and watch one-horned rhinos bathe in rivers alongside great Asiatic elephants. Discover the park on a range of activities, including jungle treks, birdwatching and canoe rides, and you can also watch elephants bathing. (B) DAY 5: CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK – BANDIPUR

Bandipur is a living museum of Newari culture, a


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beautifully preserved village that crowns a lofty ridge above the main road to Kathmandu. (B) DAY 6: BANDIPUR – POKHARA

A journey through spectacular scenery takes you to the lakeside town of Pokhara. In the old bazaar, visit one of Pokhara’s most important shrines. Locally called the Bindhyabasini Mandir, this white dome-like structure dominates a spacious stone-paved courtyard built atop a shady hillock. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area and on Saturdays and Tuesdays, when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive flavour. (B) DAY 7: POKHARA

Spend time visiting the spectacular Ki Singh Bridge and the nearby Devi Falls before moving on to a Tibetan refugee village to discover the community’s thriving textile and carpet industries. (B) DAY 8: POKHARA – ANNAPURNA HIKE

Pokhara is the starting point for treks into the

stunning Annapurna mountain range. Heading into the hills, hike from Bhurungi Khola to Tikhedhunga, a journey that should take around five hours. (B)(L)(D) DAY 9: ANNAPURNA HIKE

Take in stunning Himalayan views, experience high passes and hike through tiny hamlets from Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani, a hike of around six hours. (B)(L)(D) DAY 10: ANNAPURNA HIKE – POKHARA

Watch the sunrise over the Annapurna Range. After a five-hour hike from Ghorepani to Tadapani, head back to Pokhara and enjoy a well-deserved drink and a meal in a boutique restaurant. (B)(L) DAY 11: POKHARA – KATHMANDU

Fly back to Kathmandu and spend more time discovering this diverse city. (B) DAY 12: KATHMANDU

Your journey to this fascinating and enthralling country ends today. (B)

AT A GLANCE

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE

Tailor-made

HIGHLIGHTS

• Temples of Kathmandu • Views of the Himalaya • Hike the Annapurna massif INCLUSIONS

Eleven nights accommodation, selected meals, sightseeing as specified, services of a private car, driver and local Englishspeaking guides, and a threeday Annapurna trek. FROM AU$2,520* / NZ$2,620* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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24 HOURS IN

MUSCAT SOUKS & SHUWA

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o see Oman’s past and present, immerse yourself in the capital, Muscat. It’s set at the foot of the majestic Hajar Mountains facing the stunning beaches of the Arabian Sea. Minarets and domes from the city’s mosques dominate the skyline, and a historic souk offers a unique style of shopping. Get lost for a day, or longer if you can, in Muscat and one thing’s for sure—you’ll be captivated by this city, with its charm, elegance and idyllic setting. BREAKFAST

You’ll quickly realise that coffee and sweets are what fuel the locals. From the early hours, the scents from bakeries fill the air as they turn out sweet morsels. An all-day breakfast menu, as well as organic coffee and beautiful French pastries, is offered at the Crafty Kitchen at Al Noor Plaza. D’Arcy’s Kitchen in Madinat Sultan Qaboos looks for all the world like a quaint English house transported to the middle of the Middle East, and it has brought the food with it. Great for lunch, it also offers an all-day breakfast, which you can enjoy in a courtyard area that resembles an English country garden. There’s another D’Arcy’s near the Omani Heritage Centre at Shatti Al Qurm, a beachside suburb of central Muscat. Mani’s Café on Jawhrat Al Shati, also in central Muscat, is another popular breakfast joint, offering classics such as French toast with maple syrup alongside more local options such as spicy eggs with mozzarella. MORNING

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of the most impressive buildings on the Arabian Peninsula. Opened in 2001, it has elegantly carved arches that lead to the courtyard, from where you enter the huge prayer hall. The dome above the hall is 50 metres high and its chandelier, made from 600,000 Swarovski crystals and gilded with gold, is a breathtaking feature. On the floor is the world’s second largest hand-loomed carpet; it contains 1.7 billion knots and took 600 Iranian women four years to weave. Equally grand is the Royal Opera

House Muscat. Opened in 2011, its exterior is designed in traditional Omani style, but the concert hall, which holds 1,100 guests, boasts cutting-edge acoustics. It hosts world-class opera, theatre and ballet performances, as well as jazz and world music concerts. Guided tours can be organised outside of performance times. LUNCH

For a traditional yet modern take on an Omani meal, stop for lunch at Ubhar on Al Kharjiyah Street. Named for the ancient city that’s believed to be buried under Oman’s southern region, Ubhar’s cuisine and decor reflect the ancient city’s culture and heritage. Try the Muscat lamb fattah, which is cooked on a bed of flatbread, but be sure to leave room for dessert. AFTERNOON

Wander to the edges of the Mutrah Souk, buy a lime and mint juice—Oman’s quintessential drink—and meander among the alleyways. One of the oldest markets in the Arab world, it’s a treasure trove of handmade jewellery, traditional clothes, spices, antiques, hand-woven Bedouin carpets and craft workshops. If you need some refreshment, seek out one of Muscat’s ice cream vendors, who churn out exotic temptations with flavours such as rosewater, date, kahwa (coffee and cardamom) and karak (sweet, milky spiced tea). One Omani treasure to seek out is Amouage—one of the world’s most valuable perfumes, created from frankincense, myrhh and rosewater—and no stay in Muscat is complete without a visit to its factory and visitor centre, where gold and glass canisters are lined up like glittering treasures from Aladdin’s Cave. As the sun begins to set, make your way to Al Alam Palace in Muscat’s Old Town, the ceremonial home of the ruling monarch, Sultan Qaboos, and one of the more flamboyant examples of contemporary Islamic design. DINNER

Like any big city, the choice of cuisine in Muscat is wide and varied, with influences

from across the globe. If you want to eat traditional Omani food, which resembles East African and Indian styles, try Bait Al Luban, a ten-minute walk from the Mutrah corniche. Its name means “house of frankincense” and as well as serving local dishes such as shuwa (marinated, slowroasted meat), it offers the traditional drink of steeped frankincense water. The evening is when Muscat’s “shawarma rush” kicks off and locals head to their favourite cafe, kitchen or kiosk for one of these savoury wonders. For a few dollars, you can tuck into a wrap or roll filled with meat marinated in a secret mix of spices, yoghurt and garlic paste, topped with fresh salad. The Camillia Café in Ruwi, Hawasna in Madinat Qaboos, Yum Yum in Qurum, and Old Turkish and Istanboly Coffee Shop in Al Khuwair are all popular. For an after-dinner treat—and an experience of true Omani culture—make sure to finish the evening with some Omani coffee and dates. NIGHT

Occupying a prime beachfront location between the Al Hajar Mountains and the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Chedi Muscat was one of the region’s first chic resorts. The 158 Omaniinfluenced guestrooms and villas are set amid an elegantly landscaped 8.5-hectare garden that features the longest pool in the region.

AT A GLANCE

DISCOVER MUSCAT 2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made INCLUSIONS

Overnight accommodation at the Chedi, a Muscat City tour and return airport transfers. FROM AU$980* / NZ$1,035* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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YOSEMITE, TAHOE AND MONTEREY WALK The west coast of the USA isn’t all glitz and glamour, theme parks and Hollywood signs—it’s also giant sequoia trees, shimmering blue lakes, sheer granite cliffs, coastal walks and small-town treasures 170  

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tart this beautiful journey of discovery in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Visit Yosemite National Park’s majestic waterfalls and soaring granite peaks, Lake Tahoe’s sparkling waters, stunning coastal cities and the delicious vineyards of Sonoma. Explore Californian nature at its best: pristine mountain peaks, wild valleys, towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls and giant sequoias. DAY 1: SAN FRANCISCO

Welcome to the world famous “City by the Bay”. San Francisco is a city of which the locals are fiercely proud and with good reason. The eclectic neighbourhoods, sweeping panoramas, cable-car-linked hills and the food… oh, the food… make the city one of the world’s great melting pots.


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DAY 2: MONTEREY

South from San Francisco, along the Pacific Coast, is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named after one of the most respected pioneering women from Big Sur country. The park is home to an abundance of beautiful walking trails. The enormous redwoods that surround you as you discover one of the most iconic viewpoints of Big Sur, McWay Falls, make you feel insignificant. McWay Falls cascades down onto its own beach, which was created in 1983 from a landslide. Continue to Monterey for a coastal walk, keeping your eyes peeled for harbour seals and sea otters. DAY 3: MONTEREY AND YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Monterey and its surrounding area are famed for the local marine life and the city is home to a world-class aquarium that overlooks the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Only a few kilometres off shore sits the largest and deepest underwater canyon off the Pacific Coast of North America. During your time in Monterey, head out on an early-morning whale-viewing cruise. In the afternoon, leave the wild and rugged coast behind and head towards the beautiful wilderness of Yosemite National Park. DAY 4: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage area, embodies the spirit of the USA’s natural parks. Its rugged, towering peaks and magnificent waterfalls have been immortalised by countless photographers. Take in the quintessential vistas of El Capitan, a 915-metre sheer rock face famous with rock climbers the

world over. Another popular spot is Bridalveil Fall, one of Yosemite’s most prominent waterfalls. And then there’s the famous granite Half Dome, a rock formation you’ll have seen before on numerous postcards. Marvel at some of the largest trees on Earth as you walk in the shadows of giant sequoia trees on a guided trek in Tuolumne Grove. DAY 5: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

The Mist Trail is one of the valley’s most outstanding day hikes, offering superb views as you walk across picturesque bridges towards Vernal Falls, where spray from the falls creates striking rainbows along the trail. Continue walking and you reach another beautiful waterfall, Nevada Falls, where it feels as though you’re well and truly in the Californian wilderness. Return via the John Muir Trail, keeping an eye out for black bears and coyotes. DAY 6: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK AND LAKE TAHOE

Hike the superb Tuolumne Meadows Trail, a sub-alpine meadow section along the river of the same name. From Yosemite National Park, head to the sparkling shores of Lake Tahoe, the second-deepest lake in the USA. Explore local hiking trails that take you off the beaten path to some awesome panoramic views.

DAY 8: LAKE TAHOE AND SONOMA

Healdsburg in Sonoma County sits at the juncture of three prime winegrowing regions—the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley— making it one of California’s premier wine-and-food regions. Visit a vineyard and indulge in some wine tasting to whet your appetite in the Californian sunshine. DAY 9: LAKE TAHOE AND SAN FRANCISCO

From Lake Tahoe, head back to everyone’s favourite city, San Francisco.

AT A GLANCE

9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS

★★★

DEPARTS 09 Jun, 18 Jul, 15 Aug, 03 Sep ‘17 TRAVEL STYLE Small-group trip HIGHLIGHTS

• Whale-watching cruise • Giant sequoias and granite peaks • Scenic walks and hikes INCLUSIONS Eight nights hotel accommodation, services of two Grand American Adventures tour leaders, transportation and some sightseeing. FROM AU$3,379* / NZ$3,779*

*Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

DAY 7: LAKE TAHOE

Beautiful skies, clean air and the cobaltblue lake will awaken your senses, especially on the Emerald Bay State Park Trail. In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated a national natural landmark for its panorama of mountains and glacier-carved granite.

SEE OVER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO

WIN A TRIP TO YOSEMITE


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WIN

AN EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE IN

YOSEMITE

THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING Adventure World and Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

So what does an extraordinary adventure in Yosemite look like to

are giving you the chance to win a nine day adventure holiday so

you? Whether it’s exploring the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite

you can experience the extraordinary in Yosemite.

National Park, witnessing soaring granite icons such as El Capitan

Valued at over $10,000, the prize for two includes return economy

and Yosemite Falls, getting up close to wildlife, tasting local

flights to San Francisco and a nine day small group journey

flavours or visiting vineyards – a Yosemite adventure has it all.

consisting of 8 nights accommodation, all transportation and services of two Grand American Adventures tour leaders. TO FIND OUT MORE AND TO GO INTO THE DRAW TO WIN AN EXTRAORDINARY TRIP IN YOSEMITE, VISIT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM/WIN

*TERMS AND CONDITIONS This is a game of skill and no luck plays a part. The competition is open to entrants 18 or over from Australia. Entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on 31 January 2017. Winners will be notified by 15 February 2017 and must be available to travel in July or September 2017. Please visit www.adventureworld.com/win for full terms and conditions.

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HELI-HIKING IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES WHEN YOUR BACKYARD IS THE GLORIOUS CANADIAN ROCKIES, YOU WANT TO GET OUT AND ABOUT TO SEE THE SHIMMERING LAKES AND MARVEL AT THE SOARING PEAKS. THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO DO THIS: A HELI-HIKING TRIP WITH CMH SUMMER ADVENTURES

LYLE GRISEDALE/CMH SUMMER

CMH operates two lodges only two hours’ drive from the Canadian mountain town of Banff. Open during the summer months, so you can experience the Canadian Rockies in all their sun-kissed splendour, CMH Bugaboos and CMH Bobbie Burns offer packages of three or six nights duration for a range of travellers and adventurers; guests without any wilderness or mountaineering experience can rub shoulders with those who live and breathe adventure travel. CMH’s guests can experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies in a way that isn’t available to other travellers to the area—via helicopter. They can visit locations rarely seen by others, head to wilderness areas where they may be the only people and explore the pristine mountains in the remote backcountry. Experiences include everything from meadow walks and hiking below granite spires to glacier trekking and exploring via ferratas—each a series of metal rungs and safety systems that enable easy and secure climbing along mountain routes for hikers. CMH is also tapping into the current popularity of

multi-generational travel, with trips that cater to all ages and abilities. Guests have the freedom and flexibility to head out each day and choose a hiking or backcountry adventure that suits their physical ability and skills, and then return to the lodge in the evening for an indulgent dinner and to share stories from their day. Bugaboo Lodge, a remote luxury lodge accessible only by helicopter, sits in one of the most picturesque and exclusive mountain ranges in British Columbia. Nestled deep within a forest, the lodge has the granite peaks of the Bugaboo spires at its front door. The Bugaboos are also the birthplace of heli-skiing, the lodge’s founder having invented the sport in 1965. Bobbie Burns Lodge sits deep within the Purcell mountain range, offering traditional heli-hiking along with a plethora of bucket-list-worthy high-flying adventures. You can scale the longest via ferrata in North America or hike alongside the Conrad Glacier or, if you want to slow the pace down, you can take a peaceful walk through beautiful wildflower-filled meadows.

HELI-HIKING IN THE COLUMBIA MOUNTAINS 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS From AU$4,069* / NZ$4,235* pp twin share To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply.


STORIES TO TELL YOUR ENTIRE LIFE GALÁPAGOS WITH LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS-NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

See Galápagos as Darwin did — aboard an expedition ship – with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, equipped with exploration tools and expert staff to give you the most engaging experience possible. Hike, kayak, and Zodiac cruise to and around intriguing islands and see wildlife like nowhere else on earth. Snorkel, or explore the undersea with daily video shot by our undersea specialist. In the 40+ years we’ve been exploring here, we’ve introduced generations of guests to the magic and mystery of Galápagos. Call now for a brochure and select the experience of your lifetime.


auinfo@expeditions.com Contact your travel agent or visit www.expeditions.com 9 night voyages departing twice weekly aboard National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander

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SOUTHERN L ANDSCAPES

Chile’s Lake District is famous for its spectacular scenery of deep-blue mountain lakes hidden among soaring mountains, snow-capped volcanoes and ancient forests. This area of southern Chile represents nature at its purest

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hanks to its spectacular collection of glittering lakes and towering volcanoes, this area of Chile is considered to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. And to add to its allure, its local Mapuche culture represents a fundamental part of Chile’s heartland. Experience indigenous traditions, wander through ancient native forests or simply relax and recharge your batteries in this breathtaking landscape.

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DAY 1: PUERTO MONTT – PUERTO VARAS

Arrive in Puerto Montt and transfer to Puerto Varas, which is located on the shores of Lago Llanquihue, the second-largest lake in Chile. The “City of Roses”, as Puerto Varas is known, was settled by German immigrants during the 1800s, and today it’s famous for its traditional German architecture and cultural heritage. DAY 2: PUERTO VARAS

Visit Frutillar, the “City of Music” and one of the most stunning villages on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. This beautiful village recalls old Bavaria. Walk around its gorgeous old houses and visit the Salzburg brewery, where you’ll be given a fascinating introduction to the process of beer-making. (B) DAY 3: PUERTO VARAS

Today you’ll embark on a journey to the village of Peulla. Board your catamaran to sail across Lago Todos los Santos for lunch in Peulla, before returning to Puerto Varas. (B)(D) DAY 4: PUERTO VARAS – PUERTO MONTT

Transfer to Puerto Montt Airport, where your journey through Chile’s Lake District ends. (B)

AT A GLANCE

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

★★★★

DEPARTS Mondays – Thursdays TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Snow-capped volcanoes • Blue mountain lakes • Picturesque German settlements INCLUSIONS

Three nights accommodation in Puerto Varas, selected meals, excursions with local English-speaking guides and return transfers from Puerto Montt Airport. FROM AU$622* / NZ$650* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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IMAGINE A NEW WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD

ON SALE NOW An exclusive collection of unique travel experiences. Discover a world of possibility through hands-on exploration, insider access to projects supported by National Geographic, and the freedom to roam, all within the structure and security of travelling in a small group. To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com


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THE PIONEER SAFARI The word “safari” is Swahili for “journey” and nowhere is this more apt than the journey of discovery upon which you’ll embark in Kenya’s unique wilderness areas. Follow in the footsteps of pioneers from the grand age of safari in some of Kenya’s oldest safari destinations: the Masai Mara and Lewa Conservancy 18 0  

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ombining a stay at two of the country’s most impressive wilderness areas—the Masai Mara and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy—the Pioneer Safari takes you to some of Kenya’s best wildlife-viewing destinations, where you’ll stay in award-winning lodges. The Masai Mara is renowned for the unparalleled magnitude of its wildlife populations and the accompanying viewing opportunities. From July to October, it hosts the annual wildebeest migration, the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle. With this comes some of the best opportunities in all of Africa to view lions, hyenas and other large predators. While perhaps less well known, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya is also an area of significant natural beauty and abundant animal populations. A UNESCO World Heritage area, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is paving the way forward in developing sustainable, community-based conservation tourism.


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DAY 1: NAIROBI – LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY

Depart early from Nairobi Airport or your city hotel to Wilson Airport for your scheduled flight to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a guide from the lodge and then enjoy a game drive en route to your accommodation, Lewa Wilderness Lodge. Following lunch, you’ll embark on an afternoon game drive. Lewa has one of the highest densities of wildlife in Kenya, including 11 percent and 14 percent of the country’s black and white rhinos respectively, as well as the world’s single largest population of Grévy’s zebra, the largest and most threatened of the world’s zebra species. The conservancy is also an excellent place to spot herds of elephants and buffalo, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, more than 400 species of bird and, if you’re lucky, a pack of wild dogs. Lewa Wilderness Lodge sleeps 22 people in nine beautifully decorated cottages featuring fireplaces and verandas. Situated in the wildlife-rich eastern corner of the conservancy, it’s the home of the Craig family, where guests have been entertained in luxury for the past 30 years. (L)(D)

the sun sets. Your stay in the Masai Mara will be at the magical Governors’ Camp. Governors’ Camp is one of the most famous camps in the Masai Mara. So much so that almost a century ago it was exclusively reserved for Kenya’s colonial governors. Governors’ Camp is situated in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve, nestled in the forest along the winding banks of the Mara River, whose waters teem with bird life, hippos and crocodiles. (B)(L)(D) DAY 5: MASAI MARA

Rising at dawn with tea and coffee, depart for an early-morning game drive before breakfast, catching the wildlife before the heat of the day sets in. Enjoy the rest of the morning at leisure, followed by an afternoon game drive, returning to the camp as the sun sets. (B)(L)(D) DAY 6: MASAI MARA

Today you’ll enjoy more morning and afternoon game drives, before you get your last chance to enjoy the beautiful African sunset over the majestic Masai Mara. (B)(L)(D) DAY 7: MASAI MARA – NAIROBI

DAYS 2–3: LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY

During your stay at Lewa Wilderness Lodge, you’ll enjoy a range of activities, including day and night game drives, guided walks, horse riding, camel walks, prehistoric-site visits, community crafts, visits to selected villages and schools, and a visit to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Headquarters. You’ll spend your free time relaxing while soaking up views of distant Mount Kenya (not to mention any passing wildlife). (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY – MASAI MARA

Following breakfast, there’ll be a game drive en route to the airstrip for the flight to the Masai Mara. Before you even land, the expansive grasslands and endless horizons of the Masai Mara reveal themselves. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and transferred to the camp. Following lunch, there’ll be an afternoon game drive, returning to camp as

Following an early-morning game drive and breakfast, you’ll be transferred to an airstrip for the scheduled flight to Nairobi. (B)

AT A GLANCE

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Varied game-viewing activities • Search for the rare Grévy’s zebra • Support tourism conservation projects INCLUSIONS Six nights accommodation, selected meals, daily game activities, park fees and flights as per itinerary. FROM AU$7,195* / NZ$7,565* *Prices are per person twin share based on lowseason travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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Why just take in America’s scenery…

when you can be a part of it? Come with us on a small group tour to the Americas and you won’t just see the sights, you’ll experience the real destination. See the wildlife in its natural surroundings. Meet local people. Taste the authentic cuisine. Discover the Americas like never before, travelling in real time. C

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M A I N E YUKON TERRITORY

WASHINGTON

Western Dream

Deep South and Delta Blues

N O RT H D A K O TA

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13 day tour from AU$3,189 / NZ$2,944 O R E G O N

IDAHO

Explore the very best national parks in the USA. Delve into the intriguing W Y O M I N G Narrows of Zion and Antelope Slot W A S H I N G T OMonument N Canyon, discover Valley with a Navajo guide and peer deep into U T A H M O N T A N A VADA C O L O R A D O theN EGrand Canyon for a true taste of O R E G O N America’s great outdoors. IDAHO

NEW YORK

AA journey PrepareRHODE forISLAND the awe-inspiring beauty N A through D A America’s cultural MICHIGAN CONNECTICUT and musical heritage; from the beginning of the mountains, lakes and glaciers of NEW JERSEY of country music to the birth of the P E N N S Y L V A N I A the spectacular Canadian Rockies. M A I N E blues, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. Learn how Admire the pristine Icefields Parkway, N E B R A S K A I O W A O H I O DELAWARE INDIANA VERMONT M I N N E S O Tmusical A N O R T these H unique genres sprang walk or raft in Yoho, bike in Jasper WEST I L L I N O I S MARYLAND D A K O TA VIRGINIA NEW out of America’s past and how they still and canoe in Wells Gray on this true HAMPSHIRE MASSACHUSETTS VIRGINIA WISCONSIN today. Canadian adventure. S O U Tinfluence H C

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Wells Gray PP Whistler Vancouver

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Atlanta VIRGINIA Birmingham

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Nashville NEVADA A R Yosemite NP

11 day tour from AU$3,179 / NZ$3,006 MASSACHUSETTS

WISCONSIN

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P R O M O T I O N

TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE TRAVEL

Burren and Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Rotorua, New Zealand

Sierra Gorda, Mexico

Congratulations to the 2016 National Geographic World Legacy Award Winners and Finalists These visionary leaders are demonstrating sustainable tourism in action around the world. The awards ceremony was held at the ITB Berlin Convention in March 2016. Learn more at worldlegacyawards.com. CONSERVING THE NATURAL WORLD

EARTH CHANGERS Winner: Mission Hills, China

Winner: Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, Mexico

The company’s three resorts demonstrate that innovative green practices involving energy use, water conservation, carbon emissions, and environmental education can be successfully adopted at the large resort level.

This grassroots nonprofit has worked steadfastly to build a “conservation economy” in rural central Mexico. Finalists: Arkaba by Wild Bush Luxury, Australia and Elephant Hills Company Ltd., Thailand

Finalists: Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, Portugal and Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve, Guatemala

DESTINATION LEADERSHIP

SENSE OF PLACE

ENGAGING COMMUNITIES

Winner: TIME Unlimited Tours, New Zealand

Winner: The Bushcamp Company, Zambia

This creative Auckland-based ecotourism operator focuses on bringing authentic Maori culture to the forefront of their guest experience. Finalists: CGH Experience Hotels, India and Tierra Patagonia, Chile

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

WORLD LEGACY A

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Recognizing that protecting the natural environment means involving the local population, Bushcamp works closely with communities to improve rural livelihoods. Finalists: Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, U.S. and Grootbos Green Futures Foundation, South Africa

DESTINATION PARTNER

Winner: Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Ireland This innovative destination-wide partnership between the private sector, local villagers, and government municipalities works to safeguard one of Ireland’s most beautiful natural and cultural landscapes. Finalists: Destination Røros, Norway and Travel Oregon, U.S.

PRESENTING SPONSOR

FOUNDING SPONSOR


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10 THINGS TO DO IN THE YUKON

1

Wander the dusty streets of Dawson City and soak up the authentic atmosphere of the heady Klondike Gold Rush days, when an estimated 100,000 hopeful prospectors came to the Yukon in the hope of striking it rich during the late 1890s.

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Watch the magical multicoloured Aurora Borealis shimmer across the skies and stay warm beside a wood-fired barrel stove in a prospector-style tent, once used by gold seekers and trappers.

3

Enjoy the small-town charm of Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital, and meet some of the larger-than-life characters who make northern Canada their home. Set on the banks of the rushing Yukon River, Whitehorse is the perfect base for all manner of outdoor pursuits.

4

Spend the day hiking on one of Yukon’s iconic trails, such as the Grizzly, Chilkoot or Cottonwood. And make sure to keep your camera ready to capture thinhorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, moose and caribou along the way.

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Yukon has numerous scenic drives with some of the world’s most jawdropping views. Take a drive on the iconic Alaska Highway, which is now paved over its entire 2,232-kilometre length, or “drive the Dempster” to cross the Arctic Circle by road.


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YUKON TERRITORY IS A DIVERSE AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE YEAR-ROUND NATURAL AND CULTURAL TREASURE. WITH 5,000 KILOMETRES OF WELLMAINTAINED SCENIC HIGHWAYS, AND THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH HISTORY, CHRONICLING THE GREATEST-EVER HUMAN MIGRATION, YUKON OFFERS UP FASCINATING CULTURE AND ABUNDANT WILDERNESS IN EQUAL MEASURE. IT’S TIME TO ADD THESE TEN MUSTDO EXPERIENCES TO YOUR YUKON BUCKET LIST.

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Go on a flightseeing excursion for a stunning bird’s-eye view of this northern wonderland, with its mountains, tundra, glaciers, lakes, rivers and astonishing wildlife. You can fly over the world’s largest non-polar icefields in World Heritagelisted Kluane National Park.

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Strap on a pair of snowshoes and take a stroll across a frozen lake. Learn to fish through a hole in the ice—you’ll be catching lake trout or grayling in no time.

8

Paddle the Yukon River (Canada’s secondlongest) under a summer sun that never sets. The wild beauty of the surrounding national parks and endless wilderness are guaranteed to take your breath away.

DISCOVER THE YUKON 15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS FROM

AU$3,829* / NZ$4,019* PP TWIN SHARE. *TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY.

To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com

9

Celebrate summer festivals like a local. The Yukon International Storytelling Festival, Yukon River Quest, Dawson City Music Festival and First Nation’s Adaka Festival all celebrate Yukon’s diverse heritage and the summer solstice season.

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Harness your own team of dogs, hitch them to a sled and glide amid the quiet, the only sound the panting of your well-trained team. You’re off!

TR AVELYUKON.COM


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BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE

The wilderness of Canada’s Northwest Territories plays host to the most spectacular natural phenomenon on Earth: the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights

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n these modern, fast-paced times, do you sometimes feel like you need to step off the grid for a bit, to find a place where it feels as though you’re the only person in the world? Canada’s Northwest Territories, or Blachford Lake Lodge to be precise, is just such a place. Located close to Yellowknife, the region’s vast expanses, along with the alluring dance of the Aurora Borealis, will make you feel as though you’re in one of the world’s last great wildernesses.

FRANK BERGDOLL

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On arrival at Blachford Lake, check into the lodge and soak up the spectacular views of the lake. During your stay, you’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals, receive an introduction to and hints on Aurora photography, and make use of the dining room, Aurora lounge, fireplaces, northern library, hot tub, sauna and Aurora-viewing decks. Each night after dinner it’s time to find a cosy spot to sit back, relax and keep watch for the stunning Aurora Borealis. The lodge offers several options for Aurora viewing, including the special Aurora decks; the frozen lake, which offers a spectacular 360° panorama; a traditional tipi; around a campfire; or even from the comfort of your bed or the outdoor hot tub. DAYS 2–4: BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE

DAY 1: YELLOWKNIFE – BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE

Arrive in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, where your Aurora adventure begins. Widely regarded as the “Aurora Capital of the World”, the Northwest Territories is one of the best places in the world to view the magnificent Aurora Borealis. Make your way to the ski-plane base in Yellowknife for a briefing before you embark on your thrilling 30-minute flight to Blachford Lake Lodge. Accessible in winter only by ski plane, the lodge’s rugged wilderness location makes it an ideal place to view the Northern Lights.

Spend your days exploring your rugged wilderness surroundings, experiencing iconic Canadian winter activities or simply relaxing at the lodge. There are plenty of winter activities on offer. Take the opportunity to use the seasonal equipment that the lodge provides to explore the beautiful winter wonderland. Put on some skates and enjoy a true Canadian winter experience, skating on the lake rink. Set out on cross-country skis or snowshoes and follow the marked nature trails, watching for tracks left by foxes, ravens, lynx and more. Or perhaps choose to participate in the two-hour guided interpretive experience that the lodge offers each day. These guided experiences include sustainable initiatives at Blachford Lake Lodge, Aurora photography tips, ice-fishing, snow sculpting, quinzee/igloo building, tire sur la neige (maple sugar on snow) and an introduction to cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. After dinner each night, settle in for another evening of Aurora viewing from one of the many different vantage points around the lodge. Located under the auroral oval, Blachford Lake Lodge is a great spot to seek out the amazing Aurora Borealis.

DAY 5: BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE

Today is your last full day at the lodge, so make sure to make the most of the available facilities and activities. Blachford Lake Lodge also offers a number of optional add-on seasonal activities that you may wish to experience. These include dog mushing, guided snowmobile tours, where you can enjoy the thrill of gliding over frozen lakes and through snow-covered landscapes, or an introduction to traditional Dene net-fishing techniques. This evening, if the weather obliges, you’ll have your final chance to marvel at the Northern Lights. Choose one of the viewing decks, the hot tub with the million-dollar view, or the huge Aurorawatching windows in the main lodge. DAY 6: BLACHFORD LAKE LODGE – YELLOWKNIFE

Enjoy your final morning at Blachford Lake Lodge before your ski-plane flight back to Yellowknife, where your Aurora experience ends.

AT A GLANCE

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS

★★★

DEPARTS Sundays and Fridays, 23 Dec ‘16 – 02 Apr ‘17 TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Rugged, wilderness location of Blachford Lake Lodge • Spectacular Aurora Borealis viewing • Winter activities, including snowshoeing, ice-fishing and cross-country skiing INCLUSIONS Five nights accommodation, all meals at the lodge, return charter flights from Yellowknife, use of nature trails, snowshoes, cross-country skis, skates and ice-fishing equipment, and a two-hour guided interpretive experience each day. FROM AU$5,845* / NZ$6,129* *Prices are per person twin share based on low season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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HIKE THROUGH THE CIT Y OF ANGELS One of the reasons locals love Los Angeles so much is that they’re always outdoors. Whether it’s the beach, mountains or desert, LA’s inhabitants are always out and about, and more and more visitors are heading out under the sunny blue skies as well. Hiking is a great way to see the best of LA, whether it’s the Santa Monica Mountains, Baldwin Hills, Hollywood Hills or the mighty San Gabriel Mountains. Here are some of our favourite hikes… RUNYON CANYON

By no means a wilderness experience, nor an area for those in search of some solitude, the Runyon Canyon loop is a great hike for people-watching and provides beginner hikers with the opportunity to check out the Hollywood Hills, see million-dollar mansions and take in priceless views of the iconic Hollywood sign and Sunset Strip.

FRANKLIN CANYON PARK

Located near Benedict Canyon at the geographical centre of Los Angeles, the Discovery Trail in Franklin Canyon Park offers an easy stroll around the reservoir with plenty of opportunities for viewing birds and other wildlife. It’s also the starting point for some more taxing trails, including Hastain Trail, which offers views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

WILL ROGERS STATE PARK

Just off Sunset Boulevard, start your hike along the Rustic Canyon loop just behind the main ranch house. Along the way you’re sure to get distracted by the detour to Inspiration Point but trust us, it’s well worth it. This side route offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, LA and the Santa Monica Mountains. After the hike, spend some time strolling around the park.

TO BOOK YOUR NEXT TRIP TO LA, CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR VISIT ADVENTUREWORLD.COM


EXPLORE CANADA WITH

VIA RAIL

SNOW TRAIN TO THE ROCKIES

MOUNTAINS TO SEA RAIL PASSAGE

RAIL TO THE MARITIMES

7 DAY PACKAGE

11 DAY PACKAGE

14 DAY PACKAGE

Your trip begins with a spectacular rail journey

Combine Banff and Jasper National Parks and

This rail journey is designed to capture the

through the snow covered Canadian Rocky

a spectacular ride along the Icefields Parkway

highlights of Eastern Canada. From Toronto,

Mountains from Vancouver to Jasper on VIA

with a memorable rail journey past Mount

through the heart of French Canada to the

Rail’s ‘Canadian’ train. Explore mountain resort

Robson and across northern British Columbia

quaint villages of the Maritime region, this trip

towns, enjoy unique winter activities or just

towards the Pacific Ocean. Sail through the Inside

is a fantastic combination of stunning natural

relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Passage before ending your trip in Vancouver.

beauty, history and culture unique to the region.

INCLUSIONS

INCLUSIONS

INCLUSIONS

5 nights hotel accommodation, 1 night

10 nights accommodation, VIA Rail Skeena train,

12 nights hotel accommodation, 1 night on

on board VIA Rail, selected meals, coach

Inside Passage ferry, Banff to Jasper full day

board VIA Rail, selected meals, sightseeing,

transfers, Maligne Canyon ice walk, Lake

tour including Ice Explorer, whale watching tour

business class rail Toronto to Montreal and

Louise sleigh ride and National Park fees.

(seasonal) and transfers.

economy class rail Moncton to Halifax.

FROM AU$1460*

/ NZ$1435*

PP TWIN SHARE

Travel Tue & Fri; 29 Nov 16 – 21 Apr 17

FROM AU$2431*

/ NZ$2452* PP TWIN SHARE

FROM AU$3860*

Travel; 7 May – 24 Sep 17

/ NZ$3894* PP TWIN SHARE

Travel Fri; 30 Jun – 01 Sep 17

TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT OR VISIT

adventureworld.com

*TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Prices are per person (pp) twin share based on lead in season. All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of printing, but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. Valid for sale until sold out. Airfares not included unless specified. Offers are subject to availability and can change without notification due to fluctuations in charges and currency. Credit card surcharges apply. For full terms and conditions please view adventureworld.com/terms-and-conditions AW4113


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BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE AND WELLNESS RETREAT Sometimes that African safari you’ve spent years dreaming about takes an unexpected turn. Sure, you’ve spent time on game drives, searching for zebras and that elusive leopard, and you’ve relaxed with a drink under the starry African sky, but it’s the strong connection to a land that you’ve never visited before that provides the biggest surprise 19 0  

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DAY 1: CAPE TOWN – BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE AND WELLNESS RETREAT

A private vehicle will take you from Cape Town to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat. The two-and-a-half-hour scenic drive north from Cape Town through sweeping wheat fields and aromatic citrus groves makes for a gorgeous introduction to the region. On arrival, you’ll check in to your luxury room overlooking the lodge’s beautifully landscaped gardens and meet with your guide to discuss what you would like to do this evening. (D) DAYS 2–3: BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE AND WELLNESS RETREAT

At Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat there are a multitude of simple pleasures and extraordinary experiences available for you to enjoy, or you may choose to do nothing at all. Allow your stay to unfold the way you want it to. You can choose to do as much or as little as you like. You may choose to reconnect with yourself and nature: walk, hike, run, ride with wildlife or enrich your mind and follow in the footsteps of the San people. You can enjoy a natural journey to wellness—renew your health and let nature heal you with restorative treatments at the riverside spa gazebo or find your inner peace and meditate in serene surroundings. It’s up to you to decide where your mood takes you—the dedicated team at Bushmans Kloof will do the rest. (B)(L)(D) DAY 4: BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE AND WELLNESS RETREAT – CAPE TOWN

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estled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains north of Cape Town lies an ecological oasis within a roughly hewn and magical land that offers a distinctive wilderness experience among open plains and ancient sandstone formations. Bushmans Kloof is a multi-award-winning lodge and member of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. However, the real star here is the ancient rock art of the San people—better known as the Bushmen. Home to more than 130 rock art sites that contain a total of around 2,500 ancient works of art, some dating back as far as 10,000 years ago, Bushmans Kloof provides exclusive access to these remarkable open-air galleries.

After a scrumptious breakfast you’ll be driven back to Cape Town in a private vehicle. (B)

AT A GLANCE

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• A South African natural heritage site boasting an abundance of indigenous flora and fauna

• An array of more than 130 ancient Bushman rock-art sites INCLUSIONS

Three nights accommodation in a luxury room, all meals, tea and coffee, scheduled activities and return road transfers from Cape Town. FROM AU$1,120* / NZ$1,170*

*Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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COLONIAL

ME XICO Mexico’s famous and fabled colonial era stretched for 300 years, from the Spanish conquests through to the war of independence. The heart of the country is now home to numerous colonial cities that live and breathe this pivotal period in Mexico’s history

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ravel to the colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende. Once the richest city in Mexico, Guanajuato is now a World Heritage site with quaint plazas, colonial buildings, winding cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways. San Miguel de Allende was once an important stopover on the silver route between Zacatecas and Mexico City, and is considered to be one of the prettiest towns in Mexico. DAY 1: LEON – GUANA JUATO

On arrival at Leon Airport you’ll be met and transferred by road to Guanajuato. Guanajuato was founded in 1559 due in large part to the gold and silver deposits found in the area. Situated in a picturesque valley, this charming colonial-era city and UNESCO World Heritage site has a distinctly European flavour, with cobblestone alleyways and shady plazas dotted with cafés, museums, theatres and historical monuments. Your home for the next three nights is in an elegant 19th-century boutique hotel that overlooks the mountains of Guanajuato. DAYS 2–3: GUANA JUATO

Spend some time exploring the city on a half-day walking tour, visiting the main historical sights of the city centre. Spend the rest of your time in Guanajuato discovering some if this quaint city’s hidden gems for yourself. (B) DAY 4: GUANA JUATO – SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

This morning you’ll be collected from your hotel and driven to San Miguel de Allende, another World Heritage site. Home for the next three nights will be the Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, a charming luxury hotel in the centre of the city that occupies

a cluster of historic buildings that date back to the 18th century. (B) DAYS 5–6: SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

A city that manages to be both cosmopolitan and quaint at the same time, San Miguel de Allende has an air of tranquillity, despite the fact that there’s always something on, from handicraft markets to art stalls. The town is one of Mexico’s cultural and artistic capitals, and the diversity of art and craft, and buildings and architecture, make it worthy of its inclusion in UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The best way to see the town is on foot, so during your stay you’ll spend a morning walking around the main sites of this small colonial treasure. (B) DAY 7: SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE – LEON

Transfer to Leon Airport to end your colonial journey. (B)

AT A GLANCE

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

★★★★★

DEPARTS Daily TRAVEL STYLE Tailor-made HIGHLIGHTS

• Colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende • Stay in colonial-style boutique properties • Quaint plazas and colonial buildings INCLUSIONS

Six nights accommodation, breakfast daily, private half-day city tours with local English-speaking guides and private vehicle transportation. FROM AU$1,889* / NZ$1,975* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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SOUTH AFRICA’S BLUE TRAIN 27 hours of old-world luxury

“GOOD MORNING MY NAME IS SBONGISENI and I will be your butler on this journey to Cape Town,” isn’t what you expect to hear as you embark on an overnight rail journey, but the Blue Train is no ordinary train ride. If you want to travel across South Africa in style, look no further than the Blue Train. The 27-hour, all-inclusive rail experience boasts five-star accommodation, fine cuisine, a personalised butler service and breathtaking views of South Africa’s countryside. It’s no surprise that it’s considered to be one of the world’s great luxury train rides. My journey begins at Pretoria Train Station’s exclusive pre-departure lounge for Blue Train guests. Sbongiseni escorts my husband and me to our elegant suite, where we find a bottle of South African sparkling wine in a silver ice bucket and fresh flowers in front of a huge full-width window. The route ahead covers the 1,600 kilometres between Pretoria and Cape Town, with one stop in each direction: the historic diamond-mining town of Kimberley on our southbound trip, or the fashionable old town of Matjiesfontein on the journey back to Pretoria.

As the train rolls along at 90 km/h, we explore our opulent surroundings. There’s a formal dining carriage where a black tie dinner service will be held later that evening, a club car devoted to cognac and Cuban cigars, a lounge car that serves high tea and fresh canapés, an on-board jewellery shop and a dedicated team ready to serve our every need. Dining on the Blue Train is a highlight; the chefs regularly update their menus as they prepare signature dishes using the freshest local ingredients. We chose from pepper-crusted springbok, seared duck breast, Knysna oysters and other delicacies, all artfully presented and matched with awardwinning South African wines. Dinner is an elegant affair and having spent five days in Kruger National Park, my husband removes a creased shirt and dinner jacket from his luggage, which Sbongiseni whisks away and returns looking brand new. That night, we sleep soundly thanks to the carriage’s steady, rhythmic motion and in the morning, we’re treated to dramatic views as we approach Cape Town. We prepare for breakfast and can’t help but feel sad that our journey is ending.  

AT A GLANCE

BLUE TRAIN 2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT

★★★★★

DEPARTS Selected Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays TRAVEL STYLE

Rail journey

HIGHLIGHTS

• Panoramic windows • Sublime fine dining • Personal butlers INCLUSIONS

One night accommodation in a deluxe suite, all meals and beverages on board (excluding French Champagne and caviar) and scheduled excursions. FROM AU$1,445* / NZ$1,509* *Prices are per person twin share based on lowseason travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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A Canadian Rockies Rail Journey Like No Other A journey onboard Rocky Mountaineer is much more than just a train ride through the Canadian Rockies. It’s the key to unlocking a hidden world of shifting landscapes and unparalleled beauty. Indulge all of your senses as you wind through awe-inspiring scenery, complemented by gourmet cuisine, vibrant storytelling, and impeccable service. Journey to a place that’s truly above and beyond the extraordinary. Ask about upgrading to Rocky Mountaineer’s luxurious GoldLeaf Service.

12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS

GOLDEN CIRCLE VIA WHISTLER

$6,403*AU $6,543NZ per guest, SilverLeaf Service twin share

Vancouver-Whistler-QuesnelJasper-Lake Louise-Banff-Kamloops-Vancouver 5 days onboard Rocky Mountaineer 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches 11 nights hotel accommodation Vancouver Lookout Jasper Highlights Tour

8 DAYS /7 NIGHTS

COASTAL PASSAGE CANADIAN ROCKIES HIGHLIGHTS

$4,708*AU $4,810NZ per guest, SilverLeaf Service twin share

Seattle-Vancouver-Kamloops-Lake Louise-Banff-Calgary

Icefields Parkway Tour, including Ice Explorer Yoho National Park Tour Rail station transfers and luggage handling National Parks Pass

3 days onboard Rocky Mountaineer 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner 7 nights hotel accommodation Vancouver Lookout 4 Vancouver activity options Yoho National Park Tour

Banff Gondola Helicopter Flightseeing Calgary Tower Rail station transfers and luggage handing National Parks Pass

To book, or for our latest offers, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com Terms & Conditions: *All prices are quoted in AUD and NZD, per person (pp) twin share and valid for travel during the 2017 Rocky Mountaineer summer season between April and October on selected dates (Golden Circle via Whistler from priced based on 06 Oct 17 departure and Coastal Passage Canadian Rockies Highlights from price based on 19 May 17 departure). All care is taken to promote correct pricing at time of printing, but is dependent upon availability and will be confirmed at time of reservation. Valid for sale until sold out. Airfares not included unless specified. Offers are subject to availability and can change without notification due to fluctuations in charges and currency. Credit card surcharges apply. For full terms and conditions please view adventureworld.com/terms-and-conditions.


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ALASKAN HIGHLIGHTS Alaska is a land of superlatives, a place of unimaginable scale. Often referred to as the “Last Frontier”, it’s the realm of grizzly bears and bald eagles, of seas of icebergs and soaring peaks

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n adventurer’s dream, with its sweeping scenic views, vast unspoilt landscapes, massive glaciers and spectacular wildlife, Alaska offers an unparalleled experience. Go where nature is still untamed—hike to Exit Glacier in Seward, enjoy a wildlife cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, spot the mighty grizzly bear in Denali National Park and experience the back-country beauty of Wrangell-St Elias National Park. From lush rainforests and abundant wildlife to snow-capped peaks and majestic glaciers, Alaska guarantees a true wilderness adventure! 19 6  

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DAY 1: ANCHORAGE

It wasn’t that long ago that Anchorage was the last outpost before the “Last Frontier”, but fuelled by an oil boom and increasing tourism, the city is now a bustling metropolis. Where else in the world could you possibly meet a moose, walk on a glacier and explore a vast natural park, all in one day?

glacial river into a dramatic, steep valley and then all the way to the base of Byron Glacier. Once you reach Seward, hop on a wildlife cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park, where, with a little luck, you’ll spot whales, porpoises and sea otters. There are also some premier birdwatching opportunities and the chance to witness the spectacle of a calving tidewater glacier.

DAY 2: SEWARD

Heading down to the Kenai Peninsula, visit Portage Glacier, an almost tenkilometre river of ice, followed by the chance to walk the Byron Glacier Trail. This short trail takes you along a rushing

DAY 3: KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK AND SEWARD

In Kenai Fjords National Park, which has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and ocean storms, you’ll enjoy spectacular


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views of the rugged coastline and the Kenai Mountains. Seward is the base for the Exit Glacier hike, where you can experience dense blue ice and listen to it crackle in the Harding Icefield. Although it isn’t an easy hike, it’s well worth it. This trail is popular for spotting wildlife and delivers breathtaking views of Exit Glacier along the way. DAYS 4–5: VALDEZ

Take in the rugged coastline and snow-capped Chugach Mountains as you pass striking icebergs and a myriad of forested islands. Tucked away at the end of a glaciercarved fjord, the city of Valdez is known as the “Switzerland of Alaska” due to the ring of snow-capped mountains that surrounds it. It’s also the most northerly ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere and the terminus of the Alaskan Pipeline, which stretches almost 1,300 kilometres to Prudhoe Bay. DAYS 6–7: WRANGELL-ST ELIAS NATIONAL PARK

Bordering Canada’s Yukon Territory, Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the largest in

the USA and contains glaciers five times the size of Manhattan and nine of the 16 highest peaks in North America! DAY 8: ALASKA RANGE

Head into the heart of the Alaska Range on what’s considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the state. With spectacular views of the surrounding valley, your stay at the rustic Maclaren River Lodge provides the ideal setting for an authentic Alaskan experience. DAYS 9–10: DENALI NATIONAL PARK

Denali National Park offers a variety of wildlife, including Alaska’s “Big Five”: grizzly bear, caribou, moose, dall sheep and wolf. Over the next few days, take the Denali shuttle for opportunities to view wildlife and hike the park’s many trails. Enjoy an optional scenic flight over Denali National Park with the chance to land on an ice sheet under the towering peak of Denali, North America’s highest mountain. DAY 11: ANCHORAGE

The historic village of Talkeetna is nestled at the base of Denali and

is well known for its hospitality. While here, you’ll have the opportunity to try a local speciality: reindeer sausage. Leave Alaska’s highlights behind and return to civilisation and the end of your journey in Anchorage.

AT A GLANCE

11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS

★★★

DEPARTS 10 Jun, 13 Jul, 24 Jul, 05 Aug, 17 Aug ‘17 TRAVEL STYLE Small-group trip HIGHLIGHTS

• Wildlife-watching in Denali National Park • Calving glaciers • Remote Wrangell-St Elias National Park INCLUSIONS

Five nights hotel and five nights cabin/lodge accommodation, services of a Grand American Adventures tour leader, transportation and sightseeing. FROM AU$4,359* / NZ$4,869* *Prices are per person twin share based on low-season travel. Terms & conditions apply.

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GO BEYOND THE BRIGHT LIGHTS Think Nevada is all bright neon lights and a long, glitzy strip? Step outside of Las Vegas and you’ll discover that Nevada is a world within a state, offering stories and experiences not found anywhere else in North America. Here are a few of our favourites…

NEVADA’S BACKROADS 12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS from AU$1,599* / NZ$1,605*pp twin share To book, contact your local travel agent or visit adventureworld.com *Terms & conditions apply

VISIT VALLEY OF FIRE AT SUNSET Valley of Fire State Park, about 84 kilometres northeast of Las Vegas, is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. It gets its name from its stunning red-sandstone formations, which seem to blaze when the sun sets. Explore trails through canyons and past rock formations. Petroglyphs—ancient rock art—can be found throughout the park, but they’re most easily viewed at the Atlatl Rock area near the western end of the park.

PADDLE BOARD ON LAKE TAHOE Lake Tahoe—one of the largest alpine lakes in North America, situated on the Nevada– California border and surrounded by the forested mountains of the Sierra Nevada and Carson Range—offers recreational opportunities in all seasons, from skiing in winter to kayaking in summer. Known for the clarity of its water (you can see down more than 20 metres) and cold temperatures, Lake Tahoe is an especially popular recreation area for water sports, with paddle boarding the most recent addition.

HIKE TO THE BRISTLECONE PINE TREES AT GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK Bristlecone pine trees, which can live up to 5,000 years, are one of many natural wonders that you can see at Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. The park turns 30 this year, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the USA’s national park system. To check out the bristlecone pines, take the park’s 20-kilometre

scenic drive to the Wheeler Peak campground and then set off on the Bristlecone Trail, which takes you to a grove of the trees growing on a glacial moraine.

TRY A PICON PUNCH AT A BASQUE RESTAURANT IN ELKO Picon punch—popular in Basque restaurants in the American West—is rather heady. Grenadine, club soda, brandy and Amer Picon, an orange, nutty-flavoured liqueur, combine to make a high-octane cocktail. When travelling through Elko and other northern Nevada communities, it’s a must when eating at a Basque restaurant. And yes, we said Basque—as in the Basque Country, a region between France and Spain. A wave of immigration during the mid-19th century landed many Basque people in the American West, where they often worked as sheep herders, driving their flocks through Nevada’s mountain regions.

HIKE AT RED ROCK CANYON Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is just 27 kilometres west of the Las Vegas Strip, but a world away in terms of environment and ambience. Red Rock Canyon offers almost 80,000 hectares of unique geological features to explore on hiking paths, by mountain bike, on horseback or through one of the many tours offered in the area. Red Rock Canyon can also be enjoyed by car: there’s a 20-kilometre scenic loop drive with multiple trailheads and lookout points along the way.


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WILDLIFE on the

WAVES

IT’S 6 A.M. ON A BALMY NOVEMBER MORNING and I’m standing on the teak sun deck of the Star Flyer, watching a deepred sun rise over the Andaman Sea. The ship left Phuket harbour last night and, this morning, the air is warm with enough breeze to eliminate humidity, yet still fill the sails. Early morning is always the best time of day for birdwatching and today’s no exception. Looking from port to starboard, hundreds of bridled terns are perched on the many floating branches, occasionally taking to the air on short fishing forays. Overhead, the pirates are waiting; bat-like frigatebirds hang aloft, waiting for their chance to harry a passing tern and steal this morning’s catch. Lesser frigatebirds are the most numerous in these waters, but careful observation picks out a few, much rarer, Christmas frigatebirds; the white belly of the males being diagnostic. In the afternoon, we make a beach stop at Ko Adang in the Butang Archipelago and many of the passengers set off to make the most of the watersports facilities set up on the white coralsand beach. While holidaymakers sunbathe, several birds of prey are slowly migrating southwards, using these islands as landmarks. Grey-faced buzzards mix with the larger, crested honey buzzards as they use thermals from the islands to rise high and glide over the next section of open sea. There’s a small lagoon behind the beach and here I find a pair of Indian rollers flashing their iridescent-blue flight feathers, as well as a small flock of blue-tailed bee eaters, hawking for dragonflies over the brackish water. Sailing to Penang brings Brahminy kites, their rufous wings contrasting with their white head and breast. Once common on the mainland, they’re now more likely to be spotted over the coastline and islands of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. As Star Flyer glides gracefully through the glassy water, I see a huge

white-bellied sea eagle swoop down, grasp a sea snake in its talons and fly off for the nearest island. We set sail for the myriad limestone outcrops of Phang Nga Bay, spotting dollarbirds, Pacific reef egrets and more Brahminy kites and sea eagles. Dolphins ride Star Flyer’s bow waves and, when we stop to so some snorkelling near the idyllic beach on Ko Hong, they join us, their curiosity and playfulness apparently as great as ours. Our last call is the Similan Islands, where azure waters give way to the whitest of beaches, fringed by evergreen forest. Along an inland nature trail, spectacular butterflies float by and I spot common koel, cinnamon bittern and my ‘bird of the week’, the metallic-blue, and rare, Nicobar pigeon. Taking a jaunt aboard Star Flyer you’re guaranteed to see some stunning scenery, but, unnoticed by many, there’s also a whole host of wonderful wildlife all around.

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ADVENTURE WORLD CARES Adventure World, in partnership with the TreadRight Foundation, encourages the sustainable development of tourism by supporting local projects that benefit the environment, heritage and community. In April 2015, Nepal was destroyed by the Gorkha earthquake, the worst natural disaster to strike the country in 80 years. This disaster left the 425 students who attended the school with nowhere to go. Adventure World and TreadRight have donated US$30,000 to the Happy Hearts Fund to assist in the construction of a new school, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. The goal is to build a better school that withstands disaster and involves the community in the school construction and operation. Happy Hearts Fund rebuilds safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. The organisation works during the gap period when children are forgotten after emergency response is complete, bringing hope and empowerment to generations of children and entire communities. The fund is active in 10 countries and has rebuilt 130 schools that were damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.

TREADRIGHT is a not-for-profit organisation established by the Travel Corporation and its family of brands. To date, TreadRight has helped support more than 35 sustainable projects around the world. To learn more about our past and current work please visit us at treadright.org

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National Geographic Traveller Magazine 2016 Issue 2 (NZ)