Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

Wish you were hair in Istanbul

Stitched up and ready to go they looked like Frankenstein’s monster to me but hey, no pain, no gain… and I imagined they were sending back postcards with Wish you were hair in Istanbul.

Yes, Istanbul as well as being ahead of the curve in much else is also the epicentre for hair restoration.

And so armed with that information you won’t be staring, like someone I could mention.

Hair isn’t the only thing that they’re restoring in Istanbul though with the Stay Hotel chain leading the way in recycling.

Gone today, hair tomorrow: A full head again

Stay’s new hotel, Nisantasi, is now open for bookings in the heart of the city’s refined fashion and cultural district.

The 82-room property is housed in the heart of Nisantasi, a fashion hub in the old town.

So while the men are looking after the threads on their heads your womenfolk can hit the designer boutiques.

From Louis Vuitton to Chanel and Hermes, as well as local designers such as Begum Khan.

And true to The Stay Hotels’ sustainability pledge, they recently launched an eco-friendly fashion label, The Stay Line.

And guests can buy at the hotel’s dedicated retail space, the Stay Line Corner.

A stitch in time

Head start: For your new scalp

The Stay have clearly factored in the hirsuitically challenged tourists as they map out their specs.

The hotel boasts a vegan leather headboards graced with European Down and Feather Association-certified pillows, which will soothe the back of the head.

The recycling extends to room key cards and menus.

And they are brimming with local produce including vegan and vegetarian dishes accompanied by Turkish wines.

They’re really on this… evidenced by being awarded carbon-neutral status by sustainability specialist Bureau Veritas.

And they plan to be zero waste by the end of the year.

When in Istanbul

Art for arts sake: At The Stay Hotel

And when in Istanbul you’ll walk your curvy slipper shoes off (you know the ones you buy at the Grand Bazaar).

If only the Turks specialised in massage… wham, bam thank you hamam.

Stay have a spa and wellness floor opening in the autumn.

There’s a dip in the indoor pool, a Pilates session or an authentic Turkish hamam.

While If the gym is your thang, you can work out in the sleek fitness suite or book a personal trainer.

Wellness experiences include indulgent couples’ massages in a dedicated treatment room.

While here’s something which will be well up the Scary One’s street and take the edge off… a zen garden.

Mezze around by the Bosphorus

With Onur in Istanbul

And Istanbul, the crossroads of East and West clearly has more Turkish delights than the sticky square sweets with icing sugar.

And so the ground-floor Saint Pâtissier patisserie will offer guests French fancies, freshly baked bread, and Turkish treats.

From the autumn, foodies will flock to the entertaining Italian rooftop restaurant, Marcello E Matteo.

You’ll dine on the signature focaccia di recco al formaggio or sip well-crafted cocktails as the chefs break into an operetta.

The Stay Hotels will also reveal a curated art collection hung in rooms and public spaces.

And that includes an AI video-mapping installation by the world-renowned duo OUCHHH. Mmmmm!

The icing on the cake for lovers of culture, will be a bookshop while fresh flowers will be on sale at Misk flower shop.

And lots there then for all tourists to put on their postcards… Wish you were hair in Istanbul with double rooms coming in from £200 per night B&B, with flexible booking terms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure, Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism, UK

150 years of swish Switzrailand

And as Britain’s trains career off the tracks with mortgage-price fares and looming strikes here’s where they do it properly… 150 years of swish Switzrailand.

1847 was when the first Swiss train route, the Swiss Northern Railway, opened between Zurich and Baden, and nicknamed the Spanisch Brotli Bahn.

Because previously gentry’s servants had to set out from Baden at midnight on foot with Spanish buns.

Bun ride

Poster boys: For the railways

The buns are a light, flaky pastry filled with a mix of roasted, crushed hazelnuts and apricot jam.

And they were apparently derived from those made in Spanish-ruled Milan during the 17th century.

Bun fight: For the Spanish buns

The new line took just 45 minutes to traverse the 20km route, just a little more than it takes me to get from North Berwick to Edinburgh.

And this is more challenging Swiss terrain and 150 years ago.

I know Swiss trains from my ride in the country from Interlaken.

And observed that they’re priced at the wherewithal of you and me with the Swiss Pass and not the gentry.

Even the ones, the unique ones, that scale the Eiger… the tallest railway ride in Europe, the Jungfraujoch.

Swiss funday and fondue

Only one Ondine: Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh

All of which reminisces we shared as we reconnected with our Swiss amis in the en vogue Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh.

Take the two-hour Luzern-Interlaken Express whose rails we rode taking in five crystal-clear mountain lakes.

Only way is up: On the Jungfraujoch

And for those of you of the trainspotter penchant (that’s my father-in-law Casey Jones) then here’s the science…

Shortly before starting its steep, winding ascent to Brünig Pass.

And there the train changes to cogwheel drivetrain technology in order to conquer the gradient.

On the right track

Swiss misses: With Fran, Myriam… and Bobby

Trains, in truth, are a joy in many countries across Europe and as easy as American pie on Amtrak in the States.

Fat as a lord and lubricated with the best white Swiss wine and brimming with the latest Swiss advances we went out into the daylight.

And paid homage to Edinburgh’s most famous son, Freeman of the City of Edinburgh Greyfriars Bobby.

Before thinking about catching the train to North Berwick… I’m just back!

Not a worry they’ve ever had in 150 years of swish Switzrailand.

 

 

 

 

 

Asia, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

Turtles within touching distance

They’ve been flirting with me the heroes in the half shell but here’s a tail (sorry) of turtles within touching distance from my old Maldives stomping ground.

And when I say stomping I mean when I got pooped off the shore of Kandolhu and had to stand for a breather.
Noooooo! It’ll cut your feet but worse than that, it’ll kill the coral.
My snorkelling skills have improved since then until I got within touching distance of the turtles off Bridgetown, Barbados, last week.

Turtle fans: In the Maldives

They’d surely be proud of me out in the Maldives.

And perhaps with a little work off my homestead in North Berwick, Scotland, I could get on a very important expedition.

What the doctor ordered.

Dr Stephanie Kohnk is the lead scientist for the Olive Ridley Project and author of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Maldives National Red List Assessment on the Hawksbill Sea Turtle,

And she is heading up a pioneering genetic research expedition to study the local Maldivian hawksbill sea turtle population.

Shadow snorkelling

Jump on board: Close and personal

Guests at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands, can shadow the Doc on a unique snorkelling expedition.

They will be given a morning guided tour of the research vessel.

And they will reveal the painstaking planning and specialist equipment involved in frontline marine biological research.

Guests will get in on the first stage of the expedition on a turtle snorkelling trip led by Dr Köhnk.

Adopt a turtle

Goggles on: And hit the sea

And to further support this pioneering research and conservation initiative they can adopt turtles included in the study.

Adoptees will be able to name their turtle.

And they will receive future re-sighting alerts.

And enjoy priority access to updates and insights from the project.

As part of the joint venture ‘Oceans First’ ethos from 1 June, a sea turtle biologist will be stationed on-island at Patina Maldives.

They will act as a guest educator; overseeing rescue efforts for any sea turtles that become entangled in so-called ghost gear in the area.

And they will support ongoing photo identification and population monitoring in North Male Atoll.

It is only home to the second largest turtle database in the country.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts

I recognise them: Patina

The Patina Maldives team, along with its Fari Islands neighbours, also contributes to the ongoing removal of ghost gear from the ocean.

And that provides Olive Ridley Project with valuable data.

That can be used to trace the origins of discarded or abandoned fishing equipment.

And also help tackle the problem at source.

Because we all need our heroes in a half shell under the sea, our turtles within touching distance.

Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

When I was a Tuscan farmer

The Italians parlano le mani (speak with the hands) and there was a lot of that when I was a Tuscan farmer.

And you can be one too with the nature-immersive wilderness Oasyhotel in San Marcello Piteglio.

If it had passed you by, my Italian farming background, let me refresh your memories.

When I tilled the land… at sea.

On board the billion dollar Celebrity Edge… and its sister brand Royal Caribbean which has been showing off the biggest ship Wonder of the Seas.

Farm to fork

Le Petit Chef is the conceptual experience where the diner sees their meal made from farm to fork in a film played out on your mat.

And ecco, there’s your Italian before you ready to eat.

OK I didn’t get my hands dirty but here in Oasyhotel you can become a farmer for a day on the Oasi Dynamo Farm.

Say cheese

The big cheese: And do some damage with the fromage

The farm is home to all God’s agricultural creatures as well as a wide variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables.

You’ll get an interactive farm tour and even learn how to make your own cheese for lunch.

Mangiamo (let’s eat)

Eat to the beat: Gentle living

In both of its restaurants (Le Felci and Casa Luigi), the team aim to provide the freshest and healthiest local Tuscan produce.

With the majority of ingredients being grown on the Oasi Dynamo farm itself.

Or otherwise being sourced within one kilometre from its doors.

Room at the lodge

Tranquil: The lodges

Oasyhotel offers 16 lodges on within the WWF-protected Oasi Dynamo reserve.

The 1,000+ hectares of land consists of undisturbed forest, farmland, lakes and rivers.

Nestled between Lucca, Pistoia, Florence and Bologna; Oasyhotel is easily accessible from these key Italian cities by road.

With those multiple servings of Italian food you’ll need some activity to work it off.

Stretch those legs

Causing ripples: But only on the private lake

And that’s where those great hiking and biking trails come in.

With complimentary electric-bikes included in all guest stays.

And among the guided seasonal activities are wildlife walks, wolf tracking (turn up, find out) orienteering and horse riding (I’m a natural).

Then there’s foraging, Nordic wellness walking, forest therapy, and meditation and yoga.

Oasyhotel is also home to its own beautiful private lake which can be used for wild-swimming, kayaking and paddle-boarding.

And there are three private spa lodges.

What’s the deal?

Anyone got a story: Campside living

This dream resort is open seasonally from April 14 until October 31 for its first season in 2022.

Stays start from €560 (approx. £472) per lodge per night on a bed and breakfast basis.

They include minibar access, e-bike usage, access to private lake and watersports and valet parking.

And they indulge all your creature comforts.

With the Eco-Lodge Double (with one double-bed and space for a small third-bed).

And Eco-Lodge Family (with four large bunkbeds in two separate bedrooms, and two bathrooms).

Maybe that’s more authentic then and I won’t have to bluff When I was a Tuscan Farmer.

 

Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

Heaven is a place on Earth Day

And this is when thoughts turn to where you get away from it all and where Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

And where they actually do put the Earth first.

Deliver Jordan

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Our friends at G Adventures with whom I traversed the Dead and Red Seas and Wadi Rum are all about sustainability and community support.

And while others do the old cultural appropriation thing (Boris Johnson in India anyone) G actually put something back.

G shares its good fortune with local communities in partnership with Planeterra Foundation, its non-profit partner.

And they build organic farms and restaurants in Jordan et al.

And provide tourist opportunities for trekking and cycling enthusiasts.

Colossal Colorado

Rocky mountain high: Colorado Rockies baseball team

Now as you’ll see from my cover page Brad left an impression on me when he told us in the Rapids…

This is our office so look after it.

Colorado truly is America’s Playground and you’ll find Brad and his man-bunned freestyling the Rockies.

And even one or two dry-skiing along the side of the road, all protecting their greatest asset.

Protect our skies

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

And so we’ve done the Earth, now the Wind (or we’ll call it the skies) before we alight on the Fire.

And there are few clearer skies than the night ones in Tenerife

Where at the top of Mount Teide National Park you can be among the stars.

Yes our CanariaWays all-action walking party but also the Bull, Bear, Saturn and Uranus (no yours).

And all because they keep their island clean.

Clear the air

Safari time: In South Africa

Now we can all do our little bit to arrest global warming.

And Raggy Charters Whale Watchers and Dolphin Watchers in Gwberha (Port Elizabeth when I visited) do more than most.

As they plant a speekbom plant every time they take the boat out to the island to rebalance emissions.

And for those of you who pay attention (and I’m also talking to you up the back) it might just save air travel.

Land of ice and fire

The Northern Lights: Iceland

And, yes this is the Fire bit of the Earth, Wind and Fire elements.

And we have our old chums at Hayes & Jarvis to show us around Iceland.

They urge us to embark on a South Island road trip from Reykjavik around the Golden Circle.

And you’ll take in the Strokkur Geyser, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park.

While all visitors to Iceland naturally take a dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.

While if you’re very lucky you’ll get to see the Northern Lights on a clear night.

And so you’ll have your own go-to places but try these out.

And you will find Heaven is a place on Earth Day.

 

Countries, Culture, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

EU Freedom of Movement and Mdina

Sure aren’t we all Europeans (sore point!) anyway, and thanks to my old pal Vincent for flagging up EU Freedom of Movement and Mdina.

I’d challenged the €5 charge mooted for Venice and as is our wont here we’ve been sharing our own experiences where we are.

And guide par excellence and photographer without peer Vincent has clued us up.

On the debate that raged in Malta regarding The Silent City.

The city was populated by Phoenicians in the 8th Century.

And it grew to three times its present size, taking in neighbouring Rabat.

Saint’s island: St Paul

It also plays a key part in the St Paul story.

When the apostle was shipwrecked on Malta in 60 AD, the governor of Melite, the Romans’ name for the island, greeted him.

And in return, he cured his sick father.

And unsurprisingly the locals took to this new religion and stayed with it ever since.. 

Keep it in the family

It’s oh so quiet: Mdina

Mdina was the capital of Malta throughout the Middle Age until the arrival of the Order of St John.

And his story is all around one of Europe’s great cities, Valletta in 1530.

There was a revival in the early 18th century and several Baroque features were introduced although it didn’t lose its medieval character.

It remained too the centre of the Maltese nobility and religious authorities.

And property is largely passed down from families and from generation to generation.

On the whole it retains a calming quiet feel which freezes it in time and which marks it out as The Silent City.

You’ll want to check out the ruins of the Domvs Romana, with several well-preserved mosaics, statues.

And other remains and the podium of a a Temple of Apollo.

Not the answer

The Maltese Archipelago: And an earlier Jimmy

The argument is that overtourism is threatening that.

But again like the Venice debate this strikes me as anti-libertarian, and my fear is that who would make money out of this.

And whether it would all go back into the protection of the site as it will no doubt be argued.

Malteser Vincent tells us that the Mdina charge idea was largely shot down.

But that the 300 residents have a concession.

They are allowed to drive their cars into the city while non-Mdinaites need a permit.

Bubbly Bugibba 

And that would be me: Malta, ya dancer

Malta, as I’ve mentioned once or twice, was where I made a certain young lady the Happiest Woman in the World.

When I bent down to tie my shoelace.

And she screamed yes.

Back then we were both working for the newspaper arm of Thomson.

And as well as Malta being highly recommended we got a discount.

We’ve stayed loyal to TUI, its successor ever since, and have never been let down.

And so, without further delay, let us offer you four nights self-catering in the Sunseeker Holiday Complex in Bugibba.

For £177pp, down from £191pp.

You’ll be leaving London Gatwick on Monday, March 7.

 

 

 

Countries, Europe, Sustainable Tourism

Venice’s €5 entry fee is a bridge too far

Is it just me or do you think Venice’s €5 entry fee is a bridge too far?

Because the very idea of charging to be allowed into any city feels anti-libertarian.

Yes, we all know the arguments… over-tourism, the city sinking, but is economic selectionism really the answer?

Make no mistake here, Venice truly is one of the world’s great cities.

And I was entranced from the moment I emerged from the throng off the train into its alleyways in the early Noughties.

City’s hidden delights

Fast city: Venice

Now to put this into context… I’m just a city boy, born and raised in Jordanhill (apols to Journey).

And I love the energy and life Venice brings.

Like everyone else I have taken in the must-sees St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, the Rialto Bridge and the Campanile.

And why wouldn’t you?

But I also spent our first evening exploring the Arsenale and went onto branching out from the packed centre.

While I also sailed out to the island of Murano, where glass-makers ply their trade just like their forebears did centuries ago.

Neighbouring Burano  is known for its brightly coloured fishermen houses which acted as a beacon, and its lace traders.

And I also took in the Isola di San Michele where Venezians buried their dead.

In The Ghetto

Hidden away: The Ghetto

But it is the Ghetto in Cannaregio which really captured my attention.

The Ghetto is where the city’s Jews were kept out of the city

And it was here (the foundry area) where the Doge Leonardo Loredan and the Venetian Senate sentenced the Jews to live.

They were only allowed to enter the city at certain hours.

Rules, rules, rules

Watch for the traffic: On the gondolas

Now there is no suggestion Deputy Mayor for Tourism Simone Venturini is motivated to exclude any of us for anything other than over-tourism reasons.

‘The aim is to discourage one-day tourism, hit-and-run tourism,’ he explained.

‘Arriving in one day and leaving in the same day, tiring and stressing the city, and encouraging slower tourism instead.’

And to debunk a myth there won’t be turnstiles, you’ll book ahead online.

Watch your back

Venice fans: With the gang from Padova trip

But still how will entry to the city be manned and how do they plan to control congestion at the entry point?

I’m worried here, and have been for some time, that the ’emergency’ restrictions foisted on us all over Covid will persist as we emerge out of the pandemic.

Because isn’t that just the way of our leaders. 

And as I often try to remind people wasn’t Income Tax brought in as a temporary charge to cope with the Napoleonic Wars.

Who is that masked man (and woman)? The Biennale

All of which neatly brings us around to the man who ended the restrictions for the inhabitants of the world’s first ghetto, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Now we know that the City on the Canal has its own unique challenges and that during the Black Death they pioneered masks.

You know the bespoke ones they sell throughout the city’s alleyway souvenir shops.

 But Venice’s €5 entry fee is a bridge too far.

So what do you think? Let us know and we’ll share.

 

 

America, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

150 years of Yellowstone

Some take it for granted but as we mark 150 years of Yellowstone it is worth reprising the words of a Ranger who was asked what he would do if he had just one day in the US National Park.

‘Cry’ was his rather laconic but revealing message.

‘Twas Ulysses S. Grant, hero of the North, who opened Yellowstone National Park, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, on March 1, 1872.

Although we prefer to mention the work our very own Scottish explorer John Muir did there and elsewhere in the States which earned him the mantle ‘Father of the National Parks.’

But it is important to acknowledge that the Native Americans (Red Indians in 19th Century parlance) had been there for 11,000 years.

Thanks a million

Is that a bear coming? Yellowstone

No wonder our Ranger of course would weep if he was only offered one day in Yellowstone.

Because there are 2 million acres of the park.

And while we’ve all heard of Old Faithful, you’ll also want to take in Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake.

One million of us visit Yellowstone every year (in a Covid-free year) and with that amount of space you’ll never feel congested.

And here are some useful tips for our visit.

Yellowstone tips

The Big Country: The Great American West

The entrance fee for each of Wyoming’s national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) is $35 per vehicle to visit for one to seven days. Entrance fees for other National Park Service sites, such as Devils Tower National Monument, vary.

Reservations are required to camp anywhere within Grand Teton National Park and open six months prior to the date you wish to camp. Book early to reserve a spot.

Reservations are required within certain campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Plan ahead and reserve campsites early.

Backcountry permits are required to backpack within national park boundaries.

Pets are only allowed where vehicles are allowed in national parks and must be kept on a 6-foot leash. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters.

The wildlife is wild. Do not approach, chase or feed animals, and stay in your vehicle if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam.

Grizzly bears reside in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Stay safe by carrying bear spray, being alert, making noise and traveling in groups of three or more.

Masks are required on all federal lands when social distancing isn’t possible.

How to get there

Sweep of nature: In Wyoming

There are smaller airports around Yellowstone but we’d advise the old Road Trip around the Great American West.

And we’d suggest the eight-hour 532-mile drive from our favourite Denver in Colorado.

Bandanaman and the Bandanettes In Denver

In an RV mind, and not the rodeo which we’ll tell you more about soon.

And a shout-out too for bespoke Travel providers G Adventures who are offering eight days Jackson to Yellowstone National Park from £2399. Valid on Jun 19 2022

So get your 150 Years of Yellowstone up and running. You’ll cry with joy.

 

 

 

Countries, Cruising, Sustainable Tourism

Ambassador for the seas

What would qualify you to be an ambassador for the seas? An empathy for those who live in it, obvs.

Doh! But it’s taken Ambassador Cruise Line to put the fishies first.

Ambassador has teamed up with marine conservation charity ORCA and they have launched the first cruise line anti-whaling campaign. Ambassador’s CEO (and

I guess we call him Ambassador then) Christian Verhounig has written to the Faroese Prime Minister Barour a Steig Nielsen that…

If there are recurring incidents of the dolphin hunt that took place last September that he will reconsider Ambassador’s three future sailings to the islands.

The cruise line is also keeping an eye on the Faroese’ commercial whaling policy and will reserve the right to cancel such ports of call.

A little more conservation

The big ship: Ambience

Ambassador is going even further by deciding not to include any oceanariums or experiences that include captive marine mammals.

ORCA will also be placing two Ocean Conservationists onboard Ambience in 2022 and 2023 on 11 sailings.

The Ocean Conservationists will visit countries such as Iceland, Greenland and sail the Iberian coast, Black Sea and Irish Sea.

Two of the 11 cruises will be Ambassador’s multi-generational cruises in the summer of 2022.

Playtime: Our friends where they belong

ORCA will be providing a multi-generational focused education programme.

They will also be working with families to teach them about the marine environment.

And this will involve them in some conservation projects on the ship.

The charity will also have a permanent presence on Ambience.

With a dedicated enrichment area which will include activities about whales and dolphins.

Watching the Orcas

Talk to the animals: In Orlando

Now in the interests of full disclosure I have sat in the stands at SeaWorld in Orlando and watched the orcas perform.

And I will only say that you should make up your own mind of where you stand on this.

Only to add that the keepers I met who looked after the critters must have been very good actors.

Because they looked to dote on their charges even down to taking the penguins home at night.

Although I did feel they had more space to waddle around off the coast of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Introducing the Ambassador

Marquee Theatre: The Ambassador’s party

The premium-value cruise line is the first new British chain of ships to be launched since 2010.

Ambassador which is aimed at the 50-plus market (and I’ll imagine myself in those sailing shoes) will sail from London Tilbury.

The first ship, Ambience, will sail next Spring and is designed to carry up to 1,400 guests in 798 cabins.

After completing its inaugural season in Spring the cruise line plans to extend sailings from additional regional ports.

With the inaugural voyage a short break cruise to Hamburg on Wednesday, April 6.

And yes, that’s a city where it’s all about the party animal.

And so we are glad to have met your acquaintance Sir and believe you are the perfect Ambassador for the seas.    

Africa, Countries, Sustainable Tourism

Ellen and Rwanda

What do you get the woman who has everything… yes, that’s my Scary One, but I’m talking here about Ellen and Rwanda.

With Herself about to celebrate a landmark I’ve been racking my brain about what to get her.

Fine dining: Bisate

Not that I can stretch to Portia De Rossi’s largesse.

In establishing The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda for her wife.

Ellen’s pad

Birthday surprise: Portia and Ellen

And as I’m wanting to celebrate my own birthday a few days later than The Scary One, I’m not suggesting She is turning 60.

The Ellen Campus is going from strength to strength and is the focus of our growing interest in Eco and Nature tourism.

Now the best recommendation for where to stay surely comes from the Hollywood golden couple.

Lodge with us

Peak time: Bisate Lodge

And that would be Bisate Lodge.

Now I do like a hotel with an oul volcano view.

And I experienced just that in Mount in Tenerife in my walk through the ages.

And, of course Tenerife is more Western African landscape than Iberian Peninsula.

So when you’re in Rwanda, do like the locals, of which Ellen and Portia are now among the number.

And base yourself around the volcanoes.

Craters and lazy craters

Good hair day: The gorillas

Bisate Lodge is 5 star (obvs) and you will look out over the extinct (aaaw!) Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes.

This is where Fossey ran her research station Karisoke, dedicated to saving mountain goats from extinction.

Hike through the rainforest, up to nearly 3,000 metres, to visit Karisoke’s haunting ruins and Fossey’s grave, next to her beloved gorilla, Digit.

And my Scary One doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll rest for eternity with this hairy Scots gorilla!

On a roll: The big fella

Rwandan gorillas, now numbering more than 1000 throughout the Virunga massif, await you.

Bisate Lodge for March-May is $1750pps.

Who to fly with

The pioneer: Dian Fossey

And I will, of course, always flag up my friend Meseret and Ethiopian Airways as the guys to fly with.

And when you so get out to see Ellen and Rwanda be sure to tell them this Scottish gorilla says hi.