One of the great things about exploring worlds beyond our own is developing an appreciation of the beliefs and traditions of others. Allison Davies discovers that in Nepal, death is a placid part of life…
“The Jetstream 41 skitters and dances through the sky on its final approach to Kathmandu. I look down at the rapidly approaching city – a checkerboard of pastel houses and Boudha’s white stupa pushing towards heaven through the afternoon haze. With a jolt we hit tarmac. Engine fairings glow as we throttle down the runway past ancient transport planes – a Dakota and something Russian I don’t recognise, gleaming and green like a giant winged toad.
Untouched by human civilisation until the early 19th century, the Galapagos Islands remain one of our planet’s greatest wildlife viewing destinations. If you are ready for an archipelago adventure with a difference, Intrepid’s Pamela Arcos explains why Active Galapagos is her top trip…
“This island-hopping trip explores the Galapagos by panga boats and you stay in hotels, which means you have more time to meet the locals. Your adventure begins on San Cristobal island with an exhilarating downhill bike ride to admire the fantastic views from the highlands. Each day you’ll enjoy amazing wildlife experiences and my favourite encounters include watching iguanas feed on underwater seaweed, seeing Galapagos penguins scurry about the islands and silently observing giant turtles guarding their nests on the beach. Leon Dormido is one of the best spots for snorkeling and here I’ve seen sharks swimming calmly close by – how incredible it was to feel a giant animal sharing his world with me!”
The ancient Greeks believed that dolphins were closely related to Gods and Goddesses, Australian Aborigines consider the dolphin a spiritual guide and protector and dolphins hold special significance for Maori people of New Zealand. So it’s no wonder Zoe Rees felt it was a real privilege to swim with these captivating creatures…
“As I floated in the deep blue water, I looked up, admiring the piercing sapphire sky and back drop of the dramatic mountains surrounding the harbour. It was spring, but still some snow remained on the highest peaks. I glanced down, trying without luck to see the ocean floor, shivering with a mixture of cold water chills and anticipation. Suddenly someone on the boat moored nearby let out an excited “behind you! behind you!”
Seen one herd of elephant, think you’ve seem them all? Wrong! There’s no way you can ever tire of seeing these incredible creatures in the wild and getting up close to a bull elephant is still one of Sean Elliott’s most magical moments in Kenya…
“From the very first game drive we were just blown away by it all. And that excitement didn’t let up until our last day in Kenya, when we topped it off with an amazing experience. Throughout the Intrepid trip we were lucky enough to come in close contact with giraffes, zebras, lions, warthogs (like pumba from The Lion King!), hyenas, rhino and hippos, but it’s the elephants that I’ll always remember.
When the ‘call of the wild’ comes to you, it’s good to keep in mind how you can view wildlife in an optimum way. A way that enables you to experience wildlife behaving naturally and that doesn’t stress the animals. Intrepid’s friends at the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Born Free Foundation have helped us compile the following tips:
- Respect the ‘personal space’ of the wildlife in their habitat. If a visitor or vehicle causes an animal to alter its behaviour, then the visitor has invaded its space and influenced its normal behaviour. Observe nature as it occurs naturally and not as to how it responds to your presence there.
At Intrepid, we love taking you off the beaten path in countries all over the world, but in our very own backyard is one of the world’s last remaining pristine environments and it’s under threat!
Australia’s magnificent Kimberley region offers a glimpse into another world – an ancient world of indigenous culture and rock art tens of thousands of years old, unique species of plants and animals, and spectacular landscapes virtually unchanged since prehistoric times. Yet this incredible region is now at risk of industrial development – and is currently unprotected.
Highlights of Italy, where do you start? There are so many fabulous things, all of which are must-sees and must-dos, but for Intrepid’s Catherine Douglas there was still a special stand-out experience…
“Eating homemade pasta and kiwi fruit gelato in tiny restaurants and wandering the mazes of side streets of Venice while trying to barter with the owners of the Gondolas for the best price on a backpacking budget. Taking silly photos and buying cute tacky knickknacks outside the leaning tower of Pisa. Discovering the historical architecture of the Colosseum in Rome and making a wish to meet a delicious Italian man by throwing a coin into Trevi Fountain. Sending a postcard from Vatican City – the smallest country in the world, and climbing up hundreds of steps to see the best views over Rome. Viewing amazing artworks in Florence and giggling at naked statues. All such fantastic experiences but nothing could beat Cinque Terre for me.
If you could win the trip of your dreams in Australia would you choose to touch the tip of Australia at Cape York, learn about the legends of the Bungle Bungles from Aboriginal hosts, or like Express reader Susan Edwards, is Tasmania on the top of your list?…
“I couldn’t believe it when my name was drawn out of the barrel and I’d won two tickets to anywhere in Australia! I didn’t even have to think twice about where I would go, because for years I’ve been desperate to explore Tasmania.
Read a good book lately? Intrepid’s Jo Stewart picked up America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip In Search of Non-Corporate USA and quickly discovered that this author was taking a very different route…
“This quirky travel memoir documents the epic journey of British funny man Dave Gorman, who attempted to travel America from coast to coast without using the services of any food franchises, hotel chains or corporate-owned gas stations. That’s right, no drive-thru from Burger King, no pumping gas at a BP or bedding down at the Hilton. All food, accommodation and gas must be sourced from independently owned businesses – no excuses!