Live out your Saharan fantasies as your trusty camel takes you up and over sand dunes to a desert camp. Morocco made this desert dream come true for Jen Bird, one-time Intrepid leader, when she joined our Berber friends for a night of tall tales, traditional songs and a fireside feast…
“Deserts have long fascinated me. Their sheer endlessness and harsh, barren nature is at odds with the extraordinary life they harbour. They are the epitome of a dangerous, yet mesmerising beauty. So in Morocco, when I found the perfect opportunity to see the sands of the magnificent Sahara Desert, I was understandably thrilled!
India has a habit of sneaking up on you and letting you share in extraordinary real life experiences, as Jacqui and Clive Baldry discovered firsthand…
“When we booked our Intrepid trip we knew it would be good, but we never expected such a wonderful journey as that we took Slowly Down the Ganges in February this year!
The boat trip, the camping on the banks, the wonderful food and the delightful cooks and boat boys made it a memorable voyage. Watching the rare river dolphin and birds as we drifted along, and then our arrival at Varanasi was like something out of a film. But that was not the whole story.
Last week in Express our win-a-trip competition asked readers to tell us their recipe for adventure or favourite food and travel tales. There were so many great tastebud-teasing entries but eventually our judges narrowed it down to just one – Aimee Murphy has won a place on Roam China, departing Beijing on 26 November 2008!…
“The humidity hits us as we grab our backpacks and try to work out how , after our red-eye flight, we are to get to our hotel. It’s Ho Chi Minh so it means a rusted car, driving on the wrong side of the road, ignoring red lights, what seat belts?, pedal to the metal and did I mention ‘Son’ our driver was also talented enough to talk at his mobile and smoke a cigarette while breaking every road rule we knew.
On a misty Saturday morning in September, gorillas across the country were stretching their hamstrings, donning their running shoes, boarding trains, buses and bicycles and congregating en masse in the City of London in preparation for what was to be a world record-breaking gathering of gorillas, and Intrepid’s Emma Southerden was amongst them…
“Over 1000 gorillas registered to take part in this year’s Great Gorilla Run, in aid of the Gorilla Organisation. Shockingly that is actually more than there are mountain gorillas remaining in the wild. The Gorilla Organisation, which was founded by the late Dian Fossey, works to protect the gorillas in west and central Africa, including Rwanda and Uganda.
Intrepid’s Simon Graham, Rosie Cowen and myself led a family of Intrepid apes, who were all dressed up in our finest furry suits ready to run, jog, walk and dance through central London and raise vital funding for the organisation.
You never know where Intrepid will be stepping out next – and this week Intrepid gets OUT, literally! Or at least we are a few steps closer to the gay and lesbian community with our latest partnership with gay-owned OUT Adventures.
The brainchild of Steven Larkin and his partner Robert Sharp, this new company offers adventure travel exclusively to the LGBT community – and of course their friends.
Express reader Rosemary Gillam is always up for a challenge when it comes to learning some of the local language – and her rewards are wonderful real life experiences around the world…
“Some of the places that I have had the good fortune to visit so far I have had fun looking up the common words needed to get by on the internet. I already knew hello and goodbye in French when I visited New Caledonia on my first overseas trip. I found it very difficult to order a salad in the native quarter of Noumea, pointing to the menu at the item I was trying to buy finally got a smile form the proprietor and a plate of asparagus for lunch. I guess this must have been what I was asking for in such bad French that there was no comprehension until my finger did the talking.
Bulla was the word required for my next trip. I learnt this before I went to the Fiji Tourist Board in Sydney. This opening gambit helped me get a ton of information on local attractions that would not normally have been supplied. Every where I went on that trip and a subsequent one I usually got a big grin and a very loud bulla vinaka in response.
When Sophie Wade visited Cuzco, Peru, with her family, she decided then that one day she would be back.
So now 18 months later, after completing her final year at school, waiting tables and cleaning rooms, stints working in Intrepid’s Beijing and Melbourne offices and an unlikely but most amusing job as a USA summer camp petting zoo counsellor, she’s finally back in Cuzco. But this time Sophie is there to make a difference on Intrepid’s Peru Teaching and Building trip…
“After a year and a half I did not expect to remember all that much, but I can say for sure that Cuzco has not lost its appeal. Cobblestoned streets, women wandering in traditional dress with blankets strapped to their backs (carrying anything from flowers to children) and the Andes towering above the city still give this place charm. And arriving from ever-imposing New York I could really appreciate the lack of tall buildings… or any building over 3 or 4 stories. Of course not everything is perfect… some streets smell of things you really don’t want to imagine people doing in the street, and occasionally the extreme altitude will hit you, but it’s all part of the Cusquenian experience and personally, I am loving it!
Impressions of Africa, that vast amazing continent and some African holiday incidents, by Cheryall McCullough…
Amazing – The wildebeest migration into the Serengeti national park; we were extremely lucky and privileged to witness the start of it. Some two million animals move into the lush grazing over a couple of weeks. Here and there the long line five or six abreast with the largest bulls on the outside, is broken as a lion makes a run for dinner. In no time, the lines reform.
Anachronism? – An enduring sight to bring home, was being on the first of four camels led by a long-legged Masai warrior-tribesman, garbed in traditional, colourful woollen robes (it’s winter), complete with spear – while he chatted on his cell phone! We have yet to see a mud brick/thatched house with a satellite dish, but it could happen.
Brilliant – African sunsets across the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers. A large orange sun sinks over the horizon into a purple, fading to aqua sky.
“In my opinion critics have been a little tough on the movie A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. It’s true that the story is a bit predictable: Max, a British broker, inherits a rustic chateau with a vineyard in Provence. He decides to sell it, but he falls in love with the laid-back Provencal lifestyle and Fanny, a beautiful French woman. However, I loved watching it for the real star of the movie: the stunning countryside of Provence.
At an emotional ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London, UK, last week Wanderlust magazine announced the winners of the third Paul Morrison Guide Awards and we are thrilled that the top GOLD accolade went to Intrepid’s Esam Abd El Salam!
Set up to recognise the difference that a great guide can make to travel experiences, a shortlist of eight was whittled down from a record entry of 170 nominated guides from around the world.
“Egypt is a country with some of the most highly regarded and experienced guides in the world and Esam has done incredibly well to stand out,” commented Lyn Hughes, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Wanderlust magazine.