with regards to our recent India trip....as usual it was a wonderful trip, but as you will see some bits were better than others.
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Hawar Islands, first surveyed in 1820, when they were called the Warden’s Islands, and two villages were recorded are now uninhabited, other than a police garrison and a hotel on the main island.
The island closest to the African continent, Boa Vista, covered with peachy dunes, stark plains and small oases, appears like a lunar landscape. In contrast, the island has fifty-five kilometres of stunning white beaches and emerald green water.
Though the island offers incredible windsurfing, it’s the desert like interior attracting visitors who are keen to go off-roading.
The island of Fogo west of Santiago, translated as Fire, dominates every view. The volcanic cone rises from plateau about eight kilometres in diameter and is called Cha Das Caldeiras. Below a scenic, cobbled road, punctuated by small hamlets, built in lava blockhouses, completely encircles the island.
Santiago is the largest island in the archipelago, fifty-five kilometres in length and twenty-nine kilometres wide. One of the islands best attractions are the deep valleys, the result of erosion with the passing of time.
Petite, unambiguous and undulating, the island of São Vicente, remained practically uninhabited until the mid-nineteenth century. Of volcanic origin, it is semi-flat, Monte Verde, the island’s highest peak. Cabo Verde's prettiest city Mindelo, complete with cobblestone streets, candy-coloured colonial buildings and yachts bobbing in a peaceful harbour, resembles the French Riveria.
Cambodia’s first seaside resort was, from the early 1900's until the 1960's, a thriving town for the rich French elite. Following independence from France, Kep became the most exclusive and prestigious beach town in Cambodia. Many large and luxurious villas lined the beach front.
Ancient ruins and tropical forest amidst palm fringed golden beaches, Tayrona National Park is simply breathtaking and a fitting end to any trip to Colombia! Close to Santa Marta where the Sierra Nevada coastal range plunges into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, Tayrona covers some 150km² of Colombia’s most spectacular coastline.
Magnificent golden beaches fringed with tropical rainforest, Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula in the north-west corner of the country was once the destination of choice for hippies and surfers. Today, large resorts dot much of the coastline yet travel away from the towns and you will find gorgeous boutique hotels tucked above miles of unspoilt beaches.
The coastal town of Marsa Matruh is a top-rated summer resort. The town founded by Alexander on his way to the oracle at Siaw served as a port for Anthony and Cleopatra's doomed fleet. West of the town, is Cleopatra’s Beach, though rocks and a sudden drop in the seabed make this a difficult place to swim, the royal queen herself is said to have bathed nearby.
Bata lies on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Rio Munia, and the town is a transport hub and port, from which ferries sail to Malabo and Douala and is a charming colonial town with many attractions and plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels.
A lively cosmopolitan city, downtown you’ll find evidence of its colonial past when this town was first the British naval station of Port Clarence on lease from Spain, later renamed Santa Isabel when it was returned to Madrid.
One of the unique natural phenomena on earth, this crevice in the earth’s crust is part of the Great Rift Valley allowing the waters of the River Jordan to flow southwards into a lozenge-shaped lake at its lowest point.
The ancient city of Safed is considered one of the Four Holy Cities of Judaism. The Old City has changed little in recent centuries, but its ancient lanes lead to several small and medium-sized historic synagogues each more beautiful than the next. Safed’s altitude at 3,000 feet, is highest in Israel and experiences crystal bright light making this place a haven for artists.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa is a city interweaving a dozen cities into a sprawling metropolis home to more than four million Israelis, and is one of the world’s few cities that is also a major Mediterranean beach resort, with nine miles of beaches, and a fourteen-mile long promenade lined with umbrellas, umbrellas, lifeguard towers, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants.
Four hours from the capital, Aqaba is a beach town with Jordanian appeal. Equipped with local watering holes, water sports, and a historical flair, here you will discover a quiet place for those looking to revisit the past.
An outstanding natural wonder the Dead Sea is a mix of beach living and religious history. Here you can soak up the sun while Biblical scholars get their daily dose of religious history. The leading attraction is the warm, soothing, super salty water. Ten times saltier than seawater, but rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others.
Lamu is a peaceful tropical island where life is lived at a relaxed rhythm. A place whose history is as mysterious and fascinating as the winding streets of its medieval stone town.
Mfangano Island is a large, mountainous island on Lake Victoria, south of Kisumu and Homa Bay. Most of the rock art on Mfangano island consists of geometric paintings believed to have been made by Twa hunter-gatherers between 2000 and 4000 years ago.
Resting gently on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Batroun built by the Phoenicians is well known for its famous lemonade, beaches, pubs, fish, architecture, and numerous historical ruins. Wander the streets between the old houses, enjoy well-tended gardens, peek into ancient churches and delight at archaeological and historical landmarks.
Also known as Nosy Ambariovato, meaning the island surrounded by rocks. Nosy Komba is known for its many small and inhabited beaches as well as for its emerald like water and is a small jewel of nature, increasingly visited like its big sister Nosy Be. The island also has a diverse range of flora and fauna with over 188 species of tropical flora.
Chintheche is a settlement in the Nkhata Bay District of the Northern Region of Malawi. It is on the shore of Lake Malawi and is approximately 40 kilometres south of Nkhata Bay. A concentration of small lodges, each having their own beaches, is found around Chintheche. These are some of the best beaches on the lake.
The world’s first freshwater national park and a World Heritage Site is at Cape Maclear. The park includes a land area around the cape and bay as well as the Lake and islands up to 100 metres offshore. Here is a veritable aquarium of tropical fish providing a colourful kaleidoscopic display.
Off the eastern shore of the Lake is Likoma Island: a Malawian territory in Mozambican waters. Historically it was the setting for the headquarters of the University Mission to Central Africa (Livingstone’s mission) in the 1880s; This caused it to be retained by Malawi when the Lake was divided politically after World War II.
One of the world’s most beautiful islands, namely Langkawi, is situated just off the North Eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of a cluster of 99 islands with many of the worlds’ most beautiful beaches, mangroves rich in flora and fauna, ultra-cheap duty-free shopping and fascinating legends.
Many experienced travellers argue that Pulau Perhentian, meaning 'stopover islands', are the most beautiful of Malaysia’s many islands. Covered by unspoilt jungle, windswept palms, powdery white beaches and surrounded by sapphire blue waters, Pulau Perhentian is a sanctuary for fishermen, migratory birds and of course, discerning holiday-makers.
Redang is located 45km off the Northeast coast of Peninsula Malaysia and is the biggest of a group of nine protected islands scattered in the South China Sea. The island offers crystal lucid waters and numerous dive sites. Sheltered within the Pulau Redang Marine Park, the waters here are rich in marine life.
560 kilometres north-east of Mauritius lies Rodrigues: the jewel in the crown of the Mascarene Islands – an 18 kilometre by 8-kilometre pearl surrounded by a crystalline blue lagoon twice its size.
The East coast with its succession of beaches is undoubtedly one of the island’s most beautiful coastlines set alongside emerald coloured lagoons. Punctuated with numerous luxurious hotels and authentic villages, this coast has the particularity of being exposed to the constant south-east trade winds. The several kilometres long Belle Mare beach is its main attraction.
In Mauritius, when we speak of “the north”, Grand Bay is the first thing that comes to mind. Grand Bay, through sustained development, has become the premier tourist destination of Mauritius.
The wildest and most beautiful landscapes of the island are in the South: sandy beaches bordered by cliffs carved by waves, rocky shores, sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see, and mountainous terrains offering magnificent panoramas. The integrated tourist area of Bel Ombre is also a model of its kind.
The largest seaside resort in Morocco, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean near the foot of the Atlas Mountains, destroyed and then rebuilt following an earthquake in 1960, is the most modern of the country’s cities. Hike to the Kasbah a set of fortifications perched up atop a hill in the city’s oldest districts, and relish in the breathtaking view across the city
Previously a former Spanish enclave, Sidi Ifni is the ideal starting point for a hike or a bivouac to discover the surrounding Berber villages. Between the sea, the mountain and the vast desert of the south, built on a rocky plateau, the town overlooks the Atlantic.
The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of five idyllic islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue. The Archipelago is genuinely one of the most beautiful destinations on the African continent. The area is now protected as a conservation area and national park, including the coral reefs surrounding the islands, making it the only official marine reserve in the country.
The island has interesting historical and fascinating sites, hosting one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique, after Ilha de Mozambique. As early as AD600 Arab traders had established contact with the local inhabitants and subsequently found fortified trading posts along the coastline. Via these trading posts slaves, gold and ivory were shipped to the Arab world.
Lake Niassa is the 9th largest freshwater lake in the world, the third largest in Africa and one of the world’s most bio-diverse. Though utterly stunning it is still only visited by a handful of tourists heading to Malawi with the lake forming the border between the two countries. It has been declared a reserve and Ramsar site, protecting its abundant species and natural habitats.
Punta d’Ouro, located 120 km South of Maputo and just 30 minutes from the South African border.
The coastline from Ponta do Oura to Inhaca Island is saturated with the most beautiful and pristine hard and soft coral reefs, home to a bewildering variety of game and reef fish, turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and rays.
The Quirimbas Archipelago stretches from Pemba to the Rovuma River, which forms a border between Tanzania and Mozambique. The archipelago encompasses 32 tropical, coral islands and has an enormous cultural and historical value, influenced by Arabian, Portuguese and African cultures.
Diving in the Mergui Archipelago
Searching for an unconventional destination for world-class diving? The unexplored remote waters of the Mergui Archipelago could be just the thing for you. There are a choice of live aboard boats to suite most budgets and experience levels.
The beautiful Ngapali Beach stretches for over 3 km along the northern coast. During the dry season from October through May Ngapali becomes a popular beach resort for locals and visitors alike, offering clean sand and clear water and peace and quiet for all. Easily reachable via daily flights from Yangon, you can fish, swim, horse ride, play golf or just relax on the fantastic beach.
Myanmar’s newest beach resort is located a 5 hour drive through the Ayeyarwady Delta from Yangon. Despite the long journey to get there it is well worth the effort as a 15 kilometre stretch of pure white sand and clear waters await you. There a couple of boutique resorts here but not a lot else, making Ngwe Saung one of those few places in Asia a true beach escape.
The ‘Skeleton Coast’ is renowned for being isolated, inhospitable and steeped in a spooky history. Over the years, many ships have run aground on this coast and these ships or ‘skeletons’ can still be seen lying deserted and corroding along the beaches forming a dramatic landscape.
Called the Bay of Whales, Walvis Bay is situated on the Atlantic coast. The largest deep-sea harbour in Namibia was discovered by the Portuguese sailor Diaz, who explored the West African coast from 1482 to 1489 and sailed into the bay for the first time in 1487.
Towering sandstone cliffs, dinosaur footprints, mysterious rock engravings and some of Namibia’s most rare and valuable game species are synonymous with the Waterberg Plateau Park.
Famous for its wild donkeys, who have the right of way, Karpaz Peninsula, densely populated in Roman times, is the Cyprus of old, a land unspoilt by the savage hand of modern development, and where Mother Nature dots the landscape before tapering off into the blue waters of The Mediterranean.
Strolling the wiggling alleys home to half-derelict townhouses, washing lines strung between window shutters with peeling paint, and the occasional strutting rooster, here the scent of yesteryear is evoked towards the centre, watched over by the Gothic pile of the Selimiye Mosque and the Ottoman bulk of the Büyük Han.
Remote Masirah Island known for its unique natural wealth, remains mostly off the tourist radar. The largest settlement is the city of Marsaïs famous as a large textile centre where you will discover several high quality but inexpensive historical textile manufactories.
Thirty-Five kilometres from Sur at the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula, lies a unique natural landscape, of golden deserts, unspoiled shorelines, lush green oases and rugged mountains. Ras Al Jinz is world renowned for the nesting of the endangered green turtle-Cheloniamydas and has the most critical nesting concentration on the Indian Ocean.
Sixty kilometres from the city in the south-eastern corner of the country lies one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders. A sizeable tidal embayment, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid, is recognised by UNESCO as a natural reserve, its ecosystem is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.
Located on the islands west coast, the small town of Saint-Leu not only appeals to holidaymakers in search of leisure and relaxation but also attracts lovers of cultural heritage.
Boasting a pleasant sandy beach with shade provided by Australian pines, a peaceful lagoon in which to enjoy a swim and a renowned surf spot.
Part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu in the west of Rwanda is surrounded by magnificent mountains and has deep emerald green waters covering a surface area of 2,700 km2. It is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest in Africa.
Príncipe, with a port capital in the north, and a vast uninhabited forest in the south, you will discover on your arrival, nature rules here. Santo António, its delightful small capital, and pretty location sits astride a river that empties into a narrow bay, creating an emerald isle accented by fantastic beaches.
On the larger island, São Tomé is on the Lagoa Azul lagoon. Oval in shape, the island lies one hundred and forty-five kilometres, northeast of its sister island. Distinguished by Pico Cao Grande, a skyscraper-like volcanic rock, the Ôbo Natural Park, a biodiverse jungle preserve, covers much of São Tomé.
An archipelago of 176 coral islands, 40 kilometres offshore from Jizan in the Red Sea, the Farasan Islands are considered one of the crown jewels of Saudi tourism. The sea and reefs surrounding the Islands are a diver’s paradise in which precious marine life remains mostly unaffected by tourism or divers.
The twin towns of Cap Skirring and Kabrousse are placed at Senegal’s extreme southwestern edge and along one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the country.
The Casamance region dominated by the river of the same name winds its way through the picturesque and wildlife-rich landscape. You’ll discover the country’s French influence is strong here, engrained in the local cuisine.
Alphonse, the principal island of the Alphonse Group, is a small triangular island barely 1.2km wide, sheltered by a spectacular coral reef.
Located 400km southwest of Mahé, Alphonse was initially developed around the coconut industry and was also mined for guano (decomposed bird droppings). The island remains an important nesting ground for turtles and colonies of seabirds.
Situated within the Ste Anne Marine National Park, Cerf is Mahé’s closest neighbour and offers excellent swimming and snorkelling as well as memorable sunbathing on several great beaches.
Cerf is a popular picnic venue with Mahé residents on account of its fine beaches and good swimming.
Chauve Souris is a private island only a few hundred metres from the dream beach of Côte d’Or at Anse Volbert on Praslin, which at low tide is merely a walk away.
Leased from the government by a Count Spani in the 1960's, this granite outcrop takes its name from that of the flying fox but was also once known as Jeanette Island.
Cousine Cousin’s close neighbour, Cousine is situated approximately 6km off the west coast of Praslin and offers an exclusive island experience with complete privacy found in very few other places on earth.
Denis lies 95km north of Victoria, Mahé and 45km from Bird Island, making it one of the most northerly of all the Seychelles' islands.
Of all the islands in the Amirantes Group, Desroches is the closest to Mahé (230km southwest) and the only island in the group offering accommodation. This coral island measures 5km long and 1.5km wide, boasting 14km of immaculate beaches that fringe a lush grove of coconut palms interspersed by casuarina trees.
Frégate is situated approximately 55km from Mahé and is the most distant of the granitic Inner Island group.
Frégate was a popular pirate haunt during the latter part of the 17th century and stories persist of treasure hidden somewhere on its 280 hectares.
La Digue is a close neighbour to Praslin and to its satellite islands of Félicité, Marianne and the Sisters Islands, La Digue is the fourth largest island in Seychelles.
La Digue takes its name from one of the vessels in explorer Marion Dufresne's fleet, sent by the French to explore Seychelles' granitic islands in 1768.
Praslin, with a population of 6,500 people, is Seychelles’ second largest island. It lies 45km to the northeast of Mahé and measures 10km by 3.7km. A leisurely tour around the island by car will take approximately 2 hours
Round Island (Praslin) Standing on the coral reef at the entrance to Baie Ste. Anne, Round possesses few beaches but waters renowned for the excellent snorkelling.
The Arabs used Silhouette as a base for their dhows, probably as early as the 9th century, a fact attested to by the ruins of Arab tombs at Anse Lascars.
Silhouette, together with North Island, was the very first Seychelles' island to be seen by the ships of the Sharpeigh expedition of 1609. It would have to wait until the early 19th century for a permanent settlement.
Scenically beautiful, Cape Town is a captivating mix of stylish modern and old-world elegance. Dazzling hotels, world-class dining and stunning vistas merge seamlessly with dynamic student suburbs and vibrant nightlife. Malay and African heritage is evident in the cuisine, traditions and entertainment while the architecture reveals an active Dutch, German and English flavour and style.
Set in the picturesque mountain and sea landscape of the Hermanus area in the Western Cape, the exotic, stone and thatch retreat of Grootbos Garden Lodge is one of two lodges in the private 2,500 hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve. Perched on a slope of the Duineveld Mountain, Garden Lodge is surrounded by multi-hued flowers and lush fynbos foliage.
The Garden Route is an area of natural wilderness with endless expanses of untamed forest and pristine beaches. Majestic mountains line the roads and waterfalls cascade into blue-green seas from dramatic cliffs. Perched on the edge of a lagoon, the town of Knysna was established in the gold rush of 1804 and is a hub of local arts and crafts.
Bentota is a small beach front town less than two hours drive south of Colombo, located on the southern tip of the Galle District of the Southern Province. Made up of several beautiful beaches it is a popular destination to partake in watersports such as wind surfing and water skiing.
Once the chief port of Ceylon, Galle is a city rich in history and oozes colonial charm. It is heavily influenced by the Dutch who controlled the city during the 17th century. Galle has both old and new parts with the old dominated by the majestic Galle Fort which spans over 90 acres and is home to many churches, mosques, temples as well as both residential and commercial buildings.
Originally a popular traveller’s hangout, Hikkaduwa has transformed over recent years and experienced much regeneration to its beaches and coral gardens. More luxurious resorts and boutique hotels have spring up alongside the restaurants, bars and shops that line the main streets.
Located just north of Colombo’s international airport, Negombo is a friendly beachfront town, home to a good selection of hotels, restaurants and shops. Negombo's old town boasts some interesting cultural sites including The Dutch Fort, St Mary’s Church and Anguurukaramalla Temple.
Trincomalee is an interesting town that is once again beginning to flourish after being out of bounds due to Sri Lanka’s civil war. Since the end of the conflict the eastern cities and beach areas are once again open for tourism with new boutique hotels opening up along the coast.
Along the Sudanese coast, the warm waters of the Red Sea and the isolation on this stretch of beach, produce a spectacular array of marine life. The water temperatures further reduce the planktonic and algal blooms that are common further North.
Mafia Island and its chain of small islets lie approximately 120 km south of Dar es Salaam and 20 km offshore from the eastern extent of the Rufiji is one of the largest delta systems in Africa. To the east of Mafia Island is the Indian Ocean. The main island of Mafia is about 48 km long and 17 km wide at its widest point.
Zanzibar is the semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres off the coast of the mainland and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja.
Remote but accessible aptly describes the Thai island of Kood, on which Soneva Kiri is set amidst the lush tropical rainforest, off the south-east coast of the Gulf of Siam. International guests are personally met on arrival at Bangkok’s airport and transferred to the resort’s own airplane for the one-hour flight to the Soneva Kiri airfield.
Nestled halfway between the busier resorts of Phuket and Krabi are the Koh Yao islands. Located in Phang Nga, world famous for its distinctive limestone formations and unspoiled beaches the bay has achieved global acclaim through the James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun" and the more recent movie "The Beach" staring Leonardo DiCaprio.
It's hard to consider a more ignored capital city than the tiny seaport of Banjul. It sits on its island brooding, crossed by sand-blown streets and dotted with fading colonial structures. It's also the least-populated capital on the African mainland.
This 4.8-kilometre curve of the finely grained beach is considered to be one of the best beachfront in The Gambia, and here it seems to have managed to escape much of the earlier coastal erosion.
Situated on a peninsula, Bodrum is one of the most chic and European resorts in Turkey, with its historical architecture, fantastic beaches, fishing villages and trendy nightclubs.
Bodrum is also the yachting centre of Turkey and its world class marina is a favourite destination for yachts that cruise the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
Giresun acknowledged as the pearl of the Black Sea is a lovely coastal city where you will see every shade of green and find the opportunity of becoming one within nature of the valleys.
Sinop one of the most beautiful harbours on Turkey's Black Sea coast as evidenced by civilisation dating back to 4500 BC, is also the birthplace of the third-century BC philosopher, Diogenes the Cynic.
Dibba town is a geopolitical oddity, sitting snugly between orange-tinged, rugged mountains and the sea, and straddling not only two different emirates but across the border into Oman's Musandam Peninsula.
This 87square kilometre desert island in the country's remote far west, with craggy interiors, swoops down to acacia-studded plains formerly the private retreat of UAE founding father Sheikh Zayed. His resolve and love of animals have inspired him to turn it into a wildlife reserve and bring together native species back from the brink of extinction.
Con Dao is a chain made up of 16 islands in south east Vietnam. It is best known for its soft golden sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, lush mangrove forests and beautiful coral reefs.
With its cobbled back streets full of small tailor shops, cafes, old merchant houses and temples Hoi An is quite simply a must see on any itinerary to Vietnam! So many towns in Vietnam were destroyed in various wars but the ancient town of Hoi An, in the past also referred to as Faifoo, Faicfo or Hai Pho, managed to remain largely in tact.
Nha Trang is best known to the Vietnamese as being one of their largest fishing ports. Now however it is better known for its fine beach and being the resort of choice for well heeled locals.
The quiet fishing town of Phan Thiet has a colourful harbour full of boats and a bustling market but the main reason to visit this area is for the fine beaches on the Mui Ne peninsula, which stretch for more than 16 kilometres. Situated just a four drive from Ho Chi Minh City, the peninsula is host to a number of small, quiet, charming resorts.
Situated close to the Cambodian border, the island of Phu Quoc offers an alternative beach option for those wishing to get off the beaten track. Although the island is beginning to see more visitors, development is slow and the beautiful sandy beaches and pristine waters remain unspoilt.
Located in a serene bay on the island’s west coast, Chen Sea Resort & Spa is an idyllic retreat from which to relax and soak up the tranquil atmosphere.
Located around an hour’s drive south from Nha Trang airport in the spectacular conservation area of Vinh Hy Bay, the Amanoi is a very welcome addition (Sep 2013) to Vietnam’s luxury hotel scene. Backed by a national park and overlooking a marine nature reserve, Amanoi embraces nature while providing a serene beachside retreat.
Located just over an hour’s drive south of Cam Ranh Airport and about 2 hours from Nha Trang, Vinh Hy Bay is ideally situated on a spectacular part of coastline on the edge of Nui Chua National Park.
From the beauty of the desert to the fantastic light of the sun, facing the ocean, and bordered by vast beaches of about ten kilometres, Dakhla is considered a living paradise all year round.
At the edge of the vast Atlantic Ocean, Laayoune called the City of Sand, welcomes sightseers into a natural and relaxed setting. In less than a century, Laayoune has set itself up as the capital of the Sahara region, and developed rapidly, taking on the economic and administrative role of the Saharan Provinces.
Lagouira, a tiny village on the Atlantic coast, is located at the extreme south of the Sahara, sharing a border with Mauritania, and has one of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Coast.
Tarfaya, a jewel along the Atlantic coast between the ocean and desert is a perennial small fishing port that faces the Canary Islands, with a history dating back to more than two and a half centuries.
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