Visited in January 2015.
With average annual temperatures of 34-35 degrees Celsius, the Danakil Depression close to the Eritrean border in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia is known as the hottest (barely) inhabited place on Earth. Arid and inhospitable as it is, this part of the country offers some of the most unforgettable and unique landscapes and experiences in the world. To give you some idea, imagine the Gates of Hell complete with a lake of fire, as a brightly colored lunar landscape. If this makes your imagination run wild – start packing your bags, this may be that one trip of a lifetime that all others will be measured against.
Continue reading The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
Visited in December 2016
I didn’t fall in love with Mandalay at first sight. In fact, after the beauty and mystique of Bagan, my very first impression of this 19th century city was one of disappointment. It’s flat, dirty and noisy, most of the buildings are nondescript and its highlights are hidden in plain sight. Yet the city grew on me very quickly and finally won me over. Now I think back on it as a major highlight of my visit to Myanmar and hope to come back one day.
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Visited December 2016
Myanmar is a fascinating place and I think it remains the least touristed destination in South East Asia. When the country was ruled by a military junta, Western governments discouraged their citizens from coming here. And until recently, large travel guide publishers, like Rough Guides, did not offer guidebooks for Myanmar. Even its domestic opposition asked foreign travelers to stay away, to avoid supporting a military dictatorship.
With the ongoing transition to a civilian government, this is rapidly changing and the tourist numbers are growing every year. So if you have an interest in coming here – do it soon. You will love Myanmar, no matter how you arrange your trip here, but more people benefit if you come as an independent traveler, instead of a package tour, including yourself.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site Inscription Details
Last visited June, 2016
The lower Omo Valley is inscribed as an archaeological site in the UNESCO World Heritage list, but it’s not the archaeological finds that have been bringing travelers here for the last 30 years. The Valley is home to more than a dozen tribes that have miraculously managed to preserve their traditional lifestyles and cultures, and it is the opportunity to experience these diverse and fascinating people that brings travelers to this remote part of Ethiopia. I have been to Omo Valley twice and love the area and its people so much, I am sure I will be back again. To be honest, this is by no means an easy trip, but done right it can be a most rewarding experience.
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Visited in September 2016
I’ve spent 4 years working in Chad on rotation and despite my best efforts to the contrary, have not seen as much of this fascinating country as I’d like. Chad is beautiful and while it is neither cheap nor easy to get to or travel around, it there is enough to see here to make the trip worthwhile for the avid traveler. Meeting the Fulani Bororo people is easily one of the highlights of my Chad experience.
Continue reading Meeting the Fulani Bororo in Chad
Visited in October 2016
Set in the small town of Akhaltsikhe in the southwestern region of Georgia called Samtskhe-Javakheti, Rabati Fortress is a recently restored historical castle and museum. The road from Tbilisi to Vardzia goes through Akhaltsikhe, so the castle is very easy to visit and a really worthwhile stop, as it’s a great showcase of centuries of Georgian history and culture conveniently located in one site.
Continue reading Rabati Fortress in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia
UNESCO World Heritage List Inscription Details
Last visited June 2016
Konso lies on the main road from Arba Minch to Jinka and the tribes of the Omo Valley. The town is less than a couple of hours drive from Arba Minch, so most travelers stop for coffee or lunch before going on to Jinka. But there is actually enough to see here for a nice half-day visit at least, and if you can spare the time, it’s worth an overnight stop on the way back from the Omo Valley.
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Visited in February, 2015
Bull Jumping is the culmination of a three-day initiation ceremony, which every Hamer and Bena man goes through and it is a fascinating part of these Omo Valley tribes’ cultures. The tribes allow visitors to witness the bull jumping for a fee and the money you pay helps the jumper’s family with the cost of the ceremony. This allows the families to hold bull jumping earlier in the young man’s life. As a visitor, I found the Hamer ceremony fascinating, and recommend that any visitor to the area witness this.
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Last visited June 2016
Translated as “forty springs” for some hot springs in its vicinity Arba Minch is the gateway town to the Omo Valley region of Ethiopia and most visitors fly or drive here on their way to the tribes of the Omo. The town itself is nothing to write home about, it does have a couple of things going for it and is worth a day or two on the way to the Omo or on your return trip. Continue reading Arba Minch and Nechisar National Park
Last visited in October 2016.
When we landed at Tbilisi International Airport on my first visit in 2013, it was full of promotional posters reading “Tbilisi. The City that Loves You”. By the time we were getting on our return flight, I could honestly say that the feeling was mutual.
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