Kruger National Park, South Africa: There are many national parks in many countries, but Kruger is one of the largest game preserves in Africa. It’s famous, and deservedly so, and a highlight of my travelling life. I would happily go back there for a week or two. Several times. For as long as my budget will allow.
Driving around in Kruger, you start to feel like the director of your own Planet Earth documentary, as you look for animals hiding in the trees, in the shrubbery, or drinking in the rivers. It’s the excitement of realising That elephant is looking right at me! and then feeling very small and fragile in your little car compared to the size of the elephant. It’s the amazement of realising that giraffes are very good at camouflage – quite often you nearly drive past them without seeing them (and it’s not like they are small and inconspicuous animals!). It’s seeing a cheetah walk out of the grass and sit at the side of the road just as you drive by. It’s driving slowly, slowly, because you never know when animals will choose to come out of the scrub and cross the road right in front of you.
If you have the opportunity and the means to go, then you should go. But I warn you, it will whet your appetite for safari holidays and you will spend your days thinking about when you can go back. Because I know that’s how I am thinking.
Kortrijk, Belgium: Husband and I have been to Belgium together many times. We like the country. Every town has some kind of quirky thing going on, and every town has its own specialty beer, and its own specialty beer bars. Kortrijk is no different.
We stayed in the quirky Full House Hotel, where every room is designed around a different sweet. The breakfasts were a work of art, with each dish garnished with trails of redcurrants or edible flowers. We tried several bars around the town and found two that were favourites – In De Wolken, a bright modern bar where we had possibly one of the best beers ever, Embrasse; and Boulevard 15, an old “brown cafe” type bar which also had an impressive beer menu.
Trips to Belgium usually start with research on “where to drink”. I realise this makes us sound like we have a drinking problem but Belgium is a country with a strong brewing tradition and good beer is part of the culture there, so it makes sense that we should partake of and support local culture.
Somewhere I want to visit: K is a surprisingly good letter for destinations, and I really had to put some thought into it to pick somewhere I want to go. Kathmandu was an obvious choice because it has its own song, but in the end I’ve picked Kashmir (which also has its own song).
I forget where I first saw the pictures of the lake boats of Kashmir, but it’s an image that’s stayed with me and I think about it from time to time. Usually when some trouble kicks off in the region and it makes it into the news. Unhappily Kashmir is somewhere that has been on the “do not travel” list for some time so my wishes to cruise on Dal Lake will remain unfulfilled for some time to come.