• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Upcoming series on BBC about the Galapagos Islands

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Vicki Tester

 

BBC1 Thurs 3rd April – 9PM

If you ever thought about travelling to the World famous Galapagos Island, then make sure you watch the 3 part documentary starting on the BBC1 this Thursday at 9pm. Headed up as “The Cauldron of Life” it should wet your appetite for bringing forward your plans to make that promised trip to Galapagos.

While talking about programmes coming up, The BBC series on the amazing hotels is featuring Mashpi Lodge in the Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador, one that we use for those travellers wanting to explore Ecuador further. This is going out on the 03 April and will give you a real taste of what to expect in this unique environment.

To make your own holiday to these amazing Ecuador and Galapagos Islands happen, just give us a call (01323 446550) or email us on info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Lizard in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Giant Tortoise in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

 

 

 

Baby Croc in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Blue Footed Booby in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Why not visit Ol Malo, Kenya

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Last October Angie visited Kenya and one of the places included on her travels was Ol Malo.  In Angie’s opinion this is one place that should be part of everyone’s bespoke itinerary to Kenya and this is why..

 

1. By Helicopter, through the eyes of a bird
Nothing beats soaring above beautiful Kenya. Within minutes you could be enjoying a view too staggering to imagine and only the winds of gods whispering around you. Or with a morning to explore, you could be miles from civilization passing over awe inspiring scenery, catching Nile perch for lunch, watching pink flamingos swarming below you and even if you were to take the same trip over and over – every day is different. On the last day of 2016 guests saw a melanistic serval cat leaping across a river.

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo

 

2. Between two ears
All levels of riders from kids on leading rein, beginner adults, happy hackers to 3-day eventers enjoy moving un-noticed among the wild herds. Gently, or at speed enjoying the sure footed-ness of a Kenyan homebred, guests can watch towering giraffe browsing above you or elephant through two pricked ears. Horseback has to be one of the best ways to explore Kenya. Add in an Ol Malo Nomad horse safari and you’re alone in the wilderness, your belongings on a camel, traveling by trusty steed and living life as a Nomad.

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

3. On foot, through the eyes of a Samburu
Work off those 3 course meals… follow a bouncing Samburu stride! Stop tripping over those rocks like a town clown and learn to weave in and out of ‘wait a bit’ bushes like a London-er walking down Oxford street in rush hour. Feel that adrenaline rush as you climb a rock and watch peaceful elephant families rumbling below you. Learn about stitching ants and the tracks of last nights’ visitors on the path.

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

4. Sitting treetop height – riding a camel!
Swaying at treetop height, no need to concentrate on your footing on the back of a camel. Appreciate their character and hardiness and get close to the game. You can even see lion’s from camels!

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

5. 4 x 4
Of course vehicle is always an option, but lets do them Ol Malo style viewing from the roof seats and add in a night drive…Lately lots of aardvark have been spotted!

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

6. From your balcony or lounging by the pool
Take a break, whilst sipping your morning tea or an evening sundowner scan below you … You can see all sorts from our vantage point on the cliffs, standoffs between elephant and wild dog, cattle and elephant sharing the water trough, good things come to those who wait.

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

Picture courtesy of Ol Malo 

 

 

 

 

 

If this sounds like a place you would like to add to your own bespoke Kenya holiday then contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

We are here to offer you first hand knowledge and expert advice.

 

 

Winter Photography in Bryce Canyon Country

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Vicki Tester

 

Capture stunning winter photographs of iconic spots  throughout Bryce Canyon Country 

Snow-Covered Hoodoos 

Capture the largest collection of hoodoos in the world at Bryce Canyon. These rock formations invaded Bryce Canyon 40 million years ago and are always changing because of frost-wedging in the winter, so your snowy photograph will become a part of history.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Panguitch Lake

Whether you are looking up or down, frozen Panguitch Lake in Bryce Canyon Country offers beautiful scenery and great photograph opportunities. The snow and ice create an additional texture and color.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Winterized Arches

Arches like this one have been forming for millions of years in Bryce Canyon. Arches are always changing and eroding from wind, snow and ice. But your winter photograph will capture their beauty and always stay the same.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

If you are a keen photographer or just like visiting amazing places then please contact us for more ideas to help put your bespoke holiday together – Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

You can also visit www.brycecanyoncountry.com

Algonquin Park Wolf Howl Canoe Trip

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Vicki Tester

 

Is this for you?

Have you ever thought of combining a canoe trip with camping in the pristine nature of a National Park? Well Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada has a 2 night/3 day trip that is proving popular. Nor do you have to be a canoeing expert – this is a beginner friendly experience.

Your trip starts with an overnight stay in one of the Park’s unique forest cabins and then you set off. Imagine paddling through the early morning mist on the lake and then taking a walk through the forest on one of the numerous forest trails looking out for the animals and birds that live here.

After setting up camp and getting the fire going, you all gather by the lakeside and send out a group wolf howl. This is very often answered by the nearby wolf pack, which should send a tingle down your spine.

Wolves at Yellowstone

Picture courtesy of Helen Wibley

If you go in the autumn you will have the extra benefit of seeing the beautiful fall colours as well.

To make this part of your bespoke tailor made holiday to Eastern Canada please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email  info@experienceholidays.co.uk or if you would like information on other tailored holidays to Canada.

 

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Hong Kong

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Vicki Tester

 

Hong Kong – More than just a city

Back in November, Angie visited Hong Kong and here’s what she thought –

Whilst for many, a visit to Hong Kong is a short city break en route to Australia or New Zealand, in my opinion it has plenty to offer as a ‘stand alone’ destination for a holiday of a week or even longer. With the recent addition of a direct flight between Gatwick and Hong Kong to complement the regular services from Heathrow and Manchester, Hong Kong has never been more accessible.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Alongside the most famous sights of the city, such as the iconic Star Ferry, the many and varied markets, the tram to Victoria Peak and the stunning skyline, there are plenty of things to see and do away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

 

Take a cruise of Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk ship, or take a longer cruise around Hong Kong Island to the south side and the town of Stanley. Home to a fantastic market with arts and crafts amongst other wares, Stanley is well worth a visit along with neighbouring Repulse Bay with its sandy beach and safe swimming.  A visit to Aberdeen Fishing Village can take in the renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant as well as a sampan boat ride around the floating houseboats.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Spend a day on Lantau Island, taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to see the giant Buddha statue. From here, take a bus to Tai O – a traditional fishing village built on stilts over the water, where a sense of the Hong Kong of yesteryear can be understood, and take a boat trip out to see the rare Chinese pink dolphins.

There are many other islands to be explored too – Lamma Island offers a gentle hike between its two main towns, with great seafood restaurants the reward at the end. Cheung Chau Island is most famous for its’ Bun Festival in May, but is also home to plenty of seafood restaurants, a sandy beach and a temple.

A popular pastime for locals is horse racing, and to take in an evening of racing at Happy Valley or Sha Tin is an exciting experience to consider. Hong Kong even has two theme parks to offer – Ocean Park has thrill seeking rides along with a zoo, and is reached via a cable car ride. Disneyland offers fun for all the family in typical Disney style, and is located on Lantau Island.

All in all, a week to ten days in Hong Kong provides all of the ingredients for a great holiday destination – great weather (at the right time of year!), interesting history, fascinating culture and varied experiences.

If you would like to find out more about Hong Kong and put together your own bespoke tailor made itinerary, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

A Journey Around Costa Rica – By Peter Ellis

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

I have just returned from a trip to Costa Rica and cannot wait to tell you about it. It was the first time that I have visited Central America and my expectations were high but I now realise how ill informed I was about this amazing country. The first thing to say is how welcoming I found everyone and proud of their countries achievements. With no army, the money saved has been ploughed in to education and their health service; leading to 98% literacy rate and a primary school in every village. Early on they realised that they could not produce coffee on the scale of places like Brazil so they have decided to only grow top quality instead and I can confirm that it is great – everywhere. Costa Rica also expects to be carbon neutral by 2020.

The scenery is amazing with over 120 volcanoes dominating views in many places around the country. Five of these are still active. The national parks account for 25% of the land mass and encompass a host of different eco systems such as cloud forests, rain forests, mangrove forests and everything in between. The wildlife is spectacular, the bird life even more so and the flora beautiful. Having a guide to show you what is hidden in these reserves is a must – they have the eyes to see things and their knowledge of the flora and fauna ensures you are fully informed. Waking up to see Arenal Volcano in the morning light in front of your lodge and then watching a sloth making its way slowly along the branch in the tree behind has to be a special treat.

                Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

I was lucky enough to see turtles hatching on the Caribbean side of the country, be woken by howler monkeys on the Osa Peninsula (the second loudest mammal on earth), hummingbirds and toucans in most places and frigate birds on the Pacific coast. The variety of new and interesting sights, flora and fauna was/is amazing. There are even big cats to be found here, although I missed them all. So much to see and do…Tortuguero has a beach of about 20 miles and at the right time of the year has 20,000 adult female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. That is on a poor year – on a good year in can be up to 40,000!

 

There is much more to talk about and I will be putting this in blogs and in an “Experience Eye” sample itinerary very shortly. But if you would like to chat about this wonderful country just call. Pour yourself a Costa Rican coffee first though!

                  Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

                    Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

                  Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Help Celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017 – by Canoe

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Lake Superior

Naturally Superior Adventures are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday by recreating the fur trade experience on Lake Superior. The route starts in Sinclair Cove in Lake Superior Provincial Park and finishes on Old Fort William in Thunder Bay.

The canoeing will be in 6 stages varying from 5 to 10 days starting on July 02 and ending August 19. You can elect to join for the whole journey or for just one or two stages. This is canoeing just as the fur trade voyageurs did two centuries ago in the very stable and seaworthy canoes – 12 metres long which carry 12 to 14 paddlers. The size of the crew allows for a mixture of experienced and novice paddlers. You are guided by well experienced trip leaders who have an intimate knowledge of the coastline, including the best campsites, and are talented wilderness chefs!

Lake Superior – Photo courtesy of Naturally Superior Adventures

For full details please get in touch. We have the details of each stage, the equipment included and how to join at different points. A true adventure based in some of the most pristine areas of Canada.

We look forward to hearing from you, please call us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Lake Superior – Photo courtesy of Naturally Superior Adventures

Lake Superior – Photo courtesy of Naturally Superior Adventures

Why not visit Eastern Québec by Snowmobile?

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

In the maritime regions of Québec it will soon be winter with snowy snowmobile trails! Have you ever considered taking a snowmobile vacation in Gaspésie, Côte-Nord or Bas-Saint-Laurent? Then take a look at the list which is sure to make you want to plan your next snowmobile adventure in Québec. 

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

  1. Heavy Snowfall and Excellent Trials – The maritime regions of Québec are renowned for their heavy snowfall, which makes for excellent trail conditions. Snowmobile trails are also well maintained thanks to the tireless efforts of local snowmobile clubs, which take care of signage and grooming.
  2. The St. Lawrence Seaway – One of the attractions of the regions is the proximity of the St. Lawrence. Whether you ride the trails of Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent or Gaspésie, you will have many opportunities to admire exceptional views of this frozen seaway and be amazed by its size!
  3. Percé Rock – An iconic landmark in Gaspésie, Percé Rock is an impressive sight in the winter. To access the lookout where you can admire this natural arch, take the local trail in Percé from Trans-Québec trail #3. You are sure to appreciate the view!
  4. The world’s highest snowmobile bridge – If you visit Côte-Nord, you’ll want to cross the highest snowmobile bridge in the world, which spans the Manicouagan River. The bridge is 213 metres (700 feet) long and 28 metres (90 feet) high.
  5. Chic-Choc Mountains – Snowmobilers riding the trail that runs along the Chic-Chocs in Gaspésie can admire superb views of this mountain chain. This trail is part of the Chic-Chocs–Forillon Loop, which begins in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
  6. Loop ride options –  Bas-Saint-Laurent offers endless ride opportunities for snowmobilers. You can easily pick a home base and then enjoy day trips every day, returning to your hotel in the evenings for delicious dinners. This is a great way to explore a different sector every day!
  7. Matane–Baie-Comeau/Godbout ferry – Crossing the St. Lawrence with your snowmobile is a unique experience. Take the St. Lawrence Tour and hop on the MV F.-A.-Gauthier ferry (Matane to Baie-Comeau or Godbout). During the crossing, enjoy the magnificent view while taking advantage of onboard amenities such as the restaurant, bar and lounge areas.
  8. Lower North Shore – Have you heard of the White Trail? This unique snow road offers an exciting way to discover the villages and people of the Lower North Shore, which is not accessible by any other road. Note that this is an expert trail; if you have never done this type of expedition before, you must travel with a guide.
  9. A wide range of services – The maritime regions of Québec have long been a dream destination for snowmobilers. Consequently, they offer a wide range of lodging options, good restaurants and other services that are easily accessible from the snowmobile trails.
  10. A warm welcome – A snowmobile trip in the maritime regions of Québec is also an opportunity to interact with the people who live in these regions. Known for enjoying the good things in life, the residents you will meet, as well as service staff, will be happy to give you tips and share their favourite spots with.

 If this sounds like an experience you would like to make part of your bespoke holiday to Canada and the maritime regions of Québec then please contact us and let us help you make the most of your time there.

Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Botswana – Home of the uncrowded safari

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This year Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence and it does stand out as a wonderful safe destination in Africa. The country has deliberately set out to protect its wildlife resources by encouraging low volume, high market tourism. This policy has worked well for the flora and fauna, the GDP, provided quality jobs and delivered amazing tourist experiences.

With so many unique places to visit, it is no wonder that Botswana is high on the list of places to visit for those that love to go on safari. The huge Okavango Delta provides an experience second to none and the desert areas such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Nxai PanNational Park ensure a completely different type of wildlife encounter.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

However if you want to go and do not want to pay top dollar then think about heading there in the “Green Season”. This is the time that the rains come (if they do!), some lodges close for repair but others offer special prices for their clients. But why go when you could encounter rain?

It is wonderful to see how the dry semi desert, and even the desert, bursts in to colour. The trees come back in to leaf, the grass grows and the river beds start flowing with water. Birds migrate in from all parts of Africa and quickly start picking their nesting sites and break out their mating plumage.

Most of the plains antelope time the birth of their young to coincide with the time of plenty and more vegetation to hide their babies in. The Delta rises, fish spawn, wading birds are plentiful and nests are full. Being out in a mokoro adds a frisson of excitement to your adventure.

 

It is seeing Botswana in a different light. Please call to discuss your options and seek professional advice into your own bespoke, tailor made safari – Tel: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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