2016’s top sporting getaways

All sports fans will know how following their favorite team or athlete is a great way to explore some exotic global destinations. Not only does it provide you with an excuse to go to places that you’d never usually consider, but the carnival atmosphere of travelling with a group of supporters can be a lot of fun too. So here are some great sporting events to consider attending in 2016.

Olympic Games in Brazil

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Although the recent Olympic Games in London was a massive success, when the historic athletic event comes to Brazil it’s sure to ramp up the fun factor. Rio 2016 takes place for just over two weeks in August, and will be the first time that the summer Olympics have taken place in South America.

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its carnivals, bossa nova and its beautiful beaches, and will definitely provide one of the most memorable Olympics yet. Key moments to look out for include Usain Bolt aiming for a ‘triple-triple’ in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, as well as our own Bradley Wiggins looking to help the British cycling team overcome recent lack of form by achieving a further gold in Rio.

Golf at the Australian Open

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For something a little more genteel, but no less dramatic, the Australian Open will be held at the historic Royal Sydney Golf Club at the end of the year. It will be the fifteenth time that the venue has hosted the prestigious golfing event and many will be visiting the Coral site for the latest golf odds to see whether it looks likely that it will be Rory McIlroy for the Open Championship next year?

The golfing star has already been in great form with a Race to Dubai victory, but the Australian Open has featured many Australian victors, with this year’s winner Matt Jones keen to repeat his recent excellent performance.

Visiting the Superbowl in California

Marshawn_Lynch_and_Mike_Williams

And finally, for the sports fan who thinks they’ve seen everything, then a visit to the upcoming Superbowl in California this February should provide more than a little entertainment.

The Levi’s Stadium will hold a capacity crowd of 68,000 on 7 February where two teams compete for Superbowl glory at the end of yet another fascinating season. It’s still too early to say who will be in the final, but Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks have been showing great form. And regardless of who’s in the final, it should provide the perfect excuse to get a little Californian sunshine this winter.

Avoid Airport Stress: Use Our Top Tips

Mumbai_Airport-900x440Stress, strain and a queue longer than the Great Wall of China – you must be trying to catch another flight in the airport.

Indeed, there are few greater stresses than heading to Gatwick, Stansted or the thousands of other flight hubs around the world. These are the places where you’ll see gruff men break into floods of tears while businesspeople tear their hair out and parents allow children to run wild because, really, who cares?

The airport is considered to be more nerve-shredding than moving house by some, but don’t reach for your Pepto Bismol quite yet.

If you take a look around the airport, you’ll see a few calms amidst the storm. Some people sit in departure lounges like they were the very concept of Zen itself. What’s their secret?

Preparation – it’s the key to a great trip. With that in mind we’ve come up with a few top tips to help you chill out when you’ve got to head to the airport.

Parking woes be gone

Parking at an airport is a bit like trying to speak to Vernon Kay – no matter how you approach it, you’re not going to have a good time.

You’ll drive around and around, desperately searching for a spot. Other drivers will speed straight into a place only a few feet away from you. Eventually you’ll abandon your car outside your terminal and hope it’s not been towed by the authorities until your return.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but finding a parking spot at an airport is undoubtedly irritating before you’ve even entered the terminal.

To alleviate your woes, some airports allow third-parties to help. Edinburgh airport parking, for instance, has been made a lot easier thanks to expert valets on hand. Give them a look and you’ll be able to reach your terminal without farting around in airport car parks.

Pastimes to pass the time

We’ve all got hobbies. Some people like to collect stamps, others are satisfied with a metal detector and a wide, open field. But will your hobbies serve you well while you’re waiting in a departure lounge?

If the answer is yes, then you’re set. If no, then here’s our tip: bring as many hobbies, books and films with you as possible.

Airport StressBut if you’re still not satisfied, you could always vie for an upgrade. Many airports feature VIP departure lounges, the features of which include

  • Luxury seating
  • Widescreen televisions
  • Complimentary drinks
  • Newspapers
  • A games room for the kids
  • And much more

They’re ideal stress relievers, so give them a look. You’ll be able to start your holiday before you’ve even hopped on a flight.


Image by gruntzooki Under Creative Common License.

The Best Travel Apps of 2015

Even though we’re now neck-deep in the age of information, we still love to travel for a taste of the unfamiliar and to see what lies beyond the horizon. Technology has virtually revolutionised the way we travel, with apps available to do just about everything from booking hotel rooms to chatting with other like-minded travellers. On that note, the following are six must-have free apps that have enhanced millions of people’s travel experiences in 2015.

TravelSmart
Android and iOS compatible
Free

This app uses GPS to provide you with a list of emergency service numbers sorted by destination. It also lists approved hospitals in 129 different countries that have been vetted by travel insurance companies. This will prove to be extremely useful if you happen to fall ill in a foreign country.

For example, if you were to fall ill with food poisoning, you can quickly look up the nearest hospital. After all, you don’t want to be scrambling for directions to the nearest hospital in a language that you don’t speak while your stomach is punishing you. Here is more information about a specific example of just how unpleasant this can be. Speaking of which, another handy feature included in the app is a translator dictionary with first aid terms and common medications in a number of languages.

Kayak
Android and iOS compatible
Freeflight_Kayak

This app can find you deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals. It can also track flights and send you price alerts, as well as filter flights for times and other preferences. It even has a feature that manages your travel itinerary. This app is a smart traveller’s Swiss Army knife for its usefulness.

TripIt
Android and iOS compatible
Freeflight

This trip planner app is the ultimate in efficiency. It’s designed to organise your flights, hotels, rental cars, reservation information, and confirmation numbers into one easy to read and easily accessible trip itinerary. It even supplies you with weather updates and maps.

Google Maps
Android and iOS compatible
Free

You should have this app regardless of whether you’re traveling out of the country or not. It’s just that useful. It is also the most accurate and up-to-date of all the map apps currently on the market. It offers voice-guided navigation for drivers, walkers, cyclists, and bus riders. It provides 3D images, street views of every location along the way, and conventional map views.

With its added functionality, you can also find establishments for shopping, dining, entertainment and medical services and gain access to extra info including their hours of operation, reviews, and phone numbers. It even provides you up-to-the-minute traffic alerts so you can find the fastest route to your destination.

Google Translate
Android and iOS compatible
Free

Google Translate is an entire phrasebook in your pocket. You can type in either your language or a different language and have it translate the phrase for you. This app translates 58 languages over text and allows you to hear up to 23 different languages worth of audio translation. Perfect for asking for directions, finding out where you are on a foreign map, directing a taxi driver to a location, ordering at restaurants, or shopping for something specific.

Foodspotting
Android and iOS compatible
Free

foodspottingredesign2This food finding app alerts you to where you can find your favourite dishes in almost any restaurant. Craving dumplings? This app will tell you where to find them. Google Maps shows you where the restaurants are, but Foodspotting tells you where exactly you can get your dumpling fix. It also includes drool-worthy photos and a feature where you can see what other Foodspotter members recommend. Seriously, check this app out.

Although some of the above have been around for quite a while, they still remain at the top of the pack when it comes to the best-rated travel apps that are available on the market. If you haven’t already got the above downloaded on your phone, it’s time to add them to your collection and travel smarter as a result.

Islands in Asia

With world-class diving and surfing, a good variety of archaeological, historical and cultural attractions, and a good vary of nice accommodations, Bali consistently wins several travel awards. This stunning island has something to offer each traveller, from young back-packers to terribly wealthy folks.

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Phi Phi IslandsThanks to the well-known picture ‘The Beach’ that came out in 2000, the gripping scenery of the Phi Phi islands came right into the cinemas and our homes. The Phi Phi islands are two islands creating up this fabulous paradise in Thailand.

Coral reefs and plenty of totally different forms of colourful marine life make Phi Phi islands one among the foremost well-liked travel destinations for traveler worldwide.

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Breathtakingly stunning, pristine and just about deserted, Phu Quoc is one among the foremost stunning islands in Asia worth visiting! With mesmerizing turquoise waters, cashmere white sands and sprawling jungles, Phu Quoc is unquestionably an unforgettable place to go to in Asia!

Sipadan Island

Situated off the east coast of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, Sipadan Island is one of the best destinations for scuba diving anywhere in the globe. The coral reef with its rich marine life and the beautiful sandy beaches make this island very attractive to tourists worldwide.

There are no restaurants, so make sure you bring your own lunch and snacks with you. And don’t forget to take along some clear water or any other drinks. To preserve the island in a pristine state, all resorts on Sipadan Island have been closed.Sipadan Island

Bali

Being known as the Island of the Gods, Bali boasts its varied landscape of mountains and hills, gorgeous sandy beaches and rugged coastlines, barren volcanic hillsides and luxurious rice terraces, that make it one among the foremost stunning islands in Asia!


Image by travel, Eric Pesik,eddy_ Under Creative Common License.

Captivating Asian National Parks

Asia has several wild places, however a number of the foremost lovely and spectacular are protected and given national park status in order to protect the flora and fauna of the region. The subsequent national parks are among the foremost celebrated in Asia. Folks come to visit them from near and far in order to appreciate the unique qualities of the land and everything on it.Check out the captivating Asian national parks:

Masada National Park, Israel

Masada National ParkThis park combines compelling scenery with historic cultural attractions. Settled above than the Dead Sea high atop a plateau of the eastern Judaean Desert, the Masada National Park is one amongst the foremost popularly visited sites in the country. The traditional site of Herod the Great’s palaces, it had been additionally an area of siege and the mass suicide of Jewish rebels. As such, the park is visited by students and archaeologists similarly as tourists.

Jiuzhai Valley National Park, China

This extraordinarily beautiful park is famous for its enchanting blue-green lakes and waterfalls. Located in the Min Shan mountain range of Northern Sichuan, this south-western locale is a breathtaking park because of its scenery but it is also home to stunning flora like orchids and revered wildlife like the Giant Panda. This park was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, Japan

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National ParkAs the most visited national park of Japan, this celebration region is home to Mount Fuji, the country’s tallest mountain. This mountain, actually a volcano, attracts Japanese travelers as well as tourists from around the world. The hot springs of Hakone are also nearby as is the Fuji Five Lakes district that is splendidly scenic and revered for its beauty.

Sundarbans National Park, India

This West Bengal park is world known collectively of the last remaining wild places. Remote and denoted by coastal mangrove swamps, the park is especially known for its resident tigers–many of that are selected as man-eaters. As one of the wildest places on the world, this park is, nevertheless, one amongst the known wild-life sanctuaries in India. The national park has an area of 328,680 acres. The Sundarbans was established as a park in 1984. Its nearest city is Kolkata.

Goreme National Park, Turkey

Goreme National ParkFamed for its ‘fairy chimneys,” the other-worldly landscape of Goreme National Park is set in Central Anatolia in the historical region of Cappadocia. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the park is noted for its extraordinary rock sites and subterranean cities. The ancient frescoed churches of the rocks ar among its major attractions that lure travelers from around the world.


Image by SteFou! Under Creative Common License.

Five Restaurants in Beijing to Tingle your Taste Buds

So you’ve booked your flights to Beijing and you’re busy planning your itinerary, and okay, I know you’re excited about getting to visit the typical tourist spots. It’s no wonder when the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, Lama Temple and the National Art Museum are such breathtakingly beautiful spots with real cultural and historical significance.

However, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on the amazing cuisine and food culture in Beijing. You might “think” that you know Chinese food from your local restaurants, but the world of delicious and authentic Chinese cuisine is very different from the typical watery Chop Suey or boring fried rice dish.

1. Garden At Lama Temple Garden At Lama Temple

First stop, since you’ll most probably be visiting Lama Temple, you really must sample the dumplings, a staple of Northern Chinese cuisine.

What makes this place unique is the fact that you can also take cooking classes. They’re fun, delicious and you get to go home with an extra skill under your belt.

2. BeiJing Haidilao Hot Pot (Wangfujing) haidilao-wangfujing-branch

If you’ve never tried a Chinese Hot Pot before, then you’re in for a real treat. It’s basically something like a Chinese fondue; a simmering pot of stock at the centre of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept bubbling away, fresh ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Then, it’s a bit of a free-for-all.

It’s a warming, communal dining experience, so make sure you bring some friends (you could do it solo, but it’s not as fun).
If you ask nicely, their waiters will even put on a show of pulling noodles right at your table. Now that’s fresh!

3. TRB Bites 

If your dining style is less slurping down noodles and finer dining with fine wines, Beijing can still cater to your desires.

TRB Bites at The Courtyard is a newly opened spot with Belgian restauranteur Ignace Lecleir at the helm. It is the highly anticipated, more relaxed, more chic and less formal little brother to Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB), Lecleir’s first outlet.

If you’re visiting the Forbidden Temple towards the end of the day, you should definitely make a point of eating at TRB Bites. It’s close enough that dining in this restaurant affords you a stunning view of the palace walls.

4. Little Yunnan

little-yunnan

This place is at the complete opposite end of the scale, but their food is no less delicious. The authentic unpretentious, hearty food is served in brightly coloured, informal and somewhat kitsch surroundings, so you can eat to your heart’s content and not worry too much about decorum.

I’d suggest a morning at the National Art Museum, lunch at Little Yunnan followed by a visit to the Forbidden Palace as this little restaurant is handily situated right between the two attractions. Watch out for their home-made rice wine!

5. Jing Yaa Tang

We’ve reached the end of our culinary tour around Beijing, but I’ve saved the best for last. How could one come to Beijing without at least sampling some “Peking Duck”? And Jing Yaa Tang’s duck is probably the most sublime example of its kind, served amongst exquisitely opulent décor and tableware. One can observe the masters at work, roasting the duck over open flames, and this translates into skin that has been crisped to perfection with a subtle smoky flavour.

In China, food is more than just sustenance; it is nourishment for the soul; it can have restorative and healing properties; it is an essential expression of one’s taste and identity. When food plays such an important role in Chinese culture, your experience would not be complete without fully immersing yourself in the food culture.

So, as soon as you book your flights to Beijing make sure you check out at least one of these restaurants, as I am confident that your belly will thank you for it!


Featured Image by whatleydude under creative common license

Where to Run to: 8 Best Marathons Outside the U.S.

The best thing about running is you can do it anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. Running is an international language and a universal sport, and it only continues to grow in popularity. Besides the more than 1,100 marathons within U.S. borders, there are thousands of organized runs around the world, most of which are in stunningly beautiful locations. If you love to run — or even if you just love to travel — here are eight outstanding marathons you’ve got to race to believe.

Marathon1. Jungfrau Marathon

Switzerland has little natural scenery but for its sharp, gray and white Alpine mountains, so that is precisely what runners must traverse in the Swiss Jungfrau Marathon. You should enjoy the first six miles of flat ground while you can, because it won’t take long before the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains have you wishing you completed more hill training. Fortunately, as with every marathon, the finish line makes the ordeal entirely worth it — especially as you catch your breath on a mountain top at 1,300 feet in elevation.

2. Patagonian International Marathon

Patagonia is beautiful in a bleak and lonesome sort of way, which makes this marathon through the Patagonian wilds especially stunning. Running along turquoise rivers and lakes, jagged mountains, and bright white glaciers in this deserted landscape provides a sense of calm you’re unlikely to find in other races.

3. Sparkasse Marathon der 3 Lander

Most likely, the reason you are interested in international marathons is the marriage of your two biggest passions: running and travel. Fortunately, you can achieve more with less by racing in the Sparkasse Marathon, which tours no fewer than three countries: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The race is beautiful and mercifully flat, which allows for stunning views across Lake Constance.

4. The Big Five Marathon

Today, winning the Big Five has nothing to do with hunting majestic African beasts. Instead, the Big Five Marathon takes place on Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa, meaning you will pass through the habitats of elephants, zebras, rhinos, gazelles, giraffes, buffalo, and more — with nothing separating you from the animals. The trail run is exhilarating and challenging, not to mention a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see wild animals in their natural space.

5. Niagara Falls International Marathon

Niagara Falls is a destination perfect for lovers, for families, and, perhaps surprisingly, for runners. The Niagara Falls International Marathon takes racers up and around the Niagara region’s most beautiful parks, providing views of the world’s largest waterfalls that are sure to get your heart racing — if it isn’t already. Then, after the race is over, you can tour Niagara Falls at a more leisurely pace.

6. Marathon du Medoc

Runners who enjoy food and drink as much as a long, challenging trail should already be racing to the Marathon du Medoc. Throughout this race, you will encounter nourishment stations equipped with atypical (but delectable) fare, including oysters, rare cheeses, meats, and the region’s award-winning wines. Many runners even dress up to match the race’s annual theme, giving the whole race an inimitably fun carnival feel.

Marathon7. Athens Marathon

You must know the story of the first marathon (in 490 B.C.E. a messenger ran non-stop from Marathon to Athens to proclaim Athenian victory, only to drop dead upon arrival) and you must desire to follow that first path with your own feet. Fortunately, you can in the Athens Marathon, and you’ll have thousands of proud Greeks cheering you on the whole way. Hopefully with that kind of support, you’ll survive it, unlike the first guy.

8. Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon

Equal parts relaxing Caribbean vacation and invigorating 26.2-mile race, the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is a small, friendly, and fabulous race around the tropical island. The staff is incredibly friendly, and the course is fast and flat, so in no time you’ll be sipping an ice-cold cocktail and enjoying the crystal blue waters of this island paradise.

Bonus: World Marathon Challenge

If one international marathon doesn’t make you break a sweat, you may be ready for the World Marathon Challenge. In just seven days, runners must travel to the seven continents and run in seven consecutive 26.2-mile races to earn the coveted award of around-the-world marathoner. The 2015 winner, David Gething from Hong Kong, was able to complete the challenge in a total of 25 hours and 36 minutes — but I’m sure you’ll do better once you complete the previous eight outstanding international races.


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A TASTE OF REFINEMENT AND MORE AT THE MONTCALM CLUB

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford”, said Samuel Johnson. London has been the torch-bearer of the British culture, refinement and history throughout the ages and continues to uphold its heritage even in a modern era with respect to the hospitality business. The city abounds in five star establishments which are preferred for staying in by the royalty, the corporate professionals and the tourists like us all over the world. Even with the infamous rain of the city, you are sure to be awed by how the hotels manage to capture the quirks and beauties of the city in each of their rooms so that even when cooped in you’ll feel your stay to be an adventure.

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The Montcalm Club hotels – An epitome of British luxury and refinement

The Montcalm Hotels are a highly regarded addition to the chain of hotels in London, which will make you feel at home as soon as you walk through their doors. Functioning by virtue of an unique blend of the old world charm and the contemporary amenities, it has to be watched out for its sheer brilliance and subtle efficiency.

Location- While staying in London, it is of utmost importance that your accommodation facilitates easy conveyance. Keeping this in mind, the hotel is located at the heart of the city and is in close proximity to St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s situated within a ten minute walk from the Barbican and Moorgate tube stations and a twenty minute walk from Mansion House, while the Liverpool Street Station is just a mile away from the hotel. The nearest attractions include China town, Piccadilly Circus, British Museum, Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace, Portobello Market, Hyde Park, Bayswater and Queensway which ensures that you never have a single dull moment during your entire stay.

Room facilities- Realizing the way internet guides our lives in the modern era, all the rooms are provided with complimentary Wireless and Broadband Services. An LCD television with international cable and satellite channels and an iPod Docking station have also been provided with a concern for your entertainment value. Bathrobes, rain shower, slippers and toiletries have been supplied in the bathrooms while the rooms boasts of complimentary fruits, water, a mini-bar and a telephone with voicemail and answer service.

Hotel services- The hotel has been provided with a 24-hour concierge service, room service and front desk. A steam, sauna and a fitness room in the adjoining property has been provided that your stay is healthy, two restaurants and bars which will sustain your gastronomic cravings with delectable cuisines and meeting and event venues for those of you who have come looking for the ideal place to conduct business in.

Unique perspective– To derive the most benefit from your stay, the Montcalm at the brewery London city has enabled you to become a member of the hotel so that with a simple online registration you will be able to earn 100 points which would further accumulate with your later stays and increase your tier status and benefits for a holistic hospitality experience.


Image by Bloc Québécois, michel monceau under CC License.

Responsible Tourism: Safaris

Some countries are better than others in providing responsible, sustainable tourism that benefits local communities as well as travellers. Others may promote their holiday packages as eco-friendly and sustainable, but at second glance reveal themselves to be nothing of the sort.

So what should travellers look out for before talking to experts such as Safari-Consultants about arranging a trip of a life-time? And remember, a modern-day safari doesn’t necessarily a trek to see the Big Five in Africa.

1. Costa Rica

One country that seems to have got it (mostly) right is Costa Rica, where nearly all hotels, lodges and resorts are being built with responsibly sourced materials by local craftsmen.

Locals find work in these resorts in many different ways and are paid a decent wage in addition to ongoing training. Resorts and eco-lodges offer safaris into Costa Rica’s stunning national parks, as well as trips to co-operatively run coffee plantations and cheese-dairies. The resorts and eco-lodges also provide agricultural communities with an income by sourcing all their food and some of the drink from locals, including coffee and cheese.

pony-trekkingActivities include such as pony-trekking through jungles, canopy zip lining or nature-walks as far as volcano terrain will allow it and white-water rafting in some regions.

The Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa for example offers luxury accommodation in the remote mountainous terrain of Guanacaste in the North Pacific region of Costa Rica. The resort, like many others in Costa Rica, makes excellent use of what’s already there as a sustainable tourist attraction, such as providing guests with onsite volcanic mud baths, thermal spring water pools and nature walks, off-road excursions in specially designed vehicles and canopy zip lining in the Rinco de la Vieja Volcano mountain range.

Many small eco-lodges offer educational programs that are open to locals and tourists alike, teaching in a fun and informative way about the flora and fauna, traditions and customs of their region, thus benefiting everyone.
It is easy to check with the country’s tourism board, which accommodation provider offers responsible safaris, because the tourism board rewards certificates.

2. Thailand

Thailand welcomes more than 15 million visitors every year. After decades of destructive mass tourism, Thailand has finally adopted a far more stringent approach to sustainable and responsible tourism to avoid further damage to the environment and local communities.

On the Island of Koh Phra Thong for example, the resorts have adopted a very different approach to that taken by other islands. Here the Golden Buddha Beach Resort is just one of many luxury accommodation providers where the lodges were created using hardwood grown at local plantations. Houses were built by local Thai craftsmen to building height restrictions and strict limits as to the ratio of how much construction covers a plot. This protects not just flora and fauna, but also local drinking water levels.

Some 90% of staff are locals and they get paid a decent wage including holiday pay, still unusual in the country. There is no hot water because it’s not needed and no air-conditioning; the resort has no swimming pool, since there’s a bay with warm water temperatures right on the doorstep. Resort waste is recycled and taken to the mainland to be responsibly dealt with.

ThailandDivers check regularly on the health of coral reefs, such as at the Naucrates Conservation Biology project for instance, one of many projects volunteers can get involved with. From sea turtle protection to mangrove rehabilitation, there’s something for everybody. The volunteers from overseas support the local Baan Lions villagers via home stay arrangements.

At the Blue Guru Conservation and Diving project, visitors can enjoy rainforest trekking trips, mangrove boat trips and village tours that use local guides, all paid to educate eco-tourists about the local cultures and environments. Transport and accommodation is also provided by local people, giving them an income. The dive centre was constructed by locals using natural materials sourced locally. The centre has no electricity and a strict policy of minimizing water consumption through the use of dunk tanks where divers clean their kits.

3. Uganda

After many years of civil war and political unrest the country is trying hard to open up once more to tourism, but doing it in a responsible and sustainable way this time round.

Rwenzori MountainsAs the neighbouring countries try to help by “restocking” Uganda’s depleted national parks with native animals, numerous conservation projects and eco-lodges offer safaris again. Not so long ago, The Independent newspaper listed ten of these projects, which included wildlife trips and gorilla-spotting safaris in the Bwindi Forest of Uganda.
The 9-day trip is run in conjunction with Uganda Wildlife Authority, taking visitors deep into Bwindi National Park. Only four people at a time are permitted to come face-to-face with the 11-member strong gorilla family. Numerous experts from world-renowned organisations like Gorilla Doctors for example offer educational background on the subject of primates along the way.


Image by josh.ev9,Jorn Eriksson,Carine06 Under Creative Common License.

Algonquin Provincial Park: Four Season Outdoor Fun in Ontario

Canada’s oldest provincial park and certainly one of its best-known, Algonquin Provincial Park is a year-round wilderness jewel: a moose- and wolf-roamed tract of lake-laced forests within easy reach of Ottawa and Toronto.

Algonquin’s Landscapes

The park encompasses a transitional forest bridging the southern hardwood and boreal zones, which makes for a particularly varied ecological roster. Moose are plentiful and easily seen–including along the roadsides of Highway 60, where the giant deer come to lick salt. Hunting the moose (as well as beaver and white-tailed deer) are the Algonquin Park wolves, which are genetically distinct from the gray wolves of boreal Ontario. They’re eastern wolves (sometimes called Algonquin wolves), smaller and more rufous-toned than gray wolves, and many biologists believe they’re closely related to the endangered red wolf of the southeastern United States.

Algonquin Area Public LibraryIn August, park staff lead Public Wolf Howls: guided outings in which wild wolves sometimes respond–thrillingly–to imitation calls. The howling sessions follow presentations on the natural history and ecology of Algonquin’s wolves at the Outdoor Theatre. Even if you don’t manage to hear the bellow of a free-roaming pack member, you’re not likely to forget the experience, chock-full as it is of raw excitement.

Black bears are also widespread in the park, feasting mostly on vegetation and insects but occasionally bringing down a moose calf or two. Follow bear-safety protocol when hiking and camping in the park, and savor any sighting of these magnificent critters.

And then there’s the scenery, which encompasses grand reaches of forest, better than 1,000 kilometers of stream- and riverway, and more than 2,000 lakes in glacially gouged basins. The terrain’s quite rugged, from cliffy shorelines and rough highlands to the dramatic 100-meter gorge of Barron Canyon. Heck, there’s even the broad depression left by a meteorite–Brent Crater.

Exploring and Appreciating the Park

Highway 60 offers vehicular access to the park’s front-country; take your Jeep Compass or some other adventure-ready vehicle along its scenic byway to look for moose or access miles of hiking trails. You can also access the park’s dozen developed campgrounds via 60 or Highway 17 to the north of the park. The bulk of the park is roadless wilderness–a canoeist’s paradise, sprinkled with farflung sites along breathtaking waterways and serenaded (in classic wilderness Ontario style) by loon calls and, once in awhile, wolf howls.

Spring brings wildflower displays in the leafing-out forests; autumn brings fiery color to the park’s hardwoods. Winter only ramps up the fun: From dog-sledding and snowshoeing to skiing and snowmobiling, the snowbound Algonquin forests are one giant, white invitation to adventure.

In addition to the developed and primitive campgrounds, there are also both vehicle-accessible and backcountry ranger cabins as well as a trio of commercially run lodges providing accommodations in the park.

Interpretive Sites

The great outdoors are the prime attraction–that goes without saying–but Algonquin Provincial Park also impresses with its interpretive facilities, which include a fascinating visitor centre showcasing the park’s wildlife, ecology, and human history. And speaking of history, the Algonquin Logging Museum elucidates the old days of timber extraction in the region; a highlight is a short, family-friendly footpath passing by an “alligator boat” (a steam-driven tug) and a reconstructed 19th -century “camboose” logging camp. And you can explore the intersection of art and nature at the Algonquin Art Centre, which includes both indoor and outdoor galleries.

Algonquin Logging MuseumExperience Ontario at its most primal and its most gorgeous: Make a pilgrimage to one of Canada’s most beloved parks, Algonquin!

John Pearcy is a fitness instructor and is a passionate outdoor adventurer. He likes to share his insights online and has already written for several outdoor and travel blogs.


Image by calmgracian,aapld,canbolatm Under Creative Common License.