Places you can’t go now

Sahara Central

Art and Survival in the Tassili Plateau

 

As I’d spent my formative tourleading years in Morocco, when one of the rarely operated tours to the middle of the Sahara came up for grabs, my managers and I both made a beeline for it.

 

The tour involved taking everything with me to run a trip which was centred around the charming sounding town of Djanet, pretty much smack in the centre of the Sahara, sandwiched between the mountainous region of Tassili n’Ajjer and the legendary Tenere stretching away south to Niger.

If a camel could take a selfie
If a camel could take a selfie

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So, what’s it worth ?

The question of value, and of values, can often be highlighted by travel in countries with which we may only have a passing acquaintance. The commonest example of this disparity is when people part with money willingly. It stands to reason, I think, that when people dive out of a tour bus in a small town to get a few bits of fruit or whatever from the market; one, you’re a stranger to local prices; two,Europeans are usually unversed in haggling over prices; three, whatever you’re asked for a bunch of bananas e.g. will be still be trifling compared to what you pay at home; four, as a foreigner, you’re likely to be one of the richer people around and therefore fair game for what I like to call “skin tax”.

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If there is a paradise on earth….

I must have heard this much quoted phrase repeated many times by local guides over my time in the Indian subcontinent, and attributed to various people about a number of different places. I could have looked it up, but hesitate to pin it down; in a way it seems better that the idea can be applied by anyone to that which brings enduring pleasure. Read more…


Syria; A Wing and a Prayer

Adventure travel by its nature has a Pandora’s box full of things that can go wrong or at least very differently to what you might be expecting. You might be doing things not usually in mainstream holidays, in countries and locations off the beaten track, accommodation that might leave a lot to be desired, but often only overnight and it means you get somewhere really hard to get to, to see or do something worth the telling. Read more…




Swat valley, Pakistan

Hotel Sarfaraz, Madyan, Swat, Pakistan. Well, after all the humming and haaring over where to go we’ve ended up in Swat – the accommodation in Gilgit, we found out, would be too expensive, coupled with the cost of getting there – and back, probably by plane, which is highly dependent on local weather and we might be stuck for many days, eventually put us off. Read more…


Quetta New Year’s Day, Ceri

New Year’s day walk to Chiltan Hill, Quetta – Ceri’s story.  Diary entry 3 January. The people at the PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation have all been very nice and helpful to us. We go there every day, have tea and talk and generally disrupt the smooth flow of business, although i don’t think they’re rushed off their feet at any time. Read more…


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