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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Sport & Adventure’

LAST CHANCE TO VOTE PERFECT HOLIDAY

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Attention travel lovers!  Calling all aspiring globetrotters!

TODAY is the LAST CHANCE to VOTE for your favourite PERFECT HOLIDAY CONTEST ENTRY.

Vote HERE, and vote now.

Winner announced in next isango! newsletter, which you can sign up to receive at the bottom of the isango! homepage.

Voting closes at 11:59 pm GMT.

Good luck to our finalists!

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Overnight desert tours by camel

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Jordan has now begun to realise its potential as a top-rated holiday destination since the amazing city of Petra was opened to tourism just few years ago.

While Petra is something everyone should see, there is more to Jordan than just ancient civilisations with its diverse nature reserves, wetlands, deserts and prestigious biblical sites to stir the interest.

The Red Sea country is also a magnet for the active and inquisitive traveller wishing to take advantage of a wide selection of activities and sights.

There are several options available to those who wish to explore such as guided Land Rover drives but going by camelback is the most appealing.

An accredited, English-speaking guide will lead the caravan from Wadi Rum along one of the ancient mountain trails on a whole-day trek full of fascinating features.

On the road to Aqaba, riders will see T E Lawrence”s house, Kazali Canyon, the Small Arch, Seik Canyon and witness the natural phenomenon of the changing colours of the sand dunes around dusk.

Guests will then make camp to spend the night before returning to Wadi Rum the next day via the famous Incense route.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18765315-ADNFCR

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Bulgaria offers eco-holiday

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The climate of this relatively small country is so diverse that it can provide the sun-seeker with a sandy beach or the active adventurer with a wealth of options.

Holidaymakers here can experience four seasons in two weeks if they choose to explore the country which can offer a choice of Eurasian steppe or middle-European forest, and contains some of the most beautiful scenery there is, such is its advantageous geographical location on the Balkan Peninsula.

From the Black Sea, through plains, rivers, valleys and forests to the changing colours of the Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria is leading the charge in eco-tourism.

A significant chunk of Bulgaria is made up of the Pirin, Rila and Balkan national parks which benefit from the protection of category-two status by The World Conservation Union.

They are among the largest protected areas in Europe and provide a natural habitat to a wide variety of wildlife in its unspoiled wild regions.

For the actively-oriented, these parks offer a broad scope of adventure activities including rock climbing, horseback riding, trekking, mountain-biking and caving.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18763485-ADNFCR

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Monster truck safari in the sun

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Most tourists who choose a Caribbean holiday are usually lured by the promise of the kind of rest and relaxation that the region is famous for but one Dominican Republic excursion guarantees to boost adrenalin levels.

The Monster Truck Safari takes the more intrepid to areas of the island where the more traditional tour coaches can”t, on an 8×8 monster truck that is able to cover harsh terrain giving guests the chance to have a look at the real country.

A fascinating insight into the heart of the island is on offer as the trucks plunge through rivers and over off-the-map trails.

The safari also takes in typical villages where passengers can catch a long look at the Dominican way of life and sample some of the best coffee in the world which may well have been growing that morning.

One of the many stops on the trip is at a river where guests get the chance to have a cooling dip before heading off for the lunch which is included in the package.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18763061-ADNFCR

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Climb Mount Olympus because it”s there

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The Greek temperate climate means that there are alternatives to simply topping up your tan.

This diverse country is equally adept at presenting the adventurer with plenty of activities including a hike up to the summit of the nation”s highest peak.

Home to the gods of ancient Greek mythology, Mount Olympus is possibly the most iconic Greek symbol and at 2,917 metres, Mytikas is the country”s highest point.

An adventurous local named Christos Kakalos made the earliest recorded ascent in 1913 and he lived in the nearby town of Litochoro which is now a thriving tourist town in the shadow of the famous mountain.

A certain fitness level is advisable when climbing Mount Olympus as a steady ascent normally takes two days but, such is the diversity of the fauna and flora, many choose to extend their climb and make use of the many refuges on the way.

Even in summer, warm clothes, a decent pair of hiking boots, sunscreen and an easily-obtained local map are absolute necessities but no specialist gear is needed to negotiate the several well-worn trails and pathways.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18760383-ADNFCR

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Over-50s pushing boundaries

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Diving is becoming extremely popular in the over-50 age groupPeople aged over 50 years are pushing boundaries when it comes to travel and activity holidays, new research has revealed.

A quarter of Britons over the age of 50 intend to go on holiday to Australia or New Zealand, while three per cent of this age group want to explore Antarctica, according to the Alliance & Leicester study.

"For many people, turning 50 is a significant milestone and a time when people gain a new lease of life," Emma Walkley, current account manager at Alliance & Leicester explained.

The study also revealed that the over-50s like to push the boundaries with more than one million saying they would like to take part in a bungee jump or skydive within the next five to ten years and one in ten would like to try 4×4 off-roading.

Other activities that were popular on the list were performing on stage in front of a large audience, flying a helicopter, scuba diving and running a marathon.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18739164-ADNFCR

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PERFECT HOLIDAY CONTEST FINALISTS

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Thanks to those who participated in the 2008 isango! ‘Perfect Holiday’ Contest! We were overwhelmed with enthusiastic responses and sincerely apologize for the delay in posting the finalists. But we’ve finally done it! Hooray! The top 5 entries have been selected, and it’s time to VOTE!

FYI: though we could only select 5 finalists, we truly enjoyed reviewing your (100!) entries. We admire your imaginative efforts; thus, the majority of this blog is dedicated to the bulk of entries that did not make it through to the shortlist. We have explained why certain types of entries were not selected and have included some relevant travel tips to assist you in actualizing your dream getaways!

If this sounds boring to you ( – it’s not, actually!), you can skip straight to the action, and:

CLICK HERE to VOTE for one of the TOP FIVE ENTRIES

…as selected by our team of travel writers and product specialists. Go ahead, do it! But remember, you can vote once, and once only!

SOME TRENDS AND TIPS:

(By the way, we’ve listed the finalists at the bottom of this blog in hopes that you will actually read the rest of what we have to say!)

…right, so we learned a great deal about your travel desires and needs from reading your entries—namely that most of you are in need of a good, long holiday! There were also some recurring themes:

1. “It’s not where you are, it’s who you are with…”
A large number you would prefer to spend your precious time away from the office on a romantic getaway with your significant other. Your descriptions of destinations were often very imaginative, but also quite vague, as you focused on the experience that you would have with the love of your life—just the two of you—isolated in paradise. These entries were fantastic (and heartwarming) but were also, unfortunately, more difficult to judge as sometimes we were not sure where, exactly, you aimed to go on your holiday! We suggest visiting the Romantic Retreats section of the isango! website to transform your, ahem, ‘daydreams’ (wink!) into reality.

2. Family First.
A large percentage of you have young children and thus face difficulties with planning to please multiple parties. For you, the ‘perfect holiday’ is one that is free of logistical nightmares: your entries thus tended to be long lists of things that you wanted to avoid (long queues, large crowds, flight delays), rather than of things you actually wanted to do. Though we can do nothing about rubbish airlines (except to complain right alongside you) we can help you to avoid ‘on the ground’ family feuds by encouraging you to plan a detailed itinerary prior to departing. Start with our list of Family Tours under the Activities section of our website, which can be narrowed down, for example, to theme parks and self drive tours.

Others of you focused on the needs of your parents and grandparents, wishing to fulfill their dreams by taking them to parts of the world that they have always wanted to see. We suggest starting with our Seniors category and narrowing your options down by country, or city, from there. (You can also always contact one of our friendly customer service reps if you have any questions!)

3. Some of you are, well, CRAZY…
Really, wow. You submitted some fantastically wild travel ‘plots’ (- you know who you are!). Check out some of our quirkier blogs for more unconventional ideas and inspiration.

Now, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

THE FINALISTS:

1. Hanlie Burger, ‘Shipwrecks, Sand Dunes and Desert Elephants’.

2. Louise Brown, ‘Northern Solitude’

3. Sarah Berl, ‘Spelunk!!’

4. Marian Redmond, ‘Campania Felix’, and

5. Sarah Stocks, ‘Tropical Rainforest? Or is it?’

A huge CONGRATS to Hanlie, Louise, Sarah, Marian and Sarah—and all of our participants—for dreaming up such fabulous ‘perfect holidays’! We cannot thank you enough.

Please vote here, and to pass this email along to all of your family and friends!

You can also check out more blog coverage of the contest here.

Thanks again for participating!

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Diving breaks near Sharm al Sheikh

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The diving spots in Sharm al Sheikh are said to be some of the best in the world If you”re going on holiday to Sharm al Sheikh, you must try diving in the beautiful Ras Mahommed National Park which is just 30km away.

Located at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez, the diving sites at Ras Mohammed are said to be some of the best in the world.

So it”s definitely worth having a try no matter whether you are a seasoned veteran or a complete novice.

If you prefer to keep your feet dry, however, then there is no doubt that you will be amazed by the wild beauty of the beaches, the surrounding desert, the wildlife inhabiting it, as well as the different types of plants that grow here, including the ancient mangrove trees.

Due to its position, strong currents prevail throughout the year here which makes the waters around it very rich in nutrients.

This attracts huge numbers of schools of pelagic and reef fish, somewhere in the range of 1,000 different species.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.

ADNFCR-1652-ID-18734741-ADNFCR

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Italy prepares for Ancient Rome theme park

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The theme park doesn''t fit in with Rome''s character, say critics Italy is planning a new Disneyland-style theme park depicting Ancient Rome.

Mauro Cutrufo, the deputy mayor of the capital, said: "Our model is EuroDisney in Paris."

Attractions in the park would be based on life both in republican Rome, which ended with the murder of Julius Caesar and civil war, as well as the power and might of the Roman Empire.

Rides through a replica of the Colosseum would be offered, where visitors could watch gladiators fight each other or wild animals, as the Emperor looks on.

However, the plans have been criticised as being incompatible with Rome”s character.

Claudio Mancini, head of tourism for the Lazio region added that the theme park was unsuited to the city”s urban preservation plan.

"I say no to Americanisation," he said, adding that "1,000 acres is no small amount."

Tourism to Rome is down by five per cent this summer, mainly due to the credit crunch and the strong euro.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18734699-ADNFCR

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Have a laugh in Cape Town

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Enjoy a fortnight of comedy in Cape TownThe Cape Town International Comedy Festival will run from September 7th to 21st.

Now in its 12th year, the festival once again incorporates a number of unique features – with six separate programmes there is something to cater for everyone”s taste.

As usual the festival takes place in the Main Arena at the Baxter Concert Hall, while a special-edition Danger Zone (used for controversial, adult-themed or rude humour) runs concurrently at the Baxter Theatre.

New this year is the launch of an exciting comedy competition programme that includes stand-up contests and Air Guitar play-offs.

In addition, a host of the world”s top street performers will once again amaze and amuse Capetonians as well as visitors to the city at the V+A Waterfront.

"For those of you not familiar with the festival, I hope that a look at this year”s line-up of national and international talent will convince you to give it a try," urges the Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille.

"It is the best opportunity you will get to lighten up your winter with some good laughs."

Cape Town – From the wine route to the game parks there is so much to see and do in Cape Town.

ADNFCR-1652-ID-18734531-ADNFCR

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