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K2 base camp trek: a walk among giants in the Karakoram

The K2 base camp trek is a stunning journey to the foot of a legendary mountain in the Pakistani Karakoram.

The K2 base camp trek through the mighty Karakoram mountains of Pakistan is one of world’s finest high-altitude treks. Earlier this year an opportunity arose to join Lost Horizon Tours and Treks on a trek to K2 base camp combined with a technical crossing of the Gondogoro La Pass.

With over 25 years of experience guiding in the mountains of Pakistan, Lost Horizons were the perfect partner for an expedition of this kind. After completing the Everest base camp trek earlier in the year, I couldn’t resist the chance to trek to this infamous mountain too.

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Under the midnight sun: iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat

Iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat is best done at night, not by moonlight but beneath the Arctic’s infamous midnight sun.

Ilulissat is the Greenland you’ve always imagined. Positioned at the mouth of the 40km-wide Jakobshavn Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq) itself buttressed by an immense icefjord, Ilulissat’s sprinkling of multi-coloured houses on the picturesque iceberg-strewn Disko Bay is one of the most wondrous settings on Earth.

Throw in abounding packs of sled dogs (and their cacophonous howling) and you have a destination that lives up to expectation in spectacular style. It is easy to see why Greenland’s third-largest town is its most popular tourist destination.

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Eqi Glacier boat tour: a journey to the edge of the world

The Eqi Glacier boat tour takes travellers to the precipice of the planet. There you will find an almost supernatural experience.

The gigantic Eqi Glacier in Greenland sits around 430km north of the Arctic Circle and around 1,600km south of the North Pole. On a planet of nearly eight billion people, very few carve out an existence at these latitudes.

Eqi, meaning ‘edge’ in Greenlandic, is an apt name for a glacier positioned at the last frontier of humanity. If Earth were indeed flat, Eqi Glacier may well be the spot marked on maps where ships disappear.

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Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier

Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe the country’s infamous interior.

The understated and lonely settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland feels like the edge of the world. Despite lying 50km north of the Arctic Circle, however, there is little evidence of the spectacular scenery that can only be found in the most extremes of the planet: the Polar Regions.

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30 most beautiful mountains in the world

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal.

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is an apt barometer, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force. These brave men and women will face vertiginous vertical falls, sub-zero temperatures and 8,000m death zones in pursuit of their summit dreams. It’s in ode to them that we present this list.

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Announcing Kia’s new book: Take It Back

Take It Back is a gripping courtroom drama perfect for fans of Apple Tree Yard, He Said/She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal.


The day I got a book deal started inauspiciously. Our group of 13 had camped for a night in the Australian Outback after battling broken air conditioning in 40°C heat, a cracked windshield, a change of vehicle and an alarming array of bugs at night – as well as a snake and dingo. 

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Trekking the Arctic Circle Trail: a dream goes up in smoke

Trekking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland has long been a dream of mine. A dream I came tantalisingly close to fulfilling but for a freak natural event.

I wanted to begin this post by triumphantly announcing that I had finished trekking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland – but I can’t, for my trek ended in bitter disappointment. It (quite literally) left a stale taste in my mouth and gave rise to a cloud of unanswerable questions; a maddening maelstrom of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ to lament and regret.

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In search of puffins in Mykines, Faroe Islands

We journey to Mykines, the westernmost island of the Faroes in pursuit of its famous puffins.

“We do not have bad weather,” says the Faroe Islands website.

“Just a lot of weather.”

Adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Iceland and Norway, the 18 islands of the Faroes do indeed have weather. It is palpable here: an ever-looming presence that snatches away your car door, rattles against your window and cries shrilly into quiet lulls.

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Best road trips in the world – by continent

The best road trips in the world have inspired artists through the ages, from Kerouac and Steinbeck to the talents at Pixar. Here, we attempt to explain why.

When it comes to road trips, we’ve had our fair share of mishaps. We’ve battled a whiteout in Iceland, got stuck in a ditch in Turkey, broken down in Chile and changed a tyre in Namibia’s lion territory.

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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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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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Manyeleti Game Reserve: our first safari in South Africa

A safari in South Africa is said to be the ultimate wildlife watching experience. We went to Manyeleti Game Reserve to see for ourselves.

Our safari in South Africa was always going to be strange. Our expectations were buoyed by the myth and drama of this renowned destination but equally subdued by our safari in Namibia which was simply unsurpassable. With this in mind, we knew that South Africa would both delight and disappoint us.

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a mother and her baby seen while visiting eswatini

Visiting Eswatini: why this tiny country blew my mind

Visiting Eswatini was never high on my bucket list. How utterly foolish of me.

I’m not going to lie: visiting Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) was a box-ticking exercise. Landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique, this dot on the map offered an opportunity for Peter to tick off another country in his quest to qualify for the Century Club.

I was less enthused. We had only 11 days to see South Africa and trying to squeeze in Lesotho and Eswatini seemed like a bit of a stretch. Peter insisted it could be done and so I begrudgingly said yes.

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Santa Elena Cloud Forest in Costa Rica

Santa Elena Cloud Forest: a fairytale hike in Costa Rica

Santa Elena Cloud Forest was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica. Here, we try to explain why.

If you Google ‘best things to do in Costa Rica’, it’s unlikely you’ll find Santa Elena Cloud Forest among the top results, which is strange given that it was the best part of our nine-day visit.

Had we been travelling independently, we may have skipped it entirely. As luck would have it, our National Geographic Expedition to Costa Rica included a visit to Santa Elena Cloud Forest as a core activity.

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Costa Rica: our first National Geographic Expedition

Our trip to Costa Rica was a long time coming. Here’s why it was worth the wait.

I have a bit of a backstory when it comes to Costa Rica and it starts when I was nine years old. It was a perfectly ordinary morning that began with an assembly at my primary school in east London. The teacher on stage ran through some customary notices and then segued into a zany idea: the potential for a group of pupils to travel to Costa Rica as part of an environmental initiative. The chosen ones would live and study in Costa Rica for four weeks to learn about global environmental challenges and solutions.

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Driving the hairpinned Sani Pass to Lesotho

Sani Pass is said to be one of the most dangerous mountain passes in the world. We decided to drive it on our overnight tour to Lesotho.

Sometimes, I feel jealous of past explorers − not grandees like Cook or Magellan but everyday travellers that went somewhere and saw something not yet covered by Lonely Planet or indeed Atlas & Boots.

I imagine sultry Indian summers with endless corridors of uncharted possibility or China’s Hallelujah mountains, misty and deserted, and think how magical those times must have been.

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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

solo hiking tips: woman on a volcano

11 solo hiking tips for women

We ask six expert climbers, thru-hikers and trail runners to share their solo hiking tips for women who want to walk alone.

I’ve hiked all over the world, from challenging countries like Ethiopia and Lesotho to Pacific idylls like Rarotonga and Easter Island. I’ve done multi-day treks above 4,000 metres, day hikes under a scorching sun and gentle jaunts more like walks in the park. Throughout it all, there has been one constant factor: Peter.

I’ve said in the past that it’s sexist to assume I’m not adventurous and spoken about the lack of diversity in the outdoors, but have seldom hiked alone. Peter is a staunch advocate of solo hiking, but I’ve never attempted anything longer than half a day.

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Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2018

From topical debates and trip reports to how-to guides and personal pieces, we publish a wide range of posts every year. Here’s our pick of 2018.

Well, this has been an eventful year. We kicked off 2018 with a month in Australia followed by a trip to New Zealand on commission for Lonely Planet as part of our Trailblazers partnership. We followed up with various projects for Lonely Planet including judging their flagship Best in Travel 2019 campaign and speaking at their Diversity in Travel Writing event in London. Continue reading

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23 tips for visiting Sossusvlei in Namibia

Our tips for visiting Sossusvlei will ensure your visit to Namibia’s most popular attraction is as exhilarating as it should be.

Last year, Kia and I shared a list of the countries we most want to see. First on my list was Namibia, largely because of Sossusvlei. I’ve been desperate to photograph this incredible landscape ever since I saw the stark silhouettes of its seemingly petrified trees pitched against a brazen blue sky and vibrant desert dune in a National Geographic photo essay years ago.

The photographs created a surreal Disney-esque scene that I was never quite sure was real. Well, it’s real alright.  Continue reading