Botswana - Chris McIntyre
Despite the fact that the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is off our screens and the dust has long settled since Clarkson, Hammond and May cut a rut through Makgadikgadi Pans, Chris McIntyre reports there’s still news from Botswana.
Okavango has had a very high initial flood this year, though the levels are already subsiding. Over the last few months several rivers that haven’t flowed for many years now have water in them. The Savuti Channel last held water in the mid-1980s but it has been gradually filling up, and the water reached the Savuti Marsh in February … this should help game in that area considerably.
On a less cheery note Botswana is increasing VAT by 2% from 1 April … so prepare for prices to go up a little across the board!
Chile – Tim Burford
A series of seismic events has shaken the world of late, some with catastrophic effects others mercifully without great loss of life. Bradt author, Tim Burford, comments on the recent Chilean earthquake.
The magnitude 8.8 earthquake which hit Chile on February 27 was 500 times stronger than the one which hit Haiti on January 12, but the country has actually escaped relatively lightly – the death toll has in fact been revised downwards from 802 to just 452, due to some double counting, and Santiago, the capital, and all the main tourist areas have suffered little damage. The main exception is the small seaside town of Constitución visited by tourists travelling on a scenic narrow-gauge railway, where many lives were lost due to a tsunami following the earthquake. However, Concepción, which suffered most damage, is a port that is bypassed by almost all tourists.
Not surprisingly, the tourism industry has been reporting cancellations, but there’s little need for this. Journeys down the Panamerican Highway south from Santiago towards Temuco may take longer than usual, but air services are largely back to normal; the country needs and deserves support at the moment, so don’t worry about going there!
The Falkland Islands – William Wagstaff
Newspaper columns have lately been occupied by coverage of renewed territorial claims over the Falkland Islands made by Argentina’s President Christina Kirchner. Fuelled by patriotic fervor and potentially equally combustible petroleum reserves, where is this dispute leading? Bradt’s Falkland Islands author William Wagstaff makes an astute observation.
The recent changes in Argentine shipping regulations seem to be designed to cause maximum annoyance on the Falkland Islands which in turn will only encourage the antipathy felt by the islanders towards Argentina. Thus making them more determined to continue the oil exploration and as such bring about the opposite effect to that which Argentina seems to be aiming for…
Uganda – Edition 6 – by Philip Briggs with Andrew Roberts
This new rendering of Uganda has as you’d expect been fully updated via first hand on-the-ground research – no desk updates for Bradt guides. Andrew Roberts, a Uganda resident for over 17 years, working extensively with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, has made significant input on this sixth edition. Of particular significance is the inclusion of recently stabilised areas in the country’s north – Gulu , Kitgum and Atiak. Following the 2002 Khartoum peace accord insurgents of Joseph Kony’s LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) no longer found safe haven across the border in Sudan – as such there’s been no LRA activity in Uganda since 2005. Uganda continues to be a hugely important destination for wildlife tourism and Bradt’s guide highlights the country’s wealth of natural history beyond the headline-making primates and ‘big five’ of the savannahs. Designed to provide useful information for those travelling independently or with a tour operator Uganda maintains its position as the definitive country guide.
Ukraine – Edition 3 – by Andrew Evans
The Orange Revolution may have turned a little red of late following the re-election of former Soviet era President Viktor Yanukovych. However, Ukraine today is still a very different place than that which endured the disaster of Chernobyl under a shroud of Cold War denial. This new edition of Bradt’s Ukraine details a destination that despite its wealth of attractions still remains undiscovered by mass tourism. Skiing, mountain biking and hiking all fall into Ukraine’s borsch bowl of activities. Elsewhere, country homestay suggestions provide cultural insights combined with genuine Ukrainian hospitality. Beyond, wildflowers and wildlife of the Carpathian mountains complement Crimean beaches and contemporary history in the most up-to-date, comprehensive and practical companion for all travellers.