It’s a long standing dream of mine to take all my friends on a trip, probably to Central Asia. I’ve been obsessed by the Silk Route - for the purposes of TravelLocal this currently means Western China, Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus - since I was about 6 years old, staring at an atlas. So I think that’s where I would go, provided they all wanted to come (I have my doubts). I could take them to my favourite secret bits of Bukhara and Samarkand; to the best view in the Caucasus - of a valley dotted with medieval watchtowers and topped by vast snow-capped peaks; on to the roof of the bazaar in Yazd, or to an abandoned caravanserai in the desert near Mashhad.
We get this kind of request rather frequently - ad hoc groups of friends, colleagues or family members creating their own unique experiences, sometimes in countries that one of the party knows well already (indeed in some cases the “lead” customer becomes a sort of guide). If that sounds like you please get in touch - we would be very happy to help. Two recent examples are a group heading to Bhutan, and another international group going to the Caucasus, both next year.
Many of you have been kind enough to write reviews of your trips on our website. If you haven’t had the chance to do that but want to share your valuable experience then you can find the review screen in your dashboard on the TravelLocal website.
Every company says this, so it’s easy to disbelieve it: we read every single review, email, note or message sent to us about your trip - without exception.
A quick thank you to Sally and Tony, Bobby, Mary, Andy, Tara, Graham, Rachel, Gautham and Roger - all of whom very kindly reviewed us on Google. If you have a Google account, you can do so too, using this link: http://bit.ly/2pACL3u. If only Google paid us for all the content we give them - we’d all be rich...
This month’s newsletter carries an interview with Roger from Safari Lifestyles in Botswana. Roger epitomises the point of local expertise - you cannot fly halfway around the world on the basis of faulty knowledge. He is a stickler for details - which animals you see, where you can get the best chance to see them, the best time of day to see them, and so on. With safaris it sometimes feels like the trick is in avoiding bad advice, of which there is plenty to go around!
This month we welcome Panama to the TravelLocal community. It had a starring role in the recent BBC series Planet Earth II - anyone who saw the pygmy three-toed sloth swimming in the sea around Isla Escudo de Vereguas won’t forget it in a hurry. Like its neighbours in Central and South America (Colombia to the south, Costa Rica to the north) Panama is something of a pioneer of ecotourism and the preservation of wildlife, and it even has great beaches too.
I will add it to my “must go” list - and would urge you to do the same.
As ever, thank you all for your support and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us. You can reach us in the office on 0117 325 7898 - happy travels!