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Wanderlust March 2019

Interview with Alice Morrison “The writer, TV presenter and adventurer’s new book sees her starting over in Morocco –she talks breaking barriers, Bogart fantasies and life on the outside…” Ruaha National Park, Tanzania Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park is wild, remote and little-known – and while a tiny fraction of visitors find their way here, East Africa’s greatest secret may not remain hidden for much longer… Peru From Amazonian lowlands to Andean highs, Peru is a land of pre-Columbian treasures, soaring condors and miraculous landscapes – plan your perfect trip with our handy guide… Cuba Revolutionary relics, sweeping valleys and colonial towns – riding Cuba on two wheels puts its slow wonders on full show, and now anyone can do it… with a little electric help Manatees in Florida Welcome to the real Magic Kingdom. Never mind Mickey Mouse, Florida’s true celebrity critters are found in the depths of the Crystal River… 9 other amazing swims with wildlife It’s not just manatees – there’s a whole world of marine life you can swim with. So strap on a snorkel or a scuba tank and dive into our top watery encounters… Plastic, no longer fantastic We’re all looking to use less plastic, but often the choice is taken out of our hands when we travel. Here’s how to get back control and do some good… Mark Stratton goes to Liberia Liberia’s coastline hides some of the most spectacular stretches of sand on the planet, let alone West Africa. But can it overcome a traumatic past to attract the travellers it deserves – and needs? WIN… … Two Exped SynMats & Air Pillows, worth over £350, and two waterproof Ortlieb backpacks worth £370 Plus… First 24 hours in Johannesburg; A British break in Cleveland Way; Spanish cuisine; Wandersleeps in UK treehouses; The Maldives vs the Seychelles; Go now, Corsica; Dream sleeps at Kachi Lodge, Bolivia; How to luggage safe and lots, lots more…

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Five things I have learnt this issue: if eating big hairy spiders (unlikely!), I should make sure that their hairs are singed off first (p159); that one of the world’s most surreal wildlife experiences is available again (p23); that no one knows where two-thirds of all North Atlantic right whales migrate to (p88); that Rod Stewart was rather cuddly-looking back in the ’90s (p26); and that I haven’t taken any photos as good as those shot by the winners of our annual Travel Photo of the Year contest (p10 & p110). The photography competition has been running for 23 years, yet the number and quality of entries show no sign of waning, and even the longer-standing judges get just as excited each year at the skill and originality on show. I…

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Mark Stratton Kyrgyzstan & Comoros features Few travel writers are as intrepid (or relentless) as Mark – as seen this month in a pair of articles that go from Kyrgyzstan’s steppe (p40) to the little-seen Comoros Islands (p130). My top travel icon: “The Varanasi ghats (river-side steps) in India are a window on ancient facades, mythology, the Ganges, aarti fire rituals and sunrises to die for – quite literally, if you visit the cremation ghats.” Ben Lerwill Head to head Ben Lerwill has visited and written about islands as diverse as Barra and Barbados, so he enjoyed putting together this issue’s Malta vs Madeira feature on page 34. (Barra gets his nod over Barbados, by the way.) My top travel icon: “Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth NP. It’s under-visited, so the wildlife encounters are that much more special. I’ll…

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travel photo of the year

TRAVEL ICON WINNER Colourful Cuba Havana, Cuba “This was taken on the seafront road in Havana. One afternoon, after a heavy downpour, I returned to this beautiful white Orthodox church and photographed the old cars as they drove past, using a fast shutter speed to freeze the splash of water made by the vehicles.” Congratulations to all the finalists of this year’s Travel Photo of the Year competition. Over the next eight pages you can enjoy the fabulous winners of the four categories in their full glory; for the complete list, turn to page 110. “Cuba’s a photographer’s dream of colourful classic cars and beautiful architecture”Geraint Rowland WILDLIFE WINNER Scissors, paper, stone… Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana “I was on an early-morning river safari when I noticed a couple of baboons engrossed in their own game. The rising sun was…

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your letters

Star letter Hitting the heights I was recently very lucky to be able to return to Nepal for a fourth time and experience this magnificent country again in the company of some firm friends. This photo (I’m the one holding the magazine), taken from the top of Gokyo Ri (5,357m) in the Everest region was a high point in more ways than one. But, for anyone else thinking of doing this trek, I would recommend wearing a Buff or face mask over your mouth anywhere above 3,500m to avoid the dreaded ‘Khumbu cough’ (a hacking cough caused by low humidity at high altitude), which is a proper nuisance if you get it! David Kiddy, via email Going local Your recent online article on ‘5 Ways to Travel More Responsibly in 2019’ is extremely relevant. But…

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social talk

Planning your 2019 trips: “Baja California whale spotting, Iran, Coast-to-Coast walk in Northern England and Zimbabwe – all being well!” @baxterjeffs1 Dreaming of Singapore: “I would love to see the super trees in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. A great example of a modern tourist attraction!” @binarytourism Recalling a hairy time in Belize: Being on top of the temple at Xunantunich scared the pants off me!” Chris Walmsley Remembering a close call: “Hippos grazed about a foot from my head one night in Zambia. That’s about as close up as I’d ever like to be.” @anoasisinspace…

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“Pausing for a break on a motorcycle trip around the Mae Hong Son Loop in Northern Thailand.” @freespiritofme “Trekking the Himalayas with Mount Everest in the background. Amazing when you see it for the first time.” Pammi Bhogal ”Taking my Wanderlust with me on a freezing trip to the Garibaldi Glacier in Chile.” Derek Mepham “Experiencing an unforgettable sunset with magical colours in Lac Assal, Djibouti.” Sebastian Huschner “Getting ready to join the Day of the Dead celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. Great costumes.” Andrew Heppleston “Dangling my feet over Washington’s Vance Creek, on one of the highest railroad trestle bridges in the USA.” @onewaywander “Walking on an ancient Inca road in El Cajas National Park, near Cuenca, in Ecuador.” Louise Markus “Experiencing the colourful, vibrant energy and culture of the Cuban people in Havana!” @moderatelyexcited “Perched at 2,321m…