CD Traveller reader, Maryann Noronha, takes us on a tour of her five favourite destinations
Cape Town, South Africa
Thanks in part to the recent World Cup, the spotlight is firmly on South Africa – especially Cape Town.
I’ve have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world but few places can match what Cape Town has to offer: read awesome mountains, world class beaches, excellent surf spots, game reserves galore, cultural rewards in the shape of the city itself and scores of scenic attractions.
Of course it’s not all vines and fine wines and certainly there’s no getting away from the fact the country has another face; aids is all pervasive (South Africa has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world) and poverty is very real. Nonetheless don’t be deterred from visiting because above all a triumphant spirit prevails.
Step aside Sydney. Move over Melbourne. My favourite city down under is without a doubt, Darwin – recently imortalised on the big screen by Baz Luhramann in the Hugh Jackman/Nicole Kidman vehicle Australia. To visit Darwin is to experience and see the real Australia: here you can try your hand at sheep shearing, yabbying or bush camping. Take a trip and then tell me I’m wrong.
Mexico has had a tough time in recent years. Safety issues and swine flu scares have kept visitors away but the country still has plenty going for it from ancient Aztec pyramids (take a bow Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza), modern metropolises (step forward Mexico City, the third largest in the world), authentic foods (the food here is even hotter than the weather) and fantastic shopping to world class beaches.
On the subject of beaches, there’s one for every taste and temperament; hang out with Mexico’s hip young things in Playa del Carmen, people watch in Playa de los Muertos, catch the waves at Los Cerritos or get away from it all at Isla Mujeres.
Can’t bear lying on a beach all day? Rest assured that adventure abounds in Mexico –there’s arguably more surfing, biking, hiking and kayaking on offer than anyone deserves.
If you love nature and wildlife, you’ll love Kenya. This is where you come to get up close and personal with the legendary big five (that’s the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) in one of the numerous national parks and game reserves that dot the landscape. Some of the better known parks include Lake Nakuru, Samburu National Reserve, Tsavo, Amboseli and Masai Mara (the scene of the greatest show on earth aka the Wildebeest migration).
Nonetheless while safaris (Swahili for ‘journey’) are the star attraction, Kenya is not just about big game. For a tamer time, check out the country’s tropical coastline where the sugar white sandy beaches and coral gardens are guaranteed to have you practically keeling over in utter bliss. Everyone knows that the beaches that stretch either side of the ancient island bound port of Mombasa are the stuff of dreams, but those at tranquil Turtle Bay are equally enchanting.
All told whether you want to hit the bush, the beach or both, as holiday destination goes Kenya is unrivalled.
Prince Edward Island
I was raised on L M Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables – the about spirited red-haired orphan that was set on PEI (as residents refer to the island). As an Anne fan, I had to make a pilgrimage to PEI and it didn’t disappoint.
Must visits include Avonlea Village, the Prince Edward Island National Park (the farm house you’ll find here was the home of Montgomery’s relatives and the inspiration for Green Gables) and the Anne store for all your Anne related souvenirs.
Even if you aren’t an Anne fan, Canada’s smallest and greenest province is still worth a visit for its gently rolling landscape, miles and miles of sandy beaches and red sandstone cliffs.
Thanks Maryann! Fancy sharing your top travel experiences with fellow CD Traveller readers? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org