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10 of the best rural breaks in the UK

10 of the best rural breaks in the UK The UK countryside comes alive in spring and these breaks – everything from seal-spotting to cycling and even wine-tasting – make the most of it The North York Moors come alive in spring, with heather creating a sweet-scented carpet of colour for walkers – and there are plenty of pubs and tearooms for refuelling. Join a three-night walking break with HF Holidays for guided moor and coast hikes from a base at Larpool Hall, Whitby. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the 109-mile Cleveland Way, celebrated with WalkFest, a programme of guided walks and children’s treasure hunts from 24-27 May • Book it From £289 for three nights’…

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Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide

Holidays that make a difference: 25 ethical trips in the UK and worldwide Our pick of community projects, homestays, ethical tours, working holidays and trips that benefit women’s charities and initiatives ThailandOriginally set up to help the fishing village of Ban Talae Nok recover after the tsunami of 2008, Andaman Discoveries has expanded its community tourism programmes across Thailand. From the beginning, the social enterprise has been committed to providing communities with additional income to allow them to continue living the way they want, and 50% of all profits support local development. A wide range of activities includes sleeping out in the jungle, visiting ethical elephant sanctuaries and snorkelling with the sea nomads. But for a taste of rural…

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Happy eco-campers: protecting wildlife in Cambodia

Happy eco-campers: protecting wildlife in Cambodia A new eco-tourism camp keeps a remote forest safe from poaching, and offers a laid-back stay with creature comforts The path to Preak Tachan ranger station, in Botum Sakor national park, Cambodia, snakes through dense, silent forest. It crosses bubbling rivers and clearings where luminous butterflies flit around gargantuan hanging vines and tall wild grasses. It’s The Lost World, Indochina-style. I half expect a dinosaur to come crashing through the foliage. The 1,712 sq km park – in the Cardamom mountains in the south-west of the country – is home to rare wildlife such as the pileated gibbon, Asian elephant, clouded leopard and Bengal slow loris. But with the triple challenges of poaching,…

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Floats our boat: sailing Sri Lanka’s south coast

Floats our boat: sailing Sri Lanka’s south coast Not many people think of Sri Lanka as a sailing destination but that is now changing thanks to an initiative set up after the 2004 tsunami After blazing down all day, the sun slips behind a bank of clouds in the west. As we make for a bay just beyond Dondra Head, the lighthouse on this most southerly point of the country grows slowly larger against a golden sky. It’s a laid-back moment on the sundeck of the Crystal, literally: most of us are pretty much horizontal in the relative cool of the evening. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Liz Boulter Tweet

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A river ride to Rishikesh: India’s new adventure capital

A river ride to Rishikesh: India’s new adventure capital Rishikesh shot to fame when the Beatles arrived, in search of enlightenment. Half a century on, the area is attracting a different kind of seeker – those after rapids, zipwires and mountain treks I’ve only been in the raft a few minutes, bobbling down a placid stretch of India’s holy Ganges River, before my guide, Kalyan Singh Bhandari, puts his paddle down and sings a haunting Garhwali folk song typical of these Himalayan foothills. The warbling tune is, he says, meant to bring us good luck as we navigate the class 3 and 3+ rapids ahead. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Mark Johanson Tweet

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Dancing with wolves (nearby): a wild New Year’s Eve in Canada

Dancing with wolves (nearby): a wild New Year’s Eve in Canada At an eco-lodge in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, New Year’s Eve is celebrated around a campfire, surrounded by snow, endless forest and wolves “Hello,” I called. “Anyone there?” I was beginning to lose hope I’d ever find the Algonquin Eco-Lodge. It was as dark as a coal mine on the thickly wooded trail, the temperature around -25C. A sign about 15 minutes back said it was a 2.5km walk from the parking lot. There had been a few forks in the path and now I thought I might have taken a wrong turn. My phone had no signal – par for the course in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park,…

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The wild Mauritius coast: a real taste of paradise

The wild Mauritius coast: a real taste of paradise Forget the all-inclusive resorts, a stay at a new eco-camp reveals what Mauritius is really about: mountains, forests and wildlife Some views are worth travelling for, and the one from my terrace at Otentic Mountain, a new eco-retreat overlooking Mauritius’ sleepy south-east coast, is among them. By day, white-tailed tropicbirds soar over the forest canopy, macaque monkeys screech from the guava trees (which also shelter shy wild boar) and, in the distance, the occasional yacht drifts across the limpid turquoise sea. As night falls, tawny Mauritian fruit bats swoop to feast in the trees and the mountainside buzzes with a frog chorus. Mauritius is best known for luxury hotels on…

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A new way to hop around Australia’s Kangaroo Island

A new way to hop around Australia’s Kangaroo Island There’s no need to lug a tent and stove around the South Australian island’s Wilderness Trail. It’s now possible to stay in a new, comfy lodge each night My guide was wearing odd socks. One was green, the other a bright shade of yellow, so as he walked, it was like being flashed by the Australian flag. With his Steve Irwin-style khaki shorts and shirt, thick grizzly beard, brown Tilley hat and aviator sunglasses, Trevor looked every bit the outback hiker. “Admit it,” he reasoned, as we walked along the coast, waves crashing and frothing beneath our feet, “it will make it difficult to forget me.” Continue reading… Go to…

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Where to see the wildlife from David Attenborough’s Dynasties

Where to see the wildlife from David Attenborough’s Dynasties The new BBC series is sure to inspire interest in wildlife holidays. We pick affordable safaris and tours to see the endangered animals in their natural habitat Episode one of Dynasties follows a troop of western (or West African) chimpanzees, led by alpha male David, in Senegal. This subspecies of chimp (one of four) is now critically endangered, and there are few opportunities to see them in their natural habitat. Senegal is also relatively new as a tourist destination and organised holidays focus mainly on the country’s cultural highlights, such as the Unesco-listed island of Gorée, and bird-watching in Djoudj national park. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Antonia Wilson…

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It’s a jungle out there: Costa Rica with kids

It’s a jungle out there: Costa Rica with kids Full of exotic animals and rainforests but also child-friendly, Costa Rica is the perfect natural playground for a family adventure It’s dark in the rainforest, the air thick with strange croaks and chirps, and our group moves slowly, following José’s torchlight. As he gestures for us to stop, we gather around in silence, the adults as keen as the children to see what he’s spotted. There on a leaf, with its bulging orange eyes, neat green body and comically big tangerine feet, sits a Costa Rican tree frog. Cue delighted squeals all round. “It’s so cute!” whispers my niece, Georgia, and I nod, partly relieved it’s not a boa constrictor…

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