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25 best mountaineering books ever written

We list the best mountaineering books ever written, drawing on accounts of world-class climbers in the harshest environments.

As I’ve mentioned before, my bookshelves are filled with tales of adventure travel, survival against the odds and obsessive searches. I’m an avid climber keen on winter mountaineering and wild camping so, naturally, mountaineering books take up a good chunk of space on my shelf.

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Everest base camp kit list

Everest base camp kit list: all you need for a successful trek

My comprehensive Everest base camp kit list includes everything you’ll need to reach the foot of the highest mountain in the world.

Having just returned from my Everest base camp trek in Nepal, I thought it would be useful to share my entire Everest base camp kit list as a point of reference for future trekkers.

I joined a G Adventures 15-day trek to base camp, which includes 12 days of trekking: eight to ascend to base camp and four to descend back to Lukla.

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Happiest countries in the world 2019

The happiest countries in the world 2019 have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. This year, Finland holds on to the top spot.

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

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Everest base camp trek: to the heart of the high Himalayas

The Everest base camp trek in Nepal takes trekkers to the foot of the highest and most captivating mountain in the world. 

My bookshelves are filled with mountaineering books, my wardrobe is stuffed with outdoor clothes and I spend an inordinate number of nights under canvas and even more of my days on hiking trails. As such, it was almost criminal that I hadn’t yet seen Nepal.

This year, I finally put that to rest with G Adventures on a 15-day trek to Everest base camp.

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aerial view of Cape Point

Cape Point: where two oceans meet?

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are iconic geographic features, but are they really where two of the world’s oceans converge?

It makes for a fantastic publicity slogan, doesn’t it? The point at which two great oceans, the Atlantic and Indian, collide in powerful, eye-catching drama. It’s also highly convenient that this colossal spectacle takes place just an hour’s drive from one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Unfortunately, this bold claim made by countless tour operators in South Africa is not quite accurate.

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UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value.

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.

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Highest mountains in the Yorkshire Dales

The highest mountains in the Yorkshire Dales are home to some of England’s finest and wildest scenery, all of it ripe for hiking.

Covering 2,179km2 of countryside, Yorkshire Dales National Park showcases some of England’s best outdoor landscapes. The park’s glacial valleys are defined by a unique terrain of high heather moorland, rolling hills and dramatic waterfalls, all criss-crossed with miles of dry stonewalls and delightful villages.

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Kruger National Park vs private game reserves in South Africa

An at-a-glance guide to choosing between Kruger National Park and the private game reserves in South Africa.

When it came to planning our trip to South Africa, Kia left me to my own devices, knowing how much I enjoy poring over maps and researching potential routes. Mostly, this is fun but also occasionally stressful as I know I’ll be responsible if things go wrong.

With this in mind, I took pains to answer a central question: what are the pros and cons of Kruger National Park vs private game reserves in South Africa?

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5 off-the-beaten treks to Machu Picchu

We take a look at five alternative treks to Machu Picchu, a world away from the busy classic route.

Machu Picchu may well be a bucket list cliché, but there’s ample justification for why so many visitors flock to this glorious citadel perched high in the Andean mountains.

Trekking to Machu Picchu through the Sacred Valley is profoundly gratifying and remains a must for nearly every visitor to Peru. The Incan masterpiece is spectacularly located and, once reached, lives up to every expectation of its glorious emerald peaks and terraced ruins.

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useful travel gadgets 2019

Most useful travel gadgets of 2019

From practical solutions for everyday problems to highbrow electronics for luxury on the road, here are our favourite useful travel gadgets of 2019.

The modern traveller rarely leaves home home without a range of gadgets and accessories. Despite years of travel and streamlining my gear, I still pack a healthy number of gadgets.

Unless I’m going completely off-grid, there are certain (usually electronic) luxuries I don’t want to be without. I want to take thousands of photographs, listen to music, watch a movie, stay in touch with my family and most importantly of all, keep track of England’s latest batting collapse (a form of self-harm I’m sure).

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14 things to do in Eswatini (Swaziland)

We’ve selected our favourite things to do in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), from tracking big game to climbing the world’s second largest monolith.

The tiny African nation of Eswatini took us completely by surprise. As Kia said, visiting Eswatini was never high on our bucket list, but it should have been. We spent just three days and two nights in this fascinating destination, which was never going to be enough.

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17 interesting facts about Eswatini (Swaziland)

We share the most interesting facts about Eswatini collected on our brisk but beguiling sojourn into ‘Africa’s newest kingdom’.

We had been in southern Africa for nearly three weeks by the time we arrived in Eswatini, our fourth country of the trip. Having spent two weeks driving around Namibia and exploring Etosha National Park, one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations, we thought we’d seen all the African wildlife we were going to see.

What could 36 hours in Eswatini possibly show us that a 17-day Namibian safari did not?

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18 interesting facts about Costa Rica

We share the most interesting facts about Costa Rica collected during our visit to this diverse destination.

The tiny republic of Costa Rica is a Central American success story. Democratic, prosperous and stable, the country is an oasis in the midst of an often-turbulent region of the world.

We visited Costa Rica for nine days on our first ever National Geographic Expedition. Highlights included clambering the slopes of a misty volcanic peak, hiking through fairytale cloud forest in Santa Elena, searching for sloths in Manuel Antonio National Park and planting trees at the Monteverde Institute.

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Canyoning in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Canyoning in La Fortuna with its waterfall rappels and cavernous ‘falls’ proved to be Costa Rica’s biggest thrill of all.

Beneath the hulking slopes of Arenal Volcano in northwestern Costa Rica is the small town of La Fortuna. With a wealth of natural attractions nearby including lush rainforest, extensive hiking trails, myriad hot springs and two gargantuan volcanoes (Cerro Chato is also within easy reach), it’s not the town itself that draws visitors to this green district of Costa Rica.

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12 largest rainforests in the world

The largest rainforests in the world are some of the most vital ecosystems on our planet. We look at where they’re located and why they need protecting.

Home to over half the world’s plant and animal species, the largest rainforests in the world absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping maintain the balance of the air we breathe while simultaneously playing a critical role in curbing global warming.

Despite their immense value, the largest rainforests in the world are under constant threat. More than half of Earth’s trees have already been lost since humans first began cutting them down.

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travel-photography-gear-guide

A complete travel photography gear guide

We’re often asked about the gear we take on our travels. In response, we have written a detailed and complete travel photography gear guide.

I have been involved in film or photography throughout the course of my career: initially as a camera operator, video editor and AV engineer, later as a teacher in digital media, and now as a travel blogger.

I’ve sold stock images for several years on Shutterstock and iStock by Getty Images, and my photography plays a prominent role throughout our travel blog and social channels, particularly Instagram. Continue reading

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Photo backup: how to keep your memories safe

After learning the hard way, we share our tried and tested photo backup systems to help you keep your photographs safe.

It was in the Cotopaxi region of Ecuador that we met Michael, a fellow backpacker who had spent the previous weeks on a surfing trip of a lifetime. Earlier in the day, Michael’s GoPro had dislodged from its extender during a jump into a waterfall and sunk to the depths below.

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17 interesting facts about Lesotho

We share the most interesting facts about Lesotho collected on our brief but breathtaking visit to the ‘Kingdom of the Sky’.

We had only 36 hours in the tiny Kingdom of Lesotho, but it turned out to be a gem of a trip, throwing up plenty of surprises along the way. We reached Lesotho via the twisty Sani Pass with a local expert from Roof of Africa.

Lesotho is tiny and one of the least known countries in the world, yet it is a land full of fascinating facts. A mere 36 hours was nowhere near enough and we’ve pledged to return one day.

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13 best hiking apps

We take a look at the best latest hiking apps currently available and which ones best meet your needs.

Hiking apps never used to feature in my outdoor adventures, but times have changed. Now every Ordnance Survey map comes with a digital version available to download onto my smartphone or tablet.

When planning an adventure in the wild, my preparations still begin with spreading out my paper maps across the floor and marking out possible trailheads, routes and campsites.

However, now that I have a smartphone, more consistent access to reliable phone reception and wifi, along with a host of battery packs and solar chargers, I also make use of an array of hiking apps. Continue reading

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Our epic self-drive safari through Namibia

Our self-drive safari through Namibia showed us the finest wildlife and landscapes this arresting country has to offer.

I landed in Namibia three days ahead of Kia. She had some book-related business to wrap up in London so I arrived alone to begin a 17-day self-drive safari through Namibia with Wild Dog Safaris.

We’ve always had mixed feelings when it comes to organised tours. We’ve often preferred to piece together our trips independently to make sure we see exactly what we want. That said, there are some parts of the world – be it for logistical or security reasons – where an organised tour just makes more sense. Continue reading