Shine on

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Sick of the sleet and snow? CD Traveller asked four top travel journalists to share their ‘hot spots’ for 2010. Get ready to top up your tan

Murray Garrard
Murray Garrard cut his teeth on the Daily Express before heading one of Asia’s leading travel magazine’s Lifestyle + Travel. He currently edits Time Out Bahrain and has reported from over 60 countries including Iraq, Yemen, Mongolia and Myanmar.

Murray’s tip for 2010: Sierra Leone
Thanks in part to the World Cup being held in South Africa and, perhaps bizarrely, to Barack Obama inspiring people to head to his ancestral homeland, the African continent is the place to head in 2010. But rather than heading to the more popular destinations in southern and eastern Africa, head west to Sierra Leone, one of the most beautiful countries on the continent. A decade after the end of one of the most violent civil wars in recent African history, the country has finally emerged as one of the most optimistic places on what has become a rather pessimistic part of the world. Fantastic beaches, forests teeming with wildlife and 2,500 years of human history make this the place to book this year.

Sonia Soltani

After having written for The Sunday Times Travel magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and edited glossy leisure supplements for Travel Trade Gazette, Sonia Soltani is now project editor at Absolute Publishing editing ABTA Golf and contributing to ABTA Magazine, Spa Secrets and Welcome to London.

Sonia’s tip for 2010: Israel
Only five hours away from the UK, Israel’s reputation as a brilliant sun-seeker’s destination is sadly too often overshadowed by political, diplomatic and military news. It is a shame as few countries offer so much in such a tiny space – Israel is the same size as Wales.
In the south, Eilat is great for diving in the Red Sea and exploring some of the most mesmerizing reefs of the world. The Sea of Galilee, in the north, is ideal for families, cycling and hiking holidays and first-class wine tasting along the way. Meanwhile travellers looking for rejuvenation, great value spas and meditative landscapes should head to the Dead Sea. And of course there’s the Mediterranean on the country’s western coast with a booming luxury hotel scene — the gem of all for serious partying being Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps.

Diana Milne

Diana Milne started out pounding the streets of Islington as a news reporter at North London newspapers. She then headed for the sands of Dubai where she edited CEO Middle East magazine. Currently she edits B2B publications for a Bristol based publisher of international business magazines.

Diana’s tip for 2010: Cape Town
After a few grim decades, when the thought of visiting Cape Town and feeling the sun on your face was heavily tempered by the specter of violent crime, the Cape Town is once again back on the map thanks, in part, to the forthcoming FIFA World Cup 2010.
It might be possible to have a bad time in Cape Town, but it’s hard to see how. For in the aptly named ‘Rainbow Nation’, visitors can effectively combine a spectrum of different holidays in just one trip. The tourist target boasts an embarrassment of riches; its got 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. Other pluses? There’s the ridiculously warm weather for starters, then there’s the small matter of money. Prices are reasonable, if not remarkably cheap (the exchange rate is favourable) with alcohol being particularly good value. What’s more, take a trip to Cape Town – arguably one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on the planet – and you’ll find that you have no jet lag to contend with.

Kaye Holland
Kaye Holland was born and bred in Watford – a town labelled by Lonely Planet as “the kind of place that makes you want to travel.” They weren’t wrong. After a stint at the BBC, Kaye made her way to the Middle East where she worked as Assistant Editor of the Time Out Destination Guides before heading to the Caribbean as editor of a lifestyle magazine. Now back in Britain, Kaye is thrilled to be working for CD Traveller.

Kaye’s tip for 2010: The Cayman Islands

Like most things that are worthwhile, reaching the Cayman Islands can be hard work but the pay-off is pure heaven. Think of the Caribbean dream and you have Cayman – a place of sugar white beaches and waters so clear that you can see every crevice and crustacean.
Any tour of the islands is bound to include a visit to Seven Mile Beach – a stunning stretch of sand pictured on every postcard. Nonetheless for all its fame, SMB remains remarkably unspoilt and you can still stroll its length before breakfast and barely see another soul.
A boat trip to Stingray City and Sandbar, a sandy shallow spot where you can meet the Cayman Islands’ most famous residents – southern stingrays – is another must. On any given day, you’ll find hundreds of black, velvety stingrays feeding and frollicking in the waves.
Of course while the sand and sea is the biggest draw, there is plenty to see and do beyond the beach. Check out the Turtle Farm, the 65 acre Queen Elizabeth 11 Botanic Park and the Disney-esque Cayman capital: George Town. Throw into the mix world class restaurants as well as beachside bars blaring Bob Marley music and you’ve got a destination that, despite having a village called ‘Hell’, is anything but…

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