ACCOMMODATION UPDATE

Traditional Mongolian Landscapes and ger home

Traditional Mongolian Landscapes and ger home

The Mongolian Ger

A traditional ger (Mongolian) or yurt (from the Turkic languages) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs, and a wheel (crown, compression ring), possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large gers may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting gers is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern gers may be permanently built on a wooden platform; they may use modern materials such as steam-bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation.

Gers have been a distinctive feature of life in Central Asia for at least three thousand years. The first written description of a ger used as a dwelling was recorded by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. He described ger-like tents as the dwelling place of the Scythians, a horse riding-nomadic nation who lived in the northern Black Sea and Central Asian region from around 600 BC to AD 300

The design of the Mongolian Ger developed from its ancient simple forms to actively integrate with Buddhist culture. The crown—toono adopted the shape of Dharmachakra. Also the shapes, colours and ornaments of the wooden elements—toono, pillars and poles of the Mongolian ger are in accord with the artistic style found in Buddhist monasteries of Mongolia.

From 2017 and beyond, we have fully re-worked our itinerary to more easily and comfortably access the delights of this enigmatic destination. Previously, our accommodation in traditional “gers’ was charming but rustic; we can now deliver gers with full en-suite bath facilities, a rarity in Mongolia.

Sleep in a ger on our exciting tour:

Mongolia 
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 Jul 2017 – GUARANTEED

Famous Meroe pyramids

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELED

Famous Meroe pyramids

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Before air travel became overly popular, it was easy to feel you were on the road less travelled. Since the development of the jet engine in the 1950s flying has become more commonplace, making it quicker and easier each year to see destinations you’ve been yearning over.

However, that means everyone else has been able to get to those far flung destinations too. We all know the feeling of arriving and finding out that you are undoubtedly not alone. The unbearable throngs of people all trying to see that one monument, places bursting at the seams as unending streams of people flow in and out of its city walls.

To shine a little light on places still under the radar, we wanted to share our top five underrated destinations where you’ll likely have the monuments, museums, beaches and nature paths all to yourself.

 

  1. Sudan and Djibouti Tours

    With more pyramids than Egypt, Sudan shines when discovering the ancient Pharaonic civilizations.

    Sandy hills engulf much of the landscape, which is broken up with patches of acacia tree forests, the black basalt mountains in the Bayuda Mountains, a red sandstone holy mountain found in Jebel Barkal and the twisting turning Nile Rivers that flow along the country until converging in Khartoum.

    On the banks of the Nile, local life blossoms alongside archeological sites. Nubian culture, which has inhabited the Nile Region since 2000 BC, is one of the oldest civilizations known to inhabit the African continent. Relics, such as the temple dedicated to Amon at the base of Jebel Barkal, were once the religious centre of Nubia for 1000 years, whereas the political centre was spread to numerous locations, such as the ancient city of Napata with a royal necropolis decorated fully with colourful hieroglyphics.

    Modern Nubian culture thrives in hospitality, and joining a village for a cup of tea is an experience that still feels natural.

    Near to Sudan and included in our tours to the region, Djibouti‘s well off the beaten track. Often compared to Iceland in terms of diverse landscapes, the small country has scenic salt lakes, extinct volcanoes, recessed plains, basaltic plateaus and impressive canyons.

  2. Mayotte – Comoros Islands 

    Far flung islands within the Indian Ocean, the Comoros archipelago doesn’t attract the traveller looking for a typical beach holiday. The remote location sees few tourists but locals enjoy plenty of natural beauty in what many consider the most scenic island in the Indian Ocean.

    Mayotte inherited a very diverse culture. Conquered in the 15th century by the Arabs, visited in the 16th century by the Portuguese and French, and invaded in the 18th century by the Sakalava, a Malagasy tribe from Madagascar. The French gained colonial control over Mayotte in 1843, and, together with the other islands of the Comoros archipelago and Madagascar, Mayotte became part of a single French overseas territory in the early 20th century.

    Find sprawling beaches with soft white sand, while inland active volcanoes create fertile lands producing crops such as vanilla, ylang-ylang, coffee, banana and coconuts. Spot lemurs and giant fruit bats near the baobab trees, a tree species which appear as though the roots are growing into the sky which is endemic to Mayotte, Madagascar and parts of the African continent.

  3. The Balkans: Macedonia and Kosovo 

    The Balkan Peninsula is the last corner of Europe to see tourists.

    Located near the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Black Seas, The Balkans have been at the crossroads of great civilizations since antiquity. Greek, Roman and Ottoman relics are still visible to this day.

    In Kosovo, a newly recognized country since 2008, one can view Ottoman legacies such as the Sinan Pasha Mosque built in 1561, the Carshia Mosque in Pristina constructed in the 15th century, and the Ottoman clock towers built in the 19th century in the city of Pristina. Showcasing the Serbian Orthodox minority are monasteries such as the Decani Monastery, which is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in Kosovo or the Gracanica Monastery, built in 1321 and representing the height of Serbian Byzantine tradition.

    Follow twisting mountain roads to peaceful cobblestoned town squares with beautiful vistas. Cafe culture is alive and well in Kosovo, and while evidence of the conflicts from the 1990s are visible across the country, it feels as though that time is well in the past.

    In Macedonia, the country transitions seamlessly from the jigsaw puzzle of buildings in Skopje, which has been ruled at various times by ancient Rome, Byzantium, the First Bulgarian Empire and the Ottoman Turks, to the stunningly scenic towns such as Ohrid. Perched on the northern slopes above Lake Ohrid, the “city of 365 churches” is home to monasteries dating back to the 9th century which were once the cradle of arts and literature, even creators of the Cyrillic language.

  4. South Pacific Islands – Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati (

    You’d be forgiven if you had to reference a map to discover where the islands of Nauru, Tuvalu and Kiribati are.

    In Kiribati, fewer than 6000 visitors reached its shores, making it the 4th least visited country in the world. Tuvalu sees even less tourists, just under 1000 per year, while Nauru holds the distinction of being the least visited country in the world with fewer than 160 visitors per year.

    Extremely remote, these near inaccessible islands are found between New Zealand and Hawaii, and boast a wonderful Polynesian culture. In Kiribati, Micronesians speak the same Oceanic language since perhaps as far back as 3000 BC. Throughout history, arrivals from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji have impacted the ‘cultural landscape’.

    Climate change is a real issue facing all three countries. Rising sea levels are expected to submerge the islands completely. Kiribati recently made headlines after it bought land in Fiji to relocate its 100,000 inhabitants. Tuvalu will be extremely hard hit as its highest point is a mere 4.6 m above sea level.

    If you like stunning coral reefs surrounding small atolls with palm fringed beaches in truly off the beaten path locations, these South Pacific Islands are ones to consider.

  5. Bhutan

    When a country measures itself against a ‘gross national happiness’ index, you know it is somewhere unique.

    A true Himalayan Kingdom, majestic monasteries cling to the hillsides of snowcapped mountains overlooking deeply cut gorges and pine-filled valleys in postcard-perfect settings.
    Bhutan‘s official name, ‘Druk Yul’, means the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, and the country has taken a sustainable approach to tourism by highly regulating the numbers of tourists allowed into the country. This means plenty of space to explore for those that venture there.

    Explore the dzongs, a distinct fortress structure, such as the Punakha Dzong built on the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in 1637, the Tashicho Dzong with over 2000 monks in residence, or the Paro Dzong which each spring sees the Tsechus Festival. The Buddhist religious festival includes masked dances depicting the events from the life of Padmasambhava, the eighth-century Nyingmapa Buddhist teacher.

 

TOUR LEADER & STAFF NEWS

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Martin Charlton

To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we have just assigned senior Tour Leader and destination specialist, Martin Charlton, to our iconic Egypt and Egypt / Jordan combo series for January 2017! This is where AA got it’s start, and Martin can’t wait to share one of his all-time favourite tours.

Egypt   DISCOUNTED TOUR
EG3 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Jan 2017

Egypt & Jordan   DISCOUNTED TOUR
EG5 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Jan 2017


Jonathan Hodgson

In keeping with his recent obsession with island-based natural history and cultures, Jonathan continues the trend with a fantastic 2-week tour of one of the most remote and distinct corners of North America, the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador—viking sites, icebergs, teeming wildlife, charming villages, stupendous mountain and coastal scenery, and one of the most interesting histories and cultures in the Western Hemisphere. Rounding out the intrigue is a visit to St-Pierre & Miquelon, a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France just off the coast of Newfoundland.

Newfoundland & Labrador
JHNL | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 Aug 2017

Coming soon: Western Australia & Tasmania, Ukraine, Belarus & Moldova, with Jonathan


Victor Romagnoli

In spring 2017, Victor will be heading back to one of his favourite parts of the world for a fantastic walking tour along El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain (VREC). His summer 2017 tour of Germany (VRDE) is sold out (waitlist only), as are our two tours of Papua New Guinea in fall 2017. Victor will also be heading back to Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia (SD1) in November 2017, in addition to many regularly-scheduled tours as yet unassigned.

El Camino De Santiago
VREC | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Apr 2017

Germany SOLD OUT (Waitlist only)
VRDE | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 30 Jul 2017

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Nov 2017



Chris Tripodi

Chris just finished leading the second running of our Microstates of Europe tour (MCMS)–two dates offered for 2017 (leaders TBA). Of course Chris will be leading many of our regularly-scheduled trips throughout the year.

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017
Departure date: 09 Sept 2017



Lorna Lissner

Lorna is currently leading our Ethiopia tour featuring the Meskel Festival, an event increasing in popularity and filling our September 2017 departure very early. ET1 & ET2

Ethiopia
ET1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Sept 2017

Ethiopia
ET2 | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Sept 2017



Serra Hughes

Serra just concluded the first running of our tour of Atlantic Canada to rave reviews:

Enjoyed the tour, excellent tour leader, great group” – Walter J. Edmonton

It was a privilege to travel with a Maritime native and especially to go ‘home’ with her to PEI. We enjoyed all the local flavour she was able to bring to the group in the dining venues and meal selections, especially for appies.” Grant & Paula S. Calgary

I had a wonderful time- the leader, guides and bus driver were a pleasure.

There was variety and activity for the 2 weeks.” Ticia W. Plymouth, MA

[Guide] Maureen on Cabot Trail excursion was knowledgeable. The volunteer guides on Grand Manan Island, a father-daughter team, are not official guides but were delightful as they showed us around Gr Manan’s highlights. Guide in Saint John was elderly Scotsman who also knows the area well and added humor to his tour. Highlight on Campobello Island was Tea with Eleanor. The two women who did the presentation on Eleanor Roosevelt were able to convey with passion and thoroughness the essence of Eleanor. Wonderful time and highlight of the trip.” Mark & Barbara B, Aurora, CO

Thanks again for a quality trip, exceptional tour leaders and support service.” Ruth H. Oakdale, CA

Atlantic Canada
AP1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 13 Jun 2017
Departure date: 28 Aug 2017

HEAD OFFICE NEWS

Product Manager and former Tour Leader, Rick Unrau, recently uploaded a bunch of his photos from his trip to Sudan – WOW! Click here to see his amazing photos and for full details about this sensational tour. SD1, January (two dates), and Nov 2017

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017
Departure date: 09 Nov 2017

And we are pleased to introduce and welcome Sierra Searing to our head office team. Sierra comes to us with 40 countries under her belt and an enthusiasm that is more than infectious. Sierra has studied in Chile and managed a hostel in Sri Lanka, among other exotic adventures. Hers will be yet another friendly voice on the line in our Consulting and Sales departments.

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LINK TO CURRENT DISCOUNTS

OUR CURRENT TOP 10

Looking for inspiration in choosing your next adventure? Click here for our top 10 best sellers—the list changes constantly, check back often!

ACCOMMODATION UPDATE

NUBIAN REST HOUSE

Travellers on our very first foray into North Sudan this November (and three dates next year) will have the distinction of staying at Sudan’s first and only boutique style accommodation. Located in the friendly northern town of Karima, the Nubian Rest House is an immaculate, well-placed, and sprawling property boasting a unique and traditional Nubian style, first-class amenities, stunningly landscaped grounds, and mouth watering regional meals. This comfortable lodge is the perfect base for our four-night, three-day exploration of the fascinating sites that make this place so special. Pamper yourself in Karima on this 17-day, three country odyssey!

For photos from this trip and other accommodation used, click here.

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia 

VRSD | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 Nov 2016 SOLD OUT

SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017 AVAILABLE, led by Jonathan Hodgson
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017 ONE SPOT (male willing to share), led by Jonathan Hodgson
Departure date: 9 Nov 2017 AVAILABLE, led by Victor Romagnoli

NEW THINGS AND UPDATES

Gullfoss

MAXIMUM 18
In case you missed it elsewhere in this issue, from 2017 onward, all of our tours will carry a maximum of 18 participants! Some of our special trips and walking tours might have a smaller maximum complement, but no tour will ever exceed 18.


SUDAN, DJIBOUTI & ETHIOPIA – NEW DATE ADDED
This one is flying off the shelves! For 2017 we will be offering at least three dates for this exciting new trip, including a NEW DATE running 05-21 Jan 2017, tour code SD1.

North Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia 
SD1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017

 

ICELAND – SEPTEMBER
We’re very excited that our first September tour of Iceland has just concluded to rave reviews! Daylight hours are a little shorter, but prices are a bit lower too, and the weather this time around proved even better than our summer date! Two dates available: 29 Jul-09 Aug & 02-13 Sept 2017, code IC3

Iceland
IC3 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Jul 2017
Departure date: 02 Sept 2017

 

CARIBBEAN ISLAND EXPLORER – 2017 DATE ADDED
This one was supposed to be “one-time-only,” but it was such a hit that we decided to offer this unique itinerary again in 2017. This one covers no fewer than seven Caribbean island nations over 21 highlight-packed days. Click here for the names of each island visited, code MCCB. Maximum group size 16

Caribbean island Explorer
MCCB | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 25 Apr 2017

MONGOLIA – REVAMPED ITINERARY
For 2017, we have fully re-worked our itinerary to more easily and comfortably access the delights of this enigmatic destination. Previously, our accommodation in traditional “gers,’ was charming, but now we can deliver gers with full en-suite bath facilities. We also include a more authentic version of the annual Nadaam Festival. MN1, 07-19 July 2017 – one date only!

Mongolia
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 Jul 2017

SOUTH PACIFIC – NEW DATE
This is an itinerary 100% unique to AA—what better way to knock eight South Pacific nations off your list than in one extremely varied 24-day trip? Due to popular demand, we have just added a second date, 16 Jun-09 Jul 2017.

South Pacific
MCSP | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jun 2017

THE GUYANAS – NOW WITH MORE GUIANA!
Improved inter-country connections have smoothed the way to make this a true rendering of all the Guyanas, existing and previous. We have replaced Trinidad (previously included due to air connections) with a 4-day swing through French Guiana to round out our 13-day program also including Guyana and Suriname (previously Dutch Guyana). Next trip 24 Feb-08 Mar 2017, code
GY1.

The Guyanas
GY1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Feb 2017

JAPAN – SPRING 2017 DATE ADDED
The famously iconic cherry blossoms that festoon our spring Japan departure are packing them in once again—we’re delighted to add a second date for this highly-varied rail tour that highlights all the exotic elements that make this one of our all-time favourite destinations.
This unique trip is available three dates only for 2017; click the codes for full details.

Japan By Rail
JP1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Apr 2017 - FULL
Departure date: 07 Apr 2017
Departure date: 19 Oct 2017

Japan By Rail
JP2 | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Apr 2017 - FULL
Departure date: 07 Apr 2017
Departure date: 19 Oct 2017

For information on NEW SPECIAL TOURS to be led Jonathan Hodgson, Victor Romagnoli, and others click here

WHAT A SITE!

Egypt - Monastery of St. Simeon

With our 30-year anniversary right around the corner, our minds turn nostalgically to our very first tour and one of our favourite sites of all time—Upper Egypt’s San Simeon Monastery. Not only is this a unique and fascinating place, the overall experience is further enhanced by our preferred means of accessing it—the venerable ‘Ship of the Desert’—the regal and iconic camel. We are also very pleased to be working with the descendants of the same local family, the Magdi’s, who have supplied camels to our groups since 1987!

The monastery itself is located near the town of Aswan, and is one of the largest and best- preserved Coptic monasteries of all Egypt. The monastery was given the name St. Simeon by archaeologists and travellers, but earlier Arabic and Coptic sources called it Anba Hatre, after an anchorite who was consecrated a bishop of Syene (now Aswan) by Patriarch Theophilus (AD 385-412). Anba Hatre married at the age of eighteen; tradition provides that just after the wedding, he encountered a funeral procession which inspired him to preserve his chastity and later become a disciple of Saint Baiman. After eight years of ascetic practices under the supervision of his teacher, he retired to the desert and applied himself to the study of the life of Saint Antony.

Nowadays, the lower level of stone is mostly intact, but the upper level of mud-brick has vanished. Inside the monastery there is a small church where icons and paintings are still visible. The walls are painted with pictures of the apostles and angels in bright colours and Byzantine style but many of the frescoes were deliberately defaced by the Muslim invaders.

All of our tours of Egypt include an excursion to this special place. Ever wanted to ride a camel? Here’s your chance!

For 2017, all of our tours that include Egypt have been discounted! Click here for the full list, and visit the ‘Tour Leader & Staff’ section of this newsletter for a special 30th Anniversary tour led by Martin Charlton.

UPCOMING TOURS

Happy sloth

COLOMBIA & PANAMA – JANUARY

In the last few years, Colombia has shed it’s former shady reputation, with vast improvements to policing / security and socio-economic conditions and opportunities. These positive changes have enabled us to recently expand our itinerary for this amazingly varied destination, and we have seen a huge bump in travellers’ interest in this unspoiled natural and cultural gem.

Colombia
CM1 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jan 2017

Colombia & Panama
CM5 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jan 2017

Our product manager, Rick Unrau, will be travelling to Colombia later this month and will be sharing photos on our Facebook page—click and follow along!

 

UGANDA & RWANDA – JANUARY

The scenery is different, the vegetation is different, the
climate is different, and, most of all, the people are
different from anything elsewhere …
in the whole range of Africa”

…so said Winston Churchill about Uganda

 The outstanding natural beauty of Uganda’s people and landscapes has always stirred inspiration in travellers. The forbidding mountains act as a foil to the softer meadows and broad savannah, while the dry uplands contrast with the swamplands of the lake shores. In Rwanda, we include two nights in the Dian Fossey’s stunning Parc National des Volcans, where we include a trek to encounter the mighty mountain gorilla. This comfortable, fully-escorted and guided safari features a land of rolling hills, tranquil lakes, the snow capped ‘Mountains of the Moon,’ rainforests and jungles, gorillas and glorious butterflies outnumbered only by the plentiful birds.

This tour is almost guaranteed—gorilla permits are in short supply and sell out early. Book now for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Uganda & Rwanda
UG1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 Jan 2017

Uganda, Rwanda & Kenya
UG2 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 Jan 2017

Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya & Tanzania
UG2 | 27 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 Jan 2017

 

NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA – APRIL

What a spectacular combination—two of our favourites on the African continent in one highly-satisfying, highlight-packed exploration of two of the continent’s most friendly, safest, and well-developed neighbours. Coastal landscapes, unique flora and fauna, the world’s highest dunes in the world’s oldest desert, colonial towns, indigenous cultures; and the natural splendour of the Okavango, the world’s largest inland delta teeming with wildlife, all add excitement and immense dimension to the overall experience. We like April in this region—the extreme heat of summer has passed and the country is experiencing its annual transition to the dry season when landscapes are still (relatively) green and skies are clear and impossibly blue.

Namibia
NA1 | 11 Days | Details
Departure date: 11 Apr 2017

Namibia & Botswana
NA2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 11 Apr 2017

 

SOUTHERN INDIA & SRI LANKA – FEBRUARY

The southern states of India offer a rich heritage ethnically and culturally distinct from that of northern India. Palm-fringed seashores, fertile rice fields, upland tropical forests, the most intricately carved temples and calm ocean lagoons complete the picture. An overnight houseboat journey past villages down the picturesque backwaters of Kerala, the best in Indian temple art at Mahabalipuram, and the spectacular Maharaja’s Palace in Mysore are just some of the highlights of our expanded Southern India itinerary.Those who extended their trip to the idyllic island of Sri Lanka enjoy its breathtaking mountains, meandering rivers, dense forests, golden beaches, distinct culture, and stupendous historical sites. Adventures Abroad is pleased to be one of very few tour operators offering a comprehensive exploration of these fascinating destinations.

Our favourite itinerary:

INDIA & SRI LANKA TOUR
IA14 | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 20 Feb 2017

Visit our website to peruse our wide array of India offerings

 

ITALY OFF SEASON—MARCH

The first running of our super-saver off season Italy tour was a hit for all the hoped for reasons. Martha B. of Newmarket, ON had this to say about her November trip:

“This was my third tour with AA…. I’ve wanted to tour northern Italy and this tour interested me because I expected cooler temperatures. The weather turned out to be perfect (no rain) and touring the various venues was pleasurable.… no line-ups and no crowds!”

Travel off-season and SAVE!

Next departure:

Italy Off Season
IT20 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Mar 2017

 

MOROCCO – MAY FILLING QUICKLY

Exotic Morocco, the kingdom called al-Maghreb al-Aqsa, “the furthest land of the setting sun,” in Arabic, lies only a short 1½ hours away by ferry from Europe, but Morocco’s culture, peoples, food and sights seem a world away. Spanish and French colonialism have left its subtle mark on a land which was once called home by Carthaginians and ancient Romans. These influences, and those of a colourful melting pot of African, Arabic and Berber peoples, combined with sunny beaches, and the endless sand dunes of the Sahara, make Morocco one of Africa’s most fascinating destinations.

Morocco has been extremely popular of late, and our May 2017 tour is already almost guaranteed!

Morocco
MO5 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 May 2017

Click here for combinations with Portugal & Spain

MAIN FEATURE – 30th Anniversary

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MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 18!

As we at Adventures Abroad look forward to 2017, our 31st year of operation, we continue to pride ourselves on our adaptability and the high value we place on the feedback provided by our very special family of travellers. When we launched in 1987, from a home basement office and a 1×1 inch newspaper ad for a tour of Egypt, the concept of small group adventure travel was fresh and exciting. Gone were the days when your only group touring option involved 45 people on a bus touring ten countries in ten days—the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation was demanding something more personal, intimate, interactive, experiential, and environmentally sustainable.

It rapidly became a competitive marketplace as everyone jumped on the ‘adventure’ travel bandwagon. There were plenty of roadblocks—political unrest, terrorism, new infectious diseases, economic uncertainty—but the one thing that ensured our ongoing viability in an ever-changing world, was our intrepid clients and our ability to listen to adapt to their needs and wants.

Today, ‘small group’ travel is here to stay, and our commitment to providing meaningful, interactive, culturally and environmentally sensitive travel experiences is as strong as ever. For 2017 and beyond, we continue to respond to our travellers and the travel market environment—as part of this ongoing commitment, we are pleased to announce that from 2017 onward, our groups will be limited to a maximum of 18 participants.

All the more reason to book your next adventure as early as possible!

To mark our 30th anniversary, all tours that include Egypt have been discounted! Click here for the full listed of discounted tours, and watch this space for more anniversary specials and events throughout 2017.

Tour Leader News

Peter Barathan in Georgia (tour AZ1)

Peter Barathan in Georgia (tour AZ1)

During their Christmas / New Year hiatus, our Tour Leaders had some downtime to consider a series of prying questions about their personal proclivities. In this issue, we feature three of our leaders, simply the best in the business!

PETER BARATHAN

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    I hate to say it but I can’t travel without my phone. It’s my compass, my camera, my alarm clock, my book, my wallet, my pen and my paper, and anything else I want it to be. Still trying to figure out how to make it my cocktail.
  2. Favourite beach?
    Pre-tsunami, I’d say Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, but it hasn’t been the same since, so I’ll say the beaches of Palawan, Philippines, specifically El Nido beach.
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    Tsoi-Lik Island, Papua New Guinea, a true island paradise.
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Favourite cuisine is easily Malaysian/Singaporean food: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Paper Dosa, Char Kway Teow, Satay and Roti Prata. YUM!
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    Without sounding too sappy, I’d have to say my future wife (I might get in trouble if I didn’t).
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Although I’ve never been, I haven’t tasted anything better than the wild beans from Ethiopia, and yes, I had Luwak coffee in Indonesia.
  7. Best sunset?
    I’ve yet to see the sun create a more beautiful setting than Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Bagan, Myanmar.
  8. Favourite city or town?
    Impossible to pick just one, but right up there would be Florence, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa.
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    I would love to tour the ancient sites of Israel.
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    I haven’t received bad advice first hand, but the worst I’ve ever heard is: don’t go to South Africa, you’ll get ebola.
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    Longest I’ve been away from home is probably about one and a half years.

 

PAM SCHEWE

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    My headlamp. Helps with finding your way in your dark and works so well for reading your guide books in bed.
  2. Favourite beach?
    Too many to name just one but those on Fraser Island, Australia and on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands are right up there.
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    Albert’s Place on the Fijian Island of Kandavu.
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Mango sticky rice for dessert!
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    My favourite people.
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Southern Vietnamese coffee is the BEST.
  7. Best sunset?
    Near Darwin in Northern Australian—I’ve never seen a sky that colour of purple ever since.
  8. Favourite city or town?
    Hoi An, Vietnam
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    The Maldives and/or Madagascar
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    “Trust me!”
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    16 months through Australia, New Zealand and Fiji
  12. Fan or air conditioning?
    That depends. Is it a hand held fan being waved by a handsome young man??
  13. Window or aisle seat?
    Window. I love being able to look out the window and be reminded I’m in a chair… in the sky!
  14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving?
    Definitely dolphins
  15. Last tour led?
    South East Asia—Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia
  16. Next destination?
    Malaysia and Indonesia

 

ANDRES FERNANDES

  1. What can’t you travel without?
    An alarm clock
  2. Favourite beach?
    Manuel Antonio
  3. Favourite secret getaway?
    I’m good KEEPING secrets
  4. Favourite food item or cuisine?
    Italian or Mediterranean
  5. When on the road, what home comfort do you miss the most?
    Do cats count?
  6. Which country makes the best coffee or tea?
    Please don’t say Colombia
  7. Best sunset?
    Cape Sounion [Greece] forever
  8. Favourite city or town?
    I like to keep my mind open to new discoveries
  9. Where do you want to get next?
    Italy and/or Greece
  10. What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
    Can’t remember
  11. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
    7 weeks
  12. Fan or air conditioning?
    I’d have to say AC
  13. Window or aisle seat?
    Aisle seat
  14. Swimming with dolphins or shark diving?
    Diving, anytime!
  15. Last tour led?
    With AA Morocco
  16. Next destination?
    San Salvador

WHAT A SITE! The Nubian Pyramids

Famous Meroe pyramids

The Nubian pyramids were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms in what is present-day northern Sudan. The Kushites built these pyramids some 800 years after the pyramids of Ancient Egypt were built. They are thought to have similar workmanship of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, but on a much smaller scale. The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. Approximately 255 pyramids were eventually constructed at three sites over a period of a few hundred years to serve as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and Meroë. The most extensive Nubian pyramid site is at Meroë, which is located between the fifth and sixth cataracts of the Nile, approximately 100 kilometres north of Khartoum. During the Meroitic period, over forty queens and kings were buried there. Visit this and other spectacular sites on our new tour.

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
VRSD | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 03 Nov 2016 – ONE SPOT LEFT (MALE WILLING TO SHARE)

Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia
SD1 | 17 Days| Details
Departure date: 26 Jan 2017

Source: Wikipedia