Author: Duncan Mills

Maldives – paradise in the Indian Ocean

As a break away from any gloomy weather I thought I’d share a few photos I have from just one of the 1,190 coral islands that make up the heavenly Maldives. Comprising 26 atolls spread across more than 90,000 kilometres of Indian Ocean, each Maldivian island is the crest of an ancient volcanic range that pokes tantalising through the waves. But only just – the highest point on any of the islands is just eight feet and, with sea levels rising, the country’s future looks perilous. So much so that in the next 40-50 years it’s likely that many...

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Zanzibar – Africa’s exotic spice island

Ras Nungwi lies at the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, a classic Indian Ocean escape. It’s close enough to the island’s inland spice plantations for a day trip, but most people come here simply to unwind and get away from it all. And who can blame them! Luxury hotels line the sandy shore, but walk towards the headland and you soon reach the village of Ras Nungwi, where you can gain a glimpse of the island of old. The village is known as an important centre of boat building – in particular for producing Arabic-styled dhows, the type of which...

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German Christmas markets in Cologne

Like many German cities, Cologne (or Köln to use its German name) sparkles brightest at Christmas time, when its festive markets become the star attraction. This year are seven different markets dotted around the city, so there’s something for everyone, young and old. In each market you’ll find a happy throng of visitors and locals wandering among stalls selling wooden toys, tree decorations and woollen clothing; eating gingerbread and bratwursts and sipping from steaming mugs of glühwein (mulled wine) as they shop. Each market has its own unique glühwein mug, so you’ve the perfect excuse to try a drop...

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Sunny days by the River Thames

It’s been a glorious few weeks in London, with warm sunny days and hardly a cloud in the sky. And with the heatwave forecast to continue and the skies set to remain gloriously blue across the UK for a good while yet, there’s rarely been a better time to get outside and enjoy the sights. Making the most of the sunshine, I enjoyed a lunchtime stroll along the River Thames. From the world’s most visited modern art gallery, the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank, I weaved past holidaymakers, school children and office workers in shirtsleeves and summer dresses as...

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Victoria Falls, I Presume? Adventures in the Footsteps of Livingstone

2013 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of missionary and explorer David Livingstone. His exploits in Africa in search of the source of the Nile made him one of the most celebrated figures of the Victorian age and his legacy lives on to this day. By a strange coincidence the great man and I share a birthday, 19 March. There’s just a mere 165 years between us, so it was with great interest that I listened to a talk on Livingstone by modern day explorer, Colonel John Blashford-Snell at the Royal Geographical Society recently, as part of the...

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Botswana – The Elephants of Chobe National Park

I adore elephants. I love the way they walk, the swish of their tales and the way they splash themselves with water from their trunks while having a bath and a drink. I’ve been lucky enough to see wild ones in Africa and ridden behind on their backs behind their trusted mahouts (elephant trainers) in Asia. But I saw them in their greatest numbers in the beautiful Chobe National Park in Botswana. The Chobe River winds like a ribbon through the heart of the park and a river cruise provided a superb vantage point to see a herd of...

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