The most dangerous countries in the world have been updated for 2018. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below.
The greenest country in the world is Switzerland according to the latest data analysis from the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
The Environmental Performance Index evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
The aim is to gauge, at a national scale, how close countries are to meeting the environmental policy goals outlined in the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Continue reading
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations, has published this year’s World Happiness Report. The SDSN employs an international group of economists, neuroscientists and statisticians to survey citizens on their subjective wellbeing and produce a comprehensive annual list of the happiest countries in the world.
At last count, UNESCO’s World Heritage List included 1,073 locations across 167 countries or states. Here, we explore the 12 original World Heritage sites first listed in 1978.
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. Continue reading
We look at some of the finest long-distance hiking trails from around the world.
I’m always looking for new outdoor challenges (to add to my current bucket list of climbing the seven summits and sailing the Pacific Ocean). Completing some epic long-distance hiking trails sounds like the perfect challenge for me.
From eerie landscapes to magnificent marine life, we take a look at the most interesting facts about Djibouti.
Before we explored Djibouti, I would have struggled to point to this tiny speck of a nation on a map. Situated in the Horn of Africa among some volatile neighbours, the country is unlikely to appear on many bucket lists – a shame given its wealth of beauty.
Djibouti is home to the otherworldly landscapes of Lac Abbé and Lac Assal, fascinating diving, magnificent marine life including whale sharks as well as a charming wildlife sanctuary. Continue reading
We take a look at the best things to do in Djibouti City – the country’s sole metropolis.
Let’s face it: you don’t come to Djibouti, a tiny speck of a country in the Horn of Africa, to visit its city. You come to Djibouti to swim with the whale sharks, see the belching chimneys at Lac Abbé and frolic in the gin clear waters of Lac Assal, the lowest point in Africa.
That said, if you have a few hours spare, wandering the capital is worth the time. As you will no doubt be told during your stay, Djibouti City is virtually crime-free given the heavy military presence and is therefore largely safe to explore on foot – which is exactly what we did. Continue reading
We visit Lac Assal in the Afar Depression where three diverging tectonic plates have created some of the strangest sights we’ve seen.
Lac Assal in Djibouti is wickedly deceiving. At first, it appears as a glorious expanse of blue-green water and blinding white sand, easily mistaken for a Maldivian beach. Behind the facade, however, lies a painful lesson: the vast white plain is not sand at all but salt: jagged shards that bristle on skin and leave you itching for water. Continue reading
Lac Abbé in Djibouti is both desolate and apocalyptic. Seeing this eerie moonscape is a surreal experience like little else on Earth.
It turns out that the 1968 film Planet of the Apes was not filmed in Lac Abbé in Djibouti, as proudly claimed by several guidebooks, numerous blogs, countless Djiboutian tour guides and even international newspapers. The producers didn’t even leave the Western United States.
This is a crying shame firstly because Lac Abbé is a suitably apocalyptic filming location and secondly because there goes Djibouti’s only claim to fame. Continue reading
Swimming with whale sharks in Djibouti promised to be the highlight of our trip – but would it live up to the hype?
I’m a pessimist and Peter’s the opposite, so while he was brimming with anticipation at the prospect of swimming with whale sharks in Djibouti, I sat dolefully in a corner wondering if a) we would even see a whale shark and b) if I would be able to keep up with it. Continue reading
Africa dominates the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank.
Last year, we spent a month travelling through Ethiopia. Growing up in the eighties, we were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia had faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.
However, in 2017, Ethiopia had the fastest-growing economy in the world and was named by Lonely Planet as one of its Best in Travel countries of that year. Change is happening, but it’s still slow. Continue reading
Decan wildlife refuge in Djibouti offers an oasis of calm outside Djibouti City and the chance to get close to some charming wildlife.
Decan, which stands for DÉCouvrir et Aider la Nature (discover and help nature), is located just 20 minutes outside Djibouti’s dusty capital city. The refuge is home to an array of species including cheetahs, lions, ostriches, tortoises, Somali donkeys, caracals, squirrels, oryx, antelopes, kudus, zebras and porcupines. Continue reading
Diving in Djibouti doesn’t appear on many bucket lists, but as we learn on our trip to the country, it can be even better than Mauritius or Tahiti.
Djibouti, it is said, is the Dubai of the Horn. Its port location and peaceful nature in an otherwise restive region has made it a prime location for foreign interest. The country is home to Africa’s largest US army base and France’s biggest Foreign Legion deployment. China, Japan, Italy, Germany and Spain among others also have soldiers stationed there. Continue reading
From violent volcanoes to luminous lakes, we take a look at the most interesting facts about Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s unique mix of fascinating history, deep-rooted identity, incredible natural wonders and rare wildlife makes its one of the most intriguing places on Earth.
The country is home to landscapes as diverse as deserts, volcanoes and highlands, architecture ranging from rock-hewn churches to medieval-style castles, and wildlife that includes rare species such as the gelada baboon, the walia ibex and the Ethiopian wolf. Continue reading
We venture out on a DIY Addis Ababa walking tour and share our insights into exploring the city.
So to Addis Ababa, the final stop on our month-long Ethiopian epic. It’s not unfair to say that this rambling expanse of brown-hued avenues has little cheer or charm. Most tourists stop only in transit en route to the country’s better sights. Continue reading
We take pause on the calming shores of Lake Bishoftu and reflect on a challenging month in Ethiopia.
It was our fourth week in Ethiopia and I have to say, we were wearying. Ethiopia is a vast country with magnificent sights like Erta Ale and Dallol; it has fantastic food, a rich culture and intriguing history – but wow is it tiring. Continue reading
The Blue Nile Falls in Ethiopia may not be a match for its grander neighbours, but following the footsteps of famous explorers still makes for a fine day out.
The Blue Nile Falls – or Tis Abay in Amharic, meaning “great smoke” – is a somewhat poor relation to the famous waterfalls found in listicles. It’s no Angel, Iguazu, Victoria or Niagara, but the 42m-high (138ft) Blue Nile Falls still offers a dramatic display. Continue reading
A Simien Mountains trek should be an essential part of any visit to Ethiopia. We summarise the best routes to help you choose which trek is best for you.
With a range of trekking options available, from day trips to mammoth multi-day thru-hikes, choosing a Simien Mountains trek can be a bewildering process. As with most things in Ethiopia, there is a dearth of information available online. With that in mind we’ve summarised the most popular trekking routes in Simien Mountains National Park to provide a solid overview of each option. Continue reading
After Erta Ale and Dallol, would Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park live up to the hype?
If Simien Mountains National Park really were ‘Africa’s Grand Canyon’, how was it that I knew nothing of it? Was this just Peter’s ploy to drag me out camping again?
I knew of the park by name, but couldn’t point to it on a map, or tell you what I might find there. To be honest, prior to planning our trip, I had no idea there were proper mountains in Ethiopia – a result perhaps of TIA syndrome which conjures dusty, flyblown vistas and not the vast gorges of lush beauty that populate Simien Mountains National Park. Continue reading
Travelling can be a bureaucratic nightmare for those on restricted passports. Here we look at the best passport to have in 2018 based on the freedom it provides.
Ten years ago, in my first job after graduation, I shared an office with a researcher called Munir who I nicknamed Dr2 because he not only had a PhD but was also qualified as a medical doctor. (I recognise it’s not the wittiest name in the world but it was the best I could do at the time.) Continue reading