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Wanderlust Issue 172 (Dec 2016/Jan 2017) Travel Hot List 2017 ♦ Australia’s Northern Territory ♦ Chile: Trip Planner ♦ South Africa ♦ Laos ♦ Goa ♦ Pocket guides: Bali, La Palma (Canaries) & Alternative Reykjavik


Your expert guide to the best of the coast, desert, cities and mountains

T R AV E L M A G A Z I N E December 2016/January 2017

Australia Searching for Songlines in the Northern Territory

TRAVEL HOT LIST Best places to travel 2017

W i n!

mission to A photo com 3,000! £ Thailand or Bilbao to o tw r fo s Trip ica! m o and D in 4 See p

Patagonia · Greenland · Canada · Jordan Canary Islands · Cambodia · Malawi · Egypt Cornwall · Fiji · Portland · Christmas Island

South Africa From rock art to rapid rafting on the wild Northern Cape


Laos head underground for a subterranean adventure Best northern lights trips… with exploring on the side Goa beyond the beaches • Bill Bailey talks birds

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Issue 172 December 2016/January 2017



6 Need to know this month... 12Go now 14 Eat this... 165 minutes with… Bill Bailey 18 Know your… Canada National 20Aurora Parks 22 extras

66The masterclass 69Instant expert: Concorde 72Take better travel photos Travel clinic 74Traveller’s 77baselayersguide to… long-sleeve

Viewfinder Mara-crossing elephants,

Adventure cruises make for unforgettable trips, but come with their own trials – here’s how to survive your first one

Andes-defying flamingos and Lundy’s seals Now’s your time to be a ‘Trash Hero’ Combine a vibrant blend of both natural and urban sights in hip Santiago Plate up some Palestine grub and share your makloubeh with the family

The supersonic passenger jet turns 40 in 2017, and it could be making a return to our skies Snapper Art Wolfe on how to (sensitively) capture an authentic, cultural portrait shot “But is it safe to drink?” Dr Jane on how to avoid water hazards

The comic on his love of Britain’s birds

Why you can go for free in 2017 These nine trips offer more than the northern lights alone

▲ Cover story

52 Wanderlust Travel Hot List

Want to know where to go in 2017? Check out the latest must-see destinations, from Greenland to Cambodia; Canada to Malawi…

▲ Special feature

26Chile: Trip Planner

From desert sands to Andean peaks… the first ever non-stop flights from the UK to Santiago are about to begin, so start planning your Chilean adventure with our expert guide

WIN! A ten-day trip to Dominica for two, p38

Our pick of the best chill-blocking tops to stave off the winter cold


A five-day trip for two to Bilbao, p128 “Similar to a path through a forest, the South African coastline draws your eye and leads you onwards – a filigree of surf curving seductively northwards until it’s snuffed out in a haze of sea spray” William Gray


Canada, p20

“Stop at Deildartunguhver Hot Spring – the most powerful in Iceland – to see the water bubble, sputter and steam as it’s channelled off in pipes to nearby towns.” Phoebe Smith

26 TRAVEL PHOTO OF THE YEAR COMPETITION, p50 Quick! It’s the last chance for you to win either a photo commission to Thailand or £3,000 in Wanderlust’s Travel Photo of the Year competition


Chile, p14 & 26 “Chile is best-known for its extremes: on the one side, Atacama and the northern deserts; on the other, the glacial wonderlands of Patagonia. But there’s comparable beauty in other areas.” Chris Moss

Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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Kris Bailey

Goa Sydney 40Beyond 24 South Africa 82 India 82 Laos 100Philippines 98


94Your story

Dive beyond Goa’s sands Newgolden South Wales to discover anOz’s Indian state like nocity other, isn’t just about most famous full of lusha world forestsof and Portuguese uences – there’s epic coastlines,infl great more to Cape wilderness and wine-rich There’s valleys to explore too Town’sDiscover hinterlands wine –habitat head thethan last great north forof the rock art, rapids the Diamond Coast Asian lion and in Gujarat PLUS: Our Explore one of species the largest river guide to India’s other must-see caves on Earth as we make the for Laos’ Leave behind bustle Khammouane Province, history, tradition of Manila for thewhere raw splendour of rural and wildlife collidevertiginous in the tunnels its jungle Luzon, exploring ricebeneath paddies, Australia in thevolcanoes footsteps of cliff-hanging graves Following and spluttering Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines, Tanzania Easttravelogue, Africa isn’t just known we delve heartlands forinto theAustralia’s Big Five –Aboriginal head to the Mahale and go walkabout in the Northern Territory Mountains for its star attraction: wild chimps

Reader Amanda Lumley tracks the western coast of Canada in search of one of nature’s great spectacles: the northern lights Readers’ pictures Your brilliant snaps, including cartwheeling in Denmark, soaking up the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda and visiting the ‘Door to Hell’ in Turkmenistan. We’re not jealous, promise... Letters In our mailbag: Discovering more fantastic hiking routes around the globe; not worrying about BA’s snack policy; recalling old friends (and Wanderlust articles); lusting after some literary escapes and more…

96 98

112 116


24 hours: 129First Alternative

Reykjavik So you’ve done the usual stopover

sights and had your fill of the Blue Lagoon? Head north for folkloric waterfalls and wild walks

131Short break: La Palma, Spain

Proof that the Canaries isn’t all about beaches. Leave your flip-flops behind as you explore the volcano trails of lush La Palma

icon: Pura Besakih, 133Travel Bali

On an island flush with temples, one holy complex stands above all others – in spite of the years of ’quakes and eruptions. Pay your respects at the ‘Mother Temple’…

“Alert to the danger of drifting into a tropical trance, I asked my driver to point his exhaust pipe at paradise and take me to Goa’s inland.” Martin Symington

Reykjavik, p129

100 La Palma, p131

“The chamber was like a giant underground cathedral and almost reverently still, soaring karstic columns looming out of the dark as the last glimmer of Laos’ outside light was extinguished.” Claire Boobbyer

Palestine, p16 Laos, p100 Goa, p40

“While perched on my dune, a native Australian man pointed out to where the Great Emu spread out in the Milky Way, punctuating his story with didgeridoo blasts.” Chris Moss


Australia, p112

TALKING HEADS Bill Bailey p18 “I thought they just had a pet owl, but clearly not: it was part of the menu – prawns, crabs, eels... an owl?!”

Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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Heaven’s above

Alpenglow tinges the jagged ‘Cuernos’ (Horns) of Chilean Patagonia’s Torres del Paine NP

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The first ever non-stop flights from the UK to Santiago start in January – take advantage of sun-kissed Pacific coast, wild arid desert and epic Andean rises with our handy guide WORDS CHRIS MOSS

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Chile Trip Planner

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PERU Arica

PN Lauca

BOLIVIA Iquique Pintados

El Tatio Geysers


San Pedro de Atacama Valle de la Luna

Antofagasta Atacama Desert

Bahía Inglesa

Ojos del Salado 6,893m PN Nevado Tres Cruces


La Serena Coquimbo Ovalle

Salar de Atacama

Pisco Elqui

Portillo San Felipe Chacabuco Portillo Mendoza Cachagua Valparaíso SANTIAGO Viña Del Mar Pichilemu San Fernando Santa Cruz Curicó Talca RN Radal Siete Tazas Maule RN Altos del Lircay


Chillán Concepción Temuco PN Conguillío Pucón

Lakes District

Volcán Villarrica 2,847m

Valdivia Puyehue Frutillar Puerto Varas Puerto Montt Castro

PN Puyehue PN Vincente Pérez Rosales

Cochamó La Arena Hornopirén

■ Desert driving

Parque Pumalín


Isla Grande de Chiloé


PN Queulat


Puerto Chacabuco Coyhaique


PN Laguna San Rafael

Best for: Off-road adventures, desert landscapes, stargazing, dining, luxury hotels

Villa O’Higgins PN Los Glaciares

PN Torres del Paine

El Calafate

Puerto Natales Patagonia Punta Arenas

Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia Puerto Williams 0

Atacama Desert and beyond

Isla Navarino

Cabo de Hornos 500km (Cape Horn)

ROUTE: Antofagasta • San Pedro de Atacama • Uyuni (Bolivia) WHEN TO GO? Year round. This is the driest place in South America – make that the world


espite being Chile’s second-largest city, Antofagasta is often ignored by travellers. Yet buried behind the high-rises lies the leafy Plaza Colón and a handful of wood-fronted Victorian and Georgian buildings found in its Barrio Histórico, which are worth seeking out. From here it’s a 3.5-hour drive to San Pedro de Atacama, through harsh, arid desert landscapes. This oasis town is the hub of the region, within day-trip distance of Chile’s largest salt flat, several photogenic volcanoes – including 5,916-metre Licancábur – the El Tatio geysers (impressive at dawn, when the spurting steam is visible) and all manner of dramatic rock formations. The Atacama is

Previous spread Getty This spread Alamy;; Dreamstime


ithout planning it, I’ve come to know Chile in fragments. Years ago, I took a bus from the Atacama desert to Santiago. More recently, I drove the Southern Highway in Aysén, Central Patagonia. When teaching in Buenos Aires, I arrived in the lake district by boat from Argentina, and later, as a journalist, I toured the vineyards in the shadow of Aconcagua. I have even swum (as best I could) in the heaving surf at La Serena. All of these experiences were on different trips, in different years and seasons, via various modes of P A C I F I C transport. The reason for this O C E A N patchwork approach is partly due to the country’s uniquely long, thin shape – its 12 political regions broadly describe a dozen distinct topographical zones. All Juan of Fernández which Archipiélago makes in-country travel timeconsuming and to some extent dependent on the season. Chile is best known to travellers for its extremes: on the one side, Atacama and the northern deserts; on the other, the wilds and glacial wonderlands of Patagonia and the Andes. But my many journeys have taught me that there’s comparable beauty – and less tourist traffic – in other areas, especially the edges of its lakes and near to La Serena. This is especially true of the temperate zones of the country’s long middle section, which offers far more than wining and dining. Broadly speaking: the further south you go, the better things get for hiking, biking and camping. Most first-time visitors will want to see some of Chile’s photogenic wildernesses, perhaps after a few days in stylish capital Santiago or the arty coastal city of Valparaiso – both ideal for stopovers if you’re arriving on the new direct British Airways flight from London Heathrow. The following itineraries have, therefore, been kept short, so those with two weeks or more can combine a few routes. And since Chile is one of the best countries in South America for driving – roads and traffic are good, the drivers are not all insane – the majority can also be done as self-drive trips, pit-stopping at sights and cities en route.

Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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RN Radal Siete Tazas RN Altos del Lircay


Archipiélago Juan Fernández

Concepción Temuco PN Conguillío Pucón Volcán Villarrica Lakes District 2,847m Valdivia Puyehue Frutillar Puerto Varas Puerto Montt

■ T h e b e s t o f Pa t a g o n i a

Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego

Castro Chaitén

known for its ink-black skies and stargazers should seek out the Meteorite Museum and the ALMA and Ahlarkapin observatories before heading off on night-sky tours. Restaurants, beer bars and cafés of every class and budget adorn San Pedro’s tree-lined plaza, while hotels like the Explora, Alta and Tierra Atacama offer five-star stays. The three-day 4WD trip across the altiplano to Uyuni in Bolivia is also a backpacker classic, and several tours offer packages with guides, food and board. Look out for salt lakes, geysers and hot springs en route, as well as wildlife such as flamingos and vizcachas chinchillas.

Futaleufú PN Queulat


Puerto Chacabuco Coyhaique

PN Laguna San Rafael


Villa O’Higgins 0

ROUTE: Puerto Montt • boat to Puerto Natales • Torres del Paine National Park WHEN TO GO? During the austral summer and shoulder months, from November to March

It’s no surprise the alien landscape of the Atacama was used by NASA to test its Mars Rover

Parque Pumalín



Out of this world

PN Vincente Pérez Rosales

Cochamó La Arena Hornopirén

Isla Grande de Chiloé

Best for: Hiking, cruising, camping, luxury hotels


PN Puyehue

outh of Puerto Montt, there are all kinds of options, including driving the San Rafael glacier (a piddling 1,124km, and you’ll have to bring the hire car back unless you’re very rich), luxury cruises to the San Rafael glacier, a flight-hop down through Aysén or – the journey that we recommend here – a budget five-day boat trip down to Puerto Natales with Navimag ($550pp [£450]; The company uses basic vessels but the voyage is truly sublime, through jagged coasts, into silent fjords (the one stop, Puerto Edén, boasts a population of around 170 native


PN Los Glaciares

El Calafate

PN Torres del Paine

Puerto Natales

Patagonia Punta Arenas

Isla Grande de Tierra del Fueg


Kaweskars), past ice-fields and soaringPuerto Williams Isla Navarino Andean peaks that plunge directly into the Cabo de Horn ocean. On arrival in Puerto Natales, enjoy (Cape Hor a few days R&R in the plush Singular Patagonia hotel, set in a renovated former cold storage plant, before setting off for Torres del Paine NP, one of Chile’s most dramatic parks. Here, excellent long and short hiking trails, stunning glaciers and well-equipped campsites await. If visiting during summer, take advantage of the newly launched LATAM ( flight between Santiago and Puerto Natales to get back to the capital for your flight home. 

did you know?

2017 is the 40th anniversary of Bruce Chadwick’s iconic travel book In Patagonia. For tips on how to follow in his footsteps, see our ‘2017 Hot List’ (p52).

Frozen assets

Experts predict the San Rafael glacier in the ice fields of Northern Patagonia will disappear by 2030 – so see it now

PERU Arica

PN Lauca




Pintados 500km


El Tatio Geysers



San Pedro de Atacama

Valle de la Luna


Atacama Desert

Bahía Inglesa

Salar de Atacama

Ojos del Salado 6,893m


La Serena

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Pisco Elqui




PN Nevado Tres Cruces

Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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Hippy heaven

Fishing boats, catamarans and meditating tourists enjoy the sunset at Arambol

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beyond the beaches Shake the sand from your flip-flops and head inland to discover why this former Portuguese colony is a world apart from the rest of India WORDS MARTIN SYMINGTON

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New flights. New walking trails. New experiences. Here are the destinations you will add to your travel wishlist for 2017

The Rolls Royce of the desert

A Bedouin rides a camel across the Arabian Desert, Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Canada’s national parks are spectacular, from the dinky 15 sq km Georgian Bay Islands National Park to Alberta’s vast Wood Buffalo NP – the size of Denmark. But their scale is rivalled by the variety of geography available, taking in snow-swept tundra (Wapusk NP, Manitoba), Rocky Mountains (Jasper NP) and the dense old-growth rainforest of British Columbia (Pacific Rim NP). And to top it off, admission will be free during 2017, to mark 150 years of the Canadian Confederation: the perfect reason to find yourself celebrating in ‘the Great White North’. From capital Ottawa, head south to Ontario’s Thousand Islands NP and grab a kayak to explore the titular chain of granite that pierces the St Lawrence River. Further west, Bruce Peninsula NP lies along the western shoreline of Georgian Bay, with fine trails and a marine park to explore, while Point Pelee NP is home to some of Canada’s best birdwatching. Alternatively, Mont-Temblant NP in Québec boasts one of the most dramatic via ferrata on Earth. With so much choice on offer, this is a party you won’t want to miss.

Back in 1977, Bruce Chatwin shook travel-writing with the release of In Patagonia. Hitting readers like a hard shot of pisco sour to the soul, four decades on, travellers still cling to tattered copies, as ripe a glimpse into Patagonia’s history, people and myths as anything since. So what better time to follow in his footsteps – especially with the launch of direct flights to Santiago, Chile? Stand on the beaches of Argentina’s Puerto Madryn, as Chatwin did, where Welsh pioneers first landed in 1865 and continue to Trevelin, the archetypal green valley the settlers sought. Track Ruta 40, meeting gauchos and stopping at estancias (ranches) en route; visit Mylodon Cave, where Chatwin sought his mythical sloths, in sight of the white-dusted peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine NP; and cross into ‘Fireland’ (Tierra del Fuego NP). But don’t stick to the book: this is a place to forge your own adventure, exploring sub-polar magellan forests, whale-rich seas and sweeping glaciers. Chatwin would heartily approve.

WHY THEY’RE HOT… They’re free and ready to party

54 |

WHY IT’S HOT… It’s 40 years since Bruce Chatwin explored the region, and you can too with new flights

Previous spread Alamy This spread Alamy; Dreamstime

Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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TRAVEL WHY IT’S HOT… It’s the wild Arctic adventure you’ve always dreamed of While Iceland is now justly cemented on most travellers’ bucket lists, next door to it sits a huge country-shaped wallflower. Greenland has seen little tourism growth over the past few years, with visitor numbers regularly peaking around a lowly 15,000 (international flight passengers) in summer; an astonishing figure given the wild possibilities of this often desolate, frequently beautiful frozen land. But it’s only a matter of time before travellers catch on. The now annual early melting of the

Northwest Passage means the arrival of ever-larger cruise ships (the first 1,000+ liner made the trip in 2016), and its ports are getting busier. But inland there is so much to explore. In summer, trek the stunning west, walking the 164km Arctic Circle Trail across backcountry to Kanglussuaq, where more than 10,000 musk oxen graze. In winter, catch the northern lights rippling across an ink-black sky (Nov–Mar). Whether kayaking the UNESCO-listed icefjords of Ilulissat, heading south to the Uunartoq island hot springs, or whale-spotting off the coast of capital Nuuk, 2017 is time for travellers to ask this shy partner for a spin. Iceland should start looking over its shoulder now.



Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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South Africa

Table setting

th Blanketed wi fog, that notorious Table Mountain pe Town looms over Ca

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e head W . s id p a r d il nt rock art. W ie c n A . fe li d ir re’s more to e th r e v Incredible b o c is d lands… own to e T in e p W a rn C te m s o a fr e north a than the re a t s ie z z u b ’s South Africa

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South Africa

anted Slanted & ench nrise; at su Orange River g Bunny rafting with Bi

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South Africa


g cute and fluffy here was nothin y. It rumbled about Big Bunn spat water over ominously and at red boulders th the rust-colou . m ea er downstr clogged the riv e, id gu y rafting Ian Morgan, m we erbank where riv e th led us to ks ya ka e bl flata beached our in ot to scout out fo on off t and se ring over be the rapid. Clam ck, polished ro ss terraces of gnei waters, we smooth by flood urning water. 0m stretch of ch 10 e th er ov t poin ach tighten. reached a view d I felt my stom an h et te dition its d he nge River expe Big Bunny gnas four-night Ora r ou ds of pi y ra da – us er rewdriv On the previo orkscrew and Sc C , in on g pi in or st Sc a d s, or we had tackle twists and turn ed to have a few s and downs of up e th r fo that you expect s ared ourselve ep pr d nd Ritchie ha e W their tail. t to portage arou bu ce oi ng ch no d had dn’t find anythi Dolly Parton an g Bunny, I coul Bi at per ed op ar st st t I rd as pointed ou Falls. But as ha il. Instead, Ian ta te r hi de w ul ffy bo g flu a s lookin that resembled rticularly viciou pa a d an s er in ra d. waves, boils, st ittle of the rapi yaks by the flying sp ed st, paddling ka ur fir sc t ob en lfw ha ff, eo G d an n t it ides, Ja ar. For a momen My two other gu and camping ge od spun, d fo an ith w ed n ck r kayaks bu heavily lade ei Th it. e ak m might h the rapid. looked as if they clawed throug ey th as ew vi g from der caught both almost vanishin lf-hidden boul ha e Th . ck ba t y bi ed them over. Then Big Bunn sharp kick, flipp a ith and w d, an e wnstream, Jan kayaks broadsid fts disappear do ra d ed ha rn y tu nn up Bu e until Big I watched th to do anything d ss he le tc lp ra he , sc d on an Geoff clinging ve a wry smile ga n Ia . er e ov g them rent rout ould try a diffe finished chewin . “Maybe we sh in ch s hi on e the stubbl ured. es, my mouth pid,” he murm through the ra left the inflatabl e’d w re h he w to ck reading throug As we walked ba anticipation sp of e pl rip a as n w e ape Tow felt dry, but ther set out from C e ys earlier, I had da n of a wilder, mor Te . ch ar dy se bo my ute north in y ro nn ox Bu od g th Bi or a. of South Afric following an un er rn co ed ck nture-pa rugged and adve g climax. ⊳ tin fit a e seemed lik Wanderlust December 2016/January 2017

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The river caves of Laos’ Khammouane Province have long provided shelter, food and solace to its native Laven people – now visitors can explore their history and depths for themselves… WORDS CLAIRE BOOBBYER

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Supernatural spotlight

Kayakers paddle out the upstream entrance of the Xe Bang Fai River Cave in Laos

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Northern Territory

Mirror to heaven

‘The Garden of Eden’ at Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park

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Searching for

SONGLINES On the 30th anniversary of Bruce Chatwin’s inspiring travelogue, Songlines, we delve into Australia’s Aboriginal heartlands to explore its ancient trails WORDS CHRIS MOSS

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Wanderlust Dec16/Jan17 sampler  

Travel Hot List New flights. New walking trails. New experiences. Discover the best places to travel in 2017 Chile: Trip Planner Make the m...

Wanderlust Dec16/Jan17 sampler  

Travel Hot List New flights. New walking trails. New experiences. Discover the best places to travel in 2017 Chile: Trip Planner Make the m...