Another year is fast approaching. Not just any other, but 2020, a year full of symbolism somewhat just because of numerical coincidence but also because it’s fraught with implications about the future. Technological advances keep opening more and more destinations to visitors from the world over. These places are among those set for a big year in 2020.
The Caribbean island was one of those hit hard by the devastating 2017 hurricane season. Dominica has responded by doubling down on a commitment to sustainability. Single-use plastics and styrofoam are on the way out. Hydro, solar and geothermal energy are in. The hot springs and volcanoes that generate that geothermal energy are also big draws for visitors, as are the excellent diving conditions and new resorts popping up. The waters offshore are teeming with whales and dolphins, and the Sisserou parrot — a must-see for birdwatchers — is found nowhere else but Dominica’s mountain forests.
The country has begun to heal from the horrific genocide of a quarter-century ago, and Volcanoes National Park is fast becoming known for gorilla trekking. With the success of Volcanoes, other national parks are developing throughout the country, showcasing black rhinos and other species that make central East Africa a draw. Akagera National Park has as much wildlife diversity as you’d expect on safari, and the resort scene has developed with opening of such properties as One & Only Gorilla’s Nest.
Even those who have visited Australia might not have made it over to the island state off the southeastern coast of the country’s mainland. Those who do are greeted by an outdoor wonderland full of activity, but also culinary delights such as award-winning black truffles and wines, along with oyster and champagne experiences that have helped being a touch of luxury to the wilds that have defined Tasmania. As luxury continues to be defined by authenticity, capital city Hobart and surroundings continue to deliver.
Sandwiched between Russia and Turkey and long subject to larger foreign powers, Georgia has enjoyed a renaissance of local arts and culture, attracting nearly 10 million visitors per year to a nation of fewer than 4 million residents. Capital city Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia have grown up at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, serving as a main stop along the silk roads. Today, a quarter of the country is covered by national parks, and beaches, ski areas and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The only English-speaking country in South America is also home to the longest single-drop waterfall in the world: Kaieteur Falls. Nearly 1,000 animal species call the rainforests that cover most of the country home. Ecolodges take visitors into the heart of those forests. The cities contain multi-ethnic diversity — nearly 30 percent of Guyana’s residents are Hindu — with elements of European, African and Indian culture and food. A new and exciting year is upon us, and we can’t wait to see where 2020 takes us, and you.
There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, but all is not lost, as scientists have been able to make embryos from harvested eggs and frozen sperm, with the hopes of implantation in a surrogate mother. That news from this month was cause for celebration on Sunday’s World Rhino Day, although there is much work to be done to save the subspecies.
The western black rhino has also gone extinct in the wild, part of a disturbing trend for the species and subspecies of rhinos. White and black rhinos live in Africa, where poaching and habitat loss have threatened them with extinction, but national parks and sanctuaries have helped conservation efforts.
The birth of a calf in April at Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary brought the total number of southern white rhinos to 27. Once thought to be extinct, the southern white rhino has thrived in protected sanctuaries and its status is listed as near threatened.
Among the three Asian species, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The one-horned, or Indian, rhino has improved from endangered to vulnerable, though poaching remains a problem.
To promote conservation efforts, Largay Travel preferred partner African Travel is pledging $100 per couple traveling on its Majestic South Africa 10-day itineraries that include Cape Town and the Shamwari Game Reserve, a 61,000-acre area where guests enjoy twice daily game drives.
“We exist because our goal in life is to make travel matter. It’s our responsibility to protect some of the species most at risk from extinction in the places we visit, and we are extremely passionate about rhino conservation” African Travel president Sherwin Banda said. “At Shamwari, this is something our guests will experience first-hand and we’re proud that we’re able to support sustainable tourism through this effort.”
Shamwari’s rehabilitation center cares for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals, and the donations will go toward the construction of a rhino boma (enclosure) where the animals can receive treatment and prepare for release back into their natural habitat.
At andBeyond’s Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, guests can take a direct role in conservation efforts by helping the veterinary team and rangers place tracking chips in rhinos and take DNA samples.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these and other ways you can help with conservation efforts and see these majestic creatures up close.
There are few experiences more romantic and breathtaking than gliding over a beautiful landscape in a hot air balloon. It’s just enough adventure without veering into the more heart-pumping extremes of hang-gliding or sky-diving. Any kind of thrill ride that allows you to drink Champagne during it is our kind of excursion. These are some of the best places to take part.
The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place in October and this year will feature 550 balloons. Dawn launches and twilight balloon glows take advantage of the crisp autumn weather and unveil the whole of the Rio Grande Valley as the changing light plays off the mountains and valleys. The highlight of the nine-day festival is the mass ascension, when all participating balloons take off at the same time, filling the sky as far as the eye can see.
Safari from a whole new perspective with a balloon ride over the Serengeti, where you can the large scale interaction of the whole ecosystem of animals from a bird’s eye view. Watch as predators lie in wait for their prey, which is constantly on the lookout to protect the herd. It’s like a game of chess with the ultimate stakes. The endless plains and Maasai villages dotting them are great as well.
Thousands of temples and pagodas built hundreds of years ago sit silently among the trees in the golden city of Bagan, which served as the capital of the first empire to unite the lands that became Myanmar. The Irrawaddy River snakes its way past the city, with islands galore breaking up the flow. It’s the only way to check out all the architecture without spending years trekking from temple to temple.
Those rolling hills look even better from a thousand feet up. The walls of medieval hilltop cities seem so easy to breach by just dropping in from above, and you’ll get a taste of just how many acres of vineyards and olive groves there are discover. The beauty of the region is timeless, and flights usually comes with prosecco, cheese and olive oil tastings. Hard to say no to that.
The Turkish region is littered with “fairy chimneys,” spire-like rock formations that jut out from the earth. Some even houses and churches carved into them. There are also orchards and vineyards to glide over. Cappadocia is so lovely that more than half a million people go ballooning there each year, accounting for most of the world’s annual rides.
There is a seemingly endless number of travelogues to choose from to inspire your journeys. Let’s be honest, it’s the best topic to write on. Travel transforms people, so it’s no wonder that it makes for such good stories. Plus, from time immemorial, tales of faraway lands have captivated the human imagination. Here are a few we love to read for your next flight.
The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain
Chronicling Twain’s trip around the Mediterranean in 1867 with a group of Americans aboard the chartered ship Quaker City, the book is cobbled together from newspaper columns Twain wrote about the journey. Twain contrasts the attitude of America, where everything is new and history is being written in real time with the focus on the past he encountered in Europe and the Holy Land. He also critiques tour guides, recognizing what makes a good one and what doesn’t, something we all can learn from. He does it all with the humorous insight only he possessed.
Travels with Myself and Another, Martha Gellhorn
Perhaps most well-known as the third wife of Ernest Hemingway, Gellhorn was a talented travel writer and war correspondent in her own right and has a journalism award named after her. She and Hemingway (the titular other) fell in love while covering the Spanish Civil War, and Gellhorn covered conflict from then to the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. This memoir highlights some of the not-so-great aspects of travel — the tediousness of getting from Point A to Point B, the havoc travel can wreak on the digestive tract — along with the awe: “I saw, drugged with sleep and shivering, the great African sky which I have been seeking — a riot of stars, velvet black, felt as an arch, and the air seeming to glint with starshine,” she recounts.
A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
Mayle and his wife moved to Provence, and this book details the first year. For every beautiful meal washed down with the perfect wine pairing, there is a cold wind or a harsh lesson in the relatively lax work ethic of handymen. All in all, it’s a lighthearted fish-out-of-water account that conveys the lesson that life is better when you take it easy, even if your projects might never get completed. There are more important things than working your fingers to the bone to meet the constant deadlines of the modern workaday world.
West With the Night, Beryl Markham
Markham grew up in colonial Kenya (then British East Africa), where she began her flying career as a bush pilot and befriended Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa. In 1936, she became the first woman to fly solo westward across the Atlantic, after several predecessors had died in the attempt. The westward transatlantic flight is harder because the wind is against you. When her fuel tank vents iced over, she crash-landed in Nova Scotia. West With the Night details these experiences in lively prose. A telltale anecdote about Markham’s rebellion against social norms, an ex-husband of hers tried to claim he wrote most of the book, despite evidence that Markham submitted a partial manuscript to a publisher before meeting him.
The Travels of Marco Polo, Rustichello da Pisa
If you have to be imprisoned, hearing some good stories to pass the time is as good as you can hope for. As cellmates go, Marco Polo might have been the best. While they were locked up together in Genoa, Polo shared tales of his travels with the author Rustichello, who wrote them down. While there is likely some embellishment, the book is a vivid account of Polo’s journeys through Asia, including service at the court of Kublai Khan. It went as viral as anything could in the days before the printing press, inspiring countless explorers.
Not every island is a sand-and-sun beach destination where you go to crack open a good book, sip a tropical drink and forget about the worries of home for a few days. Some are full of wildlife and culture and things you can’t find anywhere else. Maybe they’re a little bit out there. Maybe they’re cold or the beaches aren’t anything to write home about. But they’re worth exploring. This week, we visit a few of them.
The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar lies east of Mozambique and is home to 5 percent of the world’s wildlife and vegetation. While the beaches are great, there is a diversity of terrain from rainforest to desert, and much of the flora and fauna are unique to the island. Of the more than 200 bird species, about half are found only on Madagascar, which has almost 20,000 plant species, including seven types of the baobab tree. Lemurs leap from tree to tree, while chameleons cling to the branches, making for an entirely different kind of safari experience.
A teardrop-shaped island off the southeastern tip of India, Sri Lanka has recently opened up to the outside world after a 30-year civil war ended in 2009. Marco Polo called it “the finest island in the world,” and it yields treasures far beyond the many precious gems found in its soil. Its two dozen national parks are home to elephants, leopards, sloth bears, and deer. As far as human contribution, Anuradhapura served as the capital for nearly 1,500 years and is still a sacred site for Buddhists, while Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress full of murals and gardens that was a revolutionary example of urban planning in the fifth century.
The seat of the Republic of China since defeat at the hands of the communists shortly after World War II, Taiwan has developed a unique culture that is a mix of aboriginal, Chinese and Japanese elements. With nearly 25 million inhabitants, it packs about 1,700 people into every square mile. At 1,671 feet, Taipei 101 in the capital city briefly held the title of world’s tallest building, though now it’s struggling to remain in the top 10. Street food is the hallmark of Taiwanese dining, with tofu, rice, pork, and vegetables all enjoying starring roles. Outside the city are temples in gorgeous natural settings reminiscent of a much older way of life.
There is a settlement with a couple dozen non-permanent human inhabitants at any given time on this island east of Tierra del Fuego and north of Antarctica. There’s even a church. But the main attraction is penguins. Tens of thousands of king, Gentoo and macaroni penguins share space with elephant and fur seals. South Georgia is also where Ernest Shackleton landed in a lifeboat on of one of the most harrowing rescue missions of all time after a wreck some 800 miles away, then hiked more than 20 miles to a whaling station for help. Not to worry, though, you’ll be safe in the hands of our Virtuoso partners.
About 50,000 brave souls inhabit this archipelago between Iceland and Norway, and it’s assuredly not for the beaches. An independent country in the Kingdom of Denmark (after a treaty with Norway in 1814), the Faroes play host to Europe’s largest puffin colony and dramatic waterfalls tumbling to the North Atlantic. There are several animal species that have evolved uniquely in isolation, such as the Faroe pony, strong as a horse but with a smaller stature and the Faroe sheep. The friendly population has an interesting blend of Norse and Celtic heritage and are fond of traditional saga-like songs accompanied by dance known as kvaedir, some of which are hundreds of verses long.