Permanent Tent at Pom Pom, Botswana

Pampered at Pom Pom

  Teetering as we swung around in the wind our light plane bumped onto the dirt runway at Pom Pom Camp.   After climbing into the open air safari 4wd we made a quick dash down the side of the runway, then parked as the little 4 seater plane taxied and prepared to take off. A necessity…

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Gunns Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Gunns Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

  Sitting in the early morning splendour of Gunns Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta it is easy to feel an overwhelming gratitude in the joy of life and nature. Unfortunately, the refreshed feeling that comes from a restful nights’ sleep just wasn’t there!    All the sounds of the delta seem amplified in the darkness…

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Dry undergrowth crackles underfoot as we saunter in silence, single file through the dense bush of Swaziland's Hlane National Park. A faint crashing in the bush has alerted Africa, our very appropriately named guide, immediately he signals us to freeze. Motionless we stand listening to the initially distant noise as it increases in intensity – it’s clearly headed in our direction. A shadowy gray figure reveals just enough shape to confirm a small herd of elephants is feeding less than 100 metres ahead. Maneuvering for a better view of this picture perfect scene, which is no longer obscured by bush, a massive gray elephant sporting starkly contrasting white tusks stands feeding on the lush surrounds. Her huge ears flap as she rips chunks of grass and leaves with her trunk, inching further toward us with every mouthful. Poor eyesight renders them still seemingly unaware of our presence – Africa who by the way is armed only with a stick signals our retreat of 10 or so metres out of the too close for comfort zone. We watch, shooting photographs and marveling at our situation - we standing without protection just 30 metres from a herd of wild elephants! It is at that moment the matriarch looks up and pushes forward in the bush, raising her trunk she bellows as if to say "I see you, you're in my space..." Africa swiftly gets the message and hurriedly alerts us to evacuate immediately as we dash to the safety. Dry mouthed and hearts pounding we swiftly slip through the two flimsy strings of rusty barbed wire, apparently electrified it is all that protects us from the charge of this angry 6 ton giant of the animal kingdom. She stops and moves on with her companions. Brimming with adrenaline, animated whispering gives way to relieved chatter about our big 5 encounter - topping this will be tough as we creep back through the fence and venture off in search of the next experience. The Royal Hlane National Park has become a haven for Swaziland's wild animals as poachers attempt to hunt down and profit from these natural assets. The hundreds of seized poacher’s traps that sit piled atop each other at the Park entry, serve as a chilling reminder of this brutal and devastating practice. Unfortunately, continued farming and development further encroaches on the lands where wildlife once freely roamed. The Park’s lodge and campground are located in well looked after grounds with the main buildings set on the shore of a huge waterhole. Dripping with natural authenticity it generates a feeling of raw remoteness that is in sync with the environment. It’s definitely worth the visit for a day or two, and the walking safari is a must-do for anyone who has spent most of their time vehicle based game drives.

Elephant Encounter in Swaziland

  Dry undergrowth crackles underfoot as we saunter in silence, single file through the dense bush of Swaziland’s Hlane National Park.   A faint crashing has alerted Africa, our very appropriately named guide, who immediately signals us to freeze.   Motionless we stand listening to what was a distant noise increasing in intensity – it’s clearly headed in…

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Giraffe, Kruger National Park

Cruising around Kruger

    That first glimpse of zebra through the trees fires up the anticipation, while mere minutes later at the park entrance a warthog and 2 babies are cavorting behind the building. This is Kruger National Park, a land which on first impression seems intent on showing off her abundance. As we drive slowly toward…

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Cute Lion Cubs

Africa = WOW

  Just back from a few weeks in Africa and gee, was it amazing.   It’s 20 years since my last visit and I can’t for the life of me work out why I haven’t been back before now.   There’s a lot more to come – thousands of photos and I’m feeling quite inspired…

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Leopard, Kruger National Park

Ah travel how I have missed you!

    After months of working 10- 12 hour days and a seemingly unrelenting things-to-do list, I can’t believe how great it feels to be back on the road experiencing new sights, sounds and cultures. Sitting in the truck, wind blowing through my hair as we power down the highway in Swaziland.   I feel…

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Market Stall in South African village.

First Impressions – Contrasts of South Africa

The quaint cafes, galleries and craft shops litter seemingly semi-deserted small villages and towns on the journey between Johannesburg and Kruger National Park giving a peaceful yet eerie sophisticated edge that could easily lead the visitor into thinking that this is typical nationwide.   Venture a little further afield to find the polar opposite of towns…

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Black Dzao Woman Surveying the Corn Crop

Ha Giang – first glimpse

  I recently had the most fantastic week cruising around taking photos in Hagiang Province, Vietnam.     This mountainous region in the country’s north is just simply stunning and the people amazing.   It was intended that the Sunday market in Meo Vac was to be the highlight of the trip, however I can honestly say each…

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Fish Tacos - Mexico

Mexico – Amazing Fish Tacos

    Tucked away in Tulum, some 45 mins or so from Playa Del Carmen, is El Camillos.  Simply furnished (mostly with plastic chairs and tables) it’s more hole in the wall than upscale restaurant, but being packed at 3pm in the afternoon was a great sign I thought.  The extensive, very reasonably priced menu…

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Yangshuo Karst Landscape, Guangxi, China

Moving on from the Middle Kingdom

The evolution of my life over the past 18 months since moving on from China has been both difficult and easy at times, but always interesting.   It has played such a huge role in my life over the past decade and I realise now that I definitely chose to leave at the right time with…

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Laos Ethnic Minority Clothing detail

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Luang Prabang, Laos

The once remote areas of Asia continue on a path of rapid modernisation, swept along to some extent by tourism and technology moving through the region.   Along with this change, traditions and customs once abundantly practiced and visible are becoming less prominent in the lives of the younger generation, as globalisation instills a level of…

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The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is a must do if ever in Australia. The best way to get in touch with this simply magnificent piece of nature is probably diving, but snorkelling certainly comes a very close second (IMHO). Once you’ve experienced its beauty from below the water then take the opportunity for…

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Che Guevara

The Legendary Che Guevara

It’s impossible to avoid the image of legendary revolutionist Che Guevara in Cuba. After having lived in China for so many years and witnessing the worship and ever present presence of Mao Zi Dong, I almost expected to see an equivalent worship of Castro.   Perhaps this expectation was just the result of my own sheer…

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Buena Vista Social Club, Havana

Buena Vista Social Club, Havana, Cuba

When visiting Havana the thought of experiencing a taste of the iconic Buena Vista Social Club is difficult to resist.   Nowadays though it is quite common to hear it referred to as a bit of a tourist gouging event, with the show mostly said to be “tribute style”. Well that may be but I have…

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Dancing in Santa Clara, Cuba

On the Streets of Santa Clara, Cuba

Tucked away in the centre of this island nation Santa Clara feels like the real deal.    Horse and carts act almost like a local bus service clip clopping along the streets passing by all manner of awesome architecture most of which is closer to the crumbling kind than that of shiny restored glory. The park…

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Santa Monica Pier

Best way to see LA in a day

  From the skyscrapers of the CBD and iconic Hollywood sign to the mansions of Beverly Hills and sweeping Pacific coastline that stretches from Santa Monica up to Malibu, taking to the skies to see all the major sights of LA by helicopter is an awesome way to spend an afternoon. It’s certainly not cheap…

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The Cuban Sandwich

  The Cuban Sandwich, stuffed full with layers of ham, roast pork and cheese, makes for an awesome quick bite.     I’ve never really been a salad sandwich type of girl so the meaty goodness, in what was once a common lunch for the masses in cigar factories and sugar mills, suited me right down to…

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Magnificent Mojitos

Cuba is the home of the Mojito and what better place to indulge in a couple of these refreshing, minty treats than a visit to what is reckoned to be their birthplace – La Bodeguita del Medio. Said to have also been one of Hemingway’s favourite bars back in the day, this atmospheric haunt makes…

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Mayan Ruins,Tulum, Mexico

The ruins themselves I didn’t find all that interesting, they just don’t compare to the magnificence of Tikal, but the location is incredibly picturesque so it is definitely worth the visit.  Their proximity to Cancun & Playa Del Carmen see they get plenty of visitors….. OK, so it’s pretty much over-run with hordes of tourists…

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Magnificent Mayan Ruins of Tikal

The Mayan ruins of Tikal are simply magnificent combining both archeological greatness and atmospheric wonder in a wild jungle setting.  The air thick with humidity has a light yet pungent, damp soil and rotting foliage smell, as the sounds of this living organism wind their way up to a cacophony featuring dueling howler monkey clans…

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Swimming with the sharks and rays in Belize

  The weather was less than ideal from the moment I arrived on what can only be described as a Caribbean island paradise off the coast of Belize.   The non stop rain put a bit of a damper on pretty much every outdoor activity, but despite this I headed out as planned for a few…

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Cathedral Square In Old Havana, Cuba

Magical Havana, Cuba

The old city of Havana literally took my breath away with its beauty!   Streets and streets of grand architecture – some restored, some faded and crumbling – but all absolutely gorgeous and alive.   Small shady public gardens peppered with monuments are tucked away amongst the spectacular array of buildings, giving residents (and visitors) a place…

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Moving on from Cuba

  Arriving in Guatemala City after spending some time in Cuba was like a huge slap in the face by commercialism. An endless stream of billboards, fast food restaurants and American retail chain stores seemed to line the roadside giving a real modern and racy feel.  In Cuba the only billboards that could be seen…

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Cave of the Crystal Maiden, Belize

Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre or the ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) cave is a must do if you are floating around Belize, and in particular San Igancio. Getting there is a bit of an arduous journey over a bumpy road for a bit more than hour, and once at the carpark you need to hike…

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Man Leading Donkey in Trinidad

First Impressions of Cuba

Wow, how fantastic is Cuba! It has always been on the list of places I would love to visit but apart from the promise of gorgeous architecture and cool looking old cars I was not really sure what to expect, and have been so busy over the past couple of months I didn’t do a…

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