Destination Spotlight: Ethiopia

Mursi Woman ©Serra Hughes

Mursi Woman ©Serra Hughes

Five Reasons to Visit Ethiopia Now

For many, Ethiopia might be one of the last places they think of to visit. But pretty much everyone who makes the journey will attest to the unique, wild, beauty and culture of this lesser known African gem. Based on client and tour leader feedback, we’ve compiled a list of some things that make this country great and a must-see for our travellers!

5. A long, vibrant and exciting history. Trace the history of our hominid ancestors with the famous early hominid fossil “Lucy” at Ethiopia’s National and Ethnographic Museum in Addis Ababa. Visit the palaces and final resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie and the castles and palaces of emperors spanning three centuries. Walk in the footsteps of the Queen of Sheba in Axum and ponder if the real Ark of the Covenant really does reside there. Visit what remains of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world and learn about the compelling history of the unique and isolated Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The history of this country will continue to amaze and delight at every turn as history and fact blend into legend and myth.

4. Lalibela. It took many years for Jordan’s Petra to become as well known as it is now and travellers who were lucky enough to go in the early days were rewarded by having the site almost all to themselves. Lalibela is the Petra of the past now. Once you visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela you will wonder why you hadn’t heard of them before. Soon the secret will be out and it won’t be possible to tour them as intimately as you can now.

There is some controversy about when, why, how and by whom the 12 churches were built but most agree somewhere between the 11th and 14th centuries. One legend says that a deathly ill man went to heaven and the angels took him to a beautiful city made of rock churches and told him to recreate it on earth. Another states that the churches were an attempt to recreate Jerusalem after it fell to the Muslims in 1187. Whatever it was, the result is impressive to say the least and will never fail to leave a first time visitor breathless.

Church of St George, Lalibela ©Serra Hughes

Church of St George, Lalibela ©Serra Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The People. If there is only one impression you take away from Ethiopia (impossible), it will be of the Ethiopian people. Welcoming, smiling, friendly, curious, kind and resilient are just a few of the words you could use to describe the Ethiopian people. There are over 80 different ethnic groups and a visit to Ethiopia will inevitably have you encountering many of them at local markets, festivals such as Timkat, village visits or just walking down the street to dinner. You will be generously and enthusiastically invited to someone’s home or to join them for some tej (honey wine) at a local bar. In the Omo Valley, you will encounter tribal groups almost completely isolated from the rest of the world and living as their ancestors have for many hundreds of years.

Mursi

 

2. Ethiopia will 100% defy your expectations. The landscape is stunning and varied; from green, lush and mountainous vistas and pristine waterfalls to lakes, rivers and the wild, untamed African bush. The culture is unlike anything you will have encountered in Africa or elsewhere with unique and ancient religious practices, a home-grown and incredibly vibrant musical tradition, and a cuisine that is more than a cuisine, it is a way of life. On top of all that, you have first-rate historic sites including the famous churches of Lalibela, endemic wildlife, and indigenous groups frozen in time. It truly is unlike anywhere else on earth.

1. It’s still a secret.  Often described as the “cradle of humanity” Ethiopia is one of the most fascinating countries in Africa but for some reason it still remains well off the the tourist trail. Many still associate the country with well-publicized misfortunes in the past. The roads and accommodation have improved drastically in recent years and we fear the tourist hoards may soon discover it. If you haven’t yet given any thought to Ethiopia, it might be time to add it to your “bucket list” and get there while it still remains untouched and unchanged by mass tourism.

For more information on upcoming tours to Ethiopia, please contact our sales team. There are two options to visit Ethiopia with Adventures Abroad, ET1 - The Northern Circuit or ET2The Northern Circuit with the Omo Valley. 

Tour code: ET1 | Duration: 13 Days | more details
Departure date: 23 Nov 2014, 09 Jan 2015, 25 Sep 2015 and 23 Nov 2015

Tour code: ET2 | Duration: 22 Days | more details
Departure date: 23 Nov 2014, 09 Jan 2015, 25 Sep 2015 and 23 Nov 2015

What’s new? (July/August, 2014)

Stay up to date with new tours, revamped itineraries, discounts, announcements and more. This month we have:

Indian Ocean Islands 2015 dates are here!

Martin Charlton and 16 intrepid travellers have just recently returned from the inaugural Indian Ocean Islands tour going to Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Comoros Islands and the Seychelles. The tour was a huge success and Adventures Abroad is thrilled to offer this tour again in 2015. Keep in mind that this tour is strictly limited to 16 travellers so book quickly to avoid disappointment.

Tour code: MCIO| Duration: 22 Days |more details
Departure date: 14 May 2015

Nosy Be, Madagascar. ©Martin Charlton

Nosy Be, Madagascar. ©Martin Charlton

Basking in splendid isolation in the world’s warmest ocean, the Indian Ocean hotspot is situated off the southeast coast of Africa and encompasses the independent nations of Seychelles, the Comoros, Mauritius, and the French overseas departments of Reunion and Mayotte (one of the Comoros). Despite their close proximity to Africa, the islands display few of the flora and fauna characteristics typical of the nearby continent; rather, they have evolved an exquisitely unique assemblage of species. With tropical, blue-green seas, golden, palm-studded beaches and landscapes of picture-perfect serenity, the Indian Ocean Islands encapsulate the very essence of the word ‘exotic.’

Mauritius, one of the Indian Ocean’s most striking islands, exhibits a curious blend of Asian, African, French and British influences, and its volcanic craters, famous Seven Coloured Earth at Chamarel, and modern and historic sites in the capital, Port Louis, never fail to captivate.

In the Seychelles, we tour the charming streets of the world’s smallest capital city, Victoria, and visit UNESCO-protected forests rich with unique sights and indigenous wildlife. This is an archipelago of more than 115 remote and unspoiled islands reminiscent of a land that time forgot.

Reunion, first visited by the Portuguese, is a land of rugged contrast and French heritage. Here we discover “Les Cirques de la Reunion,” a series of natural amphitheatres formed by volcanic valleys surrounded by looming peaks, and spend time exploring its historic urban centres.

From the colourful houses and rich cultural diversity of Mayotte, to the lemur-teeming landscape of Nosy Be, Madagascar, we leave no stone unturned as we immerse ourselves the cultural and natural attractions of this spectacular and unique region of the world.

Last, but by no means least, we will visit the strategically positioned Comores – the 3rd smallest African nation by area – and Mwali, the smallest, wildest and least visited of all the Comoran Islands; diminutive in size, but immense in experiences.


 

Bahrain added back to our new and improved Gulf States tour.

After an 18-month hiatus, Bahrain is back on our roster! Due to political protests and unrest in Bahrain, we removed it from our Gulf States tour and replaced it with the spectacular Musandam Peninsula. Now that things in Bahrain have calmed down enough to return, we have added it back but we’ve also kept the Musandam Peninsula to make the best and most extensive Gulf States tour we have ever offered.

Tour code: GS7| Duration: 21 Days |more details
Departure date: 26 Jan 2015 and 12 Oct 2015

GS7This 21-day tour through the fascinating cultures and beautiful countryside of the Persian Gulf region begins in Kuwait City, which, after an extensive restoration and rebuilding effort, bears little resemblance to the war-devastated area left behind after the Iraqi invasion. We visit the famous landmarks, perhaps even take a high-speed elevator up the Kuwait Towers, and tour the remarkable museums, where we can appreciate ancient Islamic art, calligraphy, pottery, embroideries and jewellery. From here, we head to Bahrain & Qatar, where we saunter around the Old Souk (market), through the maze of alleyways and down to the nearby Dhow Harbour to see some of the Gulf’s traditional and distinctive trading vessels. The UAE is next on our destination list and here we have the chance to check out Abu Dhabi’s unique architecture, which is an intriguing interpretation of Islamic designs crafted in modern materials, as well as one of the most futuristic cities in the world, Dubai. From here, our journey takes us into the Omani enclave on the spectacular Musandam Peninsula. Our next stop is Oman proper; we travel through a multitude of landscapes: flat deserts with beautiful oases, dry, jagged mountains, plains dotted with hills and acacia trees and narrow river valleys. Along the way, we get a real feel for the area and its tribal past with visits to traditional towns, where we mingle with the friendly locals and learn about the fascinating lifestyles in this unique part of the world.


 

Partnership with Museum of Anthropology for Art Tour of Cuba.

Tour code: MACU| Duration: 11 Days |more details

Cultivating tobacco

Cultivating tobacco

Adventures Abroad has recently partnered with the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology to offer an exciting new line of tours called MOA Journeys. Join us on our first ever MOA Journey to Cuba this fall set to coincide with the exhibition Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art. During the journey, an experienced local guide will unveil mesmerizing Havana and the Cuba beyond. Meanwhile, Orlando Hernández, host and guest-curator of MOA’s exhibit Without Masks, will grant exclusive access to galleries, artists’ studios, marketplaces, and unparalleled cultural experiences.


 

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Introducing Justin Biehl, new addition to our Sales Team.

Adventures Abroad is happy to have a new member of our Sales Team, Justin Biehl. Several years ago, Justin grabbed a backpack and spent two years hopping around Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, and the Middle East. Whether he was struggling to surf in Portugal, battling monster waves along the East Coast of Australia, or flailing off his snowboard in New Zealand, his passion for adventuring into the unknown is matched only by his feeble attempts to conquer those sports.

Justin Biehl

Justin Biehl

With his extensive travel experience and background in the travel industry, Justin is a welcome addition to our team of knowledgeable Sales Consultants and Destination Specialists. Give him a call anytime to discuss your future travel plans!

 

Tour Leader Dispatches (July/August, 2014)

Julynewstl Since you are always eager to know what our excellent tour leaders are up to and what they are planning next, we have included this section to keep you as up to date as possible. If you have stories or photos of tour leaders you would like to share with us as well, please send them to info@adventures-abroad.com. Click on the tour leader’s name below to see what they  have been up to or where they are going next!

vic

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE FROM VICTOR ROMAGNOLI

Victor Romagnoli

Victor Romagnoli

Hello to you all and I hope you are all enjoying a pleasant summer. Africa is a place of such amazing diversity, no wonder I often hear Africa calling me back to her. As some of you know, I have been working on a fabulous Africa itinerary for November 2015 which will showcase the highlights of several southern African nations. The tour will include the mountain kingdom of Lesotho , the hauntingly beautiful dunes of Namibia , the Okavango delta of Botswana , along with Chobe national park (both teeming with wildlife). For those who have never visited South Africa , i will include a pre or post tour extension that will focus on that remarkably diverse nation. If anyone is interested in this tour , please be sure to contact Adventures Abroad soon and have your name added to the list and they will let you know as soon as it is ready. – Victor

Victor also has upcoming tours to Southeast Asia, Greece, Mexico and Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. For information and availability on any of those departures, please contact our sales team.

Erin

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE FROM ERIN HOWELL

Great day on my last tour AD1: having a picnic outside Predjama castle in Slovenia. The sun was shining, and we had just spent an awesome morning at the Postojna Caves. We stopped by the supermarket to grab some food for a picnic outside our next stop, which was the castle. We had sandwiches, chips, and one client even bought some wine for the group from a wine dispenser in the supermarket (yes, that is a real thing!). We had our picnic overlooking a 700 year old castle perched on a 123 meter cliff, with good company and sunshine. – Erin

©Erin Howell

©Erin Howell

jonhodg

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE FROM JONATHAN HODGSON

Our group started the day bright and early in Vanuatu to have a tour around the island of Efate, home to the capital of the country, Port Vila. We had a visit to a cultural village which was remarkable in how well it was done, followed by a visit to the Blue Hole where some of our group took the opportunity to swim in the blue waters before enjoying fresh fruit prepared by our local guides. Afterwards we were welcomed to a village of warriors who accepted us into their tribe as the accompanying photo suggests! (Tour code MCSP – South Pacific Explorer)

©Jonathan Hodgson

©Jonathan Hodgson

Jonathan also has upcoming tours which might be of interest, which include but are not limited to:  The Five Stans, South Africa, and The Way of St James walking tour. For information and availability on any of those departures, please contact our sales team.

chris_tripodi

 

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE FROM CHRIS TRIPODI

I’m always curious to find out what moment on the tour will be the most memorable. Well, today will be a strong contender for me. Not only for this tour, but for this year.
We are on the 11th day of the South Pacific Explorer tour. After making our way to the Solomon Islands, we took a boat to Tulagi to see how people live on a small island with no industry. We walked around the one-road island and came across a small church. There was a woman plucking a guitar on a small platform surrounded by her children. She welcomed us to the island, and then played her guitar while singing a beautiful spiritual song. Then, when asked if she knew any other songs, one of the ladies in our group suggested Amazing Grace. Within a few moments, both the local woman with the guitar and the lady from our group were singing it together. We were all moved at how wonderfully special the moment was as one song bridged the gap between this gentle Soloman Islander and the only foreigners that island had seen for quite a while. – Chris

©Chris Tripodi

©Chris Tripodi

martin

CLICK HERE FOR AN UPDATE FROM MARTIN CHARLTON

Wow… what a tour! It is always so rewarding to be able to research and design such a unique itinerary, and then to have the opportunity to lead a group of intrepid travellers from start to finish… with success. I thrive on this! It seems that each traveller on my tour had his or her own highlight – from the outer islands of the Seychelles and the volcanic landscape of Reunion, to the lemurs of Madagascar and the remoteness of Mayotte. This remote corner of the world has a lot to offer, and should not be missed. (Tour codeMCIO – Indian Ocean Islands, 2015 dates now ready!)

central market in Helle-Ville on the island of Nosy Be, Madagascar. ©Martin Charlton

Central market in Helle-Ville on the island of Nosy Be, Madagascar. ©Martin Charlton

Mayotte - near Le Jardin Maore Hotel ©Martin Charlton

Mayotte – near Le Jardin Maore Hotel ©Martin Charlton


For information on all of our tour leaders please click here.

Tour leader assignments for upcoming fall tours are now ready. The following are tours that still have space available! (This is not an exhaustive list but only those tours which still have space.)

Please call us to for more information on these or any other tours.

Find your next adventure

With the whole world before you and a long list of places you want to go, it can be difficult to figure out where to go next. We hope to inspire you and below you will find just a sampling of some of the tours we have coming up. For a full schedule of tours please browse our website or request a copy of our catalogue here.

Kenya & Tanzania Family Safari

GManor_GiraffesTruly a dream come true for anyone, this is the trip of a lifetime and surely something special to experience with your family. We journey to some of the most famous safari destinations on the planet on this tour, including the Masai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park in Kenya and Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. We have the chance to see a wealth of exotic wildlife flourishing in their natural habitats. Along with the ‘Big Five’ of lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, we see grazing giraffe, trotting zebra, and innumerable bird species on our journey through glorious scenery. To have some rest and relaxation add on Zanzibar at the end with atmospheric Stone Town, spice plantations and gorgeous beaches (code 71A)

Tour code: 70A | Duration: 12 Days |more details
Departure date: 18 Dec 2014, 08 Mar 2015 and 23 Jul 2015

Tour code: 71A | Duration: 16 Days | more details
Departure date: 18 Dec 2014, 08 Mar 2015 and 23 Jul 2015

Madagascar

lemur

Lemur ©Martin Charlton

Truly the land before time, Madagascar is known as “The Lost Continent” and is an unforgettable and once in a lifetime experience. Prehistoric flora and fauna abound and there are wonders at every turn; virgin rainforests, mist-shrouded hills, hidden waterfalls, bustling markets and charming villages bursting with energy, colour and music. Even more impressive, approximately 100 different species of lemur and half of the world’s species of chameleon are unique to Madagascar and surrounding islands. Our tour combines history, culture, and flora and fauna with enough to excite and impress any traveller, no matter where their interests lie. It might be a bit of a jaunt to get there, but it will be worth it!

Tour code: MG1 | Duration: 14 Days | more details
Departure date: 08 Oct 2014, 23 Jul 2015 and 07 Oct 2015

Brazil

iStock_000008928168SmallFrom canoeing trips along the prestigious Amazon River, to admiring the colourful vibrancy of marketplaces in Sao Paulo and from trekking the remote paths through the wildlife-rich Pantanal, to soaking in the samba spirit in the ever-exciting Rio, this 14-day adventure brings the best of both worlds. We discover the place that houses the largest concentration of wildlife on the continent in the Pantanal, the longest river in the world (as well as the largest rainforest) in the Amazonas and one of the most breathtaking waterfalls on the planet at Iguazu Falls. We complete our incredible South American experience by absorbing unforgettable sights and sounds in some of the continent’s most notable cities.  Also combines with Argentina and Chile for a longer tour!

Tour code: BR1| Duration: 14 Days | more details
Departure date: 27 Oct 2014, 16 Feb 2015, 26 Oct 2015

Tour code: BR4| Duration: 27 Days | more details
Departure date: 27 Oct 2014, 16 Feb 2015, 26 Oct 2015

Tour code: BR6| Duration: 32 Days | more details
Departure date: 27 Oct 2014, 16 Feb 2015, 26 Oct 2015

Taiwan

©Martin Charlton

©Martin Charlton

Lying off the south-eastern coast of mainland Asia, and across the Taiwan Strait from China, Taiwan is an island truly on the edge of the Pacific. One of the most densely-populated places on earth, this is also a natural wonderland with steep mountains, magnificent forests and an array of scenic attractions. Being situated on the western edge of the Pacific “ring of fire”, continuous tectonic movements have created majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, spectacular coastlines, and other natural wonders. 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas preserve Taiwan’s best natural ecological environment and cultural sites. Combines nicely with South Korea and Japan, codes TA4, TA5 and TA6.

Tour code: TA3| Duration: 8 Days | more details
Departure date: 08 Oct 2014, 07 Oct 2015

Southern Africa

cape_town_11967774This 18-day trip through Southern Africa has it all, cosmopolitan cities, stunning landscape, the ‘Big Five’, the beauty of nature and the power of history. Land in the bustling melting pot of Johannesburg and start the tour in Soweto the location of some of the more infamous events during the struggle against apartheid and is today brimming with sites of archaeological and historic interest. In Zimbabwe, we head for one of the world’s most magnificent natural sights, Victoria Falls, getting close to nature by rambling through dense rainforest around the Falls. We return to South Africa for yet more exploration of this abundant natural wonderland by admiring exotic flora and teeming fauna — like leopards, cheetahs, elephants and zebras — in the country’s largest nature reserve; Kruger National Park. Into Swaziland, one of the last remaining kingdoms in Africa to get a taste of the rural life of the inhabitants of this country that was once dominated by colonialism. Back in South Africa, we see the region that is the traditional home of the Zulu nation, gaze in awe at the ‘Big Five’ in the oldest conservation area in Africa and explore the many attractions in and around Cape Town, one of the world’s most spectacularly located cities.

Tour code: SA2| Duration: 18 Days | more details
Departure dates: 2014 - 05 Sep and 14 Oct 2015 – 27 Jan, 28 Feb, 18 Jul, 04 Sep and 13 Oct

Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo & Benin

iStock_000004827964SmallOn this unique and challenging tour, we visit five vastly different West African nations traveling for the most part overland taking in the dramatic and varying countryside. First we have Senegal with its colonial legacy, historical coastal towns and Djouj National Park, one of the most important bird sanctuaries on the planet. Next we move on to the wooded grasslands of Burkina Faso where animism remains strong, visiting lovely Bobo-Dioulasso, taking a hike to Banfora waterfalls and on to the capital, Ouagadougou.

On next to the great market center of Kumasi, Ghana which we use as a base to explore one of the richest tribal cultures of West Africa. From there we visit the old colonial outposts of the coast whose forts played a crucial role in the infamous slave trade and finally entering Accra, the modern capital of Ghana.

Togo comes next, a quick overnight transit on our way to Benin. We’ll have a city tour of Lome and drive to Benin along the magnificent Togolese coastline. In Benin, we will spend time in Ouidah: the cradle of the Voodoo religion and journey north to Abomey to admire the old royal palaces and finally cruise the Ganvie lake and its village on stilts.

This is definitely a trip for the adventurous with long days, poor roads, basic conditions, heat and dust but with immense rewards and a lifetime of memories!

Tour code: WF1| Duration: 20 Days | more details
Departure date: 21 Oct 2014, 23 Feb 2015 and 20 Oct 2015

Contact us to check availability or make your reservation on any of these tours or book online here.

I

Travel with Yvette Haakmeester

Kizkalesi in Turkey ©Yvette Haakmeester

Kizkalesi in Turkey ©Yvette Haakmeester

Yvette Haakmeester has been leading tours for Adventures Abroad for 15 years and having lived in Turkey, Greece and Tunisia, is an expert on the countries of the Mediterranean basin.  Over the years, she has developed quite a following of loyal travellers who are always anxious to hear what tour she is leading next. She is excited to share with you her plans for THREE upcoming tours below. Pricing or firm dates have not been finalized, but please call our office to be put on the waitlist so you will be the first to know when they are ready to book.

1) EASTERN TURKEY AND THE BLACK SEA COAST, MAY - JUNE 2015 - CLICK HERE FOR INFO

We did this trip in 2012 with a most excellent group of travelers – it is one of my favorite journeys for so many reasons….

A trip through Eastern Turkey is a trip through the histories of dozens of cultures. From one day to another, we encounter starkly different landscapes: the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, the Mediterranean coast, Byzantine churches & palaces, the Crusader castles of the Hatay, the Syrian desert at Harran, Mount Ararat rising majestically above the floodplain, the turquoise waters of Lake Van, the Kurdish villages, the medieval churches of Armenian Ani, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Georgian valleys, and the lush strip of green along the coast of the Black Sea. From one day to another, we enter territory of yet another culture: from the ancient Hittites, Assyrians and Urartians, to the Armenians, Georgians, Syrian Arabs, Pontic Greeks, Kurds, Turcoman tribes, and Ottomans. It is also a trip of culinary delights: some of the finest dishes of Turkish cuisine originate in the East. Each region is proud of its local specialties: the seemingly endless variety of kebaps and soups, the elaborately spiced dishes of Urfa, the distinctive cuisine of the Black Sea region and the exquisite pastry shops with künefe, kadayif, and baklava displayed in the windows. Eastern Turkey is melting pot of all the cultures of the Near East, Levant, Greece and Anatolia.
The Black Sea Coast and its hinterland is one of the least explored area of Turkey. We journey the entire expanse of the Black Sea region, a dramatic green strip separated from the Anatolian plateau by a virtually uninterrupted stretch of mountains extending from just East of Istanbul to the frontier of Georgia. The landscapes, cultures and monuments resemble no others in Turkey. This region is home to two historically isolated communities of Caucasus peoples, the Laz along the easternmost shores, and the Hemsin of the Kackar mountains. High in the rugged mountains behind, one can find glacier lakes and clusters of yaylas – traditional chalet-style houses scattered along the forested slopes. Here also we see the legacies of the Hellenistic Kingdom of Pontus, the medieval kingdom of Georgia, the Empires of Selcuks, Mongols and Ottomans, and the illustrious Byzantine Kingdom of Trabzon.
Summer is the best time to visit this region, when there is temporary reprieve from the rains, and the climate is warm and humid (daily average is 23°C /73°F). Few foreign tourists come to the Black Sea Region, preferring instead the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and thus, traditional life in the towns, ports and villages has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

East Turkey Special Tour, cocktails with a view, final night. Istanbul, May 2012 ©Yvette Haakmeester

East Turkey Special Tour, cocktails with a view, final night. Istanbul, May 2012 ©Yvette Haakmeester

2) SPECIAL WESTERN TURKEY TOUR, OCTOBER 2015 - CLICK HERE FOR INFO

A place I have spent 11 years in – a most gorgeous country. I would love to take you on this special tour of Western Turkey, in which follow a great loop – travelling the Aegean & Mediterranean coastlines before ascending to the Anatolian plateau. With its magnificent ancient sites, stunning landscapes & charming ancient villages – a journey through Western Turkey is truly unforgettable. I have created this special in-depth itinerary to show you the highlights of Western Turkey, in addition to picturesque ancient villages, the charming B&B’s & small boutique hotels, the warm Turkish hospitality – and to include off-the-beaten-track places that are not on standard itineraries. October is one of the nicest times to visit the Western regions – for the warmth of the sea, the changing colours of autumn & the harvest season.

Places included:
Istanbul – Troy/Gallipoli/Assos – Pergamon – Ephesus – Bodrum – The Turquoise Coast: Fethiye, Kayakoyu, Kas, Gulet trip to Kekova, Tlos, Olympos & Chimaera, Antalya – the Anatolian Plateau: Cappadocia, Konya, Ankara, Hattusas of the Hittites.

Special Places & Excursions:

  • The magic of Istanbul – Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & all the main monuments, including a trip up the Bosphorus and a walk through the old quarters behind the Byzantine city walls.
  • Stay in ancient Greek villages of Assos, Sirince & Kayakoyu
  • Boat trips on the Turquoise Coast to the Greek island of Kastellorizo & the sunken city of Kekova
  • Walk through the pine forests at night to see the flames of the Chimaera, above Olympos
  • See Cappadocia in depth: the rock-cut churches, valleys, villages, and stay in a delightful boutique hotel hewn from the rock in old Urgup
  • Experience the best of Turkish cuisine & hospitality
  • The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, and stay in the ancient Hittite citadel of HattusasWestern Turkey ©Yvette Haakmeester

Western Turkey ©Yvette Haakmeester

3) TUNISIA SPECIAL TOUR + MALTA EXTENSION, APRIL 2015 - CLICK HERE FOR INFO

Tunisia is where I live since 2008, since marrying my husband Moez. He has been an official tour Guide for over 20 years, and knows his country inside & out – and never stops learning more about it. We are happy to present a unique itinerary, including some off-the beaten track & previously inaccessible sites. We also want to show how far Tunisia has come in the last few years & the rebirth of creativity – things you might not expect. We have seen so many positive changes, and hope to share them with you. Experience the best of the culture, people, history & nature as we do our best to show you an insider’s view of this multi-faceted country.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit some of the most stunning off-the beaten track sites that Tunisia has to offer – from the rolling green hills of the north-west, scenic villages, to the Sahara desert & rugged beauty of the Berber south
  • Experience some of the most charming small hotels & best restaurants in Tunisia
  • Stop in Sidi Bouzid, the “birthplace” of the “Jasmine Revolution” of 2011
  • The excellently preserved ancient sites of Dougga, Sbeitla, El Djem, Bulla Regia & Oudna
  • Meet the people, see the diversity of cultures, traditions & mentalities
  • Visit Tunisia’s “Little Tuscany”: Vineyard tour & sampling of excellent wines of the Mornag region.
  • Sunrise & Sunset in the Sahara, spend the night in a luxury camp amid the dunes
  • Sleep in an ancient troglodyte village in Douiret
  • Ascend to the top of Jugurtha’s Table for spectacular views
  • Visit the recently renovated Bardo Museum with the best collection of ancient mosaics in the world
  • The eerie medieval Ksour of the Berber south
  • Wander the colourful medinas of Tunis, Kairouan and SfaxSbeitla, Tunisia Special Tour, 2013 ©Yvette Haakmeester
Call our office to be put on the waitlist for any of these departures and be the first notified when they are ready to book.