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South Africa

Still basking in the post World Cup glory, South Africa is one of the most vibrant and exciting countries. Cape Town is one of the most spectacular cities, situated on the rolling Atlantic Ocean and beneath the impressive Table Mountain. Visit Camps Bay and Clifton for a taste of Cape Tonian life and it's excellent food and wine. From the fruitful winelands of Stellenbosch to the dry arid deserts of the Kalahari. If you’re after the Big Five (Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and Black Rhino) , then visit Kruger National Park.

Ecuador

I spent nearly two years living in Ecuador and have a soft spot for the South American republic. There are few places where you will find such diversity.  A country most famous for the UNESCO protected Galapagos islands, it has a rich Andean life, shaped by the high mountains. From Quito, the capital follow the 325km long, Avenue of Volcanoes, where you will find the 9 tallest peaks in Ecuador, ranging from 5000 to 6300m in height. If your feeling really adventurous you could attempt to climb, Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano on the planet.

Cuba

The jewel of the Carribean, Cuba is one of the most memorable places I have ever been. A drive in a classic car and a mojito in Ernest Hemingway’s old haunt, La Floridita are almost obligatory. Try travelling on one of the enormous old Russian articulated trucks used as buses and better still spend an afternoon in one of the islands Cigar rolling factories. Hundreds of Cuban’s sit at desks hand rolling the iconic cigars while listing to the Cuban alternative to the Archers or learning from visiting teachers.

Nepal

The Himalaya mountains must rank amongst the most beautiful in the world, and certainly no visit to this remote kingdom is complete without a trip into the snowy peaks. For the really adventurous, you can trek to Everest base camp or as I did, to Panch Pokhari, at 4050m,  the highest lake in Nepal, but Nepal isn’t just about the mountains. In the South of the country are Chitwan and Bardia National parks which are home to an impressive array of wildlife from Elephants and Rhinos to Tigers.

Costa Rica - a great place for your first adventure holiday

Costa Rica is a great place to experience your first adventure holiday. The country is small enough to explore and packed with unique adventures, from climbing the Arenal Volcano to watching Turtles hatch at the Costa Rica national park.

This blog post is from a visitor who spent a year in Costa Rica, and shares some personal insights into this beautiful country.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has plenty to offer the adventurous traveller, from its rich coast life to its striking archaeology. Colombo is a hub of activity. I’d recommend tea in the Colonnial Galle Face hotel and then a stroll along the promenade where hundreds of children and their families fly kites. Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress in the middle of the tear drop shaped island is a well worth a climb. Hot and sweaty but mind bogglingly impressive. My favourite place was Kandy and a hotel called Helga’s Folly, run by an eccentric Englishwoman and her pack of dalmations.

Tanzania

The home of the mighty Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is the perfect introduction to Africa for those visiting the continent for the first time. Home to the Serengeti and the Ngororo crater and its rich abundance of spectacular wildlife but also the highest mountain in Africa. My advice for those attempting to climb the 5893m peak is to train properly and give yourself enough time to summit safely. Don’t underestimate Kilimanjaro, but respect it and you will have an experience you will never forget.

Peru

Having spent nearly four years in Latin America, I have a weakness for South America, and Peru in particular. The country has many hidden treasures, including the majestic Inca settlements of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu and the impressive cities of Arequipa and Cusco. My personal favourite is the Cotahausi Canyon in the South of the country. At 3500 m, it is the deepest natural canyon on earth, it not only provides one of the most spectacular hikes in the country but is also home to the Solimana river from which there is some pretty spectacular rapids to raft.

A homestay in Thailand

Our visit to a homestay village was the highlight of our trip.

Thailand really is the land of smiles, we were welcomed by young and old and treated to dancing – joining in was optional! The musical instruments were wonderful too with a couple of the drums covered with python skins from roadkill. We made our own rice puddings wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, our cooking teacher was very patient. We also got the chance to watch and try out basket making and weaving and had a go with the rice thresher.

Snowshoe in Bulgaria

Hi,

Is anyone going on the High Peaks Snowshoeing holiday on the 23rd January or has anyone already been and can whet my appetite?!

Sarah