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Iceland Self Drive Tour

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Posted by:

Kirsty Saunders

 

This Iceland self drive tour takes you on a voyage from the West Side of Iceland through the Golden Circle area followed by a few days on the South Coast. Get familiar with Iceland’s history at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes village, visit waterfalls and hot spring areas as well as three National Parks and fishing villages.

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Iceland Self Drive Tour

This 7 day self drive tour will take you through some incredible landscapes and natural wonders. Visit Deildartunguhver hot spring, Hraunfossar waterfalls, The Snæfellsnes peninsula, The Golden Circle with Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir, Reynisfjara Black Beach, Seljalandfoss and Skogafoss waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier and  Reykjanes peninsula.

Other places of interest on enroute include Reykjavík, The Settlement Center, Shark Museum and the Skógar folk museum. There are numerous activities to consider such as Horse Riding, a Glacier hike, Snowmobiling, Lava tube caving and Whale Watching. If you visit between September and April see the amazing Northern Lights as they illuminate the sky.

Day 1: Arrival – Reykjavik

Day 2: Reykjavík & Borgarfjörður valley

Day 3: Snæfellsnes peninsula

Day 4: National Park Þingvellir, Geysir & Gullfoss waterfall

Day 5:  Waterfalls, Glacier & Reynisfjara black sand beach

Day 6: Lava landscape & hot springs of Reykjanes peninsula

Day 7: Reykjanes peninsula – Departure

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Description

This 7 day self drive tour will take you through some incredible landscapes and natural wonders. Visit Deildartunguhver hot spring, Hraunfossar waterfalls, The Snæfellsnes peninsula, The Golden Circle with Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir, Reynisfjara Black Beach, Seljalandfoss and Skogafoss waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier and  Reykjanes peninsula.

Other places of interest on enroute include Reykjavík, The Settlement Center, Shark Museum and the Skógar folk museum. There are numerous activities to consider such as Horse Riding, a Glacier hike, Snowmobiling, Lava tube caving and Whale Watching. If you visit between September and April see the amazing Northern Lights as they illuminate the sky.

 

Day 1: Arrival

Upon arrival at Keflavík International Airport, you will pick up your pre-booked rental car. If you arrive in the morning or afternoon, you might want to stop by at the Blue Lagoon on your way into the city of Reykjavík. If arriving late, you can stay for the first night closer to the airport.

 

Day 2: Reykjavík & Borgarfjörður valley

Take a walk around the most northerly located capital of the world Reykjavík. A must see are the Reykjavik city hall at lake Tjörnin, the old harbour area, Harpa concert hall and the city centre with its colourful buildings.

Head on to Borgarnes and perhaps visit the Settlement Centre before you drive upcountry. Deildartunguhver hot spring is the most active hot spring in Iceland, and the picturesque waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are not far away. Guided tours of the lava cave Víðgelmir or the man made ice cave Inside the Langjökull Glacier are available all year round.

2 nights –  Borgarfjörður valley 

Photo credit: Gonorth

 

Day 3: Snæfellsnes peninsula

Make time to stop at Bjarnarhöfn farm for tasting the famous “Hákarl”, the Greenland shark. Passing by the peculiar shaped mountain Kirkjufell you´ll reach the National Park around the glacier covered volcano Snæfellsjökull.

Enjoy a walk to the black pebble beach Djúpalónssandur, the stunning rock formations of Hellnar cove and the Cliffs at Arnarstapi fishing hamlet. The lava cave “Vatnshellir” offers guided tours daily.

On the sand beaches of Búðir and Ytri-Tunga, seals can be spotted whilst resting on the rocky coast. Visit the basalt columns in Gerðuberg, or hike to the crater of Eldborg, the “fire castle”, to round up the visit to the peninsula.

1 night – Snæfellsnes peninsula

The seals at Hvitanes, in the Isafjardardjup region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: National Park Þingvellir, Geysir & Gullfoss waterfall

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park Þingvellir while walking through the Almannagjá rift, passing the first parliament site, the Althing, to the waterfall Öxaráfoss.

Your journey takes you to the geysers, where the hot spring Strokkur erupts every five minutes or so. At the majestic waterfall Gullfoss a footpath leads to the edge of the falls where you can feel the spray on your face.

Treat yourself with tomato ice cream at the greenhouses at Friðheimar, or relax in the Secret Lagoon geothermal pool.

2 nights – Hella

Photo credit: Gonorth 

 

 

Day 5:  Waterfalls, Glacier & Reynisfjara black sand beach

Today perhaps start with an unforgettable walk behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall or take the stairs to the brim of waterfall Skógafoss. Also The local folk- and transport museum Skógasafn is well worth a visit. The exhibits include an original turf farm, the first vehicles to drive onto a glacier, and an uncountable collection of items depicting daily working life of days gone by.

You can join a Glacier hike or Snowmobile tour at the Sólheimajökull Glacier, before heading on to the bird cliffs of Dyrhólaey. See the rock arch and the grand view from the lighthouse over the endless seeming coastline. Also the fascinating black beach at Reynisfjara with its basalt columns is only a short drive away.

1 night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6: Lava landscape & hot springs of Reykjanes peninsula

Today allow time for activities such as visiting the lava cave Raufarholshellir, a horse riding tour, the exhibition of the geothermal power station Hellisheiðarvirkjun or the ghost museum in Stokkseyir.

 

Day 7: Departure

Head back to the airport today for your onward flight. You will need to return your rental car before departure. For later departures you may have time to explore more of the Reykjanes peninsula before you go.

The village Hveragerði was built around natural hotsprings, heating the greenhouses where mainly flowers are grown today. Enjoy a detour to the picturesque fishing villages of Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri before heading on to Reykjanes peninsula with its raw lava landscape. Make your way to the fumaroles and mud hot springs at Krisuvik and Kleifarvatn Lake. The milky blue geothermal water of the Blue Lagoon are known for the therapeutic benefits, and unique relaxation.

You will now be at the end of the 7 day Iceland self-drive tour, so your accommodation for the night will be located close to the airport.

1 night

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of Madagascar….

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Avatar

 

Madagascar is the Earth’s fourth largest island, geographically isolated for some 80 million years. It is known to Westerners today as one of the most species-rich places on the planet, it is also one of the world’s most humanly impoverished countries. Madagascar holidays are best spent exploring the island, visiting the attractions, shopping and trying the many activities available here such as snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, bird watching and so much more…..

Some of the must do’s are………………

 

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whale Watching
Every year between July and September, Baie d’Antongil, just south of Maroantsetra, is the site of the migration of hundreds of humpback whales. The whales make their way from the Antarctic northward to the warmer waters around Baie d’Antongil, where they spend the winter months breeding and birthing before the long journey back to Antarctica.

Underwater Beauty
Diving in Madagascar is a real treat; the warm Indian Ocean is attractive to both people and marine life. In these turquoise waters diver can see up to 30m ahead. And what a sight awaits you! A dazzling variety of pristine coral reef, as well its many colourful inhabitants like tropical fish and the rare turtles are a definate highlight. The best times are between December and April. For snorkelling, Nosy Tanikely is great and for diving Tulear, Nosy Be and Sainte Marie are ideal! Either way snorkelling or diving in Madagascar is something that shold not be missed.

Exploring on Foot
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore any area, and in Madagascar it’s probably one of the best ways to experience the magic of this often overlooked holiday destination. The Andringitra Mountains, located in the South East of Madagascar, are a breathtaking feast for the eyes. When hiking you can expect to see many natural wonders. The Andringitra National Park boasts an impressive assortment of wildlife. Over 100 species of birds, 54 species of mammals including lemurs and bats, as well as many reptile species call this area home. The higher lying areas of the park are blanketed by tropical rainforest. The lower lying areas are home to some local settlements. Hiking is the only way to reach the more remote areas of the Andringitra national park. Few hikers attempt to summit the impressive 2600m peak, but the surrounding area is so beautiful its well worth a try!

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpsing the flying beauty

Madagascar’s uniqueness is legendary and this is well reflected in its birds. Of the 280 species known from the island, an incredible 100 plus are entirely endemic to Madagascar and a further 20 or so are shared only with neighbouring South West Indian Ocean islands. Some of the best spots to observe the water birds are along the remote areas of the western and south western coast such as Lake Tsimanampetsotsa. For anyone who loves bird watching then this is an amazing getaway and a truly fantastic destination.

So if Madagascar sounds like that place for you or you would like to build your own bespoke, tailor made holiday with any of the above included, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Visit Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s other Great Reef, in 2016

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

We have just received some exciting news and a great addition to any bespoke, tailor made holiday. From June 2016 visitors will be able to swim with humpback whales at Ningaloo Reef as the West Australian government has granted licenses for a select number of operators. Western Australia’s humpback whale population had steadily recovered since the end of commercial hunting of this species in Australia in 1963. It is now the largest population in the world, with an estimated 30,000 whales migrating along the coast each year.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the safety of whales and participants was a key consideration of the programme and there would be strict operational guidelines and monitoring of in-water interaction with humpbacks. Tours will run until October.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Take a humpback whale or whale shark swim or guests also have access to stand-up paddle boards and kayaks on board the company’s Concorde cruiser – a purpose built, 14.5 metre expedition power vessel.

See stunning footage of two humpback whales as they swam alongside a paddle boarder in Western Australia earlier this year https://www.youtube/watch?t=3&v=g6U3VCneKfs

If you feel inspired by this and would like to incorporate it into your own bespoke, tailor made holiday then please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk  where we can help with plenty more great ideas and accommodations.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

 

A Mixture of African Experiences

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Here is a suggested itinerary that can be adjusted to meet your requirements:

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 Day 1  Arrive in Johannesburg and pick up your hire car. Depending on the flight that you have taken either spend one night in the city or drive to the Kruger National Park. Here you will have three nights in a lodge in a Concession within the Park which ensures that you have the best of game viewing. Kruger remains one of Africa’s prime game watching places and being in a Concession will allow you to join night drives or walking safaris. You should have plenty of wildlife encounters and your guides have an extensive knowledge of the area and amazing eyesight for spotting animals.

Day 4  Head south and into Swaziland for an overnight stop. Take the opportunity to learn about this mountain kingdom and its culture. The cooler air is very welcome as are the people who you will meet.

Day 5  Today has you back in South Africa in KwaZulu Natal and your destination is Isimangaliso Wetland Park and a two night stay in a forest lodge deep in the park. Here you have the chance of kayaking or boating on the lake and looking for the myriad number of birds, hippo and other game that live here. There is a chance to track turtle at the right time of the year.

Day 7  Transfer to the coast and time to enjoy the miles of pristine sands and the Indian Ocean. This location offers South Africa’s best snorkelling and some great diving sites. The other option is enjoy the sea and remote location.

Day 9  Leaving the coast and wetlands behind you have a short drive to Hluhluwei Mfolozi Park for a two night stay in the Park – the only lodge within the Park. All of the big 5 are here and you can also add in whale and dolphin watching in the season.

Day 11  Your next destination is set with the Battlefields and Zulu culture very much in mind. Take a tour of the main Zulu War battle sites and then add in a dinner in a Zulu village to learn about their culture and watch their dances.

Day 13  Drive down to Durban or back to Johannesburg for your flight back to the UK.

This gives you a real flavour of South Africa and can easily be adjusted to meet your interests, time constraints and budget.

And the Pound is currently strong against Rand making Southern Africa a great destination.

So to plan your bespoke tailor made holiday please give us a call or drop us an email – Tel 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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