West Coast National Park

The West Coast National Park lies 88 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The park is found inside of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. The West Coast National Park is home to over 250 bird species, making it a bird-lover’s paradise. There are four hides inside the park, which provide excellent viewing. Flamingos, ostriches and black harriers can be seen hanging out in the area, along with curlew sandpipers, sanderlings and knots, which journey some 15000 km from Russia to breed at the park each year! best time to visit is in August / September for the magnificent display of fynbos.

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This is one of the most stunning parts of the North Coast 500. The Torridon is set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a magnificent sea loch, The Torridon has one of the most spectacular and idyllic locations in the country. The area is superb for hiking, kayaking, fishing and mountain biking. Beinn Alligin means the Mountain of Beauty or Jeweled Mountain - and it lives up to the name offering one of the Torridon ridge traverses, with spectacular views and stunning terrain. It includes a traverse of the Horns, which offer reasonably straightforward summer scrambling. Challenging but worth every step (in good weather!).

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Arctic Cruise: Day 1

The word Antarctica comes from the Greek language, antarktikos, which means “opposite to the Arctic”. In turn, Arctic comes from the Greek word arktikos, which means “of the bear”, in reference to the northern constellation called Osa Menor, in which is the Polar Star, which marks the North Pole. An Arctic Expedition was a bucket list dream come true! Sadly our rustic Photographic Expedition Ship was delayed on a final inspection at the last minute so we were forced to switch to a Luxury Cruise with Ponant, the only other vessel sailing in the same timeframe. 'The scenery in this part of the world is simply spectacular. Icebergs, sea ice and volcanic mountain landscapes extend as far as the eye can see. And amidst it all roams the polar bear, king of the Arctic, in complete peace and tranquillity. To take an Arctic cruise is to allow yourself to be transported to a world where man is simply a spectator and nature reigns supreme.'

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To the uninitiated, Svalbard may seem desolate and barren with large open landscapes, sparse vegetation and endless glaciers. But if you look beyond this first impression, you will discover an eldorado of nature-based experiences – all year round. The seasonal variations this far north are enormous – the long, dark winter season is replaced by bright spring months, which in turn are replaced by a surprisingly mild summer with sun 24/7.

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