Globerovers Magazine, July 2019


In this 13th issue (July 2019) of Globerovers Magazine, the feature destination is Argentina. We travel from the far north on the border with Bolivia all the way down south to Ushuaia, the gateway to the Antarctic Peninsula. We also have articles about Cyprus and Mauritius Island, Australia, Canada, and we enjoy a colourful New Year Festival with the Naga people in the remote Nagaland region of Myanmar. Photo Essays include the proboscis monkeys and orangutans in Malaysia’s Sabah State on Borneo Island, Peru’s Sacred Valley, and a boat trip down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo in China. Furthermore, we have traveller interviews, book reviews, and a lot more! Feedback to Enjoy!

VOL. 7 · NO. 1, July 2019

Journal of Globerovers Productions · GR


Feature Article

10 Argentina - The Long Way Down

Argentina is a world in one. A country that offers rose-red deserts, snow-capped mountains, massive glaciers,

rugged landscapes, vast plains, great food and wine, and the best tango dancing in the world. We travel all the

way from the Bolivian border at the northern tip of Argentina down to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the

world. Along the way we explore the world renowned Iguazú Falls, we dance the tango in the nation’s charming

capital, we crawl close to the wildlife of Peninsula Valdés, and walk on glaciers. Viva! Argentina.




Malaysia’s Sabah on Borneo Island

Malaysia’s untamed state of Sabah is

located on Borneo Island, home to the

proboscis monkeys and orangutans, as

well as tiny paradise islands.





Sensible Travel Gear

Tasty Traveller’s Treats

Postcards to Mommy



Cyprus - A Divided Island

The Republic of Cyprus with its predominantly

Greek inhabitants lies

south of the Turkish controlled North

Cyprus. We explore the Republic.

Mauritius - Idyllic Indian Ocean Island

Located west of Madagascar, Mauritius

is known for its turquoise seas, black

volcanic rocks, palm trees, sugar cane

fields and craggy mountain peaks.








Travel Ethics

Cruising with Crocodiles in Australia

Canada’s Best Hidden Train Journey

Volunteering Q&A

Travellers in the Spotlight

Book Reviews




Peru’s Sacred Valley

This fertile river valley, a narrow strip of

land in the Peruvian Andes, has a long

history and is a place of eerie natural

beauty and a rich, colourful culture.

A Naga New Year Festival, Nagaland

In the remote northwest of Myanmar

(Burma) live the Naga people. Every

mid-January they come together for a

colourful 3-day New Year’s festival.

Boating Guilin to Yangshou, China

A karst landscape dominates the course

of the slow flowing Li River and its many

tributaries that drain the mountenous

area from Guilin to Yangshuo.

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, Beagle

Channel, Ushuaia, Argentina






10 Great Experiences in Argentina

10 Highlights of Cyprus

9 Must-do’s in South America


Japan’s Winter Wonderland

The winter season in Japan is December

through March. This is a time of incredibly

beautiful snow-covered landscapes,

steam-engulfed hot springs, and many

winter acitivities for the active adventurers.

A beautiful time to visit Japan.


2 Globerovers · July 2019


Editor‛s Message

“Not all those who wander are lost”. J.R.R. Tolkien

John Tolkien (3 Jan 1892 – 2 Sep 1973), an English writer, poet, philologist,

university professor, and author of ‘The Hobbit’, and ‘Lord of the Rings’.


Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

Globerovers Magazine

is currently a biannual magazine, available

in digital and printed formats.

We focus on bringing exciting destinations

and inspiring photography from around

the globe to the intrepid traveller.

Published in Hong Kong

Printed in U.S.A. and Europe


Editor-in-Chief - Peter Steyn

Editorial Director - Tsui Chi Ho

Graphic Designer - Peter Steyn

Photographer & Writer - Peter Steyn

Proofreaders - Marion Halliday

Janet-Lynn Vorster

Advertising - Lizzy Chitlom

Distribution - Leon Ringwell



Dear Readers,

In this 13th issue of Globerovers Magazine, we are pleased to bring you a variety of

exciting destinations and other reading enjoyment.

The feature destination is Argentina—truly a world in one! We travel from the far

north on the border with Bolivia all the way down south to Ushuaia, the gateway

to the Antarctic Peninsula. Along the way, we explore rusty-red valleys, spectacular

waterfalls, the world’s tango capital, wildlife hotspots, glaciers, national parks,

snow-covered mountains, the world’s southernmost town, and a lot more.

We drive around the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Mauritius

Island in the southern Indian Ocean, and then enjoy a colourful New Year Festival

with the Naga people in the remote Nagaland region of Myanmar.

Photo Essays include the proboscis monkeys and orangutans in Malaysia’s Sabah

State on Borneo Island, Peru’s Sacred Valley, and a boat trip down the Li River

from Guilin to Yangshuo in China.

We also have our usual contributions from Canada and Australia, a Q&A about

volunteering, and a 5-member panel offering their opinions about travel ethics.

A special thank you to our sponsors as well as all our

wonderful contributors who we introduce on page 5.

Visit our website and social media. For easy access,

scan the QR codes on page 7.

Feedback to

I travel so you can see the world!

Peter Steyn, PhD

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher

Copyright © 2013-2019. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this magazine

is strictly prohibited without the prior written approval of the publisher. The publisher

does not take responsibility for any potential inaccurate information herein.


Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, southern Argentina, is one

of the largest, most impressive, and most accessible glaciers. The

glacier’s front-face is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) wide with an average

height of 74 metres (240 ft) above the surface of Lake Argentino.


4 Globerovers · July 2019

Thanks to our Contributors

In this issue


All words and photos by Peter Steyn, except where otherwise indicated. A very special thank you to our

awesome contributors in this issue. Without you, Globerovers Magazine just wouldn’t be the same!

Janet-Lynn Vorster, Cape Town, South Africa (page 68)

Janet is a numerologist by profession, and journalist, editor and photographer by hobby. She is

the proud mother of three grown children and granny to three grandchildren. Janet is the Southern

African editor for Globerovers Magazine.

Marion Halliday, Adelaide, South Australia (page 118)

Marion is “Red Nomad OZ”, author, blogger and Aussie traveller who loves discovering naturebased

attractions and activities – and scenic loos – all over Australia. Her Aussie travel blog and

published book “Aussie Loos with Views” provide inspiration for other Aussie explorers.

Yrene Dee, Lumby, BC, Canada (Page 136)

Yrene is the founder of She was born in Switzerland, lived and

worked on different continents and travelled the world before she settled in Canada. She is an

entrepreneur, wilderness nut, and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places.

Claire Bennett, Kathmandu, Nepal (page 142)

Claire lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal, and freelances as a trainer and consultant. She is

passionate about global education, ethical travel and ensuring good intentions are put to good

use. She is co-author of Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad.

Matt Long, Washington DC, USA (Page 148)

Matt is an experiential luxury traveller who shares his adventures with thousands of readers

every day through his award winning site He has been to more than 95 countries

and all 7 continents and is also the host of the weekly Explore the World Travel Podcast.

Linda Ballou, Los Angeles, CA, USA (page 152)

Adventure travel writer, Linda has published a collection of travel essays, including Wai-nani, A

Voice From Old Hawai’i, The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon, Lost Angel Walkabout, and her

latest book: Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.

Mike and Anne Howard, USA (page 154)

Mike & Ann Howard at are the authors of their couples’ adventure travel book,

“Ultimate Journeys for Two”. Known as the world’s longest honeymooners—seven years and

counting—they are constantly travelling and exploring the world.

Travel Ethics Panel (page 94)

Thank you to the travel bloggers and ethics experts on our Travel Ethics Panel who were brave

enough to truly speak their minds. Marion Halliday (Australia), Claire Bennett (Nepal), Matt

Long (USA), Lauren Yakiwchuk (Canada), and Christine Dutaut (UK).


The Globerovers‛ World

Globerovers Magazine was created by Peter Steyn, an avid explorer who is constantly in search of the

edge of the world. He will always hike the extra mile or ten to get as far off the beaten track as he can.

It is his mission to discover and present the most exciting destinations for intrepid travellers. He has

visited 122 countries (including territories: Greenland, Hong Kong, Macau) and is poised to explore

Africa & the Pacific Islands in the near future. Peter’s home is wherever he lays down his cameras.
























Costa Rica




Czech Rep.




El Salvador










Hong Kong
































Myanmar / Burma




New Zealand


North Korea





Papua New Guinea








San Marino





South Africa

South Korea


Sri Lanka








Timor Leste (East Timor)



United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States









122 and counting...

6 Globerovers · July 2019



Don’t hesitate to follow us to some incredible

destinations. You will never be sorry you did!

Use a QR reader

on your smart phone

Scan this code for a

FREE download of GlobeRovers app

Apple Store

Google Play

Or search for “Globerovers” in your app store


Use a QR reader on your

phone to read these codes


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8 Globerovers · July 2019




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Page 68


Feature Article


While the South American llama is a relative of the camel, it does not

have a hump and its most closely related cousins are the alpacas, guanacos,

and the vicuñas. The native people of South America have used

llamas as pack animals for centuries. The guanacos and vicuñas are less

likely to be domesticated but are raised for meat and their very fine wool.

10 Globerovers · July 2019


The Long Way Down

From north to south it is a long way down but what a pleasant country to get lost in any direction.

Come along as we explore the wildlife, deserts, glaciers, mountains, coastline, cities, and more!

Thinking about Argentina, you may

get visions of large stadiums packed

with chanting football fans. You also

may think of Evita Perón, or rugged

snow-capped mountains, or even large chunks of

BBQ’d steaks and tango dancing. Argentina is all

of this, and a lot more.

From the snow-capped Andes Mountain

Range in the west and the red-rock deserts in the

north to the swampy

Iberá Provincial

Reserve to the east

and the Patagonian

glaciers to the south, it

seems like Argentina has it all.

Argentina is one of the most diverse and most

pristine places on planet earth. Unquestionably.

Enjoy some of the best BBQ’s in the world,

known as “asado” cooked on a grill, or “parrilla”,

while sipping on a Malbec wine from the Mendoza

wine region. All of this enjoyment while watching

impromptu tango dancing on the cobbled

streets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires.

You might already be thinking about taking a

week or two to explore this amazing country. The

problem is, Argentina is far away from much of

the world, and distances within the country are

vast. As a starter, the far north to the far south

stretches over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi).

Once you make it here, you’d better plan on

spending at least four weeks, and without a doubt

when you leave, you will promise yourself to be

back soon with another four weeks or more.

Argentina is a lot more than mountains, glaciers,

deserts, waterfalls and wildlife. The country’s

best asset is its people, and you will realize it

the moment you arrive.

This is a place where family, friends, and

even colleagues have a ritual based on sharing a

cup of “mate” (pronounced mah-tay), a caffeinerich

drink made from the chopped dried leaves

of “yerba mate” soaked in boiling water. Served in

a small metal-rimmed hollow calabash gourd and

sipped through a metal straw, the drink and straw

are shared among several people. This is a country

where people dance the tango on the cobbled

streets before breakfast!

Argentina is also the birthplace of Eva (Evita)

Perón, the First

Lady of Argentina

from 1946 until her

death (aged 33) in

1952 from cervical

cancer. Che Guevara, one of the most famous revolutionaries

who assisted Fidel Castro to win

back Cuba in 1959, was born in Rosario, Santa Fe

province. Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, two

of the best footballers in the world, are also from


Let’s take the long way down to Ushuaia,

the world’s southernmost town, and gateway to

Antarctica. While we can’t visit the entire country,

we will explore some of the most recommended


Starting from La Quiaca on the Bolivian border,

we travel south to the red mud-brick village

of Humahuaca. From here we travel farther south

to Salta before we head east to the spectacular

Iguazú Falls on the tri-junction of Argentina,

Brazil and Paraguay. Buenos Aires is next before

heading south to the wildlife at Patagonia’s

Peninsula Valdés. Further south, we visit some

of the world’s most impressive glaciers in the Los

Glaciares National Park before reaching our final

destination at Ushuaia and the Parque Nacional

Tierra Del Fuego. From here it is a hop, skip, and

a jump to the Antarctic Peninsula, but we will

leave that for next time.

Feature • Argentina | 11

Argentina: The North


The rustic town at the heart of the

Quebrada de Humahuaca Valley.

Argentina’s northern gateway

is the border-crossing at La

Quiaca in Argentina and Villazon

in Bolivia to the north. This is a

border crossing which often requires a lot

of patience as queue lines can be long.

While Argentinians and Bolivians walk

freely across the bridge, foreigners must

get their passports processed in a building

below the bridge which can be tedious and


Not waiting in line are the hundreds of

labourers running back and forth across

the border to upload and unload heavy

bags and other goods between trucks

parked on both sides of the dividing line.

The border is not always open to cargo

vehicles so all cargo must be carried across

the border by manpower.

envenidos a La Quiaca - Ushuaia 5,121

kilometres (3,182 mi)”. As you stare at the

big number, you will with no doubt get

dizzy with the realization that it is a very

long way down to Argentina’s most southern

town, Ushuaia. Between the Bolivian

border and Ushuaia, known as the “world’s

southernmost town”, Argentina has more to

offer than we can experience in a lifetime!

About 160 kilometres (99 mi) south

on the road to the town of Salta lies the

red mudbrick


of Humahuaca.


the town

itself is not

one of the country’s highlights, the surrounding

narrow mountains and valleys,

named Quebrada de Humahuaca, are

a vivid red-orange multi-coloured display

created by mother nature. Indeed, so

incredibly beautiful that it is a UNESCO

World Heritage Site.

As you arrive in Argentina, a large yellow

road sign will welcome you with “Bidered

by the Andean Plateau to the west

and north and by the sub-Andean hills to

the east. The Grande River (Río Grande)

flows through Quebrada de Humahuaca

and served as a caravan route to the Inca

Empire during the 15th century. The

river is mostly dry during the winter

months, which made it a perfect highway

for ancient explorers.

The Spanish conquerors knew these

Indian people of the Grande de Jujuy

River as

the “omaguacas”.


to historians,

the name

is derived

from an Andean Indian legend that makes

reference to a people crying: Humahuacac!


Quebrada de Humahuaca, known as Argentina’s

Rainbow Valley, has been populated for thousands of

years. It is packed with history and natural wonders.

Base yourself in sleepy Humahuaca

and head out into the rusty-red valley

by horse, on foot, or any other type of

transportation fit for a moon landscape.

The valley stretches about 155 kilometres

(96 mi) from north to south and is bor-

The town’s Hispanic foundation dates

back to 1591 as it served as a stopover for

expeditions to the High Perú.

Humahuaca has narrow cobbled

streets, illuminated by colonial-style street

lamps and is inhabited by a people clinging

to ancient traditions.

The curious traveller will find a few

interesting attractions in town such as

Humahuaca in northern Argentina.

12 Globerovers · July 2019

the Monumento a los Héroes de la Independencia,

a monument made from

over 70 tons of bronze built in honour of

the “Army of North” and the indigenous

peoples who fought in the Quebrada de

Humahuaca during Argentina’s War of


The San Francisco Solano de la Bendición

is a Franciscan church in the main

plaza, and well worth a visit, mainly for its

unique bell-tower. Every day at precisely

12-noon, the heavy copper doors of the

bell-tower slowly open, and a life-size

animated wooden statue of San Francisco

Solano appears for about two minutes.

He makes the sign of the cross and bestows

his blessing on believers and passersby on

the village plaza before returning to his tiny

home inside the bell-tower.

Also check out the artisan market at

Centro de Artesanías Tantanahue, folkloric

music and dancing at selected venues including

restaurants, and red pottery shops

creating vivid red earthenware craft pottery.

Make sure to taste llama meat stews and

many delectable dishes from the Quebrada

de Humahuaca, such as quinoa empanadas

(a small baked pie), locro (hearty thick

stew), tamales (dough steamed in a corn

husk), humitas (steamed corn cakes similar

to tamales), charqui (dried, salted meat),

and many more local delicacies.

About 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) east of

Humahuaca lies the Serranía del Hornocal

mountain range at a height of 4,761 metres

(15,620 ft) with its multi-coloured jagged

landscape. The colours are most vivid in

the late afternoon and immediately after


“The non-touristy town

of Humahuaca is dotted with

adobe houses, cobblestone

streets and a quaint plaza.”

Driving south of Humahuaca along

Route 9 to Purmamarca with its Cerro

de los Siete Colores (The Hill of Seven

Colours) is a world of dazzling red rocks in

all directions. Purmamarca is considered to

be one of the most picturesque villages in

the Quebrada de Humahuaca, so it is not

to be missed! Enroute, spend a day or two

at Tilcara, about 26 kilometres (16 mi)

from Purmamarca. Tilcara is a small village

with a lively town square, a few bars and

restaurants, and plenty of historical and

natural sights to adore.

Don’t miss the Pucará de Tilcara, a

pre-Inca fortification on a hill just outside

of town.

The drive southward from Purmamarca

to Salta takes less than three hours though

you will be tempted to stop frequently for

the views.

Cacti in Humahuaca.



Monumento a los Hèroes de la independencia, Humahuaca.

San Francisco Solano de la

Bendición, Humahuaca.

Early morning in Humahuaca.

Feature • Argentina | 13

Teleférico from Parque San Martín to the top of Cerro San Bernardo.


Founded in 1582, Salta is known for its

Spanish heritage & colonial architecture.

Salta, capital of Argentina’s Salta

Province, lies in the Lerma Valley

at 1,152 metres (3,780 feet)

above sea level and has a population of

well over half a million.

A great start to exploring the streets and

architecture of the city is to survey it from

above. Board the teleférico (cable car) from

Parque San Martín and reach the top of Cerro

San Bernardo Hill in less than 10 minutes.

Alternatively, take the trail with many

stairs starting at the Güemes Monument,

or just drive up by car. At the top

of the hill, you will find a wine bar operated

out of a tricked-out bicycle and wagon,

and several handicraft shops.

Salta’s palm tree lined main square,

Plaza 9 de Julio, is surrounded by Spanish

colonial architecture, cobblestone

streets and cosy

cafes. Along the

square is Salta’s

most recognizable


the magnificent



Catedral Basílica de Salta with its brilliant

red, gold, green, and blue interior.

“Time stands still in certain parts of

the city with its preserved cobblestone

streets and Spanish architecture"

Also along the square is the whitewashed

El Cabildo de Salta, the colonial

town hall which nowadays serves as

the Historical Museum of the North. The

current building was constructed in 1780


while the tower was completed several

years later. Since its completion, the building

has served many purposes including

police headquarters, government house, a

private compound, and even a hotel. Since

its full restoration in 1945, it is the most

complete and

Salta Cerveza (beer).


town hall in all of


Sit under

the umbrellas outside

the El Cabildo

and order a cold

As we’re on the long way down to the

world’s southernmost town of Ushuaia,

we continue southeast of Salta on a rather

long detour to the Iguaçu Falls before

turning southwest to the nation’s capital,

Buenos Aires.

14 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: The North

Colonial El Cabildo de Salta at Plaza 9 de Julio.

Plaza 9 de Julio.

Interior of the Catedral Basílica de Salta.

Feature • Argentina | 15


The Iguazú Falls is the largest waterfall

system in the world.

The spectacular Iguazú Falls lie

over 1,400 kilometres (870

mi) east of Salta on the trijunction

of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

The Iguazú River, with a drainage basin of

62,000 km 2 (24,000 sq mi), is 1,320 kilometres

(820 mi) long.

The falls, which divide the Iguazú River

into the upper and lower Iguazú, are the

largest waterfall system in the world. While

most of the river flows through Brazil,

the largest section (about 80%) of the falls

is on the Argentinian side.

While Iguazú Falls, at over 1,600 metres

(5,249 ft) wide and over 100 metres (328 ft)

in height, is wider than the Victoria Falls in

Southern Africa, the latter has a much

larger “solid curtain of falls” in high-flow

season. Iguazú is split into roughly 275 distinct

falls by

river islands

and therefore

is not a wide

solid curtain.

Most of

them are about 64 metres (210 ft) in height.

The most impressive of them all is the

Devil’s Throat U-shaped falls at 80–90 metres

(262–295 ft) wide and 70–80 metres

(229–262 ft) high.

Iguazú Falls is generally listed as the

world’s biggest waterfall, followed by Victoria

Falls, Niagara Falls, and Venezuela’s Angel

Falls which is also the world’s highest.

While it is easy to watch the plunging

waters all day long from several vantage

points, there are a lot more things to do at

Iguazú Falls than simply to marvel at their


The falls divide the river into the upper and lower

Iguazu. Some of the falls are over 80 m (269 ft) in

height, though the majority are about 64 m (210 ft).

On the Brazilian

side, go

on the Macuco

Jetboat Safari.

At $65 for an

adult, this is a speedboat ride you won’t

easily forget. The boat takes you right into

the Devil’s Throat where you run rapids

and ride right under the thunderous falls

located on the Argentinian side. As you

16 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: The North

get thoroughly drenched, you will know

that you survived a ride underneath one of

the world’s greatest waterfalls.

Also on the Brazilian side is the Parque

das Aves, where you can get close to

several bird species, including toucans,

macaws, scarlet ibises, flamingos and parrots

located in three immersion aviaries.

You’ll also find reptiles such as alligators,

anacondas and boas.

Helicopter rides over the falls are

available though they are quite pricey. You

can also hike, bike, and paddle around

the area, in addition to going on a guided

jungle safari.

Just 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of

the falls is the Itaipu Dam, once billed as

the “largest dam project on earth” until

China’s Three Gorges Dam Project overshadowed

it. A sunset tour by catamaran is

a great way to end your day.

“Iguazu waterfalls are unquestionably

more impressive than the

Niagara Falls in Canada / USA! "

All these activities will work up a good

appetite, so try one of the authentic restaurants

located in the area of the falls where

waiters serve an endless selection of prime

meat cuts to your table.

Choose from pork, lamb, chicken and

every cut of beef you can think of. Eat as

much or as little as you like.

Red-winged tinamou.

Bare-faced curassow.

Red-breasted toucan.

Scarlet macaw.

Feature • Argentina | 17




The wide July 9 Avenue, Buenos Aires.

English clock tower, San Martin.

Congress building in Buenos Aires.

Statue of Evita, Recoleta cemetery.

Colonial building in Buenos Aires.

Parrilla (BBQ) at the Siga La Vaca restaurant in Buenos Aires.

18 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: Central


Capital and largest city of Argentina,

BA is a feast for all the senses.

The road from the Iguazú Falls

to the nation’s capital, Buenos

Aires, stretches for almost 1,300

kilometres (807 mi) along the border

with Brazil and Uruguay. Located south

of the Rio de la Plata River on the Atlantic

Coast, the name Buenos Aires means

“good air”, for a very good reason.

Buenos Aires is a city where you may

want to linger for a few days, or even a few

weeks or months. Many travellers have

come here and stayed for years. Once the

city, locally known as BA, is in your blood,

it is hard to remove yourself from its loving

arms. No wonder some people describe

the city as ‘seductive’.

As the capital of Argentina, and also

one of the largest cities of South America,

the people of BA are known as the “Porteños”

or “people of the port”. Considered

to be the “pearl city” of South America, it

is one of the least expensive cities in the


Few cities will tug on your heart strings more

than Buenos Aires — the city of tango, food,

wine, and barrios with great personalities.

The recent decline in the value of the

Argentinian Peso has made it even more

affordable, though get in quick before a

spike in inflation erodes its affordability.

Many travellers visit BA for tango

dancing in the streets, the parrilla

(BBQ) restaurants, parks such as the

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur and

the Bosques de Palermo, and the open-air

markets. However, BA is best understood

and appreciated by knowing, and enjoying

its 48 distinctive neighbourhoods

known locally as barrios, each with its own

personality and special characteristics. The

most popular barrios include:

• Palermo, BA’s most populated barrio,

has a young vibe that attracts expats,

foreign visitors and an evergrowing

number of porteños (local

residents). Here you will find boundless

cafés and restaurants, bars and

nightclubs, parks, botanical gardens,

a zoo, museums and galleries, shops,

and artisan markets. Its tree-lined cobblestone

streets are a favourite haunt

for backpackers, hipsters, designers

and digital nomads. During your visit,

you will no doubt end up spending

time in Palermo.

Street performers at work, Buenos Aires.

Tango dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires.

• Recoleta is an upscale area with welldressed

locals meandering along

exclusive avenues and dining in chic

cafés and trendy bars. It has countless

plazas, parks, museums, the national

library, and is home to the Recoleta

cemetery, a must-visit for graveyard

enthusiasts. Here you will find the

family tomb of Eva Mara Duarte de

Perón (aka ‘Evita’), Argentina’s First

Lady from 1946 to 1952. The graveyard

covers an area of about 55,000 m 2

(592,000 sq feet) and is a mini-village

of tombs, some lavish while others


• Puerto Madero is the old port

district transformed into a trendy area

with hotels and restaurants. Historically,

this busy old port was the heart

of the city, though it only functioned

as a port for about 15 years from 1897.

The increasingly large cargo ships

quickly rendered the port obsolete

and so a new port was opened in

1911. The ships and warehouses have

now made space for an upmarket area

with high-end night haunts, a rotating

footbridge, a floating-ship museum,

and the 864-acre Reserva Ecológica

Costanera Sur, popular with birdwatchers.

Feature • Argentina | 19

Argentina: Central

20 Globerovers · July 2019

• Belgrano is one of the largest barrios

and is a pleasant neighbourhood

for aimless strolling and admiring

residential homes. The barrio’s

square, Plaza Manuel Belgrano, offers

a weekend artisan fair where locals

show off their handicrafts and jewellery.

• San Telmo is blessed with cobblestoned

streets, colonial buildings

with crumbling facades, an amazing

weekly street market, and many great

restaurants and bars. With a very humble

beginning as home to the poor, its

past has been left behind. Today San

Telmo is a Bohemian enclave dotted

with designer boutiques, cafes, tango

parlours, and is described by many

as the city’s most fashionable barrio.

Be here on Sundays when the antique

market and street party turns Calle

Defensa street into the hippest place

in town.

Outdoor BBQ (parrilla) is very popular, Tigre.

• Monserrat is home to many significant

public buildings and the famous

Plaza de Mayo. In fact, the entire city

of Buenos Aires was built around the

plaza and many of Argentina’s historical

events took place here. In 1810,

Plaza de Mayo was the focal point of

the revolution that triggered the War

of Independence against the Spanish

colonialists. Surrounding this plaza are

historical buildings and architectural

masterpieces such as the pink Casa

Rosada, office of the President of

Argentina. Nearby is the Museo del

Bicentenario, the Cabildo (Town

Hall), the Catedral Metropolitana,

Museo Histórico Nacional del

Cabildo y la Revolución de Mayo, and

several galleries and churches.

• La Boca sits at the mouth of the Matanza

River and is known for its colourful

buildings and music, a buzzing barrio

where tango dancers rule the streets

and houses resemble a painter’s palette,

awash with all hues and colours. Caminito,

the main street, is every bit as

colourful as the La Boca houses, complete

with fairs of artists and painters

and tango shows. Here you will also

find La Bombonera, the 49,000-

seat football stadium that is home to

the much beloved Boca Juniors team.

Don’t miss a match when they are

playing on their home turf.

• Caballito is in the geographic centre

of the city and a great place to check

out the colonial-style mansions on

Avenida Rivadavia. Parque Rivadavia

has a daily market packed with all

kinds of interesting items. Interested

in historical tramways? On Saturdays,

Sundays and public holidays, take

a free two-kilometre loop ride on

the Tranvía Histórico trams lovingly

maintained by Amigos del Tranvía

(friends of the tramway) Association.

While BA offers an array of dining

experiences, nothing comes close to dining

at the 25-year old Siga la Vaca chain of

restaurants, which is exclusively for serious


Need a break from the big city? Just 32

kilometres (20 mi) northwest of the city is

the town of Tigre, a picturesque town on

the banks of the Luján River and the Río de

la Plata. The most economical way to Tigre

is via the Linea Mitre train which begins

at BA’s Retiro station. This is an interesting

experience complete with roving onboard

merchants selling anything you may need.

However, for those who want to travel in

style, the 11-station light rail line, Tren de

La Costa (Coastal Train), takes tourists to

various stops along the river with picturesque

views of the Paraná Delta.

Alternatively, go by bus or take a boat

trip to Tigre from the barrio of Puerto


Boat rides among the Parana Delta Islands, Tigre.

Once in Tigre you can walk around the

interesting town, along the river or take a

boat tour among the Parana Delta Islands.

Don’t miss the Museo de Arte Tigre which

is housed in one of Tigre’s most stunning

Belle Epoque palaces. The museum focuses

on Argentine art from the 19th and

20th centuries by masters such as Antonio

Berni, Raúl Soldi, and Eduardo Sivori.

Feature • Argentina | 21



Southern right whales can be seen around Puerto Piramides and Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdés.


Península Valdés is best known for its

protected marine animals.

One of the best areas to experience

wildlife in Argentina is

at Peninsula Valdés, a Patagonian

coastal nature reserve. Located in

the Argentinian Province of Chubut, the

peninsula is known for its conservation

of marine mammals with a large breeding

population of the endangered southern

right whale as well as active breeding

populations of southern elephant seals,

southern sea lions and thousands of nesting

Magellanic penguins.

One of the biggest attractions in this

area is observing the unique hunting

strategy of the killer whale or orcas—a

coordinated strategy to encircle and push

their prey into shallow waters where they

are devoured.

In addition to roughly 400 kilometres

(249 mi) of unspoiled shoreline, the mushroom-

shaped peninsula


boasts rocky

cliffs of up to

100 metres

(328 ft) high,

shallow bays, shifting coastal lagoons with

extensive mudflats, pebble beaches, large

sand dunes, and a few small islands.

The land ecosystem is dominated by

the Patagonian Desert Steppe with herds

of guanacos, one of South America’s native

camelid species and cousin of the llama.

You may also get to see the Patagonian

mara, a rodent endemic to Argentina, and

plenty of birds including the migratory

snowy sheathbill, white-headed steamer

duck and the ostrich-like flightless lesser


Patagonia’s Peninsula Valdés is home to an active breeding

population of endangered southern right whales,

southern elephant seals, and southern sea lions.



is famous for

its sea-lion

rookery and cormorants

that can be viewed from the cliffs

high above.

While you may need a few weeks to

see all the animals that make their home

22 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: Patagonia

Guanacos, Peninsula Valdés.

Magellanic penguins, Peninsula Valdés.

Southern sea lions at Punta Pirámides, Peninsula Valdés.

at Peninsula Valdés, even a one-day trip

from the nearby town of Puerto Madryn is

a must-do.

Over 800 kilometres (497 mi) northwest

of Peninsula Valdés is the town of

Bariloche. Situated in the foothills of the

Andes Mountains on the southern shores

of Lake Nahuel Huapi, it is a long detour

but the rewards are immense.

The ski resort at Cerro Catedral is

the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Swimming in the lakes, fishing, whitewater

rafting, hiking, and bird watching are some

of the many reasons to visit.

Southern sea lions at Punta Pirámides, Peninsula Valdés.

Feature • Argentina | 23


Patagonia’s glaciers are among the

world’s most impressive and accessible.

Southern Argentina has well

over 300 glaciers. Many of them

located in the Los Glaciares

National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage

Site in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province. Ice

covers over 40% of this national park with

about 47 glaciers, all of which are fed by

the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which

holds the world’s third largest reserve of


Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the largest,

most impressive, and most accessible

glaciers in the park, covers an area of 250

km² (97 sq mi) and is about 30 kilometres

(19 mi) in length. The glacier’s terminal

(front-face) is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) wide,

with an average height of 74 metres (240

ft) above the surface of Lake Argentino. Its

total ice depth

at the terminal

is 170 metres

(558 ft).


most glaciers

worldwide are

retreating, glaciologists claim that Perito

Moreno is one of only three Patagonian

glaciers actually growing.

A full day visit allows for views from

different vantage points around the terminal

of the glacier. The surrounding hills

offer spectacular views of the glacier while

other glaciers along the lake (e.g. Upsala

Glacier) can be visited by catamaran,

kayak, or 4x4 excursions.

Glacier hikes are offered, and as long

as you are very careful you won’t die a slow

icy death. Join a local glacier-hiking group

with a guide, put

Argentina’s southern Patagonia region is famous for

its Los Glaciares National Park with several massive

glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.

on your crampons



secure the ropes,

and get onto

the glacier. An

unforgettable hike indeed!

Perito Moreno Glacier is a 90-minute

ride (78 km / 19 mi) west from the town of

El Calafate (pop. 6,500). The town is a convenient

base for many scenic spots in the

area, including the spectacular flamingos

that congregate on Lake Argentino. While

in the area, take a three-hour drive up to El

Upsala Glacier is one of the largest glaciers of the South American continent.

H. Hesketh Prichard, who called it “Giant Glacier”, discovered the

glacier in 1901 but in 1908, it was renamed by Geologist P.D. Quensel for

the Swedish Uppsala University, located 71 kilometres (44 mi) from the

Swedish capital, Stockholm. It was the fi rst university to sponsor glaciological

studies in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park.

24 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: Patagonia

Chaltén, a small mountain village located

on the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas which

is known as “Argentina’s Trekking Capital.”

As the crow flies, roughly 40 kilometres

(25 mi) south of Perito Moreno lies the

equally impressive Upsala Glacier, one of

the largest glaciers on the South American

continent with a surface area of 765 km²

(295 sq miles), 53.7 kilometres (33.3 miles)

long and 70 metres (230 ft) high. Back in

1986, the area of the glacier was 896 km²

(346 sq miles), so it has shrunk significantly.

Occasionally, large portions of the

glacier break loose that create “floating

isles” on Lake Argentino.

Southeast of El Calafate, a half-moon

detour of almost 300 kilometres (186 mi)

by road, is the Torres del Paine National

Park in Chile, one of the most beautiful

mountain landscapes in the world.

Feature • Argentina | 25

26 Globerovers · July 2019

Perito Moreno Glacier has a powdery blue colour that comes mainly from

compressed snow and ice crystals formed by air bubbles. It appears blue

as a result of an overtone of oxygen-hydrogen (O-H) in the frozen water

which absorbs light at the red end of the visible spectrum (long wavelengths)

while the blue end of the visible spectrum (short wavelengths) is

transmitted and scattered. The longer the light takes to travel through the

ice before reaching our eyes, the deeper blue it appears.

Feature • Argentina | 27

Welcome to the

Edenia Punta Soberana Hotel

El Calefate, Patagonia, Argentina

The Hotel Edenia is strategically located in front of the Redonda Bay of El Calafate

and meters from the Argentino Lake, allowing you to enjoy a unique view.

It has a gourmet restaurant overlooking Lake Argentino and a Lounge Bar overlooking

Redonda Bay and the city of El Calafate.

Our spacious rooms are soundproofed for the tranquility and rest of the guest.

Surrounded by mountains and lakes, this hotel gives you the opportunity to be in

contact with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the landscape.


Tel: +54 2902 49-7021,

Manzana 642, 9405, El Calafate, Argentina

28 Globerovers · July 2019

Las Lengas Hotel


The Las Lengas Hotel is located in front of the Parque Centenario,

placed on an elevation of the land with panoramic view of the city. PH: +54 02901 436100

It is located 15 minutes by car from the International

Airport of Ushuaia Islas Malvinas and 5

minutes from the Port of Ushuaia from where they

start sailing excursions to the Beagle Channel.

San Martin Avenue is 200 meters away. In common

areas of the hotel, high speed Wi-Fi is free.

FAX: +54 02901 423366

Goleta Florencia 1722

Ushuaia - Argentina

Feature • Argentina | 29



Ushuaia viewed from the harbour.

Streets of Ushuaia.

Beagle Channel.

Sea lions on La Isla de Los

Lobos, Beagle Channel.

Hiking over Martial Glacier.

30 Globerovers · July 2019

Argentina: The South


The world’s southernmost town is also

the gateway to a lot of adventure.

Ushuaia, pronounced [u’swaia],

is the capital of the province of

Tierra del Fuego in southern

Argentina. Lonely Planet Travel guides describes

the town as “A sliver of steep streets

and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped

Martial Range. Here the Andes

meets the southern ocean in a sharp skid,

making way for the city before reaching a

sea of lapping currents”. How idyllic!

While this is not the most southern

settlement, it is generally labelled as the

“southernmost town” in the world, a title

long disputed by the much smaller Puerto


Although Puerto Williams, southeast of

Ushuaia on the Chilean island of Navarino,

is farther south, it has only 2,900 inhabitants

compared with Ushuaia’s population of

more than 60,000. As Ushuaia is commonly

regarded as the “southernmost town,” it

leaves Puerto Williams with the title of

“southernmost village.”

Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the

southern coast of the island known as “Isla

Grande de Tierra del Fuego.” Guarded on

the north by the Martial Mountain Range

and on the south by the Beagle Channel,

the first humans to settle in the Tierra del

Fuego date back about 10,000 years when

the Selk’nam Indians, also called the Ona,

arrived. Their southern splinter group, referred

to as the Yaghan or Yámana, occupied

the area which now is known as Ushuaia.

British missionaries founded the town

of Ushuaia in

1884, and the

town’s population


grew. However,




pertussis, and measles decimated the native

population and by 1911 the Yámana had all

practically vanished.

The original train line was constructed

in 1902 and shuffled around on wooden

rails with flatbed wagons pulled by oxen. In

1910 a steam engine was brought in and the

gauge was widened, presumably with steel

tracks. The 1949 Tierra del Fuego earthquake

caused a landslide which blocked

much of the line just two years after the

prison was

closed, so

gone were the

labourers to

remove the

blockage. The

blockage was

cleared by

non-prisoners but again closed in 1952 due

to a lack of money.

Being so close to the bottom of the world is a

special feeling, in particular when you are surrounded

by beautiful scenery and wildlife.

To boost the small population, the

Argentine government started sending reoffenders

and dangerous prisoners, as well

as political prisoners from Buenos Aires to

the new jail in Ushuaia which at this time

was known as Presidio, meaning “the jail at

the end of the world.

The prisoners were subjected to hard

labour both inside the prison grounds and

outside. As forced colonists, they spent

much of their time building the new town

of Ushuaia with timber collected from the

lush forest around the town. They also constructed

a short railway to transport rock,

sand and timber to expand the prison and

the town.

Fast forward to 1994 when the line was

reopened and upgraded, with the addition

of a new steam engine from England. Now

known as the “Southern Fuegian Railway”

or “End of the World Train,” it serves champagne

and dinner to tourists on a short ride

along Pico Valley in the Toro Gorge. At the

Macarena Station passengers learn about

the Yámana indigenous people and then

continue on through the scenic Tierra del

Fuego National Park.

Guess what? It is indisputably labelled

as the “southernmost railway in the world.”

The original jail, closed in 1947 by President

Juan Perón, today serves as a museum

known as the Museo Marítimo de Ushuaia,

which is the southernmost museum in the

world, we assume! One of the cells known

as the Ala Histórica remains almost intact

to demonstrate the mysterious and dark

atmosphere inside the cells, complete with

memorabilia from the last prisoners who

lived here.

Another pleasant day trip is to explore

the Beagle Channel and Lapataia Bay by

boat. The channel, named after the explorer

Charles Darwin’s ship which sailed here in

1833-34, separates Isla Grande de Tierra

del Fuego from the southern islands of Navarino,

Nueva, Lennox, Picton, and many

other smaller islands.

Lighthouse, Beagle Channel.

As your boat sails past the Les Eclaireurs

Lighthouse and many islands, look

out for breeding colonies of sea lions, imperial

cormorants, dolphin gulls, and steamer


Feature • Argentina | 31

Argentina: The South


Tierra del Fuego National Park has

dramatic scenery and wildlife.

From Ushuaia, it’s a pleasant day

trip into the nearby Parque Nacional

Tierra Del Fuego. Established

in 1960 and expanded in 1966, the park is

well-known for its dramatic scenery with

waterfalls, forests, mountains and glaciers.

Look out for several species of mammals,

including the guanaco, Andean fox,

and the North American beaver. Ignore the

many European rabbits as they don’t belong

here, and neither do other introduced

species such as Canadian beaver, muskrat

rodent, mink and armadillo.

A few pairs of European rabbits were

introduced to the Chilean side of Tierra

del Fuego Island in 1936 and knowing

these bunnies, they multiplied rapidly. Due

to these unwelcome breeders, the ground

in many parts of the park became riddled

with holes, and some areas denuded of


Back in 1950, the rabbit population

was estimated to be a whopping 30

million. In an attempt to control them,

grey foxes, which never existed on Tierra

del Fuego Island, were released in 1951.

The grey fox and the native Patagonian fox

did not do much to control the rabbit population,


the muchfeared



that causes


in rabbits was introduced. It almost

decimated the entire rabbit population,

however, some survived so today there

are plenty of rabbits to be seen within the


from the nation’s capital, Buenos Aires.

The Martial Range to the north of

Ushuaia offers good ski runs. Taking the

Aerosilla chairlift to the top during any

time of the year offers spectacular panoramas

over the mountains, Tierra Del Fuego

Park, Ushuaia, and the Beagle Channel.

At the exit

of the chairlift

is the Club Andino


shelter which

is a great place

for a rest and a drink. From here the trail

leads to the base of Glacier Martial, which

runs alongside a little mountain river in

its last stage. However, if conditions are

favourable, the panoramic views are more

impressive than the actual glacier. Glacier

Martial has shrunk dramatically over

the past century, as is shown in the photographs

on display in the shelter’s café.

The 63,000 hectares Tierra del Fuego National Park

stretches from the Beagle Channel to the edges of Lago

Kami at the southernmost point of Argentine Patagonia.

Among the many species of birds in

the park are kelp goose, upland goose,

torrent duck, southern crested caracara,

Austral parakeet, Andean condor, blackish

oystercatcher, and the Magellanic oystercatcher.

In addition to the fauna and flora, the

park is also famous for being the southern

terminus of the Pan-American Highway

(National Route 3), a highway which runs

3,045 kilometres (1,892 mi) all the way

So now we have made it all the way

down to Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.

Going any farther south, we will enter

the most southern territory of Chile, Isla

Navarino and the Wollaston Islands. Next

stop is the Antarctic Peninsula which we

will leave for next time. GR

Upland goose.

Chimango caracara.

Scenery in Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Darwin’s fungus.

Black-faced Ibis.

32 Globerovers · July 2019

Small chapel (Cappella Maria Auxiliadora) in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.


Getting There

Several airlines offer regularly scheduled

fl ights from Europe, the USA, and

Canada. Flights from Asia and Africa are

limited and often require a change in

Europe, the USA, or in Central America

(such as Copa Airlines based in Panama).

A north-south journey is best started

in La Paz, Bolivia, via the incredible Uyuni

Salt Flats to Villazon on the border.

Getting Around

While an Aerolineas Argentinas “Visit

Argentina Pass” will save you money, it is

more fun to take the long road. Popular

long-distance bus routes are served by

several bus companies, some of which are

super luxury and come at a reasonable

fare. The bus routes are extensive and a

highly recommended way to travel. Longdistance

passenger trains are limited.


Argentina is a photographer’s playground.

While the cities, Buenos Aires in particular,

have many neighbourhoods of interest

to urban living photographers, the country

is packed with beautiful landscapes, in

particular the mountains, ski resorts,

national parks, waterfalls, Patagonia’s

glaciers and lakes, wildlife hotspots such

as Península Valdés, etc.

When to Go

Argentina is an all-year destination. It’s

best to decide what you want to see and

where you want to go. Avoid the December

and January holidays. Generally,

springtime (October to mid-December)

and autumn (April to mid-June) are the

best times to visit Argentina.

Where to Stay

The tourist infrastructure is well developed

and accommodation is available in all

price ranges, except for the smaller villages.

Guesthouses and quality hostels are

widely available. If you visit the Pampas

lowlands, stay at a cattle and sheep ranch

(estancias) and hang out with a cowboy.


Argentina is a modern country but has

experienced a depressed economy in

recent years. Petty theft is common in cities

and muggings do happen. Argentina has

a problem with drugs, which can make

people unpredictable, so be careful. Nature

should be your biggest safety concern.

Dining Out

Dining is the most important reason for

many people to visit Argentina, in particular

if you are a serious carnivore and a

wine drinker. The BBQ asados are among

the best in the world. These people are

serious meat connoisseurs. Wines from

the Mendosa region are excellent.


This is a laidback country so dress casually

for most of the time. Your activities

and the time of the year will determine

the clothes you pack. Winters in the south

can be quite cold and summers in Buenos

Aires and the north are very hot. The

coldest months are June and July.

Cost of Travel

While the Argentina Peso has been

depreciating against the USD in recent

years, it lost half of its value since early

2018. Now is a great time to visit, though

infl ation hit 48% in 2018 but is expected

to cool down in 2019. Go soon to get

great value for your foreign currency.

Feature • Argentina | 33

10 Experiences in Argentina


It is tough to select the best experiences in such a large and diverse country. For those with less than a week, you will undoubtedly

miss out on some of the best places. Argentina should be explored in not less than three or four weeks, if not more. Based on my

own personal interests and preferences, here is my list of Top 10 experiences not to be missed. Beyond these ten, honorable mentions

must go to Córdoba city, Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), Punta Tombo National Reserve, and Talampaya National Park.


Iguazú Falls

Iguazú River

Viewing the Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side is a sight to

behold. The never-ending spray coming from the cascades

of white foam tumbling into the depths below is an incredible

sight and sound.

Between the many vantage points walk through the rainforest

to see coatis and tropical birds. Some of the walkways

get real close to the thundering falls and you will get completely

soaked by the spray. Once you are close to the falls

the sound is so loud that you can’t even hear people around

you. Take a helicopter ride over the falls or take a speedboat

to see the falls from below to appreciate the sheer power.


Food, Tango, Barrios


The Glaciers



Buenos Aires

Los Glaciares National Park

Península Valdés

Watch the live tango lessons on the street in

the bohemian San Telmo district of Buenos

Aires. Meet up with a local Porteño (resident

of the city) to walk with you through the

many barrios (suburbs). Each barrio has its

own distinct personality and attractions.

After exploring the city, settle down in a nice

cafe for a few glasses of wine from Argentina’s

Mendosa region. Don’t miss the Malbec

reds, which are authentically Argentinian.

For dinner, get to Siga La Vaca restaurant

in the barrio of Puerto Madero for a serious

carnivore indulgence, with more wine!

34 Globerovers · July 2019

Perito Moreno Glacier in the Los Glaciares

National Park of the Patagonia Region is

one of the most accessible glaciers in the

world. No need to hike for days through the

rugged mountain terrain. The front end of

this massive glacier reaches out into Lago

Argentino and is about a 1-hour drive from

the small town of El Calafate, a great base

to explore the region.

The area around Lago Argentino in the

Southern Patagonian Ice Field has several

glaciers, including the impressive Upsala

Glacier, known for its rapid retreat.

Located over 1,300 km (800 mi) south of

Buenos Aires, Península Valdés in Patagonia

is connected to the mainland by the

isthmus of Carlos Ameghino. It is home to

an important breeding population of the

endangered southern right whale as well

as southern elephant seals and southern

sea lions. You may also see orcas, rheas,

guanacos, maras, magellanic penguins,

foxes, and many bird species.

Stay in the nearby town of Puerto Madryn

or even closer at the small settlement of

Puerto Pirámides.


Mount Fitz Roy

El Chalten


Iberá Wetlands


Myrtle Forest



Located in the Glaciares National Park

near the town of El Chalten along the

border with Chile, this is one of the most

beautiful places on earth. Cerro (hill) Fitz

Roy has become an important symbol

of Patagonia, and also of Argentina. The

rugged sky-puncturing peaks are visible

from far away and only the most adventurous

dare to climb the peaks. Most travellers

come here to hike the trails rather

than climbing its high peaks at 3,375 m

(11,070 ft). Visitors can camp for free in

the designated campgrounds and entry to

the national park carries no entry fee.

The Iberá Wetlands is comparable to the

Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland

area located across Brazil, Bolivia and

Paraguay. It is teeming with wildlife such as

caiman, otters, capybaras, wolves, howler

monkeys and over 400 species of birds.

The Iberá Wetlands is a mix of swamps,

stagnant lakes, and lagoons and is the

second largest wetland in the world after

the Pantanal. Stay on a farm with the

gauchos (South American cowboys) and

experience life by drinking maté tea with

Argentina’s most skilled horsemen.

The legendary myrtle woods are located

near Bariloche in the stunning Quetrihue

Peninsula west of Península Valdés along

the Chile border.

The Myrtle is a bush with an exquisite

saffron-tanned colour covered in petite

white flowers. As the bush gets older it

becomes a tree and creates a unique

dense forest. The old trees have wide

trunks with saffron-tanned bark covered in

white spots. Nearby Lake Nahuel Huapi

and Victoria Island are located in a calming

and beautiful, natural environment.


Southern Lighthouse


Wines and Wineries


Red Earth

Beagle Channel


Quebrada de Humahuaca

No trip to Argentina is complete without

going the long way down to Ushuaia, the

world’s southernmost town. From here take

day trips to the nearby Parque Nacional

Tierra del Fuego and the Glaciar Martial.

Boat trips leave from the Ushuaia harbour

to show travellers the beauty of the Beagle

Channel that separates the larger main

island of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego

from various smaller islands to the south.

Here you will see the world’s southernmost

lighthouse, the 1920-built Les Eclaireurs

Lighthouse. It is 11 m (36 ft) high.

From north to south, Argentina has two

popular wine-making regions, Mendoza

and San Juan, and a developing region

of La Rioja, and Catamarca. There are

also some vineyards in the eastern part of

the country, in the provinces of Cordoba,

Buenos Aires, and La Pampa, but their

production is still low.

Mendoza, Argentina’s largest wine region,

is located at the edge of the Andes Mountains.

The fi rst vines were planted here in

the mid-16th century. It is most famous for

its excellent Malbec grape variety.

Two hours drive south of the Bolivia border

lies the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca

Gorge). This is a 200 km long (124

mi) UNESCO World Heritage Site that

contains evidence of being inhabited by prehispanic

tribes about 15,000 years ago.

The area is rich in history, art and culture,

and one of the most unique and beautiful

landscape sceneries in the world. A highlight

is the Cerro de 7 Colores (Hill of Seven Colours)

in Purmamarca, as well as the ruins

of the Pucara fortress. The tranquil town of

Humahuaca is a must visit.

Feature • Argentina | 35


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36 Globerovers · July 2019

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Photo location: Somewhere around Chak Chak, Iran.


Photo Essay

Sabah, Borneo Island

38 Globerovers · July 2019



Malaysia’s Untamed State on

borneo island

Malaysia’s State of Sabah is located

in the northern portion of

Borneo Island, the third-largest

island in the world. The island is politically divided

among Malaysia and Brunei in the north,

and Indonesia (Kalimantan) in the south. The

“East Malaysian” states of Sabah and Sarawak

make up about 26% of the island. Sabah is

less than half the size of Sarawak and occupies

the most northern tip of the island.

Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests

in the world, and Sabah has no shortage of untamed

jungles. While large portions of the state

remain inaccessible to most hikers, several

trails with accommodation are open.

With over 1,600 known species of animals,

birds, amphibians and reptiles, the jungle is

an Eden-like paradise. Sadly, the jungle is fast

disappearing due to deforestation and the encroachment

of oil palm plantations. According

to Greenpeace, some of the world’s biggest

brands are still linked to rainforest destruction

in Indonesia. These include Unilever, Nestlé,

Colgate-Palmolive and Mondelez.

Sabah is known for its rich biodiversity and

wildlife. However, the rapid deforestation in

Sabah has caused massive habitat destruction

and pushed many species to the brink of extinction.

Wildlife poaching to supply the illegal

pet trade and those with a taste for rare exotic

meat are speeding up the extinction. Among

the animals of Sabah under threat are the proboscis

monkey, orangutan, clouded leopard,

Borneo rhino, Borneo pygmy elephant, slow

loris, and the binturong bearcat.

Come along as we visit Borneo to photograph

the proboscis monkeys and orangutans in

their natural habitats at the Sepilok Reserve

and elsewhere. We start our trip at the laidback

town of Kota Kinabalu, the gateway to

Sabah, and also visit Pulau Tiga, one of the

most beautiful islands off the coast of Borneo.

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 39

Sabah, Borneo Island

Likas Mosque (City Mosque).

40 Globerovers · July 2019

Kota Kinabalu - Sabah’s Gateway

Kota Kinabalu, affectionately known as KK, is the

state capital of Sabah and lies west of Mount

Kinabalu (4,095 metres / 13,435 ft), which gave the

city its name. Mainly serving as the gateway to Borneo

Island, the city has a few interesting attractions.

The Masjid Negeri Sabah (Sabah State Mosque)

is a masterpiece of architecture with its dove-grey

walls and glittering majestic domes with gold inlay.

The second main mosque is the Kota Kinabalu City

Mosque at Likas Bay which can accommodate up

to 12,000 worshippers. It is partially surrounded

by an artificial lagoon.

From Signal Hill Observatory Tower you can get a

fantastic view over Kota Kinabalu, the South China

Sea, and several small islands.

Masjid Negeri Sabah (Sabah State Mosque).

Located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the

city is the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park which covers

about 280 acres of land. The park features species

such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, proboscis monkeys,

Malayan tigers, orangutans, Borneo pygmy

elephants and colourful hornbills.

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 41

Kota Kinabalu’s City Mosque on Likas Bay is based on the design of the

Nabawi Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Surrounded by an artificial lagoon,

it has the nickname of the “Floating Mosque”.

42 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 43

Sabah, Borneo Island

44 Globerovers · July 2019

Sandakan and the Sepilok Reserve

Sandakan, the second largest town in Sabah

after Kota Kinabalu, is located along the Sulu

Sea, over 300 kilometres (186 mi) east of Kota Kinabalu.

A road trip from Kota Kinabalu takes about

6 hours while one of the many daily flights on Malaysia

Airlines or AirAsia takes just 45 minutes.

While the town has a few interesting spots such as

fresh markets and the Sandakan Memorial Park, it

is worth taking a short trip out of town to the Puu

Gih Jih Chinese temple and Kampung Buli Sim Sim,

a picturesque traditional Malay water village on

stilts. It is an atmospheric (and pungent) place to

just wander around.

The region’s best attractions are further afield and

include the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre,

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Turtle

Islands Park, and the Gomantong Caves that are

home to many swallow nests. Spend time with the

proboscis monkeys and orangutans. The proboscis

monkey sanctuary is about 40 kilometres (25 mi)

east of town while the orangutans are halfway at

the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve.

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 45

Proboscis monkeys are intelligent and incredibly sociable animals. This alpha male

with his wives and offspring were watching a nearby group while seemingly gossipping.

In this photo they seem to be grinning. Moments earlier their facial expressions were

rather perplexed.

46 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 47

Sabah, Borneo Island

48 Globerovers · July 2019

Pulau Tiga

Located in Kimanis Bay off the western coast of

Sabah, Tiga Island was formed in 1897 when

an earthquake on the Philippine island of Mindanao

caused a volcanic eruption near Borneo. Tiga

Island is one of the three islands that make up Tiga

Island National Park.

The island’s claim to fame is being the first ever ʻsecret’

location for the TV hit reality series, ʻSurvivor’.

Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island.

Located about 10 kilometres (6 mi) off the coast,

the island is reached by a 30 to 40-minute boat

ride from the small settlement of Kuala Penyu. An

overnight stay is better than a daytrip. Stay at

the Pulau Tiga Resort which offers recreational

opportunities such a diving, fishing, billiards, and

non-motorized water sports.

The island is famous for its therapeutic natural active

mud volcanoes, however, at the time I visited

they were in a dire state. While the trails around

the island are worth the hike, the best attraction of

the island is the beaches and the incredibly beautiful

sunsets over the South China Sea.

Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 49

50 Globerovers · July 2019


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52 Globerovers · July 2019


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Ayia Napa, Republic of Cyprus

Agia Napa Monastery

The Venetian-era monastery is located in Ayia Napa

on the east coast of the Republic of Cyprus.

Although it is unsure exactly when the monastery

was constructed, the cave of the monastery indicates

that Christians used to meet here in secret around

the 11th century.

54 Globerovers · July 2019


A divided island

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a divided island where the Turkish Cypriots live

north of the demilitarized zone, and the Greek Cypriots to the south.

Welcome to a guitar-shaped

island that claims to be the

birthplace of Aphrodite, the

Greek goddess of love! An

island with an amber-coloured sweet dessert wine,

commandaria, recognised as the world’s oldest

named wine, dating back to the 13th century. Here,

ancient tombs are carved from solid rock and decorated

with among the world’s best Roman mosaics.

Located a mere 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of

Turkey and 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Syria,

Cyprus is a glowing gemstone in the turquoise

waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Travellers are attracted to the island for many

reasons. Some come here for the world-class scuba

diving and wide

sandy beaches.

Others come for the

mountains, turquoise

seas, the food and

people in quaint villages.

Many are attracted to the ancient historic sites,

remnants of bygone civilisations.

Turkey, however, considered Cyprus an “extension

of the Turkish Anatolia Peninsula”, so in line

with a 1950s policy of the Turkish Cypriot leaders

and the Turkish government, it was partitioned to

create a Turkish state in the north of the island.

After Cyprus was granted independence from

Britain on August 16, 1960, eleven years of intercommunal

violence between the Greek Cypriots and

the Turkish Cypriots followed.

The predominantly Greek population of the

Republic of Cyprus live uncomfortably, and with regret,

south of their Turkish neighbours.

During the 70s and early 80s, Cyprus went through a

tumultuous time when hundreds of thousands of Greek

Cypriots fled the northern areas occupied by the Turkish

troops while tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots were

transferred from the south. These forced displacements

left people on both sides of the dividing line with a

never-ending bitterness. The Cyprus divide, also known

as the “Cyprus problem”, still remains unsolved.

How the “Cyprus problem” was created: Britain

took over Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire as a

protectorate back in 1878, then annexed it in 1914.

After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in

1925, the island was made a British Crown Colony.

The Turkish military invaded the island on 20 July

1974, and by August they had annexed over 40% of the

island. After a ceasefire, the Green Line demilitarized

zone was established between the Turkish north and

the Greek Cypriots in the south. In 1983 the Turkish

Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence,

with Turkey

the only country to

recognise this illegitimate

new government.

Travelling is easy

except for taking a rental car across the dividing

Green Line. Car rental companies do not allow

cross-border driving so we will stay in the south and

explore the Greek Cypriot part of the island, officially

known as the Republic of Cyprus, or just Cyprus.

As the crow flies, the distance between Paphos in

the west to Cape Greco in the east is 153 kilometres

(95 mi) with a driving distance of about 186 kilometres

(116 mi). We start in the divided city of Nicosia

in the north, then travel southeast to Cape Greco.

From here we go southwest to the city of Larnaca,

then Limassol in the far south, west along the southern

coast and all the way to the historic city of Paphos

in the far west. We return to Nicosia by crossing the

scenic hills and valleys around Mount Olympos.

Article • Cyprus |


Cyprus: The north

Hilton Cyprus is the only five-star hotel in Nicosia, the premium business address and a home away from home for business travellers

looking for luxury during their stay.

Located next to the business distict and just half an hour away from Larnaca International Airport by car, Hilton Cyprus is perfectly

situated for your convenience whether you are staying for a couple of nights or a whole week. All 294 guests rooms have their own

private balcony with fantastic views over the city and a bright airy space within. High-speed internet access is available in all rooms.

Guests staying in one of our 76 Executive Rooms or 19 suites enjoy additional benefits including access to the Executive Lounge, with

complimentary breakfast and beverages.

The Executive Lounge is your home away from home, with breakfast served in the morning and hot and cold drinks, canapés and

cocktails available throughout the day. Satellite TV and a range of international newspapers and magazines keep you connected to

the outside world, and the Business Centre can help with any secretarial requirements you have during your stay.

For conferences, the hotel can accommodate groups of up to 720 guests in up to 1,900 sqm of function space, while smaller meeting

rooms are perfect for corporate meetings and presentations.

The Hiltonia Health Club is an oasis of calmness, with a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a spa area with

steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and beauty center offering a selection of treatments to indulge yourself.

Whatever the purpose of your visit, make sure you take the time to soak up some Cypriot sun and enjoy the Mediterranean climate

at our outdoor swimming pool.

Hilton Cyprus - come and stay with us.

56 Globerovers · July 2019

The North

The United Nations Buffer Zone (Green

Line) stretches 180 km along the north.

Nicosia, capital of the Republic

of Cyprus, is the world’s

last divided capital. Split into

North Nicosia and South Nicosia, the

Green Line of separation goes straight

through the city.

For many years, most crossings

between the North and the South were

closed, but in 2003 a few were opened, and

since 2008 the “Ledra Street crossing” has

allowed pedestrian traffic. This is a popular

place for travellers to cross from the

modern and developed South to the rather

depressing and backward North.

Bring along your passport as you will

need it to enter the North.

As you cross from the South into

the North, the scars of past conflict are

brutally evident. The dividing line itself is a

few metres wide and filled with abandoned

homes, shops, and deserted land. Buildings

still show the remnants of war — bulletpockmarks,

sandbags, and gun ports. Here

you need to stand still for a few moments

and ponder human stupidity.

When talking to people on both sides,

one gets the vibe that a spirit of reconciliation

is flowing through the fences. There

is a hope among the new generation of

Cypriots that their Greek and Turkish heritage

could soon be unified. It is time for

the gaping wound between the two sides

to mend.

The Greek side of the city has modern

restaurants, shopping malls and fancy cars,

similar to the rest of the South.

Must-see attractions are scarce, except

for a few churches, mosques and museums,

Venetian walls, and the Liberty


North Nicosia is more of a traveller’s

adventure as time has been standing still

here since the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Just north of the dividing line are the

well preserved 16th century Büyük Han

Caravanserai and 14th century Selimiye

Mosque, historically known as the Saint

Sophia Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Wandering around North Nicosia’s old

town is such a pleasure. Make sure to have

lunch or dinner at one of the many authentic

Turkish restaurants. You likely will see

the Kahraman ice-cream man dressed in

his traditional Turkish attire mixing and

serving marvellous ice creams while entertaining

the kids.

Euros in the South, Turkish Lira in the


Hotel sponsorship provided by Hilton

Cyprus who treated me like royalty. I can

highly recommend the beautiful Hilton

which is conveniently located. Awesome

staff, food, rooms, everything!

Ice cream man, North Nicosia.

Selimiye Mosque, North Nicosia.

Liberty monument, South Nicosia.

Archbishop Palace, South Nicosia.

Article • Cyprus | 57

Cyprus: The east

The Principality of Liechtenstein is double-landlocked

as it is totally surrounded by two landlocked countries

Austria and Switzerland.

We are all you need

for a friendly and

comfortable stay

in Larnaca


Explore the heart of Larnaka from Livadhiotis

City Hotel, just 100 meters from the famous

Larnaka Seafront (Finikoudes Beach) and 10

minutes away from Larnaka International


Surrounded by lots of great cafes, pubs and

restaurants and just a stone’s throw away

from the


town’s main shopping and

to Larnaca

commercial centre, Livadhiotis City Hotel is

the ideal base to discover the island.


Tel: 00357-24626222 | Fax: 00357-24626406 | 50 Nicolaou Rossou Street, St Lazarus Square, POB: 42800, 6021 LARNACA, CYPRUS

58 Globerovers · July 2019

The East

The Republic’s east coast is home to the

most beautiful turquoise sea waters!

The road from Nicosia to the far

south-eastern tip, Cape Greco,

is a pleasant drive along wellmaintained


About 35 kilometres (22 mi) before

reaching the Cape Greco National Forest

Park, the road passes through the British

controlled area of Dhekelia, a United Kingdom

Overseas Territory, though you may

not even notice it. The Sovereign Base Areas

of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (near Limassol),

have British military bases and eavesdropping

installations on lands that were retained

under the 1960 treaty of independence.

Once you pass Dhekelia, the coastline

is idyllic, especially as you get closer to the

Capo Greco headland at the southern end

of Famagusta Bay. The water here is a brilliant

turquoise colour.

As you swim in these waters of paradise,

keep an eye out for the legendary Ayia

Napa cryptids sea monster known by the

local fishermen as “the friendly monster”.

While not regarded as dangerous, from

time to time the monster is reported to

drag away fishing nets.

Head back east to the pleasant city of

Larnaca with its popular beaches, historic

churches and museums, as well as a fortress

and the 18th century Kamares aqueduct.

A short drive south of the city on the

airport road is Larnaca’s own salt lake,

complete with pink flamingos from November

to January.

About 40 kilometres (25 mi) south

of Larnaca on highway A5, the Nicosia

highway A1 turns north. A 20 kilometres

(12 mi) drive gets you to the Stavrovouni

Monastery in Pyrga, founded in AD 327

and sitting in splendid isolation commanding

superb panoramic views across the sur-

rounding countryside. Note that only men

are allowed inside the monastery buildings.

From the monastery it is about 75

kilometres (48 mi) to the Limassol Salt

Lake, also known as Akrotiri Lake, lying at

2.7 metres (8.9 ft) below sea level. The lake

is worth a visit, especially in winter when

thousands of flamingos hang around while

gobbling up brine shrimp, crustaceans, and

blue-green algae.

Akrotiri Lake is the largest inland body

of water on the island and lies inside the

United Kingdom Overseas Territory of


No passports or roadblocks in Akrotiri

Territory—only large roadside signs forbidding

passing travellers to take photos of the

massive radar installations.

My accommodation in Larnaca was

sponsored by the Livadhiotis City Hotel,

which I can highly recommend. The hotel

is centrally located and a short walk from

the beach. Great rooms, great service, great


Cape Greco.

Salt Lake of Larnaca.

Fig Tree Bay, Protaras.

Beaches of Larnaca.

Article • Cyprus | 59

The Southern Route

The rugged southern coast of Cyprus is

known for its beaches and ancient ruins.

Limassol, the second largest city

after Nicosia, is very pleasant.

Make sure to visit the 13th

century Kolossi Castle and wander around

the old town of Limassol, then head 15

kilometres (9 mi) west to the ruins of the

2nd century city-kingdom of Kourion.

This once flourishing kingdom was

destroyed in a magnitude 8.0 or higher

earthquake at sunrise on July 21, 365 AD.

The earthquake’s epicentre was near the

island of Crete and caused widespread

damage in Greece, northern Libya, Egypt,

Sicily, Spain and here in Cyprus.

Today we are left with ruins of the

Greco-Roman theatre—the site’s centrepiece,

open during the summer months

for outdoor musical and theatrical performances.

Protected from the elements by

a large domed roof are the well-preserved

geometric mosaics and inscriptions of the

‘House of Eustolios’, originally a private

villa dedicated to Christ.

The 4th century AD ‘House of Achilles’

and the late-3rd century AD ‘House of

the Gladiators’ both have impressive mosaic

floors. The original parts of the Roman

Agora date back to the early 3rd century.

A few hundred metres east of the

Κourion Ancient Amphitheater stands a

chapel dedicated to Agios Ermogenis, who

was born in the 4th century. The original

chapel was destroyed by invaders, and the

current structure, within which a relic of

Agios Ermogenis is found, was built in the

17th century.

About 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of

Kourion at Episkopi is the 8th century BC

Temple of Apollo Hylates, which is well

worth a short visit. This ancient monument

was dedicated to the god of Apollo,

thought to be the protector of nearby

Kourion city. In ancient times this was one

of the most prominent religious centres on

the island where Apollo was worshipped as

Hylates, god of the woodlands. The temple

was destroyed in the same earthquake that

destroyed Kourion.

Almost 70 kilometres (43 mi) further

west is the famous Aphrodite’s Rock, locally

known as Petra tou Romiou. Located

along the beautiful rocky southern coastline,

this is the legendary spot where the

ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite—associated

with love, beauty, pleasure, passion

and procreation—is said to have emerged

from the waves.

You will see two large rocks jutting out

from the sea, creating one of Cyprus’ most

photographed spots. At sunset, it is one of

the island’s most magical places.

The coastline around this part of Cyprus

is truly magnificent as the road winds

high above the cliffs with panoramic views

over the rocky shoreline.

Roman Nymphaeum, Kourion.

Lets hike the long road


Roman Agora, Kourion.

60 Globerovers · July 2019

Cyprus: the south

Cyprus: The south

Church of St. Hermogenes, Kourion.

Church of St. Hermogenes, Kourion.

House of Gladiators, Kourion.

Coastline southeast of Paphos.

Aphrodite’s Rock.

Aphrodite’s Rock.

Article • Cyprus | 61

Cyprus: The west

62 Globerovers · July 2019

Tombs of the kings, Paphos.

Little fisherman statue, Paphos.

Paraskevi Byzantine Church, Geroskipou.

Tombs of the kings, Paphos.

The West

The west is dominated by beaches and

Paphos, inhabited since Neolithic times.

The route to Paphos continues

west along another beautiful

stretch of coast. Just a few kilometres

southeast of Paphos is the village

of Geroskipou, known for its 9th century

Byzantine church, one of only two such

churches on the entire island.

Dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, it is a

five-domed, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted

basilica. The interior wall paintings date

from the 8th to 15th centuries.

In Paphos, my stay was sponsored by

the highly recommended family owned

and managed Axiothea Hotel where you

will receive true Cypriot hospitality.

The sweeping views from the hotel

over the town and the ocean are beautiful.

The dominant feature of the town

of Paphos is the old part of town and

Medieval Castle by the harbour. This is

also where you will find the Paphos Archaeological

Park, locally referred to as the

“Kato Pafos”.

This large area, which remains under

constant excavation, contains an ancient

Greek and Roman city dating from prehistoric

times throughout the Middle Ages.

Here you will find four large and elaborate

Roman villas: the Houses of Dionysos,

Aion, Theseus and Orpheus. They all have

intricate mosaic pavements, in particular

at the House of Dionysus.

Past excavations have also uncovered

an Agora, Odeon, and large Hellenistic-

Roman theatre. A little closer to town

is the ancient and very well preserved

4th century Agia Kyriaki known as the

Hrysopolitissa or Chrysopolitissa Basilica.

Several magnificent marble columns decorated

with mosaics remain, including the

so-called “St Paul’s Pillar” on the western

side of the church. According to ancient

scriptures, this is the spot where Saint

Paul was tied to the pillar and scourged

39 times before he finally converted his

tormentor, the Roman governor Sergius

Paulus, to Christianity.

Here you will also find the tomb of

Eric the Good, the 12th century king of

Denmark who fell ill and died at the age

of 42 or 43 on July 10, 1103, on his way to

Constantinople, now Istanbul.

A few kilometres north of Paphos are

the Tombs of the Kings, dating from the

4th century BC to 3rd century AD. This

UNESCO World Heritage Site contains

solid rock-cut tombs of several high ranking

officials or members of society, but no kings.

Article • Cyprus | 63

Cyprus: The west

The reference to King’s Tombs is more

likely referring to the magnificence of the

tombs than to kings being buried here. The

elaborately decorated walls and columns

carved out of the solid rock are truly aweinspiring.

Further north of Paphos are several

beautiful beaches, one of which is Lara

Beach, leading to the Akamas Peninsula in

the far northwest.

On the north side of the peninsula

near the monumental baths of Aphrodite

is Yiannakis Beach, regarded as one of the

island’s top beaches. The beaches of Cyprus

are more celebrated for the crystal clean

turquoise-emerald waters than their white


It is time to return to Nicosia where we

started our journey. The shortest route is

89 kilometres (55 mi) and passes through

North Cyprus, a route not allowed by most

car rental companies.

The best option is therefore to backtrack

and take the 121 kilometres (75 mi) southern

route through the Paphos Forest. The

roads here are challenging and adventurous.

Once you exit the forest just to the

north of Mount Olympos, take a short

detour via the villages of Pedoulas and


Both are beautiful red-roofed communities

built along the valleys, each with

its own prominent and impressive church

building. Pedoulas has the Church of the

Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) completed in

1935, while Kakopetria has the St. Panteleimon

Church (Agios Panteleimonas)

that was re-constructed between 1989 and


From Kakopetria it is about 30 kilometres

(19 mi) to Nicosia. You will be happy

to check into the Hilton Cyprus and order

a Commandaria, known as the “Wine of

Kings and King of Wines”.

Alternatively, order one of the local

favourites such as a Brandy Sour cocktail

or the local ‘firewater’ called Zivania, a

distillation of leftover grape skins and

residue from winemaking.

It is time to promise yourself to soon

return to Cyprus! GR



• Land area: 5,896 km².

• Population: 854,800.

• Tourist arrivals: 3,652,073 (2017).

• Capital: Nicosia (Lefkosia).

• Neighbouring countries: UN unrecognised

de facto state of Northern Cyprus.

• Known for: The mythical birth place of

Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

• Interesting facts:

• Cyprus is one of the oldest wine producing

countries in the world.

• Cyprus’ beaches have been continuously

named the cleanest in Europe

for the past decade.

• The world’s oldest perfume was discovered

in Cyprus.

Lara Beach, Akamas Peninsula.

Akamas Peninsula.

Crossing the mountains from Paphos to Nicosia.

64 Globerovers · July 2019

Agios Nikolaos, Kakopetria.

Agios Nikolaos, Kakopetria.


Getting There

Frequent scheduled fl ights operate yearround

from European and Middle Eastern

cities. Cyprus has two international

airports: Larnaca and Paphos. Mediterranean

cruise ships stop at Limassol Port.

This port also handles connections to the

Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete and to

the port of Pireaus (Athens) and between

Cyprus and Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.

When to Go

Summers (May all the way through to

October) are dry and sunny but quite hot

while winters (November to February) are

mild but wet. Spring and fall are ideal to

travel around the entire country. Spring

is blessed with fl owers, such as orchids,

while autumn is colourful in a different way.

Getting Around

Cyprus has no train network and no domestic

air service, so your main options

are to drive, catch buses or take taxis.

Bus services between the large cities

such as Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos and

Nicosia are reliable and not expensive.

However, without your own wheels you

will be missing the best of Cyprus, so it is

best to rent a car or motorbike.

Where to Stay

Cyprus has a well-developed tourist

infrastructure with accommodation available

across the republic. This may not

be true for Northern Cyprus. In the small

towns and mountainous areas, many old

traditional homes have been converted

into guesthouses and are very pleasant.


While most photographers will fi nd

enough beautiful scenery to keep them

busy for a while, the country is not a

photographer’s paradise. Obviously it

depends on what scenery makes you tick!

Paphos and Kourion have many photogenic

ancient ruins while North Nicosia is

interesting as time seems to have stood

still for many years.


Cyprus is generally safe. The most important

safety rule to follow is to not attempt to

enter the United Nations buffer zone at any

place other than a designated crossing point.

Police and UN forces strictly enforce this restriction.

It is forbidden to take photos while

driving through the British territories.

Dining Out

Cyprus has great food and restaurants.

Traditional Cypriot foods include souvlakia

(grilled meat kebabs), shaftalia (grilled

sausage), afella (marinated pork), fried

halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread, kolokasi

(taro), lamb, chickpeas, artichokes,

and rabbit stews. All very delicious.


Summers are hot but generally not

unbearable. Winters are mild but wet.

Packing all depends on the activities you

are planning. Hiking and swimming are

popular. The coastline is volcanic so bring

along the rubber shoes for swimming.

Cypriots are casual so dress down.

Cost of Travel

Bring cash in Euro though credit cards

are accepted in most hotels, restaurants

and larger shops throughout Cyprus.

ATMs are widely available. As with most

countries, it all depends on how much

you want to spend. Prices vary widely for

accommodation and food.

Article • Cyprus | 65

10 Republic of Cyprus


of the

Cyprus is a jewel tucked in the Eastern Mediterranean, the pearl of the turquoise seas! Filled with archaeological, mythical as well

as cultural destinations, this small island has plenty to keep most visitors occupied for several days. Whether you are an adventure

hiker, a scuba diver, beach bum, history buff, mountaineer, city slicker, a foodie, or a salt lake walker, you will find Cyprus to be

mesmerizing. Rent a 4x4 vehicle, put on your hiking shoes, and explore the Republic of Cyprus.


Ayia Napa

The southeastern coastline of Cyprus is idyllic, especially as

you get closer to the Capo Greco headland at the far eastern

end. The water here is a brilliant turquoise colour. The entire

area around the Cape Greco National Forest Park is worth

exploring—beaches, swimming holes, sea caves, and more.

Several beaches to the west of Cape Greco, such as Nissi

Beach, are beautiful. The town of Ayia Napa is interesting,

especially the Ayia Napa Monastery.

To the north of Capo Greco are more beautiful beaches,

including Fig Tree Bay, Kalamies Beach and Trinity Beach.

2 Paphos 3 Troodos Villages 4 Nicosia

The dominant features of the town of

Paphos are the Medieval Castle by the

harbour, the Paphos Archaeological Park,

and the Tombs of the Kings. These are

ancient structures dating back to between

the 4th century BC to 3rd century AD.

In the central western part of the island

are the Troodos Mountains with Mount

Olympus (Chionistra) at 1,952 m (6,404

ft), being the highest point in Cyprus. Here

you will find ski resorts and quaint mountain


Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, is the world’s last

divided capital. Split into North Nicosia and

South Nicosia, the Green Line of separation

goes through the city. Many travellers come

here to walk across the Ledra Street pedestrian

crossing to get that “strange feeling”.

North of Paphos are several beautiful

beaches, one of which is Lara Beach,

leading to the Akamas Peninsula in the

far northwest. A few kilometres southeast

of Paphos is the village of Geroskipou,

known for its 9th century Byzantine


66 Globerovers · July 2019

Among the highlights of this area are the

villages of Pedoulas and Kakopetria. Both

are red-roofed communities built along

the valleys, each with its own prominent

church building. The winding road through

the mountains is beautiful, especially at

the Amiantos Mine View Point.

While South Nicosia has modern restaurants,

shopping malls and fancy cars, North

Nicosia is more of a traveller’s adventure

as time has been moving very slowly here

since the Turkish invasion in 1974. Don’t

miss the 14th century Selimiye Mosque and

the 16th century Büyük Han Caravanserai.

5 Salt Lakes 6 Aphrodite’s Rock 7 Akamas Peninsula

A short drive south of Larnaca on the airport

road is the Larnaca Salt Lake, complete

with pink flamingos from November

to January.

About 80 km (50 mi) southwest is Limassol

Salt Lake, also known as Akrotiri Lake

which lies at 2.7 m (8.9 ft) below sea level.

The lake is worth a visit, especially in winter

when thousands of flamingos gobble up

brine shrimp, crustaceans, and blue-green

algae. It is the largest inland body of water

on the island and lies inside the United

Kingdom Overseas Territory of Akrotiri.

Along the southwest coast is the famous

Aphrodite’s Rock, locally known as Petra

tou Romiou. Located along the beautiful

rocky southern coastline, this is the

legendary spot where the ancient Greek

goddess Aphrodite—associated with love,

beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation,

is said to have emerged from the waves.

Two large rocks jut out from the sea, creating

one of Cyprus’ most photographed

spots. At sunset, it is one of the island’s

most magical places. The entire coastline

here is quite dramatic and beautiful.

The Akamas Peninsula lies at the westernmost

point of the Republic of Cyprus.

The area covers 230 square kilometres

(88 sq mi) containing valleys, gorges and

wide sandy bays. Here you will find 168

varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles,

16 species of butterfly and 12 different

mammals, not to mention its rich variety

of fauna. As one of the least inhabited

places on the island, roads are not great

with mostly just dirt tracks and footpaths.

The best way to explore is by hiking, renting

a 4WD or signing up for a jeep safari,

or by taking a boat tour along the coast.

8 Lefkara 9 Ancient Kourion 10 Larnaca

Located about halfway between Limassol

and Larnaca, Lefkara is a mountain village

famous for its lace, known as lefkaritika,

and silver handicrafts. This picturesque

village with its narrow, winding streets and

traditional architecture of old, terracottaroofed

houses is unquestionably one of the

most beautiful villages in Europe!

To the east of the village lies the Greek

Orthodox Stavrovouni Monastery, founded

by Saint Helena between 327–329 AD

which makes it one of the oldest monasteries

in the world.

West of Limassol are the ruins of the 2nd

century city-kingdom of Kourion. This

once flourishing kingdom was destroyed

in a magnitude 8.0 or higher earthquake

at sunrise on July 21, 365 AD.

Here you will find the ruins of the Greco-

Roman theatre—the site’s centrepiece,

the 4th century AD ‘House of Achilles’

and the late-3rd century AD ‘House of the

Gladiators’, both have impressive mosaic

floors. The original parts of the Roman

Agora date back to the early 3rd century.

An interesting site if you like ancient ruins.

Larnaca, the third largest city after Nicosia

and Limassol, is the premier seaside

resort town of the country. The pleasant

beach is backed by a seafront promenade

lined with hotels and restaurants and

overlooked by a 17th century Ottomanera


Other attractions include the Agios Lazaros

(Church of St. Lazarus), the Hala

Sultan Tekke Mosque, Skala the old Turkish

Quarter, and several museums. Outside

town is the Kamares Aqueduct and

the Larnaca Salt Lake near the airport.

Article • Cyprus | 67

Mauritius island: Part 1

Gardens, tea, sugar, dolphins,shipwrecks

Indian ocean

Words by Janet-Lynn Vorster,

Cape Town, South Africa.

Photos by Janet-Lynn and others.

In our series, Island LIFE, our Southern Africa correspondent, Janet-Lynn Vorster, takes us

2,000 kilometres (1,243 mi) east of the South African coast to the tropical Indian Ocean island

of Mauritius. In this 1st part of her article she introduces us to life on the island and takes us

around the Pamplemousses botanical gardens, the tea route, swimming with dolphins and she

tells us about some of the many shipwrecks scattered around the island. In the 2nd part (December

2019) she will take us to all 9 districts around the island, its islets, markets, and more.

Think turquoise crystal sea, black

volcanic rock, palm trees, sugar

cane fields and craggy mountain

peaks. Add waves crashing

relentlessly against high cliffs, strong currents,

lush green vegetation and waterfalls.

Surround this with coral reefs and you

know you are on the beautiful island of

Mauritius, also known by its Mauritian

Creole name, Île Maurice.

Officially known as the Republic of

Mauritius, named after Dutch Prince

Maurice of Nassau, Mauritius is an African

island located in the Indian Ocean about

2,300 kilometres (1,430 mi) off the southeast

coast of Africa.

“Mauritius was made first

and then heaven.”

Mark Twain

Mauritius includes many tiny islets

scattered around the coast, as well as

Rodrigues and the outer islands of Agaléga

and St. Brandon. Mauritius and Rodrigues

form part of the Mascarene Islands, along

with nearby Réunion, a fellow member of

the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).

The island of Mauritius consists of

Indian Ocean



Fast Facts: Mauritius


2,040 sq. km (790 sq. mi)


Multi-ethnic, descended from India, Africa, Chinese and Europe (mostly France)

Official language; English

Most spoken language: 84% Creole, 5.3% Bhojpuri-Hindustani, 3.6% French and 14.4% others (including English)

Religion: Hinduism is the major religion (48.54%), followed by Roman Catholic (26.26%), Islam (17.30%),

other Christian (5.54%) and Buddhism (0.18%)

Population: 1.265 million (2017)

Life expectancy: 74.40 years (2016)

Fertility rate: 1.40 births per woman (2016)

Population growth: 0.1% annual change (2017); among the lowest population growth rates in the developing world

Malaria status: Mosquitoes, but no malaria

Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). UK Style Adaptor Plug and European Style Adaptor Plug.

Grounding Adaptor Plugs C, D

Per capita income: Mauritius is seen as a model of stability and economic prosperity


177 km

Agricultural land: 43.8%

Forest: 17.3%

Highest point: Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire: 828 m

Natural resources: Arable land, fish

National bird: Dodo. This flightless bird is now extinct

National Flower: Trochetia Boutoniana (Boucle d’Oreille or Earring tree)

68 Globerovers · July 2019

Island LIFE

Mauritius, Indian Ocean

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

Statue of Lord Shiva, the tallest statue on the island, at 33m (108 feet).

nine districts, one city, four towns and

134 villages. The capital, Port Louis, has

around 140,600 inhabitants.

In this first part of a two-part feature

on Mauritius, we focus on the climate, life

in Mauritius, the botanical gardens, Mauritius

Tea Route and the sugar industry, and

we swim with the dolphins. We will add

tips for travellers, a few interesting facts

about Mauritius, and pique your curiosity

a little on wreck diving. For those interested

in mysteries related to lost continents,

there is a section for you too.

In the next issue, we look at Mauritius

by district, each with its main attractions

and beaches. We visit the islets around

Mauritius, give you some ideas on where

to shop and which bazaars to visit. We

wrap it up with useful information on how

to negotiate with the local taxi drivers.

Highlights of this beautiful island

include idyllic beaches, snorkelling, diving,

sea kayaking and boat trips to waterfalls,

nearby islands or around the coast.

Visit vibrant local markets and purchase

speciality items like handcrafted wooden

boats. Explore the Black River Gorges

National Park, visit the caves and blowhole

on the rugged southern coast and dare

to try the longest zipline in the world.

See waterfalls such as the jaw-dropping

Chamarel falls. The Seven Coloured Earth

sand dunes in Chamarel are an amazing

natural phenomenon. Not to mention the

temples, historical places, fishing, cuisine,

rum and tea.

In short: Mauritius has something for

everyone, young or old, adventurous or

just curious to experience a little piece of


Photo: H. Hach

The Climate of Mauritius

There are only two seasons in Mauritius:

summer and winter.

Summer, from November to April,

has an average temperature of around

26°C. January and February are the hottest

months with temperatures hovering

around 28°C. Humidity is very high during

summer, particularly in the coastal areas,

and so it can become sweltering hot. High

rainfall, tropical storms and occasional cyclones

are pretty common during summer.

Winter is from May to October, when

Island LIFE • Mauritius |


70 Globerovers · July 2019

the average temperature is around 22°C.

July is usually the coolest month of the

year with an average temperature of 21°C.

Generally, the cooler months are the best

time to visit. I found September and October

to be particularly lovely.

Life in Mauritius

The population density in Mauritius is

one of the highest in the world, especially

in Port Louis. Houses in Mauritius are

not built for beauty, but to withstand the

onslaught of cyclones. Cyclones have no

respect for architectural design.

Houses are typically multi-storied

structures, with many generations sharing

a home. Each generation has their own

level, and houses are often unfinished to

avoid having to pay taxes.

Many houses are concrete structures

with shutters which are bolted closed in

extreme winds and cyclones. During summer,

check ahead to make sure you have

air conditioning. Mosquito nets are also

very advisable.

Many houses have a predictable array

of plants and trees in their gardens:

a banana tree, coconut tree, papaya tree,

mango- and/or lychee tree. Fruit trees are

protected from bats that destroy the fruit

virtually overnight. A curry tree which is

annually cut down to knee height is a standard

feature in many gardens too, and its

fragrant leaves are added to many Creole

and Indian dishes and have fabulous health


Mauritians have found innovative

ways to use fruit before it ripens and is

destroyed by bats and fruit flies. I loved the

grated green mango salad with raw onions,

salt, pepper and vinegar. Green banana

curry is also a well-loved dish.

The locals eat plenty of fruit, vegetables,

salad, beans and lentils. Meat dishes

are generally chicken, lamb or fish. Cows

are sacred in the Hindu religion and pork

forbidden in many religions, so this is not

cooked much. Duck is a favourite and

I found pre-cooked duck in large tins –

most delicious after being pan fried for a

few minutes.

What I found fascinating in Mauritius

when I first visited 20 years ago, was how

people shared jobs. For two women, alternating

and sharing a job meant sharing the

responsibility of raising the children while

each had time to cook and do household

chores. I still marvel at this brilliant solution

to joblessness, saving costs on daycare

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

View from Butte aux Papayes across the sugar cane fields and islands to the north.

Island LIFE • Mauritius |


and ensuring that children are properly

supervised and cared for.

This time when I was in Mauritius,

it was noticeable how little poverty was

visible. Questioning the locals uncovered

the Mauritian strategy for the upliftment

of their country which has the largest per

capita earnings in Africa. Everyone here is

educated. Schools are free and compulsory

up to the age of 16. Schooling is either in

French or English, and pupils learn the

other as a second language, although English

is the official language in Mauritius.

The school system in Mauritius is heavily

based on the British schooling system,

and thus the standard of education is quite

high and challenging.

Mauritius is a well-educated country

and it shows.

Pamplemousses — Home of The Giants

A visit to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam

Botanical Garden, better known as the

Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, northeast

of Port Louis is non-negotiable. It is

reputedly the oldest botanical garden in

the Southern Hemisphere.

Here you will find the famous giant

water lilies. When I was here in October

2018, the lilies were not at their prime.

They were apparently decimated by apple

snails, though the situation is being remedied

and the lilies will soon regain their

former splendour.

The garden is known by botanists

worldwide for its enviable collection of

indigenous and exotic plants including

the numerous species of palm trees. Trees

are well marked, and a stroll around the

gardens is both educational and a delight

for botanists and nature lovers alike.

Historical Château de Mon Plaisir in

the gardens is a fine example of a colonial


The second largest botanical garden

in Mauritius is the Curepipe Botanical

Gardens in Route des Jardins, Curepipe.

This garden was created in 1870 for plants

that thrive in cooler weather. The Pamplemousses

Botanical Garden is far too hot

for certain species.

Curepipe on the central plateau is the

highest elevated town and therefore the

coolest, while the northern part of the

island is by far the hottest.

The Mauritius Tea Route

I love tea. I have found there is little

that a hot bath and a good cuppa cannot

fix. It is supportive and nurturing—a balm

for the heart and soul.

Exploring the tea route of Mauritius

is a delightful sensory experience. Discover

the making of teas, rum, vanilla, and


The tour starts in Curepipe at the

stately Domaine des Aubineaux restaurant

and museum. During the tour, you will

also visit Bois Chéri, Domaine de Saint

Aubin and Le Saint Aubin in the south.

Domaine des Aubineaux is a colonial

house built in 1872 which has since been

converted into a museum dedicated to

the history of Mauritian tea. While here,

visit La Maison des Essences, a range of

perfumery for men and women, born

from essences chosen with care by master

perfumers. Enjoy buffet tea in their famous

restaurant and tea room.

Bois Chéri is the first and biggest tea

producer in Mauritius since 1892. Visit the

plantations and factory and discover the

history of tea while visiting the tea produc-

Photo: Nici Keil

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

72 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo: Nici Keil

Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens.

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

An old decommissioned sugar factory in Bel Ombre.

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

Heritage Bel Ombre (formerly Domaine de Bel Ombre)

dates back to 1765 and is a fine example of an Anglo-Indian

colonial style family house, set in French gardens.

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

Baskets at Marche de Flacq, in Centre de Flacq,

one of the biggest markets on the island.

Island LIFE • Mauritius | 73


Bakwa Lodge is set along the beach of the opaline waters of Rodrigues, it lies secluded in a

magnificent seascape, home to rural plains, tropical reefs and unspoilt beaches, undisturbed

but for the occasional footprints. Just one & half hours from Mauritius by plane we have room

for only a few, providing a choice of simple understated luxury accommodation in a variety of

rooms and suites.

Discover the charms of the island whilst roaming the endless routes that crisscross the countryside

& coastal paths. As a guest, you get to experience this beautiful, secluded natural world

with access to one of the most sublime wind and kite surfing sites. Carved over centuries, by

marine life and tide influence, coral arches and deep ravines provide superb diving sites with an

impressive fauna and flora rewarding amateurs and experienced divers.

We invite you to enjoy the Rodriguan experience of fine local cuisine, laid back atmosphere and

authenticity of island life, join us for lazy days, laughter and lemonade ....

bakwa lodge

Var Brulé

Port Sud-Est


Indian Ocean

t : +230 832 3700/1

e :

74 Globerovers · July 2019

tion museum. Of course, tea tasting is part

of the experience.

Saint Aubin was built in 1819. It was

home to managers of the sugar estate

before being renovated in the ’90s. At

Domaine de Saint Aubin, discover the

fascinating transformation process of the

vanilla orchid from flower to aromatic

pod, visit the Anthurium greenhouses and

the tropical- and spice gardens, and then

taste and buy some rum.

“A spoonful of sugar helps

the medicine go down”

Julie Andrews, ʻMary Poppins’ movie, 1964

Complete the tea route with a special,

typical Mauritian lunch at Le Saint Aubin.

The island, with its characteristic sugar

cane fields spread like a patchwork quilt

on broad fertile plains, is home to several

award-winning sugars. The fruition of a

distinctive alchemy, they are sought after

for high tea and fine dining worldwide. The

island has a significant history linked to the

sugar cane plantations. It is fascinating.

In 1863, there were 303 sugar refineries

on the island, by 1993 there were only 42

left, and today only four remain. You can

still see some old chimneys dotted around

the countryside.

Swimming with the Dolphins

I asked my friend Matthew Miles-Nell

about his encounter with a pod of wild

dolphins. This is his story:

“I have been extremely privileged to

have had many magical experiences in my

life, none of which compares to the experience

of swimming with wild dolphins.

My husband and I, due to time constraints,

were only able to have a “minimoon”

in Mauritius after our wedding in

May, and I mentioned that I would really

like to go swimming with dolphins. He

was going to book online for Tamarin Bay,

which is known for its exceptional dolphin

sightings. Since our time was limited, we

decided not to spend one of our precious

days driving down the coast and back in

the hope of finding a pod to swim with.

We decided to rather enjoy the facilities of

our beautiful Trou aux Biches Resort.

On our first morning, walking along

the beach after breakfast, we were approached

by Sanjay, a private boat operator.

He mentioned that there were two large

pods of dolphins swimming just on the

other side of the reef, directly in front of

our resort, and that this was a very rare occurrence.

Sceptical at first, our busy minds

turned to thoughts of divine intervention at

play, and we decided to trust Sanjay.

At first, they swam deep, and due to

poor visibility, this made it difficult to see

them from the boat. On instruction from

Sanjay we jumped into the water. Swimming

in open water was exciting enough,

let alone the thrill of encountering these

majestic, sentient beings.

Hearing the dolphins communicating

with one another reassured us they were

still there. Initially, we struggled to see

them clearly as they were diving to great

depths, and we seemed to keep missing

them every time they resurfaced to breathe.

At the last minute, just as I had lost

all hope of viewing them in their glory,

they changed direction heading straight

for me. The speed and grace at which they

swam were both beautiful and mesmerising.

There were about 50 of them in the

pod, including a very young calf swimming

a mere three metres in front of me.

I managed to keep up with them until my

snorkel filled with water and I was forced

to resurface.

To say the experience was breathtaking

would be an understatement. Spending time

with these gentle creatures was a uniquely

magical and spiritual moment, and one I

will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Mauritius Wreck Diving

The entire history of civilisation in

Mauritius is written in shipwrecks. Many

still lie undiscovered at the bottom of the


Photo: Gilles Lagnel

Island Life • Mauritius |


Photo: Joa Kant

The first people ever to set foot on

Mauritian shores arrived by ship.

Even the first plane to fly over Mauritius

reached the island by ship. The first

flight to Mauritius was only in 1933, and

was from Reunion Island, 120 kilometres

(75 mi) west of Mauritius.

To better understand the shipwrecks of

Mauritius, I met up with Yann von Arnim

at his home in Curepipe. Yann is President

of the Historical Society of Mauritius,

board member of the Mauritius Museums

Council, vice-president of the Mauritius

Marine Conservation Society and president

of the Scientific & Archaeological

Commission of the Mauritian Scuba Diving


There are two kinds of interesting

shipwrecks, according to Yann: those with

interesting cargo and treasures on board,

and those with interesting stories.

Shipwrecks and treasure are synonymous.

While over 800 ships lie scattered

around the island, most of the cargo has

long since been retrieved.

Earliest Shipwrecks

According to my research, the first

ships arrived in Mauritius during the 10th

century, bringing Phoenicians, Malays,

Swahili and Arab seamen who visited but

did not settle. The island was originally

named Dina Harobi by Arab mariners.

Yann confirms this early discovery,

indicating that the Chinese and Arabs

knew about Mauritius long before the 15th

century, as deduced from ancient maps.

In 1498, Portuguese explorers stumbled

upon Mauritius in the wake of Vasco da

Gama’s voyage around South Africa’s Cape

of Good Hope. In 1510, the Portuguese

navigator Dom Pedro Mascarenhas visited

the island and named it Ihla do Cirné. It

was used as a port of call en route to India

for supplies and repairs. However, they did

not establish a permanent settlement.

In 1598 the Dutch claimed the uninhabited

island and renamed it Mauritius

in honour of Prince Maurice van Nassau,

head of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch

were thus the first to settle in Mauritius.

They exploited the ebony wood and

planted sugar cane. It was a hard life, and

they soon relocated to South Africa.

In 1615, on a return journey to Holland

from the East Indies, Admiral Pieter

Both and his fleet ran into trouble during

a violent storm while anchored off

Port Louis. Three of the four boats sank:

“Banda”, “Geunieerde Provincien” and

“Gelderland”. Admiral Pieter Both died in

the storm. Only one of the four ships, the

“Delft”, sailed back to Holland.

These were the first shipwrecks where

human remains were found, making them

significant for both archaeological research

and their story. Their spices were claimed

by the ocean, but the porcelain can be seen

in the Naval Museum in Mahebourg.

These wrecks were found due to small

green marks on the “secret maps” of the

Dutch East India Company indicating

their location. The guns found at these

wrecks were those of Pieter Both, confirming

the identities of the wrecks. Many

think the as-yet-undiscovered third wreck

went down with diamonds on board, but

the diamonds were on the “Delft” which

arrived back safely in Holland.

A mountain in Mauritius, a notable

76 Globerovers · July 2019

and equipment for one of the sugar mills.

The ship’s bell was found among the remnants

and is now displayed in the Naval

Museum of Mahebourg.

Paul, awaiting the return of his beloved

Virginie, was witness to the ship in distress

from the shore. Paul braved the ocean and

swam to save his beloved who, modest and

chaste, refused to remove her clothes. Her

waterlogged Victorian attire dragged her

down and she drowned. Divers found a

ring which is believed to have belonged to


Of the 220 people on board, only eight

survived. Most survived the shipwreck but

drowned as they tried to swim against the

strong current to reach the shore.

Photo: Joa Kant

landmark, was named after Pieter Both.

In 1638, another Dutch settlement

began but soon failed again. By 1710 a third

attempt at Dutch colonisation had also

failed and the Dutch withdrew permanently.

Yann explains how it was common

practice around the world for people to

leave a light burning on shore. Destitute

ships and sailors would come towards the

light for help. They were subsequently

killed, and their ships plundered. However,

this apparently did not happen much in


Sadly, the dodo, a small turkey-like

bird found only in Mauritius, became extinct

sometime between 1688 and 1715.

Pirates in Mauritian Waters

My favourite pirate story is that of John


In 1702 after a violent ruckus on board,

the pirate ship “Speaker” sank near Ile aux

Cerf, carrying cannons and treasure stolen

from Arab merchant ships. The first pirate

treasure ever found came from this pirate

ship. The wreck lies on a reef 2400m from

shore, so anything not yet retrieved now

lies scattered and probably deeply buried

over a large area.

John Bowen, a ridiculously wealthy

pirate, proved to be a generous pirate. He

shared the treasure retrieved from the ship

between all 130 of the pirates. These pirates

knew how to fight, and the locals didn’t.

Outnumbered by the pirates, locals

were very hospitable towards them. I would

also have been. The locals invited these

pirates to dine with them and tried to poison

their food. However, the wily pirates

cottoned on to this ploy and were not so

easily fooled.

In the end, after a few large bribes, the

Dutch governor befriended the pirates and

allowed them to buy a sloop, a single mast

sailing boat, which they converted into a

brigantine, a two-masted boat. They left

the island on good terms.

All is Fair in Love and War

In 1715 the French East India Company

claimed Mauritius, renaming it Isle de

France. They settled down and imported

slaves. Port Louis was built and transformed

into a well-defended naval base

with a state-of-the-art naval workshop.

In 1744 “Saint Géran” sank on the

northeast coast. A small monument at

Poudre d’Or marks the spot of this tragedy.

This shipwreck has left traces in literature.

The story of Paul et Virginie is the “Romeo

and Juliet” of shipwrecks. The “Saint

Géran” was carrying silver coins, slaves

The book by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre,

first published in 1788, tells that Paul later

died of a broken heart.

By the early 1800s, Great Britain had

its eyes set on capturing the island due to

its strategic position.

A famous naval battle ensued—the

only naval battle won by Napoleon. The

Battle of Grand Port was fought in August

1810 between squadrons of frigates from

the French Navy and the British Royal

Navy over possession of the harbour of

Grand Port. The British lost. It was the

greatest naval defeat ever suffered by the

Royal Navy during the entire war.

Humiliated and upset, the British

ambushed the island four months later, in

November 1810, sneaking in with ships

and soldiers from behind the islands in the

north. They attacked, and the French were

defeated in battle at Cap Malheureux. The

British forces claimed Mauritius.

Slaves, Whiskey and Brawls

By the early 1800s, ships were so large

that they often ended up close to shore

when they hit the reef, carried by the sheer

momentum of the weighty vessels. Accessible

shipwrecks were used to repair other

ships, so the keel and ballast are probably

all that remain of most shipwrecks.

In March 1821 “Le Coureur” crashed

into the reefs. It had been waiting offshore

to deliver a cargo of slaves to French

colonists residing in the British colony

of Mauritius. However, the ship’s voyage

Island LIFE • Mauritius |


was being tracked by the British navy who

dispatched a schooner to patrol the eastern

shores of Mauritius. “Le Coureur” was

spotted, and drama ensued. Was the rough

sea to blame, or was it panic at the sight of

the pursuing British schooner?

The slaves disembarked and the ship

was set ablaze to destroy any evidence. It is

unknown whether any lives were lost in this

shipwreck. “Le Coureur” lay undiscovered

and unexplored for almost two centuries.

Yann and one of his diver friends

found “Le Coureur” by accident, even

though he had been searching for many

years. He has been studying the wreck for

the past 12 years.

In 1882 the Iron Screw Steamer “Clan

Campbell” hit the reef in the south of Mauritius

near the village Baie du Cap. A few

on board died, but most were unharmed.

Part of the cargo was whiskey. Locals

found the bottles and not familiar with

whiskey, it was a real treat for them. They

did not want the government to confiscate

it, so they buried the bottles. You might

still discover some today while building

sand castles on the beach.

Fast forward to 2016, when the

“Benita” ran aground on the rocky shore

of Mauritius en route from Singapore to

Port Elizabeth in South Africa. A brawl

broke out on board, and the chief engineer

took refuge in the escape chamber. The

only way he could communicate with the

captain was to shut down the engine, so

the ship drifted. The ship had no cargo and

was riding high at high tide, so it lodged

firmly on the rocks. It took three tugboats

to pull it free. It finally sank off Mauritius

while being towed to India to be scrapped.

In more recent times some ships

wrecked as they came dangerously close

to shore to make use of terrestrial internet

connection which is less expensive than

satellite communication.

from the 15th and 16th centuries, while

iron cannon balls hail from the 17th and

18th centuries.

Ships are obliged to leave the harbour

ahead of a cyclone. However, in bygone

days it was difficult to predict cyclones,

and many ships were caught off guard and

sank while still at anchor in the harbour, or

broke anchor and ended up being smashed

on the reefs close by.

Cyclones displace wrecks from

their original resting places, so they are

often not found where expected. During

cyclones, there is first a developing

depression over the ocean, and then an

immediate surge and a rise of a metre or

more, lifting ships up and over the reef,

especially during high spring tides. The

difficulty when diving and searching for

them is not the depth, but the churning

just below the waves where it is like being

in a washing machine. Many shipwrecks

have not been found because of this. When

shipwrecks end up near a river mouth, the

muddy water coming into the sea causes

bad visibility, making it both difficult and

dangerous to find them.

Shipwrecks off the east coast have hardly

been touched as the sea is rough in the east

and only accessible a few days per year.

Today many homes in Mauritius still

own artefacts and furniture recovered

from shipwrecks. Rosewood is still being

found in one of the shipwrecks and remains

usable for furniture manufacturing

after all these years.

Wreck Diving

Scuba diving only started in the 1960s,

so many shipwrecks were not discovered or

investigated before then. The government

does not want to punish people for goods

removed from shipwrecks in the past, so,

encouraged by this, artefacts are slowly

finding their way to the museums as people

donate them without fear of being prosecuted.

It has proven difficult though to know

which artefacts came from which ship.

If shipwrecks do not yield new information,

there is no reason to excavate

Locating and Identifying the Wrecks

Shipwrecks deteriorate over the years

and are often buried under sand or coral.

The only sure way to identify a wreck is to

locate its cannons. Anchors are not good

indicators, as they often snagged or were

cut loose.

Stone cannon balls indicate wrecks

78 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo: Joa Kant

them. Wrecks from all eras have already

been found, so the focus now is not on

searching for more wrecks but rather on

researching existing discoveries extensively.

Yann has full government backup to do

archaeological work on certain shipwrecks

and is currently searching for ships related

to slavery and indented labour from India.

Finding the ship’s log books in archives is

crucial. When the captain leaves a ship, he

takes his navigation instrument and log

book with him. This makes ships more difficult

to identify as well.

The Inhumane Aspect of Shipwrecks

Yann says their youngest shipwreck was

an old German adventurer sailing around

the world in a yacht. He got caught in a

storm near Port Elizabeth in South Africa

and damaged his boat. Slightly lost, he

knew the general direction, so he continued

sailing. He went off course, and in the

middle of the night ran onto the rocks to

the south of Mauritius near le Souffleur.

The coast guard and the police were not

very helpful, and instead of helping him

they arrested him and threw him in jail.

Yann reckons the world is “upside

down” with officials putting an old shipwrecked

man in jail rather than helping

him. Officials said he was polluting the

coast and entered Mauritius illegally. Em-

pathy is sadly missing in cases like this.

Apparently right up to the 19th century,

people were very helpful towards

shipwrecked sailors. In bygone days, ships

ran into trouble or came to shore when the

crew on board got sick, as they often did

from being at sea for so long. Sailors were

prone to scurvy and dysentery. Exposure

to the elements, poor hygiene, contagious

diseases, starvation and dehydration took

their toll. Alcoholism was rife, so many

sailors were not in a fit state to stand, never

mind sail a ship! Sometimes, only the

captain or one of the crew could navigate.

Cases of sailors being thrown into jail then

were unheard of. In fact, locals were often

so helpful that they were accused of being

too humanitarian, nursing sick or wounded

sailors themselves instead of putting

them into quarantine.

Artificial Reefs

Degradation of coral reefs is one of the

most pressing environmental issues.

Ships are deliberately immersed to

form artificial reefs. The creation of artificial

reefs in Mauritius was initiated by the

Mauritius Marine Conservation Society

and dates back to 1981 with the immersion

of two barges off Trou-aux-Biches. Many

more have since become the new habitat

of underwater fauna and flora. They make

exciting diving sites. GR

Lets take the long road


Want to know more?

The National History Museum

(Naval Museum) in Mahebourg

showcases the entire history of

Mauritius including many shipwreck


Yann grew up in Germany. He started

spearfi shing from the age of 10.

When he was 12 years old, he found

a Roman shipwreck in the south of

Corsica. He found what he thought

were fl ower pots, but they proved to

be a cargo of Roman amphora.

In later years, Yann came to Mauritius

and went scuba diving with a friend.

He realised that his passion was not

only for shipwrecks, but for maritime

archaeology and oceanography too.

Today he is well-recognised worldwide

for his archaeological work.

With over 30 years of work behind him,

Yann wants to complete his life’s work

with a comprehensive database of the

About Yann von Arnim

underwater heritage of Mauritius. This

database will indicate which wrecks

will be most interesting to study in the

future, with reference to archive documents

and old newspapers.

The construction and history of each

ship must be categorised too, so that

they can be compared and studied.

Each ship should have a reference

as to where it is resting, who located

each ship, what artefacts were

retrieved, who donated the artefacts,

and to which museums they were


Yann is mostly interested these days

in the scientifi c issues around the


Blue Penny Museum at the waterfront

in Port Louis is mostly dedicated

to “Paul and Virginie” but well

worth a visit.

Do not forget to visit the monument

erected for Paul and Virginie in

Poudre D’or.

Diving Sites

Many of the dive centres offer wreck

dives. Few will allow you anywhere

near the very old shipwrecks

though, as they are protected and

dangerous, but will take you to those

that form the artifi cial reefs.

Dive centres are mostly located

from Flic en Flac on the west coast

up to Cap Malheureux in the north.

Island LIFE • Mauritius |


80 Globerovers · July 2019

By discovering nature,

rediscover yourself...

Island LIFE • Mauritius | 81

Photo Essay

Peru, South America

The old Inca village of Ollantaytambo is one of the oldest continuously

inhabited towns in Peru. The ancient Inca stonework, walls,

streets, stairways and waterways are all still visible and in use just as

they have been for many years.

82 Globerovers · July 2019


sacred valley

LOCATED in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley

formed the heart of the Inca Empire, along with the town

of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, also known

as the Urubamba Valley and Valley of Yu-

cay, is irrigated by the Urubamba River and

stretches all the way from Pisac village to

Ollantaytambo, a distance of about 60 kilometres (37 mi).

The first known occupants of the Sacred Valley were

the Chanapata civilization around 800 BC. They were

followed by the Qotacalla civilization from 500 to 900

AD and the Killke civilization from 900 AD until the Incan

Empire took over the region in 1420. The Incan Empire

ruled over the valley until the arrival of the Spanish

conquerors. While the Incas won the Battle of Ollantay-

tambo against the Spanish in 1537, the Incan Emperor

was so rattled by the invaders that he withdrew from the

Sacred Valley and the area came under the control of the

Spanish colonialists.

Today the Sacred Valley is a major tourist attraction

for many reasons. Located just 26 kilometres (16 mi) from

Cusco, many travellers visit the valley on a daytrip, sadly

not having enough time to truly experience the many attrac-

tions offered by this historically and culturally rich region.

Inca ruins are still dotted throughout the entire valley

and the area has an authentic Peruvian feel due to the

many traditional villages and towns that populate the


Among the highlights of the valley are the Ollantay-

tambo ruins and the adjacent old village at the western

end of the valley. At the eastern end is the village of Pisac

and its authentic market that is packed with local produce

and a wide array of locally created arts and crafts. Up the

hills to the north of the village is the Pisac Archaeological

Park. Chinchero is a village located high up on the wind-

swept plains of Anta at 3,765 metres (12,350 ft), about

30 kilometres (19 mi) from Cusco. There are beautiful

views overlooking the Sacred Valley. The archaeological

site of Moray and the salt flats of Maras near Ollantayt-

ambo are hidden gems of the Sacred Valley.

For the adventure junkies, the Sacred Valley offers

enough opportunities for white water rafting, paraglid-

ing, mountain biking, ziplining, hiking, and a lot more.

Join us as we travel along the Sacred Valley of Peru.

Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 83

Cusco, the gateway

84 Globerovers · July 2019

Sacred Valley, Peru

Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 85


86 Globerovers · July 2019

Sacred Valley, Peru

Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 87


88 Globerovers · July 2019

Sacred Valley, Peru

Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley |


Sacred Valley, Peru

90 Globerovers · July 2019


Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley |



Ollantaytambo, the last fortress of the Incas, is set in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River amid high

peak mountains. This massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside is a short walk from the

Ollantaytambo village with its Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings. The fortress was

built around the middle of the 15th century and is the second most well-preserved ruins in Peru.

92 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 93

secret beaches?

gifts to villages?

boicot countries?

Village photos?

pay for portraits?

animal entertainment

94 Globerovers · July 2019


travel & blogging



candid photos




social media


Ethic considerations FOR responsible travel

Should I refuse to visit countries with repressive governments?

When I find places with no or few tourists, should I keep the secret or tell the world?

Should I take along gifts to villages in poor countries?

When I enter a village, is it ok to snap as many photos of people as quick as I can?

Should I pay to take a portrait if someone insists on “no money no photo”?

Should I pay inflated tourist prices or insist on paying what the locals pay?

Should I support foreign-owned hotels, restaurants, activities, etc. or only local businesses?

Should I take an elephant ride, visit a crocodile show, and swim with the dolphins?

While travelling, should I try to change the world by telling locals not to litter and abuse animals?

Is it ok to publish portraits on my social media without explicit consent of my subjects?

we asked the opinions of 5 thought leaders

Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 95

Opinion Panel: Travel Ethics


Most of us love to travel to experience different cultures while meeting the locals. We also like

to take photos and videos to offer exciting blogs, vlogs, and to spread our experiences through

social media. While most travellers don’t set out to cause any harm, we can unwittingly do so.

So when we travel, in particular to foreign countries, we face moral dilemmas every day. We

present here ten selected travel dilemmas with the opinions of fi ve thought leaders in the travel

industry to help travellers make better and more informed choices while on the road.


We asked fi ve travellers, who also write about their travels, to offer us their opinions about our

selected ten moral dilemmas. Each panel member is an expert in their own fi eld and all are

thought leaders. They come from four different continents, namely Australia, Asia, North America,

and Europe. Our heartfelt thanks to you for your willingness to share your opinions.


Each panel member was presented with two dichotomous statements that presented the IT’s

OK versus the IT’s NOT OK sides of 10 moral dilemmas in travel. While we understand that

each dilemma has many “it all depends” qualifi cations, the panel was asked to focus and address

the concept, rather than the details. They were thus forced to choose either side, as an

“it all depends” was not an acceptable answer. Panel member opinions are randomly presented

for each dilemma so no opinions can be directly associated with any member.

Should we speak up when we see this abuse?

Should we go on an elephant ride?

Marion Halliday

Claire Bennett

Matt Long

Lauren Yakiwchuk

Christine Dutaut

Adelaide, Australia

Kathmandu, Nepal

Washington, DC, USA

Toronto, Canada

Essex, UK

Marion is “Red Nomad

OZ”, author, blogger and

Aussie traveller who loves

discovering nature-based

attractions and activities –

and scenic loos – all over

Australia. Her Aussie travel

blog and published book

“Aussie Loos with Views”

provide inspiration for other

Aussie explorers.

Claire lives and works in

Kathmandu, Nepal, and

freelances as a trainer and

consultant. She is passionate

about global education,

ethical travel and ensuring

good intentions are put to

good use. She is co-author

of Learning Service: The

Essential Guide to Volunteering


Matt is an experiential

luxury traveller who shares

his adventures with thousands

of readers every day

through his award winning

site He

has been to more than 95

countries and all 7 continents

and is also the host

of the weekly Explore the

World Travel Podcast.

Lauren is a part-time

traveller and full time travel

blogger for

As a lifelong

vegetarian and longtime

vegan, she seeks amazing

plant-based cuisines

as she travels – and she

loves sharing her favorite

meals on her blog.

Christine has been living

in the UK for most of her

life and more specifically

in the little town of Maldon,

Essex. By her side is her

partner in crime, and equal

travel enthusiast Toby.

Together they travel the

world and offer inspiration

to others to go and “See it

with your own eyes” too.

96 Globerovers · July 2019

DILEMMA 1: Making secret places not so secret

IT’S OK: “When I discover ‘undiscovered’ places such as remote villages and unspoiled beaches, I love to write about it (and how to get there) and

post on my blog and all over social media because that gets me a lot of follows and likes”.

IT’S NOT OK: “That remote village and beaches I wrote about 10 years ago now gets bus-loads of tourists so locals set up tacky tourist junk shops

and the kids beg for handouts. I keep the best places secret and only tell close friends. I protect villages from tour groups and irresponsible travellers”.


The world is there to be

explored and shared!

Nowhere stays the same

forever and places are

constantly adapting and

growing. By sharing our

knowledge of ‘undiscovered’

places we can also

share responsible travel


I don’t think individual

travelers “own” or “discover”

places—the idea

that places are “secret” is

almost always false as local

people know the place

is there. The forces of

tourism can be damaging

and need regulating but

that is not going to happen

through individuals not

posting on social media.

The world is becoming

smaller and smaller with

social media and the frequency

that people are traveling.

There are becoming

less ‘undiscovered’ places in

the world. As a blogger, I will

inform people of beautiful

and special places around

the world because I want to

share it with others. I won’t

keep it to myself because I

want others to have similar

experiences. At the same

time, I do encourage travelers

to act responsibly when

visiting the world and I share

reasons why it is important

to be mindful and kind.

One of the best things

about discovering a new

place is being able to

return and find it’s as good

as you remember it. My

main reason for travel is to

have new experiences, not

to become more popular

on social media or be the

‘first’ to show a new destination.

So it is NOT OK

to share, when it’s likely

(as so often happens) to

destroy what attracted you

to the destination in the

first place.

Nothing is really secret

in the world, at least not

anymore. There are spots

that are and aren’t as well

known, but I’ve never been

the first person anywhere,

at least I don’t think so. My

job is to encourage people

to travel and explore, and

sharing where I go is a big

part of that. It is incumbent

on the destinations to learn

how to best manage their

resources in order to avoid

some of the pitfalls associated

with over-tourism.

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: Except for one panel member, our panel likes to share their finds with fellow travellers—no wonder they are leaders in

the travel blogging sphere. I like to share too, but my most favourite unspoiled locations will remain my secret to protect against mass tourism.

IT’S OK: “It gives me great pleasure to take educational gifts such as pens and paper to poor kids, or healthy foods for the people, or give money if


IT’S NOT OK: “Taking gifts into slums and poor villages create child (and often adult) beggars so next time travellers visit these people will be very

disappointed if you don’t give them something. They become dependent on visiting tourists who sometimes give and other times not”.


I don’t take gifts with me

when I travel. There exist

many reputable organizations

around the world

empowering locals by involving

them with tours in a

way that makes them partners

and not be exploited.

Avoid orphanage tourism

and instead take part in

activities like a bike tour in

a South African township

led by a resident.

DILEMMA 2: Taking gifts to villages in poor countries

How many national heroes

from humble beginnings

tell the story about how

they got an unexpected

lucky break—a gift,

donation, sponsorship or

experience—that changed

their life? And how they

wouldn’t have got where

they have without it? A

lot! So yes, it’s OK to

give—especially when the

gift is meaningful to the

recipient’s situation and

helps them move towards

a better and more sustainable


I generally do not take gifts

to people in poor countries

because I do not want

them to rely on tourists

for handouts. It becomes

problematic when adults

send their children to

beg for handouts rather

than going to school. An

education will serve these

children far better than any

gifts from tourists. It also

creates an imbalance within

a village or community if

some people receive more

gifts than others.

Handouts are nearly never

the answer to systemic

problems—giving a pencil

today will not improve access

to or quality of education.

What is worse, offering

incentives for child begging

often has the opposite

effect, as children can be

kept out of school as they

can make more than their

parents can at work from

begging on the street. If you

want to help people in the

country you travel to, think

about making a donation to

an organisation working towards

solving those issues


I am completely OK with

this. Your gift could be the

difference between a child

receiving an education or

not. Ponchos to walk in the

rain and school equipment

can make all the difference

to an underprivileged child

and their future

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: I think we all can agree that taking candies and packaged goods into remote villages is a bad idea. When it comes to

taking educational items and much-needed medicines, this becomes a more contentious debate. Best is to give such items to the school master.

Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 97

DILEMMA 3: Paying tourist prices

IT’S OK: “Tourists can’t expect to pay the same prices at markets as the local people because we can afford to pay a more”.

IT’S NOT OK: “I rather not buy than paying more than the locals. Prices should be the same for everybody”.


A similar dilemma occurs

in my home country every

holiday season—like

Christmas—when accommodation

and fuel prices

are significantly increased

and consumers are ‘ripped

off’. But you have a choice

in these situations—pay

up, or don’t go! I see

tourist prices as just a

variation on this theme,

where the same choice applies.

I might not like being

charged extra, but it’s OK

as I have a choice as to

whether or not I accept it.

I don’t have any problem

paying more than the

locals. Even at attractions,

there are tourist prices and

local prices. I can afford to

pay more than a local, and

I don’t mind contributing

what I consider to be a fair

price back into their local


While it can be frustrating,

the reality is that the vast

majority of tourists are

richer and more privileged

than the people selling

goods in the markets.

Realistically, few of the

market sellers will ever

have the luxury of travelling

abroad. Often even a

“tourist price” can seem

cheap to the traveler, and

the extra $1-2 can be important

income for the seller’s

family when it is not an

amount that many travelers

would really notice.

If I can afford a plane ticket

there, I can afford to pay

tourist prices – 9 times

out of 10 times the item

is much cheaper than it

would be at home so why

not let someone in need

benefit from the profit.

Plus, haggling is good fun

and if you’re looking for a

bargain, you’ll likely find

yourself in some interesting


I’m ok with paying more

at a national park or

UNESCO site if I’m not a

resident, but I’m not ok

with different prices for

normal everyday items or

even gifts.

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We have a very free-giving panel here, though it is unknown how much more they are willing to pay than the locals. We

like to travel to developing countries due to cheaper costs, though when local businesses charge foreigners substantially more, its not good.

DILEMMA 4: Paying for posed portraits

IT’S OK: “In developed countries we won’t walk to a person and take a close-up photo, unless we ask permission, or the person is our paid model,

which is a fair and acceptable practice. Why do we so often take close-ups in poor countries, and refuse payment if the person asks for it”?

IT’S NOT OK: “I don’t pay for portraits while travelling in poor countries, even $1, because it sets a precedent for future photographers. It spoils the

travel experience”.


I don’t pay to take photos

of people, but I also don’t

take photos of people without

asking their permission

in advance. I generally

don’t take photographs of

people unless we become

friends and know each

other fairly well.

You don’t have a god-given

right to have photographs,

especially if they are of

other people. If you want a

portrait and that person’s

condition is that you have

to pay, then not paying

and taking it anyway is

extremely unethical. Some

of the subjects might see

paying as simply a fair

exchange, others (those

dressed up in costumes

etc at a tourist site) may

see the service they are

offering as a job.

If I ask to take a photo of

someone and they say $1,

it’s my decision whether I

decide to proceed. If I want

the photo that badly I’ll pay

it! Chances are I don’t, but

I don’t think it’s OK to just

take photos of someone

without their consent and/

or payment.

I ask people if I want to

take their photos and they

almost always say yes.

Once I paid for that photo

in Egypt, and maybe I

shouldn’t have done that

but the time it didn’t seem

like a bad thing to do.

In my travels I’ve found the

posed portrait is generally

not an authentic local

experience. I’ve seen

situations where the model

has sometimes dressed

especially for photos which

are taken completely out

of cultural context. As I’m

looking for a real understanding

and experience of

local culture, I say paying

for posed portraits is NOT


EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: The message is clear: Ask permission, where possible, before taking portraits, and if the person demands money, you

need to decide if it is worth the photo, based on your moral compass. We all own photographic rights to our own faces, but only if its a closeup.

98 Globerovers · July 2019

DILEMMA 5: Publishing your portraits

IT’S OK: “People won’t even know if I publish their portraits on my blog and social media, and what does it matter anyhow”.

IT’S NOT OK: “I won’t like if a stranger takes a spontaneous closeup of my face and blast it out via social media and blogs”.


This is exploitative. You

are gaining from that

image, and the person in

it gets nothing. Even if you

get permission for portraits

to be used, “informed

consent” is very tricky,

especially in more remote

areas. How can you

explain (usually in a foreign

language) how images

are seen and used across

the internet, and how can

people who are unfamiliar

with the risks legitimately


This is so not OK. I would

not be happy if someone

was circulating photos of

me without my consent. It’s

polite to ask and chances

are you’ll get a good story

out of it.

If it’s a portrait and the

individual can be plainly

recognized, I ask before I

take the photo. If it’s in a

public setting of a larger

group or the back of that

person in public, I don’t

usually worry about it. In

the US at least, if you’re in

public there’s no expectation

to privacy by law. But

I never take advantage of

that either.

Many photo sale websites

stipulate that photos

with recognizable people

need to have the express

permission of those people

before being accepted for

publication. While social

media channels do not

have the same restrictions,

it’s a good rule of thumb

to follow to avoid potential

complications down the

track, especially if the

photo is going to be used

for commercial gain. Also

it’s good manners to ask,

and tell people tell why you

want their portrait.

I don’t take photographs

of people without their

knowledge, and I certainly

wouldn’t post them on

social media. I always ask

before taking a picture.

If the person says no, I

respect their privacy.

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: Generally (global) acceptable practise is that when portraits are for commercial use, such as in advertising, photographers

need written consent. For editorial use (posting on a travel blog), ask permission, then follow your own moral compass.

DILEMMA 6: Boycott controversial countries

IT’S OK: “I know it is subjective which countries to boycott but when I don’t agree with their governments I won’t go there. Right now I boycott Saudi

Arabia, Iran, Myanmar, Brunei and North Korea due to their repressive governments (not safety issues)”.

IT’S NOT OK: “I believe we should visit all countries, spend our money with the local population as far as possible, and support the local people as

much as we can. Boycotting a country does not bring any relief to the innocent people who are suffering under their repressive government”.


Stay away! I totally get

that innocent people suffer

from the lack of income

from boycotting but by

continuing to visit and

supply tourism money, the

government will feel no

reason to change. I was

desperate to visit Myanmar

last year on our big trip but

I just couldn’t bring myself

to book the flight.

Such a dicey question

that comes down to the

individual. If I boycotted

every country I had

disagreements with I’d

never go anywhere and I

would probably also have

to move. That being said,

I don’t believe in visiting

dangerous countries just

for the cache. This would

include North Korea,

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia

and so on.

If a country has attractions

and experiences that interest

me, then I will travel

there. If I boycott a country

because of its (for example)

repressive regime,

then doesn’t that make me

a victim of that regime too?

I don’t boycott countries

that are controversial due

to their repressive governments.

In many situations,

the people have no choice

in what their governments

decide, and the people are

lovely. I would travel to a

controversial country and

spend my money with the

local population. Furthermore,

there are many reasons

that we could boycott

countries like the USA

and Canada for having

controversial governmental

policies, but this is rarely

an issue that comes up

with travelers.

I think boycotting is OK as a

way to demonstrate principles

but I don’t mean to suggest

that this is what we “should”

do. We are only getting partial

images of what is really going

on in those countries from a

biased media. A Nepali friend

of mine went to Iran recently

(as it is one of the places

where Nepali passports

are more welcomed than

most western ones) and he

said it was one of the most

welcoming places on earth,

and people were genuinely

concerned that their media

image outside of the country

is unfair and wrong.

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: It is true that if we want to blame a government for not visiting their country, these days we will find few countries to visit.

Travel everywhere safe, bring hope and income to the local people, and make sure as few of your tourist dollars as possible go to the government.

Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 99

DILEMMA 7: Approaching a remote village and snap as many photos of people as you can

IT’S OK: “The only way to get great photos of people and their daily life such bathing outside, as is common in poor countries, is to surprise them and

snap away, whether they know it or like it. I love peeking inside homes and take a few photos. If noticed, then just laugh it off as a joke”.

IT’S NOT OK: “I would not tolerate if a stranger secretly takes photos of me, especially through my house windows, or while bathing outside. Why

should I do it in undeveloped countries”.


Same answer as for

Dilemma 2 (Taking gifts to

villages in poor countries),

which was:

I don’t take gifts with me

when I travel. There exist

many reputable organizations

around the world

empowering locals by involving

them with tours in a

way that makes them partners

and not be exploited.

Avoid orphanage tourism

and instead take part in

activities like a bike tour in

a South African township

led by a resident.

Editor: Answer makes little


This sounds suspiciously

like treating people as if

they’re caged animals—

and on what cultural planet

is that OK? Using kindness

and respect as a behavioural

benchmark gives

me a clear response to dilemmas

like this one—that

it’s NOT OK to intrude on

people’s privacy, enter their

property or document their

life without permission. It’s

also worth remembering

that it’s a privilege to be a

guest in another country,

and learning about another

culture doesn’t always

involve photographing it.

I’m not okay with this

because it really exemplifies

and treats people like

they are the “other”. I’m

not comfortable with this

idea and I wouldn’t take

photos of people without

their permission, especially

in private or personal


This is shocking behavior

and very difficult to justify

as “ethical” in any way.

Imagine a tourist coming

into your house and taking

photos of intimate activities—you

would probably

want to call the police. I

can’t even see how having

these photos is desirable,

when you don’t know the

people or have any relationship

with them.

We all take photos of

people without consent

everyday because they

happen to be in the background

of our photos, I

don’t have an issue with

this. But to make them the

subject without consent, or

sneak photos of peoples

houses? That is kind of

creepy. You wouldn’t want

a stranger taking photos of

you and / or your kids so

why do it to others?

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We all agree that it is not the right thing to do, even though I bet we will all agree that candid photos are more natural

than posed photos once permission is granted. It is totally unacceptable to photograph inside homes or outside bathing without permission.

DILEMMA 8: Supporting foreign-owned hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.

IT’S OK: “It does not matter who owns the hostel or restaurant, local or foreign. In fact, I prefer foreign-owned places because it offers several benefits.

I’m French so when travelling in former colonies I always book at French-owned guesthouses”.

IT’S NOT OK: “Supporting the local citizens is key to responsible travel. We should not make foreign investors rich. Support local businesses”.


I prefer to travel for authentic

cultural experiences,

which I generally won’t get

with foreign owned attractions

and accommodation.

It’s therefore NOT OK to

support the foreigners at

the expense of the locals,

especially if locals are

being exploited and the

experience or accommodation

doesn’t reflect local

cultural standards.

It is best to support local

citizens and local businesses

when possible. It

puts money back into the

economy of the place you

are visiting and doesn’t

send it to rich people


Staying in a foreign-owned

guesthouse is not a

crime, but it is a far cry

from “responsible travel”.

There are countries where

large swathes of land

and a large proportion of

businesses are foreign

owned (look at Kampot or

Sihanoukville in Cambodia

being owned mainly by

Chinese investors). If you

want food or comforts from

home think about travelling

in your own country, rather

than travelling so far afield

and not putting money into

the local economy.

Maybe this is bad but I

have genuinely never

given this a second

thought! I don’t see an

issue with choosing to go

to an expat owned hotel or

restaurant once in a while.

When you’re on the road

for a long time it’s nice to

get some home comforts.

I have no problem supporting

certain hotels when I

travel. I tend to look at the

property that interests me

the most regardless of who

owns it. Even with foreign

owned hotels though, the

positive impact on the

local communities is still

dramatic from the people

who work there to local

suppliers. Large companies

also provide more to

local charities, do a better

job at empowering women

and other minorities, and

provide a rare opportunity

to enter a career they may

not otherwise be able to.

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: I think our panel member explains it well: “Staying in a foreign-owned guesthouse is not a crime, but it is a far cry

from responsible travel”. Foreign-owned businesses take most of the profits out of the country with little benefit to the locals. Keep it local.

100 Globerovers · July 2019

DILEMMA 9: Animal exploitation for tourist entertainment

IT’S OK: “Taking elephant rides and attending the zoo’s provide jobs to the locals, it is fun for tourists, and protects the animals”.

IT’S NOT OK: “It is not acceptable to use wild animals, even if (claimed to be) born in captivity, to entertain tourists. Do not support these activities”.


It is never acceptable to

exploit animals for tourist

entertainment. Animals

belong only in the wild

living freely. Visiting and

supporting sanctuaries is

great, as long as it is actually

a sanctuary and not

a place that continues to

exploit animals for money.

We should not ride or take

selfies with wild animals.

We should not make

animals do tricks for us. It’s

very cruel.

Animal exploitation should

never be acceptable,

for tourism or any other

purposes. The canned

hunting trade in South Africa

is a case in point. Lion

cubs are tourist props as

cubs, drugged as adults,

made to breed to continue

the industry, and eventually

shot by people with big

egos for a huge fee. There

is no part of this story that

“conserves” an animal in

the way they are meant to

interact in the wild, it is a

industry of misery.

We actually made the

decision not to swim with

whale sharks in The Philippines

because we heard

it was messing with their

migration patterns. I’m

not down for anything that

alters an animal’s natural

way of life. Our behaviours

influence the industry and

by saying no to animal

exploitation, we’ll gradually

see more ‘sanctuaries’ and

opportunities to see them

in the wild that will benefit


Animals should not be

used for entertainment,

and it’s up to tourists to

understand why it’s harmful

and to stop patronizing

these places. Some zoos

around the world do a

great job at preserving

species and conservation,

so in regards to zoos it’s a

matter of doing research.

But other experiences like

elephant rides and dolphin

swimming should always

be avoided, there’s never a

positive outcome to those


It’s NOT OK to exploit anything

for tourist entertainment!

The best—maybe

the only—way to stop it is

to eliminate the demand in

the first place. I’d be very

surprised if the only way

to experience a particular

culture is through animal

exploitation—so find other

representative activities


EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We all agree with this, and likely most travellers will agree too. However, it is mind-boggling how many tourists still

support these practices such as elephant rides and tricks-shows, dolphin shows, and too many to mention.

IT’S OK: “We know that throwing garbage in the river is not acceptable. Mistreatment of domestic animals is, by our standards, not acceptable. Killing

manta rays and other rare and cute animals is not acceptable. When I travel I correct people when they don’t follow these rules”.

IT’S NOT OK: “Who am I to enforce my rules back home onto these people. It is their culture to throw garbage in the river and to eat wildlife. These

poor people need to eat. It is not my responsibility and my business to change their culture and lifestyles”.


While it is very important

to stick to your principles

while traveling, making

judgments and assumptions

about other cultures

without understanding the

context can be very wrong.

It is fine to ask questions,

engage in a dialogue, raise

awareness about issues—

but to assume that you

know best about a situation

when you do not have that

lived experience can be

dangerous. In some ways,

having trash piled on the

streets is a more honest

reminder of the dangers of

single-use plastic.

DILEMMA 10: Changing the world while travelling

This is tough but I have to

say I roll over and allow

people to carry on even if I

don’t agree with the behaviour—especially

with things

like littering. Cultures vary,

rules on whats acceptable

vary, it’s part and parcel of

exploring new places.

Honestly, this isn’t something

I’ve thought about.

Rather than yell at someone,

I usually use my

wallet to affect change. If

enough tourists stop taking

donkey rides, the owners

will stop. If I and others

refuse to utilize single-use

plastics, then change will

happen. Me yelling at

some guy on the street

though isn’t an effective

strategy to change the


Haven’t we all been

intensely irritated by

people from some of the

more dominant Western

cultures who can’t wait to

tell us locals how things

are done back home, and

insist they’re done that way

here? Cultural imperialism

is just as offensive as the

practices it condemns and

threatens cultural diversity.

Besides, I travel to experience

different cultures

whether or not I agree with

their practices—who says

our way is the best, or only


I think it’s totally acceptable

to open up a conversation

about treating people,

animals, and the planet

better. I wouldn’t approach

it as a situation where I’m

telling someone how to act.

I’d approach a conversation

about why I feel that’s

wrong. Maybe there are

some reasons why people

are acting this way. A conversation

will not only bring

my new ideas to the other

person, but also teach

me something about the

people and place I’m visiting

(whether it’s good, bad,

or somewhere in between).

EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We as foreign travellers need to walk a fine line not to impose our own home-grown values onto others, though it is

hard to turn a blind eye when, for example, we see obvious animal abuse.

Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 101



Nagaland New Year Festival

Marching onto the festival grounds

One of the 17 groups who participated in the 2019

New Year Festival in Lay Shi marches onto the festival

grounds while chanting.

102 Globerovers · July 2019



In the remote northwestern corner of Myanmar lies Nagaland—home to the Naga people who

live peacefully on both sides of the border between India and Myanmar. During mid-January,

the Naga people travel from far across the region to a chosen town where they spend three

days celebrating the start of the new year. We joined them and were mesmerized.

New Year is the time of the year

when most of us are in a festive

mood. Wherever you are in the

world, there is a special time of

the year when your culture calls on you to reunite

with friends and family, or alternatively to

head for the beaches and party islands.

Some of us follow the Pope’s timing. That is

Pope Gregory XIII who

gave us the Gregorian

calendar in 1582 so we

know New Year starts at

midnight on December

31st. Time to pop the

champagne, or whatever you can get to feed

your partying mood. Others look at the phase of

the moon or the sun, or a combination of both.

In Asia, several countries rely on the lunisolar

calendar, an older version of the Hindu calendar.

While the Chinese have a moving target

around February, the Thai New Year (Songkran)

is celebrated on April 13th.

The Burmese New Year (Thingyan) is celebrated

in the middle of April according to the

New Year is a time to celebrate in dance

and music. One of the most colourful

festivals is in Myanmar’s Nagaland.

Burmese lunisolar calendar. In Nagaland, the

New Year festival is observed in mid-January.

Nagaland. That reminds me of a place with

a very colourful New Year festival. I have been

to some memorable New Year festivals in New

York City’s Time Square, London, Hong Kong

and Tokyo. I have attended countless Chinese

New Year festivals filled with dancing lions

and the accompanying

banging of tanggu drums,

cymbals, and gongs. But

sadly, I had never experienced

a Nagaland New

Year festival.

Several times I have looked at the map of

Nagaland, split between India and Myanmar

(Burma) by an international dividing line, and

wished I could visit.

Recently I decided to make it happen so I

started my planning rituals. First I had to better

understand the history of Nagaland and then

decide whether to attend the Nagaland festival

of India to the west of the international border

or Myanmar’s Nagaland to the east.

Article • Myanmar | 103



Without going into the deep history of

the Naga people, let us start at the time of

the arrival of the British East India Company

in the early 19th century, followed by

the British Raj—the ruling by the British

of the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to

1947. The colonial interests in the land of

the Naga people were mainly fuelled by

their interest in the region’s oil and mineral

resources, tea and timber, as well as to

control the south-to-east Asian

trade routes.

What once was a large

united area populated by the

Naga people, history left them

divided between arbitrarily

drawn political boundaries.

First came the 1826 Treaty of Peace at Yandaboo,

second the 1934 Pemberton Line,

third the 1935 Government of Burma Act,

and fourth the 1978 Indo-Burma Border

Agreement, all of which disregarded the

interests of the Naga people.

Let us first look at history on the India

side of the divisive border.

While loving the natural resources

of the Naga people, the British

regarded them as wild savage


India and Pakistan gained independence

on August 14, 1947, Naga leaders declared

their independence and named their land

Nagaland, even though India asserted

authority over their new country. Civil

disobedience and an armed struggle began

in 1955 with thousands of Indian troops

battling the slings, bows and arrows of

the Naga tribesmen. Many severed Indian

heads ended up on display outside tribal

homes as proof of their bravery—and the

right to marry the women of their choice.

The Naga people are spread across an area designated by the

governments of India and Myanmar. An area that is significantly

smaller than originally claimed by the Naga people.

In their efforts to appease the Naga’s

violent independence movement, in 1963

India declared Nagaland a self-governing

state with restricted access by foreigners.

However, violence continued and the

ensuing five decades of conflict claimed

about 200,000 Naga lives. Today the

Naga occupy the Indian states of Assam,

Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and the

state of Nagaland. Fortunately, life is more

peaceful on the India side and tourism is

slowly growing.

Nagaland on the Myanmar side is a

self-administered zone, as stipulated in

the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar, and

officially consists of three townships in

the Sagaing Region: Lahe, Leshi, and

Nanyun. The constitution grants this

self-administered zone legislative powers

over 10 areas of policy, including urban

and rural development, road construction

and maintenance, and public

be held.

health. However, the “selfadministered”

status entails

little meaningful autonomy as

the national (Union) government

still exercises power, even

over issues such as when and

where the New Year festival can

The Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw,

also maintains a presence here with its

soldiers patrolling villages while carrying

weapons, a constant reminder of the

Union government and the military’s firm

grip on the region. Large parts of land outside

the official Nagaland are also claimed

by the Naga but denied by the Myanmar

From the time the first British arrived

in 1832 until about 1852, several battles

were fought with the defending local

Naga tribes, particularly the Angami tribe

known for their “head hunting” practices.

After the bloody battle at Kikrüma where

many died, the British decided to respect

the Naga tribes by adopting a policy of

non-interference. However, the tribes

continued to assert their sovereignty by

raiding the British forces, and hostilities

continued in the Naga Hills well into

the 1900s. By 1922 the British had fully

integrated the Naga Hills into its “British

India” and enforced the Indian rupee as

the local currency. All these changes created

profound social changes among the

Naga people.

The Nagas have never considered

themselves part of India. The day before

104 Globerovers · July 2019

government. The Naga people in the socalled

Eastern Front, continue to struggle

against the Myanmar government.


To attend the New Year festivities in

Nagaland, I had to consider the logistics.

For Nagaland in India, I could fly on Air

India or IndiGo from Delhi or Kolkata to

Nagaland’s Dimapur Airport. Alternatively,

I could fly to Guwahati in Assam State

and then take a 450 kilometres (280 mi)

overnight bus to Nagaland.

Dimapur also has a railway station

connected to the main network. From

Kolkata, it is a 1,225 kilometres (761 mi)

journey, and from Delhi almost twice the

distance. None of the flights, trains, and

bus options I considered appealed to me.

From what I read, the Nagaland New

Year festival on the Myanmar side of the

border is similar to that on the India side:

just as colourful with friendly people and

good food. The difference is that the logistics

of planning a visit was much easier.

Myanmar’s Nagaland festival is held

around mid-January and rotates among

the three towns of Lay Shi, Lahe, and

Nanyun, in the large Sagaing Division of

northwestern Myanmar. These townships

are also among the poorest, most isolated,

and least developed in all of Myanmar.

As the three towns are far apart, you

need to plan accordingly. The distance

between Nanyun in the far north and Lay

Shi in the far south is over 200 kilometres

(129 mi) as the crow flies. Driving over

the mountains and along the rivers on the

small and poorly maintained road can easily

take two to three days.

The best way to reach Lay Shi is to

fly from Mandalay to either Hkamti or

Homalin and then drive. Homalin, to the

south of Lay Shi, is the preferred airport as

the driving distance is shorter than from

Hkamti to the northeast of Lay Shi.

Of all three towns, Lahe lies the closest

to an airport, Hkamti.

Nanyun, the northernmost town, is

best reached by either flying from Mandalay

or driving.

I attended the festival in 2019 when it

was held in Lay Shi. As the shortest driving

route was from Homalin, ProNiti Travel

based in Yangon, booked our flight from

Mandalay to Homalin on Myanmar National

Airways. However, a few days before

departure, we were told our seats had been

given to government officials so we were

unceremoniously bumped off. Fortunately,

the travel agency found seats on the flight

to Khamti, although that meant a much

longer drive to Lay Shi.

“An endless dirt road with no

life in sight. It is a long and

lonely road to Nagaland."

The flight from Mandalay to Hkamti

took one hour and fifteen minutes and the

flight path took us over rolling hills, winding

rivers, and remote villages.

On arrival at the tiny Hkamti airport,

the few foreigners on board had to show

their passports and details were noted

down in the foreigner arrivals book. We

collected our bags and off we went.

Crossing the Chindwin River from Pint Mar on the east side to Hta Man Thi on the west side.

Article • Myanmar | 105


The long and lonely road to Nagaland.

Outside the arrivals hall, our driver

with his 4-wheel-drive vehicle was already

waiting for us. After a brief stop at a nearby

restaurant for an interesting lunch, our

journey on the long rugged road to Lay

Shi began. The road follows the scenic

Chindwin River, with particularly good

views about 8 kilometres (5 mi) before

the village of Kaung Hein. This area has

been described as “choking on gold” and is

fouled with red sludge and soil, the ruins

of abandoned mines and diggings.

I truly got the feeling I was in a remote

area when we saw no signs of life after

almost two hours of driving. No vehicles on

the road, no people, not even animals. This

is not a national park or a protected area so

I expected to see villages or at least people

walking or cycling on the side of the road.

When darkness fell, I hoped to see blinking

eyes in the lights of our vehicle, but nothing.

According to our travel plan, the

estimated three-hour 150 kilometres (93

mi) drive would bring us to Pint Mar village

where a short ferry crossing over the

Chindwin River would get us to Hta Man

Thi. From here we had a further three-hour

drive to Lay Shi. We thought the ferry closed

at 8 pm, so we arrived at 7:30, only to be told

that the last ferry crossing was at 6 pm.

Nearby, we found a very basic restaurant

where we enjoyed a few beers and

traditional food while pondering our next

move. After lengthy conversations with

locals in Burmese, our guide suggested we

stay overnight in a private house across

the street. “This is going to be fun,” I told

my Italian friend. And fun it was! Six of

us sleeping on thin blankets directly on

the wooden floors of the second level of

this traditional house. The floor was hard

and the cold wind blew through the halfopened

balcony door so I only got about

three hours sleep.

At sunrise, I was woken by the hosting

grandmother while she prepared for her

daily prayer ritual right next to where I was

sleeping. After meticulously preparing the

altar with her Buddhist offerings, she then

locked into a 30-minute loud prayer while

all my roommates were slowly getting up.

I was quite relieved to get going but found

that both my hips were badly bruised by

the hard floor. It would be another six days

106 Globerovers · July 2019

Mountain scenery of Nagaland.

House in Hta Man Thi on along the Chindwin River.

Banner welcoming visitors to the Nagaland festival.

before the pain was gone. I’m just not used

to sleeping on the floor. But, it was all part

of the adventure and I was enjoying every


Pint Mar village, where we slept, was

engulfed by fog at sunrise. I also saw a few

places where people were burning dried

leaves that created smoke. The combination

of fog and smoke set an eerie scene

over this small settlement by the river. I

was happy to capture some fine photos

of people strolling down the streets as

the early morning sun struggled to break

through the fog and smoke.

By the time we reached the wide flowing

Chindwin River with the car ferry

approaching our side, my camera was nonstop

capturing the surreal scenery. After a

short ferry ride with our vehicle onboard,

we arrived at the steep banks on the other

side where massive trees welcomed us to

the village of Hta Man Thi. From here the

winding road was very scenic in places.

When we arrived on the perimeters of

the Lay Shi township, a large banner flapping

high over the small road welcomed us

to the Nagaland New Year. The surrounding

picturesque mountain scenery was my

ultimate gift of the day. The views of Lay

Shi as it stretched itself over the small hills

were beautiful.

“Welcome to Nagaland”, our guide

proclaimed. And Nagaland it sure was:

Remote, beautiful, peaceful, and so ready

for the New Year festivities. At last, we

made it.

Article • Myanmar | 107



I firmly believe that before you party

with people, you should first get to know

them. Besides the fact that partying with

friends is safer than partying with strangers,

you also will enjoy a party more if you

first try to understand the people, their

culture, their lifestyles, and what excites

them about the upcoming party. With

this in mind, I had read a lot about the

Naga people and their struggles

before arriving in town. Now it

was time to meet the real Naga


To study the Naga people,

let’s first look at how they fit into

Myanmar’s administrative structure.

Myanmar is divided into regions (previously

called “divisions”), states, union

territories, as well as self-administered

zones and self-administered divisions.

The regions are ethnically predominantly

Bamar but often mixed with several other

ethnic groups, such as in Yangon and Mandalay.

The states and the zones are dominated

by specific ethnic minorities, such as

Shan State for the Shan people and Kayah

State for the Kayah people. Nagaland lies

in the Sagaing Division which means it is

home to several ethnic groups without being

dominated by a single group. Sagaing

has sizeable groups such as the Bamar,

Shan, Naga, and Zomi, as well as smaller

numbers of Kadu and Ganang. Each group

tends to cluster together.

“Naga” is a collective noun to describe

the many sub-tribes living in an area on

the border between India and Myanmar.

The most prominent Naga tribes are the

Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan,

Konyak, Lotha, Mao, Maram

Naga, Phom, Pochury, Poumai, Rengma,

Rongmei, Sangtam, Sumi, Tangkhul, Thangal,

Yimchunger and the Zeliang. With so

many tribes who were isolated centuries

ago meeting only in battle to claim each

others’ severed heads, a distinct language is

bound to have developed for some or each

of these groups. Today the Nagas speak

various distinct Tibeto-Burman languages,

including Anāl, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang,

Chang, Lotha, Mao (Emela), Maram,

Phom, Pochuri, Poumai (Poula), Phom,

Rengma, Rongmei (Ruangmei), Sang-

tam, Sumi, Tangkhul, Thangal and Zeme.

With so many distinct languages people

often can’t understand each other, so the

Naga people created their own common

language called Nagamese, an Assamese-,

Hindi- and Bengali-lexified creole language.

While widely spoken in western

Nagaland (India), the Naga Tradition,

Culture and Literature Committee Central

(NTCLCC) is working enthusiastically to

teach the Nagamese language to the Naga

The Naga people are a group of tribes historically known

as fierce warriors who displayed the heads of their

enemies at the front of their homes.

people of eastern Nagaland (Myanmar).

Where we were in the Sagaing Division,

there are no less than 16 or 17 “officially

recognised” Naga tribes.

Estimates of the Naga population

vary, but by most accounts there are about

1,850,000 Nagas living on the Indian

side of the border. On the Myanmar

side, the population is about 150,000 of

which about 120,000 live inside the “Naga

Self-Administered Zone”, announced by

decree on 20 August 2010 as per the 2008

Constitution of Myanmar. The remaining

Nagas live outside the boundaries of this

self-administered zone.

About two-thirds of the Nagas are

Christian, mainly Baptist, while the rest

practice Theravada Buddhism. Christianity

has come a long way for the Nagas. Since

the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries

from the United States

and Europe were posted to

India and then spread to Nagaland

where they converted

the Naga tribes from animism

to Christianity. Apparently,

the missionaries found a very

receptive audience and the conversion

process progressed relatively quickly.

Today the Baptists have their own

little churches. At the age of twenty, their

children can decide if they want to be

baptised. After a few weeks of preparations,

they are often baptised in the nearby

river. Once married, the bride normally

moves in with the groom’s family where

an extension to the current house is built

108 Globerovers · July 2019

for the newlyweds. While Baptists normally

marry within their religion, they are

allowed to marry an animist if the animist

converts to Baptism.

There are small Naga villages of different

tribes in all directions of Lay Shi.

These tribes are expert craftsmen and that

is evident in the ways they construct their

huts. A common practice among some

tribes is to decorate the entrances of their

huts with the heads of buffaloes, which has

replaced the human heads these headhunters

historically showcased.

We spent two half-days driving in different

directions from town to visit a few

of these villages and were warmly welcomed

by the people. On arrival, we were

first spotted by barking dogs, then chickens,

kids, and finally a few adults would

come to greet us. During the daytime it is

only the elderly and kids in the villages as

the working people, generally aged 12 to

60, are active in the fields and hills.

These people practice slash-and-burn

cultivation and mainly grow rice, corn,

maize, yams, and beans. Sadly, this way

of farming leaves the rolling hills barren

that once were covered in primary forests.

Farmers grow crops for two to three years

in an area and then move to another area

to allow the soil about ten years to recover.

This means that the slashing-and-burning

continues relentlessly which decimates the

natural forests.

As per their ancient traditions, Naga

men enjoy hunting and fishing while the

women collect edible leaves and cultivate

the fields.

The Angami sub-tribe buries

their men with a live young

chicken, a fire stick, and one

or two spears.

An ancient tradition that fortunately

died out, as far as we know, is the practice

by men of bringing home a severed head

from another village and hanging it outside

his house—a requirement before the

in-laws would allow him to take his new

bride. Nowadays Naga men prefer to visit

a nearby town, such as Lay Shi, to trade

or sell their produce, crafts, or livestock in

exchange for items needed by the family.

Increasingly their cultural practices are

changing. In the old days, Naga men wore

loincloths and decorated themselves with

animal parts such as tusks and tiger teeth.

The younger generation is nowadays more

likely to wear jeans and “I love New York”

t-shirts rather than the traditional loincloths

which they only wear when participating

in festivals.

While most Naga communities remain

impoverished and inaccessible by road, the

Nagas are renowned for their proud sense

of independence, integrity and community


At one village we were warmly invited

by the elders into a home which seemed

to be used as their community social

room. Through our interpreter, I asked

several questions about their lives, such as

their water supply, medicines which they

gather from nature, their farming, kids,

schooling, religion, and more. Once I was

done with my questioning, an elder asked

me: “As you have visited many countries

around the world, how do we compare?

Are we very poor?”

While there was a straight answer, I

replied that there are many poor people

around the world and most do not have

clean water, fresh air, and sufficient food

and shelter. The Naga people are blessed to

live in their own homes with ample space

where their kids can safely play around.

They have access to fresh water from the

mountains, clean air, and fresh food is

grown on their own land. The elders all

listened attentively and the moment I

finished they broadly smiled and started to

clap their hands.

I knew that I hit a soft spot in their

minds so deep in my heart I was shedding

a tear. They then thanked me for saying

what I just said, and offered me a bag of

their local oranges and a big cheroot, a locally

rolled cigar, which I politely declined.

The time spent with these people was

time spent very well. I now have a better

understanding and appreciation for the

way they live.

Article • Myanmar | 109



All Naga people are linked by some

common customs, their Nagamese language,

and their celebration of the Naga

New Year.

Held in winter when the harvesting is

done and before the new planting season

starts in full swing, it is a time to take a rest

while reuniting with the extended family

and friends from near and far away. It is a

time to settle debts and make prayers for

great yields in the upcoming season. It has

been reported that during the festival, the

Nagas pay respect to their deities by scarifying

domestic animals, something which I

personally did not witness.

In the distant past, these celebrations

were not coordinated among the villages

so the dates varied, and every village tried

to have their own celebration in its own

way. In the early 1990s, a commission decided

to fix the date to January 15th, even

though celebrations are allowed to start

two days earlier. It was also then decided

to rotate the celebration party through

three different towns in Myanmar’s Nagaland:

Lay Shi, Lahe, and Nanyun. The local

governments now also commit money

and manpower to make the annual festival

a big and successful celebration. It is not

clear to me how much money is given by

which levels of governments, and exactly

where the money goes.

The festival I attended in Lay Shi was

very well organised—kudos to the organising

committee. It is officially a two-day

festival with the first day set aside for

rehearsing of the traditional dances. Each

of the seventeen groups, that included the

Makury tribe from Phüvjüv village, as well

as the Mëkheotjüv, Tangkhul, Para and

Konyak tribes, got a few rounds to showcase

their best synchronised and chanting

manoeuvres in front of a clamouring

throng of spectators.

Singing folk songs while dancing in

large circles is an essential ingredient of

their traditional culture as it is through

singing that folk tales are kept alive. Their

songs are both romantic and of historical

significance as they narrate stories of

famous ancestors and important incidents.

Some songs are seasonal, such as harvest

songs, and describe the various activities

performed in that particular season.

The warm-up dances and singing

continued into the evening followed by a

few local and national singers and bands

performing on a stage. Well attended and

much liked by the local audience, it became

way too cold for us and we went back

to our hotel. Later in the evening while we

were sitting around a small bonfire outside

our hotel, a large group of male dancers

surprised us with their spectacular dancing

and singing performance around the fire.

The official opening of the festival

happened around 8:30 the next morning

by officials who arrived the previous day

by helicopter—to the great astonishment

of the locals. The rest of the day was filled

with each dance group performing a few


Lunch was a special event as the organisers

had a big free lunch prepared for

all attendees—spectators and performers.

Food consisted of rice and meat served on

banana leaves. It was indeed a special moment

to see these people humbly accepting

and enjoying the food, and for me, a

highlight of the entire festival.

There were also a few sporting events

during the day such as team wrestling,

tug of war, and an incredible impromptu

performance by a group beating the slit

drum carved from a large log. This is technically

not a drum but an idiophone as the

110 Globerovers · July 2019

sound is primarily created by the whole log

vibrating without the use of a membrane.

The day’s festivities on the town’s

central football field concluded with dance

performances by each group around a

large bonfire in the middle of the field.

This was followed by spectators joining the

dancers around the fire and eventually a

spectacular fireworks display.

The entire festival had a very friendly

party atmosphere. Performers and local

audiences were all happy to pose for

photos while the photographers had a

field day. Some foreigners were equipped

with seriously long lenses and big cameras

while others were snapping away on their

smartphones. We were all impressed with

the colourful outfits, facial decorations, and

elaborate headdresses of the performers.

While the attire for the performances

varies by group, there were some commonalities.

Men generally were bare-chested

wearing black or red shawls with a matching

kilt or very short pants or underwear.

Some groups’ headgear and shawls were

embroidered with cowrie shells. The cowrie

decoration is quite popular among the

Naga people and apparently the cowries are

always sewn by the man wearing the cloth

and never by his wife or anybody else.

The men are known as warriors and

their ceremonial headgear is a symbol of

position, status and also power. Headgear

is inherited by each warrior and worn

after having earned an achievement. Each

group’s headgear is distinctive, made of

cane and bamboo and then elaborately

decorated with dyed goat fur, bird feathers,

hornbill beaks, boar tusks, parts of animal

skulls, and anything symbolic of the warrior’s

bravery as a headhunter.

Rare items such as hornbill beaks and

feathers as well as certain rare animal

parts are worn like medals of the wearer’s

achievements. Headgear is particularly

important to the group leader as it must

strongly symbolise power and authority.

Another reason why the headgear

is so highly regarded is that the Moi, or

spiritual part of the deceased, lives in the

headgear. While I have not verified this

fact, it has been reported that according

to Naga belief, the human soul is divided

into the Yaha (the animal aspect) and Moi

(the spiritual aspect). When a Naga person

dies, the Yaha travels to the land of the

dead while the Moi remains in the village

and often takes to the headgear of the warriors.

An abundance of Moi is considered

beneficial to the prosperity and fertility of

the tribe.

The women mostly wear plain black,

blue, green, red and white blouses and

skirts with coloured bands. Most wear

elaborate necklaces and armbands.

According to a local printnews report,

the 2019 Naga New Year festival was attended

by 49 foreign travellers. The report

did not state how many locals attended,

but mentioned that “33 men and 16

women from countries such as Germany,

Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Australia,

France, Israel, the US, Canada, Czech Republic,

Italy, South Korea, and Spain joined

the Naga New Year festivities”.

According to records of the Sagaing

Region’s Department of Immigration and

Population, the number of tourists to Leshi

Township totalled 7 in 2011, 37 in 2012, 21

in 2013, 19 in 2014, 59 in 2015, 39 in 2017,

and 63 in 2018.”

After the fireworks, we all felt half-frozen.

January is mid-winter and this part of

Myanmar can get quite cold. We were glad

to arrive at our hotel and get to bed.

Article • Myanmar | 111


112 Globerovers · July 2019

Article • Myanmar | 113

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114 Globerovers · July 2019



After spending three days with the

Naga people, it was time to return to Hkamti

for our flight back to Mandalay. The

drive back was uneventful and we made

sure to cross the river during the daytime.

Back in Hkamti we had time to quickly

explore the town before flying back to

Mandalay the next morning.

Hkamti is a rugged town and somehow

made me think of a typical lone-star

American midwest town of the 1960s.

As we walked through the dusty streets

filled with Kodak-moments around every

corner, we were looking for something

that we all expect in a lone-star town. Just

as we turned northwards along the muddy

shores of the Chindwin River, we saw it.

Large green, red and white signboards

announced our arrival at the “Beer Boy”

bar and restaurant. This dimly-lit social

hangout with metal tables and chairs is

known for its cold “Myanmar Beer”, the

best selling brand of beer in a country

where choices are limited. As we sat down,

we received a plate of peanuts and a small

serving of the famous Burmese tea-leaf

salad. On the house and repeatedly refilled,

this was just the place to be.

Hkamti treated us well with many

photos, friendly people, interesting food,

and of course the cold beer. The hotel

stay was uneventful but we all had a

well-deserved rest. After breakfast the

next morning it was time to head for the

nearby airport and fly back to Mandalay,

from where we all went home into different


I was glad that at last I had visited

Nagaland, in particular, to join in with the

New Years festival. It sure was an interesting

way to celebrate New Year and a trip

that I won’t easily forget. I hope you make

it to Nagaland one day and get to take part

in their festivals. GR

This tour was partially

sponsored by

ProNiti Travel in Yangon.

Contact them at

to book your tour to Nagaland.


Getting There

Foreigners are currently allowed to travel

independently to Nagaland, however,

what is allowed today may not be allowed

tomorrow. This is Myanmar where rules

and regulations come and go without

much notice. Check with the Ministry of

Hotels and Tourism in Nay Pyi Taw at Rent a 4X4 vehicle

with driver, or go with a local travel agency.

When to Go

The Nagaland New Year is held in mid-

January, the coldest time of the year.

Days are cool to warm and nights can get

quite cold. Best time to visit Nagaland is

November to April when it is dry and not

too hot. Summers are hot. Between June

to October, it will be rainy and muddy.

Dining Out

All-inclusive tours to the festival generally

include three meals, most of which

are served at your accommodation. Food

is generally good and you will likely find

many dishes you have never tried before.

Be open-minded and enjoy the local food.

The festival has many food & drink stands.

Getting Around

Whether you have your own vehicle or

you go with a travel agency, you need

wheels to get around. It is also possible

to get around on a motorbike. Roads are

mostly not paved so they can get very

dusty in the dry season, and extremely

muddy and may even be inaccessible in

the rainy season. In the festival grounds

and around town, get around on foot.

Where to Stay

If you plan your trip through a travel agency,

they will arrange everything, including

meals and accommodation. Depending

on which one of the three rotating towns

where the festival is held, accommodation

vary from fairly basic hotels to home

stays. Book in advance for the festival.


As most people will come here during the

winter’s New Year Festival, bring layered

clothing as the nights and mornings can

get cold, while days get warm. Accommodation

should have enough blankets

but may not provide a cover sheet so bring

along a travel sleep sheet or sleeping bag.


Nagaland is a remote part of the world

and many of the Naga people may never

have seen a camera. Mobile phones

with cameras are becoming common so

the concept of photography is becoming

less novel. Most people are not camera

shy and many participants at the festival

are happy to pose. As usual, for closeup

posed portraits, ask permission.


Nagaland is generally a safe destination

although there has been confl ict between

the Nagas and the Myanmar army and

police. Follow the advice of the tour guides

and locals and make sure to respect the

people, their culture, and the remoteness of

this mountainous region.

Cost of Travel

All-inclusive tours with travel agencies are

very pricey but as competition increases,

the fees are likely to decline. Several

agencies offer tours to the festival so

shop around. A small group of travellers

may fi nd it more affordable to rent a 4x4

with driver and arrange meals on arrival.

Article • Myanmar | 115




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Cruising with Crocodiles

in Australia’s Top End

Half an hour into the Victoria

River cruise and I’d already

seen more crocodiles than I’d

previously seen in my whole

life. Three hours later and I was in serious

danger of contracting the little-known crocodile

overload syndrome.

There is a reason the Victoria River, flowing

through the heart of the Northern Territory,

is known as Australia’s wildest river!

We rode the river past scenery so stunning—in

a hardcore Aussie Outback kind of

The 1971 Cruise Bus

Marion Halliday is Red Nomad OZ,

author, blogger and Aussie traveller who loves

discovering nature based attractions and activities

– and scenic loos – all over Australia.

Her Aussie travel expertise, photography

and the storytelling skills she developed in

corporate life come together in her Aussie

travel blog where the highlights (and lowlights)

of her many years of downunder travel provide

inspiration for other Aussie explorers.

Words & Photos by Marion Halliday

way—that it kept my shutter button humming.

It was so much fun, I nearly missed

the first crocodile of the cruise. But that’s

only part of my explanation for failing to

see the gargantuan six metre (about 20 feet)

muscular marauder—‘Lord Lizard’ to the

locals – sunning himself on the shore.

Turns out I’d actually seen him. But I just

thought the croc was an old tractor tyre lying

in the grass on the riverbank, seemingly so

fascinating the other tourists were taking

snaps of it. And then the penny dropped.

Crocodile-watching lesson #1 – don’t take

anything for granted!

As Lord Lizard slipped into the murky,

mud-stained water I guessed we were about

to find out just how crocodile-proof our

cruiser, the purpose-built MV Fleetwing,

really was.

The Victoria River Sunset cruise isn’t just

about the crocodiles. Or the sunsets. Or even

the cruise! After we boarded a nicely restored

1971 tour bus, complete with nicely aged

shock absorbers, we took a circuitous route

from the tour’s Croc Stock Shop starting

point to the jetty via some of Timber Creek’s

best attractions.

Just 600 kilometres (370 mi) south of

Darwin and an easy 289 kilometres (180

mi) drive south-west of Katherine along the

Victoria Highway, Timber Creek is almost in

the middle of Northern Australia, known to

us Aussies as the “Top End”. A small town of

about 250 permanent residents, it’s the real

Outback deal with an intriguing blend of

Indigenous, Colonial and Military history.

There’s the Escarpment lookout – a superb

spot for sunset watching—where a memorial

plaque tells of the Nackeroos, a Bush

Commando unit stationed here in World

War II, who worked with local Aboriginal

People to defend Australia’s coastline after

the Japanese bombing attacks in the Top End.

There are the Police Station Museum and

its historic memorabilia, including reminders

of a shameful past with the shackle and chain

used for Aboriginal prisoners still attached to

a tree outside.

There’s the Gregory Tree, a giant Boab

in the 13,000 km² Gregory National Park

named for explorer Augustus Charles

Gregory, whose expedition passed through

the area in the mid-1800s.

Then there’s the bridge across the Victoria

River – pedestrian traffic only unless you’re

on official business! Once I’d read the warning

signs, I figured I’d take my chances with

the crocodiles and use the bridge to test out

my long-range crocodile detecting skills and

admire the 560 kilometres (350 mi) long river.

118 Globerovers · July 2019


And if the cruise doesn’t deliver up quite

enough crocodiles for you, just head down to

the creek behind the caravan parks in the late

evening for a freshwater crocodile feeding


Aboard the MV Fleetwing, I scanned the

swirling, crocodile-coloured waters where

Lord Lizard had sunk below the surface.

Perhaps I was just being paranoid, but wasn’t

“Whitey” the Croc

“Lord Lizard” the Croc

“Salty” the Saltwater Croc

it possible a prehistoric predator at the top of

the food chain with a killer combination of

ruthless cunning, environmental adaptation

and brute strength could easily take out a

small boatload of tourists?

But Lord Lizard must have had a better

offer because his gnarled and leathery hide

failed to reappear, and the MV Fleetwing

continued upstream with no crocodile collisions

to spoil

the view. Despite

that view

being littered

with giant


many of which

seemed to be personally known to our guide,

the scenery just kept getting better and better.

In that hardcore Aussie Outback kind of way!

The chances of seeing a broad cross-section

of Australia’s only two crocodile species

on this tour are better than average.

“Salties’ ie Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus

porosus) are big with a wide snout,

whereas “Freshies” ie Freshwater crocodiles

(Crocodylus johnstoni) are generally smaller

with a narrow snout and smaller teeth. But

don’t be fooled into thinking their common

names describe their habitat – they’re both

found in abundance on the Victoria River,

and in many waterways throughout the Top


On full crocodile alert aboard our crocproof

cruiser, I was far less likely to become

one of Australia’s annual average

of two fatal crocodile attacks than

those who:

a) swim in known crocodile

habitats (ie pretty much all the Top


b) feed crocs for selfies;

c) camp, clean fish or leave food

near the water’s edge; or

d) ignore the warning signs.

After passing Whitey and Old

Broken Jaw (those names are selfexplanatory,

aren’t they?) lying on

the riverbanks as crocodiles do

when they’re digesting whatever

they last ate, smaller freshwater

crocodiles with their deceptively

dopey demeanour began to appear

on the river’s gravel islands and


The massive Saltwater crocodiles

are far more dangerous than

Freshwater crocodiles to large

mammals (think kangaroos, cows,

humans) but if the Victoria River

wasn’t discriminating between the

two species, then neither was I.

I’d heard that smaller freshies

Contribution • Australia | 119

are ‘safe’ to swim with – what’s a bite or two

between friends? – but I wasn’t offering to

be the first human to disprove that theory

because just the thought of swimming with

them gave me the cold shivers.

Happily, swimming wasn’t an option on

the cruise which meant I could enjoy the late

afternoon’s golden glow as it lit up the Yambarrin

Ranges. As the 35 kilometres (~22

mi) to our date with a red-hot sunset came

to an end, the MV Fleetwing docked at what

would probably look like a flimsy pontoon to

a five or six-metre crocodile. With a flimsy

narrow gangplank and equally flimsy fence

around the deck.

But after a hard couple of hours cruising

and croc-watching on the river, I had more

important things to do than worry about the

wildlife. Things like snacking, drinking and

sunset watching. And things like – uh-oh.

Exactly what do you do and where do you go

when nature calls and you’re in the middle of

a crocodile-infested river?

Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the first person

to ask that question and the pontoon’s full

potential became clear. Alligator amenities?

Crocodile conveniences? Or Wildlife

WC? Whatever you decide to call it, there’s

something quite surreal about doing your

business on Australia’s wildest river with just

that flimsy pontoon between you and the


Just 90 kilometres (55 mi) east of Timber

Creek and right on the river crossing, the

Victoria River Roadhouse is surrounded by

Gregory National Park, 13,000 km² (over 3

million acres) of Top End wilderness and

heart of the Victoria River Region. It’s an

easy day trip from Timber Creek, but the

campground also makes a great base from

which to see more of that hardcore Aussie

Outback kind of scenery and explore its

natural attractions. It’s close to the Escarpment

Lookout and Joe Creek Loop trails, and

although they have some steep sections, it’s

Victoria River from Escarpment Lookout

Pontoon and Loo

Gregory Tree

Victoria River Roadhouse

120 Globerovers · July 2019

worth it for the spectacular views, stunning

scenery, Indigenous Art and endless red

sandstone escarpments.

The Victoria River, a fisherman’s paradise

if you can keep the crocodiles away from

your barramundi, is easily accessible as is the

network of 4WD tracks through the park.

Eating at the roadhouse can be an exercise

in multiculturalism with both staff and visitors

from all around the world. I was so pleasantly

surprised by how many activities I fitted

into my overnight (and nearly 24 hours) stay,

and would love to have spent more time here

before the short drive to Timber Creek.

So there I was. I’d eaten, drunk and

answered natures call on a pontoon in the

middle of a magnificent waterway flowing

through a wild and remote frontier. The day’s

heat had died away, and water lapped gently

at the boat as the light of the afternoon sun

painted the distant ranges with a golden

glow. Wallabies grazed on the banks and

birds settled down to roost as the sun slowly

sank towards the escarpments.

Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil.

Could anything possibly make this picture

more perfect?

Evidently yes.

“Don’t you wish one of those crocodiles

would attack a wallaby,” the man behind me

whispered to his wife as they gazed across

the water. “It’d be great to see some action.”

Silly me. There’s apparently no situation

that a healthy dose of blood and guts won’t


But unhappily for my bored fellow tour

participant, the crocodiles stayed put as

we left the pontoon and boarded the MV

Fleetwing for the 90 minutes or so it would

take to return to Timber Creek. The sun set

behind the ranges as we sped back upstream,

the sky’s glorious colour intensifying around

us while the moon slowly rose ahead.

And for a few magic moments, Australia’s

wildest river was the most civilised place on


Marion Halliday blogs as

“Australia by Red Nomad OZ” at

Follow Marion @rednomadoz on Twitter,

Pinterest, Linked, and Flickr.

Facebook: RedzAustralia.

Buy her book: “Aussie Loos with Views!” at, eBay and at

Gregory National Park

Contribution • Australia | 121

9 Destinations in South America


The South American continent is unquestionably a destination that will make you fall in love with life. The Latino way of life with

food, music and dance, is addictive. The landscapes are overwhelming and inspiring. It is hard to select just nine of the best destinations.

In addition to the popular destinations, many less visited destinations and experiences are waiting to be enjoyed by the

intrepid traveller. South America, you are awesome!




Patagonia is a sparsely populated region at the southern end of

Argentina comprising the southern section of the Andes mountains

and the deserts, pampas and grasslands to the east. Most visitors

are blown away by the jagged mountaintops, glaciers and wildlife.

One of the best areas to experience wildlife is Peninsula Valdés.

The peninsula is known for its large breeding populations of

southern right whales, southern elephant seals, southern sea lions

and thousands of nesting penguins. Patagonia has hundreds of

glaciers. Among the most impressive are the Perito Moreno and

Upsala glaciers. Landscape photographers will be in heaven!


Galapagos Islands



Salar de Uyuni


Named after the shells of saddlebacked Galápagos tortoises, the

Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed

around the equator, almost 1,000 km (621 mi) west of continental

Ecuador. The islands are famed for their endemic species

studied by Charles Darwin which supported his theory of evolution

by natural selection back in the 1830s.

A four-hour flight from Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, takes you

right into the main island of Santa Cruz. The best way to experience

these natural wonders is to board a live-aboard boat for a

week or two. Boats sail at night between the many islands and offer

daytime hiking and diving among land and sea creatures. The

most amazing experience on the Galapagos Islands is that the

animals have little fear of humans. A must visit in South America.

In the remote southwest corner of Bolivia lies the world’s largest

salt flats, surrounded by a rugged area known for its natural scenery

and wildlife, including flamingos, llamas, guanacos and vicuña.

Salar de Uyuni, the salt flats, has a surface area of more than

10,500 square kilometres (4,054 sq mi). While in the dry season

the salt lake is nothing but a massive dry salt flat, during the

rainy season it transforms into a vast shallow water-filled lake

with beautiful mirror reflections. Located at an altitude of 3,656

m (12,000 ft) above sea level, this region is remote, unique, and

inhospitable. The area is known for its scenery with dormant

volcanoes, snow-capped mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, weird

rock formations, deserts, natural thermal baths, and volcanic active

areas complete with fierce fumaroles and boiling mud pots.

122 Globerovers · July 2019


Machu Picchu



Beaches & Islands



Iguazú Falls


This 15th century Inca citadel is located

on a mountain ridge 2,430 m (7,972

ft) above sea level in the mountains

of south-central Peru. Constructed as

the royal estate for the Inca emperor

Pachacuti (1438–1472), it was abandoned

by its inhabitants about a century

later. The Spanish invaders never knew

about it and so it remained unknown to

the outside world until the famous discovery

by the American academic, explorer

and politician, Hiram Bingham III, in 1911.

The authentic way to reach the old city is

a 3-day trek via the original Inca trail.

The coastline of Brazil measures 7,491

km (4,655 mi), which makes it the 16th

longest national coastline of the world.

The long coastline is dotted with many

beautiful beaches, and in addition to

Brazil’s many idyllic islands, it will take a

lifetime to visit all the beaches and islands

of Brazil.

Leave the famous, crowded, crime-ridden

beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema

and head either north or south of Rio to

the many unspoiled beaches and islands.

Too many to mention here!

The spectacular Iguazú Falls lie on the

tri-junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

While most of the river flows through

Brazil, the largest section (about 80%) of

the falls is on the Argentinian side.

While it is easy to watch the plunging

waters all day long from several vantage

points, there are a lot more things to do

at Iguazú Falls than simply to marvel at

their beauty. Take the boat into the Devil’s

Throat close to the thunderous falls and

get very wet. On the Brazilian side is an

impressive bird park with dense jungle.


Tayrona Park


Atacama Desert




Vintage Cars


Tayrona National Park in northern Colombia

is a protected area covering the foothills

of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

mountain range as they meet the tropical

Caribbean coast. The park is known for

its palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons,

rainforest and a rich biodiversity. Take

along your hammock and sleep between

the palm trees. Beaches are stunning to

say the least. Hike a tiny forest trail to get

to the Pueblito ruins with its terraces and

structures built by the Tayrona civilization

who flourished in this area between 200

AD and 1600 AD.

Covering a 1,000 km (621 mi) strip of land

on the Pacific Coast, west of the Andes

mountains, the Atacama Desert takes the

prize for being the world’s driest, as well

as one of earth’s most surreal adventure


Among the desert’s many diverse terrestrial

offerings are spurting geysers, windsculpted

golden dunes perfect for surfing,

salt lagoons, and cliffs of colourfully

striped strata known as Rainbow Valley. It

is rich in fauna and flora and is undeniably

a photographer’s wonderland.

During the 1940s and 50s the people of

Uruguay became prosperous due to their

exports of wool and beef, and with much

disposable income they imported many

cars from Europe and the United States.

However, a lengthy economic downturn

brought their fortunes to a halt by the late

50s, and since then they have been forced

to keep, and maintain, whatever vehicles

they had. After many years the Uruguayans

realized that they prefer old sturdy

cars! All over Uruguay you will see Ford,

Chevy, Plymouth, Studebaker, Opel,

Austin, DKW, Fiat, and even horse carts!


Photo Essay

Guangxi Region, China

124 Globerovers · July 2019

The Guangxi Days


China’s Guangxi autonomous region is known for its

landscapes, minority groups, and delicious cuisines.

The area around the towns of Guilin

and Yangshuo is famous for

its peculiarly shaped peaks, the

meandering Li River, small tranquil

villages of ethnic minority groups, vast

rice terraces, and most notably, the local

aromatic Guangxi food.

Guilin is packed with noteworthy sights

including day and night cruises on the

Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, Diecai Hill,

Pagoda Hill, Fubo Hill, “Tombs of the

Prince” from the Jingjiang Ming Dynasty

(1368-1644), and several spectacular caves

including Lu Di Yan (the Red Flute Cave),

Guanyan (Crown Cave), Water Moon Cave,

and Seven Star Cave. In fact, you can easily

spend a week in and around the town of

Guilin, before getting on the boat south to


The people of the Guangxi Province are

multinational with a total population of

about 45 million. Besides the Han people,

there are several ethnic minority groups including

the Zhuang, Dong, Yao, Miao, Tong,

Maonan, Yi, and the Shui. Stop by (or stay

over) in the colourful Huang Luo Yao village

for a dance performance by long-haired

women and pretty girls. Gaze at the mud

ploughing water buffaloes while sipping on

local Chinese tea.

Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 125

Guangxi, China

Floating down the Li River

The boat trip on the Li River from Guilin to

Yangshuo will likely be the most memorable

part of any visit to the Guangxi Province, if not

all of China! The four-and-a-half-hour river trip

on the 83 kilometre (52 mi) stretch winds past

hundreds of gorgeous karst peaks which offer

surprises at each bend. Water buffaloes and

farmers work the muddy fields, peasants reap

their rice paddies, school kids and cormorant

fishermen float by on their bamboo rafts. This

is top notch breathtaking scenery!

The eye-feasting karst landscape, country

farming, and village-life scenery will keep you

snapping more photos than you expected.

Along the river and outside the town of Yangshuo,

many fishermen still rely on the cormorants’ fishing

skills for their daily catch. This human-bird coop-living

can also be found in Japan and even in Macedonia.

A snare is tied near the base of the bird’s

throat which allows the bird to breathe, but not to

swallow the fish.

126 Globerovers · July 2019

The Li River

Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 127


128 Globerovers · July 2019

Guangxi, China


The boat trip from Guilin ends on the outskirts

of the enchanting (albeit touristy)

town of Yangshuo. With several guesthouses

and hotels, this is the place to base yourself for

a few days to explore the surrounding villages

and stunning mountain scenery. In town, the

famous “West Street” is lined with Chinese restaurants,

western cafes, fruit stores, and coffee

shops. This street never sleeps and is an excellent

place for people watching, not to mention

the excellent cheap food and local beer.

Rent a mountain bike in Yangshuo and head

in any direction. Cycle along the river northwards

through several small villages, or

head south to Moon Hill which offers a short

but tough climb. From the top, the views are

spectacular and under a mysterious layer of

haze and fog, you will find tranquil scenery

comprised of levelled rice terraces and villages.

Explore the small paths leading to these

villages, and get lost while tasting the rural

Chinese life.

Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 129

Guangxi, China

Longsheng Rice Terraces

For the most surreal experience, head north of

Guilin to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces

(Longji Terraces) in Longsheng county.

Construction of these terraces began in the

Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and continued

until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In

spring, the stagnant water renders the terraces

as ribbons on the hillsides while in summer

the green waves are shockingly brilliant. In

autumn it is decorated with gold and in winter

the terraces are covered in white snow.

Longji is a great area to experience China’s

ethnic minorities’ culture. The Zhuang and Yao

people live here. Visitors can attend their cultural

shows which include dancing and singing.

Stay in one of the few small guesthouses in

the villages of Long Ji and Ping An and explore

the surrounding terraces and hills. It is

also possible to have a homestay with a local

family enjoying Longji tea and Longji wine.

130 Globerovers · July 2019


Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 131

The Dragon’s Backbone (Longji Terraces) in Longsheng country, north of

Guilin city, are famous for its beautiful rice terraces, colourful ethnic minorities

such as the Zhuang and the Yao people, and their good food. Stay

in a small guesthouse or a homestay with a local family and explore the

beautiful scenery. Every season is photogenic, however, February to July

can be very rainy while September to December is more dry but colder with

possible snow in December. Late May and April are the greenest while mid

to late September is golden-yellow before harvest time.

132 Globerovers · July 2019

Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 133

134 Globerovers · July 2019


Guaranteed Rugged

Canada’s best hidden train journey

Lillooet, British Columbia

Words and Photos by Yrene Dee, a Lumby (British Columbia, Canada), based writer and adventurer.

The train adventure starts

in the small town of

Lillooet, a special place

surrounded by towering

mountains, deep canyons, roaring

rivers and crystal clear lakes. This

unique piece of heaven situated along

the mighty Fraser River captured

my heart the fi rst time I was in town.

Lillooet is accessible via the famous

Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver.

The rich history of Lillooet began

with the people of the St’àtäimc Nation

that continue to live in the area today.

Much later during the British Columbia

gold rush of 1860, Lillooet was Mile “0”

on the Cariboo Pavilion Road, the fi rst

wagon road to be surveyed in BC and

the route to the Cariboo gold fi elds.

When you travel through Lillooet

in July and August you will notice the

rock shelf in the Fraser River near

the town dotted with orange and

blue tarpaulins. The site belongs to

the Aboriginal people who still come

every summer to gather their salmon

for the winter as the fi sh make their

way upriver to spawn. You will notice

old drying racks scattered around the

banks of the river canyon.

often impassable. If you’re fortunate

enough to get on the ride you will

be amazed. The train runs along the

edge of Seaton Lake next to impressive

rock faces and cliffs and connects

passengers between Lillooet and

Seton Portage, every day of the week.

Most of the passengers travel between

the two towns for work, for family visits

and for shopping.

The Kaoham Shuttle is not meant

to be a tourist attraction and priority

to board the train is given to the local

people. Therefore, getting a spot on

this train is a privilege.

I soon found out that patience

and plenty of time were necessary if I

wanted to venture on this iconic train

journey. At the Lillooet Railway station,

I was told to phone the reservation

number listed at the door to get on the

shuttle the next day, but no one answered

my call. Booking ahead doesn’t

always seem to work and I waited

around until noon when fi nally the Kaoham

Suttle arrived from Seaton.

I was happy to talk to the friendly

train driver before he headed back

towards Seaton at around 3:30 pm

the same day. “I’ve been running the

shuttle for sixteen years and would like

to retire”, he said, “but no one wants to

take over my job”. That made me think

and wonder how much longer this train

journey will be available. I made sure

to let the driver know that I wanted to

get on the shuttle the next day, whatever

it takes.

Apart from Friday’s, there is only

one train run per day, Seaton Portage

to Lillooet and back to Seaton, so I

had to look for accommodation.

The train journey on the Kaoham

Shuttle is something you won’t experience

anywhere else. For the local

people, it remains a vital service in

an area where backcountry roads are

The railway track follows the edge of Seaton Lake


Globerovers •· July 2019

I finally got ahold of the Lil’tem’

Mountain Hotel to find out that it was

fully booked by BC Hydro workers but

was promised that there was an empty

trailer in town I could rent for a night.

The next day at 3:30 pm I boarded

the train with a few locals. There

wasn’t much space in the tiny passenger

train this afternoon. The space

next to the driver was filled with packages,

groceries and other supplies

and was also used by the driver to do

his paperwork.

The one car carriage followed the

old train tracks along the base of one

of the sheerest mountain rock cliffs

with a view of the beautiful jade green

shimmering lake. The little train puffed

through the spectacular backcountry

and made a few whistle and photo

stops along the way. The driver slowed

the train to point out eagles, mountain

goats, and even a black bear far in the

distance. The finale highlight before

arrival at Seaton Portage was the 1.2

kilometres (0.75 mi) hollowed tunnel

dug into the base of the mountain. The

impressive journey lasted just over an


After arrival in the small town,

I stopped in at the Lil’em’Mountain

Hotel to get the directions to my trailer

accommodation. Later I checked out

the Highline Pub & Restaurant, found

a small grocery store, and met friendly

locals. This tiny community is a piece

of heaven in the deep backcountry of

British Columbia, a special place to


For a different adventure, I caught a

ride with friendly locals back to Lillooet

along Mission Road the next morning.

The steep gravel road cut into the edge

of the mountain took us to the tiny community

of Shalalth and past the massive

Bridge River Generating Station.

From the top of Mission Mountain, the

road dropped down to Carpenter Lake

with plenty of switchbacks and incredible

views. The drive back to Lillooet

was a 72 kilometres (45 mi) journey

and took as just over two hours.

I know for sure that for the five dollars

the train journey cost me I would

have never been able to experience a

more breathtaking train ride anywhere

else. It was worth every second of

waiting around at the train station.

If you enjoyed this story and are

Lillooet Train Station


interested in learning more about

backcountry Canada please visit my


There you will find many guides and

insider tips for exploring the Canadian


Inside Koahan Shuttle

The Koahan-Shuttle

The start of the train journey in Lillooet

Yrene is the founder of She was born in

Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and travelled the

world before she settled in Canada. She is an entrepreneur, wilderness

nut, and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places.

Follow Yrene on Twitter @backcountrycana, Facebook @ backcountrycanada, and

Instagram @backcountrycanadatravel.

Contribution • Canada |137

Ta st yTraveller's Treats

Authentic, affordable, clean food is every traveller’s dream.

Enjoy these tasty morsels from far-away places.





138 Globerovers · July 2019


Peru Japan


Hong Kong

Hong Kong Mynmar

Cyprus Peru





Myanmar Sabah Hong Kong


Mynmar China

Thailand Greece



140 Globerovers · July 2019


“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” ~ Oscar Wilde


Serious questions to ask yourself

Volunteer Tourism, quaintly

nicknamed “voluntourism”, is a

booming travel trend estimated

to be worth $2.6 billion and

involve over 20 million travellers annually.

A growing number of people (especially

millennials but reaching all demographics)

are unsatisfied with their vacations being

all about them and wish to “give back” to

the communities they are travelling in. It

can seem like a win-win situation, both

being a more immersive kind of travel and

By Claire Bennett, Learning Service

Claire lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal, and freelances

as a trainer and consultant. She is passionate about global

education, ethical travel and ensuring good intentions are

put to good use.

Claire recently released her book: Learning Service: The

Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad.

For more information about volunteering, visit

also of benefit to others, but in fact it can

be complex to get it right, and there are a

few ethical issues to consider to ensure that

your good intentions are put to good use.

Volunteer trips can be a hugely rewarding

form of travel, but they can’t be

undertaken lightly. In this post, we share

some important questions that will help

you decide if volunteering is for you, and

help you pinpoint what you would like to

get out of the experience.

Photo: Pixabay

Question 1: What has attracted you

to volunteering abroad?

It is important to be honest about your

motivations to ensure you have a successful

and satisfactory time volunteering. Try to

identify a combination of motivations that

relate to both what you want to give and


If you are drawn to volunteering from

a desire for adventure, or snazzy brochures

of elephant trekking in exotic locations,

take a step back and ask yourself if what

you really need is a vacation. Volunteering

is hard work! Even though you may be in a

wonderful place and will also have time to

explore, the reality is that you may spend

the majority of your time in an office or

doing manual labour.

If you find you are mainly motivated

by the thought of doing some good in the

world, remember to be realistic about the

amount that you can contribute with the

time and the skills that you have. Even if

you plan to volunteer for many months,

you are likely to make only a small contribution

to bigger changes that will be led by

local professionals.

If your interest in volunteering mainly

stems from your desire to learn and for

personal growth, be sure that you are honest

with the organization that you volunteer

with. You may want to look for a program

with good training programs and systems

of support.

142 Globerovers · July 2019

Question 2: What are your core


To really ensure that what you offer as

a volunteer will make a difference, think

about volunteering in a field in which you

have some expertise. There is a need for

accountants, computer technicians and

nurses everywhere in the world! Even if

you don’t feel that you are an expert in

anything, there will always be skills that

you have and can offer – such as being a

whizz with social media or the ability to

edit documents in English.

You may wish to have a stint volunteering

in order to get a break from your normal

work and try your hand at something

new. While there is nothing wrong with

that, be sure that you are clear with the volunteer

organization about your limitations,

and never seek to practice beyond your

skill set. If you are learning a new skill try

to take the position of intern or assistant,

supporting qualified local staff members.

Question 3: What are your passions?

Think about what you love doing.

When do you feel most engaged, connected,

and alive? When were the times in your

life that you have been really enraged about

an issue or motivated about a change you’d

like to see in the world?

Every passion – dancing, programming,

good practice in management, campaigning

to reduce the amount of plastic in the

ocean – can be enhanced and channeled

into supporting a good cause. One of our

favorite quotes is from Howard Thurman,

who said, “Don’t ask what the world needs.

Ask what makes you come alive, and then

go and do that, as what the world needs is

people who have come alive.”

Question 4: What impact do you

want to have on the world?

If there is a change you would like to

see, or an injustice you would like to challenge,

be sure to avoid the trap of assuming

that you know all about the issue before you

have experienced it firsthand. Be open to

learning from local people, changing your

mind, and even “unlearning” some things

you thought to be true. For example, if you

are a huge advocate of organic farming and

have plenty of technical skills from experience

in your own country, it is crucial to

find out how cultural, climatic or economic

issues may affect the perspective of organic

farming overseas.

We also encourage you to think about

how an experience abroad might affect your

ability to make long-term changes, looking

beyond the immediate effects of your trip.

Will you learn skills, such as movementbuilding

or effective fund-raising, which

will enable you to continue to contribute to

this cause in the future?

Considering these questions is a great

first step in deciding how to (and whether

to) take a volunteer trip abroad.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Learning Service: The Essential

Guide to Volunteering Abroad

is full of advice on how to volunteer

abroad ethically. It is available to

buy from Amazon.

Follow us:




Photo: Pixabay

Contribution • Volunteering | 143

Po st c a r ds

Përshëndetje Mom,

My first postcard to you comes

from the beaches of Ksamil,

ALBANIA. Located in the far

south of Albania, the area is referred

to as the Albania Reviera,

and locally known as Bregu.

Mom, the food is good and the

beaches really beautiful. All along

the coast are secret beaches

with few tourists, so I love it here

very much. I love the Albanian

wine too. Wine is so affordable

here and so potent. I am often

quite tipsy.

Love, Lizzy

Om Suastiastu Mom,

Greetings from Bali,

Indonesia. I am studying the

Balinese language.

Mom, I know you won’t

like this postcard photo but

I thought its quite funny.

I walked down the street

near the Taman Ayun

Temple in BALI when I

saw it. I have no idea what

it means and what it is

about. Love ya, Lizzy

Salaam Alaikum Mom,

Mom, I am exploring the

many tiny blue alleys of

Chefchaouen, MO-

ROCCO. Almost the

entire town is painted in

powdery blue. If you paint

your house any colour but

this blue, I bet they will

destroy you in minutes.

Love, Lizzy

144 Globerovers · July 2019

to Mommy

... by Lizzy

Hola Mom,

I’m in the Caribbean—in

Cuba. Mom, its an island

with a bad history, nice

people, very old cars and

buildings, and incredibly

beautiful beaches. I’m

now sitting on the beach

at Playas de Este to

the east of Havana,

CUBA. Mom, I’m a bit

drunk again. The Cuban

rum and cigars are so


Love you totally, Liz

Mingalaba Mommy,

I’m now at one of the world’s most unspoiled beaches, with no resorts

and no people on the beach. I’m in southern MYANMAR.

No name because this is my secret beach! Lovies, Lizzy

Hola Mom,

I know mom does not

like creepy frogs, but this

froggy is a real cutie. It is a

Red-eyed Leaf Frog, and I

found him in the jungles of

Monteverde in COSTA

RICA. He looks poisonous

but he is not, so I touched

him! Yikes!

Love, Lizzy

Postcards to Mommy |


More Postcards to Mommy

Hai Mom,

Mom, I am at an amazing

festival with very few

tourists, but many local

people from the jungle.

This man dances in the

Pines Power SingSing

Group at the festival in


GUINEA. People used

to be cannibals, so I look

sour all day.

Gotto run, Lizzy

Sawasdee-kaaaa Mom,

I’m at a boat in Khao Sok National Park, in

southern THAILAND. So peaceful and beautiful

here! Luv ya, Lizzy

Salaam alaykum Mom,

I know you won’t believe

I am in SYRIA, but you

know me. I am tough and

brave. This is the Citadel

in Aleppo. Built between

the 3rd millennium BC and

12th century AD, it was

much damaged during the

recent wars.

Don’t worry Mom, Lizzy

146 Globerovers · July 2019

... by Lizzy

Salaam alaykum Mom,

Mom, how would you like to live in the cute village of Masuleh, in

northern IRAN. It is in the mountains not far from the Caspian Sea, the

world’s largest inland body of water. But Mom, the water is salty almost

like the sea. Love you, Lizzy

Bonjour Mom,

I bought you this postcard before the Notre Dame Cathedral

in Paris, FRANCE caught fire on 15 April 2019.

Mom, this church has been so badly damaged by the fire.

Au revoir Mom, Lizzy

Anyoung haseyo Mom,


What a bizarre place but

such an eye-opener. It is

not nearly as strict as I

thought, as long as I play

carefully by the rules,

or else I’ll be sent to the

hard-labour camps. Today

I visited the Korean War

Museum in Pyongyang

and bought you this postcard.

Mom, someone will

check my postcard before

I mail it so I can’t write the


Your crazy daughter Lizzy.

Postcards to Mommy | 147



in the

A GlobeRovers Q&A with the luxury traveller from a popular blog:

Matt Long of

Matt Long is an experiential luxury

traveler at heart and shares his adventures

with thousands of readers every

day through his award winning site As someone who has

a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels

the world in order to share tips on where

to go, what to see and how to experience

the best the world has to offer. Based in

Washington, DC, Matt has been to more

than 95 countries and all 7 continents.

Matt is also the host of the weekly

Explore the World Travel Podcast.

GR: Where do you wish you were right now?

ML: I love the South Pacific, fascinating cultures, great food and of

course those views....

GR: Among those countries you have not yet visited, which ones

are at the top of your “must do” list?

ML: Would love to go to: Portugal, see more of Japan, Vietnam, Argentina

and Bhutan.

GR: If you could spend the rest of your life somewhere other than

your current home country, which country would that be?

ML: Probably France. I love the country, it’s easy to get to other places,

the food is amazing, there are scores of interesting towns and cities to

visit —there are many reasons really.

GlobeRovers (GR): We talked with Matt Long about his travels and

started by asking how many countries he has visited.

Matt Long (ML): I don’t like the tendency of some travelers to visit

new places just for the checkmark. I go to places that interest me, it’s

that simple. Many times they’re new countries but just as often they’re

countries I’ve been to several times before. That being said, I’ve been

to around 90-95 countries depending on how you count and all 7


GR: What are your top 5 most preferred countries for leisure travel?

ML: Iceland, South Africa, France, Thailand and Australia.

GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel and why?

ML: The US, it’s where I live and I think has a little bit of everything.

Other than my home country, I always enjoy being in Iceland. I’ve been

5 times and every trip is a new adventure with new thing to see and do.

The Whitsunday Islands, Australia

GR: Please tell us about the most incredible and memorable experience

you have ever had while travelling?

ML: My first trip overseas when I spent the afternoon away from the

school group and got to know Paris in my own way. It was important

to get out and be independent and that’s why I think I love the city so


GR: Based on your travel experiences, if you were to recommend the

one most amazing destination for intrepid travellers, which place

would that be, and why?

ML: Iceland again has to be my answer. The country honestly has a

little something for everyone, especially travelers eager to get off the

beaten path and make new discoveries. Once you leave Reykjavik and

the South Coast driving route, you very much have the country to


148 Globerovers · July 2019

Table Mountain and Cape Town, South Africa

GR: Which people by nationality or subgroup would you say have

been the most hospitable during your travels and why do you say so?

ML: One of the best lessons I’ve learned from my years of travel is that,

for the most part, people everywhere are genuinely kind and caring.

I’ve had amazing moments of hospitality all over the world, including

in some countries that may not have a strong reputation for welcoming


GR: Let’s get a bit more personal. Do you have any “must take”

items when you travel that you think most travellers don’t think of?

ML: It’s probably not unique, but I swear by my travel power strip. It’s

compact, has plenty of outlets and USB ports which means that even

if my hotel room has just one outlet, I can charge everything. It’s been


GR: What is your favourite travel resource on the Internet?

ML: It’s funny, whenever I visit a new city I go very old school, go to the

bookstore and buy the Frommer’s Day-By-Day City Guide for that destination.

They’re great little books, compact with tons of great information.

BUT, if we’re talking Internet only, I get a lot of value of asking folks

on Twitter and Instagram for their top travel tips in specific destinations.

GR: Let’s talk about food. Which one country that you visited has

the best food in the world?

ML: I can’t pick one so here are some of my personal favorites: Germany

(Swabian cuisine), Thailand (anything) and Italy (go to Bologna

and eat everything).

GR: Where was the best meal you have ever had during your travels?

ML: My favorite meal was the first time I had expertly prepared Peking

Duck, which happened to be when I was visiting Taipei, Taiwan. It’s

still one of my favorite meals.

GR: And where was the worst food during your travels?

ML: I can’t stand fish or seafood and yet, so many times, I’ve been

presented with it on my travels. I can usually get out of eating it, but

whenever I can’t it’s pure misery.

GR: What is the weirdest place you have ever spent a night?

ML: I actually enjoying spending the night in quirky accommodations

and I’ve been to my fair share of odd spots, but the strangest for me

was the ice hotel in Alta, Norway. Everyone romanticizes ice hotels, but

actually spending the night in one is fairly uncomfortable and a little

creepy. (Continues on the next page).

Machu Picchu, Peru


Pontiac, Illinois, along Route 66, USA

GR: Based on all your travel experiences, what is the best tip you can

offer to new travellers?

ML: Just go. It doesn’t matter where you go, all travel, even to a spot 30

minutes from home, is worthwhile. Don’t be fooled by platforms like

Instagram into thinking that there’s a right way to travel, there isn’t.

Just go where you want and do what interests you and everything else

will fall into place.

GR: What is the single best lesson you have learned about the world

during your travels? ML: The vast majority of people around the

world are good. At the end of the day we all want the same things from

life: to be happy, for our family members to be happy and to live a good

life. Because of that, we all have much more in common than we do


Paris, France

GR: What is the main focus of your travels?

ML: To see as much of the world as I can and to learn as much as is

humanly possible.

GR: You have a popular travel blog and you have a strong social

media following. Some posts are much liked and reposted while

others are not. What do you think makes a travel post popular?

ML: You know, it’s not something I’ve ever worried about. I’ve just created

content that I like and that I’m proud of and hoped other people

would like it too. If you try to create popular content, you’ll always fail.

GR: Travel bloggers who visit intrepid, off-the-beaten-track destinations,

or secret city spots, often have a hard time deciding on

whether they should keep the secret, or broadcast it to the world to

gain lots of attention and new followers (and likely change that secret

location and its people’s lives forever). What are your thoughts

on this? Should we keep the secrets?

ML: I enjoy sharing my travels and I did it well before I had a blog. It’s

just part of who I am and I don’t think I’m despoiling a destination by

sharing it with others. The fact is, there really aren’t any secret spots

around the world, just less popular ones.

GR: Please tell us briefly about your new travel podcast and what

you are planning for the next episodes.

ML: I am very excited about my podcast and I am so glad that I

started it. I’ve been running LandLopers for 9 years and frankly, I

needed to shake things up a bit. I needed to add in a new creative

challenge, and for me that’s been podcasting. It allows me to share the

150 Globerovers · July 2019

travel experience in a completely different way and I love the mental

challenge involved with organizing an episode based on my travels.

I’m also interviewing travel experts in a variety of subjects in an effort

to provide as much useful and interesting information as I can. Future

episodes include:

• Great American Weekend Getaway Destinations

• How To Find The Best Travel Deals

• Visiting the Bahamas

• Travel Photography Tips

• Visiting Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks

• Healthy Travel tips

• and many more to come...

The Explore the World Travel Podcast publishes every Sunday afternoon

and is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

GR: And finally, where are you off to next?

ML: I always have a trip planned! My next trip is a road trip visiting

Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks. Then I’m heading to California to

attend a conference in June and later on in June I’m taking a fun river

cruise from Budapest to Linz, Austria.

GR: Thanks Matt for sharing your travel wisdom with us. Safe

travels and keep up with your exciting Travel Podcast. Keep up with

your social media posts too and inspire people to travel the world.

Floating hut, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Follow Matt Long








Seydisfjordur, Iceland



Now available at and

Lost Angel in Paradise

by Linda Ballou

Subscribe to Linda‛s blog to

receive updates on her books, travel destinations and events

Globerovers Magazine talks with Linda Ballou about her

newly-released book: Lost Angel in Paradise.

Linda is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel

articles on her site

You will also find information about her travel memoir,

Lost Angel Walkabout—One Traveler’s Tales.

GlobeRovers Magazine (GM): What inspired you to write this


Linda Ballou (LB): I love to hike and wander alone. I am fully engaged

when I am in a state of exploration. However, I do love to share

my adventures with friends and this is a way that I can. It is my gift to

all who have asked me to take them with me.

GM: I read your first travel collection “Lost Angel Walkabout” and

loved it, however this book is very different. You provide historical

details, poetic descriptions, and a good place to dine at the end of

beautiful day. It seems to be a cross between a trail guide and nonfiction

travel essays.

LB: Yes, I have been exploring the coast of California for that last

couple of decades. It gives me pleasure to share a well-rounded experience

with a tasty treat at the end of day. Some of these pieces are

remnants of an article I have written about a region, and others are

personal essays reflecting upon the inner journey. Most are a combination

of both genres. I am experimenting with delivering my stories

in a way that works with mobile aps. People are living off their phones

because it is handy for them. The chapters in this booklet are short

and sweet, yet capture the essence of a given outing. I don’t attempt

to give specifics, rather I provide links to sites where readers can get

maps and detailed directions. All the information they need is at their

fingertips. Plus, the table of contents is “live” which allows people to

jump to the chapter that holds interest for them with a click.

GM: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was


LB: I learned a great deal about how to create a book that works with

a mobile AP. I am not that techy myself, but it is exciting to make use

of different mediums. There are 33 images in this book. I am very

pleased to have the kindle option with a free AP, and Itunes- Applebooks

that takes readers to their phones available. I found a fabulous

person online who helped me with the formatting and navigating the

process. The book is also available in print format with images.

GM: How did you come up with the title?

LB: Like 17 million other angels, I am lost to the metropolis of Los

Angeles. I have talked for years about leaving L.A., but it doesn’t look

like that will happen. Instead, I have become an adventure travel

writer and L.A. works as a very good base for that occupation. In

addition, my travels have taught me that L.A. is not so bad. I live ten

miles from Malibu with long strands of sandy beach and water warm

enough to swim from April to October. My home is located in the

heart of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the largest urban

preserve in the U.S. with miles and miles of trails

for me to wander. Traffic, floods, fires and mudslides

aside it’s a great place to live!

GM: Is there a message in your book you would like

readers to grasp.

LB: Yes, I want them get the idea that nature can be

our salvation. Urban life is hectic with long commutes

that don’t leave a lot of time for reflection at the end of

the day. We need to balance our lives with “unplugged

time” that allows our minds to relax. We need time

to digest all the stimuli we receive. This quiet time

enables the creative process which decodes and helps

152 Globerovers · July 2019

Arroyo Burro—Santa Barbara

Carpinteria Beach south of Santa Barbara

releases all that intake. Walking/hiking is a form of mediation, not

just something that will help keep your body fit. It will get the rust off

your soul.

GM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your theory that

you like?

LB: Sure. Scott Stillman has a new book out titled Wilderness: The

Gateway to the Soul. He is about forty and fit enough to backpack

in remote areas solo. I wish I could do what he does, but physical

limitations say that I do day trips, or outdoor adventures with guides.

He spotlights the many virtues of being in nature in uninterrupted

solitude. His well-written book is a thoughtful reminder that we find

harmony and balance in nature, a condition the Navajo call Hozho.

GM: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

LB: Right now I want to travel more and collect stories for my next

travel narrative-- Lost Angel Unleashed. It will be more personal than

my first travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout. It will include some

of my past experiences that I did not write about at the time. It may

be the last in my series of travel books, as I have a couple of novels I

want to get out before it’s over.

GM: Your cover is fetching. Who designed it?

LB: I did with the help of a graphic artists. I used my images and

ideas and she implemented them for me beautifully. I am very pleased

and proud of the way Lost Angel in Paradise has turned out. I hope

others will find Lost Angel in Paradise fun and easy to use. I always

love feedback. If someone out there takes one of my suggested day

trips they can let me know how it went at my website

I have lots of articles there for readers about other

adventures I’ve enjoyed.

GM: Thank you Linda. I have explored many of the destinations

you describe in years gone by. Your book brought back fond


LB: Thank you Peter for sharing my books with fellow travelers.



Ultimate Journeys for Two

by Mike and Anna Howard @

Globerovers Magazine talks with Mike & Ann Howard at about their couples adventure travel book

Ultimate Journeys for Two.

Now available at and

Known as the world’s longest honeymooners—seven years

and counting—we asked them about the book and their travels.

Follow Mike & Anne‛s ongoing journey at

and @HoneyTrek across all social media channels

their first book on couples adventure travel and share our favorite

stories from around the world, we had to rise to the challenge. We

worked hard to narrow down the 500+ destinations we visited to our

absolute favorite 75 and cull down all we’ve learned from five years on

the road to our most impactful advice. We wanted to share the places

that have touched our souls and inspire more people to follow their

dreams of traveling the world with the one they love. That kept us

writing every day.

GlobeRovers Magazine (GM): So you’re on the world’s longest

honeymoon. How did that come about?

Mike and Anne Howard (M&A): When we were brainstorming honeymoon

destinations back in 2011, our list of dream places and experiences

was running off the page. A ten-day honeymoon wasn’t going

to cut it. We realized life is short, the world is big, and the value of

travel was too great to wait until we were 65. So with good health and

new marriage to celebrate, we decided there was no better time than

now. We thought it was going to be a one-year honeymoon but as the

once months went on, we got hooked on the beauty and kindness in

the world and January 2018 will mark our sixth year on the road.

GM: It’s not easy putting together a 272 page book, and 310 photographs,

what made you do it?

M&A: I’m not sure we would’ve had the guts or discipline to do something

of this scale, unless National Geographic asked us to. It’s the

holy grail in travel publishing so when given the opportunity to write

Eleuthera, Bahamas

GM: What are some your favorite adventures in Ultimate Journeys

for Two?

M&A: Scuba diving through the wheelhouse of a World War II ship;

cruising the world’s largest salt flat in a luxury Airstream; rock climbing

the sea stacks to the soundtrack of crashing waves; paragliding

over Roman ruins and a mountain of white travertines…and these are

just a handful of the 300+ adventures in the book. One of our favorite

pages is “Choose Your Own Adventure,” where we list out some of the

wildest activities. Pick the one that gets your heart racing then flip to

the corresponding page number to discover where it is in the world.

This book is not meant to be read linearly, it’s filled with rabbit holes

and bridges like this for you to keep exploring.

GM: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling?

M&A: There are many ways to find success and be happy. That definition

plays out very differently around the world and it never seems to

correlate with how much money you have. Love, health, and a positive

outlook seem to be the secret to the good life.

GM: What’s are your best tips for traveling as a


M&A: One of our best pieces of advice is to drop the

notion of “a perfect vacation” and learn to roll with the

punches. Find the humor and adventure with every

bump in the might become the highlight of

the trip. We have plenty more tips on traveling as a

pair--not just from us, but from 11 other world-traveling

couples across ages, nationalities, and orientations.

For every chapter, we feature a “Power Couple”

sharing their absolute favorite place in the world,

plus their secret to keeping your travels a breeze and

romance on fire.

154 Globerovers · July 2019


Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

GM: You’ve been traveling for over six years. What’s your advice for a

couple to find more time and money for travel?

M&A: Start a travel fund and direct 5 percent of your paycheck automatically

into that account; travel is an investment in yourself--don’t

skimp! Join airline and hotel loyalty programs, and use credit cards

that reward your everyday spending. Join sharing-economy sites and

communities. The more you immerse yourself in the travel community,

the more opportunities will present themselves. Don’t think just about

planning your next Instagramable vacation, think about the experiences

you want in your life and how to make them a reality. We dive deep into

the savvy planning process in our Travel Smart section of the book.

GM: Why should every couple buy this book?

M&A: While this book would be a great engagement present, this

is not just a book for honeymooners. Whether newlyweds, emptynesters,

or parents that need a little more alone time, every travel-lover

needs something to feed their wanderlust. We want this to be on every

couples’ shelf so when they have a hankering to the trek the mountains,

medit4ate in ancient temples, swim among tropical fish, wander exotic

markets, or dine in a castle, they know where to turn.

GM: Thank you Mike and Anne for the interesting conversation.

Best wishes and may the moon never set over your HoneyTrek.

Tulum, Mexico


In a future issue...

Japan’s Winter Wonderland

Tancho cranes and whooper swans annually migrate from upper Siberia in Russia

to the less harsh winters of eastern Hokkaido Island of northern Japan. Watch as

these cranes perform their love dances in the snow and feel free to join the swans in

the thermal spring waters of the lake. In northern Honshu Island, snow engulfs the

fir trees to create frozen ghosts, while Mount Komagatake and Lake Tazawako are

covered in snow. Winter in Japan is a true wonderland.


Tibet stretches over 2.5 million square kilometres (965,000 sq mi), south of China.

Here you will find the vast Tibetan Plateau, a region of mountains and stunning

scenery that are generally above 4,000 to 5,000 metres (13,100 to 16,400 feet) in elevation.

Tibet is also a land of monks, known as the Bhikkhu, with ample monasteries

they call home. This remote land is often called the “roof of the world” officially

known as the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.

Mauritius Island

In Part 2 of our article about the idyllic island of Mauritius, we look at the island by

its districts in the north, south, west and east, and we look at the many islets around

Mauritius in all four directions. Think beautiful turquoise seas, black volcanic rock,

palm trees, sugar cane fields and irregular-shaped mountains against the skyline.

Add waves crashing relentlessly against high cliffs in the south, strong currents and

lush green vegetation. Mauritius is truly a gem in the southern Indian Ocean.

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

Colombia’s north coast stretches from the Darién Gap in the west all the way to the

Venezuela border, a distance of over 1,700 km (1,056 mi). Much of this coastline

is blessed with white palm-fringed beaches along the turquoise warm waters of

the Caribbean Sea. We start in the city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as

Cartagena de Indias, and travel to the mud volcano of Volcan de Lodo El Totumo.

After getting muddy, we travel to Tayrona National Park with stops along the way.

Albanian Riviera

The southern coastline of Albania, known as the “Albanian Riviera”, may be one of

the most underrated summer vacation spots in Europe. However, for those in the

know, it is enjoyed for its affordable accommodation, delicious seafood, friendly

locals, stunning beaches and turquoise sea waters. Stretching along the Adriatic

and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea, the Albanian coast is as beautiful as

Greece to the south, though it remains free of mass tourism and high prices.

Myanmar’s southern coastline

The coastline from Yangon to Kawthaung, the most southern town in Myanmar, is

rugged, unspoiled, and undeveloped. While the distance by road is well over 1,000 km

(620 mi), much of this road just recently opened up for foreigners. Tourist infrastructure

such as transport and accommodation remain sparse, but the situation is poised

to change in the near future. We travel by train, bus, minivan, and motorbike, to

explore the beautiful coastline void of tourists and touristy shops.

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has no shortage of intrepid destinations. Around every corner is excitement!

Come along as we explore the Osa Peninsula, home to Corcovado National

Park. We start in Golfito on the east side of Pavon Bay, cross by boat to the small

town of Puerto Jiménez from where we sit on the back of a mini-truck down a small

jungle road to Carate on the Pacific Coast. Here the fun starts as we trek 7 km along

the beach and through the jungle to our base at the secluded Sirena Ranger Station.

156 Globerovers · July 2019

In the

next issue


Winter Wonderland


158 Globerovers · July 2019

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